Garden Route Research Study

Sep 14th, 2004, 01:52 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1
Garden Route Research Study

Hi Everyone,

First of all let me thank Arthur for introducing me to the Fodors Forum. It is extremely informative and pleasantly informal.
I am currently completing my Master in Tourism Management and I am working at a research project on the Garden Route for my final paper.
I decided to spend the last six months of my master programme in beautiful South Africa (I left rainy Italy to land in sunny Port Elizabeth last May) and, sorry for not being very ORIGINAL, but I've fallen in love with this country!!
The Garden Route project is based on the perception that this worldwide-known tourist destination is losing its appeal, especially with foreign tourists, because of overdevelopment in areas of previous scenic beauty. In fact, an increase in large-scale resort development and golfing estates is changing the landscape of the Garden Route to the extent that residents and local environment organizations are launching a plea for intervention.
Anyone of you that has travelled this part of the world would help me a lot by contributing with comments and input concerning this matter.
If there are also South Africans that would like to share their opinions or even voice their concerns (if you think there are), I'll be very happy to have a chat with you. Please feel free to email me at [email protected].

Thank you so much!
Kiara is offline  
Sep 14th, 2004, 11:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I have visited South Africa twice, both times to concentrate on safaris and cage diving with white sharks near Gansbaai, and I'm sorry to say that the Garden Route holds absolutely no appeal for me whatsoever. It may be extremely beautiful, but South Africa is such a far destination that's very expensive to visit, that when I visit, I want to concentrate on those destinations that are unique and unmatchable in my home country (US).

We have beautiful drives (eg, California coast), and so do many other countries in Europe, that I don't want to use my limited travel resource (both time and money) to drive the Garden Route in SA. In fact, I know many others from New York who have visited South Africa and none have even contemplated the Garden Route. It seems like a manufactured tourist destination with a catchy name, that to me, would have more appeal with locals than foreigners.

I will visit SA again in December and we didn't consider a visit to the Garden Route on this trip even though it will be my third to SA.

Sorry, but those are my thoughts.
thit_cho is offline  
Sep 14th, 2004, 02:46 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,097

I hear what you say but ask the question what do you base your thoughts on seeing that you have never seen the Garden Route as yet?

In my opinion your are incorrect when you say that the Garden Route "seems like a manufactured tourist destination with a catchy name, that to me, would have more appeal with locals than foreigners" . The Garden Route is a very real tourist as well as local attraction. The proof of the pudding lies in the fact that in the holiday period this is where many South Africans flock to and what is more foreigners arrive in huge numbers on the route throughout the year. The area is wonderfully scenic and has the unique scenario of blending landscapes with magnificent sea and forrest scenery in the most unusual manner. The name is far from a catchy tourist type naming as it is said that the area represents "G-d's garden" hence the name.

I have travelled through 31 states in the USA and have experienced rare beauty in some of these places however I am still to see any place that is similar to the unique experience of the Garden Route.

As you claim to know many who have not travelled the Garden Route when visiting SA so I know many people who have retunred to SA to visit the Garden Route because they missed it first time round. Furthermore I have toured countless numbers of people on the Garden Route and I am still to find one party who did not enjoy the journey. I suppose it all becomes a case of horses for courses as I know of so many people who visit SA who would not ever contemplate shark diving as an example while you understandably enjoy the adventure. I respect your thoughts highly however may I make the suggestion that you take a look at the area before you reject it as you might be quite surprised by what you find.

Just my twopence worth

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Sep 15th, 2004, 05:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Selwyn, I agree, horses for courses. We and our friends are in our 30s/early 40s so maybe driving the Garden Route appeals to a different demographic.

I have driven twice from Cape Town to Gansbaai and it certainly is one of the most beautiful coastlines, and I'm sure it only gets much more beautiful the further you go, but maybe my hesitancy comes from a reluctance to spend valuable vacation time driving to see vistas (as opposed to driving to see wildlife).
thit_cho is offline  
Sep 15th, 2004, 06:05 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,216
As a recent Garden Route visitor I'll try and give you my thoughts. Feel free to ask for further clarification.

Although we enjoyed our journey through the Garden Route it's unlikely we'll return to it again whereas we are keen to return to Cape Town, the Winelands and the safari destinations of South Africa again in the future.

We particularly enjoyed the remote areas - the beautiful drives along near-empty roads and through the most stunning of mountain passes. That's the memories that we'll remember most clearly. Whilst the coastal towns were interesting they certainly didn't strike us as particularly unusual destinations nor had anything to pull us back for a second visit.

I know others have a soft spot for Plettenberg Bay but it struck us as just one more developed beach resort and could have been anywhere in the world. Knysna was marginally more unusual but the town centre seems to have degenerated into little more than a huddle of backpackers, low-end stores and eateries. Suburbs seemed to be classier and more attractive but... generally the whole coastal area struck us as something that would hold more appeal to national visitors wanting a nearby holiday destination than to international ones seeking something really different.
Kavey is offline  

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