George in the Western Cape has a rich historical legacy, evident in many of the town’s attractions. Its prime location wedged between the Outeniqua mountains and Indian Ocean, surrounded by forests and lakes, gives rise to a compelling mix of outdoor pursuits, not to mention its collection of world-class golf
George, Western Cape, is a popular destination in, and a key access point to, the southern Cape. As a central hub on the Garden Route, George is the ideal base from which to explore this sought-after tourism region.
The town was originally established in the late 1700s as an outpost for the provision of timber and gave rise to a small community of woodcutters. It was only after the second British occupation in the early 1800s that the town was officially proclaimed and named after the reigning British monarch, King George III.
This history is easily explored in the town through daily tours of its historic buildings and of the George Museum, which documents the town's past, and the Outeniqua Transport Museum.
The town's heritage is also reflected in its numerous townships, such as Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp. Organised tours that explore the history and age-old landmarks of these townships are available.
Given its location surrounded by mountains, forests and lakes, it's not surprising outdoor leisure pursuits rank highly among George's key attractions. Nature walks, bird watching, hiking, canoeing, mountain biking and horse riding are all within a stone's throw of the town, capitalising on the area's natural beauty.
George is renowned as the Western Cape's golf capital, with numerous world-class courses to its credit. Tee off at The Links, Montagu course or Outeniqua course (all Gary Player-designed) at Fancourt; the signature Sally Little course at Kingswood Golf Estate; or the Ernie Els-designed Oubaai course for your most picturesque game yet.
The area around George is well-suited to self-drive journeys, especially the scenic Seven Passes Road, which includes 7 mountain passes including the beautiful Montagu Pass, a national monument.
Make sure you stop in here at Herold Wines, just beyond the top of the pass. It's the first vineyard on the Garden Route to grow, produce and bottle certified wine on the premises and makes for a wonderful day outing with its informative wine tours.
How to get here
Fly direct from any major SA city to George airport. If you’re driving, from Cape Town and Durban take the N2 highway to George and from Johannesburg, the N1 to Beaufort West and then the N12 to George.
Best time to visit
George has a Mediterranean climate and so quite temperate throughout the year, although winter nights can get chilly. Visit between May and November to see the visiting whales at points along the coast.
Around the area
The Garden Route National Park; canoeing the waterways around Wilderness; whale and dolphin watching along the coast; Secret Elephants Forest Experience in the Knysna Forest; the Dolphin Trail and Otter Trail, at Tsitsikamma; canopy tours at Tsitsikamma; blackwater tubing at Storms River; bungy jumping and flying fox at Bloukrans.
Tours to do
Historical and township tours in George; wine tours at Herold Wines; golfing and birding tours.
DID YOU KNOW?
George is flanked by a lake system formed 20 000 years ago, during the last ice age.