Your best option, when traveling between Johannesburg and the Garden Route, is by plane. A direct flight to George is only two hours and travelers have the option of renting a car at the airport or using a private transfer.
Those that choose to drive the whole way can expect a 12-hour drive without stops or a longer, more scenic route through KwaZulu-Natal and the Wild Coast, which will take at least two full days. While there are bus routes between Johannesburg and the Garden Route, this is not recommended.
This guide to planning a trip and itinerary for South Africa highlights some of the best travel destinations including the Wild Coast, the Garden Route, Cape Town, and more.
Duration: 2+ hours
A two-hour flight is the most convenient way for travelers to get between Johannesburg and George. After arriving in George, travelers can either opt to use a private transfer or self-drive a rental car, when exploring the Garden Route. Those driving on the N2 between towns like Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, and Mossel Bay should be aware of pay tolls and speeding cameras along the way.
By Private Transfer or Rental Car
Duration: 12 hours - 2 days
Traveling by car for the duration of the trip can be done in one day with a stretch—but it’s recommended to split this trip over at least two days.
The quickest route, which goes via Bloemfontein, takes you along the N1, N9, and R341. Nieu Bethesda, a charming historical village, and Oudtshoorn, a famous Karoo town, are recommended places to visit along the way.
There is also the option to travel through KwaZulu-Natal and along the Coast, although this route will take eight hours longer. Travelers can drive along the N3 highway through the Midlands Meander and the N2 along the South Coast. This will take you through Durban, Umkomaas, and Port Shepstone. After Port Shepstone, you can start driving inland on the N2, R56, N9, and N12 highway to the Garden Route. Alternatively, you can stay on the N2 through the Wild Coast, Port Elizabeth, and onto the Garden Route. Coffee Bay is a recommended overnight stop for this route.
Duration: 17 hours
While this option is technically available it is not recommended. The bus trip is extremely long, with only a few short refreshment stops. There are also often bus delays. Those who opt for this option will book a bus ticket from Johannesburg to George and can arrange a private transfer or rental car to get around the Garden Route.