George is a great place to use as a base if you want to explore the Garden Route, which runs from Heidelberg in the west to Storms River in the east. The town is an area of lush forests, rolling hills and imposing mountains on one side and stunning ocean views on the other.
There’s plenty to do along the way, with vineyards, whale-watching, quaint towns, great hikes and endless beaches. The native Khoi people called this area Outeniqualand (“the Land Where Honey Comes From). It certainly is a natural beauty.
George was founded in 1811 and is the largest town on the Garden Route. It is home to the attractive St Mark’s Cathedral, the more imposing Dutch Reformed Mother Church and some of the country’s top golf courses.
Hire a car and head off to explore. The roads are good, but meandering is more rewarding than setting definite deadlines, so ensure you have plenty of time to turn off when the scenery or the signpost for another attraction catches your eye. The winters can be chilly, but the rest of the year is perfect.
SA is a constant GMT+2 hours, with no daylight savings.
The currency is the rand and you’re going to get great value for money! It’s technically divided into 100 cents, but they’re too small to bother with. ATMs are ubiquitous and credit and debit cards are widely accepted. Foreign currency can be exchanged at bureaux de change, hotels and banks.
George is on the Garden Route, a stretch along the south coast with a Mediterranean coastal climate. That means moderately hot summers and mild to chilly winters. Rains come in the winter months of June to August. The warmth returns with the spring sun from late August and September, although cold fronts can still arrive. Summer – from November to March – brings warmer days, with mid-season temperatures of about 24-30°C.
South African plugs are a rare breed, with three fat, round pins, so buy an adaptor at the airport. Many hotels have installed European and UK-style sockets and keep adaptors at reception.
Mobile networks have the town covered. Roaming calls and data are expensive, so buy a sim card if you want to make local calls. Just remember to take along some sort of identification. There are plenty of free wifi hotspots in cafés and hotels, but you’ll find the speeds sluggish if you’re from a first-world country.
Don’t even try. Hire a car or a 4x4.