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Fynbos stems from the Afrikaans language and simply means ‘fine bush’. It describes the fine-leaved heathland vegetation which grows on the infertile soils of the Cape mountains and near the coast. It forms the biggest part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, which is one of South Africa’s eight Unesco World Heritage sites and a global biodiversity hotspot, containing more plant species than the whole of the British Isles.

Although it’s the smallest of the six recognised floral kingdoms of the world, it is an area of extraordinarily high diversity and endemism, and is home to more than 9 000 vascular plant species, of which 69 percent are endemic.

Welcome to the official travel website of Hessequa Tourism, operated by Hessequa Municipality. The Explorer’s Garden Route is the brand used by the Local Economic Development and Tourism Department to promote and develop tourism in the region. We are mandated by national, provincial and local legislation to promote economic development and to create an enabling environment for economic growth and job creation. As such, the central role of the municipality is to work with communities in Hessequa to find sustainable ways to improve quality of life. While local economic development (LED) can be visualised as a bus, driving the people (the local community) aboard it towards social and economic growth, tourism can be seen as the engine powering the bus. Tourism is thus one of the initiatives undertaken by the local municipality (and mandated in its Integrated Development Plan – the IDP) in order to empower and grow the local communities of Hessequa in a responsible and sustainable manner.

But what is all this Explorer’s Garden Route stuff?

The Hessequa region of the Western Cape is being reawakened and revitalised. Treasures are being exposed and its taking its rightful position as a valued partner on South Africa’s famous Garden Route. And this is what the experience revolution does. It opens up a world of possibility and hope that will invigorate its tourism industry. Market segments are identified who want to create lifelong memories and they are invited to explore the rich array of authentic and personal experiences available in the area. The campaign allows for meaningful partnership to build between tourism stakeholders and lends to the creation and packaging of world-class tourism offers that set a standard creating experiences in South Africa.

Find out more here.

Howzit – A traditional South African greeting meaning “How are you?” or “How are things?”
Boet – “Boet” is the Afrikaans word for “brother” and is often used as a term of affection between male friends.
Just now – If a South African tells you they will do something “just now”, they mean they’ll do it in the near future – not immediately.
Lekker – An Afrikaans word meaning nice. It is often used in association with food, as in: “That meal was lekker.”
Now now – This is not intended to comfort but means shortly, as in: “I will be there now now.”
Braai – the South African equivalent of a barbeque where meat is cooked over an open fire. A popular weekend and social pastime.
Boerewors/Wors – a type of spicy sausage made from beef or lamb. Generally it is quite thick and is cooked on a braai.

Indeed we do! However the majority of the population is able to speak and understand English even if it is not their first language. In Hessequa the most common languages used are Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa.


• Witsand
• Preekstoel
• Lappiesbaai
• Gouritsmond
• Jongensfontein (P)
• Stilbaai Wes (P)

Blue Flag is the prestigious, voluntary eco-label for beaches, marinas and boats that is recognised as a trusted symbol of quality and regarded by the World Tourism Organisation as the most well-known eco-label globally. (P) Indicates Pilot Status.




Lightweight clothing is advisable although evenings can be cool. Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses are a must and remember that sunburn can occur even in overcast weather.

The Explorer’s Garden Route has an all year round moderate climate with rainfall throughout the year. Hessequa’s weather is ideal for holiday making with beautiful sunny days – even during winter. Temperatures fluctuate between 20 °C and 28 ºC on average in summer and between 12 ºC and 20 ºC on average in winter.

The Southern Right Whales frequent the coast from June to November each year.

In South Africa, gratuities are generally not included in the final bill, and gratuities for good service are welcome. At accommodation establishments, gratuities are usually divided amongst all staff. In restaurants, tipping ranges from 10% to 20%, depending on the quality of the service.

Being prepared is the key to having a safe and enjoyable experience on our trails. Become self-reliant by learning about the terrain, conditions, local weather and your equipment before you start. Even if you are headed out for just an hour, an injury, severe weather or a wrong turn could become life threatening. Never hike alone and pace your hike to the slowest person in your group. Make sure you’ve got a permit if required for that specific trail. Drink often and stay hydrated, and protect yourself from the sun. For more detailed information download the Cape Nature full hiker safety guideline: There and back safely – Hiking Protocol.

Police Emergency – 10111
Ambulance – 10177
Sea Rescue (Witsand) – 082 990 5957
Sea Rescue (Stilbaai) – 082 990 5978

The table below shows the distances between the various towns in km. These are not necessarily the fastest or shortest routes, but rather the most practical along main routes. The dirt roads we’ll leave up to you to explore!

Hessequa has an excellent infrastructure of good quality roads connecting the main towns with one another and a world class highway running through the region. The condition of some off-the-beaten-path dirt roads can vary depending on usage and weather conditions.

Make sure that you allow yourself ample time to reach destinations and make provisions for stop-overs en-route. One of the biggest causes of road accidents on long-distances is fatigue and loss of concentration. All drivers must carry a valid driver’s licence at all times of driving (international driver’s license if visiting from abroad).

In general, try to avoid driving in unfamiliar areas after dark and in rural areas be aware of cattle or other animals such as buck wandering into the road. Do not stop in remote areas after dark and always park in well-lit, designated parking areas.

An excellent road network provides easy access along the N2 from Cape Town (276km) in the west, George (150km) and Port Elizabeth (422km) in the east and from the Klein Karoo along the R323 or R62 from Ladismith. Car rental between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth is a popular way to

There are two light aircraft landing strips at Riversdale and Stilbaai and two non-commercial fishing harbours at Stilbaai and Witsand, where the last remaining man-operated pontoon is in service to this day. A railway network connects Hessequa to Mossel Bay and beyond. Intercape and Greyhound are the main intercity bus services and their routes frequent in the region daily.

Very popular during the summer months, these parks give you the option of either camping in your tent or in your caravan/motor-home. Sites within the parks are demarcated and numbered, mostly on grass. Not all have ample shade so be sure to bring an umbrella or gazebo. Most have electricity points, although some sites are rented for cheaper that doesn’t have. Ablutions are generally well maintained and clean.

In general, high season prices apply during the summer months (October – April), with peak season rates being charged from the second week in December until the second week in January. Low season would be during the winter months of May to September when the best deals are to be had!