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In the southern region of South Africa between 600 and 500 million years ago, hot magma forced its way to the surface and over time, hardened to form granite. The city of George lies on this hard rock in one of the most scenic parts of the country known as the Garden Route.
George is the largest city along this route and a golfing paradise where South Africa’s top rated golf course is located. With leading academic institutions in the city, major retail facilities and a domestic airport, George is a busy business hub for the region and a convenient stopover for travel between the Cape Town and Port Elizabeth port cities.
A stay in George affords the visitor the opportunity to explore the city’s rich heritage, the slave tree, interesting museums and architecture, and to breathe in fresh country air in a city surrounded by the stunningly beautiful Outeniqua Mountain range.
Top 8 reasons to visit George
1. Golfers have a choice of teeing up at many fine golf courses in George, 3 alone at the premier Fancourt resort – the Links, Montagu and Outeniqua courses. Others nearby are the George Golf Club and the Sally Little course situated in the Kingswood Golf Estate.
2. The forested area around George is hiking heaven. The George Peak trail consists of a steep hike through patches of thick forest and pristine fynbos before reaching the peak at 1330m above sea level. Look out for the rare silver Mimetes flower found here.
3. Shop at the Garden Route Mall to pick up supplies or gifts and curios for family and friends. The mall has well over 100 stores to browse along with a food court and movie centre.
4. Travel to the tiny village of Herold between George and Oudtshoorn. Sections of the original village still remain, including a blacksmith shop. Visit Herald Wines, one of the highest vineyards in the Western Cape, for a wine tasting and enlightening cellar tour.
5. For best mountain and sea views, opt for a tandem paragliding flight offered by various qualified operators. Make a booking through the George Information Centre.
6. Take a day trip to Victoria Bay to swim at the marvellous beach, surf in the designated areas or fish off the jetty. Dolphins and whales are regularly seen from Vic Bay’s sloping grass embankment above the beach.
7. George is home to the largest hedge maze in the southern hemisphere. The 10000m maze is situated on the Redberry Farm and includes a 25m underground tunnel where visitors are challenged to pass through without a torch.
8. Take a trip on the Outeniqua Power Van that runs along an old railway line through the Outeniqua Mountains. This eco-friendly van is a unique way to experience travel through a scenic mountainous section, thick with vegetation.
The George Airport is stationed 8km outside the city. Several car rental agencies are based in George and at the airport to hire a vehicle, or you could order a rental online. There are a number of metered taxi companies in George. Shuttle service operators transport visitors between George, the airport and nearby Garden Route towns.
Did you know?
The 2003 President’s Cup was played on the Links course at Fancourt and ended in an unprecedented tie when, after 34 matches and 3 sudden death playoff holes, the teams could not be separated by nightfall.
Since the 1770s, the forests around George were steadily chopped down due to the great demand for wood from Dutch and British colonists in the Cape. It was over a hundred years later that the French Count of Vasselot, Médéric, came up with a system of successfully managing the forests, probably the first attempt at conservation in the country.