South Africa offers so much that it is impossible to explore everything on one trip, unless you are ready for your ‘bucket list’ sabbatical.
One of our favourite destinations in the world, Cape Town allows you to experience some of the finest driving adventures we know.
The ideal time to spend on the Garden Route is a 14 day trip, first and foremost we will get to know what you are looking for and ensure that you have the time to experience everything without feeling rushed, its all about priorities.
You can enjoy a couple of nights in the the city, head into the wine country, looking for whales from Hermanus, discovering the beautiful Swartberg pass, stopping into the towns of Plettenberg Bay and Knysna and finishing up in Port Elizabeth your gateway into the Eastern Capes private games reserves as you look to spot the big 5.
Food & Drink , Adventure , Golf , Beach
How long to stay: 3 to 4 nights
Cape Town is probably my favourite city in the world, every time you visit there is always something else to do, and the exchange is usual pretty beneficial.
Whether you want to head to the beach in Camps Bay for a lunch by the water, get the legs burning by hiking up Table Mountain or our preferred hike up Lions Head for sunrise, take a day trip to Groot Constantia for lunch amongst the vineyards (this works nicely after an morning hike of table mountain).
A day trip down to Boulders Beach to visit the penguins is always fun and the driving route is pretty awesome. Or spend your time exploring the city, the V&A (Arthur not Albert!) waterfront, visit Robben Island and the District Six museum.
Food & Drink , Adventure
Drive time from Cape Town: 1 hr 15 minutes
How long to stay: 2 to 3 nights
South Africa has some fantastic wine and one of the best places to go to learn more is Franschhoek (Dutch for French Corner), as soon as you arrive you will feel relaxed and ready to experience all on offer.
There are many different places to stay and with the one main street through the centre you can get most places on foot. Another must while you are would be to experience the Wine Tram offering you eight Hop-on Hop-off lines to choose from, each visiting a selection of wine estates showcasing a separate part of the Franschhoek Valley.
It is not all about the wine here and they also take their food very seriously with no less than 36 restaurants in the town. There are also other activities on offer; horse-riding, cycling, fishing and hiking are all on your door step.
Hermanus & Gansbaai
Whale Watching , Shark Diving , Hiking
Drive time from Franschhoek: 1 hr 15 minutes
How long to stay: 1 to 2 nights
Sitting on the southern coast of the Western Cape, Hermanus and Gansbaai are best known for their opportunities to see whales and great white sharks.
For those looking to get a sight of Whales there are a number of ways of seeing them. Either by taking to the Cliff Path which offers 12km of the best viewing spots along the coast, or you can take to the sea on a boat tour or for the more adventurous there are some great Sea Kayak tours (our pick!)
Just 40km along the coast is Gansbaai which is renowned for its Great White experiences, here you can get up close and personal, this is not for the faint hearted.
The best time to visit for the above is between July and November.
Nature , Wildlife
Drive time to Knysna from Hermanus: 4 hr 45 minutes
How long to stay: 0 to 1 night
The Swartberg Pass runs along the north edge of the South Karoo, much of the pass is part of a UNSECO world heritage site. With sweeping views to the south and north across the Great & South Karoo, the area in well known for its plant life, including the Fynbos, its referred to as the Cape Floral kingdom.
The drive is stunning with views for miles and many great waterfalls, a must when in the area is to go and check out the Meerkat adventures, stop into one of the Ostrich farms and head into the Cango Caves.
The drive time isn’t for everyone so you can stop on route to Knysna at Mossel Bay or stop for lunch on the way through if you aren’t looking to see the caves or animal farms.
Golf , Adventure , Wildlife , Hiking
Drive time from Mossel Bay: 1 hr 15 minutes
How long to stay: 2 to 3 night
The setting of 5 rivers meeting, producing a picture perfect lagoon that opens out onto the Indian ocean, protected by the Knysna heads. Knysna has something for all, with the ocean-side Featherbed reserve full of Fynbos (the next Rooibos Tea), the Pezula golf course, luxury yacht trips and endless hiking trails.
This small town is full of cafes, seafood restaurants and galleries. It is widely known to be the most famous town on the Garden Route, be sure to make a trip to Thesen Island a multi award winning marina development. The island is linked by causeway and bridge and is within walking distance of the Knysna waterfront.
There also some exceptional hikes here along the rivers and past huge waterfalls, favourite hikes in the area include Jubilee Creek trail (3.8km) and Millwood Mine walk (5.6km).
Beaches , Adventure , Wildlife, Hiking
Drive time from Knysna: 30 minutes
How long to stay: 2 to 3 night
If you are looking for mountains, white sand beaches and crystal blue water look no further than the seaside town of Plettenberg Bay (Plett to the locals!). This is a very popular destination for South African holiday makers and there is an abundance of things to do. Home to the world’s highest bungee jump, canopy walks through the tress and whale watching opportunities the place is truly unforgettable.
For those enjoying the Garden Route in South Africa’s summer months this is generally consider a better stop off point than Knysna, especially for those looking for more of a beach break.
You can base yourself here and easily access the day trips to Tsitsikamma (be sure to walk across the Storms River Suspension bridge) and Crags area, where you can go zip-lining and canyoning. The Birds of Eden aviary is must for the twitchers amongst you with over 280 species of bird, and the Monkeyland Primate sanctuary and Jukani Wildlife Safari are worth a visit.
For hikers whilst you are here you must make the 8km trip out to the superb Robberg Nature Reserve which is a natural monument, sitting on the peninsula at the foot of the Mountain of the Seal.
Culture , History , Beaches , Surf
Drive time from Plettenberg Bay: 2 hr 45 minutes
How long to stay: 1 to 2 night
The major draw of Port Elizabeth is the Algoa Bay, a 40km stretch of unspoiled coastline with sandy beaches and great surf. This really is a water sports enthusiasts ideal location; sailing, diving, fishing and surfing will keep you busy for days. It is also home to the forests of Kragga Kamma Game reserve, where you can find animals roaming freely before heading up further into the Eastern Cape game reserves.
The city centre has undertook a number of urban re-generation projects, and for the foodies amongst you it is well worth a visit to Richmond Hill. Being one of the largest cities in South Africa and rich in culture, be sure to visit the Red Location Museum which documents both the best and worst of South Africa’s history, from the institutionalised racism and then the heroic efforts of the anti-apartheid movement.
If on route to Port Elizabeth from Plettenberg Bay you fancy breaking up the journey a stop in Jeffreys Bay wont disappoint.
Private Game Reserve
Drive time from Port Elizabeth: from 1 hr
How long to stay: 3 to 4 nights
South Africa’s Eastern Cape provides some of the country’s most accessible game viewing within its malaria-free private game reserves. … Each game reserve offers a unique experience and they are all within easy reach of Port Elizabeth airport making the perfect start or finish to a Garden Route fly drive.
The Eastern Cape is extraordinarily beautiful and its landscapes are characterised by rolling green-topped hills, massive rivers, and little Xhosa villages. The reserves and national parks in the Eastern Cape are teeming with many of these exciting species. Many of the reserves and parks in the Eastern Cape are home to the Big Five; which is made up of the lion, elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, and leopard.
The fact that this is a malaria-free zone, makes it a particularly great safari destination for the whole family, while staying at one of the many game lodges.
When it comes to choosing the perfect game reserve for you please get in touch and we will be able to guide you through the whole process.
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