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Garden Route Tour Packages

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13-Day South Africa Self Drive Honeymoon

13-Day South Africa Self Drive Honeymoon

$4,572 to $6,201 pp (USD)

South Africa: Self-drive Luxury Lodge & Guest House

You Visit: Cape Town (Start) , Winelands, Oudtshoorn (Garden Route) , Garden Route, Kwandwe GR, Chief Dawid Stuurman Airport (Port Elizabeth) , Port Elizabeth (End)

Tour operator has an office in United States

4.9 /5  –  149 Reviews

14-Day Beach to Bush, Cape Town to Kruger Eco-Adventure

14-Day Beach to Bush, Cape Town to Kruger Eco-Adventure

$4,074 pp (USD)

South Africa: Self-drive Mid-range Lodge & Hotel

You Visit: Cape Town (Start) , Hermanus (Whales) , Knysna (Garden Route) , Garden Route NP (Tsitsikamma) (Garden Route NP) , Johannesburg (City) , Kruger NP, Southern Kruger NP, Johannesburg (End)

5.0 /5  –  42 Reviews

3-Day Big Five Safari Garden Route Game Lodge

3-Day Big Five Safari Garden Route Game Lodge

$271 to $409 pp (USD)

South Africa: Shared tour (max 9 people per vehicle) Luxury Lodge

You Visit: Cape Town (Start) , Garden Route GR (Garden Route) , Cape Town (End)

Gems of Africa Safari and Tours   Tour operator has an office in South Africa

4.9 /5  –  100 Reviews

6-Day Garden Route Self-Drive

6-Day Garden Route Self-Drive

$554 pp (USD)

South Africa: Self-drive Mid-range Guest House & Hotel

You Visit: Cape Town (Start) , Cango Caves (Garden Route) , Knysna (Garden Route) , Garden Route NP (Tsitsikamma) (Garden Route NP) , Port Elizabeth (End)

Jenman African Safaris   Tour operator has an office in South Africa

4.9 /5  –  17 Reviews

south africa garden route tour

9-Day Cape Town to Addo Elephant Park

$4,180 to $4,400 pp (USD)

South Africa: Shared tour (max 10 people per vehicle) Mid-range Guest House & Hotel

You Visit: Cape Town (Start) , Hermanus (Whales) , Knysna (Garden Route) , Addo Elephant NP, Garden Route NP (Tsitsikamma) (Garden Route NP) , Ostrich Farm (Highlight) , Oudtshoorn (Garden Route) , Paarl (Winelands) , Boulder's Beach (Penguins) , Cape Town (End)

Travel your African Dream   Tour operator has an office in South Africa

4.6 /5  –  5 Reviews

south africa garden route tour

3-Day Exclusive Garden Route 5 Star Luxury Safari

$1,617 pp (USD)

South Africa: Private tour Luxury+ Private Villa

You Visit: Knysna (Start) , Garden Route NP (Tsitsikamma) (Garden Route NP) , Cape Town (End)

Beyond Africa Safaris   Tour operator has an office in South Africa

Not yet rated

south africa garden route tour

2-Day The Plettenberg - 1 Night

$351 to $552 pp (USD)

South Africa: Private tour Luxury Hotel

You Visit: Port Elizabeth (Start) , Plettenberg Bay (Garden Route) , Port Elizabeth (End)

East Cape Tours   Tour operator has an office in South Africa

5.0 /5  –  61 Reviews

south africa garden route tour

17-Day South Africa Rainbow Route

$2,769 pp (USD)

South Africa & Eswatini: Shared tour (max 12 people per vehicle) Mid-range Lodge & Tented Camp

You Visit: Johannesburg (Start) , Greater Kruger, Kruger NP, Malolotja NR, Zululand (KwaZulu-Natal Province) , Royal Natal (Drakensberg Mountains) , East London (City) , Addo Elephant NP, Knysna (Garden Route) , Hermanus (Whales) , Cape Town (End)

Sunway Safaris   Tour operator has an office in South Africa

4.5 /5  –  30 Reviews

south africa garden route tour

11-Day Cape Town, Garden Route, Big 5 Safari (Self-Drive)

$2,295 to $2,552 pp (USD)

South Africa: Self-drive Luxury Lodge & Hotel

You Visit: Cape Town (Start) , Knysna (Garden Route) , Lalibela GR, Port Elizabeth (End)

Pembury Tours   Tour operator has an office in South Africa

5.0 /5  –  428 Reviews

south africa garden route tour

12-Day Cape Town and Garden Route Tour

$6,051 to $7,261 pp (USD)

South Africa: Private tour Mid-range Lodge & Tented Camp

You Visit: Port Elizabeth (Start) , Schotia GR, Addo Elephant NP, Garden Route NP (Tsitsikamma) (Garden Route NP) , Elephant Sanctuary Plettenberg Bay (Garden Route) , Knysna (Garden Route) , Mossel Bay (Town) , Oudtshoorn (Garden Route) , Robben Island (Cape Town) , Table Mountain (Cape Town) , Cape Peninsula, Cape Town (End)

Tourgy Tourz   Tour operator has an office in South Africa

4.9 /5  –  30 Reviews

south africa garden route tour

11-Day South Africa Family Adventure

$6,342 to $9,502 pp (USD)

You Visit: Cape Town (Start) , Hermanus (Whales) , Garden Route, Kwandwe GR, Port Elizabeth (End)

south africa garden route tour

11-Day Luxury Garden Route Honeymoon - Whales and Safari

$8,551 pp (USD)

South Africa: Self-drive Luxury Lodge

You Visit: Cape Town (Start) , Hermanus (Whales) , De Hoop NR, Plettenberg Bay (Garden Route) , Kwandwe GR, Port Elizabeth (End)

south africa garden route tour

15-Day Cape Town, Kruger, Victoria Falls & Chobe Safari

$7,136 pp (USD)

Botswana, South Africa & Zimbabwe: Private tour Mid-range Lodge & Guest House

You Visit: Cape Town (Start) , Robben Island (Cape Town) , Cape of Good Hope (Cape Peninsula) , Winelands, Oudtshoorn (Garden Route) , Knysna (Garden Route) , Hazyview (Town) , Blyde River Canyon (Panorama Route) , Kruger NP, Johannesburg (City) , Soweto (Johannesburg) , Victoria Falls, Chobe NP, Victoria Falls Town (End)

south africa garden route tour

5-Day Garden Route and Private Game Reserve

South Africa: Private tour Luxury Lodge & Guest House

You Visit: Cape Town (Start) , Oudtshoorn (Garden Route) , Knysna (Garden Route) , Garden Route NP (Tsitsikamma) (Garden Route NP) , Garden Route GR (Garden Route) , Cape Town (End)

south africa garden route tour

2-Day Villa Afrikana Guest Suites - 1 Night

$254 pp (USD)

South Africa: Private tour Luxury Guest House

You Visit: Cape Town (Start) , Knysna (Garden Route) , Cape Town (End)

4-Day Garden Route Tour near Cape Town with Big 5 Safari

$655 pp (USD)

South Africa: Shared tour (max 12 people per vehicle) Mid-range Lodge & Guest House

You Visit: Cape Town (Start) , Oudtshoorn (Garden Route) , Storms River, Garden Route GR (Garden Route) , Cape Town (End)

south africa garden route tour

13-Day Cape Town and Garden Route Big Five Safari

$3,368 pp (USD)

South Africa: Self-drive Mid-range Lodge & Tented Camp

You Visit: Cape Town (Start) , Hermanus (Whales) , Knysna (Garden Route) , Garden Route NP (Tsitsikamma) (Garden Route NP) , Lalibela GR, Cape Town Airport (End)

15-Day Cape Town, Kruger, Victoria Falls & Botswana Tour

$5,996 pp (USD)

Botswana, South Africa & Zimbabwe: Shared tour (max 10 people per vehicle) Mid-range Lodge & Guest House

south africa garden route tour

2-Day Elephant Hide of Knysna Rejuvenating Retreat

$200 to $254 pp (USD)

South Africa: Private tour Luxury Lodge

south africa garden route tour

11-Day Self Drive Cape Town, Garden Route, Big 5 Safari

$2,512 to $2,794 pp (USD)

Tour Operators Offering Custom Tours

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south africa garden route tour

South Africa’s ultimate road trip

Africa Geographic Stories & Galleries

Team Africa Geographic

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

south africa garden route tour

If the whole world is indeed a garden, as Frances Hodgson Burnett once wrote, then the Garden Route of South Africa was cultivated by a maverick horticulturist. In truth, the name is somewhat misleading because the Garden Route is about as far from the average garden as could conceivably be imagined . Here, myriad landscapes culminate in a dramatic meeting of mountains, gorges, forest and the Indian Ocean, interspersed by quaint towns and bustling beach cities. Not for nothing is this glorious stretch of coastline one of South Africa’s most popular tourism hotspots – it is a region best explored at leisure, taking every moment to appreciate nature in her wildest glory.

south africa garden route tour

What is the Garden Route?

In truth, neither “garden” nor “route” are particularly accurate descriptors, though the moniker has proved such an effective marketing tool that nearby towns clamour for (or simply claim) inclusion. Although the exact boundaries differ depending on the source, the Garden Route generally refers to an area that extends from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape, east to the town of Stormsrivier in the Eastern Cape – a straight-line distance of around 200km. Inland it encompasses the town of Oudtshoorn right up to the Swartberg Mountain Range. This magnificent region includes rugged patches of coastline, pristine sandy beaches, forests, mountains, gorges, lakes and rivers, all easily and quickly accessible. At the right time of year (August/September), many sections are covered in a glorious carpet of flowers, only adding to the beauty of the surroundings.

Visitors can select a base from Olde Worlde towns and explore the extraordinary scenery day by day before rewarding themselves with an evening of fine dining or perhaps an afternoon at a picturesque wine farm. With the added advantage of several malaria-free nature reserves and national parks in the vicinity to tack on a safari adventure, a trip to the Garden Route can be individually tailored to every need – from families with small children and sedate couples to intrepid solo travellers and adventure seekers.

The Garden Route

Mossel Bay is a town steeped in history and marks the spot where the very first European set foot in South Africa. Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias stopped here in 1488, searching for fresh water to replenish his ship’s supplies. As he was to discover, the land was already occupied. In a sad portent of this region’s future race relations, one of Dias’ men shot a Khoikhoi herder with a crossbow. Unsurprisingly, the locals reacted with anger and sent the mariner and his scurvy-riddled sailors scuttling back to their ship in a hail of stones. Human history in the area goes back considerably further than Dias’ misadventure. The caves below Pinnacle Point contain some of the earliest artefacts of modern man – believed to be about 164,000 years old. These Middle Stone Age people could not have chosen a more picturesque home; the caves look out on the turquoise of the Indian Ocean below.

These days, visitors to Mossel Bay visit the cave networks and admire the view before visiting the museum complex to explore the full-sized replica of Dias’ ship. Though the coastline is relatively rocky here, a couple of stunning beaches and sheltered coves are perfect for swimming in the warm sea. The quaint St Blaize Lighthouse is a popular attraction and serves as a landmark for some of the region’s popular hiking routes. There is also a Seal Island (smaller than the one close to Cape Town) where Cape fur seals gather in enormous numbers.

south africa garden route tour

One of South Africa’s oldest towns and once a historic timber hub, George is nestled in the sublime Outeniqua Mountains, just eight kilometres from the ocean. As one of the Garden Route’s largest towns, it is sometimes nicknamed the “Gateway to the Garden Route” and sports a curious mixture of big city vibrance and small-town atmosphere. There are several historical landmarks to appreciate, including an ancient English Oak tree called The Slave Tree, the King Edward VII Library, the Outeniqua Transport Museum and several old churches. The Garden Route Botanical Gardens, which exclusively showcases the unique vegetation of the southern Cape fynbos, are also situated in George.

The various scenic drives around the town, including Montagu Pass, will reveal unexpected antique shops, art galleries and craft stalls, while golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round at some of South Africa’s premier courses.

Garden Route

To the north and inland from George, the town of Oudtshoorn marks the northern boundary of the Garden Route region. Here the vegetation has changed from the iconic fynbos of the Cape coastlines to the sparse Klein Karoo, at the meeting point of the Swartberg and Outeniqua Mountain ranges.

Offering the usual rural town charm so characteristic of the Garden Route’s urban areas, Oudtshoorn is also home to the largest farmed ostrich population in the world. This tradition goes back to the days of the Ostrich Feather Booms of the late 19th century/early 20th century, which saw the rise of “feather barons” and dynasties that built the mansions lining the Grobbelaars River. Before World War 1, ostrich feathers were South Africa’s fourth-largest export and worth almost their weight in diamonds. Today, ostriches are farmed for their meat and feathers and continue to be a major tourist attraction.

Just outside Oudtshoorn are the Cango Caves, enormous limestone caves with massive stalagmite formations, some of which date back 4,5 billion years!

south africa garden route tour

Wilderness and Wilderness National Park

In keeping with Garden Route naming tradition, Wilderness is less “wilderness” and a more tranquil seaside town, situated on the banks of the Touw River Lagoon. It is, however, surrounded by true wilderness in the form of the nearby Wilderness National Park, which protects over 2,500 hectares and encompasses forests, five rivers, five lakes, two estuaries and a stretch of coastline. Though usually still referred to as Wilderness National Park, since 2008, it is technically the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park which also includes the Knysna Pools and Tsitsikamma sections (see below).

Wilderness National Park is a paradise for campers, hikers, kayakers, mountain bikers, paragliders, abseilers and kloofing enthusiasts. The magical forest paths wind their way to various waterfalls. They are filled with the calls (and occasional glimpses) of kingfishers and the colourful Knysna turacos (or ‘loerie’ if chatting to a local). The coastline section comes to a head at Dolphin Point, which, like much of the Garden Route, is a great place to look for southern right whales during their annual migration (from July until early November).

Not far from Wilderness, en route to Knysna, is the seaside village of Sedgefield – an excellent spot for families looking for a quieter seaside holiday – and the Goukamma Nature Reserve, which protects an extensive vegetated dune field.

The Garden Route

The original route between George and Knysna is the historic Seven Passes Road which crosses over ten rivers and seven gorges and provides a taster of the exquisite scenery awaiting keen explorers. As beautiful Southern African towns go, Knysna is near the top of a very long and competitive list. Situated on the banks of a picturesque lagoon that is part of a protected marine reserve and surrounded by lush indigenous forests, Knysna is renowned for its dynamic charm and genial hospitality. The Knysna River feeds the warm water estuary. It passes between two prominent headlands –The Heads – creating an occasionally treacherous narrow strip for boats to pass through as they head for the open sea.

The town is surrounded by temperate forests that hide what ecologists believe to be the last remaining elephant of the Knysna/Tsitsikamma region. The cow is thought to be around 45 years old and is the sole survivor of the effectively extinct southernmost population of elephants in Africa. Centuries of persecution have genetically programmed her to be understandably wary of humans, and actual sightings of her are few and far between . Most of what we know about her movements come from tracks, dung and camera traps as she haunts the ancient trails of the fairy-tale forests and surrounding farms – a lonely and poignant figure.

south africa garden route tour

Garden Route National Park and the Tsitsikamma Forests

Her ancestors, which experts estimate probably numbered around 3,000 individuals in the 18th century, would have wandered far and wide through the dark and mysterious forests and surrounding habitats. Though the elephants are long gone, parts of their historic range are protected by the Garden Route National Park: a disconnected amalgamation of the existing Tsitsikamma and Wilderness National Parks, the Knysna National Lake Area, and various other protected tracts of state land.

The Garden Route National Park covers patches of the south coast between George and Port Elizabeth. Its magnificent forests are characterised by giant Outeniqua yellowwoods, stinkwoods, and Cape chestnuts, blooming upwards from thick ferns on the forest floor. From west to east, the topography becomes increasingly dramatic, culminating in the plunging cliffs and steep gorges of Tsitsikamma and Storms River, which marks the “end” of the Garden Route.

Here visitors can test their head for heights by crossing the bridge over the Bloukrans River. Adrenaline junkies can get their thrill fix by leaping from the bridge at one of the highest bungee jumps in the world – an astonishing 216 metres (roughly 70 stories) above the base of the gorge. The suspension bridge over the Storms River mouth further east offers a more sedate and less vertiginous approach to taking in the spectacular scenery.

The Garden Route

Plettenberg Bay

The town of “Plett” is known for its expanses of white sandy beaches and glorious cerulean sea, making it one of the best choices as a base to explore the rest of the Garden Route. Nature lovers will find themselves enthralled by a circuit of the Robberg peninsula at the Robberg Nature Reserve or watching the Cape fur seals navigating the surf. Southern right (July to November), Bryde’s, humpback (May/June and from November to January), killer and sei whales are regular visitors, and dolphins are permanent residents.

The Garden Route

Explore and stay

Want to head to the Garden Route? To find lodges, search for our ready-made packages or get in touch with our travel team to arrange your safari, scroll down to after this story.

The weather along the Garden Route is temperate and idyllic, with temperatures seldom dropping below 10˚C or rising too far above 29 ˚C on the coast. Unusually for South Africa, there is no set rainy season, and rain can fall all year round (and it does – the Garden Route receives some of the highest rainfall levels in South Africa, hence the verdant foliage). There is a slight peak in rainfall during the winter months from June until August, which coincides with the arrival of migrating whales. The flowers celebrate the arrival of spring in September.

As already discussed, this is not a “route” but rather an exploration and visitors can make the best of their stay by choosing one or two places to stay and travelling to the various attractions from there. Careful planning and research will ensure the best out of a trip, and even when time is limited, it is better to make the most of specific areas rather than cramming in every attraction.

It’s hard to encapsulate the magic of the Garden Route – there are many beautiful coastlines in the world. Yet, this special patch of Africa stands out as a truly extraordinary destination. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the Garden Route offers everything from dramatic scenery, hiking and wilderness adventures to beach holidays, scuba diving and wine farms, all in the same vicinity. The eclectic collection of local artists, writers, musicians, retirees, and big-city escapees who have chosen to live there adds to the vibrant atmosphere. Whatever it may be, it is undeniable that the Garden Route casts a kind of spell over those fortunate enough to explore its many wonders.

For more on the this magnificent piece of South Africa, read The Secret Garden Route

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south africa garden route tour

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south africa garden route tour

Garden Route Tours

Join one of our award-winning small group tours, or book a private tour and explore at your own pace..

The Garden Route includes nature, culture, and adventure, so there is something for everyone to enjoy. Our Garden Route tours are the perfect way to see the highlights of the South African coastline, between Cape Town and Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth).

Garden Route Group Tours

These tours are great for solo travelers, couples and small groups of friends who want to see the highlights of the Garden Route, in a relatively short amount of time. Group tours have a maximum of 12 guests and one driver/guide on board. This is an active tour, aimed at those who like to be on the move and are young at heart. The average age of travelers joining our group tours is 34. Guests can choose between backpacker or guest house accommodation, thereby tailoring the tour to their level of comfort and budget.

Garden Route private tour

Garden Route & Addo Group Adventure – 5 days (one-way)

Our 5-day group adventure tour is a safe and affordable way to explore the Western Cape, Little Karoo, Whale Route, Addo Elephant National Park, and Route 62. This tour starts in Cape Town every Monday, and ends in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) every Friday.

Garden Route tour

Garden Route & Addo Group Adventure – 6 days

Experiencing a good mix of nature, culture and adventure on this 6-day group Garden Route Tour. This trip will give you a taste of some of the best things the spectacular Garden Route has to offer. This tour starts & ends in Cape Town and departs every Monday.

Garden Route Safari

Cape Town, Garden Route & Safari COMBO – 10 days

Explore Cape Town, the Garden Route and the Eastern Cape on this group adventure tour that includes a two-night safari. It covers the highlights of the South African coastline between Cape Town and Gqeberha and ends in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth).

Garden Route Private Tours

Private tours for couples, families, groups of friends, and educational travel. Our expert travel consultants will customize the provided itineraries to your exact requirements. We can accommodate large or small groups. Click to choose a package below to find out more and to arrange a bespoke travel experience.

Knysna Lofts Boutique Hotel Garden Route Tours

Garden Route Express private tour – 4 days

Mountains, sea, beaches and forest – this tour goes straight to the heart of the Garden Route, to spend time enjoying this beautiful stretch of South African coastline lined with coastal forests. This tour starts & ends in Cape Town, and can depart any day of the week.

Garden Route tours

Garden Route private tour – 5 days (one-way to Gqeberha)

This tour explores the beautiful coastline between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. It travels one-way, allowing you to maximize time enjoying beautiful scenery and minimize driving time, taking in the highlights of the Whale Coast and the Garden Route along the way.

Gondwana Private Game Reserve

Garden Route Express private tour + Safari – 5 days

Go on safari amongst the beautiful fynbos vegetation of the Garden Route.  This tour packs in such diverse highlights, from seeing zebra and elephant on safari to hiking the cliffs along the Indian Ocean, all in five days. This tour starts & ends in Cape Town.

Garden Route tour

Garden Route private tour – 6 days 

This tour explores the beautiful coastline between Cape Town and the Garden Route.  It takes in the highlights of the Whale Coast, Garden Route, and the Klein Karoo, with many options for adventure, nature, and hiking activities along the way.  This tour starts and ends in Cape Town, and can depart any day of the week.

Elephants walking past waterhole

Garden Route & Addo Safari private tour – 7 days

This tour explores the beautiful coastline between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, and ends off with a safari in Addo Elephant National Park. It travels one-way, allowing you to maximize time enjoying scenery and safari, and minimizing driving time.

Garden Route tour

Garden Route + whale coast private tour – 7 days

This tour is designed to be a great South African experience for families traveling with children, age 6 and older. This tour focuses on nature and the outdoors, as this part of the country is renowned for its outstanding natural beauty, and makes a refreshing experience for adults and children alike.

Garden Route tours

Cape Town, Winelands & Garden Route private tour

Cape Town, the Cape Winelands, and the Garden Route – if you take this tour, you will have taken in of some of the absolute highlights of the Western Cape of South Africa. From city to vineyard to cruising the Knysna Lagoon. 

Cape Town tours

First Trip To South Africa private tour – 10 days

If you have never been to this spectacular country…this is the trip you should take as an introduction. We hit the must-see destinations of Cape Town, the Winelands, the Garden Route, and finish off with a Big 5 Safari in the malaria-free Eastern Cape.

Having a picnic at the safari

First Trip To South Africa + Kruger private tour – 11 days

If you have never been to this spectacular country…this is the trip you should take as an introduction.  We hit the must-see destinations of Cape Town, the winelands, the Garden Route and finish off with a Big 5 Safari in Greater Kruger area. We say “first” trip to South Africa, because we know you will be back for more!

Eastern Cape Safari Inquiry

Greater kruger safari inquiry..

Kruger National Park Map

Misty beach in sunset light. Shot on the Otter trail in the Tsitsikamma National Park, Garden Route area, Western Cape, South Africa. ; Shutterstock ID 270602708; Your name (First / Last): Josh Vogel; Project no. or GL code: 56530; Network activity no. or Cost Centre: Online-Design; Product or Project: 65050/7529/Josh Vogel/LP.com Destination Galleries

Shutterstock / PhotoSky

Garden Route

High on the must-see lists of most visitors to South Africa is the Garden Route, and with good reason: you can’t help but be seduced by the glorious natural beauty. The distance from Mossel Bay in the west to Storms River in the east is just over 200km, yet the range of topography, vegetation, wildlife and outdoor activities is remarkable.

Attractions

Must-see attractions.

Dias Museum Complex

Dias Museum Complex

This excellent museum offers insight into Mossel Bay's role as an early stomping ground for European sailors. Named for 15th-century Portuguese explorer…

A gibbon sitting on a wooden fence in Monkeyland, Plettenberg Bay, South Africa.

Plettenberg Bay

This very popular attraction helps rehabilitate wild monkeys that have been in zoos or private homes. The walking safari through a dense forest and across…

The Knysna Lagoon, Western Cape Province

Knysna Lagoon

The Knysna Lagoon opens between two sandstone cliffs known as the Heads – once proclaimed by the British Royal Navy to be the most dangerous harbour…

Rocky Coastline

Garden Route National Park (Wilderness Section)

Formerly the Wilderness National Park, this section has now been incorporated into the vast and scattered Garden Route National Park along with the Knysna…

Robberg Nature & Marine Reserve

Robberg Nature & Marine Reserve

This reserve, 8km southeast of Plettenberg Bay, protects a 4km-long peninsula with a rugged coastline of cliffs and rocks. There are three circular day…

Goukamma Nature Reserve

Goukamma Nature Reserve

This reserve is accessible from the Buffalo Bay road, and protects 14km of rocky coastline, sandstone cliffs, dunes covered with coastal fynbos (fine bush…

Botlierskop Private Game Reserve

Botlierskop Private Game Reserve

This reserve contains a vast range of wildlife, including lions, elephants, rhinos, buffaloes and giraffes. Day visitors are welcome for a variety of…

Outeniqua Transport Museum

Outeniqua Transport Museum

The starting point and terminus for journeys on the Outeniqua Power Van, this museum is worth a visit if you’re even remotely interested in trains. A…

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south africa garden route tour

Dec 11, 2019 • 5 min read

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Garden Route and beyond

Knysna Quays, Western Cape, South Africa

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The Garden Route in South Africa: The Ultimate Road Trip Guide

The seaside town of Knysna in the Garden Route.

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There’s a 300-kilometer stretch of coastal road on the south west tip of South Africa regarded as the most beautiful region in the country. Known as The Garden Route, the road trip gets its name from the Garden Route National Park that it covers, and the diverse vegetation and wildlife, and abundance of lagoons, lakes, mountains, forests, and beaches along its winding roads. Home to almost a dozen nature and marine reserves, a road trip on the Garden Route offers plenty of opportunities for activities along the way, from hiking to eco and whale watching tours, to exploring caves and deserted sandy beaches. 

The route meanders between the Indian Ocean and the Tsitsikamma and Outeniqua mountain ranges, creating contrasting, yet equally stunning views on either side. The lush greenery of the indigenous forests meets the jagged cliffs and the sprawling coastal vistas, producing the type of panoramic views only found in magazines.

  • Mark Bromley

Garden Route Road Trip Facts

map of the Garden Route road trip

The Garden Route Road Trip Recommended Itinerary – 5 days

There are dozens of sights, activities, and standard pit stops along this route. The itinerary really depends on how much time you have and what you want to do.

It’s also worth noting, that while a Cape Town tour is not technically on the Garden Route (it ends well before that in Mossel Bay), most tours will use the start or endpoint as Cape Town. This is because Cape Town is a more convenient place to start/end tours in than Mossel Bay, and the city, in its own right, is also one of the top attractions in any South Africa tour .  

Below you can check out a recommended Garden Route self-drive itinerary for 5 days, including all the highlights and can’t miss attractions. Cape Town is the endpoint for this tour.

Day 1: Port Elizabeth to Knysna

A woman walking on the Tsitsikamma Forest in the Garden Route, South Africa.

Travel through the Tsitsikamma Forest and along the coast to the seaside town of Knysna. There are plenty of viewpoints and scenic stops to make along the way. Keurboomstrand, a small holiday town with a chilled-out vibe, is perfect for leisurely strolls on the long beach that stretches all the way to Plettenberg Bay. This bay is also worth a stop for the lively beach atmosphere, water sport activities, nature reserves, and hiking trails.

Carry on another 30 kilometers and stay the night in Knysna.

Day 2: Knysna to Oudtshoorn

A boat cruising on the water in Knysna Lagoon in South Africa.

A boat cruise on the Knysna Lagoon is recommended. Highlights include views of the sandstone “Heads” that guard the lagoon’s entrance and the pristine beaches and forests that lay just beyond. Visit the Featherbed Nature Reserve, offering nature walks along the coast, through the forests and fynbos (shrubs and vegetation native to South Africa), with an exploration of ancient sea caves. There’s also the option of hiking to view the “Heads” up close and personal, which will elongate the itinerary.

The next portion of the road takes visitors through the mountainous Outeniqua Pass. The twists and turns keep drivers on their toes and the views over the ocean framed by endless mountains are nothing short of incredible.

Arrive in Oudtshoorn, named the Feather Capital of the World due to South Africa’s ostrich farming industry being centered here. Take an ostrich farm safari to view these interesting birds and learn about their relevance in South Africa. Stay the night in Oudtshoorn. 

Day 3: Oudtshoorn to Struisbaai

Inside the Cango Caves in Garden Route.

Tour the Cango Caves, the oldest tourist attraction in the country. The stunning natural wonder is located in the limestone cliffs parallel to the Swartberg Mountains, just outside of Oudtshoorn.

These caves are some of the finest examples of dripstone caverns, with spacious rooms and gigantic limestone formations. Tours of varying degrees are available. There are beginner level tours as well as advanced “adventurous” tours, but they must be booked in advance as there are only a certain number of visitors allowed per day .

After the caves, stop in Mossel Bay. This charming port town of 130,000 is exactly halfway between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. Enjoy the 60 kilometers of beaches, multiple hiking trails with gorgeous views, whale watching (depends on the season), and historical sites like the Post Office Tree or the Diaz Museum. Seeking something more relaxing? Wine tasting, golfing, and shopping are also available here.

After a full day of exploring, continue to Struisbaai , where you can spend the night. 

Day 4: Agulhas to Hermanus

A whale surfacing above the water in Hermanus in Garden Route.

Just a few miles west of Struisbaai is Agulhas, the southern most tip of Africa. Here you can visit the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse, the third oldest in South Africa and the second oldest still in use today. You can go to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy some excellent view of the sea and the surrounding coastal area. From here, drive inland to Napier, looping back around to the coastal city of Gansbaai. This is the place to go Great White Shark cage diving, if you dare!

Drive along Walker Bay to the town of Hermanus. This town is known as the Whale Capital, as it is a great place to do some whale watching (again, your luck of spotting these gentle beasts is greater during winter and spring season).

An alternative to whale watching is the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, a beautiful area with plenty of flora, fauna, and walking trails with a stunning view of Walker Bay.

Stay in Hermanus for the night.

Day 5: Hermanus to Cape Town 

Cape Town during sunset in South Africa.

Believe it or not, the final stretch has some of the best vistas! Travel through multiple nature reserves and mountain ranges, before coming out to the coastal area of False Bay.  

Drive around the bay and you’ll arrive in Cape Town . “The Mother City” is located on the shores of Table Bay with the stunning Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Devil’s Peak creating the city’s backdrop.

Alternate Garden Route Itinerary

It makes no difference if you tour the Garden Route from east to west or west to east. Some itineraries have you spending a few days in Cape Town before setting off on the drive or after you’ve completed it. This is recommended because it allows more time to explore Cape Town, which has many famous attractions of its own. 

One way you can change up the itinerary (and if you have the extra time) is by including the most famous trek on the Garden Route – The Otter Trail .

The Otter Trail picks up about 70 kilometers east of Plettenberg Bay, about 200 kilometers from Port Elizabeth. The trail is a 5 day, 4 night trek through the Tsitsikamma Forest, starting at the mouth of the Storm River and finishing at the Groot River in Nature’s Valley. The total distance is 43 kilometers.

The Otter’s biggest claim to fame is its ability to combine both dense wilderness and forests with breathtaking coastal views. During the trek, you’ll spot many different types of birds and wildlife as well as waterfalls, rivers, and naturally-formed rock pools.

Note:  The Otter Trail is not allowable for children younger than 12 or adults over 65 to participate in this hike due to its physical demands.

Recommended Transportation

A couple laying in the car trunk, enjoying the view the road trip has to offer

If you want to explore the Garden Route at your own pace and make stops when you want, renting a car or a motorcycle is the way to make a memorable trip. However, if you do not have the time, resources or skill to navigate the long journey, there are many guided Garden Route tours (like this one ) that are very good. When chosen wisely, depending on what places you really want to see, a guided tour can make for a hassle-free, relaxed and enjoyable trip. 

Good to Know

  • Buy a local SIM card so you can always have access to your phone and GPS.
  • Buy a South African plug adaptor so you can charge your necessary electronics (3 pin plug) anywhere, anytime.
  • The Garden Route has many tourists and therefore is very safe to travel. However, to avoid any potential risk, do avoid walking the back roads at night.
  • Stay clear of street food in South Africa – you could risk illness by eating from one of these stalls.
  • Stay hydrated! The African sun is hot. Only drink bottled water, unless you can filter or purify the tap water.
  • Check with your doctor regarding any vaccinations before you go!
  • Read the car rental agreement carefully before making any commitments. Be sure to speak to the rental car company about what to do in case of a car breakdown. They can provide you with the numbers to call and how they will assist you.
  • Gas stations are plentiful with developed towns every 45 kilometers or so along the route.

The Garden Route should be on every adventurer’s bucket list. The world-class vistas and nature reserves will keep the naturalists happy, while the opportunity for heart pumping scuba diving and water sport activities will keep the adrenaline junkies enthralled. There’s always more to do and see, which is why people often return to repeat this epic road trip. This should be on your list of things to do while you are in Garden Route National Park.

For more exciting itineraries and travel tips, check out our article on how many days to spend in South Africa . Get in touch with our South Africa travel experts today if you want professional advice on a custom trip to South Africa .

For a seasonal overview, see our article on the best time to visit South Africa .

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Nature’s Paradise: Guided Garden Route Tour South Africa

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Sunset on Garden Route Tour South Africa

Going on a guided Gard Route Tour South Africa is one of the most amazing things I have ever been. South Africa is actually the #1 place that I have visited out of 23 countries. It is a land of diverse landscapes, amazing wildlife, and stunning natural beauty. One of the best ways to experience all of this in one unforgettable journey is by embarking on a Garden Route Tour!

Stretching along the country’s Western Cape, the Garden Route is a paradise for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and anyone seeking a remarkable travel experience. In this post, I will take you on a trip through this captivating destination and provide essential tips on what to see and do when planning a Garden Route Tour in Africa.

Disclaimer: This post may include affiliate links. If you click one of them, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

This was one of the only times in all my travels that I went on a  group tour for 6 days . This Garden Route group tour was definitely worth it for my first time. The next time I do a Garden Route tour South Africa, I will plan to drive it, now that I know what to see and where to go.

The following will give you a good insight into all the places I visited, plus an extra one I added in on my own. 

I will include fees to visit the places, if you visit these on your own. If you decide to take a guided garden route tour in South Africa, then I have included a local tour recommendation. The entrance fees are usually included in the price of the tours you book.

If you are looking for help planning your trip to South Africa, visit my page on  travel planning  as I offer services that could help you.

A Natural Wonder

The Garden Route gets its name from the lush and diverse vegetation that lines its path. It’s a breathtaking stretch of coastline that extends approximately 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Mossel Bay in the west to Storms River in the east. This route is renowned for its awe-inspiring landscapes, pristine beaches, and a variety of ecosystems that make it a biodiversity hotspot.

Tips for Your Guided Garden Route Tour South Africa

The Garden Route gets its name from the lush and diverse vegetation that lines its path. It’s a breathtaking stretch of coastline that extends approximately 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Mossel Bay in the west to Storms River in the east. This route is renowned for its awe-inspiring landscapes and a variety of ecosystems that make it a biodiversity hotspot. Did I mention that the Garden Route has some of the best beaches in South Africa?

Best Times to Visit:

The best time to embark on Garden Route tours depends on your preferences and the activities you want to engage in, as the region experiences different weather patterns throughout the year. Here’s a breakdown of the seasons and their suitability for visiting:

Summer  (December to February): – This is the peak tourist season to venture on a South African Garden Route tour due to the warm and sunny weather. – It’s ideal for beach activities, water sports, and outdoor adventures. – Accommodations can be more expensive, and popular attractions may be crowded, especially around Christmas and New Year’s.

Autumn  (March to May): – Autumn offers pleasant weather with mild temperatures and fewer crowds compared to summer. – The scenery is beautiful as the leaves change color. – It’s a great time for hiking, wildlife viewing, and exploring the natural beauty of the region.

Winter  (June to August): – Winters in the Garden Route are mild and generally rainier than other seasons. – It’s a good time for whale watching in places like Hermanus and for enjoying indoor activities. – You’ll find lower accommodation prices and fewer tourists during this season.

Spring  (September to November): – Spring brings blooming wildflowers and lush green landscapes to the Garden Route. – It’s an excellent time for birdwatching and exploring the region’s botanical gardens. – The weather starts warming up, making it suitable for outdoor activities.

Shoulder Seasons  (September-October and April-May): – These months offer a balance between pleasant weather and fewer crowds, making them great for visiting if you want to avoid peak season.

Rent A Car:

Discover Cars  is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal so you can explore the Garden Route’s hidden gems. It provides flexibility and allows you to stop at various viewpoints and attractions along the way on your schedule.

Stay Connected:

If hyou are visiting from another country, consider getting an eSIM Card for your mobile phone, to avoid the high roaming changes and to stay connected. I recommend  Airalo  as it works great and is relatively inexpensive.

Protect Your Trip:

Don’t forget travel insurance to protect you while on your Garden Route tour!  SafetyWing  is a great option and affordable. Read more about  why you should get travel insurance .

Packing Tips:

Don’t forget to pack essentials like comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a camera to capture the breathtaking scenery.

Accommodations:

From luxury resorts to charming guesthouses, the Garden Route offers a wide range of accommodation options. Be sure to book your accommodations in advance, especially during the peak travel season.

Note: Included in my multi-day  guided tour , was standard accommodations in hostels along the way. I decided to pay to upgrade my stay. Nothing was wrong with the hostels and I often spent the evenings and dinners with the group at the hostel. But I upgraded to stay in beautiful guest houses with privacy, wonderful breakfasts and reliable WiFi. Throughout this post you will find links to the places that I stayed on my guided Garden Route tour.

This map shows only the places that I stopped while on the guided Garden Route Tour South Africa. You can choose to travel in whatever order works for you. Below I will highlight the locations, what I saw or did in that area and provide some great recommendations along the way. If you want to delve further into the location, you can read the related posts to those areas.

The guided Garden Route tours from Cape Town start in a comfortable van and I found it to be enjoyable with no issues.

Map - Garden Route Tour South Africa

Stops on your Guided Garden Route Tour South Africa

African Penguins, Bettys Bay

Penguin Colony – Stony Point Nature Reserve, Betty’s Bay

One of the main attractions in Betty’s Bay is the Stony Point Penguin Colony, which is home to a large colony of African penguins. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll on the boardwalks to observe these adorable, flightless birds in their natural habitat, without disturbing or disrupting them.

Cost: R30 ($1.60 US) Hours of Operation: 8:00am – 4:30pm

Day Tour Recommendations:  Betty’s Bay & Area  (most of these includes tours of the area, including some locations below)

Rock Hyrax (Dassie)

When visiting this coastal reserve, you have the opportunity to see other wildlife including Crowned cormorants, Cape cormorants, Bank cormorants as well as Rock Hyrax, more commonly known as the Dassie, which can be seen on the surrounding rocks. 

This was one of the coolest experiences I had with penguins. They were easy to see, all around you and there were minimal crowds, as compared to Boulders Beach. I was really able to enjoy the time with those beautiful creatures.

Cormorants - Stony Point Reserve

If you continue southeast down the coast on this Garden Route tour, you will come upon Hermanus, another coastal town located not far from Betty’s Bay. Hermanus is often referred to as the “Whale Watching Capital of the World” due to the abundance of whales that visit the area, especially Southern right whales. The town offers excellent shore-based whale watching opportunities, and there are also boat tours available for a closer look at these majestic creatures.

Tour Recommendations:  Day Trips Including Hermanus

Best View of Hermanus, Garden Route Tour South Africa

Restaurant Recommendation:  Pear Tree  

Had a great mix of salad and seafood for lunch at Pear Tree. Spent a few hours wandering around the town and admiring the view.

Pear Tree - Lunch - Hermanus

Cape Agulhas

This is the official place where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, as well as being the southernmost tip of South Africa.

Cape Agalhus

Due to the treacherous water, the powerful currents of two oceans colliding, strong and unpredictable winds and the rocky coastlines and reefs, the cape is known to have one of the largest concentrations of shipwrecks in the world.

Shipwreck at Cape Agalhus

Accommodations in Struisbaai / L’Agulhas:  Mermaid Guesthouse  Rated #1 of 6 guesthouses by Tripadvisor

Mermaid Guest House, Struisbaai

Mountains / Tradouw Pass

Passing through the Langberg and Swartberg mountain ranges you will head north on Route 62, which is South Africa’s longest wine route and one of the most spectacular drives. Passing through Tradouw Pass and into the Klein Karoo, the unique views will take you to another place. 

Diesel & Creme - Barrydale

Recommendation: Stop in Barrydale for a break and hit  Diesel and Creme  and have an amazing milkshake. 

Ostrich Farms, Oudtshoorn

Oudtshoorn, located in the semi-arid region of the Klein Karoo, is home to the world’s largest ostrich population with many ostrich farms and an ostrich feather industry. Visitors to Oudtshoorn can tour ostrich farms to learn about these unique birds. You have the opportunity to see ostriches up close.

Cost: $10US

Tour Recommendation:  Ostrich Tour

Cango Caves

The Cango Caves are a series of stunning limestone caves located just outside of Oudtshoorn.

Cango Caves, Oudtshoorn

They are known for their impressive stalactites and stalagmites. Guided tours of the caves provide an opportunity to explore the intricate chambers and learn about the geological history.

Ostriches, Oudtshoorn

Cost: R170 ($9.00 US)

Hours of Operation: 9:00am-5:00pm

Tours:  Options Available , depending on what you are looking to do. 

Area Tour Recommendation: Spend a  full day exploring Oudtshoorn .

Karusa Vineyards

This is a must in Oudtshoorn! Amazing lunch and wine tasting. I promise you will enjoy the food, wine and scenery. If you book one of the multi day Garden Route Tours, then check to see if this place is still included. If you are touring on your own, make sure you  book the experience  with them.

Karusa Wines, Oudtshoorn

 Accommodations in Oudtshoorn:  Adley House –  Rated 11 of 38 B&Bs in Oudtshoorn 

Adley House, Oudtshoorn

Meerkats, Little Karoo

This was not part of the tour I booked, but knowing that I was going to be in a prime area while on a guided Garden Route tour South Africa, where meerkats could be found, how could I not add in an extra early morning trip!

The Little Karoo is home to several meerkat populations. Meerkats are well-suited to the semi-arid environment because of their adaptability and ability to dig burrows to escape extreme temperatures.

Meerkat

I arrived at the ‘viewing area’ about 530am, before the sunrise. And then you sit and wait for them to emerge. It could be 20 minutes or 2 hours. Luckily, the meerkats emerged from their burrows relatively quickly and I got to watch them start their days, scout the area for predators, socialize and eat. It was a highlight of my Garden Route Tour in South Africa.

Tour Recommendation:  Five Shy Meerkats  – great knowledgeable guides

Meerkats - Little Karoo Oudtshoorn

St Croix Trail, Mossel Bay

Technically we stopped here on the way back to Cape Town on the last day of the tour, as we returned on the coastal route. But I’m adding it here since it’s close to Wilderness and could be done at any time on the route. Mossel Bay is known for its mild climate, beautiful beaches and famous Cape St. Blaize Trail. 

The Cape St. Blaize Trail hike follows along the cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean. The full trail is 13.5kms but given the time I had, the group hiked only a few kilometers of the trail. It was relatively easy and provided some amazing views.

St Croix Trail, Mossel Bay

Wilderness National Park

Wilderness National Park

Stopping here while on one a Garden Route tour South Africa is worth it! Visitors to the Wilderness area can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, bird watching, canoeing, fishing, and swimming. There are also several well-marked hiking trails that offer the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the region up close.

Trail through Wilderness National Park

Make sure you take the 2km walk along the boardwalk and enjoy the lush surroundings and beautiful scenery.

We were lucky enough to spot a blue duiker, which is the smallest antelope species in South Africa.

Blue Duiker

Knysa Heads, Knysna

Knysna is a stunning picturesque region known for its natural beauty, diverse ecosystems, and outdoor recreational opportunities. It is nestled between lush forests, the Indian Ocean, and the imposing Outeniqua Mountains. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to truly explore the area, but it would definitely be worth it.

The Knysna Heads are two towering sandstone cliffs that guard the entrance to the Knysna Lagoon.The Heads are not only iconic but also treacherous, as the changing tides and turbulent waters make navigation challenging. It was definitely one of the most beautiful stops we made when exploring the Garden Route in South Africa.

Knysna Heads

Accommodations: Knysna / Sedgeway was a beautiful area. I wish I had more time to explore the area! Unfortunately the place i stayed is no longer open, but you can find great  accommodations  to compliment your stay.

Tsitsikamma National Park

As you reach the eastern end of the Garden Route, Tsitsikamma National Park is renowned for its breathtaking natural scenery, which includes lush indigenous forests, rugged cliffs, pristine rivers, and the rugged Tsitsikamma Mountains.

Tsitsikamma National Park

The name “Tsitsikamma” is derived from the Khoekhoe language and means “place of abundant water.”

The famous Storms River Mouth Suspension Bridge is a must-see attraction for hikers and nature enthusiasts to walk across. Enjoy your time here and explore the area with lots of things to do and see.

Storms River Mouth Suspension Bridge

There are dassies and lizards everywhere!

Tour Recommendations: Check out some of the best ways to  experience the Park

Dassies

Technically this is the end of some of the guided  Garden Route Tours South Africa, however the tour that I did included a visit to Addo Elephant National Park. It is 150 kms from Tsitsikamma to Addo, so I recommend driving close and staying overnight before exploring Addo.

Avoca River Cabins

Accommodations:  Avoca River Cabins  This was truly a beautiful place to stay with amazing views and the dinner they provided was one of the best of my trip.

Addo Elephant National Park

Addo Elephant National Park is one of the country’s most popular national parks and is primarily known for its large population of elephants.

Elephant - Addo National Elephant Park

While the park is best known for its elephant population, it is also home to a wide variety of other wildlife species. Visitors can spot animals like lions, leopards, buffalo, rhinos, zebras, various antelope species, warthogs, and numerous bird species. I also couldn’t believe how many dung beetles we saw there! I guess it makes sense.

Dung Beetle

Cost: R376 ($20.00 US)

Hours of Operation: 7:00am to 7:00pm

Vervet Monkey

 Self-drive game viewing is what many people do as there are numerous viewpoints and hides strategically located for wildlife viewing and photography. 

Tour Recommendation: There are many  different guided tours  if you want to get the full knowledge and experience when visiting Addo Elephant National Park.

The Garden Route is not just a destination; it’s an experience you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Make it your next travel adventure, and you won’t be disappointed!

Garden Route Tour South Africa

So, start planning your Garden Route tour South African today, and get ready to be amazed by the breathtaking landscapes of this enchanting area. If you are looking for some help to plan your visit to the Garden Route or any other part of South Africa, then please  contact me  so I can assist you with planning your route.

Whether on your own or on a guided Garden Route tour, South Africa promises an unforgettable experience. Whether you are a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, looking for a connection to nature or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of our world, there are many Garden Route tours that have something to offer everyone.

If you enjoyed my post, follow me on social media or subscribe to my newsletter below, so you can stay updated when I post new articles.

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Melanie is the founder of The World Travel Girl. She has been traveling for over 12 years and decided to share her passion with others. She is a travel writer and travel planner who also loves hiking, birdwatching and watching wildlife. Her mission is to help every day people explore the outdoor world and connect with nature.

I have wanted to go to South Africa for a while now. At first I thought it was just about the safaris. But then I learned that you could actually enjoy their vast vineyards too. I see that you did a wine tasting. I would love to go and experience everything that this beautiful country has to offer. Thank you for these great tips I will definitely save them for later.

I’ve always wanted to go to South Africa and this post reignited that dream! Would love to see the penguin colony!

I’d love to tour the Garden Route! I’d especially love to visit Stony Point Nature Reserve to see the penguins! Also, the meerkats look adorable! Thanks for the great guide!

Incredible! I would love to visit South Africa one day to see all of that wildlife, and the landscape is just breathtaking. Thanks for sharing your experiences, it has certainly sparked my interest in travelling there.

This is going to be so helpful for my trip!

South Africa has always been on my bucket list! All of these places look so incredible, especially the St Croix Trail! Thanks for sharing!

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5 Day Ultimate Garden Route & Addo Luxury Adventure

From ZAR 17700

6 Day Garden Route and Addo Tour – Overberg Route

From ZAR 11000

7 Day Ultimate Garden Route & Addo Luxury Tour

From ZAR 25200

Budget tours along the garden route, offer all the fun without too many of the frills to keep the price as low as possible. We choose accommodation in guesthouses and backpackers and make certain activities and meals optional.

5 Day Ultimate Garden Route & Addo Budget Adventure

From ZAR 9900

7 Day Ultimate Garden Route & Addo Budget Adventure

From ZAR 16900

Comfort tours along the garden route offer cost-conscious travellers great value for their money. We chose quality 3- to 4-star accommodation and include more in the way of meals and activities without making the tour too pricey.

2 Day Ultimate Wildlife & Safari Comfort Adventure

From ZAR 5200

3 Day Cape Town & Knysna Comfort Tour

  • < 4 Hours

From ZAR 12600

3 Day Ultimate Garden Route Comfort Adventure

From ZAR 8000

7 Day Ultimate Garden Route & Addo Comfort Adventure

From ZAR 21300

2 Day Garden Route Luxury Safari Tour

From ZAR 6950

2 Day Ultimate Wildlife & Safari Luxury Adventure

From ZAR 6800

4 Day Garden Route Adventure

From ZAR 9950

VARIOUS GARDEN ROUTE TOURS AVAILABLE

Our various Garden Route tour packages are our most popular tourist packages . Which is not surprising seeing as the Garden Route is South Africa’s most popular tourist destinations and for good reason. Moafrica caters for a variety of Garden Route Tours ranging from Garden Route Tours from Johannesburg, Garden Route Tours from Cape Town and Garden Route Tours from Durban. The Garden Route packages will reveal a region of striking contrasts; from magnificent mountain ranges to lush belts of indigenous forest and spectacular beaches.

The divertisty of the Garden Route affords us the ability to offer clients various packages depending on your online booking requirements. We offer tours ranging from budget and affordable weekend Garden Route Tours for singles and pensioners, Garden Route Tours for Seniors , Romantic Garden Route Tours for newlyweds to extended 4 day, 5 day or 6 day Private Garden Route packages . The N2 National Highway from Cape Town and the Western Cape wine route and scenic side roads take you on a winding journey through a coastal corridor between the Indian Ocean and the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains that divide the Garden Route from the Little Karoo . Lush coastal vegetation merges seamlessly with arid grasslands; creating a visual masterpiece that transforms into something different with the changing seasons.

The Garden Route is the playground of the young and old. If you’re looking for a weekend getaway filled with adrenaline and adventure, or maybe you require a luxury, private getaway at a more leisurely pace; there’s a Garden Route Tour package for everyone. You might also enjoy Cape Town Helicopter tours .

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HOW THE GARDEN ROUTE GOT ITS NAME

It’s not hard to imagine how the Garden Route got its name. South Africa’s most popular tourist destination is sandwiched between the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains and the Indian Ocean and is an extension of the Cape Floral Kingdom. The region is world-renowned for its unique combination of Cape Fynbos (fine bush) and Temperate Forest, boasting over 750 species of fynbos and 300 species of birds. Some describe it as the Garden of Eden with striking contrasts in scenery; from magnificent mountain ranges to endless stretches of sandy beaches and bleak grassland plains where the arid Karoo merges with the lush coastal vegetation.

The Garden Route is made up of diverse eco-zones and is home to an array of indigenous wildlife, birds and marine life found in ten protected nature reserves, a variety of marine reserves and soft coral reefs. Certain bays along the Garden Route are nurseries for the endangered Southern Right Whale which go there to calve in the winter and spring periods (July to November).

garden route packages

TOWNS ALONG THE GARDEN ROUTE

The Garden Route is located on the south-western coast of South Africa and extends some 300-kilometers from Mossel Bay , which is 380 kilometers east from Cape Town , in the Western Cape to Storms River in the Eastern Cape. It is hotly contested where the Garden Route starts and locals say it starts at Mossel Bay. A good point of departure is the collection of quaint coastal towns that includes Witsand, Stilbaai and Albertinia . From here, the Garden Route winds its way some 200-kilometres through the towns of George, Wilderness, Sedgefield and Knysna ; passes through Plettenberg Bay and the magnificent Tstisikamma Forest and ends as one crosses the awe-inspiring Storms River Bridge . Between Heidelberg and Storms River, the Garden Route runs parallel to a coastline featuring crystal-clear coastal lakes, majestic mountain ranges, imposing indigenous forests, amber-coloured rivers, white sandy beaches and beautiful bays.

George is the administrative capital of the Garden Route and is known as “The Gateway to the Garden Route”. Oudtshoorn is the “Capital of the Little Karoo”; known for its ostriches and the Cango Caves. Between the two major tourism hubs are an array of towns; each with their own character and rich in history. Many are trendy holiday spots while some are hidden gems; all are charming and special in their own unique way.

BEST TIME TO VISIT THE GARDEN ROUTE

The Garden Route enjoys a typical oceanic climate, with pleasant summers and mild to cool winters. It has the mildest climate in South Africa and the second mildest climate in the world, after Hawaii (according to the Guinness Book of Records). Temperatures rarely fall below 10°C in winter and rarely climb above 28°C in summer. It is a winter rainfall area but rain occurs throughout the year with a slight peak in Spring (September to October) when humid winds blow in from the Indian Ocean, rise and release their precipitation over the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains which lie inland of the coast. There is no “best time” to visit the Garden Route as the region has something to offer tourists throughout the year be it a short budget weekend getaway, or a luxury getaway. Summer is all about long days on the beach and being adventurous. Winter is all about long, leisurely gatherings at popular restaurants with roaring log fires and good wine.

What to do on your tour to the Garden Route? Allow our experienced staff to plan your travel itinerary full of adventure and sightseeing.

Contact us for our affordable 2023/2024 tours and safaris., garden route nature reserves.

The Garden Route boasts a magnificent collection of protected natural reserves and each one offers tourists visiting South Africa an introduction to the incredible diversity of animals, birds and plants in the region. Explore them on foot on a scenic hiking trail or in the comfort of your vehicle. Garden Route National Park The Garden Route National Park ( GRNP ) covers an area of just over 120 000 hectares and includes the existing Wilderness and Tsitsikamma National Parks, the Knysna Lakes and an additional 52 000 hectares of newly-proclaimed protected land. It is so large that it extends from the Eastern Cape and Western Cape Provinces. It was established SANParks and finally gazette in 2009 after an exhaustive process to extend the size of area under state protection. Today it is one of the most important conservation areas in the Cape province.

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The Knysna estuary and Wilderness lake area is a critical focus area as it is the largest continuous complex of indigenous forest and Cape fynbos. Tsitsikamma National Park The Tsitsikamma National Park is one of the most beautiful stretches of indigenous forest and coastline in South Africa. It spans an area of some 80 kilometres and was formed through the amalgamation of the Wilderness National Park and other tracts of natural wonderlands. It is managed by SANParks. The park covers an 80 kilometres (50 miles) long stretch of coastline. Nature’s Valley is at the western end of the park, and the main accommodation is at Storms River Mouth. Near the park is the Bloukrans Bridge, the world’s highest bridge bungee jump at 216 metres (709 feet).

Tsitsikamma is derived from the Khoekhoe language where tse-tsesa means “clear” and gami means “water”. Other interpretations of the name are “place of water” and “waters begin”. Storms River Mouth is located in Tsitsikamma; where red-brown brak water pours into the Indian Ocean. You can take a leisurely walk along a boardwalk to the river mouth. This is where the infamous Otter Trail starts.

Wilderness National Park

Wilderness National Park stretches from the mouth of the Touws River to the Swartvlei estuary and merges with the Goukamma Nature Reserve. The town of Wilderness lies nestled in the heart of the national park. There are five natural lakes in the Wilderness National Park, one being the Serpentine which is a stretch of water that links Island Lake and Touws River. The Wilderness ecosystem is a spectacular combination of rivers, lakes, estuaries and beaches, with a backdrop of rugged mountains and dense forests. In Spring, the area is transformed when the Cape fynbos becomes a rainbow-coloured blanket of blossoms.

The Wilderness Section, as it is also known, was proclaimed a national park to protect three major indigenous forests, four Cape fynbos eco-zones, a myriad of natural lakes and wetlands. The area is also rich in cultural history and there are a number of archaeological sites that date back to its earliest inhabitants. Boosmansbos Wilderness Area The Boosmansbos Wilderness Area is a nature conservancy that lies nestled alongside Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve in the Langeberg Mountains. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was proclaimed a wilderness area in 1978 to protect its indigenous forest. Incredible specimens of indigenous trees thrive in the area, including the yellowwood, stinkwood, white and red alder, beech and candlewood trees.

Boosmansbos boasts a dramatic combination of rugged mountains, wild forests and dense fynbos. It’s paradise for avid hikers with 64 kilometers of marked trails spread out over some 14 200 hectares. The hiking trails are restricted to only 12 hikers per day so it’s essential you book well in advance. The area is also known as a birder’s paradise and is home to rare and vulnerable species which hide out in the dense forest and mountain fynbos. There are nearly 200 resident species in Boosmansbos, including eagles and the double-collared sunbird. The conservancy falls within the Cape Floral Kingdom and is home to several rare Erica species, such as Erica blenna, Erica langebergensis and Erica Barrydalensis. You’ll see an array of buck on a hike aswell as mongoose and genets but the most exciting sighting will be a shy leopard.

Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve

Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve is a magical reserve with spectacular stretches of indigenous forest spanning some 250 hectares. It is located in the Langeberg region, close to Heidelberg. Grootvadersbosch means “Big Father’s Bush” and was named in honour of Roelof Oelofse who owned the land in the early 1700s. It was proclaimed a nature reserve in 1986 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. The protected reserve is a significant stretch of indigenous afro-montane forest, and one of the last remaining in the south-western Cape. There are close to 35 tree species in the reserve, including red alder, ironwood, stinkwood and yellowwood. It’s also a popular birding destination with more than 196 bird species spotted regularly. The main drawcard to Grootvadersbosch is the incredible array of hiking trails. Along the way, you’ll spot an array of small antelope like bushbuck but be on the lookout for the forest emperor butterfly and a subspecies of the rare ghost frog. Both are a highlight on any hike in Grootvadersbosch.

Featherbed Nature Reserve

Featherbed Nature Reserve a privately-owned nature reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This hidden gem is found on the western side of Knysna Heads, otherwise known as the Heads. It can only be reached by crossing the Knysna Lagoon on a boat which makes it the ideal location if you’re wanting to get away from the holiday crowds. A trip to Featherbed Nature Reserve involves a 25-minute ferry trip across the Knysna lagoon, a tractor drive through the reserve and a 2.2-kilometer scenic walk along the coastline. Then it’s time for a picnic in a milkwood forest at the top of the Western Head; with panoramic views of the sea and the steep sandstone cliffs. The number of visitors to Featherbed Nature Reserve are limited and hikers are accompanied by a reserve specialist guide. The 4-hour excursion is a wonderful outing for people of all ages but you need to be relatively fit to keep up with the group. Your guide will keep you enthralled; with discussions on the fascinating ecosystem, coastal bird and marine life. Keep an eye out for the resident Black African Oyster Catcher which is one of rarest coastal birds in South Africa. The milkwood forest in the Featherbed Nature Reserve is home to the Knysna Loerie and the Blue Duiker, one of Africa’s smallest antelopes. You’ll also find the Cape mountain tortoise, blue cranes (South Africa’s national bird) and the white-breasted cormorant.

Outeniqua Nature Reserve

The Outeniqua Nature Reserve is a protected area covering some 38 000 hectares. The impose mountain range separates the semi-arid Little Karoo from the south-western coastal belt. There are five mountain passes that fall within the reserve so you can well imagine that it’s a hiker’s paradise. Outeniqua means “those who bear honey”; named by the San and Khoi people that once lived in the remote mountainous region. Bushman rock paintings are found throughout the reserves. In the 1600s, the early settlers used to follow elephant tracks that lead over the mountain range from Karoo to the coast. These ancient elephant paths became the first passes and are now popular hiking trails. The Outeniqua Nature Reserve lies between a high rainfall coastal region and the dry Klein Karoo so the vegetation is a unique combination of mountain fynbos and indigenous forest. It’s also where you will spot the majestic black eagle, elusive mountain leopards and a stunning array of tiny fynbos birds such as the Cape sugarbird. The Outeniqua Mountain is regularly covered in a blanket of snow during icy winter spells. Be careful if you’re hiking at this time of the year as temperatures drop rapidly to below freezing.

Goukamma Nature Reserve

The Goukamma Nature Reserve covers a relatively small area of some 2 500 hectares and was proclaimed a Marine Protected Area to protect a dense coastal forest. Incredible specimens of milkwood, yellowwood and candlewood trees are found in the forest which is popular for hikers and bird lovers. The reserve is a hidden gem and often overlooked by busy travelers who rush past it en-route to the more popular Garden Route towns. If you have some time to wander off the beaten path, you’ll discover a scenic wonder that is mostly deserted and an excellent spot if you’re needing some peace and quiet. Pack a picnic hamper because you’ll be hungry after a brisk walk through the forest.

Knysna Forest

Knysna Forest is an iconic treasure and was once home to a large herd of African elephants. It is believed that about 1 000 elephants roamed the forested area but the herd was nearly exterminated by ruthless European ivory hunters in the 1 800s and 1 900s. Smatterings of sightings and DNA evidence get locals excited that a few still roam the bowels of the forest but looking for the legendary Knysna elephants is much like looking for the Loch Ness Monster. The Knysna Forest is managed by South African National Parks (SANParks) and is a dense wonderland of indigenous forest which magnificent hardwood specimens such as ironwood, stinkwood, Outeniqua yellowwood, white pear, Cape beech, bastard saffron, assegai and kamassi trees. The birdlife is prolific and the forest is home to rare species such as the endemic Knysna dwarf chameleon. The Knysna Forest is best enjoyed on foot with a myriad of walking and hiking trails crisscrossing the forest floor.

Robberg Nature Reserve

One of the biggest attractions close to Plettenberg Bay is the Robberg Nature Reserve, a short 10 kilometre from town. The Marine Protected Area is a 4-kilometre headland or peninsula that juts out into the ocean. The area is rich in archaeological finds with some rocks in the area dating back 120 million years to the breakup of Goondwanaland. The reserve was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a South African national monument. There are three circular routes in the reserve that can be explored on foot or on a mountain bike. One of the scenic routes takes visitors to the Point and back, passing a resident colony of Cape fur seals. The diversity of marine, plant and birdlife is incredible. In addition to being a protected area for Cape flora and fauna, the reserve extends 1.8 kilometers into the Indian Ocean and offers protection to an array of vulnerable fish species. A few activities you can look forward to on a trip to Robberg Nature Reserve is whale watching from one of the high coastal dunes, spotting the rare blue duiker or viewing the Cape Seal Lighthouse which is the highest navigational light on the coast of South Africa. There is a rustic hut high up on one of the coastal hills that visitors can spend the night in if they’d like to spend more time in the reserve.

You might also be interested in a Namibia Safari . Planning your annual family holiday? Contact us for our child-friendly, family holiday packages.

Things to do on the garden route.

Garden Route Botanical Gardens The Garden Route Botanical Garden is located in the town of George and borders the Outeniqua Nature Reserve. It is referred to as the “green lung” of the Western Cape and plays a vital role in educating visitors on the unique beauty of the regions flora. The Southern Cape Herbarium was established at the botanical garden and houses a collection of more than 10 000 pressed and growing plant specimens indigenous to the Southern Cape region. It is not open to the public but a visit can be booked through the curator as a special request.

Visitors to the Garden Route Botanical Garden can learn more about plants found in the Cape Floral Kingdom; one of the richest, yet smallest and most threatened floral kingdoms on earth. In the centre of the botanical garden is a Medicinal Mound filled with indigenous plants that have healing properties. In the southern corner of the garden you’ll find an expansive wetland area filled with water-loving plants and home to an array of wetland birds. If you’re feeling energetic, you can follow the hiking trail at the Garden Route Botanical Garden which skirts the edge of the Outeniqua mountain range or you can relax at the tea garden, spend time in the botanical library or birdwatching at a hide near the marshland.

Bring you camera as there is a photo opportunity around every corner. Birdwatching in the Knysna National Lake Area The Knysna National Lake Area in the Garden Route is a tidal lagoon and open estuary with the Knysna Heads at its centre. These massive rocky sentinels stand between the peaceful lake waters and the powerful Indian Ocean. The forest belt is popular among tourists to the Garden Route who spend leisurely days there walking, hiking, picnicking, cycling and, of course, birdwatching. Birdlife in the Knysna National Lake Area is prolific. It’s an excellent habitat for waders in the summer months, and other popular species which include the grey plover, greenshank, curlew sandpiper and whimbrel. In the winter months, the lagoon harbor is home to species that do not migrate such as egrets, gulls, cormorants and ibises. Birders get particularly excited as the threatened African black oystercatcher can be found in the lake area all year round. Their numbers increase in winter, along with a boost in numbers of the Cape shoveller, avocet and black-winged stilt. The Dolphin Trail The Dolphin Trail is every bit as beautiful and enjoyable as the famous Otter Trail but a little less hectic. Slack-packing is what they call it; without the heavy backpack and the luxury of a warm bed at night.

For two magical days, the hike takes you on a route along the Tsitsikamma Coast, with three nights spent in different hotels along the way. The Dolphin Trail is a joint venture between the Tsitsikamma National Park and two private sector partners; Forest Ferns and Misty Mountain Reserve. It covers a distance of some 17 kilometres with an endless view of sandy beaches and the Indian Ocean. You’re guaranteed to spot dolphins and definitely whales in the breeding season. Garden Route Big 5 safari If your trip to South Africa doesn’t take you up north for a Kruger safari; no problem. The Garden Route has its own Big 5 territory. Gondwana Private Game Reserve is an 11 000-hectare wildlife sanctuary located along the Garden Route and the bonus is it’s a malaria-free area. The reserve is the perfect destination for an authentic African safari; it’s home to the Big 5 (elephant, buffalo, rhino, leopard and lion) and an abundance of antelope, predators, giraffe, hippo and zebra (to name a few).

Gondwana Private Game Reserve lies nestled in a scenic valley with 360° views of the Langeberg and Outeniqua mountains. After an early morning game drive, treat yourself to an Africology spa pamper session or get active. You can go mountain biking, hiking or organise a bush walk with a professional safari ranger. The reserve offers a Junior Ranger programme which keeps the youngsters busy. Picnic at Jubilee Creek Picnics are popular among locals and holidaymakers with such an incredible selection of gorgeous spots to visit. Jubilee Creek is one of the most beautiful picnic spots along the Garden Route as it is situated in the heart of the Knysna Forest. Set up next to a crystal-clear stream in one of two forest clearings and relax while your children do what they’re supposed to do; run wild in the outdoors. Take a walk along the river and explore the forest. Look out for the elusive rare Knysna elephants.

They haven’t been spotted since 2007 but it could be your lucky day to spot these magnificent historical beauties. Keurbooms River Nature Reserve This unspoilt wilderness belt is the playground of Plettenberg Bay. The brak water of the Keurbooms River laps gently on the sandy beach with the pristine forest as a delightful background. Towering specimens of Outeniqua yellowwood, Cape beech, giant stinkwood, keurboom and ironwood trees makes this a birder’s paradise and the ideal destination for a vigorous hike or a leisurely stroll. The abundance of woodland plant species reminds us why the region was named the Garden Route. You’ll find woodland agapanthus, arum lilies, bracken, pelargonium and various species of fynbos on a walk through the forest. Look out for the Cape clawless otter, mongoose, caracal, genet, bushpig, dassie, blue duiker, bushbuck, grysbok and even a rare sighting of a resident leopard. Birders love the Keurbooms River Nature Reserve; just a few species to tick off you list include the famous Knysna lourie, malachite kingfisher, giant kingfisher, narina trogan, fish eagle, white-breasted cormorant, African darter, reed cormorant, yellow-billed duck, little grebe, hamerkop, black-headed oriole, Cape batis, Knysna woodpecker and an array of dazzling sunbirds.

There is so much to do at Keurbooms River Nature Reserve ; hiking, paddling or canoeing or a motorless boating. Power boats are prohibited. Get active or relax and totally unwind; the choice is yours. Knysna Estuary The Knysna Estuary is a prominent landmark on the Garden Route and one of the most important areas from a conservation point of view. It is ranked as the 3rd most important botanical biosphere, the 8th in marine conservation and the 19th for waterbird conservation. It is ranked 1st overall in terms of size, habitat diversity, eco-zone rarity and biodiversity. The Knysna Estuary is one of the most scenic destinations in the Garden Route where pure tranquility is guaranteed. Montagu Pass Montagu Pass links the town of George with Oudtshoorn; taking travelers on a scenic journey over the Outeniqua Mountains.

The pass was built by Henry White in the 1800s to connect the ports of the Indian Ocean with the Karoo and economic hubs of South Africa. The pass is a dirt road but easy to drive; you don’t need a 4×4 vehicle. Enjoy panoramic views of the valley below and Indian Ocean in the distance and the lush vegetation and small animals that make it such a magical region. Scuba Dive Storms River You don’t need to head out into the deep water if scuba diving is your thing. Tsitsikamma National Park offers visitors an underwater wonderland that can be explored by scuba or snorkel. The Storms River Mouth and Tsitsikamma National Park is a marine sanctuary which offers protection to an array of magnificent marine life. Diving is safe and suitable for novice divers. Untouched Adventures hires scuba gear, fills cylinders and offers guided dives. The courses range from a 4-hour scuba diving introduction to a 4-day qualifying course. Knysna Elephant Park The Knysna Elephant Park was founded in 1994 and is a unique destination on the Garden Route. It is home to orphaned elephants that live in a controlled free-range environment.

Don’t want to drive yourself? We offer bus tours and transfers from Durban , Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg. Contact us for our transfer packages today.

The protected park provides visitors with a glimpse of the regions history when a few thousand of these magnificent animals once roamed freely through the valleys and forest belts. You can choose to join a guide for a guided walk riding one of the orphans through the lush park or take a personal safari tour of the Knysna Elephant Park. Spend a few nights in the park to really soak up the tranquil atmosphere and enjoy all the area has to offer. Visitors get to touch, feed and photograph these gentle giants while they graze on their morning breakfast. There are no barriers or fences to spoil your close encounter and you can spend as much time with them as you have spare. Elephant rides at Botlierskop Private Game Reserve The Knysna elephants are an iconic feature of Knysna’s rich history and it makes sense an elephant population has been re-established in the Garden Route region. Botlierskop Private Game Reserve is home to some 1 800 animals, including the Big 5, giraffe, zebra, eland, bontebuck and other regulars. It’s an excellent destination if you’d like an authentic African safari without having to travel north to the Kruger National Park or Pilanesberg National Park.

The reserve is named after a dramatic rock formation located in the heart of the reserve. It creates a beautiful backdrop while ambling along on a guided elephant ride. If riding an elephant doesn’t grab your fancy, you can join a professional safari guide for a game drive. The reserve is sanctuary for two orphaned elephants rescued from Zimbabwe and four lions that needed to be re-homed in a protected reserve. Water sports at Little Brak Beach This hot spot for outdoor enthusiasts is located a short drive from Mossel Bay. It’s a great destination if you love waterskiing, canoeing, boating and fishing. The sandy beach and river mouth is safe for families with young children and, in the winter months, it’s a prime spot for whale watching.

Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours Canopy tours of South Africa’s lush forests have become very popular for those who prefer to zip through the forest canopy instead of tromping through the wooded wonderlands. Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours was the first tree-top tour developed in South Africa and offers adrenalin-seekers 10 platforms and 10 slides suspended some 30 metres above the forest floor; the longest one being 100 metres long. Zip through a forest dominated by ancient Outeniqua yellowwood trees on a 3-hour canopy tour with a professional guide sharing interesting snippets on the animals and plants in the area. Birds of Eden Birds of Eden is located a short drive from the Garden Routes most famous town, Plettenberg Bay. It was established in 2005 and is now home to over 3 000 birds from 220 distinct species. It is also the world’s first free-flight bird sanctuary.

A tour of Birds of Eden takes visitors around a 2-hectare dome that covers the entire indigenous forest belt. Explore the forest, walk behind a raging waterfall and cross a 128-metre suspension bridge while the birds fly freely around you. It truly is one of the most interesting day outings you’ll have on the Garden Route. Monkeyland Monkeyland was the first primate sanctuary in the world established to protect a species that is threatened by human encroachment on its habitat. It is located next to Birds of Eden which makes it the ideal destination for a day out for families with children. An hour-long guided tour takes you through an indigenous forest where more than 450 primates roam freely. These include such species as monkeys, gibbons and lemurs. It’s fun for the whole family and something to do when it’s not a sunny beach day. Ocean Safaris Head out into the deep blue sea and enjoy an Ocean Safari where you’re guaranteed sightings of whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, seabirds and other interesting marine life. Visitors are taken out to sea on a twin-hull ski boat in the company of a professional ocean safari guide.

The company is Fair Trade accredited which means your guide can take you up close for a personal encounter with these magnificent creatures. Once on dry land, enjoy a meal and drink at the restaurant which has an interesting décor style made up of reconstructed skeletons of whales. Storms River Mouth Storms River Mouth is the adventure capital of the Garden Route. There are a number of companies in the area offering adrenalin-boosting adventures which include a forest canopy tour, hikes and walks through the Tsitsikamma Forest and informative tours which appeal to birders and avid photographers. The well-known Otter Trail sets off at Storms River Mouth, starting off with a walk across the suspension bridge towards a beautiful waterfall. The scenery is breath-taking and the birdlife is prolific. Knysna Oyster Festival The Knysna Oyster Festival needs no introduction. It’s one of South Africa’s most popular annual festivals with promises of delicious oysters, gastronomic seafood delights and an action-packed weekend.

The festival takes place every year in July in the middle of the Cape’s winter season; it’s all about eating, socialising and having fun in packed restaurants with blazing log fires or the festival beer tents. The Knysna Oyster Festival takes place at the same time as the popular Knysna Marathon and Cycle Tour. This has turned it into a two-week affair which means the town is buzzing with holidaymakers and running and cycling enthusiasts. If you need to get away from the crowds, you can take a leisurely cruise to the Knysna Heads and head off for a walk in the Knysna National Lake Area. If you’re in Knysna at festival time, it’ll be the “best 10 days of your life”. That’s what the advertising slogan says, boasting everything from music concerts to comedy shows, talent and fashion shows, theatre and big tent dance parties. In 2017, Knysna was nearly wiped out in a devastating forest fire but the spirit of the Knysna community beats strong and the efforts of #RebuildKnysna will see this gorgeous coastal town restored to its former glory. Bungee Jump at Bloukrans Tourists to the Garden Route have travelled from far and wide to bungee jump off the Bloukrans Bridge.

It’s world-famous as one of the most exhilarating experiences you’ll ever put yourself through. It is the highest bungee jump location in the world and the brave drop some 216 metres into the rocky gorge. It is located 40 kilometres from Plettenberg Bay en-route to Storms River and you’ll see the crowds gathering on the bridge as the safety officer starts his countdown for the big jump. A bungee jump at Bloukrans is something we should all do once in our lives. Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe Museum Kids and train enthusiasts will delight in a visit to the Outeniqua Choo-tjoe Museum which is home to 13 beautifully-restored locomotives. The collection of antiquities also includes restored cars and farm implements from a long-gone era. The Transport Museum is also home to what was South Africa’s last remaining scheduled steam train. It’s the ideal destination on a rainy day; it’s a fun outing for the whole family and you can enjoy a light lunch at the museum restaurant to stretch it out a bit. Maritime Museum A visit to the Maritime Museum is another outing to save for a rainy day and promises to be a fascinating experience for the whole family. It houses a life-sized replica of the caravel that brought master mariner and explorer Bartolomeu Dias to the shores of Mossel Bay from Portugal. Dias is famously regarded as the first European explorer to set foot on the shores of South Africa, arriving at Mossel Bay on 3 February 1488.

He named Mossel Bay ‘The Watering Place of Saint Blaize” after fetching much-needed fresh water from a spring on the day of the Patron Saint Blaize. The spring still flows strongly to this day and can be seen in the Diaz Museum complex grounds. The Big Tree The Tsitsikamma Forest is world-famous for its giant yellowwood trees but the one that gets all the attention is known simply as the Big tree. This ancient specimen is estimated to be between 600 and 800 years old and stands almost 37 metres off the forest floor. It has a trunk circumference of 9 metres which makes it one of the most glorious specimens of yellowwood in the world. Visitors can take a lengthy but pleasant amble along a boardwalk path that leads into the cool Tsitsikamma Forest which is home to an abundance of forest animals and birds. The trail is free and open every day of the year.

The path is well signposted so you shouldn’t have a problem finding the Big Tree in the Tsitsikamma Forest; you’ll find the start of the trail just west of the Paul Sauer Bridge on the N2 highway. Storms River Suspension Bridge The Storms River Suspension Bridge is a hugely popular destination on the Garden Route; not only because it is an engineering marvel but it offers panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and the Tsitsikamma National Park. The suspension bridge was built in 1969 and spans some 77 metres and towers 7 metres above the churning waters of the Storms River Mouth. It was re-built by SANParks to improve its and visitors can safely follow a pathway leading over the suspension bridge that covers 900 metres of Tsitsikamma forest. The dark-brown brak river that rages through the gorge during the rainy season attracts the adrenalin junkies so you’ll see groups of paddlers, kayakers and scuba divers doing their thing on the wild water below the suspension bridge.

You need to fit and able to take this route as there are a number of steps along the way but it’s a fairly easy and comfortable walk if you take it slowly. The birdlife is prolific and at such a height you’re literally at eye level with them. There are a number of vantage points along the way which is a chance to take a break, open up the snack pack and enjoy panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. The path home takes you over two smaller suspension bridges; head back to the visitors’ centre for a much-needed drink and lunch. Pinnacle Point Golf Course There are a number of premier golf destinations on the Garden Route but one that stands out above the rest is the Pinnacle Point Golf Club. It was designed by celebrated golf architecture Peter Matkovich and pro-golfer Darren Clarke, and boasts a flawless 18-hole championship golf course that stretches for 4-kilometres along the Garden Route coastline. If you’re a golfer that travels the world for mind-blowing golf experiences, this is one golf course you have to add to your bucket list. A few of the holes are positioned on the edge of cliffs that take your breath away, dropping down to a 1 000-acre pristine beach that is part of the Pinnacle Point property. The course is challenging but the salty breeze coming off the Indian Ocean, the scent of the fragrant fynbos in the rough and scatterings of animals make it one of the most memorable golf courses in the world. Take time out from hitting balls to do a bit of dolphin and whale watching in the bay.

Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre is located close to a suburb called The Crags which is a short drive from Plettenberg Bay. As the name suggests, Tenikwa was established as a rehabilitation centre for wildlife with a focus on educating the public on the plight of threatened and endangered species in South Africa. The centre runs a variety of conservation-based programmes that are both highly educational and budget-friendly. Tenikwa has a special interest in indigenous wild cats of South Africa and you’ll meet a few charming residents including leopard, cheetah, caracal, serval, African wild cats and black-footed cats. The centre also cares for indigenous birds that have been harmed or orphaned, including blue cranes, marabou storks and waterfowls.

Tenikwa Centre is situated on a portion of land that falls within 46 hectares of wild area where the animals are free to roam. It has grown from humble beginnings when the owners set up a basic rehabilitation centre that treated birds of prey. Today it is one of the largest active rehabilitation centers in South Africa and is a case study in community-orientated initiatives that benefit our precious birds and animals. Kranshoek Coastal Walk If you’re hankering to do an invigorating coastal walk but don’t have the time or courage do the challenging 5-day Otter Trail, then there is a coastal walk with your name on it.

The Kranshoek Coastal Walk takes you on a 9-kilometre trail through an indigenous forest. Immerse yourself in the dark recesses of the Kranshoek forest, with a rainbow-coloured array of forest ferns, fungi and lichens and spider webs lit up by rays of sunlight piercing through holes in the forest canopy. The coastal walk is clearly demarcated and leads you through the forest to deep kloofs and crystal-clear streams. Bring your swimming costumes for a dip in the icy water. Enjoy sightings of the famous Knysna loerie as it hops among the treetops. There are a number of vantage points along the Kranshoek Coastal Walk so sit awhile and enjoy panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. Pack a picnic as the first beach along the route is perfect for a leisurely lunch break and a dip in the ocean. Radical Raptors Radical Raptors is a protected bird of prey sanctuary that will keep your children in raptures.

A tour of the centre is a fun way of educating them on these magnificent birds and something to do with families or friends visiting from overseas. Radical Raptors is a non-profit organisation and responsible for the rehabilitation of birds of prey that have been harmed or orphaned. It focuses on raising awareness of the plight of these peaceful giants and the aim is to release them back into the wild. Plan your visit to Radical Raptors to catch the impressive flying displays that take place three times a day. It’s a chance to touch and interact a few of the centre’s ambassador birds. Nature’s Valley Mountain Biking Trails The mountain biking trails in Nature’s Valley are some of the best in the country and attract avid outdoor enthusiasts from far and wide.

The challenging trails take you over a stunning mountain range; following a single track or jeep track. Rocky, sandy and wooded sections make it interesting; particularly as the mountain biking trails in the Nature’s Valley Mountain are unmarked and you head in any direction you point your mountain bike. The Otter Trail The Otter Trail is a bucket-list hike for the toughest and fittest. It is regarded as one of the best hiking trails in the world, and certainly one of South Africa’s most famous trails on the Garden Route. The Otter Trail takes you on a challenging route that hugs the spectacular Garden Route coastline; starting at Storms River Mouth and ending five days later in Nature’s Valley in the Tsitsikamma National Park in the Eastern Cape. The hiking trail is elevated about 150 metres off the coastline; following a route across ragged clifftops, with a few hair river crossings and steep ascents. It’s not an easy trail; it’s only 42.5 kilometres long but the terrain is tough-going and you have to dig deep to get to the end.

Each day there is a 14 kilometre hike to the next stop and you have to be fairly fit to keep up with the group. The Otter Trail is so popular that you have to book at least a year in advance. Tsitsikamma Segway Experience The perfect way to explore the Tsitsikamma Forest is gliding through it on a Segway. This is a two-wheeled, self-balancing scooter that’s all the rage overseas. Take a guided tour with Eco-Discovery and discover the wonders of this glorious natural attraction on the Garden Route. A 20-minute training courses covers all the basics and then it’s time for fun. There are a few challenging obstacles along the forest route but otherwise it’s easy and fun and something to do on the Garden Route with the whole family.

All you need for the guided tour on a Segway is comfortable shoes, sunglasses and sunblock. Noetzie Castles The Garden Route boasts its own authentic castles that you can stay in; either as a self-catering option or treat yourself to the luxury of a pampered night in a castle. The Noetzie Castles are located a short drive from Knysna and worth a visit to find out more about their fascinating history. The castle complex is situated on the beach, with panoramic views of the vast Indian Ocean. What makes the Noetzie Castles so fascinating is they were built on rocks and were used by families living in Oudtshoorn and Knysna as a holiday retreat at a time when the only means of getting to the area was on a horse-drawn cart.

Originally, each one was built as an ordinary home and then turrets were added to give them some character. The name Noetzie comes from the original name, Noetziekamma. Noetzie is the Khoisan phrase for ‘dark water’ and describes the reddish-brown brak water the area is known for, which is created by Humic acid that is released by decaying leaves in fresh water. The Noetzie coastal belt has been a popular coastal destination for centuries and archeological excavations have found evidence of human inhabitation dating back some 3 500 years. The Noetzie area was mentioned in 1786 in a record written by the captain of a ship belonging to the Dutch East India Company. The oldest Noetzie castle was built by Herbert Henderson in 1930, followed by one built in the 1960s by the Lindsays and another one built by Henderson’s son. Many of the Noetzie castles are still owned by descendants of the original families and five of the six are available to rent over the holiday period.

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Saving the indigenous forests of the garden route.

When you think of the Garden Route, you think of endless swathes of indigenous forest melting seamlessly into the coastal landscape. Every road along the Garden Route takes you past forests that have stood sentry for centuries. It’s also a wonderland of protected estuaries and tranquil bays that are home to an incredible array of marine life and nurseries for whales and dolphins. Conservation of this incredible coastal belt is at the heart of its existence.

Take the Knysna Estuary as an example. It is ranked 3rd in the list of estuaries in South Africa in terms of botanical importance, 8th in terms of protecting and conserving rare species of fish, 19th in terms of waterbird conservation and overall, 1st in terms of its vital role in the conservation which includes criteria such as size, diversity of habitat, zonal rarity and biodiversity. More than 2 000 years ago, the Garden Route region was inhabited by ancient tribes of San hunter-gatherers who were later joined by Khoekhoe herders. They had little impact on the biodiversity of the region except for starting fires to drive out game animals. They appear to have lived in the region during the colder winter months, migrating further north and inland in summer. The existed off a diet of fish, roots gathered from the veld (field) and bulbs of wild plants. They also hunted in the forested area, taking down small animals for their family’s needs. When the Europeans descended on the Garden Route region, the San-Khoekhoe tribes broke up and their traditional existence disintegrated as they integrated into the broader community and found jobs on local farms.

It was at this time that the history of indigenous forests in the Garden Route area started playing a significant role in the development of the area. The early settlers cut down trees for their day to day requirements but it was the Dutch East India Company that came close to desiccating the vast ancient woodlands when they set up the first settlement in the Cape in 1652. Swathes of indigenous trees were cut down in the southern Cape district to provide wood for new buildings, building wagons, furniture and fencing. When they had cleared out those forests, unchecked timber operations moved on to the forests of George, Knysna and Tsitsikamma. Rampant exploitation of large tracts of valuable forest in the Knysna area started in 1763 and continued for over 200 years. It was the same period that saw the virtual desecration of herds of elephants that once roamed freely in their hundreds in the forest belt. The town of George became the hub of timber operations and a timber-cutting post was set up in 1776.

From there, timber was transported overland to Cape Town. It was only in the late 1770s that attempts were made to curb the total eradication of the indigenous forests of the Garden Route region. Little was done in terms of actual conservation of the area but a few prominent residents in the district were appointed to take some degree of control over the lumber operations. This had little impact and the destruction only got worse with the arrival of the British Royal Navy in 1812. A port was established at Knysna for military purposes but it also provided the Dutch East India Company with an easier route to get the indigenous wood to Cape Town. At the height of the war, the port would receive up to 80 sailing ships and streamers in a year. The town grew and so did the need for more wood to be cut down. Things were looking bleak but very little attention was being paid to the total destruction of the indigenous forests in the region. Things couldn’t get worse but they did when the Great Trek commenced in 1836.

This increased the demand for timber for the construction of wagons and buildings. By 1846, a decade later, the depleted indigenous forests were closed by the government and divided into individual lots and sold by public auction. The forests that had survived the desecration were reserved as Crown forests and placed under the protection and control of local magistrates. Tree felling licenses were introduced and some felling continued. Finally, in 1847, the Crown forests were closed and timber felling was prohibited. They were reopened in 1856 to meet the rising demand for timber. The Cape government finally too control of the indigenous forests of the Cape after the devastating “Great Fire” of 1869 that raged from Humansdorp to Riversdale, causing substantial damage. Real efforts were implemented to save the indigenous forests of the Cape in 1880 with the appointment of a professional French forest officer. The Forestry Department was established and a quorum of professional forestry offers were deployed to the region, slowing down the devastating destruction of illegal timber felling after decades of extreme abuse of our precious natural resource.

The Cape Forest Act was passed in 1888 which created a greater degree of protection for the indigenous forests of the Cape and the first timber plantations were established near Knysna to address timber shortages in the country. One would think that this would have been the saving grace of our Cape forests but illegal felling continued and high tonnages of timber continued to be taken by ruthless woodcutters to feed the hungry beasts of commerce. Only in 1939, a half century later, the rights of woodcutters to work in the indigenous forests of the beautiful Cape regions was annulled and state-owned forests were established. All exploitation of the valuable timber had ceased by 1964. The indigenous forests of Knysna, Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma finally had some breathing space to flourish, aided by a system of multiple-use conservation management that is still in place today. After extensive negotiations between the National Parks Board and the then Secretary of the Department of Forestry and his Minister, the Tsitsikamma Coastal and Forest National Parks were proclaimed in 1964 to establish the first marine protected area in South Africa and conservation initiatives for the protection of coastal forests in the Garden Route. Devastatingly, these initiatives happened too late to save the indigenous elephants of the Knysna valley.

From herds of a few thousand, the population of elephants roaming freely in the coastal forest belt dwindled down to a few hundred and then to less than ten after years of rampant slaughter by unscrupulous ivory hunters. The last sighting of a small herd of wild elephant in the Knysna Forest was in 2007 but none have been spotted in the last decade. Source: The Garden Route Meander http://www.gardenroutemeander.co.za/news/natural-and-cultural-history-knysna-grnp.html

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE KNYSNA ELEPHANTS?

The story of the mystical Knysna elephants is intricately woven into the history of the Garden Route. In 2007, a population survey in the area found evidence of a small herd roaming wild in the Knysna Forest; made up of at least five females, three bulls and two calves. Parts of the Knysna Forest are impenetrable which makes tracking this elusive herd difficult, and a veil of secrecy hangs over elephant research that is conducted by SANParks so the exact location of any sighting would not be made public. Elephants play a vital role in the management of valuable eco-systems such as the Knysna Forest and in the days when the large herd roamed freely in the coast forest belt, they would have made a significant impact on the biosphere through feeding, digging and movement which plays a role in dispersing seeds, opening thickets and clearing the forest floor for small herbivores to browse freely.

All this would have helped the entire eco-system; thinning out the dense forest floor, opening up water channels in dry riverbeds and promoting the recycling of valuable forest nutrients. So, what happened to the wild herds of elephants that roamed the Knysna Forest? It has been estimated that as many as 1 000 elephants once freely roamed the Knysna Forest. These gentle giants are believed to have been part of a larger group that resided in the Tsitsikamma Forest and surrounding areas up until the early 1900s. It is believed the relic group was likely pushed deeper and deeper into the dense undergrowth; fleeing rampant hunting and the destruction of their natural habitat in the period. Before the arrival of the early-European settlers the wild elephants lived in harmony with the ancient San and Bantu tribes who migrated to the area in the winter months.

The European settlers, however; many of them farmers or relegate ivory hunters, over a period of two centuries came close to obliterating both the indigenous forests and what they obviously saw as an inexhaustible supply of wildlife. As a result, there are no large herbivores in the Garden Route region found in their natural habitats. These include hippo, rhino and, of course, elephant. The remaining Cape elephants that had retreated to the region now known as the Garden Route favoured the quiet forests along the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountain; living in the dense scrub-thickets of the Addo bush. In a population survey in 1870, it was estimated that some 400 of the original large herd were living close to and around the Knysna and Tsitsikamma Forests.

Attempts to protect this valuable herd fell on deaf ears. Caption Harrison, Conservator of Forests between 1856 and 1888, petitioned to have the forests proclaimed for the conservation of the remaining elephant herd but his pleas were ignored by the British-ruling government at the time. By 1919, large tracts of land that had once been natural forests were divided up and sold to European farmers for a fraction of what they were worth because of the presence of elephants in the area. They complained to the authorities about damaged crops, broken water pipelines and reservoirs and, in some cases, loss of lives. It later transpired that the lives lost were at the hands of hunters tracking and killing elephants.

The Cape Provincial Administrator listed to the farmer’s exaggerated complaints and brought in professional hunters to exterminate all elephants in the region. The initial plan was to reduce the herd somewhat but the end result was almost the entire herd was wiped out. The last remaining 16 elephants were translocated to a proclaimed wildlife reserve in the area. The fabled Knysna elephants that remained in the forest were made up of the scattered remnants of the original 130 elephants, who regrouped and drastically changed their behaviour to survive deep in the dark forest undergrowth. It is believed they adapted to a new habitat of dense forest fern and fynbos and kept out of harm’s way from greedy ivory hunters. There was no grass for them to graze and their diet suffered as a result. Today, the Knysna elephants remain as much a mystery as the famed Loch Ness Monster with excitement rising and abating with false news of sightings. In 2000, a forest guard took video footage of a young bull grazing in undergrowth just thirty metres from him, and a conservationist officer collect samples of fresh elephant dung which was sent for DNA analysis. There is a rumour circulating of a lone female known as Oupoot who lives deep in the forest but if she is still alive and surviving, SANParks is keeping a deep secret.

A few years ago, in an attempt to reintroduce elephants to the region, a few elephants were translocated to the area from the Kruger National Park. They didn’t adapt to the forest habitat and were returned to the Lowveld five years later. Source: Earth Touch News Network https://www.earthtouchnews.com/conservation/conservation/new-sightings-confirm-south-africas-legendary-knysna-elephants-still-exist-video/ Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knysna_elephants

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Frequently asked questions, what are the highlights of the garden route tour.

Some of the most popular highlights include: the Tsitsikamma National Park, the Knysna Heads, the town of Plettenberg Bay, the Bungee Jumping at Bloukrans Bridge, and the Cango Caves.

What is the best time to take the Garden Route Tour?

The best time to take the Garden Route Tour is from October to April when the weather is warm and dry.

How long does it take to complete the Garden Route Tour?

The tour can be completed in anywhere from 4-7 days, depending on how much time you want to spend at each stop along the way.

Is it possible to drive the Garden Route Tour on your own or is a guided tour recommended?

Both options are possible. If you have experience driving in South Africa, you can drive the tour on your own. However, a guided tour can be more convenient and informative, as you’ll have a local guide who can share knowledge and insights about the area.

What is the Garden Route Tour and where is it located?

The Garden Route Tour is a scenic coastal drive in South Africa, stretching from Mossel Bay to Storms River. It is known for its lush greenery, rolling hills, and stunning beaches.

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The Most Perfect Two-Week South Africa Garden Route Itinerary

By: Author Angela Price

Posted on Last updated: March 18, 2024

The Most Perfect Two-Week South Africa Garden Route Itinerary

Do you want to drive the Garden Route in South Africa but are unsure how to plan the trip? This post will help you to plan your Garden Route self-drive adventure in South Africa.

It starts with all the essential South Africa travel tips you will need to know, followed by a day-to-day 2-week South Africa travel itinerary outlining where to go and what to do in Cape Town and along the Garden Route.

It’s the only travel guide you’ll need for planning the perfect Garden Route self-drive itinerary through South Africa.

This article may contain affiliate links – For more information, please read my  disclaimer and privacy policy.

Close up of African elephant head

Table of Contents

My Garden Route Self-Drive Itinerary

My South Africa self-drive Garden Route itinerary reflects a 14-day return trip starting and finishing in Cape Town.

A direct flight from London Heathrow to Cape Town will take 11 hours and 45 minutes.

My 2-week trip to South Africa gave me plenty of time to experience the highlights of Cape Town and the Garden Route (including going on a  non-malarial safari ) without feeling rushed for time.

I took my trip in April at the beginning of South Africa’s autumn season, and I experienced warm weather with only one day of rain.

My Two-Week South Africa Road Trip Itinerary

  • Explore Cape Town and Cape Peninsula: Days 1 – 4
  • Drive to Knysna to Knysna Elephant Sanctuary: Days 4 – 6
  • Tsitsikamma to see Storms River: Days 6 – 7
  • Amakhala Game Reserve for three days of safari: Days 7 – 10
  • Plettenberg Bay: Days 10 – 12
  • Gansbaai to include shark cage diving: Days 12 – 15
  • Flight home from Cape Town

South Africa Garden Route Map

Helpful Information for Planning a Trip along the Garden Route

What and where is the garden route in south africa.

The Garden Route is a 300-kilometre (190 miles) stretch of road running through the southeastern coast of South Africa and gets its name from the abundance of flora growing along the route.

While the Garden Route officially starts in Mossel Bay in the Western Cape and finishes at Storms River Mouth in the Eastern Cape, the starting point is usually in Cape Town for most tourists planning to drive the Garden Route. It finishes on a safari near Port Elizabeth (or vice versa).

Visit DiscoverCars to book a hire car in South Africa

Why Choose The Garden Route in South Africa?

The Garden Route speaks for itself (as seen in my itinerary). It is unique because it is malaria-free , unlike other parts of South Africa and other safari destinations such as Kruger National Park.

You won’t need to worry about malaria as you explore the Garden Route, which is a plus, especially if you have children and aren’t happy to give them anti-malarial drugs.

Best Time to Drive the Garden Route

The Garden Route is gorgeous all year round but at its best between November and April .

These months are South Africa’s autumn (fall) season when temperatures start to cool off to a manageable heat. If going on safari, you can expect to see babies in the wild at this time, which is a magical event to witness.

How to stay safe driving the Garden Route

The Garden Route is driven by tourists and locals during the day and is considered relatively safe; however, driving at night is not advised .

Don’t turn off into the bush or a township and leave the car – dangers from wildlife and humans may be present! Use common sense and only stop at well-known tourist towns during the day.

World Nomads have some excellent tips for staying safe on South Africa’s roads and offers comprehensive travel insurance for your trip.

What are the driving times from Cape Town to Amakhala Safari Reserve?

My Garden Route self-drive itinerary starts from Cape Town in the west. It runs to Amakala Safari Reserve in the east, where I turn around and return on the same route.

Individual driving times between Garden Route locations are highlighted throughout this article.

The distance one-way on the N2 motorway is around 800 kilometres (500 miles). Driving in South Africa is on the left-hand side of the road, so perfect if coming from the UK!

What is the accommodation like in South Africa?

Accommodation in South Africa varies in style and budget, and you can stay in some stunning properties.

My accommodation ranged from 3-star to 5-star properties, and all offered a comfortable and enjoyable stay. I have listed my Garden Route hotels in each section of this Garden Route travel guide.

There are many hotels to choose from in each locale, so please look below at alternative accommodations along the Garden Route that will suit all budgets.

Cape Town accommodation to book

Knysna accommodation to book

Storms River accommodation to book

Amakhala Safari Reserve accommodation to book

Plettenberg Bay accommodation to book

Gansbaai accommodation to book

South Africa Time Differences (GMT)

Understanding time differences between countries is vital when planning a trip to South Africa. You don’t want to land late at night and have to find your hire car and accommodation in the dark.

South Africa is:

2 hours ahead of London, England

7 hours ahead of Washington DC, USA

9 hours behind Canberra, Australia

11 hours behind Wellington, New Zealand

3.5 hours behind New Delhi, India

South Africa 14-Day Travel Guide

Days 1 – 4 / cape town.

I picked up my hire car once I landed at Cape Town airport; however, if you prefer to take a taxi into Cape Town and organise your hire car from there, I would recommend Welcome Airport Pickups for reliable service.

Where to Stay in Cape Town

Lawhill Luxury Waterfront Apartments – 4 nights / 5-star rating

The Lawhill Luxury Waterfront apartments are the perfect place to stay if you want to explore the best Cape Town tourist attractions.

The luxurious self-catering apartments are well-designed and equipped with everything you need to enjoy a comfortable stay in Cape Town.

The apartments are a short walk from the Victoria and Albert Waterfront and have stunning views of Table Mountain.

Lawhill Apartments with Table Mountain in the distance

Best things to do in Cape Town

Day one – victoria and albert waterfront.

Cape Town’s famous waterfront is where you will find restaurants, bars, boat trips to Robben’s Island and many other great activities.

You can read more here about 12 of the top attractions to visit in Cape Town .

cape-town-waterfront-with-fishing-boats

Day Two – Table Mountain

One of the most iconic natural landmarks in South Africa is Table Mountain, and no visit to Cape Town is complete without a trip up this magnificent mountain.

Either hike to the top and take the cable car back down or take the cable car both ways. Whatever you choose, the impressive views from the top will blow your mind!

south africa garden route tour

You can read more here about How to climb to the top of Table Mountain

Day three – the cape peninsula.

Encircling Cape Town central is the Cape Peninsula, home to one of the most popular tourist sights in South Africa, the penguins of Boulders Beach . Aside from penguins, the Cape Peninsula has beautiful sandy beaches, great surfing spots and colourful neighbourhoods.

The Cape of Good Hope nature reserve is a place to spot mountain zebras, baboons, and many birdlife varieties. At the same time, Constantia vineyards offer visitors the chance to sample delicious South African wines.

You can read more about the 10 Best Places to Visit Around the Cape Peninsula .

penguins on Boulders Beach in South Africa

Cape Winelands

If you want to visit Cape Winelands, the drive is a 60-minute from Cape Town Central. I hadn’t factored in a visit to the wineries within my garden route road trip as I had children with me.

Still, on a return visit (now they are adults), you can be sure I will include the vineyards in my next South Africa itinerary!

You can read here about Visiting South African Wineries in the Cape Winelands .

wineglass filled with red wine on the side of a wall with vineyards in the background

Day Four – Driving Times – Cape Town to Knysna 6 Hours along N2 motorway

Angie’s Top Tip

After around 2.5 hours of leaving Cape Town on the N2, stop at Tredici in Swellendam for delicious Italian pastries and coffee.

Days 4 – 6 / Knysna

Where to stay in knysna.

The Lofts Boutique Hotel – 1 night / 4-star rating

The Lofts Boutique Hotel is unique in its styling and location. Perched on the edge of Knysna Lagoon on Thesen Island, this beautiful hotel offers a contemporary stay in stunning surroundings.

Breakfast vouchers are valid at four local eateries, and guests can book evening meals at the local Knysna waterfront restaurants.

view of the lofts hotel in knysna along the garden route in South Africa

Angie’s Dinner Recommendation

For great fish dishes in an enviable waterside setting head to The Dry Dock Food Company

Best things to do in Knysna

Knysna is a beautiful town with activities based around the Knysna Lagoon. Take a boat tour and combine it with tasting the famous Knysna oysters. Or why not enjoy a sundowner aboard a sunset cruise?

Adrenaline lovers will find hiking and biking around the Knysna forest a fun activity. Those seeking animal-centred experiences can swim with seals or interact with elephants at Knysna Elephant Park.

Paddle boat crossing Knysna Lagoon as the sun is setting

Organised activities in Knysna

Day Five Morning – Knysna Heads

Knysna Heads is the most popular place to visit in Knysna and is a famous landmark on the Garden Route. Enormous sandstone cliffs separate the Knysna Lagoon from the Indian Ocean.

Visitors come to the ‘The Heads’, as they are commonly referred to, so they can enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding town and ocean. A walk along the rocks takes you to the entrance of Knysna Heads, which is worth doing.

Angie’s lunch recommendation:

Find a seat with a view at East Head Cafe and enjoy lunch and drinks in this beautiful spot

viewpoint looking towards Knysna HEads along the Garden Route in South Africa

Day Five Afternoon and Day Six Morning/Lunch – Knysna Elephant Park

Knysna Elephant Park – 1 night

The Knysna Elephant Park offers guests the opportunity to have a sleepover with elephants and join them on a sunrise walk to their watering hole. This activity is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave long-lasting memories.

You can read more here about Walking and sleeping with elephants in Knysna.

five elephants standing by a watering hole in Knysna Elephant Park

Day Six – Driving Times – Knysna to Storms River 60 minutes

Days 6-7 / storms river, where to stay in storms river.

Tsitsikamma Village Inn – 1 night / 3-star rating

Tsitsikamma Village Inn is a unique place to stay close to the official end of the garden route at Storms River. It is a collection of colonial and heritage buildings scattered around a central garden, all different in styling and offering basic but comfortable accommodations.

I chose this property for its quirkiness and proximity to Tsitsikamma National Park and Storms River. The hotel has three on-site eateries, De Oude Martha restaurant, a pub and a cafe. An outdoor swimming pool is also available for guests.

a white heritage house with a green roof in Tsitsikamma Village along the garden route in South Africa

Best things to do in Tsitsikamma

The Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park is a must-visit destination if you love the great outdoors.

Hike through its numerous trails or head to the mouth of Storms River, where it meets with the Indian Ocean. The mouth of the river is where you will find the Storms River suspension bridge.

Other adrenaline sports include zip-lining through the forest canopy or bungee jumping from one of the world’s highest bungee jumps (216 metres) at Bloukrans Bridge.

Arborists will be interested in visiting Tsitsikamma’s famous 800-year-old ‘Big Tree’, standing 37 meters high and with a nine-metre circumference!

Bloukrans Bridge for bungee jumping along the garden route

Day Six Morning – Storms River

Storms River Mouth Trail in Tsitsikamma National Park leads through coastal forest and along boardwalks, stairs and suspension bridges that cling to the cliff edge. It is one of the most popular things to do in Tsitsikamma.

You can read more here about the Storms River suspension bridge in Tsitsikamma.

three men standing on the suspension bridge in Tsitsikamma National Park

Organised activities in Tsitsikamma National Park

Day Seven – Driving Times – Storms River to Amakhala Game Reserve 3 Hours

Days 7-10 / amakhala game reserve, where to stay in amakhala game reserve.

Quatermain’s 1920s Safari Camp – 3 nights / 3-star rating

A once-in-a-lifetime experience is to go on safari, and there is no better place than Amakhala Game Reserve.

There are several different types of accommodation to book, but for me, the real sense of being on safari is sleeping in a tent – luckily, the rest of my family agreed!

You can read more here about my review of Quatermain’s Safari Camp

Quartermains Camp Tent South Africa

Safari on Amakhala Game Reserve

Going on a safari is a magical experience that will stay with you forever.

To see wild animals in their natural environment will undoubtedly bring tears to your eyes; it did with me. Watch the animals interact with one another, feed, bathe, fight and sleep all right in front of you.

Red earth dirt track through Amakhala Safari reserve with zebras and antelopes on each side of the track

You can read here about My incredible lion encounter in South Africa

A lioness sitting in the bush in South Africa

After being on safari, we turned around and headed back along the Garden Route to Cape Town.

We stopped in Plettenberg Bay and Gansbaai on the route to participate in more exciting animal encounters.

Day 10 – Driving Times – Amakhala Game Reserve to Plettenberg Bay 3 Hours 15 mins along N2 motorway

Days 10 – 12 / plettenberg bay, where to stay in plettenberg bay.

Milkwood Manor on Sea – 2 nights / 4-star rating

Milwood Manor has direct access to the beach with fabulous views of the Keurbooms River lagoon and the Indian Ocean.

The hotel has a restaurant and a bar with two communal lounge areas. The hotel has a 4-star rating and offers an upmarket stay in Plettenberg Bay.

White hotel on the beach in Plettenberg Bay South Africa

Angie’s Top Tip:

Head to Old Nick Village in Plettenberg Bay and discover artisan shops, galleries and eateries in heritage buildings scattered amongst lush gardens.

Best things to do in Plettenberg Bay

Plettenberg Bay, or ‘Plett’ as the locals call it, is a premier seaside destination along the Garden Route. It is popular because of its sweeping golden beaches, indigenous forests and wine estates.

The world-heritage Robberg Peninsula nature reserve offers visitors the chance to hike some of South Africa’s most iconic trails.

Day Ten – Our visit to the Plettenberg animal sanctuaries

Plettenberg Bay is also the home to The Crags, where visitors will find plenty of Garden Route wildlife encounters. We visited Birds of Eden, Monkeyland and Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and would recommend all of them.

You can read here about ten ethical animal encounters along the Garden Route .

Leopard with its tongue out of its mouth

Organised activities in Plettenberg Bay

Day 11 – Relaxing by the sea

Today was the first time we had seen rain, so the day was a complete washout, but staying inside is no hardship when you are at a beachfront hotel. In some ways, the weather did us a favour, giving us a chance to rest. We watched films, read books and went for an evening stroll once the rain stopped.

Angie sitting on a wall looking out to the sandy beach in Pletternburg Bay  on the Garden Route

Day 12 – Driving Times – Plettenberg Bay to Gansbaai 5 Hours along N2 motorway

Days 12-15 / gansbaai, where to stay in gansbaai.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve – 3 nights / 5-star rating

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is one of the most exclusive hotel resorts along the Garden Route. It offers guests sumptuous rooms overlooking the fynbos (indigenous plants) and the coastline. There is no reason to leave the reserve as it has a gourmet restaurant, bar, gym, and spa; however, you will be spoilt for choice with plenty of things to do in Gansbaai.

During your stay, there are plenty of activities to try out. These range from horse-riding, forest, beach and fynbos walks, shark cage diving, one of South Africa’s top tourist activities, and the chance to visit ancient caves.

You can read here about my review of Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

view of Grootbos Resort in Gansbaai along the Garden route in South Africa

Best things to do in Gansbaai

Gansbaai is the heart of marine life and outdoor activities in South Africa. Cage dive with sharks and observe whales migrating across South Africa’s oceans. Visit African penguins at the seabird sanctuary or horse ride along the beach; there’s something for everybody in Gansbaai.

All the activities I experienced in Gansbaai were part of the package for guests staying at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve.

Day 13 – Horseback Riding and Ancient Caves

A horses head with bridle

Day 14 – Shark Cage Diving

You can read about how to cage dive with great white sharks in gansbaai..

Shark coming out of the water on a shark cage dive

Day 15 Morning – Forest and Fynbos Safari

View across the Fynbos to the sea at Grootbos

Organised activities in Gansbaai

Day 15 – Driving Times – Gansbaai to Cape Town 2 Hours

Day 15 evening – cape town airport.

With heavy hearts, we left Gansbaai and returned to Cape Town airport for our evening flight back to Heathrow.

Our 14-night Garden Route road trip had been exceptional in every sense of the word. We had experienced once-in-a-lifetime activities that would stay with us forever.

Are You Ready to Plan a Two-Week South African Road Trip?

Has my post inspired you to plan a self-drive road trip along the Garden Route? If it has, I would love to know – receiving feedback is how I can help my readers even more.

And if I can answer any questions you may have about my 2-week Garden Route itinerary, please leave me a message below. I will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Alternatively, if you prefer someone to drive you around South Africa, why not join a week-long Garden Route tour?

Are you looking for further inspiration for South African travel? Please check out the following in-depth blog posts on South Africa to give you the ultimate information on each location I visited.

Need to arrange  travel insurance, car hire or accommodation ? Check out my  resources  page to help you plan your trip.

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Thursday 23rd of February 2023

Really innovative and informative blog. Thank you for sharing such great information.

Sarah Cummins

Wednesday 22nd of February 2023

This has provided inspiration and courage to book a self-drive garden route trip with some vineyards thrown in. Brilliant blog!

WhereAngieWanders

Hi Sarah, I am happy I have been able to help you plan this dream road trip; I am sure you will love it. For more travel inspiration, why not subscribe to my blog for regular travel updates.

Wednesday 12th of October 2022

Very beautiful and inspiring post.

Sunday 6th of March 2022

Thank you very much! You have just planned my next holiday!

Wow!! What an amazing adventure. I would LOVE to do this 2 week Garden route trip ... sans the shark cage! Love your tips and lodging recommendations. Pinned for future travel.

The Discoveries Of

A Spectacular Garden Route Itinerary – Taking a Two Week Road Trip Through South Africa

Planning a road trip on South Africa’s picturesque Garden Route? Drive along the ocean and through thick jungle, past charming little towns and biomes totally unique to the country. My two-week itinerary is a step-by-step guide to this exceptional trip.  

The Garden Route, South Africa , is one of the most beautiful trips I’ve ever embarked on. From the vibrant ‘mother city’ to the wilderness of Addo, I just couldn’t get enough of it. And I know you’ll feel the same.

This itinerary includes stops and accommodation options at all the best towns along the route. Honestly, two weeks may not be enough time to experience everything.

But you’ll have an incredible time of it – and if you’re like me, you’ll already be planning your next trip here by the time you’re done.

Read on for a full 2-week Garden Route itinerary through some of the most gorgeous parts of South Africa.

Cape Town (Garden Route Days 1 – 3)

Cape Town is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world. It’s also naturally beautiful, nestled between mountains and ocean. I can’t think of a better place to start your Garden Route, South Africa, itinerary.

Visit Table Mountain

Views from Table Mountain Cape Town

No visit to Cape Town is complete without a trip up Table Mountain – one of the most impressive and iconic natural landmarks in the world. 

There are various paths you can hike up. I went up Platteklip Gorge, which took about 2 hours one way. It was strenuous, but so worth the experience. Just be sure to bring water! 

You can hike this route, and come down another way or via the cable car. If you’re going to get the cable car one way, I’d recommend doing it on the way down as the descent is a killer on your knees. 

Alternatively, you can catch a cable car from the base of the mountain to the top of it, and enjoy the beautiful views of the coastal city. There’s even a restaurant on top, where you can enjoy some delicious – though pricey food with the views.

Stroll around, take lots of photos, and enjoy the high-altitude sea breeze.  

Relax on the Beaches

Boulders Beach Penguins

Cape Town’s beaches are undoubtedly some of the best in the world. Fine white sand, clear blue (but cold) water, and sunny days make it idyllic. 

Spend some time finding your perfect beach. Lounge somewhere beautiful and catch a tan, or go for a surf on the waves at Muizenberg. Don a wetsuit to go snorkelling and spot seals and harmless little sharks at Simon’s Town. 

Alternatively, you can hunt out the perfect photos on some of the world’s most insta-worthy beaches, like Llandudno and Camps Bay. You can even share Boulders Beach with the penguins.

Hike Up Lion’s Head

Lion’s Head is everyone’s favourite hike in Cape Town. It’s not nearly as strenuous as hiking up Table Mountain, but the views are equally phenomenal. 

You’ll be able to see the iconic Table Mountain in all its glory, as well as the city sprawling out on one side, and the Twelve Apostles mountain range stretching back on the other side. Not to mention, of course, the ocean.  

Explore Long Street

Day or night, Long Street is an adventure. During the day, you’ll find incredible places to eat, with so much variety you won’t know what to choose. As well as African boutiques and stores where you can find the perfect souvenir to take home.

At night, the street comes alive in a very different way. It’s one of the big party centres of Cape Town, for all different types. You can find cheap shots for under €1 at Bob’s Bar, or bottles of the best local and international craft beers at Beerhouse. 

Watch live performances, or find your tribe at one of the clubs and bars. Just be aware of pickpockets, and keep your valuables hidden and safe. 

Visit the V&A Waterfront

V&A Waterfront

Whether you’re looking for local high-end shopping, foodie adventures, cultural experiences, or even boat trips, the V&A Waterfront has it all. 

The shopping mall is world-class. But the real shopping experience is to be had at Watershed. Everything within this warehouse-style shopping centre is locally designed and made. The food here is also exquisite. 

From the waterfront you can catch a cruise around the beautiful harbour or beyond, to explore Cape Town from the sea. You can even go on a kayaking tour, if you’re keen for something a little more hands-on.

Check out more of my favourite Cape Town activities here

Suggested Stay for Cape Town: Belmond Mount Nelson

Mount Nelson is historic, and impeccably well located. It’s comfortable and luxurious, and firmly placed in the heart of the city centre, at the foot of Table Mountain.

Check rates and availability at Belmond Mount Nelson

Detour to Stellenbosch (Garden Route Day 4)

Stellenbosch isn’t technically on the Garden Route, but it’s such a great stop, you’ll want to make the detour. It’s one of the world’s top wine regions and a cultural hub. The Cape Dutch architecture is strikingly unique, and every street and path is lined with tall trees – not to mention the fabulous setting. 

Go Wine Tasting

Stellenbosch Winelands

Visiting a wine farm is one of the area’s must-dos. They’re all very beautiful, with massive vineyards and lush gardens. Most importantly though, they all do wine tastings. Visit Waterford Estate for a decadent wine and chocolate pairing. Or go for the full local experience and pair wines with biltong at Stellenbosch Hills.  

Get a little tipsy, and enjoy the distinctly South African vibe that’s always to be found in beautiful Stellenbosch.

Stroll Through Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

If you’re interested in South Africa’s impressively diverse and unique nature, be sure to spend a few hours at this nature reserve . The mountainous reserve has so much to offer the intrepid traveller. Take a hike, stroll along the river, and just enjoy the beauty surrounding you. 

If you’re into adventure sports, it’s also an amazing place to enjoy some radical mountain biking.

Suggested Stay for Stellenbosch: River Manor

Situated right on the banks of the Eerste Rivier, this boutique hotel offers a great feel for Stellenbosch. It’s absolutely beautiful, with local antiques and a pool you’ll want to spend all day in.

Check rates and availability at River Manor

Mossel Bay (Garden Route Days 5 – 6)

Mossel Bay

A charismatic little harbour town with lovely views and a famous tree, Mossel Bay has more to offer than you’d think at first glance and is a must for any Garden Route South Africa self-drive itinerary. 

I recommend exploring it on foot – as a car will take you through it in a minute, and you’ll miss all the interesting little details. 

Zipline Across Mossel Bay

This is the longest over-ocean zipline in the world! Get your blood pumping as you fly over cliffs and sea for about 1100 metres (3608 feet).

You can speed up to about 80km, so it’s quite the rush. Not for the faint of heart, this is a great bit of fun.

Explore Mossel Bay via Diaz Express

Definitely the best way to experience Mossel Bay’s sprawling landscape if you don’t have the time or energy to hike. Diaz Express – a charming little blue train – will take you through the treasures of the Cape Floral Kingdom, over rivers and past beaches. 

You’ll have gorgeous views over the Indian Ocean. So particularly if it’s whale watching season, you shouldn’t leave this one out.

Tour Diaz Museum

Now, I must say that many of South Africa’s small-town museums are not where it’s at. But the Diaz Museum is brilliant, with so much to see and learn. 

One of my favourite features of this three-part museum is the Post Office Tree. An ancient milkwood tree with sprawling (very photogenic) roots, it has curiously been a mail collection point since the 1500s. 

Suggested Stay for Mossel Bay: Betty’s Boutique Hotel

Lovely little hilltop guest house. Betty’s has beautiful gardens, sea and mountain views, and very cosy rooms.

Check rates and availability at Betty’s Boutique Hotel

Wilderness (Garden Route Days 7 – 8)

Wilderness is another incredibly beautiful stop. Perhaps the most forested destination of them all, nature lovers will adore this seaside town.

Chill at Wilderness Beach

An expansive white-sand beach, Wilderness Beach is idyllic. You’ll have plenty of space to yourself, as it stretches for kilometres. Pets are also allowed here, so you’ll see pups running around and playing in the water, along with the humans who will brave the cold. 

Kayak at Ebb & Flow

Kayaking Garden Route

The Ebb & Flow Rest Camp is a gorgeous national park in Wilderness and beyond. You can rent a kayak for an hour or two, and take to the waters to explore in the best way. 

The kayaks are very sturdy, so unless you’re rocking it you won’t tip over. And there are no crocs in the water, so you can paddle about stress-free. 

Suggested Stay for Wilderness: Moontide

This guest lodge has such a distinctly South African vibe, it’s one of my favourite places in the country. Shower outdoors, enjoy views over the lagoon, and set out kayaking right from your doorstep.

Check rates and availability at Moontide

Knysna (Garden Route Days 9 – 10)

Knysna Boat Tour

Knysna is a charming town along the South African Garden Route, with marshlands filled with birds, tropical forests, and long-stretching beaches. 

Check Out the Knysna Heads

The Knysna Heads are a pair of sandstone cliffs separating the lagoon from the ocean. They’re a famous Garden Route landmark, striking and beautiful. The whole area is really stunning, just a little way out of the town of Knysna.

Visit Local Markets

The people of Knysna love their markets! In fact, all along the Garden Route, you’ll find lovely farmers markets. 

Here you can find fresh produce, baked goods and local South African cuisine , and handcrafted products. They’re a lovely way to spend your morning, meeting locals and experiencing the laid-back culture of the Garden Route. 

The best of these is the Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market, just a little outside of Knysna. 

See the Knysna Lagoon

Catch a boat tour around the Knysna Lagoon. It’s a fantastic experience, exploring the beauty of the marshy lagoon, spotting birds, and relaxing in the cool ocean breeze. 

My favourite cruise is this lagoon tour with oyster tastings .

Suggested Stay for Knysna: Under Milkwood Resort

Want to stay right on the lagoon beach? This resort has private chalets where you can enjoy the peace and beauty of Knysna with scenic views.

Check rates and availability at Under Milkwood

Plettenberg Bay (Garden Route Days 11 – 12)

Plett, or Plettenberg Bay, is the next stop on your Garden Route SA itinerary. With more of the lush forest you found in Knysna, and a whole host of new activities and places to visit, a few days spent here is often not enough.

Experience Birds of Eden & Monkeyland

Birds and Monkeyland Plettenberg

Birds of Eden and Monkeyland is a beautiful stop on your itinerary. You’ll see so many unimaginably colourful birds of every feather. Stroll through the vast forested compound, and see how many species you can spot.

At Monkeyland, just next door, take a guided tour of the jungle landscape, learning about the different monkeys and watching them play and leap from tree to tree. You can’t touch them, but that’s a good thing. It means this wildlife park is doing things right, and keeping them safe in as natural an environment as possible.

Visit a Nearby Winery

At Newlands Wine Estate

If you’re like me, one day of wine tasting on a great road trip just won’t cut it. There are some brilliant wineries in the area, so set out and see if you can pick up a difference between the Plett and the Cape Town wines. My favourite wineries here are Bramon and Newstead Wine Estate, for their great selections and lovely views.

Go Whale Watching

Plettenberg is one of the best places along the Garden Route to enjoy whale watching. The migratory whales can be seen here from mid-May to February, often just metres from the coast. They calve in Southern Africa’s comparatively warm waters, so you can even spot the young whales swimming alongside their mothers.

And there’s more marine life to be found here year-round. You can even swim with seals !

Suggested Stay: Ocean Watch

This hillside guest house is such an absolute winner. It’s luxurious and cosy, with totally unbeatable views.

Check rates and availability at Ocean Watch

Addo Elephant National Park (Garden Route Days 13 – 14)

This unique national park is the final destination on your Garden Route itinerary. There are some really cool activities to do in and around Addo . But if you only have a day here, the best option is a classic safari. 

Set Out on a Safari

Elephants at Addo

An Addo Elephant Safari is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. It’s a spectacular experience, that everyone should do if they get half a chance.

Lions in Addo

Not only will you have the opportunity to spot South Africa’s famous Big 5. You could also see Great White Sharks and Southern Whales in the ocean. There are few places in the world where this is possible.

Spend the whole day on a game drive, spotting animals and exploring the truly vast park. This is a perfect end to your road trip.

Check out more tips on how to experience Addo Park to the fullest . And for a little bit of gushing.

Suggested Stay: Chrislin African Lodge

This gorgeous lodge isn’t set within the grounds of the park itself, but it’s only a short hop away and I loved my stay here. You can set out on game drives from here as well as arrange other cool activities like a lazy canoe trip down the Sundays River. 

Check rates and availability at Chrislin African Lodge

Top Tips for the Garden Route South Africa

What to pack .

Pack plenty of sunscreen, a sturdy hat, and some proper walking shoes. The best way to explore these Garden Route destinations is often on foot, and you’ll be spending plenty of time under the African sun. It’s best to be prepared.

Read my Road Trip Essentials Guide

Car Hire 

Inter-city public transport in South Africa isn’t exactly up to snuff.  Self-driving in South Africa isn’t difficult and will help you make the most of your trip.

Rather rent a car, and be sure to get full car insurance or a travel insurance plan that covers you for driving the Garden Route in South Africa. 

Alternatively, tours include transport, so if you don’t want to drive, that’ll be the way to go.

Check car hire rates with Holiday Autos

Join a Tour

If you don’t have the time to do a full Garden Route road trip, or you don’t want to do much planning, join a week-long Garden Route tour . You’ll get all the good stuff. 

Garden Route Map

Travelling to South Africa? Read Next 

  • Cool Places You Shouldn’t Miss in Cape Town 
  • Why You Need to Visit Addo Elephant National Park
  • Top Things to do in South Africa
  • The Perfect Itinerary for 2 Weeks in South Africa

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Perfect Garden Route Itinerary

I’m Julianna Barnaby - a professional travel writer and geek extraordinaire. I started The Discoveries Of to help you to discover the best of new destinations from around the world.

Discovering new places is a thrill - whether it’s close to home, a new country or continent, I write to help you explore more and explore differently.

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Garden Route Tours & Trips from Cape Town

An adventure starting in Cape Town is a great way to see Garden Route. We have 80 tours that range from 3 days up to 21 days. The most popular time for tours from Cape Town is October, which has the most tour departures.

80 Garden Route tours from Cape Town with 511 reviews

Garden Route & Addo Group Adventure - 6 Days Tour

  • Christmas & New Year

Garden Route & Addo Group Adventure - 6 Days

Christine was the best guide. Lots of stories and anecdotes. You could even see the fuel station and shop owners light up when they saw her pull in with us in the van. We got to see so many different things along the way from ostriches, rhinos and elephants to the spectacular scenery. Definitely recommend this trip!

5-Day Group Garden Route & Addo Adventure Tour (one-way) Tour

5-Day Group Garden Route & Addo Adventure Tour (one-way)

We had an amazing time with the team of Earthstompers and we would highly recommend this tour! The staff contacted us upon booking and always kept us updated until the day of departure. Organisation and communication were excellent. During the tour, our guide Gareth showed us great places along the Garden Route and every accomodation where we stayed was carefully picked, they had always a familiar feeling and we had the chance to have home cooked dinners, it was also a nice occasion to chat and spend nice time with the other guests of the tour.

11 Days Cape Town, Garden Route & Kruger Tour

11 Days Cape Town, Garden Route & Kruger

Dylan Curtis and Taariq were excellent guides from Cape xtreme. Viva safari was also excellent and we saw the Big 5 and lots of other animals. Our time in South Africa has been excellent. Beautiful people and scenery.

7 day Garden Route, Cape Point and Winelands Combo Tour

7 day Garden Route, Cape Point and Winelands Combo

Isaac was caring, attentive and kind to all of the guests on the tour no matter how long the days were.

4 Day Cape to Addo Safari Tour (Return) Tour

4 Day Cape to Addo Safari Tour (Return)

Great tour and great experience all round. Had an amazing time, especially with the game drive. Looking forward to visiting again

4 Day Garden Route Adventure Tour

4 Day Garden Route Adventure

The experience was perfect! Thank you so much!

Cape Town and the Garden Route Tour

  • In-depth Cultural
  • Coach / Bus

Cape Town and the Garden Route

Tough to pick one favorite thing out of so many.
  • 10% deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

Garden Route Splendour Tour

Garden Route Splendour

Tour was awesome. Zayed was absolutely the best guide, he was very knowledgeable and accommodating.

5 Day Garden Route Adventure Including Addo Tour

5 Day Garden Route Adventure Including Addo

Benjamin is the best guide a traveler can have. He not only led the tour professionally with a lot of knowledge, but he also showed a lot of patience and understanding for everyone’s needs during the five days. By the end of the tour, we all felt like family and had a difficult time saying goodbye to each other. Bok Bus excited this trip so well from the accommodations, food and comfortable van. Thank you Benjamin and bravo for your excellent hospitality!

5 day Best of South Africa Highlights: Garden Route with Addo National Park Tour

5 day Best of South Africa Highlights: Garden Route with Addo National Park

Had an amazing time The group was just perfect we all clicked and had fun BIG G the tour guide was fantastic

Garden Route, Safari & Winelands Wonder Tour

Garden Route, Safari & Winelands Wonder

We had a wonderful trip, enjoyed every minute of it. Highly recommend it.

South Africa\'s Garden Route Tour

South Africa's Garden Route

We would have liked more time at Addo Elephant reserve to experience as dusk safari. Round the bend, while it was interesting it was a bit of stopover as we where unable to make use of their water/rafting facilities due to limited time and the low water at this time of year. Stellenbosch time was just to limited. Meaning we where unable to experience the beautiful architecture as well as the museum and gardens and wine tasting.

The Garden Route 10 Days Tour

  • Hiking & Trekking

The Garden Route 10 Days

Beyond expectations. Tour was flawless from the airport connections to the backpackers lodges. Our guide Wendy with earthstompers was superb. Mariska was extremely helpful with tourradar and Nicolene was equally as well with travel encounters. They arranged our side trips for shark cage diving and skydiving as well without having any issues whatsoever. I would highly recommend this your to anyone. This trip to South Africa was a trip of a lifetime.

Cape Town and Garden Route Adventure Tour Tour

Cape Town and Garden Route Adventure Tour

The Garden Route - 8 days Tour

The Garden Route - 8 days

As a first time sole female traveler, my trip was absolutely incredible. My tour guide, Gareth, was so knowledgable about everywhere we were and made it a really good atmosphere for the group to all get to know each other. Every stop was worthwhile and every accommodation blew me away they were so nice. I had an amazing time!

What people love about Garden Route Tours from Cape Town

With Gareth we had a great, well organized short week, too short but ful of information, entertainment, fun.
An excellent tour which we couldn’t fault. Our guide, Rochelle, was superb. She was knowledgeable, always helpful and cheerful. We did everything we wanted to do and more. Highly recommended.
We cannot speak more highly about Cape Xtreme!! we had a wonderful time on our 11 day tour of Cape Town and Safari. Tariq was our very experienced guide in Cape Town, and he did an excellent job, give this man a raise! He was always punctual, knowledgeable and fun! He definitely was a highlight of our trip to SA. The tour itself is action packed, with early mornings and non stop activities, but this definitely a good thing when travellers want to see as much as they can in a short period of time. We would 100% book again with Cape Xtreme and would recommend to any of our friends back home.

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Lighthouse, Cape Agulhas

Garden Route Splendour

6 day small group tour – from £899.

From Karoo villages to coastal towns, with breathtaking scenery in between, enjoy an in-depth escorted tour of the Garden Route led by an experienced guide.

Highlights:

  • Visit an ostrich farm and the magnificent Cango Caves
  • Cross the Outeniqua Pass, soaking in the spectacular views
  • Enjoy a stay in the scenic lagoon-side town of Knysna
  • Travel through historic Swellendam to Cape Agulhas, where oceans meet
  • Stay overnight in the stunning Tsitsikamma National Park

Your Itinerary

You can customise your holiday by adding extra nights or activities before or after your Garden Route escorted tour. Just let us know what you would like to do.

Lighthouse, Cape Agulhas

Day 1 – Cape Town to Mossel Bay

This morning you will be met by your local tour guide and depart for the scenic Garden Route. Travel along Sir Lowry’s Pass, with its magnificent views, to Grabouw and Elgin, a lush landscape surrounded by majestic mountains. Stop en route at a farmstall packed with locally produced products from the area. Our journey continues to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. The area has largely been untouched and unexplored with its rugged coastline being the graveyard for many a ship. The historic Cape Agulhas Lighthouse is considered the icon that signifies the tip of Africa. After this thrilling experience, we continue via historic Swellendam, the third oldest town in South Africa, to Mossel Bay, from where the Garden Route extends to the Storms River in the east.

Oudtshoorn at La Plume or similar

Ostrich farm in Oudtshoorn, South Africa

Day 2 – Oudtshoorn

After breakfast, we head to Oudtshoorn and visit the Cape St Blaize Cave, site of one of South Africa’s oldest archaeological excavations, known as the Cradle of Human Culture. We continue our journey to Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world and home to the spectacular limestone caverns of the Cango Caves. Visit an Ostrich Farm for a guided tour. Enjoy a wine tasting at a local wine estate in the scenic Schoemanshoek Valley, before setting off on a tour of the Cango Caves, one of the world’s great natural wonders, sculpted by nature through the ages

La Plume Guest House

Matthee Big Tree Memorial

Day 3 – Knysna

After breakfast, travel over the Outeniqua Pass to George, the sixth oldest town in South Africa, with many historical landmarks like the Slave Tree and King Edward VII Library building; said to be the best example of Edwardian architecture in the town. The tour travels via Wilderness, an attractive holiday resort, to Knysna, known as the oyster box of South Africa, nestling on the banks of a beautiful lagoon in the heart of the Garden Route. Journey into the magical Knysna Forests, the stamping ground of the elusive Knysna elephants. Discover the stories of the woodcutters who worked the forests, the elephants that were hunted to extinction and the discovery of gold. Visit the Dalene Matthee Big Tree Memorial. The enormous Yellowwood tree of over 880 years was named after Matthee, best known author of four books on the Knysna Forest. Enjoy a delicious lunch, before returning to Knysna.

Knysna Heads, Featherbed, Garden Route, South Africa

Day 4 – Knysna

Today explore further the natural beauty of the Knysna area with a visit the Forest Legends Museum, the colourful Old Suzie steam engine, that was used to generate power, and the stately Old Forester’s House.

Afterwards you’ll have the opportunity to visit Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary, where you will be able to see a variety of primates, roaming free in the forest. The sanctuary is well known for its efforts to rehabilitate and free previously caged primates.

The tour continues to the famous Eastern Head, where you will enjoy spectacular views of the Knysna Heads, before travelling to the nature lovers paradise of Brenton on Sea with its unspoilt beaches. The remainder of the afternoon will be at leisure.

Storms River Suspension Bridge, Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa

Day 5 – Tsitsikamma

After breakfast travel to the Plettenberg Bay area where you will visit Birds of Eden sanctuary, the biggest single free flight aviary in the world. The sanctuary provides a safe environment in which to release a large collection of free-flight African birds.

The journey continues to Bloukrans Bridge, the highest single span arch bridge in the world, currently offering the highest commercially operated bungy jump in the world (optional!).

Later, visit the Tsitsikamma National Park which contains the popular Storms River Mouth suspension bridge. The park incorporates 80 km of rocky coastline, secluded valleys covered in mountain Fynbos and temperate forests with deep river gorges leading down to the sea.

Tsitsikamma Village Inn

Bloukrans Bridge, Eastern Cape

Day 6 – Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha)

After breakfast, travel eastwards by the Tsitsikamma Forest to Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha), where the tour ends.

From here, your Travel Consultant can arrange onward flights or an Eastern Cape safari.

Cape Town to Mossel Bay

Tsitsikamma, port elizabeth (gqeberha), this tour includes, departure dates, flights & more.

With FREEDOM, you can book your Garden Route Splendour small group tour and flights together, as an ATOL protected package. Our Travel Experts can find the best priced Economy, Premium or Business Class flights for you.

You can also personalise your holiday. Why not add:

  • Nights in Cape Town or Port Elizabeth before or after your tour
  • A wildlife experience at an Eastern Cape safari lodge after your tour
  • A 4 day Magnificent Garden Route tour which heads to Port Elizabeth after the first night in Knysna

Please get in touch with our Africa Experts to start planning your holiday. You’ll have a single point of contact from your first enquiry through booking.

Accommodation specified is subject to availability and may be substituted to a similar standard if necessary.

Garden Route Splendour

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south africa garden route tour

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Garden Route Tours from and/or to Cape Town

A fabulous variety of garden route tours and safaris to suit your unique interests.

Doing one of our Garden Route Tours should be at the top of your list of Cape Town Tours and Trips when you visit South Africa’s rainbow nation. It rates as the no 1 tour activity or experience you can do from Cape Town. You are in for a scenic diversity treat of charming picturesque towns and villages, dramatic & scenic landscapes, tall trees, deep gorges, shimmering lakes, majestic mountain ranges, golden beaches and lush indigenous forests on all our Garden Route Tours .

Our guides are superb : engaging, knowledgeable and passionate professionals, and will do everything possible to make your Garden route experience the trip of a lifetime with extraordinary moments and travel stories.

The Garden Route with its abundance of natural beauty and wonders, is located along the picturesque Southern Cape Coastline of South Africa. It   stretches from Mossel Bay through George , Wilderness , Knysna , Plettenberg Bay up to Tsitsikamma and is a must-see highlight when you visit South Africa . A malaria-free Safari combines perfectly with the Garden Route.

For the best and diverse scenic tour experience , start and end your Garden Route Tour from Cape Town before or after doing our superb Cape Town Tours . Half the fun and diverse natural scenic splendor on our tours, is the route traveling to and from the Garden Route with  stunning rugged mountain scenery on route from Cape Town , beautiful landscapes, wine estates, quaint farmstalls and picturesque villages, the Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn, Cape Aguhas in the Overberg and Hermanus on the Whale Coast . This scenic feast of landscapes in a circular route to and from the Garden Route , makes Cape Town the ideal start and end destination for your Garden Route Tour

If you have a few extra travel days, add an authentic African Safari in the malaria-free Eastern Cape , home to the Big 5 wildlife animals, just a few hours’ drive from the Garden Route.

We offer a variety of fabulous Garden Route Tours with scenic, nature and leisure travel options, safari and wildlife options, activity and adventure options or a combination thereof. Whatever your unique interests and preferences when you are on holiday, one of our private or small-group Garden Route Tours  with our superb Guides would be perfect for your vacation.

Email us on [email protected] or select the “Enquire Now / Book ” button to obtain rates and availability:    

The Garden Route Tour includes the Jewel of the Garden route, Knysna, with its beautiful Lagoon flanked by the Knysna Heads which creates a stunning entrance to the Indian Ocean. Included on all our Garden Route Tours. Start from Cape Town before or after doing our fabulous Cape Town Tours

4 Days; 3 Nights

Explore the highlights of the Garden Route from Cape Town, including rugged mountain scenery on route to charming Oudtshoorn in the Little Karoo on Day 1, the limestone formations of the famous Cango Caves , in Oudtshoorn. On Day 2 we travel along the scenic Garden route to Knysna – jewel of the Garden Route. On Day 3 we explore Plettenberg Bay with its long golden beaches, as well as and the dramatic beauty of the Tsitsikamma Forest and Coastal Park. On Day 4 we travel back to Cape Town via the Garden route, then turning inland.

We offer this tour as a Private Tour, fully customisable, as well as Small-Group Classic Garden Route Tours are offered. Our accommodation venues are superb 4-star establishments with many upgrade possibilities.

If you have limited holiday time in Cape Town and South Africa, and need to decide between the wide variety of Garden Route Tours, this is the best tour option to see the main highlights along this picturesque coastline .

Garden Route & Overberg Tour

5 days; 4 nights.

In addition to the Classic Garden Route Tour Highlights ( Oudtshoorn , Knysna , Plettenberg Bay and Tsitsikamma ), we add the Overberg  with quiant  Arniston  as well as Cape Agulhas , the southernmost tip of Africa and meeting place of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

We travel back to Cape Town via Hermanus  (with the best land-based Whale Watching from July to November) and the stunning coastal Clarence Drive . 

Because of the wonderful scenic diversity that the Overberg adds to your Garden route tour experience, this is the favourite of all our scenic Garden Route Tours. Read here to see our 14 Superb reasons why you should add the Overberg to your Garden Route Trip.

The Knysna Heads are one of the highlights on all our Garden Route Tours. The Featherbed excursion is a popular excursion and includes a boat trip acrtoss the lagoon, a drive up to the Heads, hiking down to enjoy the stunning views and ends with a Buffet Lunch. Ideal start or end destination is Cape Town after or before doing our Cape TOwn Tours exploring the best of Cape Town. A top item you should add to your bucket list in touring South Africa

Garden Route & malaria-free Eastern Cape Safari Tour

7 days; 6 nights.

The Garden Route (with Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Tsitsikamma) is combined with a malaria-free Safari  in the Eastern Cape , a natural extension of the Garden Route and home to the free-roaming Big 5 of Africa (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino).

You can choose between visiting  Addo Elephant National Park , with more than 600 Elephant, or one of the luxury private game reserves  with 4-star and 5-star luxury lodges. Experience the thrill of an authentic African Safari in the search for wildlife encounters, the peaceful surroundings of nature and the sounds of the bush.

Garden Route & Big 5 Kruger Park Safari Tour

10 days; 9 nights.

Combine your Garden Route Tour (including Oudtshoorn, Cango Caves, Knysna, Tsitsikamma) with a Safari in the flagship Game Reserve, Kruger Park , home to the free-roaming Big 5 of the animal kingdom (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino)

Kruger Park is the flagship Safari experience of South Africa and is home to the Big 5 wildlife legends including Elephant

Garden Route & Cape Town Tour

8 days; 7 nights.

Our Tour package includes highlights of cosmopolitan Cape Town, Table Mountain, Cape Point and Peninsula and the Cape Winelands as well as a Garden Route Tour, including Oudtshoorn’s Cango Caves, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Tsitsikamma, Arniston, Cape Agulhas and Hermanus on the Whale Coast

Cape Town, Garden Route & malaria-free Eastern Cape Safari Tour

Explore Cape Town City, Table Mountain, Cape Point and the Stellenbosch / Franschhoek / Paarl Winalnds before departing for the scenic Garden Route (Oudtshoorn, Cango Caves, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Tsitsikamma) and a malaria-free Safari within the Eastern Cape, home to the free-roaming Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino)

Cape Town, Garden Route & malaria-free Eastern Cape Safari Tour

13 days; 12 nights

Highlights of Cape Town and the Garden Route as well as a Safari at the flagship Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, home to the free-roaming Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino) and the Panoramic route on the Mpumalanga escarpment

Garden Route & Big 5 Kruger Safari Tour

10 days; 9 nights.

Explore the Garden Route and add a Safari at the flagship Game Reserve, Kruger National Park or one of the adjacent private game reserves in the Greater Kruger area, a game reserve like no other and home to the free-roaming Big 5 of the animal kingdom (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino)

Garden Route & Big 5 Kruger Safari Tour

Garden Route & Wildlife Tour

5 days; 4 nights.

The tour includes the classic must-do highlights of the Garden Route ( Oudtshoorn , Knysna , Plettenberg Bay and Tsitsikamma ) and adds a wildlife and nature experience on the malaria-free Garden Route at a 4-star Safari Lodge on a Conservation Reserve.

The Garden Route’s conservation game reserves are smaller than the Eastern Cape’s private Game Reserves with its free-roaming wildlife. Predators on the conservation reserves on the Garden route are kept separate in large camps and do not hunt.

This provides a soft safari experience and is the ideal tour if you have limited time and your travel budget is limited  and cannot include the malaria-free Eastern Cape.

Email us on [email protected] or select the “ Enquire Now / Book Now ” button to obtain rates and   availability or to book a tour.

Garden Route Tours in South Africa

The Garden Route , perennially green, has a mild Mediterranean Maritime climate and lies on a narrow belt between the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains and the Southern Coast of South Africa

Aside from the abundance of scenic landscapes, the Garden Route offers unlimited scenic photographic opportunities , animal interactions, wildlife experiences, active and adventure activities .

So whether you are interested in scenic beauty, leisure, landscapes, hiking or adventure , the Garden Route offers a diverse variety of holiday experiences and one of our fabulous Garden Route Tour options will match your interests.

Start and End destinations are   flexible : Cape Town , George (or the Domestic Airport at George ), Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Tsitsikamma, Port Elizabeth (or the International Airport at Port Elizabeth).

To experience one of the best highlights offered in our beautiful rainbow country, a Garden Route Tour should be right at the top of your travel bucket list of South African Tours and Trips .

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Tsitsikamma Forest Garden Route

Luxury Garden Route Tours

There is no question too small. Start planning your dream trip by talking to our Destination Specialists

Road trips of the Garden Route allow you to explore some of South Africa’s most majestic landscapes and attractions. Travel from the rolling hills and valleys of the winelands, journey along the Atlantic coast, and stop in national parks and pretty villages along the way. We’ve curated a selection of recommended itineraries below. Alternatively, speak to our Destination Specialists and plan your bespoke Garden Route tour.

Our Grand Tour of South Africa allows you to see South Africa’s main attractions over 15 days. Begin in Johannesburg and make your way to Cape Town, exploring the Garden Route and Panorama Route along the way. Start along the Garden Route in Port Elizabeth, where you’ll find sandy beaches, luscious hills and colonial architecture. See Storms River gorge and the pretty coastal town of Plettenberg Bay before visiting the Featherbed Nature Reserve. Before visiting Cape Town you’ll have the chance to visit an ostrich farm.

The Garden Route Highlights Tour From Cape Town begins in this cosmopolitan city, taking you to the end of the Garden Route in Port Elizabeth over four days. Visit small colonial towns and admire their quaint architecture, walk nature trails and see baby sharks, spot dolphins on a boat trip and enjoy local delicacies including oysters and other seafood dishes. Visit Birds of Eden, where there are over 3,500 birds, before finishing in Port Elizabeth where you can relax on the beach or explore the city.

Alternatively, focus your Garden Route road trip on nature and pair your holiday with South Africa’s Eastern Cape on our Garden Route and Eastern Cape Safari. See farmlands and gorges, relax on the beach and enjoy the many types of delicious fresh seafood along one of the world’s most scenic drives.

Discover our mesmerizing South Africa multi centre holidays and elevate your experience to a whole new level!

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south africa garden route tour

Garden Route Private Tour

south africa garden route tour

Explore the Wonders of the Garden Route with Our Private Tours

Embark on a captivating journey with our Garden Route Private Tour, where every moment is tailored to your desires. As your dedicated Garden Route tour operator, we invite you to experience the diverse beauty of South Africa’s coast.

Unveiling Nature’s Treasures Dive into the depths of adventure at the mesmerizing Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn, marvel at the elegance of ostriches, and create cherished memories.

Coastal Charms Discover the allure of the Knysna Heads and the captivating allure of Plettenberg Bay. Embrace the coastal breeze as you embark on an enchanting exploration.

Wildlife Encounters Witness the majesty of Africa’s giants at Addo Elephant National Park . Get up close to these gentle giants in their natural habitat.

Serenity in Wilderness Find solace amidst the captivating landscapes of Wilderness National Park . Immerse yourself in tranquility as you navigate through serene waterways.

Whale-Watching Wonders In Hermanus , the heart of whale watching, experience the awe-inspiring sight of these magnificent creatures dancing in the waves.

Where Two Oceans Meet At Cape Agulhas , stand at the tip of Africa where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans converge, an iconic testament to nature’s power.

Crafting Your Ideal Escape With our private garden route tour packages , we curate each detail to match your preferences, ensuring an unforgettable adventure from Cape Town and beyond. Let’s embark on a journey tailored just for you.

Garden Route Private Tour Packages from Cape Town

Garden route private tour (package 1): 3 days/2 nights private garden route tour, tour information:.

Pricing : from R16,500 (ZAR) per adult (price varies by group size)

Ages:  All Ages Duration:  3 Days Start time:  9:00 a.m. Language:  English

What’s Included:

  • Bottled water and Mints
  • Certified driver tour guide
  • Accommodation (Backpacker/Guesthouse)
  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
  • Private Vehicle
  • Custom Itinerary
  • Parking and Toll Fees (Where Applicable)

What’s Not Included:

  • Entrance fees to places of interest
  • Meals and Refreshments

What to Expect: 3 Days/2 Nights Garden Route Tour Itinerary

Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Garden Route in South Africa, a renowned sightseeing tour route.

(Day 1) Cango Caves and Ostriches in Oudtshoorn

Begin your adventure by exploring the mesmerizing Cango Caves and visiting the charming ostriches in Oudtshoorn. For thrill-seekers, embark on an adrenaline-pumping shark cage diving excursion or go on an exciting safari game drive in Mossel Bay.

(Day 2) Knysna Heads and Plettenberg Bay

Delight in the awe-inspiring Knysna Heads and take a scenic sunset cruise on the picturesque Knysna Lagoon. Immerse yourself in nature by enjoying a whale- or dolphin-watching boat cruise in enchanting Plettenberg Bay. For the daring, challenge yourself with a walk on the breathtaking suspension bridge in Tsitsikamma or even a bungee jump off the magnificent Bloukrans Bridge.

(Day 3) End of the 3-Day/2-Night Garden Route Private Tour

On this day, you can choose to either end your trip in Cape Town or Port Elizabeth. With our unique itinerary, you’ll be in for an incredible adventure on your private garden route tour from Cape Town.

Garden Route Private Tour (Package 2): 5 Days/4 Nights Private Garden Route Tour

Pricing : from R25,500 (ZAR) per adult (price varies by group size)

What to Expect: 5-Day, 4-Night Garden Route Tour Itinerary

(day 1): cango caves and ostriches in oudtshoorn, (day 2): knysna heads and plettenberg bay, (day 3): addo elephant national park.

We will embark on an exciting game drive at Addo Elephant National Park, where you can witness these majestic animals up close. You will also come across several other wildlife species, including lions, rhinos, buffalos, zebras, and various antelope species.

(Day 4): Wilderness National Park or Hiking at Robberg Nature Reserve

Experience the breathtaking beauty of Wilderness National Park and immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring Knysna Heads, or choose to embark on an optional hike through the pristine Robberg Nature Reserve.

(Day 5): End of the 5-Day/4-Night Garden Route Private Tour

On this day, you can choose to either end your trip in Cape Town or Port Elizabeth. With our unique itinerary, you’ll be in for an incredible adventure on your multi-day Garden Route Tour in South Africa.

Garden Route Private Tour (Package 3): 10 Days/9 Nights Private Garden Route Tour (including Cape Town)

Pricing : from R47,500 (ZAR) per adult (price varies by group size)

Ages: All Ages Duration: 3 Days Start time: 9:00 a.m. Language: English

Bottled water and Mints Certified driver tour guide Accommodation (Backpacker/Guesthouse) Hotel pick-up and drop-off Private Vehicle Custom Itinerary Parking and Toll Fees (Where Applicable)

Gratuities Entrance fees to places of interest Meals and Refreshments

What to Expect: 10 Days/9 Nights Garden Route (incl. Cape Town) Tour Itinerary

(day 1): table mountain and robben island cape town city tour.

On our first day, we take a visit to Table Mountain and Robben Island. These sights offer breathtaking views, stunning landscapes, and a rich cultural history.

(Day 2): Full-Day Cape Peninsula Tour

On this day, we will embark on a tour that includes must-visit attractions such as Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Boulders Beach Penguin Colony, Cape Point, the Cape of Good Hope, the world-famous Chapmans Peak Drive, and Hout Bay Harbor. These sights offer breathtaking views, stunning landscapes, and unique wildlife experiences.

(Day 3): Private Cape Winelands Tour

Discover the joy of wine tasting in the enchanting wine regions of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. These picturesque destinations offer an exquisite experience for wine enthusiasts. Immerse yourself in the world of fine wines as you explore vineyards, indulge in tastings, and delight in the rich flavors that these renowned regions have to offer.

(Day 4): Whale Watching in Hermanus

Get ready to experience the popular whale-watching tour in Hermanus for both nature lovers and adventure seekers. Hermanus, a coastal town in South Africa, is renowned as one of the best land-based whale-watching destinations in the world.

(Day 5): Cape Algulas Tour

Cape Algulas boasts a thriving cultural scene, with numerous art galleries, boutique shops, and trendy cafes lining its streets. Visitors can immerse themselves in local arts and crafts, sample delicious cuisine, or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood’s charming streets.

(Day 6): Cango Caves and Ostriches in Oudtshoorn

(day 7): knysna heads and plettenberg bay, (day 8): addo elephant national park.

We will embark on an exciting game drive at Addo Elephant National Park, where you can witness these majestic animals up close. With several other wildlife species, including lions, rhinos, buffalos, zebras, and various antelope species.

(Day 9): Wilderness National Park or Hiking at Robberg Nature Reserve

Start your day with the breathtaking beauty of Wilderness National Park and immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring Knysna Heads, or choose to embark on an optional hike through the pristine Robberg Nature Reserve.

(Day 10): End of the 10 Days/9 Nights Garden Route Private Tour

You can choose to end your trip in Cape Town or Port Elizabeth. With our unique itinerary, you’ll be in for an incredible adventure on your 10-Day Garden Route Tour from Cape Town.

Book Your Multi-Day Private Tour of the Garden Route Below:

  • Infant seats

Important information about the

Garden route private tour:.

Please note that that this experience requires good weather. This experience requires a minimum number of 2 travellers. This is a private tour or activity. Only your group will participate. You will return to the designated departure point For a full refund, cancel at least 48 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Price may vary on group size. Additional discounts offered for larger groups.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Garden Route Private Tour:

What’s the garden route private tour all about, how long does the tour usually last, what places are on the itinerary for the tour, can i customize the tour to my preferences, does the tour package include meals, how do i go about booking the garden route private tour, what’s the maximum group size for this private tour, when’s the best time to take this tour, is the tour suitable for all ages and fitness levels, what should i pack for the tour.

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Garden Route Holidays

Garden Route Holidays

  • South Africa
  • Garden Route

Nestled along the southern coastline of South Africa, the Garden Route is a breathtakingly beautiful stretch of land that embodies the essence of natural wonder and serene adventure. Renowned for its pristine beaches, lush indigenous forests, and awe-inspiring mountains, the Garden Route is a traveller’s dream, offering an opportunity to explore the untamed wilderness and embrace the serene beauty of this region.  

Spectacular Landscapes

The Garden Route, with its magnificent landscapes, combines the allure of the Indian Ocean with the grandeur of the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains. The strikingly beautiful coastline is dotted with pristine beaches and craggy cliffs, while the rolling hills and fertile valleys are adorned with verdant forests and sparkling rivers.  

Tsitsikamma National Park

Tsitsikamma, which means "place of much water," is a coastal paradise where lush forests meet the sea. The Storms River Mouth is a highlight, offering suspension bridge walks and thrilling kayak trips beneath towering cliffs.  

This charming coastal town is famous for its tranquil estuary, the Knysna Heads rock formations, and the indigenous Knysna Forest. Here, visitors can explore the captivating biodiversity of the region and embark on picturesque boat trips.  

Culinary Delights

The Garden Route is a culinary haven, with a burgeoning food scene that showcases fresh seafood, farm-to-table produce, and artisanal delights. Enjoy seafood feasts in seaside restaurants and savor local wines in picturesque vineyards.  

Art and Culture

The region's artistic flair is on display in the charming town of Plettenberg Bay, known for its vibrant arts and crafts scene. The Garden Route also hosts cultural events and festivals that showcase the talents of local artisans.

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For advice on where to go, what to do and how to choose your perfect tour, talk to our Travel Experts.

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Popular Holidays to Garden Route

Garden Route offers a wealth of wonderful sights and experiences. What better way to explore them than on a Wendy Wu tour?

Kruger to Cape Explored

Kruger to Cape Explored

Garden route at a glance.

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south africa garden route tour

Why The Garden Route Is Considered The Most Scenic Road Trip In South Africa

  • The Garden Route is a must-visit road trip in South Africa, known for its attractions and stunning scenery, stretching from Witsand to Tsitsikamma Storms River.
  • The route offers diverse activities like hiking, scuba diving, camping, and exploring charming towns, along with the chance to see birds, whales, dolphins, and iconic African animals.
  • Visitors have options for guided tours or self-driven exploration, with guided tours ranging from three days to seven-day tours, and various accommodation options available along the route.

The Garden Route is the most famous road trip in South Africa and perhaps the most famous in sub-Saharan Africa. The Garden Route is relatively short at only around 190 miles long, but it is packed with attractions and eye-watering scenery. It is located in the Western Cape not too far out of Cape Town.

Head out and explore the Garden Route after spending some days in Cape Town exploring its many attractions from the famous Cape Town penguins to the stunning Table Mountain rising over the city often draped in a low cloud called the "Table Cloth."

What Is So Special About The Garden Route In South Africa?

The Garden Route runs from Witsand in the Western Cape to Tsitsikamma Storms River in the Eastern Cape. The route traces some of the ecologically diverse vegetation along with many estuaries and lakes along the coast. The Garden Route was added to the UNESCO list of World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 2017.

  • Beginning: Witsand, Western Cape
  • End: Tsitsikamma Storms River, Eastern Cape
  • Length: 190 miles or 300 kilometers

The area has an oceanic climate with mild to cool winters and mild to warm summers. Rain can occur year-round

South Africa is a superb country for a road trip and so is its neighbor Namibia; hire a 4x4 with a mounted tent and explore the many wonders of Namibia on a self-driven road trip . Namibia's Etosha National Park is one of the best national parks in Africa to enjoy a self-driven safari .

Related: Here’s What You Need To Know Before Hiking Lion’s Head In South Africa

The Garden Route Is Diverse With The Best South Africa Has

Along the Garden Route, there are plenty of hiking trails and eco-tourism activities (including at Cape Fynbos and Temperate Forest). Other activities include scuba diving, abseiling, off-roading, camping, fishing, and much more. See charming towns, vividly colored wildflowers, golden beaches, and tall indigenous forests.

Caving is another popular activity at the Cango Caves at Oudtshoorn (they are one of the top attractions in South Africa). The cave system is one of the world's finest stretching for 2.5 miles (although only around a quarter of the caves are open to the public). Choose between the easier Heritage Tour and the more challenging Adventure Tour.

Cango Caves Adventure Tour:

Visit the deepest sections of the Cango Caves open to the public (this tour includes crawling through tight spaces).

  • When: Every Hour On Half Hour (from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm)
  • Fee: R 240.00 ($48)

Tsitsikamma National Park is another top attraction along the Garden Route and is located along the way and is one of the most dramatic of the protected areas in South Africa.

Related: Dine With Giraffes & Zebras At Namibia's Omaruru Game Lodge!

What To See Along The Garden Route In South Africa

Almost 300 species of birds can be found along the route inhabiting its different environments (including fynbos, forests, wetlands, and coastal environments). Oudshoorn (known as the "Capital of the Klein Karoo") has a semi-arid valley climate and is home to many farmed ostriches.

Along the coastline, look for colonies of the African penguins and colonies of fur seals.

  • Birds: Almost 300 Species
  • Whales: Humpback and Southern Right Whales

It is common to see whales and dolphins off the coast along the Garden Route and whale watching is a popular activity. Come and see humpback whales, southern right whales, and enormous pods of dolphins year-round; there are around 15 species of whales and dolphins to be seen.

Head to New Zealand's Kaikoura and enjoy a rare chance to go whale watching for sperm whales .

See some of the most iconic African animals in parks and reserves along the Garden Route, including elephants, baboons, bushbuck, ostriches, monkeys, and others.

How To Discover The Garden Route

The Garden Route doesn't need to be a self-driven tour as there are many guided tours offered on the Garden Route. There is a lot to see and do along the Garden Route with guided tours ranging from three days to seven-day tours.

There is also the option to buy a ticket that allows for a hop-on and hop-off bus service, so visitors can explore the route at their own pace.

Example 5 Day / 4 Night Tour of The Garden Route (and Cape Agulhas) Tour

This tour has 2 to 9 people in each tour and departs from Cape Town. The highlights of the tour include an Ostrich Farm, the Cango Caves, the Knysna Lagoon, Tsitsikamma, Mossel Bay, Cape Agulhas, and Hermanus.

  • Cost: R15,000 to R10,000 ($800-$550)
  • Excludes: Lunch and Dinner
  • Includes: Guide, Transportation, Accommodation

For more extended guided tour options of the Garden Route, refer to South Africa Venues .

There are plenty of lodges, bungalows, château, backpackers, and other accommodations to stay in along the route.

Why The Garden Route Is Considered The Most Scenic Road Trip In South Africa

South Africa with kids

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Joanne Owen

written by Joanne Owen

updated 17.05.2024

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Stacked with incredible safari experiences and beautiful beaches, and not short of fun theme parks and child-friendly facilities, South Africa is a great place to head for an unforgettable family trip. For detail, read this guide to visiting South Africa with kids. Covering tips for travelling with infants, through to the best places to take teenagers, here we also share itinerary ideas to kick-start your South African adventure.

Is South Africa suitable for kids?

South africa with infants and toddlers, south africa with pre-teen kids.

  • South Africa with teenagers
  • Where to stay

Recommended South Africa itineraries with kids

Practical tips for travelling to south africa with kids, travel ideas for south africa, created by local experts.

Cape Town and Garden Route - a luxury guided tour

7 days  / from 4800 USD

Cape Town and Garden Route - a luxury guided tour

Cape Town and the Garden Route have it all - a fascinating culture, safaris, chocolate and wine tasting, and much more. Discover the coastal city of Cape Town and the Peninsula before heading out to the Garden Route with Knysna and Mossel Bay, where you'll experience some game drives.

The Cape Peninsula and Safaris in Kruger and Pilanesberg

15 days  / from 4000 USD

The Cape Peninsula and Safaris in Kruger and Pilanesberg

Wildlife in South Africa is still truly wild, a fact that you'll be able to discover in this fascinating two weeks trip. Enjoy whale watching in Cape Town and first safaris in Aquila before heading up north: the famous Kruger and Pilanesberg national parks with all its wildlife await.

Explore the North of South Africa: Sun City and Madikwe game reserve

7 days  / from 3000 USD

Explore the North of South Africa: Sun City and Madikwe game reserve

For those short on time, staying close to Johannesburg may make sense. On this trip, you'll arrive and depart in Johannesburg and then transfer to the theme park Lost City before continuing to Madikwe for a few days of game drives to spot plenty of wildlife.

It certainly is. From wildlife safaris and beautiful beaches , to interactive museums and adventure activities, South Africa offers plenty to keep children of all ages engaged and excited.

Before we dig deeper into the needs of each age group — and suggest suitable itineraries you might want to consider — it’s worth keeping a few general points in mind. 

In bigger cities, you’ll want to stay vigilant, use reputable transport options, and keep valuables secure.

The same is true when it comes to booking safari experiences and accommodation. Always use reputable companies and guides, and be sure to get confirmation of specific accommodation requirements in advance. For example, do you need a cot or high chair? How accessible is the property?

As a general rule of thumb, cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg will suit kids and grown-ups alike, with a range of food and accommodation options, and a high standard of facilities.

In addition, such cities boast tonnes of family-friendly activities, from theme parks and interactive museums, to nearby national parks that offer easy, safe access to incredible wildlife.

Meanwhile, for a chilled-out beach break with kids of any age you could look into visiting less busy coastal towns.

Tempted to take a trip to South Africa? Browse our customisable South Africa itineraries , or talk to our local experts .

Cape Town, South Africa - aerial view © Mark Van Overmeire/Shutterstock

Travelling to South Africa with kids? Consider including Cape Town on your itinerary © Mark Van Overmeire/Shutterstock

When it comes to travelling to South with infants and toddlers, deciding where to stay and how you’re going to get around are likely to be top of your priorities. 

Bearing in mind that public transport in South Africa is limited, unless you’re planning to stay put, you might want to hire a car. If that’s the case, note that while car rentals can provide child safety seats, it’s best to confirm in advance.

When choosing where to stay, find out whether the places you’re considering have amenities like cribs and high chairs. Though widespread in cities and major tourist towns, if you’re heading further off the beaten track, it’s best to check before booking.

You’ll also want to have a travel health kit handy — something that’s well-stocked with items such as baby paracetamol, anti-rash cream, and rehydration salts. 

Still undecided? Wise up on other family-friendly destinations , and some of the best places to go with kids .

Table mountain cable way, Cape Town, South Africa @ Shutterstock

Table Mountain cable car, Cape Town, South Africa @ Shutterstock

While the youngest of kids might find a full-on safari too much — and it might be too much for you to handle — they’re ideal for those who’ve moved beyond the toddler phase.

As such, going on safari in the likes of Kruger National Park comes hugely recommended if you’re in South Africa with children.

Alternatively, Johannesburg has much to keep kids happy. Both destinations are covered in more detail below. 

Editor's tips: if you plan to visit malaria-prone areas like Kruger National Park, consult your doctor before travelling, and teach children to stay close, especially in crowded places and while in the wild outdoors.

Set on a safari? Read our guide to how to plan a South African safari . Alternatively, save yourself the hassle and book our customisable Kruger Adventure trip.

Chacma baboon Kruger National Park, South Africa © Shutterstock

 Kruger National Park, South Africa © Shutterstock

South Africa with teenagers 

While teenagers are also likely to love going on a safari, they’ll also be old enough to throw themselves into South Africa’s more adventurous activities. 

In South Africa, they can take their pick from mountain climbing, abseiling, surfing, hang-gliding, and hot-air ballooning. Just ensure activities are booked through reputable providers. 

Depending on their interests, another great way to engage teenagers is via trips that engage with local culture and history. 

For example, known as the street art capital of Africa, Johannesburg’s vibrant Maboneng Precinct district is a must-visit.

Or how about heading to the Cradle of Humankind UNESCO World Heritage Site, or uncovering Cape town’s history on a trip to Robben Island?

One last suggestion — to enhance their experience, invite the teenager you’re travelling with to get involved with planning your trip. Give them responsibly for choosing some activities and helping map out your schedule.

stairs-johannesburg-south-africa-shutterstock_1208264443

Johannesburg, South Africa © Shutterstock

While only you will know exactly what you and your family want from your trip — and your personal practical needs — here’s a run-down of some recommended places to visit in South Africa, considering different age groups.

Infants and toddlers

When it comes to places you might want visit with infants and toddlers, Cape Town makes a great base. With tonnes of modern, family-friendly places to stay, it’s convenient and offers easy access to some incredible experiences that are practical — and enjoyable — for all ages.

For example, you could catch the cable car up to Table Mountain. While strollers can be wheeled right onto it, bring a sling if you want to trails at the top. 

Elsewhere in town, Two Oceans Aquarium and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens are also stroller-friendly, and offer plenty of space for little ones to explore.

Another option when in South Africa with kids — including infants and toddlers — is to travel the Garden Route.

Renowned for its natural beauty, the beaches along the Garden Route — such as those in Plettenberg Bay and Knysna — are clean, often calm, and not too crowded, making them ideal for toddlers to play and paddle in the shallow waters.

Meanwhile, nature reserves like Tsitsikamma National Park offer well-maintained boardwalks that are suitable for strollers.

south-africa-knysna-shutterstock_1050701894

Knysna, South Africa © Shutterstock

Pre-teen kids

Kruger National Park  comes hugely recommended if you’re in South Africa with kids.

Alongside taking lots of unforgettable game drives, look into booking a lodge that offers entertaining — and educational — junior ranger programs.

Alternatively, Johannesburg has much to keep kids happy, including the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre and Johannesburg Zoo, with Gold Reef City theme park on hand for an easy, fun day trip. 

As will already be clear, Cape Town is a top place to visit if you travelling with kids of any age, but back to the question of travelling with teenagers.

In addition to the suggestions mentioned above, Cape Town offers stacks of adventure activities like zip-lining and sandboarding. Or you could take a family kayak trip to see penguins at Boulders Beach.

Meanwhile, laidback Durban boasts great beaches and is perfect for water sports. Or, for a mix of aquatic fun and adventure sports, head to Shaka Marine World.

How long have you got? Check-out our suggested itineraries for spending a week  in South Africa, 10 days , and a fortnight .

surfer-surfing-wave-durban-south-africa-shutterstock_221514811

Durban, South Africa © Shutterstock

From Garden Route glory, to self-drive safari adventures, here are a couple of recommended South Africa itineraries to consider taking with kids.

Cape Town and the Garden Route — ideal for all ages

Offering beautiful beaches, walks and hikes for all abilities, and seriously good food and wine (grown-ups need to be catered for, too!), trips from Cape Town along the Garden Route are sure to keep everyone happy. 

We’ve already shared why Cape Town is great for various ages, and it’s also a great place to start this itinerary.

Depending on the age range of your party, visit the stroller-friendly Two Oceans Aquarium and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, or else book some adventure activities for the first few days of your trip.

As you drive the Garden Route, take time to stop at the likes of the Elephant Sanctuary near Knysna, and Plettenberg Bay. At the latter, everyone will be happy — take your pick from enjoying the golden beach, or going on an ocean safari to spot dolphins, whales, and seals. 

Travelling with nature-lovers? Visit the nearby Robberg Nature Reserve for scenic hikes and wildlife wonders.

Editor’s tip:  read our feature on the best Garden Route itinerary and take inspiration from our customisable Garden Route trip .

Robberg 5 Beach from Robberg Nature Reserve near Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route, South Africa © Shutterstock

 Robberg Nature Reserve near Plettenberg Bay, South Africa © Shutterstock

Swaziland self-drive experience: ideal for older kids and teens

Suitable for all ages — if you can handle longer drives with toddlers! — our Family Self-drive Adventure in South Africa and Swaziland is arguably best-suited to older kids and teenagers. 

First up, hit the highlands in Dullstroom, where you can access walks, hikes and adventure activities like rock climbing.

From here, head to Blyde River Canyon and Bourke’s Luck Potholes to enjoy scenic views and incredible geological formations, before spending a full day on a game drive in Kruger National Park . 

Next up, cross the border into Swaziland, where the epic Lubombo Mountains await, plus bushwalks along the Msineni River.

Another highlight around these parts is Hluhluwe Game Reserve — a top spot to round off an unforgettable family road trip.

Blyde River Canyon, South Africa © AdobeStock

Blyde River Canyon, South Africa © AdobeStock

To enhance your experience of visiting South Africa with kids, here are some practical tips tailored for families traveling with infants and toddlers, younger children, and teenagers.

Infants and Toddlers

  • Pack wisely: bring along all necessary baby supplies like diapers, wipes, formula and baby food. Also pack a good supply of sunscreen and baby-friendly insect repellent.
  • Plan wisely: schedule downtime and plan activities around your child’s routine to avoid overtiredness. 
  • Accommodation : choose accommodation with family-friendly facilities, such as cribs and high chairs.
  • Getting around: when renting a car, be sure to book a suitable car seat in advance. Also plan regular road breaks to keep everyone happy.
  • Health: talk to your doctor before traveling to discuss health precautions, and always use bottled water for drinking and preparing formula.

Younger children

  • Educate your kids (by stealth!) : take advantage of South Africa’s rich wildlife and history through visits to wildlife reserves, museums and cultural villages.
  • Safety: it goes without saying that you should keep a close eye on children, especially in busy areas like markets or when near water. Teach them basic safety rules about not wandering off, and what to do if they’re separated from you.
  • Routine: while it’s tempting to pack a lot into your days, younger children need a slower pace. Plan for early dinners and a good night’s sleep.
  • Engagement: involve teenagers in planning your trip by letting them choose some activities. 
  • Foster freedom and independence : allow older children a degree of independence where safe, such as exploring a market or museum with agreed check-in times and meeting points.
  • Investigate adventure activities : South Africa is full of adventure activities that might just appeal to teens, from surfing in Cape Town, to zip-lining and bungee jumping along the Garden Route.
  • Cultural immersion: encourage teenagers to engage with history by visiting sites like Robben Island in Cape Town, the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, or the Battlefields in KwaZulu-Natal.
  • Connectivity : while you might want to encourage a degree of digital disconnection during your trip, it’s probably to wise to check your accommodation has wi-fi.

For more general advice, read our  practical tips for travelling with kids .

South Africa, Tsitsikamma National Park, wooden bridge suspended above Storms River on Garden Route

Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa © Shutterstock

Inspired to visit South Africa? Get The Rough Guide to South Africa and discover the best things to do in South Africa to help you plan your trip.

Not keen on planning? Browse our customisable South Africa itineraries before talking to our local experts to kick start curating your dream trip.

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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south africa garden route tour

What to bring?

3 replies to this topic

' class=

Whatever you want/need, I guess?

I would love to help you but I need to know more details. Where are you planning to go? When are you planning to go there?

Which month? Where? Public camps or private reserves?

Impossible to help without basic information.

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  1. South Africa's Garden Route (10 Days) Tour

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  2. The Garden Route in 3 Days

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  4. Garden Route 2021: Top 10 Tours & Activities (with Photos)

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COMMENTS

  1. 22 Garden Route Tour Packages (Offered by Top Rated Operators)

    3-Day Big Five Safari Garden Route Game Lodge. $273 to $411 pp (USD) South Africa: Shared tour (max 9 people per vehicle) Luxury Lodge. You Visit: Cape Town (Start), Garden Route GR (Garden Route), Cape Town (End) Gems of Africa Safari and Tours. 4.9 /5 - 100 Reviews.

  2. The ultimate Garden Route road trip

    It's one of the most popular parts of South Africa for visitors both local and international. Stretching some 200km, a Garden Route road trip takes in national parks, dense forests, placid lakes and some outrageously beautiful beaches.. Known as much for its outdoor activities as its natural beauty, along the way you can learn to surf, leap into water-filled canyons, dive to shipwrecks or ...

  3. 10 Best Garden Route Tours & Trips 2024/2025

    Monkeyland was awesome. Choices of accommodation were very nice. Overall tour was a great way to see the coast of South Africa. Destinations Cape Town, L'Agulhas, Swellendam, Oudtshoorn, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Tsitsikamma National Park, Stormsrivier, Port Elizabeth +7 more Age Range 8 to 90 year olds Country Region Garden Route Operated in

  4. The Garden Route

    Wednesday, 17 November 2021. If the whole world is indeed a garden, as Frances Hodgson Burnett once wrote, then the Garden Route of South Africa was cultivated by a maverick horticulturist. In truth, the name is somewhat misleading because the Garden Route is about as far from the average garden as could conceivably be imagined.

  5. Garden Route and Addo Tours

    We are proud to say that Earthstompers won the Lilizela Tourism Award in 2019 as "Best Tour Operator in South Africa". In 2020, TripAdvisor ranked our 6 day Garden Route Adventure Tour in the top 10 tours worldwide. Thousands of people travel with us yearly, and love their experiences. Don't take our word for it - read the reviews

  6. Garden Route Guided Tours

    Garden Route Guided Tours Stretching 300 km, the Garden Route in South Africa's botanical nook. There is no place in South Africa quite like the Garden Route. It includes one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline that South Africa offers and crosses through numerous small, picturesque coastal towns. Named for its immensely diverse vegetation, most indigenous to the area, the Garden ...

  7. Garden Route 5-Day Tour: Addo Park, Jeffreys Bay, Oudtshoorn ...

    See the best of South Africa's scenic Garden Route—with visits to Addo Elephant National Park, Wilderness, Jeffreys Bay, and Oudtshoorn—during this 5-day trip from Cape Town. Join your expert guide on hikes through lush forests. Visit nature reserves to see some of Africa's endangered species. Kick back and soak in the sun on soft, sandy beaches. This tour offers the perfect mix of ...

  8. South Africa Garden Route Tours

    Garden Route & Addo Group Adventure - 5 days (one-way) Our 5-day group adventure tour is a safe and affordable way to explore the Western Cape, Little Karoo, Whale Route, Addo Elephant National Park, and Route 62. This tour starts in Cape Town every Monday, and ends in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) every Friday. Learn more.

  9. Garden Route travel

    Africa. High on the must-see lists of most visitors to South Africa is the Garden Route, and with good reason: you can't help but be seduced by the glorious natural beauty. The distance from Mossel Bay in the west to Storms River in the east is just over 200km, yet the range of topography, vegetation, wildlife and outdoor activities is ...

  10. The Garden Route in South Africa: The Ultimate Guide

    There's a 300-kilometer stretch of coastal road on the south west tip of South Africa regarded as the most beautiful region in the country. Known as The Garden Route, the road trip gets its name from the Garden Route National Park that it covers, and the diverse vegetation and wildlife, and abundance of lagoons, lakes, mountains, forests, and ...

  11. Nature's Paradise: Guided Garden Route Tour South Africa

    Tips for Your Guided Garden Route Tour South Africa. The Garden Route gets its name from the lush and diverse vegetation that lines its path. It's a breathtaking stretch of coastline that extends approximately 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Mossel Bay in the west to Storms River in the east. This route is renowned for its awe-inspiring ...

  12. Best Garden Route Tours ☑️ Budget & Luxury Packages

    MoAfrika Tours offer the widest range of customised budget and luxury tour packages in the Garden Route. 🎖️ 2024/2025 rates and prices. ... It's not hard to imagine how the Garden Route got its name. South Africa's most popular tourist destination is sandwiched between the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains and the Indian Ocean and is ...

  13. The Most Perfect Two-Week South Africa Garden Route Itinerary

    The Garden Route is a 300-kilometre (190 miles) stretch of road running through the southeastern coast of South Africa and gets its name from the abundance of flora growing along the route. While the Garden Route officially starts in Mossel Bay in the Western Cape and finishes at Storms River Mouth in the Eastern Cape, the starting point is ...

  14. A Perfect Garden Route Itinerary: South Africa's Epic Road Trip

    Read on for a full 2-week Garden Route itinerary through some of the most gorgeous parts of South Africa. Table of Contents. Cape Town (Garden Route Days 1 - 3) Visit Table Mountain. Relax on the Beaches. Hike Up Lion's Head. Explore Long Street. Visit the V&A Waterfront. Suggested Stay for Cape Town: Belmond Mount Nelson.

  15. 10 Best Garden Route Tours & Trips from Cape Town

    What people love about Garden Route Tours from Cape Town. Petra Auerbach 17 Apr, 2024. 5. With Gareth we had a great, well organized short week, too short but ful of information, entertainment, fun. Garden Route & Addo Group Adventure - 6 Days. Graeme Thompson 27 Jan, 2024. 5.

  16. Garden Route Escorted Tour • View Itinerary

    The tour travels via Wilderness, an attractive holiday resort, to Knysna, known as the oyster box of South Africa, nestling on the banks of a beautiful lagoon in the heart of the Garden Route. Journey into the magical Knysna Forests, the stamping ground of the elusive Knysna elephants.

  17. Garden Route & Beyond Holidays 2024/2025

    Start planning your hotels, tours, safaris and fly drive holidays on the Garden Route with our experienced South Africa experts. 0%. 020 7084 6500 Tailormade Travel Worldwide; ... this fabulous itinerary combines the scenic Garden Route with the best of South Africa's renowned hospitality.

  18. Garden Route Tours from and/or to Cape Town

    Garden Route & Overberg Tour 5 Days; 4 Nights. In addition to the Classic Garden Route Tour Highlights (Oudtshoorn, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Tsitsikamma), we add the Overberg with quiant Arniston as well as Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa and meeting place of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.We travel back to Cape Town via Hermanus (with the best land-based Whale Watching from ...

  19. Luxury Garden Route tours

    Luxury Garden Route Tours. Road trips of the Garden Route allow you to explore some of South Africa's most majestic landscapes and attractions. Travel from the rolling hills and valleys of the winelands, journey along the Atlantic coast, and stop in national parks and pretty villages along the way. We've curated a selection of recommended ...

  20. Garden Route Private Tour

    What to Expect: 3 Days/2 Nights Garden Route Tour Itinerary. Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Garden Route in South Africa, a renowned sightseeing tour route. (Day 1) Cango Caves and Ostriches in Oudtshoorn. Begin your adventure by exploring the mesmerizing Cango Caves and visiting the charming ostriches in Oudtshoorn.

  21. Garden Route Tours

    Choose from over 400 dates in 2024 and 2025. All our destinations are on sale! See our offer. Nestled along the southern coastline of South Africa, the Garden Route is a breathtakingly beautiful stretch of land that embodies the essence of natural wonder and serene adventure. Renowned for its pristine beaches, lush indigenous forests, and awe ...

  22. Why The Garden Route Is Considered The Most Scenic Road Trip In South

    The Garden Route is the most famous road trip in South Africa and perhaps the most famous in sub-Saharan Africa. The Garden Route is relatively short at only around 190 miles long, but it is ...

  23. South Africa with kids

    Cape Town and Garden Route - a luxury guided tour. Cape Town and the Garden Route have it all - a fascinating culture, safaris, chocolate and wine tasting, and much more. Discover the coastal city of Cape Town and the Peninsula before heading out to the Garden Route with Knysna and Mossel Bay, where you'll experience some game drives. view trip ⤍

  24. Safari packing

    Bringing ZAR prior to trip 6:32 pm. Safari packing 5:49 pm. Condition of Dirt Roads 5:46 pm. Self-drive the Panorama Route 5:11 pm. Boo Kaap 3:23 pm. E-Visa Experience, South Africa 1:55 pm. Day trip from Cape Town to Cape of Good Hope 12:48 pm. Place of overnight while going to Kruger 12:16 pm. AMI Travel and Tours 11:53 am.

  25. International Experiences Expand Engineering Perspectives

    Students in the Global Healthcare Technologies in South Africa program toured the Garden Route on the southeastern coast of South Africa. ... Lab Tour: Materials Innovation Lab. Researchers in Northwestern Engineering's Materials Innovation Lab are advancing additive manufacturing at the nanoscale, developing methods to produce sustainable ...