A firm favourite among visitors and locals alike, South Africa’s famed Garden Route offers a generous dose of the great outdoors, where nature and adventure combine in one perfect playground. Country roads perfectly frame both the rolling farmlands and endless flora and fauna, and the landscape dramatically changes – from Tsitsikamma forest to mountain ranges – as the kilometres pass. This is an ideal and action-packed way to get from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, Jeffreys Bay or even Addo Elephant National Park.
You'll cover some ground on this adventure and add in equal parts of untamed wilderness, animal encounters and hair-raising adventures to keep you on your toes. There’s optional bungy jumping and ziplining for the thrill-seekers and canoeing in Wilderness National Park or a quick swim in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean for nature-based adventurers.
Add in hiking in Tsitsikamma National Park, and prime game viewing at Addo Elephant National Park, which is home to the densest population of wild elephants on the planet, and you’ve got yourself a one-way trip to remember. Plus, if the mood takes you, you can learn to surf on some of the top-rated waves on the planet or put your goofy foot forward with a spot of sandboarding in Jeffreys Bay.
Grab some binoculars and head out on a 4x4 safari to look out for the Big Five at Addo Elephant National Park.
Paddle through the staggering scenery and abundant birdlife of Wilderness National Park.
Experience a rush like no other when you jump from one of the world’s highest bridge bungy spots!
Soak in the views of Knysna and its surrounds from atop the sandstone heads.
Zipline through dramatic scenery and over waterfalls in the Tsitsikamma forest.
Hike through the luscious Tsitsikamma forest over suspension bridges with views of a secret beach.
Sandboard your way through the dunes of Jeffreys Bay.
Hang ten on the world famous Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay.
Chill out with some beach time or shopping in the surf town of Jefferys Bay.
Drive the dusty roads of Addo in the tour van, searching for elephants and other wildlife.
Start with a morning pick-up from your accommodation in Cape Town.
In the anticipation of the journey to come, it’s easy to daydream and miss the ever-changing scenery on your first day’s drive from Cape Town. You’ll wind your way through mountain passes where lazy baboons line the roadside; through fertile micro-climates with rows and rows of grapevines and rolling farmlands. A morning stop at Riviersonderend allows those with change in their pockets to indulge in the South African penchant for home-baked pastry like the creamy and delicious milk tart (Melktert) the country claims from its Dutch origins.
The abundance of aloe lining the roadside heralds your arrival in Albertinia and provides plenty of Instagram opportunities with bigger-than-big succulents. By stark contrast, the oasis-like towns of Wilderness and George are surrounded by lush national parks and an afternoon canoe paddle provides the perfect setting to bird watch and enjoy the clean wild air.
For those that savour a great night’s sleep, tonight’s end destination – the coastal town of Sedgefield – promises just that. The tranquil village boasts the title of Africa’s slowest town. Here, life in the slow lane is the way of life. Check out the rustic beach restaurant and feel the white sand between your toes as you sip on cocktails, or venture into town for a more intimate dinner.
Overnight accommodation included according to your selected stay package. Subject to availability.
Pristine wild and adventure go hand in hand on this adrenaline-packed day. From a morning spent admiring the views from the imposing Knysna Heads, to ocean and green river views atop Bloukrans Bridge, the world’s highest commercial bridge bungy jump or ziplining over the gushing river gorge in the Tsitsikamma forest.
The bungy bridge itself is fairly unassuming as you drive over it, but it’s pretty apparent from the squeals and screams that this isn’t your average photo stop. Here, seemingly normal people hurtle face first down the 216m drop only to spring back up on their elastic cord like a yo-yo. So if you're feeling daring, why not face your fears and have a go? This region is a playground for the outdoors and for those who'd prefer to keep their feet on solid ground, a walk to explore Tsitsikamma's towering yellowwood trees provides the requisite photo opportunity.
As you head to the coastal belt, paradise-like towns such as Plettenberg Bay show why it and the Tsitsikamma National Park are favourites with holidaying locals. The short but steep walk to Tsitsikamma’s suspension bridge is worth it for the views alone and you’ll likely get a thrill as fellow explorers test its swing factor.
The large white caps (or seahorses as the locals call the crests) of Jeffreys Bay mark your departure from the official Garden Route and your arrival into South Africa’s quintessential ‘Surf City’. Hang ten with the locals, hire a board and hit the beach, sandboard on the dunes, shop and slip into a relaxed frame of mind.
Overnight accommodation included according to your selected stay package. Subject to availability.
A pre-dawn wake-up call might seem hard to take at first, but trust me, it’s worth getting an early start for your Addo game drive to see even more wildlife as the bush awakes. Your guide will use their experience to pinpoint the whereabouts of the park’s big game animals while deftly navigating the maze of dusty dirt roads in search of the Big Five. You can choose an included ±3 hour game drive in your tour bus, or hop on an optional guided 4x4 safari with a local game ranger.
The early morning start means free time in the afternoon and J’Bay’s surf village – with its discount outlets – is perfect for shopaholics. But, if you’ve always fancied learning to surf, then this town or the sand slopes beyond it are the places to put your goofy foot forward and go for it. Your adventure ends today and you can choose whether you’ll end in Jeffreys Bay, Addo Elephant National Park or the sunny Port Elizabeth.
End with an evening drop-off in Port Elizabeth or Addo Elephant National Park.
Maximum 13 guests per vehicle or guide.
Led by a local English-speaking professional tour guide.
Transfers to included tour highlights.
There is no central meeting point for this tour. A transfer service will collect you from your Cape Town accommodation.
2 nights accommodation according to your Ways 2 Stay package.
2 x Breakfast included
Optional activities can be paid and booked during your journey.
Local and international flights are excluded.
You are responsible for your own personal travel insurance.
You can purchase meals + drinks on tour.
I love working with people and making them smile, it’s why I chose to work in the travel industry. To be able to help someone make their travel dreams come true really makes my day. When I’m not busy being the friendly voice on the other side of the Hotspots2c hotline, you’ll find me spending time with my daughter and my husband, exploring and, every now and then, indulging in a little art or dance.
Click terms for more details.
Full amount required to reserve or confirm a booking.
Children under 12 years are not allowed. Children between 12 and 18 years must to be accompanied by an adult.
11 official Languages Spoken
Afrikaans – English – isiNdebele – Sepedi.– Sesotho – Siswati – Xitsonga – Setswana – Tshivenda – isiXhosa
How to say hello?
Molo – Xhosa
Sawubona - Zulu
Hallo - Afrikaans
Dumela - SeSotho
Electricity – Volt & plug
The South African electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ. Most plugs are 15 amp 3-prong or 5 amp 2-prong, with round pins.
WiFi/Internet Access on tour
WiFi can be found at most accommodations, restaurants and airports, however, the download speed is often slow and many connections limit your data usage. In short, you’ll be able to stay connected with home, but don't expect to watch HD movies in your spare time.
When to go
South Africa is blessed with a mostly mild climate, but different areas will yield different temperatures throughout the year. Summer in South Africa is usually peak season, lasting between November – February, however Easter time (March) is often still considered peak season too. Temperatures range from 25ºC in coastal areas to high 30ºs in inland areas. Cape Town has ideal weather during this time and Durban sports warm beaches and humid air, Johannesburg experiences hot clear days and often an afternoon thunderstorm.
Shoulder season is April and May, as well as September and October. Surprisingly, the weather in Durban is often at its best during this time, and other areas simmer down from their scorching highs. Prices are lower and crowds are smaller. September and October see eruptions of flowers and blooms all around the country.
Winter is beautiful in most parts of the country. Cape Town experiences winter rain and is often a little cold and miserable, but still crisp and beautiful. Because of the warm Indian Ocean, Durban has spectacular weather in winter, often hovering around 20-25ºC with clear blue skies. Inland areas get quite chilly and the odd snowfall is not uncommon (it only lasts for a day though!). Prices are at an all time low and it is an ideal time for game viewing, as the animals are more active in the cooler weather.
Best time to go
Jun-Jul = Safari
Jan-Feb = Beach
With the possible exception of Christmas Day and New Year's Day, most tourist services and attractions are open on South African public holidays. In addition most city shopping centres, restaurants and entertainment venues remain open.
|1 Jan||New Year's Day|
|21 Mar||Human Rights Day|
|30 Mar||Good Friday|
|2 Apr||Family Day|
|27 Apr||Freedom Day|
|1 May||Workers' Day|
|16 Jun||Youth Day|
|9 Aug||National Women's Day|
|24 Sep||Heritage Day|
|16 Dec||Day of Reconciliation|
|17 Dec||Day of Reconciliation Holiday|
|25 Dec||Christmas Day|
|26 Dec||Day of Goodwill|
Visa & Travel docs
Travellers from most Commonwealth countries (excluding New Zealand), most Western European nations, Japan and the USA receive a free, 90-day visitor's permit on arrival. These travellers do not need a visa to enter South Africa. A valid passport is essential with at least two empty pages. You generally will need to show return or onward travel arrangements. Children aged under 18 must show an unabridged birth certificate (showing both parents details).
Some countries do, however, need a visa. Visas are not issued upon entry, they must be attained beforehand. It is advised that you clarify this before you leave, the Department of Home Affairs office has a comprehensive list of countries that do not require visas. http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/immigration-services/exempt-countries
What to pack
We're generally laid back in South Africa, so no need to haul out your best silks and diamonds when you head to our shores. Here's some clothing advice when in South Africa:
Health & Safety
There are no compulsory vaccinations required to enter South Africa with exception of a yellow fever vaccination if you have been in a yellow fever area within the last 12 months.
The only major health risk you might face in South Africa is malaria, which is confined to small areas in the north-eastern parts of the country. Small pockets of the northern parts of the Kruger National Park fall under this area but the risk here is considered extremely low and it is not always necessary to take anti-malaria tablets. Remember as a precautionary measure to check with your accommodation what is recommended.
South Africa may have high crime statistics, but if you conduct yourself wisely, most tourists enjoy the country without any incident at all. Ensure that you lock away your passports and travel documents in a safe, which is usually provided by your accommodation. Don't flash around valuables and keep an eye on your belongings at all time. Majority of South Africa’s crime is opportunistic petty crime, so if you are vigilant about your belongings you should not have any problem.
South Africa has 3 world-class airports that receive international flights every day; Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Most international airlines will have flights into one or all of these airports daily.
There are numerous budget carriers that offer domestic flights between the major cities for very reasonable rates; this is the fastest and safest way to span large distances, especially between Johannesburg and Cape Town, which is a 2-hour flight.
From the airports there are numerous shuttles and taxis that you can pick up upon arrival, there are also many different car hire options at each airport and in all major cities. Uber is another reliable and affordable option.
Our currency in South Africa is the South African Rand. You can easily convert your currency to rand at a bank or Forex Bureau, the airports and larger towns often have many different Forex options. You can also withdraw from an ATM, banks are available throughout South Africa. Be sure to check what international bank charges you will incur for withdrawals before you arrive. Major credit cards are usually accepted in hotels or restaurants, however, there may be a surcharge. It is advisable to have small amounts of cash for curios and tipping.