South Africa’s Garden Route, with its perfect mix of farmland, bush, and beach is wildly appealing; as are the charming country towns that you pass through, the soulful local cuisine on offer and the colourful characters you meet along the way. Of course, no trip along the Garden Route would be complete without a side trip along Route 62, which is loosely based on its American cousin, Route 66.
Wine, life, nature’s bounty and the creative chefs all bind together into a slice of heaven on this road trip through South Africa’s farming belt. It’s a feast for the senses, from the delicious roadside produce and humble grape growers through to the big-ticket items like the World Heritage-listed Cango Caves and the daring plains of Botlierskop Private Game Reserve.
You’ll combine coastal delights with wildlife encounters, fine cuisine with local delicacies and lush coastal forests with vast Karoo plains. Throw in a glamping experience surrounded by wild animals, and a morning wake up to beachfront views, and there’s no denying you’re in for a luxurious retreat.
Paddle through the staggering scenery as you glide along a calm river in the Wilderness area.
Head deep underground to the illuminated wonder world of the Cango Caves.
Roadtrip along Route 62's semi-desert country plains with quirky pitstops along the way.
Spot some of Africa's Big Five on a 4x4 safari at Botlierskop Private Game Reserve.
Taste delicious ports in the Klein Karoo at Boplaas.
Learn the true meaning of bird brain at Mooiplaas' Ostrich Farm.
Cruise through the scenic Knysna Lagoon while tasting oysters.
Learn about South African Maritime history at the Dias Museum Complex.
Start with a morning pick-up from your accommodation in Cape Town.
End to end, Route 62 is the longest wine route in the country and every mile away from Cape Town gives a glimpse into the talent of the country’s wine and port makers and insight into the lives of everyday South Africans.
The drive from Cape Town north along Route 62 is a visual feast and one best spent gazing out the window. Rolling farmlands and vineyards rotate through the colour spectrum during the seasons and, as the miles flow. At times, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re in Portugal when you visit Boplaas, a modest looking wine farm in the Calitzdorp region with a mighty reputation for delivering world-class ports and table wines.
Today’s end destination, the Klein Karoo, lies east of the Breede River Valley. The trademark arid plains and flocks of ostriches are a dead giveaway that you've arrived in the self-proclaimed ostrich capital of the world.
As you near Oudtshoorn, the kerbside changes to the trademark red dirt of the Klein Karoo which hides a World Heritage-listed wonder beneath the surface. The 20 million-year-old Cango Caves are well hidden beneath the arid landscape of the Klein Karoo and stun with their size and beauty. Hundreds of perfectly created limestone stalactites and stalagmites have dripped their way into formation over thousands of years. This cavernous limestone labyrinth is filled with vast halls, hidden chambers and ancient cave paintings that drip with history and ooze with natural charm. Named after the Khoisan word for a wet place, these caves drip in sharp contrast to the dusty plains above and the visitor centre strikes a good balance between preservation and commercialisation.
As dusk falls on African big sky country, you’ll meander off-the-grid to the Mooiplaas Guest House and working ostrich farm, so keep your camera at the ready. Local delicacies fill the farm-house-style dinner and breakfast menus, so don’t be shy in trying the Karoo lamb or something a little more exotic like ostrich fillet steak.
More often than not the skies are clear and Mother Nature puts on a stunning night-light display as the Mooiplaas team weave African tales in and around the traditional astrology landscape.
Your day starts with an ostrich egg omelette and a visit to Mooiplaas’ working ostrich farm. As you drive down country lanes, you’ll see breeding pens, the nursery and learn how the staff lovingly keep careful eyes on the developing eggs.
From the clay dust of the Karoo to the green of the Garden Route with a splash of ocean blue… today, more so than any other, shows the real contrasts in the South African landscape. Wilderness National Park’s garden land undulates through lush forestlands and alongside lofty mountains. A canoe paddle along the Touws River, deep in the park, will get you that little bit closer to nature and to the park’s abundant birdlife. Keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of a forest buzzard, African crowned eagle, emerald cuckoo or half-collared kingfisher.
In days gone by, giant yellowwood trees were logged, but under the watchful eye of South Africa National Parks, these endangered species are protected and flourish. Your immersion in nature doesn’t end as night falls, as you stay on national park lands within a stone’s throw of Wilderness’ pristine beach. Arrive at Beach Villa Wilderness, your retreat for the night, with its elegant rooms and direct access to the pristine Wilderness beach. Spend the rest of the evening lazing on the beachfront sundeck, with unsurpassed sea views and the ultimate vantage point for dolphin spotting. Stroll along this wide sandy beach as the sunset transforms the sky in a kaleidoscope of colour. Your guide can suggest the best seafood or other dining options (own expense) available.
As day breaks, you’ll catch a glimpse of the sunrise over the river water and enjoy a relaxing last meal in the pristine wild before the Garden Route calls. Today, you'll follow the Indian Ocean from Wilderness to Knysna, a tiny hamlet with a bustling waterfront that’s a firm favourite with holidaying South Africans. This little town has a big reputation with seafood lovers and hosts an oyster festival each July… so shucking a shell or two is a must-do when in town.
Knysna sits on the shores of an oversized lagoon and, in a town known for its water activities, it would be remiss not to head out on the water to admire the view with a leisurely cruise.
Less than an hour’s drive inland and you’ll feel like you’re on a different tour when you crest the hill leading to Botlierskop Game Lodge, home to more than 1800 animals including lions and water buffalo, which you’ll spot on your afternoon game safari. Possible sightings include Rhino, Lion, Buffalo, Giraffe, Black Impala, Golden Wildebeest, Mountain Zebra, Hippo and so much more. From the safety of a specially adapted vehicle, an experienced game ranger will point out sightings and share his knowledge of the local wildlife.
As dusk falls, cosy up by the lodge fireplace, take a dip in the heated pool or dine al fresco on African game meats – each with a South African twist. Botlierskop takes glamping and raises it a notch or two with heated towel rails, brandy before bed and luxurious beds that beckon after a day on the road.
Rise with the sun and with your ranger at your side, you’ll head out into the bush to see what animals are up and about. Hungry hippos wallow in a reed-ringed dam, giraffes graze on tree canopies and monkeys screech in the distance… and this is all before breakfast.
After breakfast, as you bid adieu to the bushbucks and big game, chart a course for the coastline and a little seaside town with a big maritime history. Mossel Bay, on the sun-washed slopes of the Cape St Blaiz peninsula, is home to the Dias Museum Complex. Here the town’s cultural and natural history combine into one interlocked story that tells of early mariners and the flora and fauna they found.
On this journey, the culinary experiences have shared equal billing with the pristine wild so it’s fitting that the tour ends with a paddock-to-plate celebration of Cape Fusion cuisine in the pretty town of Swellendam. Nestled at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains, we think it’s the perfect final stop before you head home to Cape Town.
End with an evening drop-off at your Cape Town accommodation.
This trip will run exclusively for you. This itinerary guideline can run in reverse or a different order. This private tour itinerary is flexible and can be tailored to spend more time at the tour's highlights that interest you the most. Private tours offer your own exclusive private tour guide and vehicle during the transfer sections of the tour, but any included activities or attractions visited may join others already booked.
Led by a local English-speaking professional tour guide.
Private 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.
3 nights accommodation
Rates are calculated on 2 people per room sharing. If a single or uneven number is booked the package rate will add a single supplement fee and the extra person will overnight in a separate room.
3 x breakfast included.
You are responsible for your own personal travel insurance.
Local and international flights are excluded.
You can purchase other meals + drinks on tour.
from ±R1200 per day
A surcharge to travel in a luxury SUV vehicle for the included transfer sections of the tour. Maximum 3 people allowed per car.
Firstly it is important for you to know that I literally cannot see a dog without stopping to stroke it. Right, with that out of the way, I have always thought that travel was an important way to learn about oneself, and that it allowed for growth and development. It’s also very exciting – which is why I started out working for a travel marketing agency before I joined the Hotspots2c Team. When I’m not working I’m usually creating decadent baking creations, enjoying music, or spending time with family and friends.
Click on the terms for more details.
Full amount required to confirm a booking. Partial payment is allowed, but 100% payment is required at least 8 days before the tour's departure date.
Children are welcome on private tours. Some activities will have age limits and alcohol may only be served to adults over 18 years of age.
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.