Large view from camp figtree

Garden Route Local Gems

Following a similar itinerary to our Classic Garden Route holiday, here we have chosen our pick of the best small B&Bs and self-catering accommodation with a keen eye for value - perfect for the more independent minded traveller. By their very nature, these are not ubiquitous places and they tend to book out early.

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Itinerary

Overview

  • Independent self-drive Garden Route
  • Optional Private guided Table Mountain Hike, Robben Island, Winelands & township tours
  • Stay at a charming Overberg wine farm
  • Self drive safari in Addo Elephant Park
  • Characterful small B&Bs and self-catering accommodation

Starting out in Cape Town, we recommend our optional Cape Town experience, including guided cycle tours of the V&A Waterfront and City Bowl, guided Table Mountain hike, township cycling tour and private guided tour of the winelands with our superb team of local Capetonian guides. You can pick and choose from any of these experiences.

From Cape Town, you’ll drive East to one of our favourite discoveries in the region, the Beaumont wine estate. This is an opportunity to experience Overberg life on a real wine farm. There are two simple, authentic cottages on the farm and days can be spent wine tasting, taking a gentle stroll through the vineyard or trekking up onto the fynbos-rich mountain trails.

Driving inland over the Outeniqua Mountain Range from the Garden Route, you enter the vastly different landscape of Oudtshoorn and the Klein Karoo. Although a little touristy, the ostrich farms are great fun and the meerkat tours exceptional. From Oudtshoorn it is a short drive to the classic garden route area around Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. This is a perfect place to stay for some good wild beaches, superb visitor attractions and walks amidst the wild beauty of Tsitsikamma National Park. We prefer to avoid the over developed towns, favouring the Crags area between Plettenberg Bay and Tsitsikamma. The Crags area is home to another independent gem, the wonderfully named Moonshine on Whiskey Creek, boasting eclectic hand crafted forest cabins in pristine indigenous forest.

For your final stop, rather than heading for a private reserve, we like to cheat the system a little by combining the definitive safari ambience of Camp Figtree high in the Zuurberg Range with forays into Addo Elephant Park. If there were a contest for best stoep (veranda) in Africa, it would be hard to imagine anywhere besting the colonial elegance, mountain views and utterly remote location of Camp Figtree’s magnificent terrace. This small lodge is set atop a high Zuurberg peak with 270 degree views, yet is only a short drive from the main entrance to Addo Elephant National Park, which is home to over 500 elephants, 450 Cape buffalo, lions, spotted hyena, black rhino and the fascinating flightless dung beetle.

This is a private self-drive itinerary using our pick of the best value character places to stay in the Western Cape and Garden Route and many of the experiences we feel define the region, we are however always pleased to customize our recommended itineraries to your needs. Please note an alternative version of this itinerary is available with upgraded boutique accommodation. This itinerary is suitable for couples and families.

Day-by-day

Itinerary in Brief


DAY 1: ARRIVE AND EXPLORE THE V&A WATERFRONT. BICYCLE TOUR
DAY 2: CAPE TOWN - TABLE MOUNTAIN HIKE
DAY 3: CAPE TOWN - CAPE POINT DRIVE INCLUDING TOWNSHIP EXPERIENCE OR ROBBEN ISLAND
DAY 4: CAPE TOWN - WINELANDS TOUR
DAY 5: DRIVE TO WHALE COAST
DAY 6: WHALE COAST
DAY 7: OUDTSHOORN
DAY 8: OUDTSHOORN OSTRICH FARMS
DAY 9: GARDEN ROUTE
DAY 10: GARDEN ROUTE / TSITSIKAMMA
DAY 11: GARDEN ROUTE
DAY 12: DRIVE TO ADDO
DAY 13 SAFARI IN ADDO
DAY 14: DEPART PORT ELIZABETH

Extended Itinerary


DAY 1: ARRIVE AND EXPLORE THE V&A WATERFRONT. BICYCLE TOUR
On your arrival day, we recommend taking it easy, heading down to the V&A Waterfront to soak up the atmosphere. The Victoria and Albert Waterfront is the historic heart of Cape Town, buzzing with cafes, restaurants, street performances and stunning views of the working harbour and Table Mountain. A short guided cycle tour is a lovely way for a family to see the waterfront and stretch their legs together after a long flight (children's seats / bikes available for all ages and abilities)
Meals Included: None included
Accommodation: Acorn House in a family cottage
Transport: Self Drive from Cape Town Airport to Acorn House. +/- 30 minutes.

DAY 2: CAPE TOWN - TABLE MOUNTAIN HIKE
There is no better place to get a sense of Cape Town than from atop Table mountain amidst the lush Fynbos, indigenous to the region. Most tourists venture no more than 5 minutes from the Cableway, however we recommend getting away from the crowds on a gentle guided walk. Today, your mountain guide will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the Cableway station where you will head up Table Mountain in the aerial cableway. Once on top you can get away from the crowds on a gentle circular walk on the plateau to Maclears Beacon, the highest point on Table Mountain. The trail passes stunning viewpoints and marsh and fynbos bush. It is around a 2 hour walk in total. For more adventurous and older families, we will arrange a more challenging trek climbing the Mountain via Skeleton Gorge or from the Twelve Apostles (around 6hours) and taking the Cableway down.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Acorn House in a family cottage
Transport: Transfer to/from Table Mountain Hike

DAY 3: CAPE TOWN - CAPE POINT DRIVE INCLUDING TOWNSHIP EXPERIENCE OR ROBBEN ISLAND
It is all too easy to travel through the Cape region in comfortable lodges and not have any sense of how the majority of the country lives. On the basis that exposure breeds understanding and awareness, we think it is a good thing to learn about this magnificent countries turbulent past and present and fascinating culture. Generally speaking, most visitors consider two activities; visiting Robben Island or visiting a township. Where Robben Island gives insight into the political struggles of the past, a visit to a township gives insight into the economic realities of the present. We work with a couple of fantastic projects in the townships, a gentle bike tour through the township of Masiphumelele and, our favourite, a township cooking class, where you learn to cook local staples such as Pap, chakalaka, samp and African stew in an inspiring cooking school that is teaching the catering trade to locals in the townships. We will discuss these options with you to understand what will suit your family best.
If you choose the township option, it works nicely to carry on from the township on the Cape Point route, one of the most magnificent drives in the world. Along the way you can stop at Boulders Beach and swim with the penguins, before continuing down to the wild and windy Cape Point itself. If you have time on the way back, we recommend stopping at Olifantsbos Beach, a wild and windswept sandy and rocky beach with several well marked walking trails. This is a good location for spotting Eland, Bontebok and Zebra which tend to congregate in this area. The whole day is easily done as a self-drive trip, but if preferred we can arrange it as a private guided experience with a fantastic local guide.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Acorn House in a family cottage
Transport: Transfer to/from Township Experience

DAY 4: CAPE TOWN - WINELANDS TOUR
What more could you ask for in a day? Visit vineyards and artisanal producers in the company of your guide, Pamela, a passionate foodie and local resident. You can get stuck into some fine wines and great food in incredibly beautiful surroundings. Pamela knows the vineyards inside out and, for our family visitors, has picked out those with space for the kids to run around; from the jungle gym and famous hot chocolate at Warwick Estate to the gorgeous gardens and fruit orchards (where the children can help themselves to fruit) at Babylonstoren. Pam is driving so you can just sit back and enjoy yourself.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Acorn House in a family cottage
Transport: Transfer to/from Winelands Tour

DAY 5: DRIVE TO WHALE COAST
You finally leave Cape Town behind, heading East on the N2 Highway. As soon as you leave the City behind the scenery is absolutely stunning with massive horizons falling into stunning mountain ranges. The fynbos, mountains & wild coast off the Western Cape's Whale Coast is worth a visit year round but is further elevated during the whale season from July to October.
Bot River, a short distance inland from the Whale Coast, is not the kind of place tourists usually stop over at, which is a good thing, as it is a lovely find. These simple farm cottages on the family run Beaumont wine farm in Bot River are a real gem. An opportunity to experience Overberg life on a real wine farm. There are two simple, authentic farm cottages on the farm, each boasting open fireplaces in the kitchen and lovely wood-burning stoves in the living room. Days can be spent wine tasting, taking a gentle stroll through the vineyard or trekking up onto the fynbos-rich mountain trails. There is no swimming pool, but a dip in the dam is a great way to cool down on a hot day, and the jetty is a cracking spot for a sun downer. If you fancy a day at the beach, you are only half an hour from the beaches of Hermanus and the whale coast.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Chateau Beaumont Cottages in Mill House
Transport: Self Drive Cape Town to Bot River +/-2 hour driving

DAY 6: WHALE COAST
If you can pull yourself away from relaxed charm of the wine farm, then a visit to the Coast during the whale season is an absolute must. Hermanus is an easy drive as is Walker Bay Nature Reserve, both offering easy to access land based whale watching. Outside of whale season, there are good beaches in Hermanus and the Coastal trail running through Hermanus is highly recommended.
Meals Included: None included, self-catering
Accommodation: Chateau Beaumont Cottages in Mill House
Transport: Self Drive

DAY 7: OUDTSHOORN
Driving inland over the Outeniqua Mountain Range from the Garden Route, you enter the vastly different landscape of the Klein Karoo. Nestled between the Outeniqua and Swartberg Mountains, this is a fertile valley famous for its ostrich farms and phenomenally benign climate with more sunshine than anywhere else in the country. Aside from being a convenient stopping point, it is well worth a visit for the contrast the scenery provides and the ostrich farms.
Meals Included: No meal included
Accommodation: Oue Werf in a family unit
Transport: Self Drive +/- 5 hours driving

DAY 8: OUDTSHOORN OSTRICH FARMS
For those with children over ten years old we highly recommend the sunrise meerkat tours, and a visit to an Ostrich Farm is a must for children of all ages. If you have time available then the Cango Caves are also well worth a visit.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Oue Werf in a family unit
Transport: Self Drive

DAY 9: GARDEN ROUTE
The garden route covers a large stretch of coast between the Western Cape and Port Elizabeth. Where once visitors headed without thinking for Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, it makes more sense nowadays to base yourself at one of the superior inland lodges and use it as a base to explore from. It is worth noting that as with the Cape in general, beaches are not your regular sun-bather & cocktail variety, think beach-combing, rock pools and surf. The area is the perfect base for exploring Tsitsikamma National Park and heading to one of the superb visitor attractions such as the Storms River Canopy Tour, Monkeyland or Knysna Elephant Park.
The journey from Oudtshoorn to Crags region takes around 2 hours. En-route we recommend a wonderful stop at Wilderness National Park, picking up a picnic and hiring a canoe from Eden Adventures. It is a gentle hour of easy paddling upstream through meandering reed beds until you can go no further, from that point there is a board walk through the forest to a Touw River Waterfalls. It is a very gentle river and no prior experience is required.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Moon Shine on Whiskey Creek in Firefly or Bushpig Forest Cabin
Transport: Self Drive +/- 2 hours driving

DAY 10: GARDEN ROUTE / TSITSIKAMMA
Tsitsikamma National Park is the indisputable gem of the Garden Route, a beautiful 80km stretch of wild coast and lush forest. A great way to experience the Park is on Storms River waterfall trail a 2-3 hour scramble along the Coast from the Storms River Rest Camp along the first section of the world famous Otter Trail. Like all the best family walks, the rocky boulder strewn path creates enough of a challenge to keep children interested. The views of the Ocean are magnificent and sightings of dolphins playing in the surf are fairly common on this stretch of Coast. The target of the walk is a waterfall crashing into a swimmable tidal pool. Also in the Storms River area is the highly renowned and award winning Storms River Canopy Tour in the magnificent Tsitsikamma indigenous rainforest. One of the best Canopy tours in the world, platforms are built around giant yellow wood trees that are up to 700 years old. You glide slowly between the platforms suspended from steel cables. The local guides are a wealth of knowledge on the forest ecosystem and the tour is a pioneering example of local community involvement. For those with a taste for adventure but without out a head for heights, the 2 hours Storms River kayak & lilt adventure is also highly recommended. Starting in the open ocean, you paddle into the opening of the Storms River and upstream through the magnificent gorge surrounded by towering cliffs, at the low water point, kayaks are exchanged for lilos and you gently make your way further up-stream and float back. There is only time for two of the three options in the day, but there is nothing stopping you returning the next day for more.
Meals Included: None included, self-catering
Accommodation: Moon Shine on Whiskey Creek in Firefly or Bushpig Forest Cabin
Transport: Self Drive. +/- 1 hour driving each way

DAY 11: GARDEN ROUTE
A final day to explore the Garden Route, the nearby visitor attractions of Monkeyland and Knysna Elephant Park are highly rated, but you might just want to take it easy, heading to one of the beaches in the area or enjoying the swimming pool and a gentle walking trail from your accommodation
Meals Included: None included, self-catering
Accommodation: Moon Shine on Whiskey Creek in Firefly or Bushpig Forest Cabin
Transport: Self Drive

DAY 12: DRIVE TO ADDO
Addo Elephant Park is the third largest national park in South Africa providing sanctuary to over 550 elephants, lions, buffalo, black rhino, spotted hyena, leopard, a variety of antelope and zebra species, as well as the unique Addo flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively in Addo. Although sightings of the big five are rare, elephants and giraffe are frequently seen. You can choose to self-drive or take a guided game drive around the park. Aside from the far more expensive private reserves, Addo is the best safari option in the East and Western Cape regions. You can stay in budget National Park accommodation or there are a variety of options around the perimeter of the park. We like to recommend Camp Figtree high up in the Zuurberg Mountain Range. What you get with Camp Figtree is a very real sense of wilderness and an authentic safari ambience at superb value compared to other safari lodges in the Eastern Cape and Addo area. Combining the safari ambience of Camp Figtree with the wildlife of Addo NP offers a comparable quality safari experience to the private reserves at considerably less cost.
The drive from the garden route area is a long and arguably least scenic on this itinerary, expect it to take at least four hours. We recommend spending the afternoon relaxing at Camp Figtree.
Meals Included: None included
Accommodation: Camp Figtree
Transport: Self Drive. +/- 4 hrs driving

DAY 13 SAFARI IN ADDO
Although it is possible to self-drive in Addo, we strongly recommend joining a guided game drive on one of Camp Figtree's open sided 4WDs. Your knowledgeable safari guide will really bring the experience alive drawing attention to wildlife large and small and offering a far greater insight into the ecosystem. It is also far more relaxing and enjoyable seeing the wildlife from an open vehicle rather than being cooped up in a saloon car. Game drives will usually last around three hours. In the afternoon you can return to the park with your own vehicle or explore the beautiful wilderness environs of Camp Figtree, where you can enjoy a sundowner walk, mountain biking, or bush picnics in safari style
Meals Included: Breakfast only
Accommodation: Camp Figtree
Transport: Self Drive

DAY 14: DEPART PORT ELIZABETH
It is a short drive to the airport to drop off your hire car and begin your journey back home
Meals Included: Breakfast only
Accommodation: End of Services
Transport: Self Drive. +/- 1 hour

Accommodation


Guide price is based on recommended accommodations. Alternative accommodations and upgrades are available. Please get in touch or click on 'alternatives' below for alternatives and upgrade options.

Acorn Guest House

Cape Town & Garden Route

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 2

- Homely Guesthouse
- Affordable
- Pool and Gardens
- Neighbourhood location

Beaumont Wine Farm

Cape Town & Garden Route

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 2

- Authentic wine farm
- Simple comfortable cottages
- Mountain trails
- Great value

Oue Werf Country House

Cape Town & Garden Route

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Traditional farm guesthouse
- Beautiful rural setting
- Nice gardens

Moon Shine on Whiskey Creek

Cape Town & Garden Route

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 2

- Lovingly crafted forest cabins
- Wilderness forest location
- Back to nature experience
- Self Catering

Camp Figtree

Cape Town & Garden Route

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Incredible mountain location
- Best verandah in Africa
- Elegant colonial style
- Infinity pool

Details

Getting there

Flying into Cape Town and out of Port Elizabeth, South African Airlines usually has the best fares from £950-£1250 during school holiday periods, this does involve stopping in Johannesburg both ways, but it makes sense, given you have to stop there anyway on the flight from Port Elizabeth. BA offers the same route, albeit usually a little more expensive but with the option of a direct flight to Cape Town on the way out (the return from PE is via Johannesburg). Out of school holidays, fares can be as little as £650 per person.

Flight prices on this route are always cheaper booked in advance, particularly when flying during UK school holidays. If you are booking anything less than a month prior to departure expect to pay through the nose. Virgin and BA tend to offer flight sales around September and October, which are worth looking out for.

Please let us know your preferred departure airport and we would be pleased to quote for a flight inclusive ATOL protected package.

Price includes

Quoted price is a guideline price based on two people travelling together and includes rental car with comprehensive insurance and unlimited mileage, all accommodation with meals as specified and tours in Cape Town as mentioned.

Many services and accommodation in South Africa are subject to seasonal variations in price. Prices for this itinerary are expected to be fairly consistent year-round for all periods excluding Christmas / New Year. Rates will vary depending on the availability of room types.

Please enquire for rates for a family.

When is best?

Broadly speaking, the Southern, Eastern and Western Cape of South Africa enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate in reverse order to that found in the Northern Hemisphere. Whilst the regions spring and autumn are our favourite times to visit (Sep, Oct, March, April & May), visits during their winter (June – August) are not to be ruled out.

Spring (September to October) is a lovely time to visit, temperatures are around 15 -25 Celsius, it is usually relatively dry (with only moderate chances of rain) and the Fynbos flowers are blooming. October Half Term is one of the best times of year for a family to visit the Cape. The weather is improving but not too hot and there is a good chance of seeing the spectacular whales of the Coast of Hermanus and around (the whale season runs July – October).

Summer (November to February is generally dry and hot with day time temperatures of 25-35 Celsius and plenty of sunshine (10.5hrs a day on average). The Christmas Holidays may offer the best weather but are generally best avoided as the area gets over-run with domestic tourists and prices are vastly inflated. February Half Term is the most popular time of the year for British families to visit South Africa, with the advantage of great weather without the peak crowds of Christmas / New Year.

Autumn (March - May) is also one of the best times of year to visit the region. If you can put up with cooler overnight temperatures, you’ll find the country much quieter with very pleasant warm days in the gentle autumn sunshine. Easter Holidays and May Half Term are therefore perfect times to visit South Africa.

Winter (June – September) is the least favourable time of year to visit from the perspective of the weather. However the appeal of seeing the Southern Right Whales, low season rates and generally mild sunny days grants a certain logic to visiting the Cape during the UK summer holidays. The big drawback is the strong chance of blustery wet conditions around Cape Town and the winelands. The Garden Route and Eastern Cape is very dry during winter, but expect very cool overnight temperatures, you will need to pack some warm clothes, especially if you are going on early morning game drives.

Safety

For the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth office check www.gov.uk/travelaware

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 613 reviews

(4.94/5)

  • Everything worked perfectly! We all found our trekking experience to be the best part of our adventures in Morocco. We were particularly pleased with our guide, Hussain; he did a brilliant job. He is thoughtful, knowledgable, and sweet. He represents you well.

    MissingJacob Moffat reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Comfort Treks on 09 March 2017

  • Thanks for organising an excellent holiday for us. It's my first time using Tourdust and I've been really impressed and will certainly be recommending you to friends and family. You provided an excellent level of service all the way through, and the bespoke nature of the trip was fantastic whilst being really good value for money.
    Key highlights:
    - Le Kasbah de Toubkal blew us away - one not to miss!
    - The trek was amazing and my kids loved it. The camping was really fun, the food was excellent, and I'd particularly call out our guide Rashid who was fantastic show especially with my kids.
    - Riad Adore was outstanding - far exceeding my expectations - it was beautiful and we were very well looked after
    - Le Doux Tour was luxurious and a nice relaxing way to end the holiday.
    - Logistics were great and our main driver Mustapha was brilliant

    If there was one build / thing I would change, it's a very small one but some candles / lanterns to use in the evening whilst camping would have made it easier to stay outside for a bit longer.

    MissingMark Dilley reviewing Boutique Marrakech & Atlas Mountains on 07 June 2016

  • Truly another world. The sky was enormous and the summits snow covered. Blue irises, wild herbs and fruit trees flowered on the slopes. Even as I toiled up the dry river bed I gazed in admiration.

    Without exception, everyone was courteous and welcoming. Food was good ( and far too plentiful); accommodation clean. Above all-everything worked! A pick-up was promised for 9.00am. At 8.55 the doorbell rang. Impeccable.

    No praise is too high for the organisation and staff. I am definitely going back.

    MissingTerence Humphreys reviewing Classic Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek on 16 May 2016

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Enquire

Alternative Itineraries

Our itineraries are carefully designed by our experienced travel designers based on years of experience and customer feedback. For a custom itinerary tailored to you, please enquire giving as much detail as possible on your brief.

One week holiday combining the best of Cape Town with gorgeous lodges in the Winelands & Whale Coast.

Tailor-made Luxury 8 days

Families from $1,331 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,104 per person economy class from London

A holiday of a lifetime. Spend 4 days exploring the best of Cape Town, before heading to Kruger for world class safari.

Tailor-made Luxury 8 days

Families from $1,514 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,428 per person economy class from London

Classic Garden Route holiday including our trademark Cape Town experience, E Cape Safari and Coast.

Tailor-made 2 weeks

Families from $2,509 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,039 per person economy class from London

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