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Classic Garden Route & Eastern Cape Safari

Self drive exploration of Cape Town and Garden Route, ending with a safari experience in private reserve. Including guided tours in Cape Town, unique accommodations and an intimate safari experience.

Tailor-made Luxury 13 days

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,109 per person economy class from London

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Itinerary

Overview

  • Independent self-drive Garden Route
  • Private guided Peninsula & Winelands tour
  • Meerkat and Ostrich in Oudtshoorn
  • Fully inclusive safari at Amakhala Private Reserve

Begin your holiday with four nights in Cape Town in Welgelegen, a lovely boutique guesthouse. During you stay, we will arrange some of our trademark Cape Town experiences, included a private guided tour of the Franschhoek, Stellenbosch or Paarl winelands and a day tour of the Cape Peninsula.

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. Whale season runs from June to end of October, during that time you will be able to enjoy nearby shore based whale watching

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, Oudtshoorn lies in a fertile valley famous for its ostrich farms and sunny climate. 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 and Robberg area. We prefer to avoid the over developed towns, favouring the Crags area between Plettenberg Bay and Tsitsikamma, which has some charming wineries and restaurants. The Crags area is home to another independent gem, Hog Hollow with magnificent views over the pristine indigenous forest and helpful staff on hand to help you make the most of your days exploring.

Your final stop, Amakhala Reserve is a beautifully situated malaria free private reserve in the Addo / Eastern Cape area. Set in a primeval landscape, Amakhala has a well-balanced wildlife population boasting the big five and substantial herds of plains game. Staying in the beautiful intimate Hillsnek, you’ll enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in open topped 4WDs with expert wildlife guides. For travel June to October a safari in the Great Kruger or non-malarial Madikwe is worth considering

This is a private self-drive itinerary using our pick of the best value character places 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.

Day-by-day

BRIEF ITINERARY
Day 1: Arrive and explore the V & A waterfront
Day 2: Cape Town – Cape Peninsula tour
Day 3: Cape Town – Winelands tour
Day 4: Cape Town – Day at leisure
Day 5: Drive to Overberg region
Day 6: Overberg region
Day 7: Oudtshoorn
Day 8: Travel to Garden Route
Day 9: Garden Route
Day 10: Garden Route
Day 11: Drive to private reserve
Day 12 On safari
Day 13: Depart Port Elizabeth

EXTENDED ITINERARY
DAY 1: ARRIVE AND EXPLORE THE V&A WATERFRONT
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. Alternatively we can arrange a bicycle tour of Cape Town city or perhaps a local cookery tour to get a taste of the diverse cuisine in the Cape region.
Meals Included: None included
Accommodation: Welgelegen Guest House in a deluxe room
Transport: Self Drive from Cape Town Airport. +/- 30 minutes.

DAY 2: CAPE TOWN – CAPE PENINSULA TOUR
Depart after breakfast taking the coastal route to the trendy Camps Bay area before reaching the scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive through Hout Bay, Simon Town and Kalk Bay. Visit the penguins at Boulders Beach, Cape Point Nature Reserve and Cape of Good Hope. Some options depending on the time available and your interests would be wine tasting in the Constantia Valley, visit of quaint Kalk Bay Town, short walk through Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens or take the cable car up Table Mountain.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Welgelegen in a superior room
Transport: Private guided full day Cape Peninsula tour with collection from Cape Town

DAY 4: CAPE TOWN - WINELANDS TOUR
Today will be spent visiting vineyards and artisanal producers in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek or Paarl with your guide, Pamela, a passionate foodie and local resident. You will get to taste some fine wines and delicious food in incredibly beautiful surroundings. Pamela knows the vineyards inside out and tailor-makes your day out based on your interests on particular wines and foods. Pam is driving so you can just sit back and enjoy yourself.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Welgelegen Guest House in a superior room
Transport: Private guided full day Cape winelands tour with collection from Cape Town

DAY 3: DAY AT LEISURE
Today is at your leisure. We can pre arrange a number of interesting tours from a hike up Table Mountain, visit of Robben Island or Township tour or a foodie tour exploring the cuisine of this diverse country
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Welgelegen Guest House in a superior room
Transport: Self drive

DAY 5: DRIVE TO WHALE COAST
Today you leave Cape Town behind, heading East on the N2 Highway. As soon as you leave the city limits, the scenery changes 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 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 and offer the perfect 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 beautiful 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 meals included
Accommodation: De Zeekoe in luxury room
Transport: Self Drive +/- 5 hours driving

DAY 8: GARDEN ROUTE
This morning you could fit in a meerkat tour before breakfast, then go onto the Cango Caves or visit an Ostrich farm which this area is renowned for, as it is only a two hour drive down into the 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 boardwalk 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: Hog Hollow Country House in a standard suite
Transport: Self Drive +/- 2 hours driving

DAY 9: 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. 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 yellowwood 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: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hog Hollow Country House in a standard suite
Transport: Self Drive. +/- 1 hour driving each way

DAY 10: GARDEN ROUTE
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: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hog Hollow Country House in a standard suite
Transport: Self Drive

DAY 11: DRIVE TO PRIVATE RESERVE
Set off early for a long drive East to Amakhala Private Reserve. Amakhala is a beautifully situated malaria free private reserve of around 7500 Ha neighbouring Shamwari East of Addo National Park. There are 11 small camps and lodges on the reserve in total and a well-balanced wildlife population boasting all of the big five. Your stay here is fully inclusive of game drives and all meals. After settling into your camp, head out on a late afternoon game drive and sundowner.
Meals Included: Dinner included
Accommodation: Amakhala Hillsnek
Transport (where relevant): Self Drive 350km / 4 hrs driving

DAY 12: ON SAFARI
This morning will be a very early start. Heading off in an open game-viewing vehicle, you will traverse over 18,000 acres weaving through 5 of the country’s 7 biomes. The wilderness of Amakhala Game Reserve preserves a complex and diverse ecosystem, providing habitat for over 60 mammal species. The Bushman’s River winds its way through the reserve providing its life source of water to the myriad of wildlife and birdlife. The majestic lion, herds of elephant, buffalo and giraffe, cheetah and endangered white and black rhino make up the big game component. There are also substantial herds of plains game species including zebra, black wildebeest, red hartebeest, Oryx and eland. After a couple of hours in the reserve return to Camp for a relaxed brunch and downtime before heading out again in the mid afternoon for a last game drive and sun-downer.
Meals Included: All meals
Accommodation: Amakhala Hillsnek
Transport (where relevant): Scheduled shared game drives in open 4x4 vehicles.

DAY 13: DEPART PORT ELIZABETH
Early morning game drive and breakfast at the lodge. It is a short drive to the Port Elizabeth 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.

Welgelegen Guest House

Cape Town & Garden Route

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Stylish boutique hotel
- Unpretentious
- Plunge Pool
- 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

De Zeekoe Guest Farm

Cape Town & Garden Route

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Stylish gardens & pool
- Meercat Tours
- Working farm
- Farmland views

Hog Hollow

Cape Town & Garden Route

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- High quality forest lodge
- Beautiful forest location
- Swimming Pool
- Base for Garden Route

Hillsnek Amakhala

Cape Town & Garden Route

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Tourdust favourite
- Exquisite small camp
- Only three tents
- Stunning views

Details

Getting there

Flying into Cape Town and out of Port Elizabeth, South African Airlines usually has the best fares from £950-£1250, 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)

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

There are a number of good value options via Europe and the Middle East which are worth considering if you do not mind the stop overs. These work exceptionally well for those travelling from regional airports, please ask for details.

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

Price includes

Inclusive of rental car with comprehensive insurance and unlimited mileage, all accommodation with meals as specified, tours in Cape Town as mentioned and safari activities as mentions.

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. 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 and March is the most popular time of the year for British traveller 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.

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 this time. 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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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.

Lovely combination of safari in Botswana's Chobe National Park, the majestic Victoria Falls and cosmopolitan Cape Town.

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Adults from $3,675 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,760 per person economy class from London

Families from $3,089 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 $1,760 per person economy class from London

Three nights safari in Sabi Sabi reserve in the Greater Kruger, followed by four nights in Cape Town.

Tailor-made 8 days

Adults from $2,776 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,565 per person economy class from London

An active holiday around the Cape & Garden route, including a 2 day guided hike, ending with safari experience in the Eastern Cape

Tailor-made Classic 15 days

Adults from $2,487 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,109 per person economy class from London

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