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Classic Garden Route For Families

Our Classic Garden Route holiday, starting from Cape Town and finishing in Port Elizabeth, is one of the most diverse and pleasurable family holidays we offer. From City to Coast and from virgin rainforest to the big five, this holiday has it all. Includes our trademark Cape Town experiences and our pick of the best family friendly accommodation the Cape has to offer.

Tailor-made 2 weeks

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Itinerary

Overview

  • 2 week self drive holiday
  • Cycle in Cape Town, Hike Table Mountain & Visit Robben Island
  • Sample the best of the Cape's wines at family friendly wineries
  • Experience the Whale Coast staying at a private nature reserve
  • Explore Oudtshoorn, Tsitsikamma & the Garden Route
  • Spot the Big 5 on a malaria-free safari at Amakhala Private Reserve

You will start you holiday in city of Cape Town where you will spend four nights in a lovely boutique guesthouse and enjoy our trademark Cape Town family experience. We like to introduce our guests to this fantastic city with a guided cycle tour of the vibrant V&A Waterfront. Our guided Table Mountain hike takes you to the top of one of Cape Town's most famous landmarks, with your guide taking you away form the crowds to some spectacular view points. From the mountain to the sea, you then visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and countless other political prisoners were incarcerated and subjected to years of hard labour, your guide, Lionel, was himself a previous inmate, so can offer a very personal account of life on Robben Island and the anti-apartheid struggle. In your final two days, we send you for tour and private guided tour of the winelands. For larger families and those wanting their own space, there is the option to upgrade to a stylish self-catering apartment on the V&A Waterfront.

From Cape Town, you’ll drive east to the Whale Coast to spend a couple of nights at the family friendly Mosaic Private Sanctuary. If you are visiting between June and November, this is one of the best places for land-based whale watching. Outside of this season there is still plenty to do here. Days can be spent kayaking in the tranquil lagoon, taking a gentle stroll through the reserve, trekking up onto the fynbos-rich mountain trails or a day trip to the gorgeous beach which is only accessible by 4x4 vehicle.

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. Although a little cheesy, the ostrich farms are great fun for a family visit, and older children and adults alike will love the meerkat tours. 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 (the Storms River Canopy Tour is one of South Africa’s finest visitor attractions) and family 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, Hog Hollow is a high quality family friendly eco lodge in a beautiful forest setting.

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 small safari camps of Quatermains or Hillsnek, you’ll enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in open topped 4WDs with expert wildlife guides.

This is a private self-drive itinerary using our pick of the best places to stay for families 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

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 on your arrival day is a lovely way to see the waterfront and stretch your legs together as a family after a long flight (children's seats / bikes available for all ages and abilities)
Meals Included: None included
Accommodation: Welgelegen in a superior room
Transport: Self Drive from Cape Town Airport. +/- 30 minutes.

DAY 2: CAPE TOWN - TABLE MOUNTAIN HIKE & ROBBEN ISLAND TOUR
This morning is an early start for your Table Mountain Hike. There is no better place to get a sense of Cape Town than from the top of 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 guided walk. For those wanting something gentle, there is a 2 hour circular walk which involves taking the cable car up the mountain and hiking on the plateau to Maclears Beacon, the highest point on Table Mountain. The trail passes stunning viewpoints and marsh and Fynbos bush. For the more adventurous and older families, we will arrange a more challenging trek climbing the Mountain via Skeleton Gorge or from the Twelve Apostles which will take about 6 hours. With both options, you will take the Cableway down afterwards.
This afternoon is a slightly more sobering experience, with a visit to Robben Island, the former prison for political prisoners. Reached by ferry from the V&A waterfront, the prison played host to many prisoners over the years, including Nelson Mandela and your guide for the afternoon, Lionel Davies. He will take you around the island and will give you a deep insight into what it was like being imprisoned there and will also share stories of the part he played in the anti-apartheid movement.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Welgelegen Guest House in a superior room
Transport: Transfer to/from Table Mountain Hike

DAY 3: CAPE TOWN - CAPE POINT DRIVE WITH OPTIONAL TOWNSHIP EXPERIENCE
Today is set aside for you to visit Cape Peninsula, the southern tip of the Cape peninsula. The drive to Cape Point route is one of the most magnificent drives in the world, passing the coast with a backdrop of stunning mountains. Don't miss the chance to stop at Boulders Beach along the way and swim with the colony of penguins, penguins, before continuing down to the wild and windy Cape Point itself where you can visit the old lighthouse and go for a bracing walk. 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.
If you would like to contrast nature with culture, then we can arrange a gentle bike tour through the township of Masiphumelele. Meeting your guide, you will cycle through the township, getting a feel for what life is like in these communities. Depending on the day of the week, you may visit a school or a local healer.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Welgelegen Guest House in a superior room
Transport: Self Drive

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: Welgelegen Guest House in a superior room
Transport: Transfer to/from Winelands Tour

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 vast horizons falling into stunning mountain ranges. The area is home to a number of stunning nature reserves with rich fynbos ecosystems and populations of bird, zebra, bontebok and eland. You will be staying at the Mosaic Private Sanctuary, a 1,000 hectare private nature reserve located close to the coast on a lagoon. There is so much to do here and most of the activities are included in the price, but on your first afternoon you might want to get your bearings and then maybe go for a paddle on the lagoon, or go for a gentle walk.
Meals Included: Breakfast and dinner
Accommodation: Mosaic Private Sanctuary in the Lagoon Lodge
Transport: Self Drive Cape Town to Stanford. +/- 2 hrs driving

DAY 6: WHALE COAST
Today is at leisure. We absolutely recommend going down to the beach, where the mountains meet with the ocean. If you are visiting during the whale season (June - November) this area is one of the best land based whale watching sites in the world. Out of season, there is still plenty to do. Your 4 x 4 vehicle will transport you done to the vast stretch of beach where you can enjoy the sand dunes, visit a stone age cave and perhaps go for a beach walk to spot some seals. Afterwards, sit back and enjoy a sundowner while yoru children play in the waves.
Meals Included: Breakfast and dinner
Accommodation: Mosaic Private Sanctuary in the Lagoon Lodge

DAY 7: OUDTSHOORN
Today you leave the coast behind and drive inland over the Outeniqua Mountain Range, entering 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 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: Breakfast included
Accommodation: De Zeekoe Guest Farm in a two bedroom cabin
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: De Zeekoe Guest Farm
Transport (where relevant): 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 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 in a family suite
Transport (where relevant): Self Drive 150km / 2 hrs 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: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Hog Hollow in a family suite

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: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Hog Hollow in a family suite

DAY 12: SAFARI
Set off early for a long drive East to Amakhala Private Reserve. Amakhala is a beautifully situated malaria free private reserve of around 7500 Hectare 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 5. 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: Breakfast and dinner included
Accommodation: Amakhala Hillsnek
Transport: Self Drive 350km / 4 hrs driving

DAY 13: SAFARI
Leaving Camp early morning 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 lunch and downtime before heading out again in the mid afternoon for a last game drive and sun downer.
Meals Included: Fully inclusive
Accommodation: Amakhala Hillsnek
Transport (where relevant): Game Drive

DAY 14: DEPART PORT ELIZABETH
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

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

Mosaic Private Sanctuary

Cape Town & Garden Route

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Variety of activities available.
- Cozy cottages or luxury rooms
- Private 1000 hectare nature reserve

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 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 PE.

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 Jo’burg)

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 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 a family of four with two children under 12 years old travelling over Easter School Holidays and includes rental car, all accommodation and services as per the itinerary.

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 number and age of children and the availability of room types.

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 496 reviews

(4.96/5)

  • We had an absolutely fantastic time on our Garden Route trip and I would be more than happy to provide feedback for you and Tourdust. I also thought you might like to know directly some of our experiences.

    All the logistics worked smoothly from our meet and greet through to car pick up. Glad we picked the larger van as it meant we and our suitcases had lots of space. The vehicle was perfect for the longer drives.

    Pumba was a perfect introduction to safari for our kids. The dedicated ranger was ideal as it allowed us to modify our plans to suit the children and we managed to see elephants, giraffe and lots of other game up close. They even tailored one afternoon so the kids could try archery and fishing whilst we relaxed. The food and accommodation was lovely and well suited for a family of our size. Food was delicious and ample to keep us full of energy.

    We have been privileged to stay in many great hotels but we agreed Hunters country house is probably our favourite. The service was outstanding, food was great and they even proactively booked us into their restaurant Zinzi and. Leaned the car! Accommodation was again perfect for us with to adjoining rooms and the grouds are beautiful. We have already highly recommended to other friends. Being between knysna and plattenberg is a great location and we had lots of exciting adventures.

    Zeekoe at Oudtshoorn as you know was our next stop. It gave us a great chance to visit the caves and that was pretty much all there was so two nights was the ideal length. We ate both nights at the hotel as nothing was open as it was a Sunday in the town. The food was ok but the fact there was lots of space for the kids to run around and we met several other families made it another good location. We actually enjoyed driving over the mountains and heading in land for a while. The kids loved a small adventure park near the caves that had some water slides.

    The whale coast hotel at Hermanus was a different location being in the town. The accommodation was ideal again as we enjoyed being close to all the restaurants and shops whilst also having two floors and three bedrooms. The breakfast provided by the hotel was basic but with so many other nearby great restaurants it wasn't an issue. It was also close to shops and as it had a kitchen we got some extra items for those early mornings.

    Finally we made it the vineyard for Christmas. I can't thank you enough for the effort you undertook to find us suitable rooms as again this little appartment with three rooms, a living space and kitchen suited us really well. Especially as it gave Santa a place to put stockings. I was a little skeptical about the hotel in advance having stayed in many other great Cape Town locations but it was a lovely hotel. Great food, kids menus, and we managed to have Christmas lunch at Myoga which was outstanding. The kids loved searching out the giant tortoises that lived there and it provided a nice location for some running. The staff were very friendly, always willing to help and I would highly recommend it as it gives you a break from the hustle and bustle of the V&A whilst also being easy to drive to.

    I can't really explain well just how much fun we had and we all agreed that it was probably our best holiday yet and far exceeded our expectations.

    MissingMichael F reviewing Classic Garden Route For Families on 09 February 2016

  • As a family we have never been to Africa before and in Tourdust we have found an excellent tour operator whose attention to detail is second to none. The thought, care and attention that went into planning our trip, significantly contributed to the overall success of our time in South Africa.

    There is much to mention, but three highlights would include having a personal tour guide in Lionel Davies on Robben Island. Lionel was a political prisoner and happened to serve his sentence at the same time Nelson Mandela was serving part of his. Tourdust connections with Cape Town local tour operators meant that we had access to this.

    Secondly my husband and I were keen to do a wine tour; however I had some doubts as to how this would go down with the children - I needn't have worried. The local tour guide provided a completely appropriate day, which included chocolate tasting, wine tasting and visiting a cheetah sanctuary.

    Thirdly our daughter turned 14 whilst on Safari; the camp we were staying at had access to two private game reserves and made sure we all had a variety of sightings and experiences and our daughter's birthday was acknowledged with a gorgeous chocolate cake - again in the background Tourdust had made sure this happened.

    Choosing just three highlights has been difficult, but I just want to thank Ben and his team wholeheartedly for making our first experience of the African continent such a positive one. I can't recommend this company more highly.

    MissingAnne Wallis reviewing Classic Garden Route For Families on 03 June 2014

  • Everything was fab, I especially loved Tuningi such a special place and my son got to see his favourite animal the cheetah (after a bit of time hunting about on foot!). Mauritius is lovely we saw quite a bit of the island in the end.

    MissingLaura L reviewing South Africa Safari and Mauritius on 12 December 2018

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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.

The Classic Garden Route with a twist, using our favourite one-off owner operated B&Bs and Self Catering. Book early as availability is limited.

Tailor-made Classic 2 weeks

Families from $1,191 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 $1,085 per person economy class from London

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

Tailor-made Luxury 8 days

Families from $1,242 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 $1,085 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 $1,415 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 $1,405 per person economy class from London

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