Self Drive | Garden Route Explorer

Self Drive | Garden Route Explorer


Our Garden Route self-drive tour is ideal for those that would like to explore on their own and experience more of the coastal landscape and the Little Karoo.

Your Itinerary and abbreviations:
KM = distance by car, B/L/D/W = meals included (Breakfast/ Lunch/ Dinner/ Wine tasting)

Day 1   Arrival in Port Elizabeth

Its been a long day. Collect your rental vehicle and head to your comfortable accommodation, just a 3omin drive (on the left) to the gateway of Addo Elephant National Park. Spend two nights in a comfortable lodge on the banks of the Sundays River. You can relax with an awesome riverine view or get taken on a boat ride and explore the river. For the more adventurous about trying some sandboarding, hire a canoe and explore this safe waterway on your own. (KM: ± 45)

Day 2            Addo Elephant Park

Addo National Park: South Africa’s third-biggest park to Kruger. If you would like to see elephants, this is the place to be. Malaria-free and home to not only elephant but also buffalo, zebra, kudu, and warthog, to name just a few.

Today you do a safari into Addo with a qualified field guide (included). Learn about the Big 7, the flightless dung beetle, and go in search of elephant, buffalo, zebra, and with luck, lion.  You can either have lunch at the main camp or do a picnic lunch at a safe stop with ablutions deep in the bush. Once your memory cards are full, you get dropped off at your accommodation. B

Day 3            Plettenberg Bay

Tsitsikamma National Park/ Natures Valley/ Plettenberg Bay: This area is situated in the heart of the picturesque region known as the Garden Route. The park incorporates 80 km of rugged coastline with spectacular sea and landscapes, a mountainous region with valleys covered in mountain fynbos, indigenous forest, and deep river gorges leading down to the sea. Plettenberg Bay is known as the pleasure-seekers hotspot. Pristine beaches, charter boat cruises, hiking to the seal colony on Robberg, or for the adventurous palate, visit the Witblitz and Mampoer distillery.

Today you head towards Plettenberg Bay but first, stop in the Tsitsikamma National Park. The main attraction here is the suspension bridge over the Storms River mouth. This hike is well signposted and will take you about 90min to complete. You can also snorkel, swim, or do a guided kayak tour up the Storms River with the adventure center at the car park. We suggest doing lunch in Natures Valley, a 45min drive. Despite being on the Garden Route and overwhelming beauty, this hamlet remains relatively undiscovered with a beautiful lagoon and miles of unspoiled white beach. After lunch, you continue up the Grootrivier Pass and onto Plettenberg Bay.  You spend one night in a stylish beachfront guest house. We can recommend a few good fish restaurants in town. (KM: ± 300) B

Day 4            Lagoon town of Knysna

Known as a natural paradise of lush, indigenous forest, tranquil lakes, and the Knysna Heads. Geological formations of two massive sandstone cliffs that flank the mouth of the lagoon. The waterfront offers some great restaurants with equally good shops and bistros.

Before leaving, your visit to Plettenberg Bay would not be complete without a hike to the seal colony on the Robberg Peninsula – There are three routes to choose from and range from 2 km to 11 km, the latter taking 4-5 hours. Spend time on the beach and soak up the fresh air before heading onto Knysna.  You spent there one night in a wooden log cabin style hotel with a pool. (KM: ± 30) B

Day 5            Oudtshoorn 

Ostrich Capital of the world: With the sunniest days in the whole South Africa. A fertile valley cupped by the Swartberg and Outeniqua mountains and home to crops of lucerne, tobacco, fruit, grapes, and grains. Not to mention the abundance of ostrich that is farmed here.

Visit the Heads before you leave. Suggest an early start as you have a long but adventurous day ahead of you. There are several routes you can take. Stay on the national road via George OR venture deep into the indigenous forest via The Big Tree – Prince Alfred Pass – Uniondale and De Rust and get a true feeling for the Little Karoo. We can gladly advise with more detail of things to see and visit. You spend two nights in a comfortable lodge setting out of town with a good kitchen. (KM: ± 120) B/D

Day 6            Feathers and the Swartberg Pass

Today is more relaxed but no less of an adventure than your previous days. Just driving the back roads from your accommodation you may see some wildlife. Your first of many stops is an ostrich farm, where you learn about the past boom in the feather industry and have a hands-on experience with these fascinating flightless birds. You have several options afterwards but we suggest driving over the 27km Swartberg Mountain Pass, considered one of the finest passes in the world (untarred road), and winds to the summit 1583 meters above sea level. The drive itself is an adventure of hand-packed stone walls, relicts of an old prison, and toll hut, not to mention the breathtaking view. Going down the northern side via Prince Albert, a great stop for lunch before continuing via Meiringspoort, a 60-meter smooth rock face waterfall and a 9-meter deep pool at the bottom.  Have you heard about the Meiringspoort mermaid? From here you head via De Rust to your accommodation. (KM: ± 200) B

Day 7            Cango Caves and the Tradouw Valley

Barrydale: A little town which lies at the foot of the beautiful Langeberg in the heart of the Tradouw Valley. This little village will beckon you to linger with the many bistro’s and architecture going back to the early 18th century and the valley is scatted with fruit trees -apples, pears, oranges, apricots, figs, peaches- to name just a few. Any time of year is beautiful. Summer is ripe with fruit and winter is a tapestry of color as the surrounding Klein Karoo, renowned for its aloes, milk bush and succulents break into flower.

After a leisurely breakfast head to the Cango Caves. During a one hour guided tour, you will experience the vast caverns and learn of their formation and history. A must-do when in the area. You have two route options for your next destination, stay on the Route 62 or drive the unpaved road which runs parallel to the Swartberg Mountain range offering immense views of the range but also rolling hills covered in a mountain fynbos vegetation. This personally, is our favourite drive, especially when you take a picnic lunch along.  Don’t forget to stop at “Ronnies” before you get to Barrydale. You spend one night in a charming country hotel. (KM: ± 250) B

Day 8            Cape Agulhas – Malgas – Hermanus

Hermanus: Idyllic coastal town and according to the World Wildlife Fund, one of the best land-based locations to spot the southern right whale (July-November).

We suggest you leave early and continue via the Tradouw Pass with serious mountainous terrain and sandstone precipices, with lookout points for you to stop and enjoy the view. You then route towards Heidelberg, the roads turn from tarmac to a good dirt road as you head into the Overberg region, a quilted landscape with rolling hills of grain and canola fields. We can also recommend Heidelberg for a lunch stop before you continue to Malgas, best known as the only town with the last surviving hand-driven river pont in operation in the country. There is a small fee to pay and if you like, your welcome to help draw the pont over the Breede River. From here you continue to the Cape Agulhas, the southern most tip of Africa before heading onto Hermanus to spend one evening. (KM: ± 300) B

Day 9            Stellenbosch

The second oldest town in the country, and fondly called “Eikestad” or city of oaks. Its streets are lined with some of the most beautiful surviving examples of Cape Dutch, Georgian and Victorian architecture in the Cape. Taking time to walk Dorp street is an idyllic morning venture with the many cosmopolitan restaurants, coffee bistros, water furrows, and superb views mountain views.

Early start for your whale watching boat cruise (weather permitting) before you continue via the penguin colony in Betty’s Bay. These little guys will keep you occupied for a while. You then continue on the official Whale Route via one of the most scenic coastal roads around, Claren’s Drive, with breathtaking views over False Bay and viewpoints for you to stop and admire the scene. You spend two nights in the heart of the wine country. (KM: ± 120) B

Day 10          Stellenbosch and surrounds

There are several activities to choose from today. Easy mountain biking and hiking in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, wine tasting, explore the old town with the many quaint bistros, galleries, and museums. You could also take a drive out to Franschhoek and spend the afternoon there. Let us know your interests and we will be happy to advise and book such. (KM: ± 100) B/W

Day 11          Cape Town and the mother city

Leave after a leisurely breakfast and head towards Cape Town. Enjoy the drive and the sight of Table Mountain towering high above Lion Heads as you get closer. Your accommodation is such that you can leave your car and walk to the V & A Waterfront. There is no much to do and see, the vibrant atmosphere on the waterfront alone is worth the visit, museums, aquarium, shops, good restaurants, music, boat trips, hop on–hop off bus, cable car up Table Mountain, the list is endless. Once again we will be happy to advise. You spend the next three nights in the mother city. (KM: ± 60) B

Day 12          The Cape of Good Hope

Today we suggest a visit to the most south western tip of Africa, Cape of Good Hope. Your highlights: Muizenberg known for the colorful wooden beach houses and surfing hot spot. Driving along the False Bay coast to Simon’s Town with a stop in Jubilee Square. A life-size bronze statue of this legendary Great Dane stands proud, and learn about the world-famous “Just Nuisance” who was awarded the title of Able Seaman in the Royal Navy. Leaving Simon’s Town the road follows the azure colored waters and massive granite boulders with plenty of opportunities to stop and take pictures of False Bay before getting to the Cape of Good Hope. A network of tarmac roads leads the visitor to different locations, the most popular being Cape of Good Hope – the most south western tip of Africa, Cape Point – a lighthouse some 238 meters above sea level and known as the most powerful on the South African coast, and for the more adventurous, the shipwreck trail which starts at the Olifantsbos parking lot. On entering the park you get a brochure and map to follow. The other point of interest is the Buffelsfontein visitor center.

Your route continues along the coast via Scarborough and the thundering Atlantic, Misty Cliffs, and Kommetjie. You then continue and drive arguably the most scenic road in the world, Chapman’s Peak Drive. A 9km scenic road cut into the mountainside. There are many lookout points to stop and take in the view. Hout Bay, seen from the main viewpoint, formerly a fishing village has managed to maintain its unique combination of fishing harbor and country atmosphere. The fine sand beach is ideal for a walk and soak up the sun, not to mention the fish and chips in the harbor or take a trip to the seal island. Continue along the Atlantic Seaboard with a glistening ocean on one side and the Twelve Apostles on the other as you pass Llandudno, Camps Bay, Clifton, and back to Cape Town. (KM: ± 200) B

Day 13          Table Mountain and Kirstenbosch

A visit to Cape Town is not complete without going up Table Mountain. There are several options to choose from here, the areal cableway or hike up one of many routes. Should you wish to hike, we will gladly arrange a qualified guide and a route option dependent on your fitness and experience level. The Kirstenbosch botanical garden is also a must see and do. In summer you can relax with the locals and enjoy the sunset concerts which are held on the lawn (December – March). Your last evening meal is on us and included. We have an African surprise for you. (KM: ± 50) B/D

Day 14          All good things come to an end

Depending on your flight details, you can do the last bit of shopping before taking your rental car to the airport. (KM: ± 30) B

* Port Elizabeth
* Plettenberg Bay
* Knysna
* (Option 1) George/ Oudtshoorn (Option 2) Uniondale/ De Rust/  Oudtshoorn
* Barrydale
* Hermanus
* Stellenbosch
* Cape Town
* Addo Elephant Park
* Storms River Mouth
* Seal colony in Plettenberg Bay (hike)
* Knysna Heads
* Cango Caves and ostrich farm
* Malgas hand powered pont over the Breede River
* Hermanus – whale watching and penguins
* Stellenbosch/ Franschhoek
* Cape Town – Table Mountain/ Cape of Good Hope/ Kirstenbosch/ V&A Waterfront
* All flights and visas
* Travel insurance
* Car rental – we can gladly help with the booking
* Optional activities and entry fees
* Tips and gratuities an entirely personal gesture but 10% recommended
* Addo Elephant Park safari and entrance fees
* 13 nights accommodation on bed and breakfast basis (3-4star) 
* 2 x dinner
* 1 x wine tasting
* Prices calculated are per person sharing and based on a traveling party of 2 adults and per person ZAR 15 600.00
* Single supplement available on request
* Upgrade is possible, please let us know

* This package is available throughout the year
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