Garden Route Safari
Day 1: Cape Town to Oudtshoorn
Leave the winelands behind on the journey over the Hottentots-Holland mountains to Worcester, the beginning of the Breede River valley stretching eastwards for more than a 100 kilometers with estates producing some of South Africa’s premier wines.
Guided by the Langeberg mountains, travel through Robertson and Ashton where we enter the little Karoo via the Cogmanskloof Pass to the pretty little town of Montagu. Admire the gables of the beautifully restored houses framed by an unbelievable variety of colourful bougainvillea.
Stop at Barrydale for a lunch break before continuing through this silent wide valley, hemmed in by two great mountain ranges, past Ladismith and Calitzdorp – Port Wine capitol of South Africa.
Arrive in Oudtshoorn in time for a guided tour of the the awe-inspiring Cango Caves with their great halls and incredible limestone formations. Sunset is the time to enjoy a glass of wine before dining on barbecued ostrich filet.
Day 2: Oudtshoorn to Addo National Elephant Park
At the nearby Cango Wildlife ranch a guided tour of the crocodile pens and Big Cats enclosure, (lions, tigers, pumas and jaguars), concludes with the opportunity to enter a cage with cheetahs and touch these magnificent animals. With 95% of the world’s ostrich population around Oudtshoorn, a tour of one of the top ostrich show ranches is a must. Meet and learn more about these pre-historic birds.
Follow the Little Karoo eastwards to intercept the main N2 highway near the surfing mecca of Jeffreys Bay. Overnight at a guest lodge in the vicinity of the Addo National Elephant Park.
Day 3: Addo National Elephant Park
Depart to reach the Addo Elephant National Park in time for a two hour guided game drive in open topped vehicles to see the gentle grey giants of the world, seemingly within touching distance. Buffalo, black rhino and many species of antelope and birds also abound. After a light lunch around midday spend the rest of the day game viewing before returning to your lodge to relax and enjoy a leisurely dinner.
Day 4: Private game reserve.
After breakfast we depart for one of the numerous excellent private game reserves in the Eastern Cape, geared to suit all tastes and budgets. Amongst others, you can choose between Kariega, Lalibela, Kwandu, Schotia and Shamwari. Feel free to contact us to help advise on which reserve will be the right choice for you.
Book in and explore before joining the game drives – conducted in open topped vehicles with knowledgeable guides. Free-ranging Big Five may be seen on most reserves – lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant, as well as cheetah, hippo zebra, giraffe, hyena and numerous antelope and bird species.
Day 5: Private Game Reserve to Tsitsikamma Lodge
Early morning is reserved for another exciting game drive followed by breakfast, before having to say farewell to the beautiful reserve and take the road to Tsitsikamma Lodge.
Take a short walk through the Tsitsikamma forest to see the giant Outeniqua Yellowwood tree which was already growing when Europe was still caught in the Dark Ages. Lunch break is in the beautiful Tsitsikamma Coastal National park. Take a leisurely stroll to the suspension bridge spanning the Storm’s River mouth or relax with a drink on the restaurant deck overlooking the ocean to enjoy the view and maybe even spot a dolphin.
Late afternoon takes us to the peaceful surroundings of Tsitsikamma Lodge with its comfortable log cabins – each with its own Jacuzzi! Take one of the optional forest walks, relax in the pool, or just relax on your private patio. The mouthwatering buffet dinner which is served, is an excellent way to end the day. A well-stocked bar with a variety of top wines is available every day from late afternoon.
Day 6 : Tsitsikamma Lodge to Knysna
Reluctantly tearing ourselves away from the outstanding buffet breakfast, we take the road to our first stop at a viewpoint on the old Grootrivier pass overlooking the coastal hamlet of Nature’s Valley – houses all but hidden by the luxurious vegetation and with less than a hundred permanent residents. Follow the old pass road winding through the forest till we once again intercept the highway. Our next stop is the viewpoint overlooking the bay and Robberg peninsula at the coastal town of Plettenberg Bay. Admire the beachfront homes along millionaire’s mile. Optional Whale watching trips are available in season.
On to the next photo stop at the eastern “Head” of the entrance to the Knysna estuary. Sea-going craft regularly used the harbour up to 1957, following the narrow canal to the jetty. With the advent of road transport, and the fact that it had a dangerous entrance and exit, its use as a port was discontinued, now only being used by the fishing fleet and pleasure craft. Knysna is synonomous with oysters and we take an optional visit the Knysna Oyster company for a tour and tasting. Late afternoon, an hour-long sunset cruise on the estuary is possible, the boat taking one right up to the sandstone cliffs, (“Heads”), of the exit to the open sea.
Overnight in Knysna and stroll to the waterfront for dinner in one of the fine restaurants.
Day 7: Knysna
After a leisurely breakfast, there is time to explore the town of Knysna before we board the ferry boat for a 20-minute cruise to the privately-owned Featherbed Nature Reserve. On arrival board the tractor-drawn trailer ride to the top of the western “Head”. Here you have the option of returning the same way or joining the guide for an hour-long walk through the indigenous vegetation and along the lagoon edge – a truly worthwhile experience with wonderful photo opportunities. Lunch is served in lovely surroundings under the trees on your arrival back at the restaurant.
The boat cruise back to Knysna routes via the estuary’s entrance to the sea. On arrival you have free time to explore the numerous art and craft shops at the Woodmill Shopping Lane and the Waterfront area, at your leisure.
Dine at one of the Waterfront restaurants adjoining the harbour with its collection of yachts and other pleasure craft
Day 8: Knysna to Cape Town
After a leisurely breakfast we travel westwards to Mossel Bay to the Dias museum, displaying a replica of the caravel in which Bartholomew Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope in 1488. The watering hole, shell museum and the historical Post Office Tree that served the Portuguese and other mariners since the early 16th century, are to be seen nearby.
As the dairy and sheep farms give way to wheat fields, the 18th century frontier town of Swellendam comes into view, snug against the Langeberg mountains. Lunch break is at one of the fine restaurants in the area.
Continue on the next leg past rolling wheatlands, to the apple and pear orchards of Grabouw. Stop at an interesting little farm stall on the way to the Sir Lowry’s pass view site from where one should catch a glimpse of Table Mountain. Arrive back at your hotel in the “Mother City” less than an hour later.