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Author: admin, 05.03.2016. Category: Gardening

The Garden Route is a long and scenic chunk of South Africa’s southern coastal region dedicated to leisurely self-drive holidays and lazy days on the beach. Hermanus is a charming seaside village, renowned for the world's best land-based whalewatching, and you can see these massive mammals breaching and blowing from June to December each year.
Swellendam is a charming town at the base of Overberg Mountains, surrounded by bucolic scenes of wine farms, Cape Dutch country houses, forest plantations and gentle rivers. At the foot of the majestic Langeberg Mountains, hiking is on your doorstep, as are the Marloth Nature Reserve and Bontebok National Park.
On your second day there is time for an early walk in the nature reserve, through the forest or up the mountains - fitness levels notwithstanding - followed by a hearty breakfast to see you on your way to Oudtshoorn. The drive is about three hours along the scenic Route 62, which goes through the Karoo via small towns, spectacular mountain passes and a totally different world on the other side where rain is minimal and sunshine is plentiful. Spend two nights in this beautiful seaside location, exploring the Knysna Heads Nature Reserve, Tsitsikamma Forest, the Knysna Lagoon and Estuary, Monkeyland, the Outeniqua Train, forest canopy tours, kayaking, whale watching and so much more. The Plettenberg occupies a hill overlooking the Lookout Beach and is close to the centre of town and 15 minutes from Plettenberg Bay airport.
A short drive from the Plettenberg Hotel is the area known as The Crags and there you will find Monkeyland, where you can go on a monkey safari, The Elephant Sanctuary, where you can experience these giants up close, Birds of Eden, where you can take a walk in the worlds largest outdoor avairy and the Snake Park, where you can visit with the cold blooded kind.
Another short drive, again along the highway, takes you to Port Elizabeth airport where you can drop off your car and connect to your homeward flight via Cape Town or Johannesburg depending on where you’re headed. On your third day there is time for an early walk in the nature reserve, through the forest or up the mountains - fitness levels notwithstanding - followed by a hearty breakfast to see you on your way to Oudtshoorn.
The Lofts is situated in the coastal town of Knysna along the Western Cape's popular Garden Route, only about a five hour drive from Cape Town.
The hotel is just a few feet away from the Knysna Lagoon and provides stunning views of its path towards the Indian Ocean.
Emily Moon River Lodge is on the banks of the Bitou River a few minutes drive outside Plett, a perfect launching platform for your Garden Route getaway.
Only a few minutes drive from Emily Moon is the area known as The Crags and there you will find Monkeyland, where you can go on a monkey safari, The Elephant Sanctuary, where you can experience these giants up close, Birds of Eden, where you can take a walk in the worlds largest outdoor avairy and the Snake Park, where you can visit with the cold blooded kind.
Bosavern Guest House is situated 1 kilometre from the centre of Plettenberg Bay, the jewel of the Garden Route and one of South Africa's most popular holiday resorts. Only a few minutes drive from Plett is the area known as The Crags and there you will find Monkeyland, where you can go on a monkey safari, The Elephant Sanctuary, where you can experience these giants up close, Birds of Eden, where you can take a walk in the worlds largest outdoor avairy and the Snake Park, where you can visit with the cold blooded kind.
Starting and finishing in Cape Town, Samantha’s Luxury Garden Route Self Drive Expedition is a 22-day self-drive tour that includes the Cape Winelands, Hermanus, Plettenberg Bay and ends with a Garden Route Safari. This itinerary feels like home to me: I was born in Port Elizabeth, worked for six years in luxury lodges on the Garden Route and now I live in Cape Town. The hotels and lodges I have chosen are all places I know personally and have stayed at many times in my career. This trip to me is the superb combination of bush, beach, city, forests, sun, sand, culture and colour.  And the routing is undoubtedly the safest in Southern Africa making it a great holiday enjoyed with the rental of a hired car, which you will self drive and use at your leisure to amply explore this amazing part of our country that I call HOME! Arrive at Cape Town International, collect your hired car and take a short drive to the Cape Grace Hotel in the beautiful V&A Waterfront.
Centrally situated on a private marina in the harbour, the Cape Grace has all the hallmarks of a classic five star hotel: luxury rooms, friendly service, effortless sophistication and the overriding sense that everything in this world is right. With hundreds of wine farms to discover, award-winning restaurants on every corner and wonderful scenery, Franschhoek and the Cape Winelands is South Africa’s equivalent of Provence in southern France.
A short drive from Franschhoek to the Whale Route town of Hermanus takes you to another Royal Portfolio luxury hotel: Birkenhead House.
The whale-watching season runs from June to November, which happily coincides with the best game viewing in South Africa.
Where Birkenhead House is all about the whales and lavish living, Views Boutique Hotel is all about relaxing, walking along the beach and exploring the Garden Route along the coast and inland towards to Oudtshoorn.
A shorter drive today - about an hour - takes you to Plettenberg Bay with a slight inland deviation into the forests of a private reserve where the luxury suites are built at canopy level. Well spaced and connected by elevated boardwalks, the suites comprise a lounge, en suite bathroom, large bedroom and a private deck with a bracing plunge pool built-in.
Plettenberg Bay has wonderful beaches and the surrounding area has plenty to do including some first rate golf courses, nature reserves, hiking trails, river excursions, animal rehabilitation programmes and a many excellent restaurants and cafes. Heading east along the coast, drive about two and a half hours to Port Elizabeth for an overnight stop at the lavish Shamwari Townhouse a short walk from Summerstrand Beach.
Another slow and relaxing start to the day - thanks to that stopover - will see you taking a leisurely breakfast and setting for Shamwari Private Game Reserve about an hour and half inland from Port Elizabeth and the scene of some serious Big 5 game viewing and even more serious luxury safari lodges. Shamwari Bayethe is one of a handful of luxurious accommodation options in this spectacular private game reserve in the Eastern Cape.

Enjoy four days of game viewing in the early morning and late afternoon into the night; you can also take guided bush walks and some unique activities including historical tours, birdwatching and stargazing. Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve is a charming owner-run hotel in a safari lodge style with wonderful sea views and seven kilometres of private beach on your doorstep. Beach walks, birdwatching and game drives are all in a day’s work at Oceana and make a rather tidy wrap to your luxury Garden Route expedition. Rooms, suites, villas, lodges or a secluded retreat at the water’s edge - whatever you choose, spacious luxury awaits. Fancourt is to golf what Disneyworld is to Mickey Mouse – a shrine with a successful spin-off. This site uses browser cookies to provide a better user experience and to track certain data that will help us identify user behaviour in order to further improve the site.
Part of the Shandon Travel Group, we are your One Stop Site for Cheap Flights, Cheap Holidays, Tours, Cruises & Much More. Visit South Africa and Lesotho and explore the exquisite Garden Route on a tour from Durban to Cape Town via the Stellenbosch Wine Region.
Days 2-3 Drakensberg - Journey to the Drakensberg mountain range and enjoy hiking in this spectacular region of sun-kissed valleys and dramatic cliffs. Day 8 Addo Elephant National Park - Discover the beauty of Addo Elephant National Park, a successful conservation park and a wonderful place to encounter elephants and endangered rhinos. Day 11 Oudtshoorn - Discover the Karoo while travelling to Oudtshoorn to meet some feathered friends. Day 12 Swellendam Wine Region - Stretch legs at the Cango Caves before drinking in the beauty of Swellendam, a celebrated wine region at the foot of the Langenberg Mountains. Day 13 Cape Town - Make tracks to cosmopolitan Cape Town, a city nestled among stunning beaches, craggy mountains and eclectic coastal towns. This tour covers the best the Garden Route has to offer, like Tsistikamma, Outshoorn, Wilderness and Addo Elephant Park. Depart Cape Town at 6am and head up to Oudtshoorn in the Little Karoo semi desert area and also the ostrich capital of the World. Leaving Oudtshoorn we will cross the mountain range to the coast and the gorgeous Garden Route. From the Eastern Cape we head back towards the Garden Route and to the World’s highest Bungy at Bloukrantz (plenty of time to jump for those thrill seekers). We start the day early with a morning safari drive to see some of those animals that we did not see the previous evening. This 8-day self-drive tour offers a great variety of scenery and experiences from mountains and wine farms in the west, semi-arid desert in the hinterland and mile upon mile of wonderful beaches, forests, rivers and estuaries.
Francis Bay - two of the most beautiful beach towns in South Africa - with delightful stops in Swellendam and Oudtshoorn for a taste of South Africa’s country life and rural charm.
Set off immediately for Hermanus, along the famous Whale Route of South Africa's Garden Route region, about a two hour drive from Cape Town. There are several shops and restaurants in the town, as well as bars, craft markets, boutiques and art galleries! Spend the day relaxing after your flight and drive, building up a hearty country appetite, which, you may be assured, will be assuaged with true South African proportions. Head down to the sea and De Hoop Nature Reserve, with its rich collection of birdlife and Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa and there are many wine estates within touching distance. Explore Oudtshoorn, visit an ostrich farm or Cango Caves before heading over the Outeniqua Mountains to the coastal town of Knysna. A little further afield is the famous Storms River bridge bungee jump, the worlds highest, and the beautiful lush forests of the Tsitsikamma.
And it is just a short walk from the town centre and hubbub of Knysna with its collection of cafes, bars, restaurants and quaint buildings.
We create our tours from scratch every time, matching the destinations and accommodation not only to your budget but also to your individual tastes and needs. Our team of travel experts will tailor any itinerary to your requirements, travel dates and budget. The driving part ends in Port Elizabeth from where you fly back to Cape Town and connect to your homeward-bound flight. I worked at Tsala Treetop Lodge and Shamwari Bayethe Lodge for a total of six years combined and they are each to this day very dear to me and will always be among my top recommendations in their respective areas.
More a private villa than a hotel, La Residence is a palatial five star guesthouse in the beautiful Franschhoek valley surrounded by the patchwork patterns of vineyards framed by enormous mountain ranges in every direction. Featuring the same eclectic and grand decor and the same five star service and luxury, Birkenhead is on a rocky promontory overlooking Walker Bay where the whales come so close the shore you can almost touch them.

While the coastline along the Garden Route supports 37 species of whale and dolphin, the Whale Route is most known for its close encounters from land or boat of southern right and humpback whales and Haviside’s, common, dusky and bottlenose dolphins.
Your destination is the delightful Views Boutique Hotel situated, like your accommodation the night before, on a cliff’s edge above the sea.
Tsala Treetop Lodge successfully combines luxury, privacy and an exciting treetop experience.
This stop keeps the pace gentle so you don’t have to rise early at Tsala to reach the game reserve by lunchtime and you can even spend the morning in Plett for one extra activity. The added bonus here is that you have a complete safari experience every bit as amazing as you will find elsewhere on the continent but without the malaria risk. Rooms are large and luxurious, the service is personal and attentive and the relaxing mood all pervasive. Drop off your car at the airport and board your flight to Cape Town and onward travel plans either home or for more holiday fun.
Although Gary Player is a strange fellow, he does have a knack for designing spectacular courses and Fancourt has had his full attention.
Tour the Stellenbosch Wine Region, the Tsitsikamma and Addo Elephant National Parks, Lesotho and Drakensberg.
See the traditional Xhosa lifestyle, visit quaint coastal towns, sophisticated vineyards and cosmopolitan cities. Experience traditional Xhosa life and choose from a number of outdoor activities on offer, from mountain biking to swimming. Thundering waves, thick forest, plentiful birdlife and otters, this National Park has it all!
Our journey leads us to the Garden Route Game Lodge where we will overnight in the luxury accommodation. Spend your time here, getting up close and personal with Great Whites on a shark cage diving excursion, tee off on a top-class golf course or go hiking in one of the many nature reserves. The lodge is half way between the town and the beautiful beaches of Hermanus and is close to the cliff walk. Starting at the Waterfront itself you have plenty to see and do and from there you can explore the city, the beaches, Table Mountain, Cape Point, Boulders Beach, Constantia Winelands, Robben Island and Kirstenbosch.
But the surrounding trees and views of the forest-covered hills are a gentle reminder of your elevated status. Four courses ranging from friendly to just plane mean will test every aspect of your game and provide a memorable day out no matter what you shoot. Highlights include the Addo Elephant National Park, the ostrich capital of the world Oudtshoorn, the astounding Cango Caves, wine tasting at a Cape vineyard and the enchanting Lesotho highlands. We will visit the Cango Caves for a tour through these magnificent cave system and also visit an ostrich farm for a closer look at this enormous birds.
Here we will visit the Knysna Heads, Waterfront, markets and explore this charming town thoroughly. Walk the coastal route to the hanging bridge over Storms River Mouth and experience what makes this the most scenic park in South Africa. Departing round lunchtime we head towards Hermanus and one of the best land based whale watching site in the world (June-December). Moreover, we will do some whale watching in Hermanus and do a game drives to see the BIG 5 in the Garden Route Game Lodge. After Knysna we pass through Plettenberg Bay and overnight at the Crags just outside Plettenberg Bay. From here we will head east towards the Addo elephant National Park and your opportunity to spot the last Cape elephants, various antelope species and more. We will do a late afternoon safari drive where we have the opportunity to view rhino, lion, buffalo, cheetah and many varieties of antelope species.
The Southern Right whales are making a dramatic comeback after nearly becoming extinct a mere 50 years ago.
We return to Cape Town in the late afternoon via the stunning False Bay coastline where we might see some dolphins to welcome us home.

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