This 10 day Garden Route tour departs from Cape Town and ensures that you visit all of the must-see places along our beautiful Garden Route.
Cape Town and Garden Route Tour
Cape Town & Garden Route – Internationally acclaimed as one of the premier capital cities of the World, Cape Town nestles in one of the most dramatic scenic settings anywhere on earth. Backed by the imposing Table Mountain and overlooking Table Bay, Cape Town is a cosmopolitan mix of culture, business, industry, leisure and history.
Cape Town has so much to offer from entertainment, restaurants, culture, adventure, sandy white beaches, nature and beauty to the proximity of one of the world’s top wine producing areas.
Just over the mountains from Cape Town, the Cape Overberg is filled with fynbos, beautiful beaches, rolling wheat fields and farmlands, and its waters are the breeding ground for the southern right whale. Between June and November each year courting, mating and calving whales can be viewed from the rocky cliffs.
The Garden Route is South Africa’s Garden of Eden where tranquil lagoons, sparkling lakes and lush green forests are wedged in a narrow temperate zone between majestic mountains and the spectacular coastline.
From the Tsitsikamma National Park in the west to Port Edward in the north east, the Eastern Cape is the home of the Xhosa nation, of whose royal family former president Nelson Mandela is the most famous descendant. Steeped in history, the province now has over a million hectares of malaria-free game viewing.
This trip can be traveled in either direction, commencing in Cape Town or Port Elizabeth.
Day 1 – CAPE TOWN
On your arrival in Cape Town make your way to and check into the City Lodge V & A Waterfront. Check in time is from 14h00; early check in is subject to confirmation.
City Lodge V & A Waterfront is a centrally located hotel at the gateway to the vibrant and dynamic V & A Waterfront, within walking distance of the Cape Town International Convention Centre, the CBD and the waterfront complex itself.
A nautical theme runs through the hotel and a spa pool is available for guests. Rooms are spacious and air-conditioned with all modern amenities. Wireless Internet is available throughout the hotel, and fax and photocopy services are also available, making this an ideal location for conducting business during a conference.
Your evening is at leisure with dinner (for your own expense) at one of the many nearby restaurants.
Your overnight accommodation at City Lodge V & A Waterfront is on a bed and breakfast basis.
Day 2 – CAPE TOWN
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and be ready for your full day Cape Peninsula Tour at 08h15 (day tour included in the tour price), when you will be collected from the hotel foyer and embark on a wonderful tour of this breathtakingly beautiful city. A local guide will be on hand to share the secrets of the many wonderful locations you’ll visit today.
The English navigator, Sir Francis Drake, in his ship the ’Golden Hind’ was the first to sail around the world in 1580, and he said : “This Cape is the most stately thing, and the fairest Cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth.”
The city of Cape Town lies in the amphitheatre formed by Lion’s Head and Devil’s Peak on each side with the majestic 1134m Table Mountain behind. On a clear day the mountain can be seen from 200km out to sea.
Cape Town is known as the Mother City and the Western Cape is an area which is regarded as one of the most beautiful regions in the world. The City is a rare cultural gem, resulting from the amalgamation of Indonesian, French, Dutch, British and German settlers, the local Bushman and Hottentot tribes and the Bantu tribes from the north. The impressive presence of Table Mountain, flanked by the legendary Devil’s Peak and historical Signal Hill, stands proudly above the city.
Beautiful white sandy beaches along a peaceful coastline frame the Cape Peninsula, which is famed for its unique floral kingdom, bountiful rivers, vleis and dams and magnificent countryside. The surrounding area extends far into the winelands; green in summer and red-gold in autumn. Cape Town boasts a multitude of entertainment, ranging from outdoor activities and adventures in the sun to a roaring night life under neon signs. The vast range of shopping opportunities includes haggling with vendors at Greenmarket Square Flea Market, as well as breezing through sophisticated and stylish shopping malls. The huge variety of restaurants reflects the multicultural history of the Cape and caters for everyone’s taste, from fast-food outlets and casual pavement bistros, to chic and very elegant dining options.
Cape Town is a city of culture, built on a history that reflects in the architecture, cuisine, music and dance. Together with a warm summer and temperate winter climate and a friendly community, the Western Cape and the Mother City are an ideal holiday destination throughout the year.
A SYNOPSIS OF YOUR DAY:
The Atlantic Seaboard – drive through Sea Point – High-rise blocks of expensive apartments now dominate Sea Point, once a little seaside resort out of town, where affluent Capetonians had their holiday and weekend homes. The promenade of Sea Point is a jogger’s mile and many people meet here for a walk and talk.
Clifton – Probably one of South Africa’s most famous beaches, Clifton attracts swathes of scantily clad locals and tourists onto its white sand and, less frequently, into its icy waters. With Table Mountain and Lion’s Head forming a spectacular backdrop and with good protection from the summer wind, it is considered one of the world’s finest beaches. The beach bungalows are among Cape Town’s most expensive real estate and command magnificent views of the ocean. Camps Bay – is a long sandy, family friendly beach accessed directly from the road, with street side cafes, restaurants and a few small grocery stores lining the opposite side of the road. The beach offers more space for games and sandcastles than the other surrounding beaches.
Hout Bay – Affectionately called the Republic of Hout Bay by its residents, due primarily to the limited road of access, Hout Bay was formerly a fishing village and has managed to maintain its unique combination of fishing harbour and country atmosphere, despite development. Its long sandy beach faces a bay framed by mountains is quite exceptionally beautiful. Capetonians throng here over weekends to partake of the local fish and chips and to catch a glimpse of the resident Cape seals that make the harbour their home. Boat trips from Hout Bay harbour to Duiker Island are available at your own expense. Boa A forty minute to one hour boat trip will take you out to the waters surrounding Duiker Island, home of the Cape Fur Seals.
Chapman’s Peak Drive (Subject to road being open) – Chapman’s Peak Drive winds it way between Hout Bay and Noordhoek. Situated on the Atlantic Coast, at the south-western tip of South Africa, it is one of the most spectacular marine drives anywhere in the world.
Initially constructed during the First World war, this 9km route, with its 114 curves, skirts the rocky coastline of Chapman’s Peak, the 593m high southerly extension of Constantia Berg. Falling rocks have over the years been a constant threat and a series of unfortunate events lead to the closure of the road in 2000. A massive upgrade programme was embarked on, including some amazing engineering feats, and the road was reopened to traffic in December 2003. Severe weather does however on occasion force the temporary closure of this route, and then travel to the Point is via Ou Kaapse Weg.
Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve – From its rugged, rocky outcrops and sheer cliffs to the fynbos covered plains, Cape Point holds much in store for visitors to these shores. You’re in for spectacular views; natural beauty and incredible vistas.
The Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) encompasses the incredibly scenic Table Mountain Chain stretching from Signal Hill in the north to Cape Point in the south and the seas and coastline of the peninsula. The narrow finger of land with its beautiful valleys, bays and beaches is surrounded by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the warmer waters of False Bay on the eastern side, and has within its boundaries two world-renowned landmarks – majestic Table Mountain and the legendary Cape of Good Hope.
The Park is recognised globally for its extraordinarily rich, diverse and unique fauna and flora – with rugged cliffs, steep slopes and sandy flats – is a truly remarkable natural, scenic, historical, cultural and recreational asset both locally and internationally. Nowhere else in the world does an area of such spectacular beauty and such rich bio-diversity exist almost entirely within a metropolitan area – the thriving and cosmopolitan city of Cape Town.
Since 2004, it also forms part of the Cape Floral World Heritage Site made up of eight protected areas, covering 553,000 hectares. The Cape Floral Region is one of the richest areas for plants in the world. It represents less than 0.5% of the area of Africa but is home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora. The site displays outstanding ecological and biological processes associated with the Fynbos vegetation, which is unique to the Cape Floral Region. The outstanding diversity, density and endemism of the flora are among the highest worldwide. Unique plant reproductive strategies, adaptive to fire, patterns of seed dispersal by insects, as well as patterns of endemism and adaptive radiation found in the flora are of outstanding value to science.
Stop along the way to enjoy lunch where you can take in the spectacular sea views while relaxing over your food (for your own expense).
Boulders Beach Penguin Sanctuary – Visit the penguins at Boulders Beach in a penguin sanctuary for the African Penguin, which has been listed as a vulnerable species. The sheltered beach is open to the public. The penguins are best viewed from the Foxy Beach boardwalks, where you can chuckle over the antics of this noisy, bustling colony of birds. They used to be called jackass penguins, a name that will quickly become apparent as you get to know and hear these endearing creatures – but don’t try to touch them, they can be grouchy.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world. Few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch, against the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain.
Kirstenbosch was established in 1913 to promote, conserve and display the extraordinarily rich and diverse flora of southern Africa, and was the first botanic garden in the world to be devoted to a country’s indigenous flora. Kirstenbosch displays a wide variety of the unique plant life of the Cape Flora, as well as plants from all the diverse regions of southern Africa, both outdoors and in the Botanical Society Conservatory. There are over 7000 species in cultivation at Kirstenbosch, including many rare and threatened species.
The Garden covers 36 hectares in a 528 hectare estate that contains protected mountainside supporting natural forest and fynbos along with a variety of animals and birds. Kirstenbosch lies in the heart of the Cape Floristic Region, also known as the Cape Floral Kingdom. In 2004 the Cape Floristic Region, including Kirstenbosch, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site – another first for Kirstenbosch, being the first botanic garden in the world to be included within a natural World Heritage Site.
You will return to your hotel at around 17h00 in the afternoon.
Your overnight accommodation at City Lodge V & A Waterfront is on a bed and breakfast basis. Dinner can be enjoyed at your own expense at one of the many restaurants in the V & A Waterfront or in the city centre.
Day 3 – CAPE TOWN TO HERMANUS
Check out of your hotel after breakfast, and head out of Cape Town via Somerset West and Gordon’s Bay onto the circuitous and scenic coastal route in the direction of Hermanus. The road hugs the cliffs of this beautiful coastline for many kilometres, offering panoramic views across False Bay.
Known as the “Graveyard of Ships” this panoramic coastline is pounded by the Atlantic Ocean in heavy storms, and eventually converges with the Indian Ocean at Cape Agulhas.
The road snakes along the sheer cliffs of the Hottentots Holland Mountains as they plunge down to the ocean below. Keep an eye open for whales and dolphins in the bay as you descend the cliffs and bypass the Steenbras River mouth. Between rocky outcrops along this stretch of coast you’ll find small sandy coves shaded by ancient milkwood trees.
From here you will head inland through fynbos covered hills until you reach the Palmiet Lagoon where you turn back onto the main road in the direction of Hermanus.
With a backdrop of mountains, a large lagoon and long white beaches, deep rock pools and a wealth of coastal fynbos, Hermanus was always destined to develop into one of South Africa’s premier holiday resorts.
Hermanus has the status of being the best land-based whale watching destination in the world. Southern right whales visit Walker Bay from June through to December and can be viewed from aboard a boat, an airplane or the shore. Hermanus is home to the world’s only Whale Crier who blows his kelp horn when whales are spotted along the central sea route. The Whale Festival has also become a feature on the town’s calendar. Hermanus is a cosmopolitan town but has retained some of its historical fisherman’s village heritage. A number of craft markets sell a range of interesting wares, a marimba band frequently adds a vibrant atmosphere on different occasions and the old harbour with its restored fishing boats gives a glimpse of times past.
Enjoy lunch, at your own expense, at one of the myriad of restaurants set in close proximity to the coastal cliffs. After lunch check in to your hotel at around 14h00.
The Windsor Hotel, ideally situated in the centre of the village, is right on the edge of the sea overlooking Walker Bay. Accommodation is in 70 comfortable en-suite rooms. Facilities include colour television, direct dial telephone, and tea / coffee making facilities.
We recommend that you head down to the New Harbour, for a boat based whale watching excursion into Walker Bay The operator’s permit entitles them to approach the whales up to 50m and then stop and the decision is left entirely to the whales. Being curious they normally approach the boat and often come right up to the boat. A trip can be anything from 1.5 to 3 hours, but is normally about 2 hours long. The duration of the trip depends entirely on how far you have to travel to the whales.
Back in harbour, return to your hotel to freshen up and decide where to end your evening, with dinner at one of the many restaurants in town. (Dinner for your own expense.)
Your overnight accommodation is at The Windsor Hotel in a sea facing room on a bed and breakfast basis.
Day 4 – HERMANUS TO OUDTSHOORN
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, and perhaps an early morning stroll along The Cliff Path attracts thousands of whale-watchers every year for the best shore-based whale-watching in the world; but not only whale-watching may be enjoyed on the Cliff Path – it is also a nature-lover’s paradise. Originally constructed by the Hermanus Botanical Society and now maintained by the local municipality, the Cliff Path meanders for more than 1Okm from the New Harbour in the west to the mouth of the Klein River in the east. It takes you past famous fishing spots, whale-watching view points, multimillion rand homes and the original fishing harbour, now a museum and National Monument. It also winds through a fascinating diversity of vegetation types with an astonishing number of flowering plants to be seen.
After breakfast check out of your hotel and head via Stanford to Swellendam, the third oldest settlement in South Africa. Laying at the foot of the beautiful Langeberg mountains, Swellendam is not only famous for its youngberries, but also for its architecture and its history. The town is situated halfway between Cape Town and George on the N2. Swellendam was founded by the Dutch East India Company in the year 1745. Swellendam is the third oldest settlement in South Africa and is situated in the shadow of Clock’s Peak at the foot of the majestic Langeberg Mountains.
Continuing along the N2, turn off just beyond Swellendam and travel via Tradouw’s Pass onto Route 62 in the direction of Barrydale. This scenic route, modelled after the iconic US Route 66 made famous by the late Nat King Cole, passes through farming towns such as Ladismith, historic Amalienstein and Zoar and the South African Port Wine capital of Calitzdorp, where you can stop over and enjoy a taste of this world acclaimed speciality wine.
Continue on the R62 to the ostrich farming town of Oudtshoorn. Travel through Oudtshoorn, perhaps stopping off in the town to enjoy some lunch (for your own expense) and into the Schoemanshoek Valley en route to the Cango Caves and check into your guesthouse, which is situated along this route.
At De Opstal Country Lodge, the beautiful farm house, stables and milking parlour, which date back to 1830, have been creatively converted into modern, quaint en suite bedrooms with the retention of an atmosphere of rustic charm. The terracotta floors, heavy wooden doors and shutters and wide timber ceilings bear the scars, buckles and blemishes of generations of use and give the entire complex an authentic feel. In this relaxed atmosphere Albertus and Matilda De Bod and their staff treat their guests to wholesome country hospitality and food, reminiscent of the bygone era of the 1800’s. The Schoemanshoek Valley, in which De Opstal Country Lodge is set, is named after Matilda de Bod’s family. For generations the Schoeman family farmed tobacco, fruit, vegetables and ostriches in this fertile valley. Matilda is the eighth generation Schoeman living in the valley.
The rooms, which are all unique, offer the most modern amenities such as en suite bathroom facilities, TV and DSTV, air conditioning, tea and coffee making facilities.
Enjoy the famous cuisine in the restaurant. De Opstal offers a relaxing atmosphere in their lounge and bar area. Enjoy your favourite drink and discuss the day’s happening in the comfort of the ostrich–covered lounge suite. Dinner consists of an à la carte menu, prepared from ostrich and regional ingredients. Hearty farm breakfasts are served in the same area.
Settle into your room and perhaps then head across the road to visit The Cango Ostrich Show Farm. (Entry fee for your own expense.)
Kings and beauties have adorned themselves with ostrich feathers since ancient times. When the tomb of Tutankhamen was opened in 1922, they found a perfect, 3000 year old, ivory-handled ostrich feather fan. Nowhere else has the ostrich been more important than in the Klein Karoo. Starting from a fledgling industry in the 1870’s, Oudtshoorn soon became the ostrich capital of the world. The Ostrich (struthio camelus) is a member of a group of birds known as ratites, that is they are flightless birds without a keel to their breastbone. Of the 8,600 bird species which exist today, the ostrich is the largest. Ostriches are mainly vegetarian, eating grass, succulents, berries and seeds, though they will also eat insects. They swallow large numbers of pebbles which help grind the harder food in the gizzard and aid digestion.
Back at your guest house you have some time to relax before heading in for dinner.
Your accommodation tonight is at De Opstal on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.
Day 5 – OUTDTSHOORN TO KNYSNA
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your guest house before checking out and travelling further into the Schoemanshoek Valley to visit the world famous Cango Caves. At the head of this picturesque valley lies the spectacular underground wonder of the Klein Karoo. Situated in a limestone ridge parallel to the well known Swartberg Mountains, you will find the finest dripstone caverns, with their vast halls and towering formations.
About 10 000 years ago, the Khoisan used the entrance area of the cave as shelter. Way back in 1780, a farmer named Mr Van Zyl, ventured past the cave entrance, lowering himself underground into the unknown, by the dim light of his burning torch he saw glistening shapes that hinted at a subterranean wonderland.
The area that Mr Van Zyl had lowered himself into is called the 1st great hall, which is 98 m long, 49 m wide and 15 m high. As millennia pass, layer upon layer of mineral deposits form features called dripstone, – weird growths that hang from the ceilings of the cave or grow from the floor base. There are several types of dripstone; stalagmites (which grow upward from the cave floor), stalactites (hanging columns from the ceiling) and helictites (needle like features which grow in all directions). The caves have been illuminated with electric lights since 1929 making it easy to negotiate uneven pathways and stairs. The temperature in the caves is a warm and humid 18 ºC, so wear light clothing.
After your tour travel back through Oudtshoorn and on via the Outeniqua Pass, through George and into the beautiful scenery of the Garden Route. Lunch en route will be for your own account.
Here mountains crowd close to a shoreline dotted with beaches and bays, and vividly coloured wild flowers delight the eye. Between Heidelberg and Storms River, the Garden Route runs parallel to a coastline featuring lakes, mountains, tall indigenous forests, amber -coloured rivers and golden beaches. Meandering trails are followed by hikers, the forests invite long, leisurely drives, and the lakes and rivers lend themselves to swimming boating and fishing.
Soak in the tranquillity and beauty of the surrounding scenery as you head towards your overnight stop at Knysna, a coastal time, in the heart of the Garden Route.
Check into your hotel .
The 4-star Protea Hotel Knysna Quays enjoys a spectacular perspective of the popular coastal town of Knysna. Set on the Knysna Quays Waterfront with the lagoon at your doorstep, this stylish property offers a tranquil stay in spacious rooms overlooking the magical Knysna lagoon or the historical train station. All rooms are equipped with en-suite bathrooms with separate bath and shower, air-conditioning, in room fridge, coffee and tea making facilities, hair dryers, electronic safes, telephone and satellite television.
Your accommodation tonight is at the Protea Hotel Knysna Quays on a bed and breakfast basis. Dinner tonight is for your own account and can be enjoyed either at your hotel or a host of restaurants to be found in the waterfront.
Day 6 – KNYSNA TO THE CRAGS
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, before heading out to explore the scenic town of Knysna.
The name Knysna is a Khoi word but it’s uncertain as to its exact meaning. It could mean ‘place of wood’, or it could mean ‘fern leaves’, but its most probable meaning is straight down’ – an obvious reference to the Heads. Knysna Heads must be the most striking geological features along the entire southern African coastline. They flank a deep but potentially treacherous channel through which the sea pours in to flood the wide and breathtakingly pretty lagoon at the mouth of the Knysna River. Knysna’s history began in the year 1804, the year that saw the arrival of George Rex, rumoured to be the illegitimate son of King George lll. He purchased the estate known as Melkhoutkraal on the shores of the lagoon and moved his entire family and considerable entourage down to Knysna to settle.
The Featherbed Company of Knysna offers 75 minute boat cruises to and into the Knysna Heads between the cliffs, visiting Otter Cove, Island Rock and the beachcomber caves en route, in their Three Legs river ferry. Alternatively you can book onto their cruise across onto the Featherbed Nature Reserve on the Western Head. The 10h00 trip includes a luncheon on the reserve, as well as a 4 x 4 trip up the headland onto the reserve, stopping off at some spectacular viewsights. The cruise price is not included in this tour price, but as these are very popular we do recommend that you book this in advance.
After lunch head out again in a westerly direction and take a drive through the pretty coastal town of Plettenberg Bay and then on to the mountainous settlement of The Crags, before descending the Grootrivier Pass to your overnight stop in Nature’s Valley.
Situated in the heart of the hamlet of Natures Valley, which is part of the Tsitsikamma National Park on the Garden Route, Tranquility Lodge is surrounded by spectacular beaches and the sound of crashing waves is interspersed only with that of the garden’s singing birds and trickling water features. The guest house is approximately 50 m from the beach where you can lay soaking up the sun while watching dolphins playing in the surf or the breaching whales celebrating new life.
The lodge is mostly wooden in structure and truly blends with the natural forest in Natures Valley. Boasting a lush and natural garden that makes you feel you really are hidden away from the world around you, the garden is host to a swimming pool, as well as a private and unique hot pool.
Breakfast (and dinner for our own account) can either be enjoyed indoors in the spacious and open dining area or on the outdoor veranda looking into the top of the canopy trees giving you the feel of being in a tree-house. Enjoy your meal while watching the local birds feed from our birdfeeders. Not only the casual birder but even the ardent “twitcher” will enjoy this sight as there are a multitude of sunbirds visiting the lodge each morning, and the multi coloured Knysna Loerie is not uncommon.
Some of the most magnificent hiking trails with unrivalled views of sea, forest, waterfalls and lagoon will leave you breathless. The Salt River trail is a favourite add-on to the famous Otter Trail (fondly known as the “mini otter”). If you are an early riser, you may be lucky enough to spot the resident family of otters on the beach or scrambling over the rocks. Regular Bush Buck and Bush Pig sightings in the village will enthral you and there is always the chance of the elusive leopards that hide out in the forest. If hiking is not your forte why not take one of the double sit upon kayaks (free for the use of Tranquility Lodge residents) and explore the Groot River Lagoon.
Enjoy a walk on the beach on your arrival to stretch your legs, and then head to the local pub (at the shop) for some supper. Tranquility Lodge does do dinner reservations and you need to book this in advance if you require dinner on the night of arrival, or advise them in the morning of further dinners required.
Your overnight accommodation at Tranquility Lodge is on a bed and breakfast basis.
Day 7 – THE CRAGS
After an early breakfast at your guest house, head back up the pass into the Forests of The Crags for a visit to the Tenikwa Awareness and Rehabilitation Centre.
This amazing facility was opened by Len and Mandy Feeman in 2007. Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre offers a truly unique Wildcat Experience. Guests are taken on a guided tour to meet captive-bred furry felines, living in a semi-natural environment. So close you can hear them purr…
Meet the charismatic Cheetah, ZweLakhe the Leopard and enjoy a cat and mouse game with South Africa’s seldom seen lesser indigenous cats, such as the African Wild Cat, Serval, Caracal and the rare Black-Footed Cat. Experience the inquisitiveness of the busy Meerkats, watch the Blue Cranes dance and take pleasure in getting to know the mischievous Marabou Storks.
Tenikwa Wildlife Centre has a deeply rooted respect and love for the African landscape and its animals. They are passionate about their work and would like to share this with you. Be they big, be they small, spotted, furry or feathered, the animals of Tenikwa will charm their way into your heart.
Enjoy some lunch (for your own expense) at one of the many available restaurants in The Crags. We recommend Peppermill Café at the Mohair Décor Centre on your way in, or at Nature’s Way Farmstall which you will pass on your way up to The Crags from Nature’s Valley.
After lunch make you way further into the afforested area for a visit to Monkeyland and Birds of Eden.
Monkeyland is the world’s first free-roaming, multi-species primate sanctuary. Its aims are to provide ex-captive primates with a healthier, more natural life and to raise public awareness about primates. Around 400 apes, monkeys and lemurs live at Monkeyland, including gibbons, capuchin monkeys, squirrel monkeys, spider monkeys, miniature monkeys, vervets, spectacled langurs and three species of lemur. Experienced rangers guide one-hour tours through Monkeyland’s 12ha indigenous forest in English, Afrikaans, German, French, Italian and Spanish. They also point out, identify and explain the many wonders of life in the forest, from the rich diversity of bird life to the intricate workings of the forest itself. The emphasis is on searching for the primates, and the reward is to see the various species as they are meant to be: free and in a natural habitat.
Guests leave the sanctuary with a greater understanding of the primates of the world and the threats they are facing. One of the main goals is to educate the public about the adverse effects of keeping primates as pets, in terms of both physical and psychological health. Also important is the rapid decline of natural habitats due to logging, mining, agriculture and human settlements.
Birds of Eden is the Garden Route’s very own world class free flight bird sanctuary.
The unique two hectare dome (the World’s largest) spans over a gorge of indigenous forest. The sanctuary has its own mysterious ruin, which incorporates a walk-behind waterfall. Like Monkeyland, the popular primate sanctuary next-door, Birds of Eden boasts its own canopy walk, while shorter than the 128m bridge at Monkeyland, it hangs above the clouds. The decision to develop Birds of Eden stems from the need to create a safe environment in which to release a large collection of free-flight African birds, miniature monkeys and the sanctuary also enables bird owners to apply to release their pet birds into the sanctuary, after undergoing rehabilitation.
Return to your guest house / lodge in the late afternoon/early evening for dinner and for some well earned rest.
Your overnight accommodation at Tranquility Lodge is on a bed and breakfast basis
Day 8 – THE CRAGS TO PORT ELIZABETH
After a leisurely breakfast, head out on your final leg of the journey to Port Elizabeth. En route there are again a host of places to visit and things to see, including a stop off to view the site of the world’s highest commercial bungy jump – a whooping 216 metres high! This is the ultimate thrill, but not for the fainthearted. The bridge is the highest and largest bridge in Africa; the third highest in the world and the largest single span concrete arch bridge in the world. The bungy jump would be for your own expense.
Just a short distance from the bridge, in the village of Storms River you can partake in a Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour through the treetops of the magnificent Tsitsikamma indigenous rainforest. The first of its kind in Africa, the canopy tour involves traversing from one platform to another along a steel cable suspended up to 30 meters above the forest floor. The tour price is not included but should be prebooked to avoid disappointment.
Once you reach Port Elizabeth you can either opt to fly out of the city to your next destination, or make your way to Amakhala Game Reserve for 2 night of safari adventure on this Big Five Reserve.
OPTIONAL EXTRA 2 DAYS AT AMAKHALA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE
When you reach Amakhala Game Reserve, check into your lodge and enjoy some lunch whilst taking in the view of the plains below you.
At 15h30 it is time to head out into the Amakhala Game Reserve in an open Land Rover for your first game drive on the reserve with the other lodge guests in search of their wildlife – rhino (white and black), elephant, cheetah, buffalo, lion, giraffe, black wildebeest, zebra, tortoise and over 16 antelope species. Watch the sun set while enjoying drinks and snacks, before searching for elusive nocturnal animals such as lynx, porcupine and spring hare. It can be quite chilly in the evenings, so do be sure to bring a warm jacket along.
Woodbury Lodge, situated on the beautiful Amakhala Game Reserve only some 75km from Port Elizabeth, is spectacularly set against a cliff above the Bushman’s River valley. It offers an intimate and tranquil experience of the Eastern Cape riverine bushveld at its best. Your hosts, the Gush family, will endeavour to make your stay truly memorable.
Guests are accommodated in six comfortably appointed stone-and-thatch sleeping lodges, each with air-conditioning and en-suite bathroom. The seclusion of the lodges and the design of the bathrooms and individual outdoor relaxation areas enable visitors to enjoy the unique and breath-taking views at their leisure. Guests are often thrilled by the late afternoon sighting of the elephant herd passing by.
Your overnight accommodation at Woodbury Lodge is on a full board basis, inclusive of activities and non-premium local drinks.
Day 9 – AMAKHALA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE
Enjoy a relaxing and at the same time enthralling day of game viewing on the spectacular Amakhala Game Reserve.
After an early a wake-up call you will enjoy some coffee / tea and rusks before heading out on your morning game drive.
The Amakhala Game Reserve began in 1999 as a joint conservation venture. Today, several independently owned lodges are all TGCSA Star Lodge accredited. Many of the lodges are owner managed by the descendants of the original families who arrived here with the British settlers of 1820. Amakhala Game Reserve is a unique conservation initiative that allows animals to be re-introduced to the area where they once roamed freely and so making a contribution to the conservation of our natural heritage. The land was used to ranch sheep and cattle up to the turn of the century. The challenge has been to re-establish the original flora and fauna species to the area and to return the land to nature.
On Amakhala Game Reserve’s 18 000 acres the animals that you are likely to encounter are: lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, monkeys, tortoise and plenty of antelope species. You might be lucky and see some of the more elusive and shy animals like the lynx or bat eared fox.
This is your chance to be privileged enough to see the world famous African animals close up in their own habitat .The focus of the game drives is not only the large majestic beasts but also the humble smaller mammals, birds and insects which will leave you in awe.
The reserve hosts five of the world’s six vegetation biomes, bushveld to savannah. Refreshment breaks have been included to make your safari experience that much more enjoyable. This safari experience will create memories which will linger for a life time.
After your morning game drive you will return to the lodge for a hearty breakfast, before enjoying some leisure time at your lodge until lunch time.
At 15h30 it is now time for another afternoon game drive in search of the species not yet seen.
Amakhala Game Reserve has its own Conservation Centre, which you will no doubt pass on your game drives. This centre assists in the development of a sustainable environment on Amakhala Game Reserve by understanding the relationships between the vegetation, herbivores and carnivores within the ecosystem. This includes monitoring the effects of the animals on the plants as well as observing the behaviour, diet and spatial utilisation of the animals.
After enjoying dinner, guests are invited to socialise with each other or retire to the comfort of their rooms. Whatever your preference, you will awaken the next morning to the chorus of an African dawn and another day of adventure.
Your overnight accommodation at Woodbury Lodge is on a full board basis, inclusive of activities and non-premium local drinks.
Day 10 – AMAKHALA TO PORT ELIZABETH
Enjoy your final early morning game drive on Amakhala Game Reserve before returning to the lodge for breakfast.
Check out after breakfast and return to Port Elizabeth for your flight out on the next leg of your journey.
Our approach to travel is defined by our motto “Constantly in Pursuit of Excellence”, as we strive to provide top quality tour or trek options.
We’d love to hear from you, so please contact us with your questions, comments or suggestions through our Support System and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Please also review our FAQ’s to save you time in case your question has already been answered.