The Garden Route is magnificent. It offers a diverse range of scenery from semi desert to lush forests, majestic mountains to beautiful beaches. I get asked the question,’ why is it called the Garden Route, is it one big Garden with flowers?’ The answer is no it is not one big Garden, it is just a beautiful area offering amazing scenery. There are some lovely towns along the route each with their own vibe and culture. A Private Garden Route Tour with Cape Splendour is Excellent way to experience the beauty of the Garden Route, ideal for a family, golf enthusiasts or adventure seekers! If you have some time, it is really worth adding on a Garden Route Tour to your travel plans. As with all my tours the options and combinations are endless. I prefer doing the Garden route over four nights and 5 days as this allows you to see the entire area at a decent pace without feeling that you have been rushed from one end of the Garden Route to the other. It is possible to spend three nights in Knysna and drive straight from Knysna to Cape Town without stopping in Hermanus, it is all up to you. Hermanus is lovely all year through but famous between around July and November for the whale sightings. In summer I prefer to overnight in Mosselbay and drive to Oudtshoorn on day two from Mossel Bay and then on day three head to Knysna or Plettenberg Bay, possibly stopping at Bottlierskop for a morning game drive and lunch, the options are endless. I will discuss the various accommodation options with you, from 5 Star luxury on the ground or in the tree tops, to homely three or four star accommodation on the banks of the Lagoon. But for a starting point, let’s start with a Classic Garden Route Tour with a small twist at the end (Hermanus).
Day 1: Oudtshoorn
We leave around 08h30 and make our way to Oudtshoorn where there will be time to explore the incredibly beautiful and fascinating Cango Caves before settling in to your luxury 4 Star B&B and enjoying South African hospitality at its best. We have dinner at the guest house and you will have the opportunity of tasting Ostrich meat!
Day 2: Knysna
After a lovely breakfast we visit an Ostrich Farm and possibly the Cango Animal Ranch where there are the most amazing array of animals from crocodiles and snakes to cheetahs and tigers (which you have the option of stroking!), before making our way to Knysna where we will overnight a Hotel or B&B according to your preference. Dinner is normally at your leisure at the Knysna Water Front where there are a host of restaurants to choose from. I usually make time for a leisurely stroll along the Promenade at Victoria Bay, a lovely little surf spot.
Day 3 Knysna
After another scrumptious breakfast, board a Ferry which will take you across the Knysna Lagoon to Feather Bed Bay, take a tractor ride to the top of the hill and enjoy the most magnificent walk down to the bottom for a tremendous buffet lunch. The afternoon offers various options from lying on a Beach at Brenton on Sea, enjoying Oysters and an Oyster tour, or Beer and a Brewery tour and visiting a Classic Car dealer next door! You can also have a coffee at the Knysna Heads which has the most stunning views of the lagoon, sea and Leasure Isle. A lovely way to round off the day is to have sun-downers at the Simola Golf Club which over-looks the magnificent course and Knysna itself!
Day 4 Tsitsikamma National Park and Knysna
After yet another delectable breakfast we will make our way to Knysna Elephant Park where you will actually feed and stroke the Ellies, an experience never to be forgotten! Our next adventure will be gliding through the trees like Tarzan and Jane (for anyone over 7 who is not afraid of heights) in the Tsitsikamma Forest (Optional). For the less adventurous we can go down to Storms River to experience the beautiful scenery and venture across the Suspension Bridge. Up for the highest Bungee Jump in the world? If not let’s watch some crazy people do it! Another lovely meal in Knysna before a good night’s rest.
There are other alternatives to consider on this day like a boat based Whale and Dolphin watching trip, thrilling as they launch you into the surf with a 4×4 and you ride straight up the beach on the return trip. A lovely experience. A walk on Roberg for the slightly fit is also a great option. You may wish to add another day to your tour to accommodate these activities. Just about anything is possible on Cape Splendour Garden Route Tour!
Day 5 Hermanus via Mosselbay
Today we head off to Hermanus, stopping along the way at the Post Office Tree and replica of Bartholomeus Diaz’s Caravel in Mossel Bay. We can stop along the way at other places of interest like The Aloe Ferox Factory Shop, or a lovely wine farm. Once in Hermanus you will have time to explore the picturesque little village and stroll along the Clifftop admiring the beautiful view and spotting Whales (in season). You will overnight in one of the lovely B&B’s on offer in Hermanus, offering lovely views of Walker Bay and close to the Old Harbour where all the restaurants are.
Day 6 Home via the scenic Coastal Route
After the last incredibly delicious breakfast on the tour, we will have a bit of time for a bit of a stroll around town for those last minute souvenirs and then make our way to Hemel Op Aarde (Heaven on Earth) and visit one or two wine farms for a wine tasting. Or you could enjoy a boat based whale watching trip of have go out in Walker Bay on a Kayak
We will take the scenic route along the coast home, stopping to say hi to the Penguins at Stony Point and having lunch at one of the local eateries on the way! You may also wish to spend a bit of time at the Cheetah Outreach Program in Strand, a lovely end to your Garden Route Tour!