There are so many options but for the purposes of this exercise let me give you two different alternatives. Please keep in mind that I will tailor make your Garden Route Safari Tour to meet your specific requirements in terms of duration, required levels of luxury, budget etc. Both options give you the opportunity of viewing the Big 5 in a Malaria free area.
Garden Route with Safari in the Malaria Free Eastern Cape
This option gives you the True Safari Lodge experience, coupled with the beauty of the Garden Route! There are a number of luxury lodges to choose from, Shamwari, Lalibela, Amakhala, Kariega or Kichaka, we will choose the right one for you!
Alternatively there is the Addo Elephant Park. This park was established in 1931 to save the Eastern Cape Elephant from extinction. At that time there were 11 Elephant left in the area. This number has grown to well over 600. There are also over 600 Cape Buffalo, Spotted Hyena, Lion, lots of Wart hog, Black Backed Jackal,a wide spectrum of Antelope, Zebra and a plethora of bird life both large and small. The park has been expanded in recent years to 180 000 acres and now boasts the Big 7 as they have included the Great White Shark and the Southern Right Whale. You will however not be able to see these creatures.
I normally place folk at Woodall Country House and Spa or similar accommodation just outside the park as the quality of accommodation far exceeds the quality of the accommodation offered in the park.
Day 1 Oudtshoorn
Today we head up the scenic R62 to Oudtshoorn where we will spend some time exploring the incredible Cango Caves before spending the night in a lovely Country House and enjoying South African cuisine and hospitality at its best.
Day 2 Knysna
After a delectable breakfast we will pop in to an Ostrich Farm to learn about the world’s largest, flightless bird. Then we head down a very scenic pass to George and on to Wilderness and the beautiful Lake District, stopping for lunch and scenic stops along the way. We will arrive in Knysna in the early afternoon, giving us time to have a look at some of the very scenic spots like the Knysna Heads before checking into your Hotel or Guest House.
Day 3 Knysna
Today we take a Ferry across the Knysna Lagoon to Feather Bed Bay, avail of a tractor ride to the top of the hill and enjoy the most magnificent views on the walk down to the shore for a tremendous buffet lunch. The afternoon can be spent at leisure, relaxing on a beach, doing a bit of shopping at the Water Front and exploring the town.
Day 4 Safari Destination in the Eastern Cape
We say a fond farewell to Knysna and head for our Big 5 Malaria free Safari Destination on the other side of Port Elizabeth, arriving in time for lunch, and an afternoon/evening game drive before a tremendous dinner
Day 5 Safari Destination in the Eastern Cape
Start the day with an early morning Game drive (optional) before a very substantial and tasty brunch. Afterwards you have time to relax around the pool or do some bird watching before a high-tea around three followed by another late afternoon/evening game drive and a wonderful dinner. (Depending on which Safari Destination you choose the daily program may differ a little, one thing is for certain, you will see plenty of game and have enough food to eat!)
Day 6 Wilderness
Unless you choose to fly back to Cape Town today or on to another South African destination we will head back Westwards …..
We depart after breakfast and head east to the Tsitsikamma National Park where we will spend some time at Storms River and cross the suspension bridge (if you dare and conditions allow!), even if you don’,t just enjoy the incredible scenery. We will make our way to Wilderness where we will overnight either in a lovely hotel offering the most incredible views, which is why it is called The Views Hotel or one of the top quality guest houses in the area.
Day 7 Cape Town
A leisurely drive back to Cape Town stopping along the way in Mossel Bay to see some of the historic sites like the Post Office tree and the replica of Bartholomeus Diaz’s Caravel and at the Aloe Vera Factory Shop in Albertina . We will also stop in Swellendam, South Africa’s third oldest and very picturesque town. We return to Cape Town in the late afternoon after an amazing 7 days!
A Shorter Garden Route Safari Tour in the Western Cape
If you do not have too much time or if you have children with you who are not great at travelling lengthy distances, I would recommend a shorter Garden Route Safari tour along the following lines:
We head for Mosselbay which is about 4,5 hours away from Cape town. We stop along the way at Swellendam, which is a lovely picturesque and historic town and the Aloe Ferox Factory in Albertina. We stay at a magnificent Guest House which is on the beach, and has great hospitality, tremendous views and the most amazing breakfasts. There will be time for a dip in the Indian Ocean (if weather permits) before freshening up and going into town for dinner.
After a scrumptious breakfast prepared by our gracious host, we make our way up the scenic Robertson Pass to Oudsthoorn where we will have a very busy day visiting the world famous and incredibly beautiful Cango Caves and an Ostrich farm. I time permits we can also visit the Cango Animal Ranch where you have the opportunity of stoking a Cheetah and doing a Croc dive!
We will come back to Mossel Bay and freshen up before going out to one of the town’s lovely restaurants for a meal.
A fairly early start to the day, have brekky, load up the car and make our way to Bottlierskop Private Game Reserve. This reserve which is nestled in the hills above Mossel Bay, boasts a large variety of game including Lion in a 100ha enclosure, Elephant, Giraffe, Buffalo, Wilderbeest, Rhino, Hippo, Zebra and about 200 different types of birds. You have the option of a guided walk or game drive or a horse back safari. We would enjoy a lovely lunch at Bottlierskop before making our way to Knysna or where there will be time to check in to our accommodation and freshen up before having sundowners, at Simola Golf Club before having a lovely meal at the Waterfront.
After a great breakfast we make our way to the jetty on the Knysna Lagoon and board the Ferry to Feather Bed Bay where we will be taken up the hill/mountain on a tractor drawn trailer and then allowed to walk down with a guide who will point out interesting flora and fauna along the way. Once back at base you can enjoy a great Buffet style lunch before heading back across the Lagoon to Knysna. You will have the afternoon at leisure to relax on a beach or explore the surrounding areas of Brenton on Sea, Belverdere and the Knysna Heads. All these places have beautiful scenery and a rich and interesting history.
We head home stopping at places of interest on the way. It is a fairly long drive of about 6 hours, so not too much time for stops, but there will be time to stop and have lunch, and have a few coffee/ comforts breaks along the way. You will arrive in Cape Town in the late afternoon.
The options are endless but these are some of them:
Two nights at either the Garden Route Game Lodge on the road to Mosselbay, or Bottlierskop or Buffelsdrift Game Lodge in Oudtshoorn followed by two nights in Knysna or in Hermanus or even in the Winelands area. Once again, it is all up to you! It depends on the time you have, whether you are travelling with children, and very much on your budget! There is also a very family orientated Safari destination in Plettenberg Bay which works well with a night in Oudtshoorn.