Explore South Africa's exquisite Garden Route and wild coast

Travel to South Africa and Lesotho and explore the exquisite Garden Route on a tour from Durban to Cape Town via the Stellenbosch Wine Region. Combining the classic Garden Route with the enchanting beauty of the Wild Coast, this adventure offers the chance to experience the incredible variety of cultures, stunning landscapes and unique flora and fauna of South Africa. Exploring the traditional Xhosa lifestyle and visiting quaint coastal towns, sophisticated vineyards and cosmopolitan cities, this is the perfect South African tasting platter.

Start
Durban, South Africa
Finish
Cape Town, South Africa
Countries
South Africa
Themes
Overland, Wildlife
Code
UBOH
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
666kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Encounter gentle giants on a game drive in the Addo Elephant National Park
  • Embark on a half-day guided walk in the mighty Drakensburg Range and some spectacular hikes along the Garden Route
  • Delve into the astounding Cango Caves outside of Swellendam
  • Cruise the classic R320 wine route, stopping for a tipple or two, on your way to South Africa's southernmost point
  • Discover the Wild Coast, home to some of South Africa's friendliest tribal folk, the Xhosa
  • Finish in Cape Town, the perfect stepping stone to the outdoors, epicurean adventures, seaside fun or further travel

Itinerary

Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa.

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.

You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If your flight arrives too late, we recommend that you consider arriving a day early and book a night's accommodation prior to the trip so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have all details on hand to provide to your leader.
Durban is South Africa's second most populous city and a tourist magnet thanks to its wealth of golden, sandy beaches and glitzy nightlife. One of its main attractions is the Golden Mile, a stretch of fine sands bordered by frothy surf on one side and an attractive beachfront of shops, restaurants and cafes on the other.
Leave Durban and travel inland towards the majestic Drakensberg mountain range (260 km, approx 5-6 hrs).
The Drakensberg is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa (3482 m) and forms part of the border between South Africa and Lesotho. The range is referred to locally as the Barrier of Spears or the Dragon Mountains and is home to an amazing amount of flora and fauna.
Our accommodation here is in en-suited twin rooms at a unique Backpackers Lodge in Drakensberg. Enjoy a sun-downer from the thatched loft lounge room that has a big screen, HD television, book swap and internet cafe. Other property facilities include a pool, jacuzzi, barbeque area, fire pit, WiFi and upgrades available.
We have a whole day to explore part of the mountain range on foot - you can take a short hike for an hour or so, or challenge yourself to an optional full day hike with a local guide.
Leaving the Drakensberg behind, head into the mountain kingdom of Lesotho (370 km, approx 7-8 hrs). Nestled like a small island in the middle of South Africa, Lesotho is commonly known as the 'Kingdom in the Sky' with beautiful mountain ranges and endless hiking trails.
Generally the border crossing into Lesotho is quite smooth, but we may experience some delay depending on the time of year.
Drive past the Golden Gate Highlands National Park which is famous for its extraordinary sandstone rock formations. The park is also home to elands, zebras, mongooses and hundreds of bird species. Keep your eyes peeled as you may be able to spot some wildlife along the way.
Choose from the optional hikes on offer.
Head to the stunning Wild Coast of South Africa and the small town of Cintsa (550 km, approx 10-12 hrs).
A charming little coastal town, Cintsa and its surrounding region are inhabited by the Xhosa people, whose lifestyle is deeply rooted in tribal traditions and customs. They're warm and friendly people and provide good insight into rural South African life.
Arrive in the late afternoon and have time to relax before an optional group dinner.
Our campground has shared facilities, ATM, WiFi access and upgrades possible.
Enjoy free time to explore the town, relax on the stunning beaches or pursue the many optional activities on offer including hiking, swimming, mountain biking and surfing.
Travel on to Addo Elephant National Park (310 km, 7-8 hrs).
A true success story in conservationism, Addo Elephant National Park was created in 1931 to protect the region's 11 remaining elephants. Today there are over 450 elephants in the park, as well as Cape buffalo, black rhinos, all kinds of antelopes and even the flightless dung beetle which is unique to the park.
On arrival at the park, take an afternoon game drive and try to spot some of the local residents from our truck.
While in Addo, stay at a campground that has basic shared facilities, WiFi access and upgrades possible.
Spend the next few days discovering the most spectacular stretch of the Garden Route. Our first stop is the Tsitsikamma National Park (250 km, approx 4-5 hrs).
Protecting both land and sea, steep ancient forests meet the breakers of the Indian Ocean at Tsitsikamma National Park. It's a spectacular place for walking and wildlife viewing.
While in Tsitsikamma, stay at a campground that has basic shared facilities, ATM, WiFi access and upgrades possible
Your leader will take you to a local activity centre where a range of activities will be on offer. We have not risk assessed all activities and only those listed in our trip notes are recommended. If you are unsure please check with your leader.
Please note that it is against company policy for leaders to facilitate the booking of any activities that have not been risk assessed or do not adhere to our company’s Responsible Travel policy and ethos. This includes organising transport to and from these activities in our vehicles.
The Cape clawless otter, dolphins, tortoises and southern right whales (in season) are all visitors here, along with baboons, monkeys and myriad birds.
Head out across the arid Karoo region bound for Oudtshoorn (220 km, approx 4-5 hrs). Stop off on the way at Knysna to stretch your legs and explore this quaint little hamlet.
The ostrich capital of the world, at the turn of the 20th century Oudtshoorn was full of 'feather barons' that grew rich off the popularity of ostrich feathers. Today there are literally thousands of ostriches in the area being farmed for their meat, leather, and on a smaller scale, their feathers and eggs. Take a short stroll around town and you'll discover all sorts of ostrich souvenirs.
Our campsite has hot showers, flush toilets and upgrades possible.
Get your blood pumping while exploring the Cango Caves and learn about their formation and history from our local guide.
Travel from Oudtshoorn to Swellendam (220km, approx 4-5 hrs) on the scenic Route 62.
One of the oldest settlements in South Africa, Swellendam is located at the foot of the Langenberg Mountains. This picturesque town has something for everyone with plenty of great restaurants, adventure activities, wildlife and is the perfect base for exploring the local wine region.
We should arrive in Swellendam by early afternoon. Set up camp and have the remainder of the afternoon free for you to explore or relax around the camp. The camp has limited upgrades available and WiFi access.
Up early this morning travelling to the southernmost point in Africa - Cape Agulhus.
Travel along the famous R320 winery route (visiting 2-3 wineries) before heading onto the beach side town of Hermanus.

This region is highly influenced by the cooling Atlantic Ocean that sweeps up past Cape Town and brings with it a satisfying cool breeze that cools down the grapes that are grown here. The predominant grape types that grow very well here are mainly French, German and northern Italian - such as - Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Mourvedre, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage.

Today's drive is 300km and we will be on the road for approximately 5 hours. We camp with facilities tonight and may go out for a BYO dinner to to try some wine purchased earlier in the day.
Enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Hermanus before driving back to Cape Town via the scenic bay route (200km approx 4 hrs).
With its stunning coastline, dominating mountain and modern cityscape, Cape Town is one of Africa's most appealing cities. With vineyards on its doorstep, adventure activities around every other corner and plenty of restaurants and cafes to while away the time, Cape Town is a very easy city to spend some extra time in.
On arrival you'll be dropped at our finishing point hotel in central Cape Town. No accommodation is provided for tonight, but we are able to book you additional accommodation in Cape Town. Please ask at time of booking.

Please don't book any international flights until after 10pm this evening.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
13 breakfasts, 10 dinners
Transport
Overland vehicle
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (7 nights), Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night), Dormitory (3 nights), Lodge (2 nights)
Included activities
  • Drakensburg - Short hike
  • Addo National Elephant Park - Game drive
  • Cango Caves
  • R320 Route Wine Tour

Dates

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip.
2. This trip finishes upon arrival in Cape Town on Day 14. Please do not book any flights until after 6pm this evening.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Garden Route Adventure trips score an average of 4.68 out of 5 based on 34 reviews in the last year.

Garden Route Adventure , March 2016

Garden Route Adventure , January 2016

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