The journey from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, better known as the Garden Route, takes you through some of South Africa's most iconic coastal landscapes, from spectacular cliff-hugging highways to laid back surfer hangouts. This self-drive tour lets you explore this stunning part of South Africa at your own pace. Meet the locals in a shebeen, come face to face with Great Whites and Southern Rights on a whale watching cruise, and zip through the treetops on flying foxes, happy in the knowledge that you're supporting businesses that are passionate about protecting their local community and environment.
Duration: 13 Nights / 14 Days
Route: Cape Town - Hermanus - Plettenberg Bay - Port Elizabeth - Amakhala Game Reserve - Cape Town.
Tour Type: Self-drive with guided activities.
Group size: 2-4 adults (some scheduled activities depart with a minimum of 4 people, but alternative options can be arranged for less than 4 people)
Arrive in Cape Town, and relax as we whisk you off to your base for the next four nights, Antrim Villa – an intimate, Fair Trade-certified guest house, handily located near Green Point and all the attractions of the city centre.
Morning: Take a guided walking tour of Cape Town’s inner city, to get an insight into the different cultures that have shaped Cape Town over the centuries and the bubbling creative energy that defines the city today. You'll see why Cape Town has been awarded the title of Design Capital of the World for 2014, and go beyond the usual tourist trail to meet interesting and inspiring Capetonians: informal traders, boutique owners and project leaders working for a brighter future for the city. The walk ends with a cup of Fair Trade coffee or an indigenous Rooibos tea at a local café.
Afternoon at leisure. You can climb to the crest of Table Mountain, either by Cable Car (own account) or on foot via the rugged Platteklip Trail, for a breathtaking sunset view over the city, the Atlantic Ocean and Robben Island
Discover the magnificent landscapes of Cape Town's Atlantic coastline on a full-day tour to the legendary Cape of Good Hope. On this tour you'll enjoy enthralling coastal views from Cape Point and Chapman's Peak Drive, and meet all kinds of interesting locals, from the dinner-jacketed denizens of Boulders Penguin Colony to the fishermen of Kalk Bay, one of South Africa's oldest fishing harbours. Take a walking tour through the village and hear stories of local culture and history, before returning to Cape Town.
Today is all yours to discover more of Cape Town. Why not take a Cape Malay Cooking Tour with our Fair Trade partners Andulela Experience? On this interactive guided walk through the colourful streets of the Bo-Kaap you'll learn about the culture and cuisine of the Cape Muslims, who came to Cape Town from Indonesia as slaves during the Dutch colonial period. Touch, taste and smell your way through typical ingredients at a local spice shop, and visit a halal butcher, before heading to the family home of a Bo-Kaap resident where you;ll participate in a hands-on, fun-filled cooking session before enjoying a full traditional lunch.
It's time to hit the road! Pick up your car and head east on the coast road to Hermanus – one of the world's most spectacular drives, winding between rugged mountains and the glittering Atlantic Ocean.
For the next two nights you'll stay at Farm 215, one of the pioneers of sustainable hospitality in South Africa, situated in an 800-hectare private reserve of 'fynbos' on the lonely road to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of Africa. Known to botanists as the Cape Floral Kingdom, the fynbos is a uniquely rich coastal ecosystem, boasting the highest density of localised and endemic plant-species in the world.
Spend the morning learning more about the botanical beauty of the Cape Floral Kingdom, then drive to nearby Gansbaai to join a whale watching cruise. On this trip you will be looking out for the Big Five of the oceans: Southern Right Whale June – December), Great White Shark, African Penguins, Cape Fur Seals, Dolphins and Southern Right Whale, which are in residence during the breeding season from June to December. WIth a number of trained marine biologists on each cruise, you'll get a rare insight into the oceanic inhabitants of South Africa. Our partners, Dyer Island Cruises, have invested heavily in protecting the breeding colony of penguins on Dyer Island.
Today you'll start your journey along the Garden Route on the drive to Plettenberg Bay. Plettenberg Bay is a tranquil and charming seaside town, named “Bahia Formosa” (beautiful bay) by early Portuguese explorers. The area is popular for miles of sweeping, unspoilt beaches, a dramatic rocky peninsula, unpolluted lagoons and estuaries and the nearby Tsitsikamma indigenous forest.
Stay for the next three nights at Hog Hollow, a luxurious Fair Trade-certified lodge set in the forest with magnificent views of the Tsitsikamma Mountains.
This morning, join a cultural tour to meet members of the Qolweni community near Plettenberg Bay and learn about Xhosa history and tribal culture. Meet the children at the community crèche, and interact with residents to learn and understand their way of life. Our partners, Ocean Blue Adventures, are investing in sustainability measures such as setting up community vegetable gardens, and the tour helps to pay for school teachers and day care workers in a village where only 20 percent of the community is currently employed.
A day at leisure to visit beaches and nearby National Parks. Take a hike around the rugged coastline of the Robberg Peninsula, try sea kayaking with a local guide, or drive to nearby Knysna to sample the famous oysters.
This morning, drive into the magnificent Tsitsikamma indigenous rainforest for an exciting eco-wilderness adventure among the treetops. The canopy tour takes you through the high branches of giant Outeniqua Yellowwood trees, moving from one platform to the next by a steel cable suspended up to 30 meters above the forest floor. The tour provides an unbelievable view of the forest, and sightings of endemic birds like the Knysna Loerie and the elusive Narina Trogon, as well as Vervet monkeys.
The tour is run by Stormsriver Adventures, a Fair Trade-accredited company who use guides from the local community, as well as helping to foster local micro businesses and funding environmental education and HIV awareness programs.
After the tour, continue along the Garden Route to Port Elizabeth, the biggest town of the Eastern Cape. This evening you'll join a Shebeen Tour. This version of the local drinking den is at the vibrant heart of social life in every township in South Africa. Our Fair Trade partners Calabash Tours will take you on a memorable journey to experience the diversity of Port Elizabeth's townships, before relaxing at one of our carefully selected Shebeens for drinks and dinner. Enjoy the unbeatable hospitality of our African hosts and absorb the convivial community atmosphere with the locals
Days 11 to 13
Self-drive to Amakhala Game Reserve, a superb conservation project adjacent to the famous Addo Elephant National Park. A former sheep and cattle ranch, Amakhala has been revegetated with indigenous plants, and many game species have been successfully introduced, including black & white rhino, elephant and lion.
You will stay at one of the intimate tented camps or lodges, and your stay will be made special by personalized attention and arrangements tailor-made to suit your requirements. You can choose from a wide range of excursions and activities, including game drives by day and night, bird watching, canoeing on the river, guided walks and picnic lunches and a river cruise.
Accommodation at Reed Valley Inn, a 200-year-old farmhouse set in the reserve.
Drive back to Port Elizabeth for your return flight to Cape Town
Fair Trade Whales and Wildlife Tour
Hunt for the Big Five of land and sea on this in-depth safari across the Western Cape.