“A two week small group, guided tour along South Africa’s famous Garden Route from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town.”
Port Elizabeth | Game drives in Addo Elephant National Park | Storms River | Tsitsikamma National Park | Knysna Heads | Oudtshoorn | Cango Cave | Mossel Bay | Dias museum | Hermanus | Option for whale watching | Hermanus wine region | Cape Town | Table Mountain | Cape Peninsula | Simonstown penguins | Option to visit Robben Island | Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
Description of Cape Town and the Garden Route tour
This two week small group tour takes you on a spectacular South African journey along its famous Garden Route to Cape Town. A garden that is filled with natural and cultural highlights, wildlife and wild coasts, wine and a wonderful South African welcome, staying in charming and small, locally owned guesthouses along the way.
After settling in to Port Elizabeth, our first trip to Addo Elephant National Park is one of the finest introductions to South Africa’s incredible wildlife. Just a stone’s throw from the city you can take a game drive to see not only elephants but all of the Big Five. Another great national park exists further west, this time the coastal Tsitsikamma NP where the rugged bays, forests that line them and waterfalls that tumble down through them are worthy of national protection.
As well as the spectacular sandstone cliffs at Knysna Heads, other coastal crowning glories on this Garden Route holiday include Mossel Bay and Hermanus, both famously beautiful beach bliss but also for great for wildlife watching, with whales visible from land here during the migratory season August until November, and sometimes earlier if you are lucky. It is also one of South Africa’s most famous regions for wineries, and tastings of the Garden Route’s most famous produce are a must on this itinerary.
Cape Town is the last port of call on this holiday, with two full days to explore its culture, history and contemporary cool spots too. Sometimes referred to as the Mother City, she proffers an eclectic mix of places to see from the brightly coloured Cape Malay houses to the much more grim reality of Robben Island, now a fascinating museum. There is plenty of beach life too of course where you can watch the sun set over the ocean. And you can take your pick of those, with Cape Point being the end of the peninsula that separates the Indian Ocean from the Atlantic.
Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.
Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
Responsible tourism: Cape Town and the Garden Route tour
Wildlife: We do a number of wildlife oriented activities, such as game drives in Addo Elephant National Park, exploring the waterfalls and forests of Tsitskamma National Park and visiting an ostrich form in Oudtshoorn. In including these places on our tours, we are contributing to the employment of local staff here, the upkeep of facilities for people and animals and also promoting a responsible treatment of wildlife, as opposed to the alternatives like poaching and hunting.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Community: There is the fantastic opportunity to go on a township tour in Port Elizabeth at the beginning of the trip- or in Cape Town at the end. We can visit a local ‘Shebeen’, which originally meant an illegal drinking den, and now refers to a legal tavern. Our visit here really gives an insight into the life of many South Africans that a lot of tourists don’t get to experience. Small local businesses really benefit from this type of tour as we pay for a home cooked, typically South African meal and travellers are often tempted to buy souvenirs here.
Accommodation & Meals: We stay in small, locally run hotels and guest houses, chalets and one night on a guest farm. By spreading our business to many local establishments, we are making a positive impact by sustaining a demand for local employment. The guest farm in particular is a great example. The Stellenbosch region produces some of the best wine in the world and we have the chance to sample local produce and stay the night here. This kind of enterprise provides jobs for locals working in the vineyards, the hotel and it also encourages the production of regionally specific wine. This trip includes all breakfasts and where meals are not provided, your guides will be able to point out the best local cafes and restaurants. We recommend ostrich sausages, traditional ‘Pap’ (maize & water) and snoek fishcakes.
A Fair Deal: We work closely with our local operator and ensure that all of our guides are local and that in exchange for their expertise on the wildlife, environment and culture that they are paid and treated fairly. The leaders will give a briefing on Responsible Tourism issues to help you understand how you can help reduce your impact and maximise the benefits to the local community from your visit. By supporting and employing these people we are helping to ensure that their wildlife areas, scenic beauty and historical significance generate value for the community and are therefore appreciated and protected from development and exploitation.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.