Garden Route tour in South Africa

“Spend two weeks exploring the wild landscapes and national parks of the Garden Route in a small group of like minded travellers, with hikes on 7 out of 14 days. ”


Port Elizabeth | Addo Elephant National Park | Walking the Alexandria Trail | Tsitsikamma National Park | Plettenberg Bay | Swellendam | De Hoop Nature Reserve | Wine region | Cape Town | Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve

Description of Garden Route tour in South Africa

This Garden Route tour takes you to some of South Africa’s wildest and most beautiful sites, as you follow the coast from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town. You’ll visit Addo National Park, where lions and huge herds of elephants roam, wander past waterfalls, rivers and fairy tale forests in Tsitsikamma National Park, taste some of the world’s best wines in the vineyards around Stellenbosch and watch penguins play in the surf near Cape Town.

Walking is a big part of this tour and a particular highlights is hiking the Alexandria Trail. Over two days, you’ll walk 26 km past sand dunes, sea-shore and indigenous forest, with a night spent sleeping in a simple hut. You’ll also hit (shorter) walking trails in Storm’s River, Swellendam and the De Hoop Nature Reserve and the Cape Peninsula, including a trail up the world famous Table Mountain.

Travel Team

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Check dates, prices & availability

19 Oct 2019
including UK flights
08 Feb 2020
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04 Apr 2020
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06 Jun 2020
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15 Aug 2020
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05 Sep 2020
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17 Oct 2020
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Holiday type

Small group holiday

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?
Big experiences
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?”
Valerie Parkinson
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.
Roshan Fernando
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

Garden Route tour in South Africa

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.


Accommodation & Meals:
For most parts of the trip, we spend the nights in tourist class hotels, owned and staffed locally. In a couple locations (Alexandria Trail and Tsitsikamma), the accommodation is run by SANParks, the South African National Park organisation and our stay will contribute to the maintenance of the national parks. Meals are normally had in local establishments who tend to use local produce, including some of South Africa’s succulent meats and world renowned wines. We also have the opportunity to visit local wineries. By spreading our business to many local establishments, we are making a positive impact by sustaining a demand for local employment.

Local Crafts and Culture:
During the trip, we will visit some of the country’s famous wineries and get a taste of some of the different varieties of produce in the region. We will stop by a number of places where clients have the opportunity to purchase local crafts. There is also the chance to have an optional township tour in Cape Town which gives an insight into how people live in these neighbourhoods.

As this is a walking holiday we visit a number of national parks and protected areas where fees are paid to assist in the conservation of these areas. These include Addo National Park, Tsitsikamma National Park, Table Mountain National Park, Featherbed Nature Reserve, Marloth Nature Reserve, De Hoop Reserve and Cape Peninsula National Park. Our guides will advise clients about not straying off paths and about how to deal with local wildlife.

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 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.

Water is a really important issue with trips such as this and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. Wherever possible we provide safe alternative sources of water to buying single use plastic bottles. This may be through large water containers, or encourage our passengers to filter, sterilise or purify water. We encourage all our passengers to come prepared with a reusable water bottle for this purpose.

Group Size:
This is a small group tour, 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.

UK Office:
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.

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