Garden Route holiday, tailor made, South Africa

“Exploring the beautiful Garden Route with the freedom of your own car and the option of local guides delivers all the highlights and hidden gems, too.”


Cape Town & beaches | Table Mountain | Jonkershoek Valley | the Winelands | Hermanus | Oudtshoorn | Outeniqua Pass | Tsitsikamma & Plettenberg Bay | Port Elizabeth | Amakhala Game Reserve | opportunities for whale watching, hiking, Cango Caves, Storms River adventure

Description of Garden Route holiday, tailor made, South Africa

This Garden Route holiday, tailor made, includes a winning combination of activities, ideal for a family adventure. We've based this on self-drive, but use guides wherever they will add to your experience. We've also based this on some gorgeous and interesting places to stay.

Highlights include Cape Town, a sea kayaking and Cape Point day trip and a wine tram tour at Franschoek. Visit Hermanus, with perhaps some whale watching, too, depending on the time of year, and take in Outdsthoorn, where you can visit an ostrich farm and the Cango Caves. Drive along the Garden Route and enjoy Plettenberg Bay and take a safari in Kareiga Game Reserve.

This is purely a suggested itinerary based on the most popular places to see, the list of accommodation choices is huge and these are just some of the options. Ask us for recommendations and a tailor made quotation.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Departure information

This trip can be arranged at any time to suit you and adapted to your requirements as necessary
Our top tip:
Take some good walking shoes and stop and take advantage of the many beautiful trails on route.
Trip type:
Tailor Made
Activity level:
Many options possible: including hotels, lodges and homestays
Welcome; surcharges might apply at some accommodations
Accommodation, car hire, some activities, internal transfers
11 breakfasts, 1 dinner, full board at safari lodge
Holiday type

Tailor made holidays

This trip can be tailor made to create a unique holiday for your individual requirements by travel experts with intimate knowledge of the destination. It is a more luxurious trip that will suit those who enjoy immersing themselves in new cultures and environments before relaxing in comfort. As this trip can be tailor made it would be helpful if you could you provide the following information: rough budget per person (stating with or without flights), your address and postcode, contact phone number, preferred date of travel, length of trip, number of passengers, preferred countries and areas within those countries, specific interests & type of accommodation.

Responsible tourism

Garden Route holiday, tailor made, 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.

At the company location in the UK there are fifteen staff members. Of these, four work from home (no commuting), one who cycles twenty miles a day to & from work, and another cycles ten miles a day (in summer). The new office that was recently built is very energy efficient. It is well-insulated, the roof is shaded by trees which helps with the building not overheating during the summer months and therefore air-conditioning is not a daily requirement, and it has lots of natural light to reduce electric light usage whenever possible.

The company is located on a former farm and the directors grow fruit and vegetables which are shared with the team (apples, pears, blackcurrants, broad beans, lettuce, mint, courgettes, squashes etc!), so we keep our own footprint low. In addition, there are other members of staff that have home grown products that are available to their team members. As a company, we look to buy energy-efficient computers, and believe in recycling, so the latest computers bought have been both energy efficient and re-conditioned.

As part of our commitment to the environment we have a programme to plant trees in Tanzania, Malawi, Peru etc. through the company’s foundation. This was set up to help alleviate poverty, conserve endangered wildlife, and protect earth’s environmental diversity for the benefit of us all. All the projects have a link with tourism in some way, and many benefit the wider world as well as local people, through conserving areas of natural beauty. We don’t just look overseas when considering the environment, even at the office the team planted tress in the fields surrounding the buildings to celebrate the company’s 21st birthday in 2019.

As a company we think about our partners overseas carefully. Whereas it is not always possible for them, due to their locations in remote areas, the company ethos is to use properties around the globe that have a similar ethical stance to ourselves. If they can use local suppliers for their provisions, be it food or furnishings then they do, and all offer a variety of menus including vegetarian and vegan/plant-based options. Our partners support the use of solar/renewable energies, and many are looking at ways of switching their current supplies to more eco-friendly options in order to be more efficient. The use of solar, water and air are options in use or being explored, as well as grey water run offs. Energy efficient appliances and practices, card operated in room lighting, low energy bulbs, and a change in laundry practices, are all in operation, and show just a few of the initiatives used. Our partners also use local staff within their properties. Many live on-site in seasonal properties for example reducing the travel emissions of the company, many come from the local villages and communities surrounding the properties. This includes everyone from house keeping to management and the guides that are from the locale.

Due to the nature of the holidays provided by the company, it is impossible to eliminate all flights but where possible we use the minimum flight hours an itinerary can operate with. The packages we have on offer include rail portions in some areas, which keep emissions low, many walking options and shared transportation.


Kariega Lodge backs the Kariega Foundation which is dedicated to conservation and wildlife management. Having lost 2 rhinos to poaching a few years ago, they have an ongoing fund to support anti-poaching and offer protection, especially to one rhino that was attacked and whose rehabilitation they have been supporting. In addition to this, the foundation plants trees in the area, notably near the school they back.

At Outdshoorn , you will stay at an ostrich farm, however our company backs the banning of using ostriches to ride on. This has happened for many years as an activity in this region, but it's been shown to be damaging to the birds, so we stopped promoting this a few years ago once this became known.

We recommend two activities whilst in Plettenberg Bay, both of which have a great positive impact on the region - a treetop canopy tour and a specific marine wildlife tour. Both of these activities are undertaken with the environment firmly at the heart, and so they protect important indigenous forest as well as marine wildlife.

For every person that travels with the company, it plants trees through The Travel Forest initiative. Depending on where they plant and the requirement of the specific area, they plant either indigenous trees or a mix of indigenous and non-native species. Planting non-native seedlings may seem counter-intuitive but doing this can often help any remaining indigenous forest from being cut down (e.g. for fuel) as some non-native trees grow much more quickly than indigenous types. They particularly aim to save ancient or older indigenous forest, through offering an alternative option for fuel requirements of local communities. In addition to this benefit, their Travel Forest initiative helps with such things as planting for water-course retention, soil erosion, shade and even food – all depending on what is planted and where. They have planted almost 100,000 trees to date in various degraded locations including the Andean mountains in Peru, northern Tanzania and Malawi. This has always been done in conjunction with the local communities who plant and then tend the seedlings. Trees are far more important to the health of this planet (and us) than many people imagine. This global Travel Forest initiative can and does make a big difference.


Your visit to Kayamandi township in Stellenbosch is a wonderful way to get to know something of the local culture here. You will walk around the area, and a local mama will invite you in for a Xhosa lunch. The tour is about 3.5 hours long and this not only directly benefits the community, but is a good way to build understanding of life in a township.

At Plettenberg Bay we recommend going to try the Treetop Canopy tour at Tstitsikamma. Not only does this have a positive impact on the conservation of the flora here, but this is a remarkable community project which offers local employment. 90% of the staff here are from the locality, and they are offered training as well as the opportunity to gain more senior positions. In addition they support a feeding scheme for local children, an AIDS awareness programme, and clothes distribution to the needy.

Kariega Game Reserve is the largest employer in the Kenton-on-Sea area, and they also commit to local development projects. The local school is one of the projects they back and have helped with things such as renovating classrooms and a new school vegetable garden.

4 Reviews of Garden Route holiday, tailor made, South Africa

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 14 Aug 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

So hard to pick one - the game reserve experience, the stormy sea view at De Kelders, Kirstenbosch Gardens in the early morning before breakfast on our final day, enjoying fantastic views on our drive through Western Cape

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Have at least 3 days in Capetown and ideally the Game Reserve too - and leave plenty of time for a leisurely drive through Western Cape. We always felt that one night in places wasn't enough so avoid time constraints! Go when the Table Mountain cable car is open!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes I did feel that consideration was given to these matters - most obvious was the ethos of the game reserve. However self drive is an SUV is not environmentally friendly and neither are luxury hotels really. We saw that some local people were employed too.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic and we wished it was longer.

Reviewed on 07 Feb 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Being so close to wild animals on the game drives at Elephant Plains.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Loved the area around Tsitsikamma - some brilliant walks. Did not get chance to do the walk to the waterfall, as we spent too long around the suspension bridges. We assumed a 3km walk could not take too long, but when we got to the start we had not allowed enough time. Robberg peninsula was also a great walk, but not a gentle stroll. When it says 4 hours, it is pretty accurate (we managed 3 hours 50 mins, partly because we kept stopping to look, and partly that there was a lot of clambering over rocks)

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Reviewed on 26 Feb 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Difficult to say as it was all memorable ! The Drakensberg mountains and Didima camp at Cathedral Peak provided a magical start to the holiday, with stunning scenery, fantastic hiking and lovely accommodation; we could easily have stayed much longer there.

The game parks provided a further high point, seeing and learning about all the flora and fauna in its natural habitat. At River Bend Lodge, a private concession within the Addo Elephant park, our enthusiastic guide imparted her very extensive knowledge of the flora, birdlife, ecology, history, geology and everything else, as well as the wildlife!

Accommodation , food, atmosphere and setting were wonderful. Bukela game park was also special but different; it was good having 2 contrasting experiences.

We also very much enjoyed hiking in some of the very many national parks and nature reserves, and were very impressed at all the well marked trails, and the information available. The fynbos vegetation of the Western Cape was amazing and beautiful.

Most scary/exciting must be the canopy tour we did in Tsitsikamma/ Storm River, though a little disappointing in that I had hoped to learn more of the birdlife and flora at treetop level!

Memorable in a different way was our trip to Robben Island where we were shown round by ex political prisoners; it gave us much food for thought.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

We appreciated the freedom afforded by an individual itinerary and self drive as opposed to a tour, but with the security of having all the accommodation booked in advance, and advice and suggestions as to where to go. It was difficult deciding just what we wanted to see and do so research beforehand is very helpful.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

As far as we could judge, generally yes, in that the guest houses and game parks were providing employment. In several places in particular - Didima camp, Jan Harmsgat guest house, Bukela game lodge, and River Bend Lodge it was clear that profit was going into improving local facilities and specific projects that would benefit local people. Also in these places (though not River Bend Lodge) local (black) people had more responsible employment, not just the simpler/menial tasks.

As far as impact on the environment was concerned, we felt some of the more luxurious establishments were using resources unnecessarily , eg spa baths and excessive air-conditioning . Generally though there were attempts to reduce washing of towels etc.

4. Any other comments?

We had a fantastic holiday. At least 4 star!

Reviewed on 17 Mar 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Many and varied but some of the best were - the penguins on Boulder Beach, Cape Point on a glorious day, staying with Hazel of Hazel's Homestays, the Real City tour in PE, Amakhala Lodge.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday? Take account of the distances when driving. It's a bigger country than the UK.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, some benefit to local people. Don't believe we minimized our impact on the local environment.

4. Any other comments?

The guest houses and lodges we stayed in were all different and all very good. Highly recommend. Much more interesting than hotels.

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