Garden Route and Eastern Cape

South Africa

Enjoy the Dramatic Coastline

Don’t plan a trip to the Garden Route expecting expanses of perfectly pruned gardens. It inherited its name because its rugged coast is such a stark contrast to the arid inland.

It’s a joy to drive along and there are plenty of things to see do along the way. You can take forest walks amid ancient trees, hit bike trails or head out by boat to spot whales and dolphins – days can be as action packed or relaxing as you please.

But if you do plan a trip to the Garden Route, our advice is to not stick to it. Venture inland, along Route 62, and you’ll see things most minibus convoys on the N2 highway miss. It runs from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and offers lots of scenic stop-offs along the way. There’s sleepy Oudtshoorn (the ostrich capital of the country). Jaw-dropping views through the Swartberg Pass. And Calitzdorp, with its port wine estates.

Once you pass Port Elizabeth, you enter a different world. A world of rolling hills, endless plains and world-class game reserves. Safaris on the Eastern Cape are a great place to start wildlife spotting. The reserves are home to the Big Five (although the leopards are a tad elusive). And even if you’re a seasoned safari pro, we still think they’re up there with the best.

Places to stay

  • Shamwari Sindile Tented Camp

    Eastern Cape Safari

    If you love the idea of sleeping under canvas but don’t want to be without life’s little luxuries then then...

  • Morukuru Ocean House

    De Hoop Nature Reserve

    Stunning ocean views? Check. A nature reserve on your doorstep? Check. The chance to see southern right whales breed and...

  • Tsala Treetop Lodge

    Knysna - Plettenberg Bay

    Tsala's villas remind us of tree houses, suspended in the forest on a network of raised pathways. With their out-of-this-...

  • Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge

    Eastern Cape Safari

    Great Fish River Lodge sits on a steep bank, with expansive views of the Great Fish River. The scenery stretches...

  • Morukuru Beach Lodge

    De Hoop Nature Reserve

    Morukuru Beach Lodge is a solar-powered, fully off-grid lodge that works well for all ages. There are four huge ocean-view suites...

  • The Old Rectory

    Plettenberg Bay

    The Old Rectory is a truly special place: one of the most exciting renovations to have happened in recent years...

  • Gorah Elephant Camp

    Addo National Park

    Your adventure begins before you even arrive, with a 30-minute drive to the camp in a game-viewing vehicle.  How to top...

  • Shamwari Long Lee Manor

    Eastern Cape Safari

    Long Lee Manor is an Edwardian-style manor house that overlooks the wildlife-rich plains of the Shamwari Game Reserve. Its manicured...

  • The Plettenberg

    Plettenberg Bay - Garden Route

    The Plettenberg used to have a reputation for being a bit of a seaside retirement home. Not now. The chintz...

  • Rosenhof


    A welcome escape from the dust and heat of the Klein Karoo, Rosenhof Country House makes for a perfect little stop over at the...

  • Fancourt

    George - Garden Route

    Fancourt is the place to stay for golf. It’s home to three award-winning Gary Player courses: Montagu, Outeniqua and The Links...

  • Settlers Drift

    Eastern Cape Safari

    In our opinion, Settlers Drift is the most lavish lodge on the Kariega Reserve. But it's not all about the...


You would normally fly in to Cape Town or Port Elizabeth and drive along the Garden Route. The perfect self-drive destination, but we can arrange a guide and driver should you prefer. We recommend taking it slowly, it doesn’t warrant rushing. The game reserves of the Eastern Cape are a short drive from Port Elizabeth and fit very comfortably at the start or end of a Garden Route itinerary.


The Garden Route has glorious sunny days from October to March. If this is the type of weather you require on holiday then these months are the best time to go. From April to September the days can be cooler, punctuated with some rain, though you will benefit from low season rates and make good use of the open fireplaces. Southern Right Whales can be seen from July to November along much of the coastline. The game viewing is year round on the reserves, though bear in mind that mornings and evenings can be cold from May to September.


Create Your Journey

Speak to one of our specialists

Enquire Now

Rather than take online bookings, we prefer to talk through your requirements before we start to create your holiday . Contact us – or speak to your travel agent to discuss your ideas in more depth.