Garden Route vacation, tailor made, South Africa

“Exploring the beautiful Garden Route with the freedom of your own hire car and the option of local guides will deliver you all the highlights & some hidden gems”


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

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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
Vacation type

Tailor made vacations

This trip can be tailor made to create a unique vacation 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 zipcode, 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

Responsible tourism: Garden Route vacation, tailor made, South Africa

Homestay: Hazel (a retired teacher) and 11 other multi-ethnic, well-educated ladies joined together to form this homestay opportunity. These are homes not hotels, so you get an insight into what it is like to stay with a local, non-white family, something which is not commonly possible in South Africa. These families were all discriminated against under apartheid, and it is only by Hazel's strong will that this homestay project has got off the ground at all, as the families still find that they can not compete in general with the white-owned guest houses.

Treetop canopy tour: If you decide to take a Treetop Canopy Tour you will be directly helping a great community poverty relief project. Environmental education excursions are conducted regularly and include 1000 children annually from local communities. The company recently adopted the local Primary School and makes a significant contribution to the school feeding scheme by providing meals for 140 children. A proposed community-owned Craft Centre is major project which is also receiving support. It is hoped that 200 local people will become self-employed through this initiative.

Port Elizabeth city tour: The Calabash Trust is a poverty alleviation and upliftment fund aimed at providing assistance to projects in disadvantaged areas through tourism. Funds from the city tour go directly to this trust, which in turn helps people in the townships. The help is given through training, sponsoring children's education, and bringing in equipment needed by the communities eg for schools, clinics etc.

Addo: In Addo we use the community field guides who were taken from the local township and trained up by the government. We are one of the few operators promoting this community scheme, which could have a significant impact if it was patronised more widely. The guides are well-trained and very enthusiastic.

Flights are automatically carbon offset through The Travel Forest, which plants 10 indigenous trees on your behalf (currently in northern Tanzania). Whilst the primary motivation for planting the trees is to offset carbon emissions, the project also works as a poverty alleviation and environmental improvement scheme.

3 Reviews of Garden Route vacation, tailor made, South Africa

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 07 Feb 2011 by

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

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

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

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 vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


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


Reviewed on 26 Feb 2007 by

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

Difficult to say as it was all memorable ! The Drakensberg mountains and Didima camp at Cathedral Peak provided a magical start to the vacation, 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 travelers booking this vacation?

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 vacation 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 vacation. At least 4 star!

Reviewed on 17 Mar 2006 by

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

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 travelers booking this vacation?

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

3. Did you feel that your vacation 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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