Things to do in Garden Route

Our most recommended things to do in Garden Route

Hermanus: Boat Based Whale Watching Experience

1. Hermanus: Boat Based Whale Watching Experience

Board your vessel for the day and receive a safety briefing before starting your whale watching adventure. In good weather conditions travellers will be allowed on the top-deck before departure for great unobstructed views, otherwise they will be allowed on top only after the whales have been found. Travel out onto the ocean taking in great views as you go.  Once the whales have been spotted, the vessel is allowed to move closer to the whales where it stops and the engines disengage is to prevent the whales from being injured by the propellers. Experience for yourself the astonishment of being so close to these majestic creatures.  As the whales are curious creatures, they might move up to the vessel for some 'people watching'. See a variety of other marine wildife such as dolphins and seals as you coast along the water. As you travel through the day and spot these beautiful creatures learn more about them from your crew, before they take you back to land after a once in a lifetime experience. 

Botlierskop Private Game Reserve: 3-Hour Guided Game Drive

2. Botlierskop Private Game Reserve: 3-Hour Guided Game Drive

Take a 3-hour guided game drive at Botlierskop Private Game Reserve, and experience close encounters with rhinos, lions, giraffes, buffaloes and more. Situated in spectacular mountains near Mossel Bay, the reserve boasts a great diversity of habitats and 26 different species of wildlife.  The 4,200 hectare reserve is a paradise for bird watchers, with more than 200 species to be seen. In an open game viewing vehicle, your guide will take you to the best locations to spot lions, zebras, elephants, and other animals. After the game drive, spend some time enjoying the facilities, including a restaurant and an open-air swimming pool.

Gansbaai: Whale Watching Trip by Boat

3. Gansbaai: Whale Watching Trip by Boat

Launch from the quaint fishing harbor of Gansbaai and travel along the cliffs of De Kelders. Enter a nature reserve with the highest concentration of whales in South Africa. Look for southern right whales in their natural environment, along with dolphins, Cape fur seals and sharks. Keep an eye out for humpback, minke and Bryde's whales frolicking in the ocean. Catch a glimpse of the beautiful orcas, False killer whales and enchanting African penguins. Return back to the harbor at the end of your boating adventure.

Garden Route National Park: Tsitsikamma Zipline Canopy Tour

4. Garden Route National Park: Tsitsikamma Zipline Canopy Tour

This unique eco-wilderness adventure takes place in the magnificent Tsitsikamma indigenous rainforest. Most of the platforms are located in giant Outeniqua Yellowwood trees. The scenery and bird life are spectacular and professional guides provide interesting facts about the forest ecology throughout the tour. The concept of guiding people through the upper canopy of a rainforest originated in Costa Rica, where adventurous biologists devised new methods for accessing the forest canopy in order to conduct research on the undiscovered canopy ecosystem. The idea soon developed into a breathtaking form of eco-tourism which allowed people to enter and experience a previously inaccessible natural environment. The tour begins with a detailed safety briefing followed by a kitting-up session where full body harnesses, pulleys, and climbing equipment are issued and checked. A short drive into the Tsitsikamma forest and it is time to monkey around. From the start on the launch platform, a new world unfolds as one gently glides on a steel cable to the first tree platform. All groups are escorted through the forest canopy by a lead guide and a follow guide to ensure your safety as you slide from tree to tree. The platforms are built high up in the giant Outeniqua Yellowwoods and provide an unbelievable view of this enchanting new world, any fear of heights is soon lost as you gather in your new surroundings.

Plettenberg Bay: Whale Watching Boat Cruise

5. Plettenberg Bay: Whale Watching Boat Cruise

Start your 2-hour adventure with an adrenaline beach launch into the sea on a 400 horsepower speedboat. The purpose-built cat style boat has been designed to conquer the ocean without compromising on safety or comfort. Knowledgeable guides and skippers will treat you to close encounters with some of the whales that visit the shores during the months of June to November. You could be graced with sightings of the Southern Right Whale in the Bay or Humpback Whales travelling along the coastline. You may experience the joy of seeing them breach or even view a mother and calf as they enjoy the safety the bay offers. Take a closer look at a vast seal colony and the many pelagic and coastal birds. Other possible sightings include sharks, big fish, penguins, and octopus in their natural habitat.

From Cape Town: 2-Day Safari at Garden Route Game Lodge

6. From Cape Town: 2-Day Safari at Garden Route Game Lodge

Get the chance to see lions, elephants, rhinos, hippos, giraffes, and more on a 2-day safari tour from Cape Town. Enjoy 2 game drives and an overnight stay with included dinner and breakfast. On the first day, depart Cape Town and drive along the scenic coastal road to Cape Agulhas via Hermanus, the whale watching capital of the world. Make a stop at the southernmost tip of Africa to admire the beautiful lighthouse. Continue on to Garden Route Game Lodge. Here, embark on a sunset safari in an open-air vehicle. Observe a variety of native animals, including elephants, lions, rhinos, giraffes, hippos, and more. After the safari, settle in for a three-course dinner. Spend the night in one of the beautiful 4-star wooden chalets and admire the clear skies over the lodge. In the morning, head out for another game drive to see some of the animals you might have missed the evening before. After your drive, tuck into breakfast. Make your way back to Cape Town in the evening.

Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve: 2-Hour Game Drive

7. Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve: 2-Hour Game Drive

Arrive at the Safari Center at the Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve and embark on a magical 2-hour safari game drive through the reserve. Travel with a knowledgeable game ranger who will enthrall you with interesting facts about the wildlife and reserve. During the safari, try to spot 4 of Africa's 'Big 5', and other wildlife including elephants, buffalo, rhinos and leopards, different species of antelopes, birds, and more. At the end of the tour, return to the Safari Center where your tour will end.

Plettenberg Bay: Canyoning Trip

8. Plettenberg Bay: Canyoning Trip

Check in at the base camp to pick up your wetsuits, harnesses, life jackets and helmets. Once the group is ready, leave base camp for a short drive to the start of your canyon adventure. First, start your ropes course with a gentle 25-meter abseil into the canyon. Then, kick off with your first jump into the river followed by a short swim. Next, if you choose, try your hand at some cliff jumping. For this part of the activity, the highest jump is around of about 7 meters, and lowest 1 meter above the water level, so there are many options if your nerves are getting the better of you. Continue swimming and hiking down the river to The Rush, a waterfall abseil, and seasonally a controlled zip-line over the waterfall. Carry on swimming and hiking down the river until your next adventure, a 55-meter zip-line over a waterfall and into the river below. On completion of the trip, you will be collected from the pick-up point and transported back to the base camp for a nice hot shower, and to collect your pictures of the canyon trip.

From Cape Town: 2-Day South African Wildlife Safari Tour

9. From Cape Town: 2-Day South African Wildlife Safari Tour

Day 1: Cape Town/Stellenbosch to Oudtshoorn Travel route around 450 km Leave Cape Town or Stellenbosch early in the morning and trade the silhouette of Table Mountain for the lush green scenery of the Garden Route. The first game reserve visited is about 5 to 6 hours driving away (subject to weather and traffic conditions), but the route is scenic with a few photos and rest stops along the way. The 3500ha Botlierskop private game reserve is located in a malaria-free area and home to an abundance of wildlife including four of the Big Five, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, well over 26 different species of animals, and more than 200 bird species. Spot some of Africa’s wild animals from the back of an open-top 4x4 vehicle and particularly keep your eyes open for lion, elephant, buffalo, and rhino sightings. Leopards are nocturnal hunters, evasive and not contained by fences so it's unlikely to see them during these game drives.  After this approx. 2-hour game drive it's time for an up-close and personal encounter with nature on a short tranquil bush walking safari. Hop off the safari vehicle, following your game ranger as you look for wildlife through the coastal Renosterveldt and Cape Fynbos.  A short 1-hour drive to the next stop to end your day in Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world. Either head to town to enjoy a restaurant meal or taste local delights, such as an ostrich kebab during an optional 'braai' (similar to BBQ) dinner under the Klein Karoo's twinkling starry skies. This overnight safari trip includes a choice of overnight lodging in Oudtshoorn at budget Uthando Backpackers. Contact us directly to upgrade to the 4-star Buffelsdrift lodge or Yamkela guest house. Upgrades need to be paid upfront. Day 2: Oudtshoorn to Cape Town/Stellenbosch (B) Travel route around 420 km After breakfast, jump straight into the thick of the Klein Karoo bush this morning as you set out on an open-topped 2-hour 4x4 safari drive to seek out more of Africa’s wildlife at Buffelsdrift Private Game Reserve. Your expert guide and ranger will help spot wildlife and share some of nature’s secrets while teaching you about the region’s fauna and flora. This bush drive focuses more on getting back to basics and close to nature as the reserve is not home to many big game species. Join rangers on an optional Elephant Bush Walk to have the opportunity to walk alongside three rescued elephants on their morning stroll to the nearby waterhole (own expense). Learn about these gentle giants, under the watchful eye of the elephant guides as you walk along with these impressive creatures – easily the largest land mammals on earth. End off the perfect day with a drive along Route 62, the longest wine route in the world! Capture the beauty of high mountains, twisting passes, and rugged Karoo plains during this 5.5-hour journey (with extra rest stops and subject to traffic) before arriving in Cape Town or Stellenbosch by late evening.

Plettenberg Bay: Swim with Seals

10. Plettenberg Bay: Swim with Seals

Go swimming with seals in Plettenberg Bay, a fun and playful experience for all involved. Meet at the local office to take care of the paperwork and pick up all your equipment. Your group will depart by boat from Central Beach aboard the Robberg Express for an exciting beach launch. Head towards Robberg Nature Reserve and Marine Protected Area, home to approximately 8000 Cape fur seals.   Accompanied by a qualified divemaster, hop into the water and enjoy 30 minutes of amazing animal interaction among bundles of playful, inquisitive fur seals. Have the ultimate wild animal encounter in their natural environment and without altering their natural behaviours.

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What people are saying about Garden Route

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,059 reviews

It was a fantastic trip. Our guide Mawanda was an extremely competent guide, very precise and a very friendly and knowledgeable person. Mawanda accompanied us through all 5 days with safe driving, good stories about the places we visited. The organization of the trip itself was also top class. We got to see The Big five both on land and in the sea. We owe Mawanda a big thank you. Ole-David & Benedicte

Absolutely amazing!! We were hoping to see a whale, we saw many! This is a trip that we will definitely not forget, the tour guide & crew were all very friendly and knowledgeable and the boat comfy! But above all, we saw lots of Whales!!! Thank you

the trip was exceptional and our guide Mandela has a good sense of humor coupled to being very knowledgeable. we saw all the game promised and more. definitely worth every penny spent.

It was a very interesting ride there. But at least they did their best to make it good for us.

Nice trip if you wanna get out of the city for 2 days.