Garden Route
Safaris & Wildlife Activities

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Our most recommended Garden Route Safaris & Wildlife Activities

Gansbaai: Whale Watching Trip by Boat

1. 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.

2-Day Safari Experience at Garden Route Game Lodge

2. 2-Day Safari Experience at Garden Route Game Lodge

On the first day, you will depart Cape Town and drive along the scenic coastal road through to Cape Agulhas via Hermanus, the whale watching capital of the world. Visit the southernmost tip of Africa and its beautiful lighthouse before heading on to the Garden Route Game Lodge.  At the lodge, enjoy a Big 5 sunset safari on an open-air vehicle, followed by a 3-course dinner. Stay in beautiful 4-star wooden chalets under the clear African skies with excellent views of the stars. The next day, join the early morning game drive to see some of the animals you might have missed the evening before with breakfast to follow. Finally, you'll make your way back to Cape Town for arrival around 7:00 PM.

Botlierskop Private Game Reserve: 3-Hour Guided Game Drive

3. 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.

Plettenberg Bay: Swim with Seals

4. 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.

Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve: 2-Hour Game Drive

5. 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: 2-Hour Horseback Game Reserve Safari

6. Plettenberg Bay: 2-Hour Horseback Game Reserve Safari

Discover the wildlife of the African bush with a 2-hour horse safari on a 2,200-hectare reserve at the foothills of the Tsitsikamma Mountains. As you ride through the reserve, listen to your extremely knowledgeable game ranger's interesting facts and fascinating commentary.  During the tour, spot 4 of Africa's famous Big 5. The recent arrival of elephants to the reserve means you will be able to get up close with these, as well as buffalo, rhinos and lions. You will also encounter many species of antelope, giraffe, zebra, hippo and crocodiles. Birdlife at the game reserve is also abundant, as are the smaller buck and other wild animals that inhabit this protected area of the Garden Route.

Plettenberg Bay: Guided Sea Kayak Tour

7. Plettenberg Bay: Guided Sea Kayak Tour

After a thorough briefing on kayaking techniques and safety, paddle from Central Beach and back. The direction will be dependant on winds, swells and paddling abilities. The knowledgeable guide will explain the wonders of the ocean, as you take in the views of the Tsitsikamma mountains and the Robberg Nature Reserve. Enjoy sightings of Cape fur seals, bottlenose and humpback dolphins, whales (July – October), cormorants, and other sea birds and marine mammals. Whatever time of the year, this is an experience not to be missed by beginners and experienced kayakers alike.

From Cape Town/Stellenbosch: 2-Day Wildlife and Safari Tour

8. From Cape Town/Stellenbosch: 2-Day Wildlife and 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.

Wild Cat Experience 1-Hour Tour

9. Wild Cat Experience 1-Hour Tour

Join a guided 1-hour tour to get up close to the indigenous wild cats of South Africa, including servals, caracals, cheetahs, lions and leopards. Catch a glimpse of other animals such as meerkats, marabou storks, and many more. Enjoy this unique opportunity to see incredible wildlife, as you learn about conservation efforts in the region from your informative guide.  Follow your guide through the various habitats of the different cats as you listen to interesting facts about each species. See and photograph the wild cats at close range from a raised walkway. Your tour includes a visit to the penguin pool, where you'll discover more about marine conservation and wildlife rehabilitation as you watch these playful animals.

Garden Route and Addo Elephant National Park: 6-Day Safari

10. Garden Route and Addo Elephant National Park: 6-Day Safari

Day 1: Cape Town – Hermanus – Cape Agulhas The tour departs from Cape Town/Stellenbosch and heads to Hermanus. The tour follows the scenic coastal road and includes a stop at Betty's Bay to see a colony of endangered African penguins. Spend the afternoon in the seaside resort town of Hermanus, famous for playing home to hundreds of Southern Right whales from July to November. The town also features many shops, restaurants, and markets. In the afternoon you'll drive on to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa, where you'll see the point where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. Day 2:  Cape Agulhas – Oudtshoorn Travel to Oudtshoorn in the Little Karoo, known as the ostrich capital of the world, via scenic Route 62, South Africa’s longest wine route. Sample local wines before experiencing the subterranean beauty of the Cango Caves on a guided tour. Day 3:  Oudtshoorn – Knysna – Sedgefield After breakfast head over to Outeniqua Mountain Pass, where you'll explore Wilderness National Park by canoe. Enjoy an easy paddle up the Touw River through the indigenous forest, admiring the diverse local birds along the way. After about 40 minutes, leave your canoe behind for a 2-kilometer hike along a boardwalk that leads to rock pools and a lovely waterfall. Afterwards, head to the famous town of Knysna via the beautiful Garden Route Lake District. This small, upscale town is filled with curios and restaurants, and also features a waterfront where you can grab lunch and do some shopping.  After leaving Knysna, head to the Knysna Heads viewing point to enjoy views of the Knysna River estuary and the Indian Ocean. Spend the late afternoon exploring the beaches of Sedgefield. Day 4: Sedgefield- Tsitsikamma - Addo After breakfast, head off to Tsitsikamma National Park. En route, you'll stop at Bloukrans Bridge, the world’s tallest bungee jump bridge, standing at 216 meters tall. You'll spend the afternoon in Tsitsikamma National Park, which features a unique combination of indigenous forest and beautiful Indian Ocean coastline. The park has a wide range of activities on offer, including hikes of varying lengths, a walk across a suspension bridge, and swimming. In the late afternoon, depart the Garden Route for Addo. Day 5: Addo-Wilderness/Mossel Bay Spend the morning exploring Addo Elephant National Park. You'll get up to 2-3 hours to roam the 28,000-hectare national reserve, home to approximately 600 elephants and various other animals, including cape buffalo, lions, black rhinos, warthogs, zebras, elands, kudus, hartebeest, and many more. After an exciting morning of game viewing drive back to the heart of the Garden Route where you will stay overnight in Wilderness or Mossel Bay. Day 6: Wilderness –Mossel Bay - Cape Town After enjoying breakfast, stop in Mossel Bay to spend some time on the gorgeous beaches, hike the Cape St. Blaize trail along cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean, and visit the famous Diaz Museum complex, which commemorates the first known European exploration around the tip of Africa. Return to Cape Town/Stellenbosch in the early evening.  The more adventurous can try a 10,000 foot tandem skydive or sandboarding on the longest dune in South Africa. Arrive back at Cape Town/ Stellenbosch in the early evening.

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What people are saying about Garden Route

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 480 reviews

Such a great experience and a super guide. Take your time and slow. This is South Africa. That's how our tour started. Without stress and completely relaxed. Sunscreen and a shower for afterwards were also provided for us. It was explained to us before we went to the open sea what we have to consider. And that's where it started. The guide told us a lot. Unfortunately we didn't see any dolphins. That was a bit of a shame, but you have no control over that. The tour was planned for 2 hours, but only lasted about 1 hour 15 minutes. The sea got rougher and so we had to turn back. For the remaining 45 minutes we would have been happy about an alternative or the tours have to start earlier. Otherwise it was a great experience. Gladly again :)

This was a well organised trip from start to finish with well chosen stops for refreshment and for sightseeing both on the way and on our return. Our excellent driver, Gareth, was knowledgeable and good company. The accommodation at the reserve was clean and comfortable in a romantic setting especially under the light pollution free, star-studded, night sky. The dawn skies were equally breathtaking. All the staff at the reserve were welcoming and committed to providing a good service. The ride in the jeep was 'bouncy' but fun. Wrap up warmly and take binoculars if you have some.

Our 2-day safari experience was fantastic. Our guide, Benjamin, was excellent, informative, knowledgeable and thoughtful. The lodge was lovely and the safaris were well-organised and fun. I would recommend this mini-adventure to anyone wanting a great introduction to the Western Cape.

It was outstanding and worth the cost, and we really enjoyed ourselves!! We also thank our excellent guide, David, for being so friendly, sharing his extremely good knowledge of all the animals with us.

The trip was incredibly beautiful and gave me many unforgettable moments! The Garden Route is beautiful and the stops were well chosen. But the best was our tour guide :)