Garden Route
Ecotourism

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Our most recommended Garden Route Ecotourism

Garden Route National Park: Tsitsikamma Zipline Canopy Tour

1. Garden Route National Park: Tsitsikamma Zipline Canopy Tour

This is a unique eco-wilderness adventure that takes place in the magnificent Tsitsikamma indigenous rainforest. Most of the platforms are located in giant Outeniqua Yellowwood trees. The scenery and bird life is spectacular and professional guides provide interesting facts about the forest ecology during the 2.5 to 3 hours. 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 harness, pulleys, and climbing equipment is 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.

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Plettenberg Bay: Guided Sea Kayak Tour

2. 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.

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Plettenberg Bay: Swim with Seals

3. 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 6000 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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Oudtshoorn: 2-Hour Open Game Drive with Refreshments

4. Oudtshoorn: 2-Hour Open Game Drive with Refreshments

Make the most of your trip to Oudtshoorn with a visit to Buffelsdrift Game Lodge, located just 6 km outside of the city. With an experienced game ranger, enjoy a 2-hour bush safari around the private reserve to learn about and admire native African animals in their natural habitat. On the drive, see an array of African vegetation, flora, and fauna, and learn about the ecosystem of the reserve. The highlight of the ride is the chance to admire hippos, giraffes, elands, zebras, buffalo, springboks, and many more, up close. Your dedicated guide will ensure you see as many animals as possible, and tell you everything you need to know about these amazing creatures. Midway through the drive, enjoy a refreshment stop at one of the reserve's scenic lookout points. As you relax, admire incredible 360 degree views of the area as well as the breathtaking Swartberg Mountains.

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Plettenberg Bay: Seal Colony Viewing Excursion

5. Plettenberg Bay: Seal Colony Viewing Excursion

Head out to Robberg Marine Protected Area to view a colony of 6,000 Cape fur seals. Meet at the office on Hopwood street to fill out the necessary paperwork before making your way to the boat. Board the Robberg Express at Central Beach and head out through the surf to the seal colony. On the way, take in beautiful views of the coast’s sandy beaches and rocky platforms.   Experienced guides on board will be able to answer all your questions and take great pictures of your experience. Observe these wild animals lazing in the sun, swimming, and playing with each other — they may even come up to the boat to say hello.

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Wild Cat Experience 1-Hour Tour

6. 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.

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Plettenberg Bay: Whale Watching Excursion

7. Plettenberg Bay: Whale Watching Excursion

Depart from Central Beach in Plettenberg Bay with an exciting beach launch. Sail eastwards past the bird sanctuary and Keurbooms Beach to Arch Rock. Here, you may see Bottlenose and the rare Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins as well as some shark species. From Arch Rock, head out into the middle of the bay where pelagic seabirds are normally to be found about 7 kilometers from the shore. Try to spot the resident Bryde’s whales and common dolphins or Southern Right and Humpback whales during their breeding season. Then, travel towards the Robberg Peninsula and try to spot groups of whales and pods of dolphins. Cruising back along the inside of Robberg, admire the unique geology of the region and observe the growing Cape Fur Seal colony. Finally, sail back along the Robberg Beach, and learn about the history of the area. After passing the Beacon Island Hotel, built on the site of an original Whaling Station, finish the experience with an exhilarating landing on Central Beach.

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Garden Route and Addo Elephant National Park: 5-Day Safari

8. Garden Route and Addo Elephant National Park: 5-Day Safari

Experience the best of South Africa's Western Cape and look for wildlife in spectacular national parks, such as Addo Elephant National Park. Take part in a host of available optional activities, including a bungee jump off the world's highest bungee bridge and a tandem sky dive from 10,000 feet. Choose from a range of accommodation options and sleeping arrangements, including shared dormitories and bathrooms to save you money! Day 1: Cape Town – Hermanus – Cape Agulhas (D) Depart Cape Town/Stellenbosch early on Monday morning and head for Hermanus. Please note that shark cage diving clients will be picked up very early in the morning by the diving operator and will miss the first half of this day’s itinerary. Follow the scenic coastal road, stopping at Betties Bay to view a colony of endangered African penguins. Spend the afternoon in the seaside resort town of Hermanus, famous for the hundreds of Southern right whales during whale season (July to November) as well as its many shops, restaurants and markets. Drive to Cape Agulhas in the afternoon to discover the southernmost tip of Africa. Visit a viewpoint known as the “real” place, and see where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. Stay the night in Cape Agulhas/Struisbaai. • Included activities: Penguins at Betties Bay • Optional activities: Shark cage dive; whale-watching boat trip (in season, July – November). Day 2: Cape Agulhas – Oudtshoorn (B, D) Travel along scenic Route 62 on route to Oudtshoorn in the Little Karoo, known as the “Ostrich Capital of the World,” and experience South Africa’s longest wine route. Discover the subterranean beauty of the Cango Caves on a guided adventure tour, and then sample the local wine. Spend the night in Oudtshoorn. • Included activities: Local wine tasting; Cango Caves adventure tour Day 3: Oudtshoorn – Knysna – Sedgefield (B, D) Head over the spectacular Outeniqua Mountain Pass after breakfast, and explore the Wilderness National Park. Canoe up the Touw River through indigenous forest, enjoying the abundance of birdlife along the way. After about 40 minutes, swap your canoes for a 2-kilometer hike along a boardwalk to a lovely waterfall and rock pools. Next, go to the famous town of Knysna via the spectacular Lake District of the Garden Route. Explore the upmarket town, filled with curios, restaurants and a picturesque waterfront, where you can have lunch and do some shopping in your free time. Continue to the Knysna Heads viewpoint for some spectacular views over the Knysna River estuary and Indian Ocean. Spend the late afternoon exploring Sedgefield and its beaches, and enjoy the spectacular views before you retire for the night. • Included activities: Canoeing and hiking in Wilderness National Park Day 4: Sedgefield – Tsitsikamma – Addo (B, D) Enjoy breakfast, and then depart for the Tsitsikamma National Park. Stop at Bloukrans Bridge to see the world’s highest bungee jump bridge along the way. There will be plenty of time for adventure seekers to test their courage should they choose. Spend the afternoon in Tsitsikamma National Park, and discover its unique combination of indigenous forest and Indian Ocean coastline. Benefit from a wide choice of activities in the park, including long and short hikes, crossing a suspension bridge or swimming. Leave the Garden Route in the late afternoon, and head for “Big 5” country at Addo Elephant National Park. Stay the night at the Avoca River Cabins in the Addo area. • Included activities: Entrance to Tsitsikamma National Park • Optional activities: 216-meter bungee jump at Bloukrans; treetop canopy tour Day 5: Addo Elephant National Park – Port Elizabeth Spend the morning exploring Addo Elephant National Park for up to 2-3 hours. Look for indigenous animals in the 28,000-hectare national reserve, including approximately 600 elephants along with Cape buffalo, lions, black rhinos, warthogs, zebras, eland, kudu, hartebeest and many more. After an exciting morning of game viewing, drive to Port Elizabeth for a drop off at the location of your choice between 13:00 and 14:00. • Included activities: Entrance and 2-3 hour drive through Addo Elephant National Park by tour vehicle • Optional activities: 2-hour open vehicle game drive with an Addo Elephant National Park field guide

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Plettenberg Bay: Guided Forest Walk and Wild Cat Experience

9. Plettenberg Bay: Guided Forest Walk and Wild Cat Experience

Discover some of South Africa's most beautiful fauna and flora at the Tenikwa Wildlife Center. Your guide will welcome you and provide a breakdown of the planned activities for the day as you arrive at the center. Your outdoor adventure begins with a walk through the indigenous Tsitsikamma forest. Follow your guide along ancient paths and learn about the historical logging activities that took place here. See giant hardwood trees, interesting fungi, and beautiful orchids as you make your way along the meandering paths towards mossy, pebbled streams. If you're lucky, you may spot a Knysna Loerie, or the rare and shy Narina Trogon, both native to the mature evergreen forests of South Africa. Discover the secret forest glade where giant tree ferns throw dappled light onto the forest floor, before returning to your allocated picnic area where you can enjoy a delicious freshly prepared picnic. After lunch, return to the wildlife center and go on a guided wildlife tour. Walk through the animals' habitats along elevated walkways where you can see and photograph the cats and other wildlife. Learn interesting information about each of the species and their role in promoting biodiversity from your guide.

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What people are saying about Garden Route

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 78 reviews

The experience was excellent. The guides were good and well experienced. The only issue was the photos they took since we aren't allowed to bring along our cameras. For R250 the fotos are horrible and weren't allowed to see them when we paid. We were told that they will be emailed only to find out they are horrible that's why we are not allowed to see them at the premises which sound like a scam.

really fun experience. staff were really friendly, the boat ride was fun and interacting with the seals was great.

We had a great experience and it was safety first all the way.

Super. I enjoyed myself. The instructors where friendly.

It was absolutely incredible. Fun for the whole family