Garden Route
National Parks

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Our most recommended Garden Route National Parks

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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Garden Route 5-Day Tour and Addo Elephant Park Safari

2. Garden Route 5-Day Tour and Addo Elephant Park Safari

Get back to nature on a 5-day tour of the beautiful Garden Route and look for wildlife in nature reserves including Tsitsikamma National Park and Addo Elephant Park. Day 1: (D) Depart Cape Town and head towards Oudtshoorn in the semi-desert of Little Karoo with a stop at Ronnie’s sex shop for a refreshing drink! Explore the magnificent Cango Caves and visit an ostrich farm, where you can try to ride one! Spend the night in Oudtshoorn and enjoy a delicious ostrich braai dinner. Day 2: (D) Cross the mountain range to reach the coast and famous Garden Route. Get panoramic views from the Map of Africa lookout before visiting the charming town of Knysna. Continue through Plettenberg Bay to spend the night at Storms River village. Day 3: (B, D) Get back to nature in Tsitsikamma National Park. Walk the coastal route to the hanging bridge over Storms River Mouth. Continue to Addo Elephant National Park to spot huge elephant herds, antelope species and more. Alternatively, go straight to the surfing capital of South Africa at Jeffrey’s Bay, where you will spend the night. Day 4: (B, D) Head back towards the Garden Route to brave the world's highest bungee at Bloukrans. Your accommodation is in Mossel Bay. On arrival, enjoy the Bay of Diamonds, so called for the sea that shines night and day. If you upgraded to the Garden Route Game Lodge (guesthouse option), you will enjoy a night in luxury accommodation. Go for a late afternoon safari drive to look for rhinos, lions, buffalo, cheetahs and antelopes. Day 5: (B) Take an early morning safari drive to look for animals when they are most active. Depart for Hermanus, where Southern Right whales have returned after almost 50 years of being near extinct. Arrive in Cape Town in the late afternoon via the stunning False Bay coastline.  

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Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve: 2-Hour Game Drive

3. 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.

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Plettenberg Bay: Monkeyland, Birds of Eden, Jukani Wildlife

4. Plettenberg Bay: Monkeyland, Birds of Eden, Jukani Wildlife

This ticket will give you access to one of 3 sanctuaries: Explore Monkeyland, the world’s first and largest free roaming primate sanctuary hosting 11 species and over 550 primates. With a 1-hour guided tour into the 12-hectare forest with a professional guide. In Birds of Eden, the world's largest single dome free flight aviary, discover over 200 species and nearly 3,500 birds. Go on a self-guided tour or go with a guide for no extra cost. The Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary is the first sanctuary of its kind, with enclosures built especially for the animal’s needs and personality, hosting apex cats and other predators and wildlife Animals. Go on a tour with a professional and trained guide into the sanctuary. Walk past the enclosures while the guide shares interesting facts of the animals you see.

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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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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.

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

7. 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 photo 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. Subject to availability, the options are: 4-star Buffelsdrift lodge or 3-star Yamkela guest house or budget Paradise Backpackers. 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 spots wildlife and shares 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 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, 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.

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Tsitsikamma Guided Hikes

8. Tsitsikamma Guided Hikes

Wander through the ancient Tsitsikamma forest as you travel back in time to when the forest was home to hunter gatherers and learn more about their daily existence beneath the canopy. As you hike beneath the treetops, discover how the forest lives and breathes to the sounds of birds like the Knysna Loerie and Green Hoophoes—you will be amazed. Hike the Tsitsikamma's indigenous forest and discover the secrets of the spectacular forest: choose your own adventure with a variety of routes to choose from. As you enter the forest you will encounter Hard Pear trees, Giant Yellow Woods and other interesting forest flora for an experience you'll never forget. The routes start at the Stormsriver Adventure Centre. The hikes are relatively easy and an average of 3 km/h can indicate the time needed to complete the various routes.

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From Cape Town/Stellenbosch: 3 Day Garden Route and Safari

9. From Cape Town/Stellenbosch: 3 Day Garden Route and Safari

Day 1: Oudtshoorn (Distance traveled: about 400 km) Start with a morning pick-up from your accommodation in Cape Town and Stellenbosch areas. Set off along the famous Route 62, where you'll capture the beauty of high mountains, twisting passes, vast Karoo plains, vineyards and orchards. Pop in at one of the many farm stalls along the way, stocked with locally crafted delights before arriving in Oudtshoorn, ostrich capital of the world. Delve deep underground to the magical Cango Caves’ limestone chambers, alive with drip formation stalactites and stalagmites and remnants of Khoikhoi paintings. Opt for the easy-going guided Heritage Tour to test the cave’s acoustics and gain insights about the dripstone evolution. By contrast, the Adventure Tour allows would-be contortionists to squeeze, twist and wiggle their way through limestone chimneys on a rather more daring underground route. You’ll spend the evening in Oudtshoorn at leisure. Either head to town to enjoy a top restaurant meal or join locals for an optional outdoor braai (similar to bbq) including South African favourites, such as ostrich kebabs, boerewors or potbrood. Overnight in Oudtshoorn - Choose between Budget Backpacker or ensuite Guest house packages to stay at: Backpackers Paradise or 3-Star Yamkela guest house B&B or 4-Star Buffelsdrift Lodge and 4-Star Surval Botigue Olive Farm. Day 2: Wilderness, Sedgefield (Distance traveled: about 450 km) As the dawn breaks in the dusty Klein Karoo, opt for a close encounter with Mother Nature and join rangers on an optional Elephant Bush Walk. Gentle giants, Jabari, Malaika and Bulelo made Buffelsdrift their home after their parents were poached in the north of South Africa. Join these three rescued elephants, as they walk to the nearby waterhole. Following in their footsteps and make memories you'll never forget.  Then, take to the water for a leisurely afternoon paddle along the reed-lined banks of the Touws River, deep in Wilderness National Park. Indigenous forest and campgrounds line the river. It’s not until you stop paddling and let the gentle current guide you, that the abundance of birdlife becomes apparent.  The adventure continues as you reach Bloukrans Bridge, the world’s highest commercial bridge bungy jump. The bungy bridge itself is fairly unassuming as you drive over it, but it’s pretty clear from the squeals and screams that this isn’t your average photo stop. Seemingly normal people hurtle face first down the 216 m drop only to spring back up on an elastic cord like a yoyo. This region is a playground for the outdoors and those who'd prefer to keep their feet on solid ground will visit the nearby forest in the Tsitsikamma area. Spend the evening soaking in the slow town way of life in Sedgefield. If you decide to stay overnight in the nearby Wilderness or Knysna areas, check out the rustic beach restaurant and feel the white sand between your toes as you sip on cocktails, or venture into town for a more intimate dinner. Overnight in Sedgefield - choose between: Afrovibe Backpackers, 3-Star Purple Heron guest house, 3-star Dune Beach House, 4-Star Dover On Sea guest house, or 4-star Beach Villa. If an overnight stay at Sedgefield is not possible, accommodation will be arranged in the Wilderness or Knysna areas. Day 3: Garden Route (Distance traveled: about 400 km) Start the day in the heart of the African bush. On your first stop of the day, spot some of Africa’s wild animals from the back of an open 4x4 vehicle in the malaria-free Botlierskop Private Game Reserve. Search for giraffe, white rhino, kudu, lion, elephant, zebra, and wildebeest, just to name a few. The game drive is led by an experienced game ranger, sharing his knowledge of the local wildlife; including antelope species, birdlife, and insects. When your guide finds the perfect spot, you'll hop off your safari vehicle for an even closer connection to nature on a tranquil bush walk. Follow your game ranger as you look for wildlife through the coastal renosterveldt and Cape fynbos, keep an eye out for animal tracks, and learn about the medicinal value of the plants as you walk. End off the day with a journey through the landscape rolling farmlands as you pass through the heart of the Garden Route on your way back to Cape Town and Stellenbosch.

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South Africa's Garden Route: 4-Day Adventure Tour

10. South Africa's Garden Route: 4-Day Adventure Tour

Discover the beauty of South Africa’s Garden Route on a 4-day tour from Cape Town. Taste fine local wines, go on a cave adventure and a game drive and explore wilderness areas. Choose from backpacker accommodation and guesthouse options. Detailed Itinerary Day 1: Cape Town – Barrydale – Oudtshoorn (Dinner) Depart from Cape Town early on Friday morning for Oudtshoorn, known as the Ostrich Capital of the World. Enjoy scenic Route 62, which is South Africa’s longest wine route. Stop for lunch and wine tasting at a local winery, before experiencing the subterranean beauty of the Cango Caves on a guided adventure tour. For dinner, enjoy an authentic braai, or South African barbeque. Overnight in Oudtshoorn. Day 2: Oudtshoorn – Mossel Bay (Breakfast) Head over the Robertson Mountain pass to enter the Garden Route at Mossel Bay. Spend some time at one of the spectacular beaches, hike the Cape St. Blaize trail along cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean and visit the famous Diaz Museum complex. Experience a game drive on a private game reserve, and be on the lookout for zebra, lion, antelope and the African buffalo. Spend the evening in Mossel Bay, where you’ll find a variety of seaside restaurants for dinner. Overnight in Mossel Bay. Day 3: Mossel Bay – Tsitsikamma – Sedgefield (Breakfast, dinner) Continue following the coastline to Tsitsikamma National Park. Stop at Bloukrans Bridge to view the world’s highest bungee jump bridge, at 216 meters. There will be plenty of time for adventure seekers to test their courage. Spend the afternoon in Tsitsikamma National Park, with its unique combination of indigenous forest and Indian Ocean coastline. Activities available include hiking, crossing a suspension bridge and swimming. Later, explore Sedgefield and take in the spectacular views and beaches. For dinner, head to a beach bar to enjoy a traditional potjie, or South African stew. Overnight in Sedgefield. Day 4: Sedgefield – Wilderness – Cape Town (Breakfast) Travel to Wilderness National Park and explore the Touw River by canoe. Follow this with a 2-kilometer hike to a lovely waterfall and rock pools, before the drive back to Cape Town.

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What people are saying about Garden Route

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 145 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.

A unique experience to get up and close with the animals. Amazing guide!

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