A beautiful picture of the Garden Route Road Trip tour

Garden Route Road Trip

11 Nights

From $4,900 USD

Tour Highlights:

Virgin forests of Tsitsikamma
Vast tranquil beaches of Oyster Bay
Safari in the Greater Addo National Park
Long open roads with spectacular vistas

Garden Route Road Trip

Journey Overview

Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Garden Route as you traverse the stunning south coast of South Africa from Cape Town to Addo. Spanning approximately 1,000 kilometers, this iconic route promises one of the most splendid road trips on the planet. While theoretically drivable in under 12 hours, the abundance of biomes, diverse experiences, and captivating places along the way make a minimum of five days an absolute necessity.

Deliberately crafted for a leisurely pace, our journey ensures you fully immerse yourself in the unique identity of each stop. While often perceived as a mere drive along the N2 highway connecting larger towns, venturing off the beaten path to remote locales like the Tsitsikamma National Park and Tsitsikamma Forest transforms this expedition into a truly enchanting odyssey.

Committing to sustainability, each supplier on this trip has pledged to prioritize people and planet in every facet of their operations. Independently audited to uphold this commitment, rest assured that every aspect of your journey, from accommodations to activities, leaves a positive impact on the places and people you encounter. Opt for a self-drive adventure or elevate your experience with a guided tour or chauffeured option, tailored to your preferences.

Embark on an unforgettable Garden Route South African Road Trip and discover the wonders of Oyster Bay, the majesty of Addo Elephant Park Safari, and the serenity of Tsitsikamma National Park and Forest. Contact us today to begin your ethical exploration.

DAYS 1 - 4

Cape Town Essence: District Six and Beyond

  • Your Accommodation

    You'll be collected from Cape Town International Airport by Chris Hannival - of Hannival's Tours - and taken to Parker Cottage, your home for the next three nights.

    Your home away from home:

    Cape Town
    3 Carstens Street, Tamboerskloof
    Tel +27 21 424 6445

  • Your Travel Time

  • Your Activities

    During your time in Cape Town, you'll go on two tours, the first of which is a walking tour of the City Bowl area. Chris Hannival will take you on foot through the area formally known as District Six, now renamed Zonnebloem, which is where he himself grew up. The history of the area is very controversial, with some claiming it was a racially motivated gentrification policy, others claiming it was a slum and needed to be demolished anyway. Whichever way you see it, the reconstruction of the district and the resettlement of former residents is still ongoing and is in itself controversial. To begin to understand the history of District Six is to begin to understand the history of South Africa.

    On the same walk, if there is time, Chris will take you through the Company’s Garden, along Spin Street and past the Slave Lodge, areas very rich in history and significance and also beautiful to visit.

    On your last day in Cape Town, Chris will collect you early from Parker Cottage and you'll be taken for a tour of the Cape Peninsula. This simply stunning trip will take you south from Cape Town to Muizenberg (surfing town with lots of beautiful Victorian beach houses), through Kalk Bay (bo-ho seaside town full of antique shops and hippy culture) and then on to the Cape Point Nature Reserve.

  • Your Food
DAYS 4 - 5

Wine, Whales, and Zebra Stripes

  • Your Accommodation

    Your lodging for the next two nights is Rothman Manor, a beautiful boutique hotel situated in a historic building and surrounded by large gardens in which zebra and springbok can be observed. It has a modern and upmarket interior and is managed by Diana and Mark who’ve been Swellendam residents for many years.

    Swellendam, where Rothman Manor is located, is an old town by South African standards, officially separated from the Cape colony in 1743. For a long time, it represented the ‘final’ town between the rapidly advancing colonial influence on the Cape and the rest of the ‘dark continent’ to the east. The town made most of its money through the cunning business interests of brothers Barry and Nephew who were the first to exploit the Breede Rivier (which runs close to the town) as a mode of transport for goods back in 1822. Their small shipping company was so successful that they even set up a private bank in their names!

    Your home away from home:

    corner Rothman and Voortrek Streets, Swellendam
    Tel 028 514 2771

  • Your Travel Time

    Between 2 to 4 Hours, depending on route selected.

  • Your Activities

    After enjoying the delights of Cape Town for three days, you start your Garden Route road trip in earnest - you'll collect your rental car on the morning of Day 4 and drive the two hours to Swellendam.

    The fastest route is simply to take the N2 highway out of town (which is perfectly pleasant and climbs over the Sir Lowry's Pass, through the small towns of Caledon and Grabouw). However you can also make more of the day either by driving through the Winelands, stopping for lunch at one of the numerous wine estates (we particularly like the offering at Vergelegen just outside Somerset West, Fyndraai at Solms Delta just outside Franschhoek or The Postcard Cafe at Stark Conde just outside Stellenbosch).

    Another option is to take a detour through Gordon's Bay, along Clarence Drive and into Hermanus, before rejoining the N2 at Caledon. This will add another 2 hours to the drive (so four hours in total) but there are ample interesting stops along the way and excellent dining for lunch in Hermanus itself.

  • Your Food
DAYS 6 - 7

Safari in the Trees: Tsitsikamma Escapade

  • Your Accommodation

    This is place to relax totally and utterly, yet surrounded by many things to see and do. As the owners quote: “If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.” Lin Yutang (1895 –1976).

    Expect views far and wide of the valleys & Tsitsikamma Mountains and a complimentary sunset every evening from the veranda. Couple this with outstanding cuisine, comfortable accommodation & friendly hospitality. Hog Hollow is intimate but not overly so, with just sixteen uniquely-styled rooms, most of which have private decks and fireplaces and all of which have king-sized beds.

    If you're travelling with a group, consider the Villa at Hog Hollow which is 400m from the main Lodge. It hosts a games room, swimming pool, barbeque facilities and a central eating area as well as three en-suite bedrooms.

    Your home away from home:

    The Crags
    Askop Road, The Crags, Plettenberg Bay, 6602
    Tel 044 534 8879

  • Your Travel Time

    4 Hours 20 minutes

  • Your Activities

    During your first day here, you'll be learning how to fly through the trees with the greatest of ease: Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours offer a unique way to access the sights and sounds of ths most splendid of indigenous African forests. Built high up in the tree canopies are a series of wooden platforms, connected by wire cables. You're given a full induction and safety briefly and then, after climbing into the trees, you're connected to the cable network and glide from tree to tree.

    On your second day in the area, we recommend a visit to the Tenikwa which is a genuine wildlife rehabilitation centre. Almost everywhere one goes in South Africa, one comes across 'wildlife rescue' or 'animal orphanages' or 'rehabilitation centres'. Sadly many of these places are not in fact what they purport to be and are often simply breeding farms for wild animals which are then sold at auction and used in hunting or to stock game farms.

    Tenikwa is completely different to this. Every component of your visit is precisely built and constantly evaluated to ensure that community and wildlife is placed first and human interaction second. For this reason, whilst some of the animals being rehabilitated are held captive, there is absolutely no human-animal interaction permitted by visitors. The funding model is a genuine conservation one, not a window dressing exercise.

  • Your Food
DAYS 8 - 9

Coastal Charm: Oyster Bay's Hidden Gem

  • Your Accommodation

    Remote in its location and therefore actually a destination in itself, Oyster Bay Lodge offers a virtually private 4km long beachfront behind which you’ll find only fourteen rooms centered around the main building.

    The buildings are the only human constructions in a reserve of over 230 hectares of dune, beach and coastal bush. Within this area you’ll come across small river deltas, beautiful shallow lagoons and masses of indigenous bird life.

    They offer four Luxury Chalets (separate detached buildings) which are inspired by Cape Dutch architecture and then another ten Comfortable Rooms which are terraced together.

    Your home away from home:

    Oyster Bay
    2km West of Oyster Bay Village
    Tel + 27 (0) 42 297 0150

  • Your Travel Time

    1 Hour 40 minutes

  • Your Activities

    You can also pick and choose from a great range of activities right from your front door. You might expect horse riding and sandboarding in such a location but you probably wouldn’t expect the opportunity to try your hand at cheese making in the on-site dairy or river kayaking or ‘geo-caching’ (which is a form of treasure hunt).

  • Your Food

    You can choose from a full-board rate (all meals included) or select which meals you’d like.

DAYS 10 - 12

Gentle Giants Safari Retreat

  • Your Accommodation

    Today you’ll be leaving the beach behind with a three-hour drive to the village of Addo, close to the the world-famous Greater Addo Elephant Park.

    You’ll arrive in Addo just in time for an afternoon game drive into the park with your hosts Anne and Clive from The Elephant House. It’s a rambling colonial farmhouse with thatched roofs, offering that special brand of colonial-era luxury that is unique to South Africa. The house is beautifully decorated, with a homely dining and sitting room, Persian rugs, a private art collection and lovely verandas with comfy couches to while away your days in peace.

    The Elephant House is one of those rare places that fills you with a sense of welcome and calm on arrival – the effortless chic of the wide, open verandas with large comfortable furnishings, thatched roofs without ceilings and wonderful home cooked meals all let you know that you’re at a home-away from home.

    Family-run and owned since inception, you’ll experience the keen attention to detail that extends all the way into the local community. The lodge sources as much as it possibly can in terms of food, transport and activities from local disadvantaged entrepreneurs. It’s also poured a great deal of time, attention and money into grass roots community initiatives in the area which have borne fruit in fact that many of the young people who were supported by those very projects are now pursuing international careers.

    Your home away from home:

    Main Street, Addo, 6105
    Tel 042 233 2462

  • Your Travel Time

    3 Hours

  • Your Activities

    During your two days here you’ll also go on a morning game drive the following day and then, for the evening, take a trek by 4x4 deep into the remoter sections of Greater Addo. You’ll be accompanied by rangers who will show you a whole other side to the wildlife here which can only be found at night.

    On your last day, you’ll self-drive from the Elephant House to Gqeberha Airport, drop off your rental car and fly onwards to your next destination.

  • Your Food

    Enroute to Addo, we’d recommend stopping off for lunch at the Eastern Cape institution that is Nanaga Farm Stall – they do the most sensational roosterkoek (bread baked over open coals) which you can fill with steak or cheese and locally made pineapple juice. It’s an absolute treat for the senses!

    You’ll also be treated to a dinner under the stars before another game drive back to the Elephant House.


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Contact Us

Exceed House
Springfield Office Park
Belleville, Cape Town

Cell / WhatsApp +27 72 136 9096

WhatsApp +27 72 136 9096

Email: travel@whereitallbegan.co.za

Contact Us


We’re an ethical private travel planning company focused on Southern Africa.

We offer ready-made and also customised holidays and journeys across this unique region of the world.

When our clients travel with us, they are assured that their travel spend is directly supporting local African companies that offer sustainable products and services, both in terms of people and planet.


Our logo is an image of a skull found in the Rising Star Cave System in Gauteng, South Africa in 2013. It was named ‘homo naledi’, meaning ‘human of the stars’.

The cave system has so far given rise to the remains of over 15 individuals, making it the largest hominid fossil remains site ever discovered.

Travelling to Southern Africa is truly a return to the source of humankind, to Where It All Began.

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