4 DAY GARDEN ROUTE
The Garden Route is a coastal corridor on the southern coast of South Africa, where ancient forests, rivers, wetlands, dunes, stretches of beach, lakes, mountain scenery and indigenous fynbos all merge to form a landscape of restorative beauty.
The Garden Route (Afrikaans: Tuinroete) is a 300-kilometre (190 mi) stretch of the south-eastern coast of South Africa which extends from Mossel Bay (many say Mossel Bay is not part of the Garden Route, because it is positioned behind what locals call the “Boom Gordyn” roughly translates to “Tree Curtain”) in the Western Cape to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape. The name comes from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here and the numerous lagoons and lakes dotted along the coast. It includes towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Mossel Bay, Little Brak River and Nature’s Valley; with George, the Garden Route’s largest city and main administrative centre.
It has an oceanic climate, with mild to warm summers, and mild to cool winters. It has the mildest climate in South Africa and the second mildest climate in the world, after Hawaii, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Temperatures rarely fall below 10 °C in winter and rarely climb beyond 28 °C in summer. Rain occurs year-round, with a slight peak in the spring months, brought by the humid sea-winds from the Indian Ocean rising and releasing their precipitation along the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains just inland of the coast.
The Route is sandwiched between the aforementioned mountains and the Indian Ocean, with mountain passes, including the Outeniqua Pass, linking the area with the arid Little Karoo. The Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma indigenous forests are a unique mixture of Cape Fynbos and Temperate Forest and offer hiking trails and eco-tourism activities. Nearly 300 species of bird life are to be found in a variety of habitats ranging from fynbos to forest to wetlands.
4 DAY SPECTACULAR GARDEN ROUTE TOUR WITH BOTLIERSKOP GAME FARM
Depart Cape Town at about 08h30 and head northwards, climbing over the spectacular Du Toit’s Kloof mountain pass en route to Worcester. From Worcester we continue on the R62 (route 62 is the longest wine route in the world) through Montague, to the Joubert – Tradauw Estate for lunch. Joubert-Tradauw is a Boutique, family-owned cellar/farm, with the focus on classic, elegant, hand-crafted wines to be enjoyed with good food. You’ll discover the Alfresco Deli/Restaurant; once a run-down-tin-roofed dwelling that was transformed into a Mediterranean-style farm Deli. A very tasteful inside fireplace and outside tables in true Alfresco-style under the vine-covered “afdak” veranda, gives you a peaceful rest, overlooking the farm, Tradauw Valley and the Langeberge. In the afternoon we travel through the Little Karoo. Changing scenery from lush farmland to semi-desert areas make this a day full of surprises. A warm welcome awaits us from the staff of the Riempies Estate Hotel in Oudtshoorn, where we arrive in the late afternoon for our overnight stop. Oudtshoorn is the ostrich capital of the world. Here ostriches are found in great numbers and the region produces the best feathers, leather products and ostrich meat world wide. But the world’s biggest bird is just one of the many attractions in this area of interesting contrasts. This small, safe town is the commercial hub of the greater Klein Karoo region (encompassing Prince Albert, De Rust and Calitzdorp) and is situated in a beautiful valley between the Outeniqua- and Swartberg Mountains.
Awake the next day to the freshness of the Karoo air. After a good breakfast we visit the world famous Cango Caves where we take a guided tour lasting over an hour – full of fascination. From the Caves we travel to the Cango Wildlife Ranch (Crocodile and Cheetah farm) to learn more about frightening reptiles and other beautiful animals. Hear the awesome stories from the guide as we tour the farm with a chance to get close to a cheetah if requested. A short drive to the other end of Oudtshoorn brings us to Ostrich country and lunch at the Highgate Ostrich farm. Today’s lunch – yes, you guessed it, includes ostrich delicacies. We’ll listen to the restaurant staff as they serenade us during lunch. After all this, the tour of the farm begins. We head down to the fields, where you will have the opportunity to sit on and ride an ostrich. You will also learn more about the breeding habits and of the bygone days, when Oudtshoorn was in the midst’s of the 1920’s ostrich feather boom. The late afternoon takes us over the Outeniqua Mountains to Knysna. Here for the first time one can now understand why this area is known as the Garden Route. As you drive over the summit of the pass, lush green vegetation awaits you. Our hotel tonight is the Knysna Quays Hotel in Knysna.
The morning gives us some time to enjoy the village of Knysna and for the group to have a bit of free time in the Knysna Waterfront. We depart from Knysna and travel to Keurboomsriver. Here we board a river cruise up the Keurbooms River. Lunch will be enjoyed on the cruise. After our return to the Waterfront, we depart to Klein Brak River for a visit to Botlierskop Private Game Reserve. Situated a Malaria free area, Botlierskop is blessed with a great diversity of habitat and wildlife. Visitors have an excellent chance of experiencing close encounters with rhinoceros, lions, buffalo, giraffe, rare black impala and many more, in an exhilarating 3 hour guided game drive. In the late afternoon we will make our way to Mossel Bay. We visit the historic Post Office tree where early pioneers left mail for the homebound ships to Europe. Overnight at the Mossel Bay Protea hotel.
This morning we have breakfast and a game experience at Botlierskop game farm. Then we travel further to have lunch at La Belle Alliance in Swellendam. In the afternoon our route includes a visit to the local farmstall (time permitting. We arrive back in Cape Town, either terminating at the airport at 18h00 or at the various hotels a little later, after four fabulous days !
Please note: This tour can also be done in reverse order