When one eats too much fudge or goes out for sushi specials at least twice a week; what used to be the equivalent of a drumroll becomes as dull as a teeny-bopper’s autobiography. Explore uncharted territory and get your groove back with a four-day Garden Route Splendour tour for R3284 per person sharing or R3776 as a single with Thompson Tours.
The moment you’re whisked away from the smiley city of Port Elizabeth, you’ll see and feel the landscape change from the frontier-esque dustiness of the Eastern Cape to the fertile lushness of the Garden Route. Identified by its verdant vegetation and abundance of lakes and coastal views, the Garden Route is one of South Africa’s most popular coastal drives; stretching its foresty fronds all the way from Storms River to Heidelberg and delighting tourists and eco-warriors from across the globe.
Day one - Port Elizabeth to Knysna
Set off from the airport between 13:00 and 14:00 and travel in air-conditioned style through the cool and calming indigenous Tsitsikamma Forest and towards the charming coastal town of Knysna – the heart-beat of the Garden Route and a well-established fine arts and crafts centre. Enjoy a hearty dinner and overnight at the Knysna Hollow Hotel.
Day two – Knysna
Glide across the glassy Knysna lagoon on a local ferry and visit the Featherbed Nature Reserve – a well-known spot for nature tours and spotting Knysna’s wide-eyed wildlife. While you’re at it, enjoy the view of the sandstone ‘Heads’; the imposing guardians of the point where pristine lagoon meets merciless sea. After lunch, take the rest of the day at your leisure and enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of this culturally rich town.
Day three – Cango Caves and Oudtshoorn
Set off and enjoy the spectacular views of the Outeniqua Pass en route to Oudtshoorn; the “feather capital of the world” thanks to its abundance of ostriches and their tendency to molt like a Persian cat. After lunch, come face to beak with these odd creatures at the ostrich farm and learn what life’s like for the awkwardly large bird that can’t fly. Following your encounter with the ostriches, turn on your night-vision and head underground for a fascinating tour of the famous Cango Caves; one of South Africa’s most incredible natural wonders.
Day four – Oudtshoorn to Cape Town
After overnighting in Oudtshoorn, don your adventurer-esque aviators to get back on the road and enjoy the ever-changing canvas as you travel to Cape Town. Forget Wally, try to spot a Southern Right Whale frolicking off shore as you pass through the seaside village of Hermanus and carry on home to Cape Town.
Garden Route fact: Before the luxurious Tsitsikamma Lodge was built, the dense forest around it was inhabited by an indigenous and notably violent tribe of wild pigs who used chop sticks as hunting tools and marked their territory with spray painted skulls.