Essential South Africa

from £1102 12 nights | Jan - Dec Exc. flights See price details
  • Departs:
  • Year round


South Africa offers great diversity. A visit to one of the Eastern Cape private reserves provide an opportunity to view the Big Five and a stay in the Garden Route town of Plettenberg Bay enables you to connect with nature. The iconic city of Cape Town, with its prominent landmark of Table Mountain provides a fascinating cosmopolitan contrast whilst the surrounding winelands boast spectacular scenery, and of course a chance to sample the local wine.


  • Spend three nights in the remarkably beautiful city of Cape Town, nestled at the base of Table Mountain
  • Enjoy wine tasting at several of the best wine estates in the Cape Winelands
  • Stay in Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world
  • Explore the picturesque Garden Route, including Knysa and Plettenberg Bay
  • Venture on exciting game drives searching for wildlife in the Eastern Cape

This 13-day leisurely self-drive holiday includes all the main highlights of South Africa and provides a good combination of city, landscapes, wildlife and nature. Start in the spectacular city of Cape Town soaking up its history, culture and stunning views before heading through the Cape Winelands, Klein Karoo and Garden Route. End the journey with a safari in search of the Big 5 at an Eastern Cape game reserve.

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Extend your stay

During the whale watching season (Jun-Nov), you may wish to extend your holiday by two days and visit the town of Hermanus, which boasts some of the best whale watching in the world.  Price from £161 per person.  Contact us to discuss.

Top 10 Things to Do on South Africa's Garden Route

by Rhys, Southern Africa Travel Specialist
Read the Blog

Rise early and head out into the Klein Karoo semi desert outside of the sleepy town of Oudtshoorn. Quietly approach the meerkat mounds and set up your camp chair and wait for the sun to rise above the mountains casting its warth onto your back and onto the meerkats, who one by one show themselves, have a good look around before basking in the warmth of the light metres in front of you. Magical.

Rhys Watkins, Southern Africa Travel Specialist

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: arrive Cape Town
Arrive at Cape Town International Airport, where you will collect your rental vehicle. Make your way into Cape Town, the ‘mother city’ of South Africa. Cape Town's coastal setting is jaw-dropping; this remarkably beautiful city nestled at the base of Table Mountain has a lot to offer and you will spend three nights here to allow plenty of time to enjoy its main attractions.
Days 2-3: explore Cape Town
You have two full days to explore Cape Town. We highly recommend taking a cable car to the top of Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain for superb views over the city and the Cape Peninsula, or for those more active, you may wish to hike up the mountain. Perhaps visit the breeding colony of over 2000 endangered African penguins at Boulders Beach and discover historic Robben Island, the former prison where Nelson Mandela was famously incarcerated for 18 years.
Day 4: Cape Town - Franschhoek
Depart Cape Town and travel along Route 62, the longest wine route in the world, heading to the town of Franschhoek where you will spend the next two nights. Franschhoek dates back to the 17th century when the French Huguenots arrived. Billed as the food and wine capital of South Africa, this charming town located in a most picturesque valley, retains a French Huguenot style.
Day 5: discover the Cape Winelands
Today is free to enjoy wine tasting at several of the best wine estates of the region. The Wine Tram hop-on hop-off tour is one of the best ways to discover the true essence of the Franschhoek Valley – picturesque vineyards, breathtaking scenery, warm hospitality, world-class cuisine and fine wines. Passengers aboard the hop-on hop-off tour will experience a unique and leisurely way to see the Franschhoek Valley as they journey through rolling vineyards in an open-side tram and open-air tram-bus stopping in at some of South Africa’s oldest and most distinguished wine estates. For those wanting to be more active, you may be interested in a cycle tour around the Franschhoek area and local vineyards.
Day 6: Franschhoek - Oudtshoorn
Travel past eccentric little villages, farming communities and established fruit and wine producers into the Klein Karoo. Away from the big city lights, the Klein Karoo is a region of semi-arid desert, imposing mountain passes and surprisingly beautiful oases. You will stay in Oudtshoorn; the ‘ostrich capital’ of the world. You may wish to visit a working ostrich farm for a guided tour.
Day 7: Oudtshoorn - Plettenberg Bay
Highly recommended this morning is a meerkat experience. Wake up at dawn to witness these incredible wild habituated creatures emerging out of their burrows, just in time to soak up the sun before they head about their daily activities. Leaving Oudtshoorn behind, it is time to experience the Garden Route. Not a garden in the true sense of the word, the Garden Route is an area of natural wilderness with endless expanses of untamed forest and pristine beaches. Imposing mountains line the roads and waterfalls cascade into blue-green seas from dramatic cliffs. We suggest making a stop at the lagoon-side town of Knysna before continuing a little further along the sweeping coastline to the seaside resort of Plettenberg Bay where you will spend the next three nights.
Days 8-9: discover the Garden Route
You have two free days to explore the Garden Route. You may wish to do some walking in the scenically beautifully Roberg Nature Reserve or Tsitsikamma National Park, known as the ‘garden of the Garden Route’. Alternatively, you can opt to kayak with dolphins and seals or join an ocean safari tour searching for dolphins, sharks, Cape fur seals and whales in season (Jun-Nov).
Day 10: Plettenberg Bay - Eastern Cape Game Reserve
Drive to the Amakhala Private Reserve (18,000 hectares) in the Eastern Cape for an African safari experience. The main benefits of staying in a private reserve is that you won’t see many other vehicles and you will be accompanied on game drives with knowledgeable guides.
Days 11-12: game watching activities in the Amakhala Private Reserve
Embark on morning and afternoon game tracking drives in 4x4 vehicles, searching for the Big Five. After the evening game drive, enjoy a sundowner drink to watch the sun set. During your stay, you can also enjoy a river cruise (need to request in advance) where you meander down the Bushman’s River looking out for its incredible bird and plant life whilst enjoying an ice cold drink. You will have some free time in the middle of the day where you can relax by the pool, enjoy a spa treatment or catch up on sleep.
Day 13: Eastern Cape - Port Elizabeth Airport
Time permitting, embark on your final early morning game drive before returning to the lodge for breakfast. Then, drive to Port Elizabeth International Airport where your holiday ends.

Accommodation Options

This holiday is based on the accommodation shown below.

Cape Town Hollow, Cape Town

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Hotel

Cape Town Hollow is a large, boutique hotel in the heart…

Lavender Farm, Franschhoek

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Guesthouse / B&B

Set amidst glorious lavender fields with a dramatic moun…

La Plume, Oudtshoorn

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Guesthouse

La Plume Guest House is a 1902 Victorian homestead on a …

Periwinkle Guest Lodge, Plettenberg Bay

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Guesthouse

Periwinkle Guest Lodge in Plettenberg Bay boasts uninter…

Amakhala Woodbury Lodge, Eastern Cape

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Luxury Lodge

Surrounded by bush and set against a cliff face overlook…

Hermanus Extension

During the whale watching season (Jun-Nov), opt to extend your holiday by 2 days and stay in the charming Lavender Manor Guesthouse in Hermanus.



From kayaking with seals to hiking up Table Mountain, South Africa offers a range of optional activities you can choose to include on this holiday. Contact our Travel Specialists for more information.

Cape Point & Peninsula Tour

Visit Table Mountain, the Cape of Good Hope and Boulders …

City & Table Mountain Tour, Cape Town

Explore the city of Cape Town, known affectionately as the …

Meerkat experience, Oudtshoorn

Rise early to witness these incredible wild habituated crea…

Robben Island, Cape Town

Discover South Africa's tumultuous history on a moving tour…

Wine tram, Franschhoek

The Franschhoek Wine Tram hop-on hop-off tour is one of the…

Prices & Dates

Prices are per person, based on 2 sharing:

 Standard accommodation    Superior accommodation    Deluxe accommodation    
Price from  £1,102 £1,331 £2,360

Price Includes
12 nights standard accommodation; 9 nights on a bed & breakfast basis and 3 nights on a fully inclusive basis ● 13 days Toyota Corolla Quest (or similar) car rental ● activities at the Eastern Cape lodge

Price Excludes
International flights • Additional meals and excursions not specified above ● Travel insurance • Gratuities

Hermanus extension - prices are per person, based on 2 sharing

  Standard accommodation    Superior accommodation    
Price from  £105 £175

Price Includes
2 nights standard accommodation on a bed & breakfast basis ● 2 days Toyota Corolla Quest (or similar) car rental

Price Excludes
International flights • Additional meals and excursions not specified above ● Travel insurance • Gratuities

How to book

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So that we may send you a personalised quote and confirmation of availability, please click on the link below and complete our Enquiry form. One of our Travel Specialists will then be in touch to complete your booking or answer any further questions you might have.

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