Garden Route

Travel from Cape Town east to Port Elizabeth you will be immersed in one of the six floral kingdoms in the world. The Fynbos, this is the smallest of the floral kingdoms and is only found on the cape of South Africa. With over 9000 plant species of which 6200 are endemic there is wealth of life here, most of which is only found here. During this road trip across half of this magnificent country we will see Table Mountain, Fynbos, great-white sharks, southern right whales, visit a big five reserve and sample some of the local delights such as wine and a good old South African braai (BBQ). This is one of the most comprehensive tours we run as you probably see that largest range of wildlife including South Africas one big 7!

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Cage dive with great white sharks

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Five nights in Addo Elephant Park

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Up to 8 species of marine mammals

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Guided night drives

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Ostrichs, penguins and many more birds

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Walk through the fynbos

  • African elephant
  • Lion
  • Black rhino
  • Great white shark
  • Southern right whale
  • African penguin

Destination:

South Africa

Tour Dates:

6/8/2000 - 20/8/2000

Duration:

15 nights

Type / Focus:

Sharks & Mammals

Tour Difficulty:

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Price:

£5155 per person

Deposit:

£1379 per person

Single Supplement:

£725

Minimum Passengers:

4 persons (total) before tour runs

book online

Holiday Breakdown

Day 1

Cape Town

On arrival at the Cape Town International airport, you will be met by your zoologist guide. As most flights arrive in the morning we should have time for some sightseeing after you have been transferred to our accommodation, level – 4* / Guesthouse (Simonstown Quayside Hotel / Lord Nelson’s Guesthouse) in Simonstown. Simonstown is a beautiful little harbour town situated on the south side of Cape Town and is nestled between False Bay and Cape Point National Park. On the drive from the airport there is a chance of spotting black wildebeest, Cape mountain zebra, eland and grey rhebok as the motorway flanks the national park boundaries. Once we have checked in and grabbed some lunch (depending on the time) we will head out to Simonstowns number one attraction. Boulders Beach National Park. This is one of the smallest national parks in all of Africa but it is home to a huge population of African penguins. Yes you heard right African penguins! They nest here and the beaches and pathways get you really close to the birds as they fearlessly waddle right up to you and seem more interested in you than you are in them! In addition to the penguins there are plenty of rock hyraxes or dassies here. They are the closest living relatives to elephants but you have to look hard to see why as they look more like guinea-pigs. We can stay here as long as you like and afterwards we can either go back to the accommodation so you can rest or drive around the bay and take in some of the sites, including a view of Table Mountain in the distance. Our evening meal will be back at the accommodation.

Day 2

Cape Town

The next two days are variable, so the order of activities listed may well be different once we are here. So one morning we will rise very early and head to the harbour before sunrise. Because today we will be an audience of one of the most spectacular wildlife events on earth. Every morning from around April to September great-white sharks enter False Bay in order to take advantage of the pupping Cape fur seals. As these seal pups take to the water for the first time they make ideal prey for the waiting sharks. Seal Island is the home to this event and its here that we will head for with an experienced shark eco-tourism boat and crew. In fact more often than not we visit the island with the help of Chris and Monique Fallows who are responsible for nearly every picture and video clip of the famous breaching sharks you have seen. We will spend the entire morning at the island (weather dependant) and this will allow us time to catch the natural predations in the early morning light which includes the breaching and later on, once the sun has risen fully and the attacks have died down we you will have the opportunity (if conditions are good) to dive in the safety of the cage. However the shark here come very close to the boat and it is not necessary to enter the water in order to get excellent views of the sharks. We will have a small lunch on board. After this trip we will arrive back in Simonstown in the early afternoon, once we have refreshed at the accommodation we make a visit to Cape Point Nature Reserve, where we will see Cape mountain zebra, eland, ostriches, red-winged starlings, angulate tortoises, rock hyraxes as well as the possibility of dusky dolphins, southern right whales, humpback whales and common bottle-nose dolphins. But a visit to Cape Point would not be complete without seeing the most famous inhabitants here; the fearless chacma baboons. They run riot over the park and often hang around the gift shop and restaurant waiting for foolish tourists to feed them. Needless to say we do not condone this behaviour. We will spend the rest of the afternoon here exploring and relaxing and our evening meal will be back at the accommodation. Your zoologist escort will treat you all to a drink or two in a local bar if you are still awake after the long day.

Day 3

Cape Town

Today we can rise later and enjoy a breakfast leisurely. After breakfast we will drive to Table Mountain and proceed to hike up. We will use the Platteklip Gorge route which is not very strenuous and takes 2.5-3.5 hours. Along way we have a chance of spotting klipspringers, grysbok, common duiker, steenbok, striped mice, southern rock agamas, black-girdled lizards, grey-backed cisticolas, lesser double-collared sunbirds, ground woodpeckers and cape sugarbirds. Once we get to the top we will have lunch. From here we will use the cable car to get back down and get a taxi to our vehicle. From here we will drive to the famous Victoria and Albert docks and get ready for our afternoon trip to Robben Island. Robben Island is a hallowing place which changes the way you view everything. To see the tiny cell which Nelson Mandela spent so much of his life is a moving experience and one you will not regret. Once we get back we will drive back to our accommodation and enjoy our evening meal here.

Day 4

De Hoop Nature Reserve

This morning after breakfast we will drive to De Hoop Nature Reserve (4.5-5.5 hours); along the way we will take in the beauty of the Cape Province and enjoy the scenery whilst keeping an eye out for mongooses, blue cranes and raptors as they circle the thermals. We are free to stop anywhere along the way and once we arrive we will check into the accommodation, 3* / BnB (Mudlark Riverfront Lodge / Malagas Hotel / Arniston Lodge) and have lunch. Then we will enter the nature reserve and see what we can find. The reserve is most famous for its grey rheboks, bontebok, Cape mountain zebras, African black oystercatchers, blue cranes and many marine mammal species like southern right whales, Brydes whales and common bottle-nose dolphins. We will spend the rest of the day here and enjoy the last of the fynbos once again. The fynbos is one of five floral kingdoms in the whole world and it is endemic to the Cape region of South Africa, this unique array of plants means many endemic bird species and we can find a fair few here with over 260 species recorded in the reserve. Our evening meal will be back at our accommodation.

Day 5

De Hoop Nature Reserve

This morning we will breakfast early and drive into the reserve for a second time. The morning is the best time to catch the local bird life which is exceptional here including cape francolins, cape vultures, Knynsa woodpeckers, Cape bulbuls and red-knobbed coots. It is also the best time to try and see some of the predators in the reserve such as leopards, caracals and various mongoose species. Although the cats are very rarely seen. We will come back to the accommodation, level - 3* / BnB (Mudlark Riverfront Lodge / Malagas Hotel / Arniston Lodge). for lunch and then we can either stay here and relax, visit a vineyard in nearby Swellendam and enjoy some of the world famous wines from the Garden Route or we can go back to the reserve and see what we can find animal wise. Whatever we decide our evening meal will be back at our accommodation.

Day 6

Knysna

Today after breakfast we will continue our journey along South Africa’s garden route and our next stop will be Knysna (5-5.5 hours). This drive takes us past Mossel Bay where we will eat some lunch and continue on. Knysna is a small coastal town famous for being the home of the last population of wild Cape elephants in the world. There are said to be less than ten remaining and they are very seldom seen, however we will visit an elephant sanctuary which houses orphaned and ex-circus elephants in a semi-wild state. We will visit here tomorrow. The rest of our day will be at your leisure and you are free to explore the shops along the coastline. Our evening meal will be at our accommodation, level – BnB / 3* (Wayside Inn / Knysna Manor House).

Day 7

Knysna

Today after a leisurely breakfast we will head to the elephant sanctuary. Here we can feed the elephants and get very close to them. The population here have formed a small herd which acts like a wild herd spending the majority of the day in the forests and only coming out during the public feeding times. The money spent on entry and food is vital for the well being of these elephants who would have been sold for ivory and other illegal reasons had the sanctuary not saved them. All in all this is a great experience to see and interact with these gentle giants and the sanctuary helps to highlight the plight of elephants around the world which are taken from the wild and sold to circuses. We lunch here and then the afternoon we can either visit the Monkey Park which is a walk through forest home to dozens of monkeys from all over the world living in a semi natural state, all these monkeys are ex-pets and circus monkeys and have been abandoned and given a new lease of life and many are remembering how to be monkeys again and not performers or we can explore Knysna more and see if we can find the very rare and very endemic Knysna turaco. Our evening meal will be at our accommodation.

Day 8

Plettenberg Bay

This morning after breakfast we will continue our drive along the coast. This time we are heading to Plettenberg Bay (30 mins). Plettenberg Bay is most famous for the southern right whales which aggregate here at this time of year with their calves. The views can be amazing and with them coming so close to the shore you don’t even have to get on a boat. However today we will be viewing the whales from a boat. After we have arrived and checked in we will have a few hours to relax and take in the stunning scenery of the bay. In the afternoon after lunch we will head out with the help of the one of the most experienced whale watching groups in the world. They have a large boat with a special permit which allows them to get within 50m of the whales. This is over 250m closer than the standard legal requirement and has been granted to them because of they adhere to the rules and limit the disturbance of the whales as much as possible. In reality it is the whales that often approach the boat as they are very curious and often interact with the boat and you. The whales that are most commonly seen are southern right whales and humpback whales but Brydes whales are also seen along with long-beaked common dolphins, common bottle-nose dolphins and cape fur seals. The trip last around 2 hours and after we will have the rest of the day to enjoy Plettenberg. Our evening meal will be at the accommodation, level – 4* (Whale Rock House / Country Crescent Hotel).

Day 9

Plettenberg Bay

This morning after breakfast we will have another trip out whale watching in the hope of getting closer and seeing more species than yesterday. Plus everyday is different when observing animals and you never know what you will be witness to, especially when whale watching. Once we get back we will go back to the accommodation and you can once again explore the local area for a few hours, the beach here is exquisite and the birding is not bad at all. After lunch we will have our last whale watching trip and the evening will be the free again. Our evening meal will be in our accommodation.

Day 10

Addo Elephant National Park

Today we drive inland to one of the best national parks in the whole of South Africa (5-6 hours); Addo Elephant National Park was established in 1931 as conservation area to protect 11 cape elephants. Today those 11 individuals have grown to an amazing population of over 450! This is the highest density of elephants in the world and its impossible not to see at least 10 every time we enter the park. We will stop somewhere around Port Elizabeth to eat lunch and once we arrive at the national park we will check into the accommodation, level – safari chalets or cottages (Addo Rest Camp). Here we will enjoy our evening meal and enjoy the sounds of the African bushveld. It is normal to hear lions, spotted hyenas and jackals during the night and at sunrise. There is nothing better than being woken up at dawn by the roar of lions!

Day 11

Addo Elephant National Park

This morning is the first of our early mornings as we aim to be inside the park at sunrise. We will head into the park and have a few hours (4-5 hours) game viewing until the sunrises high into the sky and we get hungry for breakfast. We will come back to the camp and have brunch in the restaurant, then we can stay here or head back into the park for more game viewing. Addo is a big five park so there is the chance of leopards, lions, black rhinos, cape buffalo and of course the very common elephants. In addition to those we always see kudu, warthogs, meerkats, yellow mongoose, Burchells zebra, red hartebeest and many more mammals. As far as birding goes we usually find ostriches, pale-chanting goshawks, greater kestrels, fiscal flycatchers, Karoo scrub robins, bokmakierie and secretarybirds. Whilst we are here and the park is open (opening times are between sunrise and sunset) we can spend as much or as little time game driving as you like. In the evening we will go back into the park for a nocturnal drive. Here is a great chance to see some of the rarer and less glamorous animals such as striped polecats, African crested porcupines, African eagle-owls, aardvarks, aardwolves, bat-eared foxes and springhares as well as the possibility of running into a spotted hyena. Our evening meal will be at the restaurant. Accommodation, level – safari chalets or cottages (Addo Rest Camp).

Day 12

Addo Elephant National Park

Today will follow the same format as yesterday with as much or as little game driving as you decide. Accommodation, level – safari chalets or cottages (Addo Rest Camp).

Day 13

Addo Elephant National Park

Today will follow the same format as yesterday with as much or as little game driving as you decide. Accommodation, level – safari chalets or cottages (Addo Rest Camp).

Day 14

Addo Elephant National Park

Today will follow the same format as yesterday with as much or as little game driving as you decide. Accommodation, level – safari chalets or cottages (Addo Rest Camp).

Day 15

Port Elizabeth

Today is our last day at Addo and we will only enter the park for a couple of hours during the morning before breakfast. Once we have eaten and packed up we will head to Port Elizabeth (3-3.5 hours) Once we arrive in Port Elizabeth we will check into our accommodation, level – 4* / boutique hotel (Bluewater Beach Front Guesthouse / Kings Tide Boutique Hotel). After checking in your zoologist escort will treat you to a drink or two as we recap over the tour and share our best bits, pictures and stories. The rest of the day is for you to do as you wish with lunch and the evening meal at the accommodation.

Day 16

Home

Today you will be transferred to the airport after breakfast so you can catch your return flight home.

Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.

This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.

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Extra Information

Weather Conditions

At this time of year the western Cape recieves most of its rain, however as we head east and when we get to Addo there is often only blue skies as far as the eye can see. The temperatures are usually between 10-25 degrees C although the nights can be chilly.

What's Included

Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). There will be an amount of bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day. We have our own private air conditioned mini-van to be driven by your zoologist escort. You get the services of the zoologist escort included in the fee. As well as the shark diving & whale watching crews and boat hire.

All our excursions including treks, guided walks, night safaris and park entrance fees are also included.

Personal Equipment

We recommend you bring along your own binoculars or scope as well as appropiate clothing; which should be clothes for both warm & day days, wet and windy days asnd chilly nights. Comforatble walking shoes are a must. As it can be windy on the water during the shark and whale watching trips we recommend wind breakers, water proofs, woolly hats and a fleece. Insect repllent is handy but not essential. Any medication, books or other items of a personal nature is of course up to you to bring along. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera. Also do not forget sun cream, sun hat and sun glasses as the sun can be strong here during the day.

Included Equipment

We provide a comprehensive species list of all the vertebrates present in the areas we are visiting as well as some of the best field guides and reference books for the areas we are visiting. There is usually a spare pair of binoculars but in a group of 4-6 people these do not stretch too far. Any diving/snorkelling gear for the shark diving is included on the boat on the day as is the life vest for the whale watching. Camera Traps will also be used to try and capture hard to see wildlife in the dead of night.

Extra Expenses

Nearly everything is included in this tour. The only things not inlcuded are international flights, any food bought outside of the three main meals, drinks outside of any offered with the meals and the bottled water provided each day and any items of a personal nature such as souveniers and tips. Any applicable departure taxes and not inlcuded (but maybe included in the cost of your flights). Please check before departure.

Flight Information

As we are based in Manchester we recommend flights from Manchester International Airport

We recommend Emirates or KLM as good airlines for flights to Cape Town. For the internal flight from Port Elizabeth back to Cape Town after your trip we recommend South African Express. One of the best websites to search for the best fares is to and from Cape Town is www.opodo.co.uk; who are IATA accredited and for the internal flight www.flyexpress.aero is a link direct to the airline. Please check our terms and conditions regarding booking flights.

Please contact us for more information about flights and we can provide you with a link direct to the flights from another supplier; in which case you only have to enter the passenger information and payment details. By using the above link you will leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for the content on the site.

Visas and Health Information

All UK passport holders and most other nationalities are required to have a visa for South Africa. However these are given out free of charge on arrival at the airport. Usually 30 days is granted but please confirm this as less if sometimes given. The easiest way to find information is by visiting www.southafrica.info (be aware that this link leaves our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for information on the site).

There are no mandatory vaccinations needed to visit South Africa, but it is recommended to be protected against TB, polio, typhoid, tetanus and hepatitis A as well as taking a form of malaria prophylactics. Please consult your GP about your individual requirements for visiting South Africa as soon as you have decided on this trip.

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  • It pretty hard to pick out the best moment of the trip, as we had great and different types experiences throughout.The guides were great and have been doing this for a long time so know everything.

    5 Stars

    Jim & Clare, South Yorkshire

    September 16, 2009

  • An beautiful holiday, full of interest in all areas. A extremely well organised trip throughout and without any hiccups. The accommodation was delightful, full of character, comfortable and the food was delicious.

    5 Stars

    Fritz Kroos, Hamburg

    September 16, 2009

  • We like the fact that every aspect had been taken care of, from the moment we were met at the airport to when we had a final dinner it was very well run.

    5 Stars

    Milli & Phillip, Tenerife

    August 25, 2010