So if you read my ‘one week in Africa’ post you will have heard about the ‘South Africa experience’ trip that I booked through real gap. This involved one week at a game reserve (which I extended to five) and one week on the infamous garden route. Port Elizabeth to Cape Town with four stops inbetween; Jeffreys Bay, Tsitsikamma National Park, Knysna and Oudtshoorn, each one is beautiful in a different way and there is so much to do. I’ve talked about how much I loved Kwantu, but I wanna make sure people understand how worthwhile the second half of this trip is. The garden route was incredible, every day was a new adventure and there was something for everyone. For the adrenaline junkies there were daily pumped activities from bungee jumps and crocodiles, the laid back experienced chill evenings with hammocks and braai’s (African twist on BBQ), museums and trips for the history nerds, endless restaurants serving ostrich and kudu for the foodies and don’t even get me started on the photographers. I can’t tell you how beautiful everyday was, the cliffs in tsitsikamma to the valleys en route Cape Town. I met some really cool people and I feel like we really bonded in that week, teaching them South African ring of fire was a personal highlight and I made some great beer pong associates.
If what is holding you back is the cost I can tell you now it is so, so cheap, especially compared to other trips. Here’s a quick breakdown of the costs:
£800 for the trips itself (this ranges from £700- £1000 depending on the dates you choose)
£700 approx. for a return flight
£100 for insurance
This is maximum spends you need, I spent £700 in total for 9 weeks in South Africa, this included eating in restaurants, partying every weekend, bungee jumps and loads of other activities. The South African Rand has a great conversion rate, you will quickly learn to love it. The Garden Route includes all accommodation, transport and quite a few of the activities such as surfing lessons and a boat ride. This makes it perfect for the lesser organised of you as you don’t need to worry about arranging much at all. Plus, there was always someone to fall back on if things went wrong. We were also lucky enough to have the best guide, Jeff. He was literally amazing, from saving us from a car crash during a storm to making us howl with laughter at his road rage (and the occasional curse word.) He couldn’t do enough for us, driving us to restaurants and clubs every night despite this not being necessary of him. If there was one thing I would change about this trip it would be the length. I guess the two week package is perfect for people who have to hurry home for work or those who prefer quick- paced tours; it does keep your adrenaline levels high, I’ll tell you that for nothing. I could have easily spent 3- 4 weeks on the Garden Route, there is so much to see and do on the south coast. Wildlife is probably what attracts most tourists to Africa and if Kwantu wasn’t included we wouldn’t have seen much of it. If planning your own route you would have to ensure you also visited a game reserve which may be a little out of the way. I’ve done a post about the itinerary we followed that (I’ll link that below) but there are several variations that can be made, some that I did on my weekends in Kwantu and others that I didn’t.
The tour that we did was actually due to start in the town of Port Elizabeth but we headed straight for JBay instead. This was because we had all already spent our weekends partying at Port Elizabeth and it didn’t really feel necessary, there isn’t actually all that much to do there besides lounge on some beautiful beaches and a great night out at Beershack. We just wanted more time at our final destination- Cape Town.
Some people take the Garden Route right up to Jo’Burg. I had spent a week here before Kwantu, there is so much to do and this city had a huge history. The apartheid museum, Constitution Hill and the Soweto township tour where Mandela grew up.
Addo Elephant Park-
What it says, lots of elephants, in a park.
This town is so cute and there is loads to do there, between Tsitsikamma and Knysna. First of all there is the cutest cake shop on the waterfront called Clares Cakes, the cheesecake is realllllly delicious. We went sea kayaking in the morning which was great fun, we playing games and there was the potential to see seals and dolphins although we weren’t lucky enough. You actually can go swimming with seals but I didn’t, that would be cool. In the afternoon I went skydiving which was amazinggggg and so cheap compared to other destinations, read about it here.
We planned to stop here, something I was really excited for, shark cage diving! But unfortunately when we were there they hadn’t seen sharks for weeks, it would have been a waste of money. I was gutted to miss this, it’s the second largest great white population in the world.
I wish wish wish I’d had more time to go more south of Cape Town, to go to Cape Point, it looks so awesome. If you book this trip make sure you give yourself at least an extra five days in Cape Town so you get to experience it all.
If drawing out your own garden route I would definitely recommend stopping by these places.
So now you’be heard about all the stuff I didn’t do how about you read about the stuff I did do! Click here.