Garden Route Guided Tours

Garden Route and Wildlife

A taste of South Africa 11 Day Guided Tour (Code: SC-02/11)

11 Day Taste of South Africa Guided Tour This tour is just that, a taste of South Africa and it’s diversity. The tour incorporates the Panoramic Route, Kruger National Park, a private reserve in the greater kruger area, eSwathini (Swaziland), Zululand and another private reserve, enter the first proclaimed world heritage site in South Africa, iSimangaliso, and a boat cruise on lake St Lucia. The last four days we travel through the scenic Garden Route ending in Cape Town. DAY 1. Johannesburg – Dullstroom – Panoramic Route – Sabie (Safari) Your first taste of South Africa starts with our day on safari, takes us from Johannesburg via Middelburg, Dullstroom and Lydenburg to Pilgrim´s Rest, the early gold mining town turned into a living museum. Rich deposits of alluvial gold were found here at the end of the 19th century. We continue to Sabie. Overnight Ligna Lodge. DAY 2.  Panoramic Route – Private Game Reserve We visit Lone Creek Falls and travel via Graskop to marvel at scenic areas such as God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon, and some of the spectacular waterfalls in the area.  After that, we descend to the Lowveld via Abel Erasmus Pass and the Strijdom Tunnel to arrive at Mohlabetsi in the Balule private game reserve. This afternoon our encounter with Africa’s wildlife begins as we travel on an open vehicle to search for the game. Enjoy a great dinner under the stars tonight (weather permitting). Overnight Mohlabetsi Lodge. DAY 3. Private Game Reserve – Kruger National Park After an early morning hike, searching for the wild on foot, and breakfast we enter the Kruger National Park and spend the rest of the day in this magnificent reserve around 2 million ha in extent. DAY 4. Kruger National Park  – Swaziland We rise early for a game

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South Africa Travel Packages

15 Day Deluxe South African Experience Guided Tour (Code: SC-02P)

  15-Day Taste of South Africa and Cape Town This tour truly provides you with a taste of South Africa and  Cape Town added to the end. The tour incorporates the Panoramic Route, Kruger National Park, a private reserve in the greater kruger area, eSwathini (Swaziland), Zululand and another private reserve, enter the first proclaimed world heritage site in South Africa, iSimangaliso, and a boat cruise on lake St Lucia. We travel through the scenic Garden Route and ending in Cape Town. The tour includes a 4-night stay-over in Cape Town with tours of the city and peninsula and an optional winelands tour. DAY 01. Gauteng – Panoramic Route (Taste of South Africa and Cape Town) Our first day of this South African holiday takes us from Johannesburg via Middelburg, Dullstroom and Robber’s Pass to Pilgrim´s Rest, the early gold mining town turned into a living museum. Rich deposits of alluvial gold were found here at the end of the 19th century, hence the existence of the town deep in the mountains. After exploring this quaint old town, we continue to Sabie where we have a pleasant walk through indigenous forest to visit Lone Creek Falls. We overnight in Sabie at Ligna Lodge.  DAY 02.  Panoramic Route – Private Reserve After Graskop we marvel at scenic areas such the Pinnacle, God’s Window, Lisbon Falls, Bourke’s Luck Potholes (a walk down the hill to this unique trick of nature is worth the effort), and the magnificent Three Rondavels view site at the Blyde River Canyon. We walk along the cliffs to really appreciate the breathtaking views.  Finally we descend to the Lowveld via Abel Erasmus pass and the Strijdom Tunnel to arrive at Mohlabetsi in the Balule private game reserve,  a part of the Greater Kruger National Park. This afternoon our encounter with Africa’s

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11 Days Classic South Africa Highlights Tour (Code: SC-03)

Highlights of South Africa This tour truly features all the highlights of South Africa. We start off with the scenic panoramic route, then into the kruger National Park, travel through eSwathini (Swaziland), Zululand and its wildlife including Lake St Lucia ij the iSimangaliso world heritage site. The second part  of the tour we visit the southern Drakensberg Mountains, ascent via the Sani Pass into the kingdom of Lesotho for a lunch in Africa’s highest pub! The third phase of the tour includes the scenic Garden Route before the tour ends in Cape Town DAY 01.   Gauteng – Panoramic Route (Highlights of South Africa) Our first day on the highlights of South African takes us from Johannesburg via Middelburg, Dullstroom, and Ohrigstad to the magnificent Three Rondavels view the site at the Blyde River Canyon. We travel further to marvel at scenic areas such as Bourke’s Luck Potholes (a walk down the hill to see this unique trick of nature is worth the experience), Lisbon Falls, God’s Window and the Pinnacle before a short visit to Pilgrim’s Rest, an early gold mining town declared a National Monument. Rich deposits of alluvial gold were found here at the end of the last century and hence the existence of the town deep in the mountains. Overnight at Ligna Lodge. DAY 02.  Panoramic Route – Kruger National Park After an early breakfast, we do a pleasant walk through the indigenous forest to see the Lone Creek Falls. Then we follow a scenic route to Hazyview and enter the Kruger National Park. We spend the rest of the day in this magnificent reserve around 2 million ha in extent. We overnight in the reserve in chalets in one of the rest camps. DAY 03.   Kruger National Park – Swaziland We rise early for a

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12 Day South African Explorer Guided Tour (Code: SC-04)

South African Explorer The South African Explorer  does just that, you will be doing a lot of exploring; firstly around five days of wildlife and scenery to Durban, the holiday mecca of South Africa. Then we travel further along the Wild Coast and Garden Route ending in Cape Town. DAY 1. Johannesburg – Panoramic Route (Safari and scenery) Our first day on the South African Explorer takes us from Johannesburg via Middelburg, Dullstroom and Robber’s Pass to Pilgrim´s Rest, the early gold mining town turned into a living museum. Rich deposits of alluvial gold were found here at the end of the 19th century. Afterwards, we continue to Sabie. Here we have a pleasant walk through indigenous forest to visit Lone Creek Falls. Afterwards travel to Ligna Lodge. DAY 2.  Panoramic Route – Private Reserve On the 2nd day we travel via Graskop and marvel at the scenic areas, for instance, the Pinnacle, God’s Window, Lisbon Falls, Bourke’s Luck Potholes (a walk down the hill to this unique trick of nature is worth the effort), and the magnificent Three Rondavels view and the breathtaking sight at the Blyde River Canyon. Afterwards, we descend to the Lowveld via Abel Erasmus Pass and the Strijdom Tunnel to arrive at Mohlabetsi in the Balule private game reserve,  a part of the Greater Kruger National Park. This afternoon our encounter with Africa’s wildlife begins as we travel on an open vehicle to search for the game. We enjoy a great dinner under the stars. (weather permitting). Overnight Mohlabetsi Safari Lodge. DAY 3.  Private Reserve –  Kruger National Park After an early morning open vehicle game drive or, if available and conditions are favourable, we hike on foot searching for the animals. After breakfast, we leave for the Kruger National Park.  We spend the day

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The Grand South African – 19 Day Guided Tour (Code:SC-06)

The Grand South African Tour This Grand South African tour epitomises almost all the popular spots and even some hidden gems of South Africa. We travel through the country on this tour engaging in all its diversity; from the abundance of wildlife to rugged beauty  – the diversity in the scenery is mind-blowing.  This gives a whole lot of truth to the saying;  South Africa is a world in one country! DAY 1  Johannesburg – Dullstroom – Sabie – Panoramic Route (The Grand South African Tour Package) Our first day on the Grand South African tour package takes us from Johannesburg via Middelburg, Dullstroom, and Lydenburg to Pilgrim´s Rest, the early gold mining town turned into a living museum. Rich deposits of alluvial gold were found here at the end of the 19th century, hence the existence of the town deep in the mountains. Overnight Ligna Lodge. DAY 2  Panoramic Route – Private Game Reserve We visit Lone Creek Falls and travel via Graskop to marvel at scenic areas such as God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon, and some of the spectacular waterfalls in the area. Finally, we descend to the Lowveld via Abel Erasmus Pass and the Strijdom Tunnel. Arrive a little later at Mohlabetsi in the Balule private game reserve. This afternoon our encounter with Africa’s wildlife begins as we travel on an open vehicle to search for the game. Enjoy a great dinner under the stars tonight (weather permitting). Overnight Mohlabetsi Safari Lodge. DAY 3  Private Game Reserve – Kruger National Park After an early morning safari and if conditions permit, searching for the wild on foot, and breakfast we enter the Kruger National Park and spend the rest of day in this magnificent reserve around 2 million ha in extent. DAY 4   Kruger National

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Garden Route Guided Tours

Stretching 300 km, the Garden Route in South Africa’s botanical nook.

There is no place in South Africa quite like the Garden Route. It includes one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline that South Africa has to offer and crosses through numerous small, picturesque coastal towns. Named for its immensely diverse vegetation, most of which are indigenous to the area, the Garden Route is a myriad of lagoons, lakes, forests and mountains. The main reason why guided tours in the Garden Route is so popular!

The route is quite a popular attraction!  When travelling to our beautiful country, you cannot miss this rich landscape of quiet beaches, dense forests, and unique attractions. The journey begins 4 hours from Cape Town and winds along the coast ending at the fairy tale Tsitsikamma Forest.

Mountains feature heavily on a tour of the Garden Route, with the rolling green hills being one of the major characteristics of the route. The mountains lie close to the windy beaches and bays, making guests feel as though they are in a different world. The route runs alongside the coastline and is dotted with lakes, golden beaches, indigenous forests and those magnificent mountains.

The Garden Route has a longstanding fascination with all who visit and the best way to get the most out of your time here is on a Garden Route tour. Let us at Southern Circle Tours & Safaris assist you with planning the best itinerary for your Garden Route breakaway. Our Garden Route tour packages take you to the most popular attractions along South Africa’s most popular coastal route. 

With Southern Circle Tours & Safaris, you can look forward to an exclusive and relaxing tour on the Garden Route. Our Garden Route holiday packages will take you on a journey from Cape Town or Port Elizabeth to the Cango Caves, Post Office Tree, Tsitsikamma National Park and various other extraordinary tourist attractions along the Garden Route. You will be amazed when you see South Africa’s effervescent oceans, forests and the stark contrast of the adjacent Little Karoo semi-desert.

Whether you book a 3-day Garden Route guided tour or 19-day Grand South African Tour, there will be plenty of opportunities to explore all that there is to offer along the Garden Route. The magnificent Tsitsikamma National Park and beautiful town of Knysna never fail to impress our guests.

Some of the longer tours, such as the 10 Day Taste of South Africa Tour, will include Kruger National Park excursions as well as tours of KwaZulu Natal.

All those who travel the Garden Route can agree on one thing; it’s a mystical place unlike any other you will come across in South Africa. Our country boasts wonderfully unique landscapes that differ around every twist and turn. The Garden Route is no exception. The route has an oceanic climate, with mild summers and mild winters making it the perfect place to travel regardless of the time of year. You can drive for long stretches without seeing a soul, and the small towns that dot the path are famous for their hospitality and genuine warm vibes.

Some of the small towns you can stopover in along the way include Mossel Bay, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Nature’s Valley and Little Brak River. George is the largest city on the route and it serves as the administrative centre. Before you get the impression that you will spend most of your time here driving, you’ll be happy to know that there are numerous activities to do along the way. Along with hiking in the valleys, kayaking in the rivers that meander through the mountains and spending some downtime at the beach, more adventurous guests can go on treetop excursions through the forests. There is something for everyone along the way!

The Garden Route is South Africa’s biggest botanical garden and guests will never forget their travels here. You can explore the area with one of our Garden Route Tours. Contact us to get the latest 2019/2020 rates and prices for our packages. 

A Brief History of the Garden Route

There are no political tales or something about how human history has transformed the Garden Route itself, into what it is. The history of the route is 100% natural. Those who discovered the beautiful path through the mountains did only that, discover. The rest is Mother Nature’s beautiful hand at work. Some of the attractions do, however, have some kind of history attached to them, whether it is a town sprung up from necessity or a natural attraction used as a shelter for the earliest inhabitants.
Guests enjoying a Garden Route tour will learn all about the history behind each attraction they visit.

Garden Route Highlights

The gorgeous, sometimes misty and cool, Eastern Cape weather adds to the adventure that guests can look forward to here. With a Garden Route tour, you will miss nothing and leave with a head full of memories and a heart full of love for the Cape. These are just a few of the big Garden Route attractions.

The Knysna Heads

The Heads have a fascinating history, and they have over the years become a fabulous attraction. These rocky peaks stand as sentries, dominating the landscape and giving guests the impression that these rocks are guarding the coastline and the small towns close to them. And guard they have, in their way, as many fishermen and ships have met their untimely demise, dashed on the jagged rocks. For seafarers, the route past the Knysna Heads is a place where only brave men dare tread.
You don’t have to get up close to see The Heads. They can be viewed from numerous restaurants and those indulging in water sports in the area will find that The Heads are always in view. If you want to climb to The Heads, the East Head is the more accessible of the peaks and there are signposts along the way to guide you to it.

Whale Watching

Between Storms River and Mossel Bay, guests can do a bit of whale watching. A boat ride is the best way to get a good look at the whales, while land-based whale watching is also possible, albeit not as effective as when on the lookout from other locations. There is also quite a large Cape Fur Seal population living close to the area, and if you plan your boat trip properly, you could see the seals along the way.

Pinnacle Point Caves

The ocean along the route has carved out several overhanging caves all along the coastline. On a small piece of the headland, close to Mossel Bay, there is a collection of such caves. These caves show evidence of human habitation some 40 000 to 150 000 years ago, making the caves an important historical attraction. The caves are breathtaking and can be explored to great depths. From July to December, whales can be spotted from the cave. Booking a tour to the caves is a must, and booking will need to be done in advance.

Bloukrans Pass

Any adrenaline junkie has heard about Bloukrans Pass but you don’t have to chase the thrill of bungee jumping to see the pass for yourself. Home to what is considered the highest commercial bungee jump in the world, the Bloukrans Pass is also a beautiful attraction for those wanting to get a better view of the forests and winding rivers. The views you will encounter when travelling the pass are indescribable.

Tsitsikamma

Named by the Khoisan because of the abundance of water, the Tsitsikamma National Park is situated in the heart of the Garden Route. About 30% of the park is covered in Fynbos while the rest of the park is characterised by indigenous plants. One could say that the Tsitsikamma National Park is a collection of everything the Garden Route is about; white-tipped ocean breakers beneath cliff faces, rivers cutting through massive mountains, dense forests to explore, and so much more to see!

See the Garden Route for yourself when you join us on a once in a lifetime tour. Book your Garden Route Tour today.

Your Ultimate Guide to the Garden Route

A World of Experiences in one Garden Route trip

The Garden Route is an exquisite stretch of road between the Storms River in the Eastern Cape and Mossel Bay in the Western Cape. This winding journey has created one of the most exciting and beautiful ‘road trip’ experiences in the world. The variety of mind-blowing scenic beauty, from sun-drenched Winelands to lush, ancient forests, majestic mountains, semi-arid desert and pristine beaches and seascapes is unsurpassed.

Not just the scenery delights, it’s the opportunity to interact with wildlife such as elephants, whales, penguins and more. It’s the adrenaline junkie’s dream with bungee, scuba diving, ziplining, surfing, sandboarding, abseiling, paragliding, white water rafting, fishing and horse-riding opportunities. It’s the nature lovers’ dream too. The Garden Route in the Cape has been added to UNESCO’s World Network of biosphere reserves, with plenty of opportunity for tranquil river canoeing and forest hikes amongst an abundance of flora and fauna. The culture vulture is not forgotten – quaint and historic villages line the route.

Tourism in the Garden Route

Then there are wonderful opportunities for fine dining, and gorgeous Garden Route accommodation options every evening, from vibey backpackers to cosy lodges and B n B’s, to world-class luxury hotels and spas.

You can self-drive the Garden Route or go on one of the excellent Garden Route Tours that operate seamlessly year-round. Take it slow and meander, or whiz through, depending on your time frame. Or stay in a different town every night or base yourself in one place and take day trips. There are so many things to do and see along the way, so you can tailor your Garden Route trip to your favourite experiences.

The official beginning of the Garden Route is in Mossel Bay, but many travellers start from Cape Town on the N2. There are many routes, starting points and detours that you can take to customise your Garden Route experience according to your tastes, time limit and budget.

Towns and Attractions on the Garden Route

The order in which you will travel the route depends on how much of the route you will cover, how many detours you take, and where your starting and ending point will be. So, in no particular order, here are some of the gorgeous towns, attractions and activities you can enjoy on the Garden Route.

Knysna

Knysna is a charming town that puts the beauty of nature front and centre. The town is nestled next to a beautiful lagoon that is a marine reserve, full of diverse fish species and the unique Knysna seahorse. It’s the perfect spot to drink in the great outdoors, with lakes, mountains and beaches.

The famous indigenous forests in Knysna are the largest closed-canopy forests in South Africa, and home to a diversity of Fynbos vegetation that includes 8000 plant species. There are wonderful, demarcated hiking routes in the forest. The forests used to be home to many elephants, but sadly, very few are left in the forest. However, the Knysna Elephant Park has brought orphaned elephants from the Kruger National Park back to Knysna and is also worth a visit. You can even walk with the gentle giants in the park.

Knysna Heads

The Knysna Heads are two dramatic cliffs that stand and protect the mouth of the lagoon and are well worth a visit with your camera.

The town of Knysna has a central street that is part of the N2 and lined with individually owned small shops and boutiques, full of original art and hand-made items.  Hills and mountains surround the narrow streets, all beautifully covered in indigenous vegetation. Restaurants and coffee shops abound, and you will have to choose carefully, as the dining is delicious!  The exquisite natural scenery draws artists and crafters, and small studios and galleries provide opportunities to peruse original artworks.

For a spot of nightlife, the Knysna Waterfront boasts trendy bars, restaurants and clubs. It’s quite something to enjoy an evening cocktail while watching the sunset over the Knysna Heads.

Adventure seekers will not be disappointed staying in Knysna, as abseiling, canopy tours, sky diving and scuba activities are all available close to the town. Golfers will be in heaven with several world-class golf courses in Knysna and neighbouring towns.

If you visit during August or September, the chances of seeing Southern Right whales on their migratory journey is very high.

Plettenberg Bay

When you hit Plettenberg Bay, you’ll know it’s time to kick back and spend some time on the beach. The pristine, white sand and clear, azure water will have you spending hours next to the waves, just lazing, or trying your hand at surfing.

The town is very popular with tourists during the high seasons and has a buzzing nightlife to boot. Even during the daytime, the town is a mecca of interesting shops and boutiques. There are lots to do for the adventurer – parachuting, bungee jumping, mountain biking, sand boarding and horse riding are very popular. Sixteen wine estates close by, a township tour or tavern tour and lots of seasonal events mean there is always something new and exciting to do when you come off the beach in ‘Plett’.

George

The historic town of George nestles snugly in the foot of the magnificent Outeniqua Mountain Range, surrounded by beautiful scenery. George is one of the largest towns of the Garden Route but it does not scrimp on charm and beauty.

Sophistication reigns in the town centre with a mall and all commercial amenities, but the wide streets and tranquil ambience make sure its attraction stays intact. Lovely shops, restaurants, outdoor cafes with mountain views, theatres and cinemas cater to all different tastes.

There are historical landmarks, excellent golfing facilities and stunning beaches and bays just outside of town, including Victoria Bay, known for its perfect surfing waves, great fishing and whale and dolphin sighting.

Other interesting and different activities can include strawberry picking, cheese tasting, a tour of a traditional Xhosa Village with singing, dancing, storytelling and home-brewed beer. There is a bird-breeding farm, the Outeniqua Country Hop (full of farm products, arts and crafts) and plenty of opportunities for hiking and exploring.

As with all stops along the garden route, adventure is never far away! You can go caving, climbing, abseiling, rafting, paragliding, angling and 4 x 4’ing, all within a few km of the town.

Mossel Bay

Mossel Bay is steeped in maritime history. Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias landed here and named it ‘The Bay of Cowherds. It was renamed by a Dutch explorer later, who seemed to be delighted with the delicious mussels he found there. You’ll find some of the world’s finest mussels in Mossel Bay and must be sampled.

Staying with the explorers in history, one of the major town attractions is the ‘Post Office Tree’. An unfortunate Portuguese sailor lost his fleet in a storm and recounted his woes on paper, which he then ‘posted’ in an old shoe and hung from a milkwood tree. This old shoe served as a post office for years.  A shoe-shaped post box was built under the tree, around 800 years old, and named a National Monument. Post a letter or postcard here on your travels and it will be stamped with a special commemorative stamp.

Mossel Bay is sunny nearly all year round, and home to around 60kms of warm, golden beach stretches. Museums, archaeological excavations, bushman rock art, golf, boating and yachting, game reserves, shark cage diving and shipwreck diving are all available, making your Mossel bay adventure a full and exciting one.

Wilderness, Sedgefield and Nature’s Valley

Even the names of these small towns echo the natural beauty of the towns and surroundings.

In Wilderness, bird calls fill the air, the beach is dazzling and the fynbos is everywhere. It’s a nature-lovers paradise, a place to take your walking shoes, binoculars, camera and get deep into the wilderness. This is the place to breathe in the freshest of clean, pure forest air, kick back, ramble, bird watch or pull out a book and laze amongst nature’s glory.

Nearby, the pretty town of Sedgefield sits next to a lagoon. More gorgeous beaches, hidden nooks and crannies and gorgeous nature walks await. You can opt for a Saturday morning in Sedgefield and potter around the fresh-produce markets. There are the Mosaic Market, The Scarab Village Market or The Wild Oats Farmer’s Market. Sample home-grown fresh produce and life at a pace that you could certainly get used to.

Wildlife rehabilitation is a big part of the Sedgefield Community. Radical Raptors care for injured birds of prey and hold daily flying displays.

Nature’s Valley appears so untouched, you can be forgiven in thinking you are one of the only people to have set foot in the tangled forests and wild beaches. There are many sanctuaries within a short drive from this town consisting of around 10 streets in total.

Storms River and Tsitsikamma Nature Reserve

The powerful  Storms River, with the wonderfully scenic town next to it, snakes through the Tsitsikamma forest to the ocean. Adventure sports beckon, amongst the lush forests, indigenous trees and crashing waves and stormy seas. A suspension bridge above the cliffs and dramatic, thundering waves give incredible lookout views.

Short walking trails in the Tsitsikamma National Park will appeal to most! There are canopy tours, the world’s highest bungee from the Bloukrans River Bridge, fishing, tubing, kloofing and more.

Other Garden Route Road Trip Attractions

Oudtshoorn, Ostriches and the Cango Caves

Experience a change of scene and move away from the coast on a winding road through the Langkloof Mountains. Here, emerge yourself into the austere beauty of the Klein Karoo. This is ostrich country, and the giant, awkward birds are everywhere.

Ostrich farms and colourful farm stalls full of show-worthy plumes line your road. Notice the grand and extravagant Sandstone homesteads built in the old days from farmer’s ‘feather-fortunes’. You can look straight into one of these creature’s small, beady eyes! We visit the Cango Ostrich Show Farm to learn a bit about ostrich farming.

The Cango Caves limestone Chambers deliver a mystical underground world of stalactites, stalagmites and historical Khoi San paintings. A relaxed Heritage Tour is perfect for an informative exploration of the geological wonders and their evolution. You’ll get a chance to experience the amazing sound quality and natural cave acoustics. The Adventure Tour is for those who are happy to twist and wriggle into the limestone chimneys themselves. Time in Oudtshoorn would not be the same without sampling the delicious ostrich steaks for dinner.

Route 62

For another change of scene on the Garden Route, you can head on to the Route 62. It’s the lekker, local version of the famous Route 66 in America. This one winds through the longest wine route in the Cape. Everywhere you look there are vintage burger bars, fabulous farm stalls. Blink and you’ll miss them’ towns, each with a unique story and a charm. Wine stops are an absolute must!

Your Garden Route Trip

The Garden Route guided tours in South Africa is a pleasure, with well-kept roads and polite road users. DIY or get a  or Garden Route Tour Package to suit you, leaving you free to just enjoy the scenery. When planning your Garden Route holiday, you can rest assured that Garden Route accommodation is plentiful, varied, friendly and world-class. You can travel the Garden Route on a budget or travel the Garden Route in luxurious style. Either way, the real star of the Garden Route show is nature in all her finery and glory!