Top 10 Things to do on the Garden Route

Spotting Elephants and Lions at Addo National Park, Watching whales, dolphins and seals at Plettenberg Bay, Hiking the Tsitsikamma waterfall trail and close up with Zebra’s in De Hoop Nature Reserve – This really is the Garden Route at it’s best!

A lifelong dream came true: We visited South Africa. We were there for 12 days and really made the most out of it!! We planned the whole trip by ourselves and managed to keep it within budget! Below I’ve written our itinerary and you’ll also find a cost breakdown.


  1. De Hoop Nature Reserve – Perfect for bike rides, long walks and whale watching!
  2. Hermanus – They say it’s the best place for whale watching, if you go between August and October!
  3. Swellendam – The third oldest town in the republic of South Africa, with many Cape Dutch architecture heritage sites!
  4. Wilderness and Knysna – Surrounded by lakes and lagoons and beautiful nature
  5. Sea Kayak Plettenberg Bay – If you’re lucky, you’ll have dolphins and seals playing right next to your Kayak! If you’re unlucky (like us), book the activity below!
  6. Ocean Safari Plettenberg Bay – Yes, we finally spotted many dolphins, seals and even a whale (in February) on this 2-hour boat ride!
  7. Jeffrey’s Bay – Ranked among the world’s top 10 best surfing spots!
  8. Mouth Trail Tsitsikamma National Park – A one hour hike to the suspension bridges over the Storms River Mouth! Easy trail, be ready to climb some stairs!
  9. Waterfall Trail Tsitsikamma National Park – A three hour hike to a beautiful waterfall, not an easy one, but very doable for untrained hikers like us. Be ready to climb over rocks from time to time, bring good shoes and a lot of water!
  10. Addo Elephant National Park – They have the BIG FIVE (or even the Big Seven, including the Souther Right whale and the Great white shark!).



DAY 5: We left Stellenbosch in the morning and drove a very scenic route towards De Hoop Nature Reserve. We spotted zebra’s, baboons and ostriches on the road before arriving to fantastic dunes with the best view over the Indian Ocean! We had to drive about 100km over unpaved road, but it was totally worth it! We then continued our way along the garden route towards Plettenberg Bay.
DAY 6: We woke up in Plettenberg Bay and did a 2 hour kayak trip! We were supposed to see some dolphins and seals, but weren’t really around 😦 We therefore booked another adventure: A boat trip! We were very very lucky to find many dolphins and seals swimming and playing all around our boat and we even spotted a Bryde Whale even though it wasn’t even whale season!! Pure HAPPINESS!
DAY 7: We drove from Plettenberg Bay to Tsitsikamma National Park. We hiked the mouth trail with suspension bridges over the stormsriver, followed by the 3 hour waterfall trail which was spectacular! We continued our trip to Port Elizabeth in the evening.
DAY 8: Got up early to drive to Addo Elephant National Park! An amazing one-day selfdrive safari, we spotted many elephants, zebras, buffaloes and even a pack of lions!! Speechless and thankful for this experience, we finished our Gardenroute tour and are headed for the next destination: The Krugerpark!

Our South Africa adventure will continue in the Kruger National Park, but you will read all about that in the next article!

Have you read about the 10 Things to do in Cape Town yet? All about our helicopter flight over the Cape Peninsula, visiting Penguins in Boulders Beach and riding horses near giraffes and zebras in Stellenbosch!


Entrance Fees: 

  • De Hoop Nature Reserve: 40 ZAR (2,50€) per person
  • Tsitsikamma (Storms River Mouth): 248 ZAR (15€) per person
  • Addo Elephant National Park: 328 ZAR (20€) per person


  • Sea Kayaking (2h) with Dolphin Adventures: 300 ZAR (18€) per person
  • Dolphin Discovery Cruise (2h) with Ocean Safaris: 570 ZAR (35€) per person

Food & Drinks:

  • Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner: +/- 650 ZAR (40€) for 2 people per day (going to local restaurants)


  • Maplin37, Plettenberg Bay: 500 ZAR (30€) per night
  • AirBnB in Port Elizabeth: 400 ZAR (25€) per night

Here’s the link to the 2019 conservation fees in South Africa:

I would really recommend to do a self-organised tour, if you can, because you will save A LOT of money AND you’re free to go wherever you want to go!

Have a look at the Garden Route VLOG!

One thought on “Top 10 Things to do on the Garden Route

  1. Pingback: My 10 best tips for Safari at Kruger National Park, South Africa | Pilot Lindy

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