Enjoy the freedom of a self-driving holiday coupled with Sovereign’s expertise as you explore South Africa’s famed Garden Route
Begin with a stay in a private game reserve before enjoying a classic self-driving tour of South Africa’s iconic Garden Route, as well as the beautiful Cape Town and some of the world’s most famous vineyards. Experience some of the most incredible views in Africa as you explore this stunning area of the world.
Our classic self-driving tour of the Garden Route gives you the freedom of the road coupled with our expert tips and advice to help you get the most from your holiday. Enjoy the lively Cape Town and its iconic sights before trying some of the world’s most acclaimed wines in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Then embark on your tour of the Garden Route and experience the beauty of the spectacular mountains, quaint colonial towns and rural beaches.
At a glance
Explore the iconic city of Cape Town and its many attractions
Taste delicious wines in South Africa’s top vineyards
Explore pretty seaside towns along the Garden Route
See some of Africa’s famous wildlife on one of two spectacular private game reserves
Interested in this holiday? To book or for more information, call our Trusted Advisers on:
Fly from London to Johannesburg International and then onto Port Elizabeth Airport where a private transfer will be waiting to take you to your hotel in the Eastern Cape Game Reserve.
Sovereign recommended hotels
Kariega Game Reserve Main Lodge
South Africa, Eastern Cape
In the heart of the bush your full board stay includes meals, drinks and two game drives per day. You can also enjoy bush walks, river cruises and canoeing. Choose from five lodges with 54 private suites and chalets available and magical scenes from the viewing galleries.
Your full board stay includes meals, drinks, two game drives a day and bush walks. Long Lee Manor dates to the Edwardian era and offers luxury gardens, pools and verandas in the plains. Choose from 15 rooms and suites and enjoy two swimming pools, relax in chic, comfortable rooms and try fine local wines and cuisine.
Spend your days enjoying bush walks, game drives, delicious food and fine wines from the local area.
At the Kariega Game Reserve Lodges you can enjoy a day packed full of activities and attractions. You will be woken with tea and coffee at 6am before departing for an early morning game drive. See some of Africa’s most famous wildlife and explore the stunning landscapes with your expert guide. Return to the lodge for a big breakfast at 10am before choosing from a bush walk, river trip, visit to the spa and more from 11am till lunch at 2.30pm. Enjoy an evening drive and cocktails as the sun sets from 4pm before heading to the restaurant for a delicious dinner at 7.30pm.
A luxurious game reserve with six luxury lodges, the Shamwari Game Reserve is home to fantastic animals and wildlife. Visit the Rhino Awareness Centre, the Big Cat Sanctuary or the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre during your stay. Enjoy two game drives per day, with one leaving early morning and an evening drive as well. The local guides are experts in their field and passionate about conservation. Between drives you can learn about the conservation initiative of the Game Reserve, as well as visiting the spa and enjoying fine local wines and world class cuisine.
Day 4 : Head to the Coast
Leave your chosen Game Reserve in the morning and head to Port Elizabeth where you will be able to collect your self-drive car. From here you can drive to the seaside town of Plettenburg Bay where you will spend the next day.
Our Trusted Advisers suggest choosing the direct route from Port Elizabeth to Plettenburg Bay where there are some excellent places to stop along the way. Storms River Mouth is a must. Located in the Tsitsikama National Park guests will find a dramatic coastline with quieter natural harbours where you might catch a glimpse of baby sharks and sting rays basking in the sun. Venture over the suspension bridge which will take you over the mouth of the river itself and is the perfect place to take in the calm waters of the river as they flow down to meet the choppy ocean. Take in the backdrop of cliffs rising on either side of the river where you can enjoy water sports in the summer. Kayak through the craggy passageway or swim, scuba dive and snorkel through the waters.
Sovereign recommended hotels
Hunter’s Country House
South Africa, Plettenberg Bay
Warm hospitality and secluded serenity greet you in this beautiful hotel. Plettenberg Bay is close by, while guests can also spend their time relaxing in the individual cottages or abundant gardens of the hotel.
Just outside the town, this small, exclusive hotel consists of 35 rooms and two villas and is situated on a rocky headland overlooking the famous bay. World class cuisine is served at the Seafood restaurant, as well as fine wines from the local area. Villas come with private pools, and each of the rooms has spectacular views.
Spend the day exploring in and around Plettenberg Bay. A huge sweeping bay with pristine sands and lively waters full of wildlife explore the town or the ocean during your stay. Shoals of fish are often driven into the bay by schools of dolphins, sharks and seals who leap and play in the water as they catch their prey. Get up close to dolphins and other wildlife with surfing or boat trips or spend your day exploring the streets of the town.
Plettenberg Bay is a lively South African holiday town, with lots of locals wandering barefoot through the streets during the summer months. Experience the lively nightlife in the evenings or try daring activities full of adrenaline like parachuting or bungee jumping.
Day 6 : Continue on to Oudtshoorn
Drive inland from Plettenberg Bay to Oudtshoorn. On the way our expert Travel Advisers recommend a stop at Knysna, which is a historic logging town perched on the edge of a lagoon which flows past the buildings to meet the dramatic waves of the sea. With a dramatic forest backdrop, you can explore the surrounding wilderness by land or water. Take the hiking trails through Knysna Forest up to the Elephant Park where you can get up close to the residents. Alternatively, take a boat trip through the lagoon and admire the rugged seaside landscapes before stopping for fresh oysters.
Next stop is George, which is a traditional colonial town with whitewashed buildings and a spectacular backdrop of mountains, fertile farmlands, rivers and forests. On the way to Oudtshoorn take the road through the Outeniqua Pass, where the luscious emerald mountains rise on either side of the road, before heading through the diverse, desert-like lands of Little Karoo.
If you prefer to avoid the main road explore the narrow roads along Little Alfred Pass, with its mountainous and rocky terrain. From here join Route 62, which will take you to Oudtshoorn.
Sovereign recommended hotels
Surval Boutique Olive Estate
South Africa, Oudtshoorn
A luxury boutique hotel with views of the luscious valley and rugged surrounding mountains, relax in style or spend your days exploring the estate. Rooms are warm and cosy, with excellent views and natural wooden finishing touches.
Dating back to 1852 this country house retains much of the classic Western Cape building style. Enjoy antique furniture, a traditional rose garden which gives the house its name and incredible artworks. Each of the 10 rooms offers classic chic interiors and the two executive suites have private pools.
Spend a full day driving through the Swartberg Pass, which is the most spectacular of South Africa’s mountain passes. Watch the rocky mountains on either side change colours depending on the position of the sun and clouds and enjoy the spectacular views over the plains. At the end you will reach Prince Alfred, which is a pretty hamlet surrounded by emerald green plains. On the way back take the main road, which runs through the Swartberg Mountains.
If you prefer to spend the day closer to home, visit an Ostrich Farm where you can admire these curious creatures and learn how their eggs and feathers are collected and used. Explore the history of the area and the fascinating stories of how locals grew rich after the introduction of ostrich farming. In the afternoon visit the Cango Caves, which are huge, eerie caverns filled with limestone formations, stalagmites and stalactites.
Day 8 : Make your way to Arniston
Drive from Oudtshoorn to Arniston. This will be your first day along the famous Route 62. Take in the stunning Karoo Valleys with their incredible mountain backdrops and rolling desert-like plains. Home to diverse wildlife and interesting flora and fauna this is the ideal place for those who want to explore the natural landscapes. Stop off in Calitzdorp where you can pick up delicious varieties of port and brandy and enjoy wines, cheeses and views of Towerkop, the split mountain peak, in Ladismith. You can also spend an hour or two exploring the beautiful streets of Barrydale. With warm weather and plenty of rainfall the area provides the perfect conditions for fruit farmers and the town is famous for its figs, peaches, oranges, pears and grapes.
Next, you’ll pass over the Tradouw Pass, which means “Woman’s Pass” in the ancient African Koi language. Interesting rock structures and rugged mountain views greet you as you pass into the Overberg Region. Home to vast fields of wheat which stretch towards to horizon as far as the eye can see, wildlife lovers will enjoy the chance to see South Africa’s national bird – the Blue Crane.
Sovereign recommended hotels
Arniston Spa Hotel
South Africa, Arniston
Overlooking the ocean, relax and enjoy beachy, modern interiors and a serene atmosphere. The hotel’s spa offers a full range of beauty and treatment options, while the restaurant serves a sophisticated menu.
Drive from Arniston to Franschhoek. On your way our South Africa expert suggests a visit to Cape Aghullas, which is the southernmost tip of Africa. We highly recommend avoiding the main N2 road and instead heading north through the vineyards and wineries of Bonnievale, the winding Breede River in Robertson and the apple growing region of Villiersdorp. Full of stunning rolling countryside with a backdrop of scenic mountains, this is the perfect way to enjoy South Africa’s beautiful landscapes. You will also drive over the Franschhoek Pass, which offers a spectacular welcome to the area with incredible views over the valley and its neat rows of vineyards basking in the sun.
Sovereign recommended hotels
Le Franschhoek Hotel
South Africa, Franschhoek
Take in the stunning views over the winelands and mountains, tastefully decorated interiors and a spa. Enjoy fine dining and a selection of bars during your stay with careful attention paid to every detail and a choice of 79 rooms or 18 private villas.
Experience the best of Franschhoek, with luxury hospitality, chic interiors decorated with local art, gourmet cuisine and an extensive wine list. This boutique hotel has 12 rooms with views over the winelands and a cottage for those requiring more privacy. If you want to fully relax there is also an onsite spa.
For a day spent in Franschhoek our expert Travel Advisers recommend visiting anywhere from two to six vineyards, stopping off at your favourites for longer. Leave your car behind for this part of the journey so you can enjoy wine tasting to the fullest. The Wine Tram is perfect for first time visitors to Franschhoek and offers a number of routes, allowing you to hop on and off at a variety of places during the day. Explore the heritage of this world-famous wine region and visit family run wineries with beautiful oaks providing shade to picnic tables where you can sample the top wine varieties as well as simple snacks. Enjoy sculptures and other African artwork in the shady gardens of many of the vineyards, providing a tranquil respite from the warm African sun. There are also more modern establishments where guests can explore chic interiors which flow out into the sunny gardens and their mountain backdrops.
In the evening enjoy the pretty streets of the town, which is home to restaurants and bistros, as well as cafés where you can enjoy lighter bites. There are plenty of gourmet restaurants and fine dining options.
Day 11 : Stop at Stellenbosch on the way to Cape Town
Drive from Franschhoek to Cape Town, choosing to stop at Stellenbosch which is en route. Another world class wine region, here you’ll find a fascinating history which runs through the streets, architecture and establishments of the town.
If you prefer to take the coastal route to Cape Town, there is plenty to see along the way. Drive through Cape Peninsular, which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and offers some breath-taking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Stretching from Cape Hope to Table Mountain this 52km stretch of road is a fantastic way to reach the romantic city of Cape Town. Along the stretch is Simon’s Town where you will find antique shops and boutiques, historic statues and seaside pubs and restaurants. On your way into Cape Town you’ll also see the 12 Apostles along the dramatic Chapman’s Peak Drive. Jutting into the clear blue sky, these mountain peaks provide a stunning backdrop to the ocean.
Sovereign recommended hotels
The Table Bay Hotel
South Africa, Cape Town
In the heart of the V&A Waterside area, Table Bay is an iconic hotel boasting historic architecture and world class standards in service, dining and amenities. Enjoy views of Table Mountain or the Atlantic Ocean from your room and the ultimate in five star luxury.
A fantastic location on the V&A Waterfront and striking, modern interiors with luxury facilities and elegant finishing touches make this the ideal place to relax or explore. A private spa island and world class cuisine add the finishing touches.
Spend two days immersing yourself in the romance of Cape Town, where you can enjoy the many sights and attractions on offer. Take a few hours to wander through the beautiful streets of the V&A waterfront area before stopping off for sundowners in one of the bars overlooking the harbour. Drop into boutiques and shops where you can pick up bargains on designer labels, as well as gifts and souvenirs.
If you prefer to keep active there are plenty of golf courses in the local area. Alternatively, spend the day visiting art galleries and museums. The Heart of Cape Town Museum has fully restored the operating theatre where the first human heart transplant was performed in 1967. The First South African Perfume Museum, just north of Cape Town, is home to colonial antiques and an interesting insight into the heritage of perfumes and the part they play in cultures around the world.
Days 14 & 15 : Return to London
Drive to Cape Town airport and drop off your car before flying direct to London.
Extend your holiday – Explore the streets of Paternoster
Extend your stay and choose one of these luxury South Africa hotels
The Table Bay Hotel, Cape Town
Boasting arguably the best address in Cape Town, the hotel offers five star luxury with bright, modern interiors, fine dining, an excellent wine collection and warm South African hospitality. Enjoy stunning views from each of the 329 rooms and the romance of Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront right on your doorstep.
Modern luxury greets you in the bar, restaurant and rooms of the hotel, which is located in the heart of the lively V&A Waterfront area. Enjoy views over the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Table Mountain on the other, relax at the private island spa or in the infinity pool. There are two world class restaurants at the hotel, including Africa’s only Nobu.
All transfers and internal flights as detailed in the itinerary
7 days car hire
12 night’s accommodation (2 nights full board and 10 nights bed & breakfast)
Game drives as stated in the itinerary
Holiday does not include
Meals and drinks (unless specified)
Places you will explore during your Safari holiday
Cape Town is one of the world’s most vibrant and beautiful cities. Nestled between the colonial style architecture of the V&A Waterfront area and Table Mountain combine city, sea, mountain and countryside in South Africa’s “Mother City”. Private car rental is a great way to get around the city; whether you want to explore the shopping and malls or drive the scenic peninsular.
The southernmost city in Africa, Cape Town is where the wilds of the Atlantic Ocean meet rich African culture. Surfers will love the choppy waves of the sea and there are plenty of opportunities to walk along the golden sands as you take in the panoramic views.
South Africa is known all over the world for its exceptional wines, with both Franschhoek and Stellenbosch to explore if you’re looking to experience a variety of vineyards. Stellenbosch, South Africa’s second oldest town, is located just outside Cape Town and filled with charming streets lined with oak trees and characterful Dutch architecture dating back to the colonial era.
Franschhoek is a major tourist attraction and one of South Africa’s most visited towns. The town itself is full of wide streets lined with quaint cafés and chic boutiques, shaded by the overhanging branches of the trees. Founded by the fleeing French Huguenots the country’s architectural influences can be seen throughout. Located in a valley surrounded mountains filled with winding roads this self-contained town is easy to get around and perfect if you want to explore a range of wineries.
The Garden route
South Africa’s Garden Route is top of many bucket lists and it’s easy to see why. Experience the freedom of a self-driving tour as you take in the spectacular backdrop of mountains and farmlands inland and the golden beaches along the coast.
Sweeping along the coast for just over 200km from Mossel Bay through Storm’s River and down to Port Elizabeth there is a wealth of wildlife, outdoor activities, cultural towns and incredible sights to take in. Pristine beaches, rugged coastlines, charming villages, dense forests and dramatic mountain ranges are just some of the sights that will greet you along the way.
South Africa’s West Coast
South Africa’s West Coast is a less visited area of the Cape, leaving its spectacular landscapes almost undiscovered. This is where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean, which has caused a natural diversity in the sea rarely seen elsewhere. This variety underwater is matched by the landscapes above land, where there is a larger assortment of flowers and plant life than in even the Amazon Rainforest.
If you enjoy social and cultural activities take a trip to see the famous rock art which stretches back centuries. Stay in Paternoster, a pretty seaside village with endless local charm. Translated as “Our Father” the village is named after the prayers of Portuguese sailors whose ship wrecked just off the coast. Known for its delicious crayfish enjoy excellent seafood restaurants with extensive wine lists.
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