Areas, parks & places to visit in South Africa
Addo Elephant National Park
At the eastern end of South Africa’s Cape, just an hour's drive from Port Elizabeth, the extensive Addo Elephant National Park sits just beyond the eastern end of the Garden Route. Currently it’s the third largest park in South Africa, spreading for about 1,800km² and including a marine section with a few offshore islands; there are plans for it to expand further...
Augrabies Falls National Park
Augrabies Falls is a fairly remote national park, offering great scenery and some good walking opportunities – combines well into a self-drive trip around the northern Cape, and southern Namibia.
Cape Town is a beautiful, cosmopolitan city that is African and yet very European. There's a lot to see and do - great shopping and harbour-side restaurants, stunning drives along the dramatic coastline, lots of great hikes and endless beaches.
De Hoop Nature Reserve
Although only 60km of gravel road south of Swellendam, De Hoop Nature Reserve seems to be well off any beaten track and is bypassed by most visitors. That’s a shame, as it’s a first-rate park that is well worth exploring for at least a few days.
De Hoop was proclaimed in 1953 as a nature reserve...
Knysna | Garden Route
Knysna is a small Garden Route town notable for its lovely lagoon, and a number of nearby reserves – including the spectacular, ocean-side Featherbed Reserve, and the impressive Knysna Forest.
Plettenberg Bay | Garden Route
The Garden Route’s Plettenberg Bay is a lovely seaside town in an area notable for its beaches and its reserves. Come for the Robberg and Keurbooms nature reserves, and families will also want to see Birds of Eden and Monkeyland.
Tsitsikamma | Garden Route National Park
The Tsitsikamma area conserves a considerable portion of the flora and fauna of the Garden Route, including a Marine Protected Areas (MPA). Thanks to its network of forest and coastal walking trails it appeals to those who enjoy hiking.
Wilderness | Garden Route National Park
In the heart of the Garden Route, Wilderness a small, friendly town beside a national park. Come here to hike in the thickly forested hills, canoe on lovely rivers through a peaceful string of lakes, or just laze on an endless golden beach.
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
Nestled amongst the hills, 20 minutes’ drive east of Hermanus, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is a real gem. It’s a small but very well-kept reserve which is dedicated to the preservation and understanding of the endemic fynbos ecosystem – which once covered much of Cape. It’s also the location for several first-class lodges...
Hermanus is Africa's top spot for whale-watching (best months Aug-Nov), by boat or from scenic cliffs. Nature-lovers also seek out Grootbos Private Nature Reserve for first-rate insights into the Cape's unique flora and fauna.
The O.R. Tambo International Airport in the large, bustling city of Johannesburg is often the gateway for many travellers to southern Africa; here we offer a handful of airport hotels for overnight stops en route to other destinations.
Kariega Game Reserve
The malaria-free Kariega Private Game Reserve is located 141 km, about a 90-minutes’ drive, east of Port Elizabeth – making it a viable add-on to a trip along the Garden Route. Drained by the Kariega and the Bushmans rivers, this reserve covers about 90km² and has five different ecosystems, which are home to a variety of plants, game and birdlife...
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a relatively remote and little-visited national park, perfect for more independent and self-sufficient travellers who want to explore on a self-drive trip.
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
An easy two hours drive away from Port Elizabeth, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve encompasses 220km² of former farmland, which the Great Fish River meanders through. The reserve is home to the famous ‘Big Five’ and lots of other wildlife. As the area is regarded non-malarial, it can be a great destination for families with young children...
Northeast of South Africa’s Garden Route, over the Outeniqua Mountains, is Little Karoo – a dry and often flat area agricultural area that’s a bit of a backwater in many ways. Expect extensive orchards, fertile vineyards, ostrich farms between the small, offbeat towns and some spectacular mountain passes.
The vast fynbos veld (open moorlands) of Namaqualand are quiet for most of the year but burst into life during the flower season (Aug-Sept); the Cedarberg Mountains offer great hiking in the south.
Port Elizabeth is at the far eastern end of the Garden Route and is generally used either at the beginning or end of a trip including the Garden Route. It is also the gateway to visiting the Eastern Cape game reserves.
Samara Private Game Reserve
Samara Reserve offers a high-quality experience in the wide-open plains of the Great Karoo with family-friendly accommodation and beautiful scenery from the mountains to the plains. Here lots of activities with great guiding are available, including affordable self-drives for families.
Shamwari Game Reserve
Shamwari is a private game reserve covering a modest 250km² in South Africa's Eastern Cape. Although only 45 minutes’ drive from Port Elizabeth, you will find it set in lush countryside along the Bushmans River. Shamwari Game Reserve isn't as big an area, nor as wild an experience, as you'll find further north in Africa...
Halfway between Cape Town and the Garden Route lies the small, sleepy town of Swellendam. It’s a pleasant stop-over in the Overberg region to go on leisurely walks and browse through curio shops and art galleries.
The Winelands are a scenic area of mountains and vineyards, dotted with welcoming retreats. Visit for the day from Cape Town, or stay for a few nights, to enjoy the Cape Dutch architecture, first-class wine and great food.