Garden Route Safari

Why Go

Big5 on a Garden Route Safari

Close to the long beaches and friendly seaside towns of the Garden Route lie the game reserves of the Eastern Cape. Home to lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo, these private reserves have gained an international reputation for conservation and give travellers an opportunity to add a genuine Big 5 safari onto their Garden Route holiday.

A Garden Route safari is all about diversity. There’s abundant big game, the birdlife is fantastic, and you’ll walk on deserted beaches, cruise along teeming rivers and visit archaeological sites too. Many reserves are sanctuaries for endangered and highly sought-after animals such as cheetah and wild dog. The standard of guiding is very high and many specialist guides are available for interests such as bird watching, local history and culture.

It’s a naturalist’s paradise, and the healthy malaria-free environment means it’s perfect for families with young children. Indeed, several lodges specialise in family safaris, offering exclusive-use accommodation, tailored safari programmes and dedicated staff. Together with the Garden Route’s user-friendly beaches and many activities, it’s a hard-to-beat family holiday destination.

The Eastern Cape reserves are also about stunning scenery and unspoilt views. Several of South Africa’s most beautiful safari hideaways are found here, complete with decadent suites, private plunge pools and candlelit private dining, making a Garden Route safari a great choice for honeymooners and discerning couples.

A Garden Route safari is an easy and rewarding combination with Cape Town. You can enjoy all the highlights of the ‘Mother City’ – Table Mountain, Cape Point and the Winelands – before discovering the golden-sand beaches and game reserves of the Garden Route. The best reserves are all within easy reach of Port Elizabeth Airport which means easy travel connections. It’s just a short flight back to Cape Town and a similarly short one to Johannesburg from where you can hop across to the Kruger Park for a super-sized take on a Big 5 safari.

Browse our suggested Garden Route safaris or contact us for a tailor-made itinerary. Guided tours are available but the relaxed and accommodating nature of the Garden Route makes it ideal for a self-drive tour. You’ll have the freedom and flexibility of doing things at your pace, and there is plenty of exclusive-use, home-from-home accommodation along the way.

Garden Route Safari on the map

LET’S PLAN YOUR TRIP TODAY GET IN TOUCH HERE

What to Do

on a Garden Route Safari?

1. Track the Big 5

The Eastern Cape reserves are home to the Big 5 & you’ll be on the lookout for them on your guided morning & afternoon game drives. Spot-lit night drives add to the thrill.

2. Go on a River Safari

Whether you explore by kayak, small boat or sunset cruiser, a river safari is an excellent way to spot wildlife & enjoy the sunset. Ask us about the best riverside lodges.

3. Bring the Family

Malaria-free game viewing; tailored safari activities; baby sitters, kids menus & private family villas – a Garden Route safari couldn’t be better for families if you designed it yourself!

4. Bring the Binoculars

A mix of different habitats means many of the Eastern Cape reserves have bird counts of over 400 species, including many of South Africa’s endemics. Expect fabulous, year-round birding with expert guides.

5. Hit the Beach

Many reserves are within easy reach of the famously unspoilt Eastern Cape coast. Add marine tours, beach walks & seasonal whale watching onto your Garden Route safari.

6. Walk the Wild Side

The Eastern Cape is great walking country & its private game reserves offer anything from short self-guided walks to fully-guided multi-day trekking – ask us about the best one for your requirements.

7. Explore on Horseback

The open landscape of the Eastern Cape was made for horseback safaris; stunning scenery, easy riding & a great way to see big game. We’ll tell you the best places to saddle up.

8. Get Romantic

Couples are spoilt for choice on a Garden Route safari: idyllic settings, private suites & all the candle-lit details. Ask us about the best honeymoon hideaways & boutique spa resorts.

Tailor-made Holiday

Experience the extraordinary! Let us tailor-make your safari to South Africa.

Hands-on Expertise

  • We’re based in Africa
  • We regularly do site inspections
  • Knowledgeable team
  • Expect great customer service

Accredited & Bonded

  • SATSA – Bonded Membership (2061)
  • ATTA Membership (204387)
  • Fully Independent & Owner Run
  • Travel Support from Start to Finish

Reviews

An incredibly well organised tour with no hassles whatsoever.

Safari Online understood our needs and was able to present us with sensible options to choose from. It was evident that this tour operator has knowledgable and experienced agents who can arrange a seemless tour. We were provided with a professional online itinary which was comprehensive and easy to use, knew exactely what to expect, and encountered no stumble blocks along the way.

Gwen (AU)
Safari Online made our fantastic family holiday dream come true!!

Safari Online have been nothing but professional and incredible from the time we made our first enquiry to the last day of our stunning holiday. Nothing was too much trouble for Walter. We are now starting to plan our next family Safari for 2019. Guess who we will be booking with??? Safari Online we hope you are ready!!!!!

Penni (AU)
Safari Online were extremely efficient and absolutely charming to work with.

I have a severe intolerance to chemical products such a fabric softener. This can create difficulties when you travel. But the team at Safari Online made sure that all the destinations on our itinerary met our unusual demands. Our 28-day itinerary took us to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. A magnificent and unforgettable adventure. Everything ran smoothly and efficiently from the flights, transfers, rides, connections, etc. Absolutely wonderful! Can’t thank them enough!

Ann and Mario (Canada)
Karina was absolutely instrumental to our safari success.

Our experience with Safari Online was excellent. After becoming very frustrated trying to search for a safari destination on our own, we turned to Karina for help and she was a lifesaver. She responded to our requests promptly and gave us several options with links to each option; we ultimately chose Lukimbi. We had an amazing safari adventure at the lodge–the experience of a lifetime–and are so grateful for her help. We literally couldn’t have done it without her!

Chris (USA)
It was a safari of a lifetime and exceeded all of our expectations!

I have so many wonderful things to say about Walter and Safari Online that I don’t even know where to begin! Our mom grew up in Central and South Africa so we had visited the continent many times. My sister and I wanted to take our teens and husbands to Africa to experience the magic. We had a limited budget but big and specific expectations and by some miracle Walter was able to manage both.

Heather (USA)
Very helpful good suggestions for holiday ideas always available for questions good organising

Excellent service and they supplied good suggestions for our holiday they also organised all internal flights and arranged check in for us so we had no worries while on holiday. Tongazebi was one place we stayed in a tree house amazing and friendly place our safari was in Savanna Lodge an incredible place to stay and amazing safari we got to see the big five and many others birds and animals. All very close you would not believe how close you get to the wildlife. We are so happy that this was organised for as we have had a most memorable holiday staying at wonderful places thanks to Sabrina and Safari Online. Would recommend Safari Online to organise your holiday.

Lorraine (UK)
Professional, patient, efficient and responsive. Met all our travel needs and requirements spot on

Communication was excellent – I asked A LOT of questions and did a ton of research myself and Walter was extremely patient with me and very responsive. he was straight forward and extremely professional. Tour itself was excellent – an incredible experience and one never to be forgotten. Everything was spot on.

Neena
Walter has always been an excellent communicator and has supported us fully

We have been to Africa for 24 of the last 27 years so know a bit about what is involved.
Walter has arranged the details for the last couple of years, and has done a superb job. He is always quick to respond and comes up with answers immediately……..no evasive tactics, always head-on! This year we went back to Luangwa and had a terrific six days there. It was very dry so a slightly different environment than in past years when we have found October to be more conducive to wildlife viewing. Walter couldn’t have done more for us!

Roger (UK)
Professional, quick and top of the edge service!!!

From the very first contact we’re very happy about the respond time and quality of information from safari-online.com. Based on the received first tailor-made quote, which is a weblink with all the details about the flights, photos of the lodges etc. we knew that this is “our” partner for this trip.
Our expectations were exceled!!! We’ve been to three different Wilderness lodges in Botswana and Zambia. It was more than WOW.
The lodges itself, the service, the food, the kids (8+10) care and the animal world. All the connections by plane, boat and car were perfectly organized. There was always a responsible person waiting for us. We felt very special from the first to the last day. We highly recommend safari-online.com and we’ll do our next Wilderness tour definitely with them.

Lukas (Germany)
Best trip I have ever been on. Highly recommend.

Would highly recommend. Safari online asked questions when booking and were efficient and knew exactly what we were looking for in terms of accommodation and animals were wanted to see. Actually got to see the Big 5 which was perfect. Gave advice on a few little extras with no pressure, which we did and am very grateful which make trip even more exciting. Would definitely recommend booking with them.