South Africa Garden Route

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1. In Brief

This passage in South Western South Africa is called the Garden Route, not because it’s the ideal place to plant some seeds or prune roses, but because the verdant green landscape in the area is a stark contrast to most of South Africa’s arid environment. This trip offers you the chance to travel from vibrant Port Elizabeth to the stunning city of Cape Town, taking in anything and everything in between.

Travel through this beautiful area; take all the twists and turns, through steep gorges and past beautiful lagoons, around spectacular mountain ranges and past dramatic coastlines. Visit Jefferson’s Bay, one of the world’s top surfing spots or watch the horizon in hope of spotting some of the local whales and dolphins. Soak up the ambiance in bustling Port Elizabeth or the quaint town of Knysna and lose yourself in the grandeur of the National Parks taking in all of nature’s majesty. 

The area is home to a mix of coastal and mountain fynbos, a special shrubland found only in this corner of South Africa, and wetlands attracting over 250 species of birds including colourful kingfishers. Alternatively, how about heading to watch some ostrich races in Oudtshoorn, the Ostrich capital of the world! There are many excellent hiking routes to explore and unspoilt beaches to enjoy. All in all, a fantastic tour for anyone wanting to expereince as much of South Africa as possible in a short stay.

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Travel through beautiful scenery
  • Try out your surfing skills
  • Make new friends and return with tons of photos and brilliant memories

FAST FACTS

Location South Africa
Activities Sight seeing
Hiking
Surfing
Relaxing on the beach
Explore some of South Africa’s most cosmopolitan cities
Transport Airport pick up on arrival
Accommodation Hostels

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Before you go Pre-departure support & documentation 
Travel & medical advice 
Advice on visas & equipment
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier T-shirt
In-country Airport pickup 
In-country transport
Accommodation
Breakfast
Driver/guide   
In-country emergency support
24 hour international HQ backup


 

QUALIFICATIONS

A variety of qualifications are available on many of our projects. For example, BTEC certificates and diplomas on our Group conservation projects and TEFL certificates and BTECs on most of our teaching projects. You may also be able to gain a CoPE to support your university application. For more information on these qualifications, please see the qualifications section of our website or ask your volunteer advisor.

PADI DIVE TRAINING

On the Frontier Marine Conservation Group Projects, we will train you to PADI Advanced Open Water before you begin undertaking important biological surveys. Depending on how long you spend on the project, you may also have the option to take further courses up to Divemaster!

Please see the "Dates and Costs" tab for dive qualification prices or ask your volunteer advisor for more information.

Find out more about PADI qualifications.

2. The project

WHAT WILL I BE DOING?

This week long tour will start in Port Elizabeth and finish in Cape Town. Travelling along South Africa’s famous Garden Route, you and your fellow travel companions will get to see some of the most scenic coastline and pristine white sand beaches in the whole of South Africa. Travelling through steep gorges and past beautiful lagoons, around the spectacular mountain ranges of Langeberg and Riviersonderend, and of course marvelling at the impressive Table Mountain. You will get the opportunity to hike through ancient forests and wetlands and visit some of the best on-shore whale and dolphin watching sites in the world.

You will start your journey in the bustling city of Port Elizabeth, a hub of laid back social living with a university campus and plenty of bars, clubs, restaurants and a casino to keep you entertained and a perfect place to get to know your fellow travellers. It is South Africa’s second oldest city and has a beautiful harbour and Blue Flag beaches perfect for relaxing. 

You will then move onto one of South Africa’s most famous surf hot spots, the laid back Jefferson’s Bay where you will get the opportunity to ride the waves with the best of them. If you’re a surf addict, there are plenty of trendy shops, bars and restaurants to keep you entertained.

Next it’s back to nature at the awesome Tsitiskamma National Park which covers a vast area of ancient forest that extends down to the crashing waves of the Southern Ocean. You can trek through the ancient trees to beautiful waterfalls and for those seeking an adrenaline rush,  there are a range of extra activities that you can get involved in such as white water rafting!

The quaint town of Knysna is another highlight of the trip, famous for its pictuesque lagoon and quays. Go for a swim or snorkel in these pristine waters or simply soak up the atmosphere in one of the many stylish beachfront cafes.

Onto Oudtshoorn! This inland town offers a unique cultural experience. It is the ostrich farming capital of the world. If you’re lucky you may even get the chance to see the famous ostrich races. Your group can then choose between seeing some more of South Africa’s wildlife at a Crocodile Ranch or exploring the famous limestone staligtites and staligmites at Cango Caves.

Last but not least, immerse yourself in everything that Cape Town has to offer. As the home of the national parliament and one of Africa’s most popular tourist destinations the city has a strong multicultural buzz. There is plenty to keep you busy; stroll along beautiful beaches or around the picturesque harbour and learn more about the Rainbow Nations turbulent history at museums dedicated to the plight of Nelson Mandela and the dark days of apartheid. Experience all of this set against the dramatic back drop of Table Mountain, arguably one of the most famous landmarks in Africa. 

This trip can also be upgraded with an option to take part in some truly amazing wildlife conservation volunteering before your Garden Route tour.  Based in a private game reserve outside Port Elizabeth this volunteering placement offers close encounters with Africa’s Big Five. Examples of the type of work you could be involved in includes; monitoring lions and their cubs, feeding and cleaning the elephants in the on-site elephant sanctuary, fence patrols, vegetation rehabilitation and the eradication of invasive plant species. Any volunteers joining in the month of February may even have the opportunity to get involved in assisting in the annual game capture.

3. What to expect

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I ARRIVE?

You will fly into Port Elizabeth airport which is a short flight from Cape Town international airport. Upon arrival in Port Elizabeth you will be met by a friendly local staff member and transferred to your accommodation. Once you have had time to rest the local staff will give you a local orientation. Your in-country coordinator will introduce you to your travel companions and help you acclimatise and you'll feel at home in no time in this stunningly vibrant country.

WHERE WILL I BE STAYING?

As you will be on the move taking in the highlights of the Garden Route your accommodation will change regularly. You will be staying in a number of hostels in dormitory style rooms.  

If you opt to include some volunteering before your trip you will be staying on an exclusive game reserve of 6,000 hectares, living in one of two newly built, clean and comfortable, single sex, 16 bed dormitories. The reserve offers a fantastic array of leisure facilities including TV, tennis court, barbecue, and kitchen area with internet access. 

WHAT WILL I BE EATING?

The Garden Route tour works on a bed and breakfast basis offering you the chance to sample the fusion of food that is South African cuisine. As lunch and dinner are self catered a popular way to finish the day is with an authentic braai (BBQ). For the more adventurous why not try springbok or some of the high quality local oysters, famous around the world, all washed down with a glass of South African wine.

4. The reviews

See so much!  | 30 May 2013
The garden route tour was an amazing experience and a fantastic way to see so much of what South ...

Read more


Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!  | 18 Nov 2012
The Garden Route, some of the most beautiful coastline that the Africa and the world have to offe...

Read more


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5. Gallery

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6. Extras

ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

If you have the inclination and the energy to pack in even more, there are loads of extra activities to try before or after your trip. The Garden Route has plenty to offer the adventurous person. With fun activities including hiking, surfing, swimming and snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, mountain biking, flying, hang-gliding, paragliding, ballooning or sky diving! 

If culture is your thing then perhaps you might like to visit Grahamstown, Africa's festival capital. The national Arts Festival takes place with over 50,000 people flocking to the city for a feast of arts, crafts and sheer entertainment with more than 500 shows from opera, cabaret, drama and jazz to stand-up comics and folk music. Check the festival dates to make sure they coincide with your itinerary. You and your new friends could also go on safari in search of Africa’s Big Five in the world famous Kruger National Park.

7. Dates and Costs

COSTS

6 days US$1,095

DEPARTURE DATES

Please check availability for 2015 start dates. 

25th January 2016

7th March 2016

11th April 2016

16th May 2016

13th June 2016

18th July 2016

29th August 2016

26th September 2016

17th October 2016

14th November 2016

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Nearest airport(s): Port Elizabeth (PLZ)

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

Flights

Flights are not included in our trip costs. However, we have partnered with an experienced and professional team of travel experts to help our volunteers find the best flight deals for their trips with us. This travel specialist operates in the tailor-made, long haul multi-stop travel market, arranging complex airfares and transfers for independent travellers. They provide expertise, security and a vast product range along with a Travel Butler service which is a single point of contact and support whilst you are overseas.

We recommend that you obtain a quote using the following contact details rather than book online, as our partner will offer you the most competitive fares. To receive your quote or to seek any advice for your flights, please contact our dedicated team of travel experts on 0800 082 9994 (or +44 800 082 9994 outside the UK) or email frontier@flightcentre.co.uk .

Visas

For fast, efficient and up-to-date visa advice please contact our recommended visa consultancy partner:

Depending on your destination country and your country of origin, you might require a visa. Please see the appropriate country consular website for details or contact our affiliate visa consultancy service. Please note that your visa will usually start on the date that you enter the destination country regardless of when it was issued. Please check with the relevant embassy or high commission. If you are purchasing your visa or paying entry/exit fees in-country you will probably need to pay in US Dollars. If you have any questions please consult the relevant embassy or high commission. Please check the visa information regularly, as changes often happen without warning.

Insurance

You'll need to buy appropriate travel insurance covering your participation on the project. You won't be able to go without the right travel insurance so double check to avoid disappointment. Please make sure that you're covered for the whole duration of your trip – from the day you leave the UK to the day you return. It's also best to get your travel insurance at the same time as paying the deposit for your project. Depending on your policy, this will cover you for any unexpected cancellations.

Your insurance should include the following:

  • Medical cover, including medical emergencies and medical evacuations (up to USD$3,000,000 / GBP£2,000,000);
  • Personal liability (up to USD$1,500,000 / GBP£1,000,000);
  • Cancellation and curtailment of your trip (up to the value of your project contribution).

If you are going to be scuba diving you should get coverage for scuba diving up to 30m, including hyperbaric therapy treatment (unlimited). You should consider obtaining insurance to cover you for any additional activities which you plan to do during, before, or after your Frontier project. We recommend that you obtain cover for your baggage and personal effects.


LEGAL STATEMENT
Frontier Partner Projects and Frontier group projects are run in partnership with in-country NGOs, small community based organisations, local research institutes, academic organisations and conservation agencies. Project descriptions and information are supplied directly by our partners or field staff and are accurate at time of publishing.

We aim to keep information up to date and accurate, however, the nature of our projects and in particular the fact that they are constantly evolving and developing in response to changing needs means that project activities, travel schedules, tour itineraries and daily timetables can change overnight and without notice.

8. How to apply

To apply for this placement, click on "Apply Now" below. Fill in the short application form and one of our advisers will then call you back to answer any questions and make sure this is the perfect placement for you. Applying doesn't cost a penny and you won't pay anything until you're completely happy and you're ready to reserve your place.


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