Just a few hours’ drive from Cape Town lies South Africa’s world-famous Garden Route, a sunny stretch of southern Cape coastline featuring a wonderful mix of wide beaches, dappled forests, peaceful lagoons and buzzing seaside towns.

A long-time favourite for family holidays, this malaria-free region is also a paradise for nature-lovers and outdoor enthusiasts while the easy-to-navigate roads and short driving distances make the Garden Route the ideal destination for an independent-minded self-drive holiday.

The secret behind the Garden Route is that it combines the fun of a classic bucket-and-spade holiday with unforgettable African adventures. Take a forest canopy tour or visit a monkey or bird sanctuary. Dolphins are often seen offshore - as are whales in season - and for even more wildlife thrills, round off your beach holiday with an authentic Big 5 safari in one of the conveniently close – and also malaria-free – reserves in neighbouring Eastern Cape Province.

While outdoor sports and activities take centre stage on a Garden Route holiday (don't forget that several of the country's best golf courses are found here) fine food is always close at hand. Indulge in fresh-from-the-boat seafood at the ever-popular Knysna Waterfront or at a restaurant overlooking the beach in neighbouring Plettenberg Bay.

Garden Route accommodation is both plentiful and varied, and you can expect warm hospitality, great food and even better views. Wherever you decide to stay, the warm Indian Ocean is always close by, and although this popular coastline is understandably busy during the December school holidays (be sure to book well in advance!) you can still escape the summer crowds with a walk along a deserted beach or forest trail in one of the many nearby nature reserves.

Browse our range of tried-and-tested itineraries for some Garden Route holiday inspiration and then chat to one of our Africa Safari Experts. They will plan the perfect route for you, organising the right tours and booking the right accommodation all along the way.