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“Bird-watching with Mark” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Garden Route Trail

Garden Route Trail
Exeter, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Bird-watching with Mark”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 March 2014

As well as seeing some beautiful country, I had a really superb guided bird-watching morning with Mark Dixon. His deep knowledge, boundless enthusiasm and obvious professionalism are matched by his ease of manner and communication skills.

We saw masses of excellent birds (at least ninety in just a few hours) and had the thrill of seeing a group of five Cape clawless otters playing just a few yards away from one of the hides.

I really would like to do Mark's five-day Garden Route trip with him. He is delightful company and an outstanding guide in an outstanding area.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank Jim H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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49 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Birmingham U.K.
Level Contributor
27 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“A Holiday to Experience.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 February 2014

Having done a number of fly drive holidays in America and Europe this was our first in Africa. We were a little concerned about the higher crime rates in South Africa but we need not have worried we had no hassle whatsoever.
The variety of the countryside was amazing and with the shorter distances than we have been used to in America made for a better experience with more time out of the car than that spent driving.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Brumscot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
northumberland
Level Contributor
185 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 171 helpful votes
“So much to see”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 February 2014

We were a party of four driving from Cape Town to Shamwari Game Reserve east of Port Elisabeth. Places we visited on the way - Cape of Good Hope, penguins at Boulders Bay, Hermanus, Wilderness, Plettenberg Bay. We did stray off the main road a couple of times, along dirt tracks for example, but saw a range of wildlife including springbok, storks, blue cranes, ostrich, baboons and all manner of different birds. Always felt safe. Swellendam is a lovely sleepy town - Old Gaol Restaurant recommended for lunch stop opposite the whitewashed Durch Reformed Church. Cheap as chips but delicious wholesome food.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank monn53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Belford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“fabulous”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 January 2014

The Garden route trail is spectacular, so do take your time doing it. We did not realise how beautiful it is, will definitely go back again.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank Brenda J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Diss, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Self drive tour from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 October 2013

With the imminent arrival of our 40th Wedding Anniversary I decided to try to arrange something that my wife had been on about for many years. No, not that, just that she's been moaning for a long time that she wanted to stroke a Cheetah.
OK, where can I arrange this? Some zoo in the UK?
Hmm, not sure I'd survive that one, she wants somewhere more exotic.
Watching 'the box' one day I happened to see a programme (no idea now what it was about!) which talked about "Cheetah Outreach", at that time in Stellenbosch.
OK, could combine that with a Wine Tour??
Now, who?
I happened to hear about a company called "Travel Exclusively African" and decided to see if they could help me.
Best move I could have made, since I contacted Beverly Brentnall.
Beverly was extremely helpful from day 1. Send a query expecting a reply in a day or two and usually got a reply in hours, if not minutes!!

I told Beverly what I was hoping for, the approximate length of trip, the intended time of year and the rough budget. She came back very quickly with a suggested itinerary.
Meanwhile I'd found out that "Cheetah Outreach" had moved to Somerset West, and been told that a place called "Tenikwa" would probably be better.
Beverly immediately revised the suggested route, and offered some additional attractions and tours that we could include.
At this point I involved my wife in the planning and we agreed on "Tenikwa", near Plettenburg Bay, where we could do a "Sunrise Walk" or a "Sunset Walk" with Cheetahs, plumping for the latter. Additionally I wanted to do the Tsitsikamma Canopy Walk, which takes place about 30 meters above ground in the tree canopy, but that was vetoed by my wife. Neither of us were interested in the Bungy opportunity.
Nearing the day of departure I was on the website of the final hotel that Beverly had listed and discovered that they had a special dinner arranged on the day we arrived, with all dishes matched with a wine from a local wine estate. Mentioned this to Beverly and within an hour she came back to say that there were vacancies and did I want her to book for me. In passing I said that one of the courses (fish) my wife wouldn't be able to eat and that I wouldn't have the dessert, but we'd just swap so, yes, please go ahead and book. Shortly after she came back that our places were booked and the Chef had offered to replace the fish with chicken for my wife, and the dessert with Cheese for me! Fantastic!
Day of departure arrived and we got to Check-in at Heathrow. I mentioned that we were doing the trip to celebrate, and was asked what we were celebrating. The lady on Check-in made some sort of note on her computer terminal and issued us with boarding passes.
At the Gate, just before boarding, I was stopped and my boarding pass taken away and I was handed a different one. My wife was apparently going through the same process a short distance away. Boarding the aircraft we found that to help us celebrate we'd been upgraded!! Magic.
The flight to Johannesburg went swiftly and then we met a hitch.
Johannesburg INTERNATIONAL Terminal does not seem to have any signs showing where to go to the Johannesburg Domestic Check-in!!
We were at the mercy of voracious Porters!!
Note - since getting back I've been told that 5 to 10 Rand would be more than enough for the assistance of a Porter!!
After that things mostly went superbly since the Itinerary was so detailed that it listed every road, every junction that we needed on our journey from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town via Plettenburg Bay (Tsala Treetops hotel - superb! "Tenikwa" and the approximately one and a half hour walk with Cheetahs, was fantastic!! They are the only 'big cats' that purr and they love being tickled behind the ears!!), Swellendam (Rothman Manor - looks like a domestic house but first impressions are most definitely deceiving!), Hermanus (Birkenhead House - you can watch the Whales from indoors), Franschhoek (Mont Rochelle - wonderful building with brilliant views) and on to Camps Bay, Cape Town (The Twelve Apostles - the only hotel that was less than I expected/hoped!).
We did a full day wine tour in Franschhoek/Stellebosch. Excellent driver/guide!
We also did a full day tour of the Cape Peninsular, visiting Cape Point, Simonstown and the Penguins at Boulders Beach, among other attractions! Again and excellent driver/guide
And so back to the UK - this time I failed to wangle an Upgrade, but the flight was fine - except the food.
Two options - one was 'Curried Kingklip (fish).
My wife can't eat fish and I abhor curry!! Can't even stand the smell of it. Fortunately the alternative was OK for both of us.
Passport Control in Heathrow Terminal 5 was excellent, no delays whatsoever! Very quick and efficient.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
7 Thank JayCeePrime
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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