Planning Your Time

3 Days: Choose a home base in the Garden Route: Wilderness, Knysna, and Plettenberg Bay (Plett) are all excellent options. You'll encounter wonderful crafts shops and studios in all these towns, so keep your credit card handy. On your first day, take a half-day walk through Plett's Robberg Nature Reserve, visit the Woodville Big Tree in Wilderness, or explore Knysna's Garden of Eden. Devote the afternoon to a boat or kayak trip; you may see dolphins, seals, and/or whales, particularly around Plett. Dedicate the second day to whatever activity suits your fancy—lounging on the beach, paddling, horseback riding, or abseiling (rappelling). If you're staying in Plett, you could drive out to Storms River on the third day to do the treetop canopy tour. If you're staying farther west, head over one of the scenic passes to Oudtshoorn, visit the Cango Caves, and take a different scenic drive back.

5 Days: Start with the three-day itinerary . Then spend the next two days at the Little Karoo's Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, where you can see the Big Five and take in lovely flora. Alternatively, you could spend some extra time at any of the Garden Route destinations from the first itinerary; you may want to linger, for example, in Storms River, which will put you right near the spectacular Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park.

8 Days: Spend the first day or two at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. Then head east along the R62 to Oudtshoorn, stopping for lunch at the Joubert-Tradauw winery near Barrydale. The next day, visit the Cango Caves before heading over the Robertson, Montagu, or Outeniqua pass to Mossel Bay, Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, or Wilderness, where you'll have no trouble filling the rest of your time with shopping, beach lounging, kayaking, whale-watching, or any combination thereof. If you have an adventurous bent, spend the last two or three days at Storms River Village, where you can take the treetop canopy tour, hit a mountain-bike trail, or go for a long walk in the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park. Want still more adventure? En route to Storms River, make the world's highest bungee jump at the Bloukrans River Bridge.

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