PICK UP AND DROP OFF
Pick up time for the Garden Route portion of the tour on Monday morning is generally between 6:00 – 8:00 am in Cape Town. We will get in touch with you the weekend before your tour to arrange a specific pick-up time. Please allow 15 minutes before or after your designated pickup time, as Monday morning traffic can be unpredictable!
At the end of the group Garden Route tour, we will arrange a transfer for you to get from Addo Elephant Park to the safari lodge. After staying for two nights, we will arrange a transfer for you to get from the safari lodge to Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), where our services will end. Please advise us of your destination in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), whether it be the airport or a hotel. If you are catching a flight, we recommend that you book it for 15:00 or later, so that you have time to participate in the morning game drive before departing for the airport.
The vehicles that we will be touring in are fully air-conditioned and can comfortably seat 14 adults including driver/guide. The seats in our 14-seater vans are comparable in size to an airplane seat – if you are uncomfortable in that set up, please inquire about a private tour, so we can arrange a different vehicle. All vehicles have valid operating licenses to convey paying customers.
This is an active tour. It is best suited towards those who like to be on the move, and can comfortably walk, carry luggage, get in and out of the vehicle frequently, etc. The group is almost always a mix between backpackers and guest house clients, and ages can range from 18 to… we don’t set an upper age limit, but generally about 65. We can accept guests as young as 14 on group tours, as long as they are traveling with a parent or legal guardian. Our average age is 33. Our groups range between 4-12 people, with most guests hailing from Europe, America, Canada, and Australia. The group tour is perfect for the solo traveller, small groups of friends, or couples, as you will have the opportunity to travel with a diverse group of people from all over the world.
It is strongly recommended that you hold comprehensive travel insurance to safeguard you against possible unforeseen emergency and theft. Earthstompers has comprehensive passenger and public liability insurance, but this does not cover the theft of guests’ personal belongings.
We are “foodies”, and good food is an important part of our tour. Breakfasts are included every day except Day 8, and typically include fruit, muesli, eggs, toast, yogurt, and cereals. Dinners are also included on some days, and are traditional South African meals, such as potjie (stew) and braai (barbeque). Please advise us of any special dietary requirements in advance. We are able to cater for vegetarian and vegan diets, but not strict gluten-free, lactose-free or halal diets. Lunch and drinks are on guests’ own account. Dinners for all clients, including those staying at the guest house, usually take place at the backpackers. All meals are included whilst at the safari lodge.
We will arrange all accommodation along the way, at locations we have selected over the years for their cleanliness, unique setting, and atmosphere. Guests have a choice of backpackers’ lodges, in which private en suite rooms are available; or guest houses, in which all rooms are private en suite. Single, double, and twin rooms are available at both the backpackers and guest houses. All bedding and towels will be provided. Please note that heating and air conditioning is not standard in the backpackers or the guest houses (because it is generally not necessary in South Africa). Please ask for a fan or for extra blankets if you need them!
Backpackers have more of a social vibe, and are better for younger clients looking for a bit of atmosphere. They usually have a bar or bonfire area. Although backpackers offer a budget price, the standard of backpackers in South Africa is generally very high. Guest houses are a more private, quieter, luxurious experience. About 80% of our guests choose to stay in the backpackers and 20% in the guest houses. Backpackers and guest house clients travel together in the same tour vehicle.
Although we frequently utilize the same accommodation every week, we cannot guarantee that we will stay at a specific location each week, due to availability and group size.
Our tours take place in a malaria-free area, so no anti-malaria precautions are necessary. You are however advised to bring insect repellent during summer.
Wi-Fi is generally available at most accommodation locations in the common areas (not necessarily in the bedrooms). If you require data or phone service, we recommend that you pick up a local SIM in South Africa. SIMs are widely available from providers like Vodacom, MTN, or Cell C, and airtime or data packages are reasonably priced.
South Africa is currently suffering from frequent power cuts, called “loadshedding”. It’s best to prepare for this by bringing a small battery/power bank, to be able to charge your phone whilst the power is off. A torch/flashlight or headlamp can also come in handy. Loadshedding is a source of major frustration for the citizens and businesses of South Africa, so please be patient if you encounter inconveniences related to the power cuts.
All guides are well-trained, experienced and South African born. We use CATHSSETA registered and qualified guides with professional drivers’ licenses. Earthstompers makes use of only the best guides that will make sure you get a fun, relaxing, informative and safe trip.
We have space for each passenger to have one suitcase and one “carry-on”-sized piece of luggage – a laptop bag, backpack, or similar. Suitcase size is limited to the dimension of 67 cm (26 in) by 45 cm (18 in), and carry on is limited to the dimension of 48 cm (19 in) by 32 cm (13 in). There are generally not porters or staff available to assist with luggage – your luggage should be of a size and weight you can comfortably manage yourself. Hard or soft suitcases are fine. If you have more or bigger luggage than this, please contact us in advance to make alternative arrangements, as our luggage trailers are specifically designed to fit one suitcase per person, not exceeding above dimensions.
All tours are conducted in English. We ask that while you are in the group, you make an effort to speak English, so that everyone can be included in the conversation.
Attitude is important – “one rotten apple can spoil the bunch”. We ask that you bring a positive, interactive, and easy-going spirit to tour, to make it a good experience for all.
Our tours run on a tight schedule. Please do your best to be on time, all the time.
Please wear clothes that you are comfortable in. This tour includes several hikes and walks, so comfortable shoes are essential. No special hiking boots are needed. A small backpack would be useful on the hike. A rain jacket is a good idea, as well as a sweater or jacket for the cool evenings by the sea. Bring a hat; the African sun can be intense! If you plan on participating in the early morning Addo game drive, bring a hat & gloves – the open game-viewing vehicle can be quite chilly in winter.
EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY
Earthstompers, or its employees and agents shall not be responsible for and shall be exempt from any liability in respect of loss, damage, injury, accident, delay or inconvenience to any person or their luggage or other personal property under any circumstances whatsoever whilst on tour. You will be asked to sign an indemnity form at the beginning of your tour.
The Garden Route has a Mediterranean climate, which is pleasant to visit all year round. It gets rainfall throughout the year, mostly at night (you can imagine why it’s called the Garden Route!) Temperatures in winter range between 6-21 degrees C, and summer temperatures range between 17-30 degrees C. This tour also goes into the Eastern Cape and the Little Karoo, where temperatures can get as high as 40 C in summer.
Most guests come away with incredible photos of their week, and share those photos among the group. We like to use real tour photos in social media and promotional materials. If you do not wish for your photo or image to be used in this way, please let us know in advance.
PAYMENT & CANCELLATION POLICY
Full payment is due 30 days before your tour departs. If you need to change your tour date, we offer one free date change on every booking, as long as you let us know more than 30 days before your tour departs (subject to tour availability).
Earthstompers group tours are sold by many third-party online tour operators and travel agents. Payment in full must be received by Earthstompers from the agent before tour departure. We will not take any responsibility for pickup of unpaid guests.
All Earthstompers tours are priced in South African Rand (R or ZAR). In case of a refund, any amount will be refunded in South African Rand, which then gets converted to your local currency by your bank or credit card company. Please note that due to currency fluctuations, the refund amount in your local currency might be higher or lower than the amount originally paid. In the case where a tour is paid for in a foreign currency, such as Euros or US Dollars, you will be informed of the amount received in Rand, and any refunds will be calculated based on the Rand amount received.
The following cancelation fees will apply should you wish to cancel your tour.
- Cancellation 31+ days before departure: 85% refund
- Cancellation 30 days – 15 days before departure: 75% refund
- Cancellation 14 days – 8 days before departure: 50% refund
- Cancellation 7 days or less or no show for departure: no refund
The company reserves the right to change itinerary, accommodation, and transport along the way should circumstances dictate. The outdoor activities are weather dependent, which could force changes in the itinerary. The guide will try his or her best to arrange events according to prevailing weather conditions.
Saturday & Sunday:
• Group Cape Winelands Day tour, R1400 per person
• Group Cape Peninsula Day tour, R1550 per person
• Shark cage diving*: R 3215
• Whale watching boat trip (in-season, July – November): R 1220
• Bungee jumping (216 m): R 1490
• 2-hour additional Addo game drive (open vehicle, early morning): R 460
Please note that we have done our best to provide accurate pricing, but these prices are subject to change!
The optional activities are not included in your tour because these are activities that not everybody would like to do! Optional activities are a great way to add more adventure to your experience. Our tours are designed so that it is not necessary to do the optional activities to have a good time – there are always plenty of things to see & do.
These activities can be paid in cash or credit card directly to the adventure operator. Optional activities for days 2, 3, and 4 must be booked in advance of your arrival.
*Shark cage diving clients will be picked up in Cape Town early Monday morning by the shark company. Shark diving clients will only meet up with the Earthstompers tour group after lunch on day 4, and will miss out on Hermanus & the penguin colony.