Safari - gardens you can see anywhere!
I only go to S Africa for safari so I don't really understand the question. :)
If you can, book a flight to Skukuza or Hoedspruit from Cape Town and enjoy your 4 days on a self drive safari in Kruger Park or a private lodge in one of the adjacent unfenced reserves. See www.sanparks.org for Kruger Nationsl Park. Let us know your budget and we can help with lodge options.
The Garden Route isn't gardens.
"Safari - gardens you can see anywhere!".
Not gardens, but a very scenic part of South Africa, so called, because the whole route is as pretty as a garden!!!
So, you cannot see the garden route anywhere but here.
However, if it is a first time visitor to SA, I would recommend spending as much time as possible, self driving in the Kruger National Park ( which nowadays, is (incorrectly) called a "Safari").
We did both with a week on the Garden Route and a week in Kruger self-driving. There are more "activities" and varied things to see/do on the Garden Route, but the experience of safari, esp in Kruger, is like no other. If I had to choose, I'd choose safari.
Aaahhh! What a pity you can't do both! If I had to choose, safari!!!!
Thank you for all the replies. Since it seems the safari might be the better option.
Addo elephant National Park or Kruger national park?
Self drive or private lodge game reserve?
We're trying to do this on a budget but dont mind spending on something that is worth it.
Kruger National Park without a doubt. Self drive is the most cost effective way for budget concious and IMO is the most fun way. Closest to a real "safari" experience. You decide where to go and for how long!
I'm just back from my first trip to SA, and Kruger.
Self drive in the park is great, but we also did two full day guided tours with rangers. As first timers we found the knowledge of the rangers, locating and spotting wildlife to be invaluable .
If ( when ) I revisit I'd also look to visit (eg ) sabi sands private reserve as well.
We couldn't get accommodation within the park and stayed at Protea Kruger gate hotel . 200m from the park, very convenient and a nice hotel .
We did both: self drive and a private reserve. If you've never been on safari, it would be helpful to go on a drive with a ranger first (this can be arranged at rest camps in Kruger, I believe). You will learn the strategies for spotting animals. Private reserve is also nice b/c everything is done for you. Food, drives, sundowners, etc. I think it depends on how much autonomy you want. We did 6 nights at rest camps and 2 in a private reserve.