L (Lunch) D (Dinner) B (Breakfast) BR (Brunch)
FEW countries can truly be described as a "world in one country".
This tour combines an immersion in the bush of the Kruger Park tracking the big five living in their natural environment, crossing the Karoo, its vast plains and rocky mountains, discovery of the garden route with its spectacular scenery and the magnificence of Cape Town, which lies in its scenic pleasures, its fascinating history and its fine food and wine.
With its rich diversity of scenic splendour - from the pulsating rhythms of the bushveld, through deserts and along pristine beaches, to cosmopolitan cities - South Africa truly has something to offer to every visitor.
With 11 official languages and dozens of dialects, the cultural milieu is unique, as is the nation's miraculous transformation from a pariah apartheid state to a democratic nation with one of the most liberal constitutions in the world.
Here, the traveller can enjoy cocktails from the deck of a luxury lodge, while the last herds drink at waterholes as the sun slips below the vast African sky.
Then there are those magnificent golden beaches of the Indian Ocean - lonely, waiting for a traveller’s footprints across virgin sands. Or the crisp, white beaches of the Atlantic Ocean around Cape Town, where beautiful people hang out in a not-so-virginal display of flesh, fashion and flamboyance.
But what about the deserts, where perhaps for the first time in one's life, one can experience the sounds of silence?
Let’s traverse the fine network of roads across a country, which is five times bigger than Great Britain. During our adventure, 5 provinces will be visited (Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Free State, Eastern Cape and Western Cape). Along the way, one will encounter a nation of people legendary for their hospitality - from traditional tribes, crusty old Boers to sophisticated city mice of every colour, creed and background. These are the people of the "Rainbow Nation".
So whether one wants to relax and soak up the sunshine, enjoy the social whirl, or follow a quest for sport or adventure, South Africa has it all - and more.
DAY 1: PRETORIA - JOHANNESBURG
Arrival at OR Tambo International Airport. We proceed to our Lodge, Hotel or guesthouse in Johannesburg or Pretoria, after a briefing, if we have time, visits in town can be organized (Soweto Township, Apartheid Museum).
DAY 2: CROSSING THE KAROO
Leaving Pretoria early in the morning, we travel all day long through the Karoo Heartland: Often referred to as the ‘dry heart’ of South Africa. The Karoo heartland’s rugged and intense beauty is dominated by vast, flat plains, rocky mountains, and the biggest assortment of succulents in the world. This beautiful area, subject to red dust, thorny acacias, stunted vegetation, aloes, windmills, sheep and the odd Angora goat, boasts some of the quaintest towns in the country and authentic farmstays. The Karoo has been discovered by a group of artists, hoteliers, restaurateurs and other creative souls seeking a lifestyle other than that offered by the country’s cities. At sundown as the shadows stretch out over the landscape we will hike for a while at the Valley of Desolation, a spiritual place with vast plains and breathtaking cliffs.
Our first stop and night is in Graaf Reinet.
DAY 3: GRAAF-REINET - KNYSNA (GARDEN ROUTE) B
Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape: The oldest town in the Eastern Cape, the fourth oldest in South Africa and certainly one of the most atmospheric. With over 200 buildings claimed as National Monuments and an entire street restored, including its slave cottages, Graaff-Reinet has retained much of the character of a typical 19th century town and is well worth a visit. After visiting the town, we continue our trip towards the coast through the Outeniqua Mountain: we will cross the historic Prince Alfred’s Pass that winds through indigenous forest and picturesque mountain ranges all the way from Uniondale through to Knysna.
DAY 4 - 5: GARDEN ROUTE BBB
The Garden Route includes one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline.
Mountains crowd close to a shoreline dotted with beaches and bays, and vividly coloured wild flowers delight the eye. The Garden Route runs parallel to a coastline featuring lakes, mountains, tall indigenous forests, amber -colored rivers and golden beaches. A wide range of leisure options, spectacular scenery and a mild climate guarantee an unforgettable holiday experience when visiting the Garden Route in South Africa.
Knysna is our starting point to visit the Garden Route where activities take centre stage: fine food and drink are always at hand. After all this is South Africa's oyster capital.
We spend three nights on the edge of the serene lagoon, and during the day we discover this natural theme park. You are able to hike or bike in old-growth forests, chill out on the beach and canoe in the series of extensive lagoons that run behind a barrier of sand dunes and superb white beaches. The more adventurous are able to experience the adrenalin rush of bungee jumping off Blaaukrans River Bridge, the highest commercial jump in the world.
DAY 6: KNYSNA - OUDTSHOORN (LITTLE KAROO) B
Oudtshoorn itself, the heart of the ostrich feather industry when it was in its heyday in the late 1800s and early 1900s, is well worth a visit. The grandiose, old feather palaces are still to be seen, with the possibility of riding an ostrich. Following the visit of a farm, we will continue to discover the little Karooo and the two other major attractions: The Cango Caves and the Prince Albert Pass.
The Prince Albert Pass is probably the most spectacular mountain pass in the Western Cape Province. An adventurous 2 hours journey
We will spend the night in one of these charming Karoo cottages or Victorian homes.
DAY 7: ROUTE 62 - WINE REGIONS B
We drive on Route 62, which bring us to the Wine Region. This area, promoted as the longest wine route in the world.
The wine regions are truly one of the most beautiful regions the Cape has to offer, with majestic mountains as a backdrop, vineyards and quaint historic buildings.
We take a walk through Dorp Street situated in Stellenbosch, South Africa’s second oldest city, where the rich history is reflected in the old Victorian buildings. We will spend the night in one of those Dutch styles “auberges”.
DAY 8: WINE REGION CAPE TOWN B
The exquisite wines of the Cape region are known worldwide. We choose between small exclusive wine boutiques or bigger commercial wine farms. We of course enjoy a cellar tour where one can learn how the harvest is lovingly turned into superb wines.
In the afternoon, we start to visit Cape Town.
We spend three nights in a lovely guesthouse located in the city bowl in order to experience the magnificence of Cape Town, which lies in its scenic pleasures, its fascinating history and its fine food and wine.
DAY 9 - 10: CAPE TOWN AND CAPE REGION BB
We begin the day by going up Table Mountain in the Cable Car or by walk (weather permitting), and enjoying the vistas of the Cape Peninsula. Hereafter I will show you the inner city, the Castle, Kompanjie Gardens and the Bo-Kaap - Malay quarters where descendants of slaves brought from the Far East by the Dutch colonizers live. Then, off we go Robben Island, which is about 12 km from the Coast, in the middle of Table Bay. The notorious prison on the Island was used to exile political prisoners of the apartheid era between the 1960s and 1991. (Nelson Mandela).
We leave Cape Town after breakfast and visit the world-renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Our journey takes us along the beautiful coastline to Simonstown and to Boulders to watch the penguins. After lunch we continue to the Cape of Good Hope to the tip of the Cape Peninsula. Here we climb to the top and enjoy the vistas over the vast mass of ocean.
DAY 11: CAPE TOWN – DEPARTURE B
Its your last day in South Africa, if your plane is in the afternoon, we will have time to continue the visit of Cape Town and shopping.
*If you are more than 6 participants, we will be able to supply and additional vehicle/trailer, one of the participants will be involved driving the second vehicle. The tour leader will always be in contact with the second vehicle.
TOUR WITHOUT PARTICIPATION
These safaris run with a maximum of 6 clients, accompanied by a guide, who is also the driver. The same guide will take care of you and will organize any kind of reservations (activities). Most of the meals are provided in the restaurants of the Lodges and included in the tour. If some meals are not included in the tour, decision will be taken by the participants for other alternatives (self catering or restaurant).