South Africa - The Best of South Africa


South Africa - The Best of South Africa

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 17 days
Type: GroupSmall group tours with a maximum of 12 travellers

Dossier

South Africa offers travellers a world of experiences, from game viewing in the bush to unique cultural experiences and world class food and drink. Our 17 day ‘Best of South Africa’ group tour does exactly as it says, giving a fantastic overview of the country and throwing in a few special excursions. This means as well as the highlights you also get the chance to get off the beaten track and discover the real South Africa. This tour operates in areas that are free from malaria so there is the added benefit of not having to take anti-malarial tablets while on this holiday. 


Tour Rating 

Fitness ●●○○○ | Off the Beaten Track ●●○○○ | Culture ●●●●○ | History ●●●○○ | Wildlife ●●●●● 

Tour Pace

Moderate 

Tour Highlights

  • Malaria Free regions of South Africa
  • The Cape Winelands
  • Garden Route
  • Addo Elephant National Park

Tour Essentials

Accommodation: Mix of comfortable hotels and lodges
Included Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary
Group Size: Maximum 12
Start Point: Cape Town
End Point: Cape Town
Transport: Mini-Bus and safari jeep
Countries: South Africa

Day 1 – Arrival in Cape Town and travel to Cape Winelands

This morning on arrival at Cape Town International Airport you will be welcomed by your qualified tour guide and take the short journey (40km) from the airport to the majestic Cape Winelands. Explore Stellenbosch, the 2nd oldest town in South Africa and – in the afternoon – visit Khayamandi Township in Stellenbosch. Get an insider’s perspective from your local guide who was born and bred in Kayamandi, meet local entrepreneurs and talented artists, see exciting community development projects and visit a spaza shop. We also get to visit a Xhosa family home and enjoy home-made ginger beer served with well-loved vetkoek, chakalaka and morogo.

Overnight at Auberge Rozendal or similar 

Day 2 – Exploring the Cape Winelands

Travel via the Helshoogte Pass to Franschhoek, known as the Wine & Gourmet Capital of South Africa. Here we take a journey on the Wine Tram. Passengers aboard the hop-on hop-off tour will experience a unique and leisurely way to see the Franschhoek Valley as they journey through rolling vineyards in an open-side tram and open-air tram-bus stopping in at some of South Africa’s oldest and most distinguished wine estates.

Overnight at Auberge Rozendal or similar (B) 

Day 3 – Cape Winelands via Hermanus or Cape Agulhas to Swellendam / Overberg region (approx. 310km)

July-November (Whale Season): Travel along the coast to Hermanus, the “whale capital” of the world for some land based whale watching. In the afternoon proceed to Swellendam, the 3rd oldest town in South Africa.

December-June: Travel to Cape Agulhas. The rocky headland of Cape Agulhas is the place where two great oceans – the Indian and Atlantic – meet. It's also the spot at which to have one's photo taken at the official southernmost tip of Africa, where there is a stone plaque that marks the place – right on the beach.. Visit Struisbaai with its white-washed fishermen’s houses and sandy beaches. In the afternoon proceed to Swellendam, the 3rd oldest town in South Africa, situated at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains.

Overnight at Gaikou Lodge in Swellendam or similar (BD) 

Day 4 – Swellendam to Knysna and the Garden Route (approx. 270km)

Visit the Drostdy Museum in Swellendam, a collection of several historical buildings that include one of the oldest surviving examples of a Drostdy building in South Africa, hence the name of the museum. Leave Swellendam and travel east to the famous Garden Route. Between Heidelberg and Storms River, the Garden Route runs parallel to a coastline featuring lakes, mountains, tall indigenous forests, amber -coloured rivers and golden beaches. En-route stop in Wilderness, an attractive holiday resort with beautiful beaches and numerous vantage points from which to watch the whales and dolphins. Time at leisure on the beach. Arrival in Knysna, the heart of the Garden Route, in the late afternoon.

Overnight at The Rex Hotel in Knysna or similar (B) 

Day 5 – The Garden Route

There isnothing planned this morning so you can relax or enjoy a stroll through the town of Knysna and visit the waterfront. At lunchtime, we will depart on a tour to Featherbed, a privately-owned, registered Nature Reserve and South African Heritage Site, No.59. It is a pristine piece of paradise situated on the Western Head of Knysna and is accessible by ferry only. In order to protect the splendour of the natural beauty, access to the Reserve is controlled. Numbers are limited and visits are only permitted in the company of the Reserve's specialist guides. This 4 hour excursion is a wonderful outing for all ages and fitness levels. Good walking shoes are recommended and remember to bring your camera, hats and sunblock in summer and a warm jacket for the ferry trip in winter.

Overnight at The Rex Hotel in Knysna or similar (B)

Day 6 – Garden Route to Sunshine Coast and Cape St Francis (approx. 200km)

Our first visit this morning is to the Knysna Elephant Park before we proceed along the Garden Route and visit the Tsitsikamma National Park. The Park incorporates 80 km of rocky coastline with spectacular sea and landscapes, a remote mountainous region with secluded valleys covered in mountain Fynbos and temperate high forests with deep river gorges leading down to the sea. We will go on a gentle 1.5 – 2 hrs walk (return) to the suspension bridge over the Storms River mouth. En-route visit at a local Protea Farm for a guided farm tour.

Overnight at Village Break Villas or similar in Cape St Francis (B) 

Day 7 – Sunshine Coast

This morning we will visit the local penguin rehabilitation centre. Here the curator will spend time with you to explain why the African Penguin is on the critical list. Marine Conservation statistics are also highlighted in this session. We then take a tour of the local township where tourism is helping the local community support their families through job creation, training, education and health. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure on the beach or book an optional activity locally.

Overnight at Village Break Villas or similar in Cape St Francis (B) 

Day 8 – Sunshine Coast to the Sibya Private Game Reserve (approx. 240km)

Today we travel to Kenton-on-Sea, where where you will board a boat and be taken downstream to your accommodation in the malaria-free Sibuya Private Game Reserve. Sibuya is one of South Africa’s most unique Safari destinations and has more navigable river than any other game reserve in South Africa. Consequently as a birding destination it is hard to beat: there are nearly 400 different species. This breathtakingly beautiful game reserve is a sanctuary to an abundance of diverse wildlife from elephants to otters, and almost everything in between, including the Big Five. On arrival at Forest Lodge, lunch will be served followed by some time at leisure. In the afternoon you will head out on your first guided safari in 4x4 vehicles. Weather-permitting, we will enjoy a Boma Dinner on return to the Camp.

Overnight at Forest Camp – Sibuya Private Game Reserve or similar (BD) 

Day 9 - Safari at Sibuya Private Game Reserve

Today includes 2 safaris (morning and afternoon) and plenty of time to relax. Sibuya Private Game Reserve is perfectly situated on the banks of the Kariega River, but tucked unobtrusively away into the vegetation. Thought by some to be one of South Africa's most beautiful private game reserves, Sibuya covers more than 3000 hectares of varied terrain and vegetation. From the moderately open river plains, through the pristine Lower Albany Thicket, there are also patches of Cape Fynbos and a windswept, grassy plateau favoured by many of the larger grazing animals. Sibuya supports one of the highest densities of wildlife in South Africa ensuring an intensive and varied game-viewing experience in spectacular surroundings. Adopting a low impact model, Forest Camp's accommodation is built on expansive, slightly raised wooden decks and has long wooden walkways through pristine thicket which allow elderly and disabled guests to move around with ease.

Overnight at Forest Camp – Sibuya Private Game Reserve or similar (BLD) 

Day 10 – Sibuya Private Game Reserve to the Addo area (approx. 120km)

We take the boat transfer back to Kenton-on-Sea and set off for Addo Bush Palace Private Reserve. Addo is located on a spectacular and peaceful 2500 acres game farm bordering the famous Addo Elephant National Park. This afternoon we will learn more about the Xhosa tribes of the area as we see how the Xhosa tribes has survived for centuries in the real African bush. Learn about knowledge of the Xhosa tribes, as taught by their ancestors. You will learn about medicinal plants; how to protect your skin using clay and extracts from certain types of stones; old Hunting techniques with catapults, spears and how to make snares from wire or rope; how to build a traditional Xhosa shelter in the bush; finding edible plants and drinkable water and much more.

Overnight at Addo Bush Palace or similar (BD) 

Day 11 – Safari in Addo Elephant National Park

This morning is free time to relax and enjoy the surroundings. Optional activities are available to book locally including bush walks. This afternoon we will depart for a half day excursion in to the Addo Elephant National Park. Established in 1931 to save 11 Elephants on the brink of extinction, it is now home to more than 350 of them, as well as 280 Cape Buffalo, black Rhino, a range of Antelope species and not forgetting the rare flightless dung Beetle!

Overnight at Addo Bush Palace or similar (BD) 

Day 12 – Addo to Oudtshoorn and Klein Karoo (approx. 460km)

We leave the Eastern Cape and travel via Route 62 through the Langkloof Valley to Oudtshoorn, the Ostrich capital of South Africa and a lovely town in the Klein Karoo, which is a semi-desert. We are staying the next couple of nights of a working ostrich farm.

Overnight at the De Denne Country House or similar (B) 

Day 13 – Oudtshoorn and Klein Karoo

This morning is free time. There is the option to take a very early morning Meerkat adventure (payable locally) if you wish to see these lovable animals in their natural habitat. This afternoon we will visit a working Ostrich Farm and learn about farming with Ostriches. We also visit the Cango Caves, Africa’s finest dripstone caverns, with their vast halls and towering formations.

Overnight at the De Denne Country House or similar (BD) 

Day 14 – Klein Karoo to Cape Town (approx. 430km)

Today we travel via the western part of the Route 62 and through the Breede River Valley to the Cape Winelands. En-route we will visit a wine estate and take part in a Food & Wine paring experience (alcohol-free options are also available). We arrive in Cape Town in the afternoon and drive up Signal Hill for sundowner drinks and a stunning overview of the city.

Overnight at Inn on The Square Hotel or similar (B) 

Day 15 – Cape Town City Tour with the V&A Waterfront

This morning we will explore the Mother City of South Africa on foot and with our tour vehicle. Highlights include the colourful Malay Quarter (Bo-Kaap), Company Garden, Table Mountain (weather permitting), Greenmarket Square, Long Street and the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. This afternoon if free time. You may wish to take the optional Robben Island Boat Tour (payable locally).

Overnight at Inn on The Square Hotel or similar (B)  

Day 16 – Cape Peninsula Tour including the Cape of Good Hope

Today we spend the full day exploring the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve with Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope, the most south-western tip of Africa. We will also visit the penguin colony at Boulder’s Beach in Simons Town and a drive on Chapmans Peak Drive (road-condition permitting). In Hout Bay we visit Original T-Bag designs – Original T-Bag Designs makes ‘Functional Art’ out of recycled tea bags. Used tea bags are dried, emptied, ironed then painted. Each artist has their own individual styles and patterns. There may be similarities, but no one painted tea bag is ¬identical. These miniature works of art are then applied to stationary, wooden items like boxes, trays and coasters and even fabric items. For a group of previously disadvantaged people, one cup of tea has indeed provided community, love, excitement and financial security. We return to Cape Town for a farewell evening at Richards Supper stage with music, dance and a dinner buffet.

Overnight at Inn on The Square Hotel or similar (BD) 

Day 17 – Depart Cape Town

Your day is free until the time you will be advised to meet your transfer to the international airport for your flight home.

Inclusions:
Arrival and departure transfers
All accommodation
Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

Excluded:
International flights
Any airport taxes
Travel Insurance
Drinks
Optional excursions