London - Cape Town
Your overnight flight from London Heathrow arrives in Cape Town the following morning. You’ll collect your hire car and drive to your hotel which, thanks to its position on the slopes of Table Mountain, boasts outstanding ocean views.
You can take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain and revel in a horizon-wide city-and-sea view. Or you could take a short boat cruise to Robben Island, home to the prison cell where South African legend Nelson Mandela spent 27 years. Make time too for the splendid Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Then, beautiful period architecture and the dazzling waterfront area of Cape Town awaits.
Stay: Three nights in a superior house ocean view room at Ellerman House
Enjoy a three-hour drive to the pristine natural wilderness of the Cederberg. Away from the bustling streets of cosmopolitan Cape Town, this 160,000-hectare region offers spectacular rock formations, plunging ravines, cascading waterfalls and archaeological wonders. Cruising along good roads, you’ll come across charming towns filled with art galleries and wine cellars, dramatic mountains and fascinating rock art painted by the San and Khoi people – the region’s oldest inhabitants.
The Cederberg is a paradise for the active traveller, with opportunities to go canoeing, swimming and mountaineering. Wildlife and nature lovers will also find an impressive diversity of bird and plant life, with unique species like the Cape Mountain Zebra, aardwolf, Cape Mountain leopard, wildcat and bontebok roaming the area.
Staying in a beautiful eco-reserve in the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains, you will have access to sites of exceptional Bushman rock art, an award-winning wine cellar and a heated outdoor pool.
Stay: Three nights in a luxury room at Bushman’s Kloof
Today you will self-drive to Franschhoek, stopping time and time again to photograph the stupendous scenery en route. And when you do arrive in Franschhoek you’ll find yourself in the heart of the Cape Winelands, surrounded by famous name wine estates as well as boutique vineyards – many with restaurants serving irresistible regional specialities.
Your time can be spent wandering through perfectly manicured gardens, visiting art galleries or sampling some of the region’s award-winning wine offerings. Your hotel, located in the scenic Franschhoek Valley, has a well-earned reputation for its fine cuisine.
Stay: Two nights in a luxury suite at La Residence
Next you will drive to the picturesque seaside town of Hermanus, where you will be staying in a boutique property perched on the rugged cliffs overlooking Walker Bay. The area is known for its characterful towns, fruit and grain farms and fertile wine-growing valleys.
Between June and December, Hermanus is also one of the best places to spot Southern Right Humpback Whales, who show up in Walker Bay in pods of about 50. You can also explore the recently established Hemel en Aarde wine route – known for its Pinot Noirs – and visit Cape Agulhas, the spot where the Indian and Atlantic oceans collide.
Stay: Two nights in a superior room at Birkenhead House
Now it’s time to set off along the famous Garden Route – surely one of the most scenic drives in the world. It meanders along beside the ocean, taking occasional detours around picturesque lagoons, lakes and luxuriant countryside, accompanied by majestic mountains, blue in the distance. About 600 km from Cape Town lies the seaside town of Plettenberg Bay – aptly named Baha Formosa or Beautiful Bay by early Portuguese explorers.
Just a half hour drive away lies Kynsa, a vibrant arts and crafts town surrounded by rich indigenous forests that shelter an array of wildlife. The nearby Robberg Nature Reserve and Garden Route National Park offer fantastic birding, biking and hiking, whilst adrenaline junkies may want to tackle the highest jump bridge from Bungi Bridge.
Stay: Two nights in a luxury suite at The Old Rectory
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
The last instalment of your trip will see you drive to Port Elizabeth, where you will leave your hire car and take a light aircraft to Kwandwe Private Game Reserve. Not far from South Africa’s sensational coastline in the malaria-free Eastern Cape, Kwandwe is the perfect place to end a journey along the Garden Route.
This once neglected part of the world has been carefully restored, and is now the ideal habitat for thousands of animals including lion, black and white rhino, buffalo, elephant, cheetah and endangered species such as the Kynsa woodpecker and black wildebeest. It’s also a place to find South Africa’s national bird – the super rare blue crane. Just as impressive is the reserve’s hauntingly beautiful scenery, featuring the meandering Great Fish River and a spectacular display of winter flowering aloes.
Your lodge is located within the reserve itself; with huge windows and wraparound viewing decks you are really able take in the grandeur of the surroundings. Whilst here you can enjoy day and night game drives, guided bush walks, picnics on the reserve and rhino and buffalo tracking.
Stay: Three nights in a double room at Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge
Johannesburg – Home
Today you will take a light aircraft back to Port Elizabeth, where you will check in for your flight to Johannesburg. You’re flight to London leaves in the evening.
I do not think that we have ever had so much care and attention from a travel company, which just goes to show that (in a good way), you do get what you pay for.- DL, Morocco, 2013