But the Cape is a feast for all the senses. On this trip you can soak up the atmosphere of Cape Town and its surroundings. The seascape views from Table Mountain, the quaint Dutch-style architecture of old Cape Town and the sophisticated restaurants of the marina. Then there are the valleys and wineries of Franschhoek, the scenery of the Garden Route, the birdlife of Plettenberg Bay and the game-rich Gondwana Game Reserve.
The Western Cape certainly offers you a wide range of experiences, made all the easier to explore with the freedom of a self-drive adventure.
London – Cape Town
Take an early evening flight to Cape Town and arrive in time for breakfast.
You’ll be met at the airport and taken to collect your hire car, for your drive to your boutique hotel at the foot of Table Mountain. You’ll be within walking distance of some of the city’s finest shops, restaurants and bars.
Make sure you take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain as soon as the sky is clear – when the ‘tablecloth’ (the locals’ nickname for clouds) is on, the clouds obscure the fantastic city-and-sea view. Cape Town itself features many period buildings, and a busy nightlife collected around the marina.
Stay: Four nights in a superior room at the Welgelegen
Next take a meandering drive – passing through miles of rolling countryside – to Franschhoek in the heart of South Africa’s winelands. Steeped in French Hugenot Heritage, this charming town is renowned for its gastronomic delights. When you’re not enjoying the food, you can visit vineyards and wineries to sample the award-winning offerings. In the surrounding area you can ride horses, go mountain biking and take leisurely scenic drives.
Stay: Three nights in a double room at Auberge Clermont
Your next drive is to the seaside town of Hermanus – a journey of about two and a half hours. Occupying a spot on the edge of the Hermanus Lagoon, your home for the next couple of nights will offer you magnificent views of the dramatic Overberg Mountains.
It’s easy to be enchanted by the Overberg region, with its picturesque towns, fruit farms, vineyards and green valleys. Your stay here can include cruises on the lagoon, relaxing on fine beaches, riding quad bikes through the fynbos or touring nearby archaeological caves. The area is especially famous for Southern Right Whale watching from June to December.
Stay: Three nights in a suite at Lagoon Lodge
Gondwana Game Reserve
Next up your trip is game drives, bird watching and hikes through the vast Gondwana Private Game Reserve. Just a couple hours’ drive away, you can expect exhilarating encounters with endangered species such as the cheetah, cape mountain zebra and black rhinoceros. From your traditional lodge you will have a brilliant view over waterholes, and elephants and lions are known to casually stroll by the property.
Thanks to its location along the Garden Route, it’s no surprise that Gondwana’s scenery is spectacular, taking in open plains, deep valleys, rolling hills and dramatic mountains in the distance.
Stay: Three nights in a double room at Kwena Lodge
Today you say goodbye to Gondwana and drive to Plettenberg Bay, a special treat for birdwatchers with its plethora of recorded species. Using the serene Emily Moon Hotel as your base you can explore the Garden Route – reputedly one of the most visually stunning journeys along the South African coastline. It winds along between the ocean, lagoons, untamed forest, and lush countryside, with monumental mountains rising gracefully in the background.
The buzzing town of Kynsa is a hub of local arts and crafts and can be reached in just 30 minutes. The surrounding indigenous forests are inhabited by unique species like the dwarf chameleon, Brenton Blue butterfly, forest elephant, blue duiker and South Africa’s national bird – the Blue Crane.
Stay: Four nights in a standard luxury room at Emily Moon
Cape Town – Fly home
Drive to the airport in time to catch your flight to Cape Town. From there you will check-in for your flight to London, arriving early the following morning.