Nestled at the foot of Table Mountain, with unparalleled views of Lion’s Head, Welgelegen is a boutique guest house that exudes Cape charm. The luxurious space was converted into fourteen en-suite rooms from two Victorian houses, linked by a shady inner courtyard and pool that provides welcome respite during the heat of the day. It is truly a sanctuary in the city, located just a short walk away from the vibe of Kloof Street, and a few minutes’ drive from the Cableway, Camps Bay and the Waterfront. It makes perfect sense, then, when you find out that “welgelegen” means “well-situated.”
The tour commences with collection from your hotel and transfer to the lower cable car station at Table Mountain where you lace up your shoes and prepare for an assault on the mountain. The India Venster route is our favorite ascent route, offering both brilliant views and an adventurous climb. Steep rocky trails wind up the front of the mountain to a series of short vertical faces protected by chains and staples, followed by a series of ledges that swing from views over Cape Town to vistas of Camps Bay and the 12 Apostles. Strong walkers have the option to continue to the highest point at Maclear’s Beacon before returning to traverse the western table to descend via cable car.
Your tour begins at Kalk Bay, best known for its working fishing harbor and bohemian feel. Browse the arts and crafts on offer, perhaps do a bit of shopping in the quirky fashion boutiques and enjoy the antiques and collectibles along the main strip. Next, we’ll head over to Simon’s Town for those keen to find out more about the rich history surrounding this naval town, by exploring museums and monuments. Before heading into the Cape Peninsula itself where we search for our own rogue penguins – a splinter colony away from the crowded boardwalks over the main breeding site – on a beach known only to locals. Our tour continues with a gentle hike in the Cape Peninsula Reserve, exploring secluded beaches, and this region’s unique wildlife. The return journey weaves back to Cape Town via Noordhoek Farm Village a food artisan hub of the Peninsula and – time permitting – stopping for a sundowner at a local brewery, vineyard, beach, or scenic look-out.
Located in Hermanus, One Marine Drive Boutique Hotel overlooks Walker Bay with beautiful views and is within walking distance to restaurants and shops. Each of the seven en-suite bedrooms has beautiful sea views with private balconies. Guests can enjoy cooked breakfasts on the deck overlooking the heated swimming pool, have a drink in the friendly bar, or chill in one of the living areas. The coastal cliff path is accessible directly in front of the hotel and is a great way to visit the beaches, view the bay, whales and sea life.
Kanonkop House combines service and relaxed luxury in an intimate and unique guest experience. Beautifully positioned at the top of Kanonkop Hill in private indigenous forest, overlooking the iconic Knysna Lagoon with breath-taking views stretching all the way to the famous Knysna Heads and Indian Ocean. The tranquil setting just outside of the main town centre allows guest the relaxed enjoyment of the natural beauty that the Garden Route is famous for while the restaurants, activities and shops of the town of Knysna are just a 5 minute drive away. In-house activities including discounted golf, cycling, birding, hiking, kayaking, beach, and all watersports are available and Kanonkop House is ideally situated to take advantage of all Garden Route Tourist attractions.
Your guide will collect you in the morning from your hotel and start your day with a visit to The Big Tree located in the Tsitsikamma Forest. This giant Outeniqua Yellowwood (Podocarpus Falcatus) is a magnificent part of creation, being some 1,000 years old and towering at an impressive height of 36.6 meters. Continue to the Tsitsikamma National Park which 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. Enjoy a walk along the suspension bridge across the Storms River mouth gorge offering incredible views and photo opportunities. Head into Stormsriver town for lunch (your own account). After lunch, visit the Bitou Art Gallery and peruse an extraordinary display of art created by local artists who also work from the studio. You can expect to see watercolor, ink, ceramics, acrylics, oils and photography pieces. Before heading back to the hotel, enjoy a thrilling activity to end your day – a Treetop Canopy Tour which is a zip line activity through the canopy of the Tsitsikamma Forest; a Segway tour on one of a selection of routes among cool pine forest, indigenous forest, or even explore the historical Witteklip bridge or the local township; Bungy Jumping or Bridge Walking at Bloukrans or Kayak and Lilo up the Storms River Gorge in Tsitsikamma. For the not-so-adventurous, you could explore the Tsitsikamma Forest further on the Woodcutter’s Journey, visiting one of the many animal sanctuaries in the area such as the Tsitsikamma Wolf Sanctuary or explore the various art and craft studios and galleries in the area.
Start the day with a visit to the Knysna Heads where the views are simply amazing, with jutting rocks and spectacular sea scapes. The viewing platforms allow for fabulous photo opportunities out to sea from the Heads or in the other direction towards the Knysna Lagoon. At the bottom of the Heads you will see Coney Beach, a secluded, quaint and incredibly beautiful beach with a view of the Heads, surrounded by trees and plants.
Proceed to Thesen Island where you can participate in a hands-on oyster demonstration and learn all about this famous delicacy. Have a go at “shucking” or opening an oyster and tasting the difference between the wild and cultivated varieties. From here continue with a short Garden of Eden walk through one of the most beautiful examples of Wet Highforest– an unusual type of forest thick with tall stinkwood, kalander, wit-els and other moist forest varieties. The 1 km walk is just long enough to get in touch with the senses and use the examples of giant moss, lichen, streams and filtered sunlight to restore mind, body and soul.
The afternoon is spent in the newest wine region in South Africa near Plettenberg Bay where you can enjoy lunch and wine tastings. A glorious end to a perfect day – glide up the deep ravine of the Keurbooms River for 4.5 km, moor at the sandy cove at Whiskey Creek. Walk through the indigenous forest, swim in the gentle waters, pop a champagne cork and relax in natural splendor.
Return to your hotel around 6:00pm.
Bush Lodge is set in the spectacular Amakhala Reserve in an open valley flanked by rolling hills and lush riverine vegetation. Here, discreetly tucked between the treetops, is an intimate lodge of wood, canvas and thatch – the perfect base from which to explore this rustic slice of the African wild. In addition to the lodge’s sumptuous lounge, bar and elevated outdoor boma. Private plunge pools, on-site therapists and alfresco double showers set the tone for a focus on comfort. Each of the 8 private rooms offers en-suite facilities, private lounge and climate control. The Big 5 are all found on the hills and plains of Amakhala as are a variety of birds and diverse vegetation. The scenery is truly spectacular and guests are invited to enjoy the landscape from every possible angle – including sundowner canoe safaris and a cheese and wine boat cruise.
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