This 13-day itinerary begins in scenically beautiful Cape Town, where you will find a compelling mix of trendy modern and old-world elegance. Begin your journey with four nights at the Kensington Place, located in the leafy Cape Town suburb of Higgovale. This contemporary private hotel combines cutting-edge design with a tranquil but prime location off trendy Kloof Street, below Table Mountain. Eight bespoke en-suite guest rooms and private outdoor terraces as well as a lush green Urban retreat with a plunge pool make it the perfect home away from home to begin your safari in South Africa. From Cape Town, your private guide will transfer you to Hermanus via Elgin and the Hemel end Aarde Wine Valley for a wine tasting and then you will spend two nights at One Marine Drive before continuing to the Garden Route. Not a garden in the true sense of the word, the Garden Route is more in the way of a "Garden of Eden," an area of natural wilderness with endless expanses of untamed primal forest and pristine beaches. Here, you will spend three nights at Kanonkop House, gloriously situated on the hills above Knysna. The family-owned Kanonkop offers boutique accommodation, excellent service and views over the Knysna Lagoon across to the famous Knysna Heads and the ocean beyond. Continuing by road, the Eastern Cape has its fair share of game reserves, private and national, and one of the main draws is that they are malaria free. The Mountain Zebra National Park, is home to the rare Cape Mountain Zebra, as well as buffalo, cheetah and the smaller predators - genets, bat-eared foxes, and jackals. Addo Elephant National Park, a Big 5 reserve is a haven for elephant and neigboring Camdeboo and Shamwari are highly regarded Eastern Cape reserves as well. Your last visit in South Africa is to the Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, located in South Africa’s beautiful Eastern Cape Province. The reserve comprises 22 000 hectares of African wilderness inhabited by a diverse array of wildlife including hippo, springbok, giraffe, cheetah as well as the famed Big Five. You can look forward to a wide selection of incredible activities including: scenic picnics, guided nature walks with experienced wildlife trackers, sundowners while floating on one of the reserve dams, as well as big game walking safaris and even rhino darting.
Where Cape Town gets hip and comfortable! Kensington Place is a contemporary private hotel that combines cutting-edge design with a tranquil but prime location off trendy Kloof Street, below Table Mountain.
With eight bespoke en-suite guest rooms and private outdoor terraces and a team of friendly staffers who are almost telepathic, its not such a stretch to feel you are staying in a private home. And this home is styled by someone with immaculate taste, the finest linens used on the beds, the thickest towels used in the bathrooms and flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations and personal laptops with complementary Wi-fi access are just a few of the modern accessories.
All day breakfasts, private dining 24 hours a day and the restaurants on Kloof Street are within easy walking distance. Guests can unwind with a refreshing drink at the bar. The hotel also offers a lush quiet garden and an intimate outdoor swimming pool. 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.
Situated below Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head, Cape Town offers a rich cultural and industrial heritage, grand splendour and an assurance of activity & excitement. Including all the ‘must-sees’ of any Cape Town day tour, this option is a geographical and cultural extravaganza, showing you Cape Town, from its historical beginnings to the dazzling, modern city it is today.
The tour commences with a tour of Table Mountain. Enjoy panoramic views over the Mother City and the Atlantic Seaboard with Robben Island in the distance lying sleepily in Table Bay harbour. In the city itself, stop at the Company Gardens. Enjoy a walk through the garden and a visit to the South African Museum. This is followed by a visit to the Castle of Good Hope. Built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a maritime replenishment station, the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa. The drive through the city centre would also take you past the Houses of Parliament, the Grand Parade and City Hall from where Nelson Mandela first addressed South Africans after his release in February 1990. Return to your hotel upon completion of the tour at approximately 12:30 / 5:30.
Enjoy a scenic drive along the Atlantic Seaboard via Sea Point, Clifton, Camps Bay and Hout Bay, a quaint seaside village with magnificent mountain views. Continue onto Chapmans Peak Drive, one of the world’s most spectacular coastal drives towards the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Cape Point. Watch the dramatic clash of the seas from the viewpoint which can be accessed by foot or the Flying Dutchman Funicular (additional cost to own account). A lunch stop (to own account) will be discussed with your guide en-route to Simon’s Town. Arrive in historic Simon’s Town, a village with charming Victorian architecture, a naval base and a large penguin colony at the beautiful Boulders Beach. Boulders penguin colony is home to a growing colony of the protected African penguin. Wooden walkways allow visitors to view penguins in their natural habitat. Continue on to the well-known Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Founded in 1913 in an effort to preserve South Africa’s unique flora, the gardens encompass five of South Africa’s six different biomes and is world renowned for the beauty and diversity of the Cape Flora it displays as well as for the magnificence of its setting against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. The tour ends with drop off at your hotel.
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 to 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. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon around 5:30pm.
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.
Set in thick vegetation overlooking a dense valley, Ecca Lodge offers breath taking views onto an escarpment of steep shale cliffs, featuring six suites, of which three are dedicated to families. The double suites can accommodate 2 adults each and the family suites accommodate 2 adults and 2 children (under 16yrs on day beds in the lounge). The family suites also include a private vehicle and ranger. A private vehicle is available at an additional cost for guests staying in a double suite.
The lodge is intimate, relaxed and trendy with décor inspired by the vibrant colours and textures of the nearby villages.
The suites of Ecca Lodge are airy and open with flowing interiors that extend outwards to the wilderness. Wraparound decks, complete with private plunge pools and outdoor showers, offer sweeping views and complete relaxation. All ages are welcome.
Explore the natural splendour of Kwandwe on early morning and late afternoon / evening game drives in an open 4×4 safari vehicle. An armed ranger and tracker team share their extensive knowledge of the bush with you as you track the Big Five, as well as a variety of other wildlife.
Morning drives begin as dawn breaks over the Great Fish River, providing the opportunity to see predators winding up their nocturnal hunts and settling in for the day. Many animals take advantage of the cool morning hours to graze before the heat of the day. In the late afternoon wildlife can often be spotted coming down to the river to drink. Night drives produces some unusual sightings, including aardvark, aardwolf, bat-eared fox and porcupine. Kwandwe offers a variety of fishing options, walking and tracking of big game (min age 16 yrs) and interpretive bush walks.
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