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Cape Escape

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Cape Escape

1-Join tour Cape Town
Arrive Cape Town and check-in to our hotel. Cape Town embodies the feeling of energy and hope that South Africans feel for the future of their country with its spectacular natural assets, modern high-tech city centre and mixed population living peaceably together and at the same time retaining their own customs. Cape fur seals can often be seen playfully frolicking in the harbour waters of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

2-Tour Cape Peninsula National Park
We spend the whole day enjoying a comprehensive sightseeing tour of the many points of interest on the Cape Peninsula. We drive to Hout Bay, an attractive fishing port once flanked by dense forest with a dramatic backgroup. Here you can take a short optional boat trip out to Seal Island. The island is home to about 1000 Cape fur seals and is guarded by the impressive ‘Sentinel’; a towering mountain that guards the harbour. One of the highlights today is a visit to the Cape of Good Hope, first seen by a European in 1488 when Diaz sailed round it on his search for a sea route to the East Indies. A century later Sir Francis Drake described it as ‘the fairest cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth’. But it was another century before the Dutch East Indies Trading Company established a permanent settlement to supply ships with cattle and water traded from the indigenous Khoi who reared livestock on the land around the coast. We climb up to a viewpoint and watch the reputed turbulent clash of the warm Agulhas current from the Indian Ocean meeting the cold Benguela current from the Atlantic. If you’re feeling active, a short trail leads down to Cape Point. Boulders beach is worth a stop to see an amazing resident African penguin colony, one of the only places in the world where this sea bird resides! Then, passing perfect sandy beaches we return to Cape Town city.
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

3-Ascend Table Mountain; drive Stellenbosch
This morning we plan to ascend Table Mountain. You may choose to take a 3-4 hour hiking trail up to the top accompanied by your Tour Leader (if the weather is clear). Alternatively, an aerial cableway runs frequently to and from the summit. This is our first encounter with some of the unique and colourful flowers from the Cape Floral Kingdom. This plant kingdom has more indigenous plant species per square metre than anywhere else on earth! Views from the top are simply stunning. A network of trails criss-cross the plateau that provide a variety of vantage points. Later in the day we’ll head out of Cape Town to stay on a guest farm in the Stellenbosch region. The Stellenbosch region produces some of the finest ‘New World Wines’ that have been honed over several centuries by the Afrikaans wine growers. Should you wish to do so you will have the opportunity to sample some of their latest vintages!
Overnight: Standard Guesthouse
Single Room option available

4-In Stellenbosch
To the north and east of Cape Town are the Cape Winelands, whose rugged mountains, rise sheer from rolling green valleys, neatly planted with vineyards and dotted with white washed manor houses. This is an image more reminiscent of a central European fairy-tale than ‘Darkest Africa’! Stellenbosch is one of the most beautiful and heritage-rich towns in southern Africa. Entering the town via historic Dorp Street is akin to stepping into the pages of a history book. A settlement was first established here in 1679 following the discovery of a river running through a fertile, green valley by Simon van der Stel, then Governor of the Cape. There is an opportunity to stroll through this historic town and take in the distinct architecture that reflects South Africa’s rich and diverse history. You can choose to explore on your own following self-guided trails or take an optional guided tour. If you are feeling energetic, you may like to take a walk on the Helderberg Mountains just behind Stellenbosch.
Overnight: Standard Guesthouse
Single Room option available

5-Drive to Oudtshoorn
We start early on our scenic journey into the Little Karoo as there are several points of interest worth visiting en route. Located in the heart of the verdant Breede River Valley (the largest of the Western Cape’s fruit and wine producing valleys), Worcester is home to the Karoo National Botanical Garden – a haven for rare or endangered plants. A short walk around the centre of town allows a glimpse of the fine Victorian town buildings. We continue our drive through the stark and arid landscapes of the Little Karoo heading east through Barrydale & Ladismith. Finally, we reach our accommodation close to Oudtshoorn in the traditional centre of South Africa’s ostrich farming industry.
Overnight: Standard Lodge
Single Room option available

6-In Oudtshoorn
We head off early this morning to experience the stunning variety of landscapes of this region and start off by exploring the massive limestone caverns of the Cango Caves where guided tours of varying durations run regularly throughout the day (optional). The caves are an underground wonderland of extraordinary structures millions of years old. The combination of dripping rainwater and limestone has led to the creation of some of nature’s most breathtaking natural structures. A local European farmer, by the name of van Zyl, first discovered the caves late in the 18th century. Although, in times past, the local Khoisan sheltered in the cave complex’s entrance but they never ventured any further into the cave complex. When van Zyl, with a single candle, entered the cave complex and its first massive chamber and spoke, he realised from his muffled voice that there was something far bigger and grander than his candle light could show. Ever since then the caves have been enjoyed and explored by professionals and amateurs alike. In the afternoon we offer an optional visit to a local Ostrich Farm where you can see Zimbabwean Blue, Kenyan Red and also South African varieties of this bird, along with the beautiful white ostriches which are very rare.
Overnight: Standard Lodge
Single Room option available

7-Drive to Knysna
After leaving Oudtshoorn we travel over the protea-covered on the dramatic Outeniqua pass through the Outeniqua Mountains. These mountains form a very formidable barrier between the dry interior and the lush coastal strip known as the ‘Garden Route’. Knysna was originally a harbour, forestry and mining centre. The setting will give you a real appreciation of how skilful maritime captains of old were to pilot their vessels in, and out of the lagoon. Knysna’s lagoon is the foundation of the town’s wealth. It was here that ships could shelter and victual and valuable raw material like wood could be transported to other centres of industry. It was also home to the reputed illegitimate son of King George III, George Rex. He is considered the main driving force in establishing Knysna as a commercial town. Today it is noteworthy as an artists’ retreat and adventure activity base and has twice been voted South Africa’s favourite town. Later today it may also be possible to take an easy walk on the magnificent Robberg Peninsula. Named after the seal colony found there by Dutch sailors. From here the views of the coastline are fantastic and it is easy to understand why our early ancestors used this peninsula as a home. From the peninsula have a really good chance of seeing seals, dolphins and the Southern Right Whale. During June to late November, the whales come into calmer and warmer waters to calve and nurse their young.
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

8-In Knysna; visit Tsitsikamma Park
No visit to the Garden Route would be complete without a visit to the magnificent Tsitsikamma National Park. Tsitsikamma is a marine and forest park, stretching for some 80 km, from a lagoon at Nature’s Valley to the mouth of the Groot River. The lush forest and the sheer cliffs provide an ideal setting for a short walk in the forests to the suspension bridge that spans the mouth of Storm’s River. The rugged coastline with crashing waves and the forest covered cliffs are simply spellbinding. While you are here, you must definitely sample the excellent local seafood available in the area.
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

9-Visit Botelierskop Private Game reserve, drive to Swellendam
This morning we have an early start to drive to Botelierskop Private Game Reserve to take a 3 hour game drive. You will be accompanied by a local guide in your open 4×4 safari vehicle in the 3000ha reserve to view African wildlife in its natural habitat. There are around 1800 animals in the reserve including rhino, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, eland, bontebok and black impala. There are also orphaned elephants and in the lion sanctuary a small number of orphaned lions. Following the game drive we will continue to follow the garden route to the farming region of Swellendam, a lovely old town with numerous Cape Dutch buildings, interesting museums and art galleries. Later this afternoon you may choose to visit a local township, considered to be one of the highlights of this tour.
Overnight: Standard Guesthouse
Single Room option available

10-Along the ‘Whale Route’ to Cape Town
On our penultimate day we follow the acclaimed ‘Whale Route’ along the dramatic south coast to Cape Town. Our first stop is wild and dramatic Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point in Africa. It is also the point where the Atlantic Ocean officially meets the Indian Ocean. We then drive on to the small seaside resort of Hermanus that is regarded as one of the premier spots for whale-watching in Africa, if not the world! Every year, between June and December, Southern Right whales spend a few months every year in the Cape, mating and calving. Hermanus is one of the best places to see them as they come very close inshore and the cliff top coastal walk offers many convenient viewing points.The calving and mating is a spectacle not to be missed! Hermanus is the only place in the world to employ a ‘whale crier’. He keeps everybody informed of the whereabouts of the whales by blowing his kelp horn. The whale crier is as much a part of the whale watching as the whales are. Finally, we return to Cape Town via Betty’s Bay and Gordon’s Bay coast affording spectacular views across both Walker Bay and False Bay. Please note: Final timings of today’s itinerary are flexible and depend on seasonality and the likelihood of spotting whales. Out of whale season we may arrive in Cape Town earlier in the day.
Overnight: Standard Hotel
Single Room option available

11-Tour ends Cape Town
Most of today is left free for personal exploration before the flight to London this evening. You may choose to visit the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. The gardens lie on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain and consist of landscaped gardens of indigenous plants and trees. The gardens are a living display of floral beauty and features 4700 of the estimated 20000 species of indigenous South African flora, and close to 50 per cent of the Peninsula’s floral wealth! You may opt to take a boat trip to visit Robben Island, if you haven’t already visited on Day 1. It has had a dark history serving as a prison. It is here that Nelson Mandela served most of his prison sentence under the South African government. It is now a worthy and powerful symbol of the optimism and hope for the future of South Africa. If this all sounds far too strenuous, you could just soak up the vibrant and colourful atmosphere at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront and just wander or do some last minute shopping! You may want to take a short city tour with your tour leader.

While our intention is to adhere to the day-by-day route printed, a degree of flexibility is built into the itinerary and overnight stops and sightseeing may vary from those suggested. Summer can be very hot and winters can be cold. The Western Cape, in particular, and Southern Africa is under going adverse winter weather conditions. Please come prepared for colder than anticipated temperatures and bring appropriate clothing.

Tour includes:

10 Breakfast
5 nights Standard Hotel
3 nights Standard Guesthouse
2 nights Standard Lodge
Tour Staff:
Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader
Group Size:
Generally 12 – 18

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