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Discover South Africa

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Discover South Africa

1-Join tour Port Elizabeth
The tour starts in Port Elizabeth, South Africa’s aptly named Friendly City. Built on steep hills overlooking the Indian Ocean, Port Elizabeth also has some attractive beaches. We leave the beautiful coastline behind and travel a short distance on the edge of the Greater Addo National Park. Immediately we notice a more ‘African’ feel in the landscape. Our accommodation for the next three nights is located adjacent to Addo National park with an inviting swimming pool and gardens – an ideal base for our game drives over the next two days. This afternoon we have the chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Overnight: Standard Hotel

2-Full day game drive in Greater Addo National Park
We drive into the Greater Addo National Park and enjoy a full day tracking game – the Big Five (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard) are all resident in the park, although sightings can’t be guaranteed. Addo is best known for its elephant population, which since the park was founded in 1931, has grown from just 11 to more than 300, gaining worldwide recognition for the park. Addo is now being expanded to include habitats ranging from semi-arid Karoo areas, across fynbos covered slopes, rolling grasslands and majestic coastal forests in addition to a marine protected area. In fact, Addo plans to trump its rival South African parks by calling itself a Big Seven destination – the additions to the current ‘Big Five’ being the Southern Right Whale and the Great White Shark! Of course we expect to see a host of other game too plus smaller mammals and an enormous range of birdlife. We plan to spend the day game viewing returning to our hotel in the afternoon to relax and reflect on some of the day’s highlights.
Overnight: Standard Hotel

3-Afternoon/evening game drive in Schotia Game Reserve
Schotia reserve is smaller than Addo and the game tends to be more easily sighted. We have a good chance of seeing lions here. Schotia is a private reserve and has been owned by the same family for six generations since 1833. The reserve is abundant with over fifteen antelope species, several smaller African animals, such as warthog, monkeys and genets and has a healthy pride of lions. We enjoy an evening game drive in an open 4WD vehicle with a specialist guide and then round off the day with a typical bush braai dinner.
Overnight: Standard Hotel

4-Drive via Tsitsikamma to Plettenberg Bay
We drive onto the famous Garden Route coastline and head west towards Plettenberg Bay (known locally as ‘Plett’). En route we stop at the magnificent Tsitsikamma National Park where there’s time to explore the area. Tsitsikamma is probably South Africa’s most impressive marine and forest park, stretching for some 80 kms from the lagoon at Nature’s Valley to the mouth of the Groot River. The lush forest, delicate fynbos and the sheer cliffs provide an ideal setting for short walking trails, the most popular of which takes you to the suspension bridge spanning the mouth of Storm’s River: a quite spectacular sight. After our walk here we travel the short distance to Plettenberg Bay and check into our accommodation for the next four nights.
Overnight: Standard Hotel

5-In Plettenberg Bay
Plettenberg Bay and its surroundings boast some of some of the most exquisite beaches and stunning scenery of the Garden Route and an unparalleled range of activities. Our first day is left free to choose from boat based dolphin and whale watching, to snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, kayaking, surfing, mountain biking and canoeing (some of these activities do have age restrictions). In season (June to November, sometime into December too) the whale watching is especially recommended, as this shoreline offers the chance to watch a truly great mammal, the Southern Right Whale. During the winter and spring months these dignified creatures come into the calmer and warmer coastal waters to calve and protect their young. Another strong recommendation is to hike around the sandy shoreline of the Robberg Peninsula. The dunes and escarpments offer panoramic views of the coast and you have a good chance of seeing seals, dolphins and whales, plus a wealth of bird and botanical life.
Overnight: Standard Hotel

6-In Plettenberg Bay
Today we explore Knysna itself – originally a harbour, forestry and mining centre, but now better known as an artists’ retreat and base for adventure activities. We include a boat trip across the lagoon to the Featherbed Nature Reserve which occupies the western Head of Knysna Lagoon.
Overnight: Standard Hotel

7-In Plettenberg Bay
Today is free for you to enjoy your surroundings and relax or participate in one of the optional activities available.
Overnight: Standard Hotel

8-In Plettenberg Bay
Today we drive the short distance to our accommodation near Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of South Africa! Oudtshoorn is just 60 kilometres from the coast but couldn’t be more different! We leave the lush, forested terrain behind and move into an arid landscape that borders the Little Karoo – a desolate and yet magnificent area of semidesert. After checking into our accommodation we set out to explore the finest dripstone caverns in the world – the Cango Caves! Situated in the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains, these limestone caves extend more than 5 kms underground through a series of large caverns connected by passages. We hike into the most spectacular caverns – a truly surreal experience.
Overnight: Standard Lodge

9-Drive to Hermanus
Leaving Oudtshoorn we travel along scenic Route 62 through the fynbos-covered Outeniqua Mountains, the barrier between the dry interior and the lush coastal strip. Travelling via Swellendam, a lovely old town with numerous old Cape Dutch buildings, we continue to the small seaside resort of Hermanus regarded as one of the premier spots for shore-based whale watching in the world. From the cliff top walks you can often look down at several whales no more than 50 or 100 metres away!(The whale watching season is between June and November).
Overnight: Standard Hotel

10-Drive to Cape Town
This morning we follow some of the finest coastline of the Cape through Betty’s Bay and Gorden’s Bay to Cape Town. Cape Town embodies the 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. We enjoy two days here exploring the city and the surrounding area. Our base is a comfortable hotel, with swimming pool, ideally located within a short distance from many of Cape Town’s most important sites.
Overnight: Standard Hotel

11-Visit Cape Peninsular National Park
We spend our first day here enjoying a comprehensive tour of the many points of interest on the Cape Peninsula. Starting at Hout Bay, we take a boat trip to see the remarkable bird and marine life of Seal Island – where approximately 7,000 Cape Fur Seals have made their home on low lying rocks. We continue by bus, passing perfect sandy beaches and driving through the extremely scenic Cape Peninsula National Park to the Cape of Good Hope. The Cape was first seen by a European in 1488 when Diaz sailed around 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 here to supply ships with water and cattle (traded from the indigenous Khoi people, who reared livestock in the land around the coast). We climb up to a viewpoint and watch the 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. Finally we visit Boulders Beach to see the resident colony of African Penguins, one of the only places in the world where this sea bird resides. A series of wooden walkways allow visitors to get exceptionally close to the birds and observe their often quite playful habits.
Overnight: Standard Hotel

12-Walk on Table Mountain
This morning we plan to ascend Table Mountain. You can choose to take an energetic but highly rewarding 3 to 4 hour hiking trail up to the top accompanied by your tour leader (if the weather permits). Alternatively, an aerial cableway runs frequently to and from the summit (the ticket cost is included). The climb is spectacular not just for the stunning views it affords of the city below and the beach-fringed coastlines stretching away to the horizon, but also for the beautiful plant life of the Cape Floral Kingdom, which has more indigenous plant species per square metre than anywhere else on earth! A network of trails criss-cross the summit plateau, providing a variety of vantage points.
Overnight: Standard Hotel

13-In Cape Town; tour ends
Our last morning in Cape Town is left free for personal exploration. You may want to spend time at the waterfront or visit the superbly presented Cape Town Aquarium. Today it is also possible to book a tour to the world famous Robben Island museum. If you are interested in this excursion please see below.

Tour includes:

12 Breakfast
Minimum Age:
From 5 years
Bus, Boat, 4WD, Ferry
11 nights Standard Hotel
1 night Standard Lodge
Tour Staff:
Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader, Local Guide(s)
Group Size:
Generally 10 – 16

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explore holidaysExplore have been running small group adventure holidays throughout the world since 1981 and have a vast array of experience, knowledge and well established close personal contacts in all the countries in which they operate, which makes them stand out as one of the most trusted adventure tour operators in the UK.

They are passionate about what they do, and above all, simply love nothing more than to travel. The founder directors ran overland trips through Asia, Africa and the Americas in the 1960s and 70s prior to setting up the company, and were determined that the spirit of adventure that was such an important part of those early pioneering days, should continue to play key role as part of the driving ethos of Explore.

Our Opinion
It is little wonder that over 60% of all Explore customers who travel each year have travelled with them previously, Explore are clearly committed to the “travel experience” and their itineraries are always offer that slight “Explore Twist” which makes them even more appealing.

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