South Africa is often described as ‘a world in one country’, and this tour combines four of her most enduring attractions: wildlife, battlefields, wine and culture.
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DAY 1: LONDON / CAPE TOWN
Suggested flight (not included in the cost of the tour) British Airways flight BA 43 to Cape town departing London Heathrow at 18.15 hrs.
DAY 2: CAPE TOWN
Arrive in Cape Town at 07.45 hrs. Transfer to the Queen Victoria Hotel, overlooking Cape Town Harbour, where four nights are spent. The hotel is a haven of calm, luxury and understated opulence amongst the hustle and bustle of Cape Town’s popular V&A Waterfront.
Lunch under own arrangements. Afternoon tour of Cape Town, resting at the confluence of the Indian and Atlantic oceans, sandwiched between the slopes of the iconic Table Mountain and the glistening sapphire waters of Table Bay. Take the cableway up Table Mountain and enjoy a guided orientation walk, taking in the magnificent views. After descending the mountain take a tour of the ‘Mother City’ from Signal Hill – where the Noon Day Gun is fired at midday every day except Sunday – through the colourful Bo-Kaap or Cape Malay Quarter, past the Grand Parade and City Hall to the Castle of Good Hope and the South African Cultural History Museum. Dinner under own arrangements.
Full day exploring the Cape Peninsula which offers a spectacular combination of beaches and mountains, with wonderfully well-preserved areas interspersed with quaint towns and harbours. Highlights of the trip to Cape Point include one of the world’s most spectacular drives, Hout Bay, Chapman’s Peak, Noordhoek Beach, the Cape Point Nature Reserve and two lighthouses on the tip of Africa. See Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town, famous for its colony of urban African penguins, plus Kalk Bay – essentially a fishing village, still a lively working harbour and one of the best places to buy fresh fish straight off the boat.
Lunch at Harbour House Restaurant. Dinner at Gold Restaurant, an African 14-course menu in a safari lodge setting.
Morning tour of Robben Island, which needs no introduction with regards to the significance of its place in South Africa’s and indeed the world’s history. As ‘home’ to one of the world’s most famous prisoners, statesmen and leaders in Nelson Mandela, Robben Island is quite possibly the most well-known island-prison on the planet: an icon of struggle, freedom and hope.
Lunch at Mayo Restaurant. Continue to the world-famous Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, spectacularly sited on the lower slopes of Table Mountain. The gardens contain 9,000 of the country’s 18,000 species and has formal gardens and lawns as well as a wild section of mountain forest. Return to the hotel for dinner under own arrangements.
Full day excursion to Stellenbosch, a picturesque university town surrounded by mountains and vineyards. The town has a blend of historical, beautifully preserved Cape Dutch and Victorian architecture and oak-lined avenues as well as the many enticing art galleries and shops. Visit South Africa’s most famous wine farms, Babylonstoren, one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms, L’Ormarins, and La Motte, located in the beautiful wine valley of Franschhoek.
Lunch at La Protégé. Return to the hotel for dinner under own arrangements.
Check out of the hotel and transfer to Clanwilliam and Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Retreat where two nights are spent. A haven of staggering beauty and timeless tranquillity where abundant wildlife roams free, Bushmans Kloof is set in the heart of the Cederberg Mountains, only 270km from Cape Town. Here wide-open plains, majestic rock formations and crystal-clear waterfalls provide the setting for a unique wilderness experience. The five-star Relais & Châteaux lodge has won many international awards, including being voted as Best Hotel in the World.
Lunch at Bushmans. Afternoon to enjoy the various activities on offer at the lodge. Dinner at the lodge.
Day to enjoy the activities at the lodge. The reserve offers walking, river walks, canoeing and swimming in crystal clear natural rock pools, bird watching, rock art excursions, game viewing and sunset game drives in open 4×4 game vehicles. It is the perfect environment for painting, photography and quality downtime. Bushmans Kloof is a malaria- and predator-free area, ensuring guests are safe to experience wildlife and herds. Only the rare and secretive Cape leopard roams the most remote of the mountains.
Bushmans Kloof today protects one of the largest private herds of Cape mountain zebra in the world, an animal saved from the brink of extinction. The Cape mountain zebra is identified by its bold black and white stripes, as opposed to its savannah-dwelling cousin, the Burchell’s zebra, which has brown ‘shadow’ stripes, and a creamy undercoat. The wildlife reintroduction programme has also seen the return of the magnificent bontebok, red hartebeest, grey rhebok and the ostrich. Smaller creatures such as the bat-eared fox, African wildcat, Cape fox, caracal (African lynx), Cape clawless otter, baboon, rock hyrax (dassie), klipspringer, aardwolf and aardvark also roam the plains and rocky outcrops of the reserve. All meals included plus afternoon high tea.
Check out of the hotel and transfer with a packed lunch to Cape Town for a domestic flight to George.
On arrival transfer to Plettenberg Bay and check in at the Old Rectory Hotel where three nights are spent. This heritage building, located just metres from the beach, dates from 1777 and was later used as a rectory by the Anglican church until the present rectory was built in 1939. The beautiful building is now being returned to its former glory and is the focal point of this boutique hotel. Dinner at the hotel.
Morning boat ride by cat-style boat to some of the best spots along the coastline to see dolphins. Other sightings may include seals, pelagic birds as well as sharks, big fish, penguins and octopus in their natural habitat.
Lunch at Bramon Wine Estate. This afternoon visit the Birds of Eden sanctuary which is home to about 220 different types of birds with more than 3,500 birds living in the sanctuary. The award-winning bird sanctuary provides a home
where caged birds can live a life of free-flight in a habitat as large and natural as is possible. The feathered inhabitants of the aviary are comprised of a mixture of exotic as well as African birds. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure with the option to visit Knysna, just a short half-hour drive from the hotel and one of South Africa’s most picturesque and naturally beautiful seaside towns. Perched on the edge of a lagoon, the vibrant and bohemian town was established in the gold rush of 1804 and is a hub of local arts and crafts. Dinner under own arrangements.
Excursion to the stunning Featherbed Nature Reserve in Knysna. Take the ferry across the Knysna Lagoon to the Western Head. From here you will be taken up a beautiful 4×4 trail into the Reserve, inhabited by the Knysna turaco, endangered dwarf chameleon, Brenton blue butterfly and illusive forest elephant. The smallest antelope, the blue duiker, and South Africa’s national bird, the blue crane can also be viewed here. You can also choose to take a short, guided tour through the coastal forest into nearby sea caves.
Buffet lunch at the Reserve’s famous outdoor restaurant under a canopy of Milkwood trees. Visit an elephant sanctuary where guides will provide in-depth information and insight into African elephants. You will be introduced to the elephants in the sanctuary’s forest area, and here you will be able to touch and interact with the elephants. Dinner at the hotel.
Transfer with packed lunch to Port Elizabeth for a domestic flight to Durban.
On arrival transfer to Fugitive’s Drift Lodge where three nights are spent. The Zulu War of 1879 is famous throughout the English-speaking world for the great battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. The spectacular Fugitives’ Drift property, a Natural Heritage Site, overlooks both Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, and includes the site where Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill lost their lives attempting to save the Queen’s Colour of the 1/24th.
Afternoon at leisure with optional included activities. Dinner at the lodge.
Accompanied by knowledgeable experts, explore the battlefields of the Anglo-Zulu War and the Reserve. Visit Isandlwana, site of Britain’s most famous colonial defeat at the hands of the Zulus wiping out a substantial British force including the 1st Battalion, 24th Foot.
Lunch at the lodge. Visit Rorke’s Drift, site of one of the greatest victories against overwhelming odds. Just over 150 British and colonial troops successfully defended the garrison against an intense assault by 3,000 to 4,000 Zulu warriors. The massive Zulu attacks on Rorke’s Drift came very close to defeating the tiny garrison but were ultimately repelled. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded. Dinner at the lodge.
Day at leisure.
Lunch at the lodge. Farewell dinner at the lodge.
Morning at leisure.
Depart for Johannesburg International Airport with packed lunch. Suggested flight (not included) British Airways flight BA 58 departing Johannesburg at 19.05 hrs.
Arrive London Heathrow at 06.15 hrs.