London - Cape Town
Your overnight flight from London arrives in Cape Town the following morning. You’ll be taken to your hotel which, thanks to its position on the slopes of Table Mountain, boasts outstanding ocean views.
You can take the cable car to the top of the mountain and revel in a horizon-wide city-and-sea view. Or you could take a short boat cruise to Robben Island, home to the prison cell where South African legend Nelson Mandela spent 27 years. Make time too for the splendid Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Then, beautiful period architecture and the dazzling waterfront area of Cape Town awaits.
Stay: Three nights in a deluxe house ocean view room at Ellerman House – bed & breakfast
Next, you’ll be transferred to the pristine natural wilderness of the Cederberg. Away from the bustling streets of cosmopolitan Cape Town, this 160,000-hectare region offers spectacular rock formations, plunging ravines, cascading waterfalls and archaeological wonders. You’ll also find charming towns filled with art galleries and wine cellars, dramatic mountains and fascinating rock art painted by the San and Khoi people – the region’s oldest inhabitants.
The Cederberg is a paradise for the active traveller, with opportunities to go canoeing, swimming and mountaineering. Wildlife and nature lovers will also find an impressive diversity of bird and plant life, with unique species like the Cape Mountain Zebra, aardwolf, Cape Mountain leopard, wildcat and bontebok roaming the area.
Staying in a beautiful eco-reserve in the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains, you will have access to sites of exceptional Bushman rock art, an award-winning wine cellar and a heated outdoor pool.
Stay: Three nights in a deluxe room at Bushmans Kloof – full board
Today you will make the journey to Franschhoek at the heart of the Cape Winelands, where you will be surrounded by famous name wine estates as well as boutique vineyards – many with restaurants serving irresistible regional specialities.
Your time can be spent wandering through perfectly manicured gardens, visiting art galleries or sampling some of the region’s award-winning wine offerings. Your hotel itself, located in the scenic Franschhoek Valley, has a well-earned reputation for its fine cuisine. Those looking for more adventure will have quad-biking, paragliding, horseback tours, hot-air ballooning and helicopter trips to choose from.
Stay: Two nights in a luxury suite at La Residence – bed & breakfast
Next comes the picturesque seaside town of Hermanus, where you will be staying in a boutique hotel perched on the rugged cliffs above Walker Bay. The Overberg area is known for its majestic mountain scenery, characterful towns, fruit and grain farms and fertile wine-growing valleys.
Between June and December, Hermanus is also one of the best places to spot Southern Right Whales, who show up in Walker Bay in pods of about 50. You can also explore the recently established Hemel en Aarde wine route – known for its Pinot Noirs – and visit Cape Agulhas, the spot where the Indian and Atlantic oceans collide. Deep sea fishing, hiking and birdwatching are also available.
Stay: Two nights in a deluxe superior room at Birkenhead House – full board
Day twelve sees you in Umhlanga just north of Durban, where you’ll be staying in one of the country’s most distinguished hotels overlooking the famous beach and lighthouse. You’ll find yourself in the midst of landscaped tropical gardens with sweeping Indian Ocean views and direct access to the golden sands. Nearby attractions include Ushaka Marine World as well as golf courses, game parks and historic battlefields.
Stay: One night in a classic sea facing room at the Oyster Box – bed & breakfast
Next, you’ll travel two hours to stay in a plush farmhouse tucked away in the Kamberg Valley. Overshadowed by the immense mountains of the Drakensberg Mountains, the area of is one of unforgettable natural beauty; a canvas of green and brown coloured mountains, sparkling lakes, sweeping valleys and clear, blue skies.
Nicknamed the “Barrier of Spears” thanks to its impenetrability, the World Heritage Drakensberg is easily the most impressive mountain range in South Africa. Soak up its startling beauty by horse-riding along mountain tracks, or venture to ancient mountain caves to wonder at the intriguing San Rock Art painted on the walls. You can also take a 4×4 excursion up to the notorious Sani Pass – otherwise known as the Roof of Africa. When you’re not out exploring the area, you can simply relax before a roaring fireplace and soak up the tranquil views.
Stay: Two nights in a standard room at Cleopatra’s Mountain Farmhouse – bed & breakfast
Today your journey continues to the Natal Battlefields, where you will be staying at the spectacular Fugitives Drift hotel. The setting for the Zulu War of 1879, this World Heritage-listed region is well known for the great battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift.
You will enjoy riveting and informative tours of both sites led by some of the finest guides in the country, and hear moving retellings of the conflicts between the British, Zulu and Boer. Walks and horse rides through the reserve to encounter the abundant game and birdlife are also on offer.
Stay: Two nights in a double room at Fugitives Drift Lodge – full board
Today you set off for Phinda Game Reserve. With no less than seven different ecosystems – woodland, grassland, wetland and more – you can expect to find an abundance of interesting wildlife including the Big Five, the elusive cheetah and even the scarce black rhino. The marine diversity of nearby Sodwana is equally impressive.
At Phinda you will be spoilt for choice with the wide range of activities on offer. In addition to twice-daily game drives and nature walks led by trained rangers and trackers, you can choose to go bird watching, snorkelling, scuba diving, deep sea fishing, canoeing and riverboat cruising. For something extra special, you also have the option to take a stunning coastal flight.
Stay: Three nights in a suite at &Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge – full board
Today you be will be transferred back to the airstrip for your scheduled light aircraft flight to Johannesburg, via Mpumalanga. Upon arrival, you’ll check in for your overnight flight back to London, arriving the following morning.
The service was first class, professional throughout. Well done and thank-you.- JP, Sri Lanka, 2013