15-Day Taste of South Africa and Cape Town
This tour truly provides you with a taste of South Africa, and Cape Town added to the end. The tour incorporates the Panoramic Route, Kruger National Park, a private reserve in the Greater Kruger area, Eswatini (Swaziland), Zululand and another private reserve first proclaimed world heritage site in South Africa, iSimangaliso, and a boat cruise on Lake St Lucia. We travel through the scenic Garden Route and ending in Cape Town. The tour includes a 4-night stay-over in Cape Town with tours of the city and peninsula and an optional Winelands tour.
DAY 01. Gauteng – Panoramic Route (Taste of South Africa and Cape Town)
Our first day of this South African holiday takes us from Johannesburg via Middelburg, Dullstroom and Robber’s Pass to Pilgrim´s Rest, the early gold mining town turned into a living museum. Rich deposits of alluvial gold were found here at the end of the 19th century, hence the town’s existence deep in the mountains. After exploring this quaint old town, we continue to Sabie to have a pleasant walk through indigenous forest to visit Lone Creek Falls. We overnight in Sabie at Ligna Lodge.
DAY 02. Panoramic Route – Private Reserve
After Graskop, we marvel at scenic areas such the Pinnacle, God’s Window, Lisbon Falls, Bourke’s Luck Potholes (a walk down the hill to this unique trick of nature is worth the effort), and the magnificent Three Rondavels view site at the Blyde River Canyon. We walk along the cliffs to really appreciate the breathtaking views. Finally, we descend to the Lowveld via Abel Erasmus Pass and the Strijdom Tunnel to arrive at Mohlabetsi in the Balule private game reserve, a part of the Greater Kruger National Park. This afternoon our encounter with Africa’s wildlife begins as we travel on an open vehicle to search for the game. Enjoy a great dinner under the stars tonight (weather permitting). Overnight at Mohlabetsi Safari Lodge.
DAY 03. Private Reserve – Kruger National Park
After an early morning open vehicle game drive and conditions permitting, a hike on foot searching for the animals, we enjoy breakfast and then leave for the Kruger National Park. We spend the rest of the afternoon in this magnificent reserve around 2 million ha in extent. We overnight in chalets in one of the rest camps in the park.
DAY 04. Kruger National Park – Swaziland
We rise early for a game drive and return for breakfast in the camp. Spend the rest of the morning in the reserve.
Continue to the mountain Kingdom of Swaziland. Visit the Ngwenya glass factory; all the items are hand made from recycled glass. We drive through the capital, Mbabane, and continue to Mhlambanyatsi where we overnight in the mountains at Foresters Arms.
DAY 05. Swaziland – Zululand – Private Reserve
This morning we have an early breakfast and then visit Swazi Candles in the Malkerns Valley. Watch the locals hand-moulding wax into a variety of interesting shapes. Here is also a market where the locals sell their craft and other shops where you can buy items like batik, hand-woven cloth, colourful handbags, etc. Continue along the Ezulwini Valley towards Manzini, the country’s industrial centre. Swing south towards Nhlangano on a scenic route where crossing every hill opens up a new vista. Exit Swaziland at the Onverwacht border post. We enter Zululand and travel southwards to Hluhluwe and arrive at our private lodge for check-in. Then we embark on another exciting open vehicle safaris continuing into the evening. We return for a well-deserved dinner and overnight at Zulu Nyala Game Lodge.
DAY 06. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park – St Lucia (iSimangaliso) – Durban
After an early breakfast, we travel to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park. We enter the reserve for another two hours of great viewing of the Big Five. The white rhino was saved from extinction here. We travel to the village of St Lucia and join a boat cruise on the estuary of the famous Lake St Lucia. The lake was proclaimed a World Heritage Site in 1999. Around the lake is a wildlife paradise with bird species such as fish eagle, Goliath heron and many more. Your skipper/guide will show you the world of the hippo and the crocodile and the other mystic inhabitants of the “deep”. After this unforgettable experience, we travel to Durban, South Africa’s holiday Mecca, where our tour ends. Overnight City Lodge Umhlanga Ridge.
DAY 07. Durban
Today you embark on a tour of the city. Durban is an intriguing cultural blend of East, West and Africa. With its endless summer climate, effervescent and lukewarm ocean lined with golden beaches offers a subtropical carnival atmosphere all year round. Our tour of this bustling metropolis, often called the cultural ‘melting pot’ of South Africa, includes a drive through the sports corridor with its impressive sporting facilities. Then onto Blue Lagoon area on the Umgeni River where you get a panoramic view of the whole bay of Durban.
We pass the so-called Apartheid Beaches. Continue via Marine Parade (Golden Mile) where you will see the rickshaws. Continue past to the impressive developments at the new Point Waterfront area. We drive past the busiest harbour in Africa and various historical monuments. Continue through the city centre where the second railway station, the City Hall and the Post Office buildings each have a story to tell. We stop at the Indian Market to glimpse the Indian culture and bargain for souvenirs and spices.
Our last visit is to the Botanical Gardens. The gardens have an extensive collection of trees and plants from all over the world and a famous cycad collection and orchid garden. You have the option of being dropped off at the end of the tour at the Ushaka Marine World with its world-class aquarium, and many shops and restaurants. Overnight City Lodge Umhlanga Ridge.
DAY 08. Garden Route – Tsitsikamma National Park – Knysna
After early breakfast, you are transferred to the local airport for your flight to Port Elizabeth. Here you meet the local guide and depart on the Garden Route section. Our first stop is Storms River with the impressive Paul Sauer Bridge. It towers some one hundred and thirty-nine metres across the valley and above the river. We visit the Tsitsikamma National Park (Khoisan for ‘The place of much water’). The park stretches over one hundred kilometres of wild and rocky coastline characterised by massive cliffs, narrow, isolated beaches and shady indigenous forests along the river valleys. Then we traverse through magnificently scenic river valley passes to Plettenberg Bay for a short visit. Continue to Knysna. We join a sundowner cruise on the lagoon. Overnight at Augusta Bay Lodge or similar.
DAY 09. Knysna – George – Oudtshoorn
Spend the morning in Knysna visiting the “Heads” etc. Knysna also offers shopping opportunities of unusual locally made art and craft, etc. This afternoon we experience some of the most magical views on the Garden Route. We travel via Wilderness National Park and scenic viewpoints along the way. We travel over the Outeniqua Mountains to the Little Karoo. Here we visit the Cango Wildlife Ranch and Valley of Ancients, an endangered species breeding facility extraordinaire. Then travel to our hotel. Overnight at La Plume Guest House.
DAY 10. Oudtshoorn – Mossel Bay
After breakfast, we visit an Ostrich Show Farm for some unique experiences. We visit the Cango caves, regarded as one of South Africa’s foremost natural wonders. The fascinating calcite caves comprise an underground wonderland of stalactites and stalagmites. Visit Oudtshoorn, also called the “Feather capital” of the world, as one finds over ninety per cent of the world’s ostrich farms here. Continue to Mossel Bay. Overnight at Bart-T-Nique Lodge.
DAY 11. Mossel Bay – Swellendam – Hermanus – Cape Town
We visit arguably the oldest post office in Africa, the Post Office Tree. The Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Dias made landfall here in 1488. Continue to Hermanus, the best place in the World to spot Whales from land – (July to Dec). After lunch depart for Cape Town via the beautiful coastal route between Hermanus and Gordon’s Bay, arriving late afternoon.
Overnight Premier Hotel Cape Town or a hotel of your choice.
DAY 12. Cape Town City
Departure is at 09h00 from all city and Waterfront hotels. Cape Town, Tavern of the Seas, with the majestic Table Mountain as a backdrop, is one of the world’s most beautiful cities. An electric mix of architectural styles, cobblestone streets and cultural diversity enhance the cosmopolitan ambience. A trip by cable car to the top of Table Mountain is gratifying. At the top, the city unfolds below you from the viewpoints. We also visit the Malay Quarters, Castle of Good Hope, Company Gardens and Government Avenue, Houses of Parliament, S.A. Museum. We take a final drive to Milnerton for a full view of Table Mountain with the city in its lap. Overnight Premier Hotel Cape Town.
DAY 13. Cape Peninsula
The Cape Peninsula forms part of the Cape floral kingdom which is the smallest floral kingdom there is. It has more indigenous plant species per square meter than anywhere else on earth. Both coastlines of the Peninsula combined have more than a hundred beaches with dazzling white sands. This route also offers magnificent viewpoints for the photographers onboard. On this round-trip of the Peninsula, you will visit the following highlights:
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens with over seven thousand plant species, half of which being indigenous plants and of those, some two thousand six hundred being endemic to the peninsula. From here you drive via the Constantia Valley which is the oldest winemaking centre in South Africa. The African Penguins at Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town. Simon’s Town is also the headquarters of the S.A Navy. Cape of Good Hope is the most south-western extremity of the African continent. Cape point which is the second-best viewpoint after Table Mountain. The fynbos rich Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and the spectacular scenic drive over Chapman’s Peak along the west of the Peninsula that will take you back to the city after this eventful day. Overnight Premier Hotel Cape Town.
DAY 14. Cape Town
Today you have free to explore the city yourself or join an optional tour of the famous Cape Winelands or one of the other popular day tours around Cape Town. Overnight Premier Hotel Cape Town.
Day 15. Cape Town – Onward
You are transferred to the local airport for your onward flight.
Other tours you may be interested in:
11-Day Taste of South Africa – SC-02/11
8-Day Touch of Wildlife and Scenery – SC-01
19-Day Grand South Africa Tour – SC-06
Taste of South Africa and Cape Town – 15 days – – SC-02P