South Africa’s two most southerly provinces offer everything from thriving cities to classic safaris, exceptional scenery to world-class wine tasting.
VIP door to airport transfers
Departs From Glasgow. Depart between 9th September 2021 and 14th October 2021 for 17 Days . Prices From £3,359 per person
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South Africa’s two most southerly provinces offer everything from thriving cities to classic safaris, exceptional scenery to world-class wine tasting. Explore Cape Town, including its extraordinary botanical garden below Table Mountain. Look out for the Big Five as you take a thrilling late afternoon safari in the Kariega Game Reserve. Stand in awe of the Valley of Desolation’s 120-metre-high columns of Dolerite rock. And toast the end of your adventures with a fine-dining experience in Franschhoek’s winelands.
14 nights in hotels and 2 in flight (accommodation as specified or similar)
International flights. Prices are based on return flights with British Airways or Emirates from London Heathrow or Gatwick - Emirates flights via Dubai. Supplements may apply from other airports
30 meals: 14 breakfasts (days 3-16) 5 lunches (days 7, 9-10 and 13-14) 9 dinners (days 2, 5-6, 7-11 and 13-15)
VIP door-to-door travel service
Services of a local tour manager and guide
Travel in destination by coach
14 excursions and visits
Excursion to Kirstenbosch and Cape Town orientation tour
Visits to Hermanus; Storms River Mouth; and Cango Ostrich Farm
Walking tour of Arniston
Cruise on the Keurbooms River
4 game drives and activities at Kariega Game Reserve
Guided tour to the Valley of Desolation
Drive along the spectacular Route 62 from Oudsthoorn to Franschhoek
Franschhoek wine tram pass
Fine-dining dinner in Franschhoek
Day 1 UK - In flight
VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your flight to Cape Town.
Day 2 Cape Town
Upon arrival, you’ll transfer to The Commodore Hotel (4-star), ideally located with views of both Table Mountain and distant Robben Island. You’ll explore the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront this afternoon on a short walk. This attractive harbour is filled with speciality shops, craft markets, theatres, pubs and restaurants. Dinner is included at your hotel this evening.
Day 3 Cape Town
Enjoy an excursion to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, considered the most beautiful garden in Africa. It sits at the foot of Table Mountain, and displays the extraordinary flora of southern Africa, including many rare and threatened species. You’ll then head into the city for an orientation coach tour, passing the Castle of Good Hope, the Slave Lodge, Company’s Gardens and the Bo-Kaap area. This afternoon is free for you to continue your explorations. Maybe catch the hop-on-hop-off bus to Table Mountain, head to the winelands to sample the Cape’s fabulous wines, or book a ferry to Robben Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site preserved in memory of those who were incarcerated here, including Nelson Mandela.
Day 4 Cape Town
On your day at leisure, maybe discover the story of District Six. Or you may like an optional excursion to the Cape Peninsula. The Cape of Good Hope is rich in cultural and natural heritage - baboons, seals, zebra and hundreds of bird species inhabit this spectacular area. See the lighthouse at Cape Point, historical Simon’s Town and Boulders Beach, where you will find a colony of African penguins which have inhabited the small coves since 1985.
Day 5 Cape Town - Hermanus - Arniston
You’ll leave Cape Town for a scenic journey to Arniston. You’ll stop in Hermanus en route for some free time. As the world’s best land-based whale watching destination, a walk along the coast could be well rewarded. You’ll arrive in Arniston with enough time for an interesting walk to explore the Dutch colonial fishing village adjacent to your hotel, The Arniston Spa Hotel (4-star). The quaint, thatched and whitewashed cottages, and the rugged coastline and golden sand dunes attract many artists and photographers. It is also a great spot for whale watching from April to January.
Day 6 Arniston - Knysna
After a leisurely breakfast, you’ll depart for Knysna, with stops for refreshments. You’ll arrive at The Moorings (4-star) or Knysna Hollow Country Estate (4-star) around mid-afternoon, and the remainder of the day is at leisure. Perhaps find a scenic walking track into the nature reserve, or along the nearby banks of the Knysna River.
Day 7 Keurbooms River Nature Reserve
This morning you’ll drive to Keurbooms River Nature Reserve, where you will board a boat and enjoy a cruise on this spectacular river. Part of a World Heritage Site of mountain valleys, forests and quiet river beaches, the river is a sanctuary for indigenous trees and plant life, and home of the Cape clawless otter and many bird species. Lunch will be enjoyed on the cruise at one of the small beaches.
Day 8 Knysna
Today is a free day to explore the lovely town of Knysna, in the heart of the Garden Route. Once a major town in the timber industry, you will find several shops offering beautiful woodwork.
Day 9 Knysna - Storms River - Kariega Game Reserve
Today’s journey takes you to the mouth of Storms River, where you can either just relax and enjoy the powerful river and sea crashing against black rocks or take a walk to the suspension bridge for more views. You’ll continue to Kariega Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, where your safari experience begins on a game drive late this afternoon, just as the animals make the most of the cooling climate before the sun sets. You’ll stay and take dinner at the Main Lodge (4-star).
Day 10 Kariega Game Reserve
Enjoy a full day at Kariega, a family-owned, malaria-free reserve home to all of the Big Five. As you make your way this morning in an open game drive vehicle - look out for lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard, as well as many others. You’ll also enjoy a river cruise this morning, with time afterwards to join a guided bush walk to experience more of the abundant birdlife, before a further game drive this evening.
Day 11 Kariega Game Reserve - Graaff-Reinet
After your fourth game drive early morning, and breakfast, you’ll check out for a scenic drive into the Great Karoo (Place of Thirst). Black rhino, buffalo and Cape mountain zebra can be spotted in this large, semi-desert region. This afternoon you’ll arrive at the Drostdy Hotel (5-star), in the heart of the historical town of Graaff-Reinet. Here, wooden buildings with balconies transport you back to 1786 and you’ll stay overnight in the renovated old slave quarters. You’ll have time to relax or begin your explorations before a decadent dinner tonight in the high standard hotel restaurant with an impressive wine cellar.
Day 12 Graaff-Reinet - Valley of Desolation
A map of Graaff-Reinet highlights the importance of this beautiful town. Many of the 220 heritage sites are private dwellings; however, several are open to the public to show life 200 years ago, or to display art and wares. Spend your morning on a self-guided walking tour of the museums, shops and coffee shops, and Obesa, the world’s largest cacti collection. This afternoon you’ll visit a geological phenomenon - the Valley of Desolation - where, over 100 million years, volcanic rock has eroded into vertical cliffs and 120m tall columns. You’ll take a tour, with a chance to walk along the valley floor to fully appreciate the scale, the mountain flora and hopefully spot some of the many birds and mammals that frequent the area.
Day 13 Graaff-Reinet - Willowmore - Prince Albert, Swartberg Mountains
Your route today takes us though old towns with plenty of character. You’ll stop for lunch in Willowmore, a town filled with historical architecture, then continue to Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world, and up to the beautiful Swartberg Mountains. You’ll stay at the charming Swartberg Country Manor (4-star), in Prince Albert. This quaint Karoo village is set amongst acres of tobacco plantations, which merge into the vast nature reserve, with views of snow-capped mountains. The afternoon is free to relax and this evening, remember to look up at the extraordinary night sky.
Day 14 Swartberg Mountains - Franschhoek
After breakfast you’ll depart for the Cango Ostrich Farm, a privately owned farm which values the conservation of heritage and the environment. On your short tour you can hand feed the magnificent birds. You’ll then join the famously spectacular Cape Route 62, the longest wine route in the world. Sit back and enjoy magnificent landscapes of towering cliffs, crystal clear streams, verdant forests and quaint country towns. Lunch is included in Barrydale, a small town with views of the stark Klein Karoo and the fertile Tradouw Valley. The journey continues to Franschhoek and Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa (4-star) or Protea Hotel by Marriott Franschhoek (4-star).
Day 15 Franschhoek
Today is yours to explore. You will be provided with a ticket for the local hop-on-hop-off tram, which allows you to visit wine farms to taste wines and cheese or just enjoy their beautiful gardens. Tonight, you’ll have a very special wine pairing and fine-dining experience at Le Coin Francais (the French Corner) where you will meet Chef Darren Badenhorst who is listed in the top 300 best chefs in the world.
Day 16 Cape Town - In flight
Take the shuttle into the village or relax at your hotel before you’ll transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
Day 17 UK
Upon arrival, your vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.
Contrasts of the Cape is located in Escorted Tour, South Africa. Accommodation rating is the operators own rating and may not be the official rating. Hotel details correct at 04/04/2020