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Cape Town: Landscape, Culture, Wildlife & Cuisine

Day 1

After arrival to picturesque Cape Town in the morning, you will be transferred to a lodge, wonderfully situated on the fynbos-covered slopes of the Clovelly mountains in the southern suburbs. This will be our accommodation for the next five nights. A solar heated swimming pool and Jacuzzi are great additions to a garden overlooking the valley. We will take it easy this afternoon and, depending on how you feel, we might visit a nearby nature reserve or simply stroll on one of South Africa’s many golden-sand beaches, before retiring for an evening meal to one of the many superb restaurants in the area.


Day 2

Today, we will visit the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, at the south-westernmost tip of Africa, rich in history and botanical diversity. Over 1,000 species of plants occur here, eleven of which are found nowhere else on Earth. The diverse range of habitats and vast expanse of fynbos are home to numerous birds and mammals. Chacma Baboons hold their territories on the side of the road here and it is almost inevitable that we will encounter some of them - Chacma Baboon troops on the Cape Peninsula are the only protected population of this species in Africa.

We will take a funicular ride to the top of Cape Point, where a spectacular view stretches over the Indian and Atlantic Oceans overlooked by the Old Cape Point lighthouse. We will also visit the Cape of Good Hope, where Bartholomeu Dias, a Portuguese seafarer, stopped on his way back to Europe. He was the first European known to set foot on South African soil and to sail around the south-western tip of Africa in 1488.

On the way home, we will visit a colony of globally-threatened African Penguins at Boulders. Here, they nest on secluded sandy beaches which they share with sun-bathing humans! A boardwalk and viewing platforms will allow us close encounters with them. Depending on how much time is left, we will plan activities for the late afternoon.


Day 3

This morning, we will venture into the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, one of the finest botanical gardens in the world, beautifully situated on the slopes of Table Mountain. Here, we will have a good introduction to an array of native plants, particularly proteas and ericas, many of which are pollinated by birds. We should see an array of colourful species, including the Cape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Malachite Sunbird and Swee Waxbill.

You will be treated to a scrumptious lunch at the famous restaurant and tea garden, situated on the northern slope of Table Mountain and nestled behind the famous Rhodes Memorial, allowing a panoramic view of the distant Helderberg and Hottentots Holland Mountains.

Later, we will undertake a funicular to the summit of Table Mountain, where a panoramic view stretches over the Cape Peninsula and Cape Town harbour. We will take a walk to get the best view of the area. Later, we will also visit Signal Hill, where Table Mountain and the city itself can be viewed from a different perspective.


Day 4

Today, we will explore the Overberg area and undertake a whale-watching trip at Gansbaai, a 2.5-hour drive from Cape Town. Every year, Southern Right Whales migrate from their icy feeding grounds off Antarctica to warmer climates, reaching South Africa in June. The coastal waters of South Africa teem with these giant animals for a further five months, during which time they mate, calve and rear their young. It is, therefore, very unlikely that we will not encounter them during our boat ride. The boat trip will also take us around Dyer Island inhabited by African Penguins and cormorants, and the Geyser Rock, which is home to 60,000 Cape Fur Seals. At this time of the year, we might also encounter Humpback and Bryde’s Whales and a visit to the shark cage diving vessel might also give us a chance to spot Great White Sharks. This is probably the only place in the world where one can view an impressive whale and a Great White Shark on the same boat trip.

On the way back to Cape Town, we will stop at the picturesque town of Hermanus and then undertake a scenic route along the coast to reach Cape Town at dusk.


Day 5

We will start the day with a scrumptious breakfast at Noordhoek Farm Village, a quaint complex of shops, curios, deli and restaurants.

Afterwards, we will continue along the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula and undertake a picturesque drive via Chapman’s Peak. Hout Bay will be our first stop, where the famous Bay Harbour Market is held every weekend. We will have a wander around and look at the interesting goods on sale, most of which are handmade or produced locally. In some cases, you can watch a trader making an item for sale. There is a smell of coffee and baked bread in the air and food on sale is simply delicious, so we will have one or two snacks too. The happy buzzing of people chatting to one another creates a friendly atmosphere. It’s how one imagines markets used to be!

We will proceed further along the coast, passing the famous Camps Bay and visiting Cape Town city centre and the famous Greenmarket Square, where artists and traders from all corners of the African continent meet to sell their wide range of fabrics, sculpture, art and beadwork. Shopping here is always an adventure and you will enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, and no doubt, pick up some great bargains.

We will also visit Bo-Kaap, one of the oldest and most fascinating residential areas of Cape Town, characterized by brightly coloured homes and cobbled stone streets that date back to the 18th century.

The vibrant Victoria and Alfred Waterfront will be our last destination for today. Originally built as a harbour in the 19th century, the V&A Waterfront is renowned today as one of the most successful marine developments in the world. A great selection of restaurants and cafes can satisfy even those most demanding pallets. African dance troupes and jazz buskers create a unique atmosphere and curio shops provide the best selection of African craft in the city. We will conclude the day here with a lovely meal in one of the many reputable restaurants.

In the evening, we will be treated to a special dinner in a unique setting: 14-course meal, each from a different African country. This will be accompanied by the drummers, dances and singers, who will entertain you late into the night. A truly memorable evening!


Day 6

A visit to the Western Cape would not be complete without tasting its fabulous wines. Our tour will include a visit to at least two wine estates, where wine tasting will be combined with cheese and chocolate tasting. Some of the wine estates are situated in beautiful surroundings and one of the most picturesque landscapes in South Africa. Our wine tasting tour will also include a visit to the historical town of Stellenbosch, the second oldest European settlement, situated in the largest wine growing region in South Africa.


Day 7

We will be departing Cape Town early in the morning and heading north. But, before we leave the city behind, we will visit Intaka Island, a bird sanctuary, situated in the middle of residential development, but hosting many interesting species. From there, we will hop to Rietveli, a nature reserve, where in sight of Table Mountain we will take a walk and observe several waterbird species.

Our destination for the day is the picturesque village of Langebaan, about 120 km north of Cape Town. The white sandy beaches and clear waters surrounding the village are the main attractions, offering one of the best conditions for sailing, kayaking, kitesurfing and fishing in the country. We will stay one night in a comfortable guest house next door to the Western Cape National Park.


Day 8

We will start the day by visiting the West Coast Fossil Park. This area has one of the highest concentration of fossils in South Africa and you will be taken back five million years and explore a real excavation site, laboratory and a museum of this fascinating site. We will then drive further north to Velddrif, a small fishing village on the Atlantic coast. En route, we will scan the veld for a majestic Blue Crane, the national bird of South Africa, that often feeds in the cultivated fields by the side of the road. After a leisurely lunch in a tranquility of the meandering Berg River, we will visit a complex of saltworks, where you will appreciate the proximity of many waterbirds, including pelicans, spoonbills, herons and ibises.

Our last stop will be Paternoster, one of the oldest and most picturesque villages on the West Coast, with all the houses having the same white-washed facade. We will stroll along its superb unspoiled beach, explore some of the local art and craft centres, potteries and galleries. Most importantly though, we will taste a local cuisine at one of the great restaurants here.


Day 9

The whole day will be spent exploring the Western Cape National Park and the Postberg Nature Reserve. The West Coast National Park covers an extensive area of lagoons, saltmarshes and reedbeds and is one of the most prominent birdwatching spots in the country with spectacular view over the lagoon. Postberg Nature Reserve forms part of the West Coast National Park and is one of the best sites to view the exceptional carpets of spring flowers that come into bloom only for a few weeks once a year. The intensity of the display depends on the winter rainfall, but it very rarely disappoints. The reserve is also home to a variety of mammals, including the Cape Mountain Zebra, Springbok, Eland, Kudu and Bontebok.

We will drive back to Cape Town in late afternoon for our last night of the tour.


Day 10

Today is your departure day, but a five-day extension to Kruger National Park is on offer (click here for details).

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Cape Town

View over Hout Bay

Kirtsenbosch Botanical Garden

African Penguins at Boulders

Protea

Proteas

Orange-breasted Sunbird

Cape Sugarbird

Southern Right Whale in Gaasbai

Greenmarket square in Cape Town

Wine tasting in Stellenbosch

Spring flowers on the west coast

Spring flowers on the west coast

Greater Flamingoes in Cape Town

Cape Mountain Zebra

Chacma Baboon in Cape Town