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Cape Town Holidays - view from Table Mountain cable car

Garden Route Explorer + Graaff-Reinet (self-drive)


SCJ16C
16 NIGHTS
FROM £1,595
International flights + car hire quoted separately
Explore Cape Town & the Eastern Cape in depth on this self drive holiday. Highlights include the Stellenbosch Winelands, Tsitsikamma Forest with its many adventure activities, Addo Elephant Park & the dramatic Valley of Desolation in the Great Karoo. Complete your holiday with a thrilling Big-5 safari in a malaria free game reserve, with open top game drives included.
South Africa Self Drive Holiday Valley of Desolation Graaff Reinet Garden Route
• 
Cape Town
• 
Table Mountain
• 
Cape of Good Hope
• 
Stellenbosch Winelands
• 
Oudtshoorn
• 
Knysna
• 
Addo Elephant Park
• 
Tsitsikamma Forest
• 
Valley of Desolation
• 
Big 5 Safari
• 
Cape Town
• 
Table Mountain
• 
Cape of Good Hope
• 
Stellenbosch Winelands
• 
Oudtshoorn
• 
Knysna
• 
Addo Elephant Park
• 
Tsitsikamma Forest
• 
Valley of Desolation
• 
Big 5 Safari
Day 1
You will be met at Cape Town Airport and transferred to your hotel in this beautiful city, within sight of Table Mountain.
 
Check in and relax in your magnificent surroundings.
Day 2
Today is free for independent sightseeing in Cape Town.
 
We recommend you purchase a day pass onboard the convenient Hop-Off Bus, which stops at all Cape Town’s key sights and beaches. The "Red Route" bus stops at the Table Mountain base station, where you can buy a ticket to ascend by cable car and enjoy one of the world’s most famous views. Continue to Camps Bay beach and the many attractions of the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.
Day 3
At leisure to relax and explore the "Mother City" of Cape Town.
 
Many optional activities are available in this beautiful city. You can visit Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned (advance booking essential in season) and explore the vibrant Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.
 
You can visit world famous Kirstenbosch Gardens or simply relax on golden Camps Bay beach – the choice is yours.
Day 4
This morning your hire car will be dropped off at your hotel.
 
We recommend you spend the day exploring the beautiful Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve peninsula. Start with an optional short boat trip from Hout Bay to view Cape Fur seals at Seal Island and continue via Chapman’s Peak Drive to spectacular Cape Point where you may see baboons, ostrich and perhaps even dolphins or whales in season (July/November).
 
On the return journey we recommend driving through naval Simons Town and visit the resident penguin colony at Boulders Beach. You can also make a short stop at the world famous Kirstenbosch Gardens, before returning to your hotel in the late afternoon.
Day 5
Drive 45-minutes to the beautiful Stellenbosch Winelands.
 
Along the way we recommend stopping at the Cheetah Outreach project in Somerset West, a community-based programme seeking to raise awareness of the plight of the cheetah and campaign for its survival.
 
You can also stop at one or more wine estates along the famous Stellenbosch wine route. Check into your hotel in this famous wine producing area, relax under the giant oak trees and savour the fine food and wines of this region.
Day 6
Today we suggest an optional full day tour through the renowned Stellenbosch Winelands, including the scenic Franschhoek Valley where a handful of French Huguenot refugees started South Africa’s now famous wine industry.
 
Explore the historic university town of Stellenbosch and several wine estates on this famous wine route, which stretched from Paarl through to Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Enjoy a cellar tour and some wine tasting, before being dropped off at your hotel in the late afternoon.
 
Alternatively use the Vine Hopper hop-off bus to explore the Winelands by yourself.
Note: the Vine Hopper does not operate on Sundays.
Day 7
Drive for 5-hours today along the scenic Route 62 and through the arid Little Karoo to Oudtshoorn.
 
On arrival we suggest visiting an Ostrich Farm to see these huge flightless birds in their natural surroundings (pay locally), before checking into your hotel.
Day 8
We suggest that today you visit the famous Cango Caves – a vast series of underground halls and caverns formed over 20 million years ago in the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains. The caves, which extend for over 3 miles, contain spectacular stalagmites and stalactites and offer relatively easy access.
 
Afterwards drive 2-hours to Knysna on the beautiful Garden Route. If you are adventurous and enjoy driving on steep gravel mountain passes, you can detour across the Swartberg Pass (about 1-hour) towards Prince Albert, returning the same way if the end of the pass is closed. If the pass is open, you can return by travelling eastwards around the base of the mountain, returning to Oudtshoorn via the Meiringspoort Pass (about 2-hours) - both offering spectacular views. Then continue through the magnificent Outeniqua Pass to Knysna.
 
Alternatively make a 30-minute detour to visit the Dias Museum in Mossel Bay, which has a life-sized replica of the ship that the Portuguese explorer Bartholemew Dias sailed when he became the first European to set foot on South African soil and erect a cross. At the centre of the complex is the famous Post Office Tree, an ancient Milkwood where early sailors left mail for homebound ships.
 
Drive past the beaches of Wilderness and the lakes of Sedgefield to Knysna. Check into your hotel and relax in this area of outstanding natural beauty.
Day 9
Today we recommend making your way to the Knysna Waterfront for the ferry to Featherbed Nature Reserve situated on Knysna's Western Head, one of two magnificent sandstone cliffs guarding the entrance to the vast Knysna Lagoon.
 
This spectacular nature reserve is only accessible by ferry, followed by a short trailer ride to the top of the reserve which offers panoramic views. Most visitors choose to return on foot along a 1-mile guided nature walk through natural coastal forest onto the cliffs, through caves and along a scenic coastal path, followed by a seafood buffet lunch served under the old Milkwood trees.
  
In the afternoon we recommend a visit to Knysna Elephant Park where you will have the opportunity to feed one of these gentle giants (pay entrance fee locally). The remainder of the afternoon is free to explore Knysna. This lively town is famous for its oysters, which are grown in the lagoon. It offers good shopping opportunities and many interesting craft shops.
Day 10
Today drive 1.5-hours along the beautiful Garden Route to Tsitsikamma.
 
After driving past the beaches of Plettenberg Bay, you can stop at the Monkeyland and/or Birds of Eden sanctuaries, or at Tenikwa Wild Cat Centre (pay entrance fees locally). Then continue northwards across the dramatic Storms River Gorge where, time permitting, we recommend a 2-hour detour to the Storms River Mouth.
 
Check into your Tsitsikamma accommodation and enjoy the flora and birds of the Tsitsikamma Forest.
Day 11
At leisure to relax and explore the scenic beauty of the Tsitsikamma Forest.
 
At Storms River Mouth there is a scenic Marine Walk & Snorkelling Trail. The Crags (near Plettenberg Bay) offer many optional wildlife activities - including the Elephant Sanctuary, Tenikwa Wild Cat Sanctuary, Monkeyland and Birds of Eden. Bird watching is also outstanding.
 
If you are looking for adrenalin adventures, at Storms River Village you can find exciting tree-top canopy tours; thrilling zip-ling; black water tubing; abseiling and bungy jumping from Bloukrans Bridge - the highest commercial bungy jump in the world.
Day 12
Today drive 3-hour from Tsitsikamma to Addo in the beautiful Eastern Cape.
 
After checking into your hotel situated near the entrance to Addo Elephant Park, enjoy a self drive safari, where game viewing opportunities should present themselves almost immediately. In addition to the elephants, you can hope to see antelope, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe and plains game, as well as several of the other Big Five, before dining in your warm African surroundings (park entry fee for own account).
Day 13
Today drive 3-hours from Addo to the small town of Graaff-Reinet, with its interesting Cape Dutch architecture.
 
Surrounded by Camdeboo National Park, Graaff-Reinet is situated in the heart of the Great Karoo – "Place of Thirst". This is a vast area of sheep and game farms, with magnificent broad plains rolling away into the distant mountains. Check into your hotel in this area of awesome vistas and amazing night skies.
Day 14
At leisure to relax and explore Graaff-Reinet, with its fascinating local history.
 
A visit to the nearby Valley of Desolation is highly recommended. Here you can listen to the silence, enjoy superb vistas over the town and see awesome rock formations from centuries of erosion.
Day 15
Today drive 3-hours from Graaff-Reinet to your malaria-free game lodge near Addo in the beautiful Eastern Cape.
 
After checking in to your lodge enjoy an afternoon game drive, where game viewing opportunities should present themselves almost immediately. Hopefully see several species of antelope, zebra, wildebeest and maybe even giraffe - as well as several of the Big Five - before dining in your warm African surroundings.
Day 16
Rise at dawn to take advantage of the best game viewing conditions of the day and enjoy a thrilling open-top game viewing safari with your lodge ranger in your Private Game Reserve which is home to all the Big Five - Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard and Rhino. Hope to see many interesting species before returning to your lodge for breakfast.
   
The rest of the morning is free to relax by the lodge swimming pool, before setting out again in the late afternoon for another game drive. Hope to see giraffe, hippo, kudu, crocodiles, antelope, waterbuck, warthogs, baboons and many other interesting animals. With hundreds of different bird species, outstanding bird watching is also guaranteed!
  
After a beautiful African sunset, enjoy the balmy evening and pristine stars of the Milky Way as you have never seen them before – as well as the spectacular Southern Cross.
 
Note: children < 6 are not allowed on open top game drives.
Day 17
Enjoy some final early morning game viewing, before driving 2-hours to Port Elizabeth Airport for your flight home.
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