Cape Experience
Arrive: Cape Town
Depart: Port Elizabeth

10 Days / 9 Nights

The Southern most part of Africa has long been the entry point to the region and one can immediately see on arrival why Cape Town holds the imagination of everyone who arrives there. Experience the best this region has to offer, a combination that is unsurpassed! From the beach playgrounds of Cape Town to the top of wonderous Table Mountain and into the Winelands, watching Whales in Hermanus, breaching Sharks in False Bay, See Ostriches and go caving in Outdshoorn and then to the Game parks where Elephants, Lion, Buffalo, Blue Wildebeest, Eland, Cape Mountain Zebra abound!

Day 1
Cape Town, South Africa
Arriving Cape Town International Airport, you will be met by our representative and transferred to Afton Grove Country Retreat, where you spend the next three nights.
Day 2
Cape Town
After breakfast we transfer to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens via the scenic and world-renowned Chapman's Peak. Founded in 1913 and lying on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch covers an area of 828ha, of which 60ha is cultivated with indigenous flora with the remainder uncultivated areas, protected as a natural floral reserve. Kirstenbosch is a living display featuring almost 5000 of the 20 000 indigenous floral species of the South African flora. Towards mid-morning, we depart from Kirstenbosch and visit the world famous Groot Constantia Wine Cellar, situated on the slopes of the Table Mountain Range. After lunch, we depart for the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, which forms part of the Table Mountain National Park. Established to protect the Fynbos (means fine leaves), this reserve is a botanist's dream. The fynbos within the reserve, which forms part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, is the smallest of the six floristic kingdoms of the world, but has the highest number of species, a staggering 8 600, of which 5 800 are found nowhere else in the world! All "crammed" into an area measured only one-third the size of Britain. The Cape Floral Kingdom also has the highest known concentration of plant species: 1 300 species per 10 000 km˛! The nearest rival is the South American rain forest with a concentration of a mere 400 species per 10 000 km˛! The most characteristic form of vegetation in this floral kingdom is fynbos (pronounced "fain-bos") and is the common name for the distinctive scrublands of the Western Cape Province of South Africa. We also visit the wild and rocky promontory of Cape Point with fantastic views. Our last place of interest to visit for the day is Boulder's Beach - one of only two South African land based African Penguin colonies.
Day 3
Cape Town
August - November is whale season! Southern Right Whales visit the South African coastline to give birth and mate, after which they leave for the cold Arctic seas. May - September is the time of year to see breaching Great White Sharks on their natural predation excursion! False Bay is the only place in the world where Great White Sharks breach (see documentary, "Breaching Sharks", on The Discovery Channel) and we will try and capture that on film! After the experience you can get even closer to these creatures by getting into a steel cage and go eye-to-eye with these giants!
Robben Island is where Nelson Mandela has spent more than 20 years to free South Africa from its segregation-shackles! Today a world heritage site, it became internationally known for its institutional brutality towards "political prisoners". The duty of those who ran the Island and its prison was to isolate opponents of apartheid and to crush their morale. Some freedom fighters spent more than a quarter of a century in prison for their beliefs! Take a ferry to the island and experience this emotional place, first hand. All three these activities are morning excursions and are to be booked in advance at additional costs. After lunch, weather permitting, we ascend Table Mountain (World Heritage Site) to a height of 3 500ft. Views from atop of Cape Town, Table Bay, Robben Island and most of the spectacular Cape Peninsula will give you very good photographic opportunities and guaranteed to "take your breath away"! From Table Mountain, we visit the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront - a shopper's dream! This is Cape Town's, and probably South Africa', prime tourism hub. Dinner is at own costs and you can choose any one (or even two) of the many fine restaurants to dine. Late evening we return to our overnight accommodation.
Day 4
Cape Town - Hermanus
After an early breakfast we transfer to Stellenbosch for a stop at two or three of the finest wine cellars. Wine tasting in this beautiful area will be etched into your memory for life! From Stellenbosch, we drive along the scenic R44, via Rooi Els Betty's Bay & Kleinmond, to arrive Hermanus, the best land based whale watching site in the world, late afternoon. We check in at our overnight accommodation, The Cliffs Guest House, and if time permits, go for a short walk in search of more whales.
Day 5
Hermanus - Oudtshoorn
After breakfast we start our travels towards Oudtshoorn, the Ostrich Feather Capital of the World with an en-route visit to Cape Agulhas, the most southern point of Africa. From Agulhas, it is a long scenic drive to Oudtshoorn, the heart of the Little Karoo. Oudtshoorn is world-renowned for the Ostrich feather industry and the impressive privately owned "Feather Palaces" of the early 1900's. We visit the famous Cango Caves that were discovered in 1780 and is rated amongst the finest dripstone caves in the world. We arrive at Chandelier Game Lodge, our overnight accommodation, late afternoon.
Day 6
Oudtshoorn - Knysna
After a hearty breakfast, we discover the economic and recreational uses of the ostrich - the biggest non-flying bird in the world. After this short tour, we drive to Knysna. The town of Knysna is unusual in giving its name to three bird species (Knysna Warbler, Knysna Woodpecker & Knysna Turaco) but we would be lucky to encounter more than one of these; Knysna Turaco, with its emerald-green plumage, contrasting with crimson primaries in flight is probably our best bet! The town was founded in 1846, with its name of "khoenkhoen" (A Bushman Tribe) origin, meaning fern-leaves. Knysna was also developed as a harbour, but several ships ran aground due to submerged rocks. Today the mouth to the sea, from the lagoon, is deep enough to allow the passage of small boats only. More than 200 species of fish are found in the lagoon. Oysters, of which Knysna is a major supplier, exists in considerable numbers. The lagoon is also home to the rare and endangered sea horse, Hippocampus capensis. We visit several places of interest in and around the tall forests and peaceful lagoons of Knysna. Knysna encircles the Knysna Lagoon, which is marked with the Knysna Heads at the entrance to the Indian Ocean. We stop at these magnificent natural beacons for a photographic session of nature. As the sun sets in the west, we check in at our overnight accommodation for the next two nights - Bradach Manor.
Day 7
An early start as we need to be at Botlierskop Private Game Reserve for our scheduled morning game drive in open safari vehicles. Game we might see today include Lion, Buffalo, Blue Wildebeest, Eland, Cape Mountain Zebra and many more! After our game drive we return to Knysna for lunch and then an excursion to the Featherbed Nature Reserve. Late afternoon we return to the guesthouse and prepare for dinner.
Day 8
Knysna - Port Elizabeth
Breakfast for the hungry and then a casual scenic drive to our next destination: Addo Elephant Park. En route we visit the "Big Tree", along Route N2. A 2km hike leads us to this massive Outeniqua Yellowwood Tree, believed to be over 1 000 years old. We continue our drive up the coast. Time permitting, we do a late afternoon game drive in Addo Elephant National Park. Situated in a malaria free area just one hour's drive from the South African coastal city of Port Elizabeth, the magnificently diverse Addo Elephant Park offers a wide variety of game viewing. Addo Elephant National Park is one of the world's great conservation success stories and embraces one of the highest concentrations of big game in Africa and thus offers some wonderful game viewing opportunities. In addition to the famous elephants of Addo there are also lion, buffalo, black rhino, hyena, jackal and a variety of antelope species. Of the smaller animals the surricates and the flightless dung beetle are of great interest. Over 150 species of birds have been recorded in the area. The vegetation that one encounters in the area is known as "Valley Bushveld" - this is a biome unique to the river valleys of the Eastern Cape. The plants are tough and drought resistant (Addo's average annual rainfall is 385mm) with a high proportion of succulents much loved by elephants, black rhino and kudu. Per cubic meter, Valley Bushveld is able to support more animals, birds and insects than any other biome on earth, in addition, one of the dominant plant species here, the "Spekboom" is one of the worlds best carbon converters! Animals you might encounter, include Elephant, Rhino, Lion, Buffalo, Hyena, Red Hartebeest, Eland, Kudu, Bushbuck and many more! We check in at Cosmos Quisine Guesthouse, ±15km's (± 9miles) from the entrance of Addo Elephant Park. Cosmos is one of the South African Top 30 restaurants and the 5-course dinner-meal is guaranteed to blow your socks off!
Day 9
Addo Elephant Park
A full day in the area and after the famous buffet breakfast of Cosmos Quisine! We return, after our morning game drive, for lunch (who wants to miss out on good food after a morning's animal spotting?) and spend a few hours at leisure on the property. Our final game drive of the tour is late afternoon and your guide will try his/her utmost to wrap up all the "missing species"!
Day 10
Port Elizabeth - Home
You are transferred to Port Elizabeth International Airport, in time for your departure flight back home.

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