DAYS 1 & 2: CAPE TOWN
On arrival at Cape Town International Airport you will be warmly welcomed by a member of the &Beyond team, who will escort you to Budget Car Rental, where you will collect your rental car and drive yourself into the city of Cape Town.
Spend two nights at The Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town. Explore the scenic beauty and varied attractions of Cape Town, beginning with a ferry ride to Robben Island, best known as the site of a jailhouse for political prisoners, including former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela. Your tour of the island is guided by a former political inmate, which means you will hear first-hand tales of its story of hope and hardship.
Take the cable car to the top of iconic Table Mountain and marvel at the magnificent views from its flat top. Browse vibrant Greenmarket Square, one of the cityâ€™s oldest markets, and walk through Companyâ€™s Garden, established by Dutch settlers in 1652. Visit the traditional Malay Quarter, with its brightly coloured houses, and indulge in a glimpse into one of the cityâ€™s vibrant cultures.
Drive through the lovely scenery of the Cape Peninsula to beautiful Hout Bay and over the truly awe-inspiring Chapmanâ€™s Peak Drive. Touch on the continentâ€™s most south-western point at the Cape of Good Hope and admire the views from the old lighthouse at Cape Point.
DAYS 3 & 4: FRANSCHHOEK
This morning you will check out of your hotel after breakfast and drive through the picturesque Cape Winelands to tranquil Franschhoek, where you will spend the next two nights.
The area known as the Cape Winelands is filled with beautiful, fertile valleys and craggy mountains, which are interspersed with the gently rolling vineyards of the countryâ€™s premier wine estates. Often described as one of the prettiest landscapes in South Africa, the Winelands boast dramatic mountain slopes planted with vines of different varietals. The perfect weather conditions here allow for the production of some of the best wines in the world.
The town of Franschhoek is situated in a lush valley tightly hemmed in by spectacular mountains. The area was originally settled by French Huguenots in 1688. The settlers soon developed impressive vineyards and homesteads, many of which still bear their original French names. Today, Franschhoek has become renowned as the gourmet capital of South Africa and is famous not only for its magnificent wineries and beautiful scenery but also for the excellent restaurants that line its quiet streets.
Spend two nights at Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek. On day four, kick off the day at the Spice Route Winery, where you can indulge your taste buds with wine, beer, chocolate and biltong tasting. A glass-blowing shop provides fascinating artistic displays. The next stop is Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm, where you will be taken on a tour of the crocodile ponds, which house more than a thousand of the reptiles. Enjoy the opportunity to handle a baby crocodile and, in summer months, witness the daily feeding. The day ends at Spier Wine Estate, where wine tasting is combined with a visit to the Eagle Encounter birds of prey rehabilitation centre. Here you can visit the bird enclosure or interact with some of Africaâ€™s largest raptors and owls. The centre also provides the opportunity to get up close and personal with a variety of other creatures, including bearded dragons and dwarf chameleons.
DAYS 5 & 6: HERMANUS
After breakfast you will check out and drive east along the Cape coastline to the whale watching town of Hermanus, where you will spend the next two nights.
Acknowledged as the best land-based whale watching site in the world, Hermanus even boasts an official whale-crier. Once hunted almost to extinction, these gentle giants loll in the water within stoneâ€™s throw of the rocky cliffs.
Spend two nights at The Marine Hermanus. Hermanus is best known for its whale watching, so spend some time walking the various pathways along the rugged shoreline and keeping an eye out for these magnificent animals or choose to take a whale watching cruise. An abundance of other outdoor activities are available, from kite surfing to sand boarding and bird watching. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings with only the splash of your paddles to disturb your thoughts as you set off on a kayaking trip in the Hermanus Lagoon or on the Klein River. Set off to sea in a kayak in search of whales or come face to face with the mighty predators of the ocean on a shark cage dive. Enjoy a more tranquil adventure as you set out on a hike among the scented fynbos vegetation and beautiful mountain views of Fernkloof Nature Reserve or the scenic waterfalls and clear pools of Vogelgat Nature Reserve.
DAYS 7 & 8: PLETTENBERG BAY
After breakfast you will check out and drive up the coast to the Garden Route town of Plettenberg Bay, where you will be spending the next two nights.
Most people believe that Cape Town was home to South Africaâ€™s first settlers when it was, in fact, Plettenberg Bay. Originally named Bahia Formosa (Beautiful Bay) by early Portuguese navigators, the vessel Sao Gonzales was anchored here for two months in 1630 for repairs. A storm wrecked the ship and the hundred surviving crew members spent several months building two new boats and a tiny wooden chapel from the remains of the wreck. Beautiful Bay suffered a name change in 1778, when Governor Joachim van Plettenberg was so taken with the area that he named it after himself. Today, Plettenberg Bay is an upmarket resort town and, in spring, home to whales who calve in the shallow waters of the bay.
Spend two nights at The Plettenberg. Enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches of Plettenberg Bay and experience a variety of water sports or choose to explore one of an endless number of trails that lead through the surrounding mountains. Enjoy horseback rides along long beaches or through shaded forest. Visit nearby Tsitsikamma and embark on a treetop canopy tour or set your heart racing on the worldâ€™s tallest bungee jump from a bridge. The options are endless and the choice is yours.
DAYS 9, 10 & 11: KWANDWE PRIVATE GAME RESERVE
After breakfast this morning you will drive yourself further up the Garden Route and into the Eastern Cape Province to Kwandwe Private Game Reserve.
A province of dramatic contrasts, South Africaâ€™s Eastern Cape is home to some of the countryâ€™s most varied landscapes, including a number of Big Five game reserves. Nestled among the scrubby fynbos vegetation, the areaâ€™s game reserves boast rugged landscapes and wide open spaces where the areaâ€™s natural wildlife has been painstakingly restored. Much of the vegetation consists of dense thickets, including the picturesque tree euphorbia, with spectacular aloes and colourful lichens also typical of the area. The regionâ€™s rivers cut deep gorges through the land, creating sweeping sand bars and steep cliffs. The wildlife of the Eastern Cape includes all members of the Big Five, as well as some unusual species rarely encountered elsewhere in the country, such as springbok, eland, black wildebeest and gemsbok.
Spend three nights at Kwandwe Ecca Lodge. Explore the diverse surroundings in search of wildlife on twice-daily game drives accompanied by professional rangers. Begin the day in an open 4×4 safari vehicle as the sun slowly warms the African bush to life. Keep your eyes open for predators winding up their nocturnal hunts and herbivores taking advantage of the cool morning hours to graze before the heat of the day.
Later in the morning, discover the smaller details of your surroundings on a fascinating bush walk that focuses on wildlife tracks, insects, plants and birds. In the late afternoon you will enjoy another game drive, which continues after dark to provide opportunities to view rarely spotted nocturnal animals such as porcupine, aardwolf or aardvark.
DAY 12: DEPARTURE
After an early morning game drive and breakfast you will leave the game reserve and drive yourself to Port Elizabeth Airport, where you will return your rented car and check in for your departure flight.
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