Firstly, there’s a huge variety in this tour. You’ll start off on a three-night city break in Cape Town before heading off to the countryside. Here you will taste world-famous wines, olives, cheese, chocolate... a veritable Mediterranean food fest. Then crib up on your history visiting one of South Africa’s oldest towns, Swellendam, on the Breede River. From here you'll take the lesser-travelled mountain roads along the famous Route 62 to Oudtshoorn, a place rich with those wonderfully huge flightless birds, the ostriches. Then it's time to hit the beach. Enjoy the rivers, lagoons, beaches, mountains and forests of the Garden Route: Knysna and Plettenberg Bay before your final stop in George.
Day 1, 2 & 3: Cape Town ( 3 nights )
Ever felt you can’t decide whether you want a city break, a beach holiday or even a trip to the mountains? Well, this tour gives you the lot, starting with a city break in South Africa’s rugged coastal city, Cape Town. There’s a myriad of vibrant attractions, which have long made this city the focal point for South African travel.
On the way: Collect your rental car at Cape Town Airport and drive to the heart of the Mother City. Or, if you’d rather, we can organise an airport transfer and have your rental car delivered to you later. Up to you. Either way head to Grand Daddy Hotel.
When you're there: This stylish, boutique hotel has been in business for more than 120 years. It’s a heritage building in the centre of the city with a retro feel - they even have silver airstream camper vans on the roof. You can stay in them too, although you have to pay more for the privilege. It’s fair to say this is Africa’s only rooftop airstream trailer park and this feature helps to make the Grand Daddy a local landmark.
You’ll be here for 3 nights here. Cape Town highlights include the V&A Waterfront, Robben Island, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and of course, Table Mountain. You can hike to the summit (but you will need a good level of fitness to do so) or take the cable car.
If it’s your first visit, you may want to take a guided walking tour through the city or you could plan your own route and use the red tourist, ‘hop on, hop off’ buses. Cycling through the townships and sundowners on Signal Hill are popular options too.
Of course, being a major city, there are art galleries on your doorstep and a short walk up Long Street brings you to Cape Town’s nightlife. Here you’ll find many bars, pubs, restaurants and clubs.
Grand Daddy Hotel
Day 4 & 5: Garden Route - Robertson ( 2 nights )
On day 4 it’s time to leave the city behind and drive to the winelands. The dry, mountainous climate, and rich, fertile soil have helped make this area home to more than 300 vineyards. It’s almost like wine god Dionysus’ holiday retreat or perhaps Bacchus’ backyard? One thing’s for sure, this is one of the world’s largest wine producing areas.
On the way: You’ll be driving to the Robertson Wine Valley and staying at a luxury, contemporary farmhouse called Mo & Rose in Soekershof. The R60/R62 is one of the world’s longest wine routes - if not the longest - and it’s at the foot of the Langeberg mountains.
When you're there: You’ll be here for 2 nights now. Your bedroom will have a private patio with garden or mountain views. And the garden is lush in every sense of the word. The genesis of it began in the 1950’s. Now it has hundreds of different species of succulent plants, more than half of which originate in Southern Africa. Plus over 200 species of birds.
Want to explore? Kranskop is just around the corner and it’s easy to reach about 48 wineries from here. These range from boutiques, newcomers as well as old renowned family wineries. So, go wine tasting and tour the wine cellars. Picnic in the estate, go on a river cruise or blend your own bottle of wine. You could also visit the Montagu Nature Reserve and go rock climbing, there are golf courses nearby and you can go horse riding. You can even book wine tours on horseback.
Mo & Rose at Soekerhof
Day 6 & 7: Garden Route - Oudtshoorn ( 2 nights )
Remember we mentioned ostriches? Well, day 6 sees you head for Oudtshoorn which is known for its ostrich farms. Plus, it’s a stunning mountain drive.
On the way: Stop off at Swellendam, the third oldest town in South Africa, then drive the Tradouw Pass. The scenery is spectacular. Drive through the mountains and join the famous Route 62 towards Oudtshoorn. The small towns of Barrydale, Ladismith and Calitzdorp are worth exploring too.
When you're there: You’ll be staying on an olive estate so you can go olive tasting and take farm tours. On the Willow Dam near the restaurant you can use the kayaks or rowing boats. There are numerous walking trails nearby or you can hire mountain bikes from the estate. At night, look up. Little Karoo is considered to be one of the best places on earth for star gazing.
You can also explore the history and heritage of Oudtshoorn with a local guide. During the late 19th century ostrich feather farming brought huge prosperity to the Klein Karoo. A legacy from this economic ‘boom’ is the sandstone architecture, which includes the so-called ostrich feather manors. Quite a few have been preserved and declared as national monuments.
Surval Boutique Olive Estate
Day 8 & 9: Garden Route - Knysna ( 2 nights )
The tour continues for 300km along the Garden Route, stretching from Mossel Bay to Storms River. It’s during the next couple of days that you’ll pass Tsitsikamma National Park, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. This is an area of diverse vegetation, lagoons and lakes dotted along the coast.
On the way: Make your way to the Knysna River Club which is on the edge of the Knysna Lagoon and just 1.5km from the Knysna Waterfront.
When you're there: This is another of those “Cape Town moments”. There is so much on offer you’re going to have to work out what interests you most. You’ll be staying very close to the Knysna Waterfront. Here there are lots of restaurants, cafés and specialist shops. Woodmill Lane Shopping Centre has boutiques and arts & crafts galleries.
Spend at least a day at the lagoon. Throw a line from the jetty, go swimming. Walk or cycle to Thesen Islands or just go down to the beach. The Plett beaches are all sandy and glorious.
The Knysna Heads are worth a visit too. These two sandstone cliffs separate the Knysna Lagoon from the sea. You can easily drive to the eastern head where you’ll find lots of viewpoints overlooking the channel, Indian Ocean, the Knysna Lagoon and estuary, as well as the Outeniqua Mountains. If running’s your thing, it’s about a 5km jog.
There is also easy access to rock pools and beaches from the eastern head. You can only get to the western head by ferry, but it forms part of the Featherbed Nature Reserve, which is also worth visiting. There are daily 4-hour trips to the reserve which leave from the Knysna Waterfront.
Tsitsikamma is great for hiking and the big suspension bridges promise mammoth views.
You could also visit the Elephant Sanctuary and Tenikwa Wildlife Centre which is one of the largest active wildlife rehabilitation centres in the Western Cape. At World of Birds there are over 3000 birds in more than 100 walk through aviaries, and 400 different species. It’s the largest bird park in Africa and one of the few large bird parks in the world.
You’ll be staying in a chalet at Knysna River Club, a place which is all garden and trees, it’s a little haven.
Knysna River Club
Day 10: Garden Route - George ( Departure / End of Tour )
It’s Day 10. What a journey. Mull over your memories as you drive to George Airport, return your hire car and check in for your flight to Johannesburg or Cape Town.