17 Day Cape Town to Johannesburg Tour
Cape Town to Johannesburg
Day 1 – Cape Town
Upon your arrival at the “Mother City” of Cape Town you will be collected from the airport and taken on a short orientation tour of this magnificent city, before being taken to your hotel close to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront where you spend two nights. This is a city with a diverse range of attractions, sights and activities on offer - Cape Town has something for everyone. From the landmark beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay to the vibrant Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and Cape Town city centre, the scenery of the Cape Peninsula and more - time spent in Cape Town will not be forgotten.
For your own account, should you wish, and with weather permitting, we can visit Table Mountain before proceeding to the hotel.
We will overnight at the Holiday Inn Express (or similar). Take in Table Mountain views from the high-rise hotel, located in the heart of the city. They are set on a tree-lined street packed with bars, restaurants and cafes, and are conveniently close to the popular Loop Street.
From here you can take the scenic route to the V&A Waterfront. A regular ferry service takes guests to the world-famous marina with its up market shopping and entertainment choices in just 20 minutes.
Day 2 – Cape Point - Cape Town
The Fairest Cape…and it surely is! You’ll soon see for yourself where and why it earned its name. Sit back and relax, we’re going to cruise along the exquisite stretch of coastline known as Millionaire’s Paradise – from Camps Bay and Clifton to the exclusive beach hamlet of Llandudno – towards the charming working harbour of Hout Bay, where, if you so choose, you can embark on an up-close-and-personal Seal Island cruise (for your own account). Once back on terra firma, we wind along the legendary Chapman’s Peak Drive, hugging the cliffs and relishing the breathtaking ocean views, before arriving at the wild and beautiful Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, an integral part of the world-renowned Cape Floral Kingdom. We meander back along the coast towards the City, visiting the historic naval port of Simon’s Town and the endearing penguin colony at Boulder’s Beach.
We will arrive back in the city in the late afternoon.
Day 3 – Winelands - Cape Town
A superb day dedicated to celebrating the glorious grape, the exceptional winelands region, and the heavenly scenery. The area’s rich with history, and we can’t help but feel it as we move through the region to experience a wine cellar tour, where you’ll learn all about the process of winemaking, from grape to goblet. We visit the exquisite little town of Franschhoek, pass by the impressive Huguenot Monument, and in a town with a reputation for gourmet fare, where else could we choose to enjoy lunch (for own account).
After lunch we wind our way to meet the charming university town of Stellenbosch. Ample time has been set aside to stroll through this little town, absorbing the quaintness, and sneaking into the odd shop or two! A trip to the winelands isn’t complete without a wine tasting, so we will do so at one or two different wine estates. And of course, you’ll be able to purchase your favourite wine to take back home!
Day 4 – Oudtshoorn
After breakfast we make our way to Oudtshoorn along “Route 62”, the tourist route that meanders between Cape Town and Oudtshoorn, offering the shorter, scenic alternative to the N2 highway. This is an area of magnificent landscapes and towering cliffs, crystal clear streams and the abundance of trees and indigenous flora. The ever changing colours of the majestic mountains, scenic passes, rivers, vineyards and orchards, as well as the attractions, will offer you an unforgettable adventure — whether this is in the physical sense or simply a kaleidoscope of scenic tranquillity. Innovation and pride, combined with a terrain and mild climate that are harmoniously balanced, results in the prominence of this region's wines. We reach Oudtshoorn in the late afternoon, a town that is known as the "feather capital of the world”.
We will overnight at the Turnberry Boutique Hotel (or similar). The four star Turnberry Boutique Hotel in the centre of the picturesque Klein Karoo town of Oudtshoorn. A warm welcome, awaits visitors to this tiny piece of Scotland set in the heart of the Klein Karoo. Relax in the comfort of one of the well appointed air-conditioned bedrooms (each with satellite television, a coffee station and a mini bar), all with en-suite bathrooms, and cosy double beds fitted with crisp white linen. Each room also has wireless Internet connection.
Day 5 – Mossel Bay
Today we visit the Cango Caves near Oudtshoorn, which are among the biggest stalagmite formations in the world. Some of the sandstone formations are colourfully illuminated and the bizarre shapes in the caves are mainly composed of calcium carbonate. They develop as limewater drips from the stones and evaporate. The structures growing down from the cave ceiling are called stalactites, while those that grow from the ground to the top are called stalagmites.
We will also visit a working ostrich farm where one can learn more about these fascinating birds. Commercial ostrich farming started during the late 1880's in South Africa; this was also the start of the ostrich industry worldwide. The fashion demand in Europe for ostrich feathers inspired the growth of the industry, with the Oudtshoorn district quickly being established as the “ostrich capital of the world”. During the first decade of the previous century, ostrich feathers gained record prices on foreign markets, ranking 4th on the list of South African exports, after gold, diamonds and wool. The consequence of this newly found opulence meant that ostrich farmers were able to build beautiful sandstone mansions. A unique feature of the farm experience is a visit to the Ostrich Palace "Welgeluk" which was built at the height of the feather boom in 1910. The homestead is a National Monument and is a superb example of the type of architecture that was used at the time. Safari Ostrich Show Farm was established more than 40 years ago. Lunch will be enjoyed at this farm.
After lunch we make our way to the nearby town of Mossel Bay where we visit the Diaz Museum. Of the five National Monuments on the museum grounds, 4 are buildings dating between 1830 and 1902. The museum grounds themselves, situated on the shores of the Indian Ocean, are a magnificent historical setting. They are situated at the very site where European explorers came ashore and made contact with the indigenous people. Information about the Khoi-Khoi and explorers can be seen in the Maritime Museum.
We will overnight at the Point Hotel (or similar). The Point Hotel is built right on the rocks above a huge natural rock pool and overlooks the endless blue expanse of the Indian Ocean. From your balcony you can watch the Humpback and Southern Right whales or the dolphins passing.
Day 6 – Knysna
This morning after breakfast we visit the “Featherbed Nature Reserve”. This spectacular four-hour eco-experience includes a return ferry, walk and lunch and a 25-minute ferry trip on the Knysna Lagoon to the Western head (The Reserve is only accessible by ferry.) Upon arrival, guests board a Unimog drawn trailer and drive up to the top of the Reserve. While stopping at a scenic lookout point, our specialist guide will share with you some fascinating tales about Knysna and the surrounding area while you enjoy the panoramic views. An optional 2,2 km guided nature walk takes you through the forest, onto the cliffs, into the caves and along the scenic coast. Once back in the Food Forest, a unique outdoor restaurant situated under the Milkwood Trees, you will enjoy a spectacular 12 dish buffet lunch.
Later this afternoon you are at leisure to stroll around the town or the cute Knysna Waterfront to catch up on some shopping or relaxation.
We will overnight at the Knysna Hollow (or similar). The chalets and rooms are set in lush gardens and have been tastefully decorated with a Knysna forest feel. Room amenities include televisions, tea and coffee making facilities and private patios.
Day 7 - Knysna
This morning we head back on the N2 to Plettenberg Bay where we board a boat for an exciting launch through the waves to see if we can spot whales, dolphins and other ocean mammals in this pristine coast. There is quite a good chance that we may see the resident Bryde's Whales, as well as the migratory Southern Right whales (depending on time of year) and thousands of seals at Robberg Marin Reserve.
The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy. Any further activities are for your own account, but your guide will be on hand to supply transport and advise on activities. Please note that travel requests and distances should be within reason.
Day 8 - Durban
This morning we travel to Port Elizabeth from where we fly to Durban and overnight at City Lodge, Umhlanga Ridge (or similar). Ideally situated next to the upmarket Gateway shopping and entertainment complex, City Lodge Umhlanga Ridge blends into the surroundings of its modern environment.
The five-storey hotel is in the heart of the new business district that has emerged in the Umhlanga area and is a short drive from Umhlanga’s popular promenade and beach front.
Day 9 – Shakaland
From Durban we make our way to Eshowe where we visit the Aerial Boardwalk in the Dlinza Forest, here to see some of the fascinating bird-life in this town, before we head to Shakaland where we overnight. Shakaland is a traditional Zulu "Umuzi" or homestead, divided into the home of the Zulu's and hotel rooms, and is a unique resort which was built on the set that was used for the filming of the movies, Shaka Zulu and John Ross. Here you will feel the pulsating rhythm of mysterious and magical Africa as you re-live the excitement and romance of the days of Shaka, King of the Zulus, in this authentic re-creation of the Great Kraal overlooking the Phobane Lake. Experience the sight of assegai-wielding warriors, share the fascinating secrets of the Sangomas and witness traditional customs such as tribal dancing, spear-making and the beer-drinking ceremonies. Stay in quality accommodation in traditional beehive huts, with all mod cons such as en-suite bathrooms. Protea Hotel Shakaland is more than just a tourist attraction - it is an enriching experience affording a better understanding of the Zulu nation, its people and their intriguing customs.
Day 10 – Shakaland - Hluhluwe uMfolozi Park
From Shakaland and the morning’s cultural activity, we make our way to the Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Park where we would spend the night at Hilltop Camp. The accommodation here is in a brick under thatch chalet, each bedroom with its own private bathroom/wash-basin and toilet. Each chalet is also equipped with a fridge.
Our game viewing commences immediately upon entering the gates into the park.
This first evening we go on a night drive in an open game-viewing vehicle with staff from KZN Wildlife, the organisation that is tasked with running this reserve. This is to improve on your chances of seeing some of the nocturnal species such as leopard, lion, hyena, genet, bush babies and then the other nocturnal animals such as the owls and nightjars. You also get to see some of the diurnal animals, with their eyes lighting up like a little town in the reflection of the spotlights when you chance on a herd of Impala.
Day 11 – Hluhluwe uMfolozi Park
Today will be spent on extended game drives to various areas of the Park, with an early start to make the most of the day and to possibly chance upon one of the predators returning to their day-time lair. Set in the heart of Zululand, this is the oldest game reserve in Africa, where Zulu kings such as Dingiswayo and Shaka hunted and put in place the first conservation laws, where today the "big five" of African legend stalk the verdant savannah. Established in 1895, game viewing is the prime attraction.
As the home of Operation Rhino in the 1950s and 60s, the Park became world renowned for its white rhino conservation. The Park covers some 96 000 ha and contains an immense diversity of fauna and flora. Hluhluwe is characterised by hilly topography, and this northern section of the park is noted for its wide variety of both bird and animal life. Sightings of rhino, giraffe, buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, warthog, baboon, vervet monkey, and antelope such as impala, nyala and kudu are seen frequently and with the possibility of seeing lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, black rhino, hippo, crocodile, monitor lizard, hyena and antelope such as red duiker, steenbuck, waterbuck, bushbuck and then the rare Samango monkey and wild dog, much less frequently. These drives are conducted with your guide in his/her vehicle.
Day 12 – Swaziland
After our morning game viewing we leave the Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Park, making our way to Reilly’s Rock (or similar). Situated in the Mliliwane Game Sanctuary, Reilly’s Rock’s unique lodge has been tastefully decorated in keeping with its colonial roots by Swaziland's leading conservation team. Notwithstanding the necessary subtle additions and renovations, the house still stands as it was built almost a century ago. Mliliwane Game Reserve is Swaziland's pioneer conservation area and is situated in a beautiful, secluded sanctuary in Swaziland's Valley of Heaven, the Ezulwini Valley, an area between Mbabane and Manzini.
The Sanctuary covers 4,560 hectares and comprises of a southern and northern section. The southern section is predominately open grassland plains with middleveld vegetation, stretching up onto the striking Nyonyane Mountain with its exposed granite peak known as the "Rock of Execution". Nyonyane is where ancient San once lived and where Swazi Royal graves are situated giving historical significance.
The Kingdom of Swaziland is a country located in Southern Africa and is relatively small in area, similar in size to Kuwait. Swaziland is a landlocked country, bordered by South Africa on three sides except to the east, where it borders Mozambique. The country, inhabited primarily by the Swazi people, is named after the 19th century King Mswati II, from whom the people also take their name.
Day 13, 14, 15 – Kruger National Park
After breakfast we visit the Ngwenya Glass Factory in Swaziland before departing for the Kruger Park. The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks among the best in Africa. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this national park of nearly 2 million hectares is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies.
Truly the flagship of the South African national parks, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals. Kruger Park is an excellent venue with good sightings of lion, elephant, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, warthog, baboon, monkey, hippo and impala regularly seen. The more elusive animals like leopard and wild dog are an exciting find.
We will go on a night drive in an open safari vehicle on one of the evenings, this to enhance the possibility of seeing the nocturnal species such as leopard, lion, hyena, genet, bush babies and then the other nocturnal animals such as the smaller cats, owls and nightjars. You also get to see most of the diurnal animals, with their eyes lighting up like a little town in the reflection of the spotlights when you chance on a herd of Impala. These drives are conducted by SANParks, the organisation tasked with running this Park.
We will spend our nights in Kruger in bungalow accommodation inside the Kruger Park. Although not graded, these bungalows are of a two or three star standard. Here the rooms have twin beds, each with a private shower, toilet and hand basin en-suite. The brick under thatch rooms are equipped with air-conditioning, some also with ceiling fans and a fridge. There is insect proof screening on the doors and windows. You will be provided with bath and hand towels as well as soap. In the game reserve we will have breakfast and dinners in the restaurants.
We enjoy a full game-viewing programme for the balance of the days. Your guide in his vehicle conducts the remainder of the game drives. We encourage an early start to make the most of the best time of day to view the animals. We will try and be the first one out at dawn - this to see if we are able to sight some of the nocturnal predators returning to their daytime resting place and then to have breakfast, possibly at a different locality.
Day 16 – Drakensberg Escarpment
Today we depart the Kruger Park and travel to the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, which is a non-profit organisation that relies entirely on the tour entrance fee and private/corporate donations and sponsorship. It is this funding that keeps the breeding projects running, as well as purchasing of medicines needed in the hospital, veterinary fees, food for the numerous animals and birds which are kept at the centre and general maintenance of the enclosures. A visit to the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is an unforgettable experience. The centre provides a home for many of South Africa’s abandoned injured and poisoned wildlife and is a highly regarded contributor to wildlife in our country. Witness the caring and nursing of poisoned, injured and abandoned wild birds and animals. A multitude of interesting wildlife encounters await you and animals that may be seen include Lion, Leopard, Serval, Lynx, Honey Badger, Eagles, Vultures and any baby animals that they may have at the time of our visit. A visit to the centre will stimulate awareness and understanding of the plight which our wildlife faces today.
Thereafter we will visit the Panorama Escarpment and depending on time, some of the view-sites such as God’s Window, Blyde River Canyon, Berlin and Lisbon waterfalls, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, etc.
We will overnight at Hannah Lodge (or similar). Hannah is a reflection of Africa in its entire natural splendour, a captivating tapestry of African sounds, smells and colours. The rising sun showers the valley with shades of pink, red and orange. Here the visitor can experience a rare sense of freedom and renewed inspiration.
Day 17 – Johannesburg
This morning we will visit the historical pioneering town of Pilgrims Rest. Mining in this region of Mpumalanga dates back many centuries, when unknown miners worked quartz reefs in the area for gold. Proof of these diggings can still be found in this area. The history of this small delightful village dates back to 1873 when a miner, Alex Patterson, discovered alluvial gold on the farm named Ponieskrantz. He had left the Mac-Mac area to search for a place that was less congested. Though the discovery was kept as a secret, the inevitable happened when a second prospector William Trafford also discovered gold close by. What they had found in this beautiful valley drew optimistic gold panners and prospectors from all over the country and the World (news of gold strikes of this magnitude travel fast!).On 22nd September 1873 Pilgrim's Rest was officially proclaimed a gold field and the scatter of tents and rudimentary shacks soon grew into a flourishing little village complete with sturdy brick houses, church, shops, canteens, a newspaper and the well-known Royal Hotel.
The diggers called it Pilgrim's Rest because here, at last, after so many false trails and faded dreams they had truly found their home. In due course the alluvial deposits were depleted and the locals turned to forestry, but their village, whose residents still number in the hundreds, has been painstakingly preserved as a "living museum" and major South African tourist venue.
After this visit we make our way to Johannesburg where you will be dropped off at your hotel or at the O R Tambo International Airport in time for your flight.