Day 1 - Knysna
We collect you from your overnight accommodation or from the Port Elizabeth Airport and travel to Knysna, which is in the heart of the Garden Route. Along the way we stop at the Paul Sauer Bridge over the Storms River to take a stroll onto the bridge and for a refreshment break. A place of "People, Beauty and Mystery" is what comes to mind when describing Knysna. The exceptionally equitable climate with rain falling throughout the year ensures it remains perennially green. The town nestles between the impressive Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean, with the world-renowned forests encircling it like a protective mantle. At the heart of Knysna is the 21 ha lagoon protected from the sea by the monolithic sandstone "Heads" - silent sentinels looking down on the centuries of the rich history of this unique part of "paradise on earth".
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 2 - Knysna
Today we go on a tour to the “Featherbed Nature Reserve”. Featherbed gives visitors to the Garden Route an unforgettable experience on the Knysna Lagoon. The Lagoon, more accurately defined as an estuary, has five fresh water rivers flowing in from the surrounding Outeniqua Mountains meeting with the surge of sea water from the Indian Ocean through the mighty headlands – known as the 'Knysna Heads' - the grand sandstone cliffs towering above the entrance to the Knysna Lagoon. Featherbed is a privately-owned, registered Nature Reserve and a South African Heritage Site, No.59. It is a pristine piece of paradise situated on the Western Head of Knysna and is accessible by ferry only. After driving through the reserve to the top of the Western Head, you can take the optional, 2.2 kilometre guided walk, passing through Milkwood forests onto the steep sandstone cliffs, into ancient Khoi Khoi sea caves and along a scenic coastal path fringed with aromatic fynbos. Your guide will inform you on the ecology, fauna, flora, bird and marine life in the reserve. On the coastal walk back, you can often spot the resident Black African Oyster Catcher, one of the rarest coastal birds in South Africa. Featherbed Nature Reserve is home to a breeding program of the rare Blue Duiker - one of the smallest antelope species in the world - the beautiful Knysna Loerie and the endangered Knysna Sea Horse.
Lunch will be at The Forest Restaurant is situated on the edge of the Lagoon under a canopy of Milkwood trees.
The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to enjoy what Knysna has to offer.
Day 3 – Oudtshoorn
Today we travel to Oudtshoorn, stopping at Dolphin Point to view this stunning beach and hopefully see some dolphins before making our way up the scenic Outeniqua Pass to the town of Oudtshoorn in the Little Karoo. Oudtshoorn is a fairly short drive from Knysna and is known as the "feather capital of the world”. Here we visit the Cango Caves near Oudtshoorn, which are among the biggest stalagmite formations in the world. One can go for extensive subterranean walks in the widely branching caves. 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. A unique feature of the 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 a superb example of the type of architecture that was used at the time. We will enjoy lunch at this farm.
For your own account you may have time to visit the Cango Wildlife Ranch and Valley of Ancients, an endangered species breeding facility extraordinaire. The oldest and biggest cheetah contact centre worldwide offers visitors the rare opportunity of interacting with hand reared cheetahs and getting actively involved in saving this species and others from extinction.
For the adventurous there is an opportunity to come face to face with wildlife in the Natural Encounters programme where you can touch a cheetah, enjoy the closeness of a tiger cub, wrap yourself in a python and even dive with Nile crocodiles.
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 4 - Cape Town
After breakfast we make our way to Cape Town along “Route 62”, the tourist route that meanders between Cape Town and Oudtshoorn, offering the shorter, scenic alternative to the N2 highway. It's 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 multitude of 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. Route 62 will take you along the longest wine route in the Western Cape and most likely the whole world. In the late afternoon we drop you off at your overnight accommodation or at the Cape Town International Airport in time for your flight.