This 12 day self drive journey takes you along the iconic Garden Route running across the south coast of South Africa. Beginning with city exploration in Cape Town for three nights and two nights in the famous Franschhoek, all of the hotels have been carefully selected for their reputation as well as their central location making them ideal to explore the cities by foot.
After visiting the Cape Peninsula, seeing the beautiful views of the city from Table Mountain and inspecting the wine estates of the Cape Winelands region, you will set off on the scenic Garden Route onto Oudshorrn, the ostrich farming capital of the Karroo. Here you will stay at De ZeeKoe Guest Farm, a working farm between the Swartberg and Outeniqua mountains. We advise you book a tour to come up close and personal with the furry meerkats of nearby Meerkat Manor, no relation to the Aleksandr European lineage of meerkats.
This trip is filled with opportunities to view wildlife in its natural habitat, including the wealth of marine life in the coastal haven of Plettenberg Bay while staying at Cottage Pie Guest House.
You will end this unforgettable holiday with a two day safari at the Kariega Game Reserve in the malaria free Eastern Cape. A wonderful way to experience South Africa's famous wildlife and scenery, the reserve offers twice daily game drives to see the Big Five alongside an array of activities to truly immerse yourself in and learn about this beautiful countryside. Our South Africa experts have devised the perfect mix of cosmopolitan city fun with thrilling wildlife adventure, showing you the best of what South Africa's has to offer.
Day 1 Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Cape Town.
Day 2 Arrive into Cape Town Airport where you will collect your car hire and drive to the City Centre. You will spend three nights at The Trevoyan Guest House, a luxurious boutique hotel in the historic heart of the city. This intimate hotel is situated in the Heritage Square and is surrounded by fascinating history, offering direct access to the city’s vibrant street life, shopping and fine dining. Your hotel stay includes breakfast.
Day 3 One of the best things to do in Cape Town is a walking tour of the city, exploring and getting to know the provincial capital city of South Africa. Pay a visit to the Castle and Company Gardens for a fascinating insight into the region’s multi-layered past. Or if it is a clear day head for the summit of Table Mountain following the zigzag path of Platteklip Gorge, the route which was hiked by the original explorers and possible to complete in three hours. A picnic basket timed for sunset followed by a cable car descent as the city’s lights start to twinkle is a favourite past time of many Capetonians and tourists alike.
Day 4 Take a day trip to the Cape Peninsula with a knowledgeable guide on hand to enhance the experience and appreciation of this scenic route’s dramatic beauty, a fascinating look at the Cape’s past and present. The best places to eat in Cape Town, the popular and well known restaurants such as The Test Kitchen and Aubergine, require advance reservations. Contact the Rainbow team for assistance with recommendations and reservations.
Day 5 This morning make your way to the Cape Winelands. Your base for 2 nights. Avondrood is a beautiful guest house situated in the heart of Franschhoek, a stone throw away from all the restaurants and shops along the main street.
Day 6 With a staggering choice of wine estates to explore, some advance planning will ensure you get the most out of your visit. The local tourist boards of Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl have excellent links and routing suggestions. You may like to book onto one of the more unique wine tours, with choices including by horseback or bicycle, or immerse yourself with a full day guided tour with none of the responsibility of driving.
Day 7 After an early breakfast depart for the scenic R62 travelling through Western Cape’s interesting towns of Montagu, known for its hot springs, and Calitzdorp, stopping for tastings of quality port, before a lunch of some of the region’s famous Karroo lamb. Your day’s journey will end at the De Zeekoe Guest Farm, located in the heart of the Klein Karoo approximately 10 km outside the town of Oudtshoorn. Set on 2,000 hectares De Zeekoe is a working farm nestled between the majestic Swartberg and Outeniqua mountains. Your overnight stay will include breakfast.
Day 8 Whilst staying in De Zeekoe you can enjoy a sunrise adventure to a nearby habituated Meerkat colony (for an additional cost of £35 and weather dependent). Other activities available include visiting an Ostrich Farm and the well preserved stalagmites and stalactites of the Cango Caves before setting off to drive the Outeniqua Pass. You will pass through the coastal towns of Wilderness and Knysna, renowned for its vast lagoon and oysters, before arriving in Plettenberg Bay. Here you will spend three nights at the Cottage Pie Guest Lodge, with breakfast included.
Day 9 Make the most of the abundance of marine mammals in the Plettenberg Bay with a boat trip to see the Brydes whales and huge schools of dolphins surfing the waves. A wonderful land based wildlife activity is a visit to the nearby Monkeyland. The world’s first free roaming primate sanctuary, Monkeyland offers safaris led by their knowledgeable rangers through the forest looking for numerous monkeys wandering, eating and playing.
Day 10 After all the action packed days you will be forgiven for wanting to have a relaxing day at leisure, enjoying the sun and the uninterrupted ocean views on the deck of the Periwinkle Guest Lodge. Or, for those with a head for heights, there is the world’s highest bungee bridge, the Bloukran Bungee; another way to experience the area’s fantastic views.
Day 11 After a breakfast with a view you will depart Plettenberg Bay for your safari destination, arriving at the Kariega Game Reserve for lunchtime. Perched on the top of a hillside, granting breathtaking views across the Kariega River Valley from each of the 21 log cabin’s private viewing decks, Kariega Main Lodge is a welcoming and tranquil place to enjoy your African bush experience. Your 2 night stay includes all meals and twice daily game activities.
Day 12 The Kariega Main Lodge offers twice daily game drives, experiencing the dramatic African landscape in the luxury of a 4x4 drive. Enjoy up-close encounters with the Big Five wandering naturally in their habitats; witness the heart-racing sight of lions hunting and feeding, the incredibly social interactions of a herd of elephants and magnificent hippos taking a dip. Along with the twice daily game drives, Kariega Main Lodge offers a range of exciting activities to choose from: cruises on the Kariega River, safari walks in the predator free eastern section of the reserve, canoeing down the Bushmans or Kariega Rivers and fishing (own equipment is required).
Day 13 After your game activity in the morning and a leisurely breakfast, you will check out of Kariega and drive to Port Elizabeth to return your hire car and check in for your overnight flight, via Johannesburg, to London.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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