South Africa - The Garden Route: Beauty and the Beasts

Journey to the most inspirational spots in South Africa, where the great masterpieces of Mother Nature will leave you awe-struck and breathless. Of the world’s six floral kingdoms, the Fynbos kingdom in the Cape is the smallest and richest, with over 6,000 endemic species thriving in bursts of vibrant color. Feel your heart soar at the captivating majesty of prehistoric caverns, mountaintops, and towering giant forests. Lose your breath at the fearsome beasts of the great ocean depths, as you search for whales and great white sharks by boat. Allow peace to overtake you wandering rose gardens and idyllic shorelines. Chase the adrenaline rush as you seek out the nobility of the animal kingdom on safari. Let the artwork of the natural world enthrall you.

Days 1/2

NEW YORK/CAPE TOWN

Your journey begins as you board your overnight flight to Cape Town, arriving the next evening. Your home for the next four nights has over 200 years of history within its walls and is situated in six acres of attractive landscaped parkland on the banks of the Liesbeeck River. VINEYARD HOTEL & SPA. (Meals Aloft)

 

Day 3

CAPE TOWN: CAPE PENINSULA/BOULDERS BEACH/KIRSTENBOSCH BOTANICAL GARDENS

Step into the Fynbos as you arrive at the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Fynbos, meaning fine-leaved plants, is the smallest of the six floral kingdoms, and the densest. This miracle of nature is contained within the Cape region of South Africa, and includes over 9,000 vascular plant species, and around 70% of them found only here. At Cape Point, see rare proteas, the endangered sago-belly frog, Cape grysbok, Cape mountain zebra, and Cape fox. After lunch, get up close to braying “jackass” penguins at Boulders Beach, and end your day at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, a living display of South African flora, including a wild almond hedge planted in 1660. VINEYARD HOTEL & SPA. (B,L)

 

Day 4

TABLE MOUNTAIN/WINELANDS

Ascend Table Mountain in a cable car and share the magnificent views with scampering hyraxes. A World Heritage Site, Table Mountain is alive with birds and adorned with 1,470 plant species. Afterward, venture off on a scenic expedition to the winelands region situated below the spectacular Boland Mountains and discover the internationally acclaimed vineyards of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek on the Western Cape. All the wine estates you’ll visit in the region offer tastings and cellar tours and you’ll enjoy lunch in one of them. Return to Cape Town in the late afternoon where your evening is at leisure. VINEYARD HOTEL & SPA. (B,L)

 

Days 5/6

CAPE TOWN/HERMANUS

Drive the world-famous whale coast of South Africa, along the Hermanus Wine Route, meandering through the picturesque Hemel-en-Aarde Area which unites three wine wards with a reputation for exceptional quality, small production, and cool-climate wines; enjoy lunch and wine tasting here. Continue to Hermanus and The Marine, which overlooks South Africa's most pristine whale sanctuary, and it is just a stone's throw from one of the greatest densities of the endangered great white shark in the Cape.  The Marine offers guests the unique opportunity to experience the finest land-based whale watching in the world. Enjoy a boat-based whale watching excursion or marine cruise from Gansbaai depending on the time of year.  Dyer Island is an access controlled Important Bird Area (IBA) for the conservation of its many resident bird species, including African Penguins. Adjacent to Dyer Island is Geyser Rock, home to a 60,000 strong Cape fur seal colony. These seals are present all year round. Venture into the channel between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock, the world-famous “Shark Alley.” 

 

From June to December:

This is quite possibly the only place in the world where one can see a mighty whale and a great white shark on the same boat trip (all less than 20 minutes from harbor!).

 

From January to June:

During this time of year, travelers can spot Bryde’s whales and bottlenose and humpback dolphins.  This is also the beginning of the ‘sardine run’ and the best seabird encounters happen during this time of year.

MARINE HERMANUS. (B,D)

 

Day 7

Garden Route: Hermanus to Outshoorn

Drive along South Africa’s Garden Route to the Dias Museum complex. The museum grounds are situated at the very site where European explorers came ashore and made contact with the indigenous people in 1488. Explore the five buildings that make up the museum complex as you explore this area’s history. In the evening, settle into the cozy town of Oudthsoorn, and spend the night at your historic hotel, known for its beautiful rose garden.  ROSENHOF COUNTRY HOUSE. (B,L,D)

 

Days 8/9

Garden Route: Oudtshoorn to Plettenberg Bay/Tsitskamma

Begin today in the golden depths of Cango Caves. These limestone caverns are a natural masterpiece of palatial chambers and plunging stalagmites, believed to span well over 20 miles of winding pathways, and have produced incredible archeological artifacts belonging to prehistoric man. Continue to Knysna, where you will be given access to Featherbed Nature Reserve, a protected nature area and South African heritage site that allows limited visitors, and only in the company of an expert guide. Enjoy unsurpassed views of the Lagoon, mountains, and Knysna, as your guide spins the history and ecology of the Reserve. End your day at Plettenberg Bay, one of the most scenic areas of Cape Town. Next day is devoted to Tsitsikamma National Park, Africa's oldest and largest marine reserve, known for its giant Outeniqua yellowwood trees. HUNTER’S COUNTRY HOUSE. (B,L,D)

 

Days 10/11/12

Addo Elephant National Park

Embark on the adventure of a lifetime to seek out Africa’s “big five” at Gorah Elephant Camp. Gorah is the only private concession and Camp situated in the middle of the famous Addo Elephant National Park, home to the densest population of elephants on Earth! Game drives at Gorah, expertly led by passionate and professional guides, are a testament to the safari of old.  Intrepidly searching the vast terrain for animals is the essence of the experience with the excitement of discovering big game in their natural habitat.  GORAH ELEPHANT CAMP.  (B,L,D Daily)

 

Days 13/14

Addo Elephant National Park/Port Elizabeth/Johannesburg/USA

Enjoy a final game run this morning before flying back to Johannesburg from Port Elizabeth.  Connect with your flight, arriving home the next day. (B, Meals Aloft)

 

Post Extension to KRUGER NATIONAL/LUKIMBI

 

Spend a night in Johannesburg at the FAIRLAWNS BOUTIQUE HOTEL, located in the heart of leafy Sandton.  Next day, fly to Skukuza and transfer to Kruger National Park and your secluded and tranquil lodge, LUKIMBI SAFARI LODGE. Safaris are conducted either on foot or in open-sided game-viewing vehicles and led by professional rangers and Shangaan trackers. The reserve is home to the great cats – lion, leopard, and cheetah, as well as elephant, buffalo, black and white rhino, zebra, giraffe and a host of antelope. Night drives may afford you a glimpse of elusive nocturnal animals such as the armadillo like pangolin and African wildcat. Comprised of 16 spacious suites, your luxury lodge meanders along the banks of the Lwakahle River and offers every creature comfort! 

Prices starting at $7,695. For further booking, date, and pricing info please contact info@classicescapes.

Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.