1. Winelands: 2 Days/ 1 Night
Depart Cape Town and travel into the heart of the fabled Western Cape winelands. Enjoy a cellar tour and wine tasting at the Delheim Estate near Stellenbosch; a walking tour of the historic heart of Stellenbosch, the second-oldest town in South Africa; a “Cape Malay”-style lunch at “The Volkskombuis”; and another post-lunch wine tasting at an estate of your choice. Check in to Soverby Guest House (www.soverby.co.za) mid-afternoon – time to relax and stroll around this working wine farm. Dinner at leisure on the farm - typical South African cuisine! Meals included : lunch, dinner
Day 2 Morning visit to the picturesque village of Franschhoek. See the Huguenot Monument (a memorial to the 17th century French Huguenots who settled this valley); drive up the spectacular Franschhoek Mountain Pass; enjoy a wine tasting at a Franschhoek estate; a picnic lunch at the Boschendal Estate; and a post-lunch wine and cheese-tasting at the Fairview Estate outside the town of Paarl. We return to Cape Town by 17h00. Meals included : breakfast; picnic lunch.
2. Ocean (Whales In Season!), Wine And Mountains: 2 Days/ 1 Night
Morning visit to the picturesque village of Franschhoek. See the Huguenot Monument (a memorial to the 17th century French Huguenots who settled this valley); drive up the spectacular Franschhoek Mountain Pass; enjoy a wine tasting at a Franschhoek estate; a picnic lunch at the Boschendal Estate; and a post-lunch wine and cheese-tasting at the Fairview Estate outside the town of Paarl. We return to Cape Town by 17h00. Meals included : breakfast; picnic lunch.
After breakfast, we visit a wine estate in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley near Hermanus. Then we travel via the wheatlands of the Overberg region to the Genadendal Mission Station. The first mission station in South Africa, it was established in 1737 by Moravian missionary Georg Schmidt. Now a National Monument, it boasts many of the original white-washed cottages, plus the church, old water mill and 18th century printing press. We enjoy a typical South African lunch at a farm-stall on the Houwhoek Pass; and return to Cape Town via the orchards of Elgin and Grabouw and Sir Lowry’s Pass. Meals included : breakfast, lunch.
3. West Cost Ramble: 3 Days/ 2 Nights
A slow drive up the West Coast, with a stop for that postcard-view over Table Bay and Table Mountain at Blouwbergstrand. On to the Langebaan Lagoon for a mid-morning swim and walk on the beach. Then - a culinary experience that you’ll never forget! At “Die Strandloper” - an al fresco restaurant on the beach. Freshly-caught linefish and lobsters are barbecued before your eyes; bread is baked in an outdoor oven! When you need a break, take a quick walk along the beach, or have a swim! Tired, satiated, we then check in to The Farmhouse Hotel . (www.thefarmhouselangebaan.co.za). Dinner tonight will NOT be necessary! Meals included : lunch.
A gentle, meandering day – we take a look at the port of Velddrif, at the mouth of the Berg River; visit the Rocher Pan Nature Reserve just north of Velddrif for some bird-watching; then drift slowly along the coast, via the fishing villages of St. Helena Bay and Stompneus Bay, to the beach resort of Paternoster. The afternoon can be spent at leisure on the beach, or strolling around the historic fishing village; or we can visit the nearby Cape Columbine lighthouse and Columbine Nature Reserve. Check into a The Blue Dolphin Guest House (www.bluedolphin.co.za) for overnight. Dinner (seafood, of course!) to own account at one of the local restaurants. Meals included : breakfast.
After a walk along the beach and swim (?!), and a leisurely breakfast, we drive back to Cape Town via the quaint country town of Darling – the home of South Africa’s most famous satirist, Pieter-Dirk Uys (perhaps better-known as Evita Bezuidenhout) – and the villages of Riebeeck West and Riebeeck Kasteel, enjoying a wine-tasting en route. Meals included : breakfast.
4. Route 62 And The Garden Route: 6 Days/ 5 Nights
Travel via the Dutoitskloof Mountain Pass and the town of Worcester, to the Graham Beck wine estate near Robertson. Perhaps South Africa’s top Sparkling Wine, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay on offer for tasting. On via the historic Cogmanskloof Pass to the stunning village of Montagu. Check into the Montagu Country Hotel (www.montagucountryhotel.co.za. Afternoon at leisure to take a stroll around town – literally a walk through South African architectural history. Meals included
After breakfast, we continue on “Route 62” (South Africa’s answer to “Route 66”!) through the Little Karoo valley, via the striking Huis River Pass, to Calitzdorp, the Port headquarters of South Africa. A wine, port and brandy tasting at the Bo-plaas Estate, then we head on to Oudtshoorn, the “ostrich capital” of South Africa. We visit the world-renowned Cango Caves before checking into the Thorntree Country Lodge (www.thethorntree.co.za) – on an ostrich farm just outside town. Dinner (ostrich, of course!) at the lodge.Meals included : breakfast, dinner.
This morning we visit one of the ostrich show farms near Oudtshoorn – then travel over the spectacular Outeniqua Pass to the narrow coastal strip of South Africa known as the “Garden Route”. We travel via the Lake District to the lagoon-side town of Knysna. Time to explore the arty town centre before we check into The Knysna Log Inn (www.log-inn.co.za). Dinner to own account – a multitude of restaurant options! Meals included : breakfast.
Knysna. A trip to the Tsitsikamma Coastal National Park, the only coastal and marine reserve in the country, for a hike to the mighty mouth of the Storms River. An optional bungi jump (the highest in the world!) for the insanely adventurous en route back to Knysna. Meals included : breakfast.
Knysna. This morning we take a ferry across the Knysna lagoon to the Western Head – and the Featherbed Nature Reserve. A 4 X 4 trip, hike along the clifftops and buffet lunch under the milkwoods before returning by ferry to Knysna. This afternoon enjoy an open-vehicle game drive in the Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve – lion, rhino, giraffe, buffalo, hippo and a large variety of antelope to be seen! Meals included : breakfast, lunch.
After breakfast, we depart Knysna and travel via Mossel Bay and the Overberg - a major wheat-farming region – to the historic town of Swellendam, the third-oldest in the country, where we enjoy a light lunch. On via Sir Lowry’s Pass and the Hottentots Holland Mountains to Cape Town. Meals included : breakfast, lunch.
5. Not The Regular Western Cape Tour!: 7 Days/ 6 Nights
Travel via the False Bay coast, the fishing harbours of Hermanus and Gansbaai and one of the oldest Moravian mission stations in South Africa at Elim. To Cape Agulhas, the southern tip of the African continent and meeting-point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Take a look at the lighthouse museum, then on to the fishing village and coastal resort of Arniston. Check into the Arniston Seaside Cottages (www.arniton-online.co.za). Rest of afternoon at leisure to stroll on the magnificent beach, swim or take a hike to the tidal cave. Dinner tonight a South African “braai”! Meals included : dinner.
Travel inland via the wheatlands of the Overberg to the Robertson / Bonnievale wine region, one of the least-discovered of the South African wine-producing areas. A number of stops for tasting and buying at the estates along the banks of the Breede River, then on to the historic town of Swellendam (the third-oldest European town in the country) for overnight at the Swellendam Country Lodge (www.swellendamlodge.com). Dinner to own account at one of the village’s restaurants. Meals included : breakfast.
Today we head east to the famous Garden Route region of South Africa’s east coast. We travel via the harbour of Mossel Bay and the “lake district” of the country to the lagoon-side town of Knysna. On to the seaside playground of South Africa, Plettenberg Bay – and a 2-hour “ocean safari” in quest of whales, dolphins, penguins and marine birds. Overnight at the Southern Cross Beach Lodge (www.southerncrossbeach.co.za) - situated literally on the 5km long Robberg Beach. Dinner to own account at one of Plett’s many restaurants. Meals included : breakfast.
We leave the Indian Ocean and head inland, via the awesome Outeniqua Pass, to the arid, semi-desert Karoo region. At Oudtshoorn we visit the Cango Caves, the largest cave system in the world. Then it’s over one of the oldest and most scenic mountain passes in the country, the Swartberg Pass, to the village of Prince Albert, snoozing at the base of the Swartberg. The town is a wonderful mix of Cape Dutch and Karoo vernacular architecture – and the 150 year old guesthouse where we overnight, Onse Rus (www.onserus.co.za) is a living museum, complete with a permanent exhibition of local artists’ works. Late afternoon at leisure to stroll the streets, or simply relax on the verandah and watch the world go by. Dinner at one of the village’s restaurants to own account. Meals included : breakfast.
Today sees us travel via the restored Victorian spa-village of Matjiesfontein – tea and scones at the Lord Milner Hotel?! – and the deciduous fruit-farming region of Ceres to the historic town of Tulbagh. Tulbagh was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1969 – and the historic centre has subsequently been restored, and is the finest example of an 18th / 19th century “village” in the country. We take a stroll down Church Street, visit the beautiful Drostdy (former seat of Dutch East India Company power in the area), and the Theuniskraal wine estate, then check into the Manley Wine Lodge (www.manleywinelodge.co.za) on the edge of the village for overnight. Dinner at one of the village’s restaurants to own account. Meals included : breakfast.
We travel over another awesome mountain pass, Bain’s Kloof, and via the twin villages of Riebeeck West and Riebeeck Kasteel to one of the most remote pieces of coastline in the Western Cape – the fishing village of Paternoster – for some seaside relaxation. Check into the Blue Dolphin Guesthouse (www.bluedolphin.co.za) - again, literally on the beach, within walking distance of two excellent seafood restaurants. Time to relax, stroll on the endless beach, watch for dolphins or whales from the deck of the guesthouse or take a hike in the nearby Cape Columbine Nature Reserve (and see the Cape Columbine lighthouse). Meals included : breakfast.
We head down the west coast to Cape Town, with stops at the Saldanha Bay harbour, the Langebaan lagoon and at Melkbosstrand for those classic photographs of Table Mountain across Table Bay. Back to the city by mid-afternoon. Meals included : breakfast.