South Africa Escape Tour - XSAE
Number of Days: 14
Welcome to South Africa! One of the most enchanting and diverse countries in the world! Starting in Cape Town, tread along the Atlantic and Indian coast, go south to Cape Point and visit a number of historic destinations in the Western Cape. Look for adventure along the forests and coastal towns of the Garden Route, traverse the fruit route of the Eastern Cape and even take to Oudtshoorn in the Great Karoo.
DAY 1: Cape Town
Wamkelekile e iKapa. Welcome to Cape Town. The Mother city is South Africa's oldest city and one of three official capital cities. For flights arriving today, an Our team member will meet and greet you at Cape Town airport. A airport transfer is available at selected times to take you to our starting hotel in the city. If you arrive early enough you'll have free time to explore Cape Town and its tourist attractions. This evening meet your tour leader as well as your fellow travellers from all over the world. Enjoy a welcome dinner tonight with your travel companions.
Included experiences: Arrive at Cape Town international airport and transfer to the starting hotel in the city. Enjoy an included welcome dinner this evening.
Accommodation: Cape Town Lodge, Holiday Inn Express Cape Town, or similar
DAY 2: Cape Town city tour
Your first full day in South Africa kicks off with a driving tour of Cape Town city centre. Stops include the Castle of Good Hope, famous St. George’s cathedral and a stroll through the colourful Cape Malay quarters. You will also see the well-known Company's Gardens - the oldest garden in the country. The afternoon is free to explore this incredible city. With a drop off at the beautiful V&A Waterfront, this is the perfect place to have lunch and try a variety of local foods, including some fresh fish right next to the Cape Town harbour. After lunch, why not take a cable car ride up to Table mountain? This table-shaped mountain is a prominent landmark that towers over Cape Town. Table Mountain is one of the official 'New 7 Wonders of Nature'.
Included experiences: Cape Town city tour - Explore the historic heart of this vibrant city. A rich melting pot of cultural flavours, the city’s multi-cultural history has been shaped by diverse influences including Afrikaner descendants of the original Dutch colonists, the coloured and Cape Malay communities and Xhosa migrants from the Eastern Cape. Free afternoon - enjoy free time to explore the incredible city of Cape Town, with a drop off at the V&A Waterfront, a lifestyle, food and shopping destination located in the vibrant heart of the city.
Accommodation: Cape Town Lodge, Holiday Inn Express Cape Town, or similar.
DAY 3: Cape Town
Today is your free day to explore Cape Town to your heart’s content. Outside of the famous Robben Island and Table Mountain, the list of travel attractions are endless. Visit the Botanical Gardens, Constantia wine valley, the Two Oceans Aquarium or District 6 Museum. You have the option to join the Cape Point & Peninsula day-trip and venture further south. Cape Point nature reserve is a one hour drive from Cape Town, on the southeast corner of the Cape Peninsula. Expect beautiful landscapes, over 40 km of coastline and a variety of fauna and flora. The Cape Fynbos is a natural shrubland found here - the smallest floral kingdom in the world. Continuing along the peninsula we'll stop at Boulder’s beach to see African penguins. You then have the option for fresh fish and chips in a quirky coastal fish town, Kalk bay. Enjoy the amazing views as we take the scenic route via Chapman’s peak to the hotel.
DAY 4: Cape Winelands - Stellenbosch – Hermanus
This morning we explore the Cape Winelands. Following breakfast we take a scenic drive through the Cape wine region. South Africa has the oldest wine industry outside of Europe. This is your chance to taste South Africa's signature wine, Pinotage. A local wine expert will tell us all about Cape district wines and the wine-making process. Lunch is a delicious traditional meal served among the vineyards. Next stop is Stellenbosch, a special town settled by the French Huguenots in the 1600s. Explore the Cape Dutch architecture and many laid-back coffee shops, boutiques and art galleries. After one more wine tasting tour this afternoon we take a heavenly coastal drive to Hermanus. The evening explore the town of Hermanus.
Included experiences: Cape Winelands - Enjoy a wine tasting and included lunch at a wine farm in the famous winelands region of the Western Cape. Stellenbosch - Take some free time to explore the historical university town, admire the mix of Cape Dutch, Georgian and Victorian architecture, the tree lined streets and relaxing coffee shops. Hermanus - Savour the stunning coastal views as we make our way to Hermanus, where you’ll have a free evening to explore this delightful town on the Cape Whale Coast Route - if you’re lucky you may spot whales from the beach.
Accommodation: Windsor Hotel, or similar.
DAY 5: Shark Diving Excursion - Swellendam - Mossel Bay
This is the official start of our Garden Route adventure. This morning you can stay put in Hermanus to explore this beautiful harbour town. It’s one of the world's best whale-watching destinations. In season, June to November, you can spot them right off the coast. Join in the optional excursion for the day: Shark Cage Diving. This is your chance to see Great White sharks in their natural habitat. The excursion includes a short drive to Gansbaai - a famous shark cage diving spots in South Africa. Free time for lunch is in Swellendam. Taste authentic Boerekos (traditional farmer’s food), or perhaps some Springbok (venison) carpaccio. After lunch stop outside of Albertinia to visit Cape Aloe Vera farm. Taste aloe tea, sample the facial cream and learn more about the health benefits and uses of this indigenous plant. Todays final destination is Mossel Bay, a coastal village and popular holiday destination. Before making for the hotel we stop at the Pinnacle Caves. This archaeological site is where the early evidence of modern human behaviour has been found. Fossil findings date as far back as 170,000 years ago.
Included experiences: Swellendam - enjoy free time for lunch in the third oldest town in the Republic of South Africa. Check out the incredible architecture of the Dutch Reformed Church - a striking mix of Italian Baroque and French Gothic influences, with an Eastern dome and Cape Dutch facades. Aloe Vera farm - Stop at one of the original aloe factories in the Hessequa region. Sample various Aloe Vera products, walk around in the indigenous garden (with 17 species of aloe) and drink some Aloe tea. Mossel Bay - Visit Pinnacle Point Caves, a Provincial Heritage Site where human bones of between 40,000 and 170,000 years ago has been discovered. The discoveries led to further studies by the Institute of Human Origins.
Accommodation: Oceans Hotel, or similar.
DAY 6: Garden Route: Game Drive - Knysna – Tsitsikamma
This morning we head to Botlierskop Private Game Reserve for a unique safari experience. Enjoy close encounters with impala, wildebeest, rhinos, lions, giraffes and more. Lunchtime in Knysna, the heart of the Garden Route. Jump aboard a unique paddle-boat for an optional lunch cruise. It will take you along Knysna Bay for spectacular views of the area and bird watching from the deck. If you don't feel like a cruise, explore the beautiful harbour area and dine at a local restaurant. From Knysna we depart for more exciting animal adventures. Roam free with the monkeys at Monkeyland, a multi-species monkey sanctuary. Alternatively, visit Birds of Eden, a unique eco-tourism experience, and the world's largest free flight aviary and bird sanctuary. Then we continue to Tsitsikamma National park for overnight.
Included experiences: Botlierskop Game Drive - Get to know the garden route wildlife on an open vehicle safari truck in Botlierskop Private Game Reserve. Sightings include buffalo, zebra, giraffe, golden wildebeest, hippos, rhinoceros, lions and more than 200 bird species. Knysna - Experience the laid-back yet stylish vibe of Knysna. A small and quaint town known as "the beating heart" of the Garden Route. Get off at the Knysna waterfront - an ideal location with unique and trendy stores, water activities and the most divine dining options.
Accommodation: Tsitsikamma Village Inn, or similar.
DAY 7: Tsitsikamma National Park & Storms River - Eastern Cape
The Tsitsikamma forest forms part of the greater Garden Route National Park. The area encompasses rivers, gorges, mountains and lush forests and plantations - the perfect place to get adventurous. The morning is yours to explore outdoors. Options to consider include tree-top canopy tours, bungee jumping at Bloukrans bridge (the highest bridge bungy in the world.), or going for a bush walk to learn more about the fauna and flora in this region. We'll then drive to the Storms River mouth in Tsitsikamma National Park. You can take a walk along the coast, cross the longest suspension river in South Africa, and have some free time to enjoy lunch overlooking the ocean. This afternoon we take a drive to the Eastern Cape coast where we'll spend the rest of day. Holiday destinations like Jeffreys Bay and Cape St. Francis are known to be some of the best surfing locations in the world. Here you can enjoy long sandy beaches in idyllic surroundings.
Included experiences: Tsitsikamma National Park & Storms River mouth - A suspension bridge and lookout trail that meanders along the most spectacular ocean and forest landscapes. The highlight of the walk is a famous 77m long suspension bridge over the Storms River bridge. As you walk keep an eye out for the Knysna Lourie, Cape Clawless Otter and dolphins. Eastern Cape - Surfers and beach lovers from the world over flock to the Eastern Cape every year. Its over 800 km of breathtaking coastline, offers perfect mild weather, nature walks and some of the best swimming and surfing beaches in South Africa (it's also a water sport paradise.). Did you know the Eastern Cape was Nelson Mandela's home province?
Accommodation: Cape St Francis Resort, or similar.
DAY 8: Oudtshoorn Ostrich Farm - Cango Caves Excursion
Get set to explore a different region of South Africa as we leave the Garden Route behind and meander along Route 62. We head for the arid Karoo, and the drive takes you through the Langkloof. Nestled between the Kouga and Tsitsikamma mountains, this area offers spectacular views. You will see vineyards, fruit and vegetable farms dotted along the road. Soon we'll reach Oudtshoorn, South Africa’s famous ostrich capital. We stop off for a guided tour of a working ostrich farm and learn more about these big feathered animals. You'll then have the option to explore one of South Africa's hidden treasures, the Cango Caves - a series of dripstone caverns that are more than 20 million years old. Explore on a heritage walking tour of the caves or go for the adventure rock- and cave climbing experience (especially if you're feeling a bit adventurous). Tonight enjoy a lovely Karoo dinner.
Included experiences; Visit a Klein Karoo ostrich farm - Take a guided tour which covers the history of ostrich farming, farming practices and the breeding cycle of these special Karoo ostriches. Also get the opportunity to meet ostrich adults and chicks for a special up-close experience. Karoo Dinner - Taste true Karoo Lamb prepared the traditional South African way. Lamb in the Great Karoo has a very distinct taste due to the fragrant shrubs and grasses sheep feed on in this region. The meat has been scientifically proven to have a unique herby flavour, unlike anywhere else in South Africa and perhaps the world.
Accommodation: De Oude Meul Country Lodge, or similar.
DAY 9: George - Johannesburg – Nelspruit
This morning we travel from Oudtshoorn to George for an early morning flight to Johannesburg. On our way to the airport we'll see the sun rise over the Langkloof. The first stop is on the Outeniqua pass to take in the truly magnificent views. After taking our included flight to Johannesburg in the Gauteng province, we'll land in the "City of Gold". We'll travel east to Nelspruit. The day ends as we arrive at Bundu Lodge on the outskirts of the Kruger National park. Tonight you can settle down for a meal under the African sky.
Included experiences: Scenic drive - Early morning we travel through the Langkloof and Outeniqua mountains to George airport for an included flight to Johannesburg.
Accommodation: Bundu Lodge or similar.
DAY 10: Kruger National Park
Today we will go on a full-day game drive of the park. Sitting elevated in the tour bus you can easily spot animals in the bush, perhaps even the iconic Big 5. The Kruger National Park stretches over 20,000 square km and is just a bit smaller than the country of Belgium. In the park you can see all African game in their natural habitat. Spot wild animals like cheetahs, wild dogs, leopards, elephants and the white and black rhino. En route we stop at rest camps like Skukuza, Tshokwane and Satara. Late afternoon we make our way to our safari lodge on the western edge of the park, where we'll enjoy a multi-night stay. Time for a relaxing swim in the pool and a sundowner or two before our included dinner this evening.
Included experiences: Kruger National Park game drive - Enjoy a full-day game drive through the southern part of Kruger in our air-conditioned tour bus. Keep your eyes peeled for the iconic 'Big 5' - the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard and rhinoceros. Today's Kruger conservation fee is included.
Accommodation: Timbavati Game Lodge, or similar.
DAY 11: Kruger National ParkTime to further explore the Kruger National Park. You can embark on safaris from the safari lodge in open safari trucks led by local wildlife specialists. Your options include sunrise and/or sunset safaris that last about three hours. Or choose a full-day safari drive and spend the day driving in prime game viewing areas, stopping at various waterholes and rest camps. Snacks and lunch are served picnic style along the way. Try to spot some of the resident antelope, birds and wildlife from your truck. Fingers crossed you’ll be able to tick off more animals on your list. Kruger National Park is home to 114 different species of reptiles, 507 kinds of birds and 147 mammal species. You are sure to come across some of the most amazing creatures in Africa. Slip into the pool on return to cool down before enjoying an included dinner.
DAY 12: Kruger National Park Today you have another full free day to take advantage of the incredible safari options available in Kruger National Park. Continue to explore the park on safari, or spend a relaxing day in the lodge next to the pool. Tonight enjoy last dinner at the safari lodge. Enjoy the campfire exchanging safari stories and sipping Amarula.
Optional excursions: Sunrise or sunset Drives, Full or half day drives.
DAY 13: Three Rondawels - Bourke’s Luck Potholes - Blyde River Canyon Viewpoint – Johannesburg
We leave the Kruger National Park behind and discover the Panorama Route through the Mpumalanga province. Our first destination is a quick photo stop at one of the oldest and largest Baobab trees in the world. We make our way to the renowned Three Rondavels viewpoint with a stunning vista over the Blyde River Canyon. This canyon forms part of the Drakensberg ridge and known for storybook views. Next is Bourke’s Luck potholes, a natural water feature with hundreds of natural potholes and plunge pools. This area marks the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon. On a clear day, you can see the Kruger and even Mozambique in the distance. We continue our final leg of the tour back to Johannesburg, arriving at our hotel, where we’ll enjoy a farewell dinner with all of our new friends.
Included experiences: Three Rondavels - A spectacular viewpoint where you can take in views of three famous mountain tops that tower over the Blyde River Canyon. Named after a traditional round-shaped African homestead, The Three Rondavels is one of the major attractions in the area. Various look-out points is sure to offer fantastic photo opportunities. Bourke’s Luck Potholes - Take a short walk and wander around what has been dubbed "nature's wishing well". You will see numerous waterholes, plunge pools and impressive rock formations. Visit the information centre to learn more about the natural history as well as the "San" people, the earliest inhabitants of this region. Blyde River Canyon Viewpoint - Get one last look at the majestic Blyde River canyon. This must be one of the most cherished and most photographed views in South Africa. See the Lowveld of South Africa with the Kruger National Park and Mozambique in the far distance. Farewell dinner - Feast on local cuisine from the Gauteng province as we sit down for one last special dinner together. You are now in the bustling city of Johannesburg, the second largest city in Africa.
Accommodation: Sunrock Guest House, or similar.
DAY 14: Johannesburg
Today is the last day of the tour. After breakfast, we say goodbye to our travel companions. Johannesburg is a great destination to end the trip. If you are flying home today, a complementary airport transfer is offered to Johannesburg airport.
Activities and Accommodation included as per itinerary.
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