Experience wild stretches of the Western Cape, from its dramatic Southern coast to its rugged Karoo.
Guests are met and welcomed at a location of their choice in Cape Town by their African Sky guide. After completing a few formalities, we’ll head out on the N2 highway in an easterly direction along the scenic Overberg region of the Garden Route. We’ll stretch our legs in charming Swellendam at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains, the third oldest town in South Africa. Established in 1746, the town boasts over fifty provincial heritage sites, most of these are buildings of Cape Dutch architecture. Swellendam was once considered the very eastern extremity of the colony, beyond which lay a wild and unexplored Africa, and as a result of many famous explorers and travelers, including François Le Vaillant, Lady Anne Barnard, and William John Burchell, passed through here. Opt to visit the Drostdy Museum before heading south towards the coast and the De Hoop Nature Reserve. De Hoop is a 34 000-hectare (84,000-acre) World Heritage Site, which includes a protected marine reserve stretching three miles out to sea. In the later afternoon or early evening, choose to embark on an eco-boat trip on the De Hoop Vlei, a Ramsar wetland of international importance. A total of 260 species of birds have been spotted here. A wide variety of activities are available to enjoy at De Hoop, from a guided interpretative marine walk exploring the coastal rock pools during low tide, to a morning bird watching hike with one of De Hoop’s qualified field guides. A guided mountain biking trail is also available, offering spectacular views and potential encounters with the reserve’s myriad wildlife, like eland, baboons and ostriches, and rare species like the Cape mountain zebra and bontebok. Alternatively, head out of the reserve for an exploration of the tiny Elim Wine Route and a visit to the shipwreck museum in Bredasdorp.
Note: activities mentioned are optional and at your own expense.
After a relaxing morning, you’ll say goodbye to your hosts as your tour travels northwards. Leaving the coastal plain behind, we’ll climb and cross the Zuurberg range to the country village of Barrydale in the Tradouw Valley. The valley is perfectly suitable for fruits such as apples, pears, oranges, apricots, figs, peaches, and grapes. After traveling a short distance along Route 62 we’ll take to unpaved roads as we continue north into the Karoo wilderness. After approximately 17 miles we’ll reach Sanbona Wildlife Reserve and make our way to the five-star Gondwana Family Lodge. After saying your goodbyes to your guide, you’ll be assisted with check-in. Some time spent relaxing at your luxury accommodation is followed by a first exciting activity in the pristine Karoo wilderness area.
Sanbona is unquestionably the most authentic of the Western Cape’s privately owned wildlife reserves. At a substantial 64 000 hectares or 158,000 acres - as big as the entire Sabi Sand Game Reserve near South Africa’s Kruger National Park - the size is remarkable for a property in this province. The reserve shelters Africa’s Big Five complement as well as a variety of antelope and other species, including cheetah. Unique to Sanbona, their wildlife exists in a fully functional ecosystem, with minimal or no interference from mankind. Not since the 1850s have African lions hunted these vast Karoo plains. Your open 4x4 game drives take place during periods of increased activity - during the early morning, late afternoon and evening. For the youngsters, both in and outdoor activities will keep them occupied. When the weather isn’t agreeable they’ll be entertained with arts and crafts, puzzles of varying sizes and difficulties, documentary DVD’s about conservation topics and animals, and animated movies, educational books, and board games. Once under blue skies, there’s an interpretive trail through Gondwana’s garden, where they’ll learn about the reserve’s animals and their tracks, and the local fauna. There’s also the Sanbona Activity Book - an educational, fun and interactive way your children will learn about wildlife, at the same time encouraging them to become involved since they often require the ranger’s assistance to answer some of the questions. The remainder of your day may be spent enjoying the creature comforts of your luxurious accommodations.
After the last morning activity, your transfer will wind its way back to Cape Town, where you’ll be delivered to the international airport, bringing to an end a memorable Western Cape family beach and safari holiday.