Sumptuous accommodations are combined with three of the Cape's most captivating and unique destinations.
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Day 1-10: Private African Sky Guide and Vehicle.
Guests are met and welcomed at a location of their choice in Cape Town at the start of their luxury tour of South Africa. Today, you’ll have the opportunity of experiencing a few of Cape Town’s world-famous attractions under the direction of your private African Sky guide. The looming Table Mountain was first summited by António de Saldanha in 1503 when he named it ‘Taboa do Cabo’, or ‘Table of the Cape’. Send a postcard from the upper cable station post office, take a mountaintop walk along one of the established walkways or simply enjoy the fantastic panoramic views across the Cape Peninsula. During the cooler part of the day, enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens under Skeleton Gorge. Established in 1913, these gardens attempt to provide a comprehensive display of the region’s indigenous flora and include an impressive Baobab tree in the new greenhouse. The recently completed ‘Boomslang’ treetop canopy walkway in the Enchanted Forest now provides folks with the opportunity to experience life from amongst the treetops.
Prior to European arrival, the Khoikhoi peoples were the dominant tribe in the area and farmed the Cape Peninsula and surrounds extensively, later trading with the first Europeans as they attempted to circumnavigate the southern tip of Africa. Portuguese seafarers were the first to make contact with these indigenous Southern African peoples, but the Dutch were the first to establish a permanent settlement here. Our morning departure will see us traveling on a circular route as we explore the Cape Peninsula. The little African penguins at Boulders Beach are world famous and even feature on Animal Planet in a regular documentary. Here they go about their daily affairs, blissfully unruffled by the many human eyes observing their every move. Similarly, the Chacma baboons will keep a close eye on you as you visit the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and make your way to the lighthouse where panoramic ocean views may be enjoyed. Chapman’s Peak traces the steep Atlantic seaboard mountainside as it snakes its way back to the city of Cape Town. Watch out for the bronze leopard as it keeps an ever-watchful eye over Hout Bay, a memorial to the many animals that once inhabited the mountains dominating the Cape Peninsula.
Today guests enjoy a visit to the region’s most well-known historical attraction, synonymous with the city of Cape Town. The small, flat islet of Robben Island, situated some 7km off the coast of Bloubergstrand and just a few meters above sea level, has been varyingly used since the end of the 17th century to isolate political prisoners as well serving as a leper colony and animal quarantine station. The original Dutch settlers under Jan van Riebeeck first used the island to warn passing ships of the dangerous rocks around the island by building huge bonfires at night. The original colony of African penguins was eliminated by 1800 but has since been re-established, and is today one of the largest breeding colonies of these birds along the African coastline.
A short ferry ride, departing from the V&A Waterfront, carries passengers across Table Bay, where on arrival guests will participate in a guided tour of the prison buildings, including a visit to Nelson Mandela’s cell where he was incarcerated for eighteen years. Many well-known individuals were imprisoned here in the Apartheid-era. The duration of the excursion is about four hours, after which guests will return again to Cape Town by ferry. The remainder of your day is available at leisure to explore the Waterfront and surrounds.
After breakfast, your tour departs Cape Town and heads for the natural drama of the Cederberg Mountains. The drive of around three and a half hours follows the N7 route northwards, traversing the Swartland with its silvery sheaths of renosterbos, which darken dramatically after the winter rains. After Piketberg, the road passes through the Olifants River Valley at the foot of the Cederberg - a region known for its proliferation of citrus farms. The route traces the Olifants River to the town of Clanwilliam, where the river is impounded in the Clanwilliam Dam. The rock formations and mountains increase radically as the road turns east into the Cederberg Wilderness Reserve. Bushmans Kloof is located in the eastern foothills of the Cederberg Mountains. The reserve covers 7 500 hectares, encompassing leagues of the Cape Floral Kingdom and 130 Bushman rock art sites. Fauna such as Cape mountain zebra, bontebok, red hartebeest, ostrich, and gemsbok roam the landscape. With no towns or cities for miles around, the effervescence of the night sky will take your breath away.
Your stay at Bushmans Kloof is inclusive of a daily full English breakfast, à la carte light lunch, afternoon high tea and à la carte dinner, and a variety of enriching and exhilarating activities including nature drives, guided rock art excursions, botanical walks, canoeing, archery, fly fishing, hiking, swimming, as well as special interest presentations (birding, stargazing, entomology, and rock art). Spa treatments are available at an additional cost.
After breakfast, your African Sky guide will meet and transfer you to Grootbos Nature Reserve near Hermanus in the Overberg. Grootbos is a pristine wedge of coastal verdure tucked away in the Overberg. The 2,500-hectare reserve is carpeted with the indigenous fynbos of the Cape Floral Kingdom, and enchanting Milkwood groves that appear as if you’ve wandered into a fairy tale. Sunbirds and sugarbirds sup on the sweet nectars of the Ericas and Proteas, while shy antelope like the duiker, bushbuck, and klipspringer tiptoe along the undergrowth. The Reserve's location near the southern tip of the continent ensures a diversity of marine wildlife, from the southern right whales that descend on Walker Bay between June and December to sharks, dolphins, penguins, and seals. A variety of exciting excursions are available from your plush seat at Grootbos, including whale watching from land, sea or air, shark cage diving in nearby Gansbaai, guided walks, hikes, and horse riding in the reserve, bird watching and delectably flavorsome wine tours.
For the leisurely at heart, unwind with a revitalizing spa treatment or simply relish the spectacular views while dining on executive chef Benjamin Conradie’s contemporary cuisine.
Note: Some activities come at an additional cost.
You’ll once again be met by your African Sky guide during the morning. From Hermanus we make our way northwards to the scenic Cape Winelands village of Franschhoek, passing through the Elgin Valley as we do so. The area lacks the fertility of the Drakenstein Valley around Franschhoek and appears arid, although it is improved by the presence of the Theewaterskloof Dam. The valley is used for the intensive cultivation of apples, pears, plums, and other deciduous fruits. Later, after stopping to enjoy the view, we’ll descend the pass into the village of Franschhoek. The pass was known originally as the “olifantspad” - simply, ‘elephant’s path’ - and was used by migrating elephant herds in times past. Man, simply followed the same contour paths the elephants created when building the road.
Franschhoek – ‘French Corner’ - owes its existence to a small group of French Huguenots who were settled here in the latter half of the 17th century and began working the Drakenstein Valley. Many of the settlers named their new farms after the areas in France from which they originated. La Motte, La Cotte, Cabriere, Provence, Chamonix, Dieu Donne, and La Dauphine were among some of the first established farms - most of which still retain their original buildings to this day. During the afternoon, you’ll visit one of the several fine wine estates in the Franschhoek district. The region is renowned internationally for the exceptional quality of wines produced by its fertile soils. Most noble cultivars and classic styles are on show here, from superb whites such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon, and Chenin Blanc, to rich reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, and Merlot.
Stellenbosch is the oldest town in South Africa after Cape Town and is undoubtedly the most historically-preserved in Southern Africa. Water furrows along oak-lined streets complement the many fine examples of elegant Cape Dutch, Victorian and Georgian architecture - all part of this unique ‘Town of Oaks’. Ideally situated in a magnificent mountain valley, Stellenbosch boasts a mild Mediterranean climate. The Stellenbosch Wine Route is the oldest, largest and probably the most visited of the Southwest Cape’s wine routes. Many of the estates are very old; their gabled, whitewashed Cape Dutch homesteads, rolling vineyards and shade-dappled grounds lovely beyond measure. We visit two of these fine estates where the art of winemaking in South Africa is experienced first-hand. A large variety of cultivars may be sampled and a specific cultivar which appeals to your palette is sure to be found. During the early afternoon, your tour returns you to a location of your choice in Cape Town, bringing to an end a comprehensive tour of some of the Western Cape’s finest districts.
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