Relish the flavors of South Africa's winelands before heading east along the coast for whale watching.
Guests will be met at any location of their choice in Cape Town, from where we travel to and explore the town of Stellenbosch. Stellenbosch was founded by Simon van der Stel in 1679. He ordered the planting of the oak trees which now line the streets and gardens. The 'City of Oaks' is the second oldest European settlement in South Africa and is home to the University of Stellenbosch. In the early days of the Second Boer War, Stellenbosch was a British military base and was used as a 'remount' camp. The town lies at the foot of the Cape Fold mountain range, which provides soil favorable for viticulture. Grapes grown in this area are primarily used for wine production. After exploring the town of Stellenbosch, we visit two of the fine wine estates in the region. Here guests enjoy wine tasting and gain insight into the production of wine in South Africa.
Guests are met after breakfast and the day is devoted to visiting the town of Franschhoek and the surrounding wine estates. The Cape Dutch architecture in Franschhoek is untouched, as most of the old buildings have been declared national monuments in order to preserve the spirit of the original settlers to the area. We visit the Huguenot Museum. The three high arches symbolize the Holy Trinity - the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The central female figure personifies religious freedom, with a Bible in her one hand and broken chain in the other. She is casting off her cloak of oppression and her position on top of the globe shows her spiritual freedom. The fleur de lis on her robe represents a noble spirit and character.
The French Huguenots brought their knowledge of viticulture with them and, upon receiving land from the Dutch East India Company, many vineyards where established. These estates now produce some of the world's finest wines. After exploring the town, visits will be made to three wine estates in the Drakenstein Valley. This area is renowned for the fine quality wines it produces.
After an enjoyable breakfast, the tour makes its way up the Franschhoek Pass. The pass has spectacular views of the Franschhoek Valley. It was originally known as the Olifantspad (elephant's path), used by migrating herds. The road descends to the Du Toits River at the foot of the pass.
The area lacks the fertility of the Drakenstein Valley and appears arid, even though it is being irrigated from the Theewaterskloof Dam. The road leads to Grabouw in the Elgin Valley, which is sandwiched between the Hottentots-Holland, Kogelberg and Groenland mountains. The Elgin Valley is the heart of South Africa's deciduous fruit region, with apples, pears and plums. The countryside road rejoins the main highway before reaching the town of Hermanus. Hermanus is well known as a station to enjoy land-based whale watching. Since August 1992, it has hosted the world's only 'Whale Crier', who sounds his kelp horn to announce the arrival of whales. Guests spend the afternoon at leisure. There is a walkway running alongside the coast with great views of the ocean. The day will end enjoying a cocktail overlooking the ocean.
Hermanus is known for the whales that make their way to Walker Bay in order to mate and calve during the months between June and November. It is also renowned for its fishing and perlemoen industry. The perlemoen derives its South African name from the corruption of the Dutch perlemoen, meaning mother-of-pearl, derived from the beautiful pearl-lined interior of its shell. It is known internationally as abalone or Venus ear. You will visit the Hamilton Russell Wine Estate before enjoying lunch in town. After some time for relaxation, guests will board a whale charter in New Harbor. The charter gives guests an opportunity to view these giants of the ocean close up, with spectacular displays of southern right whales breaching the water, tail slapping and spy-hopping.
After breakfast, the road turns inland with numerous sightings of South Africa's national bird, the blue crane, to be expected. These birds are endangered and are very special to the Xhosa - "Indwe", in the native tongue. When a man distinguished himself by deeds of valor, he would be decorated by the feathers of this bird as a mark of honor. We make our way towards Bredasdorp, a small town established around a Dutch Reformed Church in 1838. Besides sheep farming, the town also boasts other agricultural activities, including wheat, milk, and indigenous fynbos cultivation.
The tour then travels on to Cape Agulhas, which, in its Portuguese form - "Cabo das Agulhas" - translates to "Cape of Needles". It is the geographic southern tip of the African continent. We make a visit to the lighthouse and museum. The overnight destination in Arniston is reached during the afternoon. Arniston was named after a ship that was wrecked on the rocks at Waenhuiskrans. Only six of the 378 souls on board survived. It is a beautiful coastal town with a unique character.
Guests enjoy a guided tour of Arniston. Regarded as a national monument, insight is gained into the village's fascinating past. Some of the relics recovered from the ocean bed, such as coins, utensils and personal items, are on display. The afternoon is spent strolling down to the harbor where you can watch the fishing boats coming in with the day's catch. We then take a walk to the Waenhuiskrans Caves. Arniston Bay offers excellent whale sightings when the whales come into the secluded bay in order to calve and mate.
The tour returns to Cape Town via a scenic coastal route traversing the town of Betty's Bay and Rooi Els, ending in Gordon's Bay. En route several stops will be made at vantage points from where the southern right whale can potentially be spotted. Guests are transferred to Cape Town International Airport or any other location of their choice in the city, bringing to an end a memorable Winelands and Whale Route tour.
Our standard tours include four star accommodations and memorable experiences.
Five star accommodations coupled with five star attractions and activities.
Relish exclusive experiences and top-end accommodations while touring South Africa.
Our day tours are aimed at guests with limited time to explore Cape Town or Joburg.
Opt for a self-drive adventure expertly planned and booked by African Sky.
Custom South African travel experiences aimed at discerning travelers.