We are thrilled to be introducing a new and very unique fully escorted tour for 2017.
Our Cape, Karoo & Garden Route Secrets Guided Journey will see you spending 5 days exploring the treasures, wildlife and hidden gems in the Klein Karoo, Garden Route and most southerly tip of the African continent: Cape Agulhas. This Journey will enthral you with everything that makes our Cape coastline, indigenous forests and rugged coastal shorelines unique to South Africa. From intimate wildlife encounters and breath taking nature to delightful culinary experiences, this journey showcases the best of the Cape and is not to be missed.
Unique Highlights Include:
- A fully guided experience walking with wild meerkats
- Oyster shucking
- Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre where you will learn more about the indigenous wild cats of South Africa
- Visit the most Southern top of Africa
- A visit to an elephant sanctuary for a life changing interaction with Africa’s gentle giants
- 4 Nights’ Accommodation
- 4 Breakfasts | 1 Lunch | 2 Dinners
- Hotel porterage
- Conservation Levy and Park Fees
* Guests may start the tour from Stellenbosch.
Day 1: (Mon) Oudtshoorn (D)
We depart from Cape Town by 07h30 and travel via Stellenbosch to collect fellow Guests. We then continue via the town of Montagu to scenic ‘Route 62’ celebrated as being the longest wine route in the world. In the pretty village of Barrydale we stop for light refreshments (own account) and start the Journey to Oudtshoorn in the ‘Klein Karoo’. This afternoon we go underground to marvel at the icy looking stalactite, stalagmite, column and curtain formations in the Cango Caves. The caves are regarded, for good reason, as one of South Africa’s most spectacular natural wonders. In the late afternoon, arrive at our unique accommodation in ‘Klein Karoo’, surrounded by breath taking views of the Swartberg and Outeniqua mountains.
Accommodation: De Zeekoe Farm Lodge or similar
Distance travelled today: 480 kms
Day 2: (Tue) Knysna (BB)
An early start before sunrise, as we embark on a magical, fully guided experience walking with wild meerkats (otherwise known as suricates). Meerkats are part of the so-called ‘Shy 5’ which also includes the bat-eared fox, the aardvark, porcupine and aardwolf. Upon arrival at the meerkat burrows, we are treated to a hot beverage and rusks. Spend time learning and observing the meerkats as they come out of their burrow into the sunshine and go about their daily routine of foraging and frolicking. These habituated wild animals are never fed or handled by humans.
After a hearty fresh farm breakfast, we discover why Oudtshoorn is known as the ‘feather capital of the world’ by enjoying a fascinating tour of a working Ostrich farm. We then drive via the spectacular Outeniqua Pass to the town of George, then onto Knysna, perhaps one of South Africa’s most visually stunning resort towns, in the heart of the famous Garden Route. In the mid-afternoon we venture down to the Knysna Quays for an oyster experience and are treated to a hands-on oyster demonstration and learn all about this famous delicacy. Have a go at ‘shucking’ or opening an oyster and tasting the difference between the wild and cultivated varieties. We travel back to our country estate hotel for a delectable dinner.
Accommodation: Knysna Hollow Country Estate or similar
Distance travelled today: 200 kms
Memorable Moment: The Shy Five as they’re called, are very elusive and are masters at melting down a handy burrow. They are an alternative game-viewing experience to the bolder Big Five and include the meerkat, the aardvark, the porcupine, the aardwolf and the bat-eared fox. All are nocturnal animals except for the meerkat
Day 3: (Wed) Knysna – Tsitsikamma (B, L, D)
Today is a day of stunning beauty and unique animal experiences. We explore parts of the glorious indigenous Tsitsikamma Forest and enjoy spectacular coastal views from the suspension bridges at Storms River mouth. We travel to Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre for a guided tour of the centre to learn about the indigenous wild cats of South Africa such as African wild cats, servals, caracals, cheetahs, lions and leopard. After a light lunch at the centre we continue to the Elephant Sanctuary for a life changing interaction with Africa’s ‘gentle giants’. Walk ‘trunk in hand’ through the indigenous forest and finally help brush down these enigmatic creatures before we travel back to Knysna where a sumptuous a-la-carte dinner consisting of delightful locally harvested fare can be enjoyed at leisure (own account).
Accommodation: Knysna Hollow Country Estate or similar
Distance travelled today: 220 kms
Day 4: (Thu) L’Agulhas (Cape Agulhas) (BB)
Today we trace back legends of early explorers along the rugged Cape coast. After a quick photo stop at Dolphin Point look-out in Wilderness, we arrive in Mossel Bay for a visit to the famous Post Office Tree and Bartholomew Diaz museum. Travelling through Swellendam, we are once again back at sea level in lazy Struisbaai – a hidden treasure boasting one of South Africa’s richest sustainable fishing grounds. After a light lunch (own account), it is time to enjoy some much deserved down time in L’Agulhas relaxing at our lodge. Cape Agulhas derived its name from early 14th century explorers – mainly Portuguese, who named the region ‘Cabo das Agulhas’ which when translated means ‘Cape Of Needles’. After enjoying the spectacular sunset from the southern-most point of the African continent, a decadent dinner feast (own account) completes the day.
Accommodation: Agulhas Country Lodge or similar
Distance travelled today: 380 kms
Day 5: (Fri) Cape Town (BB)
This morning we take a view from the top of the iconic 1848 built lighthouse (now a museum) that has guided ships safely around the Cape over the years. Looking out over the jagged coastline and remembering the replica ship viewed in Mossel Bay, there is little wonder the perilous oceans in Cape Agulhas became infamous amongst maritime explorers and even modern maritime experts as being hazardous. Cape Agulhas is known to have tragically wrecked over 150 vessels in its history. Leaving the town where the Atlantic and Indian oceans crash together, we travel to Hermanus where we hope to catch a glimpse of various whale species frolicking offshore with their new calves. Hermanus is regarded as the world’s best land based whale watching site and in season (July to November), it is clear to see why. As we traverse Sir Lowry’s pass, Table Mountain once again rises up to greet us back into the ‘Mother City’ where our epic adventure ends at your central Cape Town hotel in the late afternoon.
Distance travelled today: 250 kms
View the new Guided Journeys by Thompsons Africa for 2017 here: http://www.myvirtualpaper.com/doc/thompsons-africa/guided-journeys-2017/2016050401/#0
2017 DEPARTURE DATES:
This tour departs on selected Mondays.
|09 Jan||06 Feb||06 Mar||03 Apr||08 May||05 Jun|
|03, 31 Jul||28 Aug||11 Sep||02, 30 Oct||27 Nov||11 Dec|
Launching in January 2017, this fully guided experience is available NOW on a private FIT basis for 1 – 8 guests.