Day 1: Cape Town, South Africa
you are met at the airport by our local representative and transferred to your hotel of choice for three nights' accommodation on a bed-and-breakfast basis. We offer three options: two of our fine hotels are located in the heart of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront close to the Two Oceans Aquarium, distinctive shops and restaurants, and just a short ride to the center of Cape Town. The third option, the 12 Apostles boutique hotel, enjoys a magnificent seaside location on the Atlantic side of the cape just past Camps Bay. Its setting typifies the cape’s spectacular geography, surveying a broad expanse of glittering ocean with the 12 Apostles mountain range providing the namesake backdrop. This afternoon, you may wish to take a cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain for a dramatic view of the city and coast from nearly 3,600 feet.
Day 2: Full-Day Tour of Cape Peninsula & Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
From Cape Town
we head west along the Atlantic seaboard, a magnificent coastline characterized by rocky indentations, long stretches of broad beach and picturesque bays. Stop at Hout Bay harbor to stroll among the fish markets and shops, or, as an optional extra, take a half-hour cruise to see the seals.
From Hout Bay
our drive continues along Chapman’s Peak Drive, hugging the cliffs more than 2,000 feet above the ocean,
and celebrated by many as one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world. Each view is better than the last as we observe panoramas of Long Beach and the Noordhoek Valley en route to Kommetjie and Scarborough, little hamlets on the Atlantic coast. From June to November there's a chance to see Southern Right whales just offshore, which migrate into these waters to mate and calve.
Our route ultimately reaches the Cape Point Nature Reserve on the Cape of Good Hope, known for its floral diversity (about 1,200 species) and wildlife including healthy populations of Cape mountain zebra, bontebok, springbok (South Africa's national emblem), Cape grysbok, grey rhebok, red hartebeest, eland duiker, Cape fox, caracal, and chacma baboon. These baboons' unusual diet consists largely of marine foods, which they gather at low tide. More than 160 bird species have also been recorded in the reserve. Cape Point itself offers superlative views— ou can either climb the steps or take a shuttle bus to the top for a small additional fee.
After lunch, we visit famous Boulders Beach to come face to face with whimsical African penguins, the only penguin species found on the continent. Later, head back along False Bay to Simonstown, then on to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, one of the premier botanic gardens in the world. Half of South Africa's 18,000 indigenous flowering plant species are cultivated here. The plants attract myriad birdlife, including the Cape sugarbird, malachite, lesser double-collared and orange-breasted sunbirds, Cape bulbul, Cape francolin, Klaas’s cuckoo and Cape batis.
Day 3: Full-Day Winelands Tour
No trip to the Western Cape is complete without a tour of South Africa's legendary wine country. As we traverse verdant valleys and farmlands, backdropped by views of the Hottentots Holland and Simonsberg Mountains in the distance, we'll taste wines and sample cheeses at some of the cape's most beautiful estates. Estates visited will vary but usually include Neetlingshof, with its elegantly restored manor house and modern cellar, or Vlottenburg Co-op.
After lunch, we continue to Franschhoek, nestled in the Valley of the Huguenots which the French first settled in 1688, passing the Victor Verster Prison where Nelson Mandela was held as a political prisoner. Then, if time permits, we'll visit the Huguenot Memorial Museum before driving to Boschendal for a tasting and tour of this historic estate. Crossing Helshoogte Pass, we reach Stellenbosch, the second-oldest town in South Africa. Enjoy the drive along Dorp Street with its beautiful display of traditional Cape Dutch houses. After a chance to browse the shops and galleries in town, we visit the town of Paarl, birthplace of the Afrikaans language, before returning to Cape Town.
Day 4: Depart
Transfer to the airport today for homeward flights.
Physical Rating: Easy