(Cape Town, Franschhoek, Oudtshoorn, Knysna, Port Elizabeth)
Eastern Cape Reserves
(Kichaka Private Game Reserve)
A mélange of ocher plains, purple mountains, gorgeous palm-fringed beaches, famous National Parks, striking winelands and lovely colonial architecture, South Africa is a destination that will overwhelm your senses in the most intoxicating ways.
This private guided itinerary features the top sights of Cape Town, the gorgeous garden route were you will visit some of the most legendary vineyards and restaurants the continent has to offer, and exclusive game viewing within the best private reserves. Visit Swellendam or Franschhoek with its famous wine lands and varietals. In Oudtshoorn and Knysna, a plethora of activities await; from Featherbed Nature Reserve to wild cat encounters, feeding or riding ostriches, zip-lining or bungee jumping, or dinner on an old fashioned steam boat, the opportunities are seemingly endless. In the evenings, relax in luxury accommodations that offer elegant surroundings and the finest attention to detail.
Explore dynamic Cape Town and visit the Houses of Parliament, the 17th Century Castle, lively Green Market Square and of course Table Mountain, which offers sweeping views of the city and Peninsula below. Take a picturesque drive through stunning winelands and superb mountain ranges and arrive in the Stellenbosch region for some excellent wine tastings. Head for Cango Valley and experience the vast halls and towering formations of the spectacular Cango Caves. Embark on a thrilling game drive in an open 4x4 vehicle across vast plains in search of lion, elephant, rhino and buffalo, as well as cheetah, hippo, giraffe, hyena, zebra, warthog and numerous species of antelope. A stop in Port Elizabeth will put you in the midst of some of the most gorgeous stretches of beach in all of Africa for a little R&R and shopping. This African adventure will be one you’ll never forget!
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Upon arrival into South Africa you will be met at the door of the plane and escorted through Customs and Immigration avoiding any queues. You will also receive all of your necessary documents for your trip which contains a detailed personalized itinerary, maps, restaurant suggestions, top tips for exploring each city or region and a 24 hour concierge service (for restaurant reservations, spa treatments, child minders, day tours etc.)
Enjoy a private transfer between the airport and your hotel.
The Cape Cadogan boutique hotel is quintessential Cape Town, with each of its twelve bedrooms individually decorated with touches of history blended with contemporary chic and bohemian influences. Guestrooms feature comfortable, high-quality linens and beddings, top-end bathing amenities, and most importantly a spacious sense of homeliness. Like the city, oblivious to the world rushing by, Cape Cadogan has a laidback quality, which makes you want to sink deeper into your armchair and just soak it all in. You can take a walk to the buzzing bistros, boutiques, cafes and restaurants of Kloof Street, where you can enjoy the energy of the city and truly experience Cape Town.
Today you will be met by your guide for an exploration of Cape Town, known affectionately as the Mother City. Your tour will take in the Houses of Parliament, the Castle (built between 1666 and 1679, this is South Africa’s oldest building), lively Greenmarket Square with its daily market, the Company Gardens and of course Table Mountain which will give you spectacular views over the city and Peninsula (cable car fee is not included as it is weather dependent). On your descent, you stop at the Bo Kaap, home to the Cape Malay community, with its cobbled streets and brightly coloured houses.
Table Mountain Cableway will be closed for annual maintenance on Monday 28 July 14 to Sunday 10 August 14.
Today we embark on a full day tour of the Cape Peninsula. We take in the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay, before crossing over to Hout Bay, where you may choose to join an optional boat cruise to Seal Island. From here we drive to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve via Chapman’s Peak, one of the world’s most breathtaking coastal drives, where you will board a funicular to the top of the Peninsula to witness the symbolic meeting of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans as well as have spectacular views over False Bay. We enjoy lunch near here (not included – own account) before continuing to Simonstown, the naval base, and visiting the African Penguin breeding colony at Boulders Beach. En route back we stop at the world renowned Kirstenbosch Gardens before returning back to your hotel.
Prepare for what is considered by many as one of the most scenic and picturesque drives in Africa. This delightful drive begins as you depart the chic cityscape of Cape Town, winding through the heart of the Cape Winelands and onward around the superb mountain ranges, vineyards and Cape Dutch style homesteads. You'll head off to the epically beautiful wine country via the popular N2 roadway to the epicenter of South Africa's wine industry, Stellenbosch. Stellenbosch is world renowned for its rich wine culture, beautifully rugged mountain backdrops and ever-changing colorful vineyards. Enjoy a walk through the canal-lined avenues, shaded by ancient oak trees which surround the historical structures and buildings. The sheer number of wine estates in the Stellenbosch area makes for some great wine tasting experience, as you’re sure to understand during your first of many wine tastings today. You'll then travel over the Helshoogte Pass to the town of Franschhoek. This dainty town dates back to the 17th century and was founded by the French Huguenots who settled here. Also billed as the "Gourmet Capital of South Africa", this charming location still to this day boasts its French inspiration through its cuisine, culture, and architecture. Here you'll also enjoy some further wine tasting before heading to your hotel. Please note that not all wine tastings are including, additional tastings will require payment on-site.
The Franschhoek Country House & Villas is a 5 star hotel located in the heart of the Franschhoek Valley. Guests can choose to stay in the original and charming 14 guestrooms at Franschhoek Country House or the 12 recently added luxurious Villa Suites. Voted as one of South Africa’s top restaurants, Monneaux Restaurant features a contemporary take on Mediterranean classics influenced by local Cape Malay flavours. Sample some of the mouth-watering wines from the underground cellar, showcasing local and international bottles. Relax and unwind with a range of spa treatments by qualified professional staff at the onsite spa. Lounge out by the two outdoor swimming pools and enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding area. Reception staff at Franschhoek Country House & Villas are happy to arrange a variety of activities for guests, such as wine tours, wine tasting on horseback, golf and more!
This morning your guide will collect you from the guesthouse and you will drive out from Franshhoek valley up into the beautiful Franschhoek Pass, before you head inland to the Klein Karoo and the ostrich capital of Oudtshoorn. Stop to from impromptu wine tours, take pictures, grab a snack or shop, or head directly to Franshhoek. The direct drive will be approximately 5 hours depending on the number of stops made along the way. Please note that entrance or tasting fees need to be paid directly.
Enjoy time at leisure or sign up for one of the many and diverse activities in Oudtshoorn: Cango Caves, Cango Ostrich Farm, zip lining, tubing, hiking and more. Sign up to wake up early and meet meerkats at 4:30am to watch the sunrise; visit the worlds big cats, White Lions, African Leopards, White and Snow Tigers, Cheetah and more at the Cango Wildlife Ranch or simply relax at your lodge.
Rosenhof Country House is situated on the outskirts of Oudtshoorn en route to the Cango Caves and Ostrich Farms. The carefully renovated homestead (Circa 1852), with its yellowwood beams and ceilings and a tasteful collection of antique furniture, exudes an aura of authenticity. The lovely rose garden, which gave Rosenhof its name, leads to stylishly decorated bedrooms, each individually furnished. All rooms provide air-conditioning, satellite television, telephone, mini bar and tea trays. The two Executive Suites each have their own pool, lounge and patio, with tranquil views of the Swartberg Mountain.Rosenhof has a cosy pub and several luxury lounges with fireplaces where visitors can relax and admire works from well-known South African artists. In summer, cool down in the pool or take tea in the manicured gardens. The Wellness Center offers a fully equipped gym, Jacuzzi, sauna and a beauty clinic. With its luxurious facilities and excellent service, Rosenhof is recognized as one of the finest establishments in the region.
This morning start with a short tour of the town and then go on to the Cango Caves for a tour. 29km from Oudtshoorn, at the head of the picturesque Cango Valley, lay the spectacular underground wonder of the Klein Karoo - the Cango Caves. Situated in a limestone ridge parallel to the well known Wartburg Mountains, you will find the finest dripstone caverns, with their vast halls and towering formations. Enjoy a visit to the Cango Wildlife Ranch, endangered species breeding facility extraordinaire. The oldest and biggest cheetah contact centre worldwide offers visitors the rare opportunity of interacting with the hand reared cheetahs and getting actively involved in saving this species and others from extinction. From there you continue to the Safari Ostrich Farm to see one of the world’s most peculiar birds. Enjoy a tour of the farm, a traditional ostrich lunch (own cost) and perhaps even an ostrich race. Afterward continue on to Knysna through the spectacular Outeniqua Mountain Pass. This is a full day of activities and scenic drives.
Enjoy an extra special experience at The Turbine Hotel and Spa, a five-star boutique hotel in Knysna. This exceptional boutique hotel is situated on Thesen Island, which is considered one of the most prestigious locations on the Garden Route. The Turbine Hotel and Spa was an ambitious project which transformed the old power station into a boutique hotel on the Garden Route, now with a massive wow-factor. All of the old machinery which was used in this power station has been creatively restored and forms an integral part of the hotel’s aesthetics. The Turbine Hotel and Spa offers 17 suites, 6 luxury suites, a honeymoon suite and the self-catering Water Club apartment. Dine at the Tapas Bar, serving delicious light meals for lunch and dinner. Wake up and savour a hearty breakfast at Island Café, also featuring lunch and dinner, as well as a wine cellar. The hotel features three bar areas located in various positions, each with their own unique setting. Relax and enjoy the panoramic views from the pool deck, conveniently equipped with sun loungers. The Amani Spa offers a wide variety of spa treatments for guests wishing to indulge in a rejuvenating spa experience.
Start with a scenic drive to the top of the Heads, dramatic cliffs which overlook the Indian Ocean on our side and the town and lagoon towards the distant Outeniqua Mountains on the other side. Take a 25-minute ferry ride across Knysna's magnificent estuary to a secluded nature reserve, home to a variety of wildlife, Knysna loeries, the blue crane, and one of Africa's smallest antelope, the blue duiker. On arrival, a 4x4 trailer takes you to the summit of the Western Headland for a spectacular panorama view of the Knysna Basin and the sea. After admiring the view, take a gentle walk through a Milkwood forest, into caves and along the coastline back to the restaurant. Enjoy a spectacular lunch in the Food Forest, an outside eating area set amongst the Milkwood trees. The speciality is fish cooked over an open fire. Continue to The Elephant Sanctuary where you will join an hour long trunk in hand experience. This will involve you walking with the elephants through the forest where you will learn about these amazing animals from their habits to their anatomy. The Crags Elephant sanctuary provides a safe haven for six elephants and a platform for guest’s education and interaction.
This morning your guide will pick you up to depart Knysna and head off to Port Elizabeth. Along the way you could drive past Kruisfontein and Thornhill. Located on the South Eastern coast of Africa and set along the beautiful shores of Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth has many historical and natural attractions. One of the most interesting historical attractions is the Historic Donkin Heritage Trail where you can follow in the footsteps of the 1820 Settlers on their journey of discovery and settlement. Aside from Port Elizabeth's famous beaches there are some beautiful parks with well landscaped gardens within the city. Close by are several game reserves which you may choose to visit for the day or extend your trip to enjoy big 5 game viewing. Sign up for activities or simply have your guide drop you off for some rest and relaxation at your hotel.
Hacklewood Hill is a small, fairytale-like country house tucked into the Garden Route stretch of Port Elizabeth. Genuine hospitality and intimacy promise a delightful experience. The 8 rooms exude an old world charm, while still retaining all the contemporary necessities. Four poster beds and spaciousness promise comfort and elegance to all who visit. Dine by the swimming pool and in the gardens, or with silver service in the restaurant. Gourmet meals are prepared by a skilled chef. An authentic wine cellar is on site in the fashion of old Victorian manor houses. Take a stroll through the gardens, play a game of tennis, or simply spend time with a book on the bright verandah. Hacklewood Hill is a romantic experience like no other.
You will be picked up by private vehicle and transferred between Port Elizabeth and the Eastern Cape Reserves. Here you will have the chance to enjoy superior game viewing. The drive time is 1-4 hours depending on the location of your lodge.
This afternoon you'll meet up with others at the lodge and embark on your afternoon game drive in an open game viewing vehicle. If you have a particular interest, please mention it to your ranger; who will be happy to merge your plans with those of the group. You'll be out in the reserve for a few hours before returning back to the lodge to freshen up for dinner.
Set between two streams in a lush bushveld valley, Kichaka Lodge is an exclusive five star lodge located within a Big 5 game reserve, in the malaria free Eastern Cape. This luxury lodge sleeps 20 people in 10 secluded stone and thatch suites. Each secluded, air-conditioned suite has a viewing deck where guests are treated to spectacular views, its own private plunge pool, a fully-stocked bar fridge and free wireless internet access. From gourmet dining in private or at one of our outdoor or indoor dining areas ...or just relaxing by the pool or on one of the terraces ... you can expect only the very best in service and hospitality from your stay at Kichaka Lodge.
This Morning you'll meet up with others at the lodge and embark on your afternoon game drive in an open game viewing vehicle. Experienced rangers maximize every opportunity to ensure exceptional viewing during your game drive on this established 20,000 acre Big 5 game reserve in the malaria-free Eastern Cape. Excellent sightings of lion, elephant, rhino and buffalo, as well as cheetah, hippo, giraffe, hyena, zebra, warthog and numerous species of antelope are enjoyed on game drives across the open plains of the reserve.
This afternoon you'll meet up with others at the lodge and embark on your afternoon game drive in an open game viewing vehicle. The game drives will take between three and four hours, with a sundowner stop at sunset. It is always advisable to bring warm clothing along, even in summer. Please do not forget to bring your binoculars, cameras and video cameras along.
This morning you'll meet up with others at the lodge and embark on your open vehicle game drive. Try to spot the exceptionally ellusive caracal. The word caracal comes from the Turkish word "karakulak", meaning "black ear". A slender, yet muscular, cat, with long legs and a short tail; it is best known for its spectacular skill at hunting birds, able to snatch a bird in flight, sometimes more than one at a time. Caracals produce the usual range of sounds for cats, including growling, hissing, purring, and calling. Unusually, they also make a barking sound, which is possibly used as a warning. Unfortunately these beautiful cats are often viewed as vermin by farmers in Africa as they may prey on domesticated livestock such as poultry and young sheep and goats. Caracals are a rare sight as they hide extremely well, but have been spotted recently at Kichaka!
At Kichaka Lodge you can enjoy private game drives & walks, game viewing from the main lodge, bird watching, swimming, massage therapies, or just rest and relax. If you like, sign up for other activities such as a Cosmic Safari with your ranger, and view the wonders of space with our high powered telescope. With little or no light pollution, a Cosmic Safari at Kichaka is an opportunity to star gaze in wonder at the Southern Hemisphere’s Milky Way and identify Orion’s Belt, the Southern Cross and Scorpio.
Within the immediate vicinity, the lodge can arrange additional activities including golf, hiking, horse trails and fishing. Due to its prime location, Kichaka Lodge is also well placed as a base to explore the stunning & historic Frontier Country & Sunshine Coast. Additional fees apply for excursions.
Travel between Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg today. Travel time is approximately 2 hours.
Depart from Johannesburg international airport - End of itinerary.
November 08, 2012
"I am a world traveller and this was one of my Top 3 vacations ever! Kensington Tours did a great job with EVERY little detail, from the planning to being met and catered to every step of the way. Our favorite lodges were Tau Pan in the Kalahari, Botswana & Moon Mountain in Sossusvlei, Namibia. We especially loved the Batswana people and all the animals we saw at Camp Moremi on the Okavanga River. The highlight of our trip was actually our stay in Swakopmund when we stayed on the South Atlantic & went for an exciting boat ride to see all the sealife up close and personal (like a seal coming onboard the boat!), a rollar coaster dune ride in a 4 X 4!! the balloon ride over the red sand dunes over Namibia and several champagne brunches in the middle of the desert. Also, will never forget all the sundowmer game drives which ended with our favorite cocktail, watching the sunset with wildlife close at hand!
Unforgettable. Thanks Ivona for planning it all!"
October 26, 2012
"35 Goose Pond Road
Lincoln, MA 01773
Re: Steven Weru Kinyua, Kenya tour guide
We recently returned from a wonderful 8 day tour of Kenya with Steven, he is an exceptional individual. But one example: As we returned to the Samburu lodge from our first game drive, Steven pointed out a young, sick-looking lion in the shade of a tree. We observed it momentarily and soon returned to the lodge for dinner.
The next day Steven mentioned he had reported the weak young lion to the local Samburu ranger. Steven explained that due to the arrival of a new alpha male in his pride the young lion had likely been chased out before he was able to hunt for himself. He further explained that the young lion would be welcome back in a week or two, if he were alive. I pursued the full story w/Steven. The ranger Steven had reported the weak lion to had been unresponsive, indicating he would do nothing. Steven, unsatisfied w/that response told the ranger to report it to the Head Park Ranger, or he would. The Head Ranger agreed with Steven's analysis of the situation; bought 10 kilos of meat for the young lion; and directed his staff to feed it appropriately.
Steven understood the workings of that lion pride, and has an exceptional knowledge of all the wild animals of Kenya. Furthermore he has a passion for their well-being. He would not accept a lazy, disinterested response from the local ranger. During our trip in Kenya I had occasion to speak to groups of secondary school students. I related Steven's actions as an excellent example of a Kenyan's knowledge, passion and commitment.
One day Steven pointed out a cheetah. We saw the cheetah w/a young impala in its mouth. After the cheetah had choked the young impala, Steven explained the mother cheetah was calling her cubs --it was thrilling to see the 3 cubs come tearing across the plain creating a mini-dust storm in their wake. The mother gave the kill to her cubs. Steven explained they had to learn to open it up. Shortly she sent them off the kill, twenty paces or so, then froze, looking westerly. A lion, smelling the kill Steven explained, was moving off to the north about a 1000 yards away. Intent on the lion the mother cheetah remained frozen in place (as we're the cubs, mimicking their mother). After the lion passed the mother called the cubs back to the kill. Not 15 minutes later the lion came back, followed by yapping jackels, this time moving off to the east of the cheetahs. As soon as the lion appeared, the mother cheetah repeated her previous actions, sending off the cubs and freezing over the kill, intently watching the lion. Steven explained that the jackels were distracting the lion from the kill, knowing if the lion found the kill, nothing would be left for them. Again the lion passed off to the southeast, never able to find the cheetah kill.
This summary highlights events that played out over a 90 minute period. In that time several tourist rovers and vans came, took pictures of the cheetahs, and left. None of those tourists had a complete explanation of the scene that was playing out before us. Game-viewing w/Steven is a rich experience, a clear cut above the average.
In our time w/Steven we had lengthy conversations about the pluses and minuses of grass-burning, the challenges of maintaining wildlife corridors, park encroachment by locals, roadway underpasses for big game, etc. in addition we discussed ukabila and other political challenges facing Kenya. Steven Kinyua is an exceptional Kenyan guide. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and made our Kenya safari a wonderful learning experience we will cherish for years.
Mark Masterson, Ed.D."
Avi J.Moskovitz ,
February 03, 2014
"We finally returned from the most magical vacation in Morocco and we cannot thank Lily and Kensington Tours enough!! This trip was beyond amazing and we are so appreciative for everything done to make this trip happen last minute for us!
We had a spectacular tour guide that spoke 8 languages, Ismail, and the friendliest and warmest driver, Said, whom made the experience absolutely phenomenal! I seriously doubt that two other people could have made this trip as fantastic and special as they did! Within days, it was like 4 friends were traveling together through the country.
Ismail did the tour in English and Spanish for us to ensure that we fully understood everything we saw and experienced. His passion for his country and culture was incredible and we learned an astounding amount about Moroccan history, food, agriculture, business, religion, fashion, and people. Through his shared knowledge, we have a deep love and appreciation of Morocco that we have would not have had otherwise.
We were so happy with all of the amazing places Ismail took us which included the common tourist spots but also a ton of local places tourist never experience. We were exceedingly thrilled and it enriched our vacation beyond any expectations. Ismail even helped us get jobs in Morocco; I kissed snakes and Armando worked in a public bakery. ;-) (see the pics)
We are also aware that we would not have experienced 10% of what we did had we done this trip alone or been on a large bus tour. Clearly, you have given us a wonderful gift of special memories, which we will never forget. We both want to return to see the north and of course we want to have Ismail and Said with us.
Not only did we learn and see, but we laughed, danced, ate like pigs, kissed camels and snakes, ran in the Sahara desert under the stars, and enjoyed life - which is the best gift of all!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,
Avi J. Moskovitz & Armando Silva
October 18, 2013
"I am so happy that I used Kensington Tours to help with my dream trip to Cape Town South Africa. I was looking for a well respected tour company that planned private guided tours that was not going to cause me my leg, lol. I begin searching companies by reputation and value. I narrowed it down to Kensington Tours because of the quality and value. I felt taken care of prior to my departure due to the detailed itinerary.
From the time of got off the plane to the time I headed back to the states, I was in excellent hands. The service was EXCELLENT! I will definitely use Kensington again. Certainly, a trip of a lifetime!"
October 29, 2013
"My husband and I have just returned from the trip of a lifetime in Egypt. The sites were amazing and overwhelming. Everything was as promised. We had the most amazing pyramid view and Nile view from our hotels. Our itinerary included the most magnificent sites and we were accompanied by the most informative and friendly people. I highly recommend visiting Egypt. It is totally safe. Thank you to everyone at Kensington for this experience. It was so beyond our expectations!"
October 31, 2013
"From our greeter, who whisked us through customs in Johannesburg, to all our excellent drivers, guides and associates in Lions Sands, Cape Town and the wine country, everyone was highly professional, well dressed, well mannered, and well informed. Overall our tour worked like a superbly designed, technically perfect Swiss watch. An experience for the ages. Bravo!"
October 29, 2013
"This was a trip of a life time for me and I was never disappointed. Sylvia listen to me and give me exactly what I wanted in the way of a photo Safari as well as full tour of Cape Town and the wine country. I never had to wait one minute for a guide or any of the transportation provided. The people I dealt with along the way could not have been more courteous and friendly. I just cannot say enough about my experience with Kensington Tours, it was fabulous! "
Hanne Jones ,
October 24, 2013
"I have travelled all my life. I've combed much of Europe, from The arctic north in Norway to the streets of Seville in Spain, the beaches of Cannes and Nice in France and the medieval heart of Bologna in Italy. I've been on two African safaris (one tented, one not), both "luxurious." I've been on more than a dozen jaunts to India, some guided, others not. Over the years I have discovered that I had rather be lost and disoriented in a foreign country than submit once again to the unbending schedule of a guided tour. Hence I had given up tours of any kind, until Molly Kelly, an American Express travel agent, suggested I might want simply to list the places my friends and I wished to see in Morocco then let Kensington Tours make accessing them in an orderly way not only possible but thoroughly enjoyable as well. And this Kensington Tours did. They pulled our disparate destinations together and designed a far, far better route than we could ever have done on our own. They satisfied all our requests and threw in delicious additions, areas of interest we had never considered or even heard of. Our accommodations were well within our means and wonderful. Our guide and driver, not to mention our Mercedes SUV, could not have pleased us more. In other words, thanks to Molly and her recommending Kensington Tours, we had a sensational holiday. "
Anthoula Korina ,
September 05, 2013
"Africa had always been a myth in mind since I was child that was up until a week ago. I just returned from an epic safari adventure! Kenya, Tanzania and the Maasai are sorely missed.
Words cannot fully express the magic of this ever-flowing journey. It was awe-inspiring, breathtaking, free and powerful. My mind keeps playing tricks on me; thinking rather hoping that I'm going to see a giraffe cross a busy NYC street :)
The memories will resonate for a lifetime. To boot, I went on this trip solo; female traveler. Not sure any of it would have been possible w/out Kensington Tours!!! Thank you..."
July 12, 2013
"I had a wonderful trip visiting the mountain gorillas in Uganda. We were able to get really close to the gorillas and watched their interactions with each other. The local people are so gracious and made every minute a delight. The accomodations were great. I loved waking up in the morning to the sounds of the forest. The added luxury of a massage was a great way to end the trip!"
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