(Franschhoek, Knysna, Oudtshoorn)
The Garden Route offers you majestic mountains, breathtaking views, a natural garden of rich, colourful vistas with valleys and lakes, rivers and forests. A paradise for bird-lovers and nature lovers, an eco-destination like few others in the world, with miles upon miles of beautiful, white sandy beaches and a zillion things to do and explore. Stop to visit Swellendam or Franschhoek with its famous wine lands and varietals or one of the many smaller vinyards with their unique wines, food and sights. 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. Activities and wild encounters await as you explore the garden route with your own private vehicle and guide. This is truly one of the most beautiful and unique ways to explore all the wonders of South Africa, on your own terms.
Upon arrival into Cape Town, you will be met at the door of the plane and escorted through Customs and Immigration, avoiding any queues.
Upon arrival you will receive all of your neccessary 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).
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 accommodation located in the heart of the Franschhoek valley. Complimented by the well known Monneaux Restaurant, the hotel is also known for a number of excellent guest services and offers for guests to enjoy and indulge in. Situated on the outskirts of the Franschhoek Village, only 1km from the main town it is an ideal base to indulge your tastes for fine wines and world class cuisine. Guests can choose between the original and charming Franschhoek Country House or the Villas @ Franschhoek Country House.
This morning your guide will collect you from the guesthouse and you will drive on through stunning fields, winelands, and mountain passes before you descend again towards the sea. Make stops along the way for impromptu wine tasting, visit shops, or drive directly to Knysna. This small city along the lagoon is "the gem" of the garden route and home to many activities and sights. The transfer time will be approximately 4-5 hours depending on the number of stops made along the way. Please note all entrance fees are to be paid directly.
Knysna offers a wide range of activities ranging from animal viewing to adventure activities. Optional activities on site include: Featherbed Nature Reserve, Storm's River, Monkeyland, Cango Caves, Cango Ostrich Farm, Cango Wildlife Ranch with its endangered species and big cats, cheetah centre and more. For the more adventurous, sign up for activities like mountain biking, quad biking, helicopter tours, forest exploration, rock climbing, para-gliding, kloofing, abseiling, black water tubing, Treetop Canopy Tours (zip lining, bungee jumping, etc.), sky diving, Tsitsikama Falls, motorcycle adventures, horseback riding... Some of the water activities include: Paddle Cruiser, private charter sail boats/yachts/charters, John Benn floating restaurant, boat cruises, paddle surfing, kite surfing, canoeing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, tubing, Pontoon Cruises, kayak, shore scuba diving, fishing, and swim with seals!
Sign up for activities that interest you or arrange them in advance. Speak to your guide or travel advisor for more details.
The Turbine Hotel and Spa is a boutique 5 star Hotel in Knysna which offers guests an extra special experience. This exceptional boutique hotel in Knysna is situated on Thesen Island which is considered one of the most the prestigious locations on the Garden Route. The Turbine Hotel and Spa was an ambitious project which transformed the old power station into a unique 5 star boutique hotel on the Garden Route with a massive wow factor. All the old machinery which was used in this power station has been loving restored and forms an integral part of the hotels aesthetics. The Turbine Hotel is surrounded by water on three sides. The Hotel comproses of two licensed bars, two superb Knysna restaurants and twenty four individually themed suites of the highest standard. There are also conference facilities onsite, a pool and the Amani Spa.
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.
After a spectacular drive over the Outeniqua Mountain Pass, we enter the red semi-desert of the Little Karoo. We 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 we 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. Return back to the hotel late this afternoon
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.
Enjoy an incredibly scenic drive between Cape Town and Oudtshoorn today. Pass through hills, mountains, and wine regions. Make additional stops along the way at little restaurants, stop for a wine tasting, or drive direct. This drive takes approx. 5-6hrs. Once in Oudtshoorn you'll have the chance to enjoy optional activities or simply relax.
Depart from Cape Town 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."
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!"
July 26, 2013
"Our family of 6 traveled to Morocco for a 9 day Imperial cities discovery, I was absolutely amazing. Our guide Lahcen Zaaim was the best guide we have EVER had and we have traveled to many countries. There was not one subject that he was not knowledgeable about. He made the trip sooooo memorable. He was so flexible and when he picked us up in the mornings to head out, he was talking nonstop to tell us soo much about everything we were seeing. There was soooo much to see in Morocco and he made sure we saw it all.. He truly has a gift in the touring business, you feel as if your leaving your best friend when the trip is over. When we got to the airport in casablanca, he spotted us before we saw him and of course, we asked him, how did you recognize us? He even went as far as to get the King of Moroccos artist to meet us at our riad the night before we left to return home late to do our names in moroccan arabic to frame, They were beautiful, He showed us a picture of the Kings Face he had done for the Palace! Lily Baffour from Kensington planned our trip and she was amazing, planning everything as she thought we would like based on what I told her. She did an Outstanding job and literally sent our Iteniaries by next day air in a beautifully done spiral bound personally book for each family that was going on the trip, SOOOOOO IMPRESSED and she even got the guide we requested!!!! I cant say enough about this trip and Kensington, we will definitely use again!!! We experienced a VERY different culture in going to Morocco and thats what we wanted, a Very different exotic trip and thats what we got!!!! Again our accomodations we Top Notch, staying in the TRuly authenic Riads, they were SOOOOO Luxurious, Plan on taking another suitcase or buying one there because you will buy more things to bring home than any other trip because of all the Handicrafts there, especially in Fes!!!
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