(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).
This delightful drive winds its way to the heart of the Cape Winelands, through superb mountain ranges, vineyards and Cape Dutch homesteads. Head off to the wine country via the N2 to the heart of South Africa's wine industry, Stellenbosch; boasting great beauty and culture that is steeped in South African history. Walk down the canal-lined avenues, in the shade of giant oak trees and beautifully preserved historic buildings. With the sheer vastness of wine estates on offer, we are truly spoilt for choice when we enjoy our first wine tasting of the day. Travel over the Helshoogte Pass to the town of Franschhoek, historically dating back to the 17th century when the French Huguenots arrived. Billed as the Gourmet Capital of South Africa, this charming town, in a most picturesque valley, retains a French Huguenot style. Enjoy a wine tasting before heading to your hotel. Please note all tasting fees are not included.
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.
VISA/PASSPORTVisitors to South Africa for tourism, short business meetings, or those in transit do not require visas for stays of up to 90 days. We recommend that the passports of all travelers to South Africa contain at least two completely blank (unstamped) visa pages each time entry is sought. These pages are in addition to the endorsement/amendment pages (as many as four) at the back of the passport. While South African statutes require only one completely blank visa page, this rule has been applied inconsistently by South African immigration officials. In addition, any trip to a neighboring country would necessitate another blank page upon return.
Please note obtaining a visa is your responsibility. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the embassy of South Africa for the most up to date visa information.
HEALTHHealth insurance is recommended. Medical facilities are relatively wide spread and good quality. We recommend that you see a health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine. The doctor or health-care provider will determine what vaccinations and medication you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities. For more information on travel requirements, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/south-africa.aspx COUNTRY INFOCapital: Pretoria (administrative). Government: Republic. Gained independence from the UK in 1910. Language: The official languages are Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga. Religion: Most inhabitants profess Christianity. There are also Hindu, Muslim and Jewish communities, and traditional beliefs are still practiced widely, sometimes in conjunction with Christianity. Time: GMT + 2. Electricity: 220/240 volts AC; 250 volts AC (Pretoria), 50Hz. Three-pin round plugs are in use. Telephone: Country code +27. Area codes are used even if you are making a call in the same area. Mobile Telephone: Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. Coverage extends to most of the country except in the very remote areas. Internet: Internet cafes are present around the country and wireless is available at airports and in upmarket hotels.
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