THE WESTERN CAPE
This city is like no other. It is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, where towering mountains and bright white beaches lie within the city’s limits; and every street is peppered with incredible restaurants, artisan cafés, organic farmer’s markets or stylish boutiques.
Cape Town can get very busy, but it’s easy enough to get off the tourist track and see the city’s authentic personality and charm. Visit Table Mountain, hike up Lion’s Head for the best 360° views of the city, go on an off-road mountain bike trail, or just sit back and relax on one of the city’s many breath-taking beaches! A trip around the Cape of Good Hope (the peninsula) and its beaches, sights and small towns is not to be missed, and the world-famous vineyards of Stellenbosch and Franschoek are just a 40-minute drive from town.
After you’ve soaked up the Afro-European culture of Cape Town city, visit the Garden Route for your fix of wild natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and peace and quiet.
The Cape winelands offer an unforgettable experience for any wine-loving traveller! Said to rival the beauty of the South of France and Napa Valley, the Cape’s winelands are home to dozens of historic and modern wine farms, and personalized tours can be created around the specific wine varieties that take your fancy.
Franschoek is also considered the food capital of South Africa, and exceptional world-class restaurants, cafés, and bakeries are found everywhere you look. Many of the older estates offer a window into the history of the winelands and the first settlers, and tranquil garden picnics can be enjoyed in their beautiful grounds.
Hermanus is the whale-watching capital of South Africa. Visit from June to November to see the migrating whales; or just enjoy what the charming seaside town has on offer: walks in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, “adventure” activities like off-road biking trails and kayaking; or spend a day tasting wine in the exceptional Hemel-en-Aarde valley.
Knysna is well-known for its elusive Knysna Elephants and its annual Oyster Festival, held every July. The bustling town has grown in popularity and draws crowds of people to its beautiful indigenous forests and walking trails each summer.
Enjoy fishing trips or boat cruises on the lagoon, fantastic seafood restaurants, and a vibey small-town atmosphere; or simply enjoy some beach time on the blue-flag-rated Buffels Bay beach. Between Knysna and the Tsitsikamma National Park is the popular, upmarket vacation resort of Plettenberg Bay. Stay here to enjoy the year-round vacation feel and visit the nearby hiking trails in Nature’s Valley.
The Little Karoo is a semi-desert environment in stark contrast to the Cape’s vibrant coastline. The vast, flat expanse of the Little Karoo is sandwiched between two parallel mountain ranges, which provide breathtaking scenery. The scrubby “fynbos” vegetation found here is endemic to South Africa – it’s found nowhere else on Earth!
OUDTSHOORN is the ostrich-farming capital of the world, and is also home to the magnificent Cango Caves – where you’ll find some of the biggest stalagmite formations on Earth. Oudtshoorn is a few hours’ drive along the scenic “Route 66” from Cape Town, and is where ostrich farming first began in the 1880s. To this day, the town produces meat and feathers for the international market.
PRINCE ALBERT is where time stands still. Traverse the phenomenal Swartberg Pass – considered one of the most impressive mountain passes in the world – from Oudtshoorn to reach this charming Little Karoo town, where the main street is dotted with many coffee shops, an art gallery and even a theatre. The beauty of Prince Albert, however, is really its peace and quiet. Explore its many hiking trails, go star-gazing under the crystal clear (unpolluted) skies, or enjoy a fynbos foraging experience followed by a half-day cooking course.
TSITSIKAMMA NATIONAL PARK
The Tsitsikamma National Park, including the Storm’s River Mouth, is a part of South Africa you do not want to miss! This National Park hugs the rugged coastline and is home to several stunning hiking trails, waterfalls, adventure activities and raw natural beauty. Kayak up the Storm’s River, visit Tsitsikamma’s “Big Tree”, or take your day pack and enjoy a day out on the trails. If you love nature and the outdoors, then Tsitsikamma is for you.
ADDO ELEPHANT PARK
Just an hour from the Eastern Cape’s biggest city, Port Elizabeth, lies Addo Elephant Park. Here, thick green vegetation and flat plains are home to the Big 5, but elephants are the main attraction! The park is home to over 600 elephants and watching them drink and frolic in the park’s waterholes around midday is a highlight.
The Addo area is a fantastic place to visit at the start, or the end, of your Garden Route adventure. It offers a Big 5 experience, as well as peace and tranquility in the Zeerberg Mountains, just north of the park. Flights to Cape Town, Johannesburg or Durban depart regularly from Port Elizabeth’s Walmer Airport.
Africa’s safaris offer some of the best wildlife experiences on the planet!