CAPE TOWN & GARDEN ROUTE CIRCULAR
South Africa: This vast country is undoubtedly one of the most culturally and geographically diverse places on earth. Fondly known by locals as the ‘Rainbow Nation’, South Africa has 11 official languages and its multicultural inhabitants are influenced by a fascinating mix of cultures. Discover the gourmet restaurants, impressive art scene, vibrant nightlife and beautiful beaches of Cape Town; enjoy a local braai (barbecue) in the Soweto township; browse the bustling Indian markets in Durban; or sample some of the world’s finest wines at the myriad wine estates dotting the Cape Winelands. Some historical attractions to explore include the Zululand battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal, the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and Robben Island, just off the coast of Cape Town. Above all else, its remarkably untamed wilderness with its astonishing range of wildlife roaming freely across massive unfenced game reserves such as the world-famous Kruger National Park. With all of this variety on offer, it is little wonder that South Africa has fast become Africa’s most popular tourist destination.
CAPE TOWN: DAYS 1 – 4
Resting at the confluence of the Indian and Atlantic oceans, sandwiched between the slopes of the iconic Table Mountain and the glistening sapphire waters of Table Bay, the exceptionally scenic city of Cape Town is in a class of its own. Some cities boast rich culture, vibrant nightlife, a cosmopolitan atmosphere and extraordinary architecture, while others boast breathtaking landscapes and extraordinary natural wonders. Cape Town is lucky enough to be blessed with all of these attractions and so much more. With its bustling harbour, world-class beaches, top-notch vineyards, and its mountainous surroundings brimming with diverse flora and fauna, Cape Town consistently captivates the hearts of all who visit.
OUDTSHOORN : DAYS 4 – 5
Located along the well-known Route 62 in South Africa’s beautiful Klein Karoo, the charming town of Oudtshoorn is known as the ostrich capital of the world. It is surrounded by numerous ostrich farms and the golden arid landscape of the Karoo. Visitors can enjoy the locally produced wine and port; sample ostrich meat and biltong; learn about the ostrich feather boom at the C.P. Nel Museum; and visit the world-renowned Cango Caves, the largest cave system in Africa featuring ancient rock formations and sparkling stalactites and stalagmites. Other popular activities include: mountain biking, paragliding, horse riding, and taking a day trip to the quaint town of Prince Albert over the scenic Swartberg Pass.
PLETTENBERG BAY – DAYS 5 – 7
Set along the spectacularly scenic Garden Route in South Africa, the coastal town of Plettenberg Bay is a popular holiday destination. The Portuguese explorers called it the ‘Beautiful Bay’, and it’s easy to see why – Plettenberg Bay is a picturesque, charming town with endless pristine beaches, tranquil lagoons, clean rivers, indigenous forests and a dramatic rocky peninsula. Playground to the wealthy, beach mansions overlook the Indian Ocean, often dotted with luxury yachts, while leisure time is given over to polo and golf, among other things. However, all kinds of visitors will feel at peace here as simply swimming in the warm water on a safe beach is a great way to experience the beauty of Plettenberg Bay.
The Garden Route has an all-year-round temperate climate that is perfectly suited to playing outdoors. Temperatures are highest in the summer months (November to April), although bear in mind that this stretch of coastline gets very busy over the Christmas school holidays. For a beach holiday without the crowds, the best time to visit the Garden Route is from February to April but remember that unlike Cape Town, on a Garden Route holiday you can experience rain at any time of year.
Temperatures rarely fall below 16°C – even in winter – so your decision as to when to go to the Garden Route should also depend on your interests: whale watching season runs from July to October (peaking in September), hiking is also good in winter, and the 10-day Knysna Festival in July is a great combination of sporting events, food and live local music.
South Africa is a year-round destination due to its varying regional climates and wildlife opportunities. The Cape has beautiful hot, dry weather in its summer months between November and February, while the best time to visit for whale watching is between July and November. The northern regions can be rainy from November to February, but this can be the best time to travel for birding, while the cooler winter months from May to September bring superb conditions for viewing big game.