I highly recommend visiting South Africa and, if you haven’t been before, a holiday starting in Cape Town and touring the region by car, is a great introduction to this fabulous country.
Cape Town is situated on a peninsula on South Africa’s south west coast. This seriously cool city fans out beneath the world famous Table Mountain, has a busy harbour and boasts beautiful pristine white beaches. To start your tour we suggest spending at least a couple of nights in the city and take time to enjoy some of it’s top attractions before heading off. Here are just a few things you can do while you are staying in the city:
- Take the cable car up Table Mountain in the morning to avoid the wind. You will get a truly amazing view of the city and it’s surrounds from the top of this ancient mountain and then if you have time walk back down (or vice-versa).
- A visit to Robben Island which is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for many years is a must and just a short ferry ride from the harbour.
- Kirstenbosch National Botantical Gardens are world famous and if you love plants they are well worth going to and you can join a free guided tour. Also, there are often wonderful concerts held in the gardens.
- Treat yourself to a traditional tea at Cape Town’s Mount Nelson’s hotel which is one of the oldest and famous in the city.
- The Waterfront is a lovely place to spend an afternoon with lots to see, plenty of shops and a great selection of bars and restaurants.
- Boulders Beach to see the charismatic African penguins.
After relaxing in Cape Town for a few days you will be ready to head off and explore. Leave the city and head east along the coast road 122kms to Hermanus which is generally considered to be one of the best places in the world to whale watch. Every year from June to December the South Right Whales congregate in the bay to give birth. What was a small fishing village is now a bustling town with plenty of places to stay.
Close to Hermanus is Gansbaai which is worth stopping over if you’d like to see great white sharks in action. Join a water safari where you will go out in a boat and see the sharks close up and if you feel brave enough you can descend in a steel cage to see them underwater. A truly incredible experience.
From Gansbaai carry on east to take in the famous and fabulous Garden Route.
The route officially starts at Mossel Bay and continues 200km until Storms River. The range of topography, vegetation, wildlife and outdoor activities along this route is remarkable. Knynsa and Plettenberg Bay are two popular places to stopover.
Then if you fancy a safari we’d highly recommend spending a couple of nights at Shamwari, an award winning private game reserve which is a short drive north east of Port Elizabeth.
From there head back along Route 62 stopping at Oudtshoorn, home to ostrich farms, the spectacular underground Cango Caves and the Swartberg Mountains which are part of the Cape Floral UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Four hours from Oudtshoorn, the Cape Winelands is the perfect place to wind down and relax before going back to Cape Town. The area is home to an historic collection of towns famous for their wine production. The region offers wine tasting, fantastic restaurants and cuisine, beautiful architecture and lovely countryside. There is no shortage of wonderful hotels and two of the most popular places to stay are Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. It is worth spending at least a couple of days exploring the vineyards, taking in the Cape Dutch architecture that is prevalent in the region and indulging in some top class wining and dining before finishing your tour with a final evening in Cape Town.
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