The Garden Route includes one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline, the starting point of which is constantly contested as towns such as Witsand, Stilbaai and Albertinia, Come with us along the route that winds its way for some 200 km via George, Wilderness, Sedgefield and Knysna on to Plettenberg Bay culminating in the Tstisikamma Forest – a fairyland of giant trees, ferns and bird life.
An important geological feature is the Cango Caves, a series of caverns and chambers naturally hewn out of limestone, situated outside the city of Oudtshoorn. The Cango Caves are among the top ten most visited South African attractions. Oudtshoorn itself, the heart of the ostrich feather industry when it was in its hey day the late 1800s and early 1900s, is well worth a visit. The grandiose, old feather palaces are still to be seen, while ostrich farms, now involved in the commercial production of meat, leather, eggs and feathers, can be toured, with the possibility of riding an ostrich.
|AIRLINES||FLIGHTS FROM||DESTINATION||GENERAL DEPARTS||GENERAL ARRIVES|
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Flight Arrangements Guest have a choice of flying from Port Elizerbeth back to Cape Town. Flight arrangements are done on request unless stipulated on the package as an inclusive offer. The above airlines, destinations and times are general and therefore changing constantly please enquire with our able staff regarding flight booking policy .
After a warm meet and greet with your Guide and companion for the next 72 hours, we quickly leave Cape Town behind us on the N2 Eastbound exiting the city via the quaint suburban town of Summerset West. We drive through perhaps one of the most scenic spots rivalled only by the Garden Route itself, Sir Lowry’s pass, if time permits we may take the opportunity for a super quick stop for a picture shot. Our very first leg stretching stop will be at the Peregrine Farm Store an hour out of the city of Cape Town.
After a hearty bite we head on to Hermanus. The world’s foremost land based whale watching destination, is a thriving holiday resort offering residents and holiday makers all modern amenities, yet retaining its fisherman’s village charm. The popular resort town of Hermanus, situated between mountain and sea, has gained world-wide recognition as the world’s foremost land based whale watching destination. This has resulted in the former fishing village showing a tremendous growth over the last few years.
Contributory factors to the success of the town are the natural scenic beauty, the mild climate, the range of outdoor activities available, and the close proximity to Cape Town, with Hermanus being a mere 140 km from the Cape Metrople. The ideal base from which to explore the Western Cape and the Cape Over-berg.
Town view of Hermanus
Today After an early breakfast, we depart Hermanus for a 4hour drive to the Cango caves. This spectacular underground wonder of the Klein Karoo is situated 29 km from Oudtshoorn at the head of the magnificent Congo Valley. The caves were discovered by Klaas Windvogel, a herder searching for his lost cattle in 1780. In 1898 the first official guide of the Cango Caves – Johnnie van Wassenaar – allegedly walked for 29 hours to find the end of the caves, legend goes that he calculated how far he had travelled to be 25 kilometres from the cave entrance and 275 metres underground!According to the Cango Caves website entrance to the caves cost five “rix dollars” in the 19th century, that’s the modern equivalent of around R500. Not that this deterred people from visiting the site at all. In fact, groups took advantage of the natural treasure and carted away parts of the delicate stalactites and stalagmites for souvenirs or carved their names, graffitistyle onto the walls. Due to this the governor of the Cape Colony, Lord Charles Somerset published the first Caves Regulation in 1820. The first law was designed to protect the environmental resource in South Africa and banned the collection of souvenirs, charged fines for the defacing of the caves and determined an entrance fee to be paid to the District Officer
At Daybreak after a heart breakfast we head out 15mins drive from the Guest house to “Highgate Ostrich Farm” where we will get to see and interact with Ostriches. This Farm has been telling the fascinating story of these fascinating birds and ostrich farming in Oudtshoorn for over a hundred years, and its tours have delighted visitors from all over the world. Meet ostriches face to face, learn about ostrich farming, and enjoy everyone’s favourite – ostrich races! We are one of the most popular things to do in Oudtshoorn. People describe us as family fun, interesting and informative, great experience, ostriches and more ostriches, and more…
Highgate Ostrich Farm
After our Ostrich rendezvous, we head on to the beautiful little town of George, If history is to be believed, then this beautiful part of the world was only explored in 1688, well after Dias had landed in Mossel Bay in 1488, in the hope of finding meat and fresh water. To the Khoi people, who lived in this rich valley, the region was known as Outeniqualand – the ‘land of milk and honey’ – which aptly describes this lush and green paradise. A settlement was established here in 1811 and named George Town after the reigning monarch of England at the time.
We arrive in this quaint beautiful town of Knysna just in time to Checking and drive to Buffalo Bay, (otherwise known as Buffeslbaai, Buffalo Bay or simply Buffs) is a rustic sea-side resort town for people looking for a real holiday away from their busy lives. For much of the year Buffels Bay’s homes are empty, leaving the town to its quiet and simple ways. During the peak summer season it becomes a bustling, energetic place where one struggles to find parking near the beach.
For the evening Treat after a relaxing beach walk we’ll take you to you evening treat of the day;the Featherbed Paddle Cruiser on the Knysna Lagoon is the perfect end to a day filled with awesome do’s. Its classic Mississippi-style furnishings – at times complemented by a jazz band – make for a great ambience as you dine in its on-board restaurant.?
Evening view of the Knysna’s Waterfront
Knysna is a natural paradise of lush, indigenous forests, tranquil lakes and golden beaches. She nestles on the banks of a breathtakingly pretty lagoon, now a protected marine reserve that is home to the extraordinary sea horse and over 200 species of fish.
Beaches, lakes, mountains and rivers provide endless opportunity for leisure and outdoor adventure. Within the town, craft shops, flea-markets and cosy cafés beckon with small-town charm and hospitality. The area around Knysna is a veritable Garden of Eden. This is home of the only forest elephant in South Africa, the rare Pansy Shell, the brilliantly coloured, and elusive, Knysna Loerie, a plethora of waterfowl and forest birds, dolphins and visiting whales.
A part of the migratory route of the Southern Right and other whale species, it is possible to view these marine mammals during the months of August and September, while dolphins are year round visitors. For thrillseekers, options abound, with everything from paragliding over the coastline, abseiling and skydiving, to scuba diving and tree top canopy tours within easy reach of the town.
The harbour area and the Knysna Waterfront is also home to most of Knysna’s nightlife, with several bars, restaurants and clubs where patrons can enjoy a cocktail while watching the sunset over the heads. Golf enthusiasts will find the area a treat, with several world-class courses on offer both in Knysna itself, and in neighbouring towns. Fancourt in George is within easy reach, and Simola, Pezula and the Knysna golf course are all located in the town itself..
Town view of Knysna
The Park stretches from the semi-arid karoo of the north, over the Zuurberg Mountains and down through the Sundays River valley to the coast, to between the mouths of the Sundays and Bushman’s rivers.
Addo is home to one of the densest African Elephant populations on earth, roughly 550 of them. They once roamed the entire continent. By 1979 there were only 1.3 million African elephants left, and in 1989 they were added to the international list of the most endangered species, with only sixteen left in the Greater Addo area.
The Elephants play a key role in the environment – pulling down trees, breaking up bushes, and digging waterholes and trails. Their droppings are particularly important as baboons and birds pick them over for undigested seeds and nuts, and the dung beetle (the flightless dung beetle is only found in Addo) use them in which to reproduce.
More recently the Addo Elephant National Park has expanded to become the only park in the world to lay claim to Africa’s ‘Big 7’ – elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard, southern right whale and great white shark. It has done this by expanding along the coast from the Sundays River mouth towards Alexandria, and by adding an offshore marine reserve that includes St Croix Island and Bird Island, both essential breeding grounds for penguins and gannets. St Croix has the largest African penguin colony in the world.
A first in Africa. Enjoy the unequaled beauty of the indigenous forest high up on ten treetop platforms. Gently glide along in a harness, on steel cables 30 meters above the forest floor.Birdlife is abundant (including Knysna Loeries and the elusive Narina Trojan), and your guides will explain the ecology of the lush primeval forest.
Safety is paramount, and the system has been built to the highest civil engineering standards. Guides are fully-trained professionals.
Addo Elephant Park
To see elephant, head to the waterholes of the Addo Elephant reserve. In the hot climate of Africa, elephants need roughly 190 litres of water to drink on a daily basis. Their trunks, which are something like large and long hosepipes, have a 23 litre capacity. The main rest camp in particular overlooks a waterhole with an underground viewing area that gets you up close to the elephants. Often you need do little more than remain around this hole to see herds of elephant.
An overnight stay out of season is even better, as once the noise of the daily visitors subsides then the watering hole becomes quiet and still. Guided game drives at sunrise, sunset and at night offer more chance of sighting the rest of the Big 5. And if you prefer to do the viewing in the comfort of your own car, guides are available in a ‘hop-on’ service. Elephants are known to come within metres of visitors’ cars.
Addo Elephant Park
After a fulfilled day we wave a fond farewell as you are transferred by road to the Port Elizabeth Airport to fly back to Cape Town (Shuttle from the Airport to your hotel can be arranged through us in advance)