Enchanting South Africa

This is a comprehensive self-drive itinerary for your first-time South Africa holiday, offering excellent value for money while not compromising on quality. Taking in Cape Town, Hermanus, Franschhoek, Oudtshoorn, Kysna and ending with a three-night safari, you will experience South Africa to the full on this 19-night holiday.

Day one – UK to Cape Town
One night

Day two – Winchester Mansions, Sea Point, Cape Town  
Five nights – bed and breakfast

Late evening arrival into Cape Town. You will be met and transferred to the centrally located Winchester Mansions for a five-night stay in a twin room.

In the morning, a Europcar representative will deliver a group G car hire (VW Polo Blue Motion or similar, manual with air con).

Days are at leisure for exploring Cape Town and the surrounding areas.

Winchester Mansions is on the Sea Point Promenade, facing the Atlantic Ocean, and has one of the best locations of any hotel in Cape Town.

The hotel has a variety of rooms and suites: 51 classic or contemporary loft-style rooms and 25 suites, including one presidential suite – some offering sea- or mountain-facing views. All rooms are equipped with air conditioning, internet connection, and international plugs, telephones, satellite TV, hairdryers, bathrobes and personalised guest amenities in all rooms. There is also a fully stocked mini-bar and tea and coffee making facilities. Rooms are en suite, and feature walk-in showers. Guests can dine at Harvey’s restaurant, which is famous throughout Cape Town for its Sunday jazz brunch, and there is also a popular seafront bar. Spa treatments are available and guests have access to the sun deck and heated swimming pool.

Complimentary shuttle transfers to and from the V&A Waterfront are offered, as well as, at extra cost, guided bicycle tours with the Bike and Saddle Company.

Day seven – Ocean Eleven Guest House, Hermanus  
Two nights – bed and breakfast

Depart Cape Town at leisure and drive out to the coastal town of Hermanus where you arrive at Ocean Eleven Guest House for a two-night stay in a twin room.

Your free day is at leisure to explore the town and perhaps enjoy some shore-based whale watching.

Situated on the outskirts of the coastal town of Hermanus, Ocean Eleven Guest House has an enviable cliff-top location offering marvelous views over the ocean.

The main house of Ocean Eleven was built with high ceilings, tall windows and teak floors reminiscent of Cape Cod style and still retains many of these features. Accommodation is provided in ten well-appointed rooms and suites plus a two-bedroom apartment. All of the rooms have sea views over Walker Bay and have private en suite facilities, tea and coffee trays, minibars, heated towel rails, fans and heating.

Breakfast is taken in the bright and airy salon overlooking the swimming pool, with lovely views towards the ocean.

Day nine – Auberge Clermont, Franschhoek  
Two nights – bed and breakfast

The day is at leisure to drive north to the picturesque village of Franschhoek, where you arrive at the Auberge Clermont for a two-night stay in a twin room.

Use this day to soak up the gorgeous scenery and visit some of the famous wineries.

Auberge Clermont is set among the vineyards of the Franschhoek Valley, a short distance out of the town (five minutes’ drive). The property dates back to the 17th century and was part of one of the original farms in the region. The accommodation for up to 12 guests features comfortable en suite rooms located within the Provencal-style buildings. There is also a self-catering house (the original homestead) which accommodates a further four guests with its own private pool. Rooms are well furnished and have ceiling fans, air conditioning in the loft rooms, under-floor heating, tea/coffee facilities and a mini-bar fridge. There is a tennis court and swimming pool. Leisurely walks are available through the vines or along the river. Breakfasts are taken al fresco under a 200-year-old oak tree looking out over the surrounding vineyards, or in the lounge/dining/bar area of the main house.

Day 11 – La Plume Guesthouse, Oudtshoorn  
Two nights – bed and breakfast

Depart Franschhoek at leisure and head east along the scenic R62 via Barrydale, Ladismith and Calitzdorp to Oudtshoorn. If you want, you could reach Oudtshoorn by lunch, leaving the afternoon free to visit an ostrich farm or the Cango Caves.

Shortly before arriving into Oudtshoorn, reach La Plume Guesthouse, where you will spend two nights in a twin room.

La Plume is a lovely guesthouse on its own Ostrich farm in the Little Karoo outside Oudtshoorn. The property offers very comfortable twin, double and family en suite accommodation in 12 rooms, which are in converted farm houses and outbuildings, most of which look out across the dry scrub plains towards the Swartberg Mountains, and are decorated with original Victorian furniture. There are lawns leading down to a lovely pool, and the main house includes a breakfast/dining room.

You have a full day at leisure to explore the Karoo, and we would suggest a visit the Cango Caves in the morning, followed by crossing the spectacular Swartberg Pass (weather permitting) to reach the quaint village of Prince Albert in the Greater Karoo for lunch. Your return to Oudtshoorn could be via the Meiringspoort Pass. The circular drive is spectacular. Alternatively, you can relax around Oudtshoorn, perhaps combining a visit to the Cango Caves with a visit to an ostrich farm.

Day 13 – Falcons View Manor, Knysna  
Three nights – bed and breakfast

Day at leisure to travel south to the central Garden Route.

The most direct route is down the N12 to George and then east to Knysna and Plettenberg, while a more adventurous and scenic drive would be east via De Rust to Uniondale and then south down the Prince Alfred’s Pass (sections of the road are gravel and a little bumpy, but four-wheel drive is definitely not required). Proceed to Falcon’s View Guesthouse in Knysna, where you will spend three nights in a twin room.

Days are at leisure for exploring the scenic splendours of the Garden Route.

Falcon’s View is a small property, catering for just 20 discerning guests in comfortably furnished, spacious air-conditioned bedrooms, superior rooms and a suite, each with en suite facilities. There are two singles, three doubles and one twin room within the Manor House, three very spacious garden superior rooms, and a separate garden suite. One manor superior room, and all the garden rooms have a bath in addition to a shower. Other facilities include heated towel rails, satellite TV, iPod docking station, under-floor heating (for those chilly winter evenings) and a tea/coffee station.

The two lounges and the bar open out onto the long terrace with spectacular views over Knysna and the lagoon – the perfect place to relax with a pre-dinner sundowner. The small in-house restaurant serves lunch and dinner with breakfast served al fresco in the tea garden. There is a swimming pool set in the mature gardens. The property is unsuitable for children and adopts a no-smoking policy in rooms. Your hosts are Uwe and Reimer and their staff.

Day 16 – Kichaka Private Game Lodge, near Grahamstown  
Three nights – full board

After breakfast, depart the central Garden Route for your drive to Kichaka (three-and-a-half to four hours), where you arrive for a three-night stay in a twin suite.

Days are at leisure for shared game viewing activities on the reserve.

Set among the hills of the Assegaai Bush valley in the malaria-free Eastern Cape, Kichaka is an exclusive five-star luxury lodge with just 10 beautiful stone and thatch suites in the heart of a Big Five game reserve. Kichaka is a fantastically located lodge for those seeking safari on the Eastern Cape, situated within a 7,500 hectare reserve in the heart of what world-renowned conservationist Dr Ian Player describes as “the new wilderness frontier”, and a leisurely drive along the world-famous Garden Route from Cape Town.

At Kichaka, staff pride themselves on attention to detail and tailor-making each guest’s stay to suit their individual wishes, interests and mood. The lounge and dining areas in the main lodge have been built to give great views over the unspoilt bush, and large decking over the waterhole provides a viewing deck to watch wildlife coming to drink. The deck also extends into a small island creating an outdoor dining area.

Guests staying here can spend time enjoying the ebb and flow of life around the waterhole, gazing out over the hills, watching birds or simply relaxing in their private plunge pool on the deck outside their room. Activities on the reserve include Big Five game viewing on open safari vehicles as well as fascinating guided bush walks with experienced rangers. Other outdoor pursuits such as horse-riding, fishing and self-guided walks are also available nearby. In addition, guests can enjoy the peaceful surroundings, lounge by the pool, relax on their private viewing-deck overlooking the waterhole, or perhaps be pampered by the resident massage therapist – while soaking up the sounds and scents of the African bush.

Kichaka offers a memorable luxury safari experience, with fine dining, complemented by premium wines from Kichaka’s comprehensive cellar, the highly trained and professional staff, and all the mods-cons one would expect of a five-star lodge, including wi-fi internet access throughout.

Day 19 – Return flight to the UK
One night

Morning at leisure for further game viewing activities. In the afternoon, drive through to Port Elizabeth Airport where you terminate your car rental and check in for the scheduled mid-evening South African Airways flight to Johannesburg. On arrival, you will need to collect your baggage and check in for the scheduled late evening KLM flight to Amsterdam. Overnight in flight.

Day 20 – Arrive UK