We hope that this example holiday will give you give some inspiration to help you begin to plan your own dream holiday to Africa.
The next couple of pages show a summary of the itinerary, followed by a detailed page on each destination.
Important travel information for visitors to South Africa is included at the back of this document.
All the holidays we offer to our clients are tailor-made so we can adjust this trip to fit in with your travel dates, interests, preferred accommodation...and of course your budget.
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The Travel Butlers Team
Holiday Title: Shamwari Safari and Garden Route Explorer
Holiday Destination: Holiday to South Africa for 15 nights
Passengers: 2 Adults
*Excludes international flights from your home country - please ask us if you would like us to include these for you.
ABTOT provides protection for your booking as set out in Section 6 of our booking conditions.
Holiday Title: Shamwari Safari and Garden Route Explorer
Passengers: 2 Adults
Arrive into Port Elizabeth Airport. Collect your luggage then make your way into the Arrivals Hall where your driver will meet you. You will then be transferred to your hotel.
Claiming to have the best climate and more sunshine than any other coastal resort in the country, Port Elizabeth is a popular holiday destination, renowned for its beautiful coastline and long sandy beaches. Known more fondly as just PE, the warmth of the people have earned it the well-deserved reputation as 'The Friendly City'.
After breakfast you will meet your transfer driver in the hotel reception area. You will then be transferred to the Shamwari Game Reserve.
During your time at the award-winning Shamwari Private Game Reserve, you'll set off on 2 thrilling game drives per day, one at sunrise and one at sunset, with your game ranger and fellow guests in an open game viewing vehicle in search of the Big 5 as well as cheetah, hyena, hippo, zebra and antelope.
Shamwari Game Reserve
After you return from your morning game drive you will have time to enjoy breakfast at the lodge. Your hire car will be delivered to the lodge at 11:00 when you have checked out of your room. Complete the necessary paperwork - you will need to present your driving licence, passport and credit card. The keys to your hire car will then be handed over to you.
10 Day Car Rental: Group R Standard SUV - Toyota Rav or similar (Classic Plus Cover GPS PACKAGE)
You will then set off for the drive to the Garden Route, about a 3 hour drive. Hunters Country House is an exclusive family owned retreat and part of the Relais & Chateaux group of exclusive properties. Only 10 km from Plettenberg Bay, this gracious original homestead is surrounded by beautiful gardens and framed by the majestic Tsitsikamma mountains.
The Garden Route
Drive to Knysna (approx 35 km / 30 mins). Situated right in the heart of the Garden Route and set on the shores of a beautiful lagoon, Knysna (pronounced 'Nysna') is a bustling little holiday town with a lively Waterfront area. The excellent selection of accommodation and restaurants, coupled with the many activities on offer, makes this a superb holiday destination and a perfect base from which to explore the many attractions of the Garden Route. The Knysna Lagoon is sheltered from the ocean by a coral reef and the Knysna Heads - two large cliff formations which form a natural narrow opening into the ocean. Several operators offer relaxing catamaran trips and sunset champagne cruises out to the Heads and into the open sea, which is a great way to escape the busy streets for a while
The Garden Route
Drive to Oudtshoorn in the Klein Karoo (approx 130 km / 1 h 35 mins). Oudshoorn is famous for its meerkat adventures and its Ostrich Show Farms. Rosenhof Country House is a carefully renovated homestead (circa 1852) with yellowwood beams and a tasteful collection of antique furniture.
The Klein Karoo
Drive to Hermanus, approximately a 4.5 hour drive. Located on the south coast and within a 2 hour drive of Cape Town, Hermanus is amongst the world's leading destinations for both land-based and boat-based whale watching. From June to November each year, whales can be seen as close as 20m from the shore and can come right up to the side of the whale watching boats. If you don't have sea legs, good whale watching vantage points from dry land are from the Old Harbour wall or from the 12 km cliff path. Another great spot to watch the whales is at Bientang's Cave restaurant, where from your table you can watch the whales frolic not more than 100m away in the Old Harbour. The town also has several fine beaches and restaurants.
Drive to Cape Town - one of the world's most beautiful cities. With a magnificent mountain as its centre, miles of sandy beaches, a colourful and moving history, as well as countless bars and restaurants, Cape Town captures the hearts of visitors. During your stay here, enjoy the major attractions in the city (Table Mountain, Robben Island, township tour, Camps Bay, V&A Waterfront, Kirstenbosch Gardens, numerous museums and galleries) and if time permits, take a day trip down to the Cape Peninsula, stopping on the way back at Boulders Beach which is home to one of only 2 mainland nesting colonies of African penguins in South Africa.
Your hire car will be collected at 16:00 this afternoon.
You will be collected and transferred to the airport, arriving in time to check in for your flight home. If you have an evening flight, you will need to check out of your room this morning but you can store your luggage at the hotel until your transfer arrives. Alternatively, the hotel may be able to arrange a late check out for you (additional cost and payable directly to the hotel) subject to the availability of the room.
Claiming to have the best climate and more sunshine than any other coastal resort in the country, Port Elizabeth is a popular holiday destination. Known more fondly as just PE, the warmth of the hospitality has also earned this major seaport the reputation of being 'The Friendly City'.
PE is renowned for its coastline and long sandy beaches. The calm waters of Algoa Bay, its shores lapped by the warm Indian Ocean, also make Port Elizabeth a mecca for all beach and watersport activities and it is rated as one of South Africa's best cold water dive sites.
The Boardwalk beach front complex is the lively heart of Port Elizabeth, and has many shops, bars and restaurants, as well as a casino, small fun fair and cinema.
For golfers, PE is home to one of the world's most challenging links courses, the Humewood Golf Course, which is consistently ranked as one of South Africa's Top 10 golf courses.
The nearby Addo Elephant National Park is home to over 450 elephants who roam freely among the 180,000 hectare reserve alongside buffalo, kudu, red hartebeest and the rare black rhino, as well as over 400 bird species - and not forgetting the unique flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively in Addo. Addo has the greatest density of elephant per square kilometre in Africa and offers some wonderful elephant viewing opportunities.
Only a short walk from the Blue Flag awarded Hobie Beach, the 5* Boardwalk Hotel charmingly captures the grace and detail of Victorian architecture whilst incorporating every modern convenience. The result is a refreshing blend of refinement and urban vogue set against the backdrop of the Indian Ocean.
Boasting 140 guest rooms, each of the luxury appointed rooms enjoy interrupted ocean views.
The hotel also has indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and a pool deck overlooking the beachfront.
|Room:||1 x Superior Luxury Room|
|Includes:||Breakfast is included.|
Long Lee Manor, originally built in 1910, is a reminder of an era of gracious living. Overlooking the sweeping plains leading down to the Bushmans River, this splendidly restored Edwardian manor house in the 25,000 hectare malaria-free Shamwari Private Game Reserve offers guests refined comfort, congenial service and enticing cuisine in the African bush.
The reserve is home to the Big 5 as well as cheetah, hyena, giraffe, hippo, zebra and numerous antelope species, offering an unforgettable safari experience. Game viewing is carried out morning and evening on game drives, when you are driven in your open vehicle over the rolling hills and valleys in search of the wildlife. The experienced rangers are all in 2-way communication with each other at all times, so on any day they know where the game is and how to find the elusive animals such as the rare black rhino.
Shamwari has received numerous international awards, including the World's Leading Conservation Company and Game Reserve.
Long Lee features 17 rooms in total, including Manor House Suites, Garden Rooms and Plains Rooms. In addition, there is also a Family Suite with 2 bedrooms, a living room and private plunge pool sleeping a maximum of 4 adults and 2 children. The original Manor House has been lovingly restored to pay homage to the area’s rich heritage, adding a bit of romance to any stay in one of the suites here.
The main guest areas include a large rim-flow swimming pool with a pool-side bar and a lovely dining room with both in and outdoor seating. In addition, there is also a spa and fitness centre.
Sumptuously prepared meals are enjoyed in the main dining room or around the open blazing fire at the boma overlooking a waterhole.
|Room:||1 x Garden Room|
|Includes:||All meals; drinks (excluding French champagne and premium products); afternoon tea; twice-daily shared game drives; guided walks; tea/coffee; water; game drive beverages; a Born Free and Animal Rehab visit; and the Conservation Levy are included.
Children under the age of 16 years are not permitted on guided walks in the reserve. Guests over 65 wishing to join a guided walk are required to have a letter or certificate from their doctor confirming they are in good health and are physically fit to do the walk. More details available on request.
Please Note: As the animals are wild, it is not possible to guarantee what you will see during your safari.
Originally called Baia Formosa, or Beautiful Bay, by the early Portuguese, Plettenberg Bay is home to some of the best beaches along the Garden Route. Set around a curving horseshoe bay, schools of playful dolphins and resident Orca and Bryde's whales are often seen and between July and December the migratory Southern Right whales come to the bay to calf.
The small town is filled with restaurants, galleries, studios and interesting craft shops. With its exceptional climate and beautiful view sites over the Indian Ocean, Plettenberg Bay is perfect for tourists interested in exploring, whale and dolphin watching or just relaxing.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy mountain biking, horse riding, hiking trails, golf, diving, excellent salt and fresh water fishing - even skydiving!
The nearby Robberg Nature Reserve is situated on a rugged coastal peninsula with sweeping views of the bay, as well as superb whale and dolphin watching, excellent birding, hiking trails and the Nelson Bay Cave - an archaeological site with evidence of human habitation that stretches back for more than 120 thousand years.
Hunters Country House is an exclusive family owned retreat and part of the Relais & Chateaux group of properties. Only 10 km from Plettenberg Bay, this gracious original homestead is surrounded by beautiful gardens and framed by the majestic Tsitsikamma mountains.
The bygone era of opulent elegance is reflected in the decor of the romantic, beautifully appointed candle-lit dining room in the main manor house, where guests can enjoy superb cuisine prepared by the team of acclaimed chefs.
In the extensive gardens surrounding the manor house, the 27 luxurious one-bedroom cottages and suites have been designed for absolute comfort and privacy. All have fireplaces, satellite TV, mini bar, bath and separate shower, as well as a veranda.
Whether breakfasting in the sun-drenched conservatory, lazing by the poolside, or enjoying the endless golden beaches of Plettenberg Bay, guests are assured of a truly memorable stay.
|Room:||1 x Garden Suite|
|Includes:||Breakfast is included.|
Situated right in the heart of the Garden Route and set on the shores of a beautiful lagoon, Knysna (pronounced 'Nysna') is a bustling little holiday town with a lively Waterfront area.
The excellent selection of accommodation and restaurants, coupled with the many activities on offer, makes this a superb holiday destination and a perfect base from which to explore the many attractions of the Garden Route. The annual Knysna Oyster Festival takes place mid-year in Knysna and is one of the area’s annual highlights, boasting amazing food, great music and friendly people.
The Knysna Lagoon is sheltered from the ocean by a coral reef and the Knysna Heads - 2 large cliff formations which form a natural narrow opening into the ocean. Several operators offer relaxing catamaran trips and sunset champagne cruises out to the Heads and into the open sea, which is a great way to escape the busy streets for a while.
The surrounding forests and nature reserves provide ample opportunity for leisurely walks or picnics, short hikes or more strenuous day walks, plus a number of biking trails. Nearby Brenton-on-Sea beach is a magnificent 7 km stretch of uninterrupted white sands around a half heart-shaped bay.
Beautifully positioned at the top of Kanonkop Hill in a private indigenous forest, overlooking the iconic Knysna Lagoon with breathtaking views stretching all the way to the famous Knysna Heads and Indian Ocean, Kanonkop Guest House showcases the natural beauty that the Garden Route is renowned for.
Upon your arrival, relax on your terrace with a chilled drink before freshening up and joining your hosts at the elegant guest bar for complimentary drinks, before heading out to dine at one of Knysna’s many fabulous restaurants.
Each of the 7 suites are individually furnished and decorated, with private balconies offering either views of the Knysna Estuary or overlooking the pool and indigenous gardens.
After a restful night’s sleep, contemplate the day ahead over a scrumptious breakfast served under umbrellas on the patio or in front of the fire in the dining room on a chilly morning. Your hosts can provide insider tips on the best way to enjoy your day and make the most of the local area. Head out to explore the natural beauty of the Garden Route, or just relax at the guest house and take a dip in the swimming pool or have an amazing in-house massage. In-house activities including discounted golf, cycling, birding, hiking, kayaking and all watersports can also be arranged on request.
|Room:||1 x Sunbird Room|
|Includes:||Breakfast; high tea; all local beverages; and free onsite parking is included.|
Oudtshoorn (pronounced ‘oats-horn’) is 55 km north of George and is the tourist mecca of the Little (or Klein) Karoo. It is most famous for its ostrich farms.
Before the First World War, thousands of ostriches were bred on farms across the area, primarily to service the growing fashion trend for ostrich feathers. Today, there are still many breeding farms but the main tourist attraction are the Ostrich Show Farms, which offer interactive tours where you can learn more about the history of ostrich farming and meet the long-legged and long-necked inhabitants face to face.
The impressive Cango Caves are a further 30 km from Oudtshoorn. Naturally formed, the caves are engraved into the heart of the Swartberg Mountains and empowered by the beauty of the stalagmite and stalactite rock formations. The caves are illuminated to show some of the biggest stalagmite formations in the world. The largest chamber is the Grand Hall, which is107 metres across and 16 metres high.
Another popular reason to visit Oudtshoorn is the chance to spend a memorable (but early) morning with a family of meerkats. Tours depart before sunrise and you get to spend a couple of hours watching these endearing little creatures as they wake up and start popping out of their burrows to forage for food and frolick in the morning sun.
Rosenhof Country House is situated on the outskirts of Oudtshoorn, en route to the Cango Caves and Ostrich Farms. The carefully renovated homestead (circa 1852) exudes an aura of authenticity with its yellowwood beams and ceilings, a tasteful collection of antique furniture and lovely rose garden..
Traditional country cuisine with a cordon bleu touch and an extensive wine collection will make dining at Rosenhof an unforgettable experience. Breakfast is equally memorable, served in the sunny breakfast room overlooking the manicured gardens. There is a cosy bar area and several luxury lounges with fireplaces where guests can relax and admire works from well-known South African artists.
Oudtshoorn is blessed with a fine, dry climate and boasts an average of over 320 sunshine days per year, so in summer guests can cool down in the large swimming pool with sun loungers and umbrellas or take tea in the manicured gardens. The Wellness Center offers a fully equipped gym, jacuzzi, sauna and spa.
Rosenhof Country House has 12 stylishly decorated bedrooms, each individually furnished and situated around a beautiful courtyard. Each bedroom also has a private patio. The 2 Executive Suites each have their own pool, lounge and patio, with tranquil views of the Swartberg Mountain and are located 100m away from the main house for extra privacy.
|Room:||1 x Executive Suite|
|Includes:||Breakfast is included.|
Located on the south coast and within a 2 hour drive of Cape Town, Hermanus and Gansbaai are amongst the world's leading destinations for both land-based and boat-based whale watching. From June to December each year, whales can be seen as close as 20m from the shore and can come right up to the side of the whale watching boats.
With excellent accommodation options, fine restaurants and a glorious coastline in addition to the attraction of getting within a few metres of some of the largest animals ever to have lived on this planet, this is a place that every visitor to South Africa should try to see.
Hermanus is a pretty town and the local 'Whale Crier' walks the streets during the whaling season, informing visitors when the whales are present with a blast on his kelp horn. At the Old Harbour Museum, an underwater microphone transmits the whale songs and calls into the museum hall for everyone to hear. Don't miss Bientang's Cave restaurant, where you can watch whales less than 100m away whilst eating an excellent seafood lunch. Other good vantage points are from the Old Harbour wall or the cliff path.
Gansbaai, 50 km from Hermanus, is the starting point for more boat-based whale watching, as well as cage diving with great white sharks, as well as trips to the Dyer Island seal colony.
Nestled on the sands of the Blue Flag Beach Grotto Beach in Hermanus is Mosselberg On Grotto Beach, a 5* boutique guest house.
Mosselberg on Grotto offers just 5 luxurious, individually decorated rooms and suites, plus a large sea-facing deck overlooking lush indigenous Fynbos gardens and an open-plan courtyard with a swimming pool. There is also a strong emphasis on privacy, with individual stairwells to each suite and private sea-facing balconies.
The property has direct access to the beach via a short walk. Local attractions such as whale watching, great white shark cage diving, world-class wine estates and golf courses are also all on the doorstep.
|Room:||1 x Deluxe Room (Olive OR Pinotage)|
|Includes:||Breakfast is included.|
The Queen Victoria Hotel is a 5* haven of calm, luxury and understated opulence amongst the hustle and bustle of Cape Town's popular V&A Waterfront. Its prime location in a quiet, historic precinct near to the Waterfront allows for a serene city escape as well as convenient access to a range of outstanding amenities.
The hotel's interiors create an ambience of peaceful elegance through the use of greys and taupes, marble-clad walls, crystal chandeliers, white marble and wooden parquet flooring. The triple-volume foyer has a dramatic white spiral staircase and glass lift which adds to the immediate impact as soon as you enter the hotel. The signature shade of deep purple adds a touch of regal eccentricity as well as being an ode to the historic figure after whom the hotel is named.
The menu at Dash, the hotel's bar and restaurant, is structured around classic French cuisine. There are also state-of-the-art gym facilities, a designer Spa and a pool area in beautifully manicured gardens.
Luxury and sophistication emanate through to the suites and luxury rooms, each one individually designed and curated. Most of the suites have panoramic views of either Table Mountain or Cape Town Harbour and all of them have a fully stocked private mini bar and Molton Brown accessories.
The attention to detail is also something to behold, from the customised wallpaper uniquely designed with a cameo portrait of Queen Victoria and the laser-cut, paper-on-paper artwork of local fynbos to the hotel's very own designer fragrance that wafts through the suites and foyer.
This grandeur, along with the fine touches expected of a 5* property and the hospitable service, have earned the Queen Victoria - also referred to as the QV - recognition as one of the top 25 luxury hotels in South Africa. As its name suggests, this hotel truly is fit for royalty.
|Room:||1 x Premium Room (Stay 3 / Pay 2 offer applied)|
|Includes:||Breakfast is included.|
Additional requirements and restrictions may apply for travel during the Covid-19 pandemic. Travel Butlers aim to highlight these requirements to affected clients, however the onus remains with the traveller to ensure they are aware of any requirements and restrictions that will apply to their own trip.
For up-to-date travel information from the UK government, please check:
UK Government Advice: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/south-africa
It is expected that these rules will be lifted and that the entry requirements will revert to normal as soon as the government of South Africa deems it safe to do so.
Normally, holders of the following passports do not require a visa to enter South Africa when travelling as a tourist for stays up to 90 days: United Kingdom; United States of America; Canada; Australia; Ireland; Belgium; Netherlands; Italy; France; Germany; Spain, Switzerland.
If you are a passport holder from another country, please contact your local South Africa High Commission or Embassy for up-to-date visa requirements, as citizens of certain countries (including New Zealand) are required to obtain visas before travelling. Please note that if you are applying to the Embassy for your visa, some visas can take a long time to be processed so please do take this into consideration, as it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct visa in place before you travel.
Please note that anyone travelling to South Africa should have a valid return ticket and a valid passport. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 30 days from the date of exit from South Africa. However, some immigration officials still request that a passport should have at least 6 months validity from the date of entry to South Africa so to avoid problems on arrival, we advise that your passport meets this requirement instead. The passport must also have sufficient pages for entry/exit stamps - AT LEAST 2 BLANK PAGES.
TRAVELLING TO/FROM SOUTH AFRICA WITH CHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 18 YEARS OF AGE AT DATE OF TRAVEL: It has been recently announced that the immigration laws for children travelling to South Africa who do NOT require a visa are to be relaxed, however not all airlines have updated their systems at the moment to reflect this amendment. Therefore, until we have received notification that all systems have been fully updated with the new relaxed rules, we are strongly advising that all passengers still adher to these following guidelines:
Parents travelling with children must produce an unabridged birth certificate for the child, showing full details of the child's parents. If the birth certificate is in a language other than English, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation issued by a competent authority in the country concerned.
If the child is adopted, the adoption certificate must be produced.
If only one parent is travelling, said parent must also show consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent named on the birth certificate authorising the child to travel (the affidavit must be no more than 3 months old from the date of travel), or a court order granting full parental responsibilities to the travelling parent, or (where applicable) a death certificate for the deceased parent. Legally separated parents should also provide a court order when the other parent does not give consent.
Where a person is travelling with a child who is not their biological child, he/she must produce an unabridged birth certificate for the child supplemented by affidavits from the child's parents/legal guardian giving consent for the child to travel and copies of the identity documents or passport of the parents/legal guardian PLUS their contact details.
There are also additional rules for unaccompanied minors - available on request.
PLEASE NOTE: All documents must be original - PHOTOCOPIES ARE NOT ACCEPTED. In the case of foreign countries that do not issue unabridged birth certificates, a letter to this effect issued by the competent authority of the foreign country should be produced. For more information, contact your local South Africa Embassy or High Commission, or contact the South African Department of Home Affairs via http://www.dha.gov.za/.
PLEASE NOTE: Countries can change their entry requirements at any time. Travel Butlers try to ensure that the information displayed here is correct, but the onus remains with the traveller to verify the information with the relevant High Commission or Embassy and ensure that they can comply with the applicable entry requirements.
You are advised to contact your doctor or clinic around 4-8 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations and to get their professional medical advice regarding travel to South Africa.
To help avoid heatstroke, drink plenty of bottled water/fluids, and keep out of the midday sun.
Tap water is purified and safe to drink in major cities and towns, however, we do advise that you do not drink the water in more remote places such as the camps in the National Parks - the water may be safe to drink, but it simply is not worth the risk, as bottled water is widely available.
Whatever you do, do not drink water from any river lake without firstly purifying the water. Always take water with you when you go on a hike, and have a bottle in the car on a long journey to avoid dehydration.
There is a risk of malaria in and around the Kruger National Park/Mpumalanga Province, the Limpopo (Northern) Province, and the north-eastern part of KwaZulu-Natal - check with your doctor about suitable antimalarial tablets. Try to avoid mosquito bites wherever possible - wear loose long-sleeved clothing and trousers, and use a repellent on clothing and exposed skin.
There is no risk of yellow fever in South Africa, so a yellow fever vaccination is NOT required for travellers whose sole destination is South Africa. However, in accordance with International Health Reguations, South Africa requires all travellers over one year of age arriving from a yellow fever risk country, or having been in transit longer than 12 hours at the airport of such a country, to have a yellow fever certificate. These countries include Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda but it is up to the traveller to check the full list via http://www.who.int/ith/2015-ith-annex1.pdf?ua=1.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 10177 and ask for an ambulance.
The 11 official languages are Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Pedi, English, Tswana, Sotho, Tsonga, Swati, Venda and Ndebele. Whilst many visitors will hear at least a couple of the tribal languages during the course of their stay, it is possible to travel extensively and comfortably with just English as a language.
The South African society is quite liberal, as gay marriage was legalised in 2006 nationwide and everyone’s rights are protected under the constitution. In some more rural areas, however, the local people may not be quite as liberal thinking, so whilst everyone is of course entitled to their own sexual preferences and gender identity, we would advise all clients of the LGBT+ community to refrain from public displays of affection (including kissing and holding hands) and to be as discrete as possible about their relationship if travelling to a rural/remote area.