A winning holiday which, if you travel during July through to October/early November, will give you the opportunity to spot whales from the shore or from a boat-based trip out into the ocean - or even from the comfort of your bed! Add onto this wine-tasting and Big 5 wildlife game drives and you will wonder why you haven't done this years ago!
Cape Town is a stunning city, and The PortsWood is centrally situated to enable you to make the most of exploring all the sights and attractions over a 3 night stay. Then it's off to the Winelands, staying in a charming 4* guest house for 2 nights that overlooks the majestic mountains and vineyards of the historic village of Franschhoek.
After the Winelands, it is time to head to Hermanus. From July to October/early November each year, Hermanus is amongst the world's leading destinations for both land-based and boat-based whale watching. Whales can often be seen as close as 20m from the shore and can come right up to the side of the whale watching boats. 138 Marine is an upmarket guest house with spectacular sea views, only 5 minutes from the centre of Hermanus.
Knysna is your next destination, located right in the heart of the famous Garden Route. The lively Waterfront area of Knysna is with lined with gently bobbing sailboats and atmospheric restaurants offering fresh seafood, world-class oysters and beautiful views. For a relaxing afternoon, you can take a catamaran trip across the blue lagoon towards 'The Heads' - Knysna's most famous natural attraction.
Finally, the Kariega Game Reserve is the perfect setting for an exciting end to your holiday, with abundant game and spectacular viewing. Apart from lion and elephant, the game reserve is home to the other 3 members of the Big 5 - rhino, buffalo and leopard. Other species that you may encounter on your daily game drives (one in the morning, one in the afternoon) include hippo, hyena, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, eland, kudu, waterbuck and a variety of other antelope, as well as a myriad of bird species including the nesting crowned eagle, martial and fish eagles.
Arrive into Cape Town Airport. Collect your luggage, then make your way into the Arrivals Hall where your transfer driver will meet you. You will then be transferred to your first hotel.
Nestled at the foot of the majestic Table Mountain and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town is consistently voted amongst the top cities in the world to visit. It is no surprise therefore that this wonderful city is one of the highlights of a holiday to South Africa. The PortsWood Hotel offers a unique and personal approach to service and is ideally located just a few minutes walk from the vibrant V&A Waterfront.
Your hire car will be delivered to the hotel at 09:00 this morning. 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. With a hire car for your last day in Cape Town, you can explore slightly further afield - maybe taking a day trip down to the Cape Peninsula, stopping en-route there or back at Boulders Beach, which is home to one of only 2 mainland nesting colonies of African penguins in South Africa.
11 Day Car Rental: Group B: Toyota Yaris 1.5 or similar - Manual Transmission (on Super Cover)
Allow about an hour to drive to Franschhoek, a small village nestled at the bottom of a valley in the heart of the Cape Winelands, surrounded by rolling green hills, strawberry farms and endless rows of grapevines. One suggestion during your stay here is to take a hop-on/hop-off tour on the Franschhoek Wine Tram - a totally unique and leisurely way to see the Franschhoek Valley as you trundle in an open-side tram bus through vineyards and stunning scenery, stopping at wine estates along the way.
Drive to the pretty little town of Hermanus (approx 80 km / 1 h 0 mins), one of the world's best whale viewing areas. 138 Marine is one of the few luxury guesthouses in the Hermanus area which is situated right at the beachfront. This is the perfect romantic getaway, close to unspoiled beaches, two popular golf courses, and is also adjacent to the unique beach path ('Whale Walk'), providing exquisite sea and mountain scenery.
Drive to Knysna (approx 410 km / 4 h 0 mins), which is set on the shores of a beautiful lagoon in the heart of the Garden Route. 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. Nearby Brenton-on-Sea beach is a magnificent 7 km stretch of uninterrupted white sands around a half heart-shaped bay.
Drive to Kariega Game Reserve (approx 385 km / 4 h 20 mins). Prepare to be captivated by close-up viewing of the Big 5 - lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard - as well as a multitude of other African wild game and bird species. Experienced game rangers will drive you out on safari every morning and afternoon/evening in open game-drive vehicles, traversing the valleys, grassy plains and African bushveld to bring you close to the wildlife.
After you return from your morning game drive, you will be able to enjoy breakfast at the lodge before checking out of your room and driving to Port Elizabeth Airport (approx 145 km / 1 h 20 mins), arriving in time to check in for your flight to either Cape Town or Johannesburg. Passengers are advised to check in at least 90 minutes before the flight departure.