Feel the heartbeat of nature as you watch for whales from the shoreline, and explore an award-winning Big 5 game reserve in an open 4x4 safari vehicle. Take in all the sights along the Garden Route, and spend time in the Mother City. It is a lot to pack in - hence why the trip is 15 nights!
You begin your holiday with a relaxing night in Port Elizabeth, enabling you to recover from any lost sleep after your travels.
You are then transferred to the Shamwari Game Reserve for what will surely be a huge highlight - a 3 night safari. Shamwari, meaning 'my friend' in local Shona dialect, is the pinnacle of private game reserves and home to the coveted Big 5. It's a place where guests can exist in harmony with nature, however fleeting the moment, and where wildlife roam the landscape under the relentless African sun.
On your last morning, after a thrilling game drive, it's back to the lodge for breakfast and a sad farewell to the staff and guides. Your hire car will be delivered directly to the lodge, so pack your suitcases into the car and set off for the drive to the Garden Route.
You have 4 nights in total along the Garden Route, staying at 2 different locations, enabling you to fully experience this part of the coastline. Hunters Country House promises outstanding cuisine, 5* accommodation and friendly hospitality. Kanonkop Guest House in Knysna is consistently voted in the Top 25 Hotels in Africa on TripAdvisor, and is beautifully positioned overlooking the iconic Knysna Lagoon with breathtaking views stretching all the way to the famous Knysna Heads and the Indian Ocean.
You then visit Oudtshoorn, the 'ostrich capital of South Africa'. You can also visit the nearby impressive Cango Caves which are illuminated to show some of the biggest stalagmite formations in the world, or meet the resident meerkats on a morning adventure.
Hermanus is your next stop, where you can enjoy whale watching (in season) and shark-cage diving (if you're brave!). 2 nights in Hermanus over this period gives you the opportunity of going on an early morning whale watching boat trip, but also gives you the opportunity to enjoy the whale watching from the land. Cape Aghulas, the southern most tip of Africa, is also only a short drive from Hermanus and can easily be visited as a day trip.
You end with 4 nights in Cape Town. Luxury and sophistication emanate throughout the 5* Queen Victoria Hotel, from the elegant reception area to the suites and luxury rooms, each one individually designed and curated. What sets the Queen Victoria Hotel apart from other hotels at the world-renowned V&A Waterfront is undoubtedly its position. Located within a precinct of heritage buildings, the Queen Victoria Hotel gives you a sense of being within the Waterfront’s vicinity but removed from the frenetic pace of it.
Holiday Title: Shamwari Safari and Garden Route Explorer
Countries Visited: South Africa
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, and 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, check out of your room and 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.
After you return from your morning game drive, you will 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 K: Toyota Rush 2x4 or similar - Manual Transmission (on Super Cover)
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.
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 - 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
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 ceilings and a tasteful collection of antique furniture, and exudes an aura of authenticity.
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 which is one of the world's most beautiful cities. With a magnificent mountain as its centre, miles of sandy beaches, a colourful and moving history, and 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.