A comprehensive trip: travel from Cape Town along the magnificent garden route, explore the big cities and safari parks of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal & return on the world-famous Blue Train
Day 1-4: Akademie Street, Franschhoek, South Africa
Upon arrival at Cape Town Airport, you, our guests, will be met by one of our representatives and transferred to your accommodation in the heart of the South African winelands, Akademie Street. A hire-car will be provided on whichever day of your stay in Franschhoek you require it.
Over the next few days you can visit nearby Cape Town, with its numerous attractions, explore the winelands around Franschhoek, indulge in some wine-tasting, go cage-diving with great white sharks and whale watching in Hermanus or visit one of the many beaches in the area.
Info: Akademie Street & Franschhoek
Akademie Street is a small, boutique hotel with only 6 unique rooms, with 3 being private cottages with private pools, and is the ideal starting point to ease you into the South African way of life. Its homely atmosphere and luxuriousness have led it to become the most popular hotel in Franschhoek. There is also a shared pool and a number of exceptional restaurants nearby, as the hotel is in the heart of Franschhoek village.
Franschhoek is an area renowned for its cuisine and wine. There are over 40 restaurants in and around town, with many world-class ones among them. The vineyards surrounding the town offer wine-tasting and are an excellent place to sample the best South Africa has to offer. With Cape Town only 50 minutes away, it provides a safe and relaxing place to stay whilst being able to drive into the city with ease.
Day 4: De Zeekoe Guest Farm, Oudsthoorn, Klein Karoo, South Africa
After breakfast, you will leave Franschhoek and drive down Route 62 to Oudsthoorn, through the Little Karoo via Montagu, where you will spend 1 night in De Zeekoe Guest Farm on a bed & breakfast basis.
During your stay here you can enjoy a meerkat safari at sunrise, where you will be taken to see these fascinating creatures emerge from their burrows. The town’s heritage as an ostrich producer means you can also try ostrich-riding or buy numerous ostrich-related souvenirs around town.
Info: De Zeekoe Guesthouse & Oudtshoorn
De Zeekoe is a lovely boutique guesthouse with comfortable, African-styled guest cottages that have their own private veranda, outdoor shower and luxurious king-size bed (as well as all modern amenities). The guesthouse has an excellent restaurant overlooking the Klein Karoo and fields around it, serving exceptional ostrich steaks and local and international fare. Breakfast on the restaurant’s veranda and a lovely garden and swimming pool make it a relaxing place to stop before journeying onwards.
Oudsthoorn is a small town in the semi-desert Klein Karoo. A town that grew on the ostrich-trade industry, today its main attractions are anything ostrich-related, such as ostrich-riding, and the meerkats that roam the semi-desert outside of town. De Zeekoe offers meerkats tours in the early morning, hiking, biking and farm tours. Its outstanding restaurant and luxuriously comfortable rooms offer the perfect respite before journeying onwards.
Day 5 & 6: Robberg House, Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
Today, you will cross over the spectacular Outeniqua Pass to the Garden Route, passing through the towns of George and Knysna on your way to Plettenberg Bay where you will spend 2 nights in Robberg House, on a bed & breakfast basis.
On the second day of your stay, ease gently into the day with a generous breakfast served on the veranda, complete with its spectacular view of the ocean, before setting off to explore the many surrounding attractions or relax around the pool, soaking up the sun. Activities on offer include hiking or biking along the forest trails, horse-riding, deep-sea fishing, sailing, surfing and swimming.
Info: Robberg House & Plettenberg Bay
Robberg House provides refreshing, modern penthouse suites overlooking the ocean and Robberg Nature Reserve. You can enjoy a sun-downer on the beach-facing balcony, sitting by the pool or going down to the beach, just a stone’s throw away.
Plettenberg Bay is renowned globally for its unspoilt golden beaches, dramatic rocky peninsula, countless lagoons and estuaries, towering indigenous forests and unpolluted waterways. With its exceptional climate and beautiful location overlooking the Indian Ocean, Plettenberg Bay is an excellent base from which to explore the area or relax by the beach.
Day 7: Camp Figtree Private Game Lodge, Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa
After breakfast, you will drive to Addo Elephant National Park, where you will spend 1 night in Camp Figtree, going on a game-drive in the evening and morning to view wildlife.
Info: Camp Figtree Private Game Lodge & Addo Elephant National Park
This converted colonial house offers guests the unique opportunity to experience exclusivity, privacy, and the gracious style of Old World elegance. Each spacious suite is uniquely decorated in an African-colonial style, complete with en-suite bathroom, plush four-poster or twin bed with mosquito nets and private verandas with beautiful views onto the lodge gardens and the mountains beyond. Activities on offer include a day out in close proximity with some of the elephants, game-drives to view the ‘Big Five’ in the National Park, as well as horse-riding and mountain-biking.
Addo Elephant National Park is most famous for its elephants, for which the park was founded. However, with the recent introduction of lions, it has been elevated to ‘Big Five’ status, making it the perfect safari destination. Plans to double the park’s size to include coastal areas mean that soon it will also protect the southern-right whale and the great-white shark, encompassing a huge area 200km long.
Day 8: Lararia Lodge, Durban, South Africa
After breakfast, you will drive to Port Elizabeth Airport, where you will drop off your hire car and catch a flight to Durban, where you will spend 1 night in Lararia Lodge on a bed & breakfast basis.
Lararia Lodge provides the quintessential beach-resort experience without the hordes of people. With only 5 beautifully decorated rooms, it retains a guesthouse feel, with the added bonus of a beach-facing pool, which all the rooms lead on to. Whale and dolphin sightings are a common occurrence from the various patios around the lodge.
Activities around the Durban beachfront and hotel include visiting uShaka marine world, where you can swim with sharks, golf, a dolphin-viewing cruise and visits to various nature reserves and parks around Durban.
Day 9 & 10: Fugitives’ Drift Guest House, Rorke’s Drift, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
After breakfast, you drive through the Natal Midlands to the Zulu War battlefields, where you will spend 2 nights at Fugitives’ Drift Guest House on a full-board basis.
In the morning of your second day, you will be provided with a battlefields tour of Rorke’s Drift, where 150 British fought off 4,000 Zulu warriors, (the film Zulu was based on this battle) and Isandlwana (the battle in Zulu Dawn), where the British were butchered by the Zulus earlier the same day. The tours are fascinating, even if you have no interest in history.
Info: Fugitives’ Drift Guest House
The original house and verandas have been converted, but still retain their colonial charm, with the addition of an outside eating area and pool with a stunning view across the plain to Isandlwana in the distance. The cottages have large, en-suite bedrooms that are individually decorated and all have private verandas with sweeping views of the reserve and surrounding battlefields.
Day 11: Ghost Mountain Inn, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
After breakfast set out for Ghost Mountain, where you will spend 1 night at Ghost Mountain Inn.
Set at the foot of the legendary Ghost Mountain, the inn provides a perfect setting to experience the allure of Africa in stylish comfort. An array of wildlife and coastal reserves lie on its doorstep, such as Mkuze and Lake Jozini, which you can visit during game-drives, guided walks, cultural excursions and boat cruises, all in the company of knowledgeable rangers. Back at the hotel, the spa offers a range of skin and body treatments, and the main pool, situated in the inn’s beautiful gardens, provides the perfect respite after a busy day.
Day 12: Foresters Arms, Swaziland
Carry on into Swaziland and towards your accommodation, Forester Arms, where you will spend 1 night on a bed & breakfast basis.
The Foresters Arms is a beautifully converted colonial house and is renowned for its food, as its 7-course dinner testifies to. Its pleasantly decorated rooms are reminiscent of a Scottish country manor, with similar activities on offer, such as fishing, hiking, tennis, golf, boules and even croquet. The only differences are the warming sun, famous African hospitality and the wildlife around the hotel and in the wildlife reserves. You can discover the beauty of this Kingdom from the hotel, meeting and interacting with locals that work there, as well as stopping off at various points on your scenic drive en-route.
Day 13 & 14: Berg en Dal Rest Camp, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Leave Swaziland and crossing the Crocodile River pass into the Kruger National Park, where you will spend 2 nights in Berg en Dal Rest Camp.
Over the next two days you can drive around the Kruger at leisure, allowing you to explore the park and view wildlife at your own pace.
Info: Berg en Dal Rest Camp & Kruger National Park
Berg en Dal Rest Camp offers quaint, comfortable bungalows in an area that the owners have worked hard to maintain as natural and open to wildlife. From the camp, you can explore by yourselves, driving through Kruger National Park, or take a guided-tour in search of the ‘Big Five’.
Kruger National Park is one of the largest national parks in Africa and is one of the few that allows visitors to drive unescorted into the bush. Its immense size (220 miles long and 40 miles wide) means that it hosts an abundance and rich diversity of wildlife. Driving through the bush is an exhilarating adventure that is difficult to find elsewhere.
Day 15 & 16: Melrose Arch Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa
After leaving the Kruger drive on to Johannesburg, where you will stay at Melrose Arch Hotel for 2 nights on a bed & breakfast basis.
This chic and distinctly styled hotelhas exquisitely decorated rooms, complete with a luxury bath with scented candles and mood-enhancing lighting, and the outdoor areas are perfectly suited for relaxation, with lunch served by the pool and shaded chaise-longues scattered around the garden; it’s the ideal place to recover from a long journey. A complimentary shuttle to/from Sandton Gautrain station means that you can visit the famous shops of downtown Johannesburg without having to worry about any danger or difficulty in getting into town. The hotel and surrounded area is also patrolled by 24hr security.
Day 17 & 18: Sun City Cascades, Sun City, South Africa
After a relaxing 2 days in Johannesburg, drive through Magaliesburg and Rustenburg to Sun City, where you will spend 2 nights at Sun City Cascades on a bed & breakfast basis.
Sun City, a Las Vegas-esque casino and luxury resort, may be a bit garish; however, there is endless entertainment on offer, such as the casinos, relaxing in the extravagant pools and gardens around the hotel, safaris and golf. Sun City Cascades’ rooms are open, bright and well-furnished. All rooms have a view over the gardens, pools and calming scenery around the resort.
Day 18: 131 on Herbert Baker, Pretoria, South Africa
Drive back to Gauteng, this time heading to Pretoria, where you will spend 1 night at 131 on Herbert Baker on a bed & breakfast basis.
Situated on Pretoria’s famous Herbert Baker Street, 131 is a boutique hotel that boasts to better any 5-star experience. Its small number of rooms and intimately-lit exterior create the ideal getaway; the rooms support this, with their own private verandas, smart décor and extra-length king-size beds.
Although Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa, and therefore not as exciting as South Africa’s other principal cities, it does have charm; the jacaranda-lined streets and museums are worth a visit and fine-dining can be found in the centre.
Day 19: Blue Train, Pretoria-Cape Town, South Africa
In the morning you will be transferred by one of our representatives to Pretoria Station to catch the Blue Train, on which you will spend 1 night en-route to Cape Town. There will be pre-departure drinks in the train station lounge and formal dress is required for dinner on-board.
This luxury train offers unrivalled personal service, with a butler designated for each 3-bedroom carriage. The restaurant, lounge and bar on board provide excellent food, cocktails and the perfect place to watch the South African Highveld drift past the windows.
Day 20 & 21: Victoria & Albert Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa
Upon arrival at Cape Town Station you will be met by one of our representatives and transferred to Victoria & Albert Hotel for 2 nights on a bed & breakfast basis. After check-out on your final morning you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight home.
Over the next few days you can explore the city of Cape Town and have a few extra days to do some last minute shopping or any trips you missed out on during the first few days of your trip.
Info: Victoria & Albert Hotel & Cape Town
The hotel is based on a converted quay and has stunning views over the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Table Mountain on the other. It is part of the modern Victoria & Albert Waterfront, meaning that excellent shopping, chic dining options and a wide selection of bars are all within walking distance of the hotel. 24hr security means that it is also very safe. The sophisticated rooms are all luxurious and are complete with every amenity needed; the superior rooms also have private dining areas and private hot tubs on their balconies.
Over the next two days, tours can be organized to Robben Island, Table Mountain, various museums and monuments in the city, The Cape Peninsular and Cape Point, as well as transportation to the fashionable Camp’s Bay, where there is a wide selection of excellent bars, clubs and restaurants.