Start this 10-day adventure in a spacious city apartment in the V&A Waterfront. After a few days enjoying Cape Town's many attractions, head north to the spectacular scenery and vast open spaces of the Klein Karoo - then it’s on to the beaches, forests and lagoons of the Garden Route, before rounding off your holiday with a luxurious Big 5 safari at Shamwari Game Reserve in the malaria-free Eastern Cape.
Live like a local at the heart of Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront in a beautifully furnished self-catering apartment.
Cape Town is a city of contrasts: enjoy the vibrant café culture and the hiking trails that wind up Table Mountain, the colourful African markets and the polished designer-filled malls, the spicy flavours of the Bo Kaap and world-class restaurants of the Cape Winelands.
Go on a day tour of the Cape Peninsula, down past the fashionable beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton to the harbour town of Hout Bay. Take a boat trip out to Seal Island or continue on to Cape Point’s rugged cliffs, and from there it’s back via the penguins at Boulder’s Beach and the pretty little fishing village of Kalk Bay (the perfect place for an afternoon coffee and freshly baked pastry).
Staying in the V&A Waterfront you’re within strolling distance of a fantastic selection of restaurants – try Baia for seafood, Bukhaha for Indian or Karibu for South Africa cuisine. Also, to really relax into your holiday you can easily pop over the One&Only Hotel for a treatment at their award-winning spa.
Your next stop is Tilney Manor in Sabona Wildlife Reserve, one of the largest privately owned game reserves in South Africa.
Sabona delivers a unique safari experience in the hauntingly beautiful Klein Karoo. Explore this vast reserve on morning and evening game drives in comfortable open Landcruisers while your guide shares his incredible knowledge about everything you see from the tiny succulent plants to giraffe, kudu and oryx.
Being in the Eastern Cape Sabona is 100% malaria-free, and although the Big 5 game viewing here is not as exceptional as in the Kruger private reserves, you’ve still got a good chance of seeing elephant, rhino, and (if you’re lucky) the incredibly rare white lion - Sabona is the only reserve in the world to have free-roaming white lions!
Also on the reserve are seven rock art sights with San (Bushman) paintings dating back more than 3000 years. As for the Karoo night sky, with no pollution or artificial light you’ll be treated to some of the best stargazing in Southern Africa.
Set on a cliff overlooking the broad sweep of Wilderness beach, Views Boutique Hotel lives up to its name – its incredible views extending out along the coast to the glittering blue of the Indian Ocean. The rooftop deck is a wonderful place to sip a cocktail while watching the sunset, and if you visit during the months of July to October there’s a good chance you’ll see whales breaching too.
Wilderness is a natural playground with its sandy beach, bird-filled wetlands and thick indigenous forest. There are so many outdoor activities offered in the area from a peaceful paddle on the lagoon to hiking, horse riding or even paragliding off the ocean-facing cliffs.
This is a fantastic base for exploring the Garden Route: drive half an hour and you’ll find yourself in Knysna - a pretty lagoon-side town famous for its oysters – while further up the coast lies Plettenberg Bay with its safe swimming beaches and animal sanctuaries including an elephant sanctuary, “Birds of Eden” and fun “Monkeyland” primate sanctuary.
End off your holiday with a luxurious Big 5 safari at Shamwari Game Reserve. There are six accommodation options at Shamwari, of which Long Lee Manor is the original Edwardian Manor House – a gracious home with wide terraces, two swimming pools and well-kept lawns leading down to a waterhole.
Shamwari is known for excellent big game viewing, with most guests seeing all of the Big 5 and more. Days here start with a 3- to 4-hour early morning game drive, then it’s back to the lodge for a leisurely breakfast and time to relax (pick from the pools, spa, sauna or your wonderfully comfortable suite) before your late afternoon drive complete with a sundowner stop in the bush.
Award-winning Shamwari is consistently recognised as “Africa’s Leading Conservation Company”. While staying here we’d highly recommend visiting one of their two “Born Free Big Cat Sanctuaries” where you can see some of the animals they’ve rescued from atrocious conditions in zoos and circuses around the world, and find out more about the excellent conservation work being done.
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