African Safaris, Ecotourism & Accommodation in
South and Southern Africa
 

11 Day Wildlife Tour
Cape Town to Durban

Day 1 - Oudtshoorn
After breakfast we collect you from your overnight destination or at the airport in Cape Town and make our way to Oudtshoorn along “Route 62”, the tourist route that meanders between Cape Town and Oudtshoorn, offering the shorter, scenic alternative to the N2 highway. It's an area of magnificent landscapes and towering cliffs, crystal clear streams and the abundance of trees and indigenous flora. The ever changing colours of the majestic mountains, scenic passes, rivers, vineyards and orchards, as well as the multitude of attractions, will offer you an unforgettable adventure — whether this is in the physical sense or simply a kaleidoscope of scenic tranquillity. Innovation and pride, combined with a terrain and mild climate that are harmoniously balanced, results in the prominence of this region's wines. Route 62 will take you along the longest wine route in the Western Cape and most likely the whole world. We reach Oudtshoorn in the late afternoon, a town that is known as the "feather capital of the world”.
Overnight at Fosters Manor (or similar).  Experience the days gone by of ostrich feathers and feather palaces at Foster`s Manor Bed & Breakfast  - the embodiment of the ambiance of the era when the ostrich and its feathers reigned supreme in the Little Karoo.

Day 2 – Oudtshoorn.
(Breakfast, Lunch)

Today we visit the Cango Caves near Oudtshoorn which are among the biggest stalagmite formations in the world. Some of the sandstone formations are colourfully illuminated and the bizarre shapes in the caves are mainly composed of calcium carbonate. They develop as limewater drips from the stones and evaporates. The structures growing down from the cave ceiling are called stalactites, while those that grow from the ground to the top are called stalagmites.
We will also visit a working ostrich farm where one can learn more about these fascinating birds. Commercial ostrich farming started during the late 1880's in South Africa; this was also the start of the ostrich industry worldwide. The fashion demand in Europe for ostrich feathers inspired the growth of the industry, with the Oudtshoorn district quickly being established as the “ostrich capital of the world”. During the first decade of the previous century, ostrich feathers gained record prices on foreign markets, ranking 4th on the list of South African exports, after gold, diamonds and wool. The consequence of this newly found opulence meant that ostrich farmers were able to build beautiful sandstone mansions. A unique feature of the farm experience is a visit to the Ostrich Palace "Welgeluk" which was built at the height of the feather boom in 1910. The homestead is a National Monument and is a superb example of the type of architecture that was used at the time. Safari Ostrich Show Farm was established more than 40 years ago. Lunch will be enjoyed at this farm.
From here we will make our way to Knysna, where we overnight at the Knysna River Club (or similar). The award winning Knysna River Club comprising of 35 luxury chalets is situated on the edge of the famous Knysna Lagoon, offering a unique opportunity to experience an unforgettable stay at one of South Africa's prime destinations. The remainder of the day you are at leisure.

Day 5 - Knysna
(Breakfast, Lunch)

After breakfast we make our way to the “Featherbed Nature Reserve”. This spectacular four-hour eco-experience includes a return ferry, walk and lunch and a 25-minute ferry trip on the Knysna Lagoon to the Western head (The Reserve is only accessible by ferry.) Upon arrival, guests board a Unimog drawn trailer and drive up to the top of the Reserve. While stopping at a scenic lookout point, our specialist guides will share with you some fascinating tales about Knysna and the surrounding area while you enjoy the panoramic views. An optional 2,2 km guided nature walk takes you through the forest, onto the cliffs, into the caves and along the scenic coast. Once back in the Food Forest, a unique outdoor restaurant situated under the Milkwood Trees, guests can enjoy a spectacular 12 dish buffet lunch. Overnight at the Knysna River Club (or similar). The award winning Knysna River Club comprising of 35 luxury chalets is situated on the edge of the famous Knysna Lagoon, offering a unique opportunity to experience an unforgettable stay at one of South Africa's prime destinations.
Later this afternoon you are at leisure to stroll around the town or the cute Knysna Waterfront to catch up on some shopping or relaxation.

Day 4 – Addo Elephant Park.
(Breakfast, Dinner)

Today we travel via Port Elizabeth to the Addo Elephant Park, stopping along the way to visit the Bloukrantz Bridge where you have the opportunity to bungee jump at this, the highest commercial bungee jump in the world at 216-metres! (own account). We then visit the Paul Sauer Bridge over the Storms River and take a stroll onto the bridge and enjoy lunch here.
After lunch we head to the Addo Elepahant Park that lies deep within the shadows of the dense valley bushveld of the Sundays River region of the Eastern Cape. Here the evenings are punctuated by the strident howl of the black-backed jackal, and the francolin's call heralds each new dawn. Safe from relentless persecution in the past, the grey leviathans of the bush now roam in peace. The original Elephant section of the park was proclaimed in 1931, when only eleven elephants remained in the area - today this finely tuned ecosystem is sanctuary to over 420 elephants, Cape buffalo, black rhino, a variety of antelope species, as well as the unique flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively in Addo. We will spend the remainder of the day game viewing in this popular game reserve.

Day 5 – Mountain Zebra National Park
(Breakfast, Dinner)

After another game drive in Addo we travel to the Mountain Zebra National Park near Cradock. The craggy heights of the Mountain Zebra National Park's Bankberg embrace rolling plains and deep valleys, and have become an entrancing preserve for the Cape mountain zebra. The proclamation of the park in 1937 saved these animals from extinction, and currently their population stands at 300. Other mammals found here include the cheetah, Cape buffalo, black rhino, eland, black wildebeest, red hartebeest and gemsbok, while mountain reedbuck and grey rhebok frequent the higher areas. Caracal occupies the niche of primary predator.

Day 6 – Letsatsi
(Breakfast, Dinner)

From Cradock we make our way through the Great Karoo to Letsatsi. The Great Karoo, an area in excess of 400 000 square kilometers was, approximately 250 million years ago, a vast inland sea. As the world's climate gradually changed from cold to hot the water evaporated leaving a swamp where reptiles and amphibians prospered.In recent history, less than two hundred years ago, large herds of antelope and zebras roamed the grass flats. The Hottentots and Bushmen, the last Stone Age people, shared the “Place of Great Dryness”. They differed basically in their cultures and lifestyles: the Hottentots herding their sheep and cattle in the age-old pastoral pattern and the Bushmen following their traditional nomadic pursuits of hunting and feasting. With the occupation of the area by stock farmers the sheep gradually replaced the game and the grass receded along with the changed grazing and weather patterns. During the Anglo Boer War of 1899-1902 three Republican Commandos, reinforced by the rebels from the Cape Colony, conducted widespread operations throughout the Karoo.
The Letsatsi Private Game Reserve, which is an ecological sanctuary that has been designed, constructed and furnished in harmony with its natural surrounds. All buildings are of natural stone and thatch. The interiors reflect the culture, artistic flair and craftsmanship of the people indigenous to South Africa. The landscape has been disturbed as little as possible in order to preserve the natural springs and water features, the unique rock formations as well as the indigenous fauna and flora. The Main Lodge consists of several beautifully decorated yet comfortable lounges; a cosy bar and a superb dining area – all leading onto a wooden sundeck which overlooks the majestic African Savanna. A swimming pool is the perfect vantage point from which to appreciate these plains on lazy summer days. For the winter months, strategically placed fireplaces crackle invitingly. In addition to the beautiful natural surroundings, every care has been taken to ensure a well rounded experience for visitors to Letsatsi Private Game Reserve. The Main Lodge offers a variety of South African television channels and satellite connectivity (DSTV).

Day 7 – Letsatsi
(Breakfast, Dinner)

Apart from the unsurpassed peace and tranquility of Letsatsi Private Game Reserve, a variety of activities are on offer to suit every type of traveler. On the reserve guests may enjoy game drives, night drives and photographic safaris conducted by knowledgeable and experienced field guides. Bird watching and nature studies may be experienced from various lookout points throughout the vast reserve. The more adventurous may choose an interesting and technical mountain bike trail (tailored to suit the physical disposition of participants) or a guided walk. Many will indeed prefer to simply relax at the pristine pool-side, or to enjoy cocktails while watching breathtaking sunsets from the sundeck. Studying the stars and constellations at night using a telescope under the helpful guidance of a specialist remains one of the most enjoyable and satisfying natural experiences at Letsatsi. The night sky is simply “out of this world” at this special place on earth. And for the explorer, the surrounding landscapes and communities beckon. This is a different part of the world where time stands still and makes way for another life – one of simple pleasures that are soothing to the soul. NB* All activities at Letsatsi are for your own account.
Overnight, Letsatsi Game Lodge.

Day 8 – Golden Gate National Park
(Breakfast, Dinner)

After breakfast we make our way along the scenic Eastern Free State Province to the Golden Gate National Park. The Eastern Free State is the land of a thousand pictures, with each season offering its own attractions - roaring, open fires in winter, cherry blossoms and then succulent fruit in spring, hot summer days and golden autumn sunsets. The Eastern Free State is a feast for the eye, soul and gastronome. Cherry orchards cling to the sides of flat topped sandstone mountains which reflect the different colours of the sunrise and sunset, as you gently meander along the border between South Africa and the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. Apart from cherries, other deciduous fruit and asparagus thrive in the champaign climate, making spring and early summer a feast of fresh fruit and vegetables. Many people visit the Eastern free State especially for its picturesque beauty. But no matter whether you are driving through, en route to somewhere, or just retreating from the rat race for a couple of days, you will be tempted to linger a while longer.
Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north eastern Free State lies the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. The park derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the park's sandstone cliffs, especially the imposing Brandwag rock, keeping vigil over the main rest camp.
This 11 600 hectares of unique environment is true highland habitat, providing home to a variety of mammals – black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok and Burchell's zebra - and birds, including the rare bearded vulture (lammergeier) and the equally rare bald ibis, which breed on the ledges in the sandstone cliffs. Ribbokkop, the highest point in the park, reveals a breathtaking tapestry of red, yellow and purple hues as its warm shades merge with the cool mountain shadows towards evening.

Day 9 – Sani Pass
(Breakfast, Dinner)

This morning we depart the Golden Gate National Park through the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains on the scenic route through the frontier towns of Bulwer, Underberg and Himeville. 
Overnight Moorcroft Manor (or similar). Moorcroft Manor Country House is situated amidst rolling green hills and breath-taking sunsets on the outskirts of the country village of Himeville, 8kms from Underberg in the Southern Drakensberg.

Day 10 – Sani Pass
(Breakfast, Dinner)

This morning we transfer to our 4X4 vehicles for the ascent up the Sani Pass and into Lesotho. Breathtaking scenery and alpine conditions dominate this truly magnificent corner of this province. Once we have entered Lesotho we will stop off at a Basutho village where one can learn more about the life of these very friendly people, in this, one of the world’s poorest countries. Lunch will be at the “highest pub in Africa”, the Sani Top Chalet. We will also have some time here to walk along the edge of the escarpment for stunning views into KwaZulu Natal, before descending the pass to Moorcroft Manor. *NB. Warm clothing is a must, no matter the season of the year! You will also need valid passports for the crossing into Lesotho. The ascent of the pass is subject to the prevailing weather conditions.
Overnight Moorcroft Manor

Day 11 – Durban
(Breakfast)

This morning we depart for Durban via the “Midlands Meander”. The Midlands Meander is what weavers, potters, woodcrafters, leather workers, artists, metalworkers, box makers, herb growers, cheese makers, beer brewers and pianos have in common. You will find them all, and a great deal more on the Midlands Meander map - South Africa's first, largest and most popular art and crafts route. From a very small beginning, the Midlands Meander has grown to well over a hundred stops on four routes. Originating with the arrival of the first settlers in the early 1800’s the area boasts many wonderful homes and barns, an attraction to lovers of architecture. As you tour the Midlands Meander you will also notice that this area is home to a number of the country’s most famous schools. From here it’s past Pietermaritzburg to Durban where we drop you off at your overnight accommodation, or at the Durban Airport.

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