12 Days from Pretoria to Cape Town, the Garden Route and Kruger National Park return.
Our tour departs early morning from Pretoria, Capital city of South Africa for Cape Town via OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg.
Hello, Cape Town, Mother City of South Africa!
Cape Town greets us on arrival with the sea and Table Mountain in the background. Much to see and much to do in and around Cape Town. We have three nights in Cape Town. Let’s decide daily on outings and/or activities. Leisure and luxury accommodation await, three nights close to the city center on the Waterfront.
Cape Town ranks third among the most populous urban areas in South Africa, after Johannesburg and Durban, and has roughly the same population as the Durban Metropolitan Area with about 4 million inhabitants.
It is the provincial capital of the Western Cape. It is the legislative capital of the country with Parliament Down Town. The city is famous for its harbour, well-known landmarks such as Table Mountain and Cape Point.
Cape Town was first developed by the Dutch East India Company to serve as a supply station for Dutch ships sailing from Europe to East Africa, India, and the Far East. Jan van Riebeeck arrived on 6 April 1652 and established the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. For many years, Cape Town was the largest city in South Africa until the discovery of gold resulting in Johannesburg coming about. Cape Town is still the economic hub of the Western Cape. The city was recently named “Best city in the World”.
Mid-morning on day 4, we leave Cape Town and make our way past Franschhoek to Knysna.
Franschhoek is a small town in the Western Cape Province and one of the oldest towns of the Republic of South Africa with a population of just over 15 000.
176 French Huguenot refugees, originally settled in the valley in 1688. Land was given to them by the Dutch government in a valley called Olifantshoek (“Elephants’ corner”), so named as elephants often crossed into the valley to calve. Later on, the name of the area changed to le Coin Français (“the French Corner”), and again later to Franschhoek (Dutch for “French Corner”) Many of the settlers named their farms after areas in France from which they came. La Motte, Champagne, La Cotte, Cabrière.
Franschhoek is often referred to as the food and wine capital of South Africa. The town houses some of the top restaurants in the country. A strong wine culture, pristine natural and architectural beauty have turned Franschhoek into a major attraction in the Western Cape.
How about lunch at the town of Swellendam en route to Knysna while enjoying the countryside.
Swellendam is the 4th oldest town in the Republic of South Africa, situated in the Western Cape province with about 17 ooo inhabitants. Numerous heritage sites most of them buildings of Cape Dutch architecture are to be found in Swellendam. Swellendam is situated on the N2, approximately 220 km from Cape Town and 270 km from Knysna.
Early travellers and explorers who visited the Cape in the 16th century traded with the Khoikhoi people who lived on these shores and in the interior. Trade continued inwards as far inland as Swellendam when the Dutch East India Company established a replenishment station at the Cape in 1652. The town is named after Governor Hendrik Swellengrebel, a first South African-born Governor along with his wife, Helena Ten Damme.
Our visit to Swellendam winds up at around mid-afternoon and continue en route to the town of Knysna, about an hour and a half’s drive from Swellendam. A leisurely drive should get us to Knysna before nightfall…… no rush.
Knysna is a forested coastal town in the Western Cape, located about halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, almost centred to the garden route. The town nestles on the north shore of a large warm-water estuary, known as the Knysna Lagoon and the Indian ocean to the south. A lovely town amongst beautiful countryside.
We have two nights in Knysna. Let’s settle in and go for coffee or supper……. Nothing specific is planned while we are in Knysna, let’s decide as and when we are. Relax and explore at leisure …… the region, nearby towns, historical sites, museums, architecture and the like. Various towns and places of interest amongst beautiful scenery and forests are close by. Wilderness, Tsitsikamma forest, George, Mossel bay to name but a few. The Knysna Elephant Park nearby offers sanctuary to relocated jumbos. Dolphins are often spotted offshore. Southern white whales might visit the shores of Paradise Coast. Let’s have tea/coffee midmorning, add to that a lovely slice of cheesecake or lemon meringue, lunch and dinner at restaurants in the area as and when we please to return by early evening. No rush.
On day 7, we head for Port Elizabeth, about 270 km away. The coastal road leading to Port Elizabeth is beautiful. Lush green trees and forests line long stretches of road.
We pass by towns and attractions like
- Nature’s Valley, a small village at the mouth of the Groot River.
- Stormsrivier, gateway to the Tsitsikamma National Park and famous for storms and rough seas. The Bloukrans River bridge nearby ranks high amongst bungee jumpers.
- Jeffreys Bay, named after the senior partner of the firm Jeffrey & Glendinnings that opened a store in 1849 on the location where the town is today. Jeffrey is believed to be the first person to have settled there.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Jeffreys Bay was often referred to as a hippie hangout. Jeffreys Bay transformed from a sleepy little fishing town and is amongst the fastest expanding urban areas in the country.
Our arrival in Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay) marks the end of our tour of the Cape Province.
Port Elizabeth is located in the Eastern Cape and is about 770 km east of Cape Town. The city was founded in 1820 to house British settlers as a way of strengthening the border region between the Cape Colony and the Xhosa tribe. Port Elizabeth has grown to be amongst the largest cities in South Africa and one of the major seaports in South Africa. The city is the most southern large city on the African continent, even farther south than Cape Town.
It’s late as we settle in…… Tomorrow, we head for the world famous Kruger National Park!
An early start on day 8 as we say goodbye to the Cape region while heading for the airport.Traffic en route to the airport is of concern, we can’t be late! We arrive at The Kruger National Park early afternoon.
Africa at its Best!
Wow, it’s hot, it’s summer, must be over 40°C….. the ambience, the smells, the sounds…….. Can’t get enough of it!
The private game lodge accommodation is out of this world! An elephant close by! The call of a fish eagle in the distance! Reception at the lodge was fantastic!
Our open vehicle safari is about to start. Grab a camera, binoculars, hat and sunglasses and off we go. We spotted many animals on the drive well into the early evening. It’s a long day but worth every effort.
Back at the safari lodge, dinner is served. Can’t get better than this! Another two nights….. awesome!
Day 11, we reluctantly leave Kruger, what an experience, no words to describe…. just the sweet memory of an awesome experience…. that feel… that smell….. fantastic!
The Blyde River Canyon, 3rd largest on the planet await!
Let’s get there and see the Pot Holes as well before dark.
Tomorrow is our last day on tour as we head back to Pretoria. We overnight in Kiepersol just outside the town of Hazyview. It’s beautiful here amongst the banana plantations and macadamia nut farms.
“This is really a lovely tour to Cape Town return!”
Beautiful landscape, fantastic scenery, towns, museums and farms the like. All kinds of interesting people along the way. Historical to modern day accommodation with restaurant offerings for all tastes and sizes.
South Africa at it’s best!
Come join us on tour!
Friends, Families and Groups are welcome.