18 Day Garden Route Safari


Price: US $ 6252.00

This itinerary focuses on small, high-end boutique hotels and lodges, and combines the Cape region’s highlights, starting in the lively city of Cape Town, then moving on to the beautiful Cedarberg Mountains for a stay at the superb Bushmans Kloof Lodge. On to the stunning vineyard-covered valleys of the Winelands before driving down to the coastal town of Hermanus, where Southern Right Whales can be seen from the clifftop path between June and November, and the beach provides for great walks and relaxation during the summer months. The trip continues on to the stunning Garden Route: an area fabulous for splendid walking in the forests, kayaking along the rivers or lagoons, cycling, golfing – to name a few activities. Finally, a 3 night malaria free safari at a top Eastern Cape Game Reserve. Accommodation throughout the itinerary is at luxury, small boutique-style lodges, many owner-operated, where the focus is on service, comfort and going that extra mile.

DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

Days 1-4 On arrival, transfer to your accommodation at Ellerman House for a 3 night stay in a superior ocean view room on a bed and breakfast basis. Ellerman House is a luxurious five star getaway in the exclusive suburb of Bantry Bay, on Cape Town’s Atlantic seaboard. Dramatically poised on the slopes of Table Mountain, Ellerman House holds a commanding position with breathtaking, expansive Atlantic Ocean views and the utmost privacy. Created for the enjoyment of the finer things in life, Ellerman House is an indulgent space for the discerning traveler. With 11 sumptuous, generously proportioned rooms and suites dedicated to comfort, Ellerman House overflows with timeless elegance, rich textures, fine linens and flawless finishes. Rooms and suites include large marble en-suite bathrooms, under floor heating, air conditioning, satellite flat screen televisions, wireless internet and original South African art. All but two rooms have magnificent Atlantic Ocean views, and suites contain an additional lounge and dining area. Ellerman Villa offers a three or five bedroom self-contained home of exceptional exclusivity and privacy. Located in the gardens of Ellerman House, a private butler and chef complete this retreat. With unbelievable focus on personal attention, Ellerman House has a small and dedicated team of chefs creating daily menus for lunch and dinner. A 9,000 bottle, professionally maintained wine cellar represents the very best wines from world renowned South African estates. The Ellerman House Art Collection dates back to the 1800’s, and the Contemporary Gallery showcases the outstanding talents of contemporary South African artists. The Ellerman Spa includes internationally qualified therapists; there is a fully equipped gym, sauna and a heated outdoor swimming pool overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Cape Town is an exciting cosmopolitan city, with a lively nightlife and a relaxed atmosphere. There are many award-winning restaurants and lots to do: a trip up Table Mountain is a must, and it is also worth spending some time at the vibrant V&A Waterfront, with its craft market and street entertainers. For historic and cultural interest, take a trip to Robben Island and visit the District Six Museum. There are also some interesting quirky trips: take a helicopter ride over the Waterfront, do a half-day Cape Malay cooking course with a local, or take a guided trip to a project in a local township: this can be tailored to particular interests, eg: urban agriculture; animal welfare; youth development through the medium of art, dance, choir singing, classical music, drumming or sport, etc.
Days 4-8: This morning, take delivery of your hire vehicle (Audi A3 Convertible), and drive into the Cedarberg Mountains, for a 4 night stay at Bushmans Kloof Lodge in a luxury room on a full board basis including activities. Offering the very best in luxury accommodation, Bushmans Kloof is an exclusive and private wilderness reserve and wellness retreat situated at the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains in the Western Cape. This semi-arid Karoo region is vast and ruggedly beautiful, with the Reserve encompassing 7,500 hectares of malaria and predator free protected land that also includes many exceptional Bushman rock art sites. There are 16 generously spaced, luxurious and individually designed en-suite bedrooms and suites. All are sublimely appointed, indulgently comfortable and finished with countless thoughtful details. Features include under-floor heating, air-conditioning, a well-stocked minibar, tea and coffee facilities and private terraces with magnificent views. Deluxe rooms and suites are larger with a lounge area, satellite television, iPod docking station and fireplace. Set behind the rooms and surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens, The Homestead with its old world charm and elegance, lies at the heart of the lodge. Complete with two stylish lounges and fireplaces, the bar, award winning wine cellar, library and guest computer, and the spacious restaurant which exudes service excellence. The small terrace is great for al fresco lunches; there is a heated outdoor swimming pool, mini gym and a couples Spa treatment room. Additional facilities include a variety of breathtaking outdoor locations for dining, the river Boma with open air seating, the Heritage Centre displaying ancient Bushman artefacts, another three outdoor swimming pools surrounded by lush lawns and stunning views, and the award winning Spa that includes a private Spa Gazebo on the river’s edge. Over an ideal two night stay guests can savour the views and sunset on an evening nature drive while also observing some of the 150 bird or 35 mammal species (antelope, zebra, foxes and aardwolf), partake in guided excursions to the more than 130 ancient San rock art sites, Fynbos excursions (July – October), mountain biking, fly fishing, canoeing, archery, hiking, jogging, yoga or painting. NOTE: No mobile phone reception ensures complete serenity and tranquillity. There are landlines in all rooms and suites and complimentary WiFi throughout the lodge.
Days 8-10 Drive into the picturesque winelands, to the pretty village of Franschhoek for a 2 night stay at Le Quartier Francais in a petite garden suite on a bed and breakfast basis. Le Quartier Francais is an exclusive five star boutique hotel perfectly located in the centre of Franschhoek in the Western Cape. A fairytale-like haven of tranquility, Le Quartier Francais is tucked away from the main street, surrounded by gorgeous secluded gardens and beautiful mountain views. With 23 luxurious rooms and suites divided over five room types, Le Quartier Francais draws a range of discerning travellers. The individually styled Auberge Rooms reflect a simple design with a modern touch. Grand Rooms are sumptuous, perfectly appointed with luxurious amenities and wonderful for honeymooners. The enchanting Petit Garden Suites open onto a private patio and secret corner garden. Unwind in an Auberge Suite with privacy and space, a walled garden and private pool. A loft section is ideal for children under 12 years. The Four Quarters Suites are generously sized, combine luxury and sophistication, and are set around a private courtyard with a swimming pool. These luxury rooms and suites feature air-conditioning and under-floor heating, iPod docking station, flatscreen TV, DVD Player and DVD library, wood burning fireplaces, tea and coffee trays and free WiFi. Bathrooms are all en-suite with separate baths and showers, luxurious amenities and marble finishes. Known for its outstanding restaurants, at Le Quartier Francais a complete gastronomic journey can be experienced. A choice of award winning, cutting edge cuisine at The Tasting Room and the Bread and Wine Vineyard Restaurant opens daily for lunch. There is The Treatment Room, The Screening Room (in-house cinema), the Indigenous and Unusual Herb and Sculptural Garden, exquisite grounds with a swimming pool and outstanding service. All this is just one step away from Franschhoek town highlights. This region has become famous for its white and red wines, sherries, port and brandies. Many of the vineyards have very attractive old homesteads built in the Cape Dutch style, and are well worth a visit. The village of Franschhoek lies at the end of a lush green valley surrounded by mountains, and is home to no less than 30 cellars and 28 restaurants, and is known as the culinary capital of South Africa – eight of the top hundred restaurants in the country are to be found here. There are several art galleries, various cafés, and some quirky local shops
Days 10-12 Drive down to the coast, close to the town of Hermanus, for a 2 night stay at Grootbos Forest Lodge in a one bed suite on a full board basis including activities. Set in the picturesque mountain and sea landscape of the Hermanus area along the Cape South Coast, the architectural masterpiece of Forest Lodge is one of two lodges in the private 2,500 hectare Grootbos Nature Reserve. Embedded in a 1,500 year old Milkwood Forest, this contemporary lodge offers spectacular sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean. The extravagant and luxurious Forest Lodge has 16 freestanding suites sprouting naturally from ancient Milkwood thickets, along a cobbled lane. Providing a blend of aesthetic beauty and supreme comfort each suite is stylishly furnished with romantic canopy beds, spacious bathrooms with outdoor showers, a lounge with cozy fireplace and a private sundeck and infinity pool with unbeatable views. Suite features include a daily fresh fruit basket, under-floor heating, air-conditioning, satellite television and DVD player, minibar and complimentary WiFi. The contemporary main lodge boasts an elegant restaurant, bar and gallery with wooden fireplaces and subtle lighting. Cocooned in glass and steel to accentuate the natural surrounds, each area offers breathtaking views. Winning worldwide acclaim for its conservation and social responsibility programs, Grootbos employs specialist guides with a passion for the outdoors and sharing their knowledge. Land based whale watching, archeological cave excursions, beach picnics, flower safaris, birding expeditions and horse riding are all included in a Forest Lodge stay.
Day 12-15: Head for the stunning Garden Route today, to the town of Knysna for a 3 night stay at Kanonkop House on a bed and breakfast basis. (Includes drinks). Offering luxury boutique accommodation in the heart of the Garden Route, Kanonkop House is gloriously sited on the apex of Kanonkop Hill above Knysna. This beautiful family owned guest house noted for its excellent service, has gorgeous views overlooking Knysna Lagoon across to the famous Knysna Heads and Indian Ocean beyond. Kanonkop offers five luxury spacious suites, individually created and furnished and each with its own character, decoration and name as well as artworks by talented South Africans. All suites feature fully appointed en-suite bathrooms, bathrobes, slippers, cotton linen, under-floor heating, handmade paddle fans, satellite television, CD player and selection of CD’s, tea and coffee facilities and complimentary WiFi. All suites include private decks that overlook the lagoon or surrounding garden and forest with distant lagoon views. Kanonkop House offers an elegant guest bar where you can help yourself to complimentary drinks; breakfast is served under umbrellas on the patio or in the dining room, there is a relaxing swimming pool with sun loungers and secure off road parking. Kanonkop House in-house activities include bikes, kayaks and a speed boat for water sports or sunset cruising. Discounted golf is available at Simola, Pezula and other Garden Route courses. The guest house is only 2km from Knysna town centre. Knysna is the place to be for savouring seafood fresh from the sea: Knysna Oysters in particular are popular. Knysna Harbour is a great place to relax and watch the sunset from one of the many waterside restaurants and bars. Boat trips to Featherbed Nature Reserve and sundowner cruises can also be arranged here.
Days 15-18 Drive on to the Eastern Cape today, to Kwandwe Private Game Reserve for a 3 night stay at Great Fish River Lodge on a fully inclusive basis. Located in the malaria free 22,000 hectare, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape is the luxurious Great Fish River Lodge. Perched along the steep banks of the Great Fish River, this elevated lodge is designed to make the most of views over the vast beautiful landscape. Nine luxurious thatched suites feature classic-contemporary African inspired interiors with natural palettes of earth-toned fabrics. Pewter and glass add glamour to the furnishings, and artefacts relevant to the surroundings add special décor touches. The suites include en-suite bathrooms with indoor and outdoor showers, air-conditioning, hairdryers, personal minibars and a covered verandah with a plunge pool and striking views. Guest areas are spacious, with generous wraparound viewing decks leading from the dining room, bar and sitting areas, all of which have their own fireplace. There is a library, Safari Shop, wine cellar and Pan African cuisine can be served on your private deck, enjoyed under a canopy of stars in the fire lit boma or in the gracious dining room. Twice daily game drives are offered in the morning and afternoon/evening as well as one hour guided bush walks from the lodge, and fishing.

OUR TOP TIP:
Take every game drive you’re offered – you’ll see something different on every one. They may involve early starts – but a lion surely beats a lie-in.

TRIP TYPE:
Small group. Min. age 6.

ACTIVITY LEVEL:
Leisurely.

ACCOMMDATION:
Luxury Guest House, Lodge or tented camp with a pool and treetop dining room. Private inside and outside bathrooms.

SOLOS:
This trip can accommodate solo travellers with a surcharge.

TRAVELLING WITH A LOCAL OPERATOR
This holiday is operated by a company based in the holiday destination and they will be able to provide expert local knowledge. They will be able to tailor make your holiday to suit your requirements not only concerning the dates of travel but also typically the standard of accommodation, and thus price. It is rare for local operators to be able to help with the booking of your flights.

Price Excludes:
Flights and drinks.

Price Includes:
Per person sharing. Rate airport to airport. Accommodation, transfers, all meals, game drives, bush walks, guides, listed activities.