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The group flight generally arrives early afternoon. Land only passengers can meet the rest of the group at the airport; upon arrival we will transfer about 1hr to the the Sundays River Valley and the lovely Avoca Guest Farm. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax amidst this bucolic setting. *Avoca Guest Farm or similar*
This morning we head to Addo Elephant National Park. The third largest national park in South Africa, Addo is home to some 550 elephants (up from a mere 16 when the park was initially set up) as well as Black rhino, leopards, lions, buffalos, hyenas, zebras, various antelopes and dung-beetles. We will enjoy game drives (in our own vehicle) in the park and have the option of a 2nd game drive as well (at extra cost). *Avoca Guest Farm or similar*
Today we start heading west to the official start of the Garden Route at Storms River and Tsitsikamma National Park. Stretching along the coast, the park gets its name from a local word meaning ‘place of abundant water.’ The park is made up of rocky coastlines, fairy-tale forests, waterfalls and rivers. We have the opportunity to hike in the forest and along suspension bridges. The area is also a great place for bird-enthusiasts with a variety of sea, forest and fynbos (scrubland) species present. *Storms River Mouth Rest Camp or similar*
We spend the day at Tsitsikamma where a number of hikes are available as well as other activities (though some may be dependent on the weather conditions such as canoeing). *Storms River Mouth Rest Camp or similar*
We start our day with a visit to the Knysna Heads, two tall sandstone cliffs which form a channel through which the turbulent Indian Ocean enters the calmer Knysna Lagoon. We have a bit more time to relax in town before leaving for Oudtshoorn after lunch. As we head inland and over a pass the landscape changes drastically and we enter the Little Karoo, a much dryer and hotter region. Oudtshoorn itself became famous thanks to the trade in Ostrich feathers and is still, today, the ostrich capital of the world. Our Guest House is situated out of town in the tranquil rural Karoo village of De Rust. *House Martin Guest Lodge or similar*
Today we spend all day in and around Oudtshoorn. We start by visiting the Cango Caves, an extensive complex of caverns with stalactites and stalagmites. After lunch we visit a local ostrich farm where we learn more about these wondrous birds and may even see some ostrich racing. (the order in which we do these activities may be reversed). *House Martin Guest Lodge or similar*
Returning towards the coast we make a stop at Mossel Bay and the Dias museum complex celebrating the influence of early Portuguese sailors on S. Africa and the location of the Post Office Tree (an old milkwood tree which was used to leave messages for passing ships since 1500). We then continue to Hermanus, famed as the whale capital of the world. *Windsor Hotel Apartments or similar*
Today is a free day to relax and enjoy Hermanus. From late August to November Southern Right whales are easily spotted from shore as they frolic in Walker Bay. A whale crier sounds his kelp horn when he spots whales off the coast. Those who want can also do a boat-based whale watching trip. There are also a number of other activities available from hikes to river cruises and lagoon-kayaking which are available year-round. Please note that during the Christmas departure we will be staying in Pringle Bay, on the eastern end of False Bay. Pringle Bay is a lovely seaside village with local art and crafts shops and markets and cafes. Nearby are Betty Bay with its penguin colony, the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens and the Kogelberg Nature Reserve. Those who want will be taken to Hermanus (about 1hr away) to see the quaint town. *Windosr Hotel Apartments or similar*
Our next destination is South Africa’s famed wine region. The wine industry, which dates back to the 17th Century and was heavily influenced by French Huguenots, produces some of the best wines in the world. We will have the opportunity to taste some of these wines before continuing to Cape Town, the Mother City. *Sweetest Guest House or similar*
We spend the next two days in and around Cape Town, Africa's most exciting city. Our activities in Cape Town will, to some extent, be dictated by the weather as visits to the top of Table Mountain, which has its own micro-climate, are determined by cloud cover and wind. Because of this, often, temperamental weather, it is best not to pre-book the cable car but to just buy tickets on the spot (not included) Those who are staying longer in Cape Town post-tour may opt to visit Table Mountain later if the weather looks as though it may be better then. There is also the option of visiting Robben Island on one of the days, however we recommend you pre-book Robben Island with us before the trip (but pay the tour leader locally). On one of the days we head down the Cape Peninsula. We follow the Atlantic Seaboard past the areas of Camps Bay, Llandudno and Hout Bay to the Cape Point via Chapman's Peak drive, if it is open. The highlight of the day is our visit to the famous Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, which covers an area of 7680 hectares. The reserve is home to eland, bontebok, grysbok, springbok, wildebeest, baboon and ostrich. Rugged cliffs, unspoilt beaches, shipwrecks and beautiful flora are the main features of the reserve. We will go on a walk through the reserve for approximately two hours. We first take a walk to the old lighthouse for the panoramic views, before following the pathway to the new lighthouse which offer spectacular cliff views. We then follow the downhill path to the Cape of Good Hope and the iconic board showing the most Southern Western point of the African continent where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. Once we leave the park we stop at the former Royal Navy base at Simonstown and take time to visit the resident penguin colony at Boulders Beach. *Sweetest Guest House or similar*
Our final day of the trip we have the option of doing a township tour, strolling along the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront or exploring various other parts of Cape Town. Those on group flights will be transferred to the airport this afternoon for their flight home, those on a land-only basis the tour officially ends today.
* 9 nights hotels and guest houses and 2 nights chalets. * Travel by private minibus * No long drives
All breakfasts included The food you'll encounter on this trip is very similar to the kind of food you'll be used to at home. There may be the opportunity to try some more unusual meats such as ostrich, kudu or eland. There are also some options for vegetarians.
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