Commencing in the 'Friendly City' of Port Elizabeth, this Self Drive Tour includes 2 nights at a Malaria free Game Reserve in 1820 Settler Country. Then moving down to the scenic Eastern Cape coast, where the brave may experience some adrenelin boosting adventures. On to Knysna, the unofficial Garden Route capitol, a town surrounded by forest, lake, sea and mountains. Then inland to Oudtshoorn, famous for ostrich farming and the awe inspiring Cango Caves.
From there drive Route 62, through amazing gorges, pick up the N2 in Swellendam and on to Hermanus for whale watching. From Hermanus drive to the university town of Stellenbosch to begin your Cape Winelands experience. Move on to the French inspired town of Franschoek to experience delightful restaurants, fabulous shopping and more award winning wines. Your final destination, Cape Town, is next. Be sure to visit
Your tour begins in the 1820 Settler city of Port Elizabeth, also known as 'the friendly city'. If you're a history buff take the Donkin Trail which explores the history of the 1820 Settlers. It's easy to self navigate and introduces you to the town.
Alternatively you could take a cruise on the Sundays RIver, a Township Tour or just chill on the beach and in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
After a leisurely breakfast it's time to head off to the Game Reserve, 86 kms from PE. The Reserve is located on original 1820 Settlers farms and the luxury accommodation comprises off restored Country Homes, Tented Camps and Safari Lodges.
There are morning and evening game drives with a professional game ranger. As well as the Big 5 you may see giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and more. The Reserve serves wonderful meals, with some ingredients grown locally, which helps to provide jobs for the community.
Today it's goodbye to the animals as you head down to the sea, approximately 310kms on the N2. A detour to Jeffreys Bay for a coffee break would no doubt be welcome after a couple of hours of driving. Jeffreys Bay is world renowned surfers' paradise and Dolphin Beach boasts Blue Flag status.
Storms River Village is an interesting spot. The adventurous may experience the Bloukrans Bungee or take a Canopy Tour through the treetops of the Outeniqua Forest.
In the village itself, originally home to the woodcutters of the surrounding indigenous forest, you will find original buildings, including Thomas Duthies' Hunting Lodge as well as the graves of some of the convicts who, overseen by Thomas Bain, built the pass through the Storms River Gorge. If you stay for lunch, Marilyn's 60's Diner looks like fun.
A turnoff to the Tsitsikamma National Park is worthwhile too, to experience the dramatic scenery of the nature reserve. The surf pounds against the rocks and a walk across the suspension bridge is not for the fainthearted.
And then on to Plettenberg Bay. This small town is a popular summer destination for both South Africans and internationals alike. Nearby Keurboomstrand and 5th Robberg beaches boast Blue Flag status. An evening stroll along the beach is the perfect way to end a busy day.
Moving on to Knysna, the unofficial capital of the Garden Route. Surrounded by mountains, forest, lake and sea, this is a nature lover's paradise. And the shopping is great too.
It's a town shrouded in mystery and legend. Some say that elephants still roam the forest and there is the legend of George Rex, an early settler and founder of Knysna, reputed to be the son of George III and Hannah Lightfoot, a commoner. There is the abandoned gold mining village of Millwood, which thrived for a while, but the gold soon ran out and the prospectors moved on. However, if you don't mind a long drive over dirt roads, there is an interesting museum and a tour of the Bendigo Gold Mine available, as well as a tearoom for refreshments.
The Thesen family, who were on their way to New Zealand from Norway when they stopped off at Knysna and decided to stay, started The Knysna Boatyard, a thriving business that, during the 2nd World War, built 640 craft for the Allied Forces. The business was located on Thesen Island, which is now home to restaurants, shops and leisure activities.
Today you move inland to Oudtshoorn, reputed to be the town most visited by tourists. It's famous for ostrich farming and the Cango Caves and is situated in the Klein Karoo, a semi desert area.
The fortunes of the ostrich farmers rise and fall. At the turn of the 20th Century they were particularly successful due to the popularity of ostrich feathers used as a fashion adornment. At this time many farmers invested in magnificent homes, nicknamed 'Ostrich Palaces', some of which are still standing today.
The awesome Cango Caves are amazing and tours are available. You can also visit an ostrich farm and ride an ostrich, or watch the ostrich races and shop for beautiful ostrich skin goods.
It's back to the sea today to the coastal village of Hermanus, a favourite spot of the Southern RIght Whale, which visits Walker Bay, Hermanus annually between June and early December. Other marine visitors include the Humpback and Bryde's whales, penguins, Cape fur seals and sometimes pods of dolphins.
If you take Route 62 from Oudtshoorn to Swellendam, the drive is quite impressive as you drive through many towering mountain passes. Look out for 'Ronnies Sex Shop', quite an astonishing sight in this semi desert area. Stop and browse.
Boplaas Wine Estate in Calitzdorp has won many awards for its wine and Cape Vintage (otherwise known as Port) and is worth a visit. From Swellendam it's back on the N2 Highway until you reach the turnoff for Hermanus.
Hermanus has transformed in recent years from a quaint fishing village to a tourist mecca, but still manages to retain its charm. If you are there during whale season, June to early December, there are a variety of ways to view the whales. You can view from the coastal path as the whales come close to shore, especially when they are calving, or take a boat based tour. Some people hire paddleskis and get really up close and personal.
There are many delightful restaurants in Hermanus and it's a shopper's paradise.
The Cape WInelands are a visual delight. Surrounded by towering mountains and beautiful homesteads the Estates will delight you and that's before you have tasted the wines.
From Hermanus drive to the university town of Stellenbosch, exploring one or two estates on the way. You will drive over Sir Lowry's Pass and as you reach the top you will be presented with a magnificent view of False Bay and surrounding towns, as well as possibly your first glimpse of Table Mountain.
Stellenbosch is the second oldest town in South Africa, after Cape Town. There are many historic buildings and Dorp Street is a popular street to stroll for its buildings and Oom Saam's Winkel (Uncle Saam's shop), which will fascinate with its quaint, vintage goods. The university has a strong sport ethic and has produced 155 rugby Springboks.
From Stellenbosch continue to Franshhoek passing through the missionary village of Pniel.
You may want to visit Boschendal for a lunch of typical Cape Cuisine or perhaps have a picnic in the beautiful grounds. Boschendal is part of Cecil John Rhodes heritage, but the Estate was originally owned by the French Huguenot, Jean le Long. The Manor House, which dates back to 1812, was restored with great attention to detail in the late 1970s and is open for guided or self guided tours.
But on to Franschhoek, where many of the French Huguenots settled and where the French influence is still present today. There are many estates to visit on your way to the town and in the town there are many delightful, award winning restaurants and wonderful shopping opportunities.
From Franshhoek you will make your way to Cape Town, with Table Mountain, in the distance, welcoming you into the city.
Today is a good day to explore the city, so if the weather is right, take a trip up Table Mountain. You could hike up or down, bearing in mind that the mountain can be dangerous, if inclement weather closes in. The panoramic views of the city and Peninsula are fabulous. The evening is a good time to visit the V&A Waterfront, a working harbour, as it is overflowing with shops, markets, pubs and restaurants, so a good spot for some shopping and dinner.
Get an early start and take a boat trip to Robben Island (a good idea to book beforehand), one of Nelson Mandela's homes, whilst incarcerated. The island is fascinating, not just because of the prison, there is also abundant flora and fauna, historical buildings and boat wrecks.
Later in the day you could visit Kirstenbosch Gardens, also part of Cecil John Rhodes legacy. The centenary of the Gardens was celebrated in 2013 and a canopy walkway was opened to commemerate this. If you happen to visit on a summer Sunday, there is a sunset concert.
Or you could visit the Constantia vineyards, the original cape winelands first planted in the 17th century.
Camps Bay is a great place for dinner. Take a walk on the beach before dinner, then sit at one of the pavement cafes to watch the sunset and the world go by.
A drive around the Peninsula is a must. Drive from the city along the Atlantic Seaboard, through Camps Bay and on to Hout Bay. From Hout Bay take the scenic route over Chapmans Peak Drive - a great photo opportunity at the Peak. As you round the Peak you will see Kommetjie lighthouse in the distance and as you near the end of the Drive you will come across the huge white expanse of Noordhoek Beach, popular with horse riders. Cape Point Vineyards is based here and is open for wine tasting. Noordhoek Farm Village is a popular spot for both tourists and locals. A great spot for lunch.
From Noordhoek head for Kommetjie, a world famous surfing spot. It's also a popular place with fisherman who launch their boats here to go out and catch crayfish (rock lobster). And on to Misty Cliffs and Scarborough, another spot popular with surfers.
Continue on to Cape Point from Scarborough and enter the Nature Reserve, where you may be fortunate to spot wildlife amidst the beautiful indigenous flora. At Cape Point take the funicular to see the lighthouse and huges waves pounding against the rocks. Many a ship has come to grief on these rocks. Be sure to head down to the Cape of Good Hope and have your photo taken at the sign depicting the most South Westerly point of the continent of Africa.
From Cape Point head for Simon's Town, located on the east of the peninsula. Boulders Beach is a popular spot if you want to see penguins roaming the boulder strewn beach. The warm waters may encourage you to take a break and a swim. Simon's Town is a naval town and is famous for its 'Historical Mile' - a mile of beautiful old buildings. There are some interesting museums, particularly the Naval Museum.
If you like quirky shops you should spend a while in Kalk Bay. As well as the interesting shops, there's the fishing harbour and many restaurants. From Kalk Bay head back to the city.
Say 'Goodbye' to Cape Town today, but if you have the time you could take a helicopter flip over the city and peninsula. Or perhaps visit some of the interesting museums in the city or wander in the Public Gardens, where Jan van Riebeeck planted the first vegetable garden way back in the 17th century.
This tour does take children.
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