Day 1: Karoo
Today we have an early departure, with collection from your Cape Town based hotel or guest house at 07.00. We will travel along the N1 passing through the Cape Winelands, through the Huguenot Tunnel and over the beautiful Hex River Pass into the Karoo. The landscape and vegetation change drastically to arid semi desert and you will find yourself in one of the quietest places on earth. Among other things, the Karoo is known for its wide open spaces, clear skies, moon-like landscapes and sheep farming.
We will arrive at Aquila Private Game Reserve around 09.00 in time for a welcome drink and sumptuous buffet breakfast before heading out with an experienced game ranger for a morning game drive. Aquila is home to an abundance of wildlife, including the Big 5, numerous different breeds of buck, giraffe, hippo and over 170 different bird species. Drives are taken in open safari vehicles and your guide will regale you with interesting facts and stories about the animals you see and the surrounding environment. Return to the lodge for a delicious buffet lunch before we head out onto the open road again.
We arrive in Beauford West in the later part of the afternoon and check in at our guest house for the night. Experience authentic Karoo farm life and warm Karoo hospitality at Olive Grove Guest Farm, a working olive, sheep and game farm.
Enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure, unwind or take a stroll in the tranquil and picturesque setting of the farm. Dinner will be a traditional farm style 3-course Karoo affair, with famous Karoo lamb sure to be in the menu.
Day 2: Prince Albert
A hearty farm breakfast will be served on the verandah overlooking the olive groves, after which you will be taken on a unique cultural tour through Beauford West’s Kwa Mandlenkosi township… on a donkey cart! Your local guide for this excursion is from the community and will introduce you to its lifestyle and the traditions of the Xhosa people. Donkey carts are still a common means of transport in the Karoo and offer a memorable and eco-friendly way of exploring the area. This project also contributes to the upliftment of the people living in this community through job creation. Your tour ends with a visit to a local arts and craft market, followed by a traditional lunch.
We then hit the road again and travel via the spectacular Meiringspoort Pass to the delightful town of Prince Albert, set in a valley surrounded by the Swartberg Mountains. The town is known for its fruit, wine, sheep and olive farming as well as the beautifully preserved Cape Dutch and Victorian buildings that line the streets. Check in at your charming Victorian hotel, one of 19 National Monument buildings, in the heart of this quaint village.
Tonight you will be taken on an exciting star-gazing experience – Prince Albert has been chosen as one of the best places for this activity in the region. You will get to see the Southern celestial "Big Five" in the dark sky over the Great Karoo namely: the brightest star, the closest star, the largest globular cluster, the most beautiful open cluster and the closest galaxy through a powerful telescope.
Activities and Services
Day 3: End of Itinerary
After a leisurely breakfast we will visit a local olive farm for a farm tour and olive and olive oil tasting. We then travel back to Cape Town and time permitting will have a stop in the fascinating little town of Matjiesfontein.