Days 1 - 4
Cape Town is one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world. Cradled by Table Mountain, it has immense charm and historical interest. We never tire of soaking up the beauty & buzzy atmosphere of this relaxed city with its cosmopolitan dining options.
No Cape Town visit is complete without taking the cable car up Table Mountain. You can even abseil off the top for the ultimate adrenalin rush. In the city, you can visit the colourful Bokaap quarter, an ecletic array of museums from District Six to the Museum of Gold or browse through the vibey street markets such as Greenmarket Square. Alternatively meander through the wonderful Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, head out to Robben Island by boat or simply relax on the golden beaches of Camps Bay or Llandudno.
When you want to range further, the Cape Peninsula offers one of the finest coastal drives in Africa – Chapmans Peak Drive - to the Cape of Good Hope. Here you might see whales breeching just off the bay or quirky penguins on Boulders Beach.
Days 4 - 6
The picturesque village of Franschhoek is brimming with ‘joie de vivre’ and rural charm. It’s full of gourmet restaurants, eclectic shops and boutique hotels. All in a pretty valley setting surrounded by mountains.
The origins of Franschhoek date back to 1688 when some of the French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution settled in the valley, then known as Elephants Corner. With their arrival, it became known as French Corner, or 'Franschhoek' in Afrikaans. The French influence is still very evident today with wine estates such as Mont Rochelle, Haute Cabriere, La Motte or L'Omarins, and in the number of award-winning restaurants.
Days 6 - 8
The Cape Whale Coast is a bountiful area of gentle rolling green pastures, picturesque vineyards and unspoilt coastline between the Winelands and the Garden Route to the east.
The Whale Coast offers plenty of attractions including some of the finest land-based whale watching in the world with plenty of sightings of Southern Right whales cruising and wallowing. The season is from July to December (peaking in August and September), when the whales come right into the bays to give birth. At that time, enthralling sightings - both from land and by boat - are a daily occurrence with spectacular breaches and other acrobatics.
Some visitors hurtle straight through from Cape Town to the Garden Route but we recommend taking the scenic coastal road to Hermanus, Gansbaai or Arniston for at least two nights. This rugged stretch of South African coastline snakes along the Atlantic Ocean, with magnificent mountains rising up on the other side.
Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve
Days 8 - 11
A safari is nearly always an important part of a trip to South Africa - words cannot describe the thrill of tracking a leopard on the hunt or observing a breeding herd of elephants at a waterhole. The 65,000ha Sabi Sands is one of the premier wildlife destinations in Southern Africa, offering superb game-viewing and stylish lodges. It shares an open border with the Kruger so animals move freely between the two reserves.
Two perennial rivers, the Sabi and the Sand flow through this game reserve, sustaining the diverse fauna and flora of the area. Due to a long history of sensitive game-viewing, the animals are generally relaxed around game vehicles, especially leopard. So diverse is its habitat and wildlife that you have an excellent chance of experiencing close encounters with the 'Big 5' - elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard - as well as many species of antelope, several dog-like species including spotted hyena, wild dog and jackal.
The Sabi Sands comprises a number of private game lodges which cooperate in conserving their valuable heritage. Some of the world's finest game lodges are found here, together with some less well-known bush camps.
A Sabi Sands safari is an intimate and informative experience. You enjoy game drives in open-vehicle game drives with an experienced ranger and a local Shangaan tracker who work together to give you a deeper understanding of the wildlife and the natural cycles of the bush. Drives are in the early morning and late afternoon when game is most likely to be active. The evening meal is often enjoyed in a 'boma' or even in the bush around an open fire, which many guests feel is a particularly evocative treat.
Livingstone (Victoria Falls)
Days 11 - 13
The Victoria Falls is a dramatic natural wonder of the world as well as a World Heritage Site. It certainly is a sight not to be missed: the clouds of spray generated by this thunderous descent have resulted in a lush rain forest full of stunning wild flowers and the most spectacular views of the Falls are from the Zambian side of the gorge.
Various optional activities are on offer including canoeing and languorous sunset river cruises on the tranquil Upper Zambezi above the falls. To gain an overall impression of the Falls, the helicopter 'Flight of Angels' is considered essential by some. For the more adventurous, micro light flights, terrifying bungee jumping and arguably the best commercial white water rafting in the world are all available. Game drives and horse riding are also offered in the Zambezi National Park to view elephant and buffalo as well as elephant back safaris.
The best time to view the Falls is probably between April/May and August when the spray is less so that the Falls are easier to capture on film and yet the flow of water is still impressive. As the dry season progresses, the volume of water over the Falls declines quite dramatically. Visitors in late September to December need to be aware of this and we recommend that you book a helicopter trip or a microlite flight over the Victoria Falls so that you can enjoy the full length of the Falls.