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overview

Perfect for those who care about the impact that travel has on the environment, this 10-day self-drive tour winds its way from Cape Town to the Garden Route and supports local communities and conservation projects along the way.

Stay in eco-friendly lodges without compromising on comfort as you start your journey in Cape Town, the Winelands and the nearby Whale Coast before moving on to the Garden Route. You stay on historic farms and nature reserves and will explore one of South Africa's most biodiverse regions with a minimum impact on the natural environment.

Itinerary Highlights

  • Self-drive tour with strong eco & social emphasis
  • Wind your way through the scenic Cape Winelands
  • Explore Grootbos Nature Reserve
  • Stay amid rehabilitated fynbos in Hog Hollow
  • Go on a township tour in Qolweni
  • See marine life on a Plettenberg Bay ocean tour
  • Explore the Tsitsikamma forest
  • Mountain bike through fynbos
  • Learn about the breeding of the extinct quagga

Day to Day Itinerary

Days 1-2

Discover Cape Town

Arrive at Cape Town International Airport where you will collect your rental vehicle and drive to The Cape Grace Hotel. Alternatively, we can arrange a 'meet-and-greet' transfer to The Cape Grace and will deliver your vehicle to you there.

Located at the ever-popular V&A Waterfront, The Cape Grace is ideally located for those visiting Cape Town. There is plenty on offer in the immediate area but as you are independently mobile, you can take a drive to Camps Bay or Clifton beaches and catch a tan, do some shopping at Greenmarket Square or cruise down the Cape Peninsula to dramatic Cape Point and the endangered African penguin colony at Boulders Beach.

The Cape Grace is a certified member of Fair Trade in Tourism, South Africa. In addition to valuing their staff as individuals and key assets to the hotel, The Cape Grace is also home to The Cape Grace Bar & Waitron Training School, which helps in providing high school students with hotel industry experience.

Days 3-4

Stay at Babylonstoren

Drive through the valleys of the beautiful Cape Winelands to Babylonstoren, located just outside Franschhoek, South Africa's gourmet capital. The farm dates back to the 1690s and is today a sensitively rebuilt hotel, spa and restaurant, all resting in enormous vegetable gardens and orchards. The emphasis is on organic produce and sustainable methodologies - slug-eating ducks wander freely, minimising the need for harmful pesticides.

You are spolit for choice at Babylonstoren. Guests are free to help the gardeners harvest and prune their crops or they can learn about the production of wine from vine to vintage. Stroll through the 200ha fynbos reserve to enjoy the splendid views from the top of the nearby koppie or break out your binoculars for interesting birdwatching.

Days 5-6

Commune with nature at Grootbos

Today you will take a drive to the nearby Whale Coast where you spend the next two days at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve. Go on nature drives and scenic walks or enjoy a thrilling horse ride around the reserve. An expert guide can tell you all about the fynbos - the spectacular indigenous flora - as you meander through the priavte reserve.

The reserve is home to the Green Futures College where unemployed learners are equipped with knowledge and practical skills regarding conservation, fynbos landscaping, horticulture and eco-tourism. This gives them potential to both support themselves and preserve indigenous ecosystems at the same time. Be sure to visit and support the fynbos landscaping business and the indigenous plant nursery that generates an income to sustain the Green Futures College.

Day 7

Wind your way along the Garden Route

Today you will drive along South Africa's beautiful Garden Route to Hog Hollow, set in a forest close to Plettenberg Bay. Before the lodge was built, the natural fynbos vegetation in the area was rapidly disappearing as a result of the invasion of alien vegetation. In 1993, owner Andy Fermor decided to use his knowledge and skills to create an environmental haven for fynbos and local wildlife, and you see the results for yourself as you stay in comfort at Hog Hollow.

Laze around the pool, relax in the sauna and settle in for a read after your drive, or stretch your legs along one of the many walking paths. The area has a wide range of attractions that includes Monkeyland, Birds of Eden and the Knysna Elephant Sanctuary or you can just head into the lively town of Plettenberg Bay for a bit of nightlife or fine dining.

Day 8

Go on a township tour

Today you will enjoy some local flavour as you venture into Qolweni on the Qolweni Township Experience Tour and meet the people who live here. An experienced guide will give you an insight into their everyday lives and the proceeds of this tour go directly into the Qolweni Development Trust which helps to develop the infrastructure of the township.

You will also go on the Marine Encounters Tour today, which - in season - gives you the chance to see whales up close in Plettenberg Bay. Meet at Central Beach and head out into the bay with an experienced guide. You will be on the lookout for a variety of marine animals that includes dolphins and Cape fur seals. This tour is conducted strictly according to current regulations and conservation guidelines.

Day 9

Explore the Tsitsikamma treetops

Today you will admire the Tsitsikamma Forest from above on an unforgettable Canopy Tour. After being harnessed into your gear, swing from tree to tree in the company of an experienced guide who will tell you all about this beautiful, leafy environment. The tour is perfectly safe and environmentally friendly and no trees were damaged during the construction of the platforms. The operator - Stormsriver Adventures - has a strong commitment to the company's Ethos Statement and 84 percent of its 80 employees are from the surrounding area.

After this thrilling tree-top experience, you will make your way to Jan Harmsgat Country House on a nearby farm where you spend the next two nights.

Day 10

Relax on a historic farm

You have plenty time to relax and enjoy the fresh air with a glass of wine in hand at this 4-star guesthouse, and there is game viewing to be had as well: go in search of black wildebeest, springbok and ostrich, as well as new bird species to tick off your list.

Take a drive out to the Robertson Wine Valley or visit the nearby town of Swellendam where the owners have set up a project to turn an old jail into a coffee shop. Women from disadvantaged local communities were trained and equipped with the skills needed to earn a stake in the cafe and benefit from a regular, independent income.

Days 11-12

Unwind at Bartholomeus Klip

Continue your travels today as you head to Bartholomeus Klip, a 4 000ha fynbos and renosterveld nature reserve where you enjoy a 2-night stay in a Victorian-style guesthouse. Cycle through the flower-decked reserve by mountain bike, or head down to the dam and go canoeing, wind surfing or kayaking.

The farm is also home to an impressive herd of disease-free buffalo. Most buffalo born in the wild are infected with corridor and foot-and-mouth diseases, making the buffalo born at Bartholomeus Klip in high demand for game ranches. Another of Bartholomeus Klip's conservation projects is a selective breeding programme for the quagga - a local breed of Cape zebra with no stripes on the back half of its body, which has been extinct in the wild for 150 years.

Perhaps pay a visit to the Eco-schools Club where children from local schools come on regular visits to learn about the environment and hold leadership camps in the reserve.

Day 13

Return to Cape Town

Your departure back to Cape Town need not be the end of your journey. Ask us for advice on community-based initiatives and tours such as the Cape Malay Cooking Experience or a trip to Nelson Mandela's former prison on Robben Island.

Inclusions

  • 2 nights at Cape Grace on a bed and breakfast basis
  • 2 nights at Babylonstoren on a bed and breakfast basis
  • 2 nights at Grootbos Forest Lodge on a full board basis
  • 2 nights at Hog Hollow Country Lodge on a bed and breakfast basis
  • 2 nights at Jan Harmsgat Country House on a bed and breakfast basis
  • 2 nights at Bartholomeus Klip on a full board basis
  • 13 day car rental
  • Marine encounters tour
  • Qolweni Township Experience

Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Airport taxes
  • All meals and drinks not specified
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

Tour Rates

  • dates rates from
  • 28 Nov 2014 - 24 Dec 2014 $2775
  • 21 Jan 2015 - 16 Feb 2015 $3150
  • 17 Feb 2015 - 15 Mar 2015 $3195
  • 16 Mar 2015 - 11 Apr 2015 $3150
  • 12 Apr 2015 - 08 May 2015 $3150

Our rates are per person sharing unless we note differently.

Please treat all pricing as a guide only:

  • All rates are subject to availability and may change without notice
  • Single supplements may apply

Request a quote or speak to one of our African Safari Experts for the best, most current rates available.

Carlien Parsons

Carlien Parsons

Product Manager

"A fantastic trip for any eco conscious traveller; stay at some of the best places around the Cape while you meander down the scenic coastline."

From

$2775

Per person sharing

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