Start your holiday in the Mother City, Cape Town, where iconic landmarks like Table Mountain, Cape Point Lighthouse and the Castle of Good Hope awaits you. Continue your journey along the Garden Route of South Africa renowned for its lovely lakes, lagoons, shady evergreen forests and spectacular sunsets.
Iconic Landmarks & Inspiring Scenery
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9 DAYS: CAPE TOWN & KNYSNA
Cape Town International Airport
Upon arrival at Cape Town International Airport, you will be met by your ILIOS Travel representative for your private transfer to your city-based hotel.
Check in at your hotel. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure to relax and recuperate from your journey to the Mother City.
Table Mountain Cableway Company
After collection from your city based hotel, travel towards Table Mountain for the commencement of the Table Mountain Tour. Arrive at Table Mountain National Park for a tour of the profound landmark that has become a symbol of Cape Town culture (weather permitting; cable car fee not included). Declared as one of the seven wonders of the world, Table Mountain offers panoramic views over the Mother City and the Atlantic Seaboard with Robben Island lying sleepily in Table Bay Harbour. After decent, travel back towards City Centre for a tour of The Company Gardens.
The Company Gardens
The park and heritage site was originally established in the early 1650s by the European Settlers arriving in the area. The gardens provided fresh fruit and vegetables to the ships seeking replenishment when rounding the Cape on their journey to the East. The Gardens now offer a natural retreat from the bustle of the City.
The Arch for Arch
Make your way to the Wale Street end of the gardens where the iconic ''Arch'' monument stands. The monument was created to commemorate the life and work of Desmond Tutu - lovingly referred to by South Africans as ''The Arch'' - as well as a tribute to the values of the South African Constitution. The Arch was installed beside the historic St. George's Cathedral which is also know as the ''People's Cathedral'' for its role in the resistance against the Apartheid Regime.
The Iziko Slave Lodge
Alongside the iconic Arch, stands the historical Slave Lodge which is one of the oldest buildings in Cape Town. Built in 1679 by the Dutch East India Company, the building was initially used as housing for over 9000 slaves, convicts and the mentally ill up until the early 1800s when the building was converted into government offices. The building was restored in 1960 for use as a cultural history museum but was only officially renamed as The Slave Lodge in 1998. Today the historical building houses an array of exhibits that address the controversial and deeply ingrained history of slavery in South Africa.
Castle of Good Hope
Drive through the city centre, past the Parliament buildings, City Hall and Grand Parade to the Castle of Good Hope. Built by the Dutch East Indian Company between 1666 and 1679, the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest existing colonial building in South Africa. The Castle was declared a historical monument (now a provincial heritage site) in 1936. Following restoration work in the 1980s, it is considered the best preserved example of a 17th century architectural structure in the entire world.
End the day with a drive via colourful Bo-Kaap and De Waterkant. Formerly known as the Malay Quarter, this picturesque corner of Cape Town, well-known for its vast collection of colourful houses and cobble stone streets, became home to the Cape Muslim community and many freed slaves after the abolition of slavery in 1834. Tour ends with drop off at hotel.
Your ILIOS Travel guide will collect you from the hotel for departure on a full day tour of the Cape Peninsula at approximately 08h00
Scenic Coastal Drive
Enjoy a scenic drive along the Atlantic Seaboard via Sea Point, Clifton, Camps Bay and Hout Bay, a quaint seaside village with magnificent mountain views. Continue onto Chapmans Peak Drive, one of the world's most spectacular coastal drives towards the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Cape Point. Watch the dramatic clash of the seas from the view point which can be accessed by a foot or the Flying Dutchman Funicular (additional cost to own account). A lunch stop (to own account) will be discussed with your guide en-route to Simons Town.
Boulders Beach Penguin Colony
Arrive in the historic Simons Town, a village with charming Victorian architecture, a naval base and a large penguin colony at the beautiful Boulders Beach. Boulders penguin colony is home to a growing colony of the protected African penguin. Wooden walkways allow visitors to view penguins in their natural habitat. Continue on to the well-known Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
End the day with a visit to the Kirstenbosch Garden. Founded in 1913 in an effort to preserve South Africas unique flora, the gardens encompasses five of South Africas six different biomes and is world renowned for the beauty and diversity of the Cape Flora it displays as well as for the magnificence of its setting against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. The tour ends with drop off your hotel.
Today you have a full day at leisure to explore Cape Town and it surrounds at your own pace. Take a stroll on the Sea Point promenade or visit to the multi-cultural St. George's square.
After breakfast and check-out, you will be collected for your overland transfer to Knysna.
Arrive during the afternoon at the lagoon-side town of Knysna, also knowns as the Jewel of the Garden Route. Check in at your hotel followed by some time at leisure to enjoy the Knysna Waterfront Complex. Dinner can be enjoyed at one of the many restaurants (to own account) before retiring for the night.
The Big Tree
After collection from your hotel, start your day with a visit to The Big Tree located in the Tsitsikamma Forest. This giant Outeniqua Yellowwood (Podocarpus Falcatus) is a magnificent part of creation, being some 1 000 years old and towering at an impressive height of 36.6 metres. The trunk has a circumference of nearly nine metres and the canopy boasts a spread of 33 metres. The walk to The Big Tree is a few hundred metres through the gorgeous forest, cooled by the lush canopy. It is a very easy walk, not requiring any significant level of fitness.
Tsitsikamma National Park
Continue to the Tsitsikamma National Park which incorporates 80 km of rocky coastline with spectacular sea and landscapes, a remote mountainous region with secluded valleys covered in mountain Fynbos and temperate high forests with deep river gorges leading down to the sea.
Enjoy a walk along the suspension bridge across the Storms River mouth gorge offering incredible views and photo opportunities before heading into Storms River town for lunch (to own account). After lunch, visit the Bitou Art Gallery and discover an extraordinary display of art created by local artists who also work from the studio. You can expect to see watercolour, ink, ceramics, acrylics, oils and photography pieces. Some of these marvellous pieces have even come into the possession of local and international collectors.
Before heading back to the hotel, there would be ample opportunity to include a thrilling activity to end your day Treetop Canopy Tour which is a zipline activity through the canopy of the Tsitsikamma Forest; a Segway tour on one of a selection of routes among cool pine forest, indigenous forest, or even explore the historical Witteklip bridge or the local township; bungy jumping or bridge walking at Bloukrans or kayak and lilo up the Storms River Gorge in Tsitsikamma. For the not-so-adventurous, you could explore the Tsitsikamma Forest further on the Woodcutters Journey, visit one of the many animal sanctuaries in the area such as the Tsitsikamma Wolf Sanctuary or explore the various art and craft studios and galleries in the area. The tour ends with drop off at hotel in the early evening.
Safari Ostrich Farm
Morning collection from your hotel on the Garden Route for departure to Oudtshoorn, the feather capital. The first stop this morning will be at a working ostrich farm for a guided tour. Learn about the ostrich lifecycle stages from incubation to adulthood. Afterwards go feed and meet the ostrich up close in one of the breeding camps. Continue on a tractor tour to learn more about the Kenyan Red, Zimbabwe Blue as well as the local South African ostriches. Afterwards, head to town where you will be welcomed at the CP Nel Museum with typical Oudtshoorn hospitality.
CP Nel Museum
Visit the beautifully eclectic museum which is housed in the old Oudtshoorn Boys High School and as a result, the sandstone building with its prominent clock tower (designed by Charles Bullock and erected in 1906) was saved from demolition. The building and museum was declared a National Monument in 1981. The main theme of the museum is the ostrich industry, focussing on the ostrich feather boom period in 1900 - 1914 which is the main reason for the surge in Oudtshoorns prosperity. Enjoy lunch in town (to own account) before continuing to the magnificent Cango Caves.
Located at the foothills of the Swartberg Mountain range, the Cango Caves is one of South Africas finest discovered and excavated cave systems, and has an extensive system of tunnels that spans over 4km. Various cave paintings and cultural artefacts were discovered in the caves indicating that they were occupied by humans during the middle and later stone ages. The caves were rediscovered in modern times by a local farmer, Jacobus van Zyl in 1780, who aptly named the first hall Van Zyls Hall. Explore the dripstone caverns that open into vast halls of towering stalagmite formations with names like the bridal couple, glass flower fantasy, weird cango candle and the hanging shawl. The tour ends with drop off at hotel in the early evening.
Today you have a full day at leisure to explore Knysna and it surrounds at your own pace. Discover the sandy beaches and forest trails. Explore the area and rich cultural heritage, and experience what makes Knysna a not-to-be-missed location in South Africa.