Between wineries of world-renown, hidden deserts, golden beaches and a city blessed both culturally and geographically, Africa’s southernmost tip is truly multi-faceted. It’s all linked by the iconic Garden Route where places with names such as ‘Storms River’, ‘Wilderness’ and ‘Nature’s Valley’ do much to capture the rural beauty of this perfectly verdant region. Your reward at the end? An all-inclusive Big Five safari where game drives and bush walks are followed by sundowners, gourmet French cuisine and plunge-pool dips at your private suite. Plus, it's based in the malaria-free Eastern Cape, providing you with total peace of mind.
Let your included chauffeur transfer bring you to the airport where you can relax ahead of your overnight flight with premium lounge access.
Picking up your car at the airport and checking into your boutique hotel, you’ll quickly discover why Cape Town is one of the world’s great cities. Located close to the fashionable Kloof Street and not far from the V&A Waterfront, you'll be perfectly placed to explore all that the city has to offer, from its national-park centrepiece to its golden beaches, botanic gardens and a concordant multiculturalism found in arts districts and world-class restaurants alike.
Don’t miss out on the just-caught seafood. With three days to explore at your own pace, you'll have time to hike Table Mountain, swim with the penguins at Boulders Beach or visit the haunting Robben Island – the site of Nelson Mandela’s incarceration.
Disappear into Cape Town’s verdant surrounds where mist-clad mountains and fertile valleys host a spread of world-class vineyards. You’ll stay on an idyllic estate - the Richard Branson-owned Mont Rochelle. Here, you'll enjoy everything from wine-paired country-style dining to indulgent spa treatments while the Stellenbosh, Paarl and Somerset wine routes are just over half-an-hour's drive away.
Closer still are the art galleries, craft breweries and gourmet restaurants of nearby Franschhoek – a one-street town that’s often referred to as South Africa’s ‘gastronomic capital’. Taste your way through its award-winning wineries, walking, cycling or even catching the 'wine tram' between each one.
Whether you stop off at Hermanus for clifftop walks with seasonal views of frolicking whales or drive the famous Route 62, your first leg towards the Garden Route will be characterised by sweeping fields of green, studded with evergreen forests. Pass over its mountain-range backdrop to reach the great semi-arid deserts of the Little Karoo and the pretty town of Oudtshoorn.
Here, you’ll find your next country-house hotel, where antique-furnished rooms look out to pretty rose gardens and the restaurant serves delicious home-cooked food that showcases the very best of the region's bounty. And, in between swimming-pool soaks and spa treatments, explore a town that's home to the world’s largest population of ostriches, found on open farms, along with the theatrical Cango Caves.
Staying in a luxury getaway that overlooks the golden sands of Plettenberg, you’ll have three days among the idyllic beauty of the Garden Route. It’s a land where old growth forests line rolling hills and pretty towns dot wild shorelines. Canoe through backwater rivers in Wilderness National Park, enjoy dramatic coastal walks in Storms River and swap beach relaxation for the open seas on a whale-watching tour.
Don’t forget to call into George for some 19th century cathedral charm or sample the fresher-than-fresh oysters in Knysna where giant cliff sentinels watch over picturesque Cape Dutch architecture.
Continue driving east along the coast for a stay on an exclusive game reserve. Set along the banks of the Great Fish River, the private plunge pools, floor-to-ceiling glass doors and spacious viewing decks of this luxury retreat offer giant views over the Karoo Basin. You’ll then take advantage of complimentary activities that range from twice-daily game drives and bush picnics to fishing trips, canoeing excursions and rhino-tracking walks.
Lion, elephant, buffalo and leopard round off the Big Five and are all found on the reserve. Return to sundowner cocktails in the bush and candlelit dining that combines locally sourced produce with a distinct African influence.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included
Following a last early-morning game drive, drop your car off at Port Elizabeth’s airport to board your flight back to the UK, connecting at Johannesburg. On arrival, a chauffeur transfer will see you home.
"This is a fantastic first timer's itinerary that allows you to immerse yourself in the best of South Africa. Start your self-drive in Cape Town, one of the most strikingly situated cities on earth before visiting the quirky towns of the Winelands district and admiring the Garden Route's stunning coastline. What makes this trip so special is that you can take your time and enjoy the spectacular food and world-class wines that are on offer. And at the very end, an exhilarating Big Five safari in the Eastern Cape awaits"
Low Season from: £3,805 pp
High Season from: £5,455 pp