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Route 62, Garden Route & Eastern Cape Safari natural highlights (8 days)

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  • Little Karoo – Barrydale (Route 62) – wine tasting along the way
  • Oudtshoorn (Route 62) – Ostriches
  • Cango Caves, Swartberg Pass to Prince Albert – back via Meiringspoort Pass
  • Wild Meerkats - via Knysna & Plettenberg Bay to private reserve - Tsitsikamma Forests along the way
  • Private Reserve – Eastern Cape Thicket & Frogging Safari
  • Two day Safari in the Eastern Cape (Malaria free)

Day 1:Travel into the Little Karoo via scenic route 62, Wine tasting

  • The route travelled today goes through the mountains - across the Little Karoo, famous for its rich geology and dramatic landscapes.
  • Drive along the beautiful R62 towards the quaint town of Barrydale where you will find the interesting Joubert Tradouw wine estate. To add to the wine experience, you’ll discover the Alfresco Deli/Restaurant a very tasteful inside fireplace space and outside tables in true Alfresco-style under the vine-covered “afdak” veranda overlooking the farm, Tradouw valley and Langeberge. Here there will be an opportunity to taste some of the excellent wines and eat some of the local deli dishes.

Day 2: Scenic drive in Little Karoo stopping at highlights, Ostrich Farm Tour

  • Drive through the Little Karoo to Oudtshoorn.
  • Enjoy an ostrich farm tour, which includes an explanation of the hatching and rearing of the chicks; mating and grading of ostriches; characteristics and special features of the ostrich; and the collection of the eggs. At all times during the course of the farm tour, visitors are in close proximity with these unique and peculiar birds. The tour also includes information on allied ostrich products, such as the feather industry, tanning and curing of the leather, and the valuable ostrich meat industry.

Day 3: Cango Caves, Swartberg Pass, Great Karoo - Prince Albert & Meiringspoort Pass

  • Visit the Cango Caves, the largest show cave operation on the continent. Choose between a standard or adventure guided tour through the caves.
  • Travel via the Swartberg Pass, considered one of the most spectacular mountain passes in the world: an untarred road winds to the summit 1 583 metres above sea level in steep zig-zags and sudden switchbacks, with breath-taking views at every turn into the Great Karoo.
  • The drive takes us to Prince Albert - a delightful South African village in the Karoo (meaning dry place). The village is a small gem, with beautifully preserved Cape Dutch, Karoo and Victorian buildings - 13 of which are National Monuments. Here we enjoy lunch (own account) at one of the local restaurants.
  • Spectacular drive via Meiringspoort Pass back into the Little Karoo, where for several kilometers the road stretches along a meandering stream through towering cliffs, distorted with the fractured evidence of prehistoric upheavals.

Day 4: Meerkat tour with Biologist, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay & Tsitsikamma

  • In the morning there will be the opportunity to experience a Meerkat tour with a research biologist (weather and group size dependent).
  • An experienced, active wildlife research biologist and conservationist, who is the world's foremost expert on wild meerkat behaviour gives you this opportunity. Through his intensive research and relentless dedication he now offers you the opportunity to benefit from his unique approach to wildlife conservation - to watch wild meerkats, from very close.
  • He has spent more time working with wild meerkats (11 years) than anyone else in the world, and his expertise has culminated in numerous scientific publications (over 14), as well as documentary films with such prestigious groups as National Geographic, the BBC and the Discovery Channel since 1993.
  • Travel via the romantic seaside resort of Knysna, with its wide reaches of calm lagoon waters, rolling wooded hills, the guardian-like promontories of The Heads, at the lagoon’s entrance to the Indian Ocean.
  • Explore the Tsitsikamma National Park (part of the Garden Route National Park): Africa's oldest and largest marine reserve, playing a vital role in the preservation and conservation of marine fauna and flora. It is an 80 kilometre long coastal strip between Nature's Valley and the mouth of the Storms River. In the park the visitor finds an almost untouched natural landscape. Highlights include a visit to one of the 'big' Yellow Wood trees in the forest and a chance to see the famous Knysna Loerie – a beautiful indigenous bird.
  • Drive along the Garden Route and into the Eastern Cape.

Day 5: Eastern Cape Vegetation Walk & Evening Frogging Safari

The Eastern Cape is host to the most varied and one of the richest succulent floras of South Africa, and indeed the world. This botanical melting pot, onto which severe environmental influences are imposed, has given rise to the area’s remarkably rich flora & fauna.

Spend the day in a Private Reserve.

Leisure activities include:

  • The salt water pool is heated year around for your convenience. Comfortable pool loungers, canvas umbrellas and a covered eating area make this the perfect way to spend the day.
  • Nature walks – get to enjoy the beautiful flora of the Eastern Cape, both diverse and unique. Unique biodiversity of Cape Coastal fynbos at its finest. Supporting countless rare and endemic plant species belonging to the Cape Floral Kingdom, the reserve has been declared a biodiversity hot spot: lemon buchu, the beautiful bird pollinated orchid Satirium princeps, and the sea pumpkin, are but a few. The flowering fynbos colours the reserve in a mosaic of colour in Spring. Thula Moya is a conservation initiative, with a strict program in place to remove alien vegetation and rehabilitate the fynbos. To date, almost 150 hectares of alien plant has been removed and the indigenous plants are slowly reasserting themselves. Mammals indigenous to the area have also been reintroduced, from the largest African antelope, the Eland, to the diminutive Cape Grysbok.
  • Take in the bird life from the comfort of your private verandah or enjoy a leisurely stroll around the estate. There are over 100 bird species found in the area, from the familiar calls of the Crowned Plover to the call of the colourful Bokmakerie.
  • After an early dinner (own account), your guide begins by explaining the worldwide amphibian crisis and the necessity to restore and protect wetlands, the preferred habitat for frogs. Then, armed with gum boots, head lights and nets, you board the open Land Rover and head out onto the reserve in search of frog hot spots.
  • On the frogging safari, frogs will be identified, listed and safely returned to the water.
  • Whilst frogs are calling in the background, antelope hooves move through the vegetation and the calling of owls all makes a perfect setting to star gaze in an undisturbed private nature reserve. Return to the guest house for a hot chocolate or sherry and discuss the evening.

Day 6 & 7: Wildlife Safari at one of the luxury reserves in this area - fully inclusive.

  • An exclusive-use, luxury tented camp positioned on the banks of the Bushmans River. Situated in a tucked away corner of a renowned Big 5 game reserve, the lodge is 70km's from Port Elizabeth in the malaria-free Eastern Cape. An abundant variety of wildlife includes white and black rhino, elephant, giraffe, cheetah, lion, buffalo, zebra and a myriad of plains game.
  • The game drives are very intimate and you will also learn about the small and interesting animals and plants of the reserves as well as the history of the land and people.

Day 8: Departure

  • Departure flight from Port Elizabeth to either Johannesburg or Cape Town.


Included in the itinerary:

  • Accommodation – Comfortable, luxurious Guest Houses as suggested
  • Transport in air-conditioned, comfortable vehicle
  • Licensed and trained nature guide/driver
  • Activities, entrance & conservation fees as per itinerary
  • Local guides at some of the activities
  • Meals as indicated per itinerary
  • Payment transaction costs incurred in South Africa for either a direct bank to bank wire transfer.
  • Domestic flight from Durban to Cape Town

Unfortunately not included in tour:

  • International flights
  • Additional / optional activities
  • Tips, gratuities and porterage
  • All drinks
  • Meals not specified as included
  • Items of a personal nature incl. laundry, telephone and curios


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Tour Specials

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Associations

Tour Associate SATSA Bonded
Tour Associate Wildlife and Environmental
Society of South Africa
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Tour Associate FTTSA
Tour Associate Responsible Tourism Cape Town

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Meg & Melisa, September 2012
So happy to hear from you! :) 

We had the best time in Cape Town and were so happy to have you as our guide.  The 2-on-1 set up could have been somewhat awkward, but I wholeheartedly agree that it was a pleasure to tour with you.  It felt like we had a (very knowledgeable) friend showing us around.  We should definitely keep in touch and meet up in Napa someday. 

Thank you for everything!
Meg
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