Following the sell-out of three previous trips, we are delighted to launch another tour of the world’s richest destination for flora: South Africa. Travel when the breath-taking wildflowers of the Rainbow Nation are at their most colourful and meet one of the most interesting figures in horticulture: Carlos Magdalena of Kew’s Royal Botanic Gardens, who has gone to astonishing lengths to preserve some of the world’s rarest plants, from remote billabongs in the Australian Outback to the forests of Peru. Enjoy too the country’s many other pleasures, including its superb sparkling wines, stunning coastline and abundant marine life.
Depart London on the direct overnight British Airways flight to Cape Town.
On arrival the group will be met and transferred north towards Clanwilliam.
After a stop for lunch continue onward to stay for three nights on full board basis at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat.
This evening a welcome dinner will be held, allowing the group to get to know each other.
Today the group is free to enjoy the many activities and experiences on offer at Bushmans Kloof. A hike through the reserve, canoeing on the Olifants River, a nature drive, an archery lesson or a visit to view the ancient rock art are all possibilities.
A full day trip today to explore this extraordinary area, beginning with a visit to Vanrhynsdorp, the home of the Kokerboom nursery, the biggest succulent nursery in the world. The next stop will be to Nieuwoudtville, the bulb capital of the world, where there will be a visit to a flower farm to witness the wonderful floral carpets.
A picnic lunch will be enjoyed before a guided tour in the afternoon of the Hantam National Botanical Gardens, one of the world's very special biodiversity treasures which boasts an incredible 1,350 plant species.
Travel this morning to visit the fascinating Rooibos tea factory in Clanwilliam and then the Ramskop Wildflower Nature Reserve which, although only 66 hectares in size, is home to a great display of planted wild flowers from the entire Namaqualand region.
Continue in a south-westerly direction, stopping for lunch, before arriving at the coast at the charming fishing village of Paternoster to stay for two nights on bed & breakfast basis at Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel.
Dinner this evening will be a traditional South African braai (barbeque).
The day will be spent exploring the West Coast National Park. One of the natural wonders of the world, and an annual spectacle that attracts botanists, photographers and sightseers from all over the world, wildflower season in the park is at its peak annually from August to September, and during these two months visitors will see a wide variety of flowers on display.
The Postberg area is particularly impressive - it is only open in flower season and is a sight to behold, where the wildlife on the plains mingle with the flowers. Just inland from the secluded harbour of Saldanha Bay are the azure waters of the Langebaan Lagoon, the focal point of the park. A wide variety of game, flowers and birds that roost on sheltered islands plus the pristine golden beaches of the reserve can all be viewed.
Lunch will be enjoyed at the Geelbek Restaurant, a Cape Dutch building situated on the lagoon and listed as a National Monument.
Travel south to Cape Town to stay for four nights on a bed & breakfast basis at the Table Bay Hotel.
This afternoon the group will enjoy a trip up to the city’s most iconic feature - Table Mountain. One of the new natural 7 wonders of the world, it is a mountain chain which stretches from Signal Hill in the north, to Cape Point in the South and is the single richest floristic area in the world. It is actually home to more species of plants than the entire British Isles, despite covering an area less than the size of London. After taking the cable car trip up 1089 metres to the top, the group will gain their first insight into the wonders of the fynbos flora. On the summit one can enjoy one of the hiking trails and explore the summit further or just soak up the commanding 360-degree views of Cape Town, Table Bay and the nearby peaks of the surrounding mountains, or spot the native rock dassies.
Today is a free day to explore Cape Town – perhaps take a helicopter trip over the city or visit historic Robben Island?
The group will be joined today by the ‘Plant Messiah’ Carlos Magdalena, the renowned botanical horticulturist & plant propagator from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew.
The Cape’s famed wine region is on the agenda today with the group’s first stop Babylonstoren, one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms, for a guided tour of their outstanding gardens. At the heart of the farm and inspired by the Company's Gardens of the Cape, they span eight acres and are formal in structure. Every one of over 300 varieties of plants in the garden is edible and it is grown as biologically as is possible. Fruit and veg are harvested year round for use in the farm’s restaurant. The garden is divided into fifteen clusters spanning vegetable areas, berries, bees, indigenous plants, ducks and chickens and includes a prickly pear maze. Gravity feeds water into waterways from a stream into the garden as it was done for 300 years, and it is laid-out according to a systematic grid, with three axis points.
Continue onwards to the House of J.C. Le Roux. Located in the heart of the picturesque Devon Valley near Stellenbosch, this award-winning wine estate is South Africa’s leading cellar dedicated to the craft of making sparkling wine. Enjoying acclaim for creating exceptional Méthode Cap Classique (MCC), the group will enjoy a presentation on J.C. Le Roux’s finer arts of wine-making before sampling some of the wines for themselves and then having lunch.
After lunch is a real highlight - a private guided walk around the extraordinary Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden. One of South Africa's most famous living artists, Dylan has spent almost 10 years creating and fine tuning his outdoor showroom.
On the slopes of the Stellenbosch Mountain looking out over vineyards towards the ocean, this is a place of expansive vistas, scents and the sounds of nature, with tranquil groves, hidden paths and lush indigenous vegetation. Over 60 sculptures constitute a comprehensive record of Lewis's full artistic development, and they have been carefully placed in harmony with the landscape. Along four kilometres of paths, one is led on a journey through different 'rooms', from the heather hills dominated by earthy male images to the meditative poplar grove with its sensual female torsos. The garden focuses on indigenous species and although planted to give year-round colour, it peaks in August and September, when the many buchus and unusual ericas are in fragrant flower.
Time permitting, there will also be the opportunity to explore the many delights of historic Stellenbosch - the Dutch Reform Church, the town hall, museum and numerous galleries & shops, including the famous Oom Samie se Winkel general trading store.
The group will again be in the company of Carlos Magdalena for the day.
The day begins with a visit to the Ardene Gardens, home to the finest collection of exotic trees in South Africa, with over 400 species of tree having been identified. Established in 1845 by Ralph Henry Arderne, the gardens have been declared a National Historical Monument, and as the walkways curve and meander, benches invite the visitor to sit down and observe the trees towering high above.
This will then be followed by a guided tour of the famed Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.
Founded in 1913, Kirstenbosch is world-renowned for the beauty and diversity of the Cape flora it displays and for the magnificence of its setting against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Growing only indigenous South African plants, the estate covers 528 hectares and supports diverse fynbos, flora and natural forest. The cultivated garden displays collections of South African plants, particularly those from the winter rainfall region of the country, whilst the Bookshop houses a large variety of books on the Cape's flora and fauna.
The day is completed with a real treat; a guided walk around the beautifully-manicured gardens of the Vineyard Hotel will be followed by a Cape Town institution - afternoon tea.
The hotel’s eco-award winning riverside gardens are comprised of seven acres of landscaped parkland and were designed in the early 1980’s by landscape architect Anne Sutton. A number of water features add to its tranquil ambience and the large, natural rocks scattered throughout the gardens were collected from across the peninsula by the hotel’s late owner.
Afternoon tea is served in the garden lounge, with delicate finger sandwiches complemented by a selection of warm savoury treats and exquisite cakes and desserts.
An informal Question & Answer event with drinks will be held this evening with Carlos Magdalena.
This morning the group will travel via the beautiful scenic coastal route around False Bay to Betty’s Bay, to enjoy a visit to the Stony Point Nature Reserve, home to the largest breeding colony of African (or Jackass) Penguins in the Western Cape.
Continue onward for a guided tour of the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden.
This beautiful, secluded garden is set between mountain and sea, in the heart of the Cape fynbos region and encompasses 10 hectares of cultivated fynbos garden and 190 hectares of pristine natural fynbos. Situated in the centre of the coastal fynbos where the flora is at its richest, the garden encompasses mountain slopes with their wind-clipped heathlands, deep gorges with relict forests, flats and marshes with restios, sedges and bulbs, as well as dunes adjacent to the beach with their specialised salt-adapted plants. The garden is renowned for its waterfalls and amber pools. The main fynbos families (proteas, ericas and restios) are present as well as other important families such as irises, daisies and orchids.
After enjoying lunch in the Red Disa Restaurant continue to stay for two nights on a full board basis at the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve.
The group will be joined for their stay at Grootbos by master botanist Sean Privett, one of South Africa’s leading ecotourism guides, who has a great passion for the Cape Flora and its conservation.
This afternoon he will lead a journey through the reserve on a walking route which includes a diversity of habitats from dense coastal forests to exceptionally rich fynbos-covered hills. Some 765 indigenous species have been recorded on the Reserve and the group will be led to some of the rarest and most beautiful flowers in the region. Sean will share his intricate knowledge of the reserve’s ecology and plant-animal relationships, as well as explaining how fire plays such an important role in the fynbos ecosystem.
The group will take another foray into the area’s glorious flora with a 4x4 flower safari. Travelling in open-top Land Rovers over mountains and across valleys through a variety of unique vegetation types from stunning sandstone fynbos to magical afromontane forests, there are over 765 flower species waiting to be discovered.
After lunch the group will drive down to the coast to enjoy a marine walk along the magnificent pristine white beach in the Walker Bay Nature Reserve. Learning about the local coastal ecology and viewing the numerous birds and whales from the shore, sundowner drinks will then be served overlooking the sea in the Klipgat Cave, an ancient home of the Strandloper, (beach walker), people.
Dinner will be a traditional South African barbeque held, weather permitting, under the stars amongst the milkwood forest in the lodge’s boma.
After a leisurely breakfast there will be the option to join a boat trip to Dyer Island, one of the richest sea bird and seal islands along the south coast of South Africa. With breeding colonies of thousands of penguins, cormorants, terns and Cape fur seals, the island is an extraordinary experience of marine wildlife. Also to be spotted will be the Southern Right Whales, who call these waters home for four months of every year. The skipper holds the only license for boat-based whale watching in the the area and he will skilfully take the boat right up close to these magnificent creatures - an experience of a lifetime.
For those opting to stay on dry land there will be the opportunity to visit some of the conservation and social upliftment projects being implemented by Grootbos, amongst which are the Green Futures Horticultural and Life Skills College, and the Future Trees project.
After lunch the group will travel to Cape Town airport to arrive in time to depart on the direct overnight British Airways flight to London.
Early morning arrival into London Heathrow
Chris joined Africa Travel directly from university in 1992 and knows both the company and Africa extremely well.Read more
Sales Supervisor, London
Simon has 15 years experience working in travel and has been with Africa Travel since 2007.Read more
Sales Advisor, London
Felicity, who joined Africa Travel in 2004, has worked in the travel industry for over 30 years and originally comes from South Africa's KwaZulu Natal provinceRead more
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Emma got a taste of travelling when she was young, she has been travelling all around the world. However it was in Africa where Emma found her heart.Read more
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Laura's love of travel has taken her to Asia, South and Central America and Africa, but the latter is where she could return to, time and time again.Read more
Manager, Cape Town
Christine fell in love with Africa over 30 years ago, and has been managing the Cape Town office since 2008, and is looking forward to exploring Namibia more.Read more
Sales Advisor, Cape Town
Eleanor has been in the tourism industry for 16 years - ever since she left college. She has travelled throughout South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.Read more
Sales Advisor, Cape Town
With almost 3 decades of her career life spent working in this industry, tourism is Charlotte' passion and life. She is passionate about meeting new people and showcasing them the wonderful sights of Africa.Read more
Sales Support, Cape Town
Melissa joined Africa Travel in 2015, having worked in the travel industry for 10 years. Born and bred in Cape Town, South Africa, Melissa's favourite destinations are Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and the Garden Route.Read more
Sales Support, Cape Town
Shaun joined the travel industry just over 10 years ago, working first for an online travel booking portal and an ecotourism company, specialising in sustainable travel in Southern and East Africa.Read more
Cape Town Specialist
Michael started guiding last year and the experience has been amazing for him. He is our resident expert on everything Cape Town. He is passionate about showcasing all the best that Cape Town has to offer.Read more
Horticultural Expert, Cape Town
Christine first came to Africa as a young woman and immediately felt a connection which has never allowed her to leave. She lived in Johannesburg and in Knysna on the Garden Route, but came to Cape Town 22 years ago and realised it was where she wanted to be!Read more
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