The Wildflowers & Gardens Of South Africa With Frances Tophill 2023

Tour Overview

No place on earth can beat South Africa for its flowers and gardens. With more than 9,000 plant species, the country is rich with astonishing flora, and on this wonderful 15-day trip, led in part by BBC Gardeners' World and ITV’s Love Your Garden  Presenter Frances Tophill, you will get to enjoy it at its very best.

In addition to wildflower visits to the West Coast National Park, Kokerboom Nursery, Ramskop Wildflower Nature Reserve and the world’s bulb capital Nieuwoudtville, you will enjoy private guided tours of three national botanical gardens, guided marine and fynbos walks and an exclusive Question & Answer event with Frances Tophill. Also accompanying you throughout the tour will be a specialist horticultural tour manager to answer any questions you may have.

However, it's not all about the flowers, as you will also have the chance to enjoy the other reasons that make South Africa one of the world’s favourite destinations, from the Cape Winelands to its spectacular coastline – all in superb style.

Single Supplement - From £1895

Tour Includes

  • Economy class flights
  • Luxury accommodation
  • Guided garden tours & lunches
  • Breakfasts, lunches and dinners at Bushmans Kloof
  • Picnic lunch at Hantam National Botanical Gardens
  • Activities at Bushmans Kloof
  • Namaqualand tours
  • Breakfasts at Shark Bay Hotel
  • West Coast National Park tour with lunch
  • Breakfasts at the Commodore Hotel
  • Table Mountain tour
  • Cape Town champagne cruise
  • Wine region tour with lunch
  • Afternoon tea at Vineyard Hotel
  • Question & Answer event with Frances Tophill
  • Visit to Stony Point Penguin Colony
  • Breakfasts, lunches and dinners at Grootbos
  • Activities detailed at Grootbos
  • Question & Answer evening with Sean Privett
  • Private transfers and transportation on tour
  • Airline departure taxes
  • Entrance fees
  • Service of a specialist horticultural tour manager



28 Aug, MonUK Departure

Depart London on the direct overnight British Airways flight to Cape Town. 


29 Aug, TuesBushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat

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.

Accommodation: Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat 


30 Aug, WedCederberg Mountains | Olifants River

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.

Accommodation: Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat 


31 Aug, Thu Vanrhynsdorp | Nieuwoudtville | Hantam National Botanical Gardens

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.

Accommodation: Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat 


01 Sep, FriRooibos Tea Factory | Ramskop Wildflower Nature Reserve | Shark Bay Boutique Hotel

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 charming lagoon-side town of Langebaan to stay for two nights on bed & breakfast basis at the Shark Bay Boutique Hotel.

Accommodation: Shark Bay Boutique Hotel


02 Sep, SatWest Coast National Park | Langebaan Lagoon

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.

Accommodation: Shark Bay Boutique Hotel


03 Sep, SunHermanus | Grootbos Private Reserve

Travel south to Cape Town and, after stopping en-route for lunch in the fishing village of Hermanus, 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.

A Question & Answer session this evening with Sean Privett will be followed by dinner.

Accommodation: Grootbos Private Nature Reserve 


04 Sep, MonGrootbos Private Nature Reserve | Walker Bay Nature Reserve | Klipgat Cave

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, there will be the opportunity to visit the Klipgat Cave, an ancient home of the Strandloper, (beach walker), people, before sundowner drinks are then served.

Dinner will be a traditional South African barbeque held, weather permitting, under the stars amongst the milkwood forest in the lodge’s boma.

Accommodation: Grootbos Private Nature Reserve


05 Sep, TueDyer Island I Harold Porter National Botanical Garden I Stony Point Nature Reserve I Commodore Hotel

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 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 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.

Travel onward 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.

Accommodation: Commodore Hotel 


06 Sep, WedCape Town

Today is a free day to explore Cape Town – perhaps take a helicopter trip over the city or visit historic Robben Island?

Accommodation: Commodore Hotel


07 Sep, ThuCape Town

This morning 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.

Accommodation: Commodore Hotel


08 Sep, FriCape Town

Today is a free day to explore the many attractions of the Waterfront Development – shop for arts & crafts at the Watershed Market or enjoy the renowned Two Oceans Aquarium.

This evening the group will join a champagne sunset cruise, departing from the Waterfront.

Join us for a sunset cruise along the Atlantic shoreline, with a glass of sparkling wine in hand. Aboard Une Belle Vie, a comfortable 47ft vessel with an upper and lower deck, this cruise will slowly travel from the V&A Waterfront with spectacular sunset views of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and the city. Watch as the sun sinks into the ocean with the wind in your hair and the fresh smell of the ocean, while sipping on a glass of bubbles.

Accommodation: Commodore Hotel


09 Sep, SatArdene Gardens | Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden I The Vineyard Hotel

The group will be joined today by Frances Tophill – gardener, author, garden designer and presenter of ITV’s Love Your Garden & the BBC’s Gardener’s World.

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 will then be served, 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 Frances Tophill.

Accommodation: Commodore Hotel


10 Sep, SunBabylonstoren I Vrede en Lust Wine Estate I Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden I Departure

The group will again be in the company of Frances Tophill for the day.

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 Vrede en Lust Wine Estate. Nestled at the foothills of the Simonsberg Mountains in the Franschhoek wine valley, the history of this award-winning farm dates back to 1688. The group will enjoy the panoramic views whilst wine-tasting before 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.

The group will travel to Cape Town airport to arrive in time to depart on the direct overnight British Airways flight to London.


11 Sep, MonUK Arrival

Arrive London Heathrow early morning. 

  • UK Departure
  • Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat
  • Cederberg Mountains | Olifants River
  • Vanrhynsdorp | Nieuwoudtville | Hantam National Botanical Gardens
  • Rooibos Tea Factory | Ramskop Wildflower Nature Reserve | Shark Bay Boutique Hotel
  • West Coast National Park | Langebaan Lagoon
  • Hermanus | Grootbos Private Reserve
  • Grootbos Private Nature Reserve | Walker Bay Nature Reserve | Klipgat Cave
  • Dyer Island I Harold Porter National Botanical Garden I Stony Point Nature Reserve I Commodore Hotel
  • Cape Town
  • Cape Town
  • Cape Town
  • Ardene Gardens | Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden I The Vineyard Hotel
  • Babylonstoren I Vrede en Lust Wine Estate I Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden I Departure
  • UK Arrival

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