11 Day Tour From
Cape Town to Durban
via the Free State and Karoo
Private Guided Safaris Tours. Book your Tailor-made Overland South African Tour
Day 1 : Knysna
A guide from Far and Wild Safaris will collect you from your overnight accommodation in Cape Town and make our way to Knysna on the Garden Route. We will overnight at the Knysna Hollow (or similar). Knysna Hollow Country Estate is beautifully set on a secluded old country estate near Knysna's famous lagoon. Set amongst timeless oaks and pecan trees, the gracious old manor house forms the focal point of the lodge. Built in a bygone era, it is finished with pressed ceilings, yellowwood floors and indigenous furniture.
The Knysna Hollow Country Estate Restaurant is situated in the Manor House and serves fine food in relaxed and warm surroundings. The scintillating, yet refined menu reflects flavours and influences from around the globe, with a selection of dishes sure to stimulate the senses. Choose between ocean-fresh seafood such as Cape crayfish and linefish, South African specialties such as Karoo lamb and venison dishes or decadent desserts.
Day 2 : Knysna
This morning after breakfast we depart for the Knysna Lagoon where we visit the Featherbed Reserve. Featherbed is a privately owned, registered Nature Reserve and a South African Heritage site. It is a pristine piece of paradise situated on the Western Head of Knysna and is accessible by ferry only. This spectacular four-hour eco-experience includes a return ferry trip, nature drive and guided walk, ending with a sumptuous buffet lunch at the Food Forest Restaurant. A 4 x 4 Unimog vehicle takes visitors to spectacular viewpoints. Featherbed Nature Reserve is a prime example of eco-tourism, and in order to protect the splendour of the natural beauty, access to the Reserve is controlled. Numbers are limited and visits are only permitted in the company of the Reserve's specialist guides. The Featherbed eco-experience starts with a 25-minute ferry cruise. Your local guide on board will share fascinating tales about the Lagoon, the early shipping industry and oyster cultivation. On arrival at the Reserve, visitors can enjoy a drive to the top of the Western Head in a 4 x 4 Unimog vehicle with trailers, stopping at a magnificent viewpoint en route. Here unsurpassed views of the Lagoon, mountains and Knysna can be enjoyed, whilst our knowledgeable guides explain the history and ecology of the Reserve. After the drive, your specialist guide will take you on an optional 2.2 kilometre downhill walk.
The town of Knysna nestles between the impressive Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean, with the world-renowned forests encircling it like a protective mantle. At the heart of Knysna is the 21 ha lagoon protected from the sea by the monolithic sandstone "Heads" - silent sentinels down the centuries of the rich history of this unique part of "paradise on earth". The remainder of the afternoon you are at leisure.
Day 3 : Knysna
Today you have the option of a boat trip to search for marine mammals off the coast of Plettenberg Bay or a visit to the Tsitsikamma Forest to explore this interesting area. You may also opt to visit the very interesting Diaz Museum in Mossel Bay and then spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure in Knysna. Whichever option you choose is for your own account, but your guide will be available to advise and transport you to whichever activity you choose. Please note that the travel requests and distances should be within reason.
Day 4 : Oudtshoorn
Today we visit the Cango Caves near Oudtshoorn, which are among the biggest stalagmite formations in the world. Some of the sandstone formations are colourfully illuminated and the bizarre shapes in the caves are mainly composed of calcium carbonate. They develop as limewater drips from the stones and evaporates. The structures growing down from the cave ceiling are called stalactites, while those that grow from the ground to the top are called stalagmites.
We will also visit a working ostrich farm where one can learn more about these fascinating birds. Commercial ostrich farming started during the late 1880's in South Africa; this was also the start of the ostrich industry worldwide. The fashion demand in Europe for ostrich feathers inspired the growth of the industry, with the Oudtshoorn district quickly being established as the "ostrich capital of the world". During the first decade of the previous century, ostrich feathers gained record prices on foreign markets, ranking 4th on the list of South African exports, after gold, diamonds and wool. The consequence of this newly found opulence meant that ostrich farmers were able to build beautiful sandstone mansions. A unique feature of the farm experience is a visit to the Ostrich Palace "Welgeluk" which was built at the height of the feather boom in 1910. The homestead is a National Monument and is a superb example of the type of architecture that was used at the time. Safari Ostrich Show Farm was established more than 40 years ago. Lunch will be enjoyed at this farm.
We will overnight at the Turnberry Boutique Hotel (or similar). A warm welcome awaits visitors to this tiny piece of Scotland set in the heart of the Klein Karoo. Relax in the comfort of one of the well appointed air-conditioned bedrooms (each with satellite television, a coffee station and a mini bar), all with en-suite bathrooms, and cosy double beds fitted with crisp white linen. Each room also has wireless internet connection.
Day 5 and 6 : Karoo National Park
Today we leave Oudtshoorn en route through the Karoo to the Karoo National Park near Beaufort West. The Great Karoo is a vast and unforgiving landscape of which the Karoo National Park is but a small portion. Being the largest ecosystem in South Africa, the Karoo is home to a fascinating diversity of life, all having adapted to survive in these harsh conditions. Karoo National Park is dominated by the lofty Nuweveld Mountains and rolling plains, where many species that originally occurred here now once again occupy their former ranges.
The Karoo National Park has a wide variety of endemic wildlife. Many species have been relocated to their former ranges - such as brown hyena, lion and Cape mountain zebra.
Day 7 : Gariep Dam
This morning we will do another game drive before departing for the Gariep Dam. Surrounded by the stark beauty of the Karoo, the Gariep Dam stretches for as far as the eye can see; jeweled sunsets blaze across the African sky and the sound of silence lulls guests to sleep under the Southern Cross.
We will overnight at the de Stijl Gariep Hotel (or similar) which is now the Upper Karoo's most stylish hotel, offering chic, contemporary, extremely comfortable rooms. The hotel overlooks the Gariep Dam, giving breathtaking big sky views.
The atmosphere creates spiritual harmony for visitors and their Mondrian Restaurant opens onto indigenous Karoo gardens and horizon views. Surrounded by the stark beauty of the Karoo, the Gariep Dam stretches for as far as the eye can see; jewelled sunsets blaze across the African sky and the sound of silence lulls guests to sleep under the Southern Cross.
Day 8 : Golden Gate National Park
Today we travel along the scenic Eastern Free State Province to the Golden Gate National Park. Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north eastern Free State lays the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. The park derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the park's sandstone cliffs, especially the imposing Brandwag rock, keeping vigil over the main rest camp. This 11 600 hectares of unique environment is true highland habitat, providing home to a variety of mammals - black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok and Burchell's zebra - and birds, including the rare bearded vulture (lammergeier) and the equally rare bald ibis, which breed on the ledges in the sandstone cliffs. Ribbokkop, the highest point in the park, reveals a breathtaking tapestry of red, yellow and purple hues as its warm shades merge with the cool mountain shadows towards evening in the area with a full and uninterrupted view of the Drakensberg's most famous part, the Amphitheatre escarpment.
Day 9 : Himeville
From Golden Gate we travel inland, to the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains on the scenic route through the frontier towns of Bulwer, Underberg and Himeville, where we overnight at Moorcroft Manor. Moorcroft Manor offers classically decorated rooms all with bathrooms en suite. Selected satellite television, ceiling fans, hairdryers and robes are available in all their rooms.
The remainder of the afternoon you are at leisure.
Day 10 : Himeville – Sani Pass
This morning we transfer to our 4X4 vehicles for the ascent up the Sani Pass and into Lesotho. Breathtaking scenery and alpine conditions dominate this truly magnificent corner of this province. The Sani Pass is a spectacular mountain road that is a well-known entry point into Lesotho from South Africa's Natal Drakensberg Park. It is the gateway to the 'Roof of Africa' scenic route that links the spectacular scenery of the Drakensberg with the mountains of northern Lesotho. The Sani Pass is the only border post between Kwazulu-Natal and Lesotho. The Sani Pass was once a rough mule trail descending the Eastern Highlands of old Basutoland into Natal. Tough drovers brought wool and mohair down the Pass on donkeys and mules to be exchanged for blankets . clothing . maize meal . the essentials for life in a remote, impoverished country. And a young man had a dream . of operating a motor vehicle service up this fantastic Pass, using the 4-wheel drive vehicles he had seen on service in World War II. The Sani Pass was born. Once we have entered Lesotho we will stop off at a Basutho village where one can learn more about the life of these very friendly people, in this, one of the world's poorest countries. Lunch will be at the "highest pub in Africa", the Sani Top Chalet, for your own account. We will also have some time here to walk along the edge of the escarpment for stunning views into KwaZulu Natal, before descending the pass to Moorcroft Manor.
Warm clothing is a must, no matter the season of the year! You will also need valid passports for the crossing into Lesotho. The ascent of the pass is subject to the prevailing weather conditions.
Day 11 : Durban
This morning after a leisurely breakfast we make our way to Durban via Pietermaritzburg and the "Valley of a 1000 Hills". If time allows, we will do a short orientation tour of Durban before dropping you off at your overnight accommodation or at the King Shaka International Airport in Durban in time for your flight.