This tour is ideal if you’re a returning traveller who has previously ticked off the most popular destinations in South Africa – Cape Town, the Garden Route and a Kruger safari – and you’re keen to explore a different side of the country. It’s also a real treat for nature lovers who enjoy exploring independently on a self-drive holiday.
Starting your journey in Cape Town, you’ll spend time in the Deep South, the region close to Cape Point which is full of hidden beaches, craggy coastlines and bohemian villages. You’ll then head off to the West Coast, a treasure trove of quaint seaside towns dotted along the languid Atlantic coastline that will give you a taste of the “slow life”. From there you’ll make your way to the Northern Cape where you’ll take in the beauty and stillness of the Cederberg Mountains, the Karoo charm of Calvinia and, if you’re here in season, the splendour of the wild flowers of Namaqualand. You’ll finish your trip in the Cape Winelands for a few days of gourmet eating and drinking.
Upon arrival at Cape Town International Airport, you will collect your rental vehicle and drive to your first destination: Cape Town's south peninsula. Simon’s Town is a popular seaside town that still retains a quaintness along with a leisurely pace of life. You'll stay in a sea-facing bed & breakfast and enjoy attractions such as the Boulders Beach Penguin Colony, a day trip to Cape Point and a drive along the Misty Cliffs of Scarborough, stopping off in numerous beatnik-style villages for coffee with a view. Use this opportunity to check into any Cape Town sights that you may have missed last time, from a boat ride to Robben Island to a wander through the arty suburb of Woodstock with its markets and pavement galleries.
Today you leave the city behind and drive an easy 2 hours along the west coast to the fishing village of Paternoster on the West Coast. Paternoster has in recent years gone from being a hidden gem to a popular holiday destination, but strict building regulations have kept the village looking much as it has for decades, with limited accommodation options that adhere to typical fishing cottage style. An untouched, sandy-white beach stretches for miles, offering endless beach walks and some of the most beautiful sunsets in the Western Cape. In a nod to its increasing popularity, the village is home to some of the finest restaurants in the region that combine top class fresh seafood with a laid-back atmosphere.
It’s time to bid farewell to the ocean and head off to the tranquility of the mountains. You'll drive inland for 2 hours to your next destination, the Cederberg. This region has breathtaking mountain ranges and a beautiful nature reserve that is home to animals such as meerkats, gemsbok, caracal and various reptiles and birds. Named after the endangered and endemic Clanwilliam Cedar, the Cederberg also has a number of San rock art sites that provide a glimpse into life long ago. Rock climbing and hiking are two of the most popular activities here - you can find trails for all levels of fitness and camp out in mountain huts if you choose an overnight hike.
If you make this trip in the spring time, you can expect to see one of the most unique sights in South Africa - the blooming of wildflowers. Namaqualand is renowned for its incredible fields of flowers, with people travelling from all around the world to see the normally dusty and arid region explode with a kaleidoscope of colour. You'll stay in Springbok, a central Namaqualand town that is the perfect base for day trips to take in the flowers and other historical attractions in the area.
After you've had your fill of wildflowers, you'll make your way to Calvinia for the warm hospitality and premium country cooking that are the hallmarks of the Great Karoo. Here you’ll enjoy starry skies (the town receives a whopping 80% starlight) and the company of the famous quiver trees, not to mention a different angle on the continuing flower extravaganza. If you're an avid photographer, this is your opportunity to capture some of the most splendid natural surroundings in the country on film.
After the peace and tranquility of your nature retreat, you’ll head back to 'civilisation' to discover the lesser known Winelands areas including Wellington and Somerset West. Lesser known but no less important - Wellington supplies up to 85% of the country’s vine cuttings while the Helderberg Wine Route in Somerset West has premium estates that are known for their wonderful weekend markets. The sweet vineyard air along with the endless ripple of the mountains will ensure you end your holiday on a high.
Refreshed and relaxed after a wonderful break, you’ll make your way back to the airport where you will return your rental car before catching your international flight back home.