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South Africa - Best of the Cape

Tour Code: ZAF05

A 10-day holiday, based in Cape Town and Hermanus, focusing on the region's colourful flora, scenic national parks, wild coastlines, and wealth of birds, mammals and cetaceans, plus an optional day spent watching (or cage diving with) Great White Sharks.

10 days from £3395(inc flights) Land Only Price: £2645 SRS: £350


Set beneath Table Mountain and close to the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town occupies a stunning position at the southernmost tip of Africa. It also offers mouth-watering wildlife riches, especially in the southern spring when the flora is spectacular and huge Right Whales move close inshore to breed. During 6 days based on the spectacular Cape Peninsula we’ll visit the African Penguins at Boulders Beach, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, West Coast National Park, Table Mountain and Cape Point. Cape Sugarbirds and Malachite Sunbirds adorn the colourful Fynbos vegetation, whilst a pelagic cruise offers sightings of albatrosses, petrels and other seabirds. We conclude with 2 nights at Hermanus to watch Southern Right Whales and take to the water once more to view Great White Sharks!

  • Spectacular scenery of South Africa’s Western Cape
  • Cape Town, Table Mountain & Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  • Southern Right Whales in Walker Bay, Hermanus
  • Endemic birds including Cape Sugarbird & Cape Rockjumper
  • Spring flowers in the West Coast National Park
  • Endemic Fynbos vegetation on the Cape Peninsula
  • African Penguins at Boulders Beach & Stoney Point
  • Optional seabird pelagic
  • Interesting mammals including Bontebok & Eland
  • Cage Visit Robben Island, Nelson Mandela’s notorious prison
  • Expertly guided by one of our South African naturalists

Food

All included in the price.

Accommodation

Two comfortable tourist hotels, ideally positioned. Private facilities.

African Penguin (Ann Chase)

African Penguin (Ann Chase)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Depart London

Day 2/6 Wildlife excursions from Cape Town

Day 7/8 Wildlife excursions from Hermanus

Day 9 Depart Cape Town

Day 10 Arrive London

The beauty of Cape Town and its magical position at Africa’s southernmost tip are well known. Set beneath the spectacular Table Mountain, close to the Cape of Good Hope and the meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, few cities are blessed with such scenic splendour. This 2-centre holiday, based in Cape Town for five nights and Hermanus for two nights, focuses on the region’s colourful flora, scenic national parks, wild coastlines and wealth of birds, mammals and cetaceans, amongst the latter the abundant Southern Right Whales that come to breed in inshore waters. The tour also includes an optional morning spent watching (or cage diving with) Great White Sharks.

On arrival, we will receive our first taste of South African birding during a stop at the marshlands of Rondevlei Nature Reserve on the Cape Flats. We will also get a flavour of the fabulous Cape coastline as we travel along Chapman’s Peak Drive to Hout Bay, from where we may see our first Southern Right Whales. However, to best appreciate our wonderful situation we will take a cable-car ride (or 2-hour walk if you would prefer) to the top of Table Mountain — assuming it is clear of its ‘table cloth’ of cloud. After enjoying the stunning views over the city and the Cape Peninsula, we will explore the surrounding slopes in search of birds and plants and then move to the nearby Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens where we will spend the rest of the day. Delicately nestled on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, this 830-hectare ‘reserve’, of which just 60 hectares are cultivated, not only offers a fabulous collection of Cape flora, but is also one the Cape’s best birding spots.

Bearings established, those that wish may choose to spend two days of this holiday at sea! On the first of these we will head out from Simonstown Harbour to spend the day about 65 kilometres offshore, where the cold Benguela current’s nutrient-rich upwelling along the continental shelf provides some of the world’s best seabird-watching. Albatrosses such as Black-browed, Yellow-nosed, Shy and even the magnificent Wandering Albatross (the species with the largest wing-span of any bird) may be seen gliding effortlessly over the ocean whilst a wide variety of their smaller cousins —petrels, prions and shearwaters — will test even the most knowledgeable sea-birder’s skills to the limit.

Back on dry land, we will then spend a full and rewarding day exploring the Cape of Good Hope Reserve. This reserve was formed to protect the fragile and beautiful ‘fynbos’ flora, which should be in full bloom during our tour, and is part of the greater Table Mountain National Park. An interesting selection of mammals may be seen here, amongst them Bontebok, Eland, Cape Mountain Zebra and Chacma Baboon (not to mention the Southern Right Whales that are to be seen close inshore in virtually every bay!), as well as an excellent variety of birds, including Ostrich and the African Penguin colony at Boulders Beach.

We travel next to Helderberg Nature Reserve, passing through the beautiful town of Stellenbosch en route. All five of the fynbos endemic birds are to be found within this compact reserve, and we also hope to see another avian speciality here, the Cape Rockjumper. On another day we will travel north to the town of Langebaan, and the West Coast National Park, a spectacular 27,000-hectare reserve that encompasses the lagoon, shoreline and Postberg peninsula, home to a great range of wetland and strandveld (coastal scrub) birds, amongst them Black Harrier and Southern Black Korhaan.

For the final two nights of the holiday we will move from Cape Town to Hermanus on the edge of Walker Bay. Hermanus is the perfect spot from which to enjoy an afternoon of land-based cliff-top whalewatching, for here the Southern Right Whales often come very close inshore and can be seen blowing, fluking and even breaching from the comfort of dry land. Our second optional boat trip focuses on inshore waters, as we visit Kleinbaai and the infamous Dyer Island and Shark Alley. Here we hope to watch Great White Sharks, either from the boat or by donning loaned wetsuits and masks (scuba equipment and experience is not necessary) and dropping into an underwater cage to observe these magnificent creatures. The latter is an experience not to be missed, almost guaranteeing a changed perspective on, and respect for, this much-maligned predator of the deep. At sea we are also likely to see Southern Right Whales, seabirds, and plenty of Cape Fur Seals, on which the sharks prey.

Finally, before our overnight flight back to London, we will keep the last day of the tour free for optional sightseeing back in Cape Town or a visit to Robben Island, most famous — or infamous — for having been the isolated prison of former South African president Nelson Mandela and many other political dissidents, a number of whom work today as the island’s guides, providing a unique insight into its recent history! Robben Island is also a World Heritage Site and home to much wildlife including Cape Fur Seals, African Penguins and a great many seabirds.

Table MountainOstrichCape TownGreat White Shark (Thomas Mills)African PenguinAfrican PenguinsBontebokGreat White Shark
Anon.
1342
Overall an excellent holiday and we were looked after very well nothing was too much trouble for our guides.
J.L. & M.I.
West Midlands
Both Kim and Mariana were wonderful ambassadors for South Africa. Their knowledge of birds and plants was second to none, they made our holiday an outstanding experience.
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Tue 11th September 2018 - Thu 20th September 2018

YES

£3395

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Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £2645 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: South Africa

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Tour Reviews

Overall an excellent holiday and we were looked after very well nothing was too much trouble for our guides.
Anon., 1342