SOUTH AFRICAN EAST COAST : FINEST FINE ADD ON BATTLEFIELDS
Day One Arrive Cape Town International
After collecting your luggage and going through customs, you will be met by a Finest Africa Representative who will help you with luggage and transfer you to your boutique hotel – Primi Royal Boutique Hotel, in Camps Bay.
The magnificent Primi Royal Lux Living Camps Bay, luxury accommodation in the heart of Camps Bay in Cape Town, enjoys spectacular views of both the Atlantic Seaboard and majestic Table Mountain. Camps Bay’s idyllic palm-fringed beaches and its trendy restaurants and shops are less than a two-minute stroll away.
The Primi-Royal comprises of several luxurious en-suite rooms. Each of the designer-decorated bedrooms features opulent, colonial style furnishings and fittings, a television and sound system. The breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and majestic Table Mountain can be enjoyed from your private balcony. Some have an outdoor Jacuzzi. Sumptuous breakfasts are served in the terrace dining room that overlooks the sparkling pool and spacious sun deck.
Take the rest of the day to acclimatize and to take in the beauty of Cape Town at your own leisure.
A dinner reservation will be made for you at Blues Restaurant, which is walking distance from the hotel overlooking Camps Bay Beach – arrive early and enjoy a sundowner before dinner.
Day Two Peninsula Tour
After breakfast your guide will collect you from your hotel for your Peninsula Tour, starting at the little fishing village of Hout Bay. Here you will board a boat for a trip to Dussen Island, the playground of a colony of bachelor seals, truly delightful to watch. From Hout Bay you will take a drive along the scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive, to enjoy Cape Town’s most spectacular coastal drives, towards Cape Point, stopping along the way at Boulders Beach to see the Penguins and to enjoy lunch.
At the end of the day, your guide will return you to your hotel to enjoy the evening at leisure.
Day Three Table Mountain and Inner City Tour
An early morning rise to catch the Cable Car to enjoy the views and excitements of being on top of the largest table in the world, Table Mountain.
The second part of your day’s tour will start at the Castle of Good Hope, a unique fortification built by the Dutch East Indian Company in the 1670's, followed by the Grand Parade, an open area of historical importance incorporating a war memorial, and bordered by the magnificant City Hall. Your guide will then take you to the District 6 museum which documents the history of apartheid in South Africa, followed by a short visit to the actual area of District 6, where people were forcibly removed in the 1960s. You will then visit the Bo Kaap Museum in the Cape Malay quarter with its beautifully colored homes and rich Muslim culture.
At around 13H00 lunch can be enjoyed at one of the restaurants at the Cape Quarter, a newly renovated and trendy area of Cape Town.
After lunch your guide will take you to the heart of Cape Town to the Company Gardens. Take a walk through these historical Gardens, past parliament buildings, Tuynhuis (President’s residence) and up to the South African museum which is known for its natural history displays.
The rest of the day can be enjoyed shopping at Green Market Square – a flea market with a mixture of curios, clothing and other interesting locally made things to buy – or if more of the cultural aspects of Cape Town interest you, then please express this to your guide and they will happily take you to look at architecture, art or more museums.
Day Four Robben Island and Kirstenbosch
After breakfast, you will be collected and taken to the Nelson Mandela Gateway, at the Waterfront, from where you take your boat trip to Robben Island – an icon of the struggle in South Africa for the freedom of its people where Nelson Mandela and hundreds of other political prisoners were held for many years. A boat cruise, guided prison and island tour will take 3½ hours.
You will return to the Waterfront and transferred to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – walk around this magnificent garden, nestled on the slopes of Devil’s Peak and a beautiful environment to enjoy lunch. After your walk around the floral kingdom, your guide will take you back to the Waterfront to visit the Two Oceans Aquarium, the largest aquarium in South Africa. This will include a full tour with an extended stay at the Kelp Forest and Predator’s Tank.
Your day will be rounded off with a Sunset Cruise out ofCape Town harbor. Your cruise will take you along the coast stopping at Clifton Beach to take in the views of Table Mountain, The Twelve Apostles, white sandy beaches, and the magnificent ocean with the sun dipping into the horizon, while sipping a glass of champagne.
Day Five Franschhoek and the Cape Winelands
After breakfast, your guide will collect you at 09H00 for your winelands tour. Your tour will start at KWV Wine Co-op in Paarl for a cellar tour. You will then make your way through the winelands to Franschhoek – a small town filled with French influence, as can be seen in the architecture and tasted in the area’s wonderful cuisine and wines. Enjoy lunch and a cheese tasting at Le Grange Restaurant and fromagerie.
The rest of the day will be devoted to wine tasting at Boschendal Wine Estate and Homestead and Sylvanvale Wine Estate before heading back to Cape Town.
Day Six Depart on The Garden Route
Depart Cape Town for Knysna. You have the option to have your guide drive you 5-6hrs or fly directly to George where you will be met and transferred to Knysna.
Check-in at Phantom Forest Lodge
PHANTOM FOREST LODGE
The Phantom Forest Eco Reserve, on the southern Cape coast of South Africa, in the heart of the magnificent Garden Route... whispers a very special magic.
Nestling in the Afromontane Forest, with endless views, shared only with our Fish Eagles, the large and elevated luxury 'tree suites' are an African celebration of natural textures.
Relax after your journey before going to dinner in the Boma – cuisine is New Age International with local colour and served in the classic style.
End a memorable evening with tales around the fire, whilst sipping delectable African-blend coffee and liqueurs.
Day Seven Knysna
An early departure to board the whale watching boats for a marine encounter with the resident seal colony, dolphins and whales in season.
(Close encounter in Season July to October)
Alternatively the more adventurous can enjoy an ocean kayak to Robberg Nature Reserve.
Before going on a gentle walk, we will pop into the local deli to buy some lunch supplies for a forest picnic. The Woodcutters Trail, a 3km walk in the heart of the Knysna Indigenous Forest with many prime examples of 600+ year old Outeniqua Yellowwoods and 3m high tree ferns.
In the late afternoon, oysters and champagne will be served on the John Benn while you sail across the Knysna Lagoon to the Knysna Heads.
Dinner to be enjoyed at the Knysna harbour before retiring at Phantom Forest Lodge.
Day Eight Oudtshoorn
Today drive across the Outeniqua Mountains and on to Oudtshoorn.
Visit a local ostrich show farm for an educational about the world's largest bird.
The day would not be complete without a tour of the majestic Cango Caves before returning to your lodge in the late afternoon.
Lunch to be enjoyed en-route.
Day Nine Plettenberg Bay
A safari day… Start the day with a game drive or horse back safari in a 1300 hectre game park viewing a diverse array of wildlife, including Rhino, Lion, hippo and Buffalo.
Your game park experience will be followed by a boat trip up the pristine Keurbooms Valley in search of the elusive Knysna Loerie, stopping for lunch on a secluded beach.
After your Knysna Loerie search, our safari will end with a visit to the Elephant Sanctuary in the Crags for a close encounter with these grey ghosts.
Sundowners and dinner to be enjoyed at Emily Moon Restaurant.
You will spend the next two evenings at Tsala Treetop lodge
A Symphony of Stone, Wood, Glass and Water
High above the Magnificent Indigenous Forests of the Tsitsikamma
Day Ten Tsitsikamma National Park
An adrenaline filled morning as you fly through the indigenous forests from platform to platform on the canopy tree top tour.
When you come down to earth a short walk or optional snorkel can be enjoyed in the renowned Tsitsikamma National Park (the largest marine reserve in South Africa). The day will end with Sundowners at Nature’s Valley, an awe inspiring stretch of coastline.
Evening at Tsala Treetop Lodge
Day Eleven Kwazulu Natal
After breakfast you will be transferred to George airport for your flight to Durban. At Durban airport you will be met by a Finest Africa Representative and transferred to Phinda Forest Lodge. You will spend two nights at the lodge for a Big 5 experience.
Phinda Private Game Reserve is situated in the lush Maputaland region in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Bordering the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park – a World Heritage Site – Phinda comprises 22 000 hectares (54 500 acres) of prime conservation land. Seven distinct habitats shelter an abundance of wildlife including Africa’s Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, black and white rhino, buffalo) and over 380 bird species, while the marine diversity off the nearby coast of Sodwana is said to rival the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Guests can look forward to exciting game-drives in open 4x4 safari vehicles led by experienced rangers and Zulu trackers, as well as thrilling optional activities on the water, in the air and on the beach.
PHINDA FOREST LODGE
Sumptuous safari lodge: Set deep in the heart of the rare Dry Sand Forest, the spectacular stilted suites of this award-winning safari lodge are an exemplary exercise in building eco-sensitive structures with a light footprint.
* 16 spacious, hand-built glass-encased suites
* All with air-conditioning
* Private viewing decks
* Luxurious en suite bathrooms
* Sparkling rim-flow swimming pool
* Crafts gallery with a range of local Zulu artefacts
Wake up to the sight of graceful nyala and duiker browsing in the foliage of the Sand Forest right outside the glass walls of your private suite. Inventively designed in what is often called "Zulu-Zen", each suite is a combination of glass, wood and minimalist design incorporating high-gloss wooden floors and crimson Zulu artefacts.
Delicious Pan-African cuisine is served to you on the deck overlooking the grassy plains or in the boma (outdoor dining area) illuminated by dozens of candles and lanterns. Enjoy adventurous breakfasts and romantic dinners in spectacular African safari locations.
Day Twelve Phinda
Awake early for your morning game drive, followed by a scrumptious breakfast back at the lodge. Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure to laze around the pool, go on a nature walk, or take a riverboat cruise or canoe trip along the Mzinene River.
At around 16H00, High Tea will be served before setting out for your evening game drive.
Day Thirteen Thonga Beach
After your morning game drive and breakfast you will be transferred to Thonga Beach Lodge for an East Coast Beach and Snorkeling experience.
You will spend two nights at Thonga Beach
Thonga Beach Lodge – Mabibi
Thonga Beach Lodge is set on the pristine shores of the Maputuland coast, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This 24-bed luxury lodge is the ideal place to discover one of the most unspoilt wilderness beaches left on the African continent. Mabibi is a magical place of coastal forests, grasslands, bush, shimmering lakes and exquisite sandy beaches. Its crystal clear, warm waters offer South Africa’s best snorkelling and fantastic off-shore scuba diving.
Set above a secluded bay, Thonga Beach Lodge is nestled into beautiful coastal dune forest with sweeping views of the stunning beach below. The thatched bush suites provide guest privacy and were carefully constructed to ensure minimal impact on the environment. The lodge offers luxurious accommodation, mouth-watering meals and one of the best dive sites in the South Africa.
Thonga Beach Lodge is situated only metres from the beach and a 25 minute drive from Lake Sibaya (Southern Africa’s largest freshwater lake), which is part of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, now internationally recognised as a World Heritage Site.
The spacious, thatched suites are hidden in the coastal dune forest and raised on wooden stilts to ensure no harm comes to the sensitive dune soils. Inspired by Thonga architecture, the rooms have been carefully positioned to guarantee guest privacy. Some rooms offer sea views, whilst others are set within the dune forest. All have private balconies. Luxuriously decorated, the rooms exude a romantic ambiance. Bleached wood, glass and natural materials have been wisely used to create an open, airy feel. The en-suite rooms have a bathroom with bath, shower and twin vanity. Every suite has air conditioning.
Day Fourteen Thonga Beach
Choose from an array of activities
Mabibi offers superb snorkelling opportunities with a great diversity of underwater seascapes and marine flora and fauna. The shallow reefs along this protected stretch of coastline are home to an array of brilliant sub-tropical fish including moorish idols, parrot fish and blue surgeons. The warm waters of the Indian Ocean make this the ideal spot to snorkel or guests can simply soak up the sun and savour the tranquility of this pristine, sandy beach.
Scuba diving at Mabibi is phenomenal, with reefs located a short distance from the lodge. Shoals of game fish, sharks and schools of bottlenose dolphins are often seen. Our professional lodge diving team accommodates all enthusiasts; from the beginner to the veteran, wanting a tour of the very best our reefs have to offer. 1,250 fish species (Great Barrier Reef has 1500) occur on the reefs in this area. Dives are from a semi-rigid dive boat which accommodates a maximum of 8 divers at a time. The boat launches from straight in front of the lodge directly through the surf. This can be exciting and strenuous so a reasonable level of fitness is required. Diving is limited by weather and the tides and cannot be guaranteed. Guests must have proof of their diving qualifications. We regret no children under 12 years or adults over 65 years.
Open Ocean Experience
This adventure activity offers guests a rare opportunity to experience the variety of marine life that lives along the Elephant Coast. An exciting launch through the surf, in front of the lodge, takes you beyond the breakers to a world of dolphins, whales, whale sharks and snorkelling. The warm Indian Ocean supports a myriad of fish and marine life. Guests can sometimes swim with dolphins or whale sharks or snorkel with manta rays and giant turtles. No experience is required for this activity, but the launch through the surf can be strenuous. We regret no children under 12 years or adults over 65 years. Maximum number of guests is 10. Weather and tide dependent.
The lake is 6km from the lodge, a 25-minute drive.
Sundowners are offered on the shores Southern Africa’s largest fresh water lake – Lake Sibaya (70 square km). The Ramsar Convention assures its international conservation status. The lake has 125km of untouched shoreline, good bird watching and a great diversity of fauna and flora.
Guests can also explore parts of the lake by guided kayak with the chance of seeing hippo and crocodile en route. A reasonable level of fitness is required.
Birding at Mabibi and its surrounds is excellent and the variety of habitats attracts a great diversity of species. Typical coastal species include Livingstone’s and Purplecrested Lourie, Green Twinspot, Grey Waxbill and Green Coucal. Waders are common along the shoreline, and Pinkthroated Longclaw and Rufousbellied Heron frequent the marshy areas. Lake Sibaya has recorded 279 bird species including the Palmnut Vulture, the only fruit-eating vulture in the world. Pel’s fishing owl and pygmy goose.
Guided Wilderness Walks
Guests can head out on foot and explore this natural wonderland through coastal dune forests, unspoiled sandy beaches and grasslands. The wild beauty of Maputuland will enthrall naturalists and photographers alike.
In summer, nocturnal walks and drives along the beach in search of egg-laying turtles can be arranged. Guests can witness the culmination of an incredible journey as Giant Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in carefully prepared nests. Turtle tracking is offered in the evening from November to end February. Every precaution is taken to ensure these magnificent creatures are not disturbed during the laying process.
The Maputuland coastline is renowned as one of South Africa’s most popular fishing destinations. Guests can try their hand at surf fishing or fly-fishing. Hully Point at Mabibi, is a well-known fly-fishing spot. The enthusiastic angler can experience the thrill of bagging the catch of a lifetime from these brilliant waters. Thonga Beach Lodge encourages guests to “catch & release”.
Tsonga Cultural Experience
Visit a traditional Tsonga homestead and learn about their unique heritage and culture.
Day Fifteen Departure
After breakfast you will either be transferred to Johannesburg by road or transferred to Richards Bay for a flight to Johannesburg.
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