Day 1: Cape Town
You will be met upon arrival at Cape Town International Airport and transferred to your hotel in the Constantia Valley Winelands. Later you will meet your private guide who is also a botanical and gardening specialist.
4 Nights at The Cellars-Hohenort
The Cellars-Hohenort is a haven of peace and tranquility with breathtaking views across the nine acres of world renowned gardens and vineyard. The 18th century wine cellars and manor house have been magnificently restored. There are two award-winning dining experiences overseen by Cape Town's only Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef, Peter Tempelhoff. These include The Green House where cuisine focuses on South African ingredients with modern interpretations, and The Conservatory, serving simple, beautiful fare.
Day 2: Constantia Valley Winelands
Enjoy a full English breakfast this morning at The Greenhouse Restaurant in the hotel before your private guided tour of the award-winning gardens which garnered the Relais & Châteaux Garden Award in 2010 for their exceptional appearance. The gardens slope up Table Mountain’s side and display some of Constantia’s best indigenous flora. Currently there are more than 2,500 roses, an herb garden, fern walk and hundred-year-old trees. Later you will enjoy a picnic lunch on Table Mountain and take a guided walking tour.
South Africa is the sixth largest plant kingdom in the world and many species are endemic (i.e. appearing nowhere else in the world) and many of these are found on Table Mountain. En route back to the hotel, you will take a city orientation drive through Cape Town, the beautiful Mother City of South Africa.
This morning you will visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, one of South Africa’s most famous World Heritage Sites. After lunch at the Gardens, depart to one of Cape Town’s exclusive residential suburbs to visit the Stellenberg Estate. Your private tour of the gardens will be conducted by the proud estate owner or her head horticulturist, and will be followed by tea and cake on the lawn.
Today you will take a full-day Peninsula & Cape Point Tour. Highlights include the scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive, a guided walk at the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, funicular to the top of Cape Point, African Penguin colony at Boulders Beach, scenic Indian Ocean route and wine tasting at the Groot Constantia Estate.
Day 5: Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve
Today you will head north on the West Coast highway to Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve in the Cederberg Mountains. Late July through September is peak season for the Namaqualand flower splendor and the best time of day to view the carpets of spring flowers is from mid-morning until early afternoon. The area from Cape Town all the way to St. Helena Bay has been recently declared an international Biosphere.
Stop along the way to visit a historic missionary church and parsonage, a private farm where you can walk amongst the Babianas and Lapeirousias carpeting the lands, the tidal lagoon at West Coast National Park and Saldanha Bay before heading east.
Arrive at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Retreat in time for high tea followed by a drive through the wilderness reserve. This exclusive 5-star wilderness and wellness retreat has consistently received world-wide recognition for its warm and welcoming hospitality, delicious Cape cuisine, magnificent service and facilities, and applauded for its dedication to restoring and preserving the natural beauty of the 18,500-acre reserve.
2 Nights at Bushmans Kloof
Rise early for coffee, tea and biscuits before departing in open air vehicles with experienced and highly trained conservation guides for a predator-free wilderness experience. Bushmans Kloof is a retreat nestled in a vast landscape of ancient sandstone rock formations located in the majestic Cederberg Mountains. It is a safe haven for a myriad of indigenous plants, birds and animals. A dedicated custodian of the world’s largest open-air rock art gallery, it has been named a Natural Heritage Site. There are two game drives each day and besides the fauna and flora the reserve offers guided rock art walks and visits providing guests with a mirror into the world of the ancient Bushmen.
You can opt to be as still or as active as you would like to be. There is mountain biking, canoeing, and swimming in the crystal clear rock pools, horse riding or being pampered in the Spa. Once again you’ll enjoy a high tea of note before departing on a “sundowner” wilderness drive with drinks and snacks as the sun goes down. Dinner at this Relais & Chateaux property is a gourmet dining experience.
Day 7: Franschhoek
After breakfast at the lodge you will head towards Tulbagh.The town is steeped in history, quintessentially Cape Dutch, yet undeniably international, rustic and rural, though irrefutably sophisticated. After lunch you continue to the scenic town of Wellington, and through the Cape Winelands to Franschhoek, the gourmet capital of the Cape. Here, amidst luscious vineyards and gracious Cape Dutch farmsteads, a picturesque village emits proud, ever-present memories of a 17th century Huguenot culture.
2 Nights at Babylonstoren
This boutique “farm hotel,” at the foot of the Drakenstein Mountains, maintains its rustic heart and charm while seamlessly blending with modern luxuries in the one and two bedroom cottages. There are 200 acres of organic farmlands, and the garden is at the heart. It was inspired by the East Africa Company Gardens where for centuries ships would replenish at this halfway station between Europe and Asia. Food is taken seriously at the “straight from the garden inspired,” award-winning restaurant, Babel.
Day 9: Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
Begin your journey through the Overberg region and apple growing district of Grabouw for a visit to the seaside town of Betty’s Bay. Here you can visit the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens in the heart of the Cape’s richest fynbos region, home to species including the King Protea, Ericas and Restios.
Continue on to Hermanus, the largest coastal town in the Overberg, which is spread out along the magnificent sea cliffs on Walker Bay. Enjoy lunch at Seafood at the Marine located in The Marine Hotel. After lunch take a walk along the cliff path which is spectacular, especially during whale season, earning the village the reputation of offering the best land-based whale watching in the world. On occasion they come within meters of the shore making it even easier to see these giant mammals mating and calving in the waters below.
You will arrive at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve in the late afternoon. This is a place like no other. When world-renowned British conservationist David Bellamy says “The best example of conservation of biodiversity I have ever seen – Grootbos says it with flowers,” then one knows that he has discovered a truly exceptional nature destination. Overlooking the spectacular Walker Bay, Grootbos offers the unique combination of a 5-star operation and an outstanding example of conservation and human development initiatives.Sundowners will be at the beach tonight. Dinner is a 5-course affair in the lodge restaurant.
This morning you will take a walk through the Milkwood Forests. Milkwood trees are known to grow over 1000 years old and their gnarled branches and mossy beards create an enchanting atmosphere of deep soothing tranquility and rejuvenation. The name Grootbos, an Afrikaans word meaning Big Forest, is derived from the presence of these ancient trees. Later you will visit the greenhouse and tree nursery. This afternoon you will have a guided flower tour through the reserve in an open, 4x4 vehicle
This morning you will head back to Cape Town where you can continue on to a safari or begin your journey home.