South Africa | Gardens, Reserves, Wine and Wildflowers

South Africa | Gardens, Reserves, Wine and Wildflowers

About this trip

South Africa is celebrated by horticulture enthusiasts the world over for its distinct botanical landscapes; in particular, the Cape Floristic Region is a noted biodiversity hotspot and the only floral kingdom contained within one country. From the fynbos and Succulent Karoo biomes to the shrublands of the renosterveld and strandveld, high levels of species diversity and endemism are found in abundance within a relatively small area. Admire the spectacular collections at a variety of public and private gardens, and enjoy time in national parks, nature reserves, farmsteads, and the beautiful Cape wine region. Opportunities to view wildlife, sample locally produced wines, and explore Cape Town round out the experience.
OPTIONAL EXTENSIONS: Continue your South Africa experience with an extension to Blyde River Canyon & Kruger National Park and/or Victoria Falls & Chobe National Park. Contact your travel specialist for details.

Highlights

  • Overlook Cape Town from atop Table Mountain, where the endemic and endangered fynbos vegetation flourishes.
  • Tour the world-renowned Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden with one of its curators before exploring more at your own pace.
  • Witness a tapestry of colors during wildflower season at Nieuwoudtville, nicknamed the “bulb capital of the world.”
  • Marvel at the striking, stark desert landscape and an array of “stone plant” species at Knersvlakte Reserve.
  • Immerse yourself in the remote wilderness of the southern Cederberg Mountains, where Succulent Karoo, dry fynbos, and renosterveld vegetation are all found.
11 Travelers

$5,495

Land Cost

Group size

Book 10 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

16 Travelers

$4,650

Land Cost

Group size

Book 15 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

Depart

Day 1

Your journey begins from your home city today - your destination - Cape Town, South Africa.

Overnight at In Flight

Cape Town

Day 2

Upon arrival at the Cape Town International Airport, after collecting your luggage, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, located on the Atlantic Coast with the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront close at hand, has everything you need to enjoy your time in Cape Town. Depending on your arrival time, you may have leisure time today to explore your new surroundings.

Overnight at Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront

Cape Town

Day 3

This morning, meet your guide in the hotel lobby for a quick orientation and then begin your exploration of Cape Town with a cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain (weather permitting). Vegetation found on the mountain consists primarily of fynbos, a unique yet endangered collection of shrubs and plants that are endemic to the Cape. They form part of the Cape Floral Region protected areas, which boast the world's highest known concentration of plant species-1,300 per 3,800 square miles. The cable car takes visitors from the lower station to the upper station, ascending to 3,500 feet above sea level. Next, have lunch at a local restaurant and then visit the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. The incredibly beautiful reserve is teeming with rich biodiversity, including 1,100 indigenous plant species, 250 bird species, zebras, elands, and baboons. After your time at the reserve, visit the penguins as you walk along the boardwalk of the white sand beach of Simon's Town. African Penguins inhabit 27 different locations on the continent; most of these sites are inshore islands. The penguins are protected by the Southern African National Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds to ensure that they do not become an endangered species. This evening choose from one of the many restaurants in the area and along the waterfront for dining on own.

Breakfast-Lunch- included
Overnight at Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront

Cape Town

Day 4

Following breakfast, you will have the pleasure of spending the morning and early afternoon at one of the finest botanical gardens in the world, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Receive a guided tour by one of the curators of the garden upon arrival, and then take time to explore the garden at your own pace. Few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch, against the eastern slopes of Cape Town's Table Mountain. Kirstenbosch displays a wide variety of the unique plant life of the Cape Flora, also known as fynbos, including sugarbushes (Protea spp.), pincushions (Leucospermum spp.) and heaths (Erica spp.). Plants from all the diverse regions and biomes of southern Africa are also grown at Kirstenbosch, including a near-complete collection of cycads (Encephalartos spp.). The Botanical Society Conservatory is a custom-built glasshouse to grow and display plants from the arid regions that cannot survive outdoors. There are over 7,000 species in cultivation at Kirstenbosch, including many rare and threatened species. The Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway is a new curved steel and timber bridge that winds and dips its way through and over the trees of the Arboretum. The Walkway takes the visitor from the forest floor into and through the trees and bursts out above the canopy, giving spectacular panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains, garden, and Cape Flats. Meet back with the group at a specified time for lunch at the Kirstenbosch Tea Room. Next visit the private home and garden of Andrew and Sandy Ovenstone. They acquired the beautiful Stellenberg Home & Gardens in the early 1950s. The creation of the gardens, which Sandy lovingly worked on for many years, culminated in an exquisite masterpiece. There are now 16 distinct areas in the gardens to explore. You will also be given a tour of the nursery. This evening is on own to explore the waterfront, or perhaps relax and enjoy the Tobago restaurant al fresco at Radisson Blu.

Breakfast-Lunch- included
Overnight at Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront

Nieuwoudtville

Day 5

Today begins early for your journey into one of South Africa's most scenic areas - at least during this special time of year. Your first stop en route is a visit to the West Coast National Park. During the spring, the strandveld is embroidered with a tapestry of multi-hued flowers. Wildlife in the park includes large antelope such as eland and hartebeest, ostriches in the unique and idyllic Postberg section, a flamingo population in the salt marshes of the Langebaan Lagoon, African Penguins, and many species of sea birds. Next, stop for lunch at Teubes Family Winery, followed by a visit to the Knersvlakte Reserve. The reserve's striking, stark desert landscape is covered with white quartz pebbles embedded with a diversity of unique "stone plant" species. This is also part of the landscape where alluvial diamonds, washed here by the Orange River over millions of years, were first discovered in the 1800s. From here, continue up the escarpment to the small town of Nieuwoudtville, which is extremely popular during the wildflower season due to its unique placement where the arid succulent Karoo meets the fynbos biome. This is the bulb capital of the world, with thousands of endemic species of bulb plants on display. Arrive at the Melkboomsdrift Guesthouse, which is located in a restored farmhouse on a working wine farm. Before dinner, relax at the pool overlooking the river and vineyards.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Melkboomsdrift Guesthouse

Nieuwoudtville

Day 6

Today you will visit the Hantam National Botanical Garden. During flower season the garden is a feast of flowers, and this is one of the loveliest places to explore the spectacular bulb display on the Bokkeveld Plateau during spring. Enjoy a delicious picnic lunch at the Nieuwoudtville waterfall, followed by a visit to the amazing quiver tree forest, located on a private farm whose owners graciously allow visitors to see this great wonder. These remarkable trees (Aloe dichotoma), which together constitute the largest aloe forest in the world, are a cornerstone of Khoisan culture. If time permits, visit the Nieuwoudtville Wild Flower Reserve, a unique 250-acre site that is particularly rich with 199 genera and 309 species of plants.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Melkboomsdrift Guesthouse

Kagga Kamma Reserve

Day 7

This morning, journey south until you reach your final destination of the day, Kagga Kamma Reserve. Have lunch en route in the Tankwa Karoo, a desert drier than Death Valley. Following arrival, you will have the remainder of the afternoon at leisure to relax and explore your new surroundings. Kagga Kamma is located in a wilderness area in the peaceful southern Cederberg Mountains. This site is dominated by the succulent Karoo vegetation, globally the most species-rich of all desert biomes, with dry fynbos and renosterveld vegetation at higher elevations. Here you can enjoy the silence and brilliant starlit skies. The stunning location of the lodge was once home to the San peoples; today, many of their ancient cave paintings (some dating back 6,000 years) are still clearly visible on the rocks. This spiritual land offers spectacular scenery, majestic mountains, and phenomenal night skies. Your stay at Kagga Kamma includes two excursions per day: the Rock Art Tour, Sundowner Tour, Morning Nature Drive, or Late Night Nature Drive. There are also extensive hiking trails and other options for the more adventurous.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Kamma Kagga

Kagga Kamma Reserve

Day 8

You will have a full day at Kagga Kamma to enjoy what this unique area has to offer. Start the day early with a nature drive. The remainder of your day can be spent as you choose, selecting from the activities offered by the lodge.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Kamma Kagga

Stellenbosch

Day 9

Travel to the beautiful wine country surrounding the town of Stellenbosch. You will be treated to an amazing lunch and garden tour at Babylonstoren Estate, considered one of the oldest and finest of the Cape Dutch farms. Lunch will be in the Greenhouse, followed by a guided walk through the garden, which features eight acres of cultivated fruits and vegetables. Late afternoon will take you to MolenVliet Oosthuizen Family Vineyards, nestled on the banks of the Banhoek River in Banhoek Valley, six miles from the historic town of Stellenbosch. The boutique 35-acre wine estate produces some of the finest wines, focusing on quality instead of quantity. You will have the remainder of the late afternoon and evening to enjoy your new surroundings. Dinner is on your own this evening.

Breakfast-Lunch- included
Overnight at MolenVliet

Stellenbosch

Day 10

After breakfast, take a guided tour of Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden, the oldest university botanic garden in South Africa. The garden is beautifully maintained and includes three glasshouses (tropical, succulent, and Karoo houses), a lotus lily/koi fish pond, Japanese garden, herb garden, and arboretum. The garden is widely regarded as an open-air laboratory and serves as a center for training, science, conservation, and recreation. For this purpose, rare plants have been imported from all over the world. After your time at the garden, return to MolenVliet for a wine tasting tour and late lunch, with the remainder of the day at leisure. This evening, gather for a delicious farewell dinner at the estate.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at MolenVliet

Cape Town

Day 11

You will have the morning at leisure, with a day room available for a late check-out. Your guide and driver will be available should you wish to visit Stellenbosch. At approximately 6:00 pm you will depart MolenVliet and transfer to the Cape Town International Airport for your flight out.

For those continuing on a post extension, your transfer to the Cape Town will depart in the morning.

Breakfast- included
Overnight at MolenVliet, Day room

Arrive home

Day 12

Welcome home!