Seals...Forests...Elephants... discover the gem of South Africa...the Garden Route!
Welcome to your South African Adventure! On this holiday you’ll be seeing the sites of central Cape Town, surfing with the seals at Muizenberg, swinging through the trees of the Tsitsikamma Forest and walking with elephants at Addo.
Once the home of Cape Town’s first mayor, John Parker, this ten-room guesthouse is famous for being the most highly rated B&B in central Cape Town many years in a row. Each room is styled in an eclectic way with items collected from all over the world during the travels of Pamela and Frederic, the owners. Don’t miss their breakfasts, served either in the garden under the blossom of the orange tree or in the in the dining room in front of a roaring wood fire.
Whilst in Cape Town, you’ll be going on the following day trips...
Cape Town has a small center, but it hosts a huge variety of things to see and do for families. So we recommend you start by walking, right from your front door at Parker Cottage, around the Old Town. This evening, you’ll be eating at the fabulous Gold Restaurant, where you’ll be entertained by drummers, dancers and singers from all over Africa, accompanied by a 14-course meal.
No visit to Cape Town is complete without a visit to Table Mountain: this tempestuous global landmark is best visited in the morning, and we’d really recommend, if you’re travelling with the family, taking the City Sightseeing Bus there. There are stops all over town and it’s very reasonably priced. Of course, we’ll get you tickets for the bus and the mountain, both valid for 7 days, so if the weather doesn’t play ball, you can go another day.
The Peninsula and Cape Point has the one of the most amazing arrays of wildlife (terrestial and marine), unspoilt sea side towns, vistas, food and wine that you could hope to find in one place. One day does not do it justice, but to miss it would be unthinkable ! The family will love the penguins at Boulder’s Beach and the baboons at Cape Point in particular. You will be collected by your guide and driver, Chris Hannival, from Parker Cottage around 09h00.
Arguably one of the most family friendly places in Cape Town, and these days the most popular tourist destination in Africa, the V&A Waterfront boast a huge range of things to see and do. It’s so much more than just a shopping centre by the sea. Don’t overlook the Aquarium, which is small but so diverse with touch exhibits and a kelp forest backed by a wave machine that you can spend a whole day in there without a problem. There’s also the Cape Wheel and the numerous boat rides you can take around the harbour and Table Bay.
On your last day, collect the car we’ve booked for you from central Cape Town and head out on the N2 highway, direction Swellendam!
Tel +27 21 424 6445
Arumvale Country House
Swellendam is one of the smaller, more peaceful winelands towns. It is an old town by South African standards, officially separated from the Cape colony in 1743 and the many historic buildings bear testament to that. For a long time, it represented the ‘final’ town between the rapidly advancing colonial influence on the Cape and the rest of the ‘dark continent’ to the east. The town made most of its money through the cunning business interests of brothers Barry and Nephew who were the first to exploit the Breede Rivier (which runs close to the town) as a mode of transport for goods back in 1822. Their small shipping company was so successful that they even set up a private bank in their names!
Today, Swellendam is essentially a farming town but its frontier character, and the early Victorian colonial architecture left over from its boom days dominate the town. Tourism is also big business here as it is the largest town in the region and makes a superb center for wine, hiking, cycling and the ‘unplugged’ way of life.
Arumvale is an oasis on the outskirts of Swellendam, with five self-catering suites set around a lush garden (with a pool in the middle of the lawn). The property backs onto one of the smaller rivers in town and has wide views of the Langeberg Mountains (particularly spectacular at sunset). George Missing (yes that’s his real name) is your proprietor and built the place up over the last ten years into the wonderful country estate it is now.
Tel +27 44 272 0000
The Old Trading Post
The Old Trading Post is one of the oldest buildings in the beach front town of Wilderness. The town is built around the lake and lagoon which sit between the enormous sand dunes to the north and the sea to the south. It really is a sensational location, made all the more stunning by your arrival into it from the Kaaiman’s River Gorge.
The owner, Mike, is a very knowledgeable chap who offers tours of the Wilderness River in canoes. The river itself is flanked by beautifully verdant banks, is broad but slow-flowing and so this makes a great day out for the family. As the town is small and relatively flat, with the majority of the traffic being funnelled onto the N2 highway, this is also a great place to rent some bicycles and dawdle about.
Tel +27 44 882 1207
Staying at Redford House is like staying with royalty. Coleen and Clive Noble (the owners) have a rather apt surname: they are actually pretty famous in the sporting world in South Africa (which is like being famous in the Catholic world in Rome, as sport is more important than anything here). Several years back, as a kind of semi retirement idea, they bought this old farm in a dilapidated state and built three more buildings on it in the same style over the years. Redford oozes atmosphere in every possible way. The place is now a country estate, replete with a tennis court, swimming pool, a small lake and ample grounds to get lost in. Breakfast and dinners (on request) catered for so there’s no need to leave (as if you’d ever want to).
Whilst you’re staying at Redford, we’ll book you in for the following family-friendly activities:
Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours
The Tsitsikamma Forest is one of the last virgin coastal forests on the planet. It now forms part of the Garden Route National Park, which is a South African National Park. The place abounds with well-marked and set out walking trails, suspension bridges over raging rivers, and off-beat adventurous things to see and do, such as the Otter Trail and the Canopy Tours. You glide through the canopy of the forest between platforms built right at the top of the very tall trees. There are ten platforms in a broad circle connected by cables: the whole thing is built by an engineer to a very high standard with all sorts of safety features, so it’s not designed to be some kind of white-knuckle experience.
Today you have a choice: either spend some time in Plettenberg Bay or take a relaxed ‘day off’ at Redford itself (swim in the pool, play some tennis, canoe on the lake) and maybe a short jaunt down to Nature’s Valley for the afternoon.
Tel +27 44 534 8877
Oyster Bay Lodge
Oyster Bay Lodge is a multiple award winning guesthouse and has just recently been awarded Fair Trade in Tourism status to boot. It’s remote location south of the N2 makes it a tranquil paradise, right on the beach, and we advise that you take the full board option here (all meals included) as it’s quite a stretch to get to other places to eat.
The place abounds with things to see and do for the whole family, all without getting in the car: choose from dune safaris in a beach buggy, horse riding on the beach, massages, a big range of well-marked hiking trails, mountain biking, visiting the working dairy farm and much more besides.
Tel +27 42 297 0150
The Elephant House
Situated near the main entrance to the Addo Elephant National Park, Elephant House is a rambling colonial farmhouse with thatched roofs, offering that special brand of colonial luxury that is unique to South Africa. The house is beautifully decorated, with a homely dining and sitting room, Persian rugs, a private art collection and lovely verandas with comfy couches to while away your days in peace. There are two swimming pools on site, and light lunches and candlelit dinners are served either by the poolside or on the terrace. The Lodge offers an array of activities, such as game drives into Addo on an open 4x4 vehicle, elephant back safaris, horseback safaris, canoeing on the Sunday’s river and even helicopter trips!
Tel +27 42 233 2462
Addo Elephant Park
From very humble beginnings (Addo was once one of the smallest SAN Parks), it’s now grown into what is known as Greater Addo. This park now includes no less than four distinct biomes. There is the Woody Cape Reserve on the coast, a marine park, Addo Elephant Park and now also the mountain regions to the north. The park is growing by the day and will soon include corridors into the Mountain Zebra Park and all the way around the Darlington Dam to the north.
We suggest you enter though the Main Gate to the north of the park. Here, you’ll find facilities like toilets and a restaurant, as well as a map showing where game has been sited that day. We suggest that you head South after a drive around the Gorah Loop to Jack’s Picnic Site, exiting at Camp Matyholweni (which is in Colchester, on the Sunday’s River). Whilst Colchester itself isn’t the most beautiful of South African towns, the river is stunning as it goes past some of the largest dunes in the world and flows out to sea. There are sundowner boat trips you can take on the river, as well as wakeboarding, sandboarding and fishing trips too, if you suddenly get a burst of energy.
After your adventures with the elephants, it’s sadly time to return home: today you drive from The Elephant House to Port Elizabeth airport where you return your car, ready for the onward flight home.
Tel +27 42 233 2462