Self Drive Karoo Safari Odyssey – 5 nights Cape Town | 2 nights Hermanus | 1 night Mossel Bay | 3 nights Plettenberg Bay | 2 nights Tsitsikamma | 4 nights Lalibela Game Reserve | 2 nights Graaff Reinet | 3 nights Oudtshoorn | 1 night Montagu | 3 nights Franschhoek
Pembury Tours provided excellent service, value for money and a fabulous holiday. We were recommended to Pembury Tours when we contacted Lalibela Game Reserve asking about a safari and planning a trip to South Africa. I looked at their website and reviews on Tripadvisor which were all positive. I e-mailed Pembury Tours and was contacted by Tammy Harding. What impressed us was the prompt response, the attention to detail and a real desire to get things exactly how we wanted. Paying money these days over the internet is always a worry. However, the systems Pembury Tours have in place worked well and were reassuring. All the accommodation was excellent. We had an unbelievable time at Lalibela, the staff were amazing, the food excellent and of course the animals and safari drives 1st class. Having Tammy at the end of a phone was reassuring just in case we had an issue. But the trip ran like clock work and every need taken care of. Well done Tammy and everyone for making our holiday a trip to remember.
This morning you arrive at Cape Town airport. You are met by a Pembury Tours representative who will hand over your travel documents before transferring you to Winchester Mansions for your 5 night stay. You have the day at leisure to relax and recuperate after your international flight.
Set on a rugged peninsula between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans with iconic Table Mountain as its backdrop, the city of Cape Town sits in one of the world’s most spectacular settings. But the scenery isn’t restricted to the city alone: short drives take visitors to white sandy beaches, traditional fishing villages and wild mountain ranges while must-see destinations such as Cape Point, the Cape Winelands and the whale-watching capital of Hermanus are easy day trips. With so many beautiful places to explore, you only have to visit Africa’s favourite city once and you’ll probably be planning your next Cape Town travel holiday before your tan’s had time to fade.
It’s a multi-faceted destination that deserves to be explored. Take some time to browse African craft markets in the walkably compact city centre, visit the colourful Cape Malay suburb of Bo Kaap, lounge on its best beaches and stroll around the ever-popular V&A Waterfront with its shops, restaurants and luxurious hotels.
This morning your hire car is delivered to you. You meet the car hire representative in the foyer of the hotel. You check out and leave Cape Town behind. You make your way to towards the Garden Route. You stop en-route at Hermanus where you spend 2 nights.
Hermanus is a quaint and scenic seaside town and has many beautiful beaches. Grotto Beach stretches for 20 km, making it ideal for those wanting to take a long walk. Voëlklip Beach has great lawns, white sands and good facilities, complementing the beauty of this setting. This is also a good spot for watching surfers who can always be found in the breakers. Langbaai (Long Bay) is a favourite beach for those seeking a bit of peace and privacy. Formed between two rocky outcrops this beach is tiny in comparison to the other beaches. It offers good swimming and white sand. Onrus Beach is flanked by a beautiful lagoon.
For those wanting to get out to sea, there are many operators offering boat trips. Dolphins are spotted year round and whales can be seen in the winter months. Sea kayaking is also very popular and no experience is necessary. Very stable kayaks are used with highly experienced guides. The village of Hermanus has many delightful shops and there are over 50 restaurants available offering stunning food and local wines.
Enjoy breakfast and a leisurely morning before setting off and heading along the N2 towards the Garden Route. You bypass Riviersonderend and Swellendam before arriving in Mossel Bay where you spend the night.
Although the town’s sprawling outskirts aren’t much to look at, as soon as you reach the ocean you’ll find protected sandy bays that are perfect for swimming, sailing and kayaking. It is situated on a spectacular sunwashed peninsula embraced by the warm Indian Ocean. No wonder that the town is featured in the Guinness Book of Records as having the mildest all-year climate, second only to Hawaii.
Being a popular holiday destination there’s plenty to do in the area as well: take a boat trip to Seal Island, go horse riding along the beach and visit nearby Botlierskop, a private game reserve that gives its visitors a taste of South Africa’s legendary game viewing experience. Mossel Bay is also where to go on the Garden Route to try one of the country’s biggest thrills: cage diving with great white sharks.
Mossel Bay also has a fascinating history, much of which is on display at the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex. Of the seven National Monuments on the Museum Grounds, 6 are buildings dating between 1830 and 1902. The history is reflected by the architectural styles found throughout the town. Many of the well-preserved old stone buildings today are part of an historic walk through town.
Today you have time to explore Mossel Bay if you would like to do so before heading further along the Garden Route to Plettenberg Bay for a three night stay.
The jewel of The Garden Route, tranquil and charming, hospitable and rather special. Plettenberg Bay offers the visitor miles of sweeping, unspoilt golden beaches, a dramatic rocky peninsula, intriguing lagoons and estuaries, towering indigenous forests and unpolluted rivers and sea. With its exceptional climate and beautiful view sites over the Indian Ocean, Plettenberg Bay is perfect for tourists interested in exploring, watching or just lazing.
You have a short trip today to nearby Tsitsikamma. I would suggest spending a bit of time exploring en route and perhaps taking a drive down to Storms River Mouth on the way to The Fernery. You spend two nights in this beautiful area
Tsitsikamma is a Khoi word meaning “place of abundant or sparkling water”. The region stretches from the Bloukrans River in the west to Eerste Rivier in the east, is bordered on the north by the imposing Tsitsikamma Mountains and in the south by the Indian Ocean. The area is covered in large tracts of indigenous forest, commercial plantation and Fynbos. Deep river gorges cleft the plateau as they make their way down to the sea, creating spectacular waterfalls and deep kloofs.
You enjoy breakfast at your lodge before checking out. Head towards Port Elizabeth and then continue passed the town. About 1 hour after Port Elizabeth you will reach Lalibela. Try to arrive around midday so that you can enjoy lunch.
Upon arrival at Lalibela game reserve you check in and are taken to your lodge. You have time to freshen up before departing on your first afternoon/evening game drive.
Game viewing in the malaria-free Eastern Cape is excellent. The Eastern Cape straddles the meeting point of 5 distinct biomes (valley bushveld, savannah grassland, fynbos, riverine forest and acacia woodland), resulting in a breath-taking variety in animal and bird species. In addition, the carrying capacity of the vegetation in Eastern Cape game reserves is much higher than that of the Kruger area, so you will find a much higher concentration of animals. The region has some of the most luxurious safari lodges in the country, all seeking to offer discerning travellers the ultimate African adventure that harks back to the golden age of safaris.
Lalibela Game Reserve is a 7,500 hectare malaria-free Big Five game reserve in the heart of Eastern Cape game country. Lalibela brings you the charm of authentic Africa and is a perfect blend of the formal and informal. Lalibela has three lodges, all offering décor that is infused with the essence of Africa, as well as warm and friendly service, exciting safari cuisine and unforgettable game viewing.
Today you enjoy your last game drive and breakfast before checking out and heading further inland to the small town of Graaff Reinet in the Eastern Cape. You check into your charming hotel for a 2 night stay.
Graaff-Reinet, the Eastern Cape’s oldest town, lies in the centre of the Karoo Heartland at the Sundays River, backed by the Sneeuberg Mountains. With more than 200 restored Victorian houses, this archetypal Karoo town has the country’s largest concentration of national monuments and is home to one of the most impressive Dutch Reformed churches. Various museums document the area’s history with fossils and collections including the chronicle of Robert Sobukwe, freedom fighter and founder of the Pan African Congress. Graaff-Reinet is surrounded by the Camdeboo National Park, rich with fascinating fauna and flora – a welcomed oasis in the arid Karoo. The park’s main attraction is the spectacular Valley of Desolation, a palaeontologist’s paradise with one of the world’s largest natural graveyards of prehistoric fossilized bones. The breathtaking dolerite columns and cliffs of volcanic origin, some of them high as 120 metres, offer great hiking opportunities and scenic settings. Try other exciting outdoor activities include game viewing, quad biking and mountain biking or take specialised tours to learn more about rock art, historic Boer War monuments or daily township life.
Say goodbye to Graaff Reinet as you head to the heart of the Karoo – Oudtshoorn. The landscape will be quite different to what you experienced along the Garden Route. Check into your guest farm for a 3 night stay
Oudtshoorn is separated from the Garden Route by a dramatic mountain range that forms a barrier between the lush coastline and semi-arid interior known as the Little Karoo. Luckily there’s a mountain pass which makes for a beautiful drive into this unique landscape and on to South Africa’s ostrich capital, Oudtshoorn. The town has several ostrich show farms where you can learn all about these extraordinary birds and even ride one if you’d like, but our favourite reason to travel here however is the presence of the Cango Caves: its highly recommend to take a tour of this elaborate underground labyrinth, complete with narrow stone passageways and vast caverns dripping with stalactites.
Leaving Oudtshoorn you journey through the unique landscape of the arid Little Karoo, passing through Calitzdorp and Barrydale. You enter the verdant Breede River Valley, the largest of the Western Cape’s fruit and wine producing valleys. As you follow the “fruit route”, you enjoy magnificent mountain views, vineyards, orchards and indigenous flora. Stops can be made at roadside farm stalls to purchase fruit. You reach Montagu this afternoon. Surrounded by magnificent mountains, Montagu is well known for its beautifully preserved Georgian and Cape Dutch buildings.
After breakfast you say goodbye to Montagu and continue on the scenic R62 in the direction of Cape Town. You reach your last stop, Franschhoek, this afternoon. Here you head for your guest house where you will spend your last three nights.
Set against a backdrop of orchards, vineyards and mountain peaks, the little town of Franschhoek (‘French Corner’) is arguably the prettiest of the Cape Winelands regions. The appearance and atmosphere is that of Provence, and the mood is further reflected by elegant wine estates such as Le Petite Ferme, Chamonix and Mont Rochelle – their names testament to the early French Huguenot influence in the area.
Franschhoek has just one main street but it is lined with art galleries, boutique shops and a number of excellent restaurants. Known as the gourmet capital of South Africa, Franschhoek is a top choice for a food and wine holiday; dine on flavours ranging from traditional Cape fare to French haute cuisine – and the accompanying wine will of course come from the vineyards around you.
You have the day at leisure before heading to the Cape Town airport where you return your hire car before checking in for your flight home.