African Extravaganza
Windhoek-Kalahari-Namaqualand-Cape Town tour

Day      1                     Windhoek

Arrive at Hosea Kutako Airport where your tour guide will greet you.  From here you will have a short sight seeing tour of Windhoek before going to your Hotel.  Afternoon  is at free disposal to explore the capital of Namibia.

While Namibia is the most sparsely populated country in the world, it boasts a rich blend of 13 different ethnic groups.  Of the 1.4 million inhabitants, one of four people live in the urban centers, the largest of these being the capital, Windhoek.       Situated in a basin between the Khomas Highland and the Auas and Eros mountains, it is home to some 200,000 people. This pretty town combines the architecture of a modern city with numerous buildings in the style of the German colonial era. It is a cosmopolitan town of  different cultures, German cuisine & beer brewing tradition and a mixture of  African traditions.


O/N :    Hotel SAFARI COURT   Bed & Breakfast
 

Day      2                    Windhoek – Keetmanshoop                             (approx. 550 km)

We depart Windhoek at 08:00 from your hotel and travel in a southerly direction via the Nama Region of Rehoboth and onto Mariental where lunch will be enjoyed at a lodge bordering the Kalahari Desert; Next destination is the capital of the southern parts- Keetmanshoop; we visit the famous Quiver Tree Forest and the ‘giants playground’.

O/n:      Canyon Hotel/ Keetmanshoop             Dinner & Bed & Breakfast

Day      3                   Keetmanshoop – South Africa                         (approx. 350 km)

Today we travel via the C16 pass Aroab to Rietfontein, the border to South Africa – Passport checkpoint.  From here we travel further to Andriesvale and a few kilometers further we enter the Kalahari (Gemsbok National) TRANSFRONTIER Park and carry on to Twee Rivieren. Picnic-lunch en route; a game drive might be possible, if time permits.

Climate

This is an arid region with an annual rainfall of 200 mm, mainly between January and April.  Day temperatures in the summer may exceed 40 C.  Winter days are sunny with night temperatures often below zero.

Fauna and Flora

The Transfrontier Park (former Kalahari Gemsbok National Park) is the home of the Kalahari Lion, the gemsbok and the tsamma.  The park is characterised by its red sand dunes with sparse vegetation and the dry riverbeds of the Nossob and Auob where camelthorn, grey camelthorn, black thorn, raisin bush and African blackwood predominate.  Most of the animals such as gemsbok, blue wildebeest, eland, springbok, red hartebeest, duiker and steenbok live in the dry riverbeds.  Besides lion, other predators found here are leopards, cheetah, spotted hyena, brown hyena, wild dogs and black-backed jackal.  No fewer than 215 bird species have been recorded here.

O/N:     Twee Revieren Rest Camp – in Bungalows     Full Board 

Day      4 & 5       South Africa - Kalahari Transfrontier  Park      (approx. 250 km)

 The entire day will be devoted to game viewing the in the park.

O/N :    Twee Revieren                        Full Board

Day      6                     South Africa – Orange River-Augrabis                    (approx. 400 km)

Depart for Upington where you will have the opportunity to visit the bank and do some necessary shopping.  From here, we travel via the Orange River to the Augrabis Falls National Park.  Along the way we will visit a small wine-farm and explore the surrounding area.

The Augrabis Falls is generally rated as one of the six greatest waterfalls in the world.  Experience its full might and thunderous roar as the entire Orange River’s water plummets 56 meters into a 200 meter deep granite gorge.  We also view their variety of succulents and Aloes at Augrabis.

O/N :    Augrabies Falls Rest Camp      Full Board

Day      7                   South Africa – Augrabies                                 (approx. 50 km)

In the morning, we enjoy another nature drive in the area or have a relaxing time and in the afternoon you may walk along the River and enjoy the scenery.

O/N :    Augrabies Falls Rest Camp      Full Board

Day      8           South Africa – Springbok                                             (approx. 350 km)

We carry on through the northern Karoo passed Bladgrond and Poffadder to Springbok, the capital of Namaqualand.  In the afternoon we explore the surrounding area and visit the Miner’s Memorial &  Van der Stel Coppermyn, built in 1685)

 

Namaqualand

For most of the year the Western Cape’s coastal strip is a region of wild blown sandveld that seams unable to support any but the toughest and most enduring forms of life. The northern section – that part which lies beyond the Olifants River and is known as Namaqualand – is especially captivating its barren harshness.  Surface water is almost nonexistent here and the rainfall poor, ranging from some 280 mm a year to a pitiful 80 mm in places.

Yet the land has its bounty, and its beauty.  The soils here, and those of the even more arid Hardveld to the east of the Atlantic seaboard, sustain 4 000 and more floral species.  These are mostly cream, orange and yellow daisies, and mesembryanthemums (which are locally known as “vygies”), but there’s also a profusion of flowering aloes, sorrels, flax, nemesias, lilies (including the enchanting chincherinchees), perennial herbs and a host of others.

They are small, hardy, low-growing plants, well adapted to drought conditions, their seeds lying dormant over the long, dry months.  But then, after the modest winter rains, when they sense the warming of the earth and the coming of pollinators – and before the onset of summer’s searing breezes – they germinate, grow and bloom in a matter of days to cover the countryside in an exquisite coat of many colours.

This splendid show is not confined to Namaqualand proper: sandveld flowers mingle with the ericas, proteas and pincushions of the Cape floral kingdom to sustain the magic far to the south of the Olifants.

Namagualand usually reaches the height of its glory around mid-August, but different species in different areas have their own timetables.  The white daisies and oxalis in its many forms are early blooms (August); others are much later.  Nearly all the flowers, however, are at their best between 11h00 and 15h00, turning their faces towards the sun – which, for optimum viewing, you should keep at your back.  On very overcast days the blooms remain closed.

Its, difficult to specify the most rewarding areas; they vary from year to year, depending on the subtle interplay of local temperature, wind and rainfall.  Oddly enough, though , what in normal times are the most arid, desplate-looking places seem to produce some of the finest displays.  That said, certain localities consistently feature on the annual flower-viewing itinerary.

O/N:      OKIEP COUNTRY LODGE- Springbok – Full board

Day      9            South Africa – Springbok                     (ca. 100 km)

Today we visit the Goegap Nature Reserve where, after good rains, you may find the famous flower-fields in bloom; You have the whole day to explore the area on walking trails and a drive through the reserve; A heaven for photographers; We return to Springbok late afternoons.

Goegap Nature Reserve

A stark and, in places, strikingly beautiful landscape, seasonal displays of wild flowers, and the Ian Meyer’s Nature Walk, are the main attractions of the Goegap Nature Reserve near the far-northern town of Springbok.

The sanctuary, formerly known as the Hester Malan Nature Reserve, covers 15 000 ha of rugged Namaqualand countryside-shaped granite hillocks.  In late winter a profusion of spectacular flowers bursts into bloom, covering the countryside in all the colours of the rainbow.  Kokerbooms, or quiver trees (a species of aloe from which the Khoisan once fashioned quivers for their arrows), are a feature of the hills; labelled samples of the local flora, mainly succulents, are on display at the reserve’s office.

The 45 species of mammal include springbok, gemsbok (both reintroduced to the area), klipspringer, steenbok, mountain zebra, Cape foxes, baboons, aardwolf’s and honey badgers.  Stately ostriches patrol the plains, and black eagles soar in the skies above.  Karoo korhaans, ground woodpeckers and spotted dikkops are commonly seen.

Ü/N:      OKIEP COUNTRY LODGE-Springbok    Full board

Day      10          South Africa - Clanwilliam – Cedarberg          (ca. 420 km)

Today we drive southwards through the Namaqualand. We pass Platbakkies, Kliprand and carry on the R357 to Nieuwoudtville; Via the scenic Van Rhyns Pass, Grootdrif and scenic Van Rhynsdorp with its duplicate’ table mountain’ we carry on the main road N7 to Clanwilliam and Citrusdal. This area is the ‘fruit basket’ of South Africa with large citrus plantations  and  the lovely protea flower-bushes.

Citrusdal

Groves of citrus trees – naval and Valencia oranges, lemons, grapefruit and such easy-to-peal hybrids as Satsuma and Clenentine, tamber and minneola – mantle the fertile valley of the Olifants River around Citrusdal.  From March through to September, about      6 000 workers harvest, sort and pack the golden fruit, and the air is heavy with its scent.

This is South Africa’s third-largest citrus-growing area (after the north-eastern Highveld’s Zebediela and the Eastern Province’s Sundays River estates), but arguably the foremost in terms of product quality.  Long, hot simmers yield up to 10 hours of sunshine a day, and winter rains and sandy soil combine to produce  as large and sweet a fruit as you’ll find anywhere.

It is also by far the oldest growing area.  Jan Dankaert trekked north in 1660 and named the valley after a herd of 300 elephant he saw by the river.  The inaugural orchards were planted with seedlings taken from Jan van Riebeek’s Boskloof estate (located around today’s Claremont suburb).  One especially venerable tree, on the farm Groot Hexrivier, began its life about 250 years ago, and is still producing its seasonal bounty.

The local Goede Hoop Citrus Co-operative’s 200 members grow about 90 000 tons of fruit a year, of which nearly three-quarters are exported.  The co-op organizes tours, by appointment, of its giant pack-house in Citrusdal.


O/N:      CEDARBERG LODGE/ CITRUSDAL       Full board

Day 11               South Africa-  Cape Town        (approx. 420 km)

The scenic drive leads us through the majestic Cedarberg Mountain range and via the R303 to Prince Alfred Hamlet and Ceres.  We carry on passed Wellington, Paarl and Durbanville to Cape Town.

Cedarberg

The high and scenically stunning mountain range that rises to the east of Citrusdal and Clanwilliam is a magnet for hikers, ramblers and nature-lovers.

It’s a huge area, nearly 72 000 ha in extent, distinguished by pinnacles and deep ravines, splendid vistas, cliffs and caves, clear mountain streams, pools, cascades, and what must be some of the country’s weirdest rock formations.  Among these are the imposing Maltese Cross and the Wolfberg Arch, Sneeuberg, at 2 027 m above sea level, is the loftiest of the peaks.   Snow mantles the range’s upper slopes in winter.

The Cedarberg mountains are also a botanist’s delight.  They are named after the Clanwilliam cedar (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis).  This handsome tree – found only on this mountain range – just managed to survive man-made fires lit to improve livestock pasture, and the woodman’s axe (to harvest the tree’s valuable and durable wood).  The remaining specimens, confined to rocky outcrops, are now strictly protected.

O/N :     CITY LODGE – WATERFRONT (or similar Hotel) Cape Town – Bed/ Breakfast

Day 12                  South Africa - Cape Town        (approx. 30 km)

Today we take a ride with the table mountain cable way up to the famous Table mountain plateau (this is always weather dependent); Afternoon at leisure to explore the town, for shopping or to stroll along the waterfront with its shops and restaurants; an optional tour can be taken to Robben Island.

Table Mountain Cable Car

The ride lasts just five minutes, but at the end you’ve been transported into a different world : the mountain’s precipitous northern face rises, sheer, for more than a kilometer above the sea.

From its summit there are the most stunning views – of the narrow fingers of land running down to Cape Point in the south, of the blue-hazed mountains of the hinterland, of the flanking Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head sentinels on either side, of the ocean all around, and the city and its harbour far below.

The flat-topped crest of the sandstone massif measures some three kilometers from end to end.  It can be seen 200 km out to sea on a clear day, though often the sandstone ramparts are obscured by the “tablecloth”, a white mantle of wind-driven cloud that swirls across the plateau and then dives down in a continuous and spectacular cascade. 

At these times the mountain is closed to sightseers.  The cable car is the most popular means of access for visitors.  If you’re fit and adventurous, you can climb to the top, using charted paths that range from the undemanding to the strenuous and highly dangerous.


O
/N:      CITY LODGE – WATERFRONT ( or similar Hotel) Cape Town - Bed/Breakfast

Day 13               South Africa - Cape Town        (ca. 250 km)

A scenic drive takes us around the peninsula; along the coast we pass Hout Bay, Simonstown, Vishoek, Muizenberg, etc.. The highlight is of course ‘ Cape Point’ at the tip of the peninsula. Late afternoon we return to Cape Town.

Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve

The massive headland of Cape Point falls almost sheer to waters wreathed in legend – a wild, mystical place filled with the constant roar of surf and the scream of whirling sea gulls.

Cape Point is the highlight of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve.  Nearly 8 000 ha of indigenous fynbos (fine bush) cover the reserve.  In spring, this natural garden bursts into bloom in a surge of colour.  About 1 200 plant species have been recorded in the area.

Fauna includes the once-threatened bontebok and other antelope, mountain zebras, caracals and Cape foxes, about 160 species of bird (including ostriches, black eagles and pelagic species such as albatrosses and cormorants), and several troops of baboons.  These baboons are believed to be the only primate groups in the world (excluding man) that subsist on the fruits of the sea, which they scavenge at low tide.

They tend to become overfamiliar with visitors and are persistent beggars of food.  To avoid any confrontation with the baboons, do not feed them under any circumstances, and keep your car doors closed if you happen to have any food in the car.

Sea Point

High-season holiday-makers crowd this cosmopolitan suburb, and its seafront is a favourite among strollers.  The shore is rocky and the small bays form pocket beaches which are well patronized.  Tidal pools are much used at Saunders Rocks, Sunset Beach and Milton Road.  There’s a magnificent saltwater pool at the Sea Point Pavilion.

Hout Bay

Hout Bay has one of the Peninsula’s best walking beaches and is known as a fishing harbour where one can eat fresh fish every day.

Chapman’s Peak

The tortuous 10-km road along the sea-flanking mountainside between Hout Bay and Noordhoek is one of the world’s most spectacular scenic drives.  The road bisects yellow, red and brown layers of Table Mountain sandstone, as it winds 600 m up to the highest point.  Along the way are plenty of picnic spots from which you can survey the shimmering beauty of Chapman’s Bay, the tranquil harbour and beach of Hout Bay and the imposing mountain known as The Sentinel.


O
/N:      CITY LODGE – WATERFRONT  (or similar Hotel) Cape Town   Bed/Breakfast

Day      14           End of tour at Cape Town airport

Transfer to the airport for your flight out.

Minimum 8 passengers – maximum 18  passengers

Transport in either  Microbuses ( seating @ 6 pax each) or 24 seater Bus

Included is:  14 x breakfast ;  9 x dinner;  10 x lunch ; porterage at the hotels; cool drinks in the buses; entrance fees  at national parks and  for excursions as mentioned; Table mountain cable car.

Excluded is : Extra Excursions which cannot be done in out own car (s); drinks in the hotels & lodges;  tips for waiters and our driver-guide (s).

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