Susan Worner Tours

South Africa – The Western Cape – Exceptional Gardens and Private Reserves

17 – 30 October 2017

The Western Cape garden tour combines well with the flora and wildlife in the spectacular hinterland of the Little Karoo and the mountainous coastline.

The region has a Mediterranean climate, abundant sources of water, mostly acid soil and above all a rich indigenous flora and exceptional gardens. Some surround delightful Cape Dutch manor houses, others are extensive plant collectors’ gardens and some with contemporary design. Kirstenbosch garden is fascinating, with a vast collection of indigenous Cape plants and trees.

The Winelands town of Stellenbosch is our base to discover the fabulous private gardens of the Cape. Oude Werf Hotel is in the centre of Stellenbosch, a university town with beautiful Cape Dutch architecture. It has many street cafes, good shops and restaurants.

We leave for the coastal region to the superb private nature reserve lodge at Grootbos surrounded by a milkwood forest and rich coastal fynbos. There is a chance to whale watch in Gansbaai. In the remote Karoo hinterland we stay at the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve of 52,000 hectares. The reserve is involved in re-introducing and conserving wildlife eradicated over a century ago and the rich wild flora.

We use direct flights from London Heathrow to Cape Town.

Our group has a maximum of 14 participants. We use a small, comfortable coach.

 

Itinerary

DAY ONE – TUESDAY 17 OCTOBER D

The direct overnight flight is from London Heathrow to Cape Town. Dinner is served on departure and breakfast before landing.

DAY TWO – WEDNESDAY 18 OCTOBER BLD

Morning arrival in Cape Town and you will be met by Susan. Short transfer to Hotel Oude Werf in the historical centre of Stellenbosch (6 nights). For lunch we walk to the University Botanic Gardens and then enjoy a guided introduction to the Cape flora. Aperitif and short talk on the programme in the garden before enjoying dinner together.

DAY THREE – THURSDAY 19 OCTOBER BPN

Morning visit to the Rustenberg wine estate gardens, renovated by Rozanne Barlow, who shows us her own delightful manor house garden at Schoonzicht. A tasty picnic with Rustenberg wine is enjoyed in the shade of the oak trees on the estate, with fabulous views to the Hottentot Holland mountain range. Afternoon visit to the superb terraced gardens at Old Nectar in Jonkershoek Valley, created by the late Una van der Spuy, a renowned rose grower. Evening at leisure.

DAY FOUR – FRIDAY 20 OCTOBER B

We spend most of the day in the Elgin district where many apple orchards are found. Morning visit to a private garden of great plant collectors and propagators: their woodland garden is a profusion of climbing roses. The indigenous wachendorfia and tall blue aristea are particularly striking. After lunch we visit a beautiful, privately-owned garden with views to the Kogelberg mountains. Return through the mountains and the Franschoek valley. Evening at leisure.

DAY FIVE – SATURDAY 21 OCTOBER BD

Kirstenbosch, at the foot of Table Mountain, is a magical garden with exclusively indigenous flora, except for the avenue of Camphor Trees. We are guided through the main parts of the garden. Lunchtime in the garden. Afternoon visit to Sandy Overstone’s outstanding garden, Stellenberg, her Cape Dutch manor house near Cape Town. David Hicks was involved in some of the design and the Overstone’s recent restoration along the stream is inspiring. We return to the hotel and enjoy dinner together at a nearby restaurant.

DAY SIX – SUNDAY 22 OCTOBER BL

The exceptional gardens at the Babylonstoren wine estate in the Drakenstein Valley have been recently created by Patrice Taravella of Prieuré d’Orsan, principally designed as a potager garden. Liesl van der Welt, head gardener/curator will show us around with great enthusiasm. We enjoy lunch in the farm’s Babel restaurant tasting dishes made from their garden produce. The Helsgroote Pass is renowned for its wine growing. We visit a prolific private garden of a wine estate. Evening at leisure.

DAY SEVEN – MONDAY 23 OCTOBER BPND

Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope are in a vast natural park and fully protected. Accompanied by a local ecologist, Uschi Pond, we take the eastern coast to the park, enjoying a walk to discover the extensive fynbos and wildlife. Rock hyrax, zebra, ostrich and bontebok may be seen and a multitude of seabirds. Return on the dramatic western coast. On our final evening we enjoy dinner in the hotel restaurant.

DAY EIGHT – TUESDAY 24 OCTOBER BPND

Depart Stellenbosch (with luggage) across the mountains to the Worcester Desert Botanic Gardens to discover Karoo vegetation. Continue along Route 62 to Montagu and enjoy a picnic lunch. At the entrance of Sanbona, we transfer to Land Cruiser vehicles to drive to our lodge.Late afternoon game drive on the reserve to experience the rich variety of game and wilderness. After a sundowner we return to the lodge for dinner.

DAY NINE – WEDNESDAY 25 OCTOBER BLD

Early morning game drive returning for breakfast and time to relax. Possibility of seeing elephants, a pride of lions, giraffe, springbok, kudu and the white rhinos, re-introduced after well over a century to this vast conservation reserve. Late afternoon drive in the amazing Little Karoo fynbos to the dam where hippos can be seen. Dinner in the lodge.

DAY TEN – THURSDAY 26 OCTOBER BLD

Early morning we discover on a nature walk both fynbos plants endemic to the Little Karoo and the ancient rock art of the indigenous San people. Return for lunch and time to relax. Afternoon game drive with a sundowner before enjoying dinner together.

DAY ELEVEN – FRIDAY 27 OCTOBER BD

Depart by Land Cruiser to the reserve entrance, transferring to our minibus. We traverse the spectacular Tradouws Pass in the Langeberge mountains and on through vast cereal farmland during the harvest season. Chance to see blue cranes and francolin. Arrive in the afternoon at Grootbos Reserve on the coast above Gansbaai. We meet our specialist guide for an introductory walk in the fynbos. Sundowner on the terrace overlooking Walker Bay before enjoying dinner together.

DAY TWELVE – SATURDAY 28 OCTOBER BLD

After breakfast we drive into the hills with our guide to discover the profuse coastal fynbos, and perhaps some springbok and baboons. After lunch we go down to the coast, hopefully to spot the Southern Right whales just off the cliffs. Time to relax or walk in the milkwood forest before dinner.

DAY THIRTEEN – SUNDAY 29 OCTOBER BPND

We depart in the morning (with luggage) to visit the Harold Porter Botanic Gardens. We then take the scenic coastal road to Cape Town airport for the return overnight flight.

DAY FOURTEEN – MONDAY 30 OCTOBER B

Arrival in the early morning at London Heathrow airport.



Map of South Africa



Tour Costs

£4,950 per person sharing Single supplement £980

Included:

All flights and land transport.
Accommodation in hotel/lodges.
Sundowner drinks on reserves.
All National Park entrance fees, garden entrance fees and local guides.

Not included:

Drinks.
Driver’s tip, tips at hotel/lodge, game drive ranger tips.
Items of a personal nature.
Full travel insurance.


Hotels/Lodges

Rooms at the Hotel and Lodges are luxurious, with all modern conveniences ensuite, with stylish furnishings and a comfortable bed.
Oude Werf Hotel in Stellenbosch
www.oudewerfhotel.co.za
Sanbona Wildlife Conservation Reserve – Gondwana Lodge
www.sanbona.com
Grootbos Nature Reserve– Forest Lodge
www.grootbos.com

Activity Level:

Mostly level paths in gardens, some steps. Nature and game drives in Landcruisers.
Non malaria region


Notes

The climate is delightful, October being late spring. The days are warm at about 24ºC and the evenings are pleasant.
Wifi is efficient throughout the Cape. The areas we visit are safe, the local people are friendly. Afrikaans is spoken widely but everyone also speaks English very well.
B – Breakfast
L – Lunch
PN – Picnic
D – Dinner