Glorious Garden Route
An extraordinarily diverse and exciting country to visit, South Africa is rightly celebrated for its wonderful climate, beautiful beaches and fascinating cultures.
The miraculous shift from apartheid state to thriving democracy has opened up the country's many attractions to a stream of overseas visitors. The transition has not been seamless, and the country's vast tourist potential remains largely unfulfilled - but for those that do make the effort to visit, South Africa rewards you with a rich diversity of experiences that will appeal to everyone.
South Africa continues to attract a wide variety of visitors: tourists on short-term visits are drawn to well established highlights such as the Kruger Park with its "Big Five" safari animals, and Cape Towns Table Mountain, one of the most beautiful vistas anywhere in the world. Sports lovers come to play golf, try rock climbing, mountain biking, bungee jumping and hike the numerous pristine nature reserves. While backpackers fall in love with the Garden Route's beauty and effortless bohemia. And of course everyone loves the golden beaches, welcoming wine farms and the great food.
This broad and wonderfully complex country is brimming with contradictions and surprising contrasts. Living side by side you'll find poverty and wealth; desert and rainforests; secluded beach and mist-shrouded mountain; and it's all populated by over thirty different cultures that are still learning to talk to one another.
The tourist infrastructure is outstanding, comparing well with European standards of comfort and efficiency. And the weakness of the Rand against major international currencies makes for a hard to beat value for money holiday. In short, South Africa has it all - a combination of everything a visitor could want, in a territory that is a true paradise on earth.
|Duration of The Tour:|
8 Nights/ 9 days
|Cost of The Package:|
BHD 985.000 Per Person
Economy class Air ticket by Emirates Airlines:Bahrain-Cape Town -x- Johannesburg-Bahrain & Economy class domestic flight
Hotel Accomodation in 4 Star hotel - 2 Nights Cape Town,1 Night Oudtshoorn,1 Night Knysna,2 Nights Plettenberg Bay,2 Nights Johannesburg
Car Rental 8 Days
Topless Bus City Tour Ticket
Meet and Greet
|Terms and Condition:|
Excludes Airline Taxes
Above package is subject to availablity
Valid untill 31st December 2013
What to and See and Do
One of South Africa's best qualities is the diversity and range of attractions on offer, though the majority of these centre on the country's fabulous natural scenery and wildlife.
Gameparks: Kruger and the private reserves - Mpumalanga
The Kruger National Park is one of South Africa's biggest domestic tourist drawcards welcoming over 600,000 annual visitors to its camps.
The park is also one of the largest in the world, measuring some 350km in length and comprising an area of over 20,000 sq km (the size of Wales). The park is home to the "big five" game animals - leopard, lion, elephant, buffalo and rhino - and seeing any of these magnificent creatures in the wild is an experience you'll remember for the rest of your life.
This enormous park offers an authentic bushveld experience with most visitors driving themselves around the park in their own vehicles. Ranger-supervised bush walks are also an option and eco-educational trips are increasingly popular. Rustic but comfortable overnight camps are dotted throughout the park, each with their own character. Accommodation is typically in circular rondavels, a design known to insulate against the heat of the bushveld summers. You will need to book far in advance to secure the more popular accommodation.
While the Kruger Park is accessible to the ordinary man's budget, the same cannot be said of the game lodges surrounding the Kruger. These private parks offer luxurious accommodation, five-star cuisine and a dedicated ranger who will take you on night drives and off-road excursions. If you can afford prices from ZAR2000 per night, the experience will not disappoint.
Cape Winelands - Western Cape
Against a backdrop of snow-brushed mountains, the rolling vineyards of South Africa's wine-producing heartland welcome visitors for summer picnics, wine-tasting and gourmet food.
Some of the most popular estates are Spier, which hosts concerts on summer evenings, Boschendal and Simonsberg. Most estates are clustered around the historic towns of Franschoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch, each full of charm and well worth a visit en route to your wine tasting. These are some of the oldest settlements in South Africa, founded by French Huguenots in the 17th century. Fleeing religious persecution, these settlers brought with them live vines and vintner skills from France.
As the wine estates are at least an hour's drive from Cape Town, you will need to either rent a car or take an organised tour from the city - the latter option preferred by those wishing to engage in extensive tasting.
Wine can be bought tax-free at good prices and then shipped to your home address.
Table Mountain - Western Cape
So called because of its 3km wide flat top, Table Mountain and its outlying peak of Lion's Head tower over Cape Town. Often covered by the "tablecloth" of white cloud that rolls over in late afternoon, Table Mountain is South Africa's most recognisable symbol and the pre-eminent guardian of the Mother City.
The views from atop the 1100m peak are spectacular, with golden beached Camps Bay to your left, Lions Head and Robben Island ahead of you, and the winelands calling from the distant right. For the energetic, superb lung-searing hiking and climbing routes lead to the top; for everyone else the rotating cable-car (ZAR120 return) does the journey in five minutes.
The recently upgraded restaurant, bar and café facilities around the cable car station are top-quality and there is no better place in the world to watch a sunset. On the eastern side of the mountain, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden ranks as among the most beautiful in the world. Devoted to indigenous plants, the garden hosts sunset concerts in summer and is interspersed with open-air sculptures.
Drakensberg - Kwa-Zulu Natal
The Drakensberg National Park is a paradise mountain wilderness unparalleled in Africa. The Zulu name for the mountains, Ukhahlamba, means "Barrier of Spears", and it is an apt description of the jagged peaks of this 200km-long world heritage site. It is a land of cliffs and rocky outcrops, and flower-strewn lush valleys - breathtaking stuff.
Hiking trails wend their way up to the elevated ridges and plateaux, but you don't have to have a head for heights to enjoy the 'Berg; driving trails and bridleways allow you to explore the park with minimum effort. Nearby Tugela is home to the world's second-highest waterfall, which plunges 850m over a precipice to the churning waters below, a must-see.
Tranquil resorts, championship-quality golf courses, and various Zulu cultural sites offer variety among this wealth of nature. The park is home to over 35,000 primordial rock paintings, a unique testament to the lives and experiences of South Africa's original ancestors (the San).
Get there by car, turning off the N3 to Durban at Estcourt, or catch a bus or train to Estcourt where hotels can pick you up.
Sun City - Northern Province
The liberalisation of the gaming laws have spread gambling throughout the country, but until a few years ago Sun City was the only world-class gambling and entertainment venue accessible to South Africans.
Its very presence is somewhat miraculous: in place of arid, dry soil there are now two lush Gary Player designed golf-courses, a theme park boasting the world's first pool wave generator, and some wonderfully kitsch pseudo-African architecture.
The Lost City development (the largest thermal resort in the world) has greatly enhanced the prestige of this, South Africa's very own Las Vegas.
Nearby Pilanesberg Game Reserve is one of South Africa's most popular reserves, with a huge variety of flora and fauna, including the Big Five, and some lovely rest camps and accommodation facilities.
Durban - Kwa-Zulu Natal
Durban, capital of Kwa-Zulu Natal and the country's prime seaside resort city, has a wonderful Indian character blended with a lazy surfer's chic that are manifest in surprising ways.
Mahatma Gandhi spent some time here as a young man - his experiences of racial injustice proved influential in his later life as liberator of colonial India. Durban enjoys a distinctive tropical climate quite different to the dryness of the Highveld or the Mediterranean ambience of the coastal Cape. The beaches are fringed by lush vegetation and the city surrounded by acres of sugar cane.
The city itself is well set up for tourists and has been for years the prime holiday venue for locals. Currently reinventing its identity, Durban is an interesting city to visit, with good beaches and manifold attractions in the vicinity, including the Drakensberg, the Battlefields and numerous gameparks.
Soweto - Gauteng
A tour to Soweto is an excellent and highly rated way to meet, greet and eat in the very welcoming company of township residents. For many visitors this is the surprise highlight of a visit to Johannesburg.
Soweto, an acronym for South Western Townships, was created in the 1930s as a repository for migrant workers and black people relocated from inner city areas designated for white occupation during the establishment of apartheid. It was the focus of much of the unrest that finally brought an end to the system of racial segregation, and is now a symbol of the new hopes for the future evident throughout the country.
Popular attractions include a visit to a shebeen (a local speakeasy), a traditional healer (sangoma), and tours past the former residences of Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela, and Desmond Tutu. The nightlife is good here, particularly the local jazz played in venues which evoke the gritty bonhomie of Dixieland New Orleans.
Garden Route - Western Cape
The celebrated Garden Route winds its 200km coastal way from Storms River Mouth in the north to Mossel Bay in the south. It passes, in turn, through the spectacular gorge of Storms River, verdant Tsitsikamma forest, the blissful retirement enclave of Nature's Valley, the holiday idyll of Plettenberg Bay, and, finally, gentrified Knysna - last stop on the way to Mossel Bay.
The drive is well serviced with restaurants and farm stalls that cry out for you to break your journey, and is best done over a few days. There are ample opportunities for hiking, canoeing and camping along the way, and with numerous small fishing villages to explore, this is certainly a part of the country that richly rewards a flexible agenda.
Between Knysna and George a road leads north to Oudtshoorn, promoted as the ostrich capital of the world. Thrill seeking tourists can even ride one of the bizarre animals, a unique and hair-raising experience. The nearby Cango Caves is one of South Africa's top tourist draws and has been since 1780 when a local farmer discovered the expansive complex of calcite columns and otherworldly rock formations. The complete complex extends several kilometres into the mountains, although only a portion is open to casual tourists. More extensive guided tours can be undertaken by the daring - and reasonably fit. Cango Cave Tours from: ZAR48, adults; ZAR26, children. Tel: +27 (0)44-272-7410.
Robben Island - Western Cape
Nelson Mandela was jailed in this political prison for 27 years before emerging to lead his country into an inclusive democracy. The institutional brutality of the prison environment is in striking counterpoint to the manifest humanity and compassion fostered in Mandela during his incarceration.
Recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, the island was first used as a prison in the 15th century and later as a 19th-century leper colony and mental asylum. Today a tour of the island takes in Mandela's cell and the labour mines, and is led by original inmates who share their stories and answer questions.
You reach the island by leaving the Cape Town Waterfront by ferry. Tickets are available at the pier. Tel: +27 (0)21-419-1300.
Whale watching - Cape Province
The Cape offers some of the world's best land venues for watching whales. The shamelessly exhibitionistic southern right whales frolic and play only metres from the shore, allowing onlookers unforgettable views. You are literally close enough to see the barnacles on their backs.
Two popular venues are Hermanus, near Cape Town and known for the eccentric rams-horn toting whale crier, and De Hoop Nature Reserve, about 50km further up the East Coast. De Hoop is well worth a few nights' stay and is an excellent cycling venue; book by calling Tel: +27 (0)28-425 5020.
Kimberley - Northern Cape
Although somewhat off the beaten track for most visitors, Kimberley is a historically rich town in the middle of nowhere that for a brief time in the 1880s felt like the centre of the world.
The original tiny village was transformed when a local lad accidentally discovered an 83.5 carat diamond on a small hill. Within two months there were 30,000 men digging in an area measuring just 300m by 200m. Their combined labours created the largest man-dug hole in the world at 215m deep.
Nearly 3,000kg of diamonds were mined here; all of them obtained by hand. Today the town is an open-air museum to South Africa's very own "Wild West". Kimberley's progenitor, the 83.5 carat "Star of Africa", is today part of the Crown Jewels of Great Britain.