Location: South Africa Duration: 12 nights Price: From £3,400 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including all flights in economy class, accommodation, some meals, car hire and taxes

A Cape exploration with a difference, this off-the-beaten-track holiday loops around the Western Cape, starting in Cape Town and curving north through the vibrant fields and vineyards of Swartland. Keeping the action rolling, you can hike up purple-tinted mountains, kayak along bird-speckled lakes and fish the peaceful rivers for trout before exploring the ancient rock art in the Cederberg Mountains and staying on a working farm for an authentic slice of South African life. You’ll finish in the quiet coastal corner of Paternoster, where you can tuck into delicious seafood, spot some of the country’s incredible sea life and kayak along the gorgeous blue bays.

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Perfect for

Jaded travellers or those who have visited before but who want to explore a totally different side to South Africa.

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Famous for its erupting spring flowers, Namaqualand and Cederberg are absolutely stunning after the rains in early and late August. To see the desert become a carpet of wild flowers, consider adding a few nights to travel north to explore Namaqua National Park.

Recommended for...
Couples
Cultural Immersion
Food & Wine
Landscapes & Scenery

CAPE TOWN – 3 nights

The most popular destination in South Africa, Cape Town is a wonderful concentration of trendy streets and chic hotels and offers an extensive list of iconic highlights. However, on this off the beaten track holiday, we suggest ditching the guide book with its ‘must-dos’ and getting interactive with the lesser-known aspects of the Cape. Swap shark diving for seal snorkelling, make your own blend rather than going on a traditional wine tasting and instead of walking through the streets, head underground to explore the tunnels beneath the great city. Skip the crowds at the V&A Waterfront to weave between the empty avenues in the colourful Bo Kaap region – to get here just follow the wafts of Malay spices and home cooking. Nestled between the city centre and Table Mountain, the Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel will be your stylish base for three nights, so if do want to nip up to the flat plateau for the superb views or head to the harbour for some shopping, this can also be easily arranged.

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HERMON -2 nights

As easy hour drive from Cape Town, your next stop is Hermon, a vibrant tapestry of wheat fields, olive groves and vineyards. With the purple mountains in the background and surrounded by a 10,000 acre nature reserve, a stay at the Bartholomeus Klip is full quiet afternoons, unexpected delights and leisurely activities. Within the estate, you can go game viewing in an open-top Land Rover – there isn’t much big game but the animals, including Cape mountain zebra, tortoises and rare blue cranes, are unique and often endangered. If you are the active type, you can hike the Elandskloof Mountains, cycle along the neat rows of vegetables and fruit or canoe and windsurf on the nearby lake. Anglers can go fly-fishing for trout and twitchers will have a field day spotting the 160 species of birds (best experienced in January and February), while everyone will love the sumptuous French food whipped up by chef Louise Gillett – simply delicious.

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CEDERBERG – 3 nights

Driving north from Hermon, you’ll cut across the Western Cape to the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains. A vast wilderness home to more than 130 ancient Bushman rock art sites, as well as dramatic rock formations and incredible spring flowers, the Cederberg is ideal for taking part in some rock climbing, hiking and mountain biking. Venturing into regions well off the tourist radar, you can discover the area’s namesake, the increasingly rare cedar tree, follow ancient walking trails through pristine mountain fynbos or head to the Clanwilliam and Bulshoek dams for afternoons of water-skiing, tubing, kayaking and jet-skiing. You’ll be staying at the Bushmans Kloof for three nights, where you can make use of its pampering spa and heated outdoor swimming pool and tuck into its authentic South African cuisine and extensive wine list. Once you are sufficiently relaxed and fed, behold the orange rocks, caused by iron oxide, that punctuate the landscape to see one of the richest concentrations of rock art in the world. With so many to choose from, we’d suggest starting at the Stadsaal Caves, a string of open caves with beautiful paintings of elephants, depicting an era when these gentle giants roamed the area.

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VELDDRIF – 2 nights

Leaving the Cederberg Mountains and driving along the coast, you’ll head to Velddrif and stay at the Kersefontein Farm, which is part family settlement and working farm and part luxury guesthouse. Julian Melck, owner and host, will be your guide for your two nights as he takes you through the ingrained history of the farm, which goes back 200 years and 8 generations. Being a working farm, you’ll encounter cattle, horses and sheep on your walks around the property and if you are the curious type, you can watch the daily chores carried out or even get involved by milking the cows or herding the sheep. Alternatively, you can boat down the Berg River, spotting the diverse birdlife as you float by, such as flamingos, pelicans, malachite kingfishers and southern red bishops. At the end of the day, head to the communal dining table for a feast sourced straight from the farm.

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PATERNOSTER – 2 nights

A small and quaint fishing village, Paternoster is a favourite weekend getaway for Capetonians. It is famous for its abundance of crayfish and lobster, traditional fisherman’s architecture dominated by white-washed cottages and for its endless white, sandy beaches. The name Paternoster, meaning ‘Our Father’, is thought to originate from the prayers of Portuguese sailors who were often ship-wrecked in the area. The Cape Columbine lighthouse was subsequently built and now remains the last manually controlled lighthouse in South Africa. Walk up to the lighthouse and have a splendid picnic overlooking the Atlantic, keeping an eye out for whales, dolphins, seals and penguins, before exploring the nature reserve either by hiking on the headland trails or by kayaking along the shore. In the afternoons, go crayfishing or deep sea fishing with the locals before returning to your romantic abode, the Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel, to have your haul cooked in the traditional South African style, on a braai beneath the stars.

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Good time to travel (but some limitations)

Travel is possible (but it’s not the best time)

Travel is not recommended

  • Jan
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