On Foot Through the Cape Floral Kingdoms

Cape Town & Around, Garden Route & Little Karoo, Western & Northern Cape

Duration: 10 nights

Price: From $3,250 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including accommodation, most meals, private transfers, experiences as stated and taxes

Evolving over a millennia to be able to flourish in desert-like conditions with poor soils and often little rains, South Africa’s fynbos, or natural shrubland, is remarkable. Decorating the coastal plains and mountainous trails of the Western and Eastern Capes, the fynbos of the Cape Floristic Region (also known as the Cape Floral Kingdom) is recognised for containing some of the richest plant biodiversity in the world. You’ll explore the UNESCO Heritage Sites over the course of 10 days, starting in the thriving capital gardens of Cape Town’s Table Mountain National Park and the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. You’ll hike for three days along the Garden Route, coming across rare flowers, incredible landscapes and stunning natural features, before folding into the Cederberg foothills to watch the ground spring up with a profusion of colourful wildflowers.
Perfect forA front row seat for watching the spring flowers erupt – also for nature lovers, active families and those who enjoy countryside walks in the sun.
In the knowIf you can spare a few more nights, consider visiting the De Hoop Nature Reserve for its well off-the-beaten-track atmosphere, 1,500 plant species and herds of Cape mountain zebra, eland, and bontebok.

Best for

  • Eco-tourism
  • Educational
  • Landscapes & Scenery
  • Repeat

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Itinerary details


3 nightsCAPE TOWN

Arriving into Cape Town, you’ll be taken to your hotel the boutique Sea Five, which is set over a garden redolent with mandarin, lemon, lavender and rosemary bushes, just 300 metres from the glamorous beach and divine restaurants of Camps Bay. Enjoy your first day by the pool, soaking in the African warmth and the stunning views of the towering mountains, before gearing up for energetic mornings exploring the city and afternoon walks in the parks. Within its 22,000 hectares, Table Mountain National Park has more plant species than the whole of the British Isles or New Zealand. You’ll be taken on a walking tour of Table Mountain and venture to the very top (via cable car if you wish) to get a real sense of the plant diversity before descending the eastern slopes towards the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Living up to its title as the most beautiful gardens in Africa, you’ll be able to spot the national flower in the Protea Garden, breathe in familiar and unfamiliar smells in the Fragrance Garden and learn about the medicinal properties of plants in the Medicinal Garden, all the while enjoying splendid views of the surrounding peaks. The bright red flowers usually attract spectacular butterflies but if you miss them, head to Butterfly World in the Winelands to see exotically coloured wings set amongst the tropical foliage.
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Heading south along the Garden Route, your next three days will be spent walking the Fynbos Trail, a quiet walk through the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom. Rich in beautiful landscapes, you’ll follow the 26km trail walking through hidden pockets of indigenous forest and past quiet dams and waterfalls of the Grootbos Nature Reserve. Wake up restful from a night at the De Kelders Guesthouse, feasting on the hearty breakfasts on the patio before lacing up your hiking boots and setting off. Meandering through coastal strandveld and into the rare Steynsbos Milkwood forest, you’ll be able to spot more than 800 fynbos species, trees that are hundreds of years old and over 34 species of bird.  You’ll stay the night at the very comfortable Fynbos Retreat before you start your second day of hiking, this time travelling through valleys, over bridges and boardwalks and under ancient tree canopies to a waterfall, where you can cool down with a natural shower. A steep climb takes you over the limestone hills of the Agulhas Plain and into the Flower Valley, where locals harvest the wild fynbos to make bouquets for export.  After you last night at Bohdi Kaya Retreat, the trail ends with a short walk to Grootbos Garden Lodge, where you can celebrate the finale with a leisurely lunch overlooking the magnificent Walker Bay.
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An eco-paradise nestled within an ancient wildwood forest, the Grootbos is your next stop, where you can continue discovering the lush wilderness or mix it up by going whale-watching, horse riding, mountain biking and even cage diving. If your feet are a bit tired from all the walking, dip them into the Atlantic Ocean as you wander along the endless sandy shores of Walker Bay or let them rest as your watch the birds flit by from the comfort of the pool’s sun loungers. You can climb into a 4x4 for a flower safari or drive to Klipgat Cave to look through its rock ‘windows’ and see the Stone Age artefacts left behind by early humans.
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Cutting behind the Cape, you’ll be taken north to the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains, which forms part of the Cape Floral region. Here you can explore the mountain fynbos, including the laural protea, the red disa, the medicinal rooibos (famous now for a tea), and the rare snow protea. The rangers at your hotel, the Bushmans Kloof, can tell you about the region’s 130 sites of rock art and take you on game drives to spot the local wildlife, such as porcupines, honey badgers and the Cape clawless otter. We recommend having a treatment at the spa, such as the ‘Cedeberg “Soul”ulation’, a signature massage with fynbos oils, a rooibos milk bath foot treatment and a face and scalp massage performed in the Riverside Gazebo. If your visit coincides with one of the natural wonders of the world, the annual wildflower displays of Namaqualand, then make sure you set some time aside to walk the fields filled with flowers in their thousands, in every varying colour and size.
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