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Your advice on our Itinerary please?

England
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Your advice on our Itinerary please?

Hello,

I am hoping someone can advise us how to get the most from our time travelling the Garden Route please?

My husband and I will be travelling the route between 15th April - 22nd April this year, finishing with 3 nights in Cape Town from 22nd April.

We arrive at Port Elizabeth Airport around tea time on 15th April having spent 3 nights at a safari lodge and our overnight stays are as follows:

15th - 16th April (2 nights) Addo - Elephant House

17th - 18th (2 nights) Tsala Treetop Lodge - On N2 between Kynsna and Plettenberg Bay

19th (1 night) Mardouw Country House (half way between Swellendam and Ashton on R60)

20th - 21st (2 nights) Le Quartier Francais, Franschhoek

22nd - 24th (3 nights) Cape Town

We would be so grateful if you could please advise us on the following:

- How to make the most of our time

- The routes we should follow between our accomodation

- What we should see and do

- The 'not to be missed' list

Thanking you for your help with this matter..........

Edited: 18 March 2010, 14:52
Weybridge
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1. Re: Your advice on our Itinerary please?

Firstly, what a great itinerary !

Elephant House you will LOVE – it is a great place. I would definitely prebook a guided game drive with their own ranger, however, into Addo for one of your days there – the game drives go out in the morning about 9 am and again at 2 pm, and last about 4 hours. Otherwise, you can take your own car into Addo, there is a per person Conservation Levy of R130 per adult to enter the Park, and you don’t need a 4WD – I have driven around Addo in a normal 2WD VW Polo ... its a bit daunting if you do come across a herd of elephants in the road, as suddenly you do feel VERY small – but don’t worry about it, the elephants are far too busy eating to worry about your car !!

To get to Tsala (again, LOVELY place .. probably in my Top 10 of most favourite places in SA !!), drive back to PE and just follow the N2 towards the Garden Route, and Tsala is off to the left just after Plettenberg Bay. En-route, maybe stop for a bit at Tsitsikamma National Park – if you leave The Elephant House immediately after an early breakfast, you can get to Tsitsikamma in a couple of hours – it really is a beautiful National Park, and there are short walks you can do for a few hours, before then spending about another 45 minutes to an hour in the car to get to Tsala.

During your full day at Tsala (if you are able to drag yourself away from the lovely room !!), then I would say take a look at the Elephant Sanctuary in the morning, where you get to walk and feed the elephants, and ride them too if you want, and maybe go into Knysna for lunch at the Waterfront, followed by an afternoon catamaran cruise on the lagoon out to the Heads.

It will take about 4 hours to drive from Knysna to Mardouw, so you might just want to relax this afternoon !

In Franschhoek, I would recommend taking a guided wine tour on your full day – in this way, you can relax and not have to worry about driving yourselves PLUS if you go with a reputable company, the guide will be able to fully explain the different wines to you, and you will get so much more out of your visits to the wineries in this way. I am sure someone can recommend a company to approach.

Cape Town ...well, the list really is endless.

Top tip ... if you wake up on your first morning in Cape Town and the weather is beautiful - go up Table Mountain immediately! This really is one of the main highlights of Cape Town, and even if it is a beautiful morning sometimes in the afternoon a cloud can descend on the top of the mountain - it looks like a white tablecloth laying over the top of the mountain - and visibility is practically zero!

If you drive up there, you will probably have to park on the road and walk up to the cable car, and normally there will be a guy directing you into a space. He will probably hand you a card or a slip of paper and it is customary to tip him when you return - the 'going' rate is about R5-R10 per hour.

A city tour on an open top bus this afternoon is a good way to orientate yourself to the City. The buses are known as Topless Busses, and can be caught at the back of the Clock Tower Precinct at the V&A Waterfront. They work on the 'hop-on, hop-off' system, and the tour lasts about 2 hours if you stay on the bus the whole time.

The Waterfront is THE tourist area of Cape Town – with a lively, buzzy atmosphere, and a plethora of shops, restaurants and bars. A harbour sunset cruise is highly recommended – in particular the yacht with the large brown sail (the “Spirit of Victoria”) and the yacht with the Becks sail – I think this is still in operation ??

I would also say, if you have time, do a day trip down to the Cape Peninsula. I would say set off towards Simon’s Town (your guest house / hotel will be able to give you directions), and stop at Boulders Beach on the way to visit the penguin colony there. There are 2 main attractions here: the main viewing platforms allow you get right into the middle of the breeding colony where you can observe and photograph the penguins at close quarters (there are literally hundreds of penguins here); the second beach is smaller and lesser known, but you can actually get onto the sand and into the sea here and there are usually a few dozen penguins mixing with the bathers. The second beach is to the right of the ticket booth right by the main car park. From Simon’s Town you would then drive down to Cape Point, situated in the Good Hope Nature Reserve. You can either walk up to the lighthouse, or take the tram - either way, its wonderfully scenic. There is a restaurant here where you can have lunch, or you could bring a packed lunch and have a picnic on one of the many beaches. On the way back, I would recommend driving via Hout Bay and Chapmans Peak drive - a truly stunning coastal road.

Finally, for that classic ‘postcard’ shot of Table Mountain over the bay, drive out to Bloubergstrand Beach – its about 20 minutes from the Waterfront - but be warned it is incredibly windy (hence why there are so many kite surfers there!).

Hope this helps a bit !!

Belfast
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2. Re: Your advice on our Itinerary please?

crikey TB, almost Vdc like response !

Totally agree with you as far as Knysna. However the day to Mardouw is far too relaxing ! Do not drive the boring direct route along the N2. Instead leave as early as you can reasonably manage (let's say 10.00 am - well that's the best wifey can manage) and turn off at George over the magnificent Outeniqua Pass to Oudtshoorn where you could usefully have a break for coffee, wander round the old mansions and maybe buy an ostrich leather item or two (much cheaper than CT), then along the Route 62 as far as Barrydale (late lunch at either the Country Pumpkin or Clarke's of the Karoo) then turn south through the lovely Tradouws Pass to Swellendam and on to Mardouw - this would add a couple of hours but certainly worth it

Edited: 18 March 2010, 16:42
Tempe, Arizona
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for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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3. Re: Your advice on our Itinerary please?

The Tradouw Pass is truly spectacular. Slow going, but worth it. And, unlike other passes we mention, this one doesn't take you very high - it runs through a gorge that nature carved through the mountains. Pack a lunch and plan to stop along the way.

Edited: 18 March 2010, 17:35
England
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4. Re: Your advice on our Itinerary please?

Thanks to each of you for your help with this one..........I really appreciate it. In fact, you've really got me fired up - I can't wait.

Do you have any suggestions for a good wine tour which include tastings

(also what it is likely to cost)?

My husband would never forgive me if we didn't include this in our itinerary!!

Thanks once again........you've been brilliant!

Leeds, United...
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for Western Cape, Cape Town Central
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5. Re: Your advice on our Itinerary please?

I would say drive yourself around the winelands. You will get lots of great advise on here for a wine route, concentrating just on Franschhoek or maybe going to Stellenbosch. It is perfectable to spit - toss a coin to see who is the driver! You can then buy a couple of bottles on your route and enjoy them when you get back to your accommodation.

The other thing with doing it yourself, is that you can pick the wineries that most interest you - white / red / sparkling / scenery / lunch venue / more personal wineries that aren't on the tour bus route....

Lots of the wineries have great restaurants attached for a nice spot of lunch or a picnic.

I know 2 or 3 DE's that would definitely help you out here - lol

Lisa

England
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6. Re: Your advice on our Itinerary please?

Thanks for that Lisa - I shall put up a new posting asking for recommendations (I expect that I will be the driver as my husband loves his wine!!!)

7. Re: Your advice on our Itinerary please?

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