Malaria-free Madikwe Big 5 Safari & Garden Route Tour

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Malaria-free (North West Province) Big 5 Safari & Garden Route Tour

8 days ; 7 nights

 

Exhilarating Bush and Safari experiences in search of the Big 5of the animal kingdom on the Madikwe Game Reserve, situated in a malaria-free ancient land in the North West Province bordering Botswana and lying on the edges of the Kalahari desert. Experience dawn breaking over the African bush, the call of the endangered and elusive Wild Dog and romantic settings on wooden decks overlooking the vast plains. This tour includes 5 days exploring the exotic natural beauty and wonders of the famous Garden Routein effortless exploring along the picturesque Southern Cape Coastline. The Garden Route, perennially green, has a mild Mediterranean Maritime climate and lies on a narrow belt between the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains and the Southern Coast of Africa and includes a blend of charming towns, dramatic & scenic landscapes, tall trees, deep gorges, shimmering lakes, majestic mountain ranges, golden beaches and lush indigenous forests.

 

Day 1 : ARRIVAL MADIKWE GAME RESERVE

  • Travel Options
  • Via Air from Johannesburg or
  • Via Scenic drive from Johannesburg
  • Arrive on the 75000 hectare Game Reserve with its large diverse mammal population as a result of Operation Phoenix, one of the largest relocation programmes of its kind. More than 350 bird species have been recorded and the reserve is home to many raptors.

Overnight Lodge Options:
(Elegant Luxury 4-star Lodges or
Exquisite Premium 4 and 5-star Ultimate-in-Luxury Lodges)

Day 2 & 3: MALARIA-FREE SAFARI in the EASTERN CAPE

  • Game excursions on this semi-arid landscape in search of the game. Explore the vast plains of open woodlands and grasslands, dissected by the rugged Rant van Tweedepoort, and bordered in the south by the Dwarsberg Mountains. The area is dotted with huge rocky hills or inselbergs. Aside from being home to the Big 5, we look out for giraffe, impala, oryx, springbok, red hartebeest, spotted and brown hyena. Look out for the two strong packs of African Wild Dog
  • Experiences may include : watching African sunsets and dawn breaking over African bush, sitting on a wooden deck overlooking the African plains, sundowners, evening game drives

Overnight Lodge Options:
(Elegant Luxury 4-star Lodges or
Exquisite Premium 4 and 5-star Ultimate-in-Luxury Lodges)

Day 4 : MADIKWE TO GARDEN ROUTE VIA JOHANNESBURG

  • Final Game drive, bidding farewell to Madikwe
  • Travel Options
  • Via Air to Johannesburg ; Flight to George Airport
  • Via Scenic drive to Johannesburg ; Fight to George Airport
  • Arrive In George and depart for Knysna
  • Arrive in beautiful Knysna, Jewel of the Garden Route, situated on the Knysna estuary, surrounded by lush ever-green forests.
  • The Knysna Heads is one of the most striking geological features along the entire southern African coastline.

Overnight Venue : Guest House / Hotel in Knysna
(Classic Modest Luxury 3 and 4-star Value for Money Options or
Exquisite Premium 4 and 5-star Ultimate-in-Luxury Options)

Day 5 : GARDEN ROUTE : KNYSNA, PLETTENBERG BAY AND TSITSIKAMMA

  • Plettenberg Bay with its wonderful ambience and weather and its beautiful golden beaches
  • When open again : Groot River and Bloukrans Passes through the indigenous forests descending deep into the gorges following the old wagon trails
  • Tsitsikamma Coastal Park with its startling beauty is located at the foot of the Tsitsikamma Range and is cut by rivers that have carved deep ravines into the ancient forests with its centuries-old trees such as Yellowwood, Stinkwood, Hard Pear, Ironwood and Kamassi.
  • Optional excursions for the day include:
  • Leisurely stroll in the Tsitsikamma Coastal Park to the Suspension Bridge at the mouth of the Storms River
  • Tree-top Canopy Tours in the Tsitsikamma Forest
  • Boat-based Whale Watching (mostly seasonal July to November) and Dolphin Watching in Plettenberg Bay
  • Tsitsikamma Coastal Park: Boat trip to view the otherwise inaccessible Storms River Gorge.
  • Woodcutters Trail at Storms River in the Tsitsikamma Forest: Journey down the old Storms River Pass, and experience the indigenous forest from the comfort of a specially-designed vehicle.
  • Guided River Ferries and Boat cruises
  • Forest and Beach hikes in the Tsitsikamma Forest
  • Enjoy the Golden beaches
  • Bungi Jumping at Bloukrans Bridge
  • Oyster Tasting at Knysna, oyster Capital of South Africa.
  • Snorkelling and Scuba diving at Storms River in Tsitsikamma Coastal Park
  • Knysna Elephant Sanctuary – opportunity to interact with the six tame African Elephants : touch and feed ; elephant-back riding and “walking with Elephants”Knysna Elephant Sanctuary – opportunity to interact with the six tame African Elephants : touch and feed ; elephant-back riding and “walking with Elephants”
  • Monkeyland, the world’s first free roaming multi-specie primate sanctuary
  • Birds of Eden, the Garden Route’s very own world class free flight bird sanctuary

Overnight Venue : Guest House / Hotel in Knysna
(Classic Modest or Elegant Luxury 3 and 4-star Value for Money Options or
Exquisite Premium 4 and 5-star Ultimate-in-Luxury Options)

Day 6: GARDEN ROUTE : KNYSNA & OUDTSHOORN

  • Featherbed Eco-excursion in Knysna : A boat trip on the Knysna Lagoon to the Featherbed Nature Reserve followed by a buffet lunch ; then a drive in a Unimog up to the top of the Western Head and an easy hike down the head with spectacular views over the Knysna Lagoon and the Indian Ocean
  • Breathtaking Outeniqua Mountains – lush green carpet of indigenous Fynbos (Fine Leaf Bush), the smallest of the six plant kingdoms in the world
  • Cango Caves with its chambers with magnificent limestone formations
  • Optional : Guided tour on the Cango Ostrich Ranch with the opportunity for close interaction with the ostriches

Overnight Venue : Guest House / Hotel in Oudtshoorn
(Classic Modest Luxury 3 and 4-star Value for Money Options or
Exquisite Premium 4 and 5-star Ultimate-in-Luxury Options)

Day 7 : OVERBERG : CAPE AGULHAS AND ARNISTON

  • Via Tradouw Pass (the Pass of the Women), Barrydale and Calitzdorp (the port Capital of South Africa)
  • Through Swellendam, an 18th century frontier town
  • We have now entered the Overberg Region with its rolling farmlands, wheat fields and stretching along the African South Coast
  • We then head for Cape Agulhas, southernmost tip of Africa, the official meeting place of the two oceans (Atlantic and Indian)
  • Agulhas National Park, which has more than 8500 species of flowering plants with breeding sites of rare birds such as the African black oystercatcher.
  • Visit the Cape Agulhas lighthouse, the second oldest working lighthouse in South Africa – erected in 1848. The lighthouse provides a panoramic view of where the two oceans meet, ships pass and Southern Right whales play in spring and early summer.
  • Arrive in the sleepy little coastal town of Arniston with its azure sea, cobalt sky and peace and quiet; where the practices of generations of fishermen quietly continue without interruption.
  • Leisure time on Arniston Beach or exploring the magnificent limestone cave which can be accessed at low tide.

Overnight Venue : Elegant Luxury Guest House in Cape Agulhas or Hotel in Arniston

Day 8 : ARNISTON, HERMANUS & CLARENCE DRIVE

  • Travel along the Whale Coast (Seasonal : Spot whales along the journey – from July to November)
  • Hermanus, one of the top holiday villages in South Africa during summertime with options :
    • Seasonal (July to November) : Whale Watching – Hermanus is considered to be the “Whale Capital of the world”. Hermanus provides the best land-based whale watching spot in the world and the intelligent graceful Southern Right Whales, as large as 10 elephants, can be seen up to 20 metres from the rocky shores and cliff paths.
    • Wine Tasting in Walker Bay
  • Return to Cape Town via scenic Clarence Drive, considered one of the top 10 scenic drives in the world. It hugs the coastline and its magnificent sea cliffs on the one side and is snug against the majestic mountain slopes on the other. This road travels via the coastal villages of Gordon’s Bay, Rooi Els, Kleinmond and Betty’s Bay.
  • Optional : At Betty’s Bay we visit Stoney Point with it’s Jackass penguins (Jackass penguins, these days known as the African Penguin, the most Northern of all penguin species in the world)
  • Arrive back in the “Mother City” (Cape Town)

Additional Options to personalize your tour and enhance your Garden Route experience:

  • Extend your experience by adding an additional day at Sun City close to Madikwe Game Reserve
  • Add the best of Cape Town to your tour

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