Best of the West Self-Drive
Is there a better combination imaginable than beaches, big game and lots of Blanc (Sauvignon that is)? On this twelve day road trip, find yourself falling in love with the diversity of the Western Cape with stops in Cape Town, Paternoster, Bushman's Kloof Wilderness Reserve and the Winelands.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Watch the sunset from the top of Table Mountain.
- Spot zebra in Bushman's Kloof's nature reserve.
- Sip your fill of fine wines on a tour of Franschhoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch.
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Day 1: Cape Town
Welcome to South Africa! After your journey, meet your transfer driver at arrivals and happily have your bags whisked away. The drive into town from the airport can be less than half an hour so you'll be at your hotel and checked in before you know it.
We recommend easing into your first day by heading to the beach in Camps Bay or Clifton to soak up some sun as you laze on the soft white sand and acclimatise. When you start to get peckish, the uber trendy, palm fringed Camps Bay is just around the corner, so enjoy a seafood lunch and your first glass of crisp South African Sauvignon.
Day 2: Cape Point & The Peninsula
Today is a busy one, so get up in plenty of time for a hearty breakfast. Your guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel to begin your tour along the Atlantic Seaboard and through various seaside suburbs, all the while with the Twelve Apostles mountain range towering over you.
Bypassing Camps Bay the route hugs the winding shoreline before extending up and over Suikerbossie pass and dropping down into the Hout Bay valley. In this historic fishing town you will have the opportunity to take an optional boat ride to Seal Island, or continue directly over the famed Chapman's Peak Drive as it winds slowly through the lazy suburb of Noordhoek and moves on to the gates of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Your tour highlight is at the most south-west point of Africa, Cape Point. This magnificent landform is around 18 miles in length and as such, hosts a wide array of differing scenery, flora and fauna. At one end, thanks to its location in the Cape Floral Region, you will find some of the richest plant life in the world, along with a selection of coves, bays and valleys. At the other, rugged cliffs and a lighthouse provide optimum ocean viewing opportunities. When you tire of exploring, stop for a spot of lunch and then hop back in the car to visit the African Penguin breeding colony at Boulders Beach. From there it's back to the city - with a few scenic stops along the way - for a late evening dinner.
Day 3: More Cape Town
After breakfast we've organised for you to go and visit some of the townships surrounding Cape Town; in particular visiting a number of social development programmes that are being implemented here.
With an emphasis on authentic and illuminating experiences for visitors, the guides ensure that the tours are educational and respectful to the people who live and work in the townships. Importantly, a proportion of the fee for this tour goes toward uThando, the charity funding the development projects. After the tour the afternoon is yours to explore, rest or sunbathe as you like. Whatever you do, make sure you savour your last full day in this beautiful city.
Day 4: Journey to Paternoster
This morning you'll be picked up to take an early morning helicopter flight over Robben Island. Take in views of the island and across the peninsula - this is THE way to see Cape Town, and a helicopter ride is like no other flying experience you've had.
By lunchtime you'll be dropped back to your hotel for a bite to eat. After lunch your hire car will be delivered to your hotel and you'll be able to hit the road, headed for Paternoster.
Day 5: Paternoster
Enjoy a full day in the tranquil fishing village-come-town of Paternoster.
Wander between traditional thatched and white washed cottages and soak up the relaxed atmosphere before heading down to the beach. Spend the best part of your day in the sun, on this wide stretch of white sand or overlooking it from your hotel pool. Later in the day, freshen up and head into the centre for a spot of boutique trinket shopping, a sundowner and a delicious dinner.
Day 6: Bushman’s Kloof Wilderness Reserve
Start today with a long lie in and a very leisurely breakfast at your hotel in Paternoster. Then pack up the car and begin the two and a half hour drive north east to Bushman's Kloof lodge, in the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains.
Once you arrive, check in and spend the afternoon and evening enjoying the luxurious lodge and its four swimming pools, and the incredible scenery from your private terrace.
Days 7-8: Bushman’s Kloof Wilderness Reserve
Over the next two days at Bushman's Kloof you'll be spoilt for choice of activities. The major attraction here is of course the setting, so whatever else you do, make sure you take a nature drive or walk into the reserve where you'll want to keep a keen eye out for zebras, bat-eared foxes, baboon, aardwolf and aardvark, among others.
When you're not out and about admiring the wildlife, spend your time relaxing at Bushman's Kloof. The couples spa treatment room is fantastic, as are the pool choices - one heated and three unheated. Dinners should all be eaten al fresco to make the most of the starry night sky, but whether you opt to stay in the restaurant or venture to a private spot, is totally up to you.
Day 9: Journey to the Winelands
Though you're sure to be sad to say goodbye to the beautiful Bushman's Kloof, it's time to get back on the road and head back down south.
The journey should take around three hours and will eventually bring you into the heart of the Winelands. Since you'll be skirting around the edges of Cederberg Wilderness and Mountain Areas and Winterhoek Mountain Catchment Area there are a number of scenic places along the way to stop and stretch your legs. Remember, sometimes half the fun is getting there and you're in no rush.
Day 10: Wine Tour
Enjoy a tailor-made tasting tour of the Cape Winelands with a local wine expert today. This day is yours to tailor and craft as you choose, so if you find a particularly good winery feel free to tell your driver you want to stay there until further notice. Although make sure you don't forget to leave some time to enjoy a long lunch at one of the top estates or restaurants on route.
With Franschhoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch all on your doorstep you're spoilt for choice when it comes to top quality wineries here. While the Franschhoek area is well known for its history, it has also become something of a hotspot for food and wine connoisseurs in recent years, so couple your sauvignon with a soft cheese or your merlot with a milky chocolate and you've got the ultimate tasting experience. Paarl is the lesser known area and yet is growing in popularity since it produced the world first white Pinotage, and then there's Stellenbosch, the most famous and well-established wine destination in all of South Africa. It's entirely up to you which areas you explore, but your guide will always be on hand to give the very best recommendations and ensure you go home with a souvenir bottle or three to remember your day.
Day 11: Relax
After all the wine tasting yesterday we don't blame you if you feel a little fragile this morning, and thankfully you have a restful day ahead to recover. Aren't we good to you?!
Plus, considering your hotel is in one of the most beautiful areas of South Africa, there isn't a shortage of things to keep you busy if you do want to be. Perhaps go for a morning cycle around the nearby farms and then cool off in the pool for the afternoon. If you're simply craving a final day of relaxation then the spa is the perfect choice - let the tranquil natural surroundings send you off to sleep during a long massage.
Day 12: Heading Home
Unfortunately today marks your last day in South Africa and time to head back to Cape Town for your flight.
The drive is around 40 minutes but make sure you leave plenty of time to drop the car off and check in. Then, with one last glass of wine in departures, its home time.
Isabel, Katie, Matt and Charlotte C are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.