Departs: Daily private departures based on a minimum of 2 passengers
Enjoy the best South Africa has to offer on this 12 day self-drive holiday staying in a choice of 5 star properties throughout. Discover the charm of Cape Town, go gourmet in the Cape Winelands and soak up the scenery along the Garden Route. Self-driving between areas gives you the flexibility to move at your ideal pace and stop for sightseeing detours whenever desired so that you can make the absolute most of your holiday.
Choose your own adventure as you make your way along the scenic route from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. Leap off the world’s highest commercial bungee, explore Knysna’s stunning emerald forests, swim in the sea with wild seals, visit Cango Caves or simply stretch out on sun kissed, sandy beaches – a ‘road trip that will break your Instagram! And with outdoor sports, hidden lagoons, the mountains of the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma ranges, bushland, ostrich-spotting, vibrant seaside towns and delectable local food, there is something for everyone.
Day 1 - Cape Town
On arrival at Cape Town Airport today, make your way to the Budget desk and pick up your medium-size manual hire car (Toyota Corolla or similar) with GPS rental included. Drive yourself to your hotel in Cape Town.
The Queen Victoria Hotel is the newest addition to Newmark Hotel’s portfolio, which offers a myriad of ideally located upmarket hotels, other accommodation options and restaurants. What sets this unique five-star boutique hotel apart is the attention to detail given by the creative team responsible for its development, who achieved this through their unwavering passion for awe-inspiring design. From the creative brief of ‘where classic elegance meets contemporary design’, every effort has been made to ensure that the 35-room Queen Victoria Hotel is a haven of calm, luxury and understated opulence amongst the hustle and bustle of Cape Town’s popular V&A Waterfront.
Day 2 to Day 4 - Cape Town
Three full days at leisure to explore Cape Town (B)
Day 5 - Cape Winelands
After breakfast this morning you will drive yourself approximately 1 hour to Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands. (B)
Sir Richard Branson’s South African Hotel and Vineyard is excited to uncover the delights of Franschhoek hidden gem. Having undergone an extensive refurbishment, Mont Rochelle now boasts a brand new spa, a heated pool, 22 fully renovated rooms and two completely revamped restaurants. Mont Rochelle is a stunning 22-bedroom hotel and vineyard just under an hour’s drive from Cape Town in the town of Franschhoek in South Africa. Franschhoek is a traditional vineyard town in the Western Cape Province famously known as the French Corner of the Cape and is considered to be the food and wine capital of South Africa.
Day 6 - Cape Winelands
Full day at leisure to enjoy the food, wine and scenery of the Cape Winelands (B)
Day 7 - Oudtshoorn
After breakfast this morning, travel to Swellendam, the third oldest settlement in South Africa. The town was founded by the Dutch East India Company in 1745 and is situated between Cape Town and George. Continue to Oudtshoorn for overnight. Your drive today will take approximately five hours along the scenic Route 62. (B)
Rosenhof Country House is situated on the outskirts of Oudtshoorn enroute to the Cango Caves and Ostrich Farms. The carefully renovated homestead (Circa 1852), with its yellowwood beams and ceilings and a tasteful collection of antique furniture, exudes an aura of authenticity. Rosenhof Country House has 12 rooms and 2 executive suites, catering for a maximum of 28 guests.
Day 8 - Knysna
Today drive approximately two hours to Knysna, known as the ‘Gem of the Garden Route’. Nestled between the impressive Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean, the Knysna estuary is protected from the sea by the monolithic sandstone ‘Heads’. (B)
This exceptional boutique hotel in Knysna is situated on the picturesque Thesen Island, within the scenic Knysna estuary, a location which is considered by many to be one of the most the prestigious on the Garden Route. The Turbine Hotel and Spa was an ambitious project which transformed an old power station into a unique 5 star boutique Knysna hotel. All the old machinery which was used in this power station has been loving restored and forms an integral part of the hotels aesthetics. The hotel offers guests a choice of seventeen standard rooms, six luxury rooms, a honeymoon suite, and a self-catering Water Club apartment. Each of the rooms provide luxurious amenities such as a flat screen TV, WI-FI, a fully-stocked mini bar, and a tea and coffee station.
Day 9 to Day 10 - Knysna
Two full days at leisure to enjoy all the activities on offer along the Garden Route (B)
Day 11 - Port Elizabeth
After breakfast this morning you will drive yourself approximately 3 hours to Port Elizabeth, along the wild and rocky coastline. (B)
The Radisson Blu Hotel, Port Elizabeth perfectly balances its contemporary architecture and urban interiors with spectacular Indian Ocean surroundings, offering an ideal stay for every kind of traveller. The 173 rooms and suites provide conveniences like Free high-speed, wireless Internet and treat guests to memorable sea views. Enjoy delicious dining options, including local cuisine and delicious pizza, and head to the on-site Camelot Spa and the gym for a day of rejuvenation and invigoration.
Day 12 - End of Self Drive South Africa
After breakfast you will drive to Port Elizabeth Airport where you will drop off your hire car at the Budget desk and check in your departure flight. (B)
Dates and Pricing
Prices shown are per person based on twin share. Seasonal supplements and minimum night requirement may apply. Solo traveller and extra night prices available on request. Luggage restrictions may apply. International flights not included. Price excludes entrance fees. Rental vehicle conditions apply.
Tanzania, Kenya, Victoria Falls and South Africa, absolutely AMAZING!
We booked and chose our African experience through our local travel agent. After perusing all the booklets and catalogues available on Africa, Bench International had by far the more comprehensive trips and covered exactly what we were looking for. They covered a variety of levels of accommodation, sights and tour sizes. We were looking for small group, personalised safari's staying in secure accommodation along with a self-drive garden route finish within our budget. Bench put together the most amazing 5 weeks of our lives in August/September this year, covering our total wish list and more. They then provided ALL the information possible in a travel booklet including our itinerary, country information, approximately what amount of money we would require,tipping advice etc that we used like a bible on a daily basis.
We started our trip in Arusha where we arrived at lunch time and had the afternoon to spare. Our Bench advisor 'Charles' who met at us our Hotel after being collected from the airport by our first tour guide 'Edwin', advised us not to leave the secured grounds of our accommodation. At our disappointment of being stuck in a room all afternoon (after 5 flights from Australia over the previous 2 days) Charles went over and beyond our expectations and arranged for a friend to come and collect us and take us for a 31/2 hour walk through Arusha and experience the local people and markets, then onto the local Tanzanite museum. We felt very secure in his company and had the most amazing insight into this city that would otherwise never have been available to us. The next morning 'Edwin' began our 7 day, Tanzanian part of the '12 day Highlights of East Africa' tour including Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti N/P & Lake Manyara N/P. Bench matched us perfectly with another couple of similar age and personality to make our small group tour extremely enjoyable - and found us new life long friends. Edwin had over 10 years experience as a tour guide and was extremely knowledgeable and could not do enough for us before leaving us at the Kenyan border for 'Freddie' our next very experienced tour guide. Freddie took us on to Amboseli N/P, Masai Mara Game Reserve, Lake Nakuru & Nairobi. By the time Freddie completed our Highlights of East Africa tour, we had seen ALL of the Big 5, some several times over! This included a Lioness killing a Warthog, Leopard attack on Gazelle, mating Rhino's & Lions, many Elephants and Buffalo on a daily basis - ALL at very close range. AMAZING! From here we flew to Zimbabwe for 4 days at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. We are so glad Bench offered the extra optional activities of a Helicopter flight over Victoria Falls & the Zambezi River which gives a whole different appreciation of this landscape from the sky; Elephant Back Safari and Lion encounter which gave us very personal time learning about these amazing animals and walking/riding with them through their natural environment and not in caged areas. From here we flew to Cape Town and on our own began a 12 day self-drive Garden Route trip. With a suggestion list from Bench we explored Cape Town, the Winelands and the garden route up to Port Elizabeth. Our hire car & accommodation once again was perfectly arranged to our taste and budget.
During our trip we stayed in top hotels, tented lodges and on a coffee farm. All this accommodation was immaculate, well presented and many provided 3 meals a day including a packed lunch box on the days we were on Safari drives. At no time on our tour did we feel unsecure as our guides were local people with great local knowledge. Everything went perfectly to plan with our very experienced tour guides Edwin and Freddie offering over and above what we expected. We would highly recommend Bench International to anyone and if we were ever to return to these beautiful countries would never travel with anyone else. Thank you Bench and your tour staff for a once in a lifetime most amazing holiday to Africa.
Rob & Carleen Hargreaves, Queensland