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.
Welcome to Cape Grace. Situated on a private quay between Cape Town’s bustling V&A Waterfront and the tranquil yacht marina, there is no better position from where to soak in the natural beauty of Cape Town. The elegant and warm atmosphere, evident in every fine detail, begins at the welcoming reception lounge and extends to the spacious harbour and mountain-facing rooms.
Stories of the Cape’s colourful past present themselves in the exquisite furniture, rare fabrics, intriguing artefacts and original antiques. Local paintings and sculptures lend a contemporary flair to the décor and feel, while fresh displays of Proteas that hint at the wonder of the natural botanical kingdom enrich each room.
Each one of the uniquely designed rooms have been inspired by the charm and wonder of the South African and Cape heritage. In cool hues of blue, warm shades of red and rich tones of green and gold, each of the 120 guest rooms and suites is completely unique and has its own “story” – the focal point from which the rest of the design elements flow. Deluxe amenities and personalised touches complete each guests’ comfort and enhance their experience.
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)
Franschhoek Country House & Villas, a 5 star hotel accommodation in the heart of the Franschhoek valley complimented by the well known Monneaux Restaurant and a number of guest services on offer for you to enjoy and indulge in. Situated on the outskirts of the Franschhoek Village, only 1km from the main town it is an ideal base to indulge your tastes for fine wines and world class cuisine. Guests can choose between the original and charming Franschhoek Country House or the Villas at Franschhoek Country House.
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)
Ideally situated between the coastal towns of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay in the Western Cape, Tsala is a wonderful location from which to explore the beauty the celebrated Garden Route or just to spend time relaxing at the peaceful lodge. Tucked into the forest canopy, ten luxury hide-away suites are the essence of indulgence and romance. Constructed of stone, wood and glass these beautiful tree-house suites comprise of a plush bedroom, an elegant sitting room with a fireplace and a spacious bathroom fit for royalty. Extending into the forest is a private deck and your own infinity pool providing the ultimate privacy.
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 and check-in for 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.
Once in a Lifetime
We travelled to Africa as our once in a lifetime visit to experience a cross section of Southern and Eastern Africa. As a couple travelling with a good friend on single supplement, the three of us were totally impressed with Katelyn's ability to ensure that our requested 'in country' travel itinerary was arranged perfectly. We booked our own international flights before we chose Bench Africa to complete the 'in country itinerary'. Our trip involved a mix of various tours and independent requests/arrangements all booked through Bench Africa. All of these worked perfectly, with the accommodation, meals and transport (land and air) very well coordinated by Katelyn such that there were no problems with this relatively complicated itinerary. The standard of accommodation, meals and travel exceeded our expectations. Our 5 weeks included South Africa (rail, road and air), Kenya / Tanzania (12 day Safari), Zambia/ Zimbabwe and Botswana (land and air). Whilst we paid more than what we initially thought, Katelyn expanded our horizons on what was possible with the result that we achieved more than that we wanted to achieve for this adventure. This journey was faultless, value for money and a credit to Katelyn and Bench Africa. We highly recommend Bench Africa.Henry, Sue and Jean Destination: Kenya
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