Gourmet Delights Tour through South Africa

You will be met at Cape Town International Airport and transferred to the Steenberg Hotel.  Steenberg Hotel & Winery is the ultimate Cape experience.  This luxurious estate, the oldest wine farm in the Cape Peninsula, offers breathtaking scenery, a championship golf course, an exclusive restaurant, a producing wine cellar, and all the facilities of a top-class country hotel.  Your Welcome Dinner this evening is at Catharina’s Restaurant, Steenberg Hotel.  A fusion of classical cuisine amidst ageless splendor.  Experience the captivation of flavors – tempestuous, exotic & delectable.  The excellence of its award winning cuisine and the superb wine list will make your dining experience one to be long remembered.
After a leisurely breakfast this morning, you will be met at your hotel and depart on a full day tour of the Cape Peninsula.  This is a wonderful journey to the Cape of Good Hope, home of the “fairest cape in all the world.”   Along the way you will view the beautiful beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay stopping off for an optional boat cruise to see the seals in Hout Bay and then on to the spectacular Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve.  When Bartolomeu Dias first sailed past the Cape in 1488 (no doubt cursing through his teeth) he named the area the Cape of Storms.  The gale force winds that frequently blow across the peninsula were also the inspiration for the legend of the Flying Dutchman.  But it was later renamed the Cape of Good Hope, as it represented a gateway to the trade routes of the East.  You will go up to the lighthouse in the funicular and enjoy the spectacular views and this is also a photo opportunity not to be missed.  After lunch at a top restaurant in the area, you will visit the African penguins at Boulders Beach.  In 1982 two breeding pairs of African penguins (once known as Jackass penguins thanks to the braying sound they make) moved into prime beachfront estate at Boulders beach between Simon’s Town and Cape Point.  Today there are over 3 000 of these birds living here and the area is now a National Park.  Penguins can be viewed up close as they frolic in the water and waddle on land.  You’re likely to see penguin pairs strolling along the boardwalks and in the park.  And finally end the day with a stroll through the magnificently manicured Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.  Founded in 1913, Kirstenbosch lies on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain.  It consists of landscaped gardens of indigenous plants and trees, watered by the Liesbeek River, as well as natural forest that extend up the lower slopes.  Kirstenbosch is a living display featuring 4 700 of the estimated 20 000 species of indigenous South African flora, and close to 50 per cent of the Peninsula’s floral wealth.
This morning after breakfast, you will be met at your hotel and depart on a full day, escorted West Coast Tour visiting the West Coast National Park and the Mamre Mission Station.  Along the West Coast road, you will find a unique place, filled with exceptional character and breathtaking natural beauty.  The land looks dry, but hosts a range of fascinating plants, particularly the bizarre array of succulent semi-desert plants. It comes alive in spring when millions upon millions of flowers blossom to carpet the earth in myriad colors.  You will enjoy lunch at the lovely Strandloper Restaurant in Langebaan, situated on the beach.  This is an open air, casual restaurant with sand underfoot, blue skies above, and at the water’s edge, with a magnificent view of Langebaan Lagoon.  To the accompaniment of live guitar music, meals are served in individual courses extending over a three to four hour period.  The central focus is an open braai area where everything from black mussels in wine to moerkoffie, take its turn.  Traditional treats include, paella potjie rich in calamari, angel fish, grilled haarders, smoked angel fish, snoek with sweet or steamed potato, and waterblommetjie bredie.  Throughout the meal, fresh loaves are placed on a central table with lots of farm butter and homemade jams.  The meal ends with the pièce de résistance, a mound of crayfish spread across the grill.  You will be returned to your hotel in the late afternoon, with the evening at leisure.
Enjoy breakfast at leisure this morning before you will be met at your hotel for your Cape Town City Tour.  Weather permitting; you will start this awe-inspiring tour with a cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain.  You will enjoy an insightful drive through the city centre, followed by a walk through the Company Gardens, a visit to the South African Museum and the Castle of Good Hope.  The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest surviving building in South Africa.  Built between 1666 and 1679, this pentagonal fortification replaced a small clay and timber fort built by Commander Jan van Riebeeck in 1652 upon establishing a maritime replenishment station at the Cape of Good Hope for the Dutch East India Company, better known as the VOC (Verenigde Oos-Indische Compagnie).  Enjoy a homemade lunch at a little restaurant in the Bo-Kaap, the traditional Malay Quarter.  This restaurant specializes in local cuisine is a unique dining experience in authentic Cape Malay food, an exciting choice of traditional taste treats awaits you.  After lunch you will be transferred to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront where you will have some time at leisure to shop and take in the relaxing atmosphere.  Return to your hotel in the late afternoon, with the evening at your leisure.
This morning, after breakfast, you depart for the Cape Winelands area.  Wine farms in the Stellenbosch and Franschhoek areas not only produce some of the country’s finest wines, they have also opened their cellars and estates to visitors, who are treated to tastings, cellar tours and tours of the farms.  You will start your Cape Winelands Tour with a sparkling wine tasting in the beautiful Devon Valley just outside Stellenbosch.  Enjoy a walking tour through the oak lined streets of Stellenbosch before enjoying a traditional Cape cuisine lunch at a famous restaurant on the banks of the Eerste River.   After lunch you will depart for Franschhoek, French Huguenot descendants’ territory.   At the foot of the Groot Drakenstein mountains stands Boschendal, whose proud French heritage dates back to 1685. A tour through the manor house is a fascinating step back in time.  Built in 1812, it has been authentically restored and furnished to reflect the lifestyle of our cultured French Huguenot forebears.  The third wine tasting today will be at La Motte.  In 1695, a piece of land situated in a valley between the Drakenstein Mountains and Olifantshoek was granted to Hans Hattingh, a German immigrant from Speyer.  In 1709 his neighbor, French Huguenot Pierre Joubert, purchased the land and named it after the village of his birth in Provence, La Motte d’ Aigues.  Since the acquisition of La Motte by industrialist Dr. Anton Rupert in 1970, the initiative and pioneering spirit of this business leader have been evident in the establishment of a prime wine producing enterprise. But as much as there is total dedication to winemaking, La Motte shows a distinct responsibility towards uplifting it’s people, preserving what is precious and protecting what is irreplaceable.  You will enjoy a wine tasting followed by a visit to the French Huguenot Monument.  Spend the evening at leisure in Le Quartier Français.  The buildings were originally laborers’ cottages, which have since been restored but still maintain the original Provencal façade. The cottages surround pristine landscaped gardens and a large, natural pool – perfect for relaxing around while appreciating the mountain and wineland setting.
Day at leisure to enjoy the beautiful Cape Winelands.  Where there’s good wine, good food will follow.  Franschhoek is well known as a gastronomic destination, to which international and local chefs lure diners.  Eight of South Africa’s “Top 100” restaurants are in Franschhoek – the gourmet capital of the country.  Leading chefs create everything from world-class cuisine to light meals using the freshest produce of the valley, complemented by the wonderful local wines.  Linger awhile and savor the hospitality, ambience and variety of great restaurants and excellent wine estates.
Today you will be met at your hotel and transferred via Theewaterskloof to Hermanus for your last night in the Western Cape region. This coastal town, lovingly referred to as the Riviera of the South, offers the best land-based whale-watching destination in the region.  The Marine Hermanus is unique in its position, perched high atop the cliffs in one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Africa.  With its understated luxury and sophisticated décor, the hotel boasts spectacular views.  Enjoy coastal walks with exquisite views across Walker Bay, where there is nothing between you and the Antarctic, other than a few thousand miles of ocean.   Award winning Marine Cuisine, an expression of two very different styles. Seafood at the Marine is a bright new restaurant in the modern idiom, where the only sea view will be on a plate. The atmosphere – informal and busy but with the emphasis on fresh fish and great style.  The Pavilion on the other hand, with glorious views from the pretty internal courtyard through to Walker Bay is more traditional in feel.
This morning after breakfast you will be met at your hotel and transferred back to Cape Town International Airport, for your scheduled domestic flight to Durban.  On your arrival at King Shaka International Airport, you will be met and transferred to Lynton Hall.  Now in its third century and host to royalty, prime ministers, men of letters and captains of business, Lynton Hall was the once sanctuary of sugar baron Sir Frank Reynolds.  This gracious property was selected by King George V1 and his family for his recuperation in 1952, and rests at the head of Umdoni Park, one of the country’s most picturesque golf course, meandering through pristine coastal forest and spilling down to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.  The culinary creations of Lynton Hall are inspired by its proximity to the Indian Ocean and the property’s traditional connections with colonial India.  The cooking philosophy initiated by Five Star Master Chef, Richard Carstens, is expressed in an avant-garde New World style where the emphasis is on flavor, texture and individuality, each dish carrying the signature of his energy and passion.
After breakfast you will be met at your hotel and transferred to Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse for your next two nights.  Passion and dedication are the keywords in the Cleopatra kitchen.  The Chef’s specialty is sauces, a subject very close to his heart.  He has long been obsessed with reduction techniques, which allow the full intense flavor of the food to shine through.  Fresh ingredients are essential, and being able to pick from the gardens minutes before serving is a real pleasure.  For the more exotic tastes, Richard spends hours hunting down local and imported ingredients of the highest quality – flying in fresh salmon from Norway and procuring genuine Parma hams and cheeses from Italy.  In its awesome setting with splendid views of the mountains and running with crystal clear streams and waterfalls, Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse is the ultimate in peace, tranquility and solitude.  Cleopatra is tucked away in the beautiful Kamberg valley close to Giant’s Castle Nature Reserve, and all the normal mountain pursuits such as swimming, walking and hiking are available.
This morning after a delicious breakfast you will be met and transferred to Phinda Private Game Reserve.  Situated between Mkuze Game Reserve and the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park (a World Heritage Site), Phinda Private Game Reserve comprises 14 000 hectares (34 000 acres) of prime conservation land.  Seven distinct habitats shelter an abundance of wildlife including Africa’s Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo) and over 380 bird species, while the marine diversity off the nearby coast of Sodwana is said to rival the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.  Twice daily game-drives in open 4×4 game viewing vehicles, nature walks and excellent birding is on offer, as well as riverboat cruises and canoeing along the Mzinene River.  Choose which one of the exquisite luxury lodges you would like to stay at in Phinda.  Phinda’s splendid safari lodges all offer sophistication and style in pristine African bush surrounds.
Optional Phinda Adventures, at an additional cost, include coastal flights, beach excursions including snorkeling and scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, turtle viewing (season Nov/Dec/Jan), horse riding and cultural visits.  KwaZulu Natal offers an eclectic mix of cultures, natural and unspoilt scenery, pristine beaches, the splendid Indian Ocean, with its abundant sea-life, as well as good infrastructure and modern cities juxtaposed against rural settlements.  KZN (as abbreviated by the locals) is also home to the culturally rich and fascinating history of the Zulu Nation, evident in the many battlefields and historical establishments dotted around this colorful province.  Safari activities at Phinda are plentiful.  Enjoy game-drives, interpretive bush walks, canoeing on the Mzinene River, White Rhino tracking, or watch the sunrise or sunset whilst enjoying a Mzinene Riverboat Cruise – all at no extra cost.  Come face-to-face with lions and rhino before breakfast, swim with dolphins after lunch and catch a marlin before dinner, that’s the Phinda experience.  Delicious Pan-African cuisine is served to you in the dining area under hand-wrought chandeliers, on the Lodge’s exclusive deck or enjoyed in the privacy of your suite. Phinda is renowned for excellent cuisine served in adventurous bush clearings under the African night sky.
Enjoy one last exciting game drive with your experienced game ranger and tracker, have one last bush breakfast and then you will be met at your lodge and transferred to Durban.  This afternoon you will enjoy a tour through the city of Durban.  Drive along the Golden Mile, traveling along Victoria Embankment passing Vasco Da Gama clock, the Dick King statue and the Yacht Clubs.  You will have the opportunity of visiting the sugar terminal and the University of Natal.  Enjoy a walk through the Botanic Gardens with its splendid orchid house.  End of this interesting day with a visit to the Indian Market full of spices and souvenirs.  Tonight you will enjoy a five-course gourmet dinner with the Durban Fusion Cooking School, followed by an African theatre production.
After breakfast you will be met at your hotel and transferred to King Shaka International Airport, in time for your connecting homebound flight.
**End of Services**

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