Superb South African Travel Itinerary

Day 1
On arrival at Cape Town International Airport you will be met by your Tour Guide who will transfer you in a private luxury vehicle to your hotel, enjoying a short orientation tour of the city en-route.  Ellerman House is the spectacular landmark in the premier Cape Town suburb of Bantry Bay.  This superb 5 star “luxury home from home” boutique hotel is the quintessential location for discerning guests accustomed to the finer pleasures of life.  The true splendor of Ellerman House rests in faithful preservation of its historical architecture, combined with discreet hospitality and efficient service reflecting the ambience experienced only in the comfort and familiarity of home.  Unsurpassed, sweeping views from Bantry Bay across the Atlantic Ocean to Robben Island are a privileged pleasure from the private balconies and the unrivalled lawned terraces surrounding the large, heated swimming pool.

Day 2
After breakfast this morning you will be met by your Tour Guide, and depart on a full day tour of the Cape Peninsula, one of the world’s most scenic areas.  Travel along the Atlantic Seaboard, stopping at a Llandudno look out point before continuing to Hout Bay, a quaint village and fishing harbour with magnificent mountain views and beach.  Enjoy a cruise to Seal Island (weather permitting).  Continue on through Chapman’s Peak, one of the world’s most beautiful coastal drives, to Cape Point and the Good Hope Nature Reserve, which has magnificent fynbos vegetation, birdlife, endemic antelope species and zebra, historic lighthouses and shipwrecks.  After a delicious seafood lunch, you will depart with your Tour Guide to historic Simon’s Town, a village with charming Victorian architecture, a naval base and a large penguin colony at the beautiful Boulders Beach.  A visit to the well-known Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens will end off this unforgettable day.

Day 3
This morning you will be met at your hotel after a leisurely breakfast and depart on a tour of the Cape Winelands.  The first stop is Spier – a 300 year old wine farm near Stellenbosch, home to one of South Africa’s oldest wine cellars. Taste and compare the best of South Africa’s wines under one roof at the Spier Wine Centre.  The journey continues into Stellenbosch.  Founded in 1679, Stellenbosch is the second oldest town in South Africa, renowned for its historical Cape Dutch buildings, university and wines.  It is also known as “town of oaks” because of its many oak trees.  Stellenbosch lies in a fertile valley, surrounded by majestic “blue” mountains, vineyards and orchards.  Cross over Helshoogte Pass into Franschhoek. In 1688 some 200 French Huguenots settled in this valley and had a profound influence on Cape culture.  They brought their expertise in agriculture and wine making.  Lunch can be enjoyed in the valley, at one of the country’s best restaurants.  In the afternoon, a short drive to Paarl.  Paarl is named after the huge granite rock that towers above it.  According to the first settlers, the rock shines like a pearl in the sun.  Around the centre of town, the diverse architecture, including Cape Dutch, Victorian, Georgian and Art Deco can be seen.  Enjoy one last wine and cheese tasting, before returning to your hotel in the late afternoon.

Day 4
This morning after breakfast you will be met by your Tour Guide and depart on your journey into the “gem” of South Africa – the famous Garden Route.  Travel over the Klein Drakenstein mountains to Worcester, a lush fruit and wine growing region.  Visit Kleinplasie, a living open air museum that depicts the lifestyle and farming methods of the early pioneers.  Travel along the Breede River Valley, where you can enjoy wonderful scenery changing from lush orchards to dramatic mountain views.  Continue towards the Little Karoo, passing through Barrydale and Calitzdorp, well known for the top quality Port it produces.  You will arrive in Oudtshoorn in the early afternoon.  Enjoy an exquisite dinner served in the elegant dining room famous for its ostrich fare and fine wine.

Day 5
This morning, after breakfast, you will enjoy a morning tour of the Cango Caves at Oudtshoorn and visit the Cango Cheetah and Crocodile Ranch before lunch at Highgate Ostrich Farm.  Travel over the Outeniqua Pass, named by the Koi people meaning ‘land of honey’ via George to South Africa’s oyster capital, Knysna.  Late afternoon arrival at Phantom Forest, a private nature reserve situated outside Knysna.  Enjoy an unforgettable dinner that is a unique celebration of African spirit.

Day 6
After breakfast this morning, drive to Plettenberg Bay for an ocean safari (seafari) to view seals, dolphins and whales (in season).  In Plettenberg Bay they have an unusual launch method known as the dolly trailer system, where you remain on the boat while it is pushed into the sea.  Once you are on board, your skipper and tour guide provide you with invaluable information about the marine life and the environment.  You then take a short drive to Knysna, where you board the ferry to Featherbed Nature Reserve and a seafood lunch at the famed Knysna Heads.  The spectacular Knysna heads are two giant sandstone cliffs, which mark the Knysna River’s entrance.  Featherbed Nature Reserve, a unique 150 ha private Nature Reserve, encompasses the whole of the Western Head of Knysna and is one of South Africa’s Natural Heritage Sites.  It is home to two of the Garden Route’s icons, namely the Knysna Loerie and the Blue Duiker, one of Africa’s smallest antelope species.  Enjoy lunch under the Milkwood Trees with the elusive, majestic and brightly coloured Knysna Loeries, before returning in the late afternoon to your lodge for a relaxing sunset and evening.

Day 7
After breakfast enjoy a visit to Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary.  This unique primate sanctuary is currently the top eco-tourism attraction on the Garden Route and for very sound and sunny reasons.  Monkeyland has captured the hearts of visitors in its efforts to rehabilitate and free previously caged primates.  The sanctuary is exceptional as it caters for several species of primates, and they are not caged.  They are free to move about the forest, and this they do most harmoniously.  The emphasis is to search for the primates, and the reward is to see the various species as they are meant to be, free and in a natural habitat.  The safaris are conducted by multi-lingual game rangers and are fun, exciting and educational.  Drive through Nature’s Valley and cross the Storms River at Storms River Bridge where photographic opportunities abound.  Travel via Port Elizabeth to the malaria free Shamwari Private Game Reserve, arriving in the late afternoon.

Day 8
Morning and afternoon game activities are on offer.  Shamwari Game Reserve is a 20 000 hectares (49000 acres) malaria free, private game reserve situated in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.  Steeped in Settler history, and dating back to the time when a multitude of game roamed wild and free, this reserve boasts five eco-systems, thus enabling the support of many forms of plant, animal and bird life.  Game viewing is carried out morning and evening on game drives, when you are driven in your open vehicle (which seats up to 6) over the rolling hills and valleys.  If you have a particular species you would like to see, please mention it to your ranger; he will be happy to merge your plans into the group.  In the early morning (if you are keen) you will leave before dawn, spending up to 3-4 hours spotting before returning to your lodge for a hearty breakfast.  The heat of the day is usually spent in the shade, playing tennis, swimming, reading and, of course, enjoying a delicious lunch.  Between 4:00 – 5:00pm, you assemble again for the evening drive.  As the animals emerge from their midday cover, you may see elephants browsing, rhino drinking at a waterhole, or perhaps the shy bushbuck motionless in the dense bushveld.  At dusk, the Land Rover stops at some panoramic spot for a sundowner and snacks.  Then, as the light fades, your ranger will plug in a powerful hand-held light.  With its help, you can sweep the veld, seeing first the eyes and then the forms of a variety of nocturnal animals.  By 8:00pm you are back at your lodge where a drink in the bar with your ranger, amid cheerful recollections of the day’s discoveries is followed either by another great meal expertly prepared by the chefs, or a barbecue next to a roaring fire.  Finally, a hot shower and a well-earned sleep.

Day 9
After an early morning game activity and bush breakfast, travel to Port Elizabeth Airport for your short direct flight to Durban.  On arrival in Durban, you will be met and transferred to your lodge and country club.  Zimbali Lodge is one of Southern Africa’s most exclusive hideaways, set within the serene confines of a coastal forest reserve on the north coast of Kwa Zulu Natal – a natural sub-tropical paradise and home to mischievous dolphins and a myriad of sea and bird life.

Day 10
Enjoy a full day at leisure.  This jewel in the crown of KwaZulu Natal’s coastline offers its guests the opportunity to relax and explore.  The lodge is a 5-Star boutique hotel and all the guest rooms offer five-star luxury accommodation, designed to complement the natural surrounding forest and to reinforce the charm of African Classical architecture.  The service emphasis is personal care and attention – Butlers are on hand to attend to the guest’s every need.  The cuisine is sublime and only the freshest ingredients are used.  The exclusive Health Spa offers a refreshing therapy of its own kind with its range of holistic treatments.  The Zimbali Country Club Golf Course is a par 72 championship course, designed by former British and South African Open Golf Champion, Tom Weiskopf.  This course is both challenging and superbly beautiful, offering world-class standards for top players and higher handicap players alike.

Day 11
Depart after a leisurely breakfast, and travel through sugar cane plantations along the Indian Ocean seaboard toward Phinda Private Game Reserve.  Enjoy a leisurely safari on the Mzinene River where late afternoon sundowners and snacks are served as the boat winds its way along the reed-lined river.  Here an abundance of wildlife and birds can be seen.  Return to your lodge, situated in the lush Maputaland region in northern KwaZulu-Natal.  Bordering the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park – a World Heritage Site – Phinda comprises 17 500 hectares (43 240 acres) of prime conservation land.  Seven distinct habitats shelter an abundance of wildlife including Africa’s Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, black and white 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.

Day 12
Phinda offers exceptional Big Five game-viewing on twice-daily game-drives, bush walks, riverboat cruises and canoeing.  Due to its proximity to the Indian Ocean, a range of Phinda Adventures are offered, including exhilarating air safaris, scuba diving, horse-riding and deep-sea fishing, allowing guests the opportunity to get face-to-face with lions in the morning and up close to a whale shark or battling sailfish after lunch.

Day 13
You will be met at your lodge after one last exciting game drive and bush breakfast and transferred to King Shaka International Airport for your flight to Johannesburg.  On arrival at OR Tambo International Airport you will be met and transferred to Sun City, the famous African Kingdom of Pleasure.

Day 14
A stay at The Palace of the Lost City promises world class hospitality and accommodation.  There is nowhere else in Sun City where you may enjoy such magnificent settings, architectural splendor and superb facilities.  The Palace lavishes its guests with luxurious surrounds and impeccable service.  From its fabulous architecture to its custom made furnishings and its richly accented decor every corner of the hotel will surprise and amaze you.  Take time to study the detail of the impressive and huge salons and public spaces and you will find a collection of paintings, sculptures, mosaics and other pieces of art, each a treasure in its own right.  The magnificence of The Palace overlooks 25 hectares of jungle, regal stairways, gardens, amphitheatres, royal baths, and the popular ‘Valley of the Waves’ theme park.

Day 15
Day at Leisure to enjoy all the activities on offer.  Resident guests at The Palace can bathe in the grand pool or stroll down to the royal baths in the Valley of the Waves, sip a cocktail at the poolside or in the gracious Tusk Bar and dine in splendour in the Crystal Court or Villa del Palazzo, where fine cuisine is a treasured art.

Day 16
Enjoy one last truly memorable South African breakfast before you will be met at your hotel and transferred to OR Tambo International Airport for your international homebound flight.  If this program tickles your fancy, just get in touch with us at Road Travel and we will arrange the best holiday for you.

David Helfgott plays at Ellerman House, Cape Town

Legendary pianist David Helfgott gave an exclusive soiree at Ellerman House, Cape Town.

An exclusive soiree at Ellerman House, Cape Town.

On Friday, the 17th of September, a legendary pianist that enjoys worldwide recognition for his remarkable musical genius gave an exclusive soiree at Ellerman House, Cape Town.

Guests enjoyed pre-dinner champagne & canapes, and after the unforgettable performance indulged in a food and wine pairing with Waterford Wines.

David Helfgott soared to international fame after the release of the Oscar award-winning film ‘Shine’, in which Geoffrey Rush gave a compassionate portrayal of the pianist.

The movie depicted key events in the early life of the concert pianist, whose career was interrupted by ill health in the 1970s before he re-established himself in the mid-1980s.

Helfgott’s truly exceptional story has inspired people across the globe.

Born in Melbourne to Polish-Jewish parents, his musical talent was obvious from an early age and he was known as a child prodigy.

He went to study at the renowned Royal College of Music in London at the age of 19.

Towards the end of his studies he suffered an unfortunate physical breakdown and had to return to Australia.

Over the years he managed to overcome his illness with the help of a friend and his wife, Gillian.

Since his remarkable comeback to the concert stage, he has been touring all over the world, giving recitals that inspire and move people from all walks of life.

Ellerman House was the perfect setting for David Helfgott to perform in.

This luxurious historic boutique hotel is the quintessential location for discerning guests accustomed to the finer pleasures of life.

Unsurpassed, sweeping views from Bantry Bay across the Atlantic Ocean to Robben Island are a privileged pleasure from the private balconies and the unrivalled terraces surrounding the large, heated swimming pool.

Ellerman House also has two of the finest collections of South African original art and vintage wines, each individually selected to enhance guests’ experience.

And to round off the most incredible evening, the exquisite dinner created by acclaimed international chefs displayed to perfection on china, silver and crystal was paired with Waterford Wines.

Waterford was established in 1998 when Jeremy and Leigh Ord acquired 120Ha of prime Stellenbosch vineyard land which is nestled between the Simonsberg and Helderberg mountain ranges.

The fountain in the Waterford courtyard is a symbol of the exuberance of the Waterford Way and the distinctive wines that are born of this land.

The varieties planted include Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Mourvedre, Barbera, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Sangiovesi.

Existing vineyards include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc which are all between 12 and 14 years old.

Pool view
Ellerman House pool view

Road Travel congratulates the Ellerman House team and David Helfgott on their successful evening.

Excellent concept, brilliantly executed. We cant wait to see what other magical surprises awaits!