Tour South Africa Gardens & Safaris Tour
October 9th – 19th, 2021
Hope you can join me on this trip – a trip that will amaze you and leave you with truly unforgettable memories! Those of you who have traveled with me before know that every tour is special, unique and one of a kind. This tour is no exception and it is the last tour I will be doing to South Africa. This is a tour that will take you from Johannesburg to Cape Town and each place we visit will leave you joyful and happily anticipating the next. The splendor of the scenery along the way will take your breath away. The safaris we experience will leave you feeling humbled and amazed, the food you eat will tickle your taste buds and the gardens…they are all inspirational and so worthy of visiting. You will love meeting those entrusted with keeping these priceless horticultural treasures available for us to visit and appreciate. Most are private and we will also enjoy some wine tastings, craft shopping and Afternoon Tea at the beautiful Cape Grace Hotel.
Now …. peruse the itinerary below and then fill out that registration form – you sure don’t want to miss this tour!
***Please Note that you arrive into Johannesburg and depart from Cape Town and also note that the SPA Suites at Kapama are in very short supply. The sooner you book the better.
Please click on each day to bring up the itinerary for that day
Saturday, October 9th, 2021 - Arrival into Johannesburg and transfer to your hotel
Upon arrival at the airport, you are met and taken to your hotel for rest and relaxation until tomorrow morning. Make use of this time to get caught up on sleep. If you are feeling good then out the door and down the street a couple of blocks is a great mall to walk around in. There are places to eat here as well.
Southern Sun Rosebank Hotel – Standard RoomView
Premium cotton bedding, superior comfort beds, in-room climate-control, elegant bathrooms with big showers, free WiFi and flat-screen DStv ensure that you feel-at-home and well taken care of.
Sunday, October 10th - Private guided visits to Houghton Garden and Beechwood Garden – Welcome Lunch
We start off our tour with two of the most gorgeous private gardens… Houghton is private and for your eyes only… You will fall in love with it… and in the meantime, here is an article you can read from a past tour guest…
Beechwood. You will love, love, love it. This garden is not open that often and once inside you will see why it is so special. This classic Johannesburg garden was laid out in 1945 by the legendary landscape architect, Joane Pym and features magnificent trees including a colossal Water Oak believed to be one of the largest trees in Johannesburg. Christopher and Susan Greig acquired the 3.5-acre garden some 12 years ago and have worked extensively on redesigning and landscaping this botanical sanctuary. The homestead was designed by Steffen Ahrends for the late Rudy Frankel of Tiger Oats in a romantic Flemish country style with a cedar shingle roof. The Greigs have created a rainforest, a water garden comprising six ponds and a bog, a colonnade, a formal rose garden, a lotus garden and a sunken vegetable garden that will truly take your breath away.
Return to Hotel
Breakfast and Lunch included with dinner on own.
Monday, October 11th - Johannesburg to Mpumalanga
Breakfast then drive to Hazyview with craft and shopping in White River. Our hotel is located in a lovely spot, right next door to the restaurant where we will have dinner this evening and also next door to a lovely little shopping complex full of unique shops to visit. Past guests have loved the variety here and always seem to find something to cherish.
Dinner at Magnolia Restaurant, https://www.casterbridgehollow.co.za/magnolia-restaurant/ The open design of the building permits patrons to merge with nature, allowing the celebrated Lowveld weather and sweet smelling garden to heighten the senses for the meal to come.
Set Among the Sweet Mango Trees of the Original Casterbridge Farm. Experience the tranquillity and charm of the Lowveld at Casterbridge Hollow Boutique Hotel in White River. ‘Out of Africa’ style meets contemporary African chic at this White River accommodation to create an oasis for you. All rooms have balconies overlooking the pool and leafy, manicured gardens. The rooms feature ceiling fans, heating, air-conditioners, flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, a telephone and top quality coffee machines. A mini bar fridge, laptop safe, hairdryers and international plug sockets ensure convenience. https://www.casterbridgehollow.co.za/
Breakfast and Dinner with Lunch on own
Tuesday, October 12th - Mpumalanga to Kapama River Lodge in Kruger National Park
On our way to the lodge we will make stops at God’s Window and Bourke’s Luck Potholes. We will arrive at the Lodge, enjoy a late lunch then do our first game drive. You will spend two glorious nights here in fabulous Spa Suites! Each spacious suite at Kapama River Lodge features a terrace with uninterrupted views into the leafy-green Big 5 game reserve. It will be hard to leave your room but you have game drives to enjoy. You will never forget this experience. The big five are here – lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard and a lot more … shhh … get your cameras ready…
Kapama River Lodge – SPA Suites – Spa Suites are very limited
Tucked away in the privacy of the russet bush willow trees surrounding the African spa, these suites feature magnificent floor-to-ceiling glass doors and frameless windows that offer expansive views of the reserve – even from your bathroom.
For those looking to find their zen, the spa suites come highly recommended. Each suite is equipped with en-suite bathrooms, air conditioning, coffee and tea-making facilities, a minibar, as well as a lock-up safe and international plugs.
What to bring https://www.kapama.com/what-to-bring/
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included
Wednesday, October 13th - Kapama River Lodge
Morning and afternoon Game Drives with leisure time to enjoy the pool, the spa or the facilities. The northern Drakensberg mountain range provides a majestic backdrop to the largest private game lodge in the Greater Kruger National Park region. Kapama River Lodge is situated within Kapama Game Reserve, and presents the perfect blend of luxurious safari accommodation.
The day starts with an early wake-up call between 5 am. Tea, coffee and rusks are enjoyed together before heading out at first light.
While seeing big game is always exhilarating, there are many other smaller species that are also captivating, and birding enthusiasts will be delighted at the approximately 350 species of birds recorded on the reserve. Halfway through the game drive, there’s a stop for hot drinks and snacks, before returning to the lodge at around 9 am for a full breakfast. Throughout the day, it’s likely you will see wildlife around the lodge – Nyala antelope and Vervet monkeys are frequent visitors, though seeing some of the Big Five is also not uncommon. I have often seen giraffe foraging for food too.
At around 3:30 pm, everyone gathers for a decadent high tea, before heading out with your ranger and tracker for the afternoon game drive through the reserve. En route, you’ll stop for a sundowner drink (soft drinks and water are free) and will have a chance to stretch your legs as you watch the sun set over the distant peaks of the Drakensberg mountains.
As darkness falls, the nocturnal animals of the bush come out. Our skilled tracker will scan the landscape to let us know what he sees. A variety of completely different species can be seen on the night drive back to the lodge. Arrival back at the lodge is usually around 7 pm, allowing time to freshen up before enjoying a sumptuous dinner.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included.
Thursday, October 14th - Kapama to Cape Town via flight
Early morning Game Drive (dependent on flight time) then breakfast and departure to Hoedspruit Airport for flight to Cape Town where we are met and taken to dinner before being transferred to our hotel.
Protea Hotel Cape Town Cape Castle – Standard Room
Past guests have appreciated having a little kitchenette where they could make a cup of tea or store a bottle of wine along with snacks to enjoy in the evenings. You will have a microwave and fridge as well. Just down the street are stores where you can find food and drink to take back to your room. If you want to venture to the V & A Mall, it is a lovely 20 minute walk from the hotel. There you will find plenty of taxis if you don’t want to walk back. There is also free wifi here.
Breakfast and Dinner Included with Lunch on own.
Friday, October 15th - Guided visits to Stellenberg Gardens and Cellars-Hohenort Gardens with High Tea at Cellars
Stellenberg Gardens – for a very special private guided tour. Among the internationally acclaimed gardens, Sandy Ovenstone’s Stellenberg Gardens in Kenilworth is most definitely on the map. Moreover, it was showcased by international gardening author and presenter Monty Don in his 2008 BBC television series, ‘Around the World in 80 Gardens’. One of the oldest properties in Cape Town, it has been called home by several prominent families over the years. Fortunately, despite changes of ownership, the property managed to escape the ‘Victorianization’ many other homes in the region underwent and retains its classic 18th century Cape Dutch feel. While the inside of the house is off-limits to visitors, you will see how lovely it is from the outside and the property and gardens complete this perfection. It is divided into different gardens, each with their own unique characteristics: a white garden, a walled garden, a formal medieval garden, an herb garden, and so much more including some incredible hedges! http://stellenberggardens.co.za/
An article you might like to read from Janet, a past tour guest…
Cellars Hohenort Gardens, dating back to 1693, in the beautiful Constantia Valley… you will be royally impressed with our guided visit… and to top it off we have arranged High Tea here…how posh! The gardens at The Cellars-Hohenort are acknowledged as one of the finest hotel gardens internationally and has been voted by Garden Design, a top American magazine, as one of the top 30 hotel gardens in the world. It was in these very gardens that Mr Fisher, a former owner of the Cellars, hybridized the rose “Chris Barnard”, named after the famous heart surgeon. You will love the rose garden and the ducks that waddle around. It was so sad to hear that in January of 2015 the owner Liz McGrath had passed away but rest assured she left this hotel in very good hands. This is a wonderfully special visit full of history, oozing charm and subtle elegance… and the food is awesome.
Breakfast and High Tea Included with dinner on own
Saturday, October 16th - Day trip to Hermanus & guided tour of Old Nectar Gardens
We take a road trip today – to Hermanus. Hermanus (originally called Hermanuspietersfontein, but shortened as the name was far too long for the postal service), is a town with 80,400 inhabitants on the southern coast of the Western Cape province of South Africa. What a wonderful little village and what makes it spectacular are the Southern Right whales that you can see off the shores. Huge water spouts can be seen up and down the coastline and there is plenty of room to walk along and catch one or ten of them doing this. This village has some great shopping and some great architecture too! Various art/food/craft markets are held in and around Hermanus every weekend. In the center of town is the Lemm’s Corner Market where you can buy anything from clothes to art and food.
While in Hermanus you may walk along the oceanside to view the right whales off in the distance, walk around the market and have time to enjoy a quick lunch before we head to Old Nectar for our guided visit.
Old Nectar & Una van der Spuy
Did you know there is a rose called ‘Una van der Spuy’?
You can see it in Una van der Spuy’s gardens at Old Nectar. It was a surprise gift to Una, cultivated by the renowned, Ludwig Tachner, founder of Ludwigs Roses. Ludwig hybridised this new rose in 1998. It combines the old and the new; upright stems producing large delicate pink blooms and an old-fashioned scent.
The land around Old Nectar, then encompassing most of the Jonkershoek Valley, was granted to two freed slaves; Jan and Marquard van Ceylon (from Ceylon, now Sri Lanka) in 1692. It was given the name ‘Old Nectar’ by Kenneth and Una van der Spuy, who, in their later years, referred to themselves as ‘the Old Nectarines’. In 1941 Old Nectar became the family home of Ken and Una. They have been the longest owners in the life of this property. At that time it was one of only six farms in the Jonkershoek Valley outside Stellenbosch. Una became well known through the Old Nectar Nurseries and her gardens, but even more so through her writing – she wrote and published 15 books. Azaleas were Una’s favourite plants. However, a few days before her sudden death just four days short of her centenary, she declared that when she returns to Earth it will be in the form of a Magnolia tree. Today we sense Una’s presence in her gardens when we see her superb Magnolia trees in full bloom late in winter.
Una became well known through the Old Nectar Nurseries and her gardens, but even more so through her writing – she wrote and published 15 books.
In 2004, aged 92, Una damaged her spine in a fall during an early-morning walk. During her recuperation she started using her newly acquired digital camera and digital processing techniques, she amassed thousands of photographs of her gardens.
Deciding that these needed to be shared, she wrote the first of her final trilogy, ‘Old Nectar, a garden for all seasons’, published in November 2009, fifty six years after her first book ‘Gardening in Southern Africa, with Una having turned 95. This is a beautifully illustrated book and a delight to read. Then followed a revision of her garden planning book under the new title ‘How to Design Your Garden’, published in February 2011.
The last of Una’s writings; ‘My favourite plants for the garden’ needs to be on the bookshelf of every gardener, professional and amateur alike. It is the distillation of Una’s 70+ years of practical gardening wisdom. Una completed the last of the revisions less than a week before her sudden death on July 16 2012, four days before her hundredth birthday. It is wonderfully illustrated, much of the photography coming from Una’s camera. This book will serve the world of gardeners for at least as long as her first book has and it will be a gardening classic, both for reference as for the sheer joy of reading. It was published in October 2012.
The steep setting of Old Nectar, in a tranquil valley in the Jonkershoek Mountains on the edge of Stellenbosch, would have been a challenge to the most experienced gardener. But when Una van der Spuy and her husband Kenneth bought the rundown portion of a once larger wine farm in 1941, she didn’t know her cabbages from her carnations, and the garden contained not much more than some magnificent old oak trees….This is a true gem and we are very pleased to be able to share this garden with you….
Breakfast Included with lunch and dinner on own
Sunday, October 17th - Private Garden Visits of Vergelegen Gardens with Wine Tasting & Babylonstoren with Lunch
Private tour of Vergelegen Gardens – Vergelegen has been a gardener’s paradise since the van der Stel era in the 1700’s and today 17 exquisitely themed gardens are on display for you to enjoy. Not only a farmer, the founder of Vergelegen, Willem Adriaan van der Stel, was also a botanist, a forester and a horticulturist. He wrote “The African Gardeners’ and Agriculturists Calendar’ of which much is still relevant to this day. The oldest oak tree in South Africa (300 years), the ancient White Mulberry tree (1700’s) and of course the five camphor trees that were planted in the 1700’s gracing the front of the Homestead all bear testimony to his great horticultural talent. These gardens are just unbelievable…and the trees…you just have to see them. We will also enjoy a wine tasting here.
Babylonstoren is one of the best preserved werfs (farm yards) in the Cape Dutch tradition. Not only the manor house from 1777 but pioneer structures all the way back to the founding of the farm in 1690. The Koornhuis (for storing wheat and hay) and the old cellar are exceptionally fine. An ornate fowl house, pigeon loft, leaning bell tower and historic gates embellish a traditional courtyard surrounded by a low, whitewashed wall. The Babylonstoren garden is at the heart of the farm. It was inspired by the Company Gardens of the Cape, where for centuries ships would replenish with sweet water, vegetables and fruit at the halfway station between Europe and Asia. It also hales back to the mythical garden of Babylon. This truly is a garden full of magic…8 acres filled with beds of veggies, orchards full of fruit and a heart for healthy food as you will find out with our guided tour. Every one of over 350 varieties of plants in the garden is edible and it is grown as biologically as they can and tended by 20 full time gardeners. The garden is divided into fifteen clusters spanning vegetable areas, berries, bees, indigenous plants, ducks and chickens and includes a prickly pear maze. Gravity feeds water into waterways from a stream into the garden as it was done for 300 years. You are indeed in for a treat! We will enjoy our lunch here as well.
Breakfast, Lunch, Wine Tasting Included with dinner on own
Monday, October 18th - Cape Town – Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch and Afternoon Tea at Cape Grace
Our first stop today is a high one … Table Mountain … what a view. ‘The proclamation of this new national park will be a South African ‘gift to the Earth’… Nelson Mandela. Table Mountain is part of a World Heritage Site and home to a unique yet endangered plant diversity known as fynbos.
(Please note that the visit to Table Mountain is weather dependent – we have plenty of days in Cape Town so will go on the best day according to our guide) http://www.tablemountain.net/
Then on to one of the stunning gardens you will ever see, that of the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden on the slopes of Table mountain, was the first botanical garden ever to be included in a World Heritage Site. In 2004 the Cape Floristic Region, including Kirstenbosch, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The beautiful Kirstenbosch gardens cover an area of 528 hectares with 36 hectares of cultivated garden. The gardens are a celebration of South African flora – showcasing only indigenous South African plants. Fynbos, proteas, cycads and rolling lawns are intermingled with streams and ponds and well-laid out pathways. Our private guided tour will just give you a taste of what delights surround you and envelope you as you become one with the garden. Time for a bit of shopping too!
Afterwards we leave for an exquisite finale to our time in South Africa….Our Farewell Afternoon Tea at the Cape Grace. Tucked away in the marina behind the V&A Waterfront, this is one of Cape Town’s most delightful tea spots. Everything from classic cucumber finger sandwiches to smoked salmon and avo mousse bites to savoury and sweet scones, florentines, petit fours, macaroons and the most delightful chocolate mousse and granadilla concoction. In short: an amazing spread of tea delights and a lovely way to end our tour together.
Breakfast and Afternoon Tea Included with dinner on own
Tuesday, October 19th - Our day of Departure – Transfer to Airport
Note: if you require pre or post tour nights, please let me know so we can organize and let you know the cost.
South Africa Gardens & Safaris Tour
Tour Dates: October 9th – 19th, 2021
Land only 83657 ZAR per person sharing
Single Supplement 20245 ZAR (for those wanting their own room)
PRICES ARE QUOTED IN ZAR (South African Rand) to reflect the currency of the country. If considering the tour please check the exchange rates to determine what the cost is in your currency. Due to exchange rate volatility, we only convert to Canadian dollars at time of final payment at the prevailing exchange rates at that time. Your final payment will be in Canadian Dollars.
Note: Minimum of 10 guests must be registered for this tour to run, so please do not book your air until you are notified that we have reached this.
Tour is subject to changes in itinerary but not tour dates