Countries
South Africa
Highlights
Flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the Indian Ocean on the east, South Africa is rich in indigenous flora, exceptional gardens, stunning natural landscapes, amazing wildlife and diverse cultures.

Gardens of South Africa – Gardens, Landscapes, Wildlife and Wine with Sandy Pratten

 

Flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the Indian Ocean on the east, South Africa is rich in indigenous flora, exceptional gardens, stunning natural landscapes, amazing wildlife and diverse cultures.
Begin in vibrant Johannesburg before embarking on a journey to explore the unique flora and fauna and dramatic landscapes and cultures of this fascinating country. Enjoy an unforgettable stay at the Sabi Sands private game reserve, host to the ‘Big 5’ game, and drive along one of the world’s most remarkable coastal stretches: the famed ‘Garden Route’. Discover the unique Cape Dutch architecture, magnificent wine estates and spectacular gardens in the magnificent Cape Winelands. End in glorious Cape Town, shadowed by iconic Table Mountain and renowned for its rich history, lively cultural life and more exceptional private and botanical gardens.

 

AT A GLANCE…

• Visit a wonderful selection of private and botanical gardens including Kirstenbosch, Brenthurst, Vergelegen, Cellars-Hohenort, Babylonstoren and St Christopher
• Learn about the fascinating Cape floral kingdom, recognised as one of the world’s six Floral Kingdoms
• Drive from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town along the scenic Garden Route and Little Karoo
• Discover the unique Cape Dutch architecture, wine estates and majestic scenery of the Cape Winelands
• Encounter the ‘Big 5’ at the private Sabi Sands Game Reserve (including four game viewing drives)
• Extend your tour in style with a post-tour journey from Cape Town to Pretoria on the world’s most luxurious train, Rovos Rail

 

ITINERARY

FRI 29 OR SAT SEPTEMBER 2017 / AUSTRALIA – JOHANNESBURG
Suggested departure from Australia to Johannesburg on Qantas ex-Sydney on Saturday, 30 September (arriving same day), or on South African Airways ex-Perth departing Friday, 29 September (arriving the following morning). Renaissance Tours can assist you with your travel arrangements.

This evening, join Sandy and fellow travellers for a welcome briefing and drinks.

SUN 01 OCT / JOHANNESBURG
Begin your exploration of the complex nature of South Africa with a brief visit to Constitution Hill, where the story of South Africa’s turbulent past and its extraordinary transition to democracy is told. Then drive across the Nelson Mandela Bridge to the colourful arts precinct of Maboneng, the epicentre of Joburg’s inner-city renaissance, and Arts on Main with its artists’ studios, galleries and eateries. After lunch, continue to the fascinating and poignant Apartheid Museum, the country’s pre-eminent museum dealing with 20th century South Africa.

Return to the hotel in the late afternoon, with the remainder of the evening at leisure. (BL)

MON 02 OCT / JOHANNESBURG
After breakfast visit Brenthurst Gardens, one of South Africa’s most magnificent private gardens. Located on Parktown Ridge, the gardens are attached to Brenthurst Estate, which has been owned by the Oppenheimer family since 1904. The so-called ‘Little Brenthurst’ homestead was designed by colonial architect Sir Herbert Baker in the so-called ‘Cape Dutch’ style. The 48-acre park of woodland, formal and informal gardens has evolved over time with the help of a succession of remarkable gardeners. Since 2001 Strilli Oppenheimer has implemented numerous organic, ecologically-friendly garden practices, gradually adapting the planting to its Highveld setting, introducing indigenous grass and endemic plants.

After lunch, continue to the Garden of St Christopher, an estate that seamlessly integrates Italian garden design with contemporary English border planting. Spend time wandering through the many facets of this garden including highlights such as the classical pergola and formal parterre, as well as an oval reflection pond and azalea bowl. (BL)

TUE 03 OCT / JOHANNESBURG
Embark on a half-day guided walking tour of a selection of historic private homes and gardens in Parktown and Westcliff, two of Johannesburg’s oldest and most established suburbs and home to the former domains of the so-called ‘Randlords’ of the gold mining boom of the early 1900s. Some homesteads were designed by Sir Herbert Baker, who also designed both the Union Buildings in Pretoria and the government buildings in New Delhi. Lunch is at a hotel situated on Westcliff with sweeping views over Johannesburg’s verdant northern suburbs. The remainder of the afternoon and evening is at leisure. (BL)

WED 04 OCT / JOHANNESBURG – SABI SANDS GAME RESERVE
Transfer to Johannesburg airport for a mid-morning flight to Skukuza. (Please note: Economy class checked baggage allowance of 1 bag up to 20kg applies)

On arrival, transfer to the historic Kirkman’s Kamp, located in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, the oldest and most successful private reserve in South Africa. The reserve is located adjacent to the Kruger National Park’s unfenced south-western boundary.

Kirkman’s Kamp, built in the early 1920s, consists of 18 cottages and evokes an atmosphere of an early South African colonial Lowveld homestead. Enjoy spectacular views of the unspoiled wilderness and the Sand River. Breakfast and lunch are served on the shady verandas, and dinners in the dramatic ‘boma’ (outdoor enclosure).

In the late afternoon, depart on the first of four game drives, followed by a traditional South African dinner back at the lodge. (BLD)

THU 05 OCT / SABI SANDS GAME RESERVE
Today, enjoy an early morning game drive before returning to the lodge for breakfast. If you wish, you can walk off your breakfast on a short walk near the Camp, accompanied by your ranger, who will share his insight into the smaller animals and vegetation of the area. Lunch is served on the open-air deck with a view across the river. Indulge in afternoon tea before setting out for another game drive in the late afternoon and returning to the lodge for dinner in the boma. (BLD)

FRI 06 OCT / SABI SANDS GAME RESERVE – PORT ELIZABETH
Following an early-morning game drive and hearty breakfast, transfer to the airport for an early-afternoon flight to Port Elizabeth (transit in Johannesburg). On arrival in Port Elizabeth in the early evening, transfer to your hotel on the city’s beachfront for dinner and overnight. (BD)

SAT 07 OCT / PORT ELIZABETH – KNYSNA
Depart Port Elizabeth for a full-day drive along the famous coastal ‘Garden Route’. Lunch is at the dramatic Storms River Mouth in the Tsitsikamma National Park. Then, continue to Knysna, a picturesque historical coastal town famous for its lagoon – and oysters! Dinner is at the hotel. (BLD)

SUN 08 OCT / KNYSNA
Enjoy a leisurely day of sightseeing in and around Knysna including the dramatic Knysna Heads and lagoon, and a visit to the wonderful gardens of the Belvidere Estate on the shore of the lagoon. Comprising a historic manor, church and ‘village’, Belvidere Estate is a nature-lover’s paradise with more than 270 bird species. This evening is at leisure. (BL)

MON 09 OCT / KNYSNA – OUDTSHOORN
Drive from Knysna along the spectacular coastal road with dramatic scenery via Wilderness to George. Visit the Garden Route Botanical Garden, which plays an important role in both conservation and raising awareness about the Cape floral kingdom – one of the richest and yet one of the most threatened floral kingdoms on earth. After lunch, drive over the dramatic Outeniqua mountains to the town of Oudtshoorn in the so-called ‘Little Karoo’, once the booming capital of the world’s ostrich feather industry during Edwardian times. Check in to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (BLD)

TUE 10 OCT / OUDTSHOORN
A pre-dawn start this morning for a unique experience to observe meerkats in their natural environment before returning to the hotel for breakfast. In the late morning leave the hotel again to visit a historic ostrich farm and homestead, and later the magnificent Cango Caves, a cultural and natural landmark in South Africa. Return to the hotel in the afternoon for dinner later that evening. (BD)

WED 11 OCT / OUDTSHOORN – FRANSCHHOEK
Leave Oudtshoorn for a full-day drive along the scenic Route 62 through the Little Karoo passing through quaint country towns including Calitzdorp, Ladismith, Barrydale and Montagu. After lunch continue through dramatic mountain scenery to Franschhoek, stopping briefly at the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden for an insight into the unique vegetation of this part of the world. Arrive in the early evening in the charming village of Franschhoek, nestled in a rich and fertile valley among towering mountains. Dinner is at the hotel. (BLD)

THU 12 OCT / FRANSCHHOEK
Enjoy a full day in the magnificent Cape Winelands, starting with a tour of Franschhoek, founded in 1688 by the French Huguenots and now synonymous with South Africa’s wine industry. Continue to the glorious oak tree-lined university town of Stellenbosch, South Africa’s second oldest European settlement after Cape Town. Then visit the historical Boschendal wine estate and gardens for a wine tasting and lunch under the oak trees. The estate’s internationally-acclaimed rose garden was designed by Gwen Fagan, an authority on old gardens at the Cape, and features many of the original roses that were cultivated at the Cape and in the East Indies. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon. (BL)

FRI 13 OCT / FRANSCHHOEK
This morning we first visit the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden, a place of expansive vistas, scents and the sounds of nature, with tranquil groves, hidden paths and lush indigenous vegetation. Continue to the fascinating Babylonstoren estate. Dating back to 1692, Babylonstoren is a historic Cape Dutch farm that boasts one of the best preserved farmyards in the Cape. Its fascinating garden is divided into 15 sections that comprise fruit, vegetables, berries, bees for pollinating, indigenous plants, fragrant lawns and more. A secluded path runs along the stream where thousands of clivias flower in spring. The garden also boasts a plethora of trees of historical and botanical importance. After lunch, return to Franschhoek stopping (time permitting) at the historical farm of La Motte for a brief tour of the Pierneef art museum. Arrive at the hotel in the late afternoon. (BL)

SAT 14 OCT / FRANSCHHOEK – CAPE TOWN
Depart Franschhoek this morning for Cape Town. En route, visit the Vergelegen Estate (meaning “situated far away”), founded in 1700 and world-renowned for its exquisite gardens. As well as extensive gardens, Vergelegen is home to many significant trees, the most important of which are five historic camphor trees, believed to have been planted in 1700 by Governor Van der Stel and declared National Monuments in 1942. There is also an Old English Oak, over 300 years old and believed to be the oldest living oak tree in Africa, while the “Royal” Oak was planted in 1928 from an acorn originating from the last of King Alfred’s oak trees at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.

After a picnic lunch under the trees, continue to Cape Town, stopping en route (if time permits) at Vergenoegd wine estate to see the famous ‘march of the ducks’. Arrive in the Mother City in the late afternoon. This evening is at leisure. (BL)

SUN 15 OCT / CAPE TOWN
This morning enjoy a city tour of Cape Town, starting with a cable car ride up Table Mountain (weather permitting), followed by a visit to the Castle of Good Hope, which now houses a collection of historical items relating to the Dutch East India Company. Then visit the Company’s Garden, situated on the site of Governor Jan van Riebeeck’s vegetable garden established in 1652 to supply fresh produce to the company’s ships bound for the East.

Then drive to the Cellars-Hohenort estate in the historical Constantia Valley. Originally known as Klaasenbosch Farm, Cellars-Hohenort was the sprawling estate that belonged to the chief surgeon of the Dutch East India Company in 1693. After lunch, enjoy a guided walk through its award-winning gardens, which in 2010 garnered the Relais & Châteaux Garden Award for their exceptional appearance. The gardens around the hotel reflect the property’s long history, with trees dating back hundreds of years, while there are more than 2,500 roses in the gardens. Immaculately maintained, the different sections of the gardens display some of the Cape’s best indigenous flora.

Return to the hotel in the late afternoon. (BL)

MON 16 OCT / CAPE TOWN
After breakfast, visit Stellenberg, widely regarded as one of the most beautiful Cape Dutch historic homesteads in the Cape Peninsula, with its balanced design, classical decoration, and renowned, spectacular gardens.

Then continue to the glorious Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world. Few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch, and for the beauty and diversity of the Cape flora it displays. Covering 1,300 acres, Kirstenbosch grows only indigenous South African plants and supports a diverse fynbos (Afrikaans for ‘fine bush’) flora and natural forest. The cultivated gardens display collections of South African plants, particularly those from the winter rainfall region of the country.

Continue to Cape Point Nature Reserve, where Cape Point is perceived to be where the Atlantic and Indian oceans ‘meet’. The reserve is a floral treasure with over one thousand different species of Cape fynbos.
We will enjoy a farewell lunch at the restaurant, from where the views over the ocean and surrounding mountains are stunning.

Return to Cape Town via the dramatic Chapman’s Peak Drive hugging the Atlantic seaboard, South Africa’s ‘Riviera’. (BL)

TUE 17 OCT / DEPART CAPE TOWN
Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast. If you are returning home today, transfer to Cape Town International Airport in the early afternoon for flights to Johannesburg to connect in the evening with either a Qantas flight to Sydney or South African Airways flight to Perth. (B)

WED 18 OCT / ARRIVE AUSTRALIA
Arrive in Australia.

 

POST TOUR EXTENSION

Luxury 5-star Rovos Rail – Cape Town to Pretoria

This 1,600 km kilometre journey on one of the world’s most luxurious trains meanders from Cape Town to Pretoria, through the scenic Winelands, spectacular mountains, the Great Karoo and the grasslands of the gold-rich Highveld. Stop to visit the perfectly preserved village of Matjiesfontein, and the Kimberley ‘Big Hole’ diamond mine. View the diverse landscapes from the large windows and open balconies of the charming Observation Car, and dine on fresh, local cuisine in an elegant pre-1940 Dining Car.

Day 1: Cape Town to Matjiesfontein
11h00 Depart from Cape Town Station and travel inland through the Winelands
13h00 Lunch is served in the dining cars
16h30 Afternoon tea in the lounge or observation cars
18h00 Visit the historical village of Matjiesfontein
19h30 Dinner (formal) is served in the dining cars
(LD)

Day 2: Matjiesfontein to Kimberley
07h00 Breakfast is served until 10h00
13h00 Lunch is served in the dining cars
14h30 Arrival in Kimberley, tour of the city, Diamond Mine Museum and the extraordinary ‘Big Hole’
16h30 Afternoon tea as the train departs Kimberley
19h30. Dinner (formal) is served in the dining cars
(BLD)

Day 3: Kimberley to Pretoria
07h00 Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 10h00 as the train travels via Krugersdorp and Johannesburg, through the goldfields of the Witwatersrand towards Pretoria
12h00 Disembark at Rovos Rail Station in Capital Park, Pretoria; transfers to Johannesburg airport
(BL)

Dress: For days on the train dress is smart casual. Evening attire is more formal – for gentlemen, a jacket and tie is a minimum requirement while for ladies, we suggest cocktail/evening dresses or suits.
Tour Prices+
Per person, twin-share# from AUD 1,800
Single supplement* from AUD 900
Deposit per person AUD 750

Final payment due 05 August 2017

+Approximate prices based on 2016/17 rates. Confirmed prices for 2017/18 to be announced.
#Price for Pullman suites; prices for Deluxe and Royal suites available on application
*Single supplement is 50% of the per person sharing charge. Single travellers may request to share. Please advise at time of booking.

Tour Code GD1704A

Fitness level: Moderate
Please see booking conditions for fitness level definitions

Tour price includes:
Accommodation, meals and excursions as well as all beverages, incl. alcohol, while on board

Tour price does not include:
Transfers, staff gratuities, French champagne, off-train beverages and telephone calls

  • GD1704 Renaissance Tours Gardens of South Africa with Sandy Pratten Download

No testimonials exist at this time.

PRICING
PRICES in $AUD

Per person, twin-share AUD 9,850
Single supplement* AUD 1,950
Deposit (per person) at time of booking AUD 500
Early Booking Reduction** (if booked and deposited by 31 January 2017) - AUD 250 per person
Final payment due 05 August 2017
*Single travellers may request to share. Please advise at time of booking.

Tour Code GD1704

Fitness level: Moderate
Please see booking conditions for fitness level definitions.

Suggested Airline: Qantas/South African Airways
Please contact Renaissance Tours for current airfares and flight reservations.

Visa: Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa for South Africa.

Tour price includes:
• Accommodation in centrally located hotels with private facilities and daily breakfast (B)
• Meals as per itinerary (L=Lunch, D=Dinner). Wines with meals.
• Transportation throughout in comfortable air-conditioned coaches
• Domestic flights: Johannesburg – Skukuza – Port Elizabeth (note: 20kg checked luggage allowance)
• Comprehensive sightseeing, including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
• Four game viewing drives
• Gratuities for local guides and drivers
• Hotel porterage (one piece per person)

Tour price does not include:
• International airfares (please contact Renaissance Tours for assistance)
• Transfers on arrival and departure (taxis are readily available)
• Items of a personal nature (e.g. telephone, laundry, mini-bar, taxis etc.)
• Travel insurance (recommended)
• Airport porterage

Your hotels
Johannesburg – Crowne Plaza Johannesburg – The Rosebank****+
Sabi Sands Game Reserve – Kirkman’s Kamp****
Port Elizabeth – Beach Hotel****
Knysna – Protea Hotel Knysna Quays****
Oudtshoorn – Queens Hotel****
Franschhoek – Le Franschhoek****
Cape Town – Winchester Gardens****+

NB. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted

POST-TOUR EXTENSION
Luxury 5-star Rovos Rail – Cape Town to Pretoria

This 1,600 km kilometre journey on one of the world’s most luxurious trains meanders from Cape Town to Pretoria, through the scenic Winelands, spectacular mountains, the Great Karoo and the grasslands of the gold-rich Highveld. Stop to visit the perfectly preserved village of Matjiesfontein, and the Kimberley ‘Big Hole’ diamond mine. View the diverse landscapes from the large windows and open balconies of the charming Observation Car, and dine on fresh, local cuisine in an elegant pre-1940 Dining Car.

Day 1: Cape Town to Matjiesfontein
11h00 Depart from Cape Town Station and travel inland through the Winelands
13h00 Lunch is served in the dining cars
16h30 Afternoon tea in the lounge or observation cars
18h00 Visit the historical village of Matjiesfontein
19h30 Dinner (formal) is served in the dining cars
(LD)

Day 2: Matjiesfontein to Kimberley
07h00 Breakfast is served until 10h00
13h00 Lunch is served in the dining cars
14h30 Arrival in Kimberley, tour of the city, Diamond Mine Museum and the extraordinary ‘Big Hole’
16h30 Afternoon tea as the train departs Kimberley
19h30. Dinner (formal) is served in the dining cars
(BLD)

Day 3: Kimberley to Pretoria
07h00 Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 10h00 as the train travels via Krugersdorp and Johannesburg, through the goldfields of the Witwatersrand towards Pretoria
12h00 Disembark at Rovos Rail Station in Capital Park, Pretoria; transfers to Johannesburg airport
(BL)

Dress: For days on the train dress is smart casual. Evening attire is more formal – for gentlemen, a jacket and tie is a minimum requirement while for ladies, we suggest cocktail/evening dresses or suits.


Tour Prices+
Per person, twin-share# from AUD 1,800
Single supplement* from AUD 900
Deposit per person AUD 750

Final payment due 05 August 2017

+Approximate prices based on 2016/17 rates. Confirmed prices for 2017/18 to be announced.
#Price for Pullman suites; prices for Deluxe and Royal suites available on application
*Single supplement is 50% of the per person sharing charge. Single travellers may request to share. Please advise at time of booking.

Tour Code GD1704A

Fitness level: Moderate
Please see booking conditions for fitness level definitions

Tour price includes:
Accommodation, meals and excursions as well as all beverages, incl. alcohol, while on board

Tour price does not include:
Transfers, staff gratuities, French champagne, off-train beverages and telephone calls