On arrival at the Cape Town International airport, you will be met by your zoologist guide. As most flights arrive in the morning we should have time for some sightseeing after you have been transferred to our accommodation, level – 4* / Guesthouse (Simonstown Quayside Hotel / Lord Nelson’s Guesthouse) in Simonstown. Simonstown is a beautiful little harbour town situated on the south side of Cape Town and is nestled between False Bay and Cape Point National Park. On the drive from the airport there is a chance of spotting black wildebeest, Cape mountain zebra, eland and grey rhebok as the motorway flanks the national park boundaries. Once we have checked in and grabbed some lunch (depending on the time) we will head out to Simonstowns number one attraction. Boulders Beach National Park. This is one of the smallest national parks in all of Africa but it is home to a huge population of African penguins. Yes you heard right African penguins! They nest here and the beaches and pathways get you really close to the birds as they fearlessly waddle right up to you and seem more interested in you than you are in them! In addition to the penguins there are plenty of rock hyraxes or dassies here. They are the closest living relatives to elephants but you have to look hard to see why as they look more like guinea-pigs. We can stay here as long as you like and afterwards we can either go back to the accommodation so you can rest or drive around the bay and take in some of the sites, including a view of Table Mountain in the distance. Our evening meal will be back at the accommodation.
The next three days are variable, so the order of activities listed may well be different once we are here. So one morning we will rise early and head to the harbour from 07:30am. Because today we will be enjoying an adventure off the Cape of Good Hope. The southern tip of Africa is an exceptional place for pelagic birding and the amount of life we will see today will surely stun you. There are marine mammals, which regularly include Cape fur seals, sub-Antarctic fur seals, Brydes whales, humpback whales, southern right whales, sperm whales and long-beaked common dolphins as well as the bird life which can total nearly 50 different species including 12 albatross species. We will share the boat with experienced birders who will amaze you with their skills at identifying birds at distance. Once we return in the afternoon we will have some lunch back in Simonstown and you can spend the rest of the day exploring Simonstown and relaxing. Our evening meal will be at our accommodation, level – 4* / Guest house (Simonstown Quayside Hotel / Lord Nelson’s Guest house).
Today we will have a leisurely breakfast before heading to Cape Point Nature Reserve. Here we will visit the Cape of Good Hope as well as Cape Point itself. The reserve a superb place to get to grips with the fynbos. One of the six floral kingdoms in the world and one that is restricted to the Western and Eastern Cape of South Africa. Because of the high level of endemic plants here the bird life is prolific, we will spend the day exploring the park by car and on foot and will try to find some of the inhabitants. There are many animals in the reserve such as eland, Cape Mountain zebra, ostriches, chacma baboons, rock hyraxes, re-winged starlings, greater kestrels, cape cormorants, cape sugarbirds, angulate tortoises and if we keep a look out to the sea we may see some passing dusky dolphins or killer whales. We will have lunch in the park and head back to Simonstown at sunset for our evening meal at the accommodation, level – 4* / Guest house (Simonstown Quayside Hotel / Lord Nelson’s Guest house).
Today we will have an early breakfast and after drive to Table Mountain and proceed to hike up. We will use the Platteklip Gorge route which is not very strenuous and takes 2.5-3.5 hours. Along way we have a chance of spotting klipspringers, grysbok, common duiker, steenbok, striped mice, southern rock agamas, black-girdled lizards, grey-backed cisticolas, lesser double-collared sunbirds, ground woodpeckers and cape sugarbirds. Once we get to the top we will have lunch. From here we will use the cable car to get back down and get a taxi to our vehicle. From here we will drive to the famous Victoria and Albert docks and get ready for our afternoon trip to Robben Island. Robben Island is a hallowing place which changes the way you view everything. To see the tiny cell which Nelson Mandela spent so much of his life is a moving experience and one you will not regret. Once we get back we will drive back to our accommodation, level – 4* / Guest house (Simonstown Quayside Hotel / Lord Nelson’s Guest house) and enjoy our evening meal here.
Karoo National Park
This morning after breakfast we will leave Cape Town and drive inland to a very special national park (6.5 hours). We will stop for lunch along the way. Karoo National Park is isolated park and is mostly semi-desert but boasting more tortoise species than any other park in South Africa and recently playing home to the re-birth of the quagga, Karoo really is more than just semi-desert. In fact we have a good chance of finding black rhino, cape buffalo, red hartebeest, black wildebeest, kudu and both the Cape Mountain zebra and the quagga-like-Burchells zebra. The quagga project has bred the Burchells zebra to havce quagga like characteristics and as the quagga was only a subspecies of the Burchells zebra it is not as far fetched as it may sound to bring the quagga back from extinction; and if we are lucky enough to see one you will agree they look pretty convincing. On arrival we will check into our accommodation, level – cottages / chalets (national park main camp) and get ready for a night drive with a national park warden. The spotlighting drives are the best and usually only way to see some really remarkable animals like aardvarks, aardwolfs, bat-eadred foxes, African crested porcupines, striped polecats and African wild cats. We will have our evening meal in the camp restaurant.
Karoo National Park
This morning we will have a guided drive as this is the best time to search out some of the birds here. The bird life is dominated by larks and chats which as very hard to identify without the help of the guides, however the Karoo korhaan, Namaqua sandgrouse, red-eyed bulbul, booted eagles and pale chanting goshawk which are common here and easier to identify. After the morning drive we will have a late breakfast and then head back into the park in our vehicle for a full day game driving. We will come back for lunch and in the evening we will once again have a guided spotlighting tour. Our evening meal will be at the restaurant in the camp near our accommodation, level – cottages / chalets (national park main camp).
Karoo National Park
Today will follow the same format as yesterday, as we have a guided morning drive, full day in our own vehicle and a spotlighting tour. Our breakfast, lunch and dinner will be at our accommodation, level – cottages / chalets (national park main camp).
After breakfast we will leave the Karoo National Park and drive back towards the coast. Our destination is Gansbaai (8 hours), a place that is more famous for great white sharks than probably anywhere else in the world. We will have stopped off along the way for some lunch and by the time we arrive we will check into our accommodation, level – B&B (Aire del Mar Guest House / Whale Song Lodge). The rest of the day will be at your leisure. Our evening meal will be at our accommodation.
This morning we will breakfast before departing on a cage-diving boat for Dyer Island. We head here with a 99.9% success rate in seeing great white sharks. The sharks are here naturally all year round and they prey heavily on the massive population of Cape fur seals which are great fun to watch as they play around. Today we will be spending around four hours on the water. When a shark is spotted they naturally approach the boat as they are very curious and once we have the attention of a shark you will be offered the chance to enter the cage and observe these brilliant animals in their element. After the trip we will have a look at the movie which a videographer has made of our trip as well as have lunch and in the afternoon you will be free to rest, relax or explore Gansbaai. Our evening meal will be at our accommodation, level – B&B (Aire del Mar Guest House / Whale Song Lodge).
This morning after breakfast we will again take a visit out to Dyer Island but today we are looking for the bays largest inhabitants. The southern right whales; at this time of year they are here in large numbers and regularly come right up to the boat. We have a good chance of seeing Brydes whales, humpback whales, great white sharks, southern giant petrels, cape gannets, African penguins and long-beaked common dolphins. On our return to shore we will have lunch and then leave Gansbaai to Cape Town (2 hours). We will arrive at our accommodation, level – 4* / Guest house (Simonstown Quayside Hotel / Lord Nelson’s Guest house) and the rest of the day is for you to relax on your last night in South Africa. Our evening meal will be at our accommodation.
Today after breakfast you will be transferred to airport in time to catch your return flight home.
Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.
This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.