South Africa Family: Wild Reserves & the Coast

South Africa Family: Wild Reserves & the CoastSouth Africa Family: Wild Reserves & the Coast

South Africa Family

Wild Reserves & the Coast

overview

Whether your family dreams of prowling the hip boutiques of Cape Town or tracking lions through the backcountry veldt of Amakhala Game Reserve, South Africa offers everything you need for an unforgettable time together. Watch great white sharks launch themselves out of the water on a boat cruise to Seal Island. Paraglide or surf by the powder-white beaches of Plettenberg Bay. Try riding ostriches in Oudtshoorn. Share a moment meeting the elephants of Knysna Elephant Sanctuary. Or simply immerse yourselves in the stunning flora and fauna of Tsitsikamma National Park. As a malaria-free zone, this region of South Africa is incredibly safe for travelers of all ages. And as an easily accessed hot spot brimming with diverse landscapes, animals, and cultures, it’s certainly worth the trip.

Activity Level
Easy to moderate
depending on
activities chosen
Meet
Cape Town, South Africa
Depart
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Reading List
Recommended
pre-trip reading
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From our blog

Family Adventure 
12 days, 11 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes

  • Experienced, friendly, and knowledgeable guide(s) and service of local representative
  • 11 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 5 dinners included
  • Boutique hotels, country lodge, and safari lodge (with private baths) while on tour
  • Airport meet-and-greet service
  • Transportation from the meeting to the departure point
  • All park fees and special events as noted in the itinerary
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the Country Walkers staff

gallery

Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
Cape Town
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2
Cape Town
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3
Cape Town
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4
Hermanus
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5
Oudtshoorn
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6
Oudtshoorn
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7
Plettenberg Bay
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8
Plettenberg Bay
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9
Plettenberg Bay
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10
Amakhala Game Reserve
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11
Amakhala Game Reserve
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12
Port Elizabeth
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Day 1

Cape Town

Your expedition begins in Cape Town, the Mother City, a stunning metropolis on the tip of the rugged Cape Coast, with a bustling harbor port and mountains set like jewels along the sparkling Atlantic Ocean. Your transfer from international airport to hotel will be smoothly facilitated by our representatives. At orientation, you will meet your guide. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.

With its majestic backdrop of Table Mountain, Cape Town is considered to be one of the world’s greatest harbor cities. It is a cosmopolitan, multicultural hot spot, with trendy shops, cafes, idyllic beaches, comedy clubs, gourmet cuisines, classical theaters, historic museums, and more—all combining to make Cape Town one of the most desired travel destinations in the world.

Included: Airport arrival transfer, pre-departure meeting.
Approximate Travel Time: 25 minutes

Welgelegen

Cape Town

An urban sanctuary in the heart of Cape Town, Welgelegen sits in a tranquil Victorian cul-de-sac based at the foot of Table Mountain. Within a short walk to some of Cape Town’s best local restaurants, bars, and museums, and within a 15 minute drive of most of Cape Town’s major tourist attractions such as the Table Mountain Cable Car, Camps Bay, the Waterfront, and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. This Cape Town boutique hotel is as its name translates, well situated.

Day 2

Cape Town

DAY 2 Cape Town After breakfast, embark on a full-day tour of Cape Town, including a breathtaking cable-car trip to the top of Table Mountain (weather permitting—if not, we visit the spectacular Two Oceans Aquarium). Discover the country’s thought-provoking past at the SA National Museum; gaze at spectacular stars and planets at the Cape Town Planetarium. A boat ride to Seal Island in Hout Bay, with its village markets and Boulder Beach penguins, provides more family-perfect fun before returning to your hotel for the evening.

Included: Full-day Cape Peninsula exploration/breakfast
Approximate Travel Time: 2 hours

Welgelegen

Cape Town

An urban sanctuary in the heart of Cape Town, Welgelegen sits in a tranquil Victorian cul-de-sac based at the foot of Table Mountain. Within a short walk to some of Cape Town’s best local restaurants, bars, and museums, and within a 15 minute drive of most of Cape Town’s major tourist attractions such as the Table Mountain Cable Car, Camps Bay, the Waterfront, and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. This Cape Town boutique hotel is as its name translates, well situated.

Day 3

Cape Town

Explore the scenic coast and delve deep into the historic heart of Cape Town. Survey the delights of the city, with its street cafes, towering buildings, and historical monuments. Relax in the shade of the tranquil Company Gardens; explore Parliament, City Hall, the Castle of Good Hope, Malay Quarter, and the vibrant Greenmarket Square. Enjoy the vantage point of Signal Hill; then descend to the beautiful, palm-studded beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton. Complete your day with a special dinner event: a feast of dishes from all over Africa!

Included: Half-day Cape Town city tour and leisure time/breakfast and dinner

Welgelegen

Cape Town

An urban sanctuary in the heart of Cape Town, Welgelegen sits in a tranquil Victorian cul-de-sac based at the foot of Table Mountain. Within a short walk to some of Cape Town’s best local restaurants, bars, and museums, and within a 15 minute drive of most of Cape Town’s major tourist attractions such as the Table Mountain Cable Car, Camps Bay, the Waterfront, and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. This Cape Town boutique hotel is as its name translates, well situated.

Day 4

Hermanus

Departing from Cape Town, follow the rugged coast road to Hermanus. Nestled between magnificent mountains and the sea, this charming seaside town provides some of the best shore-based whale watching in the world. In season (July to November), witness the giant southern right and humpback whales from shoreline and cliffs. Then embark on an afternoon boat cruise, searching the pristine bay for marine life. The remainder of the afternoon and evening is free to explore Hermanus, with its vibrant local market, museums, and more. At night, your family can enjoy dinner at one of the restaurants near the waterfront.

Included: Boat cruise in Hermanus/breakfast and lunch
Approximate Travel Time: 2 hours

Ocean Eleven Luxury Guest House

Hermanus, South Africa

The Ocean Eleven Luxury Guest House is situated on the Cape South coast of South Africa, in the quaint coastal town of Hermanus on Walker Bay. Although the Hermanus village is small, it has a city-like infrastructure and, having been a popular coastal holiday destination for over a hundred years, there are a myriad of things to see and do. Not only does Hermanus offer the best land-based whale viewing in the world, with guests of Ocean Eleven being able to watch these creatures from the comfort of their suite, but it’s “champagne air” is also believed to have restorative qualities and many travel to this coastal town for recuperation and wellness.

Day 5

Oudtshoorn

After breakfast, we leave the coast of Hermanus and head inland, traveling through the mountainous region into the Klein Karoo. Our destination for the next two nights—the “ostrich capital of the world,” Oudtshoorn. On arrival at the lodge you have the afternoon at leisure to explore your new surrounds. Your family may choose to perhaps take part in optional activities such as the famous wild meerkat tours that offer the unique opportunity to see these animals that are part of the “shy five” in their natural environment. Biking and hiking, or a simple nature walk, are favorite pastimes; the nearby mountain passes and safe roads present the adventurous and fitness fanatics with the perfect setting for releasing all that bottled-up energy. You can also try canoeing on the Olifants River, fishing, or birding: 162 different bird species call this area home. Whatever your choice, your guide will assist you with all arrangements.

Included: Land transfer and afternoon at leisure/breakfast, lunch and dinner
Approximate Travel Time: 4½ hours

De Zeekoe Guesthouse

Oudtshoorn, South Africa

De Zeekoe Guest House is a beautiful, owner-managed African farm nestled near the town of Oudtshoorn, between the majestic Swartberg and Outeniqua mountains in the heart of the Klein Karoo. Part of the world’s 17 hot spots with three overlapping flower zones, De Zeekoe’s Old Colonial homestead is more than 150 years old. Restored to its former splendor, tastefully decorated rooms open onto cool verandas from which guests enjoy spectacular views of the gardens, vast plains of the Karoo, and the mountains beyond.

Day 6

Oudtshoorn

Today your family will be delighted by Oudtshoorn. At a local ostrich farm, after a guided tour, adventurous family members can ride this large native African bird! If you prefer, watch the handlers race them along a dirt track, learn about their behavior and breeding, and hand-feed them. Then on to the famous Cango Caves, where you will be guided on foot through an otherworldly underground landscape beneath the Swartberg foothills. Exploring these cavernous spaces with their strange formations and rising columns of calcite will make for unforgettable family memories.

Upon return to your guest house late this afternoon, you are free to enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure with your family.

Included: Ostrich tour and Cango Caves excursion/breakfast and lunch

De Zeekoe Guesthouse

Oudtshoorn, South Africa

De Zeekoe Guest House is a beautiful, owner-managed African farm nestled near the town of Oudtshoorn, between the majestic Swartberg and Outeniqua mountains in the heart of the Klein Karoo. Part of the world’s 17 hot spots with three overlapping flower zones, De Zeekoe’s Old Colonial homestead is more than 150 years old. Restored to its former splendor, tastefully decorated rooms open onto cool verandas from which guests enjoy spectacular views of the gardens, vast plains of the Karoo, and the mountains beyond.

Day 7

Plettenberg Bay

Welcome to the heart of the Garden Route, Plettenberg Bay. After a scenic morning drive to this lovely destination, enjoy the afternoon as you like, relaxing on the pristine beaches or exploring the area more actively. Hike in old-growth forest, bike through wildlife reserves, canoe in the lagoons... whatever you choose to do, Plett caters to your pleasure.Your guide will help you decide the option that best suits your family.

Included: Land transfer and afternoon at leisure/breakfast
Approximate Travel Time: 2 hours

Hog Hollow Lodge

Cango Valley, South Africa

Hog Hollow Lodge, overlooking the Matjies River gorge, is a congenial hub where you are invited to kick off your shoes, grab an icy drink, and relax in one of three lounge areas. The pool lounge leads out onto cool blue waters. The reading room offers a quiet haven and leafy vista of the Tsitsikama Mountains beyond the forest valley. Bird lovers can head to the ficus lounge where an ancient fruit tree attracts the prolific bird community. At the center of the main house is a large dining room where guests are entertained at candlelit tables with gourmet delights. At evening’s end, enjoy a nightcap by the crackling fire as you plan the next day’s activities.

Day 8

Plettenberg Bay

Roam as you please on this free day to enjoy the area’s breathtaking scenery and multitude of outdoor activities. Among the adventures that await you: close encounters with animals at the Knysna Elephant Sanctuary; whale and dolphin cruises; beautiful beach walks in the Robberg Wildlife Reserve. Adrenaline-seekers in the family can test their skills at bungee jumping, surfing, or skydiving. Hiking trails through indigenous forest, horseback riding, paragliding, oyster tasting, scenic flights, and boat trips along the magnificent coastline are just some of the choices to make this an unforgettable day. With so much to choose from, you may not want to leave!

Included: Leisure day—optional activities of your choice and expense/breakfast

Hog Hollow Lodge

Cango Valley, South Africa

Hog Hollow Lodge, overlooking the Matjies River gorge, is a congenial hub where you are invited to kick off your shoes, grab an icy drink, and relax in one of three lounge areas. The pool lounge leads out onto cool blue waters. The reading room offers a quiet haven and leafy vista of the Tsitsikama Mountains beyond the forest valley. Bird lovers can head to the ficus lounge where an ancient fruit tree attracts the prolific bird community. At the center of the main house is a large dining room where guests are entertained at candlelit tables with gourmet delights. At evening’s end, enjoy a nightcap by the crackling fire as you plan the next day’s activities.

Day 9

Plettenberg Bay

Your next adventure beckons from the lush, leafy canopies of the Tsitsikamma National Park. This expansive coastal reserve is renowned for indigenous forests, dramatic coastline, and the Storms River Mouth. A guided nature walk takes you deep into the forest to discover local fauna and flora—including century-old trees such as yellowwood, hard pear, ironwood, kamassi—in true safari style. From a Khoisan word meaning “place of abundant or sparkling water,” Tsitsikamma is marked by deep river gorges that cleave the plateau as they journey to the sea, creating spectacular waterfalls. Return to the lodge in the late afternoon.

Included: Land transfer and nature walk in the Tsitsikamma Forest (about 2 hours)/breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Approximate Travel Time: 1 hour

 

Hog Hollow Lodge

Cango Valley, South Africa

Hog Hollow Lodge, overlooking the Matjies River gorge, is a congenial hub where you are invited to kick off your shoes, grab an icy drink, and relax in one of three lounge areas. The pool lounge leads out onto cool blue waters. The reading room offers a quiet haven and leafy vista of the Tsitsikama Mountains beyond the forest valley. Bird lovers can head to the ficus lounge where an ancient fruit tree attracts the prolific bird community. At the center of the main house is a large dining room where guests are entertained at candlelit tables with gourmet delights. At evening’s end, enjoy a nightcap by the crackling fire as you plan the next day’s activities.

Day 10

Amakhala Game Reserve

After breakfast, depart for the open, malaria-free grasslands of one of the finest private game reserves on the Eastern Cape: Amakhala. Experience the delights of the African bushveld while on safari, bushwalk, river cruise, or with a glass of wine from the veranda of your lodge. The warm hospitality of the 1820 settler-family descendants who manage the private game reserve add to the pleasure of this unique location. You may discover local secrets like the prehistoric Bushman burial ground, or the site of Africa’s most ancient dinosaur fossil finds. Possible sightings of lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, and other residents of the veldt add to the excitement of this family-friendly adventure.

Included: Choice of two game-viewing activities (river cruise, game drive, nature walk, or night game drive)/breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Approximate Travel Time: 3 hours

Hillsnek Safari Lodge

Grahamstown, South Africa

Set on the banks of the Bushman’s River, Hillsnek Safari Lodge commands panoramic views of the open plains. At this intimate, family-run lodge, privacy and personalized attention are the hallmarks of your exceptional safari experience. The main lodge and luxury tented chalets are elevated on expansive wooden decks and discreetly positioned to ensure privacy and tranquility. All are complete with en suite bathroom and romantic outside shower. The lodge sets the stage for unforgettable African sunsets, bush-inspired cuisine, and evenings celebrating the spirit of safari.

Day 11

Amakhala Game Reserve

Another precious day to further explore this stunning private reserve with your choice of two game-viewing activities. On Amakhala Game Reserve’s 18,000 acres you are likely to encounter Africa’s Big Five as well as more elusive animals like hyena or bat-eared fox. Even the humbler smaller mammals, birds, and insects will inspire awe. Enjoy a game drive to cover more territory, or take a guided nature walk for a more intimate immersion in your personal wildlife experience. For a change of pace, relax and explore via boat cruise while meandering lazily along the Bushmans River. Or discover the heart-pounding excitement of a night game drive, tracking predatory hunters and elusive nocturnal creatures such as aardvarks, cape hares, and bush babies.

Included: Choice of two game-viewing activities (river cruise, game drive, nature walk, or night game drive)/breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Hillsnek Safari Lodge

Grahamstown, South Africa

Set on the banks of the Bushman’s River, Hillsnek Safari Lodge commands panoramic views of the open plains. At this intimate, family-run lodge, privacy and personalized attention are the hallmarks of your exceptional safari experience. The main lodge and luxury tented chalets are elevated on expansive wooden decks and discreetly positioned to ensure privacy and tranquility. All are complete with en suite bathroom and romantic outside shower. The lodge sets the stage for unforgettable African sunsets, bush-inspired cuisine, and evenings celebrating the spirit of safari.

Day 12

Port Elizabeth

After a hearty bush breakfast you’ll travel on to Port Elizabeth, one of South Africa’s largest cities and a major seaport along Algoa Bay. Here, as you are assisted in your transfer to the international airport for your flight home, you will learn why it is dubbed “the Friendly City.” From here you can fly back to Johannesburg or continue on to more exploration of this fascinating country.

Included: Airport departure transfer/breakfast
Approximate Travel Time: 1 hour

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a CW adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call CW at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

Guides

Vanessa Nixon

Vanessa got the travel bug from her grandfather, a retired pilot with many exciting African travel tales. To celebrate her 21st birthday, she drove through nine African countries, crossing rivers, mud, snow, sand, mountains, herds of elephants, and baobab forest. She spent the next three years guiding camping safaris all over southern Africa, earning the top credentials that led to her joining CW Safaris. Vanessa loves sharing her travel experiences, including her strong ties to the Kalahari and its Komani bushmen. She believes each safari has a life of its own with unique adventures.

Sally Petersen

Growing up on a sheep farm in South Africa, Sally was infused with a love of the land, and dreamed of sharing her travel experiences with others. After graduating, she spent a few years travelling and working throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa. She was an ‘Adventurer of the Year’ finalist after cycling from London to Cape Town to raise funds for Survival International. On returning to Cape Town, Sally pursued her dream career and became a qualified Nature and Tour Guide with the Dept. of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. Sally’s passion for her country is infectious and her knowledge astounding.

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