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Home comers have been known to clap or even cry as they see Cape Town’s beloved Table Mountain from the airplane window, such is the emotion roused by this city’s mother icon. It’s also been likened to a sleeping goddess, the stairway to heaven, and watcher of the south. You will experience its quarzitic energy on a trip to the top by cable car, where this long thin peninsula of land — with Cape Town at its head and Cape Point at its tip — spreads out before you.
Cape Town’s scenic beauty is unsurpassed. We’ll drive you along mind-blowing coastal scenic routes, through the genteel Cape Winelands for wine tasting at ancient estates, around the historic city, and jet you off on a luxury motor cruise for an ocean adventure. Remember: there’s no rush, take your cue from chilled-out Capetonians. They are so laid back that citizens of industrious Johannesburg say it’s called the Mother City because it takes 9 months for anything to happen!
Fly to Cape Town and see Table Mountain for the first time
Fly from Victoria Falls Airport to Cape Town. Sailors approaching the Cape in the 17th century reported seeing a magnificent flat-topped mountain rising out of the earth from a great distance away. With some luck, we too will see Table Mountain in all its glory as we approach South Africa’s “Mother City.”
Transfer to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure or take advantage of the hotel’s free shuttle service to the V&A Waterfront. Tonight’s Cape Malay buffet dinner is at the hotel.
Reach the top of Table Mountain and explore the historical city of Cape Town
It’s impossible to resist the mystical allure of Table Mountain — one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature — and today we aim to get to the top (weather permitting).
Ascend effortlessly up Table Mountain by rotating cable car — five thrilling minutes hugging the craggy mountainside all the way to the top! Views from up here seem endless, and stretch all the way down the mountain range towards Cape Point, across the ocean to Robben Island and over the city bowl hemmed in by land and water. It’s said to be the perfect feng shui city!
Peruse the fynbos plants, which are endemic to the Cape and found only here, which is why this important Cape Floral Region was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Afterward, enjoy a guided drive of Cape Town, where beautiful old buildings tell the story of the city’s colonial past. We’ll see the battlements of the Castle of Good Hope, Italian-inspired City Hall, and the old Slave Lodge, with its paradoxical carved pediment, next to the Houses of Parliament.
The afternoon and evening are at your leisure in this glorious city, with so much else to explore, including Greenmarket Square, Two Oceans Aquarium, V&A Waterfront, museums, galleries, and gift shops.
The evening is at your leisure, with dinner on your own.
Visit the scenic Cape Winelands
After breakfast today, you’ll see why the bucolic scenery of the Cape Winelands and its fertile valleys lured the original settlers to farm here. Stellenbosch is South Africa’s second-oldest town and is liberally scattered with Cape Dutch wine estates, distinctive for their ornate gables, which we’ll see on a historical tour of this Afrikaans university town.
Wine-making was woefully bad in the 17th century, so French Huguenots with wine-making experience were invited to the Cape and settled in Franschhoek (French Corner). It is an exquisitely beautiful valley, hemmed in by mountains and lined with wine estates. It’s here in the heart of the Cape Winelands that we’ll do two wine tastings and have lunch at a winery high on the slopes of the Franschhoek Mountains.
After lunch, stop at the Huguenot Monument, dating back to the first settlers, for a photo stop. The Monument is at the far end of Franschhoek’s single main street and we will saunter down the sidewalk lined with bustling cafés, restaurants, and attractive boutiques, shops, and art galleries. Without a doubt, this is the most charming village in the Cape Winelands!
Back in Cape Town, the evening and dinner is at your leisure.
Spectacular scenic drive to Cape Point and a visit to Boulders Beach Penguins
Cape Town’s extravagant scenery will take your breath away, with mountains dipping their toes into the ocean. After breakfast, we’ll depart the city through the wealthy seaside suburbs of Clifton and Camps Bay and head south to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope.
On the way there, we’ll drive along one of the most spectacular cliff roads in the world: Chapman’s Peak Drive. As we head around the curve of the bay, we’ll stop at viewpoints to marvel at nature’s grandeur and wonder how men ever managed to build such a road.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery until we reach the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, at which point you should look out for ostriches, bontebok antelopes, huge eland antelopes, and tortoises among the endemic fynbos plants. At the furthest end of Africa, we reach Cape Point, where the Flying Dutchman funicular railway takes us up to the old Cape Point lighthouse.
Gaze down over the treacherous rocks to a horizon so far distant, you can almost see the world curve. Sometimes, there is a distinctive color separation in the water, giving rise to the rumor that this is where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. Your guide will reveal the truth!
Lunch is on your own before we drive out of the park to the charming old naval village of Simon’s Town and its famous penguins. The rare land-based African penguin colony at Boulders Beach is easily accessed on a boardwalk, and these delightful little critters are a joy to watch. They may waddle clumsily on land, but they dart like torpedoes through the water, often past unsuspecting bathers swimming in nearby coves.
The evening is at leisure back in Cape Town, with dinner on your own.
Ocean cruise on a luxury motor yacht and Farewell Dinner
Live the life of the rich and famous this morning on a cruise aboard a very smart, 76-foot, luxury motor yacht. We’ll circumnavigate Robben Island (or get as close as possible, weather permitting) to witness the same view of Table Mountain that Nelson Mandela would have seen from this inescapable prison island — now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
During the cruise, get a fascinating firsthand account of what life was like on Robben Island from one of Nelson Mandela's former prison wardens.
The tranquil inlets of Clifton are where pleasure yachts go to see and be seen, and we’ll pull into a sheltered cove and toast the day’s discoveries with sparkling wine and canapes.
During this ocean adventure, we’ll also be on the lookout for dolphins and penguins, Cape fur seals, and perhaps even enormous southern right whales, which migrate here to mate and calve. If you spot a large fin piercing the surface, it may not be a Great White Shark but the very strange Mola mola, or ocean sunfish, which has a rudder instead of a tail and drifts with the currents.
This wonderful ocean cruise ends at the V&A Waterfront, where you’ll have the afternoon free to shop and explore.
Tonight, we gather in camaraderie after the trip of a lifetime for a special Farewell Dinner.
Bid a fond farewell to Africa
After breakfast, transfer to Cape Town International Airport to catch the return flight home. We’ll say “so long” rather than “goodbye,” because after such an incredible adventure, we know Africa will have touched your soul and you won’t be able to stay away for long!