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13 Day Garden Route & Lesotho - Cape Town to Durban - North [NACD]

Route:

Cape Town - City - Stellenbosch - Route 62 - Oudtshoorn - Knysna - Plettenberg Bay - Tsitsikamma National Park - Addo Elephant National Park - Lesotho - Malealea - South Africa - Drakensberg - KwaZulu-Natal North Coast - Durban

Highlights:
Cape Town - Karoo - Cango Caves - Garden Route - Addo Elephant National Park - Lesotho pony trekking - Lesotho Highlands - Drakensberg - Wild Coast - Zulu Nation

Countries Visited:
South Africa - Lesotho

DETAILS:
Trip Code: NACD
Length: 13 Days / 12 Nights
Min / Max People: 4 / 18
Vehicle: Adventure Truck
Departure Point: 8.00 am from Nomad Adventure Tours, 39 Castle Street, (Corner Castle & Burg Streets), Cape Town, South Africa. Tel: +27 (0) 82 578 2199,
www.nomadtours.co.za
End Point: Garden Court South Beach, 73 O.R. Tambo Parade, South Beach, Durban,
Tel: + 27 (03)1 337 2231
http://www.southernsun.com/garden-court/south-beach/pages/rooms.aspx



*Note: All information is subject to change without prior notice. Travel times and campsites can change depending on road or weather conditions, etc. These are used as a guideline only. On our longer tours it is possible that your crew, truck and fellow travellers will change due to our unique tour linking system. On this tour, camping and accommodated clients will be travelling together with a maximum number of participants of 18.

 

Itinerary:

Day 1 Stellenbosch Wine Route
Leaving the mother city of Cape Town behind us, we drive to the famous town of Stellenbosch, known worldwide for its quality wines, spectacular beauty, oak trees and historical buildings. Here we will have time to explore the town and sample some excellent wine from one of the local wine farms. Afterwards we will drive to the Cheetah Breeding Centre to experience these animals up close and personal. On clear days the magnificent mountain scenery makes for a memorable first day. On arrival at our accommodation stop for the night, your guides will brief you on what to expect from the days ahead
Optional Activity: Dinner out
Meals: Lunch
Accommodation: Two per room: Lord Charles Hotel: www.nh-hotels.co.za
Facilities: En-Suite, hot showers, bar, laundry, drinkable water, internet, swimming pool
Route: Cape Town to Stellenbosch: ± 85 km
Travel time: ±1 hour
Activity Package: Wine tasting and entrance to Cheetah breeding project

Day 2 Route 62 – Oudtshoorn
Today we travel along the famous Route 62 towards Oudtshoorn and, time permitting, stop at Ronnie’s Sex Shop, not a sex shop at all, but a rather interesting country pub. We take a guided tour of the Cango Caves, which have some of the most impressive limestone caverns and the different formations are quite astonishing. You will have the opportunity to visit an Ostrich farm later in the afternoon. Tonight we stay in Oudtshoorn.
Optional Activities: Ostrich Farm visit.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Two per room: Kleinplaas Holiday Resort: www.kleinplaas.co.za
Facilities: En-Suite, hot showers, drinkable water, internet, swimming pool
Route: Stellenbosch to Oudtshoorn: ± 400 km
Travel time: ± 5-6 hours
Activity Package: Guided tour of Cango Caves

Day 3 Knysna/Plettenberg Bay
We continue along the Garden Route and travel through the magnificent Outeniqua Mountains towards Knysna. Your afternoon is free to explore Knysna, one of South Africa’s most popular seaside towns.
Optional Activities: Elephant Encounter, Township Tour, Monkey town, Birds of Eden, lagoon cruise.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Two per room: NH Plettenberg Bay: www.nh-hotels.co.za/plettenbergbay
Facilities: En-Suite, hot showers, drinkable water, pool, internet
Route: Oudtshoorn to Plettenberg Bay: ±130 km
Travel time: ± 2-3 hours

Day 4/5 Bloukrans and Tsitsikamma National Park
One of South Africa’s best kept secrets is the Tsitsikamma National Park. Boasting exceptional hiking trails and superb coastal scenery Tsitsikamma is a destination that many people will return to. The first few hours of the famous Otter Trail Hike is included in your Activity Package. For those needing an adrenaline boost the nearby Bloukrans Bridge is home to the world’s highest bungee jump at 216m!
Optional Activities: Bungee jumping (highest in the world), treetop canopy tours, blackwater tubing (min 4 clients)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch (Day 4 only), Dinner
Accommodation: Two per room: Tsitsikamma Inn: http://www.tsitsikammahotel.co.za/
Facilities: En-Suite, hot showers, bar, laundry, drinkable water, internet
Route: Plettenberg bay to Tsitsikamma: ± 100 km
Travel time: ± 1 hour
Activity Package: Tsitsikamma National Park entrance fee

Day 6 Addo Elephant National Park
Continuing in to the Eastern Cape, we collect guests from Port Elizabeth airport before entering Addo Elephant National Park, which is home to many of Africa’s big game. Our truck gives us an elevated view on our game drive this afternoon, particularly good for those photographic enthusiasts amongst us.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Two per room: The Aardvark Guest House: www.theaardvarkguesthouse.co.za
Facilities: En-suite per room, shop, restaurant, swimming pool
Route: Tsitsikamma to Addo: ±260 km
Travel time: ± 4-5 hrs
Included Highlight: Afternoon game drive in Nomad Truck

Day 7/8 Cintsa
This morning we drive to Port Elizabeth Airport where we make a quick stop, and then on to Cintsa where you will have the chance to participate in the optional activities on offer
Optional Activities: boat rental, quad biking, Xhosa village visit.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Two per room: Areena Resort: www.areena.co.za
Facilities: En-Suite, hot showers,bar, laundry, drinkable water, internet, pool
Route: Addo to Cintsa: ± 365 km
Travel time: ± 8-10 hours

Day 9/10 Lesotho - Malealea
Today we leave South Africa and enter the landlocked mountain kingdom of Lesotho. Lesotho is one of the highest countries in the world, with the entire country being over 1000m above sea level. The next day you have the opportunity to go on the optional Pony Trekking Excursion into the remote hills of Lesotho accompanied by local guides. On your return the group will visit the local village and school.
Optional Activities: Pony Trekking Excursion, Hiking.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Two per room: Malealea Lodge: http://www.malealea.com/
Facilities: En-suite, hot showers, bar
Route: Cintsa to Malealea: ±560 km
Travel time: ± 8-9 hours plus border crossing
Activity package: Lesotho junior school visit (except during school holidays)

Border posts:
South Africa: Maserubrug, Tel: +27 51 924 4300, Open: 24hrs
Lesotho: Maserubridge, Tel: +262 313 796, Open: 24hrs

Day 11/12 South Africa - Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park
The Drakensberg Mountains are South Africa’s highest and most beautiful. We explore the mountain paths and take in the breathtaking views offered in the uKhahlamba Drakensberg (Royal Natal) National Park. On our second day we will be going on a guided hike to see some of the san rock paintings.
Optional Activities: Horse Riding, Hiking
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Two per room: Drakensville Resort: www.drakensville.co.za
Facilities: En-Suite, hot showers, bar, laundry, drinkable water, internet, pool.
Route: Lesotho (Malealea) to Drakensberg ±300km
Travel time: ±8-10 hrs and a border crossing (Long Day)
Included Highlight: Royal NP entrance fee

Border post:
Lesotho: Van Rooyenshek, Open: 06h00-22h00
South Africa: Van Rooyenshek, Tel: +27 (0) 51 583 1516, Open: 06h00-22h00

Day 13 Kwa-Zulu Natal Coast - Durban
It’s all downhill as we leave the mountain scenery en route to the Kwazulu Natal Coast. The bustling city of Durban is South Africa’s largest port and well-known surfing destination. Your tour ends upon arrival in Durban. This evening maybe sample some local Indian cuisine.
Optional Activity: Dinner out.
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Own arrangements / Post tour accommodation can be booked through Nomad
Route: Drakensberg to Durban ±240 km
Travel time: ±5-6 hrs

 

Inclusions & Exclusions

What’s included:
Meals as indicated on the itinerary (unless otherwise specified, all meals are prepared and served at the Nomad truck), accommodation, registered guides and transport. We also include some of the highlights. These highlights are listed below in the day-by-day descriptions as “included highlights”.

What’s excluded:
All items of a personal nature, alcohol, snacks, souvenirs, tips and optional activities (see list for an indication of prices.)


Activity Package
This is an optional payment that covers what we consider to be ‘essential activities’ on our tours. Ideally we would include all of these, but not everyone can afford this. This payment is 100% transparent and is listed below. The Activity Package can be pre-purchased prior to your arrival or through your guide on day 1 of your tour. This dossier has been written with the inclusion of the Activity Package items.
Activities:
Spier Wine tasting plus cheetah entrance

Cango Caves basic tour
Tsitsikamma National Park entrance
Lesotho school visit

 

Extra information

Malaria:
None required

Health:
Please inform us of any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma and any prescription medicine you may be taking. We also need to know about any food allergies or physical disability that you may have.

Insurance:
All clients require adequate Travel Insurance. Medical Insurance is not sufficient. Activity providers can refuse participation of activities, if the correct valid Travel Insurance is not provided. Travel insurance can be purchased via the Nomad website http://www.nomadtours.co.za/travel_insurance.html
(Nomad World travel insurance is in no way affiliated with Nomad Tours)

Visas:
Please note that these are your responsibility. Some nationalities require visas for Lesotho and these must be obtained in advance. See Pre Departure Booklet for more information.

Climate:
The African sun is very strong. Please use a factor 30 sunscreen and wear a hat. You should drink at least 3 litres
of water per day to avoid dehydration. It can also get very
cold during winter months on this route. Please see Pre Departure Booklet for detailed information.

Currency and Banking:
South African Rand is the best currency to use on this route. ATM’s are available in all major towns and cities. There is often a limit on the amount you can draw each day. Please see Pre Departure Booklet for detailed information on each country. Travellers Cheques can take a long time to change into cash and often incur unreasonable charges.

Vaccinations:
No vaccinations are prescribed by law for the countries being visited on this tour. Please see the Pre Departure Information booklet for detailed information on vaccinations in Africa.

Onward Travel:
This tour can be linked to the Swaziland and Kruger tour.

Pre and Post Tour Accommodation:
If you require accommodation before or after your tour we can arrange this for you.

Arrival:
Please be sure to arrive 1 day before your tour is due to depart. This will avoid any unforeseen problems.

Departures:
Please book your flight to depart the day after the tour officially ends. This is to account for any delays that we may experience due to unpredictable road conditions.

*Note: All information is subject to change without prior notice. Travel times and campsites can change depending on road or weather conditions, etc. These are used as a guideline only. On our longer tours it is possible that your crew, truck and fellow travellers will change due to our unique tour linking system. On this tour, camping and accommodated clients will be travelling together with a maximum number of participants of 18.

Did you receive your Pre Departure Information Booklet?
If not please contact us at nomad@nomadtours.co.za and we will e-mail you the document; alternatively visit us at 39 Castle Street, (Corner Castle & Burg Streets), Cape Town, to collect one. You can also download from our website at www.nomadtours.co.za. After hours contact number: +27 (0) 82 578 2199.

Tour Ends:
We will drop you off at Garden Court South Beach, http://www.southernsun.com/garden-court/south-beach/pages/rooms.aspx. We suggest you book accommodation here for this evening through your travel agent or Nomad.

TIPPING ON TOUR:
Southern Africa:
In general tipping in restaurants is expected and is around 10% for good service, more if you have received exceptional service, and, feel free not to tip at all if you received poor service. Tipping taxi drivers etc. is really at your own discretion and not always expected. If in doubt please ask your guides.

Our guides do work hard but they are also paid at (and often above) industry levels for this work. Our Crew can be tipped if you feel that they have done a good job and/or gone above and beyond the call of duty.

The best way to arrange tips is to elect one person in the group to collect the money. We recommend USD1-2 (or about R10-R20) per day per person, per guide as a fair tip. So if you have 3-crew on a tour, we would recommend that 3 envelopes are used and each crew member’s name written on one. Place what you feel is fair into each envelope and the elected person can give these to the crew at the end of the tour. If you do not feel that the crew deserve a tip, please, do not tip them. You must remember that tipping is only for exceptional service and is not at all compulsory or expected.

THE NOMAD AFRICAN TRUST:
www.nomadafricantrust.co.za
At Nomad we are passionate about the people, places and wildlife of Africa that make our tours so special. In order to give back we have set up the Nomad African Trust.
By the end of your tour you may have left-over local currency that you will not be able to change outside of its country of origin. Any assistance you could provide to the trust by donating this left over currency will be appreciated. Thank you for your help and please join our newsletter at the website above to receive regular updates on what we are doing to support our beneficiaries.

Green Seats - Travel responsibly in Africa:
Nomad gives you the opportunity to offset your carbon foot print by purchasing a “Green Seat”. If you would like to help Nomad making Africa Greener, simply choose the tick box on your booking form and we will take care of the rest. The Nomad African Trust will plant trees that are ecologically viable and that have very high carbon absorption.
Green Seats can be purchased at departure or on tour with your guide. For more information on our “Green Seats”, please visit www.nomadtours.co.za/nomad_greenseats.html

THANK YOU FOR TRAVELLING WITH NOMAD:
At the end of your tour you will be provided with feedback forms. These forms are confidential and should be given to your crew in a sealed envelope. If you are not sure of the confidentiality of the feedback form please feel free to email us as well on ops@nomadtours.co.za. Please make sure to also complete the feedback form as we use the answers on these forms to improve and maintain our service levels.

Accommodation providers are subject to change without notice, the accommodation listed in this dossier is our preferred supplier, but sometimes due to availability, we are unable to make use of the property listed in this dossier. If we cannot use the accommodation provider as listed we will substitute another property of similar standards, however, en-suite facilities are not always guaranteed.






Cango Caves:
Common myth has it that the Caves were first explored by a local farmer named Jacobus van Zyl (after who the first chamber, van Zyl’s Hall, was named) – although research fails to reveal anybody by that name in the Cango area in the 1770’s. And besides – we now know that the Caves have been known to man since the Early Stone Age.
In the 19th century, entrance to the Caves cost 5 rix dollars – the modern equivalent of about R500.00 – but that even didn’t deter some destructive tourists and many carted away parts of the delicate stalactites and stalagmites for souvenirs or engraved their names onto the walls. In response, the governor of the Cape Colony, Lord Charles Somerset, published the first Caves Regulation in 1820. The 1st law designed to protect an environmental resource in South Africa; it banned the collection of souvenirs, proved for fines for anyone caught damaging Caves formations and prescribed an entrance fee which had to be paid to the District Officer – who was made responsible for enforcing the rules.

Many of the most significant discoveries in the Caves were made by its first full-time guide, Johnnie van Wassenaar. – who served for 43 years: from 1891 until his retirement in 1934. He opened many side chambers and introduced thousands of people to Cango 1, which remains the only part of the Caves which the public may visit. Importantly, though, it is clear that the Caves were known to man long before Europeans first landed at the Cape: recent finds – of some tools left behind in ancient hearths in the Cave mouth – prove that humans have lived and sheltered here for atleast 80 000 years.


Oudtshoorn – Ostrich Capital of the World:
Oudtshoorn was known as the ostrich capital of the world. It was named after Baron Pieter von Rheede von Oudtshoorn, who died in 1773 on his way to the Cape to become Governor. The town was founded in 1847. The town is situated 300 m above sea level, with the Swartberg Mountain range to the north and Outeniqua range to the south. Arbeidsgenot, the home of Cornelius Jacob Langenhoven was built here. Langenhoven was the author of the old South African National anthem, “Die Stem” which still forms part of the new National Anthem.

Ostrich feathers where obligatory items of high fashion just before world war one. The great feather boom began around 1870. At it’s height there were more than 750 000 domesticated ostriches in the little Karoo area and feathers where being exported at the rate of about 450 000kg’s a year. Then came world war one and then austerity became a way of supporting the war effort. Many farmers went bankrupt in this time. In later years the industry revived with the demand for ostrich leather, biltong, eggs and feathers. At present there are about 90 000 ostriches in the Little Karoo.



Knysna:
Although we are staying in Plettenberg Bay, today’s highlight is the Knysna Lagoon nearby, a perfect spot for water sports or simply relaxing and admiring the striking beauty of The Heads. The town of Knysna, voted South Africa’s favourite holiday town, nestles in the lagoon basin. It is protected by The Heads - two towering sandstone cliffs flanking a deep channel through which the tides flow. There are spectacular views and a cosy restaurant at the Eastern Head, and the Western Head is a privately owned nature reserve – Featherbed Bay.

The Knysna Lagoon is one of the few places in the world that supports an oyster hatchery, and the town is well-known for its fresh oysters, as well as its beer, made locally at Mitchell’s Brewery. Rich in history, Knysna’s museums are well worth visiting: the Millwood House Museum, and the Angling Museum in the Old Gaol. There are many other attractions, from the lush surrounding rainforests, the nearby Buffalo Valley Game, Featherbed Nature Reserve and Noetzie beach, to the wide selection of restaurants and craft markets. The forest, one of the largest areas of indigenous trees left in South Africa, is very dense and in some areas impenetrable. Knysna was originally founded by George Rex in the 19th century as a port for the timber trade. The forest was nearly decimated as a result of logging, but escaped devastation due to far-sighted conservation policies introduced in the 1880s. The herds of forest elephants that once roamed the forest have not been so lucky, they have all disappeared and one lone female is said to remain today. The beautiful and elusive Knysna Loeries can still be seen in the area, as well as a large variety of other birds and a few small antelope.



Lesotho:
Landlocked in the centre of South Africa, the Kingdom of Lesotho is one of the few countries in Africa with natural boundaries created by tribal demands rather than those imposed by colonial decree. Lesotho, like Swaziland, is one of the three surviving monarchies of Africa, but unlike Swaziland, the king serves a mostly ceremonial function and the Prime Minister of Lesotho has executive authority.
There are few natural resources in this small country, and over population has decreased the agricultural potential, but the country has an overwhelming natural beauty and welcoming, friendly people. The high Maluti Mountains cover most of Lesotho, a rugged, wild range that inevitably creates their own climate, which can lead to sudden temperature drops and thunderstorms.
The earliest known inhabitants were the Khoisan hunter-gatherers. Evidence of their occupation goes back at least 30 000 years, with cave paintings and other San artifacts found in numerous scattered sites all over Southern Africa, many concentrated in Lesotho. Their artistic talents have given us a glimpse of their way of life and their profound spiritual bond with the earth and animals. However, the San (known as Bushmen by colonial settlers and as Baroa by the Basotho tribes of Bantu origin) were persecuted from the moment they were seen by outsiders and long ago retreated to the Kalahari sands, their last refuge.