Flowers of the Fairest Cape: From the Atlantic to the Indian Oceans
1 Sep — 16 Sep 2020 | Tour Director: John Parker
• Experience the astonishing diversity of South Africa’s flora, from the spring bulbs and carpets of daisies along the West Coast to the verdant forests of the Indian Ocean coast on the Garden Route
• Delve into the Klein Karoo, a unique semi-arid but bio-diverse environment set amongst majestic mountains, and with many famous wineries
• Gaze up at an enormous 800 year-old ‘big tree’ yellowwood at Tsitsikamma National Park, and down on the whales at De Hoop
MA, DPhil, FLS, VMH
was Professor of Plant Cytogenetics and Director of the University Botanic Garden at the University of Cambridge
Depart London Heathrow 2135 on British Airways.
Arrive Cape Town 1000 and transfer to Portswood Hotel for two nights. Afternoon visits to Company’s Garden and Sea Point (Darwin plaque, geology and landscape of Cape Town and the Western Cape). Introductory lecture.
Cable car up Table Mountain (weather conditions permitting). Afternoon: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (established in 1913 and one of the finest botanic gardens in the world) for an introduction to Western Cape flowers.
Drive north along the coast via Darling Village Renosterveld Reserve, Tienie Versfeld Reserve, West Coast National Park and Postberg Nature Reserve (carpets of brilliant daisies and bulbs). Overnight in Langebaan at Windtown Hotel.
Exploring the west coast: Paternoster (traditional fishing village), Cape Columbine Nature Reserve (last manually controlled lighthouse built in South Africa; West Coast fynbos and sandveld), Da Gama Monument, Velddrif (birds, fishing town), Hopefield and Moorreesburg (renosterveld flowers). Overnight at the Citrusdal Country Lodge. Evening lecture.
Clanwilliam for Ramskop Wild Flower Reserve and rooibos factory. Continue via Middelberg, Gydo and Michell's Passes to Tulbagh for overnight at Tulbagh Hotel.
Morning: Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden followed by Vrolijkheid Reserve (arid land plants). Afternoon: via Kogmanskloof Pass (flowers and geology) and Swellendam to De Hoop Reserve for two nights.
De Hoop Reserve: vlei (birds, shallow lake), coastal limestone and sandveld flora, possible sightings of zebra, bontebok, eland and ostrich. Afternoon: Koppie Alleen (Indian Ocean coastal reserve; possible sightings of southern right whale), and Potberg trail (flora, vultures).
Flower Valley Conservation Trust (magnificent Southern Overberg fynbos). Afternoon: Bontebok National Park. Overnight in Swellendam at Hotel Roosje Van De Kaap.
Via Tradouw Pass to Barrydale for Warmwaterberg Spa (mineral springs). Afternoon: Klein Karoo Nature Reserve Ladismith, and Calitzdorp (famous port production). Two nights at Buffelsdrift Game Lodge (luxury tents). Evening lecture.
Optional visit to Cango Caves (20 million year-old network of limestone chambers with beautiful formations), or stream-bed flower walk, followed by Safari Ostrich Farm tour and BBQ. Afternoon: the heritage of Oudtshoorn (opulent late 19th century and early 20th century architecture). Evening game drive in Buffelsdrift.
Robinson Pass (mountain fynbos), Outeniqua Mountains (exquisite mountain scenery, mountain fynbos) and Valley of the Ferns (giant tree ferns, streams, moss meadows). Three nights at Belvidere Manor, Knysna.
Featherbed Nature Reserve (stunning lagoon, indigenous fynbos and coastal forest) followed by Plettenberg Bay for wine tasting.
Keurbooms River Nature Reserve (World Heritage site with indigenous trees including Cape beech, giant stinkwoods and Outeniqua yellowwoods), Storms River Mouth in Tsitsikamma National Park (dramatic coastal scenery and forest, including 800 year-old yellowwood 'Big Tree'), and Matjies River Cave.
Depart George Airport 1530, arriving Cape Town 1620. Depart Cape Town 1930.
Arrive Heathrow 0630.
1 Sep — 16 Sep 2020
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Prof Parker was just amazing. Apart from being lovely company, I can't believe how much botany I learned from him. He is such an enthusiast for his subject and a fantastic teacher.
Our South African guide Robbie was excellent, giving us real insights into life in South Africa today. It was a real privilege to listen to him...We couldn't have had a better guide.
ACE Customer in 2017
While covering a lot of ground, this tour will be taken at a leisurely pace, with many opportunities to stop and appreciate the flora and our surroundings. Participants should, however, be prepared for a significant amount of coach travel and several hotel stays. They should also feel comfortable walking over uneven, sometimes rugged, terrain and standing for up to two hours at a time. Alternative options will be available for those who feel unable to manage the more demanding walks.
For customers happy to organise their own flights or travel arrangements, we are happy to offer a reduction of:
Cost of £4895 includes: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, full board with water & coffee (some packed lunches), excursions & admissions, gratuities.
Not included: travel insurance, single room supplement £595.