Day excursions

Discover: "The Big 5" & Zipslide Adventures in Ceres or History in Tulbagh...

Travelling to Africa is only complete once you have embarked on a safari and with the rich biodiversity of the Little Karoo and over 1200 animals on the reserve, a trip to Inverdoorn is an experience not to be missed. Spanning 10.000 hectares, the privately owned game reserve ensures that the animals are able to roam free in their natural habitat and wildlife conservation remains at the forefront of everything Inverdoorn does.

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Home to the Big Five, it is the largest game reserve in the region (only 1,5 hours drive from Sauvignon Country Lodge!) and situated in the dry heartland of South Africa, Inverdoorn is entirely malaria-free! There are game reserves further up north that are unfortunately not, but here you will leave as malaria-free and healthy as you arrived.

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We'll make an early start and make sure to be inside the game reserve before 10:00 a.m. After a  welcome drink with home-bakes cookies we will enjoy an almost three-hour game drive across the 10.000 ha reserve in search of the Big 5, roaming wild and free.

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The game drive will surely build up your appetite, so upon return to the lodge, a three-course buffet lunch is served. Summertime in the Karoo is characterised by clear, warm and sunny days so lunch will most likely be served beneath the Eucalyptus tree alongside the succulent garden. All meals are prepared with only the freshest, seasonal produce, sourced directly from local farms.

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We will be ready to leave the game reserve around p.m. and -for those who dare- we will return through Ceres and stop for a genuine African Zipslide Adventure...  Ceres Zipslide offers the longest Zipline Tour in Africa: 1,4km of pure adrenalin Eco Adventure, consisting of 8 slides varying from 100-290m in lenght. This Eco-Adventure is 100% safe (kids allowed from 3 yrs up), fast and long.

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The tour takes place in the Schurweberg Mountains below the Koekedouw Dam in Ceres, also known as the "Eden of The Cape", and shows the true beauty of the Karoo's fynbos and rugged sandstone mountains. The tour takes about 1.5 hrs, we will finish around 5 p.m.

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The Zipslide Adventure can easily be replaced by a visit to Tulbagh, a beautiful historic town we will pass on our way back home, at the opposite side of Bain's Kloof.

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The Tulbagh valley was first discovered by European settlers in 1658 and the town itself was developed in 1743. Post the 1969 earthquake every historic home in Church Street was beautifully restored to its original glory, and the 32 Cape-Dutch buildings in it now constitute the largest concentration of National Monuments in one single street in South Africa.

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We'll make a stop at one of the many well-known Tulbagh wineries (amongst others the beautiful farm 'Twee Jonge Gezellen', home of the finest MCC) before heading back to Sauvignon Country Lodge.

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Discover : Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl

franschhoek_banner.jpgFranschhoek is the cradle of the South-African wine culture, thanks to the arrival of the French Hugenots in 1680. A walk through the most charming village center will often remind you of the Hugenot’s presence, as many street and estate names are still French. The Hugenot Museum provides an insight in the rich French heritage in the area.

stellenbosch.JPGWe start off with a visit of one of the oldest wineries called La Motte, which was founded in 1695 and still is one of the leading wine producers in the Western Cape today. The second winery on our way is Boekenhoutskloof, located in the furthest corner of the beautiful Franschhoek valley, which was awarded “Platter’s Winery of the Year 2012” (> Platter’s South African Wineguide) and whose well-known labels ‘Wolftrap’, ‘Porcupine Ridge’ and ‘The Chocolate Block’ are exported all over the world. As the winemaker is unafraid to experiment, Boekenhoutskloof wines are unconventional and unique in their very own way.
Leaving Franschhoek we pass the impressive “Berg River Dam” and continue our way through the fruit orchards which amongst others produce the famous Cape Golden apples, in the direction of Stellenbosch; the oldest and probably one of the most beautiful villages of South-Africa.

 

Hartenberg_Wine.jpgOur first visit in Stellenbosch is Hartenberg Estate, one of the oldest wineries in the area where we can enjoy a tasting before having a picknick lunch in their beautiful gardens overlooking the vineyards. Afterwards we head for the historical city center of Stellenbosch, where the lovely houses in typical Cape-Dutch style are a constant reminder of a prosperous past. Shopaholics are spoiled in the various boutiques and shopping centers.

 

 

 

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Heading back to Wellington our last stop is Paarl, our neighbor village which is the largest wine exporter of the Cape and the cradle of the African language, still very similar to Flemish. We stop at the African Language Monument before visiting Fairview, an award-winning winery that’s also well known for their excellent cheese. A “VIP” cheese & wine tasting will suitably end this beautiful day in the Winelands.

 

 

 

Discover : Hermanus & the whales

whale_crier_hermanus.JPGThe drive towards Hermanus (120km southeast of Capetown) really is worth the while, as it will carry us along the South-African Rivièra (Gordon’s Bay, Betty’s Bay, Pringle Bay etc). Hermanus boasts spectacular views over the sea and the cliffs, filled with seals and seagulls. It’s the beginning of a 12km long beach that reminds one of the Scottish Highlands. Depending on the season, it’s the ideal place to observe the whales who, mainly in October and November, are carried along with the Gulf stream to Hermanus’ beaches where they give birth to their calves before swimming back to their natural habitat in Antarctica. Hermanus’ nature reserve “Voëlklip” is one of the world’s best places for whale-watching, but you can spot the odd whale tail above the fierce waves anywhere along the coastal road if you’re lucky.

 
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The most typical place to have lunch is literally  with your feet in the water.. A very steep stairway leads all the way down from the walking boulevard to sea level, where the restaurant Bientang's Cave was carved out of the rocks. Furthermore, the Whale Museum and the cosy village center, also largely dedicated to the history of the whales, are worth your visit. Beach addicts can have a swim at Voëlklip Beach and Grotto Beach, the latter having won the Blue Flag Award for the unspoiled and pure nature of the beach and the outstanding quality of its facilities.

Discover : Cape of Good Hope & Boulders (Penguin) Beach

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We drive alongside the Atlantic ocean and the wonderful coastal strip of Sea Point, the sophisticated Clifton Beaches & Camps Bay and stop, wheather permitting, in Houtbay for a short boattrip to Duiker Island, homestead of hundreds of seals. The boattrip can be replaced by a visit of one of the finest and most beautiful wineries in the Constantia wine region near Houtbay, called Steenberg, whose tasting terrace and landscaped gardens are uniquely designed. Steenberg also features a very nice restaurant and apart from a marvellous wine selection they bottle their own MCC (Méthode Champenoise du Cap).


 

Crossing the breathtaking Chapman’s Peak we carry on to the beautiful unspoiled nature reserve of Cape of Good Hope, the most southwestern point of Africa where the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean mingle. Visiting Cape Point is a must, and the nearby marine village of Simon’s Town with its beautiful Victorian center is the perfect place to take a break before carrying on to Boulders Beach.

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In view of the tropical temperatures in Africa, one would expect lions, zebra and elephants rather than penguins.. And yet, they are here! A colony of about 3.000 penguins lives on Boulders Beach, which is a part of the Table Mountain National Park. You can admire the cute little penguins from a very close distance when you stay on the wooden hiking trails, but you can also take a dive with them in the sea. Boulders is a gorgeous beach with its golden sand and deep blue sea filled with huge stones (Boulders) against a background of impressive rock formations. It’s the perfect place for swimming and snorkeling.

 

 

 

 

Via Muizenberg, named after the Dutch sergeant Muijs, who controlled the city (a military post of the VOC) from 1743 for years, we drive back home.

Discover : Capetown, the Waterfront & Robbenisland

V_A_Waterfront.jpgWe drive to Capetown early in the morning and catch the Red Bus which is the ideal means of transport for those who want to see a lot of tourist attractions in a short time (earphones provide cultural and historical background information in 6 languages). We pass the Museum of Art and Cultural History, the House of Parliament, St George’s Cathedral etc. and get off at Table Mountain, where the cableway will take us all the way up to the top where you enjoy spectacular views over the Mother City and her surroundings. We proceed with the next Red Bus, heading west alongside the beaches of the rich and famous; Camp’s Bay, the South-African answer to Saint-Tropez, and the Clifton Beaches, 4 small but gorgeous beaches who are protected from the typical and often harsh southeastern wind, until the final stop; the Victoria & Albert Waterfront. This trendy harbor contains all the action, as well as one of the largest shopping malls in South-Africa.

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Between the numerous cafés and restaurants you’ll find the oldest one of Capetown, named ‘Den Anker’ (The Anchor) and founded by Belgians. The menu and ample beer selection is still 100% Belgian, no wonder it’s our favorite place for lunch.


 

 

 

 


In the afternoon we visit Robbenisland and have a guided tour through the notorious prison where, amongst many other freedom fighters, ex-president Nelson Mandela was held behind bars for many years. The tour guides are all former prisoners who speak from experience which can get quite emotional.

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Discover: Table Mountain National Park

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Table Mountain National Park protects the botanical and wild treasures that surround and interweave through Cape Town's urban sprawl. Cape Point and Table Mountain are the icons, but you'll find green protected areas dappled all over the city - and most have free or inexpensive acces.

No matter where you go in Cape Town, nature is all around you, from the chain of mountains that includes the iconic Table Mountain, to the ocean that surrounds the city.

Gazing towards Antarctica as you stand on the high cliffs of Cape Point in Table Mountain National Park, buffeted by the cleanest air you've ever inhaled, it is easy to believe you are at the southernmost tip of Africa.

It is an emotional and visual illusion - the southernmost tip of Africa lies a few hundred kilometres away to the south-east. You are simply standing on the beckoning finger that is the Cape Peninsula.

Linked by a mountain range, it leads to the instantly recognisable Table Mountain, flanked by the smaller mountains, Devil's Peak and Lion's Head. Interwoven between the sandstone massif that is Table Mountain and Cape Point is the sprawl of Cape Town itself. Yet both these natural icons - and substantial chunks of wild land in between - form part of the Table Mountain National Park.

This must surely be the world's most biodiverse and dramatically beautiful national park set entirely within a metropolitan area. An ambitious project, it has been a wild success.

Most of the park is free to the public, with only four sections where entrance fees are paid.

One is at Boulders, a sheltered cove between Cape Point and Simon's Town. Here you can see thousands of charming, endangered African penguins that have made their home in this suburban area, or you can even choose to swim with them in the comparatively warm waters of False Bay.

You'll also pay a modest fee to enter the Silvermine section, which is great for its variety of walks, and at Cape Point, about a 40-minute drive to the city centre. Along this remarkable peninsula with its hidden bays and two lighthouses, you'll find mountain zebra, bontebok, steenbok, eland and many bold baboons. Also look out for the smaller creatures like otters, lizards, snakes, tortoises and insects, all adapted to live in this hotspot of biodiversity.

Between June and November you'll be perfectly placed to see southern right whales on their annual break from the icy Antarctic.

You'll also pay a modest entrance fee for the cool and lush Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, where you can picnic or pause awhile to admire and photograph some of the 9000 species or so of fynbos, which comprises one of the world's 6 floral kingdoms all on its own. Fynbos is endemic to the Western Cape province of South Africa, and is the reason for the declaration of the Cape Floral Kingdom World Heritage Site, of which Table Mountain National Park is a part.

The most dramatic of the fynbos species are the protea, including South Africa's national flower, the king protea (Protea cynaroides)

(issued by Wakanow Travel)

In that same era the “Bainskloof Pass” was built by the famous Scot Andrew Geddes Bain. This extraordinary beautiful pass used to be the only gateway to the north. And even today, there’s no better way to connect to Route 62 than to go via the spectacular Bains Kloof, connecting Wellington with Tulbagh, Ceres and Robertson. Andrew Geddes Bain is still proudly remembered in the name of the World’s Best Grain Whisky called “Bain’s” which originates from the Three Ships Distillery in Wellington. (3  ‌, South Africa)

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