Your trip begins today in Cape Town, South Africa. Affectionately known as "The Mother City", Cape Town's natural beauty, cosmopolitan atmosphere, outdoor accessibility and rich cultural diversity all combine to make South Africa's oldest city (founded in 1652) a fantastic destination to explore. Upon arrival, we'll be met at the Cape Town airport and transferred to our centrally-located hotel. We have the remainder of the evening at leisure to sample one of the city's great restaurants or just relax in the comfort of our hotel. Overnight in Cape Town for the next four nights. All meals on your own today.
After breakfast this morning, we head out for a full-day tour of the wild Cape Peninsula. We'll pay a visit to Boulders Beach and enjoy the antics of the waddling inhabitants of the nearby African Penguin colony. Afterwards, we'll continue our drive down the coast to the Cape of Good Hope in Table Mountain National Park. Near the convergence point of the Atlantic and Indian Ocean currents, the Cape was first reached by European explorers in the late 15th century and later became an important stop along the spice trade route between Europe and the East Indies. Our own stop will allow for an optional hour-long uphill hike from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Point, a rocky promontory offering awe-inspiring views of the rugged coastline and shimmering waters of False Bay. En route back to Cape Town, we'll navigate the 114 curves along Chapman's Peak Drive, one of the world's most dramatically scenic coastal roads, and visit the lovely Kirstenbosch National Botanic Gardens before returning to our hotel in the late afternoon. Breakfast and lunch included.
Optional Hiking: 2 miles on a well-marked path with 850' elevation gain.
We get an early start today as our sights are set on conquering the 3,000-foot summit of Table Mountain! Beginning at the lower cable car station and accompanied by an experienced guide, we hike up the front face of the mountain along the Platteklip Gorge route. This trail offers magnificent vistas from bottom to top as well as an introduction to the indigenous "fynbos" flora of the Cape region, the smallest but richest of the world's six plant kingdoms with some 8,600 flowering species. Upon reaching the top of the gorge, we're greeted with panoramic views of Table Bay, Robben Island, the nearby peaks of Lion's Head and Signal Hill, the Twelve Apostles and distant Cape Point. We spend some time on our lofty perch with Cape Town stretching out below our feet before boarding the cable car for a descent back to the base of the mountain. Those wishing to skip the hike will have the option to ride the Table Mountain cable car both up and down the mountain, still enjoying the unforgettable views from the summit.
After rendezvousing with our waiting vehicle at the cable car terminus, we'll take a short drive to the township of Langa. Like many townships, Langa was created during the apartheid era as a dormitory area for the non-white working class. In addition to a stop for lunch, we'll enjoy a walking tour of the township and gain a better understanding of the community efforts being undertaken to face some of the challenges of post-apartheid South Africa. Although dinner is on our own tonight, our guide will offer numerous restaurant recommendations for consideration. Breakfast and lunch included.
Hiking: 3-4 hours on trail with 2,500' elevation gain. This is a vigorous, weather-dependent hike.
Note: A cable car ascent/descent of Table Mountain is an available alternative to hiking this morning.
Located approximately one hour's drive from Cape Town, the majestic mountain scenery, picturesque vineyards and historic estate architecture of the Cape Winelands combine to make this famous region one of the most beautiful wine-growing regions in the world. We set out to explore the Winelands by bike today, cycling the quiet back roads and stopping at some of the estates to taste the celebrated vintages produced here. Our ride begins this morning just outside the lovely village of Franschhoek, founded by the French Huguenots in 1688 and nestled in a valley between towering mountains in the heart of the Winelands region. Our route leads us through the peaceful countryside to a number of charming wine farms before meandering back to Franschhoek. Breakfast and lunch included.
Cycling: Approximately 15 miles over gently rolling terrain on a combination of paved and dirt roads. Note: Those preferring to skip the cycling today will be accompanied by your guide and taken to a selection of wine farms and vineyards by vehicle.
Bid a fond farewell to Cape Town this morning and transfer to the airport in time for your departing flight. Breakfast and airport transfer included.