South Africa in bloom - Cape Flower Show
For the opportunity to head further afield and soak up an explosion of wild natural colour, Naturetrek still has availability on its 10-day South Africa - Best of the Cape tour, focusing on the region's colourful flora, wild coastlines, birds, mammals and cetaceans - coinciding with peak spring flowering season.
Other highlights include an optional day spent watching (or cage diving with) Great White Sharks. The tour departs London 19th September 2008.
First up, visit the marshlands of Rondevlei Nature Reserve on the Cape Flats en route to Noordhoek, located on the Fynbos-covered slopes of the northern Cape Peninsula. Travel along Chapman’s Peak Drive to Hout Bay, for possible sightings of Southern Right Whale. Take a cable-car ride (or 2-hour walk if you prefer!) to the top of Table Mountain for stunning views over the city and Cape Peninsula.
Nestled on the eastern slopes Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, offers a superb collection of Cape flora, including proteas, and is also one the Cape's best birding spots. Next, guests have the option to spend two days at sea! Head out from Simonstown Harbour to about 65kms off-shore, where the cold Benguela current’s nutrient-rich waters provide some of the world’s best seabird-watching. Look out for Albatrosses such as Blackbrowed, Yellow-nosed, Shy and even the magnificent Wandering Albatross (with the largest wingspan of any bird). The second boat trip focuses on in-shore waters and includes visits to Kleinbaai, the infamous Dyer Island and Shark Alley.
Here, observe Great White Sharks, either from the boat or, for the fearless, in an underwater cage! Whilst at sea, Southern Right Whales, seabirds, and thousands of Cape Fur Seals, may also be seen. Back on land, visit Hermanus, Betty’s Bay and the Cape of Good Hope Reserve for further whale-watching experiences. The reserve, formed to protect the fragile and beautiful fynbos flora, which will be in full bloom, is home to mammal species including Cape Mountain Zebra and Chacma Baboon, and an excellent variety of birds, including Ostrich.
On to Helderberg Nature Reserve, for avian speciality the Cape Rockjumper, before visiting the seaside town of Langebaan. At West Coast National Park, home to a great range of wetland and strandveld (coastal scrub) birds, keep watch for the rare Black Harrier. Finally, visit UNESCO World Heritage Site, Robben Island - the isolated prison where former South African President Nelson Mandela, was incarcerated.
The tour cost is £2,195 p/p including scheduled flights, hotel accommodation, most meals and expert guiding.
For more information and bookings, visit Naturetrek.co.uk.