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Coast to Coast Guided Group Tour

  • Movie Screening at the Apollo Theatre in Victoria West
  • Guided tour of Orania with step-on guide
  • Sundowners on Bethulie Bridge
  • A Ghost Walk in Bethulie
  • Stay at the Royal Hotel in Bethulie - South Africa's 'Book Hotel'
  • Guided full-day Tour of the Anglo-Boer War sites with step-on storyteller
  • Visit to Big Pineapple in Bathurst
  • Two guided game drives (afternoon and morning) at Bukela Game Lodge
  • Theatre Performance at the Karroo Theatrical Hotel

Overview

Join Live the Journey from 13 to 22 October 2020 on a 10-day guided small group tour as we travel from Lambert's Bay on South Africa's West Coast to Morgan Bay on the East Coast. 

The Karoo has always had a special charm of its own. On this 10-day tour we want to unlock the uniqueness of the environment and its special characters. Travellers will have the opportunity to experience the freedom that vast, open landscapes offer; to take in the allure of beautiful mountain ranges; experience the excitement and tingle in your veins when driving on dirt roads and mountain passes, and lastly, enjoy the company of fellow travellers.

The Atlantic Ocean, on the west, is cooled by the icy Benguela Current, which comes from the Antarctic, while the Indian Ocean, on the east coast, is warmed by the Mozambique or Agulhas Current which flows down from the Tropics. These two oceans, the prevailing wind and the topography of South Africa combine to create a semi-desert eco-system in the west coast, gradually changing to grasslands, subtropical forests and wetlands on the east coast.

We will experience this biological diversity first hand as we drive through four of the provinces on our journey from west to east over the next few days. 

This tour is also available as a self-drive guided group tour from 09 to 19 November 2020. Please contact us for more information.

Itinerary

DAY 1: ARRIVE LAMBERT’S BAY

Group members will meet in Cape Town from where we will travel north to Lambert’s Bay. We visit Bird Island and then check-in at the hotel. Bird Island offers visit an opportunity to see the blue-eyed Cape gannet up close.

Dip your toes in the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean as you will have the opportunity to also do this in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean later during the tour. Or perhaps test the theory that the waters of these two oceans never mix. Why not fill a container with sea water from Lamberts Bay and then pour it into the sea at Morgan Bay to see for yourself?

18h30 – Meet in the hotel foyer for a transfer to Bosduifklip. Enjoy a welcome dinner.

Overnight at the Lambert’s Bay Hotel or similar including dinner

DAY 2: LAMBERT’S BAY – VICTORIA WEST (550 KM)

Breakfast and then depart heading away from the coast, passing through the edge of the Hantam Karoo. As you leave the foothills of the Roggeland Mountains in your rear-view mirror, you head into the vast, blue skies and austere landscapes of the Western Upper Karoo.

Bound by the great southern escarpment to the south, the entire region is above 1000 meters in elevation. While the high escarpment is mostly flat, you will notice the distinctive flat-topped hills, so characteristic of the region, as you drive the vast distances between towns and villages.

We will stop from time to time to drink in the silence, solitude and immensity of the Great Karoo.

Our destination today is Melton Wold Guest Farm situated about 40 km from Victoria West. Established in 1935, it is the oldest guest farm in the country, with the main part of the farmhouse dating back to 1889.

19h00 – Enjoy dinner and Karoo hospitality at the guest farm tonight.

Overnight at Melton Wold Guest Farm or similar including breakfast and dinner

DAY 3: VICTORIA WEST – ORANIA (280 KM)

Awaken to the sounds of a working sheep and game farm. Enjoy breakfast at your leisure.

09h00 – We continue our journey to Victoria West. Sandwiched between two parallel hills, the town was established in 1843 when it was selected as a new parish for the Dutch Reformed Church. This is true of the origin

of many of the towns and villages in this part of the Karoo and explains the many beautiful examples of Victorian and Edwardian era churches proudly towering these communities.

Upon arrival in Victoria West, we head to the Apollo Theatre, the only surviving Art Deco Theatre in South Africa. The theatre started out as a café managed by Andrew Bassil, a Greek immigrant who arrived in Victoria West in the 1920’s. He later added a bioscope and in the 1950’s the building was renovated according to the popular art deco style of the time – the Apollo Theatre Complex was established.

10h00 – Enjoy a guided tour of the theatre, before traveling back in time for the screening of an old movie, complete with popcorn and a glass-bottle soda.

Enjoy lunch at leisure (lunch not included) before heading further north into the sprawling Eastern Upper Karoo. As you journey towards Orania, our destination for the day, the harsh arid landscapes start to soften ever so slightly with the addition of sun-bleached grasslands to the rugged Karoo bushes and distant “koppies”.

19h30 – After check-in, we freshen up and enjoy a traditional “spitbraai”.

Overnight at the Orania Oewer Hotel & Spa or similar including breakfast and dinner

DAY 4: ORANIA – PHILIPPOLIS – BETHULIE (210 KM)

Enjoy an early breakfast this morning and check-out.

08h00 – We start our day with a guided tour of Orania including the Cultural History Museum, the Koeksister Monument and Monument Hill. The modern town of Orania, located on the banks of the Orange River, had its origins as a temporary settlement named Vluytjeskraal, established by the Department of Water Affairs in 1963, in order to accommodate the workers who were building the irrigation canals linked to the construction of the Vanderkloof Dam upstream of the town. Today the town is home to a community of exclusively Afrikaans families eager to preserve the Afrikaans culture and language. Besides its own flag, radio station and local currency, the town boasts sophisticated farming and irrigation systems and fully organic vineyards.

We depart Orania and make our way south to Philippolis. This tiny town, located virtually in the middle of South Africa, is steeped in rich history and was the birthplace of renowned author Sir Laurens Jan van der Post. Emily Hobhouse, the Anglo Boer War welfare campaigner, started a weaving school for destitute Boer girls here and it was also home to Adam Kok, one of the best-known Griqua leaders.

12h30 – Enjoy lunch in Philippolis, hosted by a local storyteller.

This afternoon we continue our journey to Bethulie, a delightful farming town located in the southern reaches of the Free State.

Upon arrival at our hotel we check-in and freshen up before departing to the nearby Hennie Steyn Bridge. At 1.2 kilometres, it is the longest road-rail bridge in South Africa, connecting the Free State with the Eastern Cape. It is also the perfect spot for sundowners, admiring the golden waters of the Orange River as it flows towards the massive Gariep Dam.

19h00 – This evening we enjoy traditional Free State fare in the company of our host, Anthony Hocking, proprietor of the Royal Hotel, South Africa’s only “book hotel”.

The Royal Hotel Bethulie is famous for its books and vinyl records, shelved floor to ceiling throughout the public areas. In total the collections include 120,000 books and 80,000 records in a multitude of genres. Anthony has been collecting books since he was five years old and has himself written 38, mostly on history and travel.

After dinner, Anthony will lead a “ghost walk” through town, for those interested.

Overnight at the Royal Hotel or similar including breakfast and dinner

DAY 5: BETHULIE – SPRINGFONTEIN – NORVALS PONT – BETHULIE (160 KM)

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning.

09h00 – Today we will follow a triangular route taking in the poignant history of Springfontein, Norvalspont and Bethulie, focusing on the Boer-Basuto War of 1865 and the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. Together with Anthony, we embark on a journey through the heart-wrenching history of this beautiful area with a visit to the site of the infamous Bethulie Concentration Camp as well as the Louw Wepener monument, a hero of the Boer-Basuto war.

We enjoy a picnic lunch on the banks of the Orange River and return to the hotel in the late afternoon.

19h00 – Enjoy dinner at the hotel.

Overnight at the Royal Hotel or similar including breakfast, picnic lunch and dinner

DAY 6: BETHULIE – LADY GREY – ELLIOT (APPROX. 290 KM)

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and check-out.

09h00 – We continue our journey today leaving the vast open spaces of the Karoo and Free State behind us as we cross into the mountainous grandeur of the Eastern Cape highlands at Aliwal North. We pass through Lady Grey, a delightful Victorian style village, surrounded by the beautiful, often snow-capped, Witteberg Mountain Range close to the Lesotho border.

Our journey continues through the small town of Barkley East and onwards to our hotel set at the top of Barkly Pass, where we will spend the night.

19h00 – Enjoy dinner at the hotel.

Overnight at the Mountain Shadows Hotel or similar including breakfast and dinner

DAY 7: ELLIOT – MORGAN BAY (270 KM)

Enjoy breakfast this morning and check-out.

Today you travel away from the Eastern Cape highlands through the Transkei section of the Wild Coast through the Xhosa heartland, a stunning landscape of rolling green hills dotted with thatched rondawels, offering interesting glimpses into a culture far removed from the stresses of modern life.

Travel to the coast and the secluded, pristine seaside resort of Morgan Bay, your destination. Sheer rock cliffs, topped with grass and beautiful wild flowers, plunge down to the warm Indian Ocean here. A well-kept secret, Morgan Bay lies on the banks of the Inchara River, so called from the crabs found there. The river forms a safe lagoon which is the centrepiece for an exceptionally romantic and charming stretch of coastline.

Our hotel is nestled at the heart of this between a mile of unspoilt beach and breath-taking cliffs. Spend the late afternoon at leisure. Time to tip your toes in the Indian Ocean.

19h00 – Enjoy dinner at the hotel tonight.

Overnight at the Morgan Bay Hotel or similar including breakfast and dinner

DAY 8: MORGAN BAY – AMAKHALA GAME RESERVE (330 KM)

07h00 – Enjoy an early breakfast and check-out.

This morning you travel south along the Wild Coast towards Port Alfred, before turning inland to Bathurst.

Possibly one of South Africa’s most eccentric villages, Bathurst is, amongst other things, home to the world's largest pineapple.

There's no missing the town's 17-meter-tall pineapple, representing the region's pineapple industry. The settlers who arrived in the 1820s struggled to grow crops until the first pineapple was planted in 1865. Inside the three-story fiberglass pineapple there's a museum devoted to the fruit and a walk to the top will reward you with great views of the surrounding pineapple fields and countryside.

From Bathurst you continue your journey deep into Frontier Country. Our destination today is the Bukela Game Lodge situated within the pristine Amakhala Private Game Reserve. Amakhala is named after the Xhosa word meaning Aloes, the prolific indigenous plant found in the distinctively diverse Eastern Cape province. The landscapes are different to those that you would find in other safari areas with fauna and flora uniquely adapted to the climate in this part of South Africa.

15h00 – Upon arrival check-in and freshen up before enjoying afternoon tea with light snacks in the form of delectable sweet and savoury pastries.

16h00 – We depart on a game drive. Home to the Big 5 as well as the lesser known "Little 5", the reserve offers a vast variety of flora and fauna of which you can expect to learn all about, as an experienced guide take us on a game drive to remember. Bottled water, beverages and light snacks such as biltong are provided en route and the vehicle will stop in order for guests to alight and enjoy a sundowner at sunset with views over the magnificent surroundings. The duration of a game drive is usually 3-4 hours depending what we encounter on our safari.

We return to the lodge after sunset in time for a delicious dinner under the diamond-studded African night sky. (Weather-permitting)

Overnight at the Bukela Game Lodge or similar including breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner

DAY 9: AMAKHALA GAME RESERVE – STEYTLERVILLE (220 KM)

06h30 – After a peaceful night’s sleep surrounded by the sounds of the bush, guests are served coffee, tea and cereals, fruits, yoghurt, rusks in the main lodge half an hour before the morning game drive commences. Besides game sightings enjoying a steaming cup of coffee (which is traditionally enjoyed with rusks) in the middle of the bush is a highlight of the morning.

On returning from the morning game drive, we freshen up before brunch is served.

11h00 – Depart from the Amakhala Game Reserve and start to make your way towards Steytlerville, the last stop on our journey.

Steytlerville lies on the southern fringes of the Great Karoo between the rugged Baviaanskloof Mountains to the south and the Grootrivierberge, to the north. Steytlerville and the surrounding Baviaans District encompasses three converging biomes including valley bushveld, fynbos and Karoo. The area boasts an astonishing variety of semi-desert vegetation including succulents and the surrounding mountains host some of the best preserved highly-endangered cycad habitat left in South Africa. Besides its extraordinary surrounds the town is also home to the
biggest Edwardian era church in Southern Africa and its other claim to fame is ties to rugby-legend, Danie Craven, and the renowned poet and medical doctor A.G. Visser, who practiced here between 1909 and 1916.

Before you enter the town, make a quick detour along Noorspoort Pass, a short, winding road also known as The Valley of the Flags. The poort is perhaps best known for its painted flags on the rock faces on the eastern side of
the road. The Noorspoort is 3,1 km long and has a minor altitude variance of just 24m, making for an easy drive, but don't get too transfixed by all the flags. The poort was carved out by the Groot River - a very long river which winds its way all the way down through the Baviaanskloof to form a confluence with the Gamtoos River near Patensie.

It is evident that Steytlerville is an excellent example of how to revitalize an old town, broad streets are filled with neat Victorian houses, carefully restored complete with decorative broekie-lace and shady verandas. Down the centre island of the main road the lamp posts are decorated with heraldic emblems and family crests from all sectors of the local community.

18h00 – This evening we end our journey in style at the Karroo Theatrical Hotel, set at the edge of town. We enjoy a scrumptious three-course dinner followed by a delightful performance by The Steytlerville Follies, presented by talented maestro and pianist Freddie Ferrari, and starring the legendary Karoovian diva, Dame Leyla Lamborgini, all in the hotel’s intimate Grimaldi's Theatre Hall.

Overnight at the Karroo Theatrical Hotel or similar including breakfast and dinner

DAY 10: DEPARTURE

Sadly, today marks the end of our incredible journey. After a leisurely breakfast and hotel check-out, we continue with the last leg of our trip, back to Cape Town. The distance what we will cover today will be approximately 650 kms. Arrival in Cape Town will be late afternoon.
Including breakfast

END OF SERVICES

Dates

Guided Small Group Tour:

13 October 2020 – 22 October 2020

Rates

LAND PACKAGE - COST:
Per Person Sharing: ZAR 22 200.00
Single Room Supplement: ZAR 3 175.00

Included

  • Tourist guide for the duration of the tour.
  • Transport for 12 guests in an 18-seater bus.
  • 9 Nights’ accommodation in country guest houses, hotels and lodges as specified
  • 9 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 9 Dinners and 1 Afternoon Tea
  • Movie Screening at the Apollo Theatre in Victoria West
  • Guided tour of Orania with step-on guide
  • Sundowners on Bethulie Bridge
  • A Ghost Walk in Bethulie
  • Visit to Big Pineapple in Bathurst
  • Guided full-day Tour of the Anglo-Boer War sites with step-on storyteller
  • Two guided game drives (afternoon and morning) at Bukela Game Lodge
  • Theatre Performance at the Karroo Theatrical Hotel
  • Bottled water on the bus
  • Sanitizer on the bus

Excluded

  • Lunches that are not specified.
  • Snacks
  • Drinks during all meals.
  • Travel insurance
  • Any items of a personal nature such as telephone bill, curios and laundry
  • Porterage
  • Driver and guide gratuities

NOTES:

  • This tour requires a minimum of 12 guests to offer it at the quoted price.
  • The tour starts and ends in Cape Town. Guests make their own way to/from these points.
  • Prices for conservation levies, park and entrance fees may be changed without prior notice. This is beyond our control and any increase levied will be for the traveller’s account.
  • Should lockdown regulations change during the proposed tour date, the tour will be postponed to an alternative date.