South Africa: Wild Western Cape

Walkers encounter wineries, old-world architecture, unspoiled wilderness and game reserves on a 12-day walk that is part National Geographic part Relais & Château. You need both for a special occasion trip. 

On this Wayfarers’ tour, the days vary from Land Rover game-drives to wine tastings at prestigious South African vineyards. There are bush walks in the Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve, garden walks in the world-class Kirstenbosch Gardens and scenic walks amid the farmlands and towns of Dutch Cape.

At Madikwe Safari Lodge, the dinner table is set.

Upscale lodging includes Cellars-Hohenort Hotel with its acclaimed gardens, and Le Quartier Francais in the Cape Winelands. Located in the French Huguenot Valley of Franschhoek, Le Quartier Français is the quintessential auberge. Local cuisine and regional wines are featured at every meal.

You also stay at the Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat, set against the backdrop of the Cederburg Mountains.

Walkers at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve.

The Madikwe Safari Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve may be the highlight of the trip. After you check into your thatched-roof stone cottage, change into safari clothes. Madikwe Game Reserve provides ample opportunity to see the Big Five: elephants, lion, leopards, rhinoceroses and buffalos.

Because the rangers are expert trackers, you see a large volumes of animals up close. On game drives, keep in mind that you are in the animals’ natural environment. You may come upon a lioness and her cubs devouring a warthog. Lions on a kill is a scary sight. A lion roaring from 20 feet away will raise your hair on end.

A lion watches the sunset at the reserve.

Animal sightings may occur when you least expect them. One night, a guest watched a lion from his cottage porch drink from the plunge pool. The next morning a ranger escorted him and his family to the main building, rifle in hand. The lions feed well on the reserve’s abundant prey, thank goodness.

The Western Cape begins in Cape Town and ends in Johannesburg. Wayfarer guides know the country intimately and provide insight into South African life. The tour company also takes excellent care of their guests, providing laundry service, which comes in handy after the dust from the safaris.

The Wayfarers offers an enticing roster of luxury outdoor adventures in 15 countries. Guests report being on a high months after a Wayfarers trip.

—Donna Peck

Comments

  1. Peter says:

    Nice collection of South African walks. Thanks!

  2. Jaynie says:

    I really need to go and do some of those walks. Thanks for my “to-do list” :)

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