Things to do in Cape Town
Explore Local Markets
Live like a local and explore a couple of markets, the most lively being The Old Biscuit Mill, which runs every Saturday in the heart of trendy Woodstock. Here you can sample some wonderful artisan food, pick up some local South African goodies to take back home and listen to some inspiring live music played by talented local musicians.
Climb Table Mountain on one of the 350-odd hiking trails, which are home to over 2,220 plant species and 1,470 floral species, many of which are endemic to the mountain. Alternatively, take the cable car up and enjoy incredible views over Cape Town, Table Bay, Robben Island to the north, and the Atlantic seaboard to the west and south.
Sunset on the Atlantic Seaboard
The Atlantic Seaboard, also known as Cape Town's 'Riviera', stretches from the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront to Hout Bay, and is home to some of the best sunsets in the world. We know the top sundowner spots, which we can book ahead for you, or our local Concierge, Zola, can book during your trip - she is only a text, email or phone call away for any last-minute help.
Things to do in Eastern Cape
Safari in a Private Game Reserve
Enjoy a safari in one of the fantastic private game reserves throughout the Eastern Cape, such as Shamwari or Kwandwe (both known for their conservation efforts), spotting the Big Five as well as cheetahs, giraffes, antelopes and more. As with elsewhere in South Africa, these game reserves are especially good for families because they are malaria free.
Learn Some Xhosa
Take the opportunity to learn a phrase or two of the second most common language in South Africa (after Zulu) - Xhosa. The majority of Xhosa speakers are found in the Eastern Cape, and in many of our favourite lodges the team can introduce you to the clicks and sounds of this unique language.
Visit the Valley of Desolation
Admire the sheer cliffs and columns that rise up some 400 feet up from the floor of the Valley of Desolation in Camdeboo National Park. Hike through the park to take in the huge variety of flora and fauna that are found here and the dramatic landscapes, formed as a result of volcanic and erosive forces over the course of 100 million years.
Things to do in Kruger National Park & Sabi Sands
Sleep Out Under the Stars
It doesn't get more romantic than snuggling up and sleeping under the stars in a private treehouse. Following on from an afternoon game drive, arrive at a secluded treehouse as dusk falls to find a gourmet dinner and chilled sundowners waiting for you with lanterns, blankets and bubbly aplenty. A truly unique sleeping experience.
While the Big Five will be plentiful during game drives, set some time aside for a nature walk to appreciate the smaller animals and plant life, as well as gaining a different perspective and greater understanding of the natural environment. Nature walks are also a fantastic way for birdwatchers and photographers to spot a multitude of exotic birdlife up close.
Learn from the Locals
We work with safari camps, lodges and hotels that employ local people and ensure strong educational and skills advancement opportunities. We find that there is so much to be understood by simply spending time getting to know the team members. On safari, you'll be sure to get to know your guide and ranger well, but try and take time to talk to the rest of the team too.
Things to do in KwaZulu-Natal
Enjoy the Warm Durban Waters
Unlike the freezing Atlantic waters around the Western Cape, the coastline of KwaZulu-Natal meets the Indian Ocean, meaning the sea is beautifully warm here year round. The coastal city of Durban boasts long stretches of beach where you can take advantage of these balmy waters. This coastline is especially well known for surfing so if you're feeling active, hire a board (no need for wetsuits) and give it a go.
Safari in Vast Private Conservancies
Enjoy a safari in one of the vast private conservancies in KwaZulu-Natal, such as Thanda or Phinda Game Reserves which, due to their coastal rainfall patterns, are blessed with lush environments. Some conservancies are even home to distinct ecosystems, resulting in a fascinating variety of landscapes and vegetation, which support a huge assortment of wildlife and bird life.
Spend Time in the Wetland Area
Spend a few nights staying in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (formerly known as the Greater Saint Lucia Wetland Park), South Africa's first Natural World Heritage Site. Over 520 species of birds either live or pass through these wetlands each year, making them a bird-watcher's paradise. Humpback whales also pass along this coastline on their migration route so, if you time it right, you may be lucky enough to spot them.
Things to do in Madikwe & The Waterberg
Safari of Your Choice
Whether you choose to enjoy a safari on foot, horseback or in a more traditional fashion in a 4x4, all options are open in the Madikwe Game Reserve. A walking safari gives you the chance to better take in the sights, sounds and scents of the bush, while galloping through the bush on horseback means you can venture to areas that vehicles can't always reach.
Take the Children
Madikwe Game Reserve is the perfect spot for a family safari as it's malaria-free and home to some fantastic child-friendly lodges. Most lodges allow children aged six and up on game drives, and their expert guides aim to make it all as engaging as possible for little ones. There are also some great family-friendly activities on offer to keep them entertained between game drives while you enjoy some downtime.
Get Involved in Conservation
There is a big focus on conservation in Madikwe Game Reserve, so take the opportunity to get involved in some of the initiatives. For instance, get involved in rhino conservation by taking part in the process of gathering DNA samples from rhinos while they've been darted by vets, which will help with their identification and monitoring in future.
Things to do in The Winelands and Cape
The Helshoogte Pass
If there is one stretch of road worth driving more than any other in the Cape Winelands it's the Helshoogte Pass. Drive between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek for sensational views of endless fruit farms and vineyards against a backdrop of towering mountains, capturing the essence of the Winelands. En route, stop off for a bite to eat at one or two of the villages of Kylemore, Johannesdal or Pniel.
Stellenbosch and Franschhoek
Stroll through the streets of the university town of Stellenbosch before exploring the smaller town of Franschhoek, the country's oldest settlement and its epicurean epicentre. Idle away an afternoon people-watching while dining in one of the world-class restaurants or cafes, sampling some of the local wine.
Art and Culture
Visit one of the many local art galleries, museums or gardens with one of our local experts. Architecture fans will love Stellenbosch's Village Museum, which is home to four traditional houses of historical interest, each representing a different period in the architectural development of the town. During summer, the Kirstenbosch Gardens host fantastic concerts and we can also arrange a private gardens tour with a specialist botanist.
Sunrise Walk to Breakfast Rock
Enjoy a sunrise walk up to Breakfast Rock on the Franschhoek Pass, which is part of the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve. This is a gentle hike that starts at the main gate of the reserve and is a wonderful way to enjoy the Franschhoek Valley at its best. Admire a rich variety of flowers, plants and other vegetation, and fantastic views of Franschhoek and the surrounding winelands.
Luxury Train Travel in South Africa
Rovos Rail evokes the style and old age glamour of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express - minus the murder - with subtle modern touches bringing the train into the 21st Century.
Comprised of restored coaches, the train is made up of two restaurant cars, two sitting areas and private sleeping compartments, all of which are en suite. As well as the Pullman Suites and Deluxe Suites, there are Royal Suites which are not only larger, but have full size Victorian baths. Wood panelling and Edwardian features throughout exude a feeling of grandeur.
Luxury Train Journey from Pretoria to Victoria Falls
The journey from Pretoria to Victoria Falls (or vice versa) is almost 1000 miles, and lasts for two nights, with stop offs en-route. Heading north for Victoria Falls, the train passes through Botswana and Zimbabwe before reaching its final destination. Go through Mafikeng to enter Botswana before veering north for Mahalapye and through the Tropic of Capricorn. After breezing through the Zimbabwean border, travel up past Bulawayo and to Hwange Game Reserve - look out for wildlife while here.
The Victoria Falls is a fantastic way to end the journey. David Livingstone 'discovered' the falls in 1855 and named them after Queen Victoria - a nice British touch - and today they are home to adrenaline activities a plenty, from white water rafting to micro lighting. For those who like to live on the gentler side of life, there are gentle river cruises, game viewing, cultural visits, and horse and elephant trails in the surrounding area.
Why We Love It
This journey is the best way to see three countries in almost as many days, while sampling all of the best bits.
Luxury Train Journey From Pretoria to Cape Town
Starting in Pretoria and ending in Cape Town (or vice versa), this two night train journey is just short of 1000 miles and is the best way to digest as much of the vast country as possible. Speedy and efficient, the train covers a lot of ground without missing out on the stunning scenery.
Cross the grasslands of the gold-rich Highveld and the stark emptiness of the Great Karoo; and wind through the breathtaking mountain ranges and the picturesque winelands of the Cape. Focal points of the journey include a visit to the historical village of Matjiesfontein, a perfectly conserved Victorian Village that was founded as a refreshment stop in 1890. The village also boasts a museum which is well worth a visit. Another pit stop is Kimberley, where guests have the chance to take in the sights of the city, including a visit to the spectacular Diamond Mine Museum and the world's largest man made excavation, suitably named, the Big Hole.
The journey's end (or beginning, depending on which route you take) is Cape Town, passing Touws River and Worcester on route. We recommend adding a few days on in Cape Town, taking in the sights of the city and surrounding areas, including paying a visit to the neighbouring winelands.
Why We Love It
Link city and safari and swap plane for train – a luxury Rovos Rail train journey is a great way to combine a safari in the Kruger or Sabi Sands with a trip to Cape Town and the winelands.
The Best of South Africa
Often described as a ‘world in one country’, South Africa has such a range of landscapes that no two places feel the same. Meander along the coast, enjoy a safari through unique ecosystems and national parks or explore the bustling atmosphere and hidden treasures of Cape Town – the possibilities of things to do in South Africa are endless.
Riding in South Africa
South Africa offers a special horseback safari – whether you are a novice or an experienced rider, travelling on your own or with family, or if you are keen to incorporate a bit of riding safari with some time in Cape Town and the Winelands, we can be sure to offer something that fits the bill.
In addition, South Africa offers some of the more affordable horseback safari options in Africa, making it ideal for families or those looking to sample a riding safari for the first time.
The majority of the riding safaris operate in the beautiful and diverse Waterberg Mountains in the Limpopo Province – an easy three-hour road transfer from Johannesburg. Of course, if you have always dreamed of galloping headlong down a deserted beach you could always combine your time in the Waterberg with a few days riding along the endless white sands of South Africa’s many wild undeveloped beaches.
Accommodation consists of friendly and relaxed ranch style lodges with luxurious touches such as plunge pools and spas, perfect for both families and honeymooners alike. We can also cater for private safari houses.
South Africa offers the widest variety of riding: riding with game, cattle mustering, polo crosse, cross country jumping, swimming with horses, western games and riding on long stretches of deserted beaches. If you're coming with family, why not leave the kids polo-crossing, pole-bending and treasure hunting while you head into the bush for the day?
Discover the Real Cape Town
We strongly recommend taking advantage of some of the excellent privately guided tours that we can arrange during your stay in Cape Town. There is nothing more frustrating than staying in a city and only scarping the surface of what it actually has to offer, particularly a city as vibrant and exciting Cape Town.
At Original Travel, our philosophy is to ensure that you do not miss out on finding Cape Town’s magic. We will show you its beauty, introduce you to its history and make sure that you get a real taste of the Cape. We use the best private guides, born and bred in the city and who have a real passion for Cape Town and the surrounding wine lands. You won't see a microphone or red 'follow me' umbrella in sight - these private tours are tailor made to suit your interests and move at your pace.
One of the most popular guided tours is an orientation around the Cape Peninsula, introducing you to the vast extension of villages that make up the city. As you meander along the coastal route from the city to Cape Point and around the iconic Table Mountain, you'll pass the affluent suburb of Camps Bay, the quaint fishing community of Hout Bay, the eccentric village of Kalk Bay and the penguin colony at Simons Town before arriving at the famous botanical gardens in Kirstenbosch.
We always suggest taking an orientation tour on your first day in Cape Town as it gives you an idea of what the city has to offer and helps you plan the rest of your time there. If you’re on a self-drive holiday, it’s also very handy to have a guide with you to show you the roads before you set off on your own.
For something a little different, why not get a taste of the Cape by taking a local African cooking class in a township or learning Cape Malay style cooking at a local's home? Or for something a bit more exclusive, a helicopter fight around this beautiful city is an unforgettable experience. Last but not least, if you don't have time to visit South Africa's stunning wine region, we can arrange day trips to some of the best cellers in the country near Cape Town which are infrequently visited by tourists but where you'll be treated to some of the finest wines South Africa has to offer.
Cape Town Photography Tour
Explore Cape Town through the eye of a lens on a guided photography tour. Accompanied by a skilled local photographer you’ll explore the city’s photogenic highlights which might include the likes of the technicolour bathing boxes at Muizenberg Beach, the working fishing harbour and antique shops at Kalk Bay, and the breath-taking Chapman's Peak coastal drive. Wherever you stop your guide will know all of the secret lookouts and arty angles that help make for a great photograph.
Each tour is customised to suit the individual and your guide will be able to cater for both a range of preferences and a range of abilities. Beginners can even borrow a DSLR camera if they don’t have their own, and a free 8gb SD card will be provided to store your images on.
uThando Community Projects Tour
Visit some of the townships surrounding Cape Town; in particular visiting a number of social development programmes that are being implemented here.
With an emphasis on authentic and illuminating experiences for visitors, the guides ensure that the tours are educational and respectful to the people who live and work in the townships. Importantly, a proportion of the fee for this tour goes toward uThando, the charity funding the development projects.
Sample the World-Class Cuisine
Head to Franschhoek, one of the world’s leading gastronomic capitals, for excellent restaurants, the most beautiful fresh seafood and award-winning local wines. Franschhoek is also home to some of the world’s most-loved New World wines, so spend a day exploring a couple of the beautiful wine estates.
Concert at Kirstenbosch Gardens
Enjoy a concert at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town's historic botanical gardens set on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. The concerts take place every Sunday between November and April and are a casual affair lasting a couple of hours in the early evening. Listen to music performed by both local and international acts while enjoying the beautiful surroundings and indulging in a delicious picnic.