Following a historic route between Pretoria and Cape Town, The Blue Train is one of South Africa’s finest rail journeys. On board, you can experience fine dining, relax in your own private suite and take in mountain views from the Observation Car.
Peninsula Tour, South Africa
The Cape Peninsula is an area of dramatic natural beauty and huge ecological significance, which manages to retain a wild feel despite its huge popularity with visitors.
As you drive south from Cape Town, you pass through the exclusive suburbs of Camps Bay and Clifton before continuing onto Hout Bay and through Constantia, where the road meanders behind Table Mountain and down onto the coast. After passing through a succession of small towns and villages perched on the edge of the False Bay, you arrive at the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. This reserve has a huge variety of flora and fauna, and is a significant part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest and most diverse of the world's seven floral kingdoms.
The principal vegetation of the Cape Floral Kingdom is fynbos, low-lying bushes and heathers that thrive in the sandy soil of the peninsula. Also in the reserve are several species of antelope including bontebok and eland and lots of baboons, whilst off the shoreline are kelp forests where seals and penguins frolic.
The very rare African Black Oystercatcher can be seen on the shoreline, as can the Cape Cormorant. For a place of such fierce reputation amongst sailors, the Cape of Good Hope itself is quite unassuming; Cape Point fulfills expectations far more impressively. From the car park and restaurant, a funicular railway runs to the end of the continent (or if you are feeling more active, you can walk). Here a lighthouse stands sentinel over one of the most breathtaking views in the world. Waves crash against the foot of the cliffs hundreds of feet below, and the sea stretches to a vast curved horizon, its surface rippled and whitened by winds that have blown unhindered from the Antarctic.
Returning north you come to Simon's Town, for many years a British Naval base and a showcase of Victorian urban architecture. Boulders beach, nearby, is home to a large colony of Jackass Penguins, to be found nesting beneath the boardwalks or surfing waves into the shore.
Finally your day concludes with a visit to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. These house huge numbers of indigenous plants, flowers and trees, as well as exotics such as the camphor trees planted by the founder of Kirstenbosch, Cecil Rhodes, in 1895. Paths lead in amongst the beautiful flora, with benches in shady and secluded spots if you wish to take a rest. The gardens eventually dissolve into the upper slopes of Table Mountain, which provides the perfect backdrop to your time here.
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Other experiences in Cape Town
These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the local ways of life.
No visit to Cape Town is complete without a tour of the "Mother City". Your tour will include visits to the Castle of Good Hope, the Parliament Buildings and Bo-Kaap, plus of course the iconic Table Mountain.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens occupy a large swathe of beautiful land on the lower slopes of Table Mountain. They house a huge collection of indigenous flora, such as heathery fynbos, flowering proteas and dramatically colored strelitzias.
As with any major city there are a number of very good museums in Cape Town and you might like to visit some whilst you are here. Some of the ones that we personally recommend are District Six Museum, Gold of Africa Museum, and the Iziko Museums of Cape Town.
The beautifully restored carriages of Rovos Rail combine luxury travel with the chance to experience living history.
Guest are taken to the lower terminal for the cable-car up Table Mountain. The cable-car is a very modern affair, and completes a 360º rotation during the ascent, affording you fantastic views over the city.
In the company of Pietman Retief, who is recognized as one of the leading wine experts in the country, you can experience the winelands and the history of the area through his passion.