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Flowers of the Cape
12 days
Namibia, South Africa - Trip code CW

Flowers of the Cape

On this exciting adventure we travel from Windhoek to Cape Town during the wildflower season. In Namibia we explore a ghost town, find German art nouveau architecture in Lüderitz, climb the highest sand dunes in the world in Sossusvlei and enjoy sun downers at the largest canyon in Africa. Crossing into South Africa we enjoy food, wine and tea tasting in Clanwilliam, meet local people in the Langa Township, witness the kaleidoscope of colourful flowers in Namaqualand and see the joining of two oceans at Cape Point. We are currently reviewing this itinerary. New departure dates will be online soon.

Trip highlights

  • Cape Town - Explore the Cape of Good Hope and discover the city's booming restaurant culture
  • Wild Flowers - Enjoy carpets of colour during this annual spectacle
  • Fish River Canyon - Walk along the edge of the canyon and watch an African sunset
  • Luderitz - Visit a ghost town and experience a colonial German settlement
  • Sossusvlei - Climb the world's highest sand in the Namib Desert
Accommodation grade:
Standard
Our standard, mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service, often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en suite facilities.
Trip pace:
Moderate
Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a holiday which combines exciting activities and experiences with plenty of time to relax and unwind. Typically you’ll be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries.
Group Size:
10 - 16
Maximum group size ranges from between 6 to 20 people, depending on the type of trip, the transport and accommodation used and activities included. We rarely have groups that are smaller than five or six people and the average is 12 people plus an Explore leader.

Itinerary

Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Trip Starts in Cape Town

Our trip starts today in Cape Town. As we drive into the city from the airport we can see the towering Table Mountain from miles away, though if the day isn't clear we will see the cloud rolling over the top of the precipice, either vision is equally outstanding. In the distance it is possible to see Robben Island, the prison that held Nelson Mandela, South Africa's favourite son and most famous hero. Apart from its obvious geographical attractions, Cape Town is also famous for its food and drink culture, with an abundance of restaurants, from trendy downtown to the slightly more touristy but beautiful V&A waterfront. This afternoon is free to explore the waterfront or just take it easy and get ready for the trip.

Accommodation: Cape Diamond(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: None
Day 2 - Visit the Cape of Good Hope and meet the Boulder's Bay penguin colony

Today we make an unforgettable journey to the mythical meeting place of two great oceans on a full day tour of the Cape Peninsula. The Indian and Atlantic Oceans collide at the most south-westerly edge of the African continent and we will explore this beautiful area as we make our way down to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. We will visit the resident African Penguin colony at Boulder Beach, and travel along the scenic Chapman's Peak Drive to Hout Bay, an attractive fishing port once flanked by dense forest which gave it its name, translated as 'Wood Bay'. Here, we have the option of taking a short boat trip out to Seal Island - home to 1000 Cape fur seals and guarded by the impressive towering mountain, 'The Sentinel'. Hout Bay and prides itself on offering some of the best fish and chips in the world so for those not taking the boat can enjoy some seafood.

Accommodation: Cape Diamond(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 3 - Meet local people in Langa, head up to Clanwilliam

This morning we will meet the inspiring people of the Langa Township, as we are taken on a walk through the streets by a local guide. This is a chance to meet local Xhosa people and learn about how they live their lives. The tour has been created by a local entrepreneur to empower people of the township and celebrate the colours, music and pulsing life found here. Whilst in Langa we will have lunch at a local restaurant, typically a braai (BBQ), a prominent part of everyday South African life across all cultures After lunch we will leave Cape Town and journey north through rolling green hills dotted with vineyards and farmlands full of fruit trees; as we drive we hope to see our first glimpses of the cape flowers. Our arrival time at Clanwilliam will depend on how many times we stop to see flowers along the way, there may be time to take some short walks in the area around our hotel to explore the town; we will spend two nights at our hotel here. It is important to note that whilst we have every confidence that the flowers will be in bloom during our trip, we obviously cannot guarantee flower sightings in every location.

Accommodation: Clanwilliam Lodge(or similar)

Standard Lodge
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 4 - See the wildflowers in Ramskop; wine and rooibos tasting experience

This morning we will enter Ramskop Nature Reserve, one of the best places to see the wild flowers of the Cape with around 350 different species. In the reserve we hope to see a carpet of orange, yellow and red flowers, and with a backdrop of the Cederberg Mountains and fields of rooibos tea it can resemble a scene from a psychedelic Beatles music video. The area around Clanwilliam is also well known for rooibos tea cultivation and wine making and we will combine these local specialities with a wine and tea tasting. This might seem like a strange combination, but this tasting pairs the tea and wines with food produced locally, providing us with a real Cederberg experience. There will also be an opportunity to buy wine locally; Chenin Blanc is the flagship white of the area and always incredible value compared to buying it in the UK.

Accommodation: Clanwilliam Lodge(or similar)

Standard Lodge
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 5 - Wildflowers in Namaqualand; explore mining town of Okiep

Today we make our way to Okiep via the Namaqua National Park. For the majority of the year Namaqualand boasts an arid desert-like landscape but following the rains, July through September, sees a quick burst of flowers that transforms the park to a kaleidoscope of colours. As well as the millions of flowers, the area is also dotted with quiver trees and huge granite outcrops, making it a wonderful place to stroll through at this time of year. From here we carry on to Okiep, a small town with a rich history of copper mining, many of the miners came from Cornwall, UK and it is possible to visit the Cornish Pump House this afternoon. The afternoon is free to wander around the town and explore the old mine works, it is also a good opportunity to try some Namaqua food, Skuinskoek, a deep fried pasty with aniseed is popular here.

Accommodation: Okiep Country Lodge(or similar)

Standard Lodge
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 6 - Cross into Namibia; sunset views over Fish River Canyon

We leave the wild flowers behind today and continue our adventure as we cross into Namibia and drive to the world-renowned Fish River Canyon, one of the great natural wonders of Africa and the largest canyon in the Southern Hemisphere. Measuring some 161km in length, up to 27km wide in some places and over 500m in depth it is one of the world's grandest natural creations. San legend has it that the canyon was carved by a great serpent, Kouteign Kooru, however less romantic theories put its creation down to the action of erosion and glaciers. On arrival we will have some time to explore the area, with a walk in the afternoon around the upper rim to appreciate this stunning landscape. We will stay at the canyon this afternoon and hopefully see a stunning African sunset; from here we make a short 20 minute drive to our lodge.

Accommodation: Canyon Village(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 7 - Discover the colonial art nouveau town of Luderitz

This morning we head north, driving through rock formations and desert scenery as we make our way back to the Atlantic Ocean and to the harbour town of Luderitz. Sandwiched between the desolate Namib Desert and the rugged Atlantic Coast, Luderitz is a small colonial town that feels out of place on a map of Africa. Similar to a Bavarian village, its streets are full of churches, bakeries, cafes and surreal German art nouveau architecture. This afternoon there will be time to explore the town, including visiting the Museum, which provides information on the town's history, local indigenous groups and the diamond mining industry. There are also fantastic restaurants looking over the ocean where one can have a cold drink and enjoy some local sea food, such as oysters or a seafood curry.

Accommodation: Luderitz Nest Hotel(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 8 - Explore the ghost town of Kolmanskop; afternoon trip around the peninsula

Our tour today takes us to the ghost town of Kolmanskop, an eerie desert outpost that wouldn't look out of place in a horror movie. The town was founded after a local worker found a diamond in the area, soon after German miners moved in and built a settlement that had a hospital, ballroom, power station, casino and the first x-ray station in the Southern Hemisphere. After World War I the diamond field dried up and the town was eventually abandoned in 1954; since then the desert has started to reclaim the town and many of the houses and buildings are full of sand. We will walk through the remnants of Kolmanskop and enter many of the abandoned buildings. Heading back to the ocean, we tour the peninsula and make our way to Diaz Point, where it is possible to see seals and other wildlife from the wild coast. We continue to Agate Beach, a secluded and pristine beach, where we hope to see flamingos, and usually an oryx or two.

Accommodation: Luderitz Nest Hotel(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 9 - Boat trip to look for dolphins and whales; drive up to the Sesriem area

This morning we will take a boat trip this morning to see dolphins, seals, sea birds and whales around the Luderitz peninsula, though this is weather dependant. After the trip we will drive to the Sossusvlei area, the journey is through arid desert, punctuated with rocky outcrop; although it is not the most colourful of vistas, there is a dramatic beauty and an appreciation of anything that survived in this unforgiving environment. We will be spending two nights in a lodge, not too far from the boundaries of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, ready for a day in the dunes tomorrow. After checking in to the lodge there should be time to take a short walk around the area with a local guide, who will explain the history of the area and the wildlife that lives there.

Accommodation: Hammerstein Lodge(or similar)

Standard Lodge
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 10 - Full day exploring the highest sand dunes in the world in Sossusvlei

Today we drive into the Namib-Naukluft National Park and travel down the Tsauchab Valley to Sossusvlei to watch the sun cast its shadows over the red dunes. Sossusvlei has some of the world's most spectacular sand dunes. The area itself is a vast depression or clay pan, towered over by sand dunes up to 300m high. In the early morning, the first rays of the sun light up the dunes with a deep orange glow. Lying amidst this harsh and barren world we come across the surreal landscapes of the Dead Vlei, an ancient salt pan of dazzling white, filled with the skeletons of long dead acacia trees, their gnarled and twisted carcasses presenting an incredible spectacle against the softer tones of the surrounding desert. We'll also explore the cool passageways of the Sesriem Canyon on foot. The canyon is small but very picturesque - many plants grow in the shade and shelter offered by the canyon, and water pools attract several species of birds and animals.

Accommodation: Hammerstein Lodge(or similar)

Standard Lodge
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 11 - Drive to Windhoek; afternoon city tour of the capital

We make our final drive today to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. We will arrive to the city for lunch and then head off on an orientation tour with a local guide. Namibia is one of the least densely populated countries in the world and we will not have met many local people since crossing the border; our city tour gives us an opportunity to experience local life here. As well as learning about Namibian culture, we will enjoy views of the city from Schwerinsburg (one of Windhoek's three castles) before moving on to the Christ Church, Ink Palace, the old train station and the Parliament Gardens.

Accommodation: Klein Windhoek Guest House(or similar)

Standard Guesthouse
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 12 - Trip ends in Windhoek

Trip ends after breakfast.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

2018 Departures Coming Soon

We've got brand new 2018 departures coming soon. To ensure you hear about them first, sign up below and we will email you when they go live.

 

Why book this trip

This trip will be led by Quinton Conroy, an award winning Tour Leader specialising in southern African nature

What's included?

Included meals
  • Breakfast: 11
  • Dinner: 2
Transport
  • Bus
Trip staff
  • Explore Tour Leader
  • Driver(s)
Accommodation
  • 1 nights standard guesthouse
  • 5 nights standard hotel
  • 5 nights standard lodge
Award Winning Explore Leaders
Read more
Price Guarantee Promise
Read more
Airport Transfers
Read more
FairFX currency card
Read more

Trip information

Country information

Namibia Holidays & Tours

Climate

With a staggering 300 days of sunshine each year, Namibia is a year-round destination, although some may prefer to avoid the heat of high summer. The cold Benguela current keeps the Atlantic coast of the Namib Desert cool and rain-free for most of the year, with a thick coastal fog that lends a mysterious edge to the area. January and February are the hottest months, when daytime temperatures in the heart of the Namib can exceed 40°C (104°F), but nights are usually cool. Winter nights can be fairly cold, but days are generally warm and pleasant.

Time difference to GMT

+1

Plugs

3 Pin Round

Religion

Christian

Language

English, Afrikaans, German

South Africa Holidays & Tours

Climate

Mild throughout the year and can thus be visited year round. The Western Cape has a Mediterranean-type climate, with warm, dry summers and cold winters with rainfall. Summer runs from November to March, with temperatures averaging 22oC to 34oC. The months of April and October are generally warm and sunny. Winter is also a good time to visit as towns and sites are not so crowded and the countryside is more verdant, but it can be cold. Additional information and climate charts can be accessed at http://www.explore.co.uk/weather. Seasonal weather patterns can be unpredictable. Up-to-date information on the weather worldwide can be found by following the BBC weather link on this page.

Time difference to GMT

+2

Plugs

3 Pin Round

Religion

Christian

Language

Afrikaans, English

Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

Cape Town - Robben Island (3.5 hour tour) R340 per person; Table Mountain cable car - from R135 per person. Clanwilliam - Art Gallery (no fee); Historical Walkabout R100 per person (minimum of 2 persons); Okiep - Cornish Pump walking tour (45mins) No Fee (transport donations welcome); Copper Company museum R15 per person (transport not included) Windhoek - Alte Feste Museum (no fee); Owela Museum (no fee) If you would like to book an excursion to Robben Island, please use this link: http://www .robben-island.org.za. If you would like to book an excursion to Table Mountain cable car, please use this link: http://www.tablemountain.net/ If there are spaces it is possible to book this excursion locally, but this is subject to availability.

Clothing

Clothing should generally be lightweight for the day. Also take some fleeces, long trousers, a waterproof and windproof jacket. Take a swimming costume and towel.

Footwear

Comfortable shoes (or well broken in walking boots if planning to hike), trainers or sandals for relaxing/travelling in.

Luggage

20kg

Luggage: On tour

A soft bag or holdall/kitbag (or rucksack with detachable frame). There are no porters on this trip to carry luggage.

Equipment

Bring a torch, water bottle, sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

Tipping

Explore leader
At your discretion you might also consider tipping your Tour Leader in appreciation of the efficiency and service you receive.
Local crew
Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognised part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. Accordingly, you should allow £25 for tipping local crew and staff. In order to make things easier for you, the Tour Leaders may organise a group's tips kitty and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the tour.
Country Information

Namibia Holidays & Tours

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Lunch price
£15
Dinner price
£20
Beer price
£1.5
Water price
£0.8
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Namibian Dollar. South African Rand is legal tender in Namibia.
Recommended Currency For Exchange
USD are readily exchanged in Namibia and GBP to a lesser extent. Take your money in a combination of ATM cards and cash
Where To Exchange
On arrival.
ATM Availability
Cash can be drawn on credit cards from ATM's in Windhoek and Swakopmund.
Credit Card Acceptance
Limited.
Travellers Cheques
Are difficult to exchange and should be used as back up

South Africa Holidays & Tours

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Lunch price
£6
Dinner price
£12
Beer price
£1.2
Water price
£1
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Rand.
Recommended Currency For Exchange
Take your money in a combination of cash and an ATM card. Both GBP and USD are readily exchanged.
Where To Exchange
Most towns or cities, your tour leader will advise you.
ATM Availability
Cash can be drawn on debit cards from ATM's in most South African towns.
Credit Card Acceptance
In large shops and restaurants.

Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Bus

Accommodation notes

Booking a Single Room

All of our group tours are planned and operated on a twin-share basis, meaning that the standard cost is based either on individual travellers sharing accommodation with another group member of the same sex, or people who book together sharing accommodation. Please refer to the tour notes where the single room option availability is detailed on a night by night basis for this tour, and the price for the available nights is detailed on the dates & prices tab by departure date. For Self-Guided trips the Single Room supplement offers the option of a single room each and is charged per person. The Single Room supplement also applies to the third person in a party of three that will be accommodated in a single room.


South Africa has a good tourism infrastructure and generally good service standards. Outside of our mid-range, hotel in Cape town, much of our accommodation is in small, family run guesthouses, farms and inns. These are more than just B&Bs; individually styled and tastefully furnished, with en suite rooms and often lovely gardens and a pool. The properties we use give a real taste of traditional Southern African hospitality and we love supporting these small local businesses.

Essential information

FCO Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
 

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Essential Information

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa Information

Travelling with Minors via South Africa (including transits)2 Regulations affecting all children aged under 18 years that are travelling to, from or via South Africa are in place. The law states that parents and/or guardians are requested by the airline and/or South Africa immigration officers to provide additional documentation for each child they are travelling with. Please refer to the South African House website and your airline for full requirements: http:/outhafricahouseuk.com/visas/vis_forcit.html South Africa: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. All visitors should ensure their passport is machine readable and has two blank pages when entering and leaving South Africa. The South African Immigration officials will not allow child/ infant pages to be used for this purpose and visitors without the stipulated blank pages will be denied entry. Namibia: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.


If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

Transfers

Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

Insurance

It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

  

Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Namibia Holidays & Tours

Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory, but we do recommend protection against malaria, hepatitis A, tetanus, typhoid and polio. Please note that all travellers aged over 9 months old that have travelled from or have transitted via a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission, will need to present a Yellow Fever certificate at immigration/borders in Namibia for inspection. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Travellers may wish to immunise themselves against meningitis. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at http://www.explore.co.uk/Travelhealth/ and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure.

South Africa Holidays & Tours

Vaccinations

Please note that you will be required to supply a yellow fever certificate that has been issued at least 10 days prior to arrival in South Africa if you have travelled from or via a country where yellow fever is endemic. We recommend protection against hepatitis A, tetanus, typhoid, polio and diphtheria. According to various travel health sources, the Western Cape is not regarded as a malaria risk area. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at http://www.explore.co.uk/Travelhealth/ and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure.

Dates, prices and booking

Date
Price from
Single room option

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