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South Africa

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Western Cape Province

Western Cape ThumbnailThe Western Cape Province is a very popular international tourist destination, with good reason. The scenic beauty is legendary, the diversity unmatched and the choice for planning a holiday is just astounding. You may be wondering how all these superlatives can be justified, but take a look at what is on offer and decide for yourself.

Blouberg BeachCape Town is the hub of the Western Cape, offering beautiful beaches, mountains and the famous Cape Winelands within easy reach of the buzz of an internationally acclaimed city. Fill your day with beautiful drives, local attractions, adventure activities, sophisticated shopping, lazing on the beach, laid back lunches, romantic evenings …. there is no end to the list.

From Cape Town, you have to choose, and it is not easy, between some of these tantalising offerings for your stay – or maybe even consider combining them …

Overberg The acclaimed Garden Route, is found between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Drive through the rolling farmlands of the Overberg, visit the historic towns of Swellendam and Genadendal or Greyton -the idyllic weekend getaway. Soak up the rugged mountain vistas, indigenous forests, pristine beaches, stunning scenery and browse the interesting coastal towns of Mossel Bay, KnysnaPlettenberg Bay and Jeffreys Bay. If you are a golfer, then George is the place for you boasting a number of internationally recognised courses. Port Elizabeth is the final port of call, with lots on offer. The Garden Route is one of the most visited regions of South Africa and is not to be missed. See the ShowMe Self Drive Route through the Garden Route.

Breede River Valley, Western ProvinceThe Breede River Valley is undoubtedly one of the most stunningly beautiful regions of South Africa. Spectacular mountain ranges guard this fertile valley, which is one of the best agricultural areas in South Africa, particularly suited to deciduous fruit and vineyards as well as vegetables and wheat.

Some of the oldest farming towns are in the valley, fed by the mighty Breede River. Wine tasting, outdoor activities and culture are all on the menu.

R62The R62, the longest wine route in South Africa is set in the majestic landscape of the Klein Karoo. Visit quaint South African towns like Barrydale, Montagu, Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn. Relax at hot water spas, do tastings at wine and brandy cellars, ride an ostrich and just experience the warm heartland culture. See the ShowMe Self Drive Route along the R62.

Whale near HermanusThe Whale Coast. From the time you enter the Helderberg in the Cape Winelands, drive along the Strand Beach and begin the unforgettable Clarens Drive, you will understand why this is one of the most outstanding coastal routes in the world. The Kogelberg Reserve protects the Cape Floral Kingdom (fynbos) and incorporates the beautiful Harold Porter Gardens. Visit penguins at Stony Point, the Agulhas, the most southerly point in Africa where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet, and end up in Hermanus, the very popular holiday haunt of Capetonians and whale capital of South Africa. See the ShowMe Self Drive Route along the Whale Coast.

West Coast Fishing BoatsThe West Coast is set in a more arid terrain and is most popular for The West Coast National Park, and the most spectacular spring wild flower display (August to September), virtually anywhere on the planet.

The little fishing towns and villages are laid back with a special “West Coast” character, with fresh seafood  and wine enjoyed in beautiful beach settings. Recreational fishing and water sports are top notch and it is also a favoured destination with hikers and climbers who enjoy the pristine rugged  wilderness of the Cederberg Mountains, or the coastal hikes among the flowers. The West Coast Wine Route is also excellent to do, when touring this area.

Malmesbury, Swartland, Western CapeThe Swartland is the grain growing heartland of South Africa. This is one of the earliest farming areas in the country, so expect historic, quaint villages, surround by the rolling hills of wheat and canola, green in spring and gold in summer.

The first vineyards were established in the 1800’s, but wine making has grown in importance since the 1940’s. Pinotage and Chenin Blanc are the main cultivars, but the Swartland is also known for its outstanding Shiraz. The Swartland Wine Route was established in 1986 and links many estates across the area. This area has become popular with the arty community, and browsing their art and crafts is part of the trip.

Scenery around Touws River, KarooThe Karoo is an arid area, with sheep farming as its mainstay. As most of the water is underground, the windmill has become iconic of the region. The rugged beauty and history of the area has led to it being “discovered” and historic homes being restored. It is the silence, great open spaces, starry night skies and laid back lifestyle, with the associated outdoor activities that make this area popular. There are a number of excellent nature reserves, and the big five have been restocked, along with the other wildlife indigenous to this area, at a number of private game reserves. Stay on a Karoo farm or take in the Karoo as part of your trip on the N1, between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Many tourists, visiting South Africa for the first time, start in Cape Town, drive the Garden Route or the R62 to Port Elizabeth, and then fly out to either the Kruger National Park or the Kwa-zulu Natal Coast. If you have been to South Africa before, or are a local, then spending time in any of these regions will give you a holiday you will always treasure.

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