Tailor-Made

Cape Town Marine Big Five Adventure

Explore Cape Town's exciting coastline, getting on and in the water for some incredible marine experiences – spot whales, swim with seals, paddle with penguins, snorkel in Olympic-sized rockpools and track wild otters with a marine biologist on this salty sea adventure.

Duration 7 days
Price From $4,536
When Sep - Feb
Destination South Africa

Safari Overview

This trip to the southern tip of Africa sees you taking part in a number of adventurous activities. Cape Town offers the chance to indulge in culture and gastronomy, while also learning to paddle board. Later, ride over picturesque sand dunes on a 4x4, free dive in rockpools the size of swimming pools and watch for cetaceans along the Whale Coast. This rugged stretch of coastline snakes along the Atlantic Ocean, with magnificent fynbos-blanketed mountains rising up from the interior. You'll also pay a visit to De Hoop Nature Reserve, known for its spectacular natural scenery, excellent hiking trails and abundant wildlife. This magnificent reserve stretches over 34,000 hectares of beautiful landscape covered in indigenous fynbos, and is home to a variety of mammals including baboons, bonteboks, elands and Cape mountain zebra.

What makes this trip extraordinary

  • Experience the cultural highlights of vibrant Cape Town.
  • Kayak or stand-up paddleboard with penguins.
  • Swim with fur seals accompanied by a Blue Planet II photographer.
  • Snorkel in natural Olympic-sized rockpools with a marine biologist.
  • Spot whales breaching beneath you from a clifftop lookout before heading to sea to join them.
  • Explore South Africa's stunning coastline, stopping at quirky seaside towns.
  • Discover secret secluded coves and forgotten shipwrecks.
  • Private guide and vehicle, culinary treats and unforgettable sundowners.
  • An included scenic flight of just over an hour across the waters between Hermanus and the southernmost tip of Africa.
  • Extend your trip with a visit to the iconic Kruger National Park to see the terrestrial Big Five.
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Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Cape Town

You’ll begin your journey in South Africa’s oldest and most cosmopolitan city. Resting at the confluence of the Indian and Atlantic oceans, Cape Town boasts a bustling harbour, world-class beaches, top-notch vineyards and mountainous surroundings brimming with diverse flora and fauna. After learning the art of paddle boarding on the city’s canals, cycle along Sea Point Promenade where you’ll discover no fewer than 11 different art installations that tackle subjects ranging from rhino conservation to Nelson Mandela’s 18-year imprisonment on Robben Island. Following lunch on vibrant Bree Street, hike to the colourful Bo-Kaap, walking along the cobble-stoned streets to experience a lively suburb filled with beautiful mosques, shrines to Muslim saints and brightly coloured 17th-century houses. Finally, you’ll be rewarded with a well-earned sundowner atop Table Mountain.

Overnight: Tintswalo Atlantic

Day 2

Cape Town

Today you will be accompanied by a top underwater cameraman who will capture your day’s adventures. After weaving your way along Chapman's Peak Drive, you’ll board a small boat in the town of Kommetjie which will take you out to Duiker Island, where you and your cameraman will plunge into the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean to snorkel with hundreds of playful Cape fur seals. You will also have the opportunity to see some of the coastline’s oldest shipwrecks. Continue on by road to the Cape of Good Hope where you will meet Terry McCann, the “Otter Man”, who has been working with the region’s Cape clawless otters for almost 35 years. Join Terry for a nature walk and learn more about these fascinating creatures and their life along the seashore. From here you’ll travel back along the beautiful coastline, and time permitting will stop in at some of the charming seaside towns en route before heading back to your hotel.

Overnight: Tintswalo Atlantic B

Day 3

Whale Coast

Today will be spent tracking South Africa’s “Marine Big Five” (sharks, dolphins, seals, penguins and whales). Your whale watching will begin on scenic R44, a road which hugs the coastline all the way from False Bay to Walker Bay, which gives you a good chance of spotting these marine giants along the way. Stop in at Betty’s Bay to see the large colony of African penguins and their neighbours in this rocky stretch of coastline, a species of small mammal known as the rock hyrax, or 'dassie'. Next up is the seaside town of Hermanus, renowned for its incredible land-based whale watching. Head out to one of the tiny villages about half an hour along the coast, where the very best spots await. Follow the clifftop paths and look straight down at the whales beneath you, then drop down into sheltered coves and explore the caves, perhaps taking a swim or simply finding a spot to relax and watch the whales right in front of you. South Africa is renowned for offering some of the most outstanding viewings of southern right whales, and you can get right alongside these magnificent creatures on board a whale-watching boat out of Gansbaai Harbour, but you’ll also have the chance to spot seals, sharks, dolphins, seabirds and other marine life.

Overnight: Grootbos Nature Reserve D

Day 4

Whale Coast

Today will be spent exploring the coastline by land and air. Start the day by climbing on board a 4x4 which will take you over Die Plat Beach towards Walker Bay. Upon reaching the end of the 4x4 trail, you’ll come to pure white-sand beaches which stretch all the way to Hermanus. Continue on while keeping an eye out for the odd seal taking a nap on the rocks or surfing in the waves. During peak whale season, humpback and southern right whales gather along the coastline of Walker Bay in large numbers, with a thriving population of great white sharks present all year round. The ultimate way to experience this is from the air, with an included scenic flight of just over an hour across the waters between Hermanus and the southernmost tip of Africa, on a small aircraft carrying just three passengers. For those who prefer to keep their feet on land, an alternative option is a guided walk through Grootbos Nature Reserve to the nearby Klipgat Caves.

Overnight: Grootbos Nature Reserve B, L, D

Day 5

De Hoop Nature Reserve

Start today by hiking along one of the Western Cape’s most unique and diverse nature reserves. Along the way, hikers can marvel at the abundance of indigenous plants while looking for members of the last remaining vulture colony in the Western Cape, as well as numerous other bird species and small antelope. De Hoop is also well known as one of the best whale-watching spots in South Africa. The trail offers the opportunity to explore the unsurpassed natural diversity of the De Hoop Nature Reserve, where the fragrance of fynbos on the Potberg Mountains and the unique limestone fynbos plains intermingle with the salty sea air of the marine protected area. End the day with a sunset cruise exploring the De Hoop Vlei. On the cruise, you will enjoy bird, game, otter and even porcupine sightings in an eco-cruise experience.

Day 6

De Hoop Nature Reserve

This nature reserve comprises part of the Cape Floral Region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well a marine protected area (one of the largest in Africa) that extends three nautical miles out to sea. Snorkel through the waters and explore the large, clear rockpools which are home to a great diversity of marine life. Today you’ll also have the chance to visit a colony of endangered Cape vultures, enjoying a scenic drive through the fynbos before arriving at the Potsberg Mountains where the birds soar and circle in the sky. A 1-hour hike up to the Vulture Deck offers an unparalleled viewing spot.

Day 7

Depart De Hoop Nature Reserve

With your South African safari now at an end, make your way back to Cape Town while soaking in the last of the scenery before connecting with your international flight home.

Trip Details

About Tailor-made Safaris

A tailor-made safari is one designed according to your specific requirements, including budget, dates, personal interests, the number of people travelling, and more. This itinerary is just an example and can be refined and altered to make it perfect for you.

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