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Wildflowers, Wine and the Cape Floral Kingdom - Botanical Histories in South Africa

22 Aug - 5 Sep 2024
  • Cultural Tours

About the tour

The Cape Floral Kingdom in South Africa is one of the richest areas of plant biodiversity in the world. This tiny region on the southern tip of South Africa has been identified as one of the world's 35 biodiversity hotspots. As well as its botanical significance, the southern tip of South Africa is spectacularly beautiful, particularly in the flowering season.

Take a vivid journey though the plant riches of South Africa during its glorious spring, as each themed day reveals a new aspect of the region's botanical history. Travel with experienced botanical tour leader, Carolyn Fry, and learn about wildflowers and the Cape Floral Kingdom, as well as experiencing the vibrant culture and history, and enjoying the food and fine wine of South Africa: a journey that will leave you both uplifted and inspired.

One of only six Floral Kingdoms in the world – and the only one contained within a single country - it is by far the smallest and relatively the most diverse. One of the outstanding botanical stars of the show is the beautiful and distinctive Fynbos vegetation, unique to the Cape Floral Region, which includes the famous protea.

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Wildflowers, Wine and the Cape Floral Kingdom - Botanical Histories in South Africa

Our online booking system is temporarily unable to accept payments. If you would like to book this tour please call our office on:(Toll Free) 1-8777-398-764.

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, Carolyn Fry

Carolyn Fry

Carolyn Fry is an author and journalist specialising in science, conservation, natural history and adventure travel. She has written and contributed to 11 books, covering botanical explorers, the origins of plant-based foods and climate science. Carolyn has won many awards for her work, including the 2016 Garden Media Guild Award for Best Environmental Book for 'Seeds: Safeguarding our Future.'

A former editor of Geographical, the magazine of the Royal Geographical Society, Carolyn has contributed to New Scientist, BBC Wildlife, BBC History, The Times, Sunday Telegraph, Independent on Sunday and Kew Magazine, among others. Her work has taken her far and wide; from visiting the world’s most remote post office in Antarctica, to following in the footsteps of Livingstone in Zambia and wandering ancient palm forests in the Seychelles.

She has appeared on two BBC documentaries, to discuss the role of plants as commodities during the British Empire and the resurgence of tropical gardens.

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Itinerary at a glance

Pre-Tour Victoria Falls Extension: 19 - 21 August 2024

  • Day 1: Johannesburg / Victoria Falls (Mon, 19 August) Mid-morning flight to Victoria Falls, arriving early afternoon.
  • Day 2: Victoria Falls (Tues, 20 August) Guided tour of Victoria Falls. Afternoon at leisure. Evening cruise on an open sided boat for a beautiful Zambezi sunset.
  • Day 3: Victoria Falls / Johannesburg (Wed, 21 August) Fly back to Johannesburg and check into tour hotel.

Main Tour: 22 August - 5 September 2024

  • Day 1: Cape Town (Thurs, 22 August) Arrive in Cape Town and check in to hotel with the day at leisure. Enjoy dinner at the hotel in the evening.
  • Day 2: Cape Town (Fri, 23 August) The Fynbos: Discovering the Classic Plants and Inventing Biomes Visit the Kirstenbosch Gardens and the Compton Herbarium - the second largest herbarium in southern Africa. Drive to the Cape Flats to visit a non-profit micro farming community garden, Abalimi Bezekhaya, engaged in the conservation, rehabilitation and protection of this natural environment. Head to the coast to travel along the scenic and rugged cape coastline, sandwiched between the Hottentots Hollands mountains and turquoise waters. Welcome dinner at Gold restaurant.
  • Day 3: Cape Town (Sat, 24 August) Proteas Ahoy: Plants and Stopovers at the Cape Drive to the historic naval town of Simon's Town. Robert Brown, regarded as one of the finest figures in British botany, called in at the town in 1801 where he saw for the first time the protea (South Africa’s national flower), growing in their natural habitat. Continue to the Point itself and discover local, wild flavours including mushrooms, seaweeds, edible weeds and flowers. Return to Cape Town via the spectacular Chapman's Peak Drive and at leisure.
  • Day 4: Cape Town / Hermanus (Sun, 25 August) Always Something New Out of Africa Take the cable car up Table Mountain and enjoy a guided floral nature trek. Table Mountain was the site of early collecting by Francis Masson, who was dispatched by Joseph Banks to explore this region starting in late 1772. Visit the VOC or Company Gardens, which Joseph Banks visited on the Endeavour voyage in 1771. Continue on a walking tour through the Bo-Kaap, which dates back to the Dutch colonists, who brought slaves from Indonesia, Batavia, Malaysia, India and Africa. Learn of the spices and herbs used in everyday Cape Malay cooking.
  • Day 5: Hermanus (Mon, 26 August) Postboxes and Thickets: The Milkwood Tree Travel to Grootbos and visit the Milkwood Forest, learning of the 1000-year-old trees and the Fynbos of the Cape Floral Kingdom. Take part in a walk of the Fynbos trail with Sean Privett and learn of his conservation work within the Cape Floral Kingdom. Return and option for whale watching along the coastal walkway.
  • Day 6: Cape Flats / Franschhoek (Tues, 27 August) Pinot Noir + Hermitage
    Drive to Overberg, heading inland to the famous wine growing region of Franschhoek.Visit the Fairview Estate for a wine tasting and time enjoy the scenery, cafe and shop on the estate. Visit Cucina Di Giovanni at Laborie Wine Estate for dinner with wine.
  • Day 7: Franschhoek (Wed, 28 August) Taking Stock, Food, Drink and Medicine Cape Style Full day at leisure. Option to take the 'wine tram' for a range of tastings.
  • Day 8: Franschhoek / Clanwilliam (Thurs, 29 August) Rhinoceros bushes and bulbs: the historic problems of plant collecting Drive to the Karoo Desert National Botanical Gardens near Worcester. This 154 hectare garden lies at the foot of the Hex River Mountain range and displays a wide variety of arid and semi-arid plants. Continue to Langebaan and the Windtown Lagoon Hotel.
  • Day 9: Langebaan (Fri, 30 August) Fertile valleys, towering hills: farming foreign and native plants in the shadow of the Clanwilliam Cedar Continue towards the Cederberg Mountains and take in spectacular surroundings and unique wildflower displays. This is the only place on earth where rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), a unique health-enhancing plant, is found. Visit a local rooibos farm at Skimmelberg and see how both rooibos and buchu are cultivated organically and take in the spectacular wildflowers when in season.
  • Day 10: Langebaan (Sat, 31 August) The Allure of Wildflowers Drive to the 27,000-hectare West Coast National Park along the coast. The park is a spectacular sight in spring, covered in the yellows, whites, reds and purples of a wide variety of wildflowers. Return in the late afternoon.
  • Day 11: Langebaan / Himeville (Sun, 1 Sept) Drive to Cape Town to fly to Durban. Arrive Durban and meet with your specialist botanical historian, Elsa Pooley, and drive to the Premier Resort Sani Pass.
  • Day 12: Himeville (Mon, 2 Sept) Ancient Flora of the Dragon Mountains: Plants of the ‘Barrier of Spears’ Take a half day excursion with local expert Stuart McLean and explore the southern Drakensburg, wildflowers and ancient rock art by the Indigenous San people. Afternoon at leisure or option to visit the town of Himeville and the Himeville Museum and Cheese Farm
  • Day 13: Himeville (Tues, 3 Sept) Wild and Tamed Nature: Botanical Gardens and the Future of South Africans Plants A full day tour up to the dramatic Sani Pass and onto the Sani Topp.
  • Day 14: Himeville / Durban: (Wed, 4 Sept) Drive to Durban and transfer to the hotel. Farewell dinner.
  • Day 15: Durban (Thur, 5 Sept) Depart or take the safari extension.

Post-Tour Safari Extension: 5 -8 September 2024

  • Day 15: Durban / Bayala (Thur, 5 Sept) Drive up the coast to Bayala Private Safari Lodge and Camp. Take part in an afternoon game drive.
  • Day 16: Bayla (Fri, 6 Sept) Morning game drive and at leisure.
  • Day 17: Bayla / Durban (Sat, 7 Sept) Morning game drive and at leisure. Drive to Durban and overnight.
  • Day 18: Durban (Sun, 8 Sept) Depart after breakfast.

Tour cost

The cost of the tour sharing a room is US $5,370 pp. The cost of the tour with a room to yourself is US $6,227

Our online booking system is temporarily unable to accept payments. If you would like to book this tour please call our office on:(Toll Free) 1-8777-398-764.