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

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

4 - 18 Sep 2021
  • Cultural Tours

About the tour

Take a vivid journey through the botanical riches of South Africa during its spectacular spring. Explore this beautiful area with daily themed days, each revealing a new aspect of the region's botanical history. Learn about wildflowers, wine and the Cape Floral Kingdom on a journey that will leave you uplifted and inspired.

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, Bill and Helen  Bynum

Bill and Helen Bynum

Bill Bynum is Professor Emeritus at University College London. A Yale graduate in medicine, he began his career in the history of medicine with a Cambridge PhD before moving to the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine. His 'History of Medicine: A Very Short Introduction' and 'A Little History of Science' have been translated into 14 languages.

After a PhD in the History of Medicine from University College London, Helen Bynum lectured at the University of Liverpool before beginning a freelance career as a medical historian and popular science writer. Together with Bill she edited 'Great Discoveries in Medicine' before turning their attention to the world of plants and their histories in 'Remarkable Plants that Shape our World' and 'Botanical Sketchbooks'. ‘Team Bynum’ have led and lectured on successful tours and cruises for Jon Baines Tours. 

Need more information?

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Itinerary at a glance

  • 4 Sept (Sat) Cape Town: Arrive in Cape Town
  • 5 Sept (Sun) Cape Town: 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, the oldest suburb in South Africa. Learn of the spices and herbs used in everyday Cape Malay cooking. Welcome dinner
  • 6 Sept (Mon) Cape Town: Drive to the historic naval town of Simonstown. 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 members of the ‘Proteaceae’ (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.
  • 7 Sept (Tues) Cape Town / Hermanus: Visit the Kirstenbosch Gardens and the Compton Herbarium - the 2nd 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 wild turquoise waters. Transfer to Misty Waves Boutique Hotel
  • 8 Sept (Wed) Hermanus: Visit Grootbos and visit the Milkwood Forest, learning of the thousand year old trees of the Cape Floral Kingdom. Return and option for whale watching along the coastal walkway
  • 9 Sept (Thurs) Cape Flats / Franschhoek: Drive to Overberg, heading inland to the famous wine growing region of Franschhoek. Travel over the scenic Franschhoek Pass through the French Huguenot village. Explore the town and take part in a culinary tour. Visit a tasting gallery, enjoy a vineyard tour and see the state of the art gravity flow cellar. Take part in a wine tasting followed by dinner.
  • 10 Sept (Fri) Franschhoek: Full day at leisure. Option to take the 'wine tram' for a range of tastings.
  • 11 Sept (Sat) Franschhoek / Clanwilliam: 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 through the beautiful Tulbagh valley towards the Cederberg Mountains. This is the only place on earth where Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), a unique health-enhancing plant is found. Vsit a local rooibos farm at Skimmelberg. See how both rooibos and buchu are cultivated organically, visit the nursery, visit the buchu distillery, visit the wormery and take in the spectacular wild flowers when in season. Continue to Clanwilliam
  • 12 Sept (Sun) Clanwilliam: Drive to the village of Nieuwoutdville, where the Cape Fynbos meets the Hantam Karoo. Here a great variety of flowers, particularly geophytes (309 species!) occur on the Bokkeveld, which makes Nieuwoudtville different from the rest of Namaqualand. In periods of good rainfall, the annual spring display transforms the landscape into a picture of colour and it’s not uncommon to find up to 50 different species in a square metre of the Renosterveld. Visit the Hantam Botanical Garden, which comprises over 6000 hectares of Renosterveld and Hantam succulent karoo.
  • 13 Sept (Mon) Clanwilliam / Langebaan: 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. Drive to the Farmhouse Hotel at Langebaan overlooking the lagoon.
  • 14 Sept (Tues) Langebaan / Himeville: Drive to Cape Town to fly to Durban. Arrive Durban and meet with yourspecialist botanical historian, Elsa Pooley, and drive to the Premier Resort Sani Pass.
  • 15 Sept (Wed) Himmeville: Visit Sani Sass and Sani Topp. Afternoon at leisure or option to visit the town of Himmeville and the Himmeville Museum and Cheese Farm. Dinner at Himmeville Arms Pub.
  • 16 Sept (Thurs) Himmeville: Optional day to explore the southern Drakensburg, wildflowers and rock art.
  • 17 Sept (Fri) Himmeville / Durban: Drive to Durban and transfer to the hotel. Visit Durban Botanical Gardens, Africa's oldest surviving botanic gardens. Farewell dinner.
  • 18 Sept (Sat) Durban: Depart or take a safari extension.

Tour cost

Ground only cost is US $5,370 pp sharing (excluding international flights and transfers).

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