Spend a few days with an outgoing, adventurous gay group exploring beautiful Cape Town and the lush Garden Route along the Indian Ocean coastline. Travelers can look forward to rappelling, visiting a wine estate, beach walks and an exciting safari on foot. Optional high-adrenaline activities include cage diving with Great White Sharks, tandem paragliding and bungee jumping.
Our gay adventure tour begins with a few days in Cape Town, referred to affectionately by South Africans as the ‘Mother City’. Cape Town ranks as one of the world’s most attractive cities and offers some fantastic opportunities for adventure as well. We’ll hike to the Cape of Good Hope, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans come together, then follow the Garden Route to Hermanus, where we will try our hand at sea kayaking, and Knysna, a popular holiday town usually voted as the winner in the annual ‘South Africa’s favourite town’ competition. Our most adventuresome travelers will have a chance to jump off a bridge attached to one of the longest bungee jump cords in the world. To conclude our tour, we’re very excited to offer several game drives by vehicle, then an overnight walking safari in one of South Africa’s finest private game reserves.
Guests may wish to arrive in Cape Town a day early and have an extra night before our gay tour begins. This would allow for recuperation from traveling before jumping into the activities of the tour. Those with plenty of energy could do some sightseeing, such as a boat trip out to Robben Island, famous place of incarceration of former struggle leaders such as Nelson Mandela, or perhaps take a leisurely stroll along the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.
Day 1: Cape Town, the Mother City
Flying into Cape Town provides some spectacular views when weather permits. Cape Town ranks as one of the world’s most attractive cities. The city is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the south and west and an intricate system of mountains on the inland side, the most famous of which is, of course, Table Mountain. The indigenous Khoisan People call it ‘Hoeri Kwaggo’, meaning “Mountain in the Sea.” Evidence of human activity here dates back as far as the Stone Age, with recent history closely tied to the arrival of Dutch settlers in 1652. A settlement was started as a supply station, with plantations growing fresh vegetables and fruit for the ships of the Dutch East India Company. Eventually the settlement grew and South Africa’s first formal town was founded, hence the name ‘The Mother City’.
The unique topography and climate have produced a lovely natural environment and unique floral kingdom, described by Dutch settlers as Fynbos, or “Fine Bush.” This Floral Kingdom covers only 0.04% of the earth’s surface, yet holds over 14,000 species of plants, most of them unique to the area.
Those who arrive by mid-day on our first tour day, or who arrive early will take a scenic drive through Camps Bay and Clifton, showcasing gorgeous residences and an enviable waterscape. We’ll cruise along Chapman’s Peak Drive, an impressive coastal drive with breathtaking vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and jagged mountains of the peninsula. We’ll have sundowners (late afternoon drinks) before heading back to our hotel for the night.
Day 2: Cape Town and Table Mountain
We have a full but flexible schedule today. Because the weather in Cape Town, and at the top of Table Mountain in particular, can change quickly, we’ll ascend to the top when weather permits. We’ll go up via the aerial cableway, with stunning views from the rotating capsules as we climb to the top of the 3,560-foot-high mountain. For something a bit different, there will be the opportunity to rappel 370 feet down the vertical upper edge of the mountain (abseiling). If you dare to look down, you’ll have an amazing vista! You’ll then climb back up to the top and descend via the aerial cableway.
Later we will stroll through the world-famous Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, on the slope of Table Mountain. The lush gardens overlook the Cape Flats and the Hottentots Holland Mountain Range to the east.
We will enjoy a wine-tasting at Groot Constantia Estate, one of the country’s oldest vineyards (established by the first governor of the Cape in 1685). We’ll then return to our hotel before heading off for a lively, African-themed dinner.
Day 3: Cape of Good Hope
Our mission today will be to explore the Cape Peninsula, a jutting finger of rock that forms the south-western tip of the African continent. We’ll kayak into open water in order to view the endangered (and adorable) African Penguins at Boulders Beach. Most visitors stay on land to visit the penguins, so we’ll be seeing their nesting colony from a rare vantage point.
We’ll head next to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, and take a funicular up to the lighthouse, where you can see superb 360-degree views. We will have lunch at Two Oceans Restaurant, famous for its seafood, sleek décor, and panoramic view of the bay. We’ll work the lunch off with a walk down to the Cape of Good Hope, and then head back to the hotel. The remainder of the afternoon will be at leisure. Guests may like to explore the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, with its eclectic assortment of bistros, restaurants and bars.
Day 4: Kayaking near Hermanus
After a leisurely breakfast we’ll take a scenic drive along the far side of False Bay to the town of Hermanus, where we’ll spend the next two nights. We’ll stop during our journey to visit Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, with time to take a mountainside walk with views of the sea. We’ll aim to arrive in Hermanus late morning, and after lunch we’ll set out for a kayak trip across the bay, allowing for a very scenic perspective of the town. We’ll have the last bit of the afternoon to relax before dinner together this evening.
Day 5: Sea or Sky?
A hearty, early breakfast will give us energy for your choice of this morning’s adrenaline-filled optional activities. Avid water enthusiasts may like to go cage diving with Great White Sharks offshore. Or those who prefer to be in the air can opt for a tandem paraglide from one of the high points near town. Sleeping in or relaxing at our hotel is also an option.
After a thrilling morning, we’ll venture out to some of the wine estates in the Hemel-en-Arde (‘Heaven-and-Earth’) Valley. Here vineyards such as Bouchard Finlayson, Whalehaven, La Vierge and Hamilton Russell Vineyards produce some fine wines from a range of cultivars, aided by the cooling breeze that comes off the Atlantic Ocean. A delicious lunch will be followed by wine tasting, and later, a township tour to get a flavor of the real South Africa. There will be a short amount of time to relax late in the afternoon before dinner.
Day 6: Ride to Knysna
For early risers there’s the opportunity for another nice walk before breakfast. Today we are bound for the Garden Route town of Knysna (pronounced with a silent ‘K’), which started as a port settlement for ships trading timber, ivory and other goods from the interior. The lagoon empties into the sea via a narrow and rough passageway flanked on either side by the imposing Knysna Heads. Entering and exiting the lagoon is particularly treacherous for boats because of strong currents, and it is believed that many boats and ships lie at the bottom. Knysna is a popular vacation spot and is often voted “South Africa’s favourite town” in an annual competition.
Much of the surrounding area has been designated as The Garden Route National Park, including Tsitsikamma National Park and the Knysna National Lake Area. The region’s forests were extensively logged and cleared for farming during the development of the area. Some large forested areas remain, especially in the inland fold mountain valleys. This territory is home to the Knysna elephants, sole surviving herds from pre-European settlement and South Africa’s only truly free-roaming elephants. Firm numbers are unknown, but research suggests that there may be more than there were originally thought to be.
It’s a fairly lengthy drive to Knysna, but after arriving and getting settled in, there should be time for a walk to the Knysna Heads, providing a nice stretch before dinner at one of the restaurants at the waterfront.
Day 7: Taking the Plunge
We’ll have a morning of excitement to look forward to as we head out after an early breakfast. During the canopy tour, we will glide between the tops of trees from cable slides. In addition to being exhilarating, the adventure will show us the forest from a new perspective.
After a quick lunch we’ll take the short drive to the Bloukrans Bridge over the Storm’s River Gorge. Here we’ll find the Bloukrans Bungee Jump, rated as the world’s highest commercial jump. Adrenaline is sure to flow freely during the day, as willing participants in this optional activity take the plunge off the 709-ft-high bridge. For those not keen to partake, observing the jumpers is bound to be almost as much fun!
We’ll head back to Knysna for a short break before boarding our sundowner cruise on the Knysna Lagoon, an ideal way to balance out the thrilling day. The evening is at our leisure, and guests may choose from a number of restaurants within the Knysna Quays / Waterfront precinct.
Days 8-11: Safari on foot and on wheels
Leaving Knysna after an early breakfast, we’ll continue along the Garden Route to Shamwari Game Reserve, not far from Port Elizabeth. We’ll aim to arrive at Eagle’s Crag Lodge in time for lunch. After settling in and having a detailed briefing by our guide, we will embark on our first afternoon activity: a safari stroll or drive. We will stop for traditional sundowner drinks in the bush and really take in the sunset. This is one of the loveliest times of day to experience the African bush! We will return to the Eagle’s Crag Lodge which feature luxurious rooms and amenities in a beautiful setting.
The next few days will feature a combination of guided bush walks (with ample opportunity to learn about the local ecosystem and to perhaps even encounter some exciting game species on foot), traditional game drives, and enjoying the modern luxury of a lodge in the bush.
A rare feature of this itinerary will be a walking safari, including one night sleeping under the African night sky near a roaring log fire. Accommodation in the fly-camp includes comfortable twin safari tents, while showers and toilets are shared.
Day 12: Farewell to Africa or stay on for an extra day
After a last morning drive (if time allows) and breakfast you will be transferred to Port Elizabeth to catch your flight to Johannesburg, where you can connect with an evening flight to the US or Europe as you work your way home. For those wishing to visit Victoria Falls, see the optional Extension.
Day 12: Begin Victoria Falls Extension – Night in Johannesburg
After an afternoon flight from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg (flight cost not included in tour fee), we will transfer to a hotel near Johannesburg Airport for a one night stay.
Days 13-14: Victoria Falls
We will take a morning flight (not included in extension cost) from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls, then transfer to our deluxe hotel. During our time here we will have a guided tour of the Falls and a sundowner cruise on the Zambezi River. There will also be plenty of free time to enjoy the safari experience around our hotel, or to venture out for a bungee jump, whitewater rafting, or a helicopter tour above the Falls.
Day 15: Departure to Home
A late morning transfer will be provided to Victoria Falls Airport for flights back to Johannesburg and connections home or to your next destination.
Price of the Victoria Falls Extension is:
TBA Victoria Falls Extension (single occupancy)
TBA Victoria Falls Extension (per person in double occupancy)
Price includes: Accommodation; All meals except two dinners on the free evenings; Ground transport; Bottled water in vehicle while travelling; Entrance fees; Activities as listed above. HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who does not have other coverage.
Not included: Flights to Cape Town and from Port Elizabeth; Optional Activities as listed above; All costs of a personal nature (telephone calls, bar bills, drinks, room service, porterage, laundry, refreshments, snacks, curios, gifts, etc.); Gratuities for HE Travel Tour Director and local guides; Cancellation insurance; Extra transport or transfers not included in the itinerary; Any other tour or tourist entrance fee that is not included in the itinerary above.
Optional Tour Choices:
TBA Single Supplement (for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom)
TBA Victoria Falls Extension (single occupancy)
TBA Victoria Falls Extension (per person in double occupancy)
“Amazing! From rappelling down Table Mountain, feeding the sharks, bungy jumping off that bridge, zip lining through the canopy, following wild lions in our Land Rover at night at Shamwari, and rafting in Zimbabwe, I need a rest-lol. And HE Travel had Perrier Jouet waiting for us when my husband and I arrived in Explorer Camp in Shamwari.” – Lou Smith, Chicago, IL
“I am personally very excited to have developed a new gay multi-sport adventure tour to South Africa, after my own recent visit to this beautiful country. You will enjoy the varied geography, spectacular vistas, stunning flora and, of course, the magnificent wildlife found throughout the region. Our newest tour also offers high adventure (rappelling, shark cage diving, horseback riding, bungee jumping, walking and jeep safaris, and kayaking with the penguins) for an unforgettable African adventure.” –Phil Sheldon, CEO of HE Travel
Most of our trips draw more single travelers than couples. When couples do join us, it’s usually because they’re looking forward to interacting with a gay group; if they wanted a holiday by themselves, they wouldn’t have signed up to travel with us. Furthermore, the activities included with our trips serve as natural ice-breakers. Within a day, you’ll be traveling with friends. You don’t need to pay the single supplement if you’re traveling alone. We’ll be happy to match you with a roommate. Pay the single supplement only if you want a bedroom to yourself.
For selected trips, we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can’t match you with someone.
The gay tour starts in Cape Town and ends in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Travelers should be prepared for rappelling, day hikes in the bush, kayaking, and other optional high-adrenaline activities such as bungee jumping. If you are a gay adventurer in good physical shape and like a challenge, this trip is for you!
For answers to your additional questions, please email email@example.com or call 305-294-8174