The perfect combination of sightseeing in Cape Town, breath-taking sceneries in Tsitsikamma National Park and exhilarating wildlife experiences in Addo Elephant National Park, Gansbaai and KwaZulu Natal.
Not only is Cape Town a fantastic city, but also, on its doorstep are some simply unmissable experiences, both above and below the water. During our first few days on tour we will combine the highlights of the city and its land based ‘must sees’, with the incredible underwater marine life on offer. From the heights of Table Mountain, the lush green Constantia Vineyards and the historical Robben Island, to the mighty Great White, playful Cape Fur Seals and prehistoric 7 Gilled Cow Shark. Then head north along the South African Coastline and travel the famous Garden Route. Visit the world-renowned Addo Elephant National Park, recognised as one of South Africa’s most popular national parks and game reserves. Take advantage of an array of activities available on this route including exploring new surrounds, game driving, canoeing, bungee jumping, wine tasting and so much more. Discover an indigenous forest in the heart of the Garden Route and visit some of the country’s most scenic attractions before arriving in Coffee Bay to experience the epic Sardine Run. The Sardine Run takes place between June – July each year along the “Wild Coast” of South Africa. This spectacle is the largest marine migration on the planet and an uncontested bucket list item for any diver. Bait balls swirl through the water attracting predators from miles away. Sharks, whales, dolphins, marlin and others attack from below, Cape Gannets and Gulls attack from above…and in the middle…is you. With full air support, experienced boat captains and crew and an exclusive location you will certainly experience one of the most exciting diving experiences on the planet.
Our tours come with an "Optional Activity Package". You will need to purchase this package if you would like to partake in what we consider to be "essential activities" on our tours. The Activity Package has been written into the itinerary of the tour so please keep this in mind as if you don't book the package, the activities won't be included. We suggest that you prebook and prepay for your Activity Package to ensure availability.
Accommodated Day 01
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This morning you will arrive into Cape Town Interntional Airport and transfer to your accommodation to settle in for your 4 day city stay. At 12pm you will hop on the hotel shuttle service to the V&A Waterfront (upon arrival at the V&A Waterfront, make your way through the waterfront, over the foot bridge and towards the museum and the Robben Island ferry departure point), where you will board the ferry to the famous Robben Island, the location of the prison that Nelson Mandela was incarcerated on. This tour takes approximately 4 hours. Please ensure you have warm clothes as it can get windy on the ocean around Cape Town.
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After breakfast, you will be collected by a transfer at 7:30am and transferred to Simon’s Town, located on the Cape peninsular and the launch site for diving with Cape Fur Seals and the 7 Gilled Cow Sharks. After a dive briefing you will board the boat and head out for your two dives of the day, one with the ever playful Cape Fur Seals and another with the 7 Gilled Cow Shark. Please note that whilst these dives are available year round you may want to check on the best seasons for these dives.
After your two dives and lunch at the dive center your transfer will take you back into the city and drop you at the V&A Waterfront for a few hours of shopping, enjoying the festive atmosphere at the waterfront. Perhaps you would like to take a tour of the Cape Town Aquarium, or simply sit at one of the many restaurants or cafes to while away some hours in the sun.
Highlights Diving with Seals and 7 Gilled Cow Sharks Day 03
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The best way to experience the city of Cape Town is on the classic ‘Red Bus’ that guides visitors around the city with full information and allows for you to jump on and off as you please. This morning you will join the Red Bus tour at the stop nearest to your hotel and enjoy the highlights of Cape Town. Jump off the bus at the iconic Table Mountain and go up the cable car to experience the impressive views of the city and beyond. Stop in Constantia and sample the marvelous Cape wines. Take the day to explore the city and enjoy the atmosphere of this vibrant town.
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This morning you will have an early pick up and transfer to the town of Gansbaai, the gateway to Great White diving in South Africa. You will be collected between 5-6am and served a light breakfast upon your arrival in Gansbaai, where you will also be briefed for your cage diving adventure. Today you will experience the awe-inspiring Great White Shark, up close and personal, as each person gets the opportunity to spend some time in the cage. When not in the cage you can view these incredible animals from the viewing deck on the top of the boat. On return to land we will enjoy a light lunch before making your way back to the city.
Activity Package Great White cage dive Day 05
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Set at the south-western corner of the African continent, Cape Town is scenically located at the foot of Table Mountain. This morning we spend or time experiencing some of the rich historical and cultural highlights of the city, those who have opted for the activity package will join a local tour operator for an insight into the life and history of the people living in the Cape. Enriched by our experiences we travel north to the winelands to enjoy a sampling of some fine Cape wines. Our final stop this afternoon is the historic town of Stellenbosch where we will have some time to explore the town on foot.
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Crossing the Hottentots-Holland Mountains this morning we set out for the Klein Karoo and our overnight stop in Oudtshoorn. We follow the scenic Route 62 today, stopping to experience one of the many farm stalls on the way. One of the more quirky highlights today is Ronnie’s Sex Shop, not a sex shop at all, but a rather interesting country pub! On arrival in Oudtshoorn this afternoon we will visit an Ostrich Farm to learn about these fascinating birds.
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Our morning starts with a guided tour of the famous Cango Caves, we can only marvel at the astonishing formations that have formed in these impressive limestone caves. Returning above ground we make our way over the Outeniqua Mountains and descend to the beautiful Garden route coastline below. In the coming days we spend time hiking, relaxing at the beach and sampling the many optional activities available.
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The Garden Route is a treasure trove of beautiful beaches, forest walks and an exciting menu of optional adventures. While our morning is set aside for some relaxation on the beaches of Plettenberg Bay, today offers a number of optional activities and your guide will assist you to get the most out the day. This afternoon we have the opportunity to visit the hidden gem of Nature’s Valley, this beautiful village offers us a chance to enjoy a hike or simply relax on the pristine beach in this little paradise. In order to make the most of this day, the truck will run a set schedule and you are free to join or leave at the places that interest you.
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Tsitsikamma National Park is one of South Africa’s premier marine reserves and this morning we set out to explore the rugged coastline on foot. Our hike along the Waterfall Trail sees us cover the first section of the world renowned Otter Trail, this is not an easy hike and those who prefer a more leisurely option can make use of the boardwalks to the Storms River Mouth. For the adventurous the Waterfall Trail offers a spectacular winding path that follows the rocky coastline, an out and back trial we stop for a refreshing swim at the base of an icy Waterfall. For those who wish to get a birds-eye view of the magnificent forests an optional zip line tour through the canopy is offered this afternoon.
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This morning we set out for the Eastern Cape and the Addo National Park. We make a stop this morning in the surfing mecca of Jeffrey’s Bay, famous for its waves you have the opportunity to visit the small surfing museum, catch a quick wave or simply enjoy a cup of coffee overlooking these famous waves. This afternoon we will make our first visit to seek the elephants after which Addo is named.
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With no large predators to endanger us, we make a relaxed start to the day. Our guide will lead us for a bush walk this morning as we enjoy the natural surrounds. This afternoon you will be transferred to Port Elizabeth, where we will have the afternoon to relax.
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Please note that during the next few days we will be subject to weather and ocean conditions and may not be able to launch each day. To account for this risk we have created this lengthy stay in Coffee Bay in order to ensure you have the best possible chance. Please also note that Nomad cannot guarantee Sardine Run action at any time and are only able to book tours in the best possible window to the best of our ability.
This morning we will depart Port Elizabeth and fly to the town of East London, where you will meet your crew upon arrival at East London airport. Leaving the city of East London behind, we travel north along the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape to the small town of Coffee Bay, our launch site for the famous Sardine Run. After settling into your hotel you will have the chance to explore this stunning area and visit the iconic “Hole In The Wall”. This evening you will have a full briefing on the operating of the Sardine Run adventure over the next few days.
Places Hole in the Wall 2018 Day 13
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The annual Great Sardine Run is a natural phenomenon that usually occurs during the months of June and July, when massive schools of sardines migrate from the colder waters around the Cape to the warmer waters of Kwa-Zulu Natal to give birth to their offspring. Once they’ve laid their eggs, they return to the Cape, closely followed by thousands of dolphins, birds, fish of prey, whales and sharks. The ocean awakes and the thrill is simply indescribable.
After an early breakfast, you will be transferred to Mapusi, the most spectacular, idyllic river mouth from where we launch our boat. On the banks of this river, divers get ready for the launch. The 4 x 4 drives the boat down into the river. Divers and the crew have to push the boat further until there is enough water under the keel and all rocks are cleared. Once it is safe, the skipper gets on the boat and starts the motors. When he has enough water under the keel, he calls all guests on. With speed the boat drives over the sandbank and into the waiting basin. Once all waves have passed, the skipper chooses the safest moment to launch out to sea.
In the meantime our plane has taken off and done a good fly over in search of animal activity. The skipper and the pilot are in constant radio contact whereby the boat gets directed to the best action on hand. Sardine Run Action consists not only of silver fish but more so of activities such as whales, dolphins, sharks and gannets. Wherever there is something happening the boat will go.
The highly experienced and skillful crew will approach anything interesting with great care and only when it is safe will the divers be allowed to enter the water. More often than not this will be done on mask and snorkel. There is a constant off-the-boat and on-the-boat which requires stamina and certain fitness. Obviously it is always the client’s choice if he wants to remain on the boat or jump into the water.
To make a long day out at sea as pleasant as possible we offer sandwiches, fresh fruit, chocolates, cookies, fruit juice and water on the boat.
Each day we will launch (weather permitting) and spend a full day out at sea to give you the best chance of action. We return by early to late afternoon each day when you will get a chance to rest, relax, hike the area and charge those all important cameras. Each evening we have a sumptuous buffet and bar for tales of the day just past.
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Full day diving (Weather permitting)
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Full day diving (Weather permitting)
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Full day diving (Weather permitting)
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Full day diving (Weather permitting)
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Today we will retrace our steps from Coffee Bay back to the town of East London, where your tour comes to an end upon arrival at the East London airport. Please ensure you book your flights for as late as possible in the afternoon.