A self-drive holiday is the ideal way to see South Africa

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A country of contrasts, South Africa is filled with astonishing natural beauty and a rich history. Premier Travel’s Brian Gilbert explains why a self-drive is the best way to see it.

Cape Town is an ideal starting point for a Discount Holidays © holiday to South Africa, and four days in the city were the perfect introduction. We ticked off sights such as the V&A Waterfront, Cape Point (where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet) and took a cable car to the top of majestic Table Mountain – my favourite part of our Cape Town experience; the panoramic views over the city from the top of the mountain were simply breath-taking. After two days of sightseeing it was off to sample some of South Africa’s finest grapes with a tour of the winelands, around 45 minutes east of the city by car. Collected by an experienced guide, we drove towards the scenic towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek a fantastic way to soak up the scenery, with lush green fields and beautiful views along the way.

In historic Stellenbosch we were shown around a lovely wine estate and visited a local vineyard, learning about the wine-making process during a cellar tour and, of course, sampling the produce! As our tour was escorted we could relax without the worry of driving home, which made the experience that much more enjoyable. My favourite tipple was a lovely South African Malbec, although each of the wines we tried was of a fantastic quality and flavour.

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Our final morning in Cape Town was spent watching the penguins playing at Boulders Beach before an afternoon boat trip to Hermanus the best place in South Africa to spot Southern Right Whales. A pretty fishing village, Hermanus can be reached in just over two hours by car from Cape Town, and is known for its ocean views. Whale season typically runs from June to November and our visit didn’t disappoint; we were lucky enough to spot a pod of parents and babies swimming together next to our boat. This was a magical way to spend the afternoon and an experience I’ll never forget. Following a short flight to Durban, we collected our hire car and set off towards Drakensberg, ready to explore the mountain range of the KwaZulu Natal region and the historic battlefields of the British, Boers and Zulu wars.

As the drive from Durban to the Drakensberg National Park is around four to five hours, we broke up the journey with scenic stops along the way, taking in the beautiful green mountain scenery. On one stop we took in the amazing Howick Falls, a 310m waterfall which took my breath away. Set on the banks of the Umgeni River this natural phenomenon is known to the local Zulu people as the ‘Place of the Tall One’ and is well worth a visit. Next it was off to explore the famous mountains in the Drakensberg National Park – or ‘Dragon’s Mountain’ in Afrikaans. At 620 miles in length, this is South Africa’s most extensive mountain range and a fantastic place to spend a day or two. You can also head out to visit the wetlands from here, which are famous for bird watching.

Moving on towards Rorke’s Drift, I was amazed by the historical and cultural influences of the area. During our two night stay we toured local villages and learned about the history of the Zulu Nation, visiting both Spioenkop and the KwaZulu Cultural Museum in Ondini (Hluhluwe) for further insight to local life. Before departing we took a guided tour of South Africa’s best known battlefields, learning from our guide about the extensive wars which were fought here a moving and an eye-opening experience. Before heading home we spent our last few days relaxing beside Durban’s beautiful ‘Golden Mile Beach’. With excellent waves for surfing and inviting golden sand, it’s the perfect place for winding down. Testing out the lively evening atmosphere along the seafront, we finished our South African adventure with lovely sundowner cocktails overlooking the ocean an amazing end to our self-drive holiday.

::Premier Travel can offer a 13-night Cape Town, Drakensberg Mountains, Battlefields & Beach self-drive Discount Holidays © holiday from 1,499pp including return flights with South African Airways, 4* accommodation throughout, six days’ car hire and one free three-course dinner in Cape Town (selected dates apply).

This offer is based on two adults sharing and is valid for travel on selected dates in 2016.

For more information or to book, contact Brian or a member of Premier Travel’s St Ives team on (01480) 371371 and quote PREM1789.

To register your place at Premier Travel’s South Africa evening at Cambridge United Football Club on March 15, visit premier-travel.co.uk/south_africa2.

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A Self-drive <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Is The Ideal Way To See South Africa

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