"Chasing the light"—a photographer's true calling—has never been this invigorating as you explore the most mesmerizing mountains, rivers, coastlines, and plateaus across the Western and Eastern Capes in South Africa. Flexible for all budgets and skill levels, photographers will explore the shadows of Cape Town's colorful neighborhoods, capture stunning sunrises atop Table Mountain, and cruise the Stanford River in search of glistening sunbeams. End your trip by heading east along the coastal Garden Route for even more photographic scenes of nature and wildlife, including rare rhinos and meerkats in their natural habitats.

Highlights

  • Capture a stunning sunrise & sunset atop Table Mountain
  • Enjoy safaris while photographing rare rhinos and meerkats
  • Explore the great depths and shadows in Cango Caves
  • Visit an authentic cheese farm and eat lunch with the locals
  • Chase the morning sun along the coast via the scenic Clarens Drive

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Conquer Table Mountain - kayak with penguins on Cape Point Bloubergstrand
Day 2 Explore the famous wild flowers on the West Coast Reserve Bloubergstrand
Day 3 Discover the "Whale Capital of the World" Swellendam
Day 4 Go spelunking at Cango Caves Oudtshoorn
Day 5 Search for meerkats - hike Tsisitakama Forest - eat lunch with locals Plettenberg Bay
Day 6 Photograph rare rhinos in Plettenberg  Bay Game Reserve Plettenberg Bay
Day 7 One last safari - flight to Johannesburg  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Conquer Table Mountain - kayak with penguins on Cape Point

Table Mountain Sunrise
Table Mountain Sunrise

Welcome to beautiful Cape Town, South Africa! After settling into your accommodation and getting acquainted with the city the night before, rise early to chase that perfect morning light. Strap on your headlamps and hike up Lionshead to capture the iconic Table Mountain at sunrise. Cape Town is known for her ever-changing weather patterns, which create interesting clouds to add that dash of drama.

After your hike, we'll head down to the picturesque Cape Peninsula, following the sunrise to where two oceans meet at Cape Point. With the raw rock edges created by the eroding waters of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, you'll be spoiled for stunning photographic opportunities. With rich fynbos flora and the inevitable baboon spotting, you can enjoy stunning vistas at Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. Keep your eyes peeled for the mountain zebra, ostrich, eland, and sugarbirds. You can enjoy lunch here or within the quaint seaside village of Simon's Town. 

From Cape Point, we'll enjoy a scenic drive to Boulders Beach in Simon's Town to walk along the sand or take an optional sea kayaking tour with the famous African Penguins. Watch how these feathered creatures wade through the water with ease and waddle their way around, lazing about in the sun or diving deep for the catch of the day. 

Before heading back to Cape Town, we'll visit one more colorful seaside village, Kalk Bay. Stroll about the town and enjoy a cup of coffee, or save room for their famous fish and chips at the local harbor.

As the day (and the sunlight) comes to end, you have the option for a shipwreck photoshoot on Noordehoek Beach. Afterwards, we'll capture a stunning sunset along Chapmans Peak Drive, one of the world's best coastal and mountain passes. You'll reach your beachside accommodation in Bloubergstrand via Cape Town and Camps Bay.

Day 2: Explore the famous wild flowers on the West Coast Reserve

West Coast Wild Flowers
West Coast Wild Flowers

Say 'good morning' to the sun as we drive up the west coast of the Cape towards the West Coast Reserve. Here you'll capture the wildflowers with all of their colorful faces along coastline shore. Bright flowers swaying in the breeze with stunning coastal vistas—with its green/blue color scheme and crashing white waves—in the background. A photographer's dream!

We'll stop in the seaside town of Paternoster for a seafood lunch with the opportunity to capture the picturesque fisherman lifestyle. The bustling harbor is full of colorful fishing boats hauling in the catch of the day.   

As we return to the beachfront in Bloubergstrand, you can capture the iconic image of Cape Town's natural appeal: Table Mountain and the crashing waves in Table Bay. Enjoy the sun setting into the ocean as you relax at your accommodation or on the beach.

Day 3: Discover the "Whale Capital of the World"

Whale Watching, Hermanus
Whale Watching, Hermanus

Greet the morning sun as we travel just over an hour to the east side of False Bay to document the sun rising through the rugged coastline of Clarens Drive. Continue towards the seaside hub of  Hermanus, known as the "Whale Capital of the World".  Keep your eyes peeled for the rest of the marine big five: sharks (shark cage dives can be arranged), seals, penguins, and dolphins. Enjoy lunch at one of the many seaside restaurants. 

Settle into the quaint town of Stanford and get ready for a lovely river cruise, taking in the vast bird life along the river's edge. Then travel just over an hour to the scenic town of Swellendam—the third-oldest settlement in South Africa—where you will spend your evening strolling the streets.

Day 4: Go spelunking at Cango Caves

Cango Caves, Oudtshoorn
Cango Caves, Oudtshoorn

Today you have two choices for how to spend your sunrise. You can take an early hike up the Swellendam Mountain Reserve, or you can start your drive along the picturesque countryside roads that are filled with endless, yellow canola fields. With scatterings of abandoned farmhouses and windmills, this landscape makes for perfect subject matter. 

Eventually you'll pass through the charming town of Barrydale, a great stopping point for giant milkshakes at the local 'padstal', which translates to 'farm' or 'road stall' in Afrikaans. You can enjoy delicious traditional food in this village. With full tummies, continue on to the Cango Caves. As one of the Natural Wonders of the World, the caves are filled with impressive stalactites and stalagmites. Here you will understand the true meaning of the 'go-slow-energy' of the Karoo.

After a bout of cave spelunking, settle into your accommodation in Oudtshoorn and get your lenses ready for the dramatic Karoo sunsets. You're sure to get many stunning photos thanks to the region's unique topography, geology, and climate (low rainfall, arid air, cloudless skies, and extreme levels of hot and cold).

Day 5: Search for meerkats - hike Tsisitakama Forest - eat lunch with locals

Meerkats Emerging from Their Burrows

As a favorite of all our travelers, today includes a meerkat sunrise tour. These tours commence only at sunrise and are dependent on fair weather since these little creatures will not venture outside their burrows on cold and rainy days. Meerkats are part of the so-called 'Shy 5', which also includes the bat-eared fox, aardvark, porcupine, and aardwolf.

Upon arrival at the meerkat burrows, you will be treated to a hot cup of coffee. As you relax, you can observe the meerkats as they meander out of the burrows and into the sunshine. They'll then go about their daily routine of foraging and frolicking.

Continue along the Garden Route to the coastal town of Knysna, where you will walk through the majestic Tsisitakama Forest. The area is home to rivers, lagoons, mountains, and forests, plus unique and diverse animals and plants. You can also brave the Stormsriver Suspension Bridge for a lovely stroll over the gorge where the river meets the Indian Ocean.

Afterwards, we'll visit an authentic cheese farm, Fynboshoek, which is home to 500 sheep and award-winning artisan cheeses. If you're still feeling hungry, you can opt for an authentic "lunch with the locals" experience in one of the township communities. And as the day comes to an end, you have three choices for sunset photos: overlooking the valley at the cheese farm, on a cruise at Knysna lagoon, or along the Knysna beachfront.

You'll spend the night in scenic Plettenberg Bay, an hour's drive from Knysna.

Day 6: Photograph rare rhinos in Plettenberg  Bay Game Reserve

Rare Rhino Photography Game Drive, Plettenberg Bay
Rare Rhino Photography Game Drive, Plettenberg Bay

Rise early to join a morning game drive in Plettenberg  Bay Game Reserve, where you can see rare rhinos in their natural habitat. If you can wrangle the reins and a camera at the same time, you can also opt for a horseback safari to get a bit closer to the rhinos and other animals. You'll enjoy lunch while out on safari, taking in the scenes and photograph opportunities on the savanna.

You'll continue your game drive in the afternoon. Visitors to the game reserve are encouraged to partake in two safaris, as both morning and afternoon drives are a completely different experiences. Animals take on different personalities as the day goes on and as they prepare for nightfall. Capture images of the rhinos as the sun sets into the vast grasslands.

Day 7: One last safari - flight to Johannesburg

Giraffe saying goodbye
Goodbye, South Africa!

As you wake to your early morning game drive, enjoy taking many photos of the rare rhinos. Take a break for a leisurely breakfast, pack up, and prepare for the drive back to Port Elizabeth Airport. Catch your flight to Johannesburg International Airport before connecting to your International flight.