Tour of Champions

SA wins the World Cup Rugby: Captain Siya Kolisi and SA President Cyril Ramaphosa celebrate with the team

Follow in the footsteps of the World Champions Rugby and visit the birthplaces of Springbok Captain Siya Kolisi (Port Elizabeth), Cheslin Kolbe, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Eben Etzebeth (all from Cape Town), Willie le Roux from Stellenbosch, Frans Malherbe from Bredasdorp and last but not least Warrick Gelant from Knysna. 

Here’s what a 12-day tour visiting their home towns could look like:

Arrive in Cape Town for a 3-day exploration of the Mother City as she is affectionately known by local South Africans.  Fit in nicely by exploring the inner city, Table Mountain, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront (will the Rugby Museum open its doors again now that ‘we’ are the World Champs again?!) before venturing out to the aptly named Cape of Good Hope.  Robben Island – where former president Nelson Mandela spent some of his 27 years imprisonment – and a visit to the District Six Museum, the Bo-Kaap or the townships on the outskirts of Cape Town should also feature.  It will give you a more comprehensive understanding of the every day struggles black and coloured South Africans had to handle in the past and are still experiencing on a daily basis even today. 

Overnight: Cape Town

Willie le Roux’ hometown of Stellenbosch is locally known for its excellent academic programs at Stellenbosch University.  But did you know the university also boasts 15 (!) rugby fields (besides swimming pools, astro turf pitches, hockey fields, cricket fields, squash courts, soccer fields, tennis courts and basically any other sports facility you can think off?  Stellenbosch and the region around it including Franschoek and Paarl is globally known for its high quality wines and sparkling wines or ‘cap classique’.  Visit the winefarms, the collectives, and the boutique restaurants and accommodation establishments in the area while indulging in the luxury this region has to offer.

Overnight: Stellenbosch

Off to explore the interior land: the scenic drive along the coast to Hermanus, followed by coastal road to the most southern point of Africa: Cape Agulhas.  Where the two oceans ‘meet’, depending on the mood of the seas and their prevailing currents.  A bit like the worlds of generations of white rugby players meeting the world of black South Africans who only in recent history where exposed (dare we say ‘allowed’?) to play(ing) rugby: meeting up in different places and on different levels, but with the similar outcome of providing an ‘ever rolling’ sea or evolving game in the case of rugby. 

Bredasdorp, hometown of Frans Malherbe, and yours for the night, is one of the oldest towns in South Africa, and a long history of true ‘plattelands’ hospitality.  The Shipwreck Museum tells the stories of the nearly 150 shipwrecks along the Agulhas coast and is the only one in the southern hemisphere.  The Merino sheep were introduced into the region at the same time the first of many churches were built and have become an important sector of the agricultural industry.  The town also boasts many art galleries and quaint shops.

Overnight: Bredasdorp

Travel through the rolling canola fields, sheep and wheat farms the Overberg is known for to Swellendam.  After a coffee or lunch stop in one of the well-maintained historic buildings, continue your way along the N2 towards the Garden Route.  Along the road you will find the world champions of the aloe industry near Albertinia, which also championed the knitting of a jersey in the colours and pattern of the South African flag.  The jersey, which weighs 25kg and took 250 balls of yarn, took 6.5 months to complete and made it into the Guinness Book of World Records (as seen on Instagram). 

Overnight: Mosselbay or George

Warrick Gelant’s home town of Knysna has long been South Africa’s favorite holiday town.  It is easy to see why, which breath taking scenery from the moment you find yourself driving along the Knysna Lagoon into town.  The view from the top of the Knysna Heads is world class in itself, with many excellent accommodation establishments and restaurants (want to watch any of the rugby games while in Knysna?  Tapas & Oysters on Thesen Island is your best bet with great atmosphere and yummy food!).  Use your time here to explore the lagoon by boat, walk along the beach, shop at the Waterfront, in town or on Thesen Island and get lost in the Knysna Forest. 

Overnight: Knysna

En-route to the SA Rugby team Captain Siya Kolisi’s place of birth near Port Elizabeth you may want to stretch the legs in the Tsitsikamma National Park or overcome your personal fears at the highest commercial bungy jump in the world!  But to appreciate what our team captain and with him so many other South Africans have achieved by believing in their own dreams and fighting to overcome their personal circumstances, a tour showcasing township life should be on your itinerary.  And what better place than here in Port Elizabeth?

Overnight: Port Elizabeth

On the day South Africa won the World Cup Rugby Captain Siya Kolisi summed up South Africa’ dream as follows: “We can achieve anything if we work together as one.”  While these words resonate with the rugby champs, they are equally important in for example nature conservation.  Staying in one of the game reserves in the region will give you the opportunity to see the African animals in their natural habitat and at the same time make you appreciate the efforts being made by the owners, rangers, other staff and stakeholders in preserving our natural resources for future generations to come.

Overnight: Eastern Cape game reserve

This Tour of Champions will certainly leave you appreciating the beauty, perseverance and dedication of the people of South Africa in making this country champion so much more than just rugby…

Want to find out more about the Springbok players themselves?  Our post about What we know about these Springbok players tells you more…