10 Nights / 11 Days
South Africa, positioned at the southern tip of the African continent, is acknowledged as “a world in one country.” It offers a wealth of pristine wilderness, which is complimented by the country’s warm hospitality. In northeastern South Africa, one will encounter 16 ecosystems and experience the thrill of spotting the Big Five (lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros) at the world-renowned Kruger National Park. Off the southwest coast of the country lies Robben Island, which was once home to Nelson Mendala while imprisoned. The southernmost tip of South Africa is known as the Cape of Good Hope. South Africa is also known for its prize-winning coastal seascapes, boasting natural beauty of both landscape and wildlife within the many eco-friendly resorts and national parks. Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Swaziland comprise the border of the country.
Some of Our Preferred Properties:
Table Bay, Moore Apartments, Cape Cadogan-Cape Town, Safari Karongwe, Dulini, Mala Mala, and Arathusa
Day 1: Depart USA
Today you embark on your journey as you board the international flight to Cape Town.
Overnight at Hotel
Day 2: Cape Town – Arrive
Upon arrival as a group (not valid for individual arrivals) you will meet our representative who will meet you as you disembark from your plane. Be assisted through immigration and custom formalities. Collect your baggage and be transferred to your hotel. (Private transfers can be arranged for a supplemental cost.)
Cape Town has traditionally been the gateway between Europe and Southern Africa and this is still evident in its atmosphere, its playful character, its people and even its architecture. The ‘Mother City’ as it’s known locally has no shortage of attractions. It’s a magnetic, multi-cultural city with an array of diverse offerings within a small, accessible area, surrounded by spectacular topography. Spectacular beaches, mountains (incredibly unique bio-diversity), hiking, watersport, shopping centers, markets, theaters, museums, historical & cultural attractions, a first-rate waterfront, galleries, night-clubs, restaurants and an abundance of activities to suite all, are prolific in this world-class destination.
Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure to rest after the long international flight.
Overnight at Hotel
Day 3: Cape Town (B)
After breakfast at the hotel, choose from two options of half day tours Some may wish to explore the city of Cape Town and others may opt to learn more about Nelson Mandela’s life and his incarceration on Robben Island.
For those who wish to tour the city, met your local guide in the lobby of your hotel and set off for Table Mountain. Enjoy the crisp air and clear visibility as you reach the summit (weather permitting) by cable car. Your guide will point out the highlights of one of the world’s most famous views, and one of New Seven Wonders of Nature.
After the decent we enjoy a scenic coastal drive through Camps Bay, Clifton and Sea Point. We drive past the Cape Town Stadium and through the V&A Waterfront to the city center where we visit Green Market Square. We stretch our legs with a walk through the Company Gardens. The tour continues with a drive past the Houses of Parliament, the City Hall, The Castle and Slave Lodge, before entering the “Bo Kaap”, also known as the Malay quarter. Learn about the history of this area of brightly painted houses and quaint cobbled streets.
We ascend Signal Hill to witness firing of the noon gun (except Sundays and public holidays). Join the fascinating diamond and tanzanite experience at Jewel Africa. Discover the secrets of diamonds, tanzanite and other authentic African treasures. You will be dazzled by the diamond tour where we learn about the history of these sparkling gems before returning you back to your Hotel.
Enjoy the afternoon at leisure. You may wish to test your bargaining skill at Green Market where artisans from across Africa offer their wares, to stroll the V&A Waterfront known for its boutiques and cafes or indulge in the amenities.
For those who have decided to visit Robben Island, you will also meet your local guide in the lobby of the hotel. Set off on your half day tour as you are transferred to the waterfront to board a ferry bound for Robben Island, the political prison that housed former South African President Nelson Mandela during the Aparthied Oppression. The tours are conducted in groups and guided by former inmates of the prison. You will see Mandela’s cell, along with the rock quarry’s where prisoners worked long painful days during their imprisonment.
The original ferry used to transport prisoners is still being used and while the particular ferry for the 2 hour ride out to the island cannot be guaranteed, lucky visitors will have an opportunity to gain an appreciation of the full experience one-way onboard this vessel.
Return to the hotel where the remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore the charming waterfront, its shops and cafes or perhaps take in the Diamond Museum, located nearby the ferry terminal.
Day 4: Cape Town (B)
Our journey to Cape Point takes us along the scenic Atlantic seaboard coastal road. We pass the pristine beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay with their soft white sand and azure blue water. The formidable 12 Apostles Peaks rise above the road on one side, while sheer cliffs and incredible rock formations drop into the icy Atlantic Ocean on the other side. There is no doubt the coast of the Cape peninsula offers magnificent scenery with its great biodiversity.
We arrive at the quaint fishing village of Hout Bay with its imposing Hout Bay Sentinel (Hangberg). Shop for souvenirs at the local craft market at the harbor. Our tour continues over Chapman’s Peak that offers amazing photo opportunities, and onto the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. This area is home to magnificent ‘fynbos’, many different species of buck and birds, the Cape Mountain Zebra, and mischievous baboons. These creatures will entertain the guests who are enjoying lunch at the restaurant that has splendid views of False Bay. Take the funicular to the lighthouse for an even better vantage point.
Next, we visit Boulders Beach to see the African penguins before arriving at the naval base of Simonstown. As we venture inland and back to the hotel, enjoy the sun setting over the tall peaks of Table Mountain as the last rays sparkle on the trees, a fitting end to a day filled with all the Cape has to offer.
Overnight at hotel
Day 5: Cape Town – Stellenbosch – Cape Town (B)
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer overland to Stellenbosch. The scenic beauty of the region will stay with you long after you return home. The town of Stellenbosch dates back to 1679, but today has a lively university feel. The first vineyards were planted in 1679 and the Stellenbosch Wine Route was founded in 1971. Now known as the Stellenbosch American Express Wine Routes, it is divided into five sub-routes and is the second oldest wine producing region in South Africa, world-renowned for its award-winning wines. With over 200 wine producers in the valley, this is truly the pulsating heart of the country’s wine industry, where both connoisseurs and novice wine-drinkers can equally enjoy the fruits of our vines. Many of the cellars offer wine-tastings, tours and cellar door sales (many will ship wine right to your door), and some have restaurant and picnic facilities, accommodation, gift shops, art galleries, amphitheaters and even wildlife experiences.
We head north towards the scenic wine lands for a cellar tour and a cheese and wine tasting. We make our way to Franschhoek with a photo stop at the Groot Drakenstein Prison where Nelson Mandela was released in Feb 1990. The village of Franschhoek nestled amongst the mountains, can easily be mistaken as being in Switzerland.
After a short tour of the little town, a second wine tasting will take place in Franschhoek, followed by a lunch stop (optional—on a direct payment basis), and maybe a chance to try some of the fresh trout that Franschhoek is known for.
After lunch the tour continues over the Hells Hoogte Mountain Pass to Stellenbosch. It is easy to understand why Simon van der Stel decided to settle a village amongst the mountains. The backdrop of the Hottentots Holland Mountains, the white gabled Cape Dutch homesteads and the oak lined streets and lanes all blend in to give this place a charm that will not be forgotten. Time permitting; we will include a third wine tasting (Included—two wine tastings and a cellar tour).
We return to Cape Town with amazing photos and fond memories.
Overnight at hotel
Day 6: Cape Town – Hoedspruit/Beck’s Safari Lodge (B, D)
After breakfast at the hotel you are transferred to the Cape Town airport to board your flight to Hoedspruit. Upon arrival you are met and transferred to Beck’s Safari Lodge, a luxury safari lodge set on the banks of the Makhutswi River.
This all-new exclusive lodge features 10 Luxury Tents, all en-suite with bath and shower, fully air-conditioned. With an emphasis blurring the barrier between inside and out, large doors and windows all opening directly onto the river creating an elegant and contemporary setting.
Karongwe Private Game Reserve, overlooking the majestic Drakensberg mountain range in the Limpopo Province, is set apart from similar properties by the extraordinary lengths we are willing to go to in order to ensure that your stay with us is a memorable experience.
It is our people that create the magic of Karongwe and our dedicated and professional team are with us not simply because they want to work on one of the best natural game reserves in the world, they are here because they genuinely care about their work and their environment—elements which they carry out with passion.
This afternoon enjoy your first of four game drives offered 4×4 vehicles in the Karongwe Private Game Reserves. Return to the lodge for dinner and the remainder of the day at your leisure or participate in the optional activities offered by the lodge.
Overnight at Beck’s Safari Lodge
Day 7: Becks Lodge, Karongwe Private Reserve (B, D)
Today enjoy two game drives within the Karongwe Private Game Reserve in open 4×4 vehicles; one in the morning and one in the evening returning to the lodge in between to relax and enjoy meals.
Karongwe Game Reserve is an untamed Garden of Eden where the spoor of wildlife invites you to explore the timeless beauty of the bush; an oasis of unimaginable luxury provides the greatest vantage point to the Big Five and its vast, untouched wilderness.
The 21000-acre wildlife paradise is straddled between four rivers and just 45 minutes from the world famous Kruger National Park. The Karongwe Game Reserve teems with an abundance of game, birdlife and diverse dense vegetation, which provides the perfect habitat for the most secretive of Africa’s large cats, the leopard.
The game drive and walk experience in the Karongwe Reserve is a modern-day journey into the past when this expanse of pristine bushveld knew nothing else but a rich profusion of diverse game and virgin vegetation. The specially trained game rangers and trackers will take you on day and night drives in comfortable open four-wheel drive landcruisers.
Most of the rangers and trackers are Shangaan and bring to the game experience, the richness of their culture, and vast knowledge of nature. With their natural tracking abilities and Karongwe Game Reserve’s modern bush telegraph, the rangers will go out of their way to bring you as close to the Magnificent Seven (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, rhino, cheetah and African wild dog) as they possibly can.
Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at the lodge today.
Overnight at Beck’s Safari Lodge
Day 8: Becks Safari Lodge/Hoedspruit – Johannesburg (B)
This morning enjoy the final game drive of your safari experience and then breakfast at the lodge before you are transferred to the airport for your flight to Johannesburg. Upon arrival, you are met and transferred to the hotel.
Overnight at hotel
Day 9: Johannesburg – Victoria Falls (B)
After breakfast at the hotel, you are transferred to the airport for your international flight onward to Zimbabwe to experience Victoria Falls, a World Heritage Site and one of the World’s Seven Natural Wonders.
Upon arrival into Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe proceed through customs and immigration formalities. US citizens with a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry and two blank pages are issued a visa on arrival. A visa fee of approximately $30 is payable locally (subject to change). You will be required to show your return tickets and sufficient funds. After formalities are completed collect your baggage and be met and transferred to the hotel for check in.
This afternoon set off to enjoy the Zambezi Explorer Sunset Cruise. There are three decks on board the Zambezi Explorer. The two lower decks provide a luxury service where guests can choose from an exciting range of beverages and cocktails as well as a selection of delicious snacks. The ‘Signature Deck’ is the uppermost level and it is pure extravagance with gourmet hors d’oeuvres and premium beverages served from a private bar. VIP guests can relax in the comfort of the deep set couches and enjoy the pleasure of luxury service.
The onboard facilities are almost entirely solar powered. We harness the abundant sunshine using an intricate network of photo-voltaic cells onboard. To cruise on the Zambezi Explorer is to endorse one’s commitment towards a greener tomorrow. We invite you to join the growing voice of eco-friendly technologies with reduced carbon emissions.
At the end of the day, the Zambezi Explorer sails upstream to celebrate the setting African sun.
Overnight at hotel
Day 10: Victoria Falls (B)
After breakfast at the hotel, set off this morning enjoy a Guided Private Tour of Victoria Falls. The first stop is the Big Tree—a massive baobab many hundreds of years old with a girth of some 22 meters. The tour continues on to the Falls themselves, starting at Livingstone’s statue and Devil’s Cataract and proceeding through the rainforest to Danger Point. The total walk is 3kms with many spectacular view along the way. Raincoats are available at additional cost.
Return to the hotel where the remainder of the day is at your leisure to relax or to participate in one of the following optional experiences (cost not included):
- Travel back in time on the Royal Livingstone or Bushtrack Express, lovingly restored classic steam locomotives. Enjoy canapés, fine dining and drinks as you enjoy the evening on a journey to the Victoria Falls Bridge and back.
- Gain a better understanding of the local culture and bridge a connection. Visit a village to meet local people, learn about their way of life and spending some time visiting in a local home.
- Explore the natural world through a game viewing experience from a different prospective; by canoe, horseback or mountain bike.
- For an adrenaline rush, try bungee jumping, coast aloft in a micro-light flight or whitewater rafting.
- The Flight of Angels provides an unrivaled view of the Victoria Falls and surrounding National Parks area “…scenes so lovely, must have been gazed upon by Angels in their Flight” There is no better way to put the Victoria Falls into true perspective than from the air. The sheer size and grandeur of the spectacle becomes all the more clearer from above.
The huge Zambezi River flowing slowly south with hippos and crocodiles clearly visible in the shallow waters, elephant quietly browsing on bright green islands as the water spreads across the full width of a great rent in the earth before crashing over the lip in a burst of spray and then squeezing into a narrow, foaming, blast of water rushing down the zigzag funnel of the gorges. (12-13 minute flight)
Alternatively less adventurous visitors may wish to capture a legendary era on a fully refurbished train, viewing mystical Africa the way it would have been done over one hundred years ago, in the comfort of an authentic first class steam train! This African Steam Safari will appeal to those who want to see this part of the world for its beauty and history. A Journey Like no other taking you to one of the world’s greatest spectacles—Victoria Falls
Overnight at hotel
Day 11: Victoria Falls – Johannesburg – Depart (B)
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before you transfer to the airport for your flight back to Johannesburg and onward to the USA.