Southern Africa Experience


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    Small group
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    Delve into Southern Africa’s varied treasures, from its world-renowned wine region to its iconic safari landscapes and wildlife.

    Embark on an adventure of a lifetime as you journey across South Africa and Botswana to the region’s most iconic attractions. Travel across South Africa’s southern coast, enjoying a tipple at some of the region’s most exquisite wineries and sampling local specialties, like oysters in Knysna, along the way. Visit the quaint seaside town of Hermanus, the world’s best land-based whale watching destination. Then spend time exploring some of the continent’s most cherished and iconic safari regions where giraffes, zebras, hippos and a rich variety of wildlife all roam. Hike the spectacular rugged coastline of Tsitsikamma National Park, spot elephants in Addo National Park, and keep an eye out for the ‘Big Five’ (lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and rhinos) at Greater Kruger National Park and Chobe National Park. Round out the adventure with a visit to the thundering Victoria Falls, one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders.

    Highlights

    • Taste South Africa’s acclaimed wine heritage with a special Wine tasting in the Cape Winelands, where ducks form part of the workforce and hand-crafted wines are waiting to be sampled.
    • Experience some of the world’s best whale watching without leaving dry land. Hermanus’ coastal walkways have the perfect spots to sit and watch the whales as they frolic in in the bay.
    • Take the ultimate South African wildlife adventure. Explore some of southern Africa’s largest reserves – Kariega Game Reserve, Greater Kruger National Park and Chobe National Park – in 4WD’s with expert local guides.
    • The thundering Victoria Falls is one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders, a phenomenon of sight and sound. Then return to the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, our feature stay on this trip, for views over their watering hole.

    Itinerary

    Day 1: Cape Town
    Welcome to South Africa. On arrival in Cape Town you are met by a representative at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The adventure begins with a welcome meeting today.

    Day 2: Stellenbosch
    Depart from Cape Town after breakfast and head towards lovely Stellenbosch. Visit Vergenoegd winery, a unique estate where you’ll get to meet the waddling workforce of runner ducks used to assist in the control of the snail and pest population in the vineyards. This is a practice the estate has been refining since 1984, and a big part of why Vergenoegd proudly carries WWF biodiversity certification. You arrive in time for the 9:45 am duck parade and enjoy a cellar tour and wine tasting. Also stop in at the Lanzarac Winery, the home of the first bottled Pinotage, and enjoy a wine and chocolate pairing. There will be time for lunch in either Vergenoegd or Lanzarac, and the evening is at your leisure once you arrive in Stellenbosch. (B)

    Day 3: Hermanus
    Drive to Hermanus, a coastal town famous for southern right whale watching during the winter and spring. You travel there via Bettys Bay, stopping to visit the Penguin Colony at Stoney Point and the Harold Porter Botanical gardens where there is time to have lunch. Upon arrival in the coastal town of Hermanus, around mid-afternoon, there will be a chance to visit the Heart of Abalone, a working abalone farm. This is a chance to not only taste this sought-after delicacy but also get a glimpse behind the scenes of the industry. The rest of the evening free for you to relax and unwind. (B)

    Day 4: Hermanus
    Enjoy a free day in Hermanus. This town is considered to have the best land-based whale watching in the world. Perhaps enjoy one of the excellent walking trails along the coast. The 12-kilometre Cliff Path is perhaps the most popular of these. You could also climb aboard a boat to get a closer look at the magnificent sea creatures. Alternatively, tackle hiking trails in Femkloof Nature Reserve, or explore local markets. (B)

    Day 5: Oudtshoorn
    Drive to Oudtshoorn, via Mossel Bay. While stopped in Mossel Bay, perhaps visit the lighthouse or dip your feet in the Indian Ocean before a seafood lunch. In the afternoon, enjoy a wine and port tasting at Boplass in Calitzdorp. Arrive in Outdshoon, which is known as the ostrich capital of the world. At the turn of the 20th century it was full of ‘feather barons’ that grew rich from the popularity of ostrich feathers. (B, D)

    Day 6: Oudtshoorn
    Spend some time with some meerkats today. On a fun 2–3 hour excursion, head to the burrows of these cheeky meerkats, pull up a chair and sip coffee while the sun comes up and the meerkats climb out into the sunshine, it’s rare to get this close to them in the wild. Return to the Lodge and enjoy breakfast before driving to the Swartberg Mountains, climbing through the switchbacks of the pass of the same name, looking out across the unique folds of the surrounding rocks. Descend into the town of Prince Albert, a contender for South Africa’s most charming town, full of the architecture of the 18th – 20th centuries. Return to the lodge via the Cango Caves, where you learn about their formation and history from a local guide. Browse the weird and wonderful rock formations including ‘Cleopatra’s Needle’. (B, D)

    Day 7: Knysna / Tsitsikamma National Park
    On your way to Tsitsikamma, stop in Knysna for an afternoon boat cruise to Knysna Heads, sampling local oysters and wine along the way. Arrive in Tsitsikamma and take in its magnificent raw beauty. Protecting both land and sea, steep ancient forests meet the breakers of the Indian Ocean at this park. It’s a spectacular place of deep gorges, tidal pools and empty beaches, perfect for walking and viewing wildlife. (B, D)

    Day 8: Tsitsikamma National Park
    Enjoy a hike in Tsitsikamma National Park today. Your leader guides you on a beautiful walk along the boardwalk through a canopy of forest leading to the famous suspension bridge across the ocean. The narrow channel of sheer cliffs get its name, Storms River Mouth, from when the wind gets up and the water hurtles against the rocks, sending spray flying high into the air. After this you double back towards a waterfall. The return trek is approximately 9 kilometres and should take around half a day. However, there will be scenic options along the boardwalk for a shorter trek without the group if you are concerned about your fitness. Keep an eye out for fauna such as cape clawless otters, dolphins, tortoises, southern right whales (in season), baboons, monkeys and various birds. (B, D)

    Day 9: Kariega Game Reserve
    Travel to Kariega Game Reserve, a Big 5 private safari reserve, with elephants, lions and leopards (approximately 6 hours). Upon arrival freshen up in the beautiful lodge before lunch. The experienced game rangers will then drive you out on safari this afternoon/ evening in an open game-drive vehicle, traversing the valleys, grassy plains and African bushveld to bring you close to the Big 5 and other game roaming freely in their natural habitat. The private reserve incorporates 10,000 hectares of pristine African wilderness, as well as two abundant rivers – the Kariega and the Bushmans rivers. (B, D)

    Day 10: Johannesburg
    Enjoy a morning game drive before transferring to Port Elizabeth Airport for your flight to Johannesburg.  Often referred to as ‘The City of Gold’, Johannesburg thrived for many years after gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand in 1886. Since then, it has gained more notoriety for its tumultuous past. Though the divide in wealth continues to be apparent and it is important to keep your wits about you in this city, Joburg or Jozi (as the locals call it) is undeniably the beating heart of South Africa. Vibrant and diverse, a sprawl of trendy neighbourhoods boast outstanding museums and restaurants. Perhaps visit the culturally rich areas of Newtown, Braamfontein or Maboneng. The eye-opening Apartheid Museum is also well worth your time. Head back to the hotel at 6 pm to meet your new leader and travel companions. (B)

    Day 11: Greater Kruger National Park
    Set off early for a drive to Greater Kruger National Park, arriving just in time for lunch. The afternoon and evening will be spent in a neighbouring game reserve searching for game by spotlight. After the game drive, return to your intimate lodge tucked away in the park. It faces a waterhole and has a view of the bush and the Drakensberg Mountains, as well as a swimming pool and an inviting bar. (B, L, D)

    Day 12: Greater Kruger National Park
    An early start today sees the group heading into the Kruger National Park itself. The lodge is within the Greater Kruger region, so the drive will take approximately 45 minutes and upon entry, you’ll find yourself in the perfect position to catch a glimpse of one, or hopefully all, of the ‘Big Five’: lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant. Take breakfast at a picnic spot then proceed with a full day of wildlife safari, stopping off at waterholes and various other points to observe these animals in their natural habitat. The group will return to the lodge in the late afternoon and have a free evening to swim, relax and relive their favourite moments from the day. (B, D)

    Day 13: Greater Kruger National Park
    Return to Kruger National Park for another game drive. This is an opportunity to catch a glimpse of any animals the group didn’t see the day before. Today’s game drive will finish in time for sunset on the deck at your lodge – sparkling wine in hand to compliment a locally sourced platter, including biltong. (B, D)

    Day 14: Johannesburg
    Rise early once more for a guided walk through the local bush, during which you’ll learn about identifying trees, tracking animals and the local birds. The group will then begin the drive back to Johannesburg. There’s a total driving time of eight hours today, but there’s also plenty of time to stop and explore along the way. Peer into the spectacular God’s Window Viewpoint and take in the unique geological formations around Bourke’s Luck Potholes before arriving in Johannesburg. (B)

    Day 15: Chobe National Park
    Fly from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls then follow the Zambezi across the Botswana border. The trip to Chobe National Park (Botswana’s first) should take approximately 2–3 hours (100 km) not including border formalities, arriving at the lodge in time for a late lunch. Afterwards, take a cruise along the Chobe River looking for saddle-billed storks, malachite kingfishers, fish eagles and bee-eaters, as well as hippos, crocodiles and elephants. You’ll be joined on this cruise by other travellers and there’s a small bar onboard, so you can enjoy a G&T as the sun sets over the river. (B, L, D)

    Day 16: Chobe National Park
    Take a game drive through Chobe National Park, the first designated national park in Botswana. Chobe is known for its huge population of elephants and buffalo and you may well see them drinking at the local watering hole during the drive. Head back to the lodge then enjoy a free afternoon during which you may like to take another river cruise (optional activity), walk through Kasane town dodging local warthogs, or take it easy at the pool near the river’s edge for a seriously special sunset.  (B, L, D)

    Day 17: Victoria Falls
    Head out on an optional game drive in Chobe National Park or alternatively take a leisurely breakfast at the lodge. In the afternoon, visit the indescribable Victoria Falls, one of the world’s true natural wonders forming the largest sheet of falling water in the world when in full flow. The guide will take you on a tour through the area and explain the history of the falls and their surroundings. Then head above the falls onto the Zambezi River for a 2-hour river cruise. The specially designed jet-propelled boats allow us to reach the shallow water among the islands directly above the Victoria Falls. Enjoy included drinks and snacks while meandering between the islands and getting a glimpse of the ‘smoke that thunders’ after it has rumbled over the edge of the falls. Also look out for crocodiles bathing in sunshine on the banks or elephants submerging themselves in the river. (B)

    Day 18: Victoria Falls
    Your adventure comes to an end after breakfast this morning. There are no activities planned for the day and no accommodation is included for tonight, though you can request extra nights at your own expense. (B)

    Inclusions

    • Meals: 17 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 10 dinners
    • Transport: Private vehicle, Boat, Open safari vehicle, Plane
    • Accommodation: Hotel (4 nights), Feature Stay Hotel (2 nights ), Feature Stay Lodge (3 nights), Lodge (8 nights)

    Included activities

    • Complimentary airport arrival transfer
    • Stellenbosch – Vergenoegd Duck Parade & Wine Tasting
    • Stellenbosch – Lanzerac Wine and Chocolate Tasting
    • Betty’s Bay – Harold Porter Botanical Gardens
    • Betty’s Bay – Penguin Colony
    • Calitzdorp – Boplaas Port and Wine Tasting
    • Oudtshoorn – Meerkat Experience
    • Oudtshoorn – Cango Caves Guided Tour
    • Knysna Lagoon – Oyster Tasting Boat Cruise
    • Tsitsikamma National Park – Half Day Hike
    • Kariega Game Reserve – Afternoon 4×4 Game Drive
    • Kariega Game Reserve – Morning 4×4 Game Drive
    • Private Game Reserve – 4×4 Game Drive
    • Kruger National Park – Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
    • Morning Guernsey Bush Walk
    • Panorama Route – Bourke’s Luck Potholes
    • Panorama Route – God’s Window
    • Chobe National Park – River Safari Cruise
    • Chobe National Park – 4×4 Game Drive
    • Victoria Falls – Entrance & Visit
    • TPE-PFSAC

    Images courtesy of IntrepidGroup