DISCOVERING THE WORLD HERITAGE SITES OF SOUTH AFRICA
(24 days / 23 nights)
PRICE: 5195 dollars per person based on 4 people on a private guided tour
PRICE: 2950 dollars per person based on 2 people on a self-drive
This tour of 24 days include:
– Entrance into all National Parks, cultural activities, museums, activities and wine tastings
– 5 game drives with professional rangers
– 2 cruises (St Lucia and Hout Bay)
– Robben Island tour
– All breakfasts, five dinners, 4 barbecues, 2 lunches
– A full-time South African guide
– 1 local guide in Soweto
– Accommodation in bed and breakfast or similar *** or ****
– Flight Johannesburg-Cape Town-Johannesburg
An exceptional trip of a lifetime! Treat yourself to the best of South African nature, history and culture. 24 days to discover the eight UNESCO World Heritage sites and many other extraordinary places, including a two day trip into Namibia.
We cross the country from east to west and from north to south where we see amazing beautiful scenery, wildlife, cultural diversity and experience the warmth that awaits you in Southern Africa.
UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
The UNESCO sites are identified and protected for their outstanding natural beauty, their history and culture..
In South Africa 8 sites are classified into three different categories:
Sterkfontein Area (1999)
Robben Island (1999)
Cape Floral Kingdom (2004)
Greater St Lucia Wetland Park (1999)
Vredefort Dome (2005)
UKhahlamba Drakensberg (2000)
HIGH LIGHTS OF YOUR STAY
- Vredefort Dome (UNESCO site) dating from about 2000 million years ago, the crater extends for many miles which was the result of the largest meteorite to impact the earth.
- Magaliesberg / Maropeng (UNESCO) known to be the cradle of mankind, the caves are home to human remains older than 2 million years ago, more than 600 specimens of pre-humans have been found.
- The Maropeng museum is only just a few kilometers from the site offering a very interesting visit.
- Mapungubwe Park (UNESCO) The park’s flora and fauna are not it’s only richness. We discover the remnants of a prosperous civilization who lived here a 1000 years ago.
- The Kruger Park We encounter the “Big Five”, many other animals and birds, exceptional flora and breathtaking scenery.
- Swaziland offers its diverse culture and exceptional nature.
- Greater St Lucia Wetland Park (UNESCO) has the most diverse ecological system in the world.
- Hluhluwe / Umfolozi The oldest National Park in the country and second oldest in the world. Here the white rhino was brought back from the brink of extinction.
- UKhahlamba Drakensberg Park (UNESCO) is known for its exceptional diversity, landscapes, towering mountains, and the worlds richest rock art sites.
- Kimberley a 17th century town where Southern Africa’s first diamonds were discovered and resulted in the excavation of the largest open pit mine in the world .
- Augrabies Falls on the Orange River is one of the highest and it is truly amazing to see in such arid surrounds. When in flood it is known to be have a volume and strength four times stronger that of the famous Niagara Falls.
- Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Botswana and South Africa have shared their border to form the first Transfrontier Park on the continent, a great ambitious plan to improve nature conservation.
- Ai Ais, an oasis situated at the end of the Fish river canyon located in Namibia. This gem in the desert has renowned thermal springs.
- Fish River Canyon. It is the second largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon of Colorado.
- Richersvelt (National Park) also called the Ai Ais / Richersvelt Transfrontier Park is one of the “Peace Parks ” uniting Ai Ais Park in Namibia and the Richersvelt Park in South Africa.
- Namaqualand (National Park) The country of the Nama people that has the distinction of being a semi-arid region, but after the first spring rains the ground literally explodes with carpets of multicoloured desert flowers. The park was established to protect this absolutely unique experience.
- Cederberg mountain range is about a 130km long with unique geological formations that are home to interesting bushman cave paintings. This wilderness area protects rare plant species and is part of the most diverse botanical biome on earth. Specimens included in the Cape floral kingdom are under protection of UNESCO.
- Cape of Good Hope at the tip of the peninsula where the cold waters of the Atlantic meets the warmer Indian Ocean. The view is magnificent.
- Kirstenbosch (Botanical Garden) known to be one of the best botanical gardens in the world, home to many endemic plant species.
- Table Mountain, a majestic flat-topped mountain flanked by Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head forms the amphitheater protecting the beautiful city of Cape Town.
- Robben Island . The history is closely linked with that of the Dutch East India Company and colonization. The island was home to the late Nelson Mandela and other famous prisoners throughout history.
Day 1: Parys / Vredefort Dome
The Vredefort Dome was declared a UNESCO world heritage in 2005 and is the oldest and largest meteorite impact crater in the world. It occurred about 2000 million years ago when a meteorite about 10 km in diameter (larger than Table Mountain) collided with the earth. The eroded hills forming a huge circle is still very much visible today and are the remains of a dome formed from the point of impact during the rebound of the meteorite. The impact opened a crater 250 to 300 km in diameter, and today is visible for about 50km where the centre of the dome has beautiful valleys separated by many hills.
Dinner in town, this quaint little town is called Paris in Afrikaans, tonight we stay in one of the excellent B&B’s of the region.
Day 2: Magaliesberg/Cradle of Man Kind
This morning after breakfast we leave for the Magaliesberg mountain range, which is much older than the Himalaya’s. This area is extremely rich in archeology and history. It was the discovery of human remains from the Stone Age and Iron Age that the region got it’s name, the “Cradle of Humankind”.
Upon arrival we visit the Sterkfontein caves that where declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1999. We descend into the six underground cave chambers which ends at a lake where over 600 prehominid specimens where excavated. .
In 1936 the skull of an adult female “Australopithecus Africanus”, was discovered and had been there for more than 2 million years, supporting the hypothesis of an African origin of man.
It was in these caves in 1990 that foot bones were discovered, and allowed us to reconstruct the most complete and oldest (3.3 million years) skeleton of Australopithecus Africanus ever found.
At about 10km from here we will find the Museum of Maropeng, which means “return to origin” in Setswana. It is a special museum built in the shape of “mounds” .
The museum is where the umbilical cord of the collective human race is buried. Maropeng offers a boat ride on an underground river, interactive exhibits, real fossils and promotes the awareness of preserving our heritage for future generations.
We spend the night at a lodge situated in the beautiful Magaliesberg mountains. Dinner included *
Day 3: Polokwane
Polokwane was founded in 1884 by the Voortrekker leader Pieter Joubert. The original name was Pietersburg after the leader. He became the hero of the battle of Majuba. The area was quickly populated by gold seekers and ivory merchants. The present day name of the town Polokwane in Sotho, makes reference to the natural depression in which it is located.
Upon arrival we visit Northern Sotho Bakone Mapala, an open-air museum which is a reconstruction of a Sotho village as it was 200 years. We admire the artistic talent and learn about the ancient ways and the rich present day culture.
Dinner in town or at the Guesthouse
Day 4: Mapungubwe National Park
After an early breakfast we travel to the Mapungubwe National Park. This park is the African savannah stretching to the horizon and home to a rich and varied wildlife: elephants, giraffes, buffalo, white rhino, gemsbok and many other kinds of antelopes and their predators, lions, leopards , hyenas etc.
Giant baobabs and a landscape interrupted by glowing sandstone hills where in 1933 the remains of an ancient civilization was discovered.
The numerous artifacts that where discovered here date from about 1000 years ago.
Mapungubwe was the heart of the largest kingdom in the African sub-continent which traded with China, India and Egypt, exchanging their gold and ivory against the glass beads used to make their ornaments. The population established a sophisticated and highly hierarchical society and lived a rich and prosperous life. Many of the famous gold artifacts can be seen today in the Transvaal museum of history.
By the 15th century Mapungubwe was emptied of its population, it would appear that significant climate changes were responsible for the desertion of its inhabitants, crops struggling over time and also increasingly difficult to feed livestock.
Upon arrival we will visit the “lost city” and thereafter set off on a sunset 4×4 safari with a professional ranger. included *.
We will stay in a cabin in the park. BBQ included *
Day 5: Kruger Park
Early departure from Mapungbwe making our way to the northern sector of the Kruger Park via Venda, a former Bantustan which was granted independence by the apartheid government in 1979 and thereafter integrated back into South Africa in 1994.
The Venda people originally from East Africa of which their origin is not known, crossed the Limpopo River in the 18th century to settle in the Soutpansberg mountains..
The Venda countryside is rich in landscapes and the culture is fascinating. We will discover sacred sites, traditional villages and craft workshops. The Venda culture is famous for its pottery of geometric designs.
Lunch on arrival at the Punda Maria camp
We then head south to start our discovery of the lesser known region of the Kruger Park.
4X4 Sunset safari with professional guide included *
Accommodation in Chalets
After an early breakfast we depart on our game drive still making our way south, we traverse the Kruger from North to South discovering it’s incredible diversity, it’s flora, fauna and diverse landscapes.
Lunch on the banks of the mighty Sabie River, encountering all varied wildlife in and on it’s banks.
We continue to our camp for the night, we end our day once more with a 4×4 sunset safari *.
Dinner at your own expence.
Departure for the Kingdom of Swaziland (passport required). The landscapes are very similar to those of Switzerland. We visit the Ngwenya Glass Factory and the oldest mine in the world, time permitting.
We vist the capital Mbabane where we admire the Royal Palace, Parliment, the Kings Mausoleum and a craft market in the Ezulwini Valley.
Overnight at a “hotel de charme”, dinner included *
Day 8: Lake St Lucia, iSimangaliso Wetland Park
After breakfast we depart for St Lucia which is situated along the tropical coast of Zululand. En route we visit a typical Swazi village and an orphanage run by a lady who has no NGO or govermental aid but some how has given hope to many orphan children. An authentic experience will leave you with fond memories of her courage.
We will stop for a light lunch at a game reserve.
Upon arrival we will participate in a cruise (included *) on the St. Lucia wetlands home to a multitude of the most diverse ecosystems in the world and is a World Heritage Site. It is in this complex ecosystem where bush meets beach mangrove and sand forests and is home to stupendous diversity of wildlife and flora. We have the opportunity to encounter hippos, crocodiles, eagles and maybe even the elusive leopard.
Thereafter we then arrive at our luxury B&B located in the heart of the St Lucia wetland park.
Dinner included *
Early morning start from St Lucia to Hluhluze / Umfolozi Park, the 2nd oldest National Park in the world and home to the “big five” which is renowned for saving the white rhino from extinction. We will either
Spend the day exploring in a 4×4 accompanied by a professional ranger
We can head north to Sodwana Bay where we have the opportunity to swim with the dolphins, snorkel amongst the richest coral reefs on earth or if you have your PADI qualification scuba dive.
Lunch, park entrance fees, safari and breakfast and BBQ are all included.*
Return to St Lucia in the late afternoon where we will prepare a typical South African barbecue before a well deserved rest.
Day 10: Drakensberg
We stop for lunch at Howick, the peaceful capital of the Natal Midlands where the Umgeni River plunges 95 m forming a spectacular waterfall.
We visit the Mandela Capture Site where he was arrested in 1962 before the famous Rivonia trial when he was sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to Robben Island. A monument commemorates this event that changed the course of history.
Late afternoon we arrive at mountain lodge
Dinner included *
Day 11: Drakensberg
we can choose to go on a guided hike to the famous cave paintings, some 4000 years old, left by the Bushmen,
or we can trek to the Tugela Falls which is the world’s second highest in the world,
or visit the historic battle fields of the 18th century when the English , Afrikaans and Zulu armies engaged in bloody battles,
or we can opt for a 4X4 excursion to Lesotho for the day via the Sani Pass, the highest in Africa.
Lodge for a second night. Dinner included *
Day 12: Kimberley
The Free State is beautiful with impressive limestone mountains and vast undulating golden plains caressed by the wind and an enduring sunshine throughout the year.
We arrive in Kimberley which has been of considerable importance throughout it’s history due to the diamond mines and where Cecil John Rhodes made his fortune.
We visit the “Big Hole”, the largest excavation made by man which started in 1866. It has a diameter of 1.6 km and plunges 1000m. We visit the Diamond Museum *.
Over night in a charming Victoria Guesthouse, typical of that period.
Dinner in town.
Day 13: Upington
Griquatown was founded in 1803 by the London Missionary Society on the banks of the Orange River. At that time the place was inhabited by members of the Chaguriqua, Koranna and Tswana tribes, as well as “bastards”. They were so called because of the diversity of their origins (a multiracial and diverse people of the South African coloured subgroup unique in the early history of the Cape Colony. They later took the name of Griqua people).
The town has a stormy past due to numerous disputes between various tribes and the Griqua, these disputes came to an end when the majority of the tribes left the place leaving room for the Griqua and their leader Andries Waterboer. Today Griquatown is known for its semi-precious stones such as tiger’s eye and jasper, as well as merino sheep farming.
Finally we reach Upington where we spend the rest of the day at our leisure.
Dinner in town or at the hotel.
Day 14: Upington (Augrabies Falls)
This mighty river with it’s origins in the Lesotho highlands till it’s estuary at Port Nollith is 2200km long, the longest river in South Africa.
About an hour later we arrive at the Augrabies Falls National Park.
These falls are among the highest in the world, their name is derived from the Khoi word meaning “place of great noise.” Here the Orange River drops 66m into a gorge 240m deep and 18km long. During periods of high water it’s volume is phenomenal, up to 4 times that of Niagara Falls!
We spend the day in the park visiting it’s many points of interest such as “moon rock” a geological rounded mountain from where we have a panoramic view of the entire park and admire the impressive gorge of the Orange River.
The park offers various animal species, diverse landscapes, including a strange place called “echo corner” where as the name suggests a long echo can be heard.
Late picnic lunch in the park before heading back to Upington for dinner then back to the hotel.
Day 15: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
This morning we follow the Orange River, driving through Upington founded in 1873 the gateway to the Kalahari.
We arrive at the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park which was created in 1999 by merging the Kalahari National Park in Botswana and Gemsbok National Park. This is the first Transfrontier Park in Africa.
Bush barbecue included.
Early morning depart on a safari to see some of the Big Cats (leopards, cheetahs etc), including the unique black- maned lions and admire the Oryx which are the pride of the Kalahari Desert.
Breakfast in the desert.
Picnic lunch in the dunes.
We enjoy 4 x 4 sunset safari with professional guide.
Day 17: Ai Ais
Lunch at one of the small villages.
By mid afternoon we arrive at our Ai Ais, which means “ boiling” in Nama. This oasis forms the southern part of the Fish River Canyon.
We have the rest of the day to relax and enjoy a swim in the hot springs of Ai Ais known to have healing properties for rheumatism and skin problems.
An early start for our journey to the heart of the Fish River Canyon where we can enjoy sunrise over the canyon.
The Fish River Canyon, which now flows only during heavy rainfall, is the second largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon; the scenery is magnificent!
Lunch is a picnic; a day to relax!
Chalet accommodation and dinner
We head through the Southern Richtersveld Park into Namaqualand.
The Richtersveld is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for it’s cultural heritage and botanical diversity.
Lunch at Springbok, capital of the Namaqualand.
We arrive at the Namaqualand National Park best known for its exceptional display of spring flowers
is the last refuge for the Nomadic Nama people.
We drive south to arrive in the Cederberg Mountains with incredible rock formations and cave paintings.
We hike to the “Maltese Cross” a massive rock formation shaped in the form of a cross.
After breakfast, we hike in the mountains and visit the caves where we admire the magnificent paintings left by the “Bushmen”.
Lunch at Piketberg.
Our last stop will be at Boubergstrand where we enjoy a postcard view of the city of Cape Town and the famous Table Mountain.
Arrival in Cape Town.
Dinner at the Waterfront which has a wide choice of excellent restaurants.
Day 22: The Cape Peninsula
This beautiful scenic tour takes us through Clifton and Camps Bay with a stop at Maiden’s Cove to enjoy the magnificent view across Camps bay and the Twelve Apostles. We then head to Hout Bay, a charming little harbour town where we take a boat cruise to Duiker Island, home to the worlds largest Cape fur seal colony. We take the famous Chapman’s Peak road that follows the Atlantic coast offering breathtaking scenery and then finally we enter the Cape Point National Park (Cape of Good Hope), where the cold Atlantic waters meet the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
Lunch at the old harbour of the historic Simon’s Town
We visit Boulders beach, home to Africa’s largest “African” penguin colony.
The journey continues along the False bay coastline with the possibility of spotting the Southern Right whales which come close to the coast to give birth during the months from July to December.
Our last stop is Groot Constantia , the oldest manor farm house, a magnificent example of Cape Dutch architecture. It houses one of the finest collections of early Cape furniture, paintings and ceramics from the 17th century.
Evening at your own expense
Guest House accommodation
Day 23: Cape Town & Robben Island
This morning we will visit the beautiful city of Cape Town and discover its combination of various architectural styles from various periods in Cape Town’s history. We visit the Cape Town Castle which was built by Jan van Riebeeck, the first European to settle in the Cape in 1652, and various museums the Gold museum and Natural History Museum. Next is the Company Gardens cultivated for the Dutch East India Company, the Malay quarter and the firing of the noon gun, a spectacle not to be missed!
Lunch at the waterfront
In the early afternoon we depart for the Robben Island tour (UNESCO), departure by ferry from the Waterfront. ticket included *
On return we head up to Signal Hill which offers a beautiful view of Sea Point and the City Bowl.
we have the option to visit Table Mountain (a 7th wonder of the world), and appreciate a sunset from the “table” looking over the Atlantic Ocean, Robben Island, Lions Head and Cape Town.
NB : Table Mountain is an optional visit, weather permitting.
Tonight we have a special treat.
Dinner in a famous African restaurant where the tasting of more than thirty dishes will take us on a culinary journey across the continent, accompanied by live music and dance.
Day 24: Departure
Preparation for our transfer to the airport.
Activities can be organized according to the time of your flight.