ULTIMATE SOUTH AFRICA
(22 Days / 21 Nights)
PRICE: 4195 dollars per person based on 4 people private guided tour
PRICE: 2445 dollars per person based on 2 people sharing self-drive
– All entrance fees to national cultural parks, museums and tastings included.
– 3 game drives with professional rangers
– 2 cruises (St Lucia and Hout Bay)
– All breakfasts, 8 dinners, 1 lunch and 2 barbecues
– 1 South African full time guide
– 1 local guide in Soweto
– Accommodation bed and breakfast quality *** or ****
This tour allows you to enjoy the exceptional South African scenery but also discover the most misunderstood areas of virgin lands and wildlife that are a delight and a real change of features for the traveler. Spectacular landscapes, modern and historic cities, spectacular fauna and flora and a unique cultural heritage is what you are promised during these 22 days of an unforgettable journey.
- Johannesburg / Soweto located in Gauteng (country of gold in Sotho). A sprawling capital, symbol of wealth and crime.
- Pretoria administrative capital, now called Tshwane, it was the capital of the First Republic “Boer” and retains this historic stamp.
- The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world is 40 km long and consists of a wide variety of geological formations offering a breathtaking spectacle.
- Kruger (National Park) is famous for its exceptional wildlife, its incredible diversity, as well as being one of the largest, most famous , and oldest game parks in the world.
- Swaziland is the smallest country in the southern hemisphere and one of the last African Kingdoms, the country is home to several national parks with a rich flora and fauna.
- St Lucia a vast wilderness of wetlands, lakes and estuaries, bush, home to the big 5 and a tropical coast line with the worlds richest marine life, a mecca for snorkelling and scuba diving enthusiasts. It’s not suprising, this region with it’s multi ecosystems was proclaimed a UNESCO world heritage site.
- Drakensberg, mysterious and large, this “massive” extends over 200 km with the highest peak rising to 3582m. A mecca for hiker and nature lovers.
- The wild coast stretches south of Durban to Port Elizabeth where many landscapes, rarely frequented, miles of deserted beaches ignored by civilization, will immerse you in a majestic, unusual and charming surroundings.
- Addo National Park and Schotia Private Reserve is famous for its rich wildlife (the “big seven”) where you can see herds of elephants and lions, buffaloes, zebras, giraffes and other.
- Tsitsikamma National Park is a wild forest that extends to the sea and offers beautiful walks and trails dotted with ancient trees. These were once used by elephant herds in search of food.
- Knysna and Plettenberg Bay are opulent, beautiful coastal towns reminiscent of the Mediterranean coast. This area is a major tourist population and is highly populated during school holidays.
- Oudtshoorn. In the last century the demand for ostrich feathers, associated with the introduction of art noveau, made the fortune of this small town. You can enjoy the remains of this rich history and be amazed by the beautiful caves.
- Hermanus, a village and peaceful haven for whale watching between August and December.
Day 1: Johannesburg City -Sandton
Welcome to Johannesburg, meet and greet, your trip starts here and we transfer you to your hotel near Sandton City with time to relax and freshen up after your long flight before a visit to Sandton City. This is the heart of Africa’s financial district and home to the Johanesburg stock exchange. Mandela square with it’s variety of restuarants is a recommended venue for dinner.
Lunch and dinner
Day 2: Johannesburg City -Sandton
This morning we depart for the city, a unique experience that will take you from the suburb of Houghton (home of the late Nelson Mandela) to Hillbrow, the old Jewish quarter and various colonial buildings, the Supreme Courts, and a tour of Constitutional Hill.
We visit Pretoria (South African administrative capital) for a tour of historical sites and places of interest sites such as the Kruger House, Church Square, City Hall, State Theatre / opera house, the natural history of the Transvaal Museum and the Union Buildings.
Late afternoon Soweto township Tour with local guide
Visit Hector Pieterson Museum
Freedom Square and memorial
Walking tour along Vilakazi street the original home to two noble peace price nominees, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, we then drive past Winnie Mandela home, the FNB stadium (formerly Soccer City)
Accommodation B & B
We depart for the beautiful Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga.
We follow the scenic route and travel to places such as God’s Window, Three Rondavels, Blyde River Canyon, Long Tom Pass, the battlefields, Bourkes luck potholes, MacMac waterfall, and Pilgrim’s Rest. The last is an historical authentic village dating from the first South African gold Rushand now a national monument.
Accommodation on the edge of the canyon. Dinner included.
We arrive in the morning at the famous Kruger Park and begin our visit having lunch on the banks of the mighty Sabie River.
4×4 sunset safari with professional ranger *
Time off to relax and enjoy a typical South African Braai/barbecue * .
Around 4.30 we leave camp for a 3hour morning 4×4 safari with a professional ranger to witness the African savanah and wildlife in all its splendor.
Return to camp for a hearty breakfast.
Rest of the day is spent on safari with your guide.
Accommodation in National Park chalets.
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 you will 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 7: Lake St Lucia, iSimangaliso Wetland Park
After breakfast we depart for St Lucia which is situated along the tropical coast of Zululand. En route you will 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.
Upon arrival you 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 a stupendous diversity of wildlife and flora. You will have the opportunity to encounter hippos, crocodiles, eagles and maybe even the elusive leopard.
Thereafter we then arrive at your luxury B&B located in the heart of the St Lucia wetland park.
Day 8: Hluhluwe / Umfolozi National Park
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 reknowned 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 – 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.
This morning we depart for the Drakensberg mountain range, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
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 you will arrive at mountain lodge. Dinner included *
Day 10: Drakensberg
You 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 you can opt for a 4X4 excursion to Lesotho for the day via the Sani Pass, the highest in Africa.
Today you will travel on a route of exceptional landscapes to Kokstad in the Drakensberg where you spend the night at the foot of Mount Currie. The mountain range runs from the region of Kwazulu Natal to the Eastern Cape.
You will stay in a lodge with dinner included. 4 *
After a great breakfast you will set off for the Wild Coast one of the most unspoiled parts of the country where the population still lives in an authentic and traditional way. You will have the opportunity to visit Umtata and Nelson Mandela Museum, and a few miles away, Qunu, a small village where Mandela grew up and now hosts his final resting place. You will learn about the legends that have affected the course of history.
A trip to a place called “Hole in the Wall” a natural wonder, where the sea has tirelessly dug a hole in the cliff. The coast on either side of the Hole in the Wall is precipitous and notorious for the number of shipwrecks.
Finally you reach Coffee Bay, a haven for swimming, fishing and lazy occupations.
Accommodation at the hotel
Day 13: Kenton-on-sea
Your route to the heart of the Eastern Cape, barren and wild, the last witness of the ancient Xhosa culture will take you along the coast to the mouth of the “River Bushmen” via Grahamstown created in 1812 by English settlers. Grahamstown has 40 churches and rightly earned the nickname “City of Saints”.
Today it is the national capital of the arts and every July it hosts a festival of international standard.
Kenton-on-Sea is a small seaside resort with untouched beaches much the same as when Bartolomeus Diaz discovered it in the 15th century.
The chosen B&B will have a breathtaking views of the river mouth.
The morning safari in Addo, famous for elephants where you will not fail to see these magnificent animals at the water hole.
An afternoon safari in a 4X4 vehicle will be with a professional ranger.
Refreshments, tea or coffee and woodfired baked rolls.
Safari continues until nightfall with a delicious dinner served in the “Boma” around the fire.
Bush Lodge provides rooms with luxury and unexpected charm in the middle of the African “bush”
Day 15: Knysna
An early game drive, and after breakfast we say goodbye to this haven of peace and continue the journey to the Cape.
You will visit the “Big Tree”, a yellow wood towering above the other trees, is growing in the last area of hard wood forest.
Lunch at the Tsitsikamma National Park restaurant.
With stunning views over the sea you will walk in the primary forest which will leads to Storms River bridge, a suspension bridge at the mouth of the river.
After the Bloukrans Bridge, the highest commercial bungee jump in the world you will have a panoramic view overlooking Plettenberg Bay. Finally a walk at sunset on the Knysna Lagoon
Dinner on the “waterfront”.
Night spent at a luxurious guesthouse.
Day 16: Oudtshoorn
The Outeniqua Pass, with magnificent scenery, leads to Oudtshoorn where you will visit an ostrich farm. Ostrich meat is now in great demand as well as leather.
The town is home to the world’s largest ostrich population and is called “the capital of the ostrich” since its founding in 1847. You can see the famous “Palace of the pen” the opulent mansions of the early breeders who have made fortunes here.
After lunch you will go to “Cango Caves”, a series of underground tunnels with extraordinary limestone formations, the most beautiful caves in South Africa.
You will stay on a farm on the outskirts of the city where you will partake of traditional local products.
Day 17: Cape Agulhas
Highway Route 62, via Tradoux Pass leads to the Little Karoo, a semi-desert, to the temperate zone of the Overberg, where you can enjoy beautiful landscapes and villages, taste local products such as the famous biltong (dried meat), artisanal cheeses etc.
Lunch at Barrydale.
Then onto Swellendam, built in 1746, it was the third European cited in South Africa, to establish order, collect taxes and enforce the law of the Dutch East India Company to “Trekboers” who had already settled in the area.
In 1865 a fire destroyed the city and in the 1970’s many buildings from that era were demolished in the name of the sacrosanct modernity. Fortunately destruction ended when the authorities realized the tourism potential of the place; now preserved with pride these relics of the past will delight you. You will visit the oldest, the “Drostdy” Museum which is one of the country’s great architectual treasures.
Leaving Swellendam, next is Cape Agulhas the most southern point. The sharp rocks and waves are threatening and was the way to the India for mariners of yesteryear.
B&B at the seaside and dinner at one of the restaurants in this small town.
Day 18: Cape Town via Hermanus
En route to Cape Town you will visit Elim, a village of white maisonettes and thatched roofs, which was formed in 1824 by members of the Church of the Moravian Brethren (dissident branch of Lutheranism) and whose 2,000 inhabitants still live in the same community organization administered by a church council.
Gansbaai is known for its dense population of great white sharks. Some tourists come to flirt with the great white!
Hermanus, a whale watching location as the protected bay offers a prime vantage point to view the whales breed every year during the austral winter.
Lunch in Hermanus.
Last stop of the day is Betty’s Bay where you will visit a penguin colony. Finally you travel along Clarence Drive, a scenic route between sea and mountains providing spectacular scenery.
Arrival in Cape Town in the late afternoon at a guesthouse with magnificent views of Table Mountain.
Evening at “V & A Waterfront” for shopping and dinner.
Day 19: The Wine Route
We head out to Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in South Africa, an outpost established in 1682 by Governor Van der Stel who was amazed at how fertile the area was and encouraged French hugenot and dutch settlers, to start farming there. Here oak trees, wheat and vines quickly replaced the giraffes, elephants and Hottentots and khoi san peoples. Today Stellenbosch is known for its beautiful and varied architecture ( Cape Dutch, Georgian and Victorian style), and renowned wines, its famous university where the language of instruction is still mainly in Afrikaans.
We visit the Bugerhuis museum, the famous Oom Samie Winkel, partake on a cellar tour and winetasting. We head over the beautiful Hels Hoogte pass on our way to Franschoek, where the original French Hugenots settled, and today the culinary capital of South Africa.. After lunch we visit the Hugenot museum and memorial.
Thereafter we visit an exceptional boutique wine farm and taste a local vintage,including a pintage South Africa’s own unique cultivar.
We then make our way to Paarl, with a stop in front of Mandela’s statue at the entrance to the prison from which he was liberated in 1990.
Finally your day ends in historical Paarl which means “Pearl” in Dutch, refering to the imposing granite mountains surrounding the town. the first French Huguenots settled there developing a winemaking tradition which still exists today. We visit the Taal language monument,dedicated to the Afrikaans language (worlds only monument to a language), perched on a hill in a botanical garden overlooking the town, where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the valley.
Dinner at the lively city “V & A Waterfront” as desired.
Day 20: The Cape Peninsula Tour
This Region is a UNESCO world heritage site for its exceptional floral diversity. We follow the west coast via Clifton with a stop at Maiden’s Cove to enjoy a magnificent view, looking at the 12 apostles and camps bay, then onto Hout Bay , a charming little town where you take a cruise to Duiker Island which is home to the worlds largest fur seal colony.
Thereafter we drive along the scenic Chapman’s Peak drive offering breathtaking scenery. Eventualy we enter the Cape of Good Hope nature reserve where the cold Atlantic waters meet the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.This famous landmark was named by the early Portuguese mariners.
We journey down to the False Bay coast and have lunch at the old harbour of the historical naval port of Simon’s Town.
After lunch we visit the well known Boulders beach and visit Africa”s largest land based penguine colony.
We finish our day with a visit to Groot Constantia’, South Africa’s oldest Cape Dutch manor house and wine farm, built by the firsst Governer of the Cape.
Dinner at your leisure.
Today, we will visit Cape Town, its historical places and parks, the Dutch East Indian garden, Castle, South African Museum, Malay quarter, District 6 and Greenmarket square.
We take the opportunitiy to visit the noon gun in action on the slopes of Signal hill, the world’s oldest canon still in action.
After lunch, we walk in Kirstenbosch, the only botanical garden situated in a world heritage site; this garden has more endemic plant species than any other in the world.
Day 22: Departure
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Depending on your departure time, various activities can be arranged.
In the late afternoon we head along the west coast towards Blouberg where you enjoy a “postcard” view of Table Mountain, Robben Island and Table Bay.
Tonight we offer * an authentic African dinner of more than thirty culinary dishes from accross the continent.