South Africa Odyssey
On arrival in Johannesburg at OR Tambo International Airport, you’ll be met by your representative and transferred to your hotel. Johannesburg is the largest and most populous city in South Africa. It is also the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade, due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills. The remainder of the day is at leisure & unescorted. Enjoy a sightseeing tour or simply relax at your hotel. At 19h00 we will meet up at reception for a briefing on the tour and a chance to meet fellow travellers.
Depart Johannesburg after breakfast and head for Pretoria, South Africa’s capital city, for a short orientation tour, before continuing to the Mpumalanga Province, known as “Paradise Country”. Dropping several hundred feet into the lush subtropical region of the Lowveld, we travel via the historic towns of Dullstroom and Lydenburg. After traversing the famous Long Tom Pass, we travel via Sabie and arrive late afternoon in Hazyview, the safari hub of the Kruger National Park.
After an early morning breakfast, we’ll drive along the spectacular “Panorama Route”, offering views of amazing scenery including the 26 kilometre-long Blyde River Canyon (home to the Three Rondavels), Bourke’s Luck Potholes and historic God’s Window, a breathtaking view (weather permitting) of the edge of the escarpment taking in the Kruger National Park. We arrive back in Hazyview in the early afternoon, where the remainder of the day is at leisure to relax or join an afternoon game experience (optional & for own account).
Kruger National Park
The day begins with early morning coffee or tea, followed by a thrilling open vehicle safari (with English speaking game ranger) through Kruger National Park with pre-packed breakfast. Kruger is one of the world’s greatest national parks, home to a stunning array of wildlife. Search for the Big 5 (rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, and elephant) as well as prolific birdlife and numerous other game. The afternoon is at leisure at your hotel. Late afternoon open vehicle game drives are available (optional & for own account).
This morning we travel to Swaziland, an independent Kingdom within the borders of South Africa, known for its lovely scenery, crafts and colourful indigenous culture. An interactive cultural experience introduces us to the charming people of Swaziland and their traditions. We travel via the capital city, Mbabane, and on to the beautiful Ezulwini Valley for a true African shopping experience at the Ezulwini Craft Market which is packed with woven baskets, beadwork and carvings. Overnight in Swaziland.
After breakfast we will continue south through Swaziland, before re- entering South Africa. Travel into Zululand, passing traditional round huts and endless vistas. There is an option to enjoy an afternoon open vehicle safari (optional & for own account with an English speaking game ranger) in the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve, which contains an immense diversity of fauna and flora and is particularly famous for its conservation of black and white rhino. Overnight in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi region.
This morning we will join a cruise on Lake St Lucia (depending on favourable weather conditions) before departing for Durban. Our journey takes us past traditional Zulu Kraals, Eucalyptus plantations and sugar cane fields. We arrive early afternoon and the remainder of the day is at leisure to enjoy the golden beaches of the Indian Ocean. Overnight in Durban (Umhlanga).
After breakfast, transfer to Durban (Umhlanga) airport for the short southward flight to Port Elizabeth, where we will be met by our representative and once everyone has arrived, we set off to explore the magnificent beauty of the indigenous Tsitsikamma Forest and Storms River Mouth (weather permitting). We’ll arrive at our hotel in Knysna, known as the oyster box of South Africa, nestling on the banks of a beautiful lagoon in the heart of the Garden Route. Overnight in Knysna.
After a leisurely breakfast we’ll enjoy a lagoon cruise to the Featherbed Nature Reserve, where we can take a trailer ride to the top of the Western Head to enjoy panoramic views of the town and lagoon, returning for lunch under the milkwood trees. The afternoon is at leisure to further explore this charming town set around a natural harbour lagoon.
Travel through the Outeniqua Pass to Oudtshoorn, known as the “ostrich capital” and the centre of the world’s Ostrich farming industry. We’ll visit an Ostrich Farm for a guided tour and light lunch, before taking a tour of the spectacular limestone caverns of the Cango Caves, one of the world’s great natural wonders, sculpted by nature through the ages. We will arrive at our hotel in the late afternoon, in time to check in and relax before dinner (for own account). Overnight in Oudtshoorn.
There is an option (for own account & subject to availability) to enjoy an early morning Meerkat Safari. Witness these incredible wild habituated creatures emerging out of their burrows, in time to soak up the sun before they head about their daily activities (weather permitting). After this thrilling experience, head back for a delicious breakfast. After breakfast, the journey continues through the “Little Karoo” to Barrydale, where you will have the opportunity to visit a local farm school, interact with the children and teachers, spending time with them in the classroom learning more about the local farming community, before travelling to Montagu, a picturesque and historic spa town. (The school visit is subject to the school being open.)
Continue to Franschhoek, a picturesque village surrounded by spectacular vineyards, where French Huguenots settled more than 300 years ago, bringing with them their age-old French wine and food culture. From here you will be transferred (with a driver only) to Cape Town, spectacularly set at the foot of Table Mountain. Overnight in Cape Town. Note for 2019 season: The tour continues straight through to Cape Town, and will only travel via Franschhoek if there are guests booked on the Franschhoek Winelands Option.
Cape Town (Unescorted)
Enjoy a full day at leisure. Perhaps join a sightseeing tour to Table Mountain (for own account) or simply explore the city. Although a small city, Cape Town is packed with sightseeing attractions, excellent bars, cafes and restaurants as well as colourful craft markets. Alternatively relax on one of Cape Town’s many pristine beaches. Tonight enjoy a fantastic dinner & show experience – an evening of delicious Cape food, captivating theatre and entertaining tales and songs about the people of the Cape. Overnight in Cape Town.
Enjoy a full day tour of the Cape Peninsula, offering some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in the world. Drive through Sea Point, the seaside village of Hout Bay (where you can enjoy an optional & for own account seal island boat cruise) and then on to Cape Point where (by tradition) it is said that the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. We'll return to Cape Town by way of Simon's Town, where we visit the Penguin colony at Boulders Beach (entrance fee for own account), Fish Hoek fishing village and Muizenberg. Overnight in Cape Town.
Enjoy some last minute shopping (unescorted) or sightseeing (for own account). The Robben Island Tour (for own account & time permitting), which departs from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, offers a fascinating excursion or perhaps just wander through the variety of shops and boutiques catering for all tastes and budgets. Later you will be transferred to the airport, harbour or railway station for your onward journey.