Sample Itinerary - Africa
A World in One Country17 Days/13 Nights
Day 1 Fly USA to London
Day 2 Fly London to Johannesburg
Day 3 Welcome to Johannesburg, South Africa
Upon arrival at Johannesburg International Airport you will be met and transferred to your accommodation in Pretoria. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. Depending on the time you arrive, you may have time to explore the magnificent suburban shopping malls or take in an optional Johannesburg City Tour (own expense).
A city of astonishing contrasts, a huge metropolis where opulent wealth and desperate poverty live side by side: Johannesburg is the intriguing, dynamic heart of this turbulent country. If you want to see the real South Africa - and try to understand it - Jo'burg has to be on your itinerary.
Jo'burg, Jozi, eGoli or 'the city of gold' (never Johannesburg) is by far the largest city in South Africa. It's brash, fast-growing and often ugly, but it's got wealth, energy and a beautiful climate. If you take reasonable precautions and listen to the locals, you can enjoy it in safety.
Accommodation (1 night)
Rosebank Hotel – Standard Room
'Classical elegance and warmth' are the guests first impressions of the hotel. A tranquil, relaxed atmosphere, combined with friendly efficient service, are all trademarks of our hospitality. The Rosebank hotel has a 4 star grading along with an outstanding reputation.
The hotel is situated in the prestigious suburb of Rosebank, part of Greater Sandton, in Gauteng, South Africa. Rosebank is conveniently located near the major centers of Johannesburg, Sandton and Randburg, easily accessible from Midrand and Pretoria, and 30 minutes from Johannesburg International Airport.
Three shopping malls and the renowned African Craft Market are within a few minutes walk from the hotel - providing guests with a wide variety of curio and craft shops, gift shops, art galleries, clothing boutiques, chain stores, restaurants, cinemas and entertainment. Attractions nearby include Gold Reef City, Lion Park, Johannesburg Zoological & Botanical Gardens, Soweto Tours, Union Buildings, Voortrekker Monument, Game Drives, Hot Air Ballooning, Archeological Sites and the Origins of Man, numerous museums, casinos, golf courses, sports stadiums and other exciting possibilities. You stay includes breakfast on a daily basis.
Day 4 Pretoria to Mpumalanga
Depart for Mpumalanga, dropping several hundred feet into the lush subtropical region of the Lowveld.
Mpumalanga in South Africa often referred to as "Big Game Country" is the setting for dozens of sanctuaries teeming with wildlife and birds. The entire area of Mpumalanga offers exceptional opportunities for bird-watching, hiking, horse-riding and fishing. Streams once panned for gold have become the haunts of eager anglers and lazy trout.
Mpumalanga is steeped in the history of pioneers, hunters and fortune seekers, fascinating gold rush towns abound. Barberton and Pilgrim's Rest are among the most famous. A special, additional dimension occurs in the Middleveld region which is inhabited by Ndebele people, notable for their traditional costumes and attractively decorated houses.
Accommodation (1 night)
The Royal Hotel – Standard Room
The Royal Hotel in Pilgrim's Rest is perhaps one of South Africa's best known hotels. It was impeccably restored to reflect true late Victorian style. Composed of ten authentic buildings dating back to the late nineteenth century, the hotel now offers 50 charming en-suite bedrooms. Declared a goldfield in 1873, Pilgrim's Rest became a cosmopolitan centre of activity in South Africa. Today it stands as a legacy to these pioneers. The town was proclaimed a National Monument in 1986.
Trapped in a time warp, the lounge reflects an epoch of time honored hospitality and elegance so typical of the Victorian era. Upon entering the Royal Hotel, visitors are immediately taken on a nostalgia filled trip into the past. The reception walls are lined with the most interesting photographs and artifacts providing vivid glimpses of Pilgrim's Rest's history. This theme is carried forward into the lounge as well as the very famous public bar.
Rounding off the Royal Hotel experience is our informal restaurant where hearty old- fashioned meals are served in a historical atmosphere in keeping with the rest of the Hotel. Enjoy a meal outside while taking in the scenery - an experience worthwhile. Your stay includes breakfast on a daily basis.
Day 5 Mpumalanga to Kruger National Park
Explore the living history of Pilgrim's Rest, the old gold mining village where gold was first discovered, gasp at the glory of God's Window, a boundless view of mountains and fertile plains, and visit the spectacular Blyde River Canyon, one of the natural wonders of Africa. We arrive at our Kruger National Park camp in time for a welcome sundowner in the African bushveld.
As well as being one of the most famous wildlife parks in the world, Kruger National Park is among the biggest and oldest. You can see the 'big five' here (lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes and rhinos) as well as cheetahs, giraffes, hippos, all sorts of antelope species and smaller animals.
Although most people will have seen African animals in zoos, it's hard to exaggerate how extraordinary and completely different it is to see these animals in their natural environment. That said, Kruger is not quite a wilderness experience: it's highly developed, organized, accessible and popular.
Accommodation (1 night)
Pretoriuskop – Standard Room
Pretoriuskop is situated in the south-western part of the Kruger National Park, only nine kilometers (5 miles) from Numbi Gate. The camp lies in a hilly region with many interesting, picturesque rocky outcrops. Rare species like sable and rhino may be sighted in this area as well as the more prolific species such as impala, zebra and wildebeest. A wide variety of basic accommodation is available at Pretoriuskop, including huts, cottages, bungalows and a guest house. Other facilities at the rest camp are a shop, barbecue, communal kitchen facilities, swimming pool, in-camp trail, laundromat, restaurant/cafeteria, public telephones and a petrol station. Several historic places, such as the Voortrekker road, the birthplace of Jock of the Bushveld and the Albasini ruins are within a short drive from the camp. The first tourist hut in the park, the Wolhuter, is found in this camp.
Day 6 At leisure, Kruger National Park
Enjoy your day at leisure exploring the area on a game viewing safari. Set off before breakfast in open safari vehicles in search of lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard, and all manner of wondrous wildlife, birds and plant species. Savor the magic of this enormous wilderness.
Day 7 Kruger National Park to Swaziland
Enjoy an enchanting drive to the tiny Kingdom of Swaziland, a former British Protection Territory, now ruled by King MsWati III. Witness a Swazi Cultural experience before visiting the famous Ngwenya Glass Works to see Master Craftsmen fashion collectable figures and functional art out of molten glass.
Our next stop is the capital city Mbabane, known for its vibrant markets packed with woven baskets, beadwork and carvings.
Swaziland is the smallest country in Africa is also one of the most easy going - laid-back Swazis are more likely to celebrate for fun than demonstrate for reform. A progressive and hands-on attitude towards wildlife preservation has endowed it with a striking bunch of national parks.
Black and white rhino, elephant, and more recently, lion, have been reintroduced into the collection of national parks and game reserves. You can trek, horse ride, raft on wild rivers or cycle through many of the parks and get surprisingly close to a huge variety of wildlife.
Accommodation (1 night)
Ezulwini Sun – Standard Room
Located in the beautiful and secluded Ezulwini Valley in the Kingdom of Swaziland is the Ezulwini Sun. The hotel welcomes its guests to a warm and friendly Caribbean- like atmosphere. Wrapped in shades of pink, blue and white, all the rooms are decorated in a delightful Cabana-style, with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains.
Facilities include horse riding, tennis, volleyball and a large swimming pool. Guests also have full use of the facilities at the Royal Swazi Sun. Each room has two double beds with a private bathroom and shower, hairdryer, television and tea/coffee making facilities. Your stay includes breakfast on a daily basis.
Day 8 Swaziland to St. Lucia
Today you will travel to St. Lucia. Along the way you’ll visit the Swazi Candle Factory, teaming with exquisite wax artworks in every shape and color imaginable. Then on to Zululand, passing the traditional round huts and endless vistas. Arrive mid afternoon at the town of St. Lucia, a World Heritage Site and home to hippo, crocodile and no less than 367 bird species.
St. Lucia is known as the gateway to the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park and therefore ideally positioned as an accommodation base for further exploration. Cape Vidal, one of the best snorkeling and spear fishing venues on the coast, is 32 Km north of St Lucia. Access is through a nature reserve containing 4 of the Big 5, Lion being absent for the safety of beach users. The world renowned Hluluwe/ Umfolozi game reserve is a mere 35 minutes drive away - close enough for a day trip.
Accommodation (1 night)
Elephant Lake Hotel – Standard Room
Elephant Lake Hotel accommodation is situated on the Elephant Coast in the heart of the exquisite St Lucia World Heritage Site between Lake St Lucia and the Indian Ocean in South Africa. The hotel sits on the banks of the St Lucia Estuary and overlooks the lake. With its lakes, lagoons, freshwater swamps and grasslands, St. Lucia supports more species of animal than the better known Kruger National Park.
All rooms look over the St Lucia Lake and offer en-suite bathroom, telephone, air conditioning, satellite TV and tea/coffee maker. Enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet and in the evening you can dine ‘at home’ on a varied selection of specialties complemented by one of the renowned South African wines. Sundowners on the deck with the sounds of nature will leave memories of St Lucia that will always be treasured.
Day 9 St. Lucia to Durban
This morning enjoy a cruise on Lake St Lucia before departing for Durban. Hug the lush KwaZulu-Natal coastline en-route to Durban, watching the sugar cane fields do their own version of the Mexican wave at the urging of the wind. You will be dropped off at your accommodation before lunch time.
Durban is a big subtropical city in the northeastern province of KwaZulu-Natal. It has been a major port since the 1850s and is home to the largest concentration of Indian-descended people in the country. Today the city is better known as a holiday-makers' fun parlor with a happening nightlife.
The weather (and the water) stays warm year-round drawing the crowds to Durban's surf beaches. Apart from the waves, 'Durbs' has much to offer. The city hall houses a gallery with a good collection of contemporary South African art and a natural science museum.
Accommodation (1 night)
Protea Edward Hotel – Standard Room
Situated on Durban's famous 'Golden Mile', it is in close proximity to the city centre, popular casino, uShaka Marine World, International Convention Centre and across the road from the main swimming area and Kiddies Funworld.
The 'Grande Dame' of Durban since 1911, the Protea Hotel Edward is renowned for personal services and gracious hospitality, all within an ambience of stylish elegance and sophistication. Relax at the rooftop pool, sip sundowners on the terrace, indulge in the scrumptious dinner buffet or enjoy a cigar in the Cocktail bar, complemented with attentive and friendly service fit for a king.
Individually decorated en-suite rooms with magnificent sea views, air-conditioning, tea/coffee making facilities, mini bar, satellite television with pay movie channel, hair dryer, touch-dial telephone and internet access. Your stay includes breakfast on a daily basis.
Day 10 Fly Durban to Knysna
Early this morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Knysna. Upon arrival at the airport you will be met transferred to your accommodation in Knysna. Along the way you will travel through the indigenous Tsitsikamma Forest towards the romantic seaside resort of Knysna in the heart of the famous Garden Route, with scenic stops along the way.
A place of "People, Beauty and Mystery" is what comes to mind when describing Knysna. The exceptionally equitable climate with rain falling throughout the year ensures it remains perennially green. The town nestles between the impressive Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean, with the world-renowned forests encircling it like a protective mantle. At the heart of Knysna is the 21 ha lagoon protected from the sea by the monolithic sandstone "Heads" - silent sentinels down the centuries of the rich history of this unique part of "paradise on earth".
Accommodation (2 nights)
Protea Knysna Quays – Standard Room
Midway along the coastal road between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, in the heart of the Garden Route, is the vibrant town of Knysna, a favorite destination for both business and pleasure.
The hotel has a lovely pool and a restaurant and there are shops located right next door. All rooms at the Protea Hotel Knysna Quay are decorated in light nautical hues and feature deluxe en-suite bathroom with separate shower, satellite TV and air- conditioning. Most rooms offer magnificent views of the lagoon and yacht basin. Your stay includes breakfast on a daily basis.
Day 11 At leisure, Knysna
Today spend your day at leisure exploring the area. Cruise on the vast Knysna Lagoon and visit the Featherbed Nature Reserve. Enjoy an amazing view of the imposing sandstone heads which guard the sea entrance to Knysna's huge tidal lagoon, and the forests, marshes and pristine beaches beyond. After lunch the remainder of the day is at leisure to enjoy this lovely and special town.
Day 12 Knysna to Oudtshoorn
This morning we embark on a nostalgic steam train journey aboard the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe, by far the best way to get from Knysna to Wilderness. Enjoy the wonderful views of the spectacular Outeniqua Pass en-route to Oudtshoorn, the 'Feather Capital of the World', so named because it's the centre of South Africa's ostrich industry.
After lunch we learn more about these hardy, enigmatic creatures during a tour of an ostrich farm. Then head underground for a fascinating tour of the Cango Caves, one of South Africa's most incredible natural wonders. You will spend the night in Oudtshoorn.
Oudtshoorn is situated in the Klein Karoo 55 kilometres from the large coastal town of George. Enjoy the relaxed, friendly, hospitable atmosphere offered in town or at the various surrounding farms. Experience the joy of life in the country!
This town with its wide open spaces and broad streets is the capital of the Klein Karoo. The town is spread along both banks of the Grobbelaars River, a tributary of the Oliphant's River, and its fertile valleys are encompassed by the Swartberg Mountains to the north and the Outeniqua Mountains to the south. Warm, dry summers and sunny winter days make it the ideal breeding ground for the most majestic of flightless birds - synonymous with Oudtshoorn - the ostrich.
Accommodation (1 night)
Queen’s Hotel – Standard Room
The Queen's Hotel has been skillfully renovated to recapture the colonial ambiance of a bygone era. The finest of materials were used in the renovations, from the marble and antique furniture collection in the foyer to the gold-plated bedroom door handles. The water features provide welcome relief after a day in the African sun.
Tastefully decorated bedrooms have air conditioning, TV with M-Net, clock radio and telephone. The Hotel is situated next to the world-famous ostrich museum and in close proximity of a multitude of restaurants, curio and coffee shops. It boasts an extensive range of services, which includes the following: a tourist information center and travel agency, a professional hairdressing center, a beauty salon, and a wine and Delhi shop. Your stay includes breakfast.
Day 13 Oudtshoorn to Cape Town
A day of magnificent vistas. Enjoy the ever-changing passing canvas as we travel to Cape Town. During the whale season we will travel via the seaside village of Hermanus in the hopes of catching a glimpse of Southern Right Whales, which frolic offshore (July to November only). Out of season we will return to Cape Town along Route 62, South Africa's version of America's 'Route 66'.
Sir Francis Drake once described this area as 'the fairest Cape in all the world'. Cape Town's location is spectacular; the city is dominated by a 3 280ft-high, flat topped mountain with virtually sheer cliffs and surrounded by mountain walks, vineyards and beaches.
There is a variety of things to do and see. Wander around the cosmopolitan Green Market Square located in center city, or sail on the harbor to gain a very different perspective on the beauty of Cape Town, enjoy a meal or shop at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront's working port; or visit Cape Town's new aquarium to see the myriad of sea life that the Cape is home to. In Cape Town, there is something for everyone.
Accommodation (3 nights)
President Hotel – Standard Room
The new President Hotel is situated on Cape Town's spectacular Platinum Mile which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and boasts impeccable service, consummate luxury, and a variety of facilities. The Protea Hotel President consists of 349 well-appointed rooms and suites on the Bantry Bay beach front. The hotel boasts a ladies wing, as well as 20 dedicated non- smoking rooms. Rooms are broken down into Standard Rooms, Junior Suites, Superior Suites and Executive Suites. All rooms and suites contain a remote control Television, hairdryer, telephone, central air conditioning, room safe, and electronic locking devices on all doors.
The hotel's a la carte restaurant offers a sophisticated and light Mediterranean ambience and at the end of the day, you can relax over sundowners on the popular Terrace. The hotel also offers a large swimming pool, hairdressing salon, gymnasium, and jewelry shop on the premises. Your stay includes breakfast on a daily basis.
Day 14 Tour - Cape Peninsula full day tour
See for yourself how this spectacular southern tip of Africa became known as the ‘Fairest Cape’. The tour begins with a stroll through the famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Then drive past the pristine beaches of Camps Bay, Clifton and Llandudno - currently the hottest real estate in the world - to Hout Bay, a functioning harbour and heart of the local crayfish industry (optional Seal Island cruise, time permitting).
Drive along the breathtakingly scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive, around the Atlantic Seaboard. After a stop for lunch (own expense), it’s on to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and its scenic viewing point. The spectacular sea and mountain views are reason enough to make the 66km trip from Cape Town. Amid the rocky landscape - home to mountain zebra, eland and ostriches - blooms magnificent Cape flora.
Continue along the coastline to the beautiful Boulders Beach where you can sit among a colony of penguins. Our last stop is the naval port of Simon’s Town, the country’s third oldest European settlement.
Day 15 Tour - Winelands full day tour
Escape to the beauty and tranquility of the Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch Winelands.
Our first stop is the Afrikaans Language Monument, perched on Paarl Rock, which offers sweeping views of the surrounding area.
We then continue onto wineries of well-known estates, to sample wines of merit, before visiting the Huguenot Monument and Museum in Franschhoek, to discover the origins of this world renowned wine producing region.
Lunch in one of the many fine restaurants in either Franschhoek or Stellenbosch (own expense). Don’t miss the world-famous 19th century-style general dealer in Stellenbosch’s Dorp Street - Oom Samie se Winkel.
Day 16 Fly Cape Town to London
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight back to the USA via London.
Day 17 Fly London to USA