South Africa

Combine extraordinary wildlife, noted wine estates and coastal stays for an ideal vacation.

Country Information

South Africa

South Africa Enrichment Series

(Countries Visited)

South Africa


(Interest Type(s))

Romantic Getaways

,

Sustainable Travel

,

Safari Tours

,

Family Travel


(Tour Length)

11 Days


Tour Highlights

Starting at: $6,850
  • Discover charming Cape Town, Cape Point and Table Mountain
  • Explore the unique fynbos ecosystem at Grootbos Nature Reserve  on the southern  as well as excellent land-based whale-watching
  • Enjoy a private tour of the famous Winelands of South Africa with a wine estate tour and tasting
  • Go on safari at Phinda Game Reserve in search of lion, elephant, cheetah, leopard, rhino, hippo and some of the 400 species of birds
  • Savor a stay in a relaxed beach lodge in the pristine coastal Maputaland area with a variety of water and beach activities

Day 1: Cape Town, South Africa On arrival at Cape Town airport, you are met and escorted to your hotel, the lovely Cape Grace, situated on a private quay overlooking the yacht marina in Cape Town's Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.   Cape Town is one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world.  Cradled by Table Mountain, it has immense charm and historical interest while it’s unique cultural blend; part African, part European and part Asian, makes for a cosmopolitan dining experience.  Cape Grace Hotel - Luxury Room (B)

Day 2:   Cape Town Today explore this charming city, starting with a trip up Table Mountain by cable car for panoramic views of the Cape Peninsula. Enjoy a short walk at the summit to admire the incredible scenery. Note that the cable car tickets are for your own account as the ascent is weather dependent.  Afterwards, you travel into the city where you see the Castle of Good Hope, the original fort in Cape Town built in 1652, and now painstakingly restored. From there, you continue to the historic center of Cape Town with its many 18th-century buildings, where there is time to visit a museum or two, or take a stroll through the Company Gardens past the Parliament buildings, depending on your interests. Finally, you explore the picturesque Malay quarter, a historic sector of the city with original Malay buildings, brightly colored, and narrow streets.  You return to your hotel with the remainder of the day at leisure.  Cape Grace Hotel - Luxury Room (B)

Day 3:  Cape Town On your private Cape Peninsula excursion today you travel along the coastal road through the chic suburbs of Clifton, Camps Bay and onto the picturesque fishing community of Hout Bay.  Next you enjoy a dramatic, scenic drive along Chapmans Peak as it hugs the cliff side.  Continue south to reach Cape Point in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, said to be the romantic meeting point of two mighty oceans, the Atlantic and the Indian.  Sir Francis Drake, the famous explorer, once called it "the fairest Cape that we saw in the whole circumference of the Globe."   Returning along the Indian Ocean, visit the unique penguin colonies at Boulders beach, often a highlight of your time in Cape Town, and meander through the historic naval base of Simonstown and onto the serene Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens nestled on the lower slopes of Table Mountain. Here, some 4,000 of the 22,000 Southern African flowering plants are cultivated in a setting of mountain streams, pools and rolling lawns.  In the late afternoon, you are returned to your hotel.  Cape Grace Hotel - Luxury Room (B,L)

Day 4:  Cape Town / Hermanus / Gansbaai You will be transferred by road to Grootbos Nature Reserve.  The Southern Cape is a bountiful area of gentle rolling green pastures, vineyards, forests and unspoiled coastline between the Cape Winelands in the West and the Garden Route to the East.  The southern coast boasts some of the finest land-based whale-watching in the world with sightings of Southern Right Whales that come into the bays to give birth, between July and December, (normally peaking in August and September).  Enthralling sightings are a daily occurrence with spectacular breaches and whale songs.   Secluded sandy beaches are backed by velvety mountains covered with exceptional fynbos vegetation.  The wild flowers are particularly enchanting.  Walking trails follow the coast for whale-watching, or take you into the mountains.  The more adventurous can dare cage diving among the sharks at Gansbaai (at an additional cost).  More relaxing pursuits include shopping in local arts and craft boutiques in Hermanus and enjoying the panoramic views of Walker Bay while dining alfresco.  A visit to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa and nearby Arniston are also possibilities.  Grootbos Private Nature Reserve - One Bedroom Luxury Suite (B,L,D)

Day 5:  Gansbaai Enjoy some of the activities offered by this remarkable lodge.  Grootbos Nature Reserve, amid the spectacular fynbos and ancient dunes of the southern coast, is an award-winning gem. Overlooking Walker Bay, it is a nature-lovers paradise, with inclusive activities such as guided fynbos 4x4 drives, milkwood forest walks, horseback riding, beach visits and guided land-based whale-watching as well as the optional activities such as whale watching by boat or plane and shark cage diving.  A dedicated team including marine biologists and conservationists help you to appreciate what makes this area so unqiuel.  Grootbos consists of two lodges, the family-friendly Garden Lodge with one and two bedroom suites and the new contemporary Forest Lodge.  All of the suites, nestled in the milkwood forest, have a separate lounge, full bathroom, private wooden decks with panoramic sea or mountain views, filter coffee machines, minibar, fruit basket, fireplace and underfloor heating. Each lodge has its own swimming pool, telescope for whale-watching, library, restaurant and environmental center.  Grootbos combines excellent service, with supremely comfortable accommodation and delicious food.  Grootbos Private Nature Reserve - One Bedroom Luxury Suite (B,L,D)

Day 6:  Gansbaai / Cape Winelands You are collected by your private guide for a private Winelands tour.  A combination of the favorable effects of the two major ocean currents meeting off the Cape makes the climate in the Winelands perfect for the acres of vineyards.  The stunning backdrop of the Hottentots Holland Mountains, the tree-lined streets and the white gabled Cape Dutch homesteads all blend in tranquil harmony.  Visit a wine estate for a fascinating tour of the winemaking process.  Here is the perfect opportunity to sample Cape wines and experience the rich historical and architectural traditions of the region.  Continue to Stellenbosch, where it is easy to see why Simon Van Der Stel decided to build a village in such a charming spot.  Walk up Dorp Street, one of the longest rows of old Cape Dutch buildings in South Africa.  Visit the Village Museum, a collection of preserved houses that provide insight into the lives of the early settlers in Stellenbosch through to the Victorian era.  Then, enjoy a scenic drive over the majestic Helshoogte Pass to the charming village of Franschhoek for lunch and a little time for browsing in the galleries and shops.  The origins of this charming and beautifully situated village date back to 1688 when French Huguenots, fleeing religious persecution settled in the valley, later known as French Corner or 'Franschhoek' in Afrikaans.  The tour ends at your hotel, an intimate country inn, known for its extraordinary culinary experiences as defined in its two distinctive restaurants.  Le Quartier Francais - Auberge Room (B,L)

Day 7:  Cape Winelands / Phinda Game Reserve You will be met by our representative and transferred by road to Cape Town Airport for your flight to Durban.  On arrival, you are met and transferred to Phinda Game Reserve, north of Hluhluwe and the St Lucia wetlands.  Rich both in game and stunning scenery, Phinda encompasses the diversity of seven contrasting ecosystems, including sand forest, mountain bushveld and wetlands.  Phinda offers a winning combination of soft adventure, thrilling game viewing and inspired lodge design.  The lodge is a sophisticated harmony of ethnic décor, superb cuisine, and personalized service.  Additional facilities include a dramatic open air "boma" enclosure; shaded swimming pool and lookout deck for relaxation; and bird and game watching. Phinda Mountain Lodge - Suite (B,L,D)

Day 8:  Phinda Game Reserve Today, enjoy activities offered by the lodge that includes game drives, nature walks, birding, rhino tracking, boat cruises, canoeing and community visits.  Wildlife here include lion, elephant, cheetah, leopard, rhino, hippo, antelope and prolific bird life, with more than 400 species recorded.  Given the reserves proximity to the Indian Ocean, optional extras include coastal flights, beach excursions and snorkeling. Phinda Mountain Lodge - Suite, (B,L,D)

Day 9:  Phinda Game Reserve / Thonga Beach Today, enjoy a private road transfer from Phinda Game Reserve to your lodge in the coastal Maputaland area in the far northern point of KwaZulu Natal, just south of Mozambique.  The Maputaland Marine Reserve stretches 200km/124mi from Lake St Lucia, one of the world's finest marine sanctuaries teeming with water birds, crocodiles and hippo, to Kosi Bay near the Mozambican border.  Kosi Forest Coastal Reserve is an unspoiled wilderness region of pristine golden beaches backed by forested dunes and captivating freshwater lakes.  This truly is a magical area, untouched by large-scale tourism development.  Sustainable tourism practices involve significant local community involvement.  Activities revolve around the ocean and the lake system with snorkeling for tropical fish, canoeing and evening excursions in the summer to view the rare giant leatherback turtles as they lay their eggs, usually from October to February.  This area also draws scuba divers, with its spectacular coral formations and a number of magnificent reefs teeming with tropical fish.  Thonga Beach Lodge is a stylish and relaxed beach lodge on the shores of the secluded Mabibi Bay. Thonga Beach Lodge - Standard Room (B,L,D) 

Day 10:  Thonga Beach Today, participate in some of the activities offered by your lodge in the heart of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Mabibi Beach is a magical place with a long sandy beach, reefs, coastal forest and shimmering lakes.  The lodge, in the canopy of the dune forest, offers panoramic ocean views.  It has a spacious, relaxed beach feel with a stylish outdoor eating area, a secluded upstairs seating area with a DVD player for children, an open air bar and wooden walkways leading to the rooms.  Activities revolve around the ocean and nearby Lake Sibaya.  There is a board at the bar indicating activities offered for the following day and you sign up for whatever takes your fancy.  Complimentary activities include snorkeling from the beach, bird-watching and sundowner cruises or guided canoe trips on Lake Sibaya and turtle tracking walks in season.  The white sandy beach is  just a brief walk via a boardwalk with an extended deck area with sun loungers overlooking the beach.  Additional activities include  diving courses, cultural village visits and boat-based turtle tracking are optional.  You also can do an optional whale and dolphin-watching cruise, which involves at exciting boat launch in the surf followed by a whale-watching cruise to a reef site for some leisurely snorkeling.  Children are welcome at Thonga Beach Lodge and one child can share with parents or two or three children can take a separate chalet close to their parents.  Thonga Beach Lodge - Standard Room, (B,L,D)

Day 11:  Thonga Beach / Johannesburg / Depart Today you have a private road transfer from Thonga Beach Lodge to Richards Bay Airport, where you connect with your flight to Johannesburg.  On arrival in Johannesburg, you connect your onward flight home.  (B)  

Land price, per person, double occupancy:  Starting from $6850. Internal air $540.

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