S5 - World in One Country Tour (13 Days)
Day 1: Met by guide in Johannesburg. Depart at 07H00. Travel to through scenic Mpumalanga (via Witbank, Middelburg, Belfast, Waterval Boven, Sabie and Graskop) to the Kruger National Park where we enjoy a late afternoon game drive. After an exciting day in the bush, sunset heralds the crackle of campfire, sundowners and shared anecdotes. We undertake a never-to-be-forgotten bush experience on a Kruger night drive. Powerful spotlights slice through the mystery of the African night, revealing the secret, the undiscovered - the comical porcupine, the wheeling nightjar, smartly turned out civets and genets as well as the sinister predators and scavengers of the night. At night, you'll be lulled to sleep by a chorus of nocturnal birds. Overnight in Pretoriuskop.
Day 2: Enjoy an early morning game drive. The Kruger National Park is a vast area, stretching 350 km from north to south, and home to great numbers and varieties of amphibians, reptiles, birds and 147 mammal species, including the Big Five. The sight of elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo is always a thrill, especially at close range on a conducted wilderness trail. But many visitors get as big a kick out of spotting a kudu, a warthog or one of the eagle species. Experience the spectacular flora and fauna of this famous park. We enjoy lunch at White River before continuing to Nelspruit for our stopover for the night.
Day 3: We leave early via Barberton and the Josefsdal border post for the peaceful Kingdom of Swaziland. This small, land-locked kingdom was formerly a British High Commission territory until it gained its independence in 1968. We travel though this green fertile land and see Piggs Peak and the Ezulwini Valley. We visit the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, near Manzini, the capital of Swaziland. It is a scenic and tranquil retreat. We explore this sanctuary and overnight in traditional beehive huts. Accommodation in the rest camps, surrounding a hippo pool and heronry.
Day 4: Via Manzini and Big Bend we travel to the Lavumisa border post en route to the Mkuzi Game Reserve, which is situated in northern Zululand, and covers approximately 36 000 ha. Animals to be seen in the reserve include: black and white rhinoceros, elephant (recently introduced), giraffe, nyala, blue wildebeest, warthog, eland, hippo, impala, kudu and other smaller antelope. Rare species occurring in the reserve are cheetah, hyena, suni and leopard. More than 400 species of birds have been recorded in the reserve, mainly around Nsumo Pan. A cultural village represents the fast-vanishing traditional lifestyle of the Zulu people who live in the area. The local people sell a wide selection of traditional crafts. Overnight in the game reserve.
Day 5: We travel through the Zulu Kingdom and the battlefields of northern Natal (Vryheid, Dundee, Ladysmith and Kestell) to the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, which is renowned for its superlative scenery, massive golden sandstone cliffs tower over a grassy plateau forming an impressive sight when entering the Drakensberg. The park derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the region's imposing sandstone cliffs. The landscape also encompasses wooded ravines, gullies and grasslands. Wildlife that can be seen includes eland, zebra, red hartebeest and black wildebeest, as well as the bearded vulture, bald ibis and the black eagle. Some 140 bird species have been identified in the park, and a hide at the vulture restaurant enables bird lovers to observe these scavengers closely without being detected. Overnight in the Glen Reenen camp.
Day 6: We cross the border at Caledonspoort into the kingdom of Lesotho driving through the scenic Maluti mountains to Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, and experiencing the unique tribal life of the area. Lesotho is also known as the "Roof of Africa" and has covered peaks in winter which offer ski slopes reminiscent of Alpine resorts. It is an ideal venue for the discerning tourist wishing to appreciate the majestic beauty and serenity of this beautiful mountain kingdom. The climate of Lesotho is one of the most invigorating and clear in Southern Africa. Spectacular mountain scenery combined with 4 wheel-drive or horseback mountain trails, trout fishing in clear mountain streams, bird watching and photography make Lesotho and ideal tourist venue. Overnight at the Malealea Lodge or similar.
Day 7: We leave Lesotho at Van Rooyenshek and travel via Wepener, Zastron, Aliwal North, Burgersdorp, Steynsburg, and Cradock to the Mountain Zebra National Park. View the unique orange muzzled Cape Mountain Zebra. A number of factors contributed to an alarming decrease in the numbers of Cape Mountain Zebra at the beginning of this century. In the 1930s, the species was on the brink of extinction. To ensure their survival, the Mountain Zebra National Park was established in 1937 and today some 200 mountain zebra inhabit the park. The scenery is exceptionally beautiful, encompassing mountains, ravines and high plateau, with attractive trees and a great variety of aloes and flowering shrubs. Game viewing is rewarding throughout the year, particularly on the Rooiplaat Plateau. Antelope species originally found in the region, as well as small predators and 200 species of birds, including the magnificent black eagle, may be seen. Overnight in the Park in chalets.
Day 8: In the morning we travel through the Little Karoo (Graaff-Reinet, Willowmore and Uniondale). Changing scenery from lush farmland to semi-desert areas make this day of surprises. We arrive at lunch in Oudtshoorn, the Ostrich Capital of South Africa. After lunch on an ostrich farm, the tour of the farm begins. We head down to the fields, where you will have the opportunity to sit on and ride an ostrich. You will also learn more about the breeding habits and of the bygone days, when Oudtshoorn was in the midsts of the 1920's ostrich feather boom. Overnight in Oudtshoorn.
Day 9: Awake to the freshness of the Karoo air. After a good breakfast we visit the world famous Cango Caves where we take a guided tour lasting over an hour - full of fascination. After this the tour takes us over the Outeniqua mountains to George, the Wilderness area and Knysna. Here for the first time one can now understand why this area is known as the Garden Route. As you drive over the summit of the pass, lush green vegetation awaits you. In Knysna, we set sail on the lagoon. Lunch is aboard the launch, as we cruise through one of South Africa's most beautiful settings. The afternoon gives us some time to enjoy the Knysna village and to have a little free time. Overnight in Knysna.
Day 10: We travel via Mossel Bay, Riversdale, Swellendam, Caledon and Somerset West to Stellenbosch to start the Wine Route. We enjoy lunch at the Neethlingshof Vineyards before starting our afternoon wine tasting at this beautiful wine estate. After a tour through their impressive cellars, you have a chance to sample some of their excellent local red and white wines. We overnight in Stellenbosch, where the backdrop of the Hottentot Holland mountains, the white gabled Cape Dutch homesteads and the oak lined streets and lanes all blend in to give this place a charm that will not be quickly forgotten.
Day 11: Waking up with a slight headache and after a hearty breakfast we continue our wine tour to Franschhoek. This little village nestled amongst the mountains can easily be mistaken as being in Switzerland. We visit the Chamonix Wine Estate. Thereafter our tour continues to the Fairview Wine Estate in the Paarl, where we enjoy lunch and you can try some of their excellent wines and cheeses, including goat's cheese. You can purchase wine directly from the vineyards. We continue to Cape Town for arrival in the late afternoon at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, where we'll spend the night. Considered to be one of the finest restoration examples, the harbour differs from others in that it still is a working commercial harbour with fishing vessels, tugs and barges.
Day 12: Cape Town. We flank the cold Atlantic ocean en route to Hout Bay. Once a fishing community, now one of the most popular residential areas, the harbour has a charm of days gone by. The tour now continues over the famous Chapmans Peak drive, with a 200 meter drop on one side of the coach and a 200 meter rise on the other, as we make our way south, following the Atlantic Ocean and then we in Fishhoek, on the Indian ocean. And rightly so, it must be the highlight of any visit to the Mother City, if not South Africa. Overnight at the V&A Waterfront. We now continue along the Indian Ocean, and stop to see the Jackass penguin colony, which has become well established, at Boulders beach near Simonstown. Then we have lunch in Simonstown. We travel onwards until we reach Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. Said to be the romantic meeting place of the two mighty oceans, the Atlantic and the Indian, Sir Francis Drake the Explorer once called it "the fairest Cape that we saw in the whole circumference of the Globe". Our drive takes us past President Nelson Mandela's official residence and the houses of parliament. Enjoy the spectacular setting of Table Mountain. We enjoy lunch with a view of Table Mountain before we take a cable car up the mountain. You have the rest of the afternoon off to pack your bags and maybe buy some last minute curios before you are transferred to Cape Town International Airport for your flight back to Johannesburg.
Day 13: Today gives you the opportunity to sense the spirit of Cape Town and trace the history of the port from 1652 when the first Dutch Governor set foot on the beach nearby. The tour spends time on Table Mountain's summit (via cable car) and then follows the beautiful coastal drive passing through Camps Bay, Clifton and Sea Point.