Grand Tour of South Africa

Overview

You will discover South Africa on this fully escorted tour, taking you to many of South Africa’s most well-known attractions and destinations. Big 5 game viewing in the world renowned Kruger National Park, a visit to the mountain Kingdom of Swaziland and a chance to observe the endangered white rhino in the reserve responsible for saving them from extinction.

You can experience the St Lucia wetland - part of a World Heritage Site - and stay in two of South Africa’s Indian Ocean cities- Durban and Port Elizabeth. You will travel along the famous Garden Route and experience the spectacular natural scenery this region offers en-route to cosmopolitan Cape Town.

Tour Duration: 14 days

Tour Highlights: 

  • Johannesburg
  • Panorama Route
  • Mbabane Swaziland
  • Port Elizabeth
  • Knysna
  • Oudtshoorn
  • Cape Town
Itinerary

Day 1: The Grand Tour of South Africa starts in Johannesburg, from where we will head east to Kapama Private Game Reserve. Along the way we’ll enjoy the scenery as we head away from the city and into the bush. We’ll stop for lunch before pressing on to our first night at Kapama Private Game Reserve – home to the most dangerous wild animals of Africa - the Big Five - but also home to over 40 other mammal species and 350 different types of birds.

Game drives offer fascinating encounters with wildlife, but Kapama also offers us unique African wildlife experiences. We will arrive at the hotel in the late afternoon and we will have time to freshen up before dinner.

Day 2: We will have an early start to the day and embark on an open-vehicle safari through the private game reserve, an iconic reserve boasting a wildlife experience ranking with the best in Africa. Elephant, giraffe and various antelopes are often seen grazing close to the vehicles, and it is not unusual that a pack of lion prevents free passage! This is the land of baobabs, fever trees, knob thorns, marula and mopane trees underneath which you can find not only the Big Five, but the Little Five (buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, leopard tortoise, ant lion and rhino beetle) and the birding Big Six (ground hornbill, kori bustard, lappet-faced vulture, martial eagle, pel’s fishing owl and saddle-bill stork).

We return to the hotel before a drive out to experience the incredibly beautiful Panorama Route along the way, with its dramatic, mountainous landscapes and winding roads.

Day 3: Today we will travel to the Royal Kingdom of Swaziland. This small Kingdom is nestled between South Africa and Mozambique, the beautiful scenery is mountainous with lush forests. En route we will have the opportunity to learn more about the Swazi culture at the Matsamo Cultural Village, where we will also have lunch. Then we’ll visit the famous Ngwenya Glass Works. Our next stop is the capital city Mbabane, where vibrant markets packed with woven baskets, beadwork and carvings can be found. We will spend the night at a hotel in the beautiful Ezulwini Valley.

Day 4: After breakfast at the hotel, we will enjoy a visit to the Swazi Candle Factory. Each candle seen here is individually handmade and unique, displaying a wide range of colours, shapes and patterns. We will then leave Swaziland behind and travel into KwaZulu Natal.

Our hotel for the next two nights is situated close to the town of Mkuze, at the foot of the legendary Ghost Mountain. In the afternoon we will embark on a scenic drive up into the Ubombo Mountains; the views over Lake Jozini are spectacular. From the summit we’ll watch the sunset transform the sky into a tapestry of colours, whilst sipping on a sundowner. Also included in this excursion is a visit to a traditional Zulu homestead for a glimpse into the lifestyle of this fascinating culture. We return to the hotel for dinner on the terrace (weather permitting) or in the classically styled restaurant.

Day 5: Today we will travel to the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve for an afternoon game drive. Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve is an incredibly scenic park with rolling hills covered in low acacia bush. The north of the park is mountainous with amazing forests and grasslands, the south and west is open savannah.

The park contains a diversity of fauna and flora and is known for its conservation of black and white rhino. It was here that the endangered white rhino was saved from extinction and the park boasts the largest population of white rhino in the world. We’ll return to the hotel in the late afternoon and then have dinner.

Day 6: Today we travel along KZN’s Elephant Coast to St Lucia, situated at the southern end of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park – a World Heritage Site. At the St Lucia Estuary we will find high forested dunes, brilliant coral reefs, palm savannahs, dense papyrus swamps and rolling acacia bushveld.

We will be taken on a boat cruise on the estuary, giving us the opportunity to view hippo, crocodiles and many different bird species in their natural habitat. From here we will continue to Durban, a cosmopolitan city where east meets west. We arrive in the afternoon and check into our hotel.

Day 7: This morning you’ll discover the cultural and historical contrast of Durban on a city tour, before being transferred to King Shaka International Airport for our domestic flight to Port Elizabeth. On arrival in PE you will be met at the airport and taken to the hotel, which overlooks Algoa Bay. Port Elizabeth is known as the ‘Water Sport Capital of Africa’.

The combination of heavenly shores and invigorating sea breezes draw sports lovers to enjoy some of the planet’s best sailing, surfing, scuba-diving etc.

Day 8: This morning after breakfast we'll say good-bye to the friendly city and travel along the coast towards Knysna. We will set out along the Garden Route, a very beautiful route, with the Indian Ocean on your left, mountains and green, rolling hills on your right. Your first destination is the stunning Tsitsikamma National Park. Tsitsikamma means “place of much water” in Khoi. A combination of original forest, plantations and Fynbos - a large group of plants endemic to South Africa, of which the National Flower the King Protea is a prominent member. Many rivers run through the forest, forming spectacular waterfalls and deep gorges. We can enjoy an easy walk through the forest and along the suspension bridge, crossing the Storms River Mouth gorge.

From here we will enjoy a visit to the Birds of Eden – the largest free-flight bird aviary in the world. We will continue to Knysna and check into the hotel where we will spend the next two nights.

Day 9: Today we will visit the Knysna Elephant Park, where we will learn the story of the Knysna Elephants while having the opportunity to touch, feed and photograph these gentle giants under the expert guidance of their rangers. An afternoon at leisure to explore the Kysna Waterfront, where there are a variety of interesting shops and enticing restaurants. In the evening we will enjoy a sunset cruise with dinner on the Knysna Lagoon.

Day 10: We'll travel north to Oudtshoorn via the spectacular Outeniqua Pass today. With more than 90% of the globe’s population of ostrich found here, the town is known as the World’s "ostrich-capital" and of course we will visit an Ostrich Farm to learn more about these giant birds and the history of their farming in this area. If you are brave enough you can even ride an ostrich! We will check into our accommodation in the late afternoon before enjoying dinner at the hotel.

Day 11: After breakfast we drive to the picturesque Cango Valley, where you can explore the limestone rock formations of the world famous Cango Caves. Afterwards we travel towards Cape Town along Route 62, known as the World’s Longest Wine Route. The scenery along this route is superb, taking us over majestic mountain passes and winding rivers, past vineyards and orchards and through fascinating little towns. We arrive in Cape Town in the early evening and will check into our hotel situated close to the famous V&A Waterfront, which offers a wide variety of shops, restaurants and entertainment.

Day 12: After a delicious breakfast at the hotel, we head out on a full day excursion to the magnificent scenery and wildlife of the Cape Peninsula. We travel over the scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. You can have your photos taken at the most south western tip of the African continent and enjoy an invigorating walk, or leisurely funicular trip, up to the Cape Point lighthouses to admire the dramatic cliffs and amazing views. Lunch will be enjoyed at a popular restaurant along the False Bay coastline.

Other interesting stops will include the Naval village of Simon's Town and Boulders Beach - to see one of South Africa's two land-based African Penguin colonies. The last stop of the day is at the beautiful Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. We return to the hotel before going out for dinner.

Day 13: Today we will experience a full day Wine Tour in the Cape Winelands including a visit to the charming town of Oaks, Stellenbosch. After some wine tastings and an introduction to the South African winemaking tradition, we’ll continue to the Gourmet Capital of South Africa, Franschhoek. After another round of wine tasting and lunch at one of the beautiful wine estates, there will be time to take a stroll in this beautiful and cosy little town.

The whole day is dedicated to showing you our favourite secret spots and wine cellars – a day to tantalize your taste buds in some of South Africa’s most beautiful landscapes! On return, we will have time to freshen up before heading for out for a fabulous farewell dinner.

Day 14: On the final day in Cape Town we will be taken on a half day City Tour. Cape Town is rich in historical and cultural heritage and natural beauty. Some of the highlight stops on this tour will be the Company Gardens, the Castle of Good Hope and the lively Greenmarket Square – where you can purchase arts and crafts from all over Africa.

You will also take a trip through the colourful Bo Kaap area, known as the home of the “Cape Malays”. We have also managed to squeeze in a cable car trip to the top of Table Mountain for you final view of this beautiful country. The tour ends with a drop-off at Cape Town International Airport for onward travel. Alternatively, why not extend your stay with a visit to Victoria falls. 

Dates & Inclusions

Included in this tour:

  • International Economy return flights from London Heathrow [LHR] to O.R. Tambo Airport Johannesburg [JNB] and returning from Cape Town [CPT]
  • Meet & Greet at the airport on arrival and transfer to the hotel.
  • Transfer to the airport on the final day.
  • Transport in an air-conditioned deluxe vehicle.
  • Transfers as detailed in the itinerary.
  • 4* Accommodation, and accommodation, as detailed in the itinerary.
  • Meals as detailed in the itinerary.
  • English speaking tour guide.
  • All activities, visits and excursions as detailed in the itinerary.

Private tour available on your preferred travel date.

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