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*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.

SOUTHERN AFRICA

Lions. falls and wine. Oh my!
For the first time traveller to the African continent, the Republic of South Africa is a good place to start. With an amazing diversity of landscapes, a compelling history, plentiful wildlife, friendly peoples, and a modern infrastructure, one can see a great deal with ease and comfort. Diversity, in the broadest sense, is the primary theme around which we build our 14-day itinerary of this fascinating region.

You'll get a taste of Colonial Africa with our excursion to Victoria Falls, and a wonderfully wild sense of safari life in Botswana and Kruger Park, and you'll soak in the good, the bad and the ugly of South Africa's storied past, and marvel at the promise of the 'Rainbow Nation.'
ITINERARY
Day 1 • Arrival in Johannesburg
Arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Johannesburg is South Africa's financial centre and largest city. This "Place of Gold", as the Sotho word for Gauteng Province suggests, harbours the gold fields of South Africa. No one could have imagined the repercussions when an unemployed miner found a stone bearing traces of gold in 1886. This seemingly insignificant event led to the discovery of the world's richest natural treasure trove. People flocked to the area from all ends of the earth and the open pastoral landscape changed almost overnight. Today in the "New South Africa," Johannesburg continues as the country's -- indeed the entire region's -- economic powerhouse and is evolving into a very vibrant cultural melting pot.

Overnight in Johannesburg (Sandton).
Meal plan: Dinner
Day 2 • Johannesburg, South Africa - Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Today we fly from South Africa to Zimbabwe where we will spend three nights next to one of the world's most spectacular natural sights, Victoria Falls.

This area has actually been inhabited for hundreds of thousands of years. The first known name of the falls was "Shongwe"; the current name did not come into being until the Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone was brought to the falls in 1855 and named them after Queen Victoria. The falls and the nearby town of Victoria Falls are on the mighty Zambezi River, the fourth longest in Africa, forming the border with neighbouring Zambia.

After settling into our hotel, we'll travel by road a short distance to the Zambezi River on which we will enjoy a scenic sunset cruise above the falls. The river here is wide and slow moving; be on the lookout for hippos, elephants, antelope, giraffe and myriad bird species for which the region is famous. After our cruise we will enjoy a lively demonstration of traditional African dancing and drumming before our evening meal.

NOTE: Due to variable flight schedules and weather considerations, the order of Victoria Falls area sightseeing activities may vary at the discretion of your Tour Leader.

Overnight at Victoria Falls.
Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 3 • Victoria Falls: Falls Tour & Leisure Time
Today we have a guided walking tour of Victoria Falls and adjacent national park.

Mosi-oa-Tunya ("The Smoke That Thunders") is one of the most amazing sights in the world: twice as high as Niagara Falls and several times longer. It took thousands of years of erosion for Victoria Falls to appear as and where it does now. During the Jurassic Period (150-200 million years ago), volcanic activity resulted in thick basalt deposits covering large parts of Southern Africa. As the lava cooled and solidified, cracks appeared in the hard basalt crust, which were filled with clay and lime. Erosion and the course of the mighty Zambezi River cut through these softer materials, forming the first of a series of waterfalls.

Our tour is conducted on level paved paths, much of which is shaded by the dense rainforest that exists due to spray from the falls. To walk to the farthest extent, with viewpoints along the way, is about one kilometre, the last part of which is without shade. We encourage you to go right to the dn, as the views are fantastic, including the best look at the famous Victoria Falls Bridge, the brainchild of Cecil Rhodes, part of his grand and unfulfilled Cape to Cairo railway scheme, even though he never visited the falls and died before construction of the bridge began.

The afternoon is yours to enjoy optional activities. You may relax by the pool, do some shopping in the village famous for local artisan crafts, travel to the Zambian side of the falls, or even go elephant back riding or sightseeing by micro-light aircraft or helicopter. Your Tour Leader can help plan your afternoon.

Overnight in Victoria Falls.
Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 4 • Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe: Day Trip to Chobe Park, Botswana
Today we make an early morning excursion into Botswana to visit Chobe National Park, located only 1.5 hours by road from Vic Falls. We complete Customs and Immigration formalities and continue with a fifteen-minute drive to the lodge that we will be using as a base for today's activities.

Our safari starts with a cruise on the Chobe River (shade and refreshments available) that takes us close to the waterfowl and wildlife on the river. Large flocks of birds, big pods of hippos and very large crocodiles can be viewed from the safety of your boat.

Our lunch (included today) is served back at the lodge overlooking the river.

After lunch we board open (covered) safari vehicles and head off into the park to view some of the 70,000 local elephants, buffalo herds, sable, wildebeest, giraffe, and with luck, some resident lion and hyena. The game drive meanders its way back to the park gates for Customs and Immigration formalities and the crossing of the Zambezi River into back into Zimbabwe and the road transfer back to our hotel, arriving at about 18:00.

Overnight in Victoria Falls (dinner on your own this evening).
Meal plan: Breakfast and Lunch
Day 5 • Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe - Johannesburg, South Africa
Today we fly from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg.

Overnight in Johannesburg (Sandton).
Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 6 • Johannesburg: Soweto & Apartheid Museum
This morning we have a tour of the city of Soweto.

Soweto unto itself is actually one of the largest cities in Africa with an estimated population of 2 million. It also has one of the most dubious histories of any city in Africa, as it was the site of some of the more infamous events during the struggle against apartheid. The name "Soweto" simply stands for South Western Township, due to its location outside Johannesburg. It was here that thousands of black workers were forced to live in order to provide labour for the gold mines.

We will see the good, the bad, and the ugly of Soweto -- from affluent neighbourhoods to shanty towns; the world's largest hospital, Baragwanath; and the former homes of Soweto's Nobel Laureates, Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. We also visit the excellent new museum dedicated to the victims of the 1976 Soweto Uprising.

We also visit the extraordinarily powerful Apartheid Museum, an obligatory stop for visitors and residents alike. The large blown-up photographs, metal cages and numerous monitors with continuous replays of apartheid scenes will make you feel that you were in the townships in the 70s and 80s, dodging police bullets or teargas canisters, or marching with thousands of school children.

Overnight in Johannesburg (Sandton).
Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 7 • Johannesburg - Kruger National Park
Today we travel by road to the vicinity of the Greater Kruger National Park region and Kapama River Lodge.* Upon arrival we check in and have lunch at the lodge.

Kapama River Lodge is so named because it lies in a curve of the Kapama River, which is usually dry but floods from time to time and can reach the steps of the lodge swimming pool. A small permanent water source lies just beyond the perimeter fence attracting animals like antelopes, elephant and buffalo. Watch this truly African spectacle from the warm blue water of the big rim flow swimming pool, or relax in the shade of an umbrella on loungers around the pool.

This afternoon we enjoy a game drive in open safari vehicles.

* While Kapama is our preferred property, we may substitute a lodge of similar quality if Kapama is not available. Another reason for travellers to book as early as possible!

Overnight at a Private Reserve.
Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 8 • Kruger National Park Area
Today we enjoy morning and afternoon game drives.

Expect an early wake up call for tea or coffee before heading out at first light. If you are lucky, the big cats will still be around after their night of hunting. This is Big 5 country (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo) all of which are possible to see during a two-day safari.

There are also many other species to be seen, large and small, as well as fascinating plants and colourful birds. Stop halfway through the morning game drive for hot drinks from the Landrover snack box and return at around 9am for breakfast. During the rest of the day, you are likely to see wildlife like nyala antelope and vervet monkeys around the lodges.

Overnight Private Reserve.
Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 9 • Kruger National Park Area
We have another full day of game viewing activities in the African bush.

Twice daily game drives in open 4x4 vehicles are led by highly trained and experienced rangers and trackers. Optional game walks are also offered, allowing guests a better chance to see some of the smaller creatures of the bush as well as an opportunity to learn more about the flora and fauna of the region and to have a chance to follow animal tracks in more detail.

Overnight Private Reserve.
Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 10 • Kruger Park - Cape Town
Today we fly to Cape Town (via Johannesburg), one of the world's most isolated and beautiful cities.

Although Cape Town's beauty is already legendary, it is fast becoming famous for its friendly, gay community located in what is often referred to as "De Waterkant Gay Village." Beyond the vibrant gay life, however, Cape Town, perched almost at the very tip of the continent, makes an ideal base for exploring the Cape Peninsula and Wine Country.

Overnight in Cape Town.
Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 11 • Cape Town: Cape Peninsula Tour
Today we tour Cape Town, one of the world's most spectacularly located cities. Cape Town is the seat of the Parliament which holds a six-month session here each year. We will see the Houses of Parliament, the Malay Quarter with its narrow streets and minarets and the Castle of Good Hope, South Africa's oldest building. We move on to the District Six Museum to view a moving collection of stories, pictures and memorabilia highlighting the colourful life of this suburb which now stands empty, thanks to the destruction of homes and forced removal or residents during the height of the Apartheid era.

We continue our tour of the Cape Peninsula, including a visit to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Cape Point. The Nature Reserve is a wildflower, bird, and animal paradise on 77 sq km (30 sq miles) of the Cape Peninsula. The reserve is also home to eland, springbok, bontebok, baboon, and zebra. Within the reserve are Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope, the most southwesterly point on the African continent.

We head north again up the Indian Ocean side of the peninsula, passing through Simonstown, founded by the Dutch in 1741 as a naval depot and named for Simon van der Stel, Governor of Cape Colony from 1679 to 1697. In 1814 the town became the headquarters of the British South Atlantic squadron. Today Simonstown is famous for its distinctly English architecture and atmosphere, and the southernmost train station on the continent. Depending on the season, we may stop at Boulders Beach to view a colony of South African penguins.

We complete our loop around the peninsula, past the well-watered eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Constantia, Bishops Court and the campuses of the University of Cape Town.

Overnight in Cape Town.
Meal plan: Breakfast
Day 12 • The Cape Winelands
We will start our day with a gondola trip to the top of Table Mountain, a sandstone plateau rising up above the city. The top is approximately 3km wide and at its highest point, Maclears Beacon, rises to 1085m / 3,580 ft. Over the centuries it has become one of South Africa's most famous landmarks. The steep cliffs and rocky outcrops of the mountain play home to a number of plants and animals. The mountain is home to approximately 1,470 species of plants; more than the entire British Isles!

We then head for the Cape Winelands. The vineyards were originated at Constantia by Jan van Riebeeck in 1685, and were advanced in 1688 by Hugenot refugees who brought their vine seedlings and skills with them from France. The Cape's different soils and climatic variations allow a wide variety of wines to be pressed, from exquisite sweet whites, through dry whites to fruity reds. Along our meandering route today, we will see the wine estates, with their delightful Cape Dutch houses, with thatched roofs and decorative gables.

We will stop at one of the area's leading wine estates for a tour and tasting. We will also enjoy a relaxed lunch at a wine estate. We also visit Stellenbosch, South Africa's second oldest settlement. You will notice some of the finest examples of traditional Cape Dutch architecture along the town's oak-lined streets. After some time to wander this charming town, we return to Cape Town.

This evening we'll take a safari through Cape Town's gay entertainment district.

Overnight in Cape Town.
Meal plan: Breakfast and Lunch
Day 13 • Cape Town: Robben Island & Leisure Time
This morning we travel by boat to Robben Island* for a guided tour of this historic site, formerly an infamous prison and today a museum. Our entire excursion will last about 3.5 hours and include a visit to the maximum security section where Apartheid era freedom fighters, including Nelson Mandela, were incarcerated. Robben Island provides a poignant reminder of how far South Africa has come since the dark days of apartheid and is a must-see for anyone heading to the Cape.

The balance of the day is free to enjoy the "Fairest Cape". You may visit the South African Museum, located in the historic Company Gardens in central Cape Town; visit the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, or just relax and enjoy the beach. Your Tour Leader can help you plan your day. Later we reconvene for a farewell dinner.

* Weather dependent. Other sightseeing will substitute if needed.

Overnight in Cape Town.
Meal plan: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 14 • Departure
Departure from Cape Town.

BON VOYAGE!
Meal plan: Breakfast

For detailed itinerary (PDF), click here
For hotel samples, click here
INCLUSIONS
  • Breakfast daily and most dinners, one lunch
  • All accommodation, transport, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary
  • Gratuities for drivers, local guides, restaurant staff, porters
  • Airport transfers for land & air customers arriving / departing on tour dates
EXCLUSIONS
  • Tour Leader gratuities, most lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international (if applicable) and domestic air and airport taxes, visa fees, and any excursions referenced as 'optional'
  • Airport transfers for Land Only customers
  • Optional trip cancellation insurance
  • Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on shopping, visas, an locally paid departure taxes
OUT FACTOR
We’re not sure if Desmond Tutu had pride colours in mind when he dubbed South Africa the “Rainbow Nation,” but the description is probably even more apt today than he anticipated at the time. South Africa, and by extension several locales bordering, have become major gay destinations since the abolition of Apartheid and advent of one of the world’s most progressive and inclusive constitutions in 1994. Johannesburg has a lively local scene, while Cape Town’s rapidly-expanding gay amenities, encouraged by tourism, belie it’s relatively small size.
PLEASE NOTE
This itinerary is correct at time of publishing. For a more detailed itinerary, download a PDF here. We reserve the right to make changes as necessary due to reasons beyond our control. For booking terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Terms.
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TRIP NOTES
Group size
Maximum 18 plus Tour Leader
Staff & Support
Tour Leader, driver(s), and local step-on guides at various locations.
Accommodation
Well-located, air-conditioned, 3 & 4-star hotels with en suite toilet and bath throughout. Porter service is available throughout. Single rooms are limited in number and possibly smaller than twins.
Transport & travel conditions
Air-conditioned motor coach in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Open safari vehicles in Chobe and Kruger parks. Internal flights via scheduled carriers. This is an easy-going trip, activity-wise, and is not strenuous per se, though you must be prepared for some full days of sightseeing and travel and some early starts. Heat can be a factor in some locales.
Weather/seasonality
This tour is offered throughout the year and no time is a bad time to visit. Oct/Nov: Short-lived thunderstorms are a frequent occurrence, especially in the north; Victoria Falls are low. Dec/Jan: Mid-summer and heat is a factor, especially in the north. Northern areas and game reserves are green; Victoria Falls moderate. Feb-April is late summer when days are usually hot with thunderstorms in the north and dry, cooler weather in the south; High water season at Victoria Falls.

The following is a sampling of our preferred properties in some of the locations visited on this tour and is meant to be indicative only. Hotel properties are not confirmed until 30-60 days before trip date. You can click on the hotel photo to view the official hotel website (if available). For sample hotels in other locations on this tour, please contact us.

Garden Court Sandton City


Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Johannesburg
Country: South Africa

Spend time relaxing in the beautiful gardens with outdoor pool, or taking a short stroll to the city's most upmarket shopping complexes, all with an exciting range of designer boutiques, restaurants, banks and entertainment facilities. All modern conveniences.

Click here to visit hotel website

Kingdom Hotel


Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Victoria Falls
Country: Zimbabwe

The Kingdom Hotel in Zimbabwe is a luxury hotel on the Zimbabwean side of the Victoria Falls. The establishment is the ideal choice for the visitor who wants the comforts of a luxury hotel, an environment with natural beauty (such as the Victoria Falls), as well as hotel entertainment such as a casino, spa, numerous restaurants and children’s activities.

The architecture of the luxury Kingdom Hotel in Victoria Falls resembles that of the city of Munhumutapa, capital of an ancient civilisation in Zimbabwe. Accommodation at the Kingdom Hotel is truly luxurious, with guests being accommodated in 294 rooms: 4 suites; 112 rooms with king-size beds; 102 queen-size beds; 34 with king-size and bunk beds; as well as 40 with twin beds and bunk beds. All rooms are en suite and equipped with airconditioning, satellite TV, telephone, hairdryer, safe and tea/coffee-making facilities.

In addition to a variety of restaurants (Whitewaters, Thundercloud Spur, the Burger Place, the Sweet Hut and Panarottis pizzeria), bars (Rapids Pool Bar, Quartermains Bar, Wild Thing Action bar, the Pit), casino (with slot machines, Black Jack and American Roulette) and four swimming pools, the luxurious Kingdom Hotel in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, also offers a business centre and Internet café, spa and beauty parlour, hair salon, a supervised children’s play area, curio shops and 24-hour room service. Bills from the restaurants and bars can be settled on one, final account.

Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is the capital of the adrenalin junkies. There are light aircraft flips across the Falls, white river rafting and kayaking on the Zambezi River, bungi jumping from the Victoria Falls bridge (for the brave ones), an elephant ride, or a swim in the ‘Devil’s Pool’ (a small rock pool right on the ‘lip’ of the Victoria Falls). The latter must surely rate as one of the experiences you are guaranteed to remember for the rest of your life!

Click here to visit hotel website

Kapama Game Reserve


Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Kapama Private Reserve
Country: South Africa

Sweeping views across a tranquil lake create a sentiment of feel-good as soon as you arrive at 5-star Kapama Lodge. Rambling natural growth at the water's edge contrasts with tended gardens and lawns nibbled by wandering nyala antelope. Thatched viewing decks overlooking the water ensure instant relaxation.

Click here to visit hotel website

Commodore Hotel


Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Cape Town
Country: South Africa

The Commodore Hotel lies where Table Mountain and the sea meet. Overlooking the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, with views of Table Mountain, Robben Island, the Harbour and the Atlantic Ocean, is the luxury accommodation of The Commodore Hotel.

The Commodore Hotel is Legacy’s flagship hotel in Cape Town, epitomising stylish living, quality service and a tranquil setting that have ensured our guests, whether businessmen or tourists, return year after year.

Click here to visit hotel website