The Best of South Africa
|Resort:||The Best of South Africa|
|Destination:||Africa, South Africa|
A country of such superlatives, choosing South Africas highlights is not easy. On this unforgettable tour we show you some of our favourites, from a magical dawn safari to a Garden Route road trip to a traditional barbecue (braai) with Zulu entertainment. Well round our trip off with three luxurious nights in Cape Town, where well get a birds-eye view of the city from the top of Table Mountain and watch the Boulders Beach penguins waddle their way to the shore.
Day 1 UK – In flight VIP Outbound
Titans VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your overnight flight to Johannesburg.
Day 2 Johannesburg – Pretoria
This morning we arrive in Johannesburg. After a short orientation tour of the nations capital, Pretoria, we visit the Voortrekker Monument, the dramatic memorial to the Boer pioneers who ventured into South Africas interior. We overnight at the delightful Irene Country Lodge (4-star), where after time to settle in, we invite you to join your fellow travellers for an exclusive welcome drinks reception.
Day 3 Pretoria – Pilgrims Rest – Hazyview
Today we make the acquaintance of the big skies and wide-open spaces of Africa. We travel eastwards across the Highveld Plateau to reach the Drakensberg Escarpment, which separates the Highveld from the low country beyond. Here, amidst some of South Africas most stunning scenery, we reach Pilgrims Rest, a former gold rush town where time has very nearly stood still. Later we enjoy more dramatic scenery, as we continue our descent, and, weather permitting, we stop at Gods Window for fantastic views from the edge of the Drakensberg escarpment down into the Lowveld below. Tonight we stay in Hazyview at the Sabi River Sun (4-star).
Day 4 Hazyview – Mala Mala
We set out for one of the greatest experiences that the African continent offers. We are met by rangers from Mala Mala Game Reserve at Shaws Gate and are transferred to the famous Mala Mala Lodge (5-star) set deep in the African bush, on the borders of Kruger National Park. Accommodation is in luxurious African-style rondavels, each containing a bedroom, two bathrooms, and views of the surrounding bush. After a leisurely lunch we have time to relax, with the likelihood of spotting elephant or stately giraffe striding close to our windows, or stroll through the grounds. Tea will be taken on the terrace before we depart on our first game drive. Transport is an open safari vehicle, expertly handled by our game ranger. The animals have grown accustomed to the daily drives and you can expect close proximity to lions and others of the big cat family, as well as elephant and rhino. As the sun sets, our ranger selects a suitable spot for us to enjoy a sundowner before setting out once again in the dark for nocturnal game viewing with the aid of spotlights. We return to the lodge for dinner in a reed-enclosed boma.
Day 5 Mala Mala
Today we depart for an early morning game drive. At this time of the day the bush offers a totally different experience and, if we are lucky, we may be able to spot the elusive leopard. We return to the lodge for breakfast, after which you have time at leisure to relax in the comfort of the lodge, or an optional walking safari can be arranged. After lunch we set off for an afternoon game drive and return to the lodge in time for dinner.
Day 6 Mala Mala – Swaziland
An early morning start, with coffee and biscuits on the terrace, for another wonderful experience in the bush after which we return to the lodge for breakfast. Leaving Mala Mala behind, we travel south through Kruger National Park, exiting at Malelane, where we are free for lunch. Later we continue south into Swaziland, a Kingdom landlocked by Mozambique and South Africa, which offers breathtaking scenery that changes from rolling fields of sugar cane to stunning mountains and valleys. Our hotel tonight is the Royal Villas (4-star) or Royal Swazi Spa (4-star) where we have dinner included.
Day 7 Swaziland – Mkuze
This morning we continue south through Swaziland to Golela, where we cross into South Africas Zululand District, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Late afternoon we arrive at the Ghost Mountain Inn (4-star), located in Mkuze, and have the remainder of the day to enjoy the glorious gardens and tranquil surrounds that our accommodation provides. Located at the foot of the legendary mountain of the same name, we stay here for three nights.
Day 8 Mkuze
After a morning at leisure to relax and enjoy the facilities of our hotel, which includes an outdoor swimming pool, we embark on an afternoon game drive in the Mkhuze Game Reserve that encompasses a wide range of habitats and big game wildlife; plus the reserve is renowned for its wide variety of bird species. Following our return to the Ghost Mountain Inn we have time to freshen up before enjoying a traditional barbecue (braai) with Zulu entertainment.
Day 9 Mkuze
Today you are free to do as little or as much as you wish. You can spend the entire day relaxing at the poolside, or choose to take an optional excursion in search of the big five once again at Hluhluwe-Umfolozi, South Africas oldest game reserve.
Day 10 Mkuze – Durban – Port Elizabeth
This morning we drive to St Lucia where we board our vessel for a cruise that explores the estuary of Lake St Lucia, its wetlands and narrows, in search of hippo, crocodile and birdlife. This area is now part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that stretches 220km along the East Coast from St Lucia, north to the Mozambique border. Later we continue south to Durban for our flight to Port Elizabeth (via Johannesburg) and overnight stay at the Boardwalk Hotel (5-star).
Day 11 Port Elizabeth – Tsitsikamma National Park – Knysna
We commence our journey along the beautiful Garden Route, stopping at Tsitsikamma National Park, now part of the wider Garden Route National Park. Here we explore the pristine coastline of Storms River mouth and lush indigenous forest, which make this area so famous. Later in the day we arrive at our hotel, the Protea Hotel by Marriott Knysna Quays (4-star), where we stay for three nights.
Day 12 Knysna
Today we enjoy a leisurely morning in Knysna before we board the MV John Benn for a cruise including a delicious lunch served on board. For over 25 years our vessel, constructed of local yellowwood, has been cruising the Knysna lagoon and out to the Knysna Heads to view the spectacular scenery. Later we return to our hotel and this evening you can choose one of the many local restaurants in which to dine.
Day 13 Knysna
Today you are free to explore Knysna at your own pace. Situated next to a beautiful natural harbour, which at one time could provide shelter for up to fifty ships, the regions abundant timber was exported from this bay as early as 1787. The port was closed in 1954 and today numerous restaurants, teahouses and boutique shops surround the lagoon. One can relax here and sample some of the finest seafood in the fresh air whilst watching the sailing boats crossing the lagoon to make an exit to the open sea through the famous Knysna Heads. Alternatively you can take a half day guided tour that includes the Featherbed Nature Reserve and a tasty lunch.
Day 14 Knysna – George – Oudtshoorn
This morning we leave for George and the Outeniqua Transport Museum, where we view the large selection of steam locomotives and rolling stock. Later we ride on the Outeniqua Powervan, a diesel railcar, which takes us up into the stunningly scenic mountains on a historic railway line. From there we are taken to the Safari Ostrich Farm for an included lunch and a tour. Our hotel tonight is the Queens Hotel (4-star) in Oudtshoorn.
Day 15 Oudtshoorn – Hermanus – Cape Town
Today we travel to Cape Town, travelling over the arid plains of the Karoo to the Huis River Pass and on to Barrydale. We rejoin the coast at Hermanus, where whales may be seen during the months of September to November (not guaranteed) and follow the stunning scenic coastal route to Cape Town. Here we stay for the next three nights at the luxurious Table Bay Hotel (5-star), perfectly located within the Victoria & Alfred waterfront.
Day 16 Cape Town
We set out on a tour of the city positioned in one of the finest natural settings on earth. The great backdrop of Table Mountain, flanked by Devils Peak and Lions Head, forms a natural sanctuary and dramatic landmark. We take an exhilarating trip by cable car to the top of Table Mountain (weather permitting). The remainder of the day is free to make your own explorations, or you can join an optional winelands tour.
Day 17 Cape Town
This morning we depart for Hout Bay, a beautiful fishing village, and then travel onwards to the Cape of Good Hope and the lighthouse at Cape Point. Later we visit Simons Town, which has been an important naval base and harbour for more than two centuries (first for the Royal Navy and now the South African Navy). To the south of Simons Town we also visit Boulders Beach; here you will find a colony of African penguins, which have settled in the small coves since 1985.
Day 18 Cape Town – In flight
Some free time this morning before we transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
Day 19 UK
Upon arrival, your Titan vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.