South Africa is a mix of adventure, beauty and culture, certain to fascinate you with its exciting diversity. Where else can you see a forever-changing landscape and amazing wildlife one day, and enjoy an elegant dinner the next. South Africa's moving history comes alive as you venture from Johannesburg to Sandton where you can visit nearby Nelson Mandela Square. In Soweto, enjoy a guided tour of its luxurious mansions and informal settlements and experience regional cuisine and lifestyle when you join locals for lunch. Later visit the Apartheid Museum for a firsthand look into the dynamic history of racial segregation. In Kruger National Park, an open-air safari game drive will provide thrilling views of lions, elephants, rhinos, and leopards in this incredible wildlife reserve followed by an evening of ceremonies complete with dinner and traditional tribal entertainment. You'll travel the famous Garden Route, filled with vistas of beautiful bays, dramatic river gorges and majestic mountains to the picturesque resort town of Knysna. Also included is a visit to the "ostrich capital of the world," Oudtshoorn, where a private tour of a fascinating ostrich farm will be featured. During your 3-night stay in beautiful Cape Town, you'll learn why this region has an incomparable reputation for superb wines when you visit a nearby private vineyard and sample the vintage.
Day #1 Overnight Flight - One country with a world of treasures, South Africa awaits your arrival. Breathtaking mountain scenery, winding coastlines, remarkable cultural diversity and abundant wildlife in its natural habitat comprise this incredible experience.
Day #2 Sandton, South Africa - Tour Begins - Your journey begins in Sandton, a city established in 1969. Famous for its rich veins of gold and other valuable minerals, it is now the bustling cosmopolitan center of greater Johannesburg. Gather this evening with your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner.
Day #3 Sandton - Soweto - Sandton - LANGUAGE DISCOVERY: Today, your Tour Manager will help you discover the origin and history of the language(s) you will experience on your tour along with key words and phrases that will help you communicate with the locals. A guided tour of Soweto - South West Township - showcases luxurious mansions and informal settlements as you learn about the historic significance of the area. Experience the regional lifestyle when joining locals for lunch at a nearby Shebeen or house tavern. This afternoon, visit the Apartheid Museum for a look into the dynamic history of racial segregation in South Africa.
Day #4 Panoramic Route - Kruger National Park - Travel through the spectacular Drakensburg Mountain Range en route to Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in South Africa. Scenic wonders surround you as you pass through the Blyde River Canyon, made mostly of red sandstone and known as one of Africa's greatest natural wonders. Set against the triplet mountain formation of the Three Rondovals, resembling traditional round houses of the indigenous people, the canyon is the third largest in the world. Along this magnificent route you will also see Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the dramatic natural cylinders shaped by millions of years of natural erosion caused by fast flowing sand-filled waters.
Day #5 Kruger National Park - Safari Game Drive - Have your cameras ready for an unforgettable day of adventure and excitement! Start your day with an open air vehicle safari game drive. A local expert leads you in search of the Big 5 - elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and rhino - and provides insight into these fascinating animals along the way. Watch carefully - you may also see a graceful impala, dazzling zebra or gorgeous giraffe. Return mid-morning for time to relax before a late afternoon game drive searching for the Big 5!
Day #6 Kruger National Park - Johannesburg - Port Elizabeth - Travel back to Johannesburg to board your flight to Port Elizabeth, today one of South Africa's major ports. Founded in 1820 as a place to house British settlers, this coastal town is the gateway to the Garden Route, a scenic stretch of coastline set between mountain ranges and the Indian Ocean.
Day #7 Port Elizabeth - Knysna - Journey through the Tsitsikamma Forest, a natural gem along the Garden Route. Known for its gorges and steep cliffs, the indigenous forest is home to hundreds of species of birdlife. Continue along the southern coast where a jagged shoreline meets quaint villages. Arrive in the picturesque resort town of Knysna, in the heart of the Garden Route. This afternoon, your township tour will highlight the diversity of this community followed by a touching experience as you visit a school. Learn about the efforts of the tour group Foundation and the local community to conquer the challenges of educating the children of the region. Enjoy a relaxing dinner at one of Knysna's waterfront restaurants.
Day #8 Knysna - Today you visit nearby Featherbed Nature Reserve. Begin with a lagoon cruise out to the famous Knysna Heads which mark the entrance to the lagoon. Next, board a 4x4 vehicle and travel deep into the forest. Discover the local flora and fauna during a leisurely-paced nature walk. Enjoy lunch amongst the ancient milkwood trees - so called because of their white latex sap - before your return cruise. The remainder of the day is at leisure for you to independently explore Knysna’s charming waterfront.
Day #9 Knysna - Oudtshoorn - Cape Town - Travel to Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of South Africa. Enjoy a guided tour of one of the oldest working ostrich farms in the area and, if you wish, go for a ride on one of these great birds! An outdoor barbecue lunch caps off an amazing day. Next, you journey to captivating Cape Town.
Day #10 Cape Town - A panoramic tour of the beautiful harbourside city of Cape Town celebrates its noted architecture which fuses the traditions of French, German and Dutch influences. Enjoy a thrilling ride on a cable car as it whisks you to an altitude of more than 3,000 feet, landing atop the aptly named and flat-topped Table Mountain. The views below of Cape Town, Robben Island, and Lion’s Head will leave you breathless. Return to the city via Table Bay, passing through the Malay Quarter with its mosques and minarets, and stopping at the Milnerton Lighthouse. The remainder of the day is at leisure for you to discover charming Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, known for its shopping and entertainment venues.
Day #11 Cape Town - Explore the coastal scenery and charming towns that populate the Cape Peninsula. Travel out to Cape Point, stopping for a visit with the penguins at Boulder Beach. On your return, explore the fascinating and famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, home to over 5,000 species of plants native to South Africa.
Day #12 Cape Town - Discover the enchanting beauty of the famous Cape Winelands region with its colorful mountainous landscape and endless vineyards. Visit local wine farms and learn about the history of wine making in this region while you enjoy sampling some of the local wines. Return to Cape Town this afternoon. This evening, experience a unique farewell to Africa as you enjoy an after-hours guided tour of the fascinating African Gold Museum, followed by a traditional African dining experience!
Day #13 Cape Town - Tour Ends - Your tour ends today in Cape Town.