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South Africa Escape - 14 Days

Start point: Cape Town
End point: Johannesburg

DAY 1: Arrive in Cape Town

Wamkelekile e iKapa! Welcome to Cape Town! The Mother city is South Africa's oldest city and one of three official capital cities. For flights arriving today, an Expat Explore team member will meet and greet you at Cape Town airport. A complimentary airport transfer is offered at selected times to take you to our starting hotel in the city. If you arrive early enough you'll have some free time to explore Cape Town and its many tourist attractions. This evening you will meet your tour leader as well as your fellow travellers from all over the world. Enjoy a welcome dinner this evening and get to know your travel companions.



Experiences

Book flights to arrive at Cape Town international airport today, where a member of the Expat Explore team will direct you to your complimentary airport transfer (certain times - see tour help section for more information), which will take you to the starting hotel in the city.

Enjoy an included welcome dinner this evening - the perfect opportunity to get to know your Expat Explore tour leader and fellow travellers!

Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

DAY 2: Cape Town city tour

Your first full day in South Africa kicks off with a driving tour of Cape Town city centre. Stops include the Castle of Good Hope, famous St. George’s cathedral and a stroll through the colourful Cape Malay quarters. You will also see the well-known Company's Gardens - the oldest garden in the country.

The afternoon is then yours free to explore this incredible city. With a drop off at the beautiful V&A Waterfront, this is the perfect place to have lunch and try a variety of local foods, including some fresh fish right next to the Cape Town harbour. After lunch, why not take a cable car ride up to Table mountain? This table-shaped mountain is a prominent landmark that towers over Cape Town. Table Mountain is one of the official 'New 7 Wonders of Nature'!



Experiences

Cape Town city tour - Explore the historic heart of this vibrant city. A rich melting pot of cultural flavours, the city’s multi-cultural history has been shaped by diverse influences including Afrikaner descendants of the original Dutch colonists, the coloured and Cape Malay communities and Xhosa migrants from the Eastern Cape.

Free afternoon - enjoy free time to explore the incredible city of Cape Town, with a drop off at the V&A Waterfront, a lifestyle, food and shopping destination located in the vibrant heart of the city.


Optional Excursions

Accommodation A selection of the accommodation we stay at in this destination.

StayEasy Cape Town City Bowl
(View photos )
Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
DAY 3: Cape Town - Free day

Today is your free day to explore Cape Town to your heart’s content! Outside of the famous Robben Island and Table Mountain, the list of travel attractions are endless. Visit the Botanical Gardens, Constantia wine valley, the Two Oceans Aquarium or District 6 Museum. You have the option to join the Cape Point & Peninsula day-trip and venture further south. Cape Point nature reserve is a one hour drive from Cape Town, on the southeast corner of the Cape Peninsula. Expect beautiful landscapes, over 40 km of coastline and a variety of fauna and flora. The Cape Fynbos is a natural shrubland found here - the smallest floral kingdom in the world. Continuing along the peninsula we'll stop at Boulder’s beach to see free-roaming African penguins. You will then have free time for lunch in Kalk Bay, a quirky coastal town and the perfect location to try fish and chips. Enjoy the amazing views as we take the scenic route via Chapman’s peak back to the hotel.

Attractions to discover in your free time
Optional Excursions

DAY 4: Cape Winelands - Stellenbosch - Hermanus

This morning we explore the Cape Winelands! Following breakfast we take a scenic drive through the Cape wine region. South Africa has the oldest wine industry outside of Europe. This is your chance to taste South Africa's signature wine, Pinotage. Learn all about Cape district and the wine-making process from a local wine expert. Lunch is a delicious traditional meal served among the vineyards. Next stop is Stellenbosch, a special town settled by the French Huguenots in the 1600s. Explore the Cape Dutch architecture and many laid-back coffee shops, boutiques and art galleries. After one more wine tasting tour this afternoon we take a  heavenly coastal drive to Hermanus. The evening is yours to explore the town of Hermanus.



Experiences

Cape Winelands - Enjoy a wine tasting and included lunch at a wine farm in the famous winelands region of the Western Cape.

Stellenbosch - Take some free time to explore the historical university town, admire the mix of Cape Dutch, Georgian and Victorian architecture, the tree lined streets and relaxing coffee shops.

Hermanus - Savour the stunning coastal views as we make our way to Hermanus, where you’ll have a free evening to explore this delightful town on the Cape Whale Coast Route - if you’re lucky you’ll even be able to spot whales from the beach!


Optional Excursions

Accommodation A selection of the accommodation we stay at in this destination.

Windsor Hotel
(View photos )
Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

DAY 5: Shark Diving Excursion - Swellendam - Mossel Bay

This is the official start of our Garden Route adventure! This morning you can stay put in Hermanus to explore this beautiful harbour town. It’s one of the world's best whale-watching destinations. In season, June to November, you can spot them right off the coast. Join in the optional excursion for the day: Shark Cage Diving! This is your chance to see Great White sharks in their natural habitat. The excursion includes a short drive to Gansbaai -  a famous shark cage diving spots in South Africa. Free time for lunch is in Swellendam. Taste authentic Boerekos (traditional farmer’s food), or perhaps some Springbok (venison) carpaccio. After lunch stop outside of Albertinia to visit Cape Aloe Vera farm. Taste aloe tea, sample the facial cream and learn more about the health benefits and uses of this indigenous plant. The final destination for today is Mossel Bay, a coastal village and popular holiday destination. Before making for the hotel we stop at the Pinnacle Caves. This archaeological site is where the early evidence of modern human behaviour has been found. Fossil findings date as far back as 170,000 years ago.



Experiences

Swellendam - enjoy free time for lunch in the third oldest town in the Republic of South Africa. Check out the incredible architecture of the Dutch Reformed Church - a striking mix of Italian Baroque and French Gothic influences, with an Eastern dome and Cape Dutch facades.

Aloe Vera farm - Stop at one of the original aloe factories in the Hessequa region. Sample various Aloe Vera products, walk around in the indigenous garden (with 17 species of aloe) and drink some Aloe tea!

Mossel Bay - Visit Pinnacle Point Caves, a Provincial Heritage Site where human bones of between 40,000 and 170,000 years ago has been discovered. The discoveries have led to further studies by the Institute of Human Origins.


Optional Excursions

Accommodation A selection of the accommodation we stay at in this destination.

Oceans Hotel
(View photos )
Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

DAY 6: Garden Route: Game Drive - Knysna - Garden Route

First thing this morning we head to Botlierskop Private Game Reserve for a unique safari experience. Enjoy close encounters with impala, wildebeest, rhinos, lions, giraffes and more! Over lunch we’ll be in Knysna, the heart of the Garden Route. Jump aboard a unique paddle-boat for an optional lunch cruise (fresh oysters anyone?!). The lagoon cruise will take you along Knysna Bay for spectacular views of the area. You can even do some bird watching from the deck. If you don't feel like a cruise, explore the beautiful harbour area and dine in a local restaurant.

From Knysna we depart for more exciting animal adventures. Roam free with the monkeys at Monkeyland, a multi-species monkey sanctuary. Alternatively, visit Birds of Eden, a unique eco-tourism experience, and the world's largest free flight aviary and bird sanctuary.



Experiences

Botlierskop Game Drive - Get to know the garden route wildlife on an open vehicle safari truck in Botlierskop Private Game Reserve. Sightings include buffalo, zebra, giraffe, golden wildebeest, hippos, rhinoceros, lions and more than 200 bird species!

Knysna - Experience the laid-back yet stylish vibe of Knysna. A small and quaint town known as "the beating heart" of the Garden Route. Get off at the Knysna waterfront - an ideal location with unique and trendy stores, water activities and the most divine dining options.


Optional Excursions

Accommodation A selection of the accommodation we stay at in this destination.

Tsitsikamma Village Inn
Tsitsikamma Lodge and Spa
Tsogo Sun Beacon Island Resort
(View photos )
Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

DAY 7: Tsitsikamma National Park & Storms River - Eastern Cape

The Tsitsikamma forest forms part of the greater Garden Route National Park. The area encompasses rivers, gorges, mountains and lush forests and plantations - the perfect place to get adventurous! The morning is yours to explore outdoors. Options to consider include tree-top canopy tours, bungee jumping at Bloukrans bridge (the highest bridge bungy in the world!), or going for a bush walk to learn more about the fauna and flora in this region.

We'll then drive to the Storms River mouth in Tsitsikamma National Park. You can take a walk along the coast, cross the longest suspension river in South Africa, and have some free time to enjoy lunch overlooking the ocean. This afternoon we take a drive to the Eastern Cape coast where we'll spend the rest of day. Holiday destinations in this region are known to be some of the best surfing locations in the world. Here you can enjoy long sandy beaches in idyllic surroundings.



Experiences

Tsitsikamma National Park & Storms River mouth - A suspension bridge and lookout trail that meanders along the most spectacular ocean and forest landscapes. The highlight of the walk is a famous 77m long suspension bridge over the Storms River bridge. As you walk keep an eye out for the Knysna Loerie, Cape Clawless Otter and dolphins.

Eastern Cape - Surfers and beach lovers from the world over flock to the Eastern Cape every year. Its over 800 km of breathtaking coastline, offers perfect mild weather, nature walks and some of the best swimming and surfing beaches in South Africa (it's also a water sport paradise!). Did you know the Eastern Cape was Nelson Mandela's home province?


Optional Excursions

Accommodation A selection of the accommodation we stay at in this destination.

Cape St Francis Resort
(View photos )
Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

DAY 8: Fruit Route: Route 62 - Oudtshoorn Ostrich Farm - Cango Caves Excursion

Get set to explore a different region of South Africa as we leave the Garden Route behind and meander along Route 62.  Head for the arid Karoo, and the drive takes you through the Langkloof. Nestled between the Kouga and Tsitsikamma mountains, this area offers spectacular views. You will see vineyards, fruit and vegetable farms dotted along the road. Make it to Oudtshoorn, South Africa’s famous ostrich capital! Stop off for a guided tour of a working ostrich farm and learn more about these big feathered animals. Take advantage of the opportunity to explore one of South Africa's hidden treasures, the Cango Caves. This cave valley is a series of dripstone caverns that are more than 20 million years old. Explore on a heritage walking tour of the caves or go for the adventure rock- and cave climbing experience (especially if you're feeling a bit adventurous). This evening sit down for a lovely Karoo dinner.



Experiences

Visit a Klein Karoo ostrich farm - Take a guided tour which covers the history of ostrich farming, farming practices and the breeding cycle of these special Karoo ostriches. Also get the opportunity to meet ostrich adults and chicks for a special up-close experience.

Karoo Dinner - Taste true Karoo Lamb prepared the traditional South African way. Lamb in the Great Karoo has a very distinct taste due to the fragrant shrubs and grasses sheep feed on in this region. The meat has been scientifically proven to have a unique herby flavour, unlike anywhere else in South Africa and perhaps the world.


Optional Excursions

Accommodation A selection of the accommodation we stay at in this destination.

De Oude Meul Country Lodge
Protea Hotel by Marriott Oudtshroon Riempie Estate
(View photos )
Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

DAY 9: George - Johannesburg - Kruger Gateway

This morning, travel from Oudtshoorn to George for an early morning flight to Johannesburg. On your way to the airport, see the sun rise over the Langkloof. The first stop is on the Outeniqua pass to take in the truly magnificent views. After taking an included flight to Johannesburg in the Gauteng province, land in the "City of Gold", Johannesburg. Travel onwards towards tonight's accommodation in a gateway destination to the Kruger National park. The first experience in the African bush awaits as dinner is served under the African sky this evening. 



Experiences

Scenic drive - Early morning we travel through the Langkloof and Outeniqua mountains to the airport in George, for an included internal flight to Johannesburg.

Accommodation A selection of the accommodation we stay at in this destination.

Bundu Lodge
Buffalo Lodge
(View photos )
Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

DAY 10: Kruger National Park

Time for a full-day game drive of the park! Sitting elevated in the tour bus you can easily spot animals in the bush, perhaps even the iconic Big 5! The Kruger National Park stretches over 20,000 square km and is just a bit smaller than the country of Belgium. In the park you can see all African game in their natural habitat. Spot wild animals like cheetahs, wild dogs, leopards, elephants and the white and black rhino. En route, stop at rest camps like Skukuza, Tshokwane and Satara. Around late afternoon, make your way to the safari lodge/hotel on the western edge of the park, for a multi-night stay. Time for a relaxing swim in the pool and a sun-downer or two before our included dinner this evening!



Experiences

Kruger National Park game drive - Enjoy a full-day game drive through the southern part of Kruger in our air-conditioned tour bus. Keep your eyes peeled for the iconic 'Big 5' - the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard and rhinoceros. Today's Kruger conservation fee is included in the tour price.

Accommodation A selection of the accommodation we stay at in this destination.

Timbavati Safari Lodge
Buffalo Hotel
(View photos )
Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
DAY 11: Kruger National Park - Free day

Time to further explore the Kruger National Park! Embark on a safari from the safari lodge/hotel in open safari trucks led by local wildlife specialists. A full-day safari drive gives you the chance to spend the day driving in prime game viewing areas, stopping at various waterholes and rest camps. Snacks and lunch are served picnic style along the way. Try to spot some of the resident antelope, birds and wildlife from your truck. Fingers crossed you’ll be able to tick off more animals on your list! Did you know that Kruger National Park is home to 114 different species of reptiles, 507 kinds of birds and 147 mammal species? You are sure to come across some of the most amazing creatures in Africa. Slip into the pool on return to cool down before enjoying an included dinner - in true African style. 

Attractions to discover in your free time
Optional Excursions
DAY 12: Kruger National Park - Free day

Today you have another full free day to take advantage of the incredible safari options available in Kruger National Park. Continue to explore the park on safari, or spend a relaxing day in the lodge/hotel next to the pool. Tonight we enjoy our last dinner at the safari lodge/hotel. Spend time around the campfire exchanging safari stories and sipping Amarula.

Attractions to discover in your free time
Optional Excursions

DAY 13: Three Rondawels - Bourke’s Luck Potholes - Blyde River Canyon Viewpoint - Johannesburg

Leave the Kruger National Park behind, discover the Panorama Route through the Mpumalanga province. The first destination is a quick photo stop at one of the oldest and largest Baobab trees in the world.  Also make your way to the renowned Three Rondavels viewpoint with a stunning vista over the Blyde River Canyon. This canyon forms part of the Drakensberg ridge and known for storybook views. Next is Bourke’s Luck potholes, a natural water feature with hundreds of natural potholes and plunge pools. This area marks the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon. On a clear day, you can see the Kruger and even Mozambique in the distance. Continue the final leg of the tour back to Johannesburg. Sit down for a farewell dinner with new friends!



Experiences

Three Rondavels - A spectacular viewpoint where you can take in views of three famous mountain tops that tower over the Blyde River Canyon. Named after a traditional round-shaped African homestead, The Three Rondavels is one of the major attractions in the area. Various look-out points is sure to offer fantastic photo opportunities.

Bourke’s Luck Potholes - Take a short walk and wander around what has been dubbed "nature's wishing well". You will see numerous waterholes, plunge pools and impressive rock formations. Visit the information centre to learn more about the natural history as well as the "San" people, the earliest inhabitants of this region.

Blyde River Canyon Viewpoint - Get one last look at the majestic Blyde River canyon. This must be one of the most cherished and most photographed views in South Africa. See the Lowveld of South Africa with the Kruger National Park and Mozambique in the far distance.

Farewell dinner - Feast on local cuisine from the Gauteng province as we sit down for one last special dinner together. You are now in the bustling city of Johannesburg, the second largest city in Africa.

Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

DAY 14: Johannesburg: End of tour

The South Africa Escape tour concludes after breakfast. Johannesburg is a great destination to end the trip. Guests are welcome to stay on to explore Jozi and the surrounding area.



Experiences

Your tour ends in Johannesburg after breakfast; make sure you have exchanged contact details with your new found travel friends, and share your amazing tour memories with us using the hashtag #ExpatExplore!


Optional Excursions

Accommodation A selection of the accommodation we stay at in this destination.

Garden Court Oliver Tambo International Airport
(View photos )
Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner