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Welkom in Suid-Afrika! Welcome to South Africa! This adventure-packed tour was specially designed by our South African founders. There's no better travel itinerary to introduce you to the rainbow nation! Tread along the Atlantic and Indian coast, go south to Cape Point and visit quaint and historic destinations dotted along the way. Get adventurous along the forests and coast of the Garden Route. Traverse the fruit route of the Eastern Cape and take to the Great Karoo. Venture north on a three-day visit to the Kruger National park and track amazing African wildlife!
We use a variety of hotels in each destination, so you may stay in a hotel different to that listed here. Hotels are selected closer to departure date; you will receive a confirmed list one week prior to your departure date.
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.
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'!
Today is your free day to explore Cape Town! Outside of the famous Robben Island and Table Mountain, the list of travel attractions is endless. Visit the Botanical Gardens, Constantia wine valley, the Two Oceans Aquarium or District 6 Museum. You also have the option to join the Cape Point & Peninsula day-trip and venture further south with your tour leader. 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 natural shrubland found here - the smallest floral kingdom in the world. Continuing along the peninsula, stop at Boulder’s beach to see free-roaming African penguins. Stop for lunch and free time in Kalk Bay, a quirky coastal town. To finish off a perfect day, visit the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens located on the eastern slopes of Table mountain. Renowned for its beauty and diversity, you’ll soon see why it's among the most treasured gardens in Africa and the world. Make your way back to the hotel after this and spend the rest of the day at your leisure.
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 wines 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 university town in the heart of the Cape Winelands. 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 you can choose to join dinner with a South African family, or explore the town of Hermanus.
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 one of the optional excursions for the day: Shark Cage Diving or a Whale and Eco tour. 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. Dinner is included at the hotel tonight.
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 double-decker floating restaurant 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. Dinner is included this evening after which you can kick off your shoes for some rest.
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 the great outdoors. Options to consider include tree-top canopy tours, bungee jumping at Bloukrans bridge (the highest bridge bungy in the world!), the Woodcutters trail driver 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 the day. Holiday destinations like Jeffreys Bay and Cape St. Francis are known to be some of the best surfing locations in the world. Here you can enjoy long sandy beaches in idyllic surroundings.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Today you have the option to go on a full-day, half-day, sunrise and/or sunset safari. The sunrise safari offers you the chance to be outside in the African bush during an enchanting time of day. Listen to the chorus of animals as they awake and the sun rises over the savanna. The sunset safari brings a different charm with hues of gold, pink and orange as the sun sets in the west. As it gets cooler the animals move around to find food, and your guide will follow to see if there's anything interesting to see. This evening enjoy our last dinner in the African bush. Spend time around the campfire exchanging safari stories and sipping Amarula (an African liqueur made with fruit of the marula tree).
Leave the Kruger National Park behind, discover the Panorama Route through the Mpumalanga province. The first destination is 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!
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.
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