We’re going back to South Africa! And you can come along. We’ll be hosting a very special small-group trip to South Africa from the 7th to the 15th of May 2016 (with optional pre-trip add-on starting on May 4th and post-trip ending May 19th) to experience the incredible adventure experiences, wildlife and natural beauty of the rainbow nation. This very special itinerary is the result of years of travel to South Africa spent scoping out the best experiences the country has to offer. We’re also very excited to include the super-luxurious Blue Train in this itinerary for the first time. We hope you’ll join us!
*See Below for Optional Pre-Trip Shark Cage Diving Add-On and Post-Trip Victoria Falls*
8 May – Welcome to South Africa!
Today you will arrive in Cape Town on your own arrangements. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted at the airport and transferred to the Commodore Hotel at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. This evening, we will enjoy a special welcome dinner near the waterfront. Overnight at the Commodore Hotel.
9 May – Cape Peninsula
After breakfast, we head out to explore the Cape Peninsula. We’ll begin with a visit to view the iconic Table Mountain from nearby Signal Hill. From there, we’ll head south to Hout Bay before continuing along the incredibly scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive which winds along the outside of the Twelve Apostle Mountain range along the Atlantic Ocean. We’ll stop for lunch in Simon’s Town and visit the nearby Boulders penguin colony. Then, it’s down to the Cape of Good Hope – the bottom of Africa – where we’ll ride the funicular up to Cape Point, visit the lighthouse and look out for wild baboons along the way. Back in Cape Town by evening we’ll enjoy dinner as a group in the city. Overnight at the Commodore Hotel.
10 May – Wine Drive
Breakfast this morning is at your leisure followed by free time to explore Cape Town at your own pace. We’ll meet after lunch where we’ll take to the skies with Cape Town Helicopter to enjoy a view of the Mother City from above! After landing back at the waterfront, we’ll head to the winelands for a very special wine tasting experience at Waterford Wine Estate. We’ll enjoy tasting some of South Africa’s best wines from Waterford’s famous “floating deck” over the wine fields set among the Cape Mountains. Back in Cape Town we’ll enjoy dinner as a group in the city center and overnight at our new hotel – Taj Cape Town (tbc).
11 May – The Blue Train
This morning we’ll enjoy a quick breakfast at the hotel before departing for Cape Town Train Station. We’ll leave Cape Town at 8:30am aboard the world famous Blue Train – one of the most luxurious train rides in the world. We will spend the rest of the day on board the train, enjoying every inch of its luxurious all-inclusive lifestyle. Guests will be accommodated in lavish double occupancy Pullman suites for the overnight trip. Lunch will be served on board the train as we make our way across the Karoo desert. We will also stop in the frontier town of Matjiesfontein for an off-train excursion where guests will be invited for a glass of sherry at the bar. The town’s Victorian buildings and original nineteenth century London lampposts impart to the traveler, the uncanny sense of entering a colonial time warp – an oasis suspended in a different age. Dinner this evening will be on board the Blue Train and is a formal affair. After dinner, we will retire to the bar-car for drinks and Cuban cigars. Overnight aboard the Blue Train.
12 May – Johannesburg Graffiti
This morning we will awake on board the Blue Train as we draw closer to the South African capital of Pretoria. Breakfast will be served on board and we’ll get to enjoy the final few hours of our journey from the observation car at the end of the train. Upon arrival in Pretoria, we’ll head to nearby Johannesburg and drop off our bags at our hotel for the night. In the afternoon, we’ll head out to experience a graffiti tour. This tour focuses on the Street Art and Graffiti in the Johannesburg Inner City. This walking tour will look at art by numerous local and international artists who have contributed to this unique industry in Joburg. Tonight, we’ll enjoy dinner in Johannesburg. Overnight in Johannesburg TBD.
13 May – Into the Bush
After breakfast, we’ll depart the hotel and head to Johannesburg airport for our morning flight to Skukuza – the gateway to Kruger National Park. Upon landing at Skukuza, we’ll be picked up by our Ranger from Jock Safari Lodge and begin our first game drive immediately as we head to the lodge. Upon arriving at Jock Safari Lodge we’ll enjoy lunch and have a few hours to settle into the five-star accommodations. At 4pm we head out on game drive and begin our search for the Big 5. In Kruger National Park we’ll hope to find elephants, rhinos, cape buffalo, lions, leopards, hippos, giraffe and lots more. As the sun sets in the African bush we’ll stop for “sundowners” and soak in the African sunset. Dinner will be back at the lodge. Overnight at Jock Safari Lodge.
14 May – Jock Safari Lodge
Today starts very early with a wake up around 5:30am. By 6am we’ll be out on game drive once again enjoying the bush at sunrise when the animals are most active. Over our three hour drive we’ll continue searching for the “Big 5” along with other wildlife including giraffe, hippos and monkeys. We’ll return to the lodge for breakfast and then enjoy the warmest part of the day at leisure. During the day we’ll enjoy lunch together. Otherwise, you can make use of the pool, the spa or several optional activities out in the bush such as a guided walk. At 4pm we head out on game drive and resume our search for the Big 5. As the sun sets in the African bush we’ll once again stop for “sundowners” and soak in the African sunset. Dinner will be back at the lodge. Overnight at Jock Safari Lodge.
15 May – Final Game Drive and Heading Home
This morning we’ll enjoy our final game drive out in the bush before returning to the lodge for breakfast. We’ll have some free time to enjoy our last moments in the bush before heading back to Skukuza airport in the early afternoon. Our flight back to Johannesburg will be at 2:50pm which gets us back with plenty of time to enjoy some shopping at the airport before connecting flights back to the USA depart in the evening. Those that are participating in the post-trip to Victoria Falls will overnight at an airport hotel this evening. The rest of us will head home.
What’s it Cost?
Price is $3,750/person sharing.
- All Activities and associated transportation
- All Entrance Fees
- All Meals (minus one lunch in Cape Town that’s meant for free time)
- Fully-inclusive transportation aboard the Blue Train from Cape Town to Pretoria
- All Guiding Fees including Rangers and Trackers
- Flights within South Africa as per itinerary (JNB-SZK-JNB)
- All Refreshments (excluding alcoholic beverages)
- All Accommodations
What’s Not Included?
- International Airfare to Cape Town (CPT) and from Johannesburg (JNB)
- Passport and Visa Requirements (no visa is required for US passport holders)
- Alcoholic Beverages
- Mandatory Travel Insurance
- Gratuities for Porters and Guides
- Any Costs for Food or Activities Enjoyed Separate from the Group
OPTIONAL SHARK CAGE DIVING PRE-TRIP-ADD-ON:
For those looking to experience shark cage diving with Great White Sharks, this optional add-on can be booked before the group trip begins. It includes the following:
5 May – Welcome to South Africa!
Upon arrival into Cape Town, you’ll be met and transferred to The Roundhouse in Gansbaai. (1.5 hours). Gansbaai is named the BIG-2-TOWN after the numerous Great white sharks that cruise in the waters east of Danger Point Peninsula and the many Southern Right Whales that hang out around the shores on the western side of the Danger Point Peninsula between July and December. You’ll stay at the Roundhouse which is three beautiful stories high, exuding African-chic and with some of the best ocean views for miles. The Roundhouse is perfect for those looking for a place to relax and unwind. Afternoon and evening at leisure. Several dinner options exist in the immediate area. Roundhouse staff will advise options and transport you to and from the restaurant of your choice. Overnight at the Roundhouse.
6 May – Shark Cage Diving!
Transfer to Marine Dynamics for a half day of shark cage diving with Great Whites. Shark diving with Marine Dynamics can provide you with a unique opportunity to witness the wonder of the Great White Shark in a safe and professional environment. Marine Dynamics is totally dedicated to the conservation of these magnificent ocean predators. Included is light breakfast, shark diving excursion aboard Slash Fin, light snacks and sandwiches on the boat and light lunch afterwards back at Marine Dynamics. Return to Roundhouse for afternoon at leisure. Roundhouse transportation can take you around the local area, book a Fat Bike, or walk down to the beach to explore. Dinner can be arranged at one of the local restaurants and transport to and from will be provided. Overnight at the Roundhouse.
7 May – Wine Tasting by Quad Bike
This morning will be at leisure with breakfast whenever you feel like it. Later, we’ll transfer to Hermanus for a quad bike excursion through the world-renowned vineyards of Hamilton Russell and Southern Right wineries. Travel up the mountain and through the fynbos kingdom. This route takes you into the Fernkloof Nature Reserve and your half way point is one of the most pristine look-out points in the Western Cape. From here, you will have a spectacular birds-eye-view of Hermanus. Lunch will be available along the way at Quayside Cabin. Back at the Roundhouse, Dinner can be arranged at one of the local restaurants and transport to and from will be provided. Overnight at the Roundhouse.
8 May – To Cape Town
Most of today is at leisure to enjoy the area surrounding Roundhouse. No wake up calls, no meeting times. Enjoy the roof deck hot tub and get as much rest as possible. In the afternoon you’ll be transferred into Cape Town where you’ll meet up with David DiGregorio and the rest of the group at the Commodore Hotel at the V&A Waterfront to begin the group tour.
What’s this Add-On Cost?
Price is $600/person sharing.
- Transportation from Cape Town International Airport to Gansbaai
- Three nights’ accommodations at The Roundhouse in Gansbaai – two per room
- Transportation around Gansbaai for dinners
- Transportation to and from shark cage diving
- Half day shark cage diving trip with Marine Dynamics including light breakfast, lunch and on-board snacks
- Breakfast at the Roundhouse each morning
- Transportation from Gansbaai to Hermanus and back
- Quad bike excursion including stops at two vineyards and wine tastings at each
- Transportation from Gansbaai to Commodore Hotel in Cape Town
What’s Not Included?
- Airfare to or from Cape Town
- Any meals with the exception of breakfasts at Roundhouse and light food associated with shark cage diving experience
- Any other activities not listed in above itinerary
OPTIONAL VICTORIA FALLS POST-TRIP-ADD-ON:
For those with a bit more time to spend in Africa, this post-trip will take you to Zimbabwe and Zambia and to the iconic Victoria Falls – one of the natural wonders of the world!
15 May – Overnight in Johannesburg
Today we you will arrive back into Johannesburg with the group in the afternoon. Those heading home will say goodbye. You will overnight at a hotel near Johannesburg airport and prepare for your trip to Zimbabwe in the morning.
16 May – Zimbabwe
This morning you’ll enjoy a late wake up and breakfast at your airport hotel. Then, you will fly from Johannesburg, South Africa to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Upon arrival in Zimbabwe, you’ll be picked up at the airport and transferred to Bayete Guest Lodge at Victoria Falls. Remainder of day is at leisure to enjoy the guest lodge. Overnight at Bayete Guest Lodge.
17 May – Victoria Falls
After breakfast at Bayete Guest Lodge you’ll be picked up and transferred to Victoria Falls for a David Livingstone Talk by a historian and tour of the famous falls. You’ll have time here to explore Victoria Falls national park before returning to Bayete and Victoria Falls town for an afternoon at leisure. Overnight at Bayete Guest Lodge.
18 May – Zambia and Livingstone Island
Today is an intense day! After breakfast at Bayete Guest Lodge, you’ll be picked up early and driven to the Zambian border. Once in Zambia, you’ll head to Batoka Sky Aerodrome for a microlight flight over Victoria Falls. This is by far the most incredible way to see the falls and is a real adrenaline rush! After the microlight experience, you’ll head down to the mighty Zambezi River on a 2-3 hour canoe safari. Watch the Pied Kingfisher hover and dive, listen to the haunting call of the fish eagle and the grunts of the hippo, see elephant, buffalo, and other animals come down to drink and explore the islands and waterways along the route. Lunch will be at the Lookout Cafe followed by an afternoon of either zip line or gorge swings between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Later, tour the Ndau Artisans workshop and art studio before returning to Bayete Guest Lodge in the evening. Tonight you’ll enjoy a special Boma dinner at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge complete with barbecued (braai) exotic meats, live music and dancing. Overnight at Bayete Guest Lodge.
19 May – Heading Home
Today you’ll enjoy breakfast at Bayete Guest Lodge and later head to the airport for your return flight to Johannesburg. Once arriving in Johannesburg you’ll be ready to connect your independently arranged flight back to the United States.
What’s this Add-On Cost?
Price is $1,750/person.
- Overnight accommodations in Johannesburg near airport, sharing
- Round trip international airfare from Johannesburg South Africa to Victoria Falls Zimbabwe
- Three nights accommodations Bayete Guest Lodge in Victoria Falls
- Transportation from and to Victoria Falls Airport and Bayete Guest Lodge
- Transportation from Bayete Guest Lodge to Victoria Falls and back
- David Livingstone historical talk and tour of Victoria Falls including all park entry fees
- Transportation between Zimbabwe and Zambia and to various activities on either side
- Microlight flight over Victoria Falls
- Boat trip to Livingstone Island including swimming and tour
- Lunch at the Lookout Cafe near the Falls
- Gorge Swing or Zip Line experience
- Trip and tour of Ndau Artisans Workshop and Art Studio
- Transportation to the Boma at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
- Boma Dinner and experience the night of May 18th
What’s Not Included?
- International airfare between the USA and South Africa (airfare from South Africa to Zimbabwe is included!)
- Any meals with the exception of breakfasts at Bayete Guest House, lunch at Lookout Cafe and dinner in the Boma at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
- Any other activities not listed in above itinerary