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Day 1: Arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa
Upon your arrival at the Johannesburg International Airport, you will be met and transferred to our hotel in Pretoria. We meet this evening for dinner and orientation. Overnight in Pretoria.
Day 2: Pretoria City Sites, De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre
We enjoy Pretoria's sights before heading to the De Wildt Cheetah Centre. De Wildt has an extensive community outreach and education programme and a strategic breeding plan. The Trust conducts research on wildlife disease and nutrition and in South Africa it has implemented a national plan for the conservation of free roaming cheetahs as well as Wild Dogs, the second most endangered carnivore in Africa. We spend our time at the De Wildt Cheetah Project learning about cheetahs, wild dogs and others animals at the centre with many opportunities to see these animals up close. Overnight in De Wildt Cheetah Project.
Day 3: Misty Mountain, South African Natural Heritage Site, to Mapumalanga
Today we have an early start for a special treat to view cheetahs running full speed. Three cheetahs will each chase a small decoy designed by the sanctuary. The cheetahs accelerate and run in excess of 100 kilometers per hour. We then journey to some of the most stunning landscapes in South Africa. We will enjoy lunch enroute to Mapumalanga and our final stop at a 280 hectare South African Natural Heritage Site situated on the spectacular Long Tom Pass, Mapumalanga, South Africa. Perched at an altitude of 1700 meters above sea level, Misty Mountain is uniquely set in mountainous countryside with majestic views across the escarpment and into the Lowveld. Overnight in Mapumalanga.
Day 4: Timbavati Safari Lodge - Evening game drive/sundowner
We are up early for a brisk morning walk to see the sunrise and how the colors change in this beautiful region. After breakfast, we journey towards Timbavati, our base to the world famous Kruger National Park. On the Panorama Route, we travel to Bourke's Luck Potholes, the impressive Lisbon Falls and the majestic Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world. We continue our journey through the rural towns of the Lowveld to Timbavati Safari Lodge. Enjoy the excitement of a sun downer in the wild after our sunset game drive on a private reserve. Dinner will be a delicious braai in the reeded boma under a canopy of African starlight. Overnight at Timbavati Safari Lodge.
Day 5: Kruger National Park - Full day safari
We get up before sunrise to search for the "Big Five" in the famous Kruger National Park. We set off after an early breakfast for a full day safari with a picnic lunch in the park. Make sure your camera is fully charged as we won't be returning until dusk. Keep your eyes open for elephant, lion, cheetah, rhino, buffalo, giraffe and the magnificent wildlife roaming South Africa's most famous game park. After an exciting day on safari, relax and have a sun downer at the lodge before our unique dinner on the patio, once again under the beautiful African Stars. Overnight at Timbavati Safari Lodge.
Day 6: To Swaziland, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Bush Walk, Swazi Chief visit
After breakfast, we visit a nearby village to meet the locals as well as a visit to the local clinic, a trading store, school and a visit to the local herbal/spiritual doctor (nyanga/sangoma). Learn how she helps the villagers and their sickness by 'throwing the bones'. (As this is an actual working village, some elements of the visit may not be available on the day of your visit).
Day 7: Kingdom of Swaziland, Royal National Park
This morning we take a safari walk to explore this tiny Kingdom. Afterwards we head to Hlane Royal National Park, we enjoy a light lunch before embarking on an afternoon rhino drive. Hlane is famous for its abundant rhino population. This is easily one of the best opportunities to see rhinos at very close range. The juvenile rhinos can be very curious and can often approach our vehicles. We explore these former royal hunting grounds by vehicle after lunch. Later in the afternoon, return back to Mlilwane Reserve.
Day 8: Return to South Africa- Zululand
This morning we travel back into South Africa and into the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, the heartland of the Zulu people. We journey further south to the town of Mkuze where we stop for a light lunch followed by a visit into the Lebombo Mountains, where we visit a traditional Zulu homestead and experience rural in rural Zuzuland as it is today. Overnight in Hluhluwe.
Day 9: iSimangaliso Wetland Park (UNESCO)
Our journey today takes us to iSimangaliso Wetland Park (previously known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park). iSimangaliso Wetland Park is one of the jewels of South Africa's coastline, with a unique mosaic of ecosystems - swamps, lakes, beaches, coral reefs, wetlands, woodlands, coastal forests and grasslands - supporting an astounding diversity of animal, bird and marine life. The park takes in a 60-kilometre river mouth that creates a huge estuary, Lake St Lucia, running parallel to the coast and separated from the sea by the world's highest forested sand dunes. The lake is part of the St Lucia estuarine system, the largest estuarine system in Africa.
Day 10: Full Day Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park
We have another exciting day on safari in one of the oldest game reserves in South Africa – Hluhluwe Imfolozi. From your open game drive vehicle with experienced game ranger in search of the ‘Big 5′ as well as an abundance of other African wildlife. The park is one of the best places to view rhinos. Enjoy lunch back at the hotel in between the morning and afternoon game drive. Overnight in Hluhluwe.
Day 11: To Kloof, Durban
We travel down the coast to South Africa's 3rd largest city, Durban. In Umhlanga, we enjoy a light lunch close to the seaside before a visit at the Phansi Museum, home to a collection of South African artefacts and traditions. Marvel in the beadworks, headrest, Zulu clay pots and other artefacts as you learn more about the history of this culture. After the museum visit, we journey a little farther inland to Kloof where we will be staying at a Botanical Garden. The rest of the afternoon is free to relax and enjoy the garden.
Day 12: Harrismith, Drakensburg Escarpment
This morning we travel to Pietermaritzburg where we stop at the statue of Ghandi and visit the Siege Museum before making our way to the Free State and the Drakensburg region. We stop in Ladysmith to enjoy its rich history of the region which is captured in the architectural styles of old buildings, as well as various museums and national monuments. Here we learn more about the battles before we visit the actual battlefields from the Anglo-Boer War. Overnight in Harrismith.
Day 13: Drakensberg Mountains and Zulu Communities
We rise to take in the beautiful morning sun as it warms up the Drakensberg escarpment and greets us for our full day excursion into the valley of the mountains to meet rural Zulu communities. Enjoy a picnic lunch amongst the dramatic Drakensberg backdrop. Experience an indigenous South African tribal way of life and observe traditional home building, food preparation, and cultural dancing. Meet the tribes and learn more about their families and way of life. In the afternoon when the suns heat has cooled down we will have a nature walk and explore the flora and fauna as well as the bird life and possible game spotting in the unspoiled countryside. Overnight in Harrismith.
Day 14: To the Kingdom of Lesotho
We travel towards the Kingdom of Lesotho and stop at the Basotho Cultural Village situated at the entrance to the Golden Gate National Park. The museum introduces visitors to the South Sotho (Basotho) nation, from its inception through its history to the present. After the tour we make our way to our overnight accommodation. Overnight in Ramabanta.
Day 15: Ramabanta, Botso'ela Waterfall
Today we visit a Basotho village and school after breakfast. For hiking enthusiasts, you can go to the Botso'ela Waterfall or to see ancient bushman cave paintings. Overnight in Ramabanta.
Day 16: Return to South Africa via 'The Place of the Wind'
We have an early morning departure to return to South Africa. Before driving across the border, we stop in Quthing, "The Place of the Wind", to visit the Masitise Cave House and the Dinosaur footprints, which are believed to be approximately 200 million years old. We will reach Aliwal North in the early evening. Overnight in Aliwal North.
Day 17: Graaff-Reinet, Valley of Desolation in the Great Karoo
Today we drive to the town of Graaff- Reinet. On the way we stop at the Taal Monument and the Afrikaans Language Museum in Burgersdorp. We spend time exploring the town of Graaff-Reinet, arguably one of the most charming and historic towns in all of South Africa. We explore Graaff-Reinet on foot.
Day 18: Tsitsikamma N.P.; The Garden Route
We continue our journey through the Eastern Cape today, travelling to the coast. We take the scenic route, via Uniondale, over the spectacular Prince Alfred Pass to Wittedrift and then on to Tsitsikamma National Park. On arrival at the park, there is time to take a hike, walk on the beach.
Day 19: Knysna - Featherbed Nature Reserve
Today we enjoy a eco-experience in Featherbed Nature Reserve. Our journey includes a return ferry trip, 4x4 nature drive and a guided walk including spectacular viewpoints and ancient sea caves while learning about the history and flora and fauna of the reserve, ending with a sumptuous buffet lunch at the Food Forest Restaurant. Overnight in Knysna.
Day 20: To Oudtshoorn - Ostrich Farm, Cango Caves
We travel inland to Oudtshoorn, where we visit an ostrich farm. We also visit the Cango Caves situated at the head of the picturesque Cango Valley, in a limestone ridge parallel to the Swartberg Mountains, where you will find dripstone caverns, with their vast halls and towering formations. Overnight in Oudtshoorn.
Day 21: To Cape Town
Today we drive to one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town, enjoying the scenery enroute.
Day 22: Table Mountain, Robben Island
We begin our day by ascending the famous Table Mountain by cable car. From the top, we have spectacular views in every direction including: over the city, Robben Island, the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, Mountain Ranges, ravines and the Inland Plains.
Day 23: Coastal Drive to Cape Point, Good Hope Nature Reserve
We travel along the Atlantic Seaboard via Sea Point, Clifton and Camps Bay, Llandudno, to Hout Bay, a quaint village and fishing harbour with magnificent views of the mountains and beach. On through Chapman's Peak, one of the world's most breathtaking coastal drives, to Cape Point and the Good Hope Nature Reserve, which has magnificent fynbos vegetation, birdlife, endemic antelope species and zebra, historic lighthouses and shipwrecks. Cape Point is perceived to be the meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
Day 24: Stellenbosch, Wine Tour
This morning after breakfast we set off for Stellenbosch, the second oldest settlement in South Africa after Cape Town. Its oak lined streets and famed Cape Dutch architecture make it one of the most charming towns in the country. We continue from here to Paarl, where we stop at the impressive Afrikaans Language Monument, that offers awe inspiring views of the Winelands and the Hottentots Holland Mountains, before enjoying lunch and a wine tasting at one of the nearby wine estates. We continue to Franschhoek, where we enjoy another wine tasting, before returning to Cape Town. Tonight we will enjoy our group farewell dinner. Overnight in Cape Town.
Day 25: Depart Cape Town, South Africa
Today we say goodbye to Cape Town and Africa and transfer to the airport to connect with our international flights homeward.
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