President’s Pick Africa South

President's Picks | Big Five ToursExplore lovely Cape Town with compelling mix of modern energy and old-world elegance. Travel up the famous Table Mountain and visit Bo Kaap and Cape Malay, where you visit a local resident for a cooking class that explores traditional foods of the area. Take in famed Kruger National Park’s landscapes, home to more than 500 bird species, 100 reptiles, nearly 150 mammals and archaeological sites. Discover the wonder and romance of the African bush with in Botswana’s northern Tuli Game Reserve. You can safari on foot or by mountain bike as well as vehicle. Then Icon | Big Five Tourstake time to relax and renew on the southeast coast of Mozambique at a resort that offers endless pristine beaches stretching to the horizon and enough activities to keep you as busy — or not — as you choose.

 

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President’s Picks

COUNTRIES VISITED

Botswana

South Africa

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TOUR LENGTH

14

Tour Highlights/Full Description

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  • See what cosmopolitan Cape Town has to offer with its compelling mix of trendy modern and old-world elegance.
  • Travel up the famous Table Mountain and visit Bo Kaap and Cape Malay, where you visit a local resident for a cooking class that explores traditional foods of the area
  • Discover Kruger National Park’s landscapes, home to more than 500 bird species, 100 reptiles, nearly 150 mammals, multiple archaeological sites
  • Explore the rich wildlife within Mashatu Private Game Reserve in Botswana’s northern Tuli Game Reserve. where you can go on safai on foot or by mountain bike as well as vehicle
  • Take time off, three nights, to relax and renew on the southeast coast of Mozambique at a resort that offers endless pristine beaches stretching to the horizon

Day 1: Cape Town, South Africa
Today on arrival in Cape Town clear customs and proceed to the exit where you are met by the Big Five representative and given a private road transfer to your hotel. Your hotel’s prime position on Cape Town’s V & A Waterfront enjoys spectacular views over the working harbor and Table Mountain. Named in honor of an 1870 royal visit, the colonial elegance is evocative of the past. Tastefully equipped for comfort, 94 rooms overlook the dynamic piazza and Alfred Basin, and certain rooms have an additional dining and lounge area. The hotel’s guest spaces include a lounge, dining and terrace. The spa, gym and pool are a 2-minute walk away at the sister hotel, The Dock House. The waterfront is an energetic hub of shops, restaurants, bars and fun activities, and an ideal location from which to explore the fascinating Cape attractions.

On you way there, you get a feeling of scenically beautiful, Cape Town is a compelling mix of trendy modern and old-world elegance. Glamorous hotels, world-class dining and stunning vistas merge seamlessly with dynamic student suburbs and vibrant nightlife. Malay and African heritage is evident in the cuisine as well as traditions and entertainment while the architecture reveals a strong Dutch, German and English flavor and style. Contemporary art is proudly displayed in a galleries and modern boutique hotels, while wine bars and brandy tasting lounges appeal to the fashionable set. For those seeking the cultural side of the city, you’ll find the finest in opera, ballet, drama and music performances.

A short boat cruise to Robben Island, just a few miles offshore from Cape Town’s harbor, imagine the sense of hopelessness inside the prison cell where South Africa’s most beloved legend, Nelson Mandela, spent 27 years enduring hard labour. It is difficult to imagine how anyone could rise above the horror of incarceration to become arguably the most iconic and compassionate leader of our era.

An exciting trip up Table Mountain in a cable car provides panoramic views over the “Mother City” and other attractions include the Cultural History Museum, the Castle of Good Hope and the world-renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Greenmarket Square’s local crafts markets and Long Street’s vibrant restaurants, bars and clubs come alive after dark. Cape Grace (B)

Day 2: Cape Town – Bo Kaap and Cape Malay
Explore the vibrant Cape Malay Bo-Kaap District on foot, strolling past colorful houses, a famous spice shop and two community projects. Discover the exotic flavors, aromas and secrets of the vivid Bo-Kaap with its mesmerizing sense of history and tradition. This 30-minute walking tour includes a stop at a spice shop and a visit to the home of a local resident, Zainie, taking opportunity to interact and authentically connect with the heart of the district through its people. Here, you learn how to mix a Masala spice mix followed by a two-hour interactive cooking lesson, learning how to make Chicken Curry, Rooti’s, Samoosa folding, and Daaltjies (Chilli Bites). Then savor a sit-down lunch and share stories before leaving with a recipe booklet covering the cooking course and a package of Zainie’s pre-mixed Masala. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Cape Grace (B)

Day 3: Cape Town – Cape Peninsula The Cape Peninsula contrasts to the more cosmopolitan city with its wild national parks, artistic bohemian seaside villages and working fishing harbors. This day will be about embracing local people and spending as much time out of the vehicle as possible. Our first stop is for Cape Town’s coolest coffee at Muizenbergs Surfers Corner, the epicenter of South Africa’s surfing culture. Head to Kalk Bay to explore the working fishing harbor and meet the colorful fishermen and fisherwomen. Browse the bohemian arty shops and perhaps take a short hike through the unique fairy-like Milkwood forests.

Simon’s Town is home to rogue penguins on a secret beach only accessible to the locals. But you can snorkel and do some standup paddle boarding in rock pools for a unique perspective of the penguins (weather permitting).

After visiting Cape Point, venture deeper into the peninsula to explore deserted wild beaches, secret coves, rock pools and shipwreck hiking trails away from the tourist crowds. This part of the Table Mountain National Park is home to ostrich, baboons, tortoises and mountain zebra. Our return journey along the Atlantic side is a story of amazing views, hidden local cafes and watering holes full of character. Stop en-route for a beer tasting at a local surfer hang-out, wrapping up our day out. Cape Grace (B)

Day 4: Cape Town
Today you ascend the renowned Table Mountain by cable car, revealing increasingly breath-taking views over the city and an endless sea, until you stand atop iconic Table Mountain. Leave the noise behind and hike away from the crowds, keeping watch for wildlife and rare plants – if you can tear your eyes from the vistas. You can opt to climb up to Maclear’s Beacon, the highest point on the mountain, for 360° panoramas. Fresh coffee and home baked treats revive the body before you head back down to sea level. Once down, bikes are waiting for you to set out to cruise the Sea Point Promenade. Cycling along this buzzing stretch of urban life, take a look at interactive local art installations. Cape Town’s artistic diversity and talent are so clearly evident in numerous original creations which cover topics from Rhino Conservation to Nelson Mandela’s Robben Island history. Bikes are dropped off at the V & A Waterfront, where you can explore and shop the Watershed’s quirky craft, design and township art projects, geared towards community upliftment. Cape Grace (B)

Day 5: Cape Town / Skukuza – Kruger
Today you are transferred to the Cape Town airport for your flight to Skukuza in Kruger, where on arrival you are met and given a land transfer to your lodge in the Sabi Sands.

As you bump along the park roads, the sun warm upon your face and air dry in the back of your throat, your senses are on high alert. This is the real Africa, cut away from the hectic pace of life, home to Africa’s Big 5. The Kruger is alive, from the nervously twitching herd of impala after a night of predator action, to the wild dogs along the road. Marvel as a herd of elephant simply appear from out the bush, then silently vanish back into the landscape. With over two million hectares of pristine wilderness, the Kruger’s biodiversity sustains numerous species of game and birds. The dry north consists of Baobab trees, scrubland and rocky outcroppings, which can be seen for miles and animals tend to gather around water sources. As you come south, the park gets busier, animal numbers increase and the backdrop changes to grassland and acacia woodlands.

On the western borders, private reserves such as Sabi Sands and the Timbavati open onto the Kruger, offering an exclusive game experience with the flexibility of night drives and off-road 4 x 4 safaris. Swaying to the movement of an open vehicle while wrapped warmly against the night chills, is an unforgettable experience. The call of a nightjar darting overhead and the flash of eyes reflected from the bushes brings an entirely different twist to your safari and as you drop your head back and look up – the crisp night skies go on forever. Rattrays Camp (B,L,D)

Day 6: Kruger National Park
Morning and afternoon game drives take you to explore the landscapes and wildlife such as rhinos, elephant, zebra, giraffe, cheetah and more. It is home to more than 500 bird species, 100 reptiles, nearly 150 mammals, multiple archaeological sites, and a stunningly diversity of trees and flowers, Kruger is the country’s flagship national park. Rattrays Camp (B,L,D)

Day 7: Kruger / Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
You are transferred by Malatu Express charter flight from the Mala Mala Game Reserve directly to Mashatu in the Tuli Block, an attractive area on the south eastern part of Botswana, sandwiched between the borders of Zimbabwe and South Africa. Largely privately-owned game farms, the region consists of impressive rocky outcrops and stretches of red sand interlaid with stone and pebbles. Massive fever trees line the banks of the Limpopo River, adding an eerie light to the colours of the day, and baobabs jut proudly from the earth. Herd animals, wildebeest, eland, kudu, waterbuck and impala migrate through the district, followed closely by the big cats. Large herds of elephant inhabit Tuli, and hippo and crocs wallow in the murky pools of the Limpopo. Exciting night drives reveal caracal, aardwolf and aardvark amongst other nocturnal beasts caught in the glow of the tracker’s light. With over 350 bird species in the vicinity, Tuli is a bird-lovers paradise and home to the rare Pel’s Fishing Owl.

In the striking granite and hematite hills and kopjes of Lepokole, archaeological finds of stone-age pottery in cave and rock faces boast San rock paintings. Picturesque waterfalls and rock pools at Tswapong have been created over time, the water’s movement carving indelibly through granite. Standing an imposing 30 metres high, the impressive basalt cliffs of Solomon’s Wall can be reached by 4×4, the landmark once a natural dam wall to the Motloutse River.

Mashatu Tented Camp is located within the 25,000-hectare Mashatu Private Game Reserve, in Botswana’s northern Tuli Game Reserve. Striking landscape is punctuated by towering sandstone cliffs, basalt formations, unusually shaped kopjes and baobabs. Strategically positioned under enormous trees and close to a waterhole, the camp is almost one with its surroundings and offers a traditional bush experience. Set on concrete platforms, 8 spacious tents are appointed for comfort, and boast private, outdoor, en-suite facilities. Meals are enjoyed in the open-air gazebo or boma overlooking a floodlit waterhole. Excellent staff ensure there is an adventure component to compliment the traditional vehicle safari – cycling, walking and a short cultural excursion (extra costs apply). Between exciting game drives or excursions, cool off in the camp’s plunge pool or settle in the photographic hide with its outlook over the waterhole. Mashatu Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 8: Mashatu Game Reserve
Enjoy the activities offered at your lodge that include an adventurous mountain bike safari in the company of an armed and highly experienced guide. On a bike, the cyclist is, in effect, conducting his/her own safari and gets to enjoy the reserve and its inhabitants from a completely different perspective. The groups of cyclist meander along ancient elephant paths. The exhilaration of cycling amongst the ‘Giants of Mashatu’ is awesome and should be enjoyed at least once on a safari for anyone with a little interest in cycling. Rides are generally enjoyed early morning. Mashatu Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 9: Mashatu Game Reserve
Continue exploring the area and the activities offered at your lodge. Photographic hides are structures built at a waterhole to maximize the photographic potential of the animal subjects that visit them. These hides can be used to view wildlife in the normal manner but have been positioned with consideration of the angle of the sun, the background, and the angle the viewer occupies in relation to the animals and birds. A professional wildlife photographer will accompany participants to the hides. They are close at hand to tutor aspiring and experienced photographers in camera work techniques, which will enhance the quality of their images. Mashatu Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 10: Mashatu Game Reserve / Johannesburg
Today you fly by Angel Gabriel flight from the Limpopo Valley to Lanseria airport in Johannesburg. On arrival in Johannesburg you are met and transferred from Lanseria airport to your hotel close to the airport where you have rooms booked for the night. City Lodge or Tambo Airport Hotel (B)

Day 11: Johannesburg / Maputo, Mozambique
You are return to the airport in time to connect with your afternoon schedule flight to Maputo. On arrival, you are welcomed and transferred by road to your resort for your three-night stay. White Pearl Resort lies on the southeast coast of Mozambique, positioned within vegetated sand dunes and with endless pristine beaches stretching to either side. Simple yet luxurious, this family-friendly lodge boasts stunning ocean and coastal vistas and untouched bush. Its 22 private suites make the most of the scenery and lush surrounding vegetation and are linked to the resort by wooden walkways. Six beach pool suites have direct beach access while the 16 pool suites nestle into the dunes. Fresh, bright and contemporary, the accommodation is designed for peace and guest comfort, while private decks, plunge pools and outdoor showers ensure exclusivity. Savour meals under the stars, in the elegant dining area, or in the privacy of your suite. White Pearl Resort (B,L,D)

Days 12/13: Maputo
Do as much or as little as you like. During the day, make the most of this coastal resort with its horseback riding, easily accessible dive sites and activities such as reef diving, snorkeling, fishing and whale watching (July – November). (Additional charges apply). Sea activities take place on open waters.

Explore Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. The original town was developed around a Portuguese fortress in 1787, although the current town dates back to 1850. After a 10-year war, Mozambique obtained independence in 1975, infrastructure and development has taken a while to re-establish itself. Steeped in history and culture, the past is evident in much of the city’s architecture. European and African influences are notable in masterpieces by Herbert Baker and Pancho Guedes, as well as the bronze-domed railway station, Roman Catholic cathedral and neo-classical city hall. Worth a visit while in town are the Tunduru Gardens and contemporary art centre, Nucleo. Wide jacaranda-lined avenues lead to the Fortaleza, the Portuguese fort with its canons pointed out to sea.

Maputo, a truly African city, has a great vibe. Savour spicy Mozambiquan seafood washed down with local beers and enjoyed in laid-back street cafes. Inhaca Island and the Machangulo Peninsula are in close proximity. This Indian Ocean paradise offers plenty of fun activities, including fishing, diving, snorkelling, turtle and whale-watching and horse riding. Other resort activities include beach picnic, beach sports, shoreline fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, Kids Skipper Club, fat bikes and a local drumming performance. Beach boot camp and stargazing/moongazing are subject to a fixed schedule and are subject to availability. White Pearl Resort (B,L,D)

Day 14: Maputo / Johannesburg / Depart
Today you are transferred from your resort to the Maputo airport where you connect your schedule flight to Johannesburg, on arrival in Johannesburg you proceed to connect your international flight to your onward destination.

Land price, per person, double occupancy: Price starts from US$1,500 per person per day

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