About South Africa
Cape Town, Cape Winelands & Cederberg Mountains:Cape Town sits in the shadow of Table Mountain. It has a unique multicultural personality that is a union of Indonesian, French, Dutch, British and German settlers, San and Khoi peoples, and Bantu ethnic groups that migrated into the area long ago from the north. From this energetic mix comes a city alive with possibilities to explore from the stylish shops of Victoria & Alfred Waterfront to the colorful Malay Quarter’s narrow streets and original buildings, many with facades dressed in vibrant hues. From the Castle of Good Hope, built in 1652, to the city center’s 18th-century buildings, history unfolds around every corner. Natural attractions abound, such as the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Cape Point, with captivating panoramas of two oceans – the Pacific and the Indian. The coast offers wildly scenic landscapes, fishing villages and Boulders Bay with its quirky African penguins. Kirstenbosch Garden is enchanting. The Cape Winelands encompass classic wine estates and well-dressed villages of oak-lined avenues set against the backdrop of the Hottentots Holland Mountains. Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch form the heart of the Cape Winelands. Franschhoek is also noted for its top restaurants. The Cederberg Mountains and nature reserve north of Cape Town are noted for dramatic rock formations and San rock art. Found in the caves and overhangs of the area, some of these rock and cave paintings may date to 400 BCE.
Garden Route: The Garden Route travels through both the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces. On its journey between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, it edges along the Indian Ocean coastline where mountains crowd the shoreline, creating dramatic plunging cliffs, and miles of uncluttered beaches invite leisurely walks. The route meanders through historic towns, alongside lakes and rivers into Tsitsikamma National Park, with its views of the muscular coastline. Ecosystems along the route range from a coastal plateau in a fertile area of lush greenery at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains to the edge of the Klein Karoo, a semi-arid region with mountains and gorges. Oudtshoorn is the center for ostrich farming.
Kalahari Private Game Reserve: The Kalahari is not actually a desert, but rather a large semi-arid sandy savanna in southern Africa It extends 900,000 sq. km/ 350,000 sq. mi., and is shared by three nations – Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. The Kalahari is approximately 60 million years old, and supports more animals and plants than a true desert. Animals that have adapted to the extremely dry conditions in the Kalahari include meerkats, gemsbok and the Kalahari lion. The endemic wildlife species have adapted to survive for days without water, or to obtain water from plants. Reptiles also live in the Kalahari, including Cape cobras, puff adders, and rock monitors. Migratory birds and mammals can be found in the desert where adequate water is present. Kalahari Private Game Reserve in the Kalahari grasslands of the Northern Cape is the largest private game reserve in South Africa, and the historical home of the San people.
KwaZulu Natal: KwaZulu Natal supports two natural areas: the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites and considered wetlands of international importance. Phinda Private Game Reserve is situated in subtropical northern KwaZulu Natal, close to the warm Indian Ocean. It was formed in 1991, and boasts seven distinct ecosystems, from palm savannah and mountain bush to rare sand forest and dense thornveld. It has a strong focus on conservation and community involvement, and uses environmentally friendly practices to protect biodiversity. KwaZulu Natal also has the unspoiled beaches of Maputaland.
Luxury Trains of South Africa: South Africa is the home of two award-winning trains that offer unsurpassed luxury travel reminiscent of another era. The Blue Train and Rovos Rail are each unique in their own way. Rovos Rail offers a romantic, intimate experience with an “old-style, classic feel” while the Blue Train offers similar luxury but with modern touches such as television in the cabins. It’s a journey into a timeless world of grace, elegance and romance, where spectacular scenery stirs the imagination and luxurious comfort soothes the body. Both train journeys offer exceptional experiences.
Malaria-Free Game Reserves: Some of South Africa’s private game reserves have the benefit of being malaria free, important to families with young children or women who might be pregnant. Madikwe Game Reserve, for example, has lodges that include special safari activities for children such as learning to identify animal tracks. Game viewing includes lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and cheetah, Cape hunting dog, spotted hyena, giraffe, zebra and antelope. Grootbos is a private reserve renowned for its ecotourism and sustainability practices. It is spectacularly situated on the rare fynbos- and forest-clad hills of Walker Bay. Land-based whale watching is among the best here in season, generally May to December depending on species. The reserve’s Cape Fynbos Kingdom is a flora biodiversity hotspot with more than 740 different species of plants. The Eastern Cape encompasses the evergreen Tsitsikamma Forest, the rugged Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area and the arid Great Karoo. Pleasant year-round weather, miles of beach and easy access to a wide range of water sports make this a natural destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
Private Game Reserves: Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa, some 19,485 sq. km/7,523 sq. mi. Adjacent to Kruger are several leading private game reserves including Sabi Sands, Timbavati and Thorybush, which offer excellent game lodges and classic safari experiences. They share open boundaries with Kruger, which is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, an area designated by UNESCO as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve. Each private reserve has its own distinctive style and personality, and species found at each may vary by location and season. But, all are powerful models of sustainable tourism in action. The lodges and camps operate using environmentally friendly practices that help reduce negative impacts on the environment and local people. They’re goals are to insure conservation of biodiversity, protection of cultural heritage and add social and economic benefits to the local people that include education, employment and medical access.
Best Time to Go
Most of South Africa is subtropical, with temperatures warmed by ocean on three sides of the country, and the altitude of the interior plateau. The best time to travel depends on your interests. Spring lasts August to mid-October. Flowers are best seen August and September. Southern right whales migrate to the bays of the southern coast July to November. Summer, mid-October to early March, is hot and sunny, with afternoon thunderstorms that clear quickly. Autumn, mid-March to April, is a favorite time to visit when temperatures are comfortable. Winter, May to July or August, in the Northern provinces is dry and sunny, with crisp days and cold nights; but Cape Town is cool to warm with the possibility of rain. May through August is the prime time for spotting game, when the foliage is less dense. The high mountains in Drakensberg sometimes see snow in winter.
Day 1: Johannesburg, South Africa
Johannesburg is South Africa's industrial hub and gateway to the private game reserves.
Day 2: Johannesburg / Sabi Sands Game Reserve Sabi Sands has premier viewing of Africa’s wildlife including the big five - elephant, rhino, buffalo, leopard and lion.
Days 3/4: Sabi Sands Game Reserve The rhythm of safari life encompasses morning and afternoon games drives, guided bush walks and bird watching.
Day 5: Sabi Sands Game Reserve / Kalahari Private Game Reserve Kalahari Game Reserve in the Kalahari grasslands of the Northern Cape is the largest private game reserve in South Africa, and is the historical home of the San people.
Days 6/8: Kalahari Private Game Reserve Activities in this spectacular landscape include game viewing, stargazing, visiting ancient rock paintings and learning about the colonies of delightful meerkats.
Day 9: Kalahari Private Game Reserve / Cape Town Cradled by Table Mountain, Cape Town has immense charm and historical interest as well as a unique multi-cultural blend.
Day 10: Cape Town Table Mountain, Cape Peninsula, Castle of Good Hope, Malay Quarter, Robbin Island as well as fine dining and excellent wines are among the attractions in this cosmopolitan city.
Day 11: Cape Winelands The famous Winelands include the historic towns of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek as well as premier wine estates.
Day 12: Cape Peninsula Cape Peninsula region features beautiful seascapes and cliffs of Chapmans Peak, Cape of Good Hope National Park, the unique Cape Fynbos vegetation and famous Cape Point Lighthouse.
Day 13: Cape Town / Depart
Custom Tour Options
Garden Route (4 days)
Historic towns, lakes, rivers, dramatic cliffs and beaches dot the route along the Indian Ocean before it turns inland.
KwaZulu Natal (3 days)
This is the home to the Zulu Nation. Called the garden province, if offers a variety of distinctive explorations of the region.
Luxury Trains of South Africa (2-6 days)
South Africa is the home of two award-winning train journeys that offer unsurpassed luxury travel reminiscent of another era.
Malaria-Free Game Reserves (4 days)
Some of South Africa’s private game reserves have the benefit of being malaria free, an important consideration to families with young children or women who might be pregnant. Grootbos Nature Reserve, Madikwe Game Reserve and the Eastern Cape Region are some of the malaria free areas.
Private Game Reserves (4 days)
Private reserves play a vital role in the health of Southern Africa’s wildlife lands and providing quintessential big game safaris.
$750-$3000 per person, per day. Land only, double occupancy.