Travel across Southern Africa on a luxury expedition that couples natural drama, breathtaking wilderness and city splendor.
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Guests will be met on arrival at Cape Town International and transferred to their hotel. Cape Town is set in an area regarded by many as one of the most beautiful in the world. The impressive presence of Table Mountain, flanked by Devil's Peak and Lion's Head, stands proudly above the city. Beautiful white sandy beaches along a stunning coastline frame the Cape Peninsula, which is famed for its unique floral kingdom, bountiful rivers, and magnificent countryside. During the afternoon, guests will be taken by cable car to the top of Table Mountain, where you will enjoy a spectacular view of the Cape Peninsula, Robben Island and Lions Head, with your African Sky guide pointing out many interesting facts about the mountain and the various areas that can be viewed from its summit.
After a sumptuous breakfast, guests will be taken on a breathtaking drive along Chapman's Peak. This road hugs the near-vertical face of Chapman's Peak between Hout Bay and Noordhoek. The road leads to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Cape Point. In the nature reserve, we visit the point, where the stormy waters of the Atlantic are said to be met by the calming influence of the Indian Ocean. On the return journey to Cape Town, we visit the towns of Simons Town and Muizenberg, both set along the shores of False Bay. A visit is also made to Boulders Beach, an attractive secluded haven comprising a tumble of huge round boulders on a sandy shore. The boulders are ideal vantage points to observe the antics of the colony of mainland-based African penguins. From here the tour makes it's way back to the overnight accommodation.
The focus of the morning excursion is Robben Island. For nearly 400 years, this infamous island was a place of banishment, exile, isolation, and imprisonment. It was here that rulers sent those that they regarded as political troublemakers, social outcasts and the unwanted of society. The most well-known of political prisoners is former president Nelson Mandela, who was imprisoned here by the apartheid government. The island is a living museum and is reached by a return boat trip leaving from the waterfront (half an hour each way). It is a World Heritage Site, and your guided tour around the museum is conducted by an ex-inmate and is an experience not to be missed. The afternoon is spent relaxing on the V&A Waterfront before enjoying a sunset cruise in Table Bay.
First, on the agenda of the day are the oldest gardens in South Africa - the Company Gardens. They were established in early 1652 by Jan van Riebeeck as a vegetable garden and were originally closer to the coast. In an effort to plant in more fertile soil and on ground sheltered from the wind, he moved his garden with its northern boundary to where Wale Street is today, and this is where it remains. The large public park and botanical garden are home to a rose garden, Japanese garden, fish pond, and aviary.
We then visit the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and District Six. Kirstenbosch is nestled at the foot of Table Mountain and includes a large, indoor greenhouse exhibiting plants from a number of different regions, including savanna, fynbos, Karoo and other biomes. Outdoors, the focus moves to plants native to the Cape region, highlighted by the beautiful collections of proteas. Some time is then allotted for lunch before visiting the District Six Museum, so named after the sixth municipal district of Cape Town. It was established in 1867. Originally a mixed community of freed slaves, merchants, artisans, laborers and immigrants, District Six was a vibrant center with close links to the city and port. By the beginning of the twentieth century, however, the history of removals and marginalization had begun. The first to be 'resettled' were black South Africans, displaced from the district in 1901. As the more prosperous moved away to the suburbs, the area became the neglected ward of Cape Town. The museum will offer insight into the history of the area.
Breakfast is followed by a visit to the town of Stellenbosch, one of South Africa's oldest and most beautiful towns. The town boasts magnificent architecture and sits at the heart of one of the most important wine producing regions in South Africa. Some time is devoted to walking down the oak-lined Dorp Street, where your guide will provide some insight into the history of the region. A stop is made at "Oom Samie se Winkel", a general dealer which dates back to 1904. The tour then leaves town to explore two of the magnificent wine estates in the region. Here fine wines are produced on estates established as long ago as 1692. The winemaking process, from the planting and harvesting of grapes to the fermenting and bottling of the final product, is explained by a local expert. You will also have the opportunity to sample some of the fine wines before traveling on to your overnight destination located in Franschhoek.
The French Huguenots, fleeing religious persecution in their native land brought with them knowledge of viticulture when they started arriving in the Cape as early as 1671. Upon receiving land from the Dutch East India Company, many vineyards were established and are today still producing some of the world's finest wines. Today we will spend some time exploring the town of Franschhoek and the memorial erected in memory of these settlers, before visiting three local wine estates situated in the fertile valley surrounding Franschhoek, where the process of winemaking is explained and some of South Africa's finest - sampled. Franschhoek is known to be the home of some of the top restaurants in South Africa and this, along with its strong wine culture and pristine natural and architectural beauty, has made Franschhoek into what many have described as the "food and wine capital of South Africa".
An early breakfast is followed by a flight from Cape Town to Skukuza. Guests will be met on arrival at the Skukuza airport and transferred to their luxury lodge in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve. Sabi Sand shares its atmosphere of adventure and romance, inherited from the days of the safari traders, hunters, prospectors and transport riders. The fence between the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve and the Kruger National Park was taken down decades ago to create one of the largest wildlife conservation areas in Africa. Check in at the lodge, lunch and some time for relaxation is followed by a first, afternoon game drive on open 4X4 vehicles accompanied by local rangers and trackers.
Two daily game drives and a bush walk will bring guests close to the famous African Big Five and the many other mammal species that inhabit this part of Africa. The game experiences are led by experienced local rangers and trackers. Game drives take place during periods of increased activity; during the early morning and late afternoon and evening.
The Sabi Sand is internationally known for its high frequency of leopard sightings, arguably the best in Africa. These compelling cats are habituated to the presence of vehicles and very close encounters are now often the norm. Their close cousins, the impressive lion, are also common and there is no experience more thrilling than a pride of lions bringing down its quarry. Sabi Sand also protects the endangered white rhino and its more aggressive cousin, the black or hooked-lipped rhinoceros, as well as their other Big Five counterparts, the elephant and Cape buffalo. Sightings of impala, zebra, giraffe, warthog, waterbuck, nyala and wildebeest occur frequently. African wild dog and cheetah, once uncommon, are now recent additions to the predator hierarchy and are often spotted.
A last morning game drive and breakfast will be followed by a transfer to Skukuza and a flight to Johannesburg. On arrival, you'll be transferred to your accommodation in the affluent suburb of Sandton, the name of which is an amalgamation of its two districts, Sandown and Bryanston. The late afternoon will be spent at leisure, enjoying a drink at one of the fine restaurants found in Mandela Square or visiting some of the numerous shops in the area.
After breakfast, guests will be returned to O.R. Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg) for a flight to the town of Livingstone in Zambia. Guests will be met on arrival at Livingstone Airport, from where we visit the Livingstone Museum en route to the hotel. The town was established in 1905 by the British South Africa Company and bears the name of the famous missionary explorer, Sir David Livingstone. The museum houses the largest collection of Livingstone's letters and journals. It bears testament to the legacy of this legendary man who spent more than half his life in Africa, bringing the gospel and speaking out against the horrific slave trade. Following the museum visit guests, are transferred to their hotel where the late afternoon is spent at leisure.
The morning will start with breakfast, after which guests will visit the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, from where different views of the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls are enjoyed. The unusual form of the falls enables virtually its entire width to be viewed face-on from as close as 60 meters, as the Zambezi River drops into a deep, narrow gorge. On our way back to the hotel, we visit the village of Chief Mukuni and his people. Chief Mukuni jointly rules the Victoria Falls region with his queen, Be Dyango. The Mukuni monarch practices a dual kingship system following both male and female lineages. Because of this dual-rule arrangement, which is present even at the village level, the gender imbalance is on a comparatively small scale in this culture. The visit will offer guests a better understanding of how the Chief and Queen manage the lives of their approximately 7 000 subjects.
The morning is devoted to an elephant-back safari in a wilderness area not far from Livingstone. An experienced elephant minder will accompany each elephant and client. Upon mounting the elephants, the safari begins. View game and savor the experience of riding silently through the African bush atop a gigantic pachyderm. Your safari ends with a short training session and interaction with the elephants and is followed by a late breakfast or early lunch. Guests then return to the hotel where they are met during the late afternoon for a sunset cruise on the mighty Zambezi River. View game coming to the water’s edge for a late afternoon drink, as the setting sun creates a splendid display of warm colors over one of Africa's finest wilderness areas.
A leisurely breakfast is followed by a transfer to Livingstone Airport and from there a connecting flight to Johannesburg. Guests will be met on arrival in Johannesburg and are then assisted in transferring to an international return flight to their country of origin, or, alternatively, are transferred to any location of their choice in either Johannesburg or Pretoria. Memories of an exclusive Southern African experience are sure to be painted in your memories forever.
Experience the 'world in one country' on an expertly guided private tour.
Relish luxury accommodations and personal attention during a luxury tour of South Africa.
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