Relish an exclusive journey across Southern Africa's various coastlines and bewitching wilderness areas.
Guests will be met on arrival at O R Tambo International and transferred to the Lombardy Hotel, set in a country estate on the outskirts of Pretoria, South Africa's capital city. The remainder of the day is spent relaxing after your long journey. During the early evening, guests are invited to a traditional South African BBQ with their hosts - the first port of call on the Ultimate South Africa Tour.
Guests are transferred to O R Tambo Airport for a flight to the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve. The reserve is a prime wildlife habitat and its eastern border forms part of the western boundary of the two million hectare Greater Kruger National Park, one of the world's premier conservation areas. The lodge is located in the pristine wilderness of the Sabi Sand Private Reserve. Two 4x4 safari game drives are conducted on a daily basis, in the company of the lodge’s professional rangers and trackers. Sabi Sand is known for its frequency of leopard sightings.
It is off to an early start as coffee and rusks are enjoyed in the dining area before embarking on a morning safari in South Africa's premier private reserve. During the period shortly following sunrise, the bush comes alive with the sound of bird song, indicating the start of another day in the African wilderness. The various mammals begin to relax after the tensions of the night when they are at their most vulnerable to the predators in the area. The morning game drive is followed by some time for relaxation, after which guests may enjoy the opportunity of experiencing a bush walk in the company of an armed ranger. The late afternoon is once again devoted to an open 4x4 safari which extends into the evening.
The ever-changing moods of this land will capture your soul as the day is once again devoted to exploring this wilderness area from the back of open 4x4 vehicles or on foot during a bush walk. The lesser creatures of the land, though not as well-known, contribute as much to the ecosystem as any other. Great delight may often be found in witnessing these creatures as they go about their daily routines. This protected wilderness area is a treasure over which we should be wise custodians.
A last morning safari in the Sabi Sand is followed by a transfer to a local airstrip, where guests board a charter flight heading for Phinda in the northern part of the KwaZulu-Natal province. The reserve is unique in the fact that its 18 500 hectares encompasses seven distinct ecosystems. It borders the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and is home to an abundance of wildlife, including the Big Five. Arrival at the Phinda Private Game Reserve is followed by lunch and some time for relaxation before enjoying a first afternoon safari in this reserve.
Your safari activities in Phinda may include traditional safaris in open 4x4 vehicles, motorized river cruises, canoe trips and insightful bush walks. The reserve’s host of capable rangers and trackers will ensure the best possible sightings in this wildlife-rich utopia.
A last morning game drive at Phinda is followed by breakfast. Guests are then transferred along the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast to Zimbali. Zimbali is the finest coastal resort in South Africa and is set in lush vegetation along the shores of the Indian Ocean. The resort offers many different entertainment options, not least being a championship golf course, which is regarded as one of the finest in KwaZulu-Natal.
The day is spent at leisure. The North Coast is a favorite for both local and international visitors, because of its warm coastal climate, miles of beach and summer sunshine. The area has many beautiful swimming beaches, great waves for surfing, myriad tidal pools to explore and excellent fishing spots
The day is spent at leisure. There are many activities you may indulge in, like tennis, horse riding, birding and butterfly watching. Alternatively you may treat yourself to a deserving and relaxing visit to the Health Spa, where a range of therapies are available. There are four rooms for body treatments. Facials, manicures, pedicures, massages and a Health Hydro Shower are all on offer.
After breakfast, guests are transferred to Durban for a flight to George. On arrival, guests enjoy one of two boat cruises departing from the Plettenberg Bay docks: either the Discovery Cruise, where guests will typically look for dolphins and visit the seal colony on the Robberg Peninsula, or the Premium Cruise, which is offered in whale season (May to November). Should whales be encountered on the trip, the boat will not approach to a distance of closer than 300 meters. The main focus of these cruises is to find whales and dolphins, and if time permits a visit to the seal colony will also be on the agenda. The afternoon will lead the tour to the Knysna Elephant Sanctuary. The sanctuary provides a safe haven for African elephants and offers an interactive elephant experience. Enjoy the famous Knysna forest alongside the African elephants on a guided nature walk at elephant pace. Upon completing the elephant experience, the tour makes its way to your overnight accommodations.
The Outeniqua Mountains form the barrier dividing the semi-arid interior from the lush coastal plains of the Garden Route. The tour crosses this barrier via the Outeniqua Pass to Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world. The town is situated in a great valley known as the Little Karoo, with the Langeberge and Outeniqua ranges forming its boundary to the east, and the Swartberg forming its western boundary. Our first stop is at the Cango Caves, which lie in the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains. This great cave system is amongst the largest in the world and is blessed with elaborate drip stone formations, the highest of which stands 12.6m tall. The caves extend to about 1600m deep into the limestone-rich hills and are truly an impressive sight. Lunch is followed by a short drive to an ostrich farm, where we focus on the farming of the world’s largest birds. Great fortunes were built in the heyday of the industry, when ostrich feathers where prized fashion accessories. Today the meat, with its delicious low fat content, is sought-after in a world evermore preoccupied with healthy living. The leather is a prized raw material in the production of fashion accessories. The brave may even endeavor an ostrich ride before we make our way back to the overnight accommodations.
After breakfast, the tour crosses the Knysna Lagoon by ferry to the Featherbed Nature Reserve. This unique 150 ha private nature reserve encompasses the entire western head and affords spectacular views across the lagoon and the ocean, as well as the treacherous passage between the two heads, which claimed many a ship during Knysna's days as an exporter of timber. The reserve is one of South Africa's heritage sites. It is home to two of the Garden Route's icons, namely the Knysna Loerie and the Blue Duiker, one of Africa's smallest species of antelope.
The afternoon brings the tour to Plettenberg Bay, where the finest beaches in the Garden Route offer the perfect sunning experience. Relax in the sun or brave the waves of the Indian Ocean. The tour then makes its way back to the overnight destination after a wonderfully relaxing afternoon.
The tour travels south to the town of Swellendam, situated at the foot of the Langeberg, arguably one of the most scenically impressive ranges in South Africa. Some time spent exploring this historical town is followed by a journey to the coastal town of Hermanus, which is the best place in the world from which to enjoy land-based whale watching during the months between June and November. The late afternoon is spent at leisure relaxing on the shores of Walker Bay.
The Heaven and Earth Valley, situated a stone's throw from Hermanus, combines ideal soil and climatic conditions to produce the finest Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in South Africa. We devote some time to visiting two of the finest wineries in the area, namely Hamilton & Russell and Bouchard Finlayson. Upon completion of the wine tour, we make our way back to Hermanus, where the afternoon is devoted to exploring the coastline surrounding Hermanus before enjoying sundowners at Onrus Lagoon.
The Kleinmond Lagoon, the largest in South Africa, is viewed shortly after leaving Hermanus as we travel en route to South Africa's Mother City. We follow the coastal route as it traverses the towns of Betty's Bay and Rooi Els before reaching the national highway at Gordon's Bay. From here we make our way to the hotel, situated on Cape Town's famous Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.
We devote the day to experiencing some of the highlights which have made Cape Town one of the world's most visited cities. Table Mountain, which towers over the city and is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, is first on the agenda. A cable car ride to the top of the mountain affords some wonderful views of the city and the surrounding peninsula. Some time is then devoted to the history of the city as the tour visits the Company's Gardens and the Cape Castle, both of which have played a pivotal role in the establishment many years ago.
The wine-producing region of the Boland is situated about 40 minutes from Cape Town. The region is home to some of the finest architecture in the country and also creates the backdrop to some of the country's most beautiful and historically significant towns. We visit the towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek and devote some time to enjoying two or three of the region's best sellers, where some of South Africa's finest wines may be sampled. The wine-producing region is one of the highlights of this South African tour.
After a morning spent at leisure shopping at the waterfront or just relaxing by the pool, guests are transferred to Cape Town International Airport for a flight back to their country of origin after a memorable luxury Ultimate South Africa Tour.
Four star adventures enhanced by the company of a private African Sky guide.
Plush five star tours that combine South Africa's highlights with fine lodgings.
Tour South Africa while relishing the cream of the crop of the country's accommodations.
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