A comprehensive exploration of South Africa's unique combination of landscapes, cities and breathtaking wildernesses.
Guests are met upon arrival at O R Tambo International Airport, from where the World in One Country Tour travels east through the coal-rich Highveld and the rolling hills of Mpumalanga to the village of Dullstroom. The area surrounding Dullstroom is a windswept grassland, which is dominated by the 2 332m high "Die Berg" (the mountain), which is the highest point between the Limpopo and Vaal Rivers. A visit is made to the Dullstroom Bird Of Prey & Rehabilitation Center, which was established in 1997 in order to promote awareness of the raptor species and their growing plight as endangered species. Then it's on to the overnight destination of Mount Sheba. The forest surrounding Mount Sheba is home to a multitude of small creatures and birds. It has numerous carefully worn exquisite forest paths, which reveal the quiet grace of the flora and fauna.
The Mpumalanga Panorama Route is the focus of the day. Here visits are made to the Blyde River Gorge, dominated by the triplet peaks of the Three Rondavels,and Bourke's Luck, where the unique geological features of the potholes are admired. God's Window is then reached, a cleft in the edge of the escarpment from where magnificent views of the Lowveld can be enjoyed. God's Window is situated in a patch of indigenous forest where many flowering and aromatic plants flourish. A visit is also made to the historical mining village of Pilgrim's Rest. It is one of the most perfect examples of a mining town born during the excitement of an alluvial gold rush. Gold was discovered here in 1873 and the town was declared a national monument in 1986. Guests will enjoy a gold digging and panning demonstration before traveling to the overnight destination.
Splendid scenery abounds as the tour makes its way to the Shangana Cultural Village, where guests are led from the Marula Market by a trained guide. Your guide will explain how the Shangaan traditionally collect food from their environment and the way in which traditional farming is conducted. The route leads up to a traditional Shangaan village which is the residence of a headman, his wives and his children. In the village, some time is devoted to gaining some insight into the history and culture of the Shangaan.
Kruger is a short drive from the cultural village. The park is a world-renowned wildlife conservation site and offers some of the finest game viewing opportunities on the continent. Stretching across an African wilderness the size of Israel, Kruger is home to large concentrations of the Big Five and myriad other species. Enjoy game drives at your behest in the company of an experienced African Sky guide.
A morning safari is conducted by your experienced guide. He will check the sightings of the previous day that have been logged by various groups, as this will increase your chance of seeing a pride of lion on a recent kill, viewing the imposing white rhino or the elusive African wild dog in an area where it was recently spotted.
During the late afternoon, guests embark on a night safari with a Kruger Park ranger. The night safari makes possible sightings of creatures like spotted genet, serval and aardvark, which are rarely seen during the day. The large predators are nocturnal hunters and are in general more active during this period of the day.
The area is a paradise for the wildlife enthusiast, with close to 150 different mammal species, ranging from Brant's climbing mouse, weighing no more than a few grams, to the mighty African elephant, which can weigh up to 7 000kg. The identified bird species in the area number more than 500 and the area is blessed with an abundance of flora. An early morning and late afternoon game drive in the company of your experienced guide affords the opportunity to enjoy the natural treasures of this part of Africa. The unique insight and knowledge of the guide is sure to add to the enjoyment and understanding of the habits and behavior of the different species.
A last morning game drive in Kruger is followed by a late breakfast. The tour makes its way south, passing through Nelspruit, the capital of the Mpumalanga province , en route to the South African border with Swaziland at Oshoek. The tiny mountain Kingdom of Swaziland is one of the smallest self-contained sovereign states in the world. The Swazi are a friendly and colorful people who are renowned for their artistry. Before reaching the overnight destination set in the Ezulwini "Heaven Valley", we visit a local craft market and a Swazi candle maker.
It's off to an early start as the tour heads south. The Kingdom of Swaziland gives way to the rolling hills of KwaZulu-Natal and we enter the heart of the area which is home to the proud Zulu nation. Zululand was once led by the legendary King Shaka - one of Africa's greatest kings, who inspired fear and admiration in the hearts of his enemies and subjects alike. Shakaland is reached around lunch time. Shakaland is built on the site where the original Zulu clan settled in the 18th century. The village was also used in the epic Shaka Zulu film. The cultural experience highlights the traditional accommodation, food preparation and social structures which are traditionally adhered to by the Zulu. It is also a showcase for the traditional dress, weapons and dance of South Africa's warrior nation.
Guests are transferred to Durban International Airport for a flight to George. From George Airport, they are then transferred to their overnight destination of Knysna where the evening is spent at leisure.
The Outeniqua Mountains form the barrier which divides 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 the great valley which is known as the Little Karoo, with the Langeberge and Outeniqua ranges forming its boundary to the east and the Swartberg forming its western boundary.Your first stop is the Cango Caves, which lie in the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains. This great cave system is amongst the world’s largest and is blessed with elaborate drip stone formations, the highest of which stands 12.6m tall. The caves extend up to about 1600m into the limestone-rich hills and are a truly impressive sight. After a tasty lunch, guests will be taken on a short drive to an ostrich farm, where you focus on the farming of the largest of the world's birds. Great fortunes where built in the heyday of the industry when the 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, and the leather is a prized raw material in the production of fashion accessories. The brave can even endeavor an ostrich ride before we travel to the overnight destination.
After breakfast, the tour crosses the Knysna Lagoon by ferry to the Featherbed Nature Reserve. The reserve is a unique 150 ha private reserve which encompasses the entire Western Head of Knysna with spectacular views across the lagoon and the ocean as well as the treacherous passage between the two, which claimed many a ship during Knysna's days as an exporter of timber. The reserve is one of South Africa's heritage sites and is home to two of the Garden Route's natural icons, namely the Knysna Loerie and the blue duiker, one of Africa's smallest antelope species.
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 makes its way back to the overnight destination after a wonderfully relaxing afternoon.
After breakfast, the tour travels to the coastal city of Mossel Bay. It is here that the Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Diaz set foot on shore in 1488 and you will dedicate some time to visiting the museum which bears his name. The museum stands not far from the Milkwood Tree and fountain which served respectively as a post office and watering hole to seafarers in centuries past. Then it's on to the town of Swellendam, set in a well-watered valley at the foot of the Langeberge. Unique architecture and a visit to the Drostdy Museum, which housed the magistracy of the area and is today a fine period museum, are followed by a trip through wheat fields to Arniston. The village takes its name from a tragic shipwreck which occurred in these treacherous waters in 1815. The village is situated a stone's throw from the southern tip of Africa. The coastline surrounding it is noted for its bizarre marine erosions of which the most famous is Waenhuiskrans, an enormous cavern eroded from the cliffs.
After breakfast, the tour makes its way to Hermanus, South Africa's best known whale watching center. Here the southern right whale can potentially be spotted in Walker Bay on the shores of which the town of Hermanus is situated. These whales frequent the waters of South Africa's coastline during the months between June and November. They travel approximately 2000km from the Southern Ocean to give birth in the sheltered bays of our coastline. From Hermanus, the tour traces the spectacular coastal route via the towns of Betty's Bay and Rooi Els. Several stops are made at vantage points from where the whales may be spotted. Passing through Gordon's Bay, the tour then makes its way to Cape Town, the South African Mother City, set beneath the watchful facade of Table Mountain.
The day is spent exploring one of the world's most beautiful cities. Table Mountain, arguably the most famous natural landmark in South Africa, is first on the agenda. From Table Mountain, one of the most impressive views of the world can be enjoyed. You also visit the world famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, which had its origins when the mining magnate Cecil Rhodes donated the land to the people of South Africa. The garden is home to 4 000 of the 18 000 species of flora which are found in South Africa and creates a most remarkable display.
The Cape winelands are the focus of the day as the tour makes its way along the N2 to Somerset West, where you visit the Vergelegen Estate set on a hill not far from town. This wine estate is steeped in history and still produces some of South Africa's finest wines. A short introduction to wine-making by a local expert is followed by an opportunity to sample some of South Africa's finest. The rest of the day is devoted to visiting some of the other fine wine estates in the area before returning to Cape Town during the late afternoon.
Your trip to Robben Island begins with an informative video screening at the V&A Waterfront, after which you will board a ferry. The ferry ride is around half an hour long, with beautiful views of the mountain and city enriching the voyage. A sobering visit to the cell where Nelson Mandela spent the majority of his 27 years in prison will prove the highlight of the excursion. The duration of the Robben Island excursion, including the return ferry trip, is about four hours, which would bring guests back to the V&A waterfront around lunch time. Guests are then transferred to Cape Town International Airport for a flight back to their country of origin after enjoying the World in One Country Tour, one of our most comprehensive South Africa tours.
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