All the wonders of the coastal Garden Route, the sub-tropical province of KwaZulu-Natal, the mountainous Kingdom of Swaziland and animal kingdom of the Kruger National Park are included in this program. Look forward to a 4x4 trailer ride in the Tsitsikamma forest, a visit to a Swazi village and game-viewing while driving through the Kruger National Park in open safari vehicles.
Day 1: Meet your tour leader, driver and traveling companions at the Holiday Inn Waterfront, Cape Town at 8am. At 8:30 am travel up the coast to Mossel Bay, the start of the Garden Route, where a seafood lunch awaits you. Visit the Post Office Tree used by Portuguese navigators in days gone by and learn more about their voyages of discovery at the Diaz Museum. Turn inland and head into the Little Karoo for Oudtshoorn, the world's ostrich-feather capital. See first hand the predatory nature of the inhabitants of the Cheetah and Crocodile Ranch. Explore the town at your own pace; look out for the ostrich palaces still standing as monuments of the feather boom. Overnight: Holiday Inn Garden Court Oudtshoorn or similar. Includes: (L).
Day 2: Savor the splendor of nature's secret treasures on a guided tour of the Cango Caves, South Africa's wonder land of countless dripstone formations. Afterwards, take in a conducted tour of the paddocks and incubator houses of an ostrich farm; cheer on your favorite ostrich jockey at the races or even try out a ride for yourself! Sample an ostrich steak for lunch before boarding the coach for the trip to George, a parkland and garden town nestled on a coastal plateau. After an orientation drive through the town follow a necklace of bays, beaches, cliffs and capes to Wilderness, a honeymooner's paradise where you will spend the night. Overnight: Holiday Inn Garden Court Wilderness or similar. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 3: Catch the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe steam train at the George station and soak up the spectacular scenery as you chug through forests and along the seashore to Knysna, a resort of great beauty. Board the John Benn awaiting your arrival on the Knysna lagoon wharf and cruise out towards the Knysna Heads where high sandstone cliffs mark the entrance to the mighty Indian Ocean. End an orientation drive through the town with a sample of Knysna oysters, a local delicacy of great repute. Overnight: Keurbooms River Lodge or similar. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 4: Journey to the breathtakingly beautiful indigenous forests and rugged shorelines of the Tsitsikamma National Park. Highlights of the day include a 4x4 drive down the old Storms River Pass, lunch on the river banks and a visit to the Big Tree deep in the heart of the forests. Arriving in the afternoon, spend some time exploring South Africa's Friendly City, Port Elizabeth. Overnight: Holiday Inn Garden Court King's Beach or similar. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 5: An orientation drive in Port Elizabeth introduces you to the major attractions: Fort Frederick, the Donkin Reserve, the Snake Park and Oceanarium, (entrance fees not included). Take off from the Port Elizabeth Airport at midday and arrive in Durban where another Luxliner tour leader and driver will welcome you. Depart on a Durban city orientation drive before checking in at your hotel. The afternoon is yours to spend at leisure; enjoy the beach; shop for curios or simply relax. Overnight: Holiday Inn Garden Court Marine Parade or similar. Includes: (B).
Day 6: This morning travel up the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal, through South Africa's sugar country. Endless cane fields, hills, valleys and battlefields mark your journey through this exotic territory lined with palms and vivid flowering plants such as the hibiscus. A late lunch awaits your arrival at Hluhluwe, named from the Zulu word for the thorny monkey ropes that grow in the riverine forest. Experience first hand the traditions and customs of the Zulu nation at a Zulu Cultural Village. Then sit back and look out for wildlife from the comfort of an open vehicle on a dusk game drive through a private game reserve. Overnight: Zulu Nyala Heritage Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Cross the border at Golela into the landlocked kingdom of Swaziland. Feast your eyes on deep valleys, steep gradients, vast forests and rushing rivers on the way to your hotel in the Swazi Sun Valley Resort. Visit a local factory en route and choose a unique candle to always remind you of Swaziland. This afternoon take advantage of a round of golf, a horse ride, a session in the spa, a tennis, bowls or squash match at the hotel or simply relax. Dine in style at the Terrace Restaurant at the country's premier hotel, the Royal Swazi Sun. Overnight: Ezulwini Sun or similar. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 8: After an orientation drive and a curio shopping opportunity at the roadside markets travel to the pleasant town of Manzini. Visit the Mantega Swazi craft market where carvings, pottery, mats, beadwork and many other items are on offer. Return to the hotel at midday. This afternoon experience Swazi traditions and customs first hand at the Mantega Swazi Cultural Village and marvel at the glass creations of the world famous Ngwenya glass factory. Tour members preferring to spend the day at leisure at the hotel are welcome to do so. Overnight: Ezulwini Sun or similar. Includes: (B).
Day 9: Travel via the administrative, forestry and former mining center of Pigg's Peak high in the mountains to Jeppe's Reef on the South African/Swaziland border. Lunch en route to Nelspruit, the capital city of the province of Mpumalanga. Check into your hotel and prepare for a late afternoon or early evening game drive in the Kruger National Park. Bigger than Israel or Wales, the Kruger National Park is home to more than 146 mammal species, 507 bird species and 400 different trees. Overnight: Hazyview Protea Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 10: The Panorama Route will enchant you with vistas of the Olifants River Valley, the eastern lowveld and the spectacular Blyde River Canyon. Scenic highlights of the trip include extraordinary potholes and rock formations known as Bourke's Potholes, named after the owner of Bourke's Luck, the site of a once profitable gold mine and God's Window, a majestic view across the lowveld to Mozambique. Stop at Pilgrim's Rest, a village practically unchanged since the Gold Rush and soak up history, folklore and curios galore. Drink in the splendour of the twin waterfalls of the Mac Mac River en route to your hotel. Overnight: Hazyview Protea Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 11: Equipped with a packed breakfast, your camera and plenty of sunscreen, set off at sunrise in an open vehicle for a full day's game viewing in the Kruger National Park. Take a break, and enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the Park's many picnic spots. The afternoon ends with a return trip to your hotel and leisure time. Overnight: Hazyview Protea Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 12: Your final day begins with breakfast and departure for Johannesburg via the towns of Machadodorp, home to a radioactive spring reputed to have powerful healing qualities, Witbank where coal virtually bursts out of the ground and Middelburg on the banks of the Klein Olifants River. The tour ends with drop-offs at major hotels in Sandton and at the Johannesburg International Airport if required. Includes: (B).
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Africa South Africa Nature & Wildlife National Parks
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