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Splendid South Africa

The beautiful South African Savanna

A land of varied landscapes, the South African savanna is a nature lover’s paradise. © Outdoor Africa

The crown jewel of Africa, South Africa enchants with a wealth of untouched wildlife, a diverse population, and great natural resources of unending beauty.

This nation is home to a multi-cultural blend of 55 million people of diverse origins, cultures, languages, and religions. Also, there is an amazing array of diverse ecosystems within its borders, from the lush coastlines and verdant winelands to the desert sands of the Kalahara and the vast grasslands in between.

 Journey with Small Footprint Travels as we heed the call of the wild and venture on safari. Some of the continent’s best viewing parks are in South Africa and we will take you to them. Keep your binoculars ready as we travel the golden savannahs in search of the Big Five — the Lion, Elephant, Leopard, Water Buffalo & Rhinoceros.

The diversity of the nation extends to its people and to their history. A tempting land to 15th century foreign powers, Portugal, Britain and Holland all left their mark. The effects of the tumultuous history have been felt ever since. In 1961, South Africa threw off the mantle of colonialism and became an independent republic, but the white supremacist policies of the National Party forced the young nation into an ugly period of apartheid.

Over the next three decades, South Africa would experience rising inequality, riots, and increasingly violent terrorist attacks, until Nelson Mandela was finally freed from an unjust 27-year prison sentence and the National Party was forced to hold the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. Today, the “Rainbow Nation” is celebrated for its multicultural identity and unique blend of peoples and cultures. Come listen to the melodic counterpoint that rings so uniquely true in South Africa, where the comforting tones of a developed, westernized nation intermingle with the exotic harmonies of the open wilderness.

View Detailed Itinerary Below

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Detailed Itinerary

Early Arrivals – Arrive King Shaka International Airport (Durban)

After long flights to reach South Africa, we recommend arriving a day early in Durban. Spend the night at  the Africa Regent Guest House (not included). Have dinner and settle in for a nice night’s sleep. You will awake fresh and ready for your South African adventure.

South African Rhinos

The rhinoceros is one of the Big Five of the animal kingdom in South Africa. © Outdoor Africa

Day One.   Durban to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve

We  depart in the morning for Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Game Reserve, famed for its abundant bird and animal life. Hluhluwe/iMfolozi is set in the heart of Zululand, and is the oldest game reserve in Africa. This is where Zulu kings such as Dingiswayo and Shaka hunted and put in place the first conservation laws, and where today the “Big five” of African legend stalk the verdant savannah. The Park became world renowned for its white rhino conservation methods implemented during the 1950s & 1960s. We will enjoy an afternoon game drive, if possible.

Lodging: Hilltop Camp

Meals Included:  Dinner

 

Day Two.  Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Game Reserve

Today we will have morning and afternoon game drives in Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Game Reserve.

The wide range of plant life in the park gives rise to a diversity of mammals, bird life, reptiles and amphibians. The Big Five – Lion, Rhino (back & white), Elephant, Buffalo, and Leopard are all to be seen in the park, as well as a variety of other species, including Cheetah, Wild dog, and Giraffe. It is also one of the best places in the world to see Nyala–the spiral horned antelope. Hluhluwe is characterized by hilly topography, and this northern section of the park is noted for its wide variety of both bird and animal life.

Lodging: Hilltop Camp

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

South African buffalo

A South African buffalo. © Outdoor Africa

Day Three.  Depart for Somkhanda Game Reserve

After breakfast, we will set out for Somkhanda Game Reserve. En route we will visit a local village market known as Zamimpilo Community Market.

The Somkhanda Game Reserve is where the Gumbi Tribe won a successful land claim over a substantial tract of prime Zululand bushveld ( sub-tropical woodland eco-region). As a result, there was the consolidation of a number of privately owned game and hunting ranches into a 30,000 acre game reserve. This magnificent Zululand wildlife reserve, being ideal habitat for white and black rhino, was identified by the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project as being suitable for the introduction of a founder population of this rare and endangered species. We will enjoy an afternoon game drive!

In the evening, we will get to experience a traditional cooking class! Join us as we learn the art of a South African Braai or South African Poetjie. We will learn from one of Somkhanda’s local resident chefs on how to prepare and cook (over an open fire) one of these classic South African meals best cooked when out in the bush! Enjoy the spoils of your work under the beautiful South African sky!

Lodging: Kudu Lodge.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Cooking class with Braai Dinner

South African hippopotamus

A South African hippopotamus refreshes himself in a river.  © Outdoor Africa

Day Four.  Traditional Homestay

Today will be a full day’s cultural experience in the Zonyama Village located in the Zulu nation.

The Zulu nation is one of the most iconic in Africa and has stirred hearts and imaginations around the globe for over 300 years. There is no better way of learning about a new culture than working and playing alongside them by day and staying in their homes at night. This opportunity ensures that each visitor to this remote, rural community experiences an authentic cultural adventure, while at the same time, enriching the lives of the community they are visiting.

The Zonyama people are neighbors and beneficiaries of the community owned Somkhanda Game Reserve. African Insight received a personal invitation from the Induna (Headman) to work with them to set up a residential experience for overseas visitors. Having hosted numerous groups over a period of 3 years, guests have an assurance of safety and hospitality that will make this the highlight on their African experience.

Participants that are willing to be outside of their normal ‘comfort zones’ in terms of the many modern conveniences we take for granted, will have a truly authentic cultural experience. It is therefore important to appreciate that nothing is contrived to make this comply with any form of tourism or hospitality industry ‘code’. During the day, appointed community ‘chaperones’ will facilitate a varied program that will expose participants to the community’s traditional way of life, culture, belief systems, and much more. At night, participants can expect to be overwhelmed by genuine, heartfelt hospitality – the likes of which has vanished in many western cultures today.

Activities on this day may include: collecting firewood/water for household use, creating Zulu crafts, working vegetable gardens, learning about traditional medicinal plants and their uses, helping with food preparation for meals, and storytelling in the evenings.

Lodging: Homestay in Zonyama Village*.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

* For participants that would prefer to stay in the Kudu Lodge overnight, this can be arranged for an additional cost.

 

Day Five.  Depart Somkhanda Game Reserve for Tembe Elephant Park.

Morning departure for Tembe Elephant Park.

Tembe Elephant Park is situated in the north eastern region of KwaZulu Natal, now known as the Elephant Coast. This reserve was established in 1983 to protect the last remaining herds of “free-ranging” Elephant in South Africa, known as the “Great Tuskers”. These herds migrated seasonally between Mozambique and the north of Zululand; however they faced constant harassment over the border, and preferred to stay in the dense Sand Forest thickets of Tembe.

South African Elephant

A South African elephant

Tembe is one of the few places left in South Africa where the true African wilderness experience can still be enjoyed. We will enjoy an afternoon game drive in Tembe Elephant Park.

Royal Thonga Safari Lodge is the culmination of a dream of the local community, private investors, and the Royal Tembe Development Foundation to create a natural paradise for visitors to this unique reserve. The lodge is architecturally designed to emulate the local Tonga building style, and each of the fourteen chalets are uniquely positioned to offer guests total privacy and luxurious comfort within a sand forest in Tembe Elephant Park.

Natural materials and timber give a warm organic ambience and invite the outdoors in – all rooms are appointed with quality furnishings and bathrooms come complete with an indoor and private outdoor shower for those whom enjoy immersing themselves in their surroundings in rare solitude and perfect tranquility.

Overnight Royal Thonga Safari Lodge.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Six.   Tembe Elephant Park & Local Community

Your guide will be on hand for a morning departure to visit to the local Sangoma. A Sangoma is a traditional healer and revered member of the Tsonga society, whom practices rituals including divination, healing, and protection. For those interested, we may sit with the Sangoma and look to the ancestors for guidance.

On return to Tembe we will visit a local Thonga village and school (if in session) in order to experience some more of the local Tembe/Thonga culture. Lunch will be enjoyed at a local “shisanyama”, which is a local barbecue.

Overnight Royal Thonga Safari Lodge.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day Seven.  Tembe Elephant Park

Today will be set aside for further exploring of Tembe Elephant Park. Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives, culminating in your final sundowner to toast the setting sun on your time in the South African bush!

Overnight Royal Thonga Safari Lodge.

Included: Breakfast, Dinner

One of the most beautiful cities in the world is Cape Town, South Africa

Beautiful Cape Town, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.

Day Eight.  Flight to Cape Town

Morning departure for King Shaka International Airport for your flight* to Cape Town.

Upon arrival in Cape Town, time permitting, you will be taken for a visit to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

Kirstenbosch is South Africa’s world-famous national botanical garden, set against the backdrop of Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak, and home to more than 22,000 indigenous plants. Kirstenbosch is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.

The Gardens were established in 1913 to protect the immense floral wealth of the Cape. Located on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, this 1,305 acre botanical wonderland is magnificent in any season. Paved paths make walking around a pleasure, and plaques and signboards provide information on the trees and plants.

Overnight Underberg Guesthouse (or similar as available).

Meals Included: Breakfast

 

Day Nine.  Cape Town and Surrounds

Today will be set aside for a visit to Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. We depart in the morning for the Cape Peninsula where we will travel via Platinum Mile to the picturesque harbor village of Hout Bay and pay a visit to the Mariner’s Wharf before continuing to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve via the famous Chapman’s Peak Drive (if open). We will take the Funicular trip to the top of Cape Point for breathtaking coastal views.

Time permitting, the drive will end off with a visit to the African Penguin Colony.

Overnight Underberg Guesthouse.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Cape Town landscape

Lovely landscape outside of Cape Town, South Africa.

Day 10.  Cape Town at leisure

We will have two glorious days to enjoy the offerings of Cape Town at leisure. If you would like free time to be on your own, we can make recommendations as to optional activities apart from the group.

We have designed two days with interesting places to see and people to meet. These activities are included in the tour price and will make it easier for you to make the most of your time with us in this beautiful city.

On Saturday morning we will explore some of the beautiful sights and amazing history of central Cape Town, which is one of the world’s most beautiful cities and most livable urban areas. Saturday will offer us a chance to visit the once-a-week colorful and thriving Neighbourgood Market. This market began in 2006 with a vision of reviving the community market as a social institution. Housed in the historic warehouse of The Old Biscuit Mill, the market is a celebration of the urban renaissance of a once dilapidated neighborhood turned into the thriving heart of Cape Town’s finest micro-merchants, designer-makers, specialty producers and food-alchemists.

Next we will go to The Company’s Garden, which is referred to as the “green lung” of Cape Town. Located in the middle of the central area, this is South Africa’s oldest garden, started by settlers in 1650 as fertile land on which to grow fresh produce for the ships rounding the Cape to India and beyond. The Garden is rich with a variety of sights ranging from the varied flora and fauna to historical settings to the South African National Gallery. We will enjoy lunch at a restaurant in the Garden.

In the afternoon there is free time and we will have suggestions, depending on your interests. The evening is free and we will make recommendations for dinner followed by a music/bar venue.

Overnight Underberg Guesthouse.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 11.  Cape Town at leisure

On Sunday morning, we will go on a Township Tour. A township is the name for one of the many areas in South Africa that were designated for black and mixed race Africans during the Apartheid era. Originally dormitory towns for men brought into the cities to work in factories, mines and other industries, subsequently wives and children were permitted to join their husbands. Today, townships are essentially suburbs of the bigger cities.

Our tour will be guided by a local guide from the township who will provide us with a close-up experience of how the residents really live. We are welcome as visitors and our presence helps the local businesses and economy. It is an experience you will treasure and remember for years to come.

In the afternoon we will take the ferry across the bay to visit Robben Island, the location of the jail in which Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. We will be led by a guide who was a former prisoner at the jail and will visit Nelson Mandela’s cell, which is a moving experience when one fully realizes the impact Mandela had on South Africa and the world. On the return we will enjoy dinner at the Victoria & Albert (V&A) waterfront area, which offers restaurants and eateries overlooking the harbor.

Overnight Underberg Guesthouse.

Included: Breakfast

Cape Town Winelands

Cape Town Winelands offer a perfect environment for grape growing and making outstanding wines.

Day 12 – Cape Town to Cape Winelands

The morning will be set aside for an ascent of Table Mountain (please note that the ascent of Table Mountain may be interchanged for any of the days spent in Cape Town, as the ascent is weather dependent).

The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway takes visitors to the summit of Table Mountain in under 10 minutes. The cable car’s rotating floor and huge windows ensure that all passengers get a 360-degree aerial view as they head up the mountain.

The two cable cars in operation take 5 to 10 minutes to reach the top of Table Mountain, traveling at a speed of about 10m (33ft) per second. The height of Table Mountain (at its highest point) is 1085m (3560ft) and the views from the top reach all the way to Robben Island and beyond.

Table Mountain is known for its rich biodiversity and is home to about 2000 species of plants (more than the number found throughout the entire British Isles), most of them fynbos, which forms one of the world’s six plant kingdoms all on its own.

The balance of the day will be spent exploring the Cape Winelands. It is the largest wine producing region in South Africa and is divided into six main wine regions, each offering its own unique wine route. Constantia, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Robertson, and Wellington are the most popular. The geographic area is generally referred to locally as the Boland, meaning “uplands” in Afrikaans.

Constantia Valley wine region is situated in mountainous surroundings and is home to some of the oldest wine estates in the country.

Stellenbosch wine region is the best-known wine producing area in the Cape. In 1971 the first official wine route was founded by Frans Malan of Simonsig, Spatz Sperling of Delheim, and Niel Joubert of Spier.

Franschhoek valley wine region was settled over 300 years ago by the French Huguenots. Set against the backdrop of the Franschhoek and Drakenstein mountains, the village has over 30 wine farms.

Nestling at the foot of the Groenberg mountain, the town of Wellington lies in the picturesque Bovlei valley on the banks of the Kromme River. The majestic Hawequa Mountains are silent sentinels on its eastern border. Val du Charron’s 4-star Guesthouse and 5-star Coach House offer luxury accommodation in Wellington, on a working Wine Estate in the heart of the Bovlei valley.

Accommodation for the night will be at the beautiful Val du Charron Wine Estate. Val Du Charron is ten minutes from the town of Wellington and less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town – the perfect accommodation spot in the heart of the Cape Winelands, South Africa. Val du Charron also offers a beautiful spa and conferencing facility in Wellington with two onsite restaurants: Piza e Vino @ Val du Charron, with its stunning terrace and splash pad, is a family friendly Italian restaurant with the most stunning views; and for more fine dining, The Grillroom @ Val du Charron, a bespoke steakhouse, is a treat for guests and locals alike.

The original farm was proclaimed in 1699 and, as only the fifth family to hold title, the owners are conscious to maintain its historic integrity and re-establish the tradition of wine making on the farm itself. This can be evidenced in the rehabilitation of the historic buildings and the character of the architecture of the Estate.

Overnight Val du Charron Wine Estate.

Meals Included: Breakfast & 2 wine tastings

South African savanna

The  South African landscapes are beautiful and varied. © Outdoor Africa

Day 13 – Cape Town – Flight to Johannesburg – Tour Ends

After breakfast, transfer to Cape Town International Airport for your return flight* to Johannesburg / O.R. Tambo International Airport (or home).

Meals Included: Breakfast

 

What’s Included

  • All accommodations for 2 people sharing a room
  • Transfers to and from airports in Durban & Cape Town
  • All local ground transportation with bottled water, driver, English-speaking guides.
  • Entrance fees on organized excursions
  • Breakfast everyday, two lunches and seven dinners. (Please note: dinners included are up to 200 Rand (approx $14) per person, per night – any excess cost and tipping of waitstaff is of your own accord)
  •  Cooking Class
  • Full Time American Tour Leader
  • South Africa Visa is not required for US Citizens for stays less than 90 days

What’s Not Included

  • International Air Tickets to/from South Africa
  • Single Room Supplement for rooming alone
  • Flight from Durban to Cape Town (approx $80 pp)
  • Flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg, if needed  (approx $60 pp)
  • Trip Cancellation/Travel Insurance (recommended)
  • Meals where indicated on itinerary
  • Drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) not included in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses (mini-bar, laundry, beverages, phone calls, etc.)
  • Gratuities

Victoria Falls Extension

Day 1 – Arrive Livingstone Airport (Zambia).

Flight from Johannesburg to Livingstone Airport. Upon arrival at the Livingstone Airport you will be met and assisted by a Maplanga Africa / Zimbabwe Connections guide who will transfer you to your accommodation for your 3 nights stay on bed and breakfast basis.

Kingdom Hotel

You may be forgiven for thinking that you have stepped back in time. The great domes, pillars and bridges over the many water features at The Kingdom Hotel resemble the style of ‘Great Zimbabwe’, the once mighty capital of the ancient Shona Kingdom.

It may look like the city of a lost civilization, but the Kingdom Hotel is one of Victoria Falls’ best-known family hotels. Expect all the comforts of a modern resort geared up in every way for your maximum comfort and enjoyment.

The Kingdom Hotel has become a firm favorite with families, groups, and individual travelers who are looking for a quality yet affordable Victoria Falls Hotel option. The hotel is centrally located within the small resort town of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, close to all the major attractions including the entrance to the Victoria Falls rainforest (which is a short walk away).

Overnight The Kingdom Hotel.

Included: Flight from Johannesburg to Livingstone, transfer, and overnight The Kingdom Hotel.

Days 2-3 – Victoria Falls and surrounds.

These days will be spent at your leisure, exploring Victoria Falls. You have an option of taking part in the following activities: (Additional Cost)

  • Guided Tour of the Falls
  • Elephant Back Safari
  • Helicopter Flight – Helicopter flight this year is US$150 PP which includes transfers, 12-13 Min flight but excludes US$15 PP park fee.
  • Game Drives
  • Bungee Jumping
  • White Water Rafting
  • Canoeing
  • Chobe Day Trip

On Day 2, you will be treated to a Sundowner Cruise, which includes drinks, snacks, and transfers from your hotel. (Please note that park fees of approx. $10 USD per person are not included and must be paid in cash at the time of the cruise)

Overnight The Kingdom Hotel.

Included: Breakfast, sundowner cruise on day 2, and overnight The Kingdom Hotel.

Day 4 – Depart Victoria Falls for Return Flight Home.

After enjoying breakfast, you will be picked up from the hotel and transferred to the Livingstone Airport in time for your departure flight to Johannesburg.

***Victoria Falls Extension End***

 RatesEstimated for 2020. Subject to some adjustment with 2020 rates & airfares/taxes, etc.

Per Person sharing: approx. $ 1725.00 (based on a min of 2 pax)

 Rate includes the following:

  • All land transfer and travel
  • Flights from Johannesburg to Livingstone and return
  • All meals as stipulated
  • All accommodation as stipulated

 Rate does not include:

  • Excursions not included as per the itinerary
  • Meals not included in the itinerary
  • Drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) not included in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Flights not included as per itinerary
  • Visas for both Zambia and Zimbabwe
  • Park fees for sundowner cruise ($10 per person to be paid in cash)
  • Travel insurance (recommended)
  • Gratuities

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“This was a primo trip. The kind of experience you remember with fondness forever. Do it! Small Footprints does not do those annoying large group stereotypical tours. These folks are wonderful.”
– Patrick, Asheville, NC