South African Tour
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Length of trip:
Approximate price of this trip per person:
from $ 3475
Best travel dates to go:
Oct 12, 2008 to Oct 24, 2008;
Detailed Description of this trip:
Join us on this South Africa Tour! We will land Johannesburg and then travel to Durban, So. Africa., which is the closest city to the "ZULU Kingdom," where you can observe and interact with their culture. Then, we will travel to Cape Town where we will visit many sites, including Robben Island. Further, we will fly back to Johannesburg where, if time permits we will visit the famous "Soweto" settlement!
This Trip is Recommended for:
Sightseeing, Safari, Beach, Exploration, Excursion, South Africa, Durban, Landscapes, Apartheid Museum, Sandton City, Shakaland Show, Rorkes Drift Battlefield Museum, Isandlwana Battlefield, Didima Camp,
Day 1 - United States
Depart Chicago or New York (JFK) or Washington (Dulles) on South African Airways for Johannesburg.
Day 2 - Johannesburg
Arrive Johannesburg at 5:00 pm. On arrival at Johannesburg’s Oliver Tambo International Airport, clear Customs & Immigration, then collect your luggage. You will be met by a Visit Southern Africa Vacations representative who will transfer you to your hotel.
Accommodation: Holiday Inn Garden Court Sandton City – Standard Room. This modern hotel is situated in the heart of Sandton, the exclusive residential and business area north of Johannesburg. The hotel is within close walking distance of Sandton City, Sandton Square and Village Walk, South Africa's exclusive shopping complexes with their vast selection of restaurants, designer boutiques, entertainment centres, banks and restaurants. Set in an attractive, landscaped garden with an outdoor swimming pool, the hotel provides an informal atmosphere, which is combined with efficient service. To ensure you have a great stay, we offer supremely good breakfasts, brighter smiles from all our staff, new bathroom delights, faster and simpler web check-in and a warm and cosy room.
Day 3 - Johannesburg
This morning you will be taken on a half day tour of the Apartheid Museum. Visit the Apartheid Museum and embark on a discovery of the racial segregation experienced by millions of South Africans a mere decade ago. On entering the building you are racially classified and you see this segregation in all forms of life. The museum illustrates the rise and fall of apartheid with its large blown-up photographs, metal cages and numerous monitors recording continuous replays of apartheid scenes. For anyone wanting to understand and experience what South Africa was really like, a visit to the Apartheid Museum is fundamental. Excellent displays on the Soweto Uprising, ANC in exile, petty apartheid, solitary confinement, anti-apartheid movements abroad, sport boycotts – culminating in the birth of a new democratic country and the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as President, and one of the most progressive constitutions in the world. Whoever you are, you cannot but come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation of this country, its darkest days and its brightest triumphs.
Afterwards you will be transferred to Johannesburg Airport in time for your scheduled flight to Durban.
On arrival at Durban Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Accommodation: Southern Sun North Beach Hotel – Standard Room (B). Situated on Durban’s Golden Mile opposite the prestigious North Beach, this hotel is ideal for both business and leisure guests. It is only 5 minutes from the central business district and in close proximity to the International Convention Centre. Comfort & quality are the trademarks of this hotel and guests are assured of warm, friendly service. All rooms are sea facing with magnificent views of the Indian Ocean, and each has a private bathroom. Take a refreshing dip in the outdoor swimming pool, whilst enjoying the view of the ocean. Deep-sea fishing, golf and water sports are available in close proximity to the hotel.
Day 4 - Durban
Today you will be taken on a half day Durban tour. The tour departs at 09:00am and returns at 12:00 noon. The half day Durban city tour features all the highlights of the city. It is the ideal introductory tour of Durban, which has been shaped by the early Colonial settlers, the indigenous Zulu population and the Indians who arrived as indentured laborers in the 19th century – this is truly a city of contrasts. Travel along the beachfront area and view the ‘Golden Mile’. Learn more about the City Hall. Visit the famous Indian and Herbal Markets. Drive through the sprawling informal settlement of Cato Manor.
Food and Dining
Stop at Durban’s Botanic Gardens for tea with crumpets or scones (own account). Return passing fine examples of old Durban homesteads.
Accommodation: Southern Sun North Beach Hotel – Standard Room (B)
Day 5 - Durban
Today you are taken on a Shakaland tour, including a show and lunch.
Experience traditional Zulu culture and customs at the largest Zulu kraal in all of Zululand, packed into one exhilarating day when you go on the Shakaland Show. Enjoy the grace and energy of the Zulu dancers. Witness the skill and artistry that goes into spear, shield, beadwork, pot making and the building of their huts. Visit an iSangoma (witchdoctor).
Food and Dining
Enjoy a delicious lunchtime feast (included) and sample some traditional Zulu beer.
Lidiko Lodge is located on the St Lucia Estuary in the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park. It is approximately 230 km/142miles north of Durban. Lidiko Lodge is a new stylish country retreat in the heart of the St Lucia World Heritage Site, offering 14 spacious double garden rooms which are stylishly decorated in an unique afro-colonial style and forms a courtyard around a sparkling pool. There is also a small library available to our guests. The lodge is situated in a luscious treed garden overlooking the Great St Lucia Lake, creating an atmosphere of serenity and peace.A full English breakfast is served on the sundeck overlooking the lake, which is also the ideal spot for bird watching or a sundowner complimented by the call of the Fish Eagle. The lodge boasts a tea garden restaurant, which serves scrumptious home baked cakes, tasty sandwiches and crisp salads all day at the pool area, on the sundeck and under the age-old trees. All the restaurants in the village of St Lucia are within 5 minutes walking distance of Lidiko Lodge. There is also an art gallery on the lodge's premises showcasing the best of the local art. Accommodation: Lidiko Lodge – Standard Room (B)
Day 6 - South Africa
You will be taken on a morning game drive, as well as an afternoon game drive, both lasting about 3 hours. You will enjoy your visit to this special place in the very special town of St Lucia, where the “Big Five” of the terrestrial meet the “Big Five” of the marine. As former president Mandela declared: "St Lucia Wetland Park must be the only place on the globe where the world's oldest land mammal (the rhinoceros) and the world's biggest terrestrial mammal (the elephant) share an ecosystem with the world's oldest fish (the coelacanth) and the world's biggest marine mammal (the whale)." The game drives take you into the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi game reserve where you may see the “Big Five” of lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo, as well as many other animals.
Accommodation: Lidiko Lodge – Standard Room (B).
Day 7 - KwaZulu-Natal
Today you continue your tour with a visit to Rorkes Drift Battlefield Museum and Isandlwana Battlefield. Lunch is included.
KwaZulu-Natal is rich in Anglo-Zulu war history, where two of the most famous battles fought between the Zulu and the British Armies have taken place. Visit the eerie battlefields of Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana. View some of the most spectacular scenery in KwaZulu-Natal. A specialist Battlefield Guide is available at a surcharge on request.
The luxurious Didima Camp, at Cathedral Peak, has been themed around the art of the San people. The San Rock Art Interpretive Centre provides fascinating insights into the art and culture of the San and includes static displays and audio-visual presentations featuring a reconstructed cave covered with accurate reproductions of actual San Art sites. Didima Camp features two-bed luxury chalets, four-bed cabins, a two-bed honeymoon suite and a six-bed bungalow. All accommodation at Didima boasts satellite television and cosy fireplaces. The central lodge provides a restaurant and bar, fireplaces throughout, an intimate lounge and a shop for groceries and curios. Accommodation: Didima Camp – Two bedroom Chalet (B, L)
Day 8 - Cape Town
Today you will be transferred to Durban Airport in time for your scheduled flight to Cape Town.
On arrival at Cape Town Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Mandela Rhodes Place is a unique concept of modern city living, and offers you a wealth of leisure and retail shopping, as you are surrounded by pedestrian streets that provide you with an old world ambience and a modern sophistication. It is located opposite St George's Cathedral in Cape Town's Old Town, and adjacent to a busy retail centre and inner city winery. This aparthotel is set in a complex of renovated and contemporary buildings in Cape Town’s Old Town, close to leisure facilities and 5-kms from Table Mountain. The complex has an outdoor swimming pool and a sundeck.Mandela Rhodes is part of the Three Cities Hotel group, and is a good 3-star hotel. Light snacks are offered at the Sundance coffee shop and chocolatier. Onsite dining is available at Mao, featuring a menu of Asian fusion served in a relaxed atmosphere. Wireless Internet access and business services are also available. Accommodation: Mandela Rhodes Place - Studio (B)
Day 9 - Cape Town
Today you will be taken on a half day Table Mountain and Cape Town city tour. After an early departure from your hotel, you will be taken to Table Mountain where you will board one of the two cable cars for your journey to the top of Table Mountain (weather permitting) a stay of +- 2 hours. The new revolving cable cars give stunning views over Cape Town. Once on top, there is time to wander around and take photographs from the numerous viewing decks around. Take a look at the curio shop, or just take a walk around to the different viewpoints or you may want to stop for refreshments.
After visiting the mountain, you will board your coach and travel through the Malay Quarter, the city centre, and the Company gardens and then it’s on to the Milnerton lighthouse for a chance to photograph Table Mountain. Then it’s on to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront where there is time to wonder around the many shops, restaurants and craft markets the Waterfront has to offer. Your tour ends at approximately 12:00 noon.
In the afternoon you will be transferred to the Waterfront for the ferry over to Robben Island. Today you go on a visit to the prison on Robben Island, where former South African president, Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were held. It is now a World Heritage Site with stunning views of Cape Town and Table Mountain. Make your way to the V&A Waterfront where the ferries leave for the island and take half an hour. Tickets for Robben Island provided – which includes the ferry and tour of Robben Island.
For nearly 400 years, Robben Island, 7 ½ miles off the coast from Cape Town, was a place of banishment, exile, isolation and imprisonment. It was here that rulers sent those they regarded as political troublemakers, social outcasts and the unwanted of society. During the apartheid years Robben Island became internationally known for its institutional brutality. The duty of those who ran the Island and its prison was to isolate opponents of apartheid and to crush their morale. Some freedom fighters spent more than a quarter of a century in prison for their beliefs. Those imprisoned on the Island succeeded on a psychological and political level in turning a prison 'hell-hole' into a symbol of freedom and personal liberation. Robben Island came to symbolize, not only for South Africa and the African continent, but also for the entire world, the triumph of the human spirit over enormous hardship and adversity. Today, you will be escorted around the island by an ex-political prisoner, and given insight into the past and how the human spirit triumphs.
Accommodation: Mandela Rhodes Place - Studio (B)
Day 10 - Cape Town
Today you will be taken on a full day Cape Peninsula tour. After breakfast depart on your full-day Cape Peninsula Tour. See for yourself how this spectacular southern tip of Africa became known as the 'Fairest Cape'. Drive past the pristine beaches of Camps Bay, Clifton and Llandudno - currently the hottest real estate in the world - to Hout Bay, a functioning harbor and heart of the local crayfish industry (optional Seal Island cruise, time permitting).
After a stop for lunch (own account), it's on to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, where you are able to ride the Funicular to the scenic viewing point where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. The spectacular sea and mountain views are reason enough to make the 66km trip from Cape Town. Amid the rocky landscape - home to mountain zebra, eland and ostriches - blooms magnificent Cape flora. Continue along the coastline to the beautiful Boulders Beach where you can sit among a colony of penguins.
Our last stop is the naval port of Simon's Town, the country's third oldest European settlement.
Return to your hotel in the late afternoon. Accommodation: Mandela Rhodes Place - Studio (B)
Day 11 - Johannesburg
Today you will be transferred to Cape Town Airport in time for your flight to Johannesburg.
On arrival at Johannesburg’s Oliver Tambo International Airport, connect with your scheduled international South African Airways flight back to the USA.
Day 12 - Washington
Arrive Washington. Collect your luggage and clear customs then transfer check in for your ongoing flight to Chicago.
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