Upon arrival in Johannesburg you will be whisked away on a magical train journey. This 1 600-kilometre meander is a perfect illustration of South Africa as a world in one country. Travel the grasslands of the gold-rich Highveld to the haunting barrenness of the Great Karoo; trundle through the spectacular mountain ranges and scenic winelands of the Cape. Journey’s end is Cape Town, the Mother City of South Africa, cradled by the imposing bulk of Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head.

Once you arrive in Cape Town, you will be transferred to the Silo, in the heart of the V&A Waterfront.

Cape Town is consistently ranked among the Top 10 cities in the world to visit by the likes of Condé Nast Traveler and Travel+Leisure Magazine. The ‘Mother City’, as it is affectionately known, is a colourful and vibrant city surrounded by dramatic mountains and sandy beaches. The magic of Cape Town lies in the collision of natural wonder, diverse cultures, art, and design and a thriving food and wine scene.

On day 6 of your itinerary, your rental car will be delivered to the hotel, to do some unaccompanied exploration of the Cape Town peninsula, before you head off to the winelands.

The currency of Franschhoek is that of wine, gourmet cuisine and luxury hospitality, and the Leeu Collection endeavours to offer its guests the finest in each of these.  The farms on the wine route in the valley, many with their own restaurants and other attractions, give a taste of the culture, history and passion that have come together here. Franschhoek also has its own Cap Classique route, linking Méthode Cap Classique producers in the valley, which is well known for its sparkling wine. The Franschhoek Wine Tram is a wine tasting first in the world.

Situated just 140 kilometres from Cape Town and built between the beautiful shores and cliffs of Walker Bay, Hermanus has grown from a small seaside resort town to become possibly the best-known place for whale watching in the world. This town is also famed for its natural scenic beauty, long stretches of pristine beaches and excellent variety of restaurants, cafes and bars. Today, Hermanus is more than just a popular holiday destination and offers visitors all kinds of activities, both energetic and relaxing. Visitors can explore the Old Harbour Museum, which is comprised of the charming fisherman’s village, the old harbour, and the Whale House Museum; hike through the nearby Fernkloof Nature Reserve, and sample an array of top-quality wine along the famed Hermanus Wine Route.

This morning after breakfast, bid farewell to Hermanus and continue on your journey along the Garden Route towards the quaint town of Swellendam, before heading to Plettenberg Bay.

Set along the spectacularly scenic Garden Route in South Africa, the coastal town of Plettenberg Bay is a popular holiday destination. The Portuguese explorers called it the ‘Beautiful Bay’, and it’s easy to see why – Plettenberg Bay is a picturesque, charming town with endless pristine beaches, tranquil lagoons, clean rivers, indigenous forests and a dramatic rocky peninsula.

Located in South Africa’s beautiful Eastern Cape Province, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve is a renowned conservation and community success story. The reserve comprises 22 000 hectares of African wilderness inhabited by a diverse array of wildlife including hippo, springbok, giraffe, cheetah as well as the famed Big Five. The reserve provides the perfect habitat for protected species such as the black rhino, martial eagle, and blue crane. Visitors can look forward to a wide selection of incredible activities including: scenic picnics, guided nature walks with experienced wildlife trackers, sundowners while floating on one of the reserve dams, as well as big game walking safaris and even rhino darting.

From Port Elizabeth, you will fly back to Johannesburg and for two nights, before heading off for your safari experience!

Summerfields is more than a convenient springboard to big five game viewing or a daytrip around the Panorama route with its waterfalls, escarpment views and historic sites such as Pilgrims Rest. It is a place to rest, recover and rejuvenate your senses.

The Sabi Sands Game Reserve is possibly the most exclusive private game reserve in South Africa. In the 1920’ and 1930’ a number of landowner pioneers initiated the conservation of the area’s wildlife and in the 1950’s, the landowners initiated the dropping of the internal fences and the sharing of a common environmental management programme.

The 65,000-hectare Sabi Sands Game Reserve is located on the south-western corner of the Kruger National Park sharing a common 50km unfenced boundary with the Park to the east. Two perennial rivers, the Sabi and the Sand flow through this park, sustaining the diverse fauna and flora of the area, which enjoys one of the highest and most bio-diverse wildlife populations of any area in Africa.

Now your INCREDIBLE South African adventure has come to an end, and you will return from Skukuza to OR Tambo for your onward journey.

Highlights

Rovos Rail, Cape Town, the mother city, Winelands, Garden Route, Eastern Cape, Johannesburg, Kruger and surrounds

Full Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1 – 2: Rovos Rail

A romantic train ride

On arrival at OR Tambo International Airport, clear passport control, collect your luggage and make your way through to the arrivals hall where you will be met by a company representative who will transfer you through to the Rovos Rail departure Lounge. Check-in for your scheduled departure and enjoy some time in the lounge before boarding commences.  Depart Rovos Rail Station at around 15h00. Travel across the goldfields of the Witwatersrand. Guests may freshen up in their suites before joining fellow travellers in the lounge car or observation car at the rear of the train. Dinner is served in the dining cars (dress formal).  Enjoy the evening on board the train as your make your way across South Africa.

Rovos Rail has earned an international reputation for its truly world class travel experiences. Exceptional train safaris combine some of Africa’s most magnificent scenery with travel aboard an authentically refurbished Edwardian-style train, accommodating up to 72 guests in the most spacious train suites in the world, each with their own en-suite bathroom and subtle modern conveniences. The eight scheduled journeys begin or end at Rovos Rail Station, the headquarters and private station of this independent railway company, which is situated in Pretoria.

Activities: 

The Big Hole

150 years ago, the site of the Big Hole was a featureless, flat-topped hill. When word spread that diamonds had been discovered, thousands of prospectors, armed with nothing more than picks, shovels and hope, descended on Kimberley and created the largest hand-dug excavation in the world.

Kimberley Big Hole Museum

The Kimberley Mine Museum offers a trip back in time to when diamonds were first found in South Africa in 1866, near Hopetown in the Northern Cape. Three years later the 83-carat ‘Star of South Africa’ was discovered in the same area, unleashing a frenzied diamond rush seldom seen before or since.

Accommodation:
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Days 4 – 6: Cape Town

Exploring the Mother City

Resting at the confluence of the Indian and Atlantic oceans, situated between the slopes of the iconic Table Mountain and the glistening sapphire waters of Table Bay, the exceptionally scenic city of Cape Town is in a class of its own. Some cities boast rich culture, vibrant nightlife, a cosmopolitan atmosphere and extraordinary architecture, while others boast breathtaking landscapes and extraordinary natural wonders. Cape Town is fortunate to be blessed with all of these attractions and so much more. With its bustling harbour, world-class beaches, top-notch vineyards, and its mountainous surroundings brimming with diverse flora and fauna, Cape Town consistently captivates the hearts of all who visit.

Once you have arrived at Cape Town station a company representative will be waiting to transfer you through to The Silo Hotel in the heart of the V&A Waterfront for your four night stay.

During your stay here you will have the opportunity to explore the City of Cape Town as well as taking in the amazing views from Table Mountain, have a guided tour or the Cape peninsula; taking in the coastal suburbs of Sea Point, Bantry Bay and Clifton and have the chance to stop for a photo opportunity of Table Mountain’s impressive Twelve Apostles. You will then make your way past Bakoven and Llandudno which are marked by shipwrecks which fell foul to the infamous Cape winter storms, then on to the scenic fishing village of Hout Bay.

You will also head over the 600m heights of Chapman’s Peak Drive, which is without a doubt one of the world’s most spectacular mountain passes. Explore the rocky coastline and unique Cape Fynbos vegetation which is home to unique birdlife such as African Black Oystercatchers and Cape Sugarbirds amongst others. Climb to the famous Cape Point Lighthouse to capture the magical vistas of False Bay, and stop at the south western most point of Africa – the fabled Cape of Good Hope.

Destination: Cape Town
Accommodation: The Silo Hotel
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Days 7 & 8: Franschhoek

Exploring the winelands

Your rental vehicle will be delivered to the Silo, and from Cape Town you will depart to the idyllic country retreat of Franschhoek meaning ‘French Corner’ as it was founded by French Huguenots. The fertile valley of Franschhoek boasts a rich heritage showcased at the fascinating Huguenot Memorial Museum and the Cape Dutch architecture in much of the village remains remarkably well preserved. The town’s proximity to Cape Town allows for pleasant day trips during which visitors can explore the area’s many world-class wine estates and impressive range of excellent restaurants or simply browse the quaint, upmarket boutiques strewn along the town’s lovely tree-lined avenues.

The currency of Franschhoek is that of wine, gourmet cuisine and luxury hospitality, and the Leeu Collection endeavours to offer its guests the finest in each of these.  The farms on the wine route in the valley, many with their own restaurants and other attractions, give a taste of the culture, history and passion that have come together here. Franschhoek also has its own Cap Classique route, linking Méthode Cap Classique producers in the valley, which is well known for its sparkling wine. The Franschhoek Wine Tram is a wine tasting first in the world.

During your stay in Franschhoek you will spend a full day exploring the Cape Winelands. Enjoy the history and wine tasting along the journey. There are many natural and historic heritage places in the wineland areas and your guide will take you past many sights like the Afrikaans Taal Monument amongst others. The majestic scenery in the area is unparalleled so even if you don’t drink wine, the countryside and the history make it well worth the visit.

Destination: Franschhoek
Accommodation: Le Quartier Francais
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Days 9 & 10: Hermanus

Home to the best land-based Whale watching in the World

Today depart Franschhoek and continue on your journey through to the seaside town of Hermanus. The drive is approximately 2 hours. On arrival in the town make your way the Marine Hotel for your two night stay. Enjoy the next two days exploring this coastal village.

 

You will have a whale of a time in Hermanus, the seaside village famous for its whale-watching June through November. Drink in the spectacular vistas and wines that the Hemel-en-Aarde valley has to offer and enjoy an ocean-based whale watching safari.

Between the months of July and November, up to 100 Southern Right Whales visit the town’s protected waters and can be easily spotted from the cliff tops above, often coming as close as ten metres from the coast.

Destination: Hermanus
Accommodation: The Marine
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Day 11: Swellendam

Exploring the Garden route.

This morning after breakfast, bid farewell to Hermanus and continue on your journey along the Garden Route towards the quaint town of Swellendam. Today’s drive will be approximately one hour and thirty minutes. On arrival make your way to Schoone Oordt Country House for your overnight stay. On arrival, you will have the rest of the afternoon at leisure.

Schoone Oordt Country House is a small hotel in Swellendam, amongst the best available in this little town. Well situated as the gateway to the Garden Route, it is only 2.5 hours from Cape Town. With eleven luxury bedrooms set in lush gardens, an intimate restaurant, a sparkling saltwater pool and a passion for people, food and wine, this charming hotel offers romantic as well as family friendly accommodation. The emphasis is on unpretentious luxury and attention to detail.

Destination: Garden Route
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Days 12 & 13: Plettenberg Bay

The spectacular Garden route

This morning after a delicious breakfast make your way towards the majestic town of Plettenberg Bay. The drive today will again be approximately two hours and thirty minutes. On arrival continue down towards the beach and to The Plettenberg for your two night stay. The lodge is situated directly across from the famous Robberg Beach. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure or take a slow walk along the beach towards the famous Robberg reserve.

Plett has a variety of great places to visit and explore.

HIKING:

If you love hiking, The Garden Route is definitely the place you need to visit. In the area, there are many different hiking trails to take advantage of from easy for beginners to difficult for more experienced hikers. The Robberg Nature Reserve is famous for its beautiful walks and amazing views. This is an activity you will want to add to your agenda when you visit Plettenberg Bay. Facilities include: braai/picnic area.

MONKEYLAND:

Monkeyland – the world’s first free-roaming multi-species primate sanctuary, offers tours (or better, monkey safaris) during which you’ll see more than 550 primates in their forest home. You will also experience our 128-metre suspended canopy walk whilst on tour. There’s also a restaurant, souvenir store, and viewing deck. Our safari guides are multi-lingual

KNYSNA ELEPHANT SANCTUARY:

Visitors to the park are privileged to have a personal encounter with our gentle giants, and leave having gained a new-found respect for these animals, as well as a better understanding of the African elephant and its plight across the continent. Most importantly, by visiting the Park and experiencing our elephant herd, guests make a direct contribution to elephant husbandry and care. Visitors to the Park enable us to give our elephants the best possible facilities, nutrition and care. They also allow us to offer other elephants in need the chance of a better life.

Your time in Plett is your own, to explore as you wish!

Destination: Garden Route
Accommodation: The Plettenberg
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Days 14 0 16: Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

22,000 hectares of pristine wilderness

This morning at 09h00 your hired car will be collected from the Plettenberg Hotel. After breakfast, you will be met by a company representative who will transfer you through to Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge.   The transfer will be approximately 2 to 3 hours. On arrival, you will have the rest of the afternoon at leisure before you afternoon game drive commences.

Enjoy the next three days on safari in Kwandwe Game Reserve!  Set along the lush green banks of the river after which it is named, the 9-suite lodge is designed to amplify the endless landscape. Featuring a classic-contemporary style of understated elegance and earthy tones, Great Fish River Lodge is all about tranquility and solitude. Watch majestic kudu meander down to the river from the expansive viewing decks, or soak in the views from the privacy of your suite’s plunge pool.

Twice daily game drives, nature walks accompanied by an armed ranger, big game walking safaris (tracking white rhino, black rhino, elephant and buffalo on foot, accompanied by an armed specialist ranger and tracker team) are all included in your stay. Back at the lodge, several lounging and dining options are available. Delicious African-inspired meals are served in the candlelit dining room or in the boma under a magnificent starlit sky.

The Eastern Cape is renowned for its diversity of flora and wildlife. Thousands of animals roam the reserve’s expansive plains. The meaning of Kwandwe in isiXhosa is “Place of the Blue Crane”, and Kwandwe is the proud home to a population of these highly endangered birds (South Africa’s National Bird). Game-rich country with Big Five (black & white rhino, elephant, lion, buffalo and leopard) as well as a remarkable variety of predators and general game, including cheetah, kudu, springbok, eland, red hartebeest, giraffe, black wildebeest and gemsbok A paradise for birdwatchers, the Fish Eagle and endangered Blue Crane are among a wide variety of birds found on the Reserve Excellent nocturnal viewing – aardwolf, aardvark and porcupine are regularly seen.

Meals and 2 activities per day are included in your stay here.

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Days 17 & 18: Johannesburg

Explore Africa’s most vibrant city

Today you will bid the lodge farewell. This morning you will be met by a company representative and you will be transferred back to Port Elizabeth Airport for your flight back up to Johannesburg. The transfer will be approximately two hours. On arrival at OR Tambo International airport, you will be met by a company representative in the arrivals hall who will transfer you through to the Saxon Hotel and Villas for your two-night stay. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure.

During your stay here, you will set out of a full day adventure learning about the history of South Africa and taking in the sites and culture of Soweto – one of South Africa’s largest townships. You will visit Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, the largest hospital in the southern hemisphere; the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication (formerly known as Freedom Square) in Kliptown; Regina Mundi church; The Hector Pieterson memorial which is named after the thirteen year old school boy who was one of the first to die of a gunshot wound in the 1976 Soweto uprising. You will also have the opportunity to view the former houses of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu which are on Vilakazi Street as well as take in the Apartheid museum and all that it holds.

This afternoon you will be transferred back to the hotel for an afternoon and evening at leisure.

Destination: Johannesburg
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Days 19 & 20: Hazyview

Wildlife experiences of the Kruger

This morning you will be met by a company representative and transferred through to OR Tambo International Airport in time to connect with your flight through to Nelspruit. On arrival at Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, collect your bags and make your way to the arrivals hall where you will be met by a company representative and transferred through to Summerfields Rose Retreat & Spa for your two night stay. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure and a delicious dinner at Summerfields before you retire to your rooms for a lovely nights rest.

This morning you will be collected from your hotel around 08h30 by a company representative and taken on a full day tour through the Drakensberg Mountains and Blyde River Canyon. The unique rock formations of cylindrical potholes at Bourke’s Luck mark the entrance to the Blyde River Canyon and the Three Rondawels viewpoint offers spectacular views of the canyon and Blydepoort Dam some 700m below. God’s Window, Wonderview and the Pinnacle provide panoramic vistas over the Lowveld and depending on the season, visits will be made to some of the natural waterfalls in the area. Enjoy a light lunch at Harrie’s Restaurant in nearby Graskop. There will be many opportunities to purchase local curios at several art and craft stalls en-route before you return to your hotel late.

The Panorama Route in Mpumalanga is one of the most spectacular routes on the African continent. Following the Blyde River, it is home to several unique natural geographic formations like the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, The Pinnacle and The Three Rondawels. The 26-kilometre Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world (after the Grand Canyon and the Fish River Canyon in Namibia. Bourke’s Luck Potholes are giant cylindrical potholes formed at the meeting place of two rivers, at the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon. The expansive views from the viewpoints along this route, like God’s Window, are incredible. If you are wanting to experience beauty then the Panoramic Route is the place to do this.

Panorama Route

Connecting the Lowveld and the spectacular Drakensberg, sandwiched between the Kruger National Park and the Highlands Meander, the historical Panorama Route is a scenic road in the Mpumalanga Province. The route features sensational views of breathtaking natural wonders, fascinating rock formations, impressive waterfalls, scenic hiking trails, and a myriad of fauna and flora. The quaint little town of Graskop serves as the gateway to this wonderful route. Panorama’s undoubtable highlight is the verdant splendour of Blyde River Canyon, one of the world’s largest green canyons featuring lush subtropical vegetation. Some other popular natural attractions along the route include: the spectacular Lisbon, Berlin, and Mac Mac Falls, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels and the astonishing God’s Window. Don’t miss the world-famous Kruger National Park and the picturesque gold rush town of Pilgrim’s Rest, a historic living museum.

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Days 21 – 23: Sabi Sands Game Reserve

The most exclusive game reserve in Southern Africa

This morning you will be met by a company representative and transferred through to Londolozi Tree Camp for your 3 night safari experience in the Sabi Sands. On arrival you will be welcomed and shown to your suite where you will have the rest of the afternoon at leisure before your afternoon game drive commences.

No two days are the same at Londolozi and the experience is tailored to suit individual preferences and expectations. Still, there is a certain rhythm and pace to the experience that stirs a sense of homecoming on repeat visits and a pleasing sense of order for first time bushveld visitors. Life at Londolozi is dictated by the seasons; the vegetation and the animal behaviour shift with the rains of summer and the chill of winter. What is unchanging is the warmth of your welcome by your camp manager and the opportunity to experience a deep and authentic connection with the natural world.

This is a rough guideline of what to expect.  Each safari experience is tailor made and may differ from day to day:

5:00 Rise and shine
5:30 Sunrise Game drive
±9:30 Breakfast
Between Game Drive Optional Activities: Bush Walk/Photographic Studio/Village Experience/Massage/Good Work Foundation Community Experience/Inclusive Yoga Class/Boutique Shopping
+1:30 Lunch
16:00 Afternoon Tea
16:15 Sunset Game Drive
±19:30 Dinner
Getting into step with the rhythm of nature is the first order of business. Witnessing the start of the day in the African bush is like being invited to partake in a daily miracle. A dawn chorus of birdsong and the haunting calls of fish eagles, the air rich with the night flowers’ perfume and delightfully cool. By 7:30am the magic hours have passed, and soon the animals will sink into the torpor brought on by the midday heat.

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Day 24: Depart

Bidding you a fond Farewell!

This morning your guide will transfer you through to Skukzua Airport in time for your flight departing for Johannesburg. The flight duration is approximately one to one hour.  On arrival back at OR Tambo International Airport connect with your flight home.

Destination: Johannesburg

Included

  • Meet and Greet on arrival at OR Tambo International Airport
  • Private transfer from OR Tambo International Airport to Rovos Rail Lounge
  • Private transfer from Cape Town Station to The Silo
  • Half day Table Mountain and City private tour including Table Mountain Tickets
  • Full day private Cape Peninsula Tour
  • Car Hire: Bidvest Group G (Audi A4 / similar automatic)
  • Full day private Winelands tour
  • Full day heavenly Hermanus private tour including whale based watching from a boat (scheduled)
  • Private transfer from The Plettenberg to Kwandwe Game Reserve
  • Private transfer from Kwandwe Game Reserve to Port Elizabeth Airport
  • Scheduled flight departing Port Elizabeth for Johannesburg: BA 6242 13h25 / 15h00
  • Private transfer from OR Tambo International Airport to the Saxon Hotel and Villas
  • Full day private Soweto and Apartheid Museum tour
  • Private transfer from the Saxon to OR Tambo International Airport
  • Scheduled flight from Johannesburg to Nelspruit Airport
  • Private transfer from Nelspruit Airport to Summerfields Rose Spa and Retreat
  • Private transfer from Summerfields Rose Spa and Retreat to Londolozi
  • Scheduled game drive transfer from Londolozi Tree to Skukuza Airport
  • Scheduled flight from Skukuza Airport to Johannesburg
  • Meals and accommodation as per the itinerary

Excluded

  • International flights – already booked under your own arrangements
  • Drinks not specified, extra meals, gratuities and all items of a personal nature
  • Activities/tours not specified

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