South Africa Odyssey

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The South Africa Odyssey is an exceptional, long wandering journey through South Africa. From city life to adventure, wildlife to culture, breath-taking scenery to sun-soaked coasts, South Africa is a premier travel destination. Our Odyssey begins in Johannesburg and travels through Mpumalanga, with visits along the Panorama Route as well as the Kruger National Park, a safari extravaganza. Once you have encountered the wildlife of the country, you will then travel to the Kingdom of eSwatini, where a vibrant cultural journey inspires. Zululand is where ancient kings once hunted, where the Big Five now roam, conserved, and protected. The last leg of the odyssey is a Garden Route journey ending with a few days spent in the city of Cape Town.

South Africa Odessey starting at $7500 CAD per person in double occupancy. Airfare not included.

African City

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Traverse the famous Long Tom Pass en route from Johannesburg to Mpumalanga
  • Visit the spectacularly scenic Three Rondavels, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and God’s Window
  • Experience an open vehicle game safari in the Kruger National Park including an introduction to the KNP anti-poaching Dog Unit
  • Meet the friendly people of eSwatini (Swaziland) and experience their culture through singing and dancing.
  • Boat game cruise on Lake St Lucia
  • Visit Tsitsikamma National Park and the scenic Storms River Mouth
  • Enjoy a delicious dinner at a delightful lagoon side restaurant in Knysna.
  • Immersive journey into the mythical Knysna Forests, discovering the legends build around woodcutters, elephants, steam trains and gold miners.
  • Visit the ‘Map of Africa’ viewpoint in Wilderness, a unique sight that is quite literally a Map of Africa
  • Guided tour of the Cango Caves and a guided tour of a working ostrich farm in Oudtshoorn
  • Visit a rural farm school in the Barrydale area with the opportunity to interact with the children. This visit supports our Barrydale Farm School Development Fund that encourages local education of underprivileged children in rural communities.
  • Explore the small towns along the well-known Route 62 between Oudtshoorn and Cape Town
  • Authentic African dinner experience with a 14-dish taste safari paired with entertainment.
  • Three overnights in Cape Town, spectacularly set at the foot of Table Mountain
  • Full Day Cape Peninsula Tour including the Cape of Good Hope, ‘the fairest cape in the whole circumference of the earth’.
  • Victoria Falls Tour
  • Zambezi River Sunset Cruise
Victoria Falls

TRANSPORTATION:

Transportation is in air-conditioned touring vehicles appropriate to the requirements of the tour.

  • 2-8 guests will travel in a 13-seater vehicle.
  • 9-11 guests will travel in a 15-seater vehicle.
  • 12-18 guests will travel in a coach.

ITINERARY:

DAY 1 – Sunday: JOHANNESBURG

On arrival in Johannesburg at OR Tambo International Airport, you’ll be met by your representative and transferred to your hotel. Johannesburg is the largest and most populous city in South Africa. It is also the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills. The remainder of the day is at leisure and unescorted. Why not enjoy an optional (own account) sightseeing tour of Soweto, learning more about the struggle for freedom in South Africa, or simply relax at your hotel? At 19h00 we will meet at reception for a briefing on the tour and a chance to meet fellow travellers.

Distance travelled today: 35 kms.
Overnight: Hotel Balalaika
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 2 – MONDAY:  JOHANNESBURG – MPUMALANGA

Depart Johannesburg after breakfast and head for Pretoria, South Africa’s capital city, for a short orientation tour, before continuing to the Mpumalanga Province, known as “Paradise Country”. Dropping several hundred feet into the lush subtropical region of the Lowveld, we travel via the historic towns of Dullstroom and Lydenburg. After traversing the famous Long Tom Pass, we travel via Sabie and arrive late afternoon into Hazyview, the safari hub of the Kruger National Park.

Distance travelled today: 425 kms.
Overnight: Perry’s Bridge Hollow Boutique Hotel
Meals: Breakfast &Dinner

DAY 3 – TUESDAY: MPUMALANGA

After an early morning breakfast, we’ll drive along the spectacular ‘Panorama Route’, offering views of amazing scenery including the 26-kilometre long Blyde River Canyon (home to the Three Rondavels), Bourke’s Luck Potholes and historic God’s Window, a breath-taking view (weather permitting) of the edge of the escarpment taking in the Kruger National Park. We arrive back in Hazyview in the late afternoon where the remainder of the day is at leisure to relax.

Distance travelled today: 320 kms.
Overnight: Perry’s Bridge Hollow Boutique Hotel
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 4 – WEDNESDAY: MPUMALANGA

The day begins with early morning coffee or tea, followed by a thrilling open vehicle game safari (with English speaking game ranger) through the Kruger National Park with pre-packed breakfast. Kruger is one of the world’s greatest national parks, home to a stunning array of wildlife. Search for the ‘Big Five’ (rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, and elephant) as well as prolific birdlife and numerous other game species. The game safari includes an introduction to the Anti-Poaching Dog Unit (Project Watchdog), that was established because of the increase in rhino poaching worldwide. Learn about the dogs that are trained to track poachers in the field, detect firearms, ammunition and wildlife products that enter and exit through the Kruger National Park gates. A portion of the trip price of this MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience goes towards ensuring that these dogs receive the best possible care in support of the vital work they do. The experience directly advances UN Global Goal 15: Life on Land. The afternoon is at leisure at your hotel. Enjoy An afternoon open vehicle game drive is available as an extension to the morning game drive.

Distance travelled today: 120 kms.
Overnight: Perry’s Bridge Hollow Boutique Hotel
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

 DAY 5 – THURSDAY: MPUMALANGA – eSWATINI (SWAZILAND)

This morning we travel to eSwatini (Swaziland), an independent Kingdom within the borders of South Africa, known for its lovely scenery, crafts and colourful indigenous culture. An interactive cultural experience inclusive of lunch, introduces us to the charming people of eSwatini (Swaziland) and their traditions. We travel via the capital city, Mbabane, to the beautiful Ezulwini Valley for overnight in eSwatini (Swaziland) and a sumptuous dinner at your hotel.

Distance travelled today: 310 kms.
Overnight: The Royal Villas
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 6 – FRIDAY: eSWATINI (SWAZILAND) – ZULULAND

After breakfast we will continue south through eSwatini (Swaziland), before re-entering South Africa. Travel into Zululand, passing traditional round huts and endless vistas. enjoy an afternoon open vehicle game safari with an English-speaking game ranger in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, which contains an immense diversity of fauna and flora and is particularly famous for its conservation of black and white rhino.

Overnight in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi region.

Distance travelled today: 360 kms.
Overnight: Anew Hotel Hluhluwe
Meals: Breakfast

 DAY 7 – SATURDAY: ZULULAND – DURBAN (UMHLANGA)

This morning we will join a cruise on Lake St Lucia (depending on favourable weather conditions) before departing for Durban. Our journey takes us past traditional Zulu Kraals, Eucalyptus plantations and sugar cane fields. We arrive early afternoon and the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the golden beaches of the Indian Ocean. Overnight in Durban (Umhlanga).

Distance travelled today: 275 kms.
Overnight: Protea Hotel Umhlanga
Meals: Breakfast

 DAY 8 – SUNDAY: DURBAN (UMHLANGA) – KNYSNA

After breakfast, transfer to Durban (Umhlanga) airport for the short southward flight to Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), where we will be met by our representative and once everyone has arrived, we set off to explore the magnificent beauty of the indigenous Tsitsikamma Forest. Visit the spectacularly beautiful Tsitsikamma National Park and Storms River Mouth (weather permitting). We’ll arrive at our hotel in Knysna, known as the oyster box of South Africa, nestling on the banks of a beautiful lagoon in the heart of the Garden Route. Overnight in Knysna.

Distance travelled today: 360 kms.
Overnight: The Rex Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 9 – MONDAY: KNYSNA

After breakfast, journey into the magical Knysna Forests, the stamping ground of the elusive Knysna elephants. Discover the stories of the woodcutters who worked the forests, the elephants that were hunted to extinction and the discovery of gold. Our expedition into the forest starts with a visit to the Dalene Matthee Big Tree Memorial. The enormous Yellowwood tree of over 880 years was named after Matthee, best known author of four books on the Knysna Forest. Enjoy a delicious lunch, in the forest, of traditional cuisine and local treats at the Diepwalle Tea Garden. The afternoon concludes with a visit to the Forest Legends Museum, that exhibits tools and household items used by the woodcutters, the colourful Old Suzie steam engine, that was used to generate power, and the stately Old Forester’s House, home of forester David Ernest Hutchins, who was the first person to manage the indigenous forest in a sustainable manner. Overnight in Knysna with dinner at Drydock Restaurant, renowned for dishes with glorious aromas and flavours, using the finest local ingredients and freshly picked herbs from the region.

Distance travelled today: 100 kms.
Overnight: The Rex Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 10 – TUESDAY: KNYSNA – OUDTSHOORN

Travel through the Outeniqua Pass to Oudtshoorn, known as the ‘ostrich capital’ and the centre of the world’s Ostrich farming industry. Along the way, visit the ‘Map of Africa’, an extraordinary viewpoint in Wilderness.  In Oudtshoorn, we’ll visit an Ostrich Farm for a fun filled interactive tour and light lunch that includes local specialities such as Ostrich Steak, before taking a tour of the spectacular limestone caverns of the Cango Caves, one of the world’s great natural wonders, sculpted by nature through the ages. We arrive at our hotel in the late afternoon to check in and relax before dinner (for own account). Overnight in Oudtshoorn.

Distance travelled today: 210 kms.
Overnight: Hlangana Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11 – WEDNESDAY: OUDTSHOORN – CAPE TOWN

Enjoy an early morning Meerkat Safari. Witness these incredible wild habituated creatures emerging out of their burrows, in time to soak up the sun before they head about their daily activities (weather permitting). A portion of the monies paid by guests for this MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience go towards the Buffelsdrift Foundation, that focusses on Wildlife conservation in the Klein Karoo region, habitat conservation and the local community. The experience directly advances UN Global Goal 15: Life on Land. After this thrilling experience, head back for a delicious breakfast. After breakfast, the journey continues through the ‘Little Karoo’ to Barrydale, where you will have the opportunity to visit a local farm school, to interact with the children and teachers, spending time with them in the classroom, learning more about this rural community. A portion of the trip monies go towards our Barrydale Farm School Development Fund, that supports local education of underprivileged children in rural communities.  (The school visit is subject to the school being open). Continue to Cape Town, spectacularly set at the foot of Table Mountain. Overnight in Cape Town

Distance travelled today: 468 kms.
Overnight: President Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 12 – THURSDAY: CAPE TOWN

This morning, after breakfast you are met by a guide for a city tour and Table Mountain tour. Depart the hotel city for the Lower Cableway Station to board the revolving cable car (own account) for a 5-minute ride to the top of Table Mountain. 1036 meters above sea level, it affords bird’s-eye views of both city and Peninsula as you walk its summit (weather permitting).  Drive to the Castle, the oldest building in South Africa with its collection of Old Cape paintings and take in the Grand Parade where Nelson Mandela addressed the nation on his release in 1990. Our drive to the city center takes us past famous landmarks such as the Castle of Good Hope built in 1666 by the Dutch East India Company and City Hall, a baroque building, and the Grand Parade. As we follow the city’s main thoroughfare, Adderley Street, we will see St. George’s Cathedral, the Anglican Diocese of Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. We will pass the Company Gardens and the Malay Quarter [also known as the Bo-Kaap] which means “Above Cape” because of its location up against the slopes of Table Mountain. 

 In the early 18th century, thousands of slaves from Java, Ceylon and other Far Eastern regions were brought to Cape Town In the early 18th century; thousands of slaves from Java, Ceylon and other Far Eastern regions were brought to Cape Town.  After slavery was abolished, their descendants, known as the Cape Malay’s, settled here. Our route then leads us to Kloof Nek and the magnificent Table Mountain. We’ll ascend to the top [weather permitting] by the revolving cable car.  Here, we’ll see wildflowers and the famous silver tree, and marvel at a birds-eye view of the city and its beaches.  On a clear day it is even possible to see Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on one side and Cape Point on the other, the tour terminates at your hotel. Enjoy a fun filled evening with interactive entertainment and delectable food at Gold Restaurant. Overnight in Cape Town.

Overnight: President Hotel
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 13 – FRIDAY: CAPE TOWN

Enjoy a full day tour of the Cape Peninsula, offering some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in the world. Drive through Sea Point, the seaside village of Hout Bay (where you can enjoy an optional and for own account seal island boat cruise) and then on to Cape Point where (by tradition) it is said that the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. We’ll return to Cape Town by way of Simon’s Town, where we visit the Penguin colony at Boulders Beach (entrance fee for own account) and Fish Hoek fishing village. Overnight in Cape Town.

Distance travelled today: 200 kms.
Overnight: President Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 14 – SATURDAY: CAPE TOWN – VICTORIA FALLS

After breakfast, you will be met and transferred to Cape Town International Airport where you board your flight to Victoria Falls Zimbabwe.  On arrival, you are met and transferred to your hotel and the rest of the day is at leisure.

Overnight:  Ilala Lodge
Meals: Breakfast

 DAY 15 – SUNDAY: VICTORIA FALLS

After breakfast, you will be met for your guided tour of the Victoria Falls, known as Mosi- oa- Tunya “The Smoke That Thunders on your own. There is a magic about the Falls manifested in the towering column of spray when the river is high, the thunder of the falling water, the terrifying abyss, and tranquil lagoons upstream in which hippo and deadly crocodiles lurk. The Victoria Falls is 1708 meters wide, making it the largest curtain of water in the world. It drops between 90m and 107m into the Zambezi Gorge and an average of 550,000 cubic meters of water plummet over the edge every minute. Remarkably preserved in its natural state, Victoria Falls inspires visitors as much today as it did David Livingstone in the 1860’s. Later this afternoon you will be collected for your Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi River, enjoy a cruise in the fading twilight hours, while sipping traditional cocktails and enjoying snacks. The total cruise time is approximately 3 hours. From the boats, sightings of elephant, giraffe and even rhino coming down to the river to drink are common. There are also abundant, hippos, crocodiles, and birdlife.  After the cruise, you will be transferred back to your hotel and the rest of the evening is at leisure. 

Overnight:  Ilala Lodge
Meals: Breakfast

 DAY 16 – MONDAY: VICTORIA FALLS – CHOBE NATIONAL PARK               

After breakfast, you will be picked for your private transfer across the border into Kasane then on to Chobe Game Lodge. On arrival at the lodge, you will check in and you have some time to relax before your afternoon game drive.  Chobe is synonymous with elephants, it’s reality the unforgettable sightings of gentle giants frolicking in the waters or moving slowly through desert-like stretches of sand, ears flapping to the slow rhythm of nature. Here in their natural environment, the splendour of majestic creatures can truly be appreciated.

Chobe National Park boasts four distinctly different eco systems: the spectacular Chobe floodplain and river to the northeast, the Savute Marsh in the west, the Linyanti Swamps in the northwest and, in-between, the hot dry hinterland of Nogatsaa and Tchinga, and with an elephant population well in excess of 40,000 (reputedly the largest in the world), Chobe’s river and floodplain area ranks among Africa’s premier safari destinations.  In addition to the massive herds of elephant, the park is home to the more unusual, shy antelope species such as roan, sable, tsessebe, eland and red lechwe. Rare Chobe bushbuck and puku make an appearance, and high densities of lion, leopard, spotted hyena, and cheetah complete the safari experience. During the dry season months of May to October the floodplains of the river support large herds of Cape buffalo. Woven into a melodious tapestry, the sounds of over 450 bird species merges with the harsher call of the big game, and the chatter and alarm calls of the inhabitants. Between September and March, the migrant breeding season, Chobe becomes a bird-lovers heaven, under a blanket of colour and harmony.

Overnight:  Chobe Game Lodge
Meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner     

DAY 17:  TUESDAY: CHOBE NATIONAL PARK

Morning and afternoon game drives in open 4×4 vehicles in a park well known for its large herds of elephants. You may also get to see a variety of other animals and bird species.

Overnight:  Chobe Game Lodge
Meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner

DAY 18:  WEDNESDAY: CHOBE NATIONAL PARK/JOHANNESBURG/HOME

After breakfast you will check out of the hotel, and you will be transferred to Kasane Airport for your departure flight to Johannesburg. On arrival you will connect with your flight home.

Overnight: Enroute
Meals: Breakfast 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

  • Canadian Citizens do not require a visa to enter South Africa & Botswana.
  • All passports must be valid for at least 6 months after your return AND must have two blank pages side by side for South African immigration.
  • A Visa is required for Zimbabwe and will be issued on arrival at a cost of USD75.00 per person for single entry for both countries (cost subject to change)
  • Anti-malaria protection required.
  • Contact your local health clinic to determine if any other inoculations are required.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance is highly recommended.

INCLUDES:

  •  Meals: as detailed in the itinerary including MEAL gratuities.
  • 15 Nights’ accommodation including porterage.
    • Accommodation included:
    • 4* Protea Hotel Balalaika or similar x 1 night
    • 4* Perry’s Bridge Hollow Boutique Hotel or similar x 3 nights
    • 5* The Royal Villas or similar x 1 night
    • 3* Anew Hotel Hluhluwe or similar x 1 night
    • 4* Protea Hotel Umhlanga or similar x 1 night
    • 4* Rex Hotel or similar x 2 nights
    • 4* Hlangana Lodge or similar x 1 night
    • 4* President Hotel or similar x 3 nights
    • 4* Ilala Lodge Victoria Falls x2 nights
    • Chobe Game Lodge x2 nights
  • Transportation including toll fees in air-conditioned vehicles.
  • Services of a professional English-speaking tour guide
  • Entrance fees as specified in the itinerary.
  • Bottled water in eco-friendly packaging
  • Durban to Port Elizabeth flight


Not included in the tour cost:

  • International airfare and related fees
  • Meals not mentioned above & all beverages (soft drinks, bottled water & alcohol) are not included.
  • Gratuities to guides and drivers.
  • Personal expenses like laundry, telephone calls, etc.
  • Insurance
  • Any item not listed under included.