Today is identified as "Day 1" of the tour and is set aside for arrival of all guests.
Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport and transferred to the Mount Nelson Hotel.
The rest of the day is free. No group activities are planned today.
NOTE: For those who would prefer to arrive in Cape Town earlier than the start date of the tour, we can arrange one or more extra nights at the starting hotel according to your wishes and can arrange your air schedule to match. We are experts in Southern Africa and in international air. We would be pleased to discuss the various options available.
For those who would prefer to arrive in Africa even earlier or stay several days after the tour, we can arrange an optional add-on to Victoria Falls or Botswana. We would be pleased to discuss details of the various options available.
All guests, regardless of what day they choose to arrive, will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel.
For guests who have arrived earlier in Cape Town, breakfast is available this morning at the hotel and the tour leader will be available to answer any questions, to provide advice and assistance and also to offer several suggestions for independent exploration.
* * *
Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town was first developed in the mid-17th century by the Dutch East India Company as a supply station for Dutch ships sailing to East Africa, India and the Far East. Today, with a little over 3.5 million people, it is the legislative capital of the country and a bustling centre for tourism.
Our starting hotel, the luxurious Mount Nelson, is undoubtedly South Africa's most famous hotel. Synonymous with Cape hospitality since it opened its doors in 1899, the Mount Nelson is a landmark and offers the highest level of comfort, privacy and security in a garden environment in the historic heart of Cape Town.
Framed by the majestic Table Mountain, the Mount Nelson's location enables easy access to local attractions and is within walking distance of the city centre. The hotel offers a free shuttle service to the heart of the shopping, dining and entertainment district known as the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. Here you can find a vast collection of restaurants, bars, cinemas, specialty shops, a world-class aquarium and several museums.
If you have enough free time today, we highly recommend that you attempt to go up to Table Mountain if the weather cooperates. The flat peak of the mountain reaches only 1,086 meters above sea level but because of its proximity to the city, its features look more imposing. From here you will have breathtaking views of Cape Town.
Free for lunch and dinner.
Overnight at Mount Nelson Hotel.



Breakfast at the hotel.
This morning, we will meet our guide at the hotel and transfer to the Clock Tower in the V&A waterfront, where we board the ferry for Robben Island.
The island is a unique symbol of “the triumph of the human spirit over adversity, suffering and injustice”. Its prison became world famous as the place where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years. It is visited every year by thousands of people eager to understand the important aspects of South Africa’s history.
The island was used as a training and defence station during WW 2 but has mainly served as a place of banishment, isolation and imprisonment. Today, it is a World Heritage Site which acts as a focal point of South African heritage. It runs educational programmes for schools and facilitates tourism development - a poignant reminder of the price paid for freedom. As your ferry arrives at the Island, we will be joined by a special local guide who spent time there during the Apartheid years and is thus able to give a personal and often moving account of the experience. We will also see the cell where Nelson Mandela spent a large part of his life.
After our visit, we will board the ferry again and return to Cape Town.
The remainder of the day is free.
This evening we will enjoy a welcome dinner together at one of Cape Town’s local restaurants.
Overnight at Mount Nelson Hotel.



Breakfast at the hotel.
Today we enjoy a full day tour of the Cape Peninsula.
We drive south from Cape Town along the Atlantic Seaboard via Sea Point, Clifton and Camps Bay, to Hout Bay, a quaint village and fishing harbour with magnificent mountain views and beach.
We continue via Chapman’s Peak, one of the world’s most breath-taking coastal drives, to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Cape Point, which is perceived to be the meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
The peninsula divides the Atlantic west coast with its cold "Benguel" current from the False Bay east coast warm "Agulhas" current. Weather at the tip of the peninsula can often be windy and unpredictable.
We plan to have lunch at Two Oceans restaurant at the cape before heading northbound toward Simon’s Town, a village with charming Victorian architecture, a naval base and a large colony of vulnerable African Jackass Penguins at the beautiful Boulders Beach. This site has wooden walkways which allow visitors to view the penguins in their natural habitat.
We should arrive back at our hotel around 5 pm.
Tonight, we'll enjoy dinner together at the unique and exciting Gold Restaurant, a vibrant, one-of-a-kind dining experience of all things African. Dinner will be a multi-course African set menu accompanied by traditional African entertainment.
Overnight at Mount Nelson Hotel.



Breakfast at the hotel.
No visit to Cape Town would be complete without examining the history of South Africa and hearing first-hand accounts from those who have lived it.
Our guide will take us on a history tour where we will learn about the birth of South Africa, Apartheid and the New South Africa. This may include a walking tour in Cape Town itself or a visit to one of Bo Kaap, District 6 or Khayelitsha townships.
Townships were created as living areas for non-whites at the time of Apartheid. Apartheid, an Afrikaans word meaning "the state of being apart" (apart-hood) was a system of racial segregation in South Africa enforced through legislation by the National Party, the governing party from 1948 to 1994. These township subdivisions are still home to a large percentage of Cape Town’s population.
Today, our activities will also include a visit to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.
This beautiful garden lives up to its reputation as one of the great botanic gardens of the world. Few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of its setting against the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain. The garden was established in 1913 to promote, conserve and display the extraordinarily rich and diverse flora of southern Africa and was the first botanic garden in the world to be devoted to a country's indigenous flora. It is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Since we will be there in springtime, there should be lots of colour.
Lunch today may be at the Tea Room in the gardens or at an alternate location.
Free for dinner.
Overnight at Mount Nelson Hotel.



Breakfast at the hotel.
Today, we will leave Cape Town and head east into the Cape Winelands area.
This beautiful part of South Africa is composed of classic Cape-Dutch homesteads, attractive scenery and sumptuous restaurants which all combine to create a magnificent destination for any lover of good food and drink, scenery and photography.
For the next two nights we will be staying in the attractive town of Stellenbosch and we will check in to our hotel sometime this afternoon.
The name Stellenbosch comes from the former Governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel and was established by Dutch settlers. The town is also known as “Eikestad” or town of oaks.
This youthful university town buzzes with wine, music, art, sport and student festivals throughout the year.
If we are in town at lunch time, you will have some free time to explore and to enjoy one of the many small cafes on your own.
The town is surrounded by more than 200 world-renowned South African wine estates including Blaauwklippen, Simonsig, Lanzerac, Neetlingshof, Boschendal, Eikendal and Meerlust. So, throughout parts of today and tomorrow we will enjoy wine tastings in a few of these wineries.
Dinner this evening will be at Helena’s Glass Room, situated within a beautifully restored building across the street from our hotel. The Coopmanhuijs building was originally built in 1713. The cuisine at Helena's Restaurant is decidedly Cape Provencale with fresh ingredients sourced from the Boland. The European-style Tonga Door Wine Lounge boasts a selection of world class South African wines to complement your meal.
Overnight at Oude Werf Hotel.



Breakfast at the hotel.
After breakfast we continue our tour of the area with a stop at the Afrikaans Language Monument perched on Paarl Rock.
The monument represents the influences of the three Western languages on Afrikaans – Dutch, French and English. Three round shapes symbolize the contribution of the African languages - Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho. In all, it represents the growth and achievement of the Afrikaans language.
Following this, we will continue visiting another wine estate in the Stellenbosch or Franschhoek regions and will head to Hillcrest Berry Orchards (or a similar restaurant) for lunch.
Free for dinner this evening.
Overnight at Oude Werf Hotel.



Breakfast at the hotel.
This morning we drive to the Cape Town international airport for our flight to Hoedspruit, the town which serves the game reserves in and around Kruger National Park.
On arrival, we will be transferred to our safari camp located in the heart of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. The reserve hosts phenomenal concentrations of Africa’s game in one of the most beautiful parts of the continent.
During our stay, we'll have two game drives each day during which we will be able to spot a variety of wildlife including elephant, lion, leopard, large herds of buffalo, rhino, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, kudu and rare wild dogs. All game drives are led by professional guides and trackers in open safari vehicles, providing the perfect opportunity to get up close to African wildlife.
Sitting majestically on the banks of a dry river bed, the unfenced camp allows continuous free-flowing movement of game both big and small through the property. Guests here are also often afforded a safari experience from either their own private decks or the main lodge area which has a spacious lounge with two enormous open fireplaces for cool evenings. From the bar, perhaps while enjoying a cold beer or chilled glass of wine, guests are able to watch elephants drinking out of the swimming pool.
We will arrive today in time for a late afternoon/evening game drive and dinner.
Overnight at Kambaku River Sands.



Using Kambaku River Sands as our base, we have the next two days to explore the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. This conservation area borders the well-known Kruger National Park and in 1993 the fences between these two areas were removed to encourage the natural migration of each park’s species. Today, this is part of what makes this region as ecologically rich as it is.
The reserve is a place of sanctuary for Africa’s Big 5: the leopard, lion, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo and more. The game rangers are seasoned experts and will furnish guests with all the information needed to encounter indigenous wildlife thriving in their natural habitat.
Below is a typical day on safari at Kambaku during the spring and summer months (September through April). It is important to note that the daily programme may be adjusted according to seasonal and local conditions.
04:30 am: Morning wakeup call with Tea/Coffee
05:15 am: Game drive departs
10:00 am: Game drive returns and brunch is served
Leisure: Spa / Gym / Bushwalks / Bird watching from the Hide
16:00 pm: High tea
16:30 pm: Afternoon game drive departs
20:00 pm: Game drive returns and dinner is served
Dinner and overnight at Kambaku River Sands.



Breakfast at the camp.
Welcome to your final day in Timbavati Reserve.
Today we enjoy more game drives and activities at the camp.
Dinner and overnight at Kambaku River Sands.

DAY 10


Morning game drive and breakfast at the camp.
We then check out and transfer to the Hoedspruit Airport for the flight to Johannesburg.
Upon arrival in OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg), we will be met and assisted through immigration, baggage collection and customs and then transferred to the departure terminal where we check in for the flight to Windhoek.
* * *
Welcome to Namibia!
Namibia is a vast country, even by African standards. It covers an area of approximately four times the size of the United Kingdom but with a population of a mere two million. This is one of the lowest population densities in the world.
Since we will likely arrive in the late evening, we'll spend one night in Windhoek before starting our exploration of this beautiful country tomorrow morning.
After landing at the Hosea Kutako airport, 40 km outside Windhoek, we will be met by our guides and transferred to our overnight accommodation in Windhoek.
Windhoek, Namibia’s capital nestles among rolling hills, bounded by the Eros Mountains in the east, the Auas Mountains to the south and the Khomas Hochland in the west. It is a meeting place between Africa and Europe, the modern and the old.
In the capital’s main street, well-preserved German colonial buildings are in sharp contrast with modern architectural styles, while Herero women in their traditional Victorian dresses mingle with executives dressed in the latest fashions. Centrally located within Namibia, Windhoek is an excellent starting point for our journey.
Overnight at the Windhoek Hotel Avani.

DAY 11


Breakfast at the hotel.
This morning we leave Windhoek and drive southwest through the scenic Khomas Hochland highlands before heading down the Great Escarpment into the Namib Desert.
We will likely arrive at our lodge in time for lunch and will check in for a two-night stay. From here we'll explore the remarkable sights of the Namib Desert.
This afternoon our guide will take us to visit nearby Sesriem Canyon, a natural gorge carved millions of years ago by the once mighty Tsauchab River.
Today the river only runs after a strong rainfall in the nearby Naukluft Mountains, but the canyon is a testament to the river's once sweeping movement. The canyon is up to thirty meters deep at points, about one kilometre long and anywhere from one to three metres wide. The name 'Sesriem' is derived from the Dutch/Afrikaans words for “six (zes) belt (riem)” which is a reference to the six belts of Oryx hide that a thirsty settler would have to tie together in order to reach down into the deep hollows in the canyon floor to extract the crystal clear underground water which collects under the canyon’s floor.
If we are too late to visit the canyon today, we can put it on our list for tomorrow and spend this evening relaxing at the lodge and soaking up the amazing desert scenery.
Dinner and overnight at Desert Homestead Lodge.

DAY 12


This morning we rise early for a magical excursion with our guide inside the Namib Naukluft National Park.
Here our guide will give us an insight into the formation of the Namib Desert as well as an introduction to its myriad fascinating creatures and plants that have adapted to survive these harsh environs.
The most frequently-visited section of the massive 50,000 square kilometre park has become known as Sossusvlei, famous for its towering apricot-coloured sand dunes which reach heights of over 300 metres above the surrounding plains, ranking them among the tallest dunes on earth. Sossusvlei itself is actually a clay pan set amidst these star-shaped dunes.
The deathly white clay pan contrasts against the orange sands and forms the endpoint of the ephemeral Tsauchab River within the interior of the Great Sand Sea. The river course rises south of the Naukluft Mountains in the Great Escarpment. It penetrates the sand sea for some 55 km before it finally peters out at Sossusvlei, about the same distance from the Atlantic Ocean.
Until the encroaching dunes blocked its course around 60,000 years ago, the Tsauchab River once reached the sea as ephemeral rivers still do in the northern half of the Namib. Sand-locked pans to the west show where the river previously flowed before dunes shifted its endpoint to where it currently gathers at Sossusvlei.
Roughly once a decade rainfall over the catchment area is sufficient to bring the river down to fill the pan. On such occasions the mirror images of dunes and camel thorn trees around the pan are reflected in the water.
Sossusvlei is the biggest of four pans in the vicinity. Another, famous for its gnarled and ghostly camel thorn trees, is Deadvlei which can be reached on foot over 1 km of sand. Deadvlei’s striking camel thorn trees, dead for want of water, still stand erect as they once grew. They survived until about 900 years ago when the sand sea finally blocked the river from occasionally flooding the pan.
Once we have explored to our heart’s content, we can enjoy a relaxing picnic under the shade of a camel thorn tree.
If we haven't already visited Sesriem Canyon, we'll do that today before returning to the lodge in the early afternoon.
The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. From experience we find that this is usually welcomed after the exhilarating morning in the dunes.
Dinner and overnight at Desert Homestead Lodge.

DAY 13


Breakfast at the lodge.
At an appropriate time this morning we'll drive over to the local airport and check in for our private, light-aircraft flights to Swakopmund. We have chartered several small aircraft for our group. This is likely to be one of the highlights of your entire journey in Africa.
Our guides will drive ahead of us along with our luggage and will meet us in Swakopmund later in the day.
Our 100-minute flight will take us to the north over Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert along the Diamond Coast. We’ll fly into the Diamond Restricted Area and over the remains of three old diamond camps then across the coastline at Conception Bay and over colonies of Cape Fur seals and the shipwreck of the passenger liner "Eduard Bohlen" which was stranded in 1909 about 250 metres from shore. Further along the coast we pass over another shipwreck, the "Shaunee", stranded in 1976.
Flying along the coast with the surf on the one side and the long wall of Namib Dunes on the other, we reach Sandwich Harbour, a wetland of international importance protected by the RAMSAR Convention.
Continuing along the coast, just south of Walvis Bay we encounter Namibia's salt mines which attract thousands of birds.
Our next attraction is Walvis Bay, Namibia's major harbour town and a former enclave to South Africa, which was incorporated into Namibia on March 1, 1994.
We conclude our flight at Swakopmund airport.
Swakopmund is a small German coastal resort nestled between the desert and the sea. The town had its beginnings as a landing station in 1892 when the Imperial Navy erected beacons on the site. Settlers followed, but attempts to create a harbour town by constructing a suitable jetty eventually failed.
The advent of the first World War halted developments and the town sank into decline until half a century later when infrastructures improved and an asphalt road opened between Windhoek and Swakopmund. Once again, the town became Namibia’s premier resort area.
Although the sea here is normally cold for swimming, the pleasant beaches and the cooler climate are refreshing after the time spent in the desert.
Today you will have free time to wander around town and along the waterfront on your own.
Tonight, we’ll head off to dinner together at a popular local restaurant.
Overnight at the Strand Hotel.

DAY 14


Breakfast at the hotel.
Today we begin our drive northward into the wonderful and diverse region of Damaraland. We pass Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg, which rises to over 2,500 metres above sea level and take time to view game and absorb the vastness of the scenery along the way.
Damaraland is typified by displays of colour, magnificent table-topped mountains, rock formations and bizarre-looking vegetation. The present-day landscape has been formed by the erosion of wind, water and geological forces which have formed rolling hills, dunes, gravel plains and ancient river terraces. It is the variety and loneliness of the area as well as the scenic splendour which rewards visitors, giving one an authentic understanding of the word 'wilderness'.
Our camp for the next two nights rests on the edge of the dry Aba-Huab River overlooking ancient plains with glorious views of the rugged Damaraland area. The camp provides an excellent base for exploring in game drive vehicles as well as for excursions to view fascinating geological phenomena including the petroglyphs at Twyfelfontein, Namibia’s first World Heritage Site.
The design and décor of the natural-walled units blend in with the surrounding scenery. Each unit comprises a bedroom, bathroom, outdoor shower and veranda for star gazing. There are indoor and outdoor dining areas, a pool area and a small curio shop.
Dinner and overnight at Doro Nawas Tents.

DAY 15


Breakfast at the camp.
This morning we are treated to an exciting 4x4 excursion along the Aba Huab River valley to explore this remarkable region and to search for hidden desert treasures and game, including the desert-adapted elephants.
These creatures are not a separate species but are an ecotype especially adapted to hyper-arid conditions and are unique to Namibia and Mali. To meet their nutritional requirements, a desert-adapted elephant in Namibia will browse on no fewer than 74 of the 103 plant species that grow in this area.
We may return to the camp for lunch or simply enjoy a picnic along the way.
In the afternoon we will visit the nearby site of Twyfelfontein, one of Namibia’s key National Monuments which has recently become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its boulders and slabs of red sandstone hold some 2,500 prehistoric engravings that depict wildlife, animal spoor and abstract motifs. Stone tools and other artifacts found here suggest that hunter-gatherers occupied this area over a period of perhaps 7,000 years.
The site is perhaps the largest and finest collection of petroglyphs in Africa. The engravings show animals such as elephant, giraffe, kudu, lion, rhinoceros, springbok, zebra and ostrich that once used to drink from a fountain at the bottom of the hill. In some cases, footprints were engraved instead of hooves or paws.
Dinner and overnight at Doro Nawas Tents.

DAY 16


Early breakfast at the camp.
This morning we set off on our journey toward Etosha National Park, travelling via the Grootberg Pass. On our way, we'll visit the Himba Living Museum.
The Himba are tribal nomadic pastoralists who inhabit the Kunene region of north-west Namibia and south Angola. They are a tall, slender and statuesque people. The Himba women are especially known for their unusual beauty which is enhanced by intricate hairstyles and traditional adornments. Since the people wear few clothes apart from a loin cloth or goat skin mini-skirt, they rub their bodies with a mixture of red ochre and fat which protects them against the harsh desert climate. This gives their skin a rich red colour.
The Himba's homes are simple cone-shaped structures of saplings, bound together with palm leaves and plastered with mud and dung. The men build the structures, while the women mix the clay and do the plastering.
After completing our visit to the Himba Living Museum, we will head east through the small town of Kamanjab and onward to our overnight lodge which is situated near the south-western edge of Etosha National Park.
The park covers 22,270 km², of which approximately 5,000 km² is made up of saline depressions or ‘pans’. The largest of these pans, the Etosha Pan, lies in the Owambo Basin, on the northwestern edge of the Namibian Kalahari Desert and can be classified as a saline desert in its own right. The park also consists of grassland, woodland and savannah.
Game viewing here centers on the numerous springs and waterholes where several different species can often be seen at one time. The park boasts some 114 mammal species and over 340 bird species. Wildlife includes elephant, lion, giraffe, blue wildebeest, eland, kudu, gemsbok (oryx), zebra, rhino, cheetah, leopard, hyena, honey badger and warthog, as well as the endemic black-faced impala.
If we cannot arrive at the lodge in time for lunch, a picnic lunch may be served along the way.
Our lodge for tonight is situated ten kilometres from Andersson’s Gate, the park's central entrance, and provides a welcome stopover location before we begin our drive across Etosha Park in the morning.
The lodge offers airy rooms with private verandas and overlooks a vast expanse of woodland.
Dinner and overnight at Etosha Safari Lodge.

DAY 17


Breakfast at the lodge.
Today we enter the park at Anderssons’s Gate and drive across the park in an easterly direction, stopping whenever we wish at selected sites and waterholes along the way to observe and photograph the incredible wildlife gathered there.
Lunch will be served as a picnic along the way.
Later in the afternoon we exit the park through the eastern Von Lindequist Gate and arrive at our lodge.
This imposing structure is tucked away on the Onguma Reserve and offers guided vehicle safaris and walking safaris in the immediate vicinity, as well as longer drives into the main Etosha reserve. The lodge is architecturally bold with relatively lavish public areas, a modest swimming pool and fourteen substantial guest suites, all with distant views of the impressive Fischer's Pan.
After arrival we will have time to freshen up and relax before happy hour.
Dinner and overnight at Onguma - The Fort.

DAY 18


Breakfast at the lodge.
Today is available for a full day of exciting game viewing within the eastern section of Etosha National Park as well as on the Onguma reserve. Our camp is an ideal base from which to operate.
Today we expect to enter the park for the morning game drive and return to the camp for lunch and an early afternoon rest. Then we enjoy a "sundowner" game drive in the private Onguma reserve.
Dinner and overnight at Onguma - The Fort.

DAY 19


Breakfast at the lodge.
This morning we leave Onguma and head south toward Windhoek for our final full day in Africa.
We’ll drive via the small towns of Tsumeb, Otavi and Otjiwarongo to reach Okonjima, where we stop for lunch. This is about half-way to Windhoek at the base of the Omboroko Mountains.
Okonjima is a special camp run by the "AfriCat" foundation, a non-profit organization set up to conserve and protect threatened cheetah, leopard and other wild carnivores of Namibia. The camp has an education and research centre as well as animal rehabilitation facilities. During our stop we can learn about the work that the foundation is doing and may have enough time to do some large carnivore tracking by vehicle or on foot.
We then will continue our drive south via the small town of Okahandja and will arrive in Windhoek, where we check in to the hotel for our final night in Namibia.
We will have time to get ready for our trip home tomorrow and since dinner is not included tonight, you are free to enjoy some food locally at whatever time suits you.
Overnight at the Am Weinberg Hotel.

DAY 20


Breakfast at the hotel.
At an appropriate time today, you will be transferred to Windhoek international airport to check in for your flight homeward or on to a post-tour location.

- - End of journey - -