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South Africa

South African Safari

The Rainbow Nation – diverse and enchanting

Exotic combination of wildlife, scenery, history and culture
draws you into the rhythm and soul of Africa.

South African Safaris are just one of the enthralling attractions of this Rainbow Nation. Home to a kaleidoscope of cultures, South Africa boasts great diversity of wildlife, magnificent scenery, beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, famous winelands and friendly locals.

The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s oldest, largest and best-known wildlife conservation area, home to a huge variety of wildlife, including the ‘Big Five’ – Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo.

In South Africa you’ll also find all the pleasures of a first-world vacation experience, with luxury lodges and hotels, sophisticated shopping and a plethora of great restaurants – from African Shebeens to fine dining establishments.  Learn more…

A sample of our South African Safari experiences:

Enquire about more touring options here

SAFARI FAQ’s:

We’ve been there: Encounter with an Elephant   |   A typical day on Safari

TRΛVELBOECKER TΛILOR-MΛDE
– combing your personal preference with our expertise.
We create unique & authentic experiences
designed to suit your travel budget and desired style of travel.

South African Safari

Travel Expert Certificate

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Christine Boecker
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Republic of South Africa

Area: 1 219 912 km²
Capital: Pretoria (administrative capital)
Currency: Rand
Population: 44 million consisting of 80% Blacks, 9% European and 11 % Asian, Indian & Malays.
Official language: English is the official language and there are 11 national languages.
Time: GMT +2
Climate: Hot summers with afternoon rains (mostly in the form of short afternoon thunderstorms), from October to April, Dry and cooler weather occurs between May and September. The exception is the Western Cape region, which has dry and windy summers and cooler, rainy winters.
More about South Africa’s wildlife, regions and landscape…

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Christine Boecker
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South African Safari

Cape Town & Kalahari Safari

‘Leading Hotels of the World’ meets ‘Relais & Châteaux’

8 Day African luxury that must be experienced
from US$6,960, flights by private jet included (TSW-01)

Days 1-3 Cape Town
Spend three nights at the award-winning Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town with its world class luxury accommodation and superb location on a private quay in the centre of the vibrant V&A Waterfront. This Leading Hotels of the World associate offers luxurious spaciousness in the Cape-influence guestrooms and suites.

The diversity of amenities and the unsurpassed standards in service, both proficient and personal, have all ensured Cape Grace is a favourite for many returning guests.

Included in your stay:

  • Private airport transfers
  • Luxury chauffeur transfer service within the City Bowl (10km/ 6 mile radius) including Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, subject to availability
  • Limited complimentary Wi-Fi in all rooms and public areas
  • Shower Room facilities for early arrivals and late departures
  • Communication Centre with 24-hour complimentary Internet access
  • Cape Town Orientation
    More about the Cape…

South African Safari

Days 4-7 Kalahari Desert
Fly to Tswalu Kalahari by light aircraft for an African safari experience beyond all expectations.
A Relais & Châteaux associate, this malaria-free property is the largest privately owned game reserve in South Africa and offers superlative game viewing. Over the next few days you will have multiple opportunities to witness some of Africa’s rarest species. In particular, look out for the desert black rhino and the black-maned Kalahari lion.

With every party having its own vehicle, guide, and tracker, this makes for a memorable and timeless game viewing adventure!

Catering for just 30 guests, the emphasis is on privacy, flexibility and exclusivity, and guests can choose their own daily activities to include game drives, bush walks and horseback safaris, indulgent spa treatments and exquisite cuisine.

You can even experience a night under the Africa sky on the Malori sleep-out deck!

Day 8 Depart Africa
Spend your last morning enjoying the uninterrupted views of the spectacular African bushveld before being transferred to the airstrip for your flight to Cape Town or Johannesburg.

TRΛVELBOECKER TΛILOR-MΛDE
– combing your personal preference with our expertise.
We create unique & authentic experiences
designed to suit your travel budget and desired style of travel.

South African Safari

Contact Vancouver Travel Expert
Christine Boecker
to design your South African adventure!

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South African Safari

Bespoke South Africa

12 Day* Golf, Wine & Safari (KD01)

From Wilderness to Winelands, this relaxed journey promises amazing animal encounters, delicious wines and the world-famous Extreme 19th Golf experience.

The journey begins with an evening in Johannesburg before transferring into the Waterberg region, named for the many reservoirs, swamps, rivers and streams created by the protruding mountains.
Experience the Africa of yesteryear in the beautiful area at Mountain Lodge with game drives and walking safaris guided by experts who seek out the Big Five.

The nearby Legend Golf Resort will host you on its popular courses:

  • the Signature Course, with each of the 18 holes designed by a different golf pro
  • the 10-hole Tribute Course which recreates some of the most challenging holes from courses worldwide
  • and the astounding Extreme 19th.  Travel by helicopter to the top of Hangklip Mountain and tee off on the world’s longest par 3, taking aim at the Africa-shaped green below.

Next, venture into the Kalahari and South Africa’s largest privately-owned game reserve. This Relais & Châteaux lodge is designed to blend in with the surrounding eco-system, an elegant yet reserved retreat in the bush.
The Meerkat population always welcomes visitors, and the Kalahari lion, cheetah, desert black rhino and wild dog are among the over 80 species you may see here.

From this luxurious base you will visit the par 72 Sishen Golf Club and embark on a variety of game drives and activities in the bush.

Leave the desert behind for the city comforts of Cape Town and the picturesque Victoria & Albert Waterfront, viewed from the windows of your room at the Grace Hotel, a Leading Hotels of the World member.
Set out to explore the city and the beautiful Cape Peninsula on a full-day tour, and enjoy a round at the nearby Steenberg Golf Club.  End your journey in the Cape Winelands in the Franshhoek Valley, famous for producing some of the best wines in the world.

Play at the Pearl Valley Golf Estate and enjoy a full-day wine tasting tour throughout the region, including the Ernie Els Winery in Stellenbosch.  The intimate villa-inspired accommodations of La Residence will wrap you in luxury, marking a fitting conclusion to this extraordinary journey.

Tour price: from US$16,585 per person, based on double occupancy
Domestic and international airfare additional.
*This tour can be customized to suit your desired length of stay.

TRΛVELBOECKER TΛILOR-MΛDE
– combing your personal preference with our expertise.
We create unique & authentic experiences
designed to suit your travel budget and desired style of travel.

South African Safari

Contact Vancouver Travel Expert
Christine Boecker
to design your South African adventure!

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South African Safari

 Wildlife Volunteering on a Game Reserve in South Africa

This family run Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape will let you feel right at home, while creating a wildlife experience to capture your imagination, refresh your soul and conserve our natural heritage!
You can experience wildlife – up close and personal – as very few people will, by working behind the scenes with professionals.

Since August 2003 students from local schools have been able to discover the wonders of nature on day outings. The Conservation Centre offers international students (of all ages) the opportunity to assist with the development of the Centre and to participate in its various projects.
Its main objectives are:

  • to promote environmental awareness and impart knowledge of the environmental, economic and cultural importance of wildlife, wild areas and the functioning of natural ecosystems.
  • to identify and support research projects that provide ecological and social information relevant to the management of the reserve and to wildlife conservation in general.
  • to encourage and advise on various conservation projects which will ensure the conservation of biodiversity and functioning of ecological systems.

The program could include:

  • Game drives [animal identification and tracking] & Game capture
  • Birding orientation and classification
  • Xhosa culture & Community service at underprivileged schools or our Conservation Centre
  • History from Stone Age to more recent Frontier history
  • Game management [culling, re-introducing, counts, bomas]
  • Land management [burning, grazing patterns, roads, water, and fencing]
  • Veterinary work with our resident vet [darting and post-mortems]
  • Guided walks, canoeing, boating
  • Gardening & Medicinal use of plants

Tour Price: from US$1,840 per person for 2 weeks although a 4 – 8 week stay is recommended

The rates include accommodation, food and all activities from a Monday to Friday.
Over weekends volunteers are accommodated at no extra charge, but all weekend activities are for your their account.

Contact Vancouver Travel Expert
Christine Boecker
to design your South African adventure!

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South African Safari

Photo courtesy of P.Murphy

Kruger Park Big Five Walking Safari

This 4 or 5 day walking safari in the Greater Kruger National Park follows the routes of the ‘Big Five’ – lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, rhino on foot – for the closest game viewing possible. (TT06)

Tour Price: 4 days from US$1,050
Children under 12: from US$690

Itinerary:

Day 1:- Johannesburg/Pretoria – Greater Kruger National Park
On the day of departure you will be collected from your hotel at first light and transferred to your lodge in the Klaserie Private Game Reserve. The journey takes approximately 6 hours with stops along the way.
After lunch and a rest embark on your afternoon/evening activity.

 

Taken on Safari in Tanzania. Photo credit: R.Vanderdrift

A typical day on Safari may go like this:
“The drums were not loud, but gentle and persistent. The sun was just rising and it was time to get up and start a day of wildlife encounters. We all met at the campfire for hot drinks and rusks. I had my camera, binoculars, sunglasses, hat and sunscreen – I was ready. As we walked through the bush we encountered many wonders of nature. A perfectly symmetrical spider web, a delicate birds nest, the mating call of an Impala buck.

By mid morning we were back at camp and devoured the hearty breakfast, which was set out under the trees overlooking the river. It was getting warmer now and everyone retired to their chalet, or found a cool spot under a tree to relax, read a book, have a nap… The drums announced it was lunch time. Light fare and very tasty with fresh-baked bread, interspersed with bush talk. What we saw and heard and what we hoped to see and hear that afternoon.

In the late afternoon we’re all in open Landrovers, ready for our game drive. Luck is on our side and we spot a pride of lion, watch an elephant uproot a tree to get to those fresh green shoots at the top, encounter a herd of buffalo drinking at the waterhole. We take pictures and enjoy a sundowner to end the day.

The drive back to camp is in the dark, with the spotlight searching for nocturnal animals. First we see only eyes, then we learn to pick out the shapes of owls, porcupine and some buck. The air is crisp and we’re glad to get back to camp.

After a warm shower the drums beckon us for dinner. The evening meal is served in the boma around a huge fire and we’re telling more wildlife stories. Some are even true!
Nobody wants the day to end but happy hearts give in to heavy eyelids. I fall asleep quickly, full of the spirit of the bush and in anticipation of another wonderful, adventurous day.”

We operate in the Greater Kruger National Park, which is a collection of private reserves adjoining the Kruger National Park on its western borders. There are no fences between the Kruger Park and these reserves, hence the name Greater Kruger National Park. The big advantage of these reserves is their privacy, so no shared sightings or camps with other visitors. Once you’re out there it’s just you, your ranger and chef and the rest of your party.

Day 4 or 5:- Greater Kruger National ParkJohannesburg/Pretoria
On the day of departure you will still go out for one last walk. Sniffing the typical scents of the bush you’ll realize how much you’ve learned already!
After breakfast it’s time to pack up, say your goodbyes and transfer you back to the city, arriving at around 6pm.

Safari Grade

A comfort adventure tour staying at a tourist-class game lodge

guesthouse3 or 4 nights with en-suite facilities

TRΛVELBOECKER TΛILOR-MΛDE
– combing your personal preference with our expertise.
We create unique & authentic experiences
designed to suit your travel budget and desired style of travel.

Contact Vancouver Travel Expert
Christine Boecker
to design your South African adventure!

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South African Safari

South Africa – the Rainbow Nation

Hiking, cultural experiences and wonderful game viewing
A ‘World in one Country’, as you’ll discover on this scenic tour from Johannesburg to Cape Town.
17 Day small group Lodge Safari (SuS01)

Tour Highlights:

  • Mpumalanga Panorama Route – sight seeing
  • Kruger National Park – game drives
  • Swaziland – mountain walks
  • Zululand – game drives & cultural village
  • Drakensberg mountains – mountain walks
  • Wild Coast – beach walks & Xhosa villages
  • Addo Elephant Game Park – game drives
  • Garden Route / Tsitsikamma – forest walks
  • Hermanus – beaches and whales
  • Cape Town – Cape Point & Table Mountain

More about the Rainbow Nation…

There is a lot to do on this safari, so days can be long, but the variety is astounding.

Click here to request detailed itinerary

Tour price – Lodge: from US$2,455 per person sharing
Single supplement (only if requested) US$540

Includes

  • Small Group Safari: Max 12 people
  • Professional Safari Guides
  • Transport in minibus / safari truck
  • Meals: B = Breakfast (16) L = Lunch (12) D = Dinner (11)
  • Entrance Fees
  • 16 nights in hotels, cabins & guest houses

Safari Grade

A comfort adventure participation tour staying in permanent tented camps and guest houses:

guesthouse12 nights with en-suite facilities

chalet4 nights with shared facilities

Tour leader prepares meals and we eat around the camp fire or in communal dining “lapas”. Group participation in camp chores is required.

Responsible Tourism
On the lodge safari, our stay at Mkuzi Game Reserve and the local Zulu village situated on the edge of the reserve helps to create much needed jobs, community awareness and prosperity, and to reduce subsistence poaching. This direct contact ensures that the local community sees the benefits of tourism and conservation, and ensures the continued preservation of a precious nature sanctuary.

South African Safari

Contact Vancouver Travel Expert
Christine Boecker
to design your South African adventure!

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South Africa, Battlefields, Zululand

 

Battlefields, Big Five & Beach

Anglo Boer War Battlefields, 4×4 Safari, Drakensberg & Elephant Coast
12 Day Private Tour in Luxury Lodges 
(TTFit)

Discover the magnificent Kingdom of the Zulu – in Style! Visit historic battlefields of the Anglo-Boer War, hike majestic Drakensberg Mountains, track Rhinos on foot, experience 4X4 game drives in Big 5 territory, then relax on pristine shores of the Elephant Coast in secluded luxury.
Starts and ends in Durban.

Tour price: from US$4,875 per person sharing accommodation

Highlights

  • Battlefields of Anglo-Boer and Zulu Wars – with historian guides
  • Drakensberg Mountains UNESCO World Heritage Site – on guided hikes or horseback
  • Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve – 4×4 Safaris and game walks
  • Zululand – visit local communities and Sangoma (traditional healer)
  • iSimangoliso Wetland Park –  UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Elephant Coast – Africa’s last unspoilt wilderness beaches

Click here for detailed itinerary

Included

  • Private Touring: Min 2 people
  • Professional Safari Guides
  • Private Driver and Vehicle, shared 4×4 Game Drives
  • 11 Nights in Luxury Lodges
  • All Meals & Entrance Fees

Contact Vancouver Travel Expert
Christine Boecker
to join this South African adventure!

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We’ve been there: Hiking the Drakensberg

South African Safari, Drakensberg, Battlefields

Detailed itinerary:

Days 1 – 4: BATTLEFIELDS & DRAKENSBERG – Anglo-Boer War Sites

Arrive at Durban’s King Shaka Airport, from where your private driver/guide will transfer you to the magnificent Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa.
Warm hospitality, relaxed atmosphere and a passion and enthusiasm for Africa’s history, culture and wildlife is immediately evident as you are welcomed into our 4* family-run lodge, overlooking the Spioenkop Game Reserve. Settle in for 3 nights, all meals and community fund contribution included.

During your stay immerse yourself into the dramatic history of the South African War (2nd Anglo-Boer War 1899 – 1902) and the Battle of Spioenkop, brought to life during insightfully guided tours. Spioenkop (Spy or Lookout Hill) was the highest point on the Boer defensive line and in January 1900, a British attempt to capture it began. Astonishingly, Louis Botha, Winston Churchill and Mohandas Ghandi all played a role in this battle.

Nature lovers – explore the rolling foothills on nature walks, or take a more strenuous hike to the top of the Drakensberg mountains. Game walks with Rhino tracking, guided horse trail rides, and mountain bikes are also available from the lodge.

Offering spectacular scenery, locally grown farm-style country food with superb hospitality, this intimate, luxury lodge is the ideal place to explore and unwind. Each of the six cottages capture the colonial feeling of the turn of the century. Each room has its own deck, with unsurpassed views of the game-rich valley below and Spioenkop towering over the reserve. If luck is on your side you might see a rhino or giraffe wandering by.

Together with your hosts, dining is a family-style affair at a communal table. The lodge’s elegant dining room is separated from the lounge area by a fireplace, where pre-dinner drinks are served, whilst mingling with other guests and sharing travel tales from around the world. A viewing deck and swimming pool offer complete relaxation under the spreading canopy of an Acacia tree.

This lodge involves the local community with sustainable employment, purchase local goods, and support recycling projects, health education and local schools.

Days 4 – 6: FUGITIVE’S DRIFT – Anglo-Zulu War Sites

Your driver will transfer you to spectacular Fugitives’ Drift, a 5000 acre Natural Heritage Site, overlooking both Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, and including the site where Lieutenants Melville and Coghill lost their lives attempting to save the Queen’s Colour of their regiment.South Africa, Battlefield, Zulu Warrior If one tried to dream up geography and topography for the clash between two great nations, one could hardly come up with a more fantastic scene than this one.

The Zulu War of 1879 is famous throughout the English-speaking world for the great battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift.  This extraordinary period in Victorian history was made famous by the film “Zulu” starring Stanley Baker and Michael Caine.
Led by the finest guides in South Africa, thought-provoking and often emotionally charged tours are conducted to the Anglo-Zulu War battle sites. Learn more about the Anglo-Zulu War 

Check in for 2 nights to our award-winning lodge, featuring luxurious en-suite cottages, all with private verandas and broad views over the plains flanking the Buffalo River Gorge.
The charming lounge and dining room is filled with fascinating memorabilia. The veranda and outside eating area has a stunning view across the expansive valley. The swimming pool is set in colourful, well established gardens, home to innumerable bird species.
Walks and horseback rides through the reserve to view abundant plains game and birdlife are offered, as well as fishing the on the Buffalo River. All meals are included during your stay.

Days 6 – 9: ON SAFARI IN BIG 5 COUNTRY

A private road transfer takes you into Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, the oldest proclaimed game reserve in Southern Africa where Zulu kings such as Dingiswayo and Shaka hunted and, where today the Big 5 of African legend stalk the verdant savannah.

Established in 1895 and spanning an area of 96 000 hectares, the topography ranges from sub-tropical valleys and rivers to montagne grasslands with huge diversity of flora and fauna. Viewing hides overlook waterholes enabling visitors to see animals at close range. The park is best known for saving the white rhino from extinction through Operation Rhino in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Savour two full days on safari with morning and afternoon game drives by highly experienced rangers in open 4 x 4 vehicles through the heart of Big Five territory. Guided bush walks and cultural visits to the local Zulu community and Sangoma (traditional healer) can be arranged.

Accommodation is for three nights in a 4* contemporary luxury lodge, situated high up on a ridge with amazing views across the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. All meals and daily game activities are included.

Each of the 22 air-conditioned en-suite rooms has a private deck positioned to take advantage of the spectacular views and offering guests utmost privacy.
The lodge boasts an outdoor swimming pool, restaurant and a luxurious day spa – a welcome treat after a long game drive.

South Africa Safari, Rhino

Days 9 – 12: ELEPHANT COAST Beach Break

Your private driver will transfer you to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the pristine shores of the Maputuland Coast.

Our luxury lodge is the ideal place to discover a magical place of coastal forests, grasslands, shimmering lakes and exquisite sandy beaches.  Relax here for 3 nights in an ocean-view room, all meals, guided walks, kayaking, snorkelling, sundowners at Lake Sibaya and cultural tours to Mabibi community included.

The 12 thatched bush suites are positioned on a raised platform nestled in indigenous forest in undulating dunes to afford maximum privacy and minimal environmental impact. Each eco-sensitive room has full length glass windows and doors to let in the fresh breeze and sounds of the sea. Your own wooden deck reaches out into the forest where you may enjoy morning coffee, or cocktails under starlight.
Excellent cuisine is enjoyed al fresco on the dining deck or beach deck overlooking the sea.

South Africa, Battlefields, Beach

Day 12: End of your Adventure

Enjoy your last swim in the Indian ocean before being transferred back to Durban International Airport for your onward journey.

Contact Vancouver Travel Expert
Christine Boecker
to join this South African adventure!

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More about South Africa:

Regions in brief:
Greater Kruger National Park & Mpumalanga
Western Cape & Cape Town
Garden Route & Eastern Cape
Johannesburg

Location, Landscape & Habitat
The Republic of South Africa lies at the southern tip of the African continent between latitudes 22 and 35 south, flanked by the Indian Ocean on the east coast and the Atlantic on the west, and bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland. Washed by the cold Benguela current on the west coast and the warm Mozambique Agulhas current on the east, the country has a coastline of 1,832 miles.

Situated at the southern edge of the African continent, South Africa is bounded by oceans on three sides, with an interior that has a wonderful assortment of habitats, from lush tropical forests to arid deserts, from mountains to the open savannah of the bushveld.

Much of South Africa’s natural wealth can be explored in facts and figures – on 1% of the planet’s total land surface it has 10% of the world’s known bird, fish and plant species and 5% of the world’s mammal and reptile species; the third most biologically diverse country on Earth.

Such diversity is due to great variations in climate, geology and landscape.

Geologically, the country can be divided into three main regions: A narrow coastal strip that demarcates the edge of the continent for 3 000km, an extensive central plateau reaching 2 000 meters above sea level, and the Great Escarpment whose mountain ranges and hills stand in between the first two. These can be split further into rolling plains dotted with acacia trees and scattered dwellings, grasslands that meet the blue sky at the ruler-straight horizon, enormous brooding peaks of the Drakensberg, and chattering rivers that force themselves noisily through narrow gorges – to name but a few.

At the southernmost point, Table Mountain stands like a sentinel guarding Cape Town and its beaches. The south-western Cape is home to the Cape Floral Kingdom, one of the world’s six Plant Kingdoms. Its heath-like vegetation, called ‘fynbos’, is endemic to this area – some 8 000 plant species grow only here, making this one of the most significant concentrations of plant species on Earth. Along the coast eastwards is the dramatic, rocky shoreline where forests grow down steep cliffs to meet spectacular, rough seas crashing on jagged rocks: the Garden Route.

Moving north-east, the straight lines of the arid Karoo with its semi-desert and arid-adapted life give way to the endless, flat grasslands of the plateau, formed millions of years ago when the center of the continent lifted up. This is the country’s economic center both in terms of grain produce and mineral wealth; some of the world’s largest gold and diamond deposits lie deep beneath the unassuming surface.
Around the center, the escarpment’s Drakensberg mountain range break the flatness and the land falls towards the coast. These land forms are not just beautiful but are of great importance in the generation of rainfall and runoff; all major rivers have their origins amongst the peaks and precipitous cliffs.

The country’s eastern edges – bordered by the Lebombo Mountains (and Mozambique and Swaziland) in the north-east and the Indian Ocean in the south-east – generally receive more rainfall and are covered with savannah bushveld and woodland. This is the site of some of Africa’s great conservation and wildlife stories, such as the Kruger National Park, the Hluhluwe Game Reserve where the southern white rhino was brought back from the brink of extinction, and the iSimangaliso (Greater St Lucia) Wetland Park, where the great sea turtles haul themselves up onto the beaches to lay their eggs.

Despite being threatened by increasing population numbers and development, many game reserves and national parks dot the country, protecting some of its 243 mammal, 900 bird, 370 reptile and 220 fish species and its more than 20 300 species of flowering plants. Each reserve or concession serves a vital role in helping to protect a small piece of this immense, picturesque and life-filled land.’ Excerpt from: the wilderness landscape

South African Safari, LeopardTOP

The Rainbow Nation – a World in One Country
Diversity is echoed in the peoples of South Africa. Ancient rock art is a silent testimony to the vanished culture of the first human inhabitants – the San or Bushman people – and the powerful civilisations of Mapungubwe and Thulamela who traded with Chinese and Arab traders a thousand years ago remain entrenched in the ruins of their rock-walled hilltop cities.

Later the sub region became a stepping stone between Europe and the spices of the East, and then its own mineral riches were discovered. At the beginning of the 21st century this is a country filled with a colourful mixture of people and cultures, a heady history and not least, a natural heritage that has South Africans defining their land as “a world in one country.”

Fauna & Flora
South Africa has an extraordinary wealth of flora and fauna. Found here are some 22,000 species of flowering plants (of which 730 are classified as trees) which are endemic to the country, and about 900 species of birds, representing 22 of the world’s living orders.

Indigenous animals include many carnivores, as well as a large number and variety of antelope and other herbivore – the largest being the elephant. The country’s game parks preserve an amazing diversity of habitats to which different species have adapted over hundreds of thousands of years: desert and semi desert, mountain, savannah bushveld, temperate and subtropical coast, lake, estuary and river. Apart from the 800 game reserves and 17 National Parks Board Reserves, there are several privately owned sanctuaries, where conservation is strictly enforced.

Health
Southern Africa is a relatively healthy place in which to live and travel. Please do not go overboard with the information put out by some of the disease control centers. We often have guests arriving who have had every possible injection and who are taking every pill imaginable.

We sometimes meet guests travelling in totally healthy areas who are petrified to touch the local salads and fruits or drink the local water. As a result, they do not enjoy the region as much as they should. Southern Africa is generally a lot safer than the rest of Africa, so please don’t over-react to the detriment of your own enjoyment. Be careful, but not overcautious. If in doubt, ask your guide for advice.

Generally, water throughout Southern Africa is safe to drink directly from the tap. However, bottled water is readily available, so please do not allow yourself to become dehydrated.

Malaria transmission is at its highest during the warmer and wetter months of November through to April. From May through to October the risks of acquiring malaria are reduced.

The malaria parasite requires a human host in order to complete its life cycle. In most cases, our camps are situated in remote, unpopulated areas, so the chances of contracting malaria are very slim. Nonetheless, it is worth taking preventative measures.

The sun can be extremely severe. Always wear a wide-brimmed hat and use a good sun block.

Clothing
Usually informal, casual dress is sufficient, with elegant or smart casual wear for occasions where tie and jacket are required at restaurants, nightclubs or concerts. For the summer months from October to April light-weight clothing is sufficient, but keep in mind that even hot areas such as the Lowveld where the game parks are situated, may experience chilly nights in summer and require at least a sweater or jacket. Most of the country, with the exception of the Western Cape region, has rains in summer. A compact umbrella or raincoat is useful. During the winter months warm clothing is needed, as temperatures can decrease dramatically.

People & Culture
Throughout its history, South Africa has been a geographic designation rather than a reflection of a national reality. The result is that today the Republic of South Africa has one of the most complex and diversified population mixes in the world, a rich mosaic of distinctive minorities. This is underscored by the fact that not one of South Africa’s major languages is spoken by a majority of all the people.

The four major ethnic divisions among black people are the Nguni, Sotho, Shangaan-Tsonga and Venda. Together the Nguni and Sotho account for the largest percentage of the total black population.
Caucasian people trace their origins to the Dutch East India Company settlement at the Cape in 1652 and the British settlements of the 1700’s. The main language groups are English and Afrikaans. English speakers are descendants of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Australian, American and Canadian. They have contributed to the establishment of exclusive clubs, African paintings by artists such as Baines and Bowler, Victorian and Edwardian architecture, Scottish music and Welsh song. The Afrikaans language was developed locally from Dutch roots and its speakers are known for their pioneering spirit, desire for independence, adaptability and hospitality. The Afrikaaner community is unity-conscious, strongly bound to its culture, nation, country, language, religion, institutions and organizations.

The Griquas, largely of Hottentot (Khoi-Khoi) ancestry, have developed a culture of their own, characterized linguistically by a broken form of Dutch-Afrikaans with a peculiar yet dignified power of expression. Their religion, love of sacred song and choirs are their chief cultural features.

The Cape Malays are descendants of the early Muslim people brought to the Cape by the Dutch East India Company. Despite bondage and isolation, they have remained faithful to Islam, still manifest in all their traditional ceremonies, feasts, weddings, funerals and pilgrimages to Mecca.

The first East Indians came to South Africa in 1860 as indentured laborers of the Natal colonial government for Natal’s sugar plantations. For many decades, it was assumed that the Indians should eventually be repatriated. It was only in 1961, after South Africa became a republic, that this notion was abandoned and the Indian community was allowed to stay as a permanent part of the South African population.

South African Safari, Cape Town, BokaapTOP

History
Discoveries in Taung and other sites in the country bear witness to the fact that prehistoric man lived about one and a half million years ago in what is today known as South Africa.

The San were the first people to settle, about 2,000 years ago. They were followed by the Khoikhoi, in the Western Cape. Disease, displacement by new inhabitants and miscegenation gradually caused these groups to become extinct.

The first Europeans to reach the Cape of Good Hope, toward the end of the 15th century, were Portuguese explorers seeking a sea route to the east.

The first permanent European settlement was established by the Dutch East India Company in 1652. By the middle of the 18th century, this growing Dutch colony came into contact with the African tribes that were established in the southeast coastal regions and expanding southwestward. In 1820, 5,000 British immigrants arrived in Algoa Bay, representing the largest organized group of white settlers ever to come to the country. The first decades of the 19th century were filled with wars between the black nations, resulting in the emergence of the Zulu nation under Shaka and later Dingaan as the dominant power in South Central Africa. The establishment of vassal states and virtual depopulation of the central plateau left the way for Dutch-descended Voortrekkers, who were dissatisfied with the ruling British Government, to move into the area. The population patterns established in the first half of the 19th century remain largely unchanged to the present.

Discovery of lucrative deposits of diamonds, gold and other minerals, starting in 1866, was the impetus for the development of towns and cities in the interior. The cosmopolitan population of the goldfields was in constant conflict with the conservative government of the pastoral Boers, who resented the influx of foreigners. This was the era when British imperialism reached its peak.

Black nations were subjugated, their lands annexed and the Boer republics threatened; the result was the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. The British Empire emerged victorious from the war. In 1910 the Cape Colony and Natal (British) and the Orange Free State and Transvaal (Boer republics) were joined to form the Union of South Africa under the leadership of Boer generals Louis Botha and Jan Smuts. The Act of Union was followed by a resurgence of Afrikaaner nationalism, reaching its ultimate apartheid legislation in the 1940s. Restrictions were placed on the movements of Africans and Indians and they were prohibited from acquiring title to land in 1913, although certain territories were reserved for black tribal ownership. African voters were removed from the common role in 1936. The Afrikaaner Nationalist movement grew steadily on a foundation of sectarian preference and achieved its immediate objectives when the National Party, under Dr. D. F. Malan, won the election in 1948.

Organized political activity among black Africans started with the establishment of the African National Congress (ANC) in 1912. In 1959 the Pan African Congress (PAC) was founded as a breakaway from the ANC because of its dissatisfaction with the nonviolent and nonracial policies of the ANC. The first major violent confrontation between government and African nationalist movements occurred in June 1960, when police fired on a demonstration mounted by the PAC at Sharpeville. Shortly after, virtually all black political organizations were banned.

In 1963 Nelson Mandela and a number of conspirators were convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment. Mr. Mandela was released from prison on February 11, 1990, after serving 27 years of a life sentence. Taking a conciliatory attitude toward the government, he led his party into negotiations, culminating in the democratic election in April 1994 and his inauguration as President of South Africa on 10 May 1994.

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South Africa, Safari, LionSouth African Regions in brief:

Greater Kruger National Park
Mpumalanga is the safari capital of South Africa. With over half the Kruger National Park in the province, and many private reserves, there is something for everyone. The Lowveld is hot and humid, with long grass and broad-leaved trees, and of course, spectacular game.

Accommodation inside the Kruger National Park range from the typical ‘Rondawel’ to comfortable, government run lodges. The private game reserves adjoining the park in the Greater Kruger area are, almost without exception, very luxurious. It is also possible to enjoy both day and night game drives in open 4WD vehicles, which is not permitted inside the national park.

South African Safari

Luxury Private Game Lodge

South African Safari

Kruger Park Rondawel

Mpumalanga:
The Highveld is higher, obviously, and also much cooler. On the opposite side of the Drakensberg to KwaZulu-Natal, it consists of rolling grassland with many wild flowers and pretty streams. Much of the area has been cultivated as pine plantations, but there are still some pockets of indigenous forest. Trout have been introduced into some dams and streams in the Dullstroom and Lydenberg areas.

This whole area has a fantastic history, particularly its gold rush era, when lawlessness was the order of the day and brave pioneers wandered through lion-infested bush to reach their claims. The pretty museum town of Pilgrim’s Rest gives an indication of the way of life in those hard days.

The scenery is spectacular – there is God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes in the Blyde River, the quaint town of Graskop, the numerous spectacular waterfalls, the Three Rondawels (three almost circular mountains), the Swadini Dam and the Sudwala Caves.

The main city is Nelspruit which, along with the many small towns, serves the tourist industry and the many farmers who grow delicious sub-tropical products, such as bananas, citrus fruit, litchis, mangoes, avocados, macadamia nuts, pecan nuts and tea and coffee.

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Cape Town & Western Cape:
There is nowhere quite like Cape Town. It is in Africa, and of Africa, but yet so different. Perched between the ocean and the mountain, and with a South African National Park as its heart, it’s wild and wonderful. But it’s also the oldest city of the country, and it has a cultural heritage spanning more than 300 years.
Cape Town has been known as ‘The Fairest Cape’, the ‘Tavern of the Seas’, the ‘Cape of Good Hope’ and was to referred to as the ‘Cape of Storms’ by the Portuguese sailors, who battled the turbulent seas on their journeys of discovery many centuries ago.

It is in Cape Town that the Rainbow Nation really covers the spectrum, as nowhere else in the country do we have such cultural diversity.

Between beautiful Cape Dutch homesteads, elegant Georgian townhouses, traditional dancers with painted faces performing in the city streets, the smell of spicy Malay cooking, the tang of a well-made wine, and the sound of the snoek horn advertising the wares of fish vendors, this city will fill your senses. The bells of St George’s Cathedral alternate with the plaintive tones of the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer. Visitors give a startled jump, and Capetonians calmly glance at their watches, when the noon gun booms above the city – a relic from the days of sail when sea captains had to check their chronometers.

Cape Town is the second largest-city in South Africa and ranks amongst the most beautiful in the world. With its majestic Table Mountain (1082m) overlooking the City Bowl and Table Bay, this is the tourist’s ultimate playground.

With a population of 3.7-million, Cape Town is a quintessential melting pot of creativity, cuisine and colour. The ‘Mother City’ is one of the ‘Gourmet Capitals’ of the world influenced by the combination of Cape Malay, Dutch, French and Portuguese infused by African flavours, and subtly reflected in Cape Town’s stylish restaurant menus. Award-winning wines produced in the local Wine lands of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl complement popular fine-dining menus and gastronomic feasts.

You will never be bored in Cape Town. Table Mountain, the distinctive sandstone mountain has greatly influenced the development of the city and offers some of the best climbing in the world. The surfing is fantastic; the diving is cold but good. You could go mountain biking, or try sand boarding. Go sea kayaking – you may see seals, dolphins or penguins. A great thing to do on a full moon summer’s night is to walk up Lion’s Head before dark, watch the sun set on one hand and the full moon rise on the other and then walk down in the silvery light. Or, if the wind is right, you could fly off Lion’s Head with a qualified tandem paraglider pilot, and land on the beach in time for sundowners. Oh, you’ll never be bored.

Things to do in Cape Town

of course we’ll take care of all the arrangements…

  • Travelling Philanthropy – take a Township Tour to inter-act with the local Community:
    Uthando (meaning love in Xhosa) is a unique non-profit and Fair Trade in Tourism accredited organization which aims to raise funds for life changing community development projects in South Africa. Uthando also offers authentic, uplifting, fun, inspirational, interactive and meaningful experiences in the sprawling and impoverished townships of Cape Town, giving visitors the opportunity to contribute in a positive way towards the social, economical and environmental development in the immediate area.
    Tours run daily and can be tailored to suit particular interests, whether it be urban agriculture; animal welfare; youth development through the medium of art, dance, choir singing, classical music, drumming or sport; special needs education; assistance to refugees; the environment; economic empowerment through skills development; arts and crafts; township theatre; prisoner rehabilitation; care and protection for children, women and the elderly.
    Uthando is all about connecting people in an authentic way in which our shared humanity is celebrated and enjoyed, and here is a prime example of that. A family from Canada recently spent some time with the children at the Hout Bay Music Project. The local children played many African songs for the family and one of the visitors then taught some songs to the juniors at the project. The visiting family also donated two violins, bows and cases to the project, while some of the local children made bracelets as a thank you gift for each of the visitors.

South African Safari

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  • San Bushman Cultural Immersion:
    The ‘Bushmen’, commonly known as San peoples are the oldest inhabitants of southern Africa. These hunter-gatherers have been resident in the Namib and Kalahari Deserts for at least 20,000 years, and speak a variety of languages, all of which incorporate ‘click’ sounds. It is estimated that there are less than 100.000 San people left as their lifestyle and environment becomes more and more unsustainable.
    Enter the !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre, providing visitors with a fascinating insight into the culture, heritage, tribal wisdom and contemporary life of the Bushmen.
    At the same time the training center boosts the social and economic well-being of San communities in Southern Africa by providing internships to young San men and women, so they may celebrate and share their traditions when they return to their families.
    On our day tours from Cape Town you’ll accompany a San guide on foot, by mountain bike or in an open 4X4 vehicle on a trail the leads to a replica village, combining education with a little adventure a new understanding of the phrase “San Spirit Shared”.

 

South African Safari, San Bushman

  • Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens – a Natural Paradise 
    Whether you’re a member of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), or simply an avid flower fanatic, a visit to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town is simply a must-visit for any botanical hobbyist.
    Set against the lower slopes of Table Mountain with spectacular views, and established in 1913, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden features over 7000 endemic plant species and a myriad of things to see, including ‘The Boomslang’(tree snake) canopy walk, designed to give you a tree top tour of the arboretum.
    Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Protea gardens and enjoy open-air concerts on a Sunday evening in the summer.

South African Safari

 

What else can we experience around Cape Town, you ask?

  • Explore the City and take a revolving cable car up to Table Mountain’s summit – a great place to sample sparkling wine!
  • Abseil from Table Mountain!
  • Book an ‘Art Expert’ and browse the many art galleries of Cape Town
  • Book a ‘Personal Shopper’ and bargain for African curios at Green Market Square, visit the Old Biscuit Mill Market on a Saturday in Woodstock or Hout Bay Market during the weekend
  • Savour dinner in a renowned chef’s home
  • Take a Bo Kaap Cooking Safari and learn the secret of how to blend Cape Malay spices
  • Fly over Robben Island by helicopter – the place where world-renowned humanitarian, President Nelson Mandela, was incarcerated for 18 years
  • Discover the Cape Wine lands by car, bicycle, tram or on horseback – for a food and wine tour amidst lush vineyards and majestic mountains
  • Explore the Cape Peninsula by bicycle and see the Cape of Good Hope, the most south western tip of Africa
  • Visit the comical African Penguin Colony at Boulders Beach
  • Take a journey along Chapman’s Peak Scenic Drive and enjoy stunning views across the southern ocean
  • Drive a Landrover over the sand dunes of the West Coast
  • Have a picnic in the Mother city’s Company’s Gardens
  • Go White Shark Cage Diving in False Bay
  • Kayak or SUP along the quiet coves of the Peninsula
  • Go Whale Watching at Hermanus – the best land based whale watching venue in the world (May – November)
  • Visit a Raptor Rehabilitation Center
  • Sign up for a South African cooking class
  • Sip Sundowners on the famous ‘ocean strip’ in Camps Bay
  • Join the locals for a game of beach volleyball on the trendy Camps Bay or Clifton
  • Party in Long Street
  • Take Afternoon High Tea at the Mount Nelson
  • Take a helicopter tour from the Waterfront and view the City, Cape Town Stadium, Clifton & Camps Bay from the air
  • Dine at a traditional African restaurant with authentic inter-active drumming and entertainment
  • Enjoy a sunset cruise on Table Bay

You can shop till you drop at Cavendish, Canal Walk or the Waterfront where you’ll be spoiled for choice. There is so much live music, so many temporary and permanent art exhibitions, so many movies, plays and even opera, ballet or symphony concerts, that you will have absolutely no excuse to stay in your hotel room. You could visit a different museum every day for a week and of course, you’ll have to find the time to sample some Cape wine.

Best time to visit Cape Town:
During Cape Town’s hot, dry summer months from late October to April/May, temperatures reach their peak and this is regarded as the best beach weather. This is the best time to visit Cape Town with plenty of blue sky and sunshine – a great time to spread your towel on the white sands of Cape Town’s popular beaches such as Camps Bay and Clifton.

South African SafariTOP

Garden Route & Eastern Cape:
The Garden Route of South Africa is spectacularly beautiful, undulating along a narrow coastal stretch between the Indian Ocean and the Outeniqua Mountains.
Knysna is a small town situated on the edge of the country’s largest estuary, protected from the Indian Ocean by a cliff terrace known as the Heads. The area is a playground for young and old, offering nature and forest reserves, boat excursions, a Gary Player golf course, wonderful restaurants and great shopping.

In the hinterland, the Great Karoo epitomises the essence of Africa – vast open spaces; sparse veld bushes and distant brooding mountains. Oudtshoorn, a small settler town in the ‘Little Karoo’ owes much of its origins to the ostriches that roamed this semi-desert habitat and Bushmen paintings can be found in the remarkable Cango Caves nearby.

The Eastern Cape region stretches along the south-east coast from the Tsitsikamma Forest on the Garden Route to the Wild Coast. Scattered about in the foothills and beyond, Xhosa homesteads, circular and thatched, are often grouped around a cattle kraal, usually situated on the ridge of a hill.

The main city is Port Elizabeth, set on the shores of Algoa Bay. “The Friendly City” is the fifth biggest city in South Africa and the largest on the coast between Cape Town and Durban. East London is set on the broad Buffalo River and one of the most attractive stretches of the Eastern Cape seaboard. East London’s sweeping white beaches extend for miles; unpolluted, uncrowded, unspoiled. It is the ideal base to explore the north-eastern mountains and the Wild Coast. For historical and architectural interest, the towns of Grahamstown and Graaff Reinet should not be missed, featuring wide streets with wonderful examples of Cape Dutch architecture, dating back over 200 years.

In its natural state, the Eastern Cape is one of the most diverse regions on earth. It is a meeting-place for four major weather systems, hence the incredibly diverse environment – spectacular mountain ranges, lush forests and unspoiled beaches.

Much of the pristine indigenous flora and fauna is very accessible, making for breath-taking views, experiences and memories. Addo Elephant National Park supports about 200 elephants in addition to Cape buffalo, black rhino, kudu and over 180 South African bird species. Many game reserves offer a variety of safari options, from a world-class deluxe experience to the hands-on volunteering opportunity.
Experience untamed Africa at its best and view the ‘big five’ (seven if you include whales and the Great White Shark) in malaria-free game reserves. Indulge in fresh and salt water fishing for trout and ocean game fish, experience some of the most rewarding bird watching (if you’re lucky you’ll see indigenous parrots in their natural environment) and see a wide range of plant life, including the prehistoric cycads, in their natural environment.

The Eastern Cape has a rich cultural history. Explore the beautiful towns and villages the British settlers established years ago, old mission stations, schools and the university where Nelson Mandela and other prominent African leaders were educated, or attend some of over 400 performances presented annually at the Grahamstown Arts Festival.

Whether you choose to explore on horseback or mountain bike, by car or coach, by river raft or canoe or on your own two feet, you will be awed by the beauty of its mountains, valleys, plains, rivers and coastline. There are also opportunities to indulge in adventure sports ranging from skydiving to scuba diving.

Eastern Cape people from all walks of life are hospitable and friendly. Whether you are buying arts and crafts, sampling a traditional meal, enjoying fine cuisine in a country restaurant, having a pint in a country pub, watching a cricket match on an old village green or visiting a township or historical monument, you will be made to feel especially welcome.

 

South African Safari

Johannesburg, at an altitude of 1753m is the largest city in Southern Africa and the center of the country’s economic development. Its cosmopolitan allure attracts peoples from countries further north, in search of greater prosperity.
It is also one of the first points of entry into the region and as such offers a choice of convenient airport hotels, as well as interesting excursions to the Apartheid Museum, the ‘Cradle of Mankind’ and many more.

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