Johannesburg-Mpumalanga-Swaziland-St Lucia-Durban-Darkensberg-Eastern Cape Coast-Port Elizabeth-Knysna-Cape Town
Upon arrival you will be met and assisted to your shuttle transfer service to the hotel.
This morning we leave for Mpumalanga, dropping several hundred feet into the lush subtropical region of the Lowveld. Travel along the circular Panorama Route via Graskop, visiting the view sites of the Blyde River Canyon, one of the natural wonders of Africa; gasp at the glory of God’s Window, with a boundless view of mountains and fertile plains and finally a visit to Bourke’s Luck Potholes before heading to Hazyview.
We have a bright and early start to the day in order to experience the wonders of exploring the Kruger National Park in our closed vehicle. Spend a morning with the Big Five in the Kruger National Park. The Kruger National Park is an internationally renowned game reserve of nearly 2 million hectares and supports the largest variety of wildlife species on the African continent. Keep a lookout for the wonderful flora and bird life that abounds. We return to our hotel around lunch time and your afternoon is at leisure.
Or, you may join an optional full day tour in Kruger National Park, with our open vehicle safari, with highly qualified field guide who is eager to share their knowledge and passion for this unique wilderness area (USD$83/person).
This morning after breakfast, we check out and depart on our journey to Swaziland. We proceed south to Malalane and then onto Swaziland where this afternoon you will visit a real Chief’s village and have the fantastic opportunity to gain an authentic knowledge of traditional Swazi culture.
This morning we journey through Swaziland into Zululand. Our journey continues into the Kingdom of KwaZulu-Natal where ancient traditions and modern cultures of both Zulu and Settler have combined into a vibrant society living in peace and harmony. Arrive this afternoon in the Umfolozi area for your overnight stay.
Your also have an optional to enjoy an afternoon, 3-hour open vehicle safari into the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, Africa's oldest game reserve and world renowned for its highly successful white rhino conservation programme. (USD$68/person)
Free day at leisure. Guests have the option to lie in or take an optional morning boat cruise (USD$25/person) or simply soak up the atmosphere of this tourist town St Lucia before heading off later in the morning towards Durban. An orientation tour introduces us to this multicultural, vibrant seaside city before arriving at our hotel late afternoon.
This morning, enjoy a leisurely breakfast or perhaps take an early morning cab ride to the bustling Umhlanga Beach for a stroll along the Promenade mile which buzzes with energy as surfers, joggers and cyclists take to this seaside playground. Then we head into the majestic Southern Drakensberg Mountains. We proceed on a visit to the 300-foot-high Howick Falls, continuing through the Southern Midlands Meander Route, arriving at our hotel mid-afternoon. Your afternoon is at leisure to soak up the surroundings, or go fishing, hiking and even horse riding in clean mountain air (own account).
Enjoy a full day at leisure to soak up the surroundings of the magnificent Southern Drakensberg Mountains. There are also many leisure activities to be enjoyed at the Resort.
There's also an opportunity to join our 4x4 tour up Sani Pass and into the tiny mountain Kingdome of Lesotho (passport required), getting up close to the sights and sounds of hippos and crocodiles and marvelling at the plentiful birdlife. (USD$127/person)
This morning we continue south to the Eastern Cape entering the fourth of the provinces and the birth place of Nelson Mandela (fondly known as Madiba). En route we see the old traditional way of life in the homeland area known as the Transkei and stop for lunch (own account) outside the capital of Umtata. We continue via Nelson Mandela’s birth place and house, arriving late afternoon at our accommodation in Chinsta East, on the beautiful, unspoilt Eastern Cape Coast.
We awake to the sounds of the crashing waves and have the morning at leisure to unwind with beach sand between our toes. The beach stretches on uninterrupted for many kilometres and the thick indigenous beach forest is a haven for an amazing variety of birdlife. We set off heading south to Port Elizabeth.
Today our journey continues towards the Cape. Visit the Tsitsikamma Forest, which provides scenic walking opportunities. A short walk to the Storms River Mouth offers some magnificent views of the gorge and river below. Arrive in Knysna late afternoon for check in at our hotel.
After breakfast, we travel inland over the spectacular Outeniqua Pass to Oudtshoorn, known as the ‘feather capital of the world’ because of its ostrich industry. We visit a working ostrich farm and then explore the famous Cango Caves. Walk (the more adventurous may crawl!) around the famous Cango Caves with their magnificent dripstone formations of stalactites and stalagmites. Overnight in Mossel Bay.
Today’s journey ends in Cape Town. On the way we stop off in Albertinia to visit a well-known aloe factory. In this area, the Cape Aloe grows wild on many farms, and is still harvested in the traditional, labour-intensive way, providing a livelihood for unskilled, independent tappers. We drive via Swellendam, Worcester and through the Huguenot Tunnel before arriving in Cape Town in the late afternoon.
Enjoy a day of leisure in the ‘Mother City’ where a visit to the V&A Waterfront is recommended. Enjoy quality time exploring this beautiful city.
Or, Join us for a full day Cape Winelands Tour. While South Africa's fertile valleys are world famous for their crisp white and classic French-style red wines, the area is also a treasury of rustic beauty and sprawling estates shaded by giant oak trees. Visit the country's principal wine routes of Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. (USD$86/person)
If you are not a wine fan, you can also join a Cape Peninsula Tour with us. Our Cape Peninsula tour begins with a scenic drive along the Atlantic coast, passing through the cosmopolitan suburbs of Sea Point and Camps Bay to Hout Bay, one of Cape Town’s best-kept secrets. Here, you can take a short boat trip to Duiker Island (for own account and time permitting) to view the Cape Fur Seals which inhabit the island. From there we travel to the Cape Point, a breathtaking rocky promontory. The Cape Point tour returns to Cape Town by way of Simon’s Town, Fish Hoek and Muizenberg, with a stop at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. (USD$90/person)
This morning after breakfast, check out of the hotel by 11h00. The remainder of the day will be at leisure until your transfer to Cape Town International airport.
|Departure Dates||All USD prices based on double occupancy.|
Corner of York & Gladiator Streets, Rhodesfield, Kempton Park, Johannesburg 1619 South Africa
Tel: +27 11 977 2600
MpumalangaHippo Hollow Country Estate
Hippo Hollow Country Estate is nestled amongst lush indigenous gardens on the outskirts of Hazyview, and is only a 10 minute drive from the world famous Kruger National Park.
Tel: +27 (0) 13 737 7752
14 Palm Boulevard Umhlanga Ridge, Umhlanga, Rocks, Durban, 4320, South Africa
14 Palm Boulevard Umhlanga Ridge, Umhlanga, Rocks, Durban, 4320, South Africa
Tel: +27 31 582 6000
Drakensberg Gardens Road, Underberg, 3257, South Africa
Drakensberg Gardens Road, Underberg, 3257, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 33 701 1355
George Rex Drive, Knysna, Western Cape. PO Box 109, Knysna, 6570
George Rex Drive, Knysna, Western Cape. PO Box 109, Knysna, 6570
Tel: +27 44 302 7000
Fax: +27(0)44 302 7100
Cape TownSunsquare Cape Town Garden
10 Mill Street Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa
10 Mill Street Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa
Tel: +27 21 465 1311
Fax: +27 21 461 6648
South Africa is a large, diverse and incredibly beautiful country. Occupying the southern tip of Africa, its long coastline stretches more than 2,500km - from the desert border of Namibia on the Atlantic coast, southwards around the tip of Africa and then north to the border of subtropical Mozambique on the Indian Ocean.
We have compiled the information below to make your planning a little easier in advance of your journey.
Some basic facts about the country:
Please be sure to read this thoroughly, allowing enough time before travel for visa and medical requirements, so that you may have a stress-free holiday.
Banks are found in most towns, and are generally open from 09h00 to 15h30 on weekdays, and 08h30 to 11h00 on Saturdays. Most of them offer foreign exchange services - with cash, bank & credit cards as well as travellers cheques.
You can also obtain cash from many of the automatic teller machines (ATMs). Check the symbols displayed on the machines with those on your card - and remember your PIN number! Several international banks have branches in the main city centres.
Try taking 2 credit cards in case one is lost or compromised. Always advise your bank that you are out of the country as they might block your purchases if they have not been informed.
South Africa is generally a warm and sunny country – becoming hot in certain areas in summer. After the sun has set, evenings can cool down quite quickly, even in summer months. We suggest lightweight cotton clothing, with extra layers for the evenings. In winter it can be chilly in many parts, with snow on some mountains. Jackets and sweaters should be packed. Wear comfortable shoes all year round.
South Africa is a relaxed destination, so casual clothing is acceptable in most venues. You may, however, be required to be modestly dressed in some venues and you may want to bring something smarter for dinner at a restaurant or an evening out. Game reserves experience temperature extremes, with warm to hot days and cool to cold night. Please ensure you bring warm clothing (layers), sturdy shoes – and preferably wear neutral colours. Bring along a couple of pairs of thick socks, gloves, scarf and a "beanie" for your head. If you are doing early morning or evening game drives it can be very cold. When dining out in the cities, smart casual will be acceptable everywhere.
South Africa operates on the metric system - distances are given in kilometres and temperatures are given in degrees Celsius (Centigrade).
One mile is equivalent to 1.62 kilometres. For a quick conversion of kilometres into miles divide by five and multiply by eight.
Celsius to Fahrenheit: 20°C = 68°F, 30°C = 86°F.
Major international credit cards such as MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Diners, and their affiliates are generally accepted. You may, however, be limited in small towns and country areas and in some retail shops. American Express and Diner’s Club are often not accepted, and you should carry a Visa or MasterCard as well.
Automatic teller machines (ATMs) are situated outside most banks in towns and cities and operate 24 hours a day. Credit cards are not always accepted for the purchase of petrol, and where they are, a service fee may be charged.
The currency is the Rand, which is divided into 100 cents. There are R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10 notes. Coins come in R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c and 10c and 5c. You may bring in up to R25 000 in South African currency, plus an unlimited amount in foreign currencies and travellers cheques, provided you declare this on arrival. On departure, you can also take out R25 000 in South African currency and up to the amount in foreign currencies and travellers’ cheques that you declared when you arrived.
Each person is allowed the following duty-free on entry. This is per person and cannot be pooled.
Use the Green channel only if you have no more than the duty-free customs allowance, and no goods for commercial purposes or no prohibited or restricted goods. You will have to pay duty on items that are over allowed limits.
PROHIBITED ITEMS: Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. Please also check what customs regulations are in your own country, so that you may return home without worry.
Driving is on the left hand side of the road. The roads and traffic signs are generally of excellent quality – making travel easy and comfortable. Do be aware of pedestrians in all areas, and wild animals along the road in outlying and rural areas. Speed limits vary: from 60km/h (residential areas) to 120km/h (national roads). Even with the excellent infrastructure, South Africa is a vast country and can’t be travelled in a day. Journeys need careful planning, allowing sufficient time for rest stops. You should carry your international driving permit and driving licence with you at all times, as this must be produced on request at roadblocks.
Current is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles per second. A three-point round-pin adapter plug should be brought for your electrical appliances. Such adapters are also available at the major airports. They are packaged as "Visitor into SA".
You can pay with credit cards in many places, and draw cash at ATMs using your international bank card (with PIN). If you wish to change cash or travellers cheques, this can be done at the Bureaux de Change at the airports or in shopping centres around the country. Most banks will also be able to assist. City hotels may be able to assist as well, but generally have a limit of how much they can change for you.
The Republic of South Africa covers the southernmost part of the African continent between the latitudes 22° and 35° south and longitudes 17° and 33° east. Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe form the northern boundaries and Mozambique and Swaziland the north-eastern border. The Kingdom of Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa. The coastal belt from the Indian Ocean in the east, to the Atlantic Ocean in the west, covers a distance of some 3,000 km. The area of 1,219.00 sq. km, is five times the size of the UK - or is the size of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands combined. South Africa has a population of approximately 50 million people. One half of the South African population lives in cities of more than 50,000 inhabitants, mainly in major urban areas. The rest of the country is rather sparsely populated. Almost 2/3rds of the landmass of South Africa on the western side is semi-desert.
Visitors to the Eastern Lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province, the Kruger National Park area and the game reserves in KwaZulu-Natal should take a course of anti-malaria tablets before entering these zones. It is best to seek medical advice before your departure and take any medication prescribed. Pregnant or very young children are not advised to travel to malarial areas. Other precautions are to wear long sleeves, socks, closed shoes, and generally keep the body covered, to sleep with a mosquito net and to use mosquito coils and repellent.
The bilharzia parasite is present in streams, rivers, lakes and dams in some of the northern and eastern parts of the country, so visitors should not drink from or bathe in these waters. The Eastern Cape is bilharzia free. It is safe to drink the tap water throughout South Africa, and health regulations control the hygiene of street food vendors.
While South Africa boasts excellent medical facilities, visitors should ensure they take out insurance to cover the cost of treatment should the need arise. Most hotels have a list of doctors, whose names may also be found in the "medical" section of telephone directories. Please carry on your person your medical insurance details and have a copy in your luggage and one at home.
South Africa has a warm sunny climate and you should wear sunscreen and a hat out of doors during the day, particularly between 10am and 4pm, regardless of whether there is cloud cover or not. Sunglasses are also recommended, as the glare of the African sun can be strong.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain any vaccinations or preventative medicines for South Africa.
Consult your local travel clinic prior to travel for an update on health issues in South Africa.
ALSO SEE YELLOW FEVER
INTERNET & WIFI
Most hotels and lodges offer WiFi (free or paid) in their business centres, rooms or restaurants. Internet cafes are found in most business locations and shopping malls, and even some South African restaurants offer WiFi access (free or paid). In addition, outlets such as PostNet (found in major cities) offer internet, fax and postage facilities.
There are 11 official languages in South Africa. English is the language of administration and is widely spoken. Other languages are: Afrikaans, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu.
International flights – please speak to your travel agent or airline about the luggage allowance for your flight into and out of South Africa.
Domestic and regional flights – the commercial full service and low-cost airlines in South Africa generally have a baggage allowance of 20kg per person. Hand luggage weight is 7kg.
Flights in small aircraft between game lodges, camps and islands generally only allow luggage in soft bags (without any hard frames, wheels or sides) and are limited to 20kg in weight. Please be aware that unsuitable bags may be delayed or denied travel. Hand luggage weight is 7kg.
The following rules are applicable for checked baggage at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa: Only regular-shaped bags will be allowed to be checked in. This means that the bags must have at least one flat surface in order to be accepted. Round or irregular-shaped bags will not be allowed. Bags with longs straps will not be allowed.
Several of the game viewing areas and neighbouring countries are considered malaria areas. Please consult your medical practitioner before travelling about whether you will need malaria protection.
It is best to seek medical advice before your departure and take any medication prescribed. Pregnant or very young children are not advised to travel to malarial areas. Other precautions are to wear long sleeves, socks, closed shoes, and generally keep the body covered, to sleep with a mosquito net and to use mosquito coils and repellent. You are strongly advised to consult your doctor prior to travel and get accurate and up-to-date advice on anti-malarial precautions.
The standard of medical care throughout South Africa is excellent, comparing favourably with that provided in Europe. Please be sure to have comprehensive travel and medical insurance to allow for quick service at the private hospitals.
If you are dependent on medication, bring a full supply and a spare prescription, preferably with the active ingredient listed as well, as brand names differ from country to country.
Bring spare spectacles, and/or a copy of your prescription. If you wear contact lenses, consider using disposables for a short holiday, especially if you're planning to be active. Also bring spectacles, as the dry dusty environment of some game reserves may irritate your eyes.
Visitors to South Africa must have a passport that is valid for at least 30 days after the intended departure date from South Africa and 6 months after the intended departure date for the rest of Southern Africa. Passports should also have a minimum of two blank passport pages per country visited. The blank pages cannot include the "endorsement" page at the back of the book. If there is insufficient space in the passport, entry into a country could be denied. If you require a visa, you must ensure that your passport has two blank facing pages - one for the visa and one for the entry stamp. Visitors who intend on travelling to South Africa's neighbouring countries and back are advised to apply for multiple entry visas. Visitors must have a return ticket. It is essential that you check current visa requirements at a South African Embassy or Consulate before travelling. Please make a copy of your front and back pages of your passport. Have a copy in your luggage and one at home.
Important Note: Please adhere to the following with regards to travelling to South Africa with minors younger than 18 years of age:
Please note that this information should be used as a guide only and is subject to change. Please confirm passport and visa requirements with your nearest South African Consulate prior to travel.
South Africa is a particularly photogenic destination, and you may well find yourself taking plenty of pictures. Be sure to bring enough memory cards and at least 2 batteries for your camera. Charge these daily where possible, as some game reserves do not have electricity. Please remember to ask permission before taking a photograph of any South Africa resident.
Please be advised that the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones) is not allowed in any conservation areas, until such time as their impact on wildlife and anti-poaching initiatives can be assessed. This rule applies throughout Africa.
Stamps are purchased from post offices. For travellers on the move a Poste Restante service - whereby mail can be collected from a post office counter - is available at main post offices.
South Africa has 12 Public Holidays a year. Most businesses are closed on these days, although shopping centres and tourism facilities are generally operating normally. If a public holiday falls on a Sunday, then the following Monday is a public holiday.
Robben Island Museum and World Heritage Site have compulsory ticket requirements. They only accept tickets that reflect the ticket holder’s full details (name and surname). Should the ticket not correspond to the proof of identification (passport or ID), guests will not be permitted to board the boat to the island.
South Africa is as safe as any other destination in the world. Most areas can be visited, provided basic common-sense precautions are used. Here are some useful pointers:
Traditional South African craftwork, such as bowls, clay pots, beadwork, carvings, tapestries and paintings are good value and make interesting souvenirs. Jewellery is also worth looking out for - after all, South Africa is the home of gold and diamonds. Clothing, brightly coloured ethnic wear, safari suits for both men and women, and tee-shirts with African designs, provide practical reminders of a memorable holiday. Because of the advantageous exchange rate, all clothing and footwear is comparatively inexpensive.
South Africa is incredibly shopper friendly. Shops are generally open from 09h00 to 17h00 Mondays to Fridays and from 09h00 to 13h00 on Saturdays.
In shopping centres you will find longer opening hours on all days of the week. Areas outside of the city may have different opening hours.
Taxis can be called from your hotel reception or at ranks which will be found in key locations throughout major cities and towns. They are relatively cheap, but you should insist that the meter is switched on at the beginning of the journey. A small tip (rounding up the fare to the nearest 5 or 10 Rand) is appreciated.
TELEPHONES AND DIALLING CODES
The international code for South Africa is +27. When dialling from outside South Africa the `0` at the front of the local area code should be omitted, but it should be used when dialling within the country.
Most hotels now have direct international dialling from the phone in your room; alternatively, you can be connected via the switchboard. Mobile phones, known as cell phones in South Africa, are widely used, and coverage is widespread. Certain desert areas or game reserves may have limited coverage.
GMT +2. All of South Africa is on one time zone, and there is no daylight saving.
Vat, at a rate of 15% is levied on the purchase of most goods in South Africa.
When making a purchase, you must identify yourself as a foreigner to the seller and request a tax invoice for your purchase. If the amount purchased is in excess of R 5000.00, a name and permanent foreign address must appear on the invoice. If the amount is in excess of R10 000.00, a proof of payment such as a credit card receipt must be kept. On your final departure from South Africa at one of the country’s main airports, the goods should be presented to a custom official in the departure hall at the designated VAT Refund Administrator counters. Please not that at Cape Town International Airport, the inspection is only done in the arrival’s hall at the counters. Once the goods have been inspected you can present your claim at one of the marked VAT Refund Offices and present your passport, boarding pass and customs stamped tax invoice.
Once a refund has been processed, it will be loaded onto a VAT Refund Card between three days and three months after departure, dependant on the amount. The card may be used to make purchase or cash withdrawals from any ATM bearing the MasterCard Acceptance Mark. It is important to note that there are selected geographical regions where the use of the card is prohibited, please check the list on www.taxrefunds.co.za.
If you are not able to process your VAT refund before leaving South Africa, you may submit your application as a postal refund claim. The forms may be stamped by the customs officer of your home country, on your arrival or alternatively at any South African Representation Office provided that the goods are presented for inspection together with the relevant invoices.
South Africa’s seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere, with winter from June to August and summer from December to February. In the interior, there is sunshine year-round. Summers are hot and thundery; winters bright, dry and cold at night. Cape Town and the southernmost part of Western Cape have a Mediterranean-type climate, with mild, changeable winters, when most of the rainfall occurs, and a warm to hot summer. Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal coast enjoy a sub-tropical climate, again with plenty of sunshine year-round. Summers are hot, thundery and humid at sea level. June and July, when the humidity is low, are ideal months to visit Durban and the coast.
South Africa requires all travellers journeying from yellow fever risk country; or having been in transit exceeding 12 hours, through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission, to show proof of yellow fever vaccination by means of a valid yellow fever certificate.
The vaccine, which is valid for 10 years, must be approved by the World Health Organisation, and should be administered at a yellow fever approved vaccination centre at least 10 days before departure to South Africa, as the vaccine only offers protection 10 days after administration.
Failure to produce a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate at a South African port of entry could lead to refusal of entry, or quarantine, until the traveller’s certificate becomes valid.
Consult your local travel clinic prior to travel for an update on yellow fever vaccination requirements in South Africa.