The world’s eyes were on South Africa this summer during the World Cup. Most notably, we were introduced to the buzzing sound of the vuvuzela, which every soccer fan seemed to have in hand. But there’s so much more to South Africa than soccer. Even if you paid only the slightest attention to the media frenzy surrounding the games, you probably got a glimpse of a few of the amazing sights and sounds that have made South Africa one of the world’s hottest tourist destinations.
|Best of South Africa itinerary|
And all of it — the natural beauty, cosmopolitan cities, turbulent past, and unwavering hope for the future — is yours to enjoy on Friendly Planet Travel’s new 13-day Best of South Africa tour.
South Africa is a country of amazing diversity. Johannesburg and Cape Town have become destinations for style, night life, and gorgeous scenery, while the sweeping savannas are home to Africa’s big five game: lions, African elephants, cape buffaloes, leopards, and black rhinoceroses. And to add to the allure, the warm, welcoming hospitality of the South African people make every visitor feel at home.
Your exploration of South Africa begins in Johannesburg, affectionately known as “Jo’Burg” by the locals. Spend two full days in the country’s largest city and tour the former residence of Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela, the Apartheid Museum, and Soweto (short for Southwestern Township).
Leaving Johannesburg, you’ll set off for the Blyde River Canyon, one of the world’s largest, stopping for breathtaking views of rolling mountains, the Three Rondavels, God’s Window, and Bourke’s Luck Potholes. Continuing your tour at the Karongwe Game Reserve, you’ll hop on safari vehicles for a game drive into the African bush in search of lions, buffalo, and smaller creatures such as chameleons, scrub hares, and more.
If that isn’t enough animal interaction, you’ll visit a very special place not usually found on South Africa tours, Elephant Whispers, which is dedicated to securing the future of the African Elephant.
Here a warm, loving, and compassionate environment is provided for six rescued elephants. You’ll experience the thrill of getting close to these magnificent and intelligent creatures and discover how gently they interact with humans. You even get an opportunity to ride one if you wish.
After another safari drive the following day, your evening is filled with festivities at the Shangaan River Club. Watch the sunset over the Sabie River as the drums sound and the torches are lit. You can have your face painted or your hair braided while the Ronaldsi Youth Cultural Traditional Dancers, all of whom are AIDS orphans that have been rescued from a life on the streets, provide entertainment.
|Cape Town via cable car|
Your tour will continue to Cape Town where you travel by cable car to the top of Table Mountain, Cape Town’s most striking landmark. Stop at Milnerton Lighthouse for spectacular views of the mountain and the city below. Proceed to the country’s oldest building, the Castle of Good Hope, an imposing 17th century Dutch fort set against the dramatic backdrop of Table Mountain.
Next jump from land to sea on a cruise along Hout Bay View where you’ll see the seals of Duiker Island. Then you’re transported by railway to Cape Point to visit the African jackass penguins at Boulders Beach. Venture to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, where you’ll enjoy a magnificent display of indigenous South African flora.
Your last day will be spent in Cape Town where you can choose a full day optional tour to the famous Winelands, visiting the towns of Paarl, Franschhoek, and Stellenbosch, as well as a wine cellar tour.
If you want to see all of this and more firsthand, book the 13-day Best of South Africa tour for $2,999. Included in the price are round-trip flights from New York via South African Airways wide-bodied jet service, including fuel surcharges; flights, ground transportation, and transfers within South Africa; 10 nights in superior first class hotels with private bath; 16 meals; professional English-speaking tour directors; comprehensive touring programs and safaris, including entrance fees; and more.
But if 13 days won’t be enough time for you, take advantage of the already included international airfare to visit Victoria Falls, one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders, for five days. This pre-tour extension departs the U.S. four days before the departure dates shown.
Or extend the end of your vacation with a five-day trip along the Garden Route. It’s a beautiful stretch of the southern coastline of South Africa from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. In fact, if time and budget permits, why not take advantage of both extensions for the perfect South Africa vacation.
While the itinerary is extensive and inspired, with a number of interesting and original components not typically found on other tours, the prices are down to earth.
Comparing Friendly Planet’s Best of South Africa with other tours, you’ll discover that the savings are as amazing as the country itself. The value for money contained in this tour is easy to see, and it has proven to be one of Friendly Planet’s most popular travel programs year after year.