Day 1: Arrive South Africa

Welcome to Johannesburg! You will be met at the door of your aircraft with your name on a paging board and assisted through immigration, baggage collection and customs and on to your onward flight to Durban. The KwaZulu-Natal north coast, also known as the Dolphin Coast, stretches north from Durban to the mighty Thukela River. This Indian Ocean coastline of warm waters is rich in marine life as its name suggests, and boat excursions bring close encounters with bottlenose dolphin, which are visible close to the shore all year round. The north coast is famous for its golden beaches, good restaurants and pubs in seaside towns such as Umhlanga Rocks, Umdloti and Ballito, excellent golf courses and historic battle sites of Fort Pearson and the Ultimatum Tree, which lead directly to the Anglo-Zulu war.

This region is a mixture of Zulu and Indian cultures, reflected in the settlements started by indentured Indian laborers on the many sugar cane farms, and in the rich political history in and around Groutville, where ANC president and Nobel laureate, Albert Luthuli, lived and is buried. Umhlanga Rocks is the premier resort town on the coast, with good swimming beaches, a lively town center, coastal walking paths and plenty of shopping opportunities at South Africa’s largest shopping area, Gateway.

The Oyster Box

Three nights at The Oyster Box. Breakfast, lunch and high tea included.

Day 2: Insider Durban

There really is no better way to explore a city than doing so on her sidewalks amongst the footfalls of her citizens. With this morning tour, we’ll walk the streets of Durban, exploring her alleys, arcades, art Deco architecture and cultural diversity. The tour starts at the iconic Moses Mabhida stadium, the latest and most striking addition to Durban’s skyline. Together we hop onto city buses, visit some of the cities remarkable historical centers, explore the rich cultural diversity of the city epitomized in the fact that the largest Mosque in the Southern Hemisphere & first in the province across the road from Durban’s only cathedral. Engage with the city’s Indian history, stopping to smell vividly colored spices at the Victoria Street Market. Marvel at the variety of wares in the lively commotion of Warwick Junction- the commuter’s hub of the city. For lunch we devour a “bunny chow” a local bread-bowl (and rabbit friendly) Durban specialty. Walk off your lunch as we crisscross our way to Durban’s main street where we embark on our final leg of the journey for an experience never to forget in a local mini-bus taxi.

This afternoon return to The Oyster Box Hotel in the village of Umhlanga where we’ll enjoy a traditional High Tea in this charming Grande Dame. Inspired by the hotel’s original, colonial architecture and resplendent with chandeliers purchased from the Savoy Hotel in London, High Tea at The Oyster Box is a lengthy, leisurely affair. Live piano music provides the perfect backdrop and adds a calming atmosphere, after the hustle and bustle of the vibrant city streets.

Day 3: Zulu Village, Valley of 1000 Hills

Escape from the city to the lush green of the legendary Valley of 1000 Hills, immerse yourself in Zulu village life and share a specially prepared meal with a local family in their home. Zululand is situated along the northern coast of KwaZulu-Natal, framed by the warm Indian Ocean to the east, the Tugela River in the south and the Pongolo River in the north. This region is home to one of Africa’s most proud and once most feared tribes under the rule of the legendary King Shaka.

Start your journey with a stop at the Markets of Warwick to pick up fresh ingredients or your home cooked lunch. Drive about 45 minutes outside of the city, taking in the picturesque scenery along the way. Descend into the valley of green to iSithumba, where you’ll meet a local guide who will take you on a walk through the village and learn about the legend behind the surrounding rocks. Visit a traditional healer and a local chief, and engage with Zulu traditional customs firsthand. Share a home cooked meal with a local family in their rondavel or under the trees outside, before heading back into the city.

Day 4 & 5: Albert Luthuli Museum Museum & isiMangaliso Wetland Park

Today depart Durban, stopping at the Albert Luthuli Museum, home to Africa's first Nobel Peace Prize winner, who hosted greats such as Robert Kennedy. The essence of his anti-apartheid struggle is captured via photographs, newspaper clippings and mementos of South Africa's turbulent past. Adjacent to Luthuli's homestead is a modern interpretative center that hosts temporary art and cultural exhibitions. In his autobiography Let My People Go, Luthuli described himself as a 'compulsive football fan'. With this in mind, an outdoor soccer exhibition illustrating his interest in the beautiful game and his administrative role in the sport has been assembled by the Luthuli Museum. Luthuli has been described as 'a leader ahead of his time'. He left behind a powerful legacy of non-violence, non-racialism, democracy and respect for human rights.

After the musuem, continue about 2.5 hours to Makakatana Bay Lodge, the only private concession in the isiMangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site. The lodge is named after a Zulu Chief called “Chief Mhakhakhathana”, who lived in the area many years ago. The southern most bay that opens into Lake St Lucia from the narrows was named after the Chief. Zululand is also pristine safari country, with excellent private and national parks, including the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, boasting the greatest concentration of rhino in the world. The region is host to one of South Africa’s World Heritage Sites, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which is known for its wide range of ecological zones including some of the highest vegetated sand-dunes in the world, eco-sensitive wetlands and sandy beaches where the Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles come to lay their eggs. Makakatana Bay Lodge offers game drives in the morning, afternoon and nigh game drives in the Big 4 Reserve (no lion), boat trips on Lake St Lucia and beach safaris or game drives in the nearby Hluhluwe and uMfolozi Reserves. From November-March, we highly recommend joining a night walk* on the beach to see the Leatherback and Loggerhead sea turtles laying their eggs!

Makakatana Bay Lodge

Two nights at Makakatana Bay Lodge. All meals and local drinks included.

*Turtle walks subject to weather and season and are at an additional cost.>/p>

Day 6, 7 & 8: Thanda Private Game Reserve

You will be picked up after the morning activity at Makakatana and transfer about 1 hour to your next safari camp. Thanda Tented Camp is located in Thanda Private Game Reserve and proudly boasts an authentically South African wildlife experience, matched with a sincere commitment to the Zulu culture and passionate conservation of the environment.

An ancient culture of tradition and integrity, many Zulus living in rural KwaZulu-Natal have retained their traditional lifestyles despite Western intervention and the exacerbating pressures of globalization. The Zulus believed very strongly in the connection between themselves and the spiritual realm, and the physical state of a body was an indication of the favorable or unfavorable light the gods viewed that person in.

Since the reserves inception, Thanda’s aim has been to restore natural balance to the area by bringing back the species which were endemic to the area. Originally purchased as degraded cattle farms, rife with alien plant species, Thanda’s wildlife management has concentrated on an extensive rehabilitation project which included reintroducing the Big Five. Thanda was also the first private game reserve in Kwa Zulu-Natal to have successfully reintroduced a breeding pack of wild dog within its borders. Early morning and late afternoon game drives in search of the elusive Big Five are conducted in open Land Rovers under the supervision of knowledgeable rangers and trackers. Ignite your imagination and open your mind to the hypnotic drumming that sets the rhythm of authenticity.

Thanda Private Game Reserve

Thanda Tented Camp

Three nights at Thanda Tented Camp in a Standard Safari Room. All meals included.

Day 9: Cape Town

Enjoy one last breakfast in the bush before it's time for the transfer back to Durban to meet the direct flight to Cape Town to continue on your journey. You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your boutique guesthouse in the city bowl. The old and established suburbs of Gardens, Oranjezicht and Tamboerskloof merge into each other as they line the foothills of Table Mountain and Signal Hill. The area enjoys convenient proximity to the city, the Table Mountain Cableway, as well as the beaches. The narrow little streets are lined by original Cape buildings, many of which have been beautifully restored, some now housing museums and art galleries, as well as lively sidewalk cafés and highly acclaimed restaurants. Now known for its trendy and modern vibe, this region is often visited on foot, encompassing the historic parliament buildings, the Company Gardens and the lively café culture and boutiques of Kloof Street. If you feel up to it, check out Cape Town's lively jazz scene!

Abbey Manor

Four nights at Abbey Manor in a Grand Room. Breakfast included.

Day 10: Heart & Soul of Cape Town

This morning meet your private guide in the lobby of your guesthouse and start your tour by bike! Soak up the vibe of the urban hub during the first part of your tour and take in the fresh Atlantic sea breeze as we travel along the Atlantic Seaboard to Sea Point, a promenade frequented by locals jogging and walking. Highlights include the Green Point Lighthouse, the oldest working lighthouse in the country Green Point Urban Park - a haven in the city created along with the stadium during the World Cup.

After a refreshment stop, return to the start of the ride and drive into the center of town for the start of our historical walk. Start where it all began, at the original Cape shoreline. Hear about the origins of the city, the people who lived here from ancient times and those who colonized it more recently. Along the way, enjoy lunch at a local favorite spot and a walk in the Company's Garden, during which we explore Government Ave and St George's Cathedral. The walk ends with a stop at Greenmarket Square where you will have an opportunity to shop for souvenirs in and around the square, before driving to the lower cable station for your trip to the top of Table Mountain. Enjoy the waning daylight with views over the city and surrounding mountains before returning to your hotel.

This is a combination tour involving easy biking and walking. The proportion of walking and biking and the routes can easily be adapted on request, if you wish to concentrate on a particular aspect of the city, but the tour will include the historical highlights as well as some cultural interactions. Alternatively we can substitute a sightseeing tour by vehicle.

Prices exclude Table Mountain tickets due to the weather dependency.

Day 11: Cape Winelands for Foodies

Today you meet your private guide and head into the Winelands to South Africa's 2nd oldest town, Stellenbosch. It was Simon van der Stel who was the first settler to spot the opportunities offered by the lush area between the two branches of the Eerste Rivier for the Cape colony, setting up camp here while on a tour of inspection in 1679. The fertile valley was soon settled on by farmers who planted the region's first vines a few short years later. Three hundred odd years on, the valley boasts more private cellars than any other Western Cape region (with over 100 open to the public) and the country's oldest wine route. But there's more to Stellenbosch than wineries. This leafy student town is home to some of the country's top restaurants and award-winning producers.

Here you will join your culinary guide as she leads you through the historic heart of Stellenbosch. You'll have a chance to sample some traditional cape food and wine (like biltong, Bobotie, koeksisters and melktert) while meeting a host of colorful characters en-route! You'll enjoy a heritage lunch platter at the oldest hotel in the country and visit the oldest shop in town. You then continue onward over the scenic Helshoogte Pass, to Franschhoek, founded by French Huguenots over 350 years ago, and widely regarded as the culinary capital of South Africa. Its beautiful setting and café lined streets will charm! We stop at several renowned wine estates to sample some of their award winning wines before heading back to Cape Town.

Day 12: Prisoner to President, in the Footsteps of Nelson Mandela

When most people think about Mandela and Cape Town they don't see beyond Robben Island, but Cape Town has a captivating Mandela story to tell as it provided the setting for the unfolding of a series of significant and secretive meetings that led to the surprise release of Mandela and the unbanning of the ANC in February 1990. This morning's 2.5 hour walk, which covers approximately 2km of the historic and cultural heart of Cape Town, is rich in elements of human drama with key players being a president, a chief of prison, a spy and a prisoner. This afternoon is on your own to explore!

Day 13: Depart

This morning at your leisure until it's time for the return transfer to the Cape Town Airport to meet your departing flights home. Breakfast included.

Rates - 2018
Dates Per Person Double Single Supplement
May-June $4,380.00 $1,610.00
July / December 1-14 $4,850.00 $2,210.00
January 6-April / September-October $4,950.00 $1,890.00
November $4,998.00 $1,930.00
Pricing based on per person sharing for two travelers. Thanda Tented Lodge closed in August 2017. Please call for alternative accommodation & pricing. Regional scheduled flights not inclued; please call us for a quote. Pricing subject to change based on current rate of exchange.
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