Splendor and Adventure in Southern Africa

A few weeks ago we hosted a small group of clients on a nearly month long adventure through Southern Africa.  Their feedback was beyond positive, and they have already referred some of their friends to get in touch with us to start planning their trips!  Here is the final itinerary that these happy clients enjoyed with us:

Regina Mundi Church Soweto
Day 1
You will be met on arrival at OR Tambo International Airport and transferred to your hotel situated in Sandton.  Your luggage will be dropped off at the hotel and kept in safe storage, and you will have a chance to freshen up before departing on your tour of Johannesburg and Soweto.  Visits will include the Hector Peterson memorial, Regina Mundi Church and Freedom Square, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and other community development projects.

Hector Peterson Memorial

Overnight at the Michelangelo Hotel.

Baines' Camp

Day 2

After breakfast this morning you will be met at your hotel and transferred back to OR Tambo International Airport for your flight to Maun.  You will be met on arrival at Maun Airport and assisted onto your charter flight.  Depart Maun on a shared light aircraft charter flight to Baines Camp.  The flying time is approximately 15 minutes.  On the arrival at the airstrip you will be met and transferred to your camp.  The road transfer time is approximately 45 minutes.

Baines Camp is located on the Boro River, set amonst the shady trees and water of the Okavango Delta, on a 260 000 acre private concession neighboring the Moremi Game Reserve.  The camp, named after the famous 19th century explorer Sir Thomas Baines, features five luxury suites on elevated platforms in the tree line with wooden decks that offer expansive views over the permanent water of the river and a lagoon teaming with life.

Baines Camp Mokoro
The camp offers informative walking safaris with armed professional guide, wonderful game drives in open 4×4 vehicles as well as motorized boating safaris and mokoro excursions, subject to water levels.

The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the game viewing activities on offer.  Lunch and dinner are included.  Overnight at Baines Camp.

Baines Camp Elephant

Day 3
This morning you will have the opportunity to meet and interact with three semi-habituated elephants – Jabu, Thembi and Marula on a morning walk.  Observe them up close in their natural environment as they feed, take mud baths and swim, whilst learning about them and discovering their unique personalities.  This activity includes a picnic lunch.  You are invited to discover the elephants from the ends of their bristled tails to the tip of their powerful yet sensitive trunks.  Explore the astonishing kinship between the elephant and their guardians.  A delicate blink of Marula’s long lashes reveals her sensitive yet powerful personality. Jabu, takes you trunk in hand, with his bold and generous nature and together you slowly uncover the age old secrets of Africa’s elephants.  Temib, cute boisterous and impossible to ignore, infatuates you and transforms your understanding of elephants to a deeper and more personal level.  Overnight at Baines Camp.

Baines Camp starbed

Day 4

The morning is at leisure to enjoy the game viewing activities on offer at Baine’s.  After breakfast a camp representative will transfer you to the airstrip where you will depart on a shared light aircraft charter flight to Chief’s Camp.  The flying time to Chief’s Camp is approximately 15 minutes.  Sanctuary Chief’s Camp is a luxury bush camp situated on the Chief’s Island in the exclusive Mombo Concession of the Moremi Game Reserve.  This region is known as the “predator capital” of Africa and is considered to have the finest game viewing in Botswana, including the Big Five.  Guests accommodation comprises 12 secluded, permanent luxury bush pavilions.  Overnight at Chief’s Camp.

Chiefs Camp boma

Day 5
Chief’s Island is one of the many islands created by the seasonal floodwaters of the Okavango.  The island was named after Chief Moremi, the hereditary king of the area who used the lands as his royal hunting grounds.  The vast number of animals who congregate here make it easy to understand why the area was put aside for the chief.  It was Moremis people, the Tawana, who turned it into a reserve where animals are protected.  Mokoros, local dugout canoes, are ideal for getting close to the bus in the company of a highly trained local guide.

Poling through the byways created by the floodwaters is a magical experience that allows you to get very close to the biggest of game and to see the world from a totally different angle – looking up onto the banks rather than down onto them.  As a change from a game drive, the quiet, gentle pace of a mokoro is a real introduction to a way of transport still used in the Delta by the ‘river bushmen’ or BaYei people.  This activity is subject to the water levels.

Sanctuary Chiefs Camp

The expert guides are always on hand to share a wealth of wildlife knowledge, to take you deep into the bush in specially modified open 4×4 vehicles on morning and afternoon game drives to find the secluded places where elephant families congregate in search of the tastiest fruit and berries.  The game viewing opportunities at Sanctuary Chief’s Cmap are awe-inspiring.

On the plains one may find the roaming lions that prey on the thousands of antelope, zebra and buffalo who live here all year round.  You may see wild dogs, these extremely rare predators have been hunted to the point of extinction in most areas of Africa and this is one of their last strongholds.

Intensely curious, painted dogs, as they are known here, are extremely rewarding to view and accessible to only a few.  Chief’s is the ideal place to spot the Big Five.  There are several local lion prides as well as leopards, ganet cats and hyena are in abundance.  Overnight at Chief’s Camp.

Day 6
This morning is at leisure to enjoy the game viewing activities on offer.  An optional extra activity – depart from Chief’s on a scenic 45 minute helicopter flight flying west of the game drive routes towards the permanent delta, showing areas which are unreachable by vehicle or boat.  Experience the unforgettable views that the helicopter has to offer.  You have the option of the doors being removed for unrestricted photographic opportunities.  This is done with the utmost consideration for your safety.  The activity highlights the sheer enormity of the Okavango Delta.  Overnight at Chief’s Camp.

Okavango Delta

Day 7
After breakfast your guide will transfer you to the airstrip for a shared light aircraft charter flight to Kasane.  The flying time is approximately one hour and thirty minutes.  On arrival at Kasane Airport you will be met and transferred to your lodge.  The transfer time is approximately ten minutes.  Deep in the heart of Botswana’s wilderness lies Chobe Chilwero Lodge, one of the most enchanting places on Earth.

Your lodge borders Chobe National Park, home to the world’s largest remaining population of elephants.  This is an incredibly luxurious lodge with just 15 cottages, as well as the only full spa on the Botswana safari circuit.  Overnight at Chobe Chilwero.

Chobe Chilwero / Sanctuary
Day 8
Elephants feature largely on any activity at Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero, as the largest population left in Africa occupies this northern corner between Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe.  Game drives in open 4×4 vehicles bring these grey giants into easy reach as they drink and frolic at the water’s edge in their boisterous herds.  Thrilling game drives lead by qualified professional guides bring you close to hippos, buffalos, puku, antelope, lions and other creatures that gather on the banks of the Chobe River.  Game drives are also the perfect opportunity for the expert guides to share their wealth of information on the area and its inhabitants.  The puku, a small rusty-brown antelope, alongside impala, kudu and red lechwe, are only a few of the common antelope found there.  Naturally, lion and leopard are also found in the area.  Overnight at Chobe Chilwero.

Chobe Chilwero bedroom

Day 9
Spend the day at leisure.  The best way to end a day of safari is sipping on a cocktail while watching an African sunset over the still waters of the Chobe River, toasting to the end of yet another beautiful day, while looking forward to what the new day will bring.  Specially designed riverboats take you up close to elephants as they wade in the river or near to the buffalo who gather on its shores.  Sundowner cruises are also a great way of seeing animals up close as they come out of the shade to graze in the cooler evenings.  Overnight at Chobe Chilwero.

Chobe Chilwero Ellies
Day 10
Enjoy a morning game viewing activity followed by breakfast.  You will then transfer via a ferry crossing to Livingstone in Zambia.  As you will be entering Zambia, a single entry visa will be required and is obtainable at the point of entry.  You will be met on arrival and transferred to your lodge.  Sussi & Chuma is just 12 kilometers upstream from Victoria Falls. The lodge itself is an exclusive haven in the heart of Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, which in addition to the mighty roar of the Victoria Falls, also boasts a wide variety of game as well as countless opportunities for adventure.  The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the game viewing activities on offer.  Just a short drive away from Victoria Falls, the lodge offers you a walking tour of The Falls.  Overnight at Sussi & Chuma.

Sussi & Chuma

Day 11
The day is at leisure to enjoy the game viewing activities on offer.  Sussi & Chuma’s highly trained safari guides take you on game drives in custom-built 4×4 safari vehicles to experience the land as it was when Livingstone first made his way across the ridge and beheld the smoke that thunders.  There is a profound magic about Victoria Falls, with its towering column of spray, thunder of falling water and terrifying abyss of the Zambezi gorge below, offset by tranquil lagoons and islands teeming with wildlife above.  Dubbed “The Smoke that Thunders”, Victoria Falls are the largest falling body of water in the world, with 550 000 cubic meters of water cascading over its lip every minute.  Few other waterfalls can be viewed from such close quarters on foot, and virtually the entire width can be viewed face on from as close as 60 meters.  Overnight at Sussi & Chuma.

victoria falls

Day 12
After your early morning safari activity and breakfast you will be transferred to Livingstone Airport.  Your flight departs Livingstone for Johannesburg.  You will be met at OR Tambo International Airport and transferred to your hotel situated over the heart of Sandton Square, a vibrant area of Johannesburg.

Michelangelo-Atrium

Overnight at the Michelangelo Hotel.

Day 13
You will be met at your hotel after breakfast and transferred to OR Tambo Airport for your short scheduled charter flight to Kruger National Park.  Estimated time of departure at 13h00PM.  You will be met on arrival at the Satara airstrip and transferred to your lodge.  Singita Sweni Lodge is situated on the banks of the Sweni River in an exclusive 15 000 hectare private concession on the remote eastern boundary of Kruger National Park.  This is an exclusive and private lodge with only six luxury suites, and offers you a traditional safari experience in an unspoiled wilderness area.  At Singita Sweni Lodge you will experience Africa, unfiltered and unadorned.  You will experience every shade of the day’s shifting light and the wilderness, free of the distractions of the world.  You will be introduced to the natural magnificence of the bush and the animals that live there and be moved by the beauty and the stillness.  Overnight at Singita Sweni Lodge.

Singita Leopard

Day 14
The Lebombo concession in the Kruger National Park is one of the most pristine wild territories in Africa.  The majestic Lebombo mountain range runs diagonally across the expanse of the concession, intertwined with the N’wanetsi and Sweni Rivers.  The area is renowned for the Big Five, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhino and abundant antelope and birdlife and an incredible diversity of smaller animals.  Rangers testify that this region possesses a greater density of wildlife than anywhere else in Africa.  The game viewing experience is complemented by many other memorable activities, such as moonlit bush dinners, private bush breakfasts, guided stargazing trips, bird watching, fishing, visits to the staff village encompassing the creche, school, adult learning center, clinic and a craft center.  Overnight at Singita Sweni Lodge.

SingitaSweniLodge

Day 15
You will be met at your lodge after your game drive and breakfast and transferred to the Satara airstrip for your inter-lodge charter flight to Sabi Sands.  You will be met on arrival at the Sabi Sands airstrip and transferred to your lodge, arriving in time for afternoon tea and the evening game drive.  Overnight at Singita Ebony Lodge.

Singita  Ebony Lodge (1)

Day 16
Singita Ebony Lodge is the founding safari lodge of the Singita brand.  This luxurious lodge, lying in the shade of the jackalberry trees, has a spectacular location on the banks of the Sand River in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve.  The reserve is well known for its diversity and concentration of big game.  Your personal ranger and tracker will accompany you on all game drives for the duration of your stay. The game viewing here is truly spectacular, and most guests see Africa’s Big Five, as well as an incredible variety of smaller game.  You can choose from morning and evening drives, as well as walking safaris.  Be sure to set aside a few leisurely hours for an aromatherapy massage on your private deck or in the spa.  Or just laze in your private plunge pool.  Overnight at Singita Ebony Lodge.

Singita Ebony Rhino

Day 17
You will be met at your lodge after one last exciting game drive and bush breakfast and transferred to Kruger Mpumalanga Airport for your scheduled flight to Cape Town.  You will be met on arrival at Cape Town International Airport and transferred to your hotel in the heart of the Cape Winelands.  Your hotel is situated in the center of the old village of Stellenbosch and a comfortable safe walking distance from some great restaurants and pubs.  Overnight at Coopmanhuijs Boutique Hotel.
coopmanhuijs entranceDay 18
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before you will be met and depart on full day tour of the Cape Winelands.  Visits will include a walking tour through Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, a sparkling wine tasting, a wine and chocolate tasting on a award winning estate in the Stellenbosch winelands, a wine tasting at a top estate outside Franschhoek with a visit to their unique art gallery.  Enjoy lunch at Pierneef at La Motte Estate before a visit to the Afrikaans Language Monument.  Return to your hotel in the late afternoon.  Overnight at Coopmanhuijs Boutique Hotel.

franschhoek

Day 19
After a leisurely breakfast you will be met and depart on a full day tour of the Overberg.  Travel through Somerset West and Gordons Bay onto the breathtaking Clarence Drive to Hermanus.  Optional stops en-route includes the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens and the Betty’s Bay Penguin Colony.  Hermanus is a beautiful seaside town on the Southern coast of the Western Cape and is famous as a place from which to watch the Southern Right Whales.  The Old Harbor Museum contains several exhibitions, which explain the whaling history of Hermanus.  Hermanus is home to an exciting wine route that runs along the R320, with 15 wine producers on the route.  You will be able to sample some of the country’s best Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs.  You will enjoy lunch either on the rocks in Hermanus.  The afternoon’s return journey includes the incredibly scenic Sir Lowry’s Pass.  Overnight at Coopmanhuijs Boutique Hotel.

hermanus copy
Day 20
You will be met at your hotel after breakfast and depart on a full day tour of Cape Town.  First visit will be a cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain.  Table Mountain soars 1 085m (3 559ft) above Cape Town and offers the most exquisite views and photo opportunities.  You will visit the District Six Museum, walk through the Company Gardens, visit Greenmarket Square Open air market and partake in a walking tour through the colorful Bo-Kaap.  Finish off the day with sundowners on Signal Hill before transferring to your hotel situated in the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.

Cape Grace
Overnight in a Luxury Two Bedroom Suite at the Cape Grace Hotel.

cape town aerial copy

Day 21
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast after which you will be met and depart on your full day Cape Peninsula Tour.  Enjoy the lovely views from Camps Bay, Victoria Drive to Llandudno and onto Hout bay for your cruise to Seal Island.  Continue onto the magnificent Chapman’s Peak Drive and the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, where you will take the Flying Dutchman funicular to the old lighthouse for more incredible views.  Continue on to Simons Town for a visit to Boulders Beach Penguin Colony.  Enjoy lunch at a wonderful seafood restaurant, before you will be guided through Muizenberg and Newlands back to your hotel.  Arrive back in the late afternoon with the evening at leisure.  Overnight at the Cape Grace Hotel.

I say - please keep in step chaps!

Day 22
Day at leisure for you to explore Cape Town and surrounds at your own pace.  Suggested activities include a visit to the V&A Waterfront, Green Point, Sea Point or a cruise in the Table Bay Harbor.  Overnight at the Cape Grace Hotel.

Day 23
You will be met at your hotel and transferred to Cape Town International Airport for your homebound flight.  End of Road Travel Africa’s services.

Contact us at Road Travel Africa today to tailor make your exceptional once in a lifetime African safari.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Cape Point Ostrich

The Inkanyamba – legendary water monster of South Africa

Howick falls

A while ago I was working on a return trip (fourth time!) for some of our regular clients – this specific tour will be in KwaZulu Natal. As I was putting the trip together, I decided to add a visit to Howick Falls on one of their day tours. This got me reading up on a great local Zulu myth – the Inkanyamba of KwaNoggaza (“Place of the Tall One”).

howick falls

The Howick Falls is approximately 95 meters high (310 feet) and lies on the Umgeni River. The Umgeni River and its tributaries follow the course of gorges and steep crags, forming volleys of water that rush into pools until the water reaches the Indian Ocean, 95 kilometers away.    The view from the top, in particular, is pretty inspiring, and the volley of water mesmerising. And you needn’t come for the view alone. There are also a series of interesting walks and trails, some to the bottom of the falls. The official Howick Falls Gorge Walk begins at the bottom of Harvard Street and makes its way to the seat of the falls.

Inkanyamba

According to local legend the pool at the bottom of Howick Falls is the residence of the Inkanyamba, which is a giant serpent like creature with a finned mane, huge fore-flippers, a horsey head and a fierce temper.  It is said that the Inkanyamba is most active in the summer months, when its anger causes the seasonal storms, but it is hardly ever seen in summer.  This would support the Zulu’s assumption that the creatures are migratory in nature.

inkanyamba

Only Sangomas are said to be able to safely approach the falls – and then only to offer prayers and other acts of worship to the Inkanyamba, the ancestral spirits and the Great God.  According to the Xhosa beliefs the Inkanyamba takes to the sky once a year, in the shape of a giant tornado, so that it can find its mate.

Howick Falls

Listening to some of the stories it’s no wonder that the Inkanyamba have inspired awe and terror through both the Zulu and Xhosa communities for centuries.  There are even some cave paintings found in KwaZulu Natal depicting these animals.  Archeologists have referred to them as ‘rain animals’ because of their association with the extreme summer storms experienced here.  Cryptologists think that they might be a type of freshwater eel.  Personally I hope the Inkanyamba is in a good mood when our precious clients visit ;)

Conservation in South Africa

A short video on conservation efforts in South Africa

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