The whole world in one country
South Africa boasts some of the most diverse and spectacular landscapes and wildlife in the world. Venture into its wild heart in search of the Big Five at Kruger National Park. Visit Swaziland and the battlefield at Rorke's Drift, fly to Port Elizabeth to follow the Garden Route to Knysna, and complete your travels with a tour of the Winelands District and the chance to explore Cape Town.
Fly to Johannesburg, meet your Tour Manager and transfer to Lesedi Cultural Village. You'll spend two nights here in traditional surroundings, staying at the heart of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. Enjoy a light meal and your first night under African skies.
Day One: Fly to Johannesburg
Discover the history behind today's democratic South Africa as we visit The 28-acre farmstead at Liliesleaf - once the underground headquarters of the ANC and Umkhonto we Sizwe - and Johannesburg's Apartheid Museum.
Day Two: Visit Liliesleaf Farm and Johannesburg's Apartheid Museum
This evening, enjoy the hospitality of your Lesedi hosts, who will introduce their cultures, welcome you into their homes and perform traditional music and dances.
After an early breakfast we'll head to Kruger National Park, Africa's oldest wildlife conservation area. Here you'll spend the night under canvas at the newly refurbished Shalati Kruger Lodge. Take your first game drive, into Manyeleti Private Game Reserve, as the sun sets and (weather permitting) enjoy a bush braai dinner beneath the star-filled sky.
Day Three: Kruger National Park and a braai dinner
Start you day with a guided bush walk and bush breakfast, then head into Kruger National Park. The reserve is the natural habitat of some of the world's most recognisable wildlife, and with luck you'll encounter impala, wildebeest, giraffe and zebra - as well as the Big Five (lions, rhinos, elephants, leopards and buffalo) on a game drive in an open-top vehicle.
Day Four: Spot the Big Five in Kruger National Park
After the drive you'll leave the Park and head to your next hotel, where dinner will be waiting.
Today we'll follow Mpumalanga's Panorama Route to the gold-rush town of Pilgrim's Rest and the mountain passes overlooking the vastness of Blyde River Canyon. Take in the enormous view from God's Window on the Drakensberg escarpment, the towering grass-covered peaks of the Three Rondavels and the colourful water-worn rock formations of Bourke's Luck Potholes, before returning to your hotel for dinner.
Day Five: Pilgrim's Rest
A British Protectorate until 1968, Swaziland's culture still mixes colonial ideas with its strong tribal traditions. Cross the border and spend a day visiting cultural centres and craft shops before crossing back into South Africa and through the northern valleys of Kwazulu-Natal on your way to your next hotel.
Day Six: Cross the border into Swaziland
Discover the true stories of the Zulu wars, as you explore the battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift in the company of a specialist guide. This fascinating day includes lunch, and you'll return to the hotel in time for dinner.
Day Seven: Zulu battlefields and Rorke's Drift
You'll have an early start this morning as we return to Johannesburg airport and fly south to Port Elizabeth. You'll be transferred to your hotel by coach and then have the evening free to explore this popular beach resort, which still retains traces of its Victorian colonial past and boasts a vibrant and varied dining scene.
Day Eight: Fly to Port Elizabeth
This morning you'll follow the Garden Route to Knysna, a town of Victorian and Georgian houses on the wooded banks of a beautiful lagoon. Take the ferry to Featherbed Nature Reserve, home to some 200 species of fish as well as a particularly rare species of seahorse, and take a drive through the natural beauty of Western Head to have lunch in the shade of milkwood trees.
Day Nine: Travel along the Garden Route to Knysna
Sunny Oudtshoorn has been christened the Ostrich Capital of the World. The world's strangest, largest and often most valuable bird has been farmed here for 130 years. First for its plumage and now for its high-protein, low-cholesterol meat - samples of which will be offered at lunchtime.
Day 10: See ostriches in Oudtshoorn
Later, enjoy another relaxing evening in Knysna.
Head west along the Garden Route to sleepy Mossel Bay and on to Hermanus. Between July and November, the waters here teem with whales and you'll have the chance to see them from the shore before turning inland into the Cape Winelands to spend the night at a lodge looking out across Cape vineyards to the Stellenbosch mountains.
Day 11: See the whales in Hermanus
Today's tour of the Winelands will take you through a rolling landscape of vineyards and villages. Explore Stellenbosch, Franschhoek (now regarded as the culinary capital of the Western Cape) and Paarl. During the day, there will be winetasting, a cellar tour, and the opportunity to purchase some excellent wines.
Day 12: Tour the winelands of the Western Cape
Later we'll head to Cape Town, and check in to our final hotel for a three-night stay.
Our final day of touring takes us along the Atlantic coast (weather permitting, following the winding cliff-side Tarmac of Chapman's Peak Drive), into the Cape Point Peninsula. See Cape Point, in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, and the colony of jackass penguins at Boulder's Beach. Enjoy lunch overlooking False Bay, and visit magnificent Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden at the eastern foot of Table Mountain.
Day 13: Visit Cape Point and the penguins at Boulder's Beach
Back in Cape Town, this evening, explore the shops, theatres, restaurants and bars of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.
Today you're free to enjoy Cape Town. Why not join a walking tour through the Dutch colonial houses of the Bo-Kaap district, stroll along the tree-lined paths of The Company's Garden, catch a catamaran to the prison at Robben Island where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison, or take in the unforgettable views from a rotating cable car as it climbs to the peak of Table Mountain?
Day 14: Free day in Cape Town
Make the most of your last morning in Cape Town, then transfer to the airport to board your overnight flight home.
Day 15: Overnight flight back to the UK
Arrive back in the UK at the end of a wonderful South African adventure.
Day 16: Arrive in the UK
Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
Please note that 2017 departures will depart from the UK on the evening prior to the first day shown on the day-by-day itinerary and arrive into Johannesburg the following morning.
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour.
Hotel transfer times
A visa is not required for UK citizens travelling to South Africa, but your passport must be valid for six months beyond the date of entry to the country and have two adjacent blank pages. Special entry rules apply for children under 18 years.
Passports and visas
You are permitted to take one suitcase per person on the aircraft, which should not exceed 23kg.
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Requirements and advice can vary over time, and from person to person, so please contact your GP about eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or any other preventive measures.
Should circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.
Changes to your hotels