Spectacles of nature grand tour

 

12 Nights

Starting from

74216.00 p.p.

A once in a lifetime trip that includes Cape Town and the natural wonders of South Africa and Zimbabwe

To truly immerse yourself in the spectacular wonders of Southern African could very well take a lifetime. This luxurious trip not only gives a taste of what the sub-continent has to offer but takes in four UNESCO world heritage sites en-route. The tour starts in Cape Town with its unique mix of cosmopolitan chic and spectacular nature, crosses through Zululand for a wildlife adventure that includes rhino conservation efforts and finally takes you to nature reserves of Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls, the biggest waterfall in the world. 


Ticks for your bucket list include:

  • Visit four UNESCO world heritage sites
  • Go on an art tour of Cape Town
  • Paddleboard with penguins
  • Go on several big five game drives
  • Take part in rhino conservation
  • Scuba dive with turtles and dolphins
  • See hatching turtles dash for the ocean
  • Snorkel over coral reefs
  • See the biggest waterfall in the world
  • Take a boat cruise on the Zambezi river
Your adventure starts in Cape Town, one of the most recognisable cities in the world. Nestled between Table Mountain’s dominant form across the skyline and the sapphire waters of Table Bay, the city offers visitors a heady mix of rich cultural heritage, vibrant nightlife, spectacular natural scenery and a culinary culture to rival the best that Europe has to offer. While it may be tempting to relax on one of the city’s 72 beautiful beaches, your time here is possible best spent exploring all the region has to offer in bite-sized pieces. On this trip, we’ve selected an Urban Art Safari, a tour of the peninsula and, of course, a visit to Cape Town’s most famous sites with a trip up Table Mountain and a visit to UNESCO listed Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated. 

From here a short hop over the mountain will take you to the beautiful Franschhoek valley at the heart of the Cape Winelands where you will spend two days taking in outstanding natural beauty while sampling the culinary delights and award-winning wine from the oldest wine-producing region outside the Mediterranean.   

The second leg of this trip will take you up the coast to sub-tropical Zululand, where you will get to stay on the province’s pre-eminent private Big Five game reserve. The reserve is often called the Seven Worlds of Wonder, as it comprises seven distinct types of habitat including rare sand forests, wetland systems, mountain ranges and marine reserves. Beyond the opportunity to scuba, snorkel, go on big 5 and walking safaris, guests also have the chance to engage in unique wildlife conservation efforts like rhino and elephant tagging.  Depending on the time of year, guests can also witness giant turtles come ashore to nest and see their hatchlings make their arduous dash for the ocean. 

Your wildlife adventure continues as you head to the southern banks of the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe to witness one of the seven natural wonders of the world; Victoria Falls. While the majestic waterfall is the star attraction and worth the visit alone, the area offers both adventure seekers and sightseer boundless opportunities to get close to nature, engage in water sport and go on Big Five game drives. 
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Day 1.  Visit Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated

Queen Victoria Hotel

Robben Island Tour

Cape Town Fish Market

On arrival in Cape Town, you will be transferred to the Queen Victoria Hotel. Recognised as one of the top 25 luxury hotels in South Africa, this five-star hotel is situated in a quiet, historic precinct, yet affords easy access to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront and city centre. The hotel offers a regal ambience with its triple-volume foyer, spiral staircase, marble finishes and breath-taking suites. After check-in, we suggest you head to the waterfront and take a ferry to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. From Cape Town's birth in the 17th century, the island has served as a place of banishment and imprisonment. Now a world heritage site, it serves as a constant reminder of the price paid for freedom. On your return, you can choose one of the many fine restaurants at the V&A waterfront for dinner. We highly recommend a seafood restaurant such as Cape Town Fish Market to sample the delights caught in the Atlantic Ocean and delivered fresh to the harbour every day. 

Included: Bed and breakfast
Excluded: Activities, lunch and dinner

Day 2.  Visit Africa’s largest art museum

Queen Victoria Hotel

Zeitz Mocca Museum

The Pot Luck Club

Cape Town city bowl is compact and easy to explore on foot, but guests may choose to join a formal tour of the city. An excellent way to discover the city and get a taste of its thriving art scene is the Artsy Cape Town city tour. These private, guided tours start at the Zeitz Mocca Museum, the largest contemporary art museum in Africa, before taking guests on a cycle tour of the Sea Point Promenade and its many art installations. Guests may choose a quick bite at street food café’s or indulge in some fine dining for lunch. Afterwards, the tour continues with a hike to the colourful Bo Kaap, Cape Town’s most recognisable, brightly coloured neighbourhood, before moving on to explore art installations, galleries and graffiti around the city centre and learning more about the history and fascinating culture of the city. Cap your night with dinner at the renowned Pot Luck Club. 

Included: Bed and breakfast
Excluded: Activities, lunch and dinner

Day 3.  Go on an adventure tour of the Cape Peninsula.

Queen Victoria Hotel

Peninsula Tour

Earth Cafe

On your third day, we suggest the Cape Peninsula Wet and Wild tour. The Cape Peninsula south of the city is a treasure trove of natural wonders and provides a stunning wildlife contrast to the cosmopolitan city centre. It’s home to the Cape Floral Kingdom, another UNESCO listed site, picturesque bohemian seaside villages, and small working fishing harbours where you can sample seafood that is literally fresh of the boat. This day tour starts with kayak lessons in the calm waters of the harbour before taking you to Muizenburg to experience surf culture, Kalkbay to see a working fishing harbour and then on to Simon’s Town to find rogue penguins on a local beach. Here you can snorkel and stand-up kayak in sheltered coves, getting a unique perspective on life at this penguin colony. After lunch at the Whole Earth Café, you will move deeper into the Peninsula to explore secluded wild beaches, lesser-known coves, rock pools and shipwreck hiking trails away from the tourist crowds. This part of the Table Mountain National Park is also home to ostrich, baboons, tortoises and mountain zebra. Your return to the city is made via the rugged Atlantic coastline along cliff-hugging roads providing spectacular views. Your day trip wraps up with a sundowner at a local hangout to watch the sunset over the Atlantic. 

Included: Bed and breakfast
Excluded: Activities, lunch and dinner. 

Day 4.  Go to the top of Table Mountain.

The Last Word

Table Mountain

La Petite Colombe

If it’s your first visit to Cape Town, no trip would be complete without a cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain with its spectacular views over the city and the Cape Peninsula. We suggest an early morning start to beat the crowds and make the most of the serene surroundings. After your check-out, it’s on to the picture-perfect Cape Winelands and Franschhoek which will be your base to explore the culinary delights and award-winning wines of the region. Here you will stay at The Last Word Franschhoek, an exclusive five-star historic residence in the heart of the village. Built in the Cape Huguenot architectural style, this beautiful building has been painstakingly restored to provide luxurious home comforts mixed with an elegant, yet sophisticated interior which features both classic and contemporary furnishings. It’s only a stone’s throw away from more than 30 different dining venues, and this charming village features many of South Africa’s most celebrated restaurants like internationally celebrated La Petite Colombe.

Included: Bed and breakfast
Excluded: Activities, lunch and dinner

Day 5.  Board the wine tram and visit Babylon Storen.

The Last Word

Vinyard tour

Babylon Storen

The name Franschhoek translates into French corner and pays homage to the French Huguenots who settled in the region in the 1600s. Their winemaking expertise came to excellent use in this fertile valley. This is not only the oldest wine-making region outside of the Mediterranean but also one of the most awarded.  Visitors are spoilt for choice in the number of vineyards and wine tours on offer. The valley has a Tram system which runs eight different routes, making a trip to most of the vineyard in the region fun and easy. We suggest taking the purple route, with a stop at Babylon Storen for lunch and a wine tasting. Babylon Storen is one of the oldest wine farms in the region, and has been painstakingly restored to provide an authentic view of what life was like in this valley in the late 1600s. 

Included: Bed and breakfast
Excluded: Activities, lunch and dinner

Day 6.  Go on a Big Five game drive.

Phinda Forest Lodge

Big 5 Game Drive

Full Board

Today you bid farewell to the beautiful Cape Winelands and head to the subtropical east coast of South Africa’s Kwazulu Natal province. Your stay here will be at the Phinda Forest Lodge, nestled in the middle of a rare and beautiful dry sand forest. Situated in the private 28,000 hectares Phinda Private Reserve, this exclusive lodge offers only 16 handcrafted glass-encased forest suites built on stilts amongst the trees. Phinda Private Reserve provides not only some of the best game viewing opportunities, but guests can take part in rhino and elephant conservation activities. The lodge is also conveniently located at the edge of UNESCO listed iSimangaliso Wetland Park. This spectacular park stretches along more than 280km of shoreline and encompasses no less than 16 marine parks, protected wetlands, game reserves, sanctuaries and parks. Between October and February each year it is also home to one of nature’s most mesmerising events. Every year loggerhead and leatherback turtles make their way to the areas pristinely preserved beaches to nest, followed by the spectacle of tens of thousands of hatchlings emerging and making a dangerous dash for the ocean. After checking into the luxurious lodge, you will have the chance to go on your first Big Five game drive. The reserve not only offers excellent game viewing opportunities but is well known to be one of the best places to spot elusive animals like the leopard and black rhino. 

Included: Flights, full board, all activities

Day 7.  Take part in rhino conservation

Phinda Forest Lpdge

Turtle tracking

Full Board

On your 2nd day at Phinda, you will take part in what is truly a once in a lifetime experience; tracking and tagging the endangered black rhino. Guests get to play an active role in the conservation of this endangered species. This adventure allows guests to witness the capture and darting of either a black or a white rhino. A wildlife vet will locate and dart the rhino from the vantage point of a helicopter, while the guests and ground crew follow in open 4x4 safari vehicles. Once darted, the veterinary team will notch the sleeping animal’s ear for research and security monitoring, as well as insert a microchip into the horn, enabling researchers to identify different rhino on the reserve correctly. Groups of up to eight guests can participate in this conservation initiative and have the never-to-be-repeated opportunity of touching the anaesthetised giant during the notching procedure. If you still have an appetite for adventure, you can go on a turtle night drive. Nocturnal walks and drives are taken with great care to ensure that these activities do not disturb these magnificent creatures. All data collected on walks and drives are shared with the Ezemvelo Turtle Monitoring program. Turtle walks are available three days a week, and nightly turtle tracking by 4x4 take place every evening. 

Included: Full board, all activities

Day 8.  Visit a Zulu Village

Phinda Forest Lodge

Zulu village tour

Full Board

You will be spoilt for choice on how to spend your final day at Phinda, choose between a walking safari, rhino tracking on foot, more game drives, a marine safari or the open ocean experience. We suggest, however, that you take a tour of a local Zulu community to meet and interact with the friendly Zulu people. The Zulu nation is probably best known as a warrior nation who fiercely resisted the encroachment of colonial powers. A guide will escort you through the community providing a prime opportunity to learn more about the fascinating Zulu culture, their customs, beliefs and traditions. You will have the chance to enter a traditional homestead and observe the daily routines and lifestyle of a rural Zulu family and have the opportunity to visit a highly respected local Sangoma (witch doctor/traditional healer) who will explain the wonders of Zulu ancestry which forms the basis of their spiritual belief. The tour ends with a stop the Mbhedula Craft Market, where the beautiful handiwork of 43 Zulu crafters is showcased. It’s a great place to find that perfect souvenir of your time spent with the Zulu people.

Included: Full board, all activities

Day 9.  Enjoy a culinary feast at the Oyster Box

Oyster Box Hotel

Roadtrip

Oyster Bar

Today you will leave for The Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks, a coastal resort town on the outskirts of Durban. Standing proud on Umhlanga’s beachfront, overlooking the historical Umhlanga lighthouse, The Oyster Box has long been one of South Africa’s best-loved and most distinguished hotels. This 86-room hotel is renowned for its generous hospitality, attentive service and exceptional cuisine. The elegant rooms, decorated with antiques, feature private balconies (many with sea views). Located on the dolphin coast, this hotel is ideally positioned to observe the pods of dolphins playing just on the other side of the breakers. The hotel is a foodie’s dream and promises a day of out of the ordinary culinary experiences starting with the Chef’s Table for lunch, an unmissable opportunity to take a front-row seat with Executive Chef, Kevin Joseph. Here you can enjoy the drama of the kitchen as the full-service mode unfolds and the chefs prepare a delicious 5 course paired menu before your eyes. In the evening we suggest you dine at the Oyster Bar in the hotel which specialises in champagne and oysters freshly harvested from the hotel’s own oyster beds. 

Included: Bed and breakfast
Excluded: Lunch and dinner

Day 10.  Take in a sunset game drive in Zimbabwe

Matetsi Victoria Falls

Flight to Zimbabwe

Full board

Today you will move from the South African coast to the interior of the continent as you travel to Matetsi Private Game Reserve on the banks of the Zambezi river in Zimbabwe. Matetsi offers the most exclusive game viewing experience in the Victoria Falls area. Here, surrounded by flourishing wilderness, phenomenal highlights include sightings of as massive herds of elephant and buffalo as well as the rare and majestic sable antelope. The reserve is also home to lion, spotted hyena, African wild dog and leopard. Your stay in Zimbabwe will be at the Matetsi Victoria Falls. Inspired by the spectacular location on the Zambezi River, the lodge combines dramatic architectural design and luxurious interiors with the vibrancy of the Zimbabwean culture. The result is an award-winning luxury nature retreat that offers the discerning traveller an unparalleled luxury safari experience.

Included: Flight, transfers, full board, all activities.

Day 11.  Go on a tour of Victoria Falls.

Matetsi Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

Full Board

After breakfasts guests are taken on a tour of the UNESCO listed Victoria Falls. The tribes of the area call this magnificent waterfall Mosi-o-Tunya (the smoke that thunders). A visit to the falls will bring this description to life, as the falls can be heard from 40km away, and the mist that rises from it can be seen from a distance of 50km. It is the only waterfall in the world to span more than a kilometre, and it is generally considered the largest waterfall in the world. Guests will have the opportunity to discover the many facets of the magnificent falls, and can explore the surrounding rainforest accompanied by an expert guide that shares information on the history of the area as well as the local fauna and flora. After a day of exploring, guests can enjoy High Tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel. 

Included: Full board, all activities.

Day 12.  Go on a canoe safari on the Zambezi.

Matetsi Victoria Falls

Game Drive

Full Board

As is the case with Phinda, your time at Matetsi will be far too short to partake in all the activities that the reserve has to offer. Whatever your preference, be it on foot, game vehicle, boat, canoe or helicopter, you will be amazed and rewarded by the abundance and diversity of this 55,000-hectare reserve. We encourage guests to take full advantage of the game viewing opportunities offered along the 15km private strip of riverfront at the reserve. Whether you choose to travel by boat or canoe, the riverfront provides spectacular opportunities for wildlife spotting. An avid photographers dream, this journey will take you past pods of hippos, crocodiles sunbathing on the river banks and a vast array of fish and bird species making their way past. Be enthralled as you see large herds of elephant, buck, wildebeest and buffalo come down to the water to drink from your prime vantage point on the water. Your journey home starts the following morning. 

Included: Full board, all activities, regional flights.

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