Best of South Africa
|Resort:||Best of South Africa|
This tour reveals the very best of South Africas many highlights
Look through Gods Window on South Africas legendary Panorama Route, go game viewing in Kruger National Park, cruise Knysnas lagoon, hope to watch whales at Hermanus, take a tram tour through the Cape Winelands then discover all vibrant Cape Town has to offer
Excursions & Visits
Day 1 UK-Johannesburg
After taking Saga’s included UK door-to-door travel service to the airport, fly overnight to Johannesburg.
Day 2 Johannesburg-Dullstroom
Arrive and transfer to Dullstroom where youll have lunch and stay overnight at the locally rated 3-starCritchley Hackle Lodge(4Q).
The Lodge is set in attractive grounds with a private trout lake and an outdoor pool, just a five-minute walk from the centre of Dullstroom. There is a restaurant, a bar and a spa (treatments at extra cost). There are 24 rooms, all with a private patio, television, safe, tea and coffee-making facilities and a hairdryer. Dinner is at the hotel tonight. L, D
Day 3 Kruger National Park
After breakfast, travel to Kruger National Park, stopping en route to buy yourself lunch.
Youll stay at the locally rated 4-starProtea Hotel by Marriott Kruger Gate(4Q) for three nights. The rustic-style lodge is set in a wooded area beside the Sabie River, 100 metres from the Paul Kruger Gate to the Park. The communal areas the two restaurants, bar, lounge and terrace are reached by elevated walkways. Theres an open-air dining area or boma, an outdoor pool, a fitness room and a spa. There are 96 air-conditioned guest rooms, all with a television, complimentary minibar and bottled water, tea and coffee-making facilities, an iron and ironing board, hairdryer and safe. B, D
Day 4 Kruger National Park
Discover the beauty of this part of the world on a full-day Panorama Route tour, with lunch included.
Drakensberg is the eastern and highest part of the Great Escarpment that edges the central South African plateau. Youll travel through the Mpumalanga highlands of the Drakensberg escarpment to the red sandstone mountains surrounding Blyde River Canyon. Its one of the largest canyons in the world and its dense sub-tropical vegetation is a haven for wildlife.
Youll make photo stops at various viewpoints, including Gods Window which offers spectacular views of the Lowveld nearly a kilometre below. At one end of the canyon youll see the Three Rondavels three round, domed mountains that are the same shape as the traditional African huts known as rondavels. Another major attraction is the Bourkes Luck Potholes. These are deep holes in the rock created by erosion at the meeting point of the Blyde and Treur Rivers. View them from the metal bridges that stretch across them. Youll also visit the well-preserved historic gold-mining town of Pilgrims Rest. B, L, D
Day 5 Kruger National Park
Enjoy a full day of game viewing in Kruger National Park on an included excursion.
It’s one of the biggest game parks, almost the size of Switzerland, and one of the oldest, having been established in 1898. It’s also where you may be lucky enough to see some of Africas magnificent wild animals in their native habitat such as the big five of lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino, as well as cheetah, giraffe and hippopotamus. You’ll travel in an open-sided four-wheel-drive vehicle with an expert guide and, while you may have seen African animals in zoos, little can prepare you for the thrill of seeing wild animals up close in their natural environment. Youll have time to buy yourself lunch at one of several Rest Camps during your day in the Park.
Dinner is at the hotel tonight. B, D
Day 6 Johannesburg-Port Elizabeth
After an early start, transfer to Johannesburg by road (a journey of approximately six hours) for your onward flightto Port Elizabeth,where youstay overnight at the locally rated 5-starThe Boardwalk Hotel & Spa(4Q) overlooking the Indian Ocean and a few minutes from the beach.
The hotel has a grand, Victorian-style appearance, with the various buildings set around the illuminated lake and linked by boardwalks. There is a restaurant, lounge and and bar, indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness centre and a spa (treatments at extra charge). There are 140 rooms, with air-conditioning, a balcony, satellite TV, telephone, high-speed Internet access, tea and coffee-making facilities, a safe, hairdryer, bathrobes, slippers, iron and ironing board. There are many restaurants nearby where you might like to have dinner tonight. B
Day 7 Knysna
Depart Port Elizabeth for a scenic drive along the Garden Route to Knysna where youll stay for two nights.
En route youll visit Storms River Mouth in Tsitsikamma National Park, a conservation area of ancient forests, waterfalls and gorges. Walk out onto the suspension bridge to appreciate the outstanding views. While here youll have free time to buy yourself some lunch.
Continue your journey to Knysna and the locally rated 4-starThe Rex Hotel(3Q). Set close to the Knysna Waterfront shopping area, the hotel is light and bright with contemporary furnishings. There is an outdoor pool and sun terrace, and a restaurant. All 56 standard rooms have air conditioning, a balcony, television, tea and coffee-making facilities and a hairdryer. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.
Dinner is at the hotel tonight. B, D
Day 8 Knysna
Located on a beautiful lagoon in a natural amphitheatre of hills, Knysna is surrounded by lush indigenous forests, mountains, lakes and golden beaches. The town has become a popular resort, with numerous restaurants and craft shops.
Today join an included cruise on Knysna Lagoon. Step aboard the paddle steamer MV John Benn for a leisurely cruise to the two dramatic sandstone formations, known as the The Heads, which sit at the entrance of the lagoon protecting it from the waters of the Indian Ocean. During the cruise you will pass islands and saltwater marshes and enjoy lunch on board whilst taking in views of the distant Outeniqua Mountains. B, L, D
Day 9 Hermanus
Depart Knysna this morning for Hermanus, travelling along the scenic Garden Route.
Arrive mid-afternoon for a two-night stay at the locally rated 4-StarMisty Waves Boutique Hotel(4Q+), which offers amazing sea views and is a few minutes walk from the village centre. There is a welcoming restaurant overlooking the outdoor pool and gardens, a small cinema and free Wi-Fi throughout. All 30 air-conditioned rooms have tea and coffee-making facilities, a hairdryer and complimentary toiletries.
Once a small fishing village, Hermanus is now a popular seaside resort, often referred to as the ‘Riviera of the South’. It offers the best shore-based whale watching in the world when, around July, Southern Right Whales arrive in Walker Bay for breeding and mating, within view of the cliff paths. The scenic coast road offers spectacular views and is a good place from which to spot many whale species between July and November.
Dinner is at the hotel tonight. B, D
Day 10 Hermanus
Today is at leisure to explore the shops and craft markets of the village, stroll on the promenade or take a walk along the cliff top path for fabulous views over Walker Bay. Alternatively, head to the peaceful Voelklip Beach for a dip Dinner is not included tonight but there are plenty of eating places close to the hotel. B
Day 11 Franschhoek
Depart Hermanus this morning and head inland on a scenic drive into the Cape Winelands and Franschhoek.
En route, youll stop for lunch (at your own expense) at the Country Pumpkin in Barrydale, a popular farm shop and restaurant. Continue to the pretty town of Franschhoek, set in a valley between the Franschhoek and Drakenstein mountains. Founded by French Huguenots in 1688 Franschhoek is the old Dutch spelling of ‘French corner’ the town still retains a distinctly Gallic charm. It’s known as the gourmet capital of South Africa and in the main street restaurants, cafes and food shops mingle with art galleries and antique emporiums.
You’ll stay at the locally rated 5-starLe Franschhoek Hotel & Spa(4Q+) for two nights. This stylish hotel, surrounded by vineyards, has a restaurant, a terrace bar and lounge and a spa (treatments at extra cost). All 79 air-conditioned rooms have a television, telephone, safe, hairdryer, bathrobes and slippers and complimentary Wi-Fi. Dinner is not included, but complimentary transport will be provided at selected times tonight for customers wishing to dine in town. B
Day 12 Franschhoek
Enjoy a free day to explore the winelands of South Africa independently.
Youll receive a day ticket for the Franschhoek Wine Tram hop-on hop-off tour. Board the double-decker railway tram or open-air tram-bus as they travel through some of the longest established and most prestigious wine estates. Enjoy the commentary as you go and hop off as and when you please. Activities on offer include cellar tours, wine tastings and lunch (all at extra charge), or you can just wander in the vineyards and take in the views. Details will be provided in resort.
Youre free to dine out tonight, at your own expense. B
Day 13 Cape Town
Depart Franschhoek this morning and travel to Cape Town.
On arrival take an included trip up Table Mountain. Keep your fingers crossed for fine weather so you can take the revolving cable car up Table Mountain to enjoy phenomenal 360-degree views over the city. Otherwise, youll travel by coach up Signal Hill for an alternative view of the city.
Check in to the locally rated 5-starSouthern Sun, The Cullinan(4Q+), situated within walking distance of the famous Victoria & Albert Waterfront. Facilities at the hotel include a restaurant, bar, outdoor pool, fitness centre and spa (extra charge). Each of the 394 air-conditioned bedrooms has a television, tea and coffee-making facilities, safe, hairdryer and free Wi-Fi. Enjoy dinner at a nearby restaurant. B, D
Alternatively, you can choose to upgrade to the elegant locally rated 5-starTable Bay Hotel (5Q) on a bed and breakfast basis. It is also set in the heart of Cape Towns Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. The hotel combines the elegance of stunning neo-Victorian architecture with traditional hospitality and facilities include a restaurant, lounge, conservatory and bar, outdoor swimming pool and bar, gym and health spa (extra charge). All 329 bedrooms have air conditioning, a television, hairdryer, minibar and safe.
Day 14 Cape Town
Join a full-day tour of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, including Cape Point, the most south westerly corner of the African continent. While only a narrow finger of land, it’s an area of beautiful bays, beaches, hills and valleys and fynbos. Within the Nature Reserve you may catch sight of zebra, antelope and baboons. You’ll stop en route at Boulders Beach where you’ll see the colony of African penguins which has grown from a nesting pair in 1983 to around 2,500 birds!
You’ll also visit historic Simons Town named after Simon Van der Stel who developed the Stellenbosch winelands in the 17th century. Built around a natural harbour in beautiful False Bay on the Cape Peninsula, it’s still the home of the South African Navy, and the town is steeped in naval history. Visit the naval museum, and don’t miss the canine statue of Just Nuisance, a Great Dane who was officially enlisted as an able seaman in the Royal Navy during World War II and buried with full military honours. Dine at a nearby restaurant this evening. B, L, D
Day 15 Cape Town-UK
You have free time for exploring Cape Town further today. Perhaps indulge in a spot of shopping on the Waterfront, have lunch in one of the many restaurants, or look out for Cape fur seals lazing along the quaysides! Later, transfer to the airport for your return overnight flight to the UK. B
Day 16 UK
Arrive back in the UK and to your door-to-door travel service home.