St.Helena, South Africa's Cape Region and Big 5 Safari15 days & 14 nights, Private Journey
Handcrafted itineraries for one or more travelers with on-the-ground support, a private guide, and a private vehicle. Private Journeys represent the best of the custom programs we've designed over the years. Our insider knowledge and destination expertise make these innovative journeys truly unique experiences.Private Journey
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Day 1Arrive in Cape Town, South Africa
Welcome to South Africa! Upon arrival in Cape Town, you will be welcomed by your local Cox & Kings representative and escorted to your hotel.More Quarters or similar - 3 Nights
Day 2Cape Town
This morning you are met by your private guide to begin a half-day tour. Start with a breathtaking 5-minute revolving cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain. Explore the mountain's summit and the iconic views that surround you. Continue on to visit some of the city's best-known sites, including the Company Gardens and the South African Museum. Next, visit the Castle of Good Hope, built between 1666 and 1679 by The Dutch East India Company. It's one of the oldest surviving colonial buildings in the country. A drive through the city center will take you past the Houses of Parliament, the Grand Parade, and City Hall, from where Nelson Mandela first addressed South Africans after his release from prison in February 1990.More Quarters or similar (B)
Day 3Cape Town
Today you embark on a full day tour of the Cape Peninsula. Take in the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay, before crossing over to Hout Bay, where you may choose to join an optional boat cruise to Seal Island. From here you drive to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve via Chapman's Peak, one of the world's most breathtaking coastal drives, where you will board a funicular (optional and for your own account) to get to the top of the Peninsula to witness the symbolic meeting of the Indian and Atlantic oceans and enjoy spectacular views over False Bay.More Quarters or similar (B)
In the afternoon, continue to Simonstown, the naval base, and visit the African Penguin breeding colony at Boulders Beach. Then stop at the world-renowned Kirstenbosch Gardens before returning to your hotel.
Day 4Cape Town to Saint Helena Island
Your driver will accompany you from the hotel to the Cape Town Airport to board your flight to Saint Helena Island. On arrival you will be met by your guide, who will accompany you to the hotel, passing through small villages along the way. The volcanic nature of the island is immediately apparent in the rugged coastline scenery. After check in, explore Jamestown on a walk guided by a descendant of one of the Boer prisoners of war. Visit the castle and its tropical garden, St. James Church (the oldest Anglican Church in the Southern Hemisphere), and the famous Jacob's ladder that ascends 699 steps above the town. Return to your hotel for an evening at leisure.Farm Lodge Country House - 7 Nights (B)
Set on 10 acres of farmland in the countryside, your hotel is itself part of history. The Farm Lodge is an East India Company Planters House built around 1670. Pristinely maintained, the double story farmhouse with open verandah and Georgian style facade gleams inside with polished wood andbeamed ceilings, while the gardens provide much of the produce, fruit and coffee used on the estate.
After breakfast, meet with your guide for an orientation of the island by 4x4. Stop at Deadwood Plain, which was the campsite of Boer prisoners of war during the Anglo-Boer War of 1900-1902. Take a short walk to Flagg Staff for wonderful panoramic views across the island. Visit Fisher's Valley, where Napoleon rode his horse during his exile on the island and Levelwood, home to the Bell Stone-a rock that when struck, rings like a bell. Wind your way to the southwest point of the island for incredible views over the Atlantic Ocean, which stretches unbroken for 1,678 miles in every direction.Farm Lodge Country House (B, L)
A highlight of the island awaits this morning as you join your skipper for a boat cruise. Home to huge schools of pan-tropical dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and rough-toothed dolphins, as well as turtles, devil rays, and whale sharks (in season January-March), the deep blue waters are bursting with marine life. The tour gives you a scenic view of Saint Helena's coastline and allows you to view some of the remaining old fortifications and outposts.Farm Lodge Country House (B)
Return to port with the afternoon at leisure, although you may like to arrange with your skipper to snorkel this afternoon as a separate excursion. This can be planned directly with him and there are a number of good, safe snorkeling spots near the harbor.
Set off this morning with your guide for the south of the island, stopping at the Saint Helena Coffee Plantation en route. A highlight of the day is a picnic lunch at Sandy Bay, which isn't sandy, but is dramatic in its beauty and jagged cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.Farm Lodge Country House (B, L)
As you head back to Jamestown, a private tour of the Governor's residence, Plantation House, awaits. Built in 1792, it's currently the residence of Lisa Phillips, the island's first female governor . Perhaps an even more famous resident is Jonathan the tortoise, a 184-year-old giant tortoise who carries the title of world's oldest living animal. Visit St Paul's Cathedral and Knoll Fort on your way back to the hotel.
Today is at leisure to explore at your own pace. Highly recommended is the well curated Museum of St. Helena, which not only traces the varied history of the island, but also has artifacts from the number of shipwrecks that dot the coastline. Alternatively, you may like to book an optional boat cruise, or take a swim in the Atlantic-or in the public Olympic-sized swimming pool that sits near the harbor and is a great place to meet local islanders.Farm Lodge Country House (B, D)
This evening, dine with a local family to experience the local cuisine and learn about island life, which often includes some not-so-confidential tales about neighbors and family members!
Today, set off for Diana's Peak, the island's national park. Experience the micro and macro life in a cloud forest, from the many endemic plants and invertebrate species, to the breathtaking views of the island.Farm Lodge Country House (B, L)
You'll be driven to Cabbage Tree Road to start your ascent to Diana's Peak, the highest point on the island at 2700 feet (walkers need to have a reasonable level of fitness as there is an ascent of 574 feet). Enjoy a picnic lunch at the summit. In the afternoon, relax with tea hosted at the Farm Lodge.
Day 10St. Helena
Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to Saint Helena in 1815 and died on the island 6 years later. This morning, you'll visit Longwood House, owned by the French government, where he lived and died. It is one of the best Napoleonic museums in the world, with original furniture and over 900 artifacts.Farm Lodge Country House (B, L)
Have your picnic lunch on Longwood Green before taking a fifteen-minute stroll to see Napoleon's tomb and the beautiful heart-shaped waterfall, before stopping at the Saint Helena Distillery on your return.
Day 11St.Helena to Johannesburg
After breakfast you will have time for one last look around Jamestown before being accompanied back to the airport for your onward flight to Johannesburg. Upon arrival, you will be met and assisted with immigration, collection of luggage and customs thenescorted to a nearby hotel.Intercontinental OR Tambo Airport Hotel (B)
Day 12Johannesburg to Marakele National Park
Your driver will meet you at the hotel and assist you to the Lanseria Airport to board your mid-day flight to the Marataba airstrip. A guide will be on hand to meet you and accompany you to the beautiful lodge where you'll be spending the next three nights.Marataba Trails Lodge - 3 Nights (B, L, D)
Marataba Trails Lodge is located in the Marakele National Park in the Waterberg Biosphere. Its hillside setting offers views of mountain streams, gorges, valley grassland, distant mountains, and pristine bush. An eco-lodge built with respect to the natural environment, Marataba Trails Lodge is a sophisticated retreat, combining earth tones and natural fibers with an open floor plan perfect for socializing, plus huge glass windows that showcase the surrounding vistas.
Day 13 - 14Marakele National Park
Experience two full days here with time to enjoy your choice of many activities, including morning bush walks with expert trail guides, afternoon game drives, boat excursions, bush meals, and educational opportunities in astronomy and wildlife.Marataba Trails Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 15Marakele National Park to Johannesburg and onward journey
You will be escorted to the airstrip to board your return flight to Lanseria Airport, where you will be met by a local guide and accompanied to the Johannesburg International Airport for your departing flight.(B)
Generally, road conditions in southern Africa are reasonably good; however, they vary greatly between the modern cities and the remote areas, where the dusty, gravel roads necessitate 4-wheel-drive travel. When traveling off the beaten track, roads are frequently narrow, bumpy and pot-holed, and have stretches which are not sealed, or which are under reconstruction. In Ethiopia, Madagascar, Namibia and Rwanda particularly, conditions are very dusty and the off-road journeys tend to be quite strenuous. Road conditions change throughout the year, and heavy tropical rains and extreme weather patterns can affect journey times enormously.
If we are custom designing an itinerary for you, it is always a good idea to discuss your particular requirements with your travel consultant, who will endeavor to include as much or as little road travel as you desire. The type of vehicle varies according to the country visited and the number of people within your group. In destinations where conditions require it, off-road driving will be in 4-wheel-drive Land Cruisers or Land Rovers.
Internal Flights: Scheduled flights within Sub-Saharan Africa are typically limited to 33-44 lbs. of luggage per person, depending on the airline or charter company operating the flight. Although you may have a luggage weight limit of 44-88 lbs. on your international flight as well as hand luggage, you will need to limit your baggage as required according to the country and airlines or store baggage at your arrival airport. Some flights also require that luggage be packed in soft-sided bags, which Cox & Kings will provide prior to your travel. Between the camps and lodges, we can book either shared air transfers or private charters. We will automatically book shared air transfers wherever available unless otherwise requested. Please note that shared air transfers may make stops to pick up and drop off passengers at other camps, lodges and airstrips en route. Private charter flights only stop for refueling or for customs and immigration formalities as needed. The flight times for air transfers between camps and lodges are arranged 24-48 hours prior to the flight. Departure times are therefore advised locally. Passengers weighing more than 220 lbs. should advise us in advance, as some air charter companies require that an extra seat be purchased at an additional cost for all shared air transfer flight segments. This is for safety and comfort of all guests on board.
Flight Delays & Insurance: Unfortunately, due to the increase in air traffic, government restrictions and changing weather conditions, flight delays have become more common. Apart from delaying your arrival at your destination, these delays can cause problems with onward connections and/or hotel and vacation arrangements, which may need to be rescheduled. Although the airline will sometimes make alternative arrangements to get you to your next destination at no extra cost, additional costs may be involved after your arrival in the form of additional accommodation costs, transfers and onward tickets. Unfortunately, since most services are paid for in advance, any services missed due to delays are non-refundable. Please also bear in mind that many international flight tickets are non-changeable and non-refundable. Therefore, it is essential that you are insured against such eventualities.
Airport Departure Taxes: Many cities in Africa levy a tax for passengers departing on international flights, and where this is not included in the ticket price it will need to be paid in local currency or the equivalent in U.S. dollars. Other cities within a country may also levy a small charge for departures on domestic flights. Occasionally, taxes may be included in your ticket; we will advise you accordingly. Since there is no standard charge between countries, and taxes are subject to change, it is not possible to list the taxes in this brochure. We list applicable departure taxes in our pre-tour general information, which you should receive when you confirm your booking. We attempt to keep these as current as possible. Please ensure you keep enough local currency or U.S. dollars to cover these taxes.
Traveling by train in southern Africa can be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. New luxury train routes are constantly being developed and there are now a variety of excellent routes available. Cox & Kings does not advise travelers to use the local trains, which cannot be confirmed as safe; however, the internationally acclaimed Rovos Rail and Blue Train offer a relaxed and luxurious alternative to road travel.
Accommodation standards vary dramatically throughout Africa; however, hotels used on Cox & Kings journeys can normally be expected to be very comfortable. In more remote destinations, such as parts of Ethiopia, Madagascar and Rwanda, accommodation will be more basic. Cox & Kings uses the best available properties in remote destinations and, although these will be clean and offer en suite rooms, in general they cannot be compared to modern, Western hotels. In some locations, many of the hotels we use are small, privately owned properties retaining much of their original ambience. In most destinations, service and food will be of a high quality, but in some less-developed regions hotel service can be slow and we ask you to show patience in this regard. Please note, typically all rooms reserved on your tour are standard; however, if you wish to upgrade your room, please speak to your tour consultant, who will be able to advise you about the options and the applicable supplements.
Early Starts: When on safari, you will find it is necessary to leave your lodge very early in the morning (around dawn) in order to maximize the opportunities for game viewing, as the wildlife is more active during the cooler morning hours and in the evening.
Check-in & Check-out Times: In some situations, when a flight arrives very early in the morning, it may be that you will be taken for breakfast or sightseeing before being allocated your rooms since check-in time is normally between 12 noon and 2 p.m. and check-out time is normally 11 a.m. to 12 noon. Cox & Kings’ local representatives will ensure that you are able to access your room as early as possible, but early check-ins are not guaranteed.
Game Parks & Remote Areas: Within Africa, we generally use the best accommodation available. However, even luxurious properties are a long way from other civilization and can often only be reached down narrow and makeshift roads. Although accommodation will often be in tents, these can be more luxurious than some lodges and include private facilities. Even when you travel off the beaten track with Cox & Kings, you can be sure that your accommodation in game lodges, smaller hotels and tented camps is on par with the best available in that category. Sometimes the best hotel may be the only hotel, which may be very modest. In these cases we feel that such accommodation is outweighed by the experience of these more remote areas.
Location: Southern Africa, at the southern tip of Africa, bordering the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe
Capital: Pretoria (administrative), Cape Town (legislative), and Bloemfontein (judicial)
Area: 470,693 sq. miles
Currency: South African Rand
Official Language(s): Xhosa, Afrikaans, Sepedi, English, Setswaana, Sesotho, Songa, Ndebele, Tshivenda, Zulu, Swati
Visas: South African law requires travelers to have a minimum of two consecutive blank visa pages in their passport to enter the country. Travelers without the necessary blank visa pages in their passports may be refused entry into South Africa. If you are visiting multiple countries, we recommend having at least 4-6 consecutive blank visa pages in your passport. U.S. passport holders should check with the U.S. State Department online or by phone about adding passport pages to a valid passport.
Inoculations: South Africa requires travelers arriving from countries where yellow fever is present to have proof of vaccination.
What To See
Cape Town abounds with sites to visit. Table Mountain can be reached by cable-car or hiked to the top. Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was a political prisoner for 18 years, is accessible from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, which is a great area for shopping and dining.
The Cape Peninsula and Cape Point Nature Reserve features mountain passes and endemic fynbos of the Cape Floral Kingdom, as well as wildlife, such as Chacma baboons, ostriches, bontebok and eland, African penguins, and Southern Right Whales in season.
Cape Town’s neighboring wineland towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek have wineries dating back to the 1600s. Stellenbosch Is known for its beautiful Cape Dutch architecture, while Franschhoek carries much of the areas French Hugenot influence.
Safari being the main draw to South Africa, Kruger National Park and its bordering private game reserves are home to the “big five” - lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo. Perhaps some of the densest game populations in Africa, Kruger is a highlight for any South Africa visit.
Other high quality safari areas offering a contrast to Kruger are the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve to the northwest of Johannesburg, the Eastern Cape along the southern border of the country, and the Kalahari Desert in the Northern Cape province.
St.helena, South Africa's Cape Region And Big 5 Safari
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