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Arrive in Cape Town and transfer to our hotel situated in the middle of vibrant Cape Town. Later in the evening there will be a tour briefing in order to meet the tour leader and fellow travelers. No Activities planned for this day, so relax and spend the rest of the evening at leisure to explore the Waterfront and enjoy an optional dinner at one of the many restaurants.
Cape Town's name originated from the term Cape of Good Hope when Bartholomew Diaz and other seafarers looked forward to the sight of Table Mountain, like an inn that promised hospitality and prosperity. The city is steeped in a rich history and is a cultural melting pot with its diverse and vibrant character being derived from Khoxisan and other African tribes from the north, and Indonesian, French, Dutch, British and German settlers. Cape Town is the third most populous city in South Africa, with over 3 million inhabitants, and is the provincial capital of the Western Cape. It is also the legislative capital of South Africa, where the National Parliament and many government offices are located.
For shopping, dining and entertainment the V&A Waterfront is a hotspot for foreigners and locals alike. Still a working harbor, the Waterfront is an example of creative architecture and restoration and has become South Africa's most visited tourist attraction. The Waterfront offers over 250 shops from designer boutiques to craft stalls, a host of restaurants and coffee shops.
Day 2: Today we enjoy our full day guided City Tour and explore Table Mountain (weather permitting).
We explore some of the oldest buildings and Gardens in South Africa (Botanical Gardens and Parliament Gardens) and visit Castle of Good Hope. In the evening you have some free time to explore more of vibrant Cape Town.
Day 3: This morning we'll depart early for a trip around the breathtaking Cape Peninsula stopping first in Hout Bay to enjoy a boat cruise to Seal Island. On the way back we walk along the boardwalk at Boulders Beach to see the popular penguins and take in the views of Cape Point.
At the tip of the Cape Peninsula 60 km south-west of Cape Town, lies Cape Point, a nature reserve within the Table Mountain National Park; a declared Natural World Heritage Site.
Encompassing 7 750 hectares of rich and varied flora and fauna; abounding with buck, baboons and Cape Mountain Zebra as well as over 250 species of birds, Cape Point is a nature enthusiast paradise.
Rugged rocks and sheer cliffs towering more than 200 meters above the sea and cutting deep into the ocean provide a spectacular background for the Parks’ rich bio-diversity
Later this evening we'll experience a unique local dinner in a private home in an informal settlement – an authentic community experience that you will take home in your heart.
Estimated Travel Time: 3 hrs
Approximate Distance: 900 miles (1300 km) Flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg (2hrs flight)
Distance Johannesburg to Pretoria: approx 50km
We leave Cape Town in the morning and fly to Johannesburg. Upon arrival in Johannesburg we will discover Soweto, stopping at Mandela House and Hector Pieterson Museum. We arrive at our accommodation in Pretoria in the late afternoon, relax, and freshen up before we enjoy a real traditional South African braai (BBQ).
Soweto is an acronym for South West Township.
The history of Soweto goes back to the discovery of gold in 1885. George Harrison has made his momentous discovery of gold bearing reefs at Langlaagte outside the present City of Johannesburg. Thousands of people of all races and from four corners of the world began to stream into the newly established mining camps.
As the gold mining industry developed and became more sophisticated, the population of Black temporary contract workers from South Africa’s rural areas grew rapidly. Although many Black people were housed in mining compounds, others were finding employment as house keepers, shop workers, street vendors in the emerging industrial sector of the economy of Johannesburg. Accommodation was a problem and shanty towns proliferated as the City of Johannesburg grew. A report in 1903 stated that the “Coolie Town” area which accommodated approximately 56000 people of all races, had twisting, narrow streets, polluted water and long drop sanitation.
In 1905 Klipspruit (the oldest of cluster of township that created Soweto today) was established when the Johannesburg Town Council purchased the non gold bearing farm Klipspruit number 8 to cater for the accommodation of Black labourers. In 1932 the first administrator, Edwin Orlando Leake began building two roomed houses for Black people and the township which is a few kilometers away from klipspruit was established and was named Orlando, after him. The honour of being the founder of Soweto belongs to James Mpanza who lived many years in Orlando East. He spent his life fighting for the housing of the disadvantaged.
In 1953 residents of Sophiatown were removed by force to Soweto in an area known as Meadowlands.
SOWETO TODAY: Soweto consists of a community of extremes. On the one hand there is abject poverty and on the other hand there is extraordinary wealth in the upper class suburbs such as Diepkloof Extension and Selection Park. Some of the houses in that area sell for over one and two million rands. Today Soweto is the largest Black residential area in South Africa and has a population of more than 3.5 Million people with the land in extent of 120KM squared. There is a visible development since 1994 (Post Apartheid Era). Soweto is essentially a Labour Reservoir for the City of Johannesburg and major towns on the reef, such as Roodepoort, Sandton, Randburg and Germiston.
"A PLACE OF FRIENDSHIP, VIBRANCY AND CONTRASTS"
Estimated Travel Time: 10 hrs (incl sightseeing stops and lunch)
Approximate Distance: 400 miles (650 kms)
Leaving Pretoria, we'll head due east towards Mmpumalanga, taking in the sites of the world famous Panorama Route including: Blyde River Canyon, Bourke's Luck Potholes, God's Window and some beautiful waterfalls. In addition, we will stop in the historic mining town of Pilgrims Rest and explore its quaint streets. Look out the window to view a wonderful landscape complete with mountains, panoramic passes, valleys and waterfalls. Bourkes Luck Potholes are named after the Tom Burke, a gold digger who staked claim to the area. The Potholes are the beginning of the world famous Blyde River Canyon, believed to be the third largest canyon in the world. After our visit, we'll be sure to keep our eyes on the passing telephone poles and dead trees to see raptors, crowned eagles, snake eagles or falcons. As well, we'll have the opportunity to purchase some trinkets from the local vendors found along the route.
In the evening, we will arrive at the Shalati Adventure Lodge and settle in. Enjoy the sites and sounds of the Africa Bushveld and indulge in local cuisine at the lodge. Tonight, we'll sleep tight in the rustic huts and listen to the haunting sounds of the African night.
In the the morning of day 6 we will visit and interact with the local community of the Planeterra volunteer project - Hope Africa Children's Day School - in the Shalati village. We will have an early breakfast in order to spend enough time at the project before driving back to Johannesburg. Hope Africa Children's Day School supports over 80 children between the ages of 1 to 5. The school has one teacher, and two teacher’s helpers that organize activities for the children, as well as provide them with two meals each day. Hope Africa provides support to the children and prepares them for the transition into primary school. Why is this project needed? In the South African community of Shalati there are many single parent families and a vast number of orphaned children, often cared for by their grandparents. This is due in part to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Many children do not begin school until the age of eight, and receive no formal education and limited support during their early formative years. Hope Africa Children's Day School aims to provide children with the opportunity to begin their education, and become involved in organized activities.
The name Manyeleti, means Place of the Stars in the local Shangaan language and guests will have the opportunity to view the magnificent Southern Constellation. Manyeleti is situated away from the mainstream tourist areas and guests will experience the tranquility of the African Bush in absolute seclusion. The 23,000 hectare Manyeleti Game Reserve is situated between the Timbavati Private Reserve, the Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. With no fences separating Manyeleti from Kruger and the neighbouring reserves, a huge variety of wildlife roams freely over more than 2 million hectares of African bush. Game drives in open vehicles could bring you into close contact with the Big 5 (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino) for an unforgettable safari experience. The Manyeleti Game Reserve is managed by the Mnisi tribe who have been in the area for many generations. The Mnisi are committed to retaining the integrity of the game reserve and ensuring that the benefits of tourism in the reserve are delivered to the surrounding communities.
More information about the community project Shalati Lodge we are staying at:
Shalati Bush Camp is unique, offering an intimate and truly memorable bush and wildlife experience combined with the culture of local Shangaan population, of Africa and its people today. At Shalati we understand the impact that tourism have on the environment and strive to create an interactive experience that is affordable and unforgettable. Shalati is at the forefront of responsible tourism offering the guests a rare insight into the fragile ecosystems of the Big 5 areas as well as the communities on the borders of these great National Parks. We are committed to the sustainable upliftment of the communities around Shalati and the long term benefits that this will bring, to these people. Only people from the community are being employed at Shalati. All these people have never previously worked in the hospitality industry nor have they studied for a Hotel & Catering Diploma. Shalati has an extensive training program incorporating day-to-day and hands-on training. The cooks at Shalati were not able to cook or bake for themselves, not to mention guests. They are now able to bake and cook for many guests at the same time. A huge achievement! All the areas of hotel management are being addressed and individual training for housekeeping, cleaning, laundry, stock management etc is undertaken on a daily basis. Through the salaries that these few people earn, the lives of many in the communities are touched in a positive way. Once you enter the gates of Shalati you will become part of a community – a community that cares, that gives and join hands in strengthening our Rainbow Nation.
Estimated Travel Time: 7hrs
Approximate Distance: 145 miles (230 km)
In our own vehicle we drive through Kruger National Park, viewing wildlife and stopping along the way, to visit the Stevenson-Hamilton Memorial Museum to learn more about the history of the Park. Tonight we will spend the night in one of the permanent camps inside Kruger National Park.
The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks among the best in Africa. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this national park of nearly 2 million hectares is unrivaled in it's wildlife diversity and is a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies.
Truly the flagship of the South African national parks, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 types of trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals. Man's interaction with the Lowveld environment over many centuries - from bushman rock paintings to majestic archaeological sites like Masorini and Thulamela - is very evident in the Kruger National Park. These treasures represent the cultures, and events that played a role in the history of the park and are preserved along with it's natural assets.
Estimated Travel Time: 6 hrs (incl lunch)
Approximate Distance: 300 miles (440 kms)
Today we drive back to the Pretoria for our overnight stay. Upon arrival we enjoy a tour of historic Pretoria including Freedom park and the Union Buildings and tonight have an unforgettable dinner experience, sampling some local specialties in a private home with a local Afrikaner family.
Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, is known as the Jacaranda City for all the purple blossom-bedecked trees which line its thoroughfares. It has a long, involved and fascinating history. Here you will find many significant old buildings and some fascinating museums. The Transvaal Museum has wonderful natural history displays and is the home of Mrs Ples, the australopithecine fossil found at Sterkfontein in the Cradle of Humankind. Also worth visiting are the Cultural History Museum and the Smuts Museum, just outside town. The iconic Voortrekker Monument which was built to describe the history of the Afrikaner pioneers who left the Cape Colony, where they suffered under British rule, to travel to the interior of the country from 1835 to 1854 has come to be known as the Great Trek. The monument stands over 132 feet (40mt) tall on its hilltop home, and is visible from a large part of Pretoria.
Opened in December 2007, Freedom Park is a place where South Africans and visitors can reflect on the past, and be inspired for the future. It is regarded as one of the most ambitious heritage projects the government has invested in; attempting to encapsulate the heart and soul of South Africa in a physical space. The park is established on the cornerstones of human dignity, rights and freedom and reflects the sacrificial achievements of the nation.
Estimated Travel Time: 1hr (flight)
This morning we depart to the Airport for our flight from Johannesburg to Botswana (Maun). We then journey overland and by boat into the Delta. This evening, we enjoy dinner under the stars and relax around a camp fire. Pay close attention to the calls of the hyenas and lions before retiring for the night.
Enjoy game walks and traditional mokoro excursions in the delta. Learn the ways of the bush from your local polers on your 2 night mobile safari tented camp.
"Where all this water goes is a mystery", Aurel Schultz, 1897
The area of the delta was once part of Lake Makgadikgadi, an ancient lake that dried up some 10,000 years ago. Today, the Okavango River has no outlet to the sea. Instead, it empties onto the sands of the Kalahari Desert, irrigating 9,320 miles (15,000 km) of the desert. Some of this water reaches further south to create Lake Ngami. The water entering the delta is unusually pure, due to the lack of agriculture and industry along the Okavango River. It passes through the sand aquifers of the numerous delta islands and evaporates by leaving enormous quantities of salt behind. This precipitation process is so strong that the vegetation disappears in the center of the islands and thick salt crusts are formed. The waters of the Okavango Delta are subject to seasonal flooding, which begins about mid-summer in the north and six months later in the south (May/June). The water from the delta is evaporated rapidly by the high temperatures, resulting in a cycle of cresting and dropping water in the south. Islands can disappear completely during the peak flood, then reappear at the end of the season.
Estimated Travel Time: 2hrs (Transfer from Moremi South Gate to Maun)
Flight from Maun to Kasane: 1hr
This morning we wake early for breakfast and depart on a game drive which takes us back to the South Gate for our return to Maun. We board our flight to Kasane, then transfer to our Lodge near Chobe National Park. In the late afternoon we'll indulge in a sundowner boat cruise and view elephants and other wildlife having their evening drinks on the shores of the river, a truly memorable experience.
Kasane is situated on the banks of the Chobe River, near its mouth. This is where the Chobe and Zambezi rivers meet, creating a border area of four countries – Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Chobe National Park is Botswana’s first national park, and is situated along the Chobe River. It has one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa and one of the world's last remaining sizable wilderness areas. By size, this is the third largest park 6,835 sq miles (11,000 sq km) of the country, though it is definitely the most diverse and spectacular.
The park is probably best known for its spectacular elephant population; with over 120,000 it has the highest concentration in Africa. The elephant population seems to have solidly built up since 1990, from a few initial thousands. By chance, they have not been affected by the massive illicit exploitation of the 1970's and 1980's. Elephants living here are Kalahari elephants, the largest in size of all known elephant species. Yet they are characterized by rather brittle ivory and short tusks. Damage caused by the high numbers of elephants is evident in some areas. In fact, the concentration is so high throughout Chobe, that culls have been considered, but are too controversial and have thus far been rejected. During the dry season, these elephants sojourn in the Chobe and Linyanti River areas. During the rainy season, they make a 125 mile (200 km) migration to the south-east region of the park. Their distribution zone however outreaches the park and spreads to north-western Zimbabwe. The Park is also known for its lion population, who on occasion do hunt the elephants.
The original inhabitants of this area were the San bushmen, also known as the Basarwa people. They were nomadic hunter-gatherers who were constantly moving from place to place to find food sources, namely fruits, water and wild animals. Nowadays one can find San paintings inside rocky hills of the park.
This morning we can rise early for an optional game-drive in the Chobe National Park. We will then cross over the river via ferry into Zambia and continue on to Livingstone. In the afternoon, we view the mist rise up from Victoria Falls and hear the thunderous roar as the falls drop vertically over 492 ft (150 m) down into the gorge. This amazing natural wonder is locally known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, The Smoke that Thunders.
We will spend the last two days of our tour here, a great base to see both natural wonders and take part in some exciting optional activities: raft the whitewater of the mighty Zambezi, and for the more adventurous, bungee jump with the Victoria Falls in view or enjoy the Falls from the air with a helicopter or microlight.
Tonight you will participate in a drumming session before enjoying a traditional African braai (BBQ) on your last night in Livingstone.
David Livingstone was born on March 19, 1813 in the village of Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, Scotland. He first studied Greek, medicine, and theology at the University of Glasgow and while working in London, joined the London Missionary Society became a minister. He originally planned to gain access to China through his medical knowledge. The Opium Wars, which were raging at this stage with no signs of peace on the horizon, forced Livingstone to consider other options. From 1840 he worked in Bechuanaland (present-day Botswana), and in the period 1852–56, he explored the African interior, and was the first European to see the Mosi-oa-Tunya waterfall, which he renamed Victoria Falls after his monarch, Queen Victoria. Livingstone was one of the first westerners to make a transcontinental journey across Africa. The purpose of his journey was to open the routes, while accumulating useful information about the African continent. In particular, Livingstone was a proponent of trade and Christian missions to be established in central Africa. His motto, inscribed in the base of the statue to him at Victoria Falls, was “Christianity, Commerce and Civilization.”
The town of Livingstone is a regional transport center, being located near the borders of Botswana and Zimbabwe, and serves as a base for the many visitors to see this part of Africa, and the impressive Victoria Falls.
From its source on the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Zambezi River meanders for 808 miles (1,300 km) across the wooded plateau of Zambia, eroding for itself a shallow valley on its mild descent to the site of the falls. The river eventually found a weak spot on the lower lip of the surface over which it passed, and forced a passage which was steadily deepened into an exit gorge. During the last half million years the river has scoured out eight of these cracks across its bed. The Victoria falls occur where the river is 5,540 ft (1,688 m) wide, presents the spectacle of an average maximum of 146 million gallons (550 million liters) of water a minute tumbling over the lip of the trench in five main falls, the Devil’s Cataract, Main falls, Horseshoe Falls, Rainbow falls and the Eastern Cataract. The highest of these is Rainbow falls, on an average 355 ft (108 m) high.
The name Zambezi comes from the Tonka tribe, also meaning Great River, but the Sotho-speaking Kololo people of the upper reaches of the river gave it the well-known name of Mosi o a Thunya (smoke that rises). The Lozi people call it by the same name but translated it into smoke that sounds. The Ndebele call it aManza Thunqayo (the water that rises like smoke). The Namibian people call it Chinotimba (a noise-making place like the distant sound of digging).
Depart at any time.