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The Great Southern Safari

South Africa & Victoria Falls

Tour Length: 12 days

Cape Town | Kruger Park | Johannesburg | Victoria Falls
12 Days – South Africa, Zimbabwe/Zambia

The Great Southern Safari Buffalo up close in the KrugerThe Great Southern Safari is an extraordinary, well-rounded journey featuring the luxury of Cape Town, the safaris of Kruger, and the awe-inspiring splendor of Victoria Falls.
From $5,495 to $12,195 per person

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Commence this amazing adventure in gorgeous Cape Town. Explore her peninsula, at the Cape of Good Hope – Discover the breathtaking beauty of the Cape Winelands; tour a vineyard and stroll the quaint streets of Stellenbosch.

Kruger National Park – South Africa’s finest wildlife refuge, the Park is home to all the Big Five. Venture forth on morning and afternoon guided game drives, in open safari vehicles.

The Great Southern Safari mapThen wing your way to Johannesburg, the vibrant and pulsing capital city. Only a brief stop here, as you are bound for Victoria Falls … what the locals call the “Smoke that Thunders”. Delight in a guided tour of the Falls and ply the famed Zambezi River on a sunset boat cruise.

The allure is Africa is undeniable. And what better way to fall under her spell than to start this amazing adventure in gorgeous Cape Town? Explore her peninsula with its quaint fishing villages, colonies of barking seals and a most improbable collection of arctic penguins. At the Cape of Good Hope – witness the angry Atlantic and sanguine Indian Oceans meet and mingle. Discover the breathtaking beauty of the Cape Winelands; tour a vineyard, sip some of the famous local wines, and stroll the quaint streets of Stellenbosch.

Kruger National Park – South Africa’s finest wildlife refuge. Prepare for heart-stopping adventures as the Park is home to all the Big Five: lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and hippo. Venture forth on morning and afternoon game drives, in open safari vehicles, expertly maneuvered by professional game rangers. During the quiet midday, let your five senses roam unfettered through the bush … on a fascinating walking safari.

The Great Southern Safari Victoria FallsA reluctant ‘farewell’ to Kruger as you wing to Johannesburg, the vibrant and pulsing capital city. Only a brief stop here, as you are bound for Victoria Falls … what the locals call the “Smoke that Thunders”. Delight in a guided tour of the Falls and ply the famed Zambezi River on a sunset boat cruise. As a special treat: an elephant-back safari through the African bush. If you have a bit more time to explore, consider adding a Botswana safari, or a few days lazing on the white beaches of the Seychelles islands.

 

The Great Southern Safari Tour Highlights

• 3 Nights Cape Town.

• 3 Nights Greater Kruger Park Private Game Reserve

• 1 Night Johannesburg

• 2 Nights Victoria Falls

• 9 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, and 3 Dinners

• Airport transfers with private car and driver, including a private ‘Meet and Greet’ service on arrival into South Africa.

• Full day excursion to Cape Point including a visit to the Boulders Beach penguins

• Full day tour to the winelands, including Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and wine tasting!

• Thrilling morning and afternoon game drives Greater Kruger Park Private Game Reserve in specially-designed open safari vehicles

• Opportunities for walking safaris

• Gorgeous sunset cruise on the Zambezi River

• Guided tour of Victoria Falls and her rain forest

The Great Southern Safari Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Depart USA

Bound for exciting South Africa!

Day 2 Cape Town

Touchdown in Johannesburg this morning. Proceed through Customs and then board your connecting flight to Cape Town – the “Mother City”.

Upon arrival into Cape Town you will be met by our Great Safaris representative and transferred to your reserved hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure.

The Mother City has a peculiar habit – once a day, Capetonians check their watches. Now, this in itself is not very unusual. The strangeness comes into the fact that everyone looks at their watches at exactly the same time without consciously thinking about it. At exactly 12:00 pm every day, a loud bang fired from cannon on Signal Hill announces to the city that midday has arrived.

The Great Southern Safari V&A Waterfront

The Cape was established by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a halfway house along the trade route between the East and Europe. This became a place to mend ships, rest and heal weary visitors and most importantly to collect fresh produce grown by farmers in the area in order to feed famished sailors and soldiers before heading off again for the second leg of their arduous sea voyage.

Cape Town grew quickly and soon earned the reputation as the “Tavern of the Seas”. Today, Cape Town is still a thriving port and never ceases to enthrall visitors with its unique beauty, ethnic diversity and energetic vibe.

The Great Southern Safari Cape Town

With its iconic Table Mountain backdrop, Cape Town is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. An eclectic mix of architectural styles reflects both the area’s history and the more pragmatic realities of the 21st century. The city’s Edwardian and Victorian buildings have been carefully preserved, and many excellent examples of Cape Dutch architecture are found in the city and its environs.

The ability to make something that is both functional and beautiful has long been a proud aspect of the African culture. Cape Town boasts some of the most original and creative handmade arts and crafts and can be found at markets and shops all over Cape Town. You’ll find something that caters for any taste or style at the V&A Waterfront or at one of the many shops that open their doors in the surrounding Cape Town area.

Being a coastal city, the ocean plays an important part in everyday lives, beyond the calming effect for which it is famous. There is an incredible diversity of marine life to be discovered and many fun filled activities can be planned to make use of the bountiful Atlantic and Indian Oceans surrounding Cape Town.

Day 3 Cape Town

Depart this morning on a scheduled full day tour of the Cape Peninsula. First you will travel via the 12 Apostles and Hout Bay, to Chapman’s Peak. This is one of the region’s most dramatic mountain drives and offers amazing panoramic views over the city and environs. Descend the mountain pass and continue on to the coastline.

This strip of the peninsula’s shoreline, commonly known as the Atlantic Seaboard, stretches some 34 miles from the waters of Table Bay along the western coast to the nature reserve at Cape Point. The exceptional beaches and rugged mountains along this coastline not only make this a popular drive, but also provide outstanding views across the Atlantic Ocean, with some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world.

The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve comes to an end at majestic Cape Point. Situated at the junction of two of earth’s most contrasting water masses – the cold Benguela current on the West Coast and the warm Agulhas current on the East Coast, the Cape of Good Hope is popularly perceived as the meeting point of the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans. Guests may take (optional, cost not included) the funicular to the vantage point from where they will be able to witness the “meeting of the two oceans”.

The Great Southern Safari Cape of Good Hope

Today’s attractions include Boulders beach, which is home to a colony of endangered jackass penguins in Simonstown. Technically, these are African penguins… but early settlers thought that their braying sound was more like a four-footed pack animal than a two-footed bird!

You will also have the (optional, cost not included) opportunity to visit the colony of seals on the aptly named Seal Island, before returning to your hotel in the late afternoon.

Day 4 Cape Town

Another day of unforgettable scenery begins as you depart on your full day tour to the winelands. Enjoy a spectacular drive through beautiful mountain scenery to the Cape’s World Famous Wine Estates. You will stop at a popular winery where guests can sample some of the esteemed vintages and enjoy a cellar tour.

You then continue to the lovely town of Stellenbosch, with its tree lined streets and historical architecture. The Stellenbosch University is the oldest college in South Africa! There will be time to explore Stellenbosch on foot – exploring the shops on popular Dorp Street and perhaps stopping for coffee in a quaint sidewalk cafe.

The Great Southern Safari Cape Winelands

Franschhoek is our next stop – a gorgeous village surrounded by majestic mountains and often called the ‘gourmet center’ of South Africa. Some of the country’s finest restaurants are located in Franschhoek. You will visit the Huguenot Museum here, before continuing to Paarl. This ‘pearl of the Cape’ lies nestled in the Berg river Valley, guarded by the huge granite rocks from which it gets its name. Paarl is also well known for its wine, cuisine and culture, and it also considered the home of the Afrikaans language.

The Great Southern Safari Winelands panorama

Return to your hotel later this afternoon, for an evening at leisure.

Day 5 Cape Town – Johannesburg – Greater Kruger Park Private Game Reserve
The Great Southern Safari Kruger game

You will meet your driver this morning for the private transfer to Cape Town airport. Fly to Johannesburg and change planes. Wing to Kruger Park and, upon arrival, enjoy a scenic overland transfer to your Kruger Park private game lodge. As you alight from your vehicle at the lodge entrance, you will be warmly greeted by the camp staff and escorted to your luxurious accommodation, in the heart of South Africa’s most famed wildlife area.

The Great Souther Safari game viewing

Lunch is served shortly thereafter, and you will have some leisure time to enjoy the camp facilities or espy game from the comfort of your private deck. Later in the afternoon guests will congregate for refreshments as the guides prepare for the afternoon / evening game activity. Known worldwide as “The Land of the Leopard”, you would do well to keep your cameras ready!

The Great Southern Safari lioness with cub / giraffe

Return from your afternoon activity with some time to freshen up and enjoy pre-dinner cocktails. Then, join your fellow safari-goers at the dining table and share stories on your wildlife adventures while enjoying the lodges’ superb cuisine.

Day 6 Greater Kruger Park Private Game Reserve

Up early in the mornings for your game drive into the bush, just as the sky begins to lighten. You will view game at sunrise and sunset from open safari vehicles, accompanied by a professional game ranger and skilled tracker. Radio contact brings you reports of the latest game sightings, increasing your chance of spotting the “Big 5”. The private lodges at Kruger have well-earned reputations for excellent wildlife viewing experiences… which translates into a photographer’s paradise!

The Great Southern Safari leopard with cub

Some of the common species seen on a regular basis: elephant, lion, buffalo, giraffe, crocodile, zebra, hyena and, of course, the ever present bird life and antelope species. Leopard sightings, although generally a challenge throughout Africa, are becoming common. It is also quite possible one will see cheetah, rhino, wild dog and some of the very rare species such as genet and pangolin!

The safari vehicles in South Africa are open-air, which allows for maximum game viewing for all seated participants. Blankets and hot water bottles are often supplied during the colder winter months: the African bush can be very cold during the early morning hours!

The Great Southern Safari hyena wild dog zebra

Aside from the daily morning and afternoon game drives, participants will have a chance to see nature close-up during mid-day walking safaris. These are escorted by your professional game ranger and are meant to introduce guests to the smaller denizens of the bush. It can be great fun to learn tracking skills and how to identify animal spoor. Your guide will also point out important flora of the area and explain how the locals use it for medicinal and household purposes.

The afternoon game drives typically return to the lodge after sunset, which allows for some nighttime game watching. Your tracker, assisted by a powerful hand light, will search for nocturnal species through the light reflecting off their eyes. This is the epitome of safari excitement!

The Great Southern Safari rhino with young

The game drive ends back at the lodge late in the evening, and guests will have some time to freshen up and enjoy pre-dinner drinks before dinner is served. Unless the weather is inclement, dinners are often enjoyed in outdoor venues, such as the ubiquitous “Boma”, with its communal fireplace and cozy circular dining area. Enjoy a delicious dinner and the camaraderie of other travelers, as game rangers regale guests with stories and tales of the African bush.

Day 7 Greater Kruger Park Private Game Reserve

Big game abounds and roams freely throughout this pristine part of the ancient African continent., which you can observe at close quarters during your morning and afternoon game viewing activities. Your highly trained Game Ranger and qualified Tracker follow the animals on and off-road, deep into the heart of the wild African Bushveld while walking safaris allow you to feel the pulse of untamed Africa through the soles of your feet.

The Great Southern Safari elephant at a waterhole

Walks generally take place in the area around your game lodge, in between game drives and meals, but if guests prefer a longer walk can replace a drive or be incorporated as part of a drive. The thrill of quietly approaching game while on foot, of close encounters with the smaller creatures and the myriads of wild flowers and beautiful butterflies they attract in summer, brings an added dimension to the magic of an African safari.

The Great Southern Safari lion pride elephant close-up

There is nothing quite as stirring as the sight of a lion, elephant or rhino roaming free in the bush; as haunting as the sound of a hyena laughing in the dead of night; as electrifying as the tension one feels when following spoor along a dry riverbed. This is what makes each safari experience unique and memorable.

The Great Southern Safari Kruger birds

The region is also home to a remarkable 350 species of birds. On a single summer’s day, a visitor from the Northern Hemisphere will probably see more bird species than they are likely to see in a lifetime in their home country. In fact, almost 5% of the world’s bird species have been recorded in this region of South Africa.

Day 8 Kruger Park – Johannesburg

Arise early this morning so you can savor your last day in the Kruger bush. Return to camp for a hearty brunch and then transfer to the airport for your scheduled flight to Johannesburg.

The Great Southern Safari Johannesburg vistas

You are met by a private car and driver on arrival, and immediately whisked to your Johannesburg hotel. Enjoy a leisurely evening in the “big city”.

Day 9 Johannesburg – Victoria Falls

Transfer to the airport this morning for the flight to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, located at the edge of famed Victoria Falls.

The local people referred to the Falls as mosi oa tunya or the “smoke that thunders”. When David Livingstone “discovered” the Falls, he named them after his beloved Queen of England. Today the Falls are one of the natural wonders of the world and an extremely popular destination for visitors to Southern Africa.

Victoria Falls actually forms the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. The deep gorges that separate the countries are spanned, overhead, by a pedestrian bridge that allows visitors to walk between the two sides of the Falls and the two countries. The actual cascade of water pours down the Zambia side of the gorge. This spectacular event is best viewed from the Zimbabwe side. However, the Zambia side has paths and natural swimming pools right at the lip of the Falls, which allow visitors to get extremely close to the watery cascade.

Upon arrival at the airport, you will obtain your visa at the Customs point, then meet your driver who has arranged for your transport to your reserved hotel.

You will have a little time to settle in and relax before the late afternoon transfer to the edge of the Zambezi River. The luxurious Zambezi Royal, above Victoria Falls, offers a unique and intimate way to view the Zambezi River. This single level cruise boat is the first of its kind on the Zambezi, custom built to maximize comfort, style, practicality and service.

The Great Southern Safari Zambezi Royal

With only twenty-eight seats, this contemporary vessel, has lush furnishings, and has been designed to allow for ample spaciousness. During your premium two hour guided Sunset cruise, guests can look forward to five-star service on board, consisting of imported wines and spirits, gourmet hot and cold canapés. A variety of game is consistently spotted, such as elephant, hippo, crocodiles, as well as a vast plethora of bird species. The Zambezi Royal is the optimum way to view the beautiful stunning scenery and surrounds of the upper Zambezi River.

Day 10 Victoria Falls

After breakfast at the hotel, depart on an informative guided tour of Victoria Falls. En-route, you will be taken past the “Big Tree” where you will stop and take photos. Your group will then be will be accompanied through the rain forest by a local guide who will give a brief history of the Falls themselves as well as detailing the flora, fauna, bird, wildlife and other points of interest. Guides are also happy to assist clients with photographs whilst visiting this most spectacular of waterfalls. Raincoats are provided when needed.

The Victoria Falls constitutes one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world. There is a magic about them manifested in the towering column of spray when the river is high, the thunder of the falling water, the terrifying abyss and tranquil lagoons upstream in which hippo and deadly crocodiles lurk.

The Great Southern Safari Victoria Falls vistas

The Victoria Falls is 1,708 meters wide, making it the largest curtain of water in the world. It drops between 90m and 107m into the Zambezi Gorge and an average of 550,000 cubic meters of water plummet over the edge every minute. Remarkably preserved in its natural state, Victoria Falls inspires visitors as much today as it did David Livingstone in the 1860’s.

The Falls and the surrounding area have been declared National Parks and a World Heritage Site, thus preserving the area from excessive commercialization.

Day 11 Victoria Falls – Johannesburg – USA

After breakfast and check-out, meet your driver and transfer to the airport for your scheduled flight to Johannesburg. On arrival at the OR Tambo international airport, bid a fond “farewell” to Africa as you connect with your departure flight.

Day 12 Arrive USA

Arrive home today – with memories and photos to last a lifetime!

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Unforgettable Moment #205

…We had the adventure of a liftime! Thank you so much for all your help! Everything went perfectly! Our driver was wonderful… The hotel in Cape Town was lovely! Everyone was very helpful. Olivers Guest House was a great choice too! I can’t begin to tell you about Kapama [Private Game Reserve]! It was awe-inspiring to see the animals in their own environment! Needless to say, we loved it! We got to see just about everything, up close and thrilling! Thank you again!

        – Diane C. (St. James, NY)

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