Africa

“CONNOISSEUR’S” SOUTH AFRICA

A Trip in February

Special Note:  All African trips are highly customized to suit your time frame, budget, and interest.  The trips are subject to many variables and conditions and, therefore, are crafted to order.  The following itinerary serves as an example of what can be created by Connoisseur’s Travel.

DAY ONE, TWO, AND THREE – Arrive Cape Town and Transfer to hotel Birkenhead House  for three nights in superior rooms.  Meals, beverages, and house wines included daily.

Perched high on the cliffs of Hermanus, overlooking the whale watchers’ paradise of Walker Bay, is Birkenhead House.   From most of the eleven opulently appointed suites, guests can look forward to sighting the majestic Southern Right Whales that enter the sheltered waters of Walker Bay every year to calve.  Two of the best swimming beaches in Hermanus are just a stone’s throw away. Spectacular mountain trails and breath taking cliff path walks are also in easy reach from Birkenhead House. At leisure to explore Hermanus.

DAY FOUR THRU EIGHT – Transfer to hotel via Vergelegen Wine Estate in Somerset West.  Lunch included at The Stables Restaurant, Vergelegen Wine Estate.  Officially part of the Helderberg Wine Route, Vergelegen is undeniably the best reason to visit the town of Somerset West. Not only are the Cape Dutch buildings national treasures, but the estate produces a range of South Africa’s best wines.  A notorious history precedes the grandiose estate, primarily built by Dutch East India Company slaves brought by the governor Simon van der Stel.  Today the farm is owned by a subsidiary of the large mining company Anglo American, who restored the farmhouse to its original magnificence.  Stroll through the massive grounds planted with chestnut and camphor trees. Beautiful ponds and streams make this one of the most tranquil places to picnic or chill out in. The interpretative centre provides an interesting overview of the history and environment of Vergelegen.  4 nights in Superior rooms at the Cape Grace Hotel, breakfast included daily and Virtuoso amenities and complimentary services.

DAY NINE – This morning you will be met at the hotel at 09h15 for a full day tour of the Cape Winelands including two wine tastes and a visit to the Stellenbosch Museum or the Franschhoek Museum.  Lunch included at the Big Easy Restaurant, Stellenbosch at 13h00

Feast your senses in the sumptuous Winelands.  A dramatic backdrop of craggy mountains and fertile valleys, covered with ever-changing colours of the vineyards, sets the scene for enjoyment and relaxation.  Sample the fruit of the vine in every glass of our world-renowned wines, whilst enjoying the culinary delights of regional cuisine.  Discover the rich historical and cultural heritage of this area where splendid examples of Cape Dutch, Victorian and Georgian architecture have been preserved.  The Winelands will leave you with lasting memories of warm hospitality and unsurpassed natural beauty.

DAY TEN – At 08h15, you will be transferred to the Clock Tower (at the Waterfront) in time for your boat excursion to Robben Island.  (The tour lasts approximately 3½ hours and Trans Africa Safaris guide to accompany you).

A former prison, where Nelson Mandela and other African National Congress members were detained during the apartheid struggle.  This World Heritage site is today a museum that honors these individuals.  A tour of the Robben Island Museum is a multifaceted journey which begins with a half-hour ferry ride to the island.   On arrival take the guided tour of the Maximum Security Prison;  interact with an ex-political prisoner, and see the historic buildings and the unique flora and fauna of the 575 hectare Island.  On your return to the Waterfront, assistance provided to:  Lunch included at Sevruga Restaurant at 13h00

Commence your Uthando tour at 14h30 today for an afternoon Philanthropic Cultural Tour.  Each tour, includes visits to 3 of the current 11 projects they are supporting.  These are AUTHENTIC interactive tours to see, learn, experience and feel.  They should leave you inspired.  Visits to the various projects are non-commercialized.  Locals are not putting on an “act”, but rather going about their daily activities, and as a consequence, educating on the issues and showcasing the solutions.  “Uthando South Africa is about giving with love, creating hope and faith. Hope for a better future, faith in Humanity”

Kindly note that variations to this itinerary are possible, the operation of many of the Uthando Projects are dependent upon many unpredictable factors.

This is not a sightseeing tour, it is an interactive tour, with people giving up time and energy to engage the visitors.  The cost also includes a donation to the projects, tea, coffee and snacks (any other meals excluded).  You are welcome to bring items for donation, example stationery, clothes etc if you would like to hand over anything tangible, but please do not bring money for onsite donations. The unique feature of this tour, is that it is the only one where the money goes back into the communities, through the projects visited. NOTES : The townships are safe, but of course it is better to take precautions, please leave valuables in the hotel (i.e. jewellery, expensive watches etc).  Bring a camera and sufficient cash to purchase arts and crafts at one or two of the stops.

Experience South Africa like never before…..it’s not a township tour, it’s not a trip down guilt lane, it’s not a begging bowl route ….it’s a field excursion to discover, learn, understand, see, experience, feel and most importantly, be inspired!

While the world goes about its daily chores, earning a living and living a life, millions of people around the globe are making amazing human stories in the face of almost insurmountable adversity.  Uthando (Love) South Africa now offers visitors to South Africa, the opportunity to obtain a glimpse into these amazing stories.  We have tried as far as possible to present an authentic, non-commercialized view of this aspect of South Africa.

The tour will commence with an insight into the political and cultural heritage of the townships around Cape Town, visiting sites of brave struggle against the Apartheid regime.  Whereafter we commence with visits to the Uthando projects.

HIV/AIDS has had a staggering affect on South African youth, in 2006, 290 000 children were estimated to be living with the disease and there were more than 1 million orphans. This situation has worsened.  A to visit Gloria Bebeza and her team at Khumbulani Day Care Centre will reveal the tremendous sense of community that exists in townships and the brave will to combat this aweful disease.

In 2004 the Human Sciences Research Council estimated that 57 percent of individuals in South Africa were living below the poverty income line.  Many in SA would argue this statistic has since worsened.  A visit to one of the over 60 urban agricultural gardens in Khayelitsha of Abilimi Bezekhaya (Xhosa for “The Planters of the Home”) will showcase how barren  swathes of very poor ground have been converted into organic lush gardens providing food and some income to the locals.  A stop is made here for tea, coffee, delicious South African snacks, and a chat with the locals.

Pop in at the Manyanani (Xhosa for “we do it together”) Peace Park, the first community park to be established in the informal settlements of Cape Town.  The Park is a leading model for sustainable community based development in SA.  Local entrepreneurs will have handmade arts and crafts for sale should you wish to purchase a memento of the trip.

Khayelitsha is one of 20 townships in Cape Town.  It is by far the biggest and most desolate.  Home to approximately 1.5 million people, it is not a welcoming place to the approximately 20 000 orphaned children living within its parametres.  Brutal gang wars, excessive violence, drug abuse, high crime rates and devastating shack fires are a way of life here.  Home from Home provides support and supervised community based foster care for orphans, abandoned and vulnerable children.  Meet the house mothers and hear about some of their daily issues, and take a look around the day care centre.

In keeping with the theme of children on this trip, a visit is made to the Khayelitsha Special Needs School, the only one if its kind in this sprawling township.  The school is designated for learners with learning difficulties.  The school has over 400 pupils aged between 6 and 18 years old and disabilities vary but include cerebral palsy, epilepsy, down syndrome, speech disorders, foetal alcohol syndrome and others.  See the arts and crafts produced by these children, and meet one of their courageous teachers

The trip ends with an entertaining visit to the Ingqayi Educational Theatre Project.  The project creates productions with dance, music and drama as well as running theatre development workshops in Nyanga.  Performances are based on community issues and themes such as HIV / AIDS.  In the townships there is limited opportunity for budding performers and artists to showcase their talents.  There may well be time for an interactive session where you could learn gumboot dancing, drumming, playing an indigenous African instrument or drumming coupled with African dance.  Terminate the Uthando Tour at the hotel at approximately 17h30/18h00

DAY ELEVEN – You will be collected from the hotel at 08h30 today for a full day tour.  Commence the day with a cable-car excursion up Table Mountain (weather permitting) and a visit to the Cape Peninsula including the Cape Point Nature Reserve and Boulders Beach to view the penguins.  Lunch included at Rodwell House, St James at 13h30

The great charm of Cape Town is the magnificent mountain.  It rises behind the city and is a sheer precipice to a height of 1 097m (3.566ft) cutting the skyline with a horizontal front three kilometers (almost two miles) in length. The best views of Cape Town are from the top of Table Mountain.  The cableway takes you to the summit in under ten minutes whilst rotating gondola’s ensure visitors enjoy a 360 view of the city.

DAY TWELVE, THIRTEEN, & FOURTEEN – For your light aircraft flight within Botswana, baggage is restricted to 20kg per person (soft duffel type bags).  Excess baggage should be stored at the airport in Johannesburg (cost excluded). Our guide will assist you in storing these bags.  At 04h30 you will be transferred to the airport (including porterage – 1 bag per person).  Arrive Johannesburg at 08h00.  Assistance provided to International Departures (including porterage – 1 bag per person).  Departure BP212 at 10h10 (Economy class E tickets to be handed to clients in South Africa).  Arrive Maun at 12h10.  Complete immigration/custom formalities and connect to:  Depart scheduled Wilderness Air light aircraft transfer (included).  On arrival at the Mombo Airstrip the lodge will provide a scheduled open vehicle transfer to:  Little Mombo Camp.  Accommodation reserved:  3 nights (Standard).  Room Type:  Little Mombo Tent(s) – 1 King.  Meals as well as morning and afternoon/evening game drives included daily.  Local beverages included (excluding premium brands)

Little Mombo Camp is situated on Mombo Island, adjoining the northern tip of Chief’s Island within the Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta, northern Botswana. It is a smaller and more intimate camp than its sister, Mombo Camp, to which it is connected via a raised walkway.

The Camp is built under a shady canopy and has three luxurious, spacious rooms under canvas with en-suite bathrooms and outdoor showers for guests looking to get closer to nature. Much of Little Mombo Camp overlooks the surrounding floodplains which offer some of the best big game viewing in the Okavango Delta. A sala, large veranda and lounge area provide ample place to relax and enjoy the view. Little Mombo Camp also has its own dining room, kitchen and pool.

Activities include morning and afternoon game drives. Open 4x4s provide an exquisite vantage for viewing the high concentrations of plains game and all the predators – including the big cats. Lion sightings are frequent. Guests at Little Mombo Camp can also expect to see leopard and cheetah, wild dog, spotted hyena, large herds of buffalo, elephant, white rhino, southern giraffe, blue wildebeest and Burchell’s zebra.  Afternoon/evening game viewing activity.  Morning and afternoon/evening game viewing activities

DAY FIFTEEN –  Morning game viewing activity.  The lodge will provide a scheduled open vehicle transfer to the airstrip in time for Scheduled Wilderness Air light aircraft transfer (included) – flight time to be confirmed to you by the lodge.  Arrive Maun and make own way to:  Departure BP211 at 14h50 (Economy class E tickets to be handed to clients in South Africa).  Arrive Johannesburg at 16h30.  Transfer to hotel (including porterage – 1 bag per person).  Westcliff Hotel, 2 nights in luxury rooms.  Virtuoso Amenities and breakfast included daily.

Situated on a splendid ridge in old Johannesburg. The hotel cascades down the slope in a series of “villas” surrounded by landscaped gardens and all encompassing views.  The classic furnishings, finishes, lighting and artwork create an environment of effortless elegance.  Enjoy fine cuisine in the intimate restaurant or light meals in the lounge or at the pool terrace.

DAY SIXTEEN – You will be collected from the hotel at 08h30 today for a full day tour of Johannesburg and Soweto.  Lunch included at Wandies’ Restaurant at 13h00.  Commence the City Tour with an orientation drive through downtown Johannesburg.  This metropolis built on the fabulous gold reef discovered beneath a bare rocky ridge over a century ago, is first and foremost a commercial city.  Generations of mining magnates, financiers, merchants and businessmen have shaped its destiny.  Continue to the colorful northern suburbs with their many attractive homes and gardens, passing several South African architectural achievements and President Mandela’s house

Adjacent to the original Johannesburg is the ‘twin’ city of Soweto which has its own local authority, but is historically and, in fact, closely integrated with Johannesburg.  For all practical purposes it is considered to be the other half of metropolitan Johannesburg.  Return to the hotel travelling through the colorful northern suburbs with their many attractive homes and gardens.  You will also pass the home where Nelson Mandela lived in Soweto.

DAY SEVENTEEN, EIGHTEEN, NINETEEN, & TWENTY – For your light aircraft flight to the lodge(s), baggage is restricted to 20kg per person (soft duffel type bags).  Excess baggage will be stored on a complimentary basis at the Federal Air Hanger. Our representative in Johannesburg will assist you in storing these bags.  Transfer to airport (including porterage – 1 bag per person) at 07h3.  At 09h30 you depart on your scheduled Federal Air light aircraft transfer (included).  On arrival at the airstrip (approximately 10h40) the lodge will provide a scheduled open vehicle transfer to:  Singita Boulders, 3 nights in suites.  Meals as well as morning and afternoon/evening game drives included daily.  Local beverages included and premium brands (excluding French Champagnes).  Virtuoso Amenities and Compliments.

Singita Game Reserve is an intimate sanctuary on the banks of the Sand River.  Bordering the Kruger National Park, 19000 hectares of sun-drenched, game rich, wide African plains, are what makes Singita the ultimate wildlife safari in the Sabi Sand eco-system.   Experience the quite comfort and luxury under the gigantic Jackalberry trees in a shady woodland above the Sand River.

The lodge is sensational.  First world comforts may abound, but Singita’s ambience is distinctly African.  Organic furnishings make up the textures and colors that create the unique, legendary African mood.  One of the best parts of Singita isn’t how “close” you can get to an animal. It’s the knowledge and education your guide will share with you. Each game drive is a mini masters degree…

The lodge will provide a scheduled open vehicle transfer to the airstrip in time for:  At 11h00, you depart on your scheduled Odie Air.Com light aircraft transfer (included).  Arrive Hoedspruit approximately 11h30.  The lodge will provide a scheduled open vehicle transfer to:  Camp Jabulani, 2 nights in luxury suites.  Virtuoso Amenities and Compliments.  Meals as well as morning, afternoon/evening game drives and elephant back excursions included daily.  Local beverages included (excluding premium brands)

Camp Jabulani, the elephant-back safari camp on Kapama Private Game Reserve, offers guests the opportunity to enjoy opulent accommodation and a truly unforgettable wildlife experience.  The camp comprises six elegantly appointed air-conditioned suites, each with individual splash pool and private viewing deck.  Guests of Camp Jabulani enjoy being pampered in an experience that surpasses the expectations of the most discerning traveler.  The 12 fully trained African elephants arrived at Kapama in early 2002, after being relocated from Zimbabwe, where their safety was in jeopardy.  Kapama owner Lente Roode and her wildlife team undertook the successful rescue mission.

During the elephant-back safari, guests are seated on comfortable canvas-covered saddles positioned behind an experienced elephant handler.  From this vantage point, they are able to view game from close proximity as the elephants move silently and in single file through the bush.  The unique and memorable experience of interacting with Africa’s gentle giants will be savoured long after guests alight from the patiently kneeling elephants. Morning/Afternoon/evening game viewing activity.

DAY TWENTY ONE, TWO, AND THREE – The lodge will provide scheduled transfer (approx. 45 minutes and excluding porterages) to:  Royal Malewane Game Reserve, 3 nights in luxury suites.  Meals as well as morning and afternoon/evening game drives included daily.  Local beverages included (excluding premium brands).  Virtuoso Amenities and Compliments.

Royal Malewane is an exclusive getaway for those who value privacy, personalized service and the best game viewing Africa has to offer. The suites luxurious interior appointments draw inspiration from the grand colonial ethos; neo-classical refuge in the raw uncompromising bush. Here, after a long day of exhilarating game viewing, you can journey into dream’s domain draped in Ralph Lauren linen, as the lion-roars echo through your window of stars.

Elevated walkways link the suites to the main camp with the African sky your ceiling. The main camp complex is the heart of Royal Malewane. African thatched-roof buildings house the library, shop, dining and reception areas. Furnished with rich antiques and Persian carpets, every fitting creates the feel of original colonial elegance.

There is a wonderful new gym and spa facility offering health and skincare therapy by internationally qualified in-house therapists. Guests may enjoy a treatment of their choice at the luxurious spa or in the sala, with only nature surrounding them. Alternatively, they may relax with a treatment in the complete privacy of their own suite.  Morning/Afternoon/evening game viewing activity.

DAY TWENTY FOUR – The lodge will provide a scheduled open vehicle transfer to the airstrip in time for:  Scheduled Federal Air light aircraft transfer (included) at 12h30.  Arrive Johannesburg approximately 14h30.  Departure BA6431 at 18h00 (Business class E tickets to be handed to clients in South Africa).  Arrive Cape Town at 20h10.  Transfer to hotel Cape Grace Hotel, 1 night in Superior room, breakfast included, and Virtuoso Amenities.

DAY TWENTY FIVE -At 16h00 you will be transferred to the airport (including porterage – 1 bag per person).  Departure to your home destination.

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