South Africa & Swaziland: Wine & Wildlife Tour

Enjoy the very best of South Africa on this 17-day tour for wildlife and wine lovers. Hosted by a professional photographer and a sommelier, you will learn how to create great pictures and discover some of the world’s best wines.

Itinerary

Day 01: Cape Town arrival (Welcome Dinner)
Upon arrival in Cape Town you will be met by Goway’s local representative and transferred to your hotel. You will check in for the next three nights.

Cape Town is located in the southwest corner of South Africa near the Cape of Good Hope. With its unrivalled natural beauty, Cape Town is certainly a highlight of Southern Africa. Originally intended as a supply station for Dutch ships en route to Eastern Africa, India and the Far East, by 1652, Cape Town had become the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. As time passed other settlements were created, yet the Cape Colony looked to Cape Town as its economic and cultural hub.

Tonight you have a welcome dinner included at a V & A waterfront restaurant.

Overnight at Commodore Hotel – standard room

Day 02: Cape Town – Peninsula Tour (B*)
After breakfast you meet your tour guide and set out on a full day Peninsula Tour

Drive along Millionaires Paradise from Clifton to Camps Bay and llandudno, heading towards the charming working harbour of Hout Bay for a short cruise to Seal Island. Wind along the legendary Chapman’s Peak Drive hugging the cliffs and relishing the breath taking ocean views. You end up at the wild and beautiful Cape of Good Hope Section of the Table Mountain National Park, an integral part of the world renowned Cape Floral Kingdom. Once at Cape Point, you will have time to explore (funicular ticket included). On the return, stop at in Simon’s town with time for lunch (own account) and visit the penguins at Boulders beach. Later return to Cape Town, drop off at your hotel. Overnight at Commodore Hotel – standard room

Day 03: Cape Town – half day city tour with Table Mountain (B)
Breakfast at the hotel and then you will have a half day city tour with a visit to the Castle (closed Sunday) & Company Garden, drive by parliament, city Hall and Slave Lodge. Then visit Malay Quarter and the colourful Bo Kaap Next summit the legendary Table Mountain with the aerial cableway ticket included. This is a great place to take photos of the city and ocean below. Drop off at the hotel for check in and afternoon is at leisure. Overnight at Commodore Hotel – standard room

Day 04: Franschoek – Winelands Tour (B, L)
Breakfast at the hotel and then check out and be picked up for a full day winelands tour.

Start the day with transferring to Transfer to Stellenbosch – Historical, glorious Stellenbosch with its Cape Dutch architecture, is the warm and wonderful heart of the Cape Winelands. It is surrounded by stunning wine estates. It is truly the prettiest town, home to one of the country’s prestigious universities, and great for exploring fine art galleries, the architecture, the history and the curious and quaint shops. Take a leisurely drive to get acquainted with the beauty of this world-renowned region on an orientation tour, then get inducted into the wine-making process in a fascinating cellar tour and wine tasting at Simonsig wine estate followed by lunch and more wine tasting at Boschendal Wine Estate. After lunch you will transfer to Franschhoek, you will have a walking tour here. Franschhoek is located in the Western Cape province of South Africa, the Cape Wineland region is found in the Boland, a mountainous area with fertile valleys that host some of the country’s finest vineyards. The Cape Winelands are cooler than their position of 34 degrees south of the equator suggests. As a result, the area is suited for growing many different types of wine including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Pinot Noir.

Although there are over 70 wine growing regions around Cape Town, the Cape Wineland Region usually refers to the three most popular, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl. Many have described Franschhoek as the “food and wine capital” of South Africa.

You will be dropped off at the hotel to enjoy the evening at your leisure. Franschhoek has secured its reputation for fine food and wine, with some calling it the culinary capital of South Africa.

Overnight at Protea Hotel Franschhoek.

Day 05: Oudtshoorn via Hermanus (B)
Breakfast at the hotel and then you will check out and travel to Hermanus, known as the world’s best land-based whale watching destination. Enjoy a land based whale watching tour before continuing onto Oudtshoorn, the ‘feather capital of the world’, so named because it is the centre of South Africa’s ostrich industry. On arrival, check into your hotel. Overnight at the Queens Hotel.

Day 06: Knysna (B, L)
Breakfast at the hotel and then today enjoy a guided tour of an ostrich farm tour with lunch. Later, go underground to marvel at the icy and impressive formations in the Cango Caves regarded as one of South Africa’s most spectacular natural wonders on a one hour guided tour. The cave is filled with weird and wonderful stalactite and stalagmite formations. Then drive via the spectacular Outeniqua Pass to the visually stunning town of Knysna and check into the hotel for the next two nights. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Protea Knysna Quays – standard room

Day 07: Knysna Featherbed Eco Tour (B, L)
Today you will visit the Featherbed Nature Reserve for an Eco tour. A specialist guide will share the history and fascinating facts on the fauna and flora of the area. You will be served a sumptuous lunch. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to explore Knysna town. Overnight in Protea Knysna Quays.

Day 08: Port Elizabeth – Durban (FLIGHT) – Thula Thula Game Reserve (B ,L, D)
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to Port Elizabeth and say good bye to your tour guide. You will then check in for your onward flight to Durban On arrival at the King Shaka Airport you are met by your new tour guide and will travel overland to Thula Thula Game Reserve and check into before enjoying an afternoon game drive. Overnight at Thula Thula – luxury standard tent.

Day 09: Thula Thula – St. Lucia (B)
Breakfast at the lodge and then enjoy morning activities before checking out and transferring to St. Lucia. On arrival check in for the next two nights. Rest of afternoon at leisure. Overnight at Elephant Lake Hotel.

Day 10: St. Lucia (B)
Breakfast at the hotel and then enjoy a boat cruise. St. Lucia is a small town on the northern KwaZulu Natal Coast which serves as a gateway to Isimangaliso (meaning miracle and wonder) Wetland Park, which was South Africa’s first World Heritage Site in recognition of it’s dazzling natural beauty, remarkable diversity and unique global values. The park is made up of 328,000 hectares of pristine natural eco systems including swamps, beaches, lakes, coral reefs, wetlands and some of the highest costal dunes in the world. Return to the hotel and enjoy the afternoon relaxing at your leisure. Overnight at Elephant Lake Hotel.

Day 11: St. Lucia to Hluhluwe (B, D)
Breakfast at the lodge and then today you will travel overland to Hluhluwe. You will be taken on a guided cat tour (approx. 10:30A) at the Emdoneni Cheetah Project. Learn about South Africa’s endangered cat species. http://www.emdonenilodge.com/cat-rehabilitation/ Later, check into your hotel for one night. Overnight at Emdoneni Lodge – chalet.

Day 12: Overland to Swaziland (B)
Breakfast at the lodge and then today you will enjoy an enchanting drive to the tiny Kingdom of Swaziland, a former British Protection Territory, now ruled by King MsWati III. Swaziland, the smallest country in the Southern Africa, is among the most easy-going and laid back regions. Swazis are more likely to celebrate for fun than demonstrate for reform. A progressive and hands on attitude towards wildlife preservation has endowed it with a striking set of national parks. Today you will visit the Swazi Craft Market. Check into your hotel for one night. Overnight at Royal Swazi Spa Resort.

Day 13: Overland to Hazyview (B)
Breakfast at the hotel and then travel overland to Hazyview, enroute you will visit the Matsamo Cultural Village, a traditional village near Swaziland where you can witness an authentic Swazi culture, which is well preserved in this area. At Matsamo Cultural village experience the life of the traditional Swazi. In this traditional Swazi village the colourful Matsamo people tend their cattle, cultivate their crops and produce beautiful crafts. You’ll be entertained to rousing dance and song performances and traditional cuisine, and allowed to wander wander on a tour through the village with its many huts and spaces, interacting with the villagers as they go about their daily activities, cultivating their crops, preparing traditional food and fashioning beautiful craft works. Matsamo Cultural Village near Kruger Park first opened its doors in 2001 and enjoys great support from the broader community. Each staffer has shares in the holding company and it provides an income to more than 100 people, making it an award-winning responsible tourism project and a former winner of South Africa’s Imvelo Responsible Tourism Award. Enjoy lunch here with a stunning panoramic view. Continue onto Hazyview and check into your hotel for one night. Overnight at Perry’s Bridge Hallow.

Day 14: Overland to Kapama Game Reserve via Panorama Route (B, L, D)
Today after breakfast, you check out and transfer to the Greater Kruger Region and traverse the glorious Panorama route taking in the spectacular scenery. Gasp at the glory that is God’s Window, a boundless view of forested mountains and fertile plains, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and 3 Rondawels at Blyde River Canyon.

Your adventure continues to Kapama Private Game Reserve described as an African Eden. The reserve is a slice of wilderness paradise far from the madding crowd; a place of renewal and reconnection with the natural world.

Arrive at your lodge in time for lunch and check into your 5 star lodge for the next three nights. After checking into your indulgent suite, you depart on your first open vehicle safari accompanied by a skilled ranger and tracker. You can expect to encounter a diverse range of animal and bird species on game drives. Since Kapama Private Game Reserve is a Big Five reserve, seeing lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo is possible over a two-day safari in the reserve. Return to your lodge for dinner.

Overnight at Kapama Southern Camp, suite.

Day 15: Kapama Southern Camp (B, L, D)
Across all of Kapama’s lodges, two daily game drives are offered and are included. Accompanied by a skilled ranger and tracker, guests can expect to encounter a diverse range of animal and bird species on game drives. Since this is a Big Five reserve, seeing lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo is possible over a two-day safari in Kapama Private Game Reserve.

The day starts with an early wake-up call between 5am and 5:30am. Tea, coffee and rusks are enjoyed together before heading out at first light. While seeing big game is always exhilarating, there are many other smaller species that are also captivating, and birding enthusiasts will be delighted at the approximately 350 species of birds recorded on the reserve. Halfway through the game drive, there’s a stop for hot drinks and snacks, before returning to the lodge at around 9am for a full breakfast. Throughout the day, it’s likely you will see wildlife around the lodge such as nyala antelope and vervet monkeys are frequent visitors, though seeing some of the Big Five is also not uncommon.

Relax at the lodge until the afternoon game lodge or enjoy an optional activity:

Optional Enhancement: Elephant interaction (Additional Cost)

*The cost of a 30-minute elephant interaction is Approx. USD $65 per person, including transfers.

Interacting with elephants, many guests purport the elephant interaction opportunity offered at Kapama to be life-changing. This activity takes place between the morning and afternoon game drives and is scheduled after breakfast. After the experience, you will be returned to your lodge in time for lunch and a little relaxation, before high tea and the afternoon game drive. To meet and interact with Kapama’s elephants, your ranger will drive you to a specifically designated location in the bush, where the reserve’s 16 habituated elephants will be browsing in the wild. The elephant herd ranges in age from calves to mature adults of over 30 years. After a brief introduction to elephant life, some members of the herd will be brought forward for you to meet. Always accompanied by their handlers, the elephants are relaxed and there is the opportunity to get extremely close to them. You can feed them and touch them and watch their herd dynamics, as the younger elephants play under the watchful eye of the adults. There’s plenty of opportunity for photographs during the half-hour interaction time, and handlers will provide information on individual elephants and fascinating herd behaviour. Your questions are also welcomed. At the end of the elephant interaction, you will be driven back to your lodge by a ranger – and the elephants will resume their feeding in the bush.

At around 3:30pm, everyone gathers for a decadent high tea, before heading out with your ranger and tracker for the afternoon game drive through the reserve. En route, you’ll stop for a sundowner drink and will have a chance to stretch your legs as you watch the sun set over the distant peaks of the Drakensberg Mountains.

As darkness falls, the nocturnal animals of the bush come out. The skilled tracker will scan the landscape using a spotlight, which illuminates animals’ eyes. A variety of completely different species can be seen on the night drive back to the lodge. Arrival is at the lodge is usually around 7pm, allowing time to freshen up before enjoying a sumptuous dinner. Overnight at Kapama Southern Camp..

Day 16: Kapama Southern Camp (B, L, D)
All meals and two game drives included today as per same program as above. Overnight at Kapama Southern Camp, suite

Optional Activities:

Bush Walk (included as an Option)
Feel Africa underfoot on a guided bush walk with a highly trained game ranger. The experience offers an intimate encounter with nature and wildlife, and medicinal and other plants are identified en route. Rangers also teach walkers to track wildlife in the traditional way, using animal footprints and scat. Expert trackers are able to tell the gender of many animals just from their footprints. Large and dangerous animals are avoided on walks, but many other species can be viewed from a safe distance at ground level. A bush walk through Kapama Private Game Reserve is a truly memorable and authentic encounter.

Hoedspruit Centre for Endangered Species (Additional Cost)
*The cost is Approx. USD $40 per person, including transfers.
Vet examining cheetah, to see rare wildlife up close, take a late morning trip – after the game drive and breakfast to the nearby Hoedspruit Centre for Endangered Species. Here cheetah, wild dog, serval, caracal and various other species are rehabilitated and can be safely viewed from close range. Rare king cheetah can also be seen here. An educational video is shown as part of the tour and showcases the different projects undertaken by the center. It’s followed by a guided tour to view cheetah and other fascinating wildlife. Guests to the center will be accompanied by a Kapama lodge ranger.

Wellness Center (Additional Cost)
Surrounded by stillness and sweeping bushveld, the Kapama Wellness Centre takes safari spa treatments to new heights. Considered one of the finest safari spas in Africa, the six sumptuous treatment rooms are arranged around a generous central lap pool that evokes a sense of calm. Please contact me for treatment menu & prices

Other: Hot air ballooning and the option to sleep out under the stars are also available for extra costs

Day 17: Kapama – Johannesburg (B)
Breakfast at the lodge and then in time you will check out and be transferred to Johannesburg, on arrival check in for the night. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Johannesburg, often referred to as Jo’burg, is South Africa’s largest city, the centre of South African commerce and industry as well as the financial capital of Gauteng. Renowned as the City of Gold, Johannesburg is a vibrant city with a vast web of suburbs and townships, with a wealth of things to see and do.

Southern Sun Katherine Street, standard room.

DAY 18: Johannesburg (B)
Breakfast at the hotel and in time group will be transferred back to the airport for their return flight home or onward to Victoria Falls

END OF TOUR

Optional extension to Victoria Falls:
Cost – $1200 per person based on double occupancy, flights not included. Includes accommodation for 2 nights, 3 meals, a guided tour and taxes.

*Meals included: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D=Dinner

YOUR HOSTS

Vanessa Dewson is an Ottawa-based professional photographer who began hosting photo tours in 2012 and loved it so much she founded Focus on Photography Tours. She is an accredited member of the Professional Photographers of Canada, recently earning her Master of Photographic Arts as well as several awards for her travel photography.

Karolle Screaton is a trained sommelier and travel counsellor with Savour the World Travel. She loves travel, good food, great wine and great company. Hosting tours allows her to share her  passions while meeting like-minded people. In South Africa, she will help you discover why it’s one of the leading wine producers in the world.

COST

MARCH SPECIAL:
SAVE $150 per person if you book by March 31, 2017 + get a free copy of The Elephant Whisperer.

LAND COST
$6149 CAD per person (includes all taxes)
Based on Double occupancy
Based on a minimum of 10 to a maximum of 16
Single supplement $1449 CAD
DEPOSIT AMOUNT: $250 per person (non-refundable)
FINAL PAYMENT:     June 26, 2017

INCLUDED
4-star accommodation with private bathroom
Land transportation in air conditioned motorcoach and internal flight from Port Elizabeth to Durban
Park entrance fees
Specified meals
Professional photographer host
Sommelier host
Local guide and driver

NOT INCLUDED
International airfare – we are happy to help you make these arrangements.
Tips & gratuities
Meals not specified

CANCELLATION POLICY
More than 71 days prior to departure = loss of non-refundable deposit
Between 70-46 days prior to departure = 75% loss
45 days or less prior to departure = 100% non-refundable

It is mandatory for all of our travellers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers for both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing an all-inclusive plan that covers cancellation/interruption insurance as well.  Please contact us for a quote.

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO BOOK YOUR SPOT CONTACT:

Vanessa Dewson, MPA
Focus on Photography Tours*
Email
Ottawa: 613-859-9584
Toronto: 416-367-8264 x2651
803-55 York Street, Toronto, ON M5J 1R7
*a division of Romance & Foodie Travel and The Travel Agent Next Door