iExplore South Africa - Black Culture Experience

Book Now
  • Group Tour
  • Starting Price: $3,790
  • Length: 17 days
  • Operator: iExplore Exclusive
  • 1-800-267-33479am - 5:30pm Eastern
    Destinations: Africa, South Africa
  • Difficulty Rating:
  • Comfort Rating:
  • Exclusivity Rating:

Tour Description

Experience the raw energy of the 'Rainbow Nation' during this visit to South Africa as you talk to the people, see the traditions, experience the religion, beliefs and history of the many cultures that make up South Africa.

Learn about the decades of darkness with Apartheid legislation and the winds of change that brought about a new and long-time coming, freer South Africa. Your journey will take you to the two largest cities, Cape Town and Johannesburg, several World Heritage Sites, Robben Island and St. Lucia Wetlands, and to the Kingdoms of Swaziland and Zululand, where you can experience the true cultures of South Africa. No trip would be complete without a safari to see the 'Big Five' - the black rhino, Cape buffalo, lion, elephant and leopard, but nothing can compare to the scenery as you crisscross South Africa, particularly the spectacular Cape of Good Hope.

Hightlights:

  • Pilgrims Rest, Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window & Bourkes Potholes
  • “BIG FIVE” of Kruger National Park & Hluhluwe
  • Colorful tribal heritage of Swaziland & Zululand
  • Scenic beauty of the Drakensberg Mountains (World Heritage site)
  • Historic area of Cradock
  • Elephants in Addo and the spectacular scenery of the Garden Route
  • Wine tasting & cellar tour at Groot Constantia in the Western Cape
  • Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope

Itinerary

DAY 1: JOHANNESBURG – MPUMALANGA (BLYDE RIVER)

Departing Johannesburg after breakfast, the afternoon is spent in the historic mining town of Pilgrims Rest a small town in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa, which has been declared a national monument. After it was officially declared a gold field in September 1873, it suddenly grew to 1,500 inhabitants searching for alluvial gold. Towards the end of the 19th century claims were bought up and underground mining started by the company known as TGME. Mining was closed down in 1971 and the village sold to the government as a national museum. Transvaal Gold Mining Estates, currently part of the listed Simmers and Jack, started gold mining again in 1998. The town’s original architecture remains largely unchanged since then, because the town was declared a National Monument in 1986.

Overnight at Graskop Hotel or similar. (B)

DAY 2/ 3: KRUGER NATIONAL PARK

The morning is spent viewing the spectacular Blyde River Canyon and Bourkes Potholes, en-route to the famous Kruger National Park. While it is difficult to compare canyons worldwide, Blyde River Canyon is one of the largest canyons on Earth, and it may be the largest 'green canyon' due to its lush subtropical foliage. It has some of the deepest precipitous cliffs of any canyon on the planet. It is the second largest canyon in Africa, after the Fish River Canyon, and is known as one of the great wonders of nature on the continent. Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa and one of the largest in Africa. It is home to the Big Five, as well as numerous other species of fauna and flora. It covers 19,485 square kilometers and extends 360 kilometers from north to south and 65 kilometers from east to west. Early morning and late afternoon game drives are undertaken in search of the numerous animals inhabiting the Park.

Overnight Hippo Hollow or similar. (B)

DAY 4: SWAZILAND

From Kruger National Park we enter Swaziland, officially the Kingdom of Swaziland (Umbuso weSwatini), and sometimes called Ngwane or Swatini. It is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique. The nation as well as its people is named after the 19th century king Mswati II. We visit the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Swaziland's oldest protected area, owned and managed by a non-profit trust. The Sanctuary covers 4,560 hectares in the Ezulwini Valley or "Valley of Heaven". Formerly a farming and tin mining area, the area has been rehabilitated and is now Swaziland's most frequently visited reserve. We visit the famous Swazi markets with their colorful wares. The afternoon is free to do optional activities such as a tour of a local village, nature-walking trails etc.

Overnight in traditional Swazi Beehive huts or similar. (B)

DAY 5/ 6: ZULULAND

From our base in Zululand, rich in both cultural history and wildlife, we undertake a game drive in Hluhluwe/ Imfolozi Game Reserve, famous for its contributions to saving the endangered rhino. Hluhluwe/ Imfolozi Game Reserve is the oldest proclaimed park in Africa. It consists of 960 km² of hilly topography in central Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal and is known for its rich wildlife and conservation efforts. The park is the only state-run park in KwaZulu-Natal where all the Big Five Game can be found. Due to conservation efforts, the park now has the largest population of white rhino in the world.

Overnight at Umkhumbi Lodge or similar. (B)

DAY 7/ 8: DRAKENSBERG MOUNTAINS (WORLD HERITAGE SITE)

Departing after breakfast we follow the Indian Ocean coastline through KwaZulu-Natal before heading inland to the Drakensberg Mountains. The Drakensberg is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa, rising to 3,482 metres in height. In Zulu, it is referred to as uKhahlamba ("barrier of spears"), and in Sesotho as Maluti (also spelled Maloti). Its geological history lends it a distinctive character amongst the mountain ranges of the world. Our lodge is situated in the Northern Berg at the foot of the Amphitheatre. The Amphitheatre is over 5 km in length and has precipitous cliffs rising approximately 1220m along its entire length. The bottom of the valley floor, from where many photographs of the mountain structure are taken, is over 1830 m below the highest point of the amphitheatre (the summit being over 3050 m above sea level). The Tugela Falls, the world's second tallest falls, plunge over 948m from the Amphitheatre's cliff tops. Enjoy guided walks in the mountains or relax in the spectacular surroundings.

Overnight The Cavern or similar. (B & D)

DAY 9: GARIEP DAM

Continuing along the foot of the mountains we enter the Free State Province. Our lodge is located overlooking the Gariep Dam. The Gariep Dam was originally named the Hendrik Verwoerd Dam after the Prime Minister of the Republic of South Africa, Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd, on its commission in 1971. However after the end of apartheid the name was considered unsuitable, and the name was officially changed to Gariep Dam on 4 October 1996. The wall is 88 m high and has a crest length of 914 m and contains approximately 1.73 million m³ of concrete. The Gariep Dam is the largest storage reservoir in South Africa. Enjoy spectacular views from the hotel deck and rooms.

Overnight De Stijl Hotel or similar. (B)

DAY 10: CRADOCK

The historical town of Cradock is our next stop. Cradock is a town in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, in the upper valley of the Great Fish River, 292 kilometres by rail northeast of Port Elizabeth. The town is the administrative seat of the Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality in the Chris Hani District of the Eastern Cape. The estimated population is 28,689. It is one of the Cape's chief centres of the wool industry, and also produces beef, dairy, fruit, lucerne, and mohair. Die Tuishuise in Cradock is an elegant collection of beautifully restored Victorian era craftsmen’s houses in Craddock, the frontier town at the eastern edge of the Great Karoo. More than two dozen Tuishuise line Market Street up to the Victoria Manor, a grand old colonial hotel from the days of Cecil John Rhodes, Olive Schreiner and the droves of adventurers who passed here en route to the hinterland. Time can be spent visiting the numerous museums and buildings of the town.

Overnight Die Tuishuise or similar. (B)

DAY 11/ 12: ADDO ELEPHANT NATIONAL PARK

Found in the Sundays River Valley near the Zuurberg Range, the park is home to large herds of elephant, lion and numerous antelope species. The original section of the park was founded in 1931, in part due to the efforts of Sydney Skaife, in order to provide a sanctuary for the eleven remaining elephants in the area. The park has proved to be very successful and currently houses more than 450 elephants and a large number of other mammals. We enjoy a game drive and the have the opportunity for an optional Elephant-back safari (own expense).

Overnight Zuurberg Mountain Village or similar. (B)

DAY 13/ 14: THE GARDEN ROUTE

Following the coastline we explore the famous Garden Route. It stretches from Heidelberg in the Western Cape to the Storms River, which is crossed along the N2 coastal highway over the Paul Sauer Bridge in the extreme western reach of the neighbouring Eastern Cape. The name “Garden Route” comes from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here and the numerous lagoons and lakes dotted along the coast. It includes towns such as Mossel Bay, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Nature's Valley with George, the Garden Route's largest city and main administrative centre. A full day is available to explore the charming towns of the area or a variety of optional activities (own expense) including sunset cruise to the famous Heads, whale watching (in season) & scenic walks.

Overnight Knysna Hollow or similar. (B)

DAY 15/ 16/ 17: CAPE TOWN

Our journey takes us via Sir Lowry’s pass where we have our first sight of the beautiful city of Cape Town. Set against the majestic Table Mountain, recently selected as one of the New 7 Natural Wonders of the world, Cape Town offers scenic, historic and cultural attractions. We visit Groot Constantia wine farm for a cellar tour and wine tasting. This farm was established in 1685 making it one of the oldest and most famous in the Cape. On Day 16 we leave from the Breakwater Lodge at approximately 08h00 and drive to Table Mountain to ascend with the aerial cable cars (weather permitting). The first tourists travelled to the top of Table Mountain on 4 October 1929 and since then more than 20million people have travelled up in progressively better cable cars. Enjoy the breathtaking 360° view of Cape Town, the Atlantic Ocean, Robben Island and the neighboring peaks. Your tour of the peninsula will continue along the Atlantic seaboard via Hout Bay and Chapman’s Peak to the Table Mountain National Park – a National World Heritage Site. Here you will get the opportunity to explore Cape Point – the southwestern tip of Africa as well as the Cape of Good Hope – first rounded in 1488 by the Portuguese on their quest to establish trade routes with the East. On the way back we pass through the quaint naval village of Simon’s Town, originally named Simon’s Vlek after Simon van der Stel, the Dutch governor of the Cape Colony. Time permitting you will visit Boulders beach to view the African Penguin colony (own expense) before returning along the Indian Ocean coastline via Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay and Muizenberg. Dinners can be enjoyed at the bustling Waterfront at clients’ own expense.

Overnight Breakwater Lodge (or similar accommodation). (B)

Departures

2013 Departure dates:
May 6 - 22
June 10 – 26
July 7 - 24
August 19 – Sept 4
October 14 – 30
Nov 4 - 20
December 2 - 18

Pricing Information

2013 Prices:

$3790 April, May, June, November, December

$3930 July - October

$670 single room supplement

Duration: 17 days
Group Size: 4-16 passengers. Departure guaranteed with a minimum of 4.
Pre/Post Hotel and Transfers: May be pre-booked for Johannesburg & Cape Town.
Accommodations: 16 nights chalet and small hotel all with en-suite facilities.
Meals: Breakfast throughout, lunches & dinners own account. Dinners on day 7 & 8 are included.
Important: This tour is recommended for healthy, active participants looking for an adventurous holiday.
Inclusions: English-speaking guide, accommodations and meals as per itinerary, all transportation, excursions and activities as per itinerary, all park fees, game drives as per the itinerary, airport transfers.
Exclusions: International airfare, visas, gratuities, items of a personal nature, all beverages, travel insurance and optional activities.

All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.

Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

Options and Extras

Tour Notes