South Africans call their homeland ‘a world in one country’. It covers an area equivalent to five times the size of Britain, with a climate ranging from temperate, Mediterranean and sub-tropical to desert; it offers spectacular scenery with arguably the finest wildlife on earth and no less than eleven official languages. South Africa is truly a world-class destination!
This wonderful 16-day tour is designed to highlight South Africa’s truly amazing diversity of cultures, its curious blend of old and new, and it’s phenomenal scenery and wildlife. You leave with the feeling that the new South Africa, open to the world after years of isolation, is a land of superlatives which cannot fail to impress the welcome visitor!
South Africa Price Includes
- Return flights & transfers
- Stay in 3 to 4-star accommodation with 18 meals included (13 breakfasts, 2 lunches & 3 dinners)
- Tour the Zulu War battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift with a specialist guide
- Full-day guided safari in the Kruger National Park
- Stay in the Western Cape’s Winelands with a cellar tour and tasting at a 300-year-old wine estate
- Stay three nights in cosmopolitan Cape Town and explore Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
- Explore the legendary Cape of Good Hope
- Visit Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum
- Gaze at the awe-inspiring Blyde River canyon, the third largest in the world
- Visit Hermanus for the world’s finest on-shore whale watching
- Enjoy a scenic drive through the beautiful small country of Swaziland
- Take an internal flight to the stunning Garden Route
- Services of an Expert tour manager
Subject to availability, single supplements apply. Click here for departures exclusively for solo travellers.
*Book a new holiday with Rivera Travel and you can enjoy the flexibility to change your booking before travel, with no fees and no questions asked. You can change your booking up to 45 days before departure for 2021 holidays. New bookings for 2022 can be changed for free up until 31 December 2021. Full terms and conditions can be viewed here.
Day 1 – Departure
Take your overnight flight to Johannesburg.
Day 2 – Arrival in Johannesburg
After our morning arrival, we visit the Apartheid Museum, taking us on a fascinating, horrifying, humbling and ultimately inspiring journey from the dark days of ‘whites only’ privilege, through to Nelson Mandela’s historic release. It’s a truly fascinating exhibition charting the apartheid years and the struggle against it, culminating in the first democratic elections. It is a superbly presented walk through contemporary history using original material, riveting eyewitness accounts, photographs and film. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.
4* Indaba Hotel – Johannesburg
Day 3 – Panorama Route
After breakfast we depart for the open spaces and farmlands of the Highveld, following the Panorama Route to Kruger National Park, one of the most scenic drives in South Africa. We follow the spectacular rim of the Blyde River Canyon, an amazing 20-mile long and 2,300- foot deep gorge cutting a vast swathe through the Great Escarpment separating the temperate grasslands of the highveld and the drier savannah beyond. Deep circular rock formations created by years of erosion and many excellent vantage points offer superb photo opportunities for some of the most breathtaking views in Africa. Our hotel for the next three nights is beautifully located in the midst of lush forest on the banks of the Sabie River on the edge of the National Park. Dinner is included tonight.
3* Superior Hippo Hollow Country Estate – Hazyview
Day 4 – Kruger Game Drive
Today we have a full day’s game drive in specially adapted 10 seat 4×4 vehicles. Experience areas of sweeping savannah, bisected by rivers full of hippos, muddy waterholes lined with animals quenching their thirst, and the bush itself, studded by biscuit-coloured termite mounds. There is simply nothing to beat that rising feeling of anticipation and excitement as we enter the nearby park in the half-light of the spectacular African dawn, surrounded by the noise of a unique ‘dawn chorus’. Which animal shall we spot first? Perhaps an elephant, a family of warthogs or possibly even the elusive cheetah. The experienced game rangers know the best tracks and waterholes whilst their stories will amuse, inform and fascinate you. Most have lived here all their lives, accumulating a vast wealth of knowledge.
Day 5 – Kruger Free Day
This is a day at leisure for anyone who just wants to take it easy by one of the pools at the hotel or do some hippo-spotting from the lovely lawn overlooking the river. Alternatively, you could try some elephant interaction, exciting microlight flights or even river rafting (all subject to weather conditions), as well as sunset safaris or night safaris where you can experience the unique thrill of an open 4×4 vehicle game drive by spotlight. Exclusively for Riviera Travel guests, there are also a limited number of places available to stay the night at a tented camp and go on a bushwalk. Our camp provides a ‘glamping’ experience with comfortable beds, electricity and en-suite shower with WC. Our chef will
create excellent wholesome cuisine and you can listen out for any nocturnal visitors whilst sitting
around the campfire! You rejoin the main tour on the morning of day 6.
Day 5 – Swaziland & Kwazulu Natal
Today we leave Kruger on our way to the battlefields of Zululand. After breakfast we’ll drive south, entering the small but scenically beautiful country of Swaziland. As the road climbs past the interestingly named Piggs Peak we descend through lush green fields and rolling hills interspersed with small farms and drive through the country’s small capital Mbabane, passing the parliament house and Royal Palace
en route. We cross back into South Africa in the afternoon and enter Kwazulu Natal province.
3* Battlefields Lodge – Dundee
Day 7 – Isandlwana & Rorke’s Drift
After breakfast we visit the battlefields of the Zulu Wars, Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift – one a crushing British defeat sending shock waves throughout the Empire, the other a valiant stand of just 140 against 4,000 Zulus. Brilliantly dramatised in the films Zulu Dawn and Zulu, these two battles, just a day apart, became a defining moment for the British Empire. In 1879 at Isandlwana, a depleted force of 1,300 were surprised and outmanoeuvred by a 20,000-strong Zulu army armed with cowhide shields and spears. Only a handful survived. The next day just 9 miles away, about 140 British soldiers, some wounded, held off 4,000 Zulus for over ten hours at Rorke’s Drift, an action earning eleven Victoria Crosses, the largest number ever awarded in a single engagement. Isandlwana particularly, remains a haunting and lonely place, with mass graves marked by simple white stones. Our specialist Zulu guide will really make those desperate encounters come alive. We return to our hotel in the afternoon. Lunch is included today.
Day 8 – Mossel Bay
After breakfast we return to Johannesburg airport, flying to George in the Western Cape and at the heart of the gorgeous Garden Route, before the short drive to the coastal town of Mossel Bay. Dinner at a local restaurant is included tonight.
3* Diaz Hotel – Mossel Bay
Day 9 – Cango Caves & Oudtshoorn
Today we head inland, through stunning mountain scenery of the Ruitersbos Nature Reserve to the foot of the Swartberg Mountains. Here we’ll visit the spectacular Cango Caves, formed over millions of years in the soft limestone and South Africa’s best-known caves. Next we head to the small town of Oudtshoorn, a centre of ostrich farming since the 19th century. We’ll have the opportunity to see these
fascinating creatures close up and learn about their habits. After an included lunch, we head
back to Mossel Bay.
Day 10 – Hermanus
This morning, we take the long scenic drive to the Cape’s beautiful Winelands before continuing to Hermanus, a lovely town that’s also the world’s best spot for on-shore whale watching, usually between July and November. These gentle giants move in seemingly permanent slow motion and are a truly amazing sight as they playfully cavort in the water.
4* Pearl Valley Hotel – Franschhoek
Day 11 – Winelands
Today we tour the awesomely beautiful Winelands. Set in a valley backed by majestic mountains, rows of manicured vines and orchards stretch into a distance studded by lime-washed, often thatched, 300-year-old wineries built in the unique Cape Dutch style, seemingly mirroring the undulations of the
surrounding countryside. Our first stop is elegant Stellenbosch, established 300 years ago
and home of South Africa’s most prestigious university. Period buildings and historic streets reinforce the town’s dignified atmosphere. We have time to explore this delightful town before enjoying a fascinating cellar tour and tasting at the award-winning Neethlingshof Wine Estate.
After that, we visit the small town of Franschoek, set at the head of a valley. Tonight we’ll enjoy
an included typical South African BBQ or Cape Malay buffet dinner at our hotel.
Day 12 – Capetown
This morning we visit the amazing Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, located just outside Cape Town and set against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. These incredible gardens are some of the best in South Africa, with numerous and fascinating endemic flora and orchid varieties.
We soon arrive in Cape Town and our hotel, the four-star Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel, staying three nights on bed-and-breakfast. It is located right in the centre of this bustling city within walking distance of the V&A waterfront.
The afternoon is spent at leisure when you can start to explore this beautiful city.
4* Southern Sun Waterfront – Cape Town
- Ideal location on the V&A Waterfront
- Easy access to Table Mountain
- Excellent restaurant and bar
Day 13 – Cape of Good Hope
This morning, we visit Cape Point and the legendary Cape of Good Hope, firstly driving past pristine beaches to the picturesque fishing harbour of Hout Bay. We continue along the breathtakingly scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive, full of rugged seascapes, to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, then on to Cape Point itself. We see the confluence of the Indian and Atlantic Ocean currents and the treacherous promontory of rocks and swells, the scourge of mariners for
centuries. Finally we visit Boulders Beach and its penguin colony, returning to the city during the
Day 14 – Free Day in Cape Town
Cape Town, featuring British, Dutch and Cape Malay influences, is simply one of the world’s most naturally beautiful cities with so much to offer the visitor! You could do some bargain shopping at the Waterfront, followed by a sumptuous seafood lunch. Or maybe go peoplewatching at fashionable Camps Bay? Obviously no visit to Cape Town is complete without taking a revolving cable car ride to the top of iconic Table Mountain which has announced the city to generations of sea-farers. The views are fabulous. You should also visit Robben Island (weather permitting and based on availability), where Nelson Mandela spent most of his 27- year incarceration, and whose visitors since its opening have included Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Bill Gates and even Nelson Mandela himself. Perhaps though, simply wander where your feet take you, or relax a little, taking afternoon tea in beautiful colonial splendour at the Mount Nelson hotel – the choice is yours.
Day 15 – Return Flight
Our final day in Cape Town is at leisure before a transfer to the airport, at the appropriate time, for our return flight via Johannesburg to the UK.
Day 16 – Return Home
We arrive back in the UK after a truly unique tour.
- Other UK airports also available
- 24th January 2022
- 23rd February 2022
- 3rd March 2022
- 20th April 2022
- 27th July 2022
- 24th August 2022
- 7th September 2022
- 21st September 2022
- 5th October 2022