South Africa for Solo Travellers
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!
Firstly, a more naturally beautiful country would be difficult to find - from the serrated peaks of the Drakensberg mountains, to the contorted and timeless semi-desert landscapes of the Karoo and the forested sea-shores and mirror-like lakes of the Garden Route, the enchanting temperate valleys of the Winelands, the rare proximity to nature found in the national parks and the instantly recognizable symbol of the country, Table Mountain - all under an endless azure-blue sky. Quite remarkable!
Then there is the wildlife, one of the main reasons visitors travel to Africa. One of the finest places in the world to experience this is the Kruger National Park, which is a similar size to Wales. It is exactly how you imagine the African bush to be, as depicted on countless TV documentaries: areas of sweeping savannah, bisected by rivers full of hippos, muddy waterholes lined with animals quenching their thirst, and the bush itself, home to zebra and antelope, studded by immense biscuit-coloured termite hills and towering above it all, instantly recognisable giraffes! The park is home to an incredible 150 mammal and 500 bird species including the ‘big five’: elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo. Game-viewing is an intensely moving experience with nothing preparing you for the waves of emotion inspired by an encounter with these wonderful, almost regal creatures thriving in their natural habitat. Just to highlight the variety of flora too, the Cape Peninsula alone has twice as many plant varieties as Britain, which is 5,000 times bigger. But South Africa is not just about scenery and wildlife, fabulous as it is.
The cities are amazing and highlight the country’s diversity. Brash Johannesburg, city of gold and South Africa’s cultural capital, with skyscrapers of concrete and glass separated by canyon-like streets contrasting with townships on its outskirts. Then there is the ‘Mother City’, Cape Town, overlooked by the vast bulk of Table Mountain and easily Africa’s most beautiful and sophisticated city. It is a real multi-cultural melting pot, with stunning Cape architecture, superb beaches, the best cuisine in the country, fabulous street musicians, mime artists and entertainers adding to its cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Any country is shaped by its past - South Africa more than most with its recent history a constant struggle between the British, Afrikaners, and various indigenous peoples, the Zulus being the most well known. The British annexed the Cape from the Dutch during the 18th century, who then set out inland founding the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. However, with the discovery of the world’s largest gold deposits, British interest flourished! This culminated in the Boer War and unification of the country. We all inevitably associate South Africa with the inhumanities of the old Apartheid system, which needs no explanation.
Our visit to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg takes 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. Documentary film, texts, sound clips and live accounts recapture life in the old South Africa.
We also visit the famous 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. Few tours visit these remarkable sites, a vital and deeply moving part of South Africa’s unique heritage.
The Garden Route in the Western Cape is legendary. With a mild climate and facing the southern Indian Ocean, this unique region encompasses beautiful coastal and mountain scenery. Depending on the time of year, we’ll have the opportunity to travel to the beautiful seaside resort of Hermanus, the best place for on-shore whale watching. We also spend a most enjoyable few days surrounded by the seemingly never-ending rows of vines in fertile valleys, backed by the lofty mountains of the enchanting Winelands.
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 its 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!
- Return flights
- A welcome dinner on the first night to get to know your travelling companions
- Staying in excellent quality three and four-star hotels with breakfast, two lunches and four dinners
- Full day guided safari in the Kruger National Park, one of the world’s most outstanding game reserves
- Tour of the legendary Zulu War battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift, immortalised in the classic film 'Zulu'
- Internal flight to the stunning 'Garden Route'
- Visit Hermanus, for the world’s finest on-shore whale watching (dependant on season)
- Stay in the heart of the fabulously beautiful Western Cape’s Winelands, with rolling vineyards and iconic colonial Dutch architecture, experiencing a cellar tour and tasting at a 300-year old wine estate
- Visits to the Cape of Good Hope and the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
- Visit to Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum, a real ‘must’ in understanding contemporary South Africa
- Stay three nights in cosmopolitan Cape Town – one of the world’s most naturally beautiful cities, dominated by the instantly recognisable Table Mountain
- Option to spend a night in a tented safari camp, experiencing a bushwalk with an experienced ranger
- Escorted by our experienced tour manager
- The price of this holiday is per person, based on one personoccupying a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at a supplement (date dependent) at the relevant supplement. Scheduled flights to Johannesburg and from Cape Town, all transfers, 13 nights accommodation on bed and breakfast basis, four dinners, all tours as mentioned, visit to Apartheid museum, visit to Blyde River canyon, full day Kruger safari, tour of Zulu battlefields including lunch, tour of the Featherbed Nature Reserve including lunch, whale watching depending on season (19 Apr - 22 Nov), winelands tour including a wine tasting, visit to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, tour of Cape Point, porterage of one item of luggage per person and theservices of an experienced Riviera Tour Manager.
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