SOUTH AFRICAN SAFARI HIGHLIGHTS TOUR – 14 DAYS
Come and experience the splendour on our South African Safari Highlights Tour . Ranked as thé most beautiful country in the world, South Africa sweeps international travel prizes and has travellers raving about its beauty so much that it has the highest repeat tourism in the world! This South African Safariwill focus on the highlights of these amazing attractions.
The Greater Kruger National Park has the largest diversity of large mammals of any reserve in the world, and is the easiest place on Earth to see “The Big 5”, predominantly due to the largest Leopard and Rhino populations in the world. Many of the Kruger Park’s private reserves, such as the Sabi Sands, guarantee all five within a single day’s game viewing.
Cape Town has been named the most beautiful city in the world, while the town of Franschhoek has been named amongst the five prettiest in the world. Enfolded by Cape Town is one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature; Table Mountain. When viewed from across Table Bay this world, wonder provides one of the greatest views on Earth, and has been named one of the world’s greatest mountains.
Unparalleled wildlife and whales, mountains and waterfalls, architecture and antiquity, Cape Town; the most beautiful city in the world, plus a host of natural treasures make South Africa truly the most beautiful country In The world, and a must-see traveller’s dream.
- Attractions of the Panorama Route.
- Safari in the Kruger Park.
- Traverse through Swaziland.
- Hluhluwe safari.
- Boat trip on Lake St Lucia.
- Garden Route attractions.
- Boat trip on Knysna Lake.
- Visit Oudtshoorn’s ostrich farm, Cango caves, and wildlife center.
- Wale watch boat trip in Hermanus.
- Winelands visit.
- Cape Town – Robben Island, Cape Point, Table Mountain, etc.
Arrive at O.R Tambo International Airport where your Jewel of Africa Safaris guide will be waiting for you. After finishing the airport formalities, you will start the journey driving eastward through the rich Highveld coalfields to Graskop on top of the Drakensberg Mountains.
En-route you will visit the historical town of Pilgrim’s Rest. Alluvial gold was discovered here in 1873 and the town soon turned into the typical Wild West town – guns and gold; guts and glory! The gold dried up in 1973 and the town was since restored to its original glory, being declared a National Monument; the whole town.
Enjoy breakfast and check out. Today’s focus is on the scenery and attractions of the magnificent Drakensberg Mountains. This stretch on the mountain is known as the Panorama Route. Visiting sights include the Blyde River Canyon’s Tree Rondavels, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Lisbon Waterfalls, and God’s Window.
A special lunch treat awaits you at Harry’s Pancakes before your guide drives you to the Kruger National Park. Wildlife viewing opportunities will present itself immediately once entered the Park. Enjoy your first safari in the luxury of your guide’s air-conditioned vehicle while driving to your overnight camp situated inside the Kruger Park.
Check in at your chalet and freshen up before meeting everyone for pre-dinner drinks and a delicious dinner.
Rise before sunrise to take advantage of the best animal viewing conditions, as you enjoy you embark on a full day safari in an open top 4×4 safari vehicle.
Explore this massive wildlife haven, roughly the size of Wales, in search of zebra, giraffe, the Big Five, cheetahs, wild dogs, hippos and crocodiles, kudu, sable antelope, waterbuck, warthogs, baboons and many other interesting animals. Our guides are experts and know the Kruger Park like the palm of their hands. They will show you the hidden intricacies of the animal species, birds, trees, insects, and all aspects of the fauna and flora. Enjoy breakfast and one of the many stopovers before returning to your lodge at sunset.
After a beautiful African sunset, enjoy the superb food and excellent wines at the restaurant. Have a nightcap wile sitting around a log fire under the starry African sky, while your guide gives a layout of the stars of the Southern Hemisphere, the Milky Way, the Orion Belt, or the Southern Cross.
OVERNIGHT: Skukuza (or similar)
Today we travel southeast through Swaziland to the rolling hills of KwaZulu-Natal. In Swaziland you will visit the Ngwenya glass factory before having lunch at one of the best restaurants in Swaziland. Continue your journey after lunch and reach Mkuzi by late afternoon. A nice surprise awaits you after dinner!
Breakfast is served at 06h00. Check out and drive to Hluhluwe Game Reserve from where you will go on a half-day safari in an open 4×4 vehicle. Hluhluwe Game Reserve is the oldest reserve in South Africa and has its origin in the preservation of the dwindling Rhino numbers. It was also King Shaka’s private hunting area. Today the park hosts over 4000 black and white rhinos.
You return back at the main gate by lunchtime and enjoy a pleasant picnic with a wide variety of mouth-watering foods.
Depart after lunch for the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (previously known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park). It is South Africa’s third-largest protected area of 3,280 km² with five ecosystems.
Guests will check into their hotel and the rest of the day would be at leisure to relax around the pool or choose from various activities the hotel has to offer. You have a choice of having dinner at the hotel or choose from a variety of restaurants the town of St Lucia has to offer.
An optional excursion for a night safari is available after dinner in the Cape Vidal Nature Reserve (own account).
Check out after breakfast and board a boat ride on the beautiful, calm St Lucia lake. Close-up photo opportunities are plenty as the skipper takes you close to hippos and crocodile. The skipper will also conduct this guided experience, telling you all the interesting facts of the whole wetland with its 5 eco systems.
Your guide will arrange for lunch on board the boat while you enjoy this excursion. Depart after your boat trip and drive to the town of Ballito. Guests will have the opportunity to check in and freshen up at the hotel. There will be ample time to pay a visit to the beautiful beach of Ballito before preparing for dinner formalities.
Up early this morning with no breakfast! You will be transferred at 06h15 to King Shaka airport close to Durban for your forward flight to Port Elizabeth departing at 08:00. Your guide will provide for a coffee and something small to eat at the airport before boarding. You are may buy something to eat onboard the flight.
Your guide will pick up your new vehicle at the airport and do a quick city tour of Port Elizabeth before heading out to the Garden Route’s Tsitsikamma National Park at Storms river mouth. Walk through the rain forest and across the hang bridge that crosses the Storms River. This area with its breath-taking views and incredible biodiversity makes it one of the most beautiful coastlines in the country.
Continue your journey and do a quick stop at Bloukrans Bridge to witness some brave souls undertake the highest bungee jump in the world – 216 meters! You are welcome to participate…if you dare!
Time to drive to Knysna for your overnight stay. According to TripAdvisor’s 2008 Travellers’ Choice, Knysna is one of the Garden Route’s best-known travel destinations and named one of the Top 100 destinations in the world.
Check out after breakfast and head for the reception area of Featherbed Nature Reserve. Hop on board a ferry across the lake to the Featherbed Nature Reserve close to the Knysna Heads. The skipper is a specialist guide and will take you on a 4×4 vehicle with a trailer through the reserve, sharing all the interesting aspects of the area. Enjoy lunch, which is included on the island before returning ashore.
Depart for Oudtshoorn and visit the Cango Wildlife Ranch, home to some of the world’s most endangered species and a haven to visitors. Here, the well-being and conservation of the animals is of paramount importance. To promote their conservation, they promote personal encounters with the animals, allowing you to touch a cheetah while having your picture taken.
Check in at your overnight lodge near Oudtshoorn and prepare for dinner.
Oudtshoorn, the feather capital of the world, is known for its Ostriches and this is where we head for after breakfast. A knowledgeable guide will take you on a very interesting interpretive excursion with the ostriches at the Cango Ostrich Farm.
After our visit to the ostriches, we will also visit the well-known Cango Caves. It is one of the great natural wonders of the world, sculptured by Mother Nature through the ages; fascinating limestone formations with a wide variety of colors.
We do a quick stopover at Kobus se Gat for lunch to enjoy some mouth watering traditional South African food before we begin our journey across the mighty Swartberg Mountain. We visit the picturesque little town of Prince Albert and then return to our lodge via the incredibly beautiful Meiringspoort with its soaring cliffs and folded rocks, constantly changing color as we move through sunlight and shade.
Check out after breakfast and continue our journey to the beautiful town of Hermanus, world renowned for whale watching during the months of July to November. It’s the best place in the world to view whales from shore, and the world’s largest migration of ocean life occurs here. It is one of the two largest migrations of any kind on earth!
We board a Whale Watching boat to see how close the skipper can get to these mammoth animals for some great close-up photos. We enjoy some lunch before we continue our journey to our overnight stay at Franschhoek.
Check out after breakfast and pay a visit the Huguenot Memorial Museum and the Huguenot Monument in honor of the 200 French Huguenot families that made Franschhoek their home in 1688. They brought with them their finest grape vines and wine making skills, making South Africa wines world famous.
We devote some time in the town of Franschhoek, recently being named one of the five loveliest towns in the world before moving on to Stellenbosch, South Africa’s second oldest town.
We check in at Bergkelder Wines for a wine tour where you will learn about the wine making process and of course for sample some of their finest wines.
Spend some time walking down Dorp Street, one of the best examples of old Cape-Dutch houses in South Africa. Most of these houses in Dorp Street are declared National Monuments. Also spend a visit to the oldest shop still in operation in Stellenbosch; “Oom Samie se winkel“, a general dealer dating back to 1904.
Leaving the winelands behind, we head to Cape Town; South Africa’s Mother City.
Today you are free to explore Cape Town on your own pace. Your guide will hand you a day-pass for the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus. This bus visits all the interesting attractions in Cape Town and you will have the option to disembark at any of these attractions and catch the next bus that regularly stop at all these attractions.
Once you are back at the V&A Waterfront, you will also have the opportunity to visit Robben Island. A ferry will take you from the Waterfront to the island, which was home to Nelson Mandela where he was incarcerated for 27 years. Ex-political prisoners will guide you on a tour of the museum and share their first-hand experience of what prison life was on the Island.
Depart after breakfast to Hout Bay, a small fishing harbour where you will take a 45-minute boat ride to Seal Island. Thousands of seals live and play in these waters and is a delight to watch the young once chase one another!
You will continue your journey along spectacular Chapman’s Peak Drive (when open) to the Cape Point where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. Enjoy some dinner at the restaurant at Cape Point before you continue the tour to Boulders Beach to visit a large colony of mainland-based African penguins before heading back to the hotel.
Head back to the hotel for tonight’s parting dinner at Den Anker on the V&A Waterfront.
First on the agenda is to pay a visit to the Castle of Good Hope, the oldest building in South Africa, which was built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a replenishment station. Today the Castle is a military seat and houses the castle’s military museum and Iziko Museums of Cape Town.
Spend some time to learn what was life in the Cape in the early years before your guide takes you to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. The gardens cover some 38 hectares and are a nature lover’s. Kirstenbosch’s aim is to display, promote and conserve the diverse flora of South Africa.
A specialist fauna and flora guide can conduct a tour by prior arrangement. Spend a great deal of time here to explore the gardens before your guide will take you to the V&A Waterfront for some last minute shopping. Your guide will arrange a time with you to take you to Cape Town International for your flight back home. This is sadly where your tour ends.
- Pre-tour documentation with all-inclusive travel information.
- Welcome kit in Africa with animals and birds checklists, postcards and many more.
- All ground transfers in air-conditioned vehicles.
- Accommodation as specified.
- Meals as specified.
- Complimentary bottled water on board while in transit.
- All porterage included at airports, hotels, and camps.
- Activities as specified.
- Conservation and entrance Fees.
- Guaranteed departures.
- Domestic flight from Durban to Port Elizabeth
- On-site shopping and shipping assistance.
- Airport transfers for all travelers, at any time.
- Rental vehicle for Self-drive tours if applicable.
- International flights to and from South Africa – ask us for a quote.
- Cold drinks, wine, beer, & refreshments.
- Tips & gratuities for guides, hotels, porters, and restaurants.
- Telephone calls, laundry, & other incidental personal expenditure.
- Travel & Medical insurance.
- Fuel for self-drive tours if applicable.
- All activities are subject to prevailing weather conditions.
- Malaria prophylaxis is advised for the Kruger Park.
- Prices are subject to price hikes, fuel increases, etc. Prices are fixed upon the official reservation and receipt of a 20% deposit.
- Jewel of Africa Safaris is a registered professional tour operator with the necessary permits and insurance cover to transport International Tourists. All our driver-tour guides are Satour & Theta accredited, medically cleared, hold Professional Driving Permits and are accredited First Aid practitioners.
- This is a privately guided, luxury tour run exclusively for you.
- A self-drive option is available for this tour.
- Can depart any day and can be tailored to suite your needs.
- Can be booked by single travelers – a single supplement will apply.
- There is no minimum age requirement – children of all ages are welcome.
- In case an accommodation is fully booked, we will suggest a similar lodge/hotel.
- You can book your own flights to and from South Africa online or through your travel agent. Please feel free to ask our in-house travel agent for a quote.
- Please confirm availability with us before you book your flights.
- If you fly in to Johannesburg and you arrive later than 09:00 on the day your safari tour starts, we recommend that you book in at a hotel nearby to recuperate and get rid of your jetlag as the drive to the Kruger Park takes about 5 hours. A day tour can be arranged instead. This obviously does not apply if you fly to the Kruger Park.
Is Jewel of Africa Safaris part of a Professional Body?
Jewel of Africa Safaris is been a member of the South African Tourism Services Association (SATSA). SATSA is the tourism industry’s watchdog and guarantees high standards of service, good quality tourism services and product and a trustworthy accreditation with the association itself.
How long has Jewel of Africa Safaris been in business?
Jewel of Africa Safaris is a registered tour operator with the necessary permits and insurance cover to transport International Tourists. We have been conducting quality safaris and tours in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe since 2001.
Is Jewel of Africa Safaris’ guides registered with the authorities?
All our driver & tour guides are Satour & Theta accredited, medically cleared, hold Professional Driving Permits and are accredited First Aid practitioners.
Do you have booking system with a secure payment gateway?
Our on-line booking system allows you to do EFT’s (Electronic Transfer) through a secure payment gateway in your own currency, avoiding high exchange rates and excessively high transfer fees charged by banks. Credit card payments are levied by an extra 6.5% via a very safe third party company.
Our guides will continuously ensure your safety by informing you of a potentially unsafe or dangerous situation may arise. We will never allow ourselves to get caught up in a dangerous or life-threatening situation, let alone putting you in that situation.
The same as you would do back home; keep an eye on your valuables, passports, money and cameras when walking in a crowd. Avoid walking in the cities at night and leave your valuables in your hotel safe. This is where our guides are of great importance to you. They will brief you on potential hazardous scenarios. If you are one of Jewel of Africa’s self-drive clients, you will find all the precautions in our tour documentation.
What do I need to pack for my safari tour?
- Sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher, hat or cap, and sunglasses.
- A quality camera with a lot of memory cards and a pair of binoculars.
- Swimming clothes at the lodges or Kruger Park.
- Cool, long pants and shirts in summer for around the campfire.
- A warm jacket or sweater for wintertime as it becomes cold on evening safaris.
- Comfortable walking shoes and a few god pairs of socks.
- Neutral colored clothing (green, brown, khaki, beige) for bush walks.
- A flashlight.
- Insect repellent, but are freely available here in South Africa.
- Power supplies and adapters for South African. We run on 220V.
- All your medication normally used, including some anti-allergic ointment or pills.
- Some US dollars in cash when are traveling to Botswana, Zambia, or Zimbabwe.
- Formal dressing if traveling on the Blue Train, Rovos Rail or staying in 5 star lodge
Do I need a visa?
All visitors traveling to the Southern African necessitate a valid passport that is valid for six months beyond the intended length of stay. The passport entry obligation for travelers entering South Africa is a minimum of two blank pages in their passport. If visitors are traveling via South Africa to more than one African country, then the visitors must ensure they allow for adequate pages for each country to be visited. They must also have a minimum of two blank visa pages for each re-entry into South Africa.
Currently American passport holders do not require visas for South Africa, Namibia, or Botswana, but do require visas for Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, or Tanzania. Visas may be purchased at the point of entry for a nominal fee, accept for Kenya. Please check with the website of the country that you intend to visit to confirm.
Should I get traveler's insurance?
Insurance should include the cancellation of the trip to Africa, emergency evacuation, medical, repatriation, and cover against loss, damage or theft of personal luggage, money, and goods. Ask your travel agent for travel insurance.
Should I take any medical precautions before going to Africa?
Before you arrive in South Africa, check with your local doctor or health department for the latest health precautions of which malaria is the most important. Medication it is strongly recommended and is taken as a precaution. You are only required to have vaccinations if you are traveling from a region where yellow fever is prevailing, in which case an immunization will be required against the disease.
Are your tours child and family friendly?
Most of our safari tours are fitting for families and children of all ages are accepted.
South Africa has one of the most advanced banking systems in the world. Banks use world-class technology and facilities, and cash is available with major credit cards from thousands of ATMs countrywide. Forex traders are available at airports and shopping malls. Most of the larger hotels also offer money-changing facilities.
Visa and MasterCard credit cards as well as debit cards, are accepted throughout South Africa, and in most key centers in Botswana and Namibia. About 50% of establishments in tourist areas in Zimbabwe and Zambia will accept credit cards. A 3 – 5% levy will apply. Traveler’s checks are accepted in South Africa.
Make sure that you bring along some cash for spending money, tip, drinks, etc. US Dollars, Euros, and Pounds can easily be converted to Rands (ZAR) at the airport. At the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Livingstone, you will be able to use ZAR, US$, Euros, and Pounds at curio markets, while most lodges will accept these currencies. Foreign currency will be a problem at Victoria Falls, so we recommend to bring enough small value notes (20’s, 10’s, 5’s and 1’s).
All of the Southern African countries make use of a 220 – 240V electricity supply via their national networks. It is important to make sure that the equipment you plan to bring along on tour or safari is compatible. European, Australian and New Zealand adaptors are available in South Africa and come in both formats of two or three pins. USA and Canada adaptors are also available and most stores in large malls and shopping centers. The USA and Canada adaptors are not converters and will lower the voltage from 220V to 110V.
In Zambia, the wall sockets will match the UK’s 220V supply, and adaptor plugs that fit that standard may be used. If you plan on purchasing an adaptor plug while in South Africa, do not buy it on the flight over to South Africa, as some airlines sell adaptors that are not locally well suited. Some airlines sell adaptors, which are not locally compatible. Rather buy it here after you have arrived.
Generally speaking, medical facilities in South Africa are very good is considered to be the best on the African continent and our private hospitals are considered world class. The general practitioners, nurses, and medical staff are trained at top medical institutions in the country. Some of the specialists obtained their medical degrees while undergoing training in western countries like the USA and the UK. The standard of healthcare in South Africa, particularly in the urban and coastal areas, are of world standard.
Most people wishing to visit the remote safari areas of Southern Africa to get away from civilization so to speak, is the major reason for going, however all major centers in South Africa will have access to the internet. Cell phone coverage is better than the run-of-the-mill, but unfortunately not available in every corner of the country, particularly when visiting a safari lodge. All hotels we use will offer Internet facilities and a fair number will offer free WiFi, but for most hotels it is expected to pay for the service. International airports are the exception and both Johannesburg and Cape Town will have WiFi hotspots.
It is advisable to purchase a local SIM card when you arrive in South Africa and to do that, you will need to present your passport. This enforced by law to prevent terrorists (amongst many others) from attaining untraceable cell phone numbers. International roaming service is not automatically enabled on cell phones. You will need to contact your service provider to activate the international roaming feature.
Tipping is a general practice in South Africa. A large number people in the tourism industry that serve you, is pretty much dependent you their tips as many of them do not get a fixed salary, like waiter for example. Others do get a salary, but are encouraged to deliver a better service to increase their income from tipping.
Here is some information on tipping in South Africa.
- In restaurants and bars, 10% to 15% is the accepted tipping standard.
- Petrol attendants at gas stations – from R2 up.
- Porters at airports – between R5 and R10 per luggage.
- Hotel porters – between R10 to R20 per porter service.
- Taxi drivers – between $2 and $10, depending on the distance.
- Rangers and trackers – between $10 and $20 or more per day for both.
- Site guides (e.g. a guide at the ostrich farm) – $10 per person.
- Guides – anything between $20 and $100 per day, but $100 is the norm.
Visa & Passports?
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It is important to organize your own visas through your nearest embassy or consulate. We cannot be held liable if you arrive without the necessary visas immigration officials will be obliged to refuse you entry in to South Africa.
Requirements for entering South Africa?
- A valid passport that will be endorsed for the length of your anticipated stay.
- Your passport should have at least TWO blank pages in it.
- A valid visa, if required – see the list above.
- A return or onward ticket.
- Adequate funds.
- Yellow fever certificates – if your journey passes through yellow fever prone areas.
Depending on your nationality (see the list above), you may or may not need a visa to visit South Africa. Please the Department of Home Affairs’ website for the list of countries that are exempted – http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/immigration-services/exempt-countries
Where to make enquiries about visas?
Visit the South African Home Affairs website for more detail – http://www.dha.gov.za. You could also visit the website of the “South African offices abroad” to apply for a visa in your own country – http://www.dirco.gov.za/foreign/sa_abroad/index.htm
If traveling to Zimbabwe or Zambia, you are expected to secure your entry visa at the port of entry in US Dollar only. No other currency is accepted; credit or debit cards, checks, or travelers checks will not be accepted for purchasing your visas. The current going rate for visas to these two countries are between $50 and $100 per person. It is recommend having at least an adequate supply of small value notes to the amount of between $200 and $300 for personal expenses. Old bank notes, notes with ink marks, notes with writing marks on them, or notes that have been overly folded will not be accepted.
The Department of Home Affairs’ website (www.dha.gov.za) has complete details on visa requirements and exceptions and the relevant forms that you can download. If you are subject to visa requirements, you should apply for your visa at least a month before you plan to arrive here. Do not arrive in South Africa without it; wait for it to be issued before you travel. No visas are issued at South African ports of entry.
South (& Southern) Africa is truly blessed with amazing weather. The official months for:
- Summer: December, January, and February.
- Autumn: March, April, and May.
- Winter: June, July, and August.
- Spring: September, October, and November.
This in theory however as we experience only summer and winter over here. Our weather is very predictable. Summer arrives in the first week of September; normally the 5th, and temperatures range from 25 to 35 degrees Celsius.
Winter arrives in the first week of June. We actually only have 2 months of winter – June & July and by mid August things start to warm up again. Winter temperatures range from zero (normally 5 degrees) at night to 25 degrees Celsius during the day. Winter daytime temperatures in the Kruger can reach 28 to 30 degrees.
The rainy season in the old Transvaal starts on 10 October to the date. The old folks believed that if it rains before President Paul Kruger’s birthday (10 October), it is going to be a very good rainy season. If it rains before his birthday, they believed it would be a bad rainy season. Transvaal is now divided into the Gauteng-, Northwest-, Limpopo-, and Mpumalanga Provinces.
For detailed information about the weather, please visit the South African Weather Service’s website to find out more – www.weathersa.co.za
Nothing gets you prepared for a safari like a good book. From field guides to fictional masterpieces, there are a slew of reading options to help crystallize your vision of Africa: the sights, the sounds, the unbridled adventure to come.
Follow this link to a website called Longitude for a list of recommended books that we believe will enhance your experience so much more!