GOOD NEWS! The scheduled price increase for 2021 tours has been postponed a year. As such, the 2020 introductory price of $2,480 is still available - even though the 2021 program includes an extra night in Johannesburg!
MORE GOOD NEWS! In response to COVID-19, TravelMaven has implemented more flexible payment policies until further notice. First, all $250 deposits are now fully refundable upon request. Second, final payment is not due until 45 days prior to departure. Taken together, this means travellers will not incur any financial risk and can cancel with a 100% refund until January 26, 2021.
EVEN MORE GOOD NEWS! We have secured special discounts from Rio Vista Lodge for family suites and from CD Tours for children’s transportation and safaris. As a result, each child under 16 years old staying in a suite with two adults will receive a $300 discount.
FLIGHT OPTIONS: The recommended flight plan with KLM departs Toronto Friday evening, with an alternative with Ethiopian Airlines Friday morning.
HOTEL UPGRADE: For those interested, the first night at the 3 star City Lodge Hotel can be upgraded to the 5 star Intercontinental Hotel next door for $110 per person.
Who hasn't dreamt of riding across the African savannah in an open vehicle, checking out the elephants, rhinos, hippos, giraffes, zebras, and a few big cats? I think everyone had this dream as a kid, but for many Canadians, an African safari has always seemed too far, too expensive, too dangerous, or just too much to seriously contemplate.
Well, here's some good news: TravelMaven wants to make this dream a reality for you and your family!
This tour is a TravelMaven March Break Special, meaning it was put together specifically for teachers, education workers and families who get a March Break, but cannot leave early or return late. And, in a travel world set up mostly for double occupancy, this tour has been structured for couples, solo travellers and larger families too.
Unlike all other TravelMaven tours, our March Break Special TravelMaven welcome families. If you want to take your kids, let us know, and we can figure out accommodation that works for you. There are multiple room options (including family rooms for 4 persons), and there's sure to be one available for every requirement.
Some may say "South Africa is too far to go for one week". While we agree that more time is almost always better than less time, (e.g. our two week CAPE TOWN & KRUGER SAFARI tour), one week is still plenty of time to see a single destination. In fact, travelling from Toronto to Kruger will take about the same time as driving from Ontario to Florida - a trip Ontario families have been making for decades. But in this case, at then end of your 24 hour journey, you'll get a real African safari rather than a contrived experience at Disney!
Our home-away-from-home in the Kruger will be the Rio Vista Lodge, overlooking the Crocodile River. From here, we will enjoy five day trips, including three safaris into Kruger National Park. The first safari will be all-day (departing at 5 am!), the second will be an evening safari that starts in the daylight and ends after dark, and the third will be a chance to see whatever we've missed the first two times.
In addition to our safaris, we will also do a few more awesome things. For example, we will make a full day tour to the Panorama Route to see the Blyde River Canyon, considered by some to be Africa's Grand Canyon. We will also visit Jane Goodall's Chimp Eden, the Sudwala Caves, and Kwa Madwala Elephant Park.
It's important to note this is an "almost all-inclusive" package - even beer and wine is provided with dinner. Guests only pay for some lunches and souvenirs. Prices in South Africa are very reasonable (e.g. beer $3), so this could easily total as little as $200 for the week.
I am confident this will be the trip of a lifetime for whomever joins us. If you've read this far, you must have an African safari on your bucket list. Here's your chance to scratch it off!
P.S. This photo of an elephant herd was taken from the Rio Vista Lodge deck on March 17, 2020.
AIRFARE: Due to COVID-19, pricing for flights in 2021 is still in flux. Normally, Barry books early to get the best price. However, this year he will wait until late fall to buy tickets. For comparative purposes, tickets from Canada to South Africa were $900-1300 in 2019 & 2020.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $450 pp
CHILDREN'S DISCOUNT: $300 pp
INTERCONTINENTAL UPGRADE: $150 pp
TYPE: March Break Special
HOTEL: 3 star (2)
LENGTH: One week
GROUP: max 30 guests
City Lodge Hotel, Johannesburg Airport
Rio Vista Lodge, Malelane (Kruger)
Kruger full-day (10 hr) safari
Kruger half-day (6 hr) safari or Swaziland tour
Kruger sunset (4 hr) safari
Panorama Route full-day tour
Jane Goodall's Chimp Eden visit
Sudwala Caves tour
1 night City Lodge Hotel, 6 nights Rio Vista Lodge, including breakfast and dinner; 1 lunch; Welcome Reception; 10 hr Kruger safari, 4 hr Kruger sunset safari, 6 hr Kruger safari; Panorama Route day tour; Jane Goodall Chimp Eden, Sudwala Caves; Kwa Madwala Elephant Park; Tour Concierge, all ground transportation; all taxes.
This tour is guaranteed to depart regardless of group size. This Land Package price is quoted in Canadian dollars, based on single or double occupancy, and is only guaranteed when a $250 deposit is received.
Day 1 (Friday) Depart Toronto
The recommended flight plan is with KLM through Amsterdam departs Toronto at 18:00.
Day 2 (Saturday) Travel Day; short stopover in Amsterdam
The group arrives in Amsterdam early Saturday morning, and shortly thereafter, catches a flight to Johannesburg, arriving in the late evening. The group will overnight at the City Lodge Hotel at OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg. This is a lovely hotel directly connected to the main terminal (like the Sheraton Hotel in Pearson Airport's Terminal 3).
Day 3 (Sunday) Transfer to Rio Vista Lodge (B,D)
After breakfast and maybe a quick swim, we will be picked up at 10:00 by a private airport shuttle. During our 385 km drive to Rio Vista Lodge, we will stop for lunch. Prior to arriving at Rio Vista Logde, there will be a stop at a supermarket and liquor store.
Day 4 (Monday) Full-day Kruger Safari (B,D)
Before sunrise, we will board our safari vehicles in groups of six and cross over the Crocodile River to experience our first African safari. During the morning we'll stop at a small park camp for coffee and bathrooms, and we'll have lunch at Skukuza Camp, one of Kruger National Park's major outposts.
Day 5 (Tuesday) Chimp Eden; i'langa Mall; Sudwala Caves (B,D)
In the morning, we will head to Jane Goodall's Chimp Eden. This mountain-side facility rehabilitates and provides a refuge for abused chimpanzees. Afterwards, we will stop at the i'langa Mall for lunch and some shopping.. In the afternoon, the group will visit the Sudwala Caves.
(B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner)
Day 6 (Wednesday) Kwa Madwala Elephant Park; Kruger Sunset Safari (B,D)
In the morning, the group will visit Kwa Madwala Elephant Park. After returning to the Rio Vista for lunch, we will head back to Kruger National Park at 16:00 for a sunset safari with National Park staff.
Day 7 (Thursday) Panorama Route & Blyde Canyon (B,L,D)
On this day we will head north to drive the spectacular Panorama Route, making stops at God's Window, Potholes waterfalls & the Gorge in Grasskop.
Day 8 (Friday) Half-day Kruger Safari (B, D)
On our last full day, guests will enjoy a half day safari into Kruger Park, and a free afternoon. In the evening, we will cap our tour with a Farewell Dinner.
Day 9 (Saturday) Transfer to Johannesburg (B)
After breakfast and a leisurely morning, we will depart Rio Vista and head towards Johannesburg to catch our late evening flight.
Day 10 (Sunday) Arrival in Toronto
After a brief stop in Amsterdam, we will arrive in Toronto in the late afternoon.