GOOD NEWS! The planned increase to the 2021 Land Package price of $360 has been postponed a year. As such, the 2020 price of $4,890 will remains in place for all 2021 bookings.
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 20, 2021.
EVEN MORE GOOD NEWS! This March 6 departure overlaps with our March Break family safari in Kruger Park. The two groups will operate separately, but this provides a unique opportunity for those on the 16 day Cape Town & Kruger tour to spend time with family or friends on the 10 day March Break Kruger Safari tour. (For example, grandparents could take this tour, and have their kids and grandkids join them for the second week - great for an extended family vacation!)
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 child, but for many Canadians, an African safari has always seemed too far, too expensive, too dangerous, or just too much to seriously contemplate.
Well, TravelMaven can make this dream a reality if you join us for two weeks in South Africa.
The first week will be in South Africa's Western Cape region based in Cape Town, a historic port city and perennial candidate for 'most beautiful city in the world'. While in Cape Town, we will stay within the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a spectacular development that links an active harbour with dozens of cafes. restaurants, galleries and shops. In this area, visitors from around the world walk the streets and paths safely, enjoying the works of art, soaking up the vibe and breathing the salt air.
While in Cape Town, nobody should miss Robben Island. This prison, where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years, has become the #1 attraction in South Africa. To access other sights and attractions, our hotel is conveniently located across the street from the main 'Hop On Hop Off' bus station, making exploring the city and region easy and convenient for everyone.
While Cape Town is amazing, so is what lies beyond it in the rest of the spectacular Western Cape. We will explore the Cape of Good Hope and visit the Boulder Penguin Colony. We will spend a morning at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, and ascend Tabletop Mountain by cable car or hiking (for the more adventurous) to look out over the city and Atlantic Ocean.
After our week on the Western Cape, we will take a 2 hour flight east to "the Kruger". Our home-away-from-home there will be the lovely Rio Vista Lodge, overlooking the Crocodile River. While at the Rio Vista, CD Tours will show us the best of this region. First and foremost, we will enjoy 2 or 3 safaris into Kruger National Park. The first will be all-day, departing at 5 am. The second will be at sunset, starting in the daylight and ending after dark. The third (1 of 2 options on the last day) will depart early and return about lunchtime.
In addition to our safaris, there are also two full-day tours available. The first is along the Panorama Route to see the awesome Blyde River Canyon. The second (1 of 2 options on the final day) will be to nearby eSwatini (a.k.a. Swaziland), an independent country located between South Africa and Mozambique, where we will enjoy the rugged mountains and cultural experiences. Finally, we will visit Jane Goodall's Chimp Eden, a rehabilitation and research centre for abused primates.
As already mentioned, there are two options on the final day in Kruger. The first is to make a day trip to eSwatini. The second is to take a half day safari into Kruger Park before enjoying a free afternoon around the Rio Vista pool. In either case, the evening will feature our Farewell Dinner.
In terms of what meals are included in the Land Package price, the tour really has two parts. During the first week, breakfasts are included but guests are responsible for most lunches and dinners. This is because we usually have free time in the late afternoon and evening, and the Waterfront offers multiple wonderful and surprisingly affordable dining options. However, during our second week at Rio Vista Lodge, all dinners are provided, as the group will be together every evening and it is not possible to walk to other restaurants.
Fortunately, the cost of living in South Africa is lower than Canada. As a result, meals and drinks are less expensive. Lunch can be found for less than $10, dinner for less than $20 and a beer or glass of wine is usually less than $5. As a result, I think guests should budget $300 for meals not included. (Obviously, this could be more if guests choose expensive restaurants.)
I first visited South Africa in 2015 with my family during our six month around-the-world tour. Believe it or not, when asked afterwards which country was our favourite, all four of us chose South Africa (and there was plenty of stiff competition)! Ask around, - everyone who goes to South Africa loves it!
In terms of researching this tour, I went to South Africa in February 2019, and returned twice with groups in early 2020. As a result, I am confident that whomever goes on this tour will have an unforgettable 'bucket list' experience. Why don't you join us?
AIRFARE: There are two tickets required for this tour: one from Toronto into Cape Town & returning from Johannesburg; and a second from Cape Town to Kruger Park. Due to COVID-19, pricing for flights in early 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, the first ticket was $900-1300 and the second was $250-350 in 2019 & 2020.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $850
TYPE: Bucket List
HOTEL: 4 star & 3 star
LENGTH: Two weeks
GROUP: max 12 guests
Portswood Waterfront Hotel, Cape Town
Rio Vista Lodge, Malelane
Visit to Robben Island prison
Cape Town Hop on Hop Off Pass
Cape Point & Penguins full-day tour
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens visit
Stellenbosch winery tour
Cycling tour in wine region (optional)
Kruger safaris (2 or 3)
Eswatini day tour
Panorama Route day tour
Jane Goodall's Chimp Eden tour
7 nights at Portswood Hotel, 6 nights at Rio Vista Lodge, breakfast daily, 4 lunches, 8 dinners, 2 Welcome Receptions, Robben Island tour, Unlimited 5 day Hop On Hop Off bus pass; Cape Point & Penguins full-day tour; Tabletop Mountain cable car or hike; 10 hr Kruger safari, 4 hr Kruger sunset safari, Swaziland tour; Panorama tour; Jane Goodall Chimp Eden tour; TravelMaven Tour Concierge, all ground transportation and all taxes.
These tours are guaranteed to depart regardless of group size. This Land Package price is quoted in Canadian dollars, based on double occupancy, and is only guaranteed when a $250 deposit is received.
Day 0 Arrival in Toronto
Guests from outside Toronto may wish to take advantage of the special rate TravelMaven has arranged at the Crowne Plaza Hotel that includes 16 days parking.
Day 1 Depart Toronto
Our recommended flight will depart Pearson Airport on Saturday at 10:00.
Day 2 Arrive in South Africa (D)
After a brief stopover in Addis Ababa, we will arrive in Cape Town Sunday about 13:45. After an easy transfer to our hotel, we will walk to Den Anker, a popular restaurant in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront for our Welcome Dinner. (For those arriving on different flights, Barry will help to arrange an airport transfer, and the tour will officially begin with the Welcome Dinner.)
Day 3 Robben Island (B)
A short walk from our hotel is the ferry that takes us to Robben Island, site of Nelson Mandela's imprisonment for 18 years. At the end of the organized tour, guests will have the option of returning to the Waterfront, or staying longer to explore the island. For those interested, there is a Sunset Tour to Signal Hill, where we can watch the sun plunge into the Atlantic Ocean.
Day 4 Table Mountain (B)
On this day we will ascend Cape Town's most famous icon, Table Mountain. We will catch the cable car to the top and enjoy a leisurely stroll catching the amazing views of Cape Town. Afterwards, guest will have two options: take the cable car back down and return to the Waterfront, or join a group hike (moderate difficulty for 3-4 hrs) that will bring us off the back of Table Mountain.
Day 5 Cape of Good Hope (B,D)
On this day we will visit the Cape of Good Hope, including a visit to the Western Cape's penguin colony. Once again, guests will have two options. For non-hikers, there is a day-trip offered by the Hop-on Hop-off bus company,. For those wanting a more active day, a hike around the Cape Point Nature Reserve will be offered. In the evening, everyone is free to further explore the Waterfront.
Day 6 Botanical Garden, Groet Constantia Winery (B)
In the morning we will visit the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Afterwards, we will continue to the Groet Constantia winery for lunch, a tour and wine tasting. Alternately, guests may prefer to spend the afternoon in Camp's Bay, or return to the Waterfront for the harbour or canal tour. In the evening, those interested may join Barry for a trip downtown to experience the (seedy but fun) nightlife found on Long Street.
Day 7 Free Day (B)
There are multiple options for guests on this day. In fact, picking which one may be the biggest challenge! In 2020, many guests booked a full day winery tour to Stellenbosch, some took a Township Tour and one person visited one of Cape Town's amazing museums. In the evening, we will enjoy the Portswood Hotel’s Wednesday Cape Malay Curry Buffet.
Day 8 Free Day (B)
Our final day will be an opportunity for guests to do whatever they haven't gotten to yet. In 2020, many of us went downtown to take the historic Cape Town walking tour, then enjoyed a last afternoon in the Waterfront. One even took a helicopter tour, and saw a whale! For dinner, some went to a lovely Italian restaurant, others enjoyed one last meal in the Waterfront Food Building, and one couple took a sunset cruise on a big catamaran.
The wineries of Stellenbosch & Paarl.
Day 9 Travel Day (B,D)
After a week In Cape Town, we will take the 2+ hour flight to Nelspruit, then transfer to the Rio Vista Lodge on the Crocodile River overlooking Kruger National Park. After settling in, guests will enjoy a Welcome Reception and presentation highlighting the history of Kruger National Park.
Day 10 Kruger Safari (B,D)
For many, this will be the most exciting day of the tour. We will leave our hotel at 5 am in open safari vehicles to catch the sunrise in Kruger National Park. This is a full-day safari includes a lunch stop at Skukuza Camp, and returns to the hotel about 3 pm. Dinner will be served in The Deck restaurant.
Day 11 Chimp Eden & Suwala Caves (B, D)
In the morning, we will visit Jane Goodall's Chimp Eden. This mountain-side facility rehabilitates and provides a refuge for abused chimpanzees. After a lunch stop in Nelspruit, we will visit the Sudwala Caves. Dinner is back at the Rio Visa Lodge.
Day 12 Kruger Sunset Safari (B, D)
Guests will have most of the day to relax around the pool, read a book, or enjoy a massage or treatment in the on-site Eagle View Spa. In th late afternoon, we will head back to Kruger Park for a sunset safari with National Park staff. Dinner will be in town at a local sports bar & restaurant, the Duck & Dive
Day 13 Panorama Route & Blyde Canyon (B, L, D)
A private coach will take us north to experience the magnificent Panorama Route. This spectacular drive overlooks the Blyde River Canyon, sometimes called Africa's Grand Canyon. There will be several stops for photographs, and lunch will be provided.
Day 14 eSwatini Day Tour or Kruger Safari (B, L, D)
On our last day, guests will have two options. They can take a private day-long tour into nearby eSwatini (formerly Swaziland), an independent nation located between South Africa and Mozambique. Or, they can take a half day safari into Kruger National Park, and hang around the pool in the afternoon. Either way, dinner will be a South African braai (bbq) back at Rio Vista Lodge.
Day 15 Transfer to Johannesburg (B)
We will depart early by private shuttle to Johannesburg Airport to catch our flight home at 14:10. (Barry will arrange airport transfers for those with different travel plans.)
Day 16 Arrival in Toronto
After a fortnight plus in Africa, we will arrive home in Toronto at 07:45.
Open safari vehicle in Kruger National Park