Day 1 - Johannesburg / Greater Kruger National Park
Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa. Your Kruger Short Break starts at approximately 5.30am this morning. You will be picked up from the Holiday Inn Rosebank, or from your alternate hotel (if advised prior to departure) from 5:30am onwards. Your exact time of pick-up will be communicated to your hotel reception in the afternoon prior to day 1 of your itinerary. Please verify this time with reception the evening prior to your start day.
We depart Johannesburg, the 'City of Gold' and head off on an adventure of a lifetime. A truly unique African experience unfolds as we enter the Greater Kruger National Park ecosystem arriving at our Lodge in time for lunch (570 km, approx 8-9 hours travel time including stops along the way).
Located in the greater Kruger, our accommodation is wonderfully intimate, with just 14 twin-share rooms. Rooms are constructed from local materials and are tastefully decorated and comfortably appointed. The lodge also offers a cosy bar, perfect for chatting with the other guests over a drink or two. There is also a crystal-clear swimming pool for a refreshing post-safari swim. However we think the quality which makes our lodge stand out from the rest is the friendliness and helpfulness of our team. They are committed to making your stay memorable!
Please note if our lodge is full you will be accommodated in a similar lodge in the same area and the accommodation may be in a tented lodge.
After some time to settle in, head off on a late afternoon/evening Big Five game drive in open 4x4 vehicles in a private game reserve. Sundowner drinks are enjoyed at one of the waterholes before continuing our game drive into the night.
After an exciting evening, return to the lodge to enjoy a traditional South African meal around a log fire.
Day 2 - Greater Kruger National Park
One of the largest game reserves in Southern Africa, Kruger National Park is home to over 500 bird species, 100 species of reptile and 150 mammal species, including the Big Five and the endangered African wild dog.
An early rise, as we make our way to the Kruger.
Our wildlife experience begins as soon as we enter the park, heading into prime game viewing areas where we hope to catch a glimpse of some of the amazing animals found inside the park, including the Big Five.
Enjoy breakfast at one of the picnic spots before continuing through the park. Our entire day will be spent game viewing, bird watching and stopping off at the various waterholes en route.
We depart the park in the late afternoon and return to the lodge for an evening of relaxation.
Day 3 - Greater Kruger National Park
This morning we depart the lodge and make our way up the Drakensberg Escarpment. Our journey takes us along the Panoramic Route, some of the most stunning scenery South Africa has to offer. The sights en route include: God's Window, Bourke's Luck Potholes and the magnificent Blyde River Canyon. After a full day of exploring we return to the lodge and relax around the fire listening to the night sounds of Africa.
Day 4 - Greater Kruger National Park
Spend the day at the lodge at your leisure, or take part in the various optional activities on offer including another full day game drive in Kruger National Park.
Day 5 - Johannesburg
Rise early and head out on a morning bush walk. Guided by a qualified nature guide, we learn about nature's finer details like bird, tree and spoor identification.
Transfer back to Johannesburg (600 km, approx 9-10 hrs). There's plenty of time to stop and explore along the way. Take in amazing views at the viewpoint over the awesome Blyde River Canyon and view the Three Rondavels.
On arrival in Jo'burg you will be dropped at the Holiday Inn Sandton where you will spend the night. The hotel has a restaurant and bar but is also just a few blocks from the Nelson Mandela Square which has a range of restaurants also.
Day 6 - Overnight Train
You will need to check-out of the hotel after breakfast today and be ready for your transfer to the train station.
Your train to Cape Town departs at 12:30pm and passengers are requested to board at least 30 minutes before the departure time shown on the ticket. Shosholoza Meyl cannot guarantee that trains will arrive or depart on time. Shosholoza Meyl trains will however not depart before the times indicated on timetables.
Your journey to Cape Town aboard the Shosholoza Meyl train will take 26hrs and you will be travelling in a tourist class sleeper cabin.
• Tourist Class sleeper cars have 2-berth coupés and 4-berth compartments that convert to seating for daytime use.
• The leatherette benches convert to bunk beds at night. A washbasin with hot and cold water is stowed under the table.
• Bedding is not provided, but can be purchased on the train at approximately R70.00 per person from the bedding attendant.
• Each sleeper-coach has a hot shower at the end of the corridor, with lockable shower cubicle and changing area.
• Tourist Class trains are not air-conditioned. The windows open to allow for cool air circulation.
• Solo travellers (on Tourist Class) will be booked into a 4-berth compartment, sharing with other passengers of the same gender. Two passengers travelling together (related or specified) will be booked into a 2-berth coupé. Three and four travellers travelling together will be booked into a 4- berth compartment.
• The Tourist Class restaurant car serves snacks, drinks and affordable meals. Selective convenient foods are available from the trolley service during the day and you may take your own food and beverages onto the train.
The luggage allowance is 25kg p/adult fare paid. Extra luggage to be checked in at the baggage counter for an additional 5ZAR p/kg.
Please note that Tourist Class trains can only be booked three months (90 days) in advance when the train schedule is released. If we cannot confirm the train we will book flights instead.
The current schedule is valid for Nov 2015 - Jan 2016 and has the train departing every Tue, Wed, Fri and Sun from Johannesburg station no earlier than 12:30pm.
The arrival time of the train in Cape Town is variable as it is a long journey and there are many unforeseen situations that may cause delays. Occasionally due to circumstances you may be transferred to buses to complete the journey in to Cape Town Station.
Day 7 - Cape Town
Your train should arrive in Cape Town at around 3:30pm today. However please be aware that the arrival time of the train in Cape Town is variable as it is a long journey and there are many unforeseen situations that may cause delays. Occasionally due to circumstances you may be transferred to buses to complete the journey in to Cape Town Station.
On arrival in Cape Town, you’ll be met by our local operator who’ll transfer you to your hotel.
With its stunning coastline, dominating mountain and modern cityscape, Cape Town is one of Africa's most appealing cities. With vineyards on its doorstep, adventure activities around every other corner and plenty of restaurants and cafes to while away the time, Cape Town is a very easy city to spend some extra time in.
Day 8 - Cape Town - Walking Tour & Cape Point Peninsula
Today retrace 350 years of Cape Town’s dramatic history on a three-hour walking tour. The route will take in historical sights such as the Castle of Good Hope, Grand Parade, and significant historic slavery sites such as the Slave Lodge and Slave Tree. At the Parliament Building and District Six Museum, learn about apartheid and gain valuable insight into the effects of racism and discrimination on the lives of ordinary South Africans. Follow the Footsteps to Freedom tour guides in Government Avenue and hear about Cape Town’s three Nobel Peace Prize-winners: Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem De Klerk. Then visit the building where the apartheid laws were passed, and where they were later repealed after De Klerk’s dramatic speech at the opening of Parliament in February 1990. After the tour, perhaps soak up the modern-day energy of the city in Greenmarket Square or St George's Mall.
In the afternoon, travel down the spectacular coast to rugged Cape Peninsula. Some of the highlights including Clifton Beach, Camps Bay, Cape Point Nature Reserve, the Cape of Good Hope and the Boulders Beach Penguins. Don't forget to bring a camera!
Day 9 - Cape Town - Winelands
Spend a full day travelling the beautiful Cape Winelands, visiting both colonial and more recent estates for a taste of the region’s best wines. The Winelands region features almost 100 different estates, of which the group will visit three today.
Start off with a cellar tour and a wine tasting at Hidden Valley Estate in the Stellenbosch area. There is also the option of adding a chocolate and wine pairing experience for an additional fee. After learning more about the region’s wine, visit the college town of Stellenbosch. Take an hour to wander the boulevards and town center, then head to the hills and visit Franschhoek. The view of the valley from here, which is lined with manicured rows of vineyards, is spectacular. Soak up the scenery and enjoy a fine wine from La Cabriere Estate. While here, perhaps take the opportunity to lunch at the estate’s gourmet restaurant, or choose to dine at one of the village’s many cafés instead.
In the afternoon, enjoy a relaxing drive to Paarl, driving past the Groot Drakenstein Prison, where Nelson Mandela was released in February 1990. Arrive at Fairview Estate for more wine and cheese tastings before returning Cape Town.
Day 10 - Cape Town
Today you have free time to discover everything that Cape Town has to offer. You can admire the view from the top of Table Mountain, head off to Robben Island - where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, take in the atmosphere of the V & A Waterfront or experience the Hop-on-hop-off sightseeing tour around Cape Town.
The choice is yours!
Day 11 - Cape Town
Our adventure comes to an end today.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. You’ll be collected from your hotel by our local operator and transferred to Cape Town Airport for your onward flight. Additional accommodation can be booked if you’d like to extend your time in Cape Town.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
Flights, Travel Insurance, Visa, Vaccinations or Personal Spending Money