Wander Across S. Africa (Aug 2024)

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Aug 28 — Sep 09, 2024
13 days
12/12 spots booked
BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE: To reserve your spot on a tour, a $500 deposit will be required. However, you can book with complete peace of mind as this deposit will be refundable - minus a 3% transaction fee - for 30 days. [Deposits are non-refundable within 90 days of the tour start date, even if 30 days have not yet passed since the payment date.]
Join Wandering Earl Tours in beautiful South Africa and dive straight into vibrant cities, stunning coastlines, remarkable wildlife reserves and SO MUCH MORE!
Explore Cape Town's natural and cultural landmarks, including Table Mountain and Boulders Beach
Taste exceptional wines in the beautiful Franschhoek wine region
Engage with and learn about local cultures throughout the country
Embark on unforgettable wildlife safaris in the KwaZulu Natal Game Reserve
Enjoy the diverse range of delicious and authentic South African cuisine
Travel along the Garden Route, home to splendid parks, animal sanctuaries and small coastal communities

This trip around South Africa is quite an adventure!  You’ll spend time in a variety of destinations, learning about this country and its cultures through our style of unique activities and endless local interaction.

We’ll start off in the artistic and cultural neighborhoods of Cape Town before visiting the historic and picturesque wine regions and impressive natural wonders of the southwest coast. As the trip continues, you’ll soon find yourself among the lush landscapes of national parks and a highly-regarded primate reserve. There will also be a sunset catamaran trip off the stunning Western Cape, mountains and beaches, diverse local communities, the charming village of Plettenberg Bay, laid-back St. Lucia (where hippos roam the streets at night!) and the wild expanses of the KwaZulu Natal Game Reserve, for the ultimate in wildlife safaris!

In addition to these adventures, there will be significant time to immerse ourselves in local culture and fully experience the warmth and hospitality of South Africans. With our collection of local friends, you can expect home-cooked meals, visits to local homes and, to put it simply, endless good times with good people.

If you’re ready for a unique South Africa experience, join us on this memorable trip!

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Pay a deposit of $500 per person
  • 1
    Aug 28Cape Town (arrival day)
    Cape Town (arrival day)
    Arrival day
    Included: Dinner
    Upon arrival at the Cape Town Airport you’ll be picked up and transferred to our hotel in the city center. After getting settled and having a good rest, we’ll start off with an evening orientation and group dinner at one of the city’s great restaurants where we'll enjoy our first South African meal together.
  • 2
    Aug 29Cape Town
    Cape Town
    Highlights: Full-day tour of Cape Town and surroundings
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    After breakfast, we'll set out to discover Cape Town's renowned sites, beginning with a drive along the Atlantic Sea Board to admire the stunning beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay. Our excursion includes a stop at Maiden's Cove for the breathtaking views of the Twelve Apostles Mountain range, Camps Bay Beach, and Lion's Head. Continuing along Chapman’s Peak Drive, known as one of the globe's most picturesque routes, we'll head to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Cape Point, where we'll use the funicular to reach the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula, soaking in the spectacular scenery. Here we'll visit Boulders Beach, scattered with granite boulders and home to a large breeding colony of African penguins that we will observe. After exploring the area and enjoying lunch in town, our journey takes us past the charming scenes of Kalk Bay and Muizenberg, notable for their colorful beach huts. As we come around the gorgeous Chapman's Peak, we'll re-enter Cape Town and head back to our hotel for a rest. For those with extra energy, we'll have some optional evening activities in the city.
  • 3
    Aug 30Cape Town
    Cape Town
    Highlights: Tour of the Bo Kaap Quarter, lunch at a local's home, V&A Waterfront, free afternoon
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Heading across the city, we'll set off on a unique tour of the Bo Kaap quarter of Cape Town. Our local guide will walk us through the story of this neighborhood as we meander along the vibrantly painted streets that reveal deep and important historical roots. During our visit, we'll also interact with many people that live in this area. We've also been invited for a home-cooked meal at the home of a friend, where you'll experience the true essence of South African hospitality. From Bo Kaap, we'll travel to the V&A Waterfront, a former harbor that's become a cultural hotspot of Cape Town. This area has a rich history dating back to 1860, and it's since evolved into a top-notch destination. We'll have some free time to relax, with an optional boat ride out to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was kept prisoner for 18 years. In the evening, there will be an optional dinner in the city center. Then we'll settle in for a good night's sleep before venturing out into the countryside the following day.
  • 4
    Aug 31Cape Town » Franschhoek
    Cape Town » Franschhoek
    Highlights: Table Mountain, wine tasting and Franschhoek
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    It's time to hit the countryside as we drive into the stunning Cape Winelands, a region celebrated globally for its top-quality wines and picturesque landscapes. Our first stop will be a tour of Table Mountain, which we'll reach via funicular. Once on top of this awe-inspiring natural landmark, we'll walk along the paths in order to soak up the impressive views out over the city and coast. The mountain is a botanical wonderland, hosting about 2,200 plant species and a range of fauna, including caracals, rock hyraxes, and chacma baboons. Afterwards we'll head straight to to Franschhoek, the 'French Corner,' where a wine tasting session and picnic lunch awaits. We'll also pay a visit to the mesmerizing Babylonstoren Garden, where we'll have the chance to wander around its stunningly maintained grounds. Following the garden exploration, we'll have plenty of free time in Franschhoek to explore its unique art galleries, charming boutiques, and historical sites before heading to our hotel for the night.
  • 5
    Sep 1Franschhoek » Knysna
    Franschhoek » Knysna
    Highlights: Drive to Knysna
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Today we'll head to Knysna, traveling along the wondrous Garden Route. Encased by the Tsitsikamma and Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean, this 200-kilometer stretch from Mossel Bay to Storms River Mouth is a sight to behold. During our 5-hour journey we'll make plenty of stops to enjoy the nature around us, as well as a lunch break at a local hangout. Upon arrival in the coastal town of Knysna, we'll have the late afternoon at leisure, with optional activities such as surfing, swimming or exploring town.
  • 6
    Sep 2Knysna
    Knysna
    Highlights: Tsitsikamma National Park and Monkeyland
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Get ready for the scenic Garden Route as we drive to Tsitsikamma National Park, where we'll immerse ourselves in the lush greenery with a walking tour through the park. Afterwards we'll head to the Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary, the world’s first free-roaming multi-species primate sanctuary. Here you can view the 700+ resident primates in their forest home, with great views from the 128-meter suspended canopy walk. After enjoying lunch at a nearby local restaurant, we'll journey back to Knysna, where you'll have the chance to keep exploring the charming town at your own leisure.
  • 7
    Sep 3Knysna
    Knysna
    Highlights: Robberg Nature Reserve, sunset catamaran cruise
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Next up is the Robberg Nature Reserve. Set near charming Plettenberg Bay, this reserve is more than just a nature retreat. As a national monument and World Heritage Site, it offers a complete day of nature-immersion. During our hike, we'll try to spot the many animals that call this place home, such as the Western Cape's tiniest antelope, the elusive blue duiker. After a picnic lunch, we'll head to the cliffs, where we'll witness the spectacle of whales, sharks, seals and dolphins making their majestic appearances. After a day filled with natural wonders, we'll return to Knysna, where a unique evening awaits us aboard a premium catamaran. As the sun begins to set, we'll sail through the famed Knysna Heads and out into the ocean, spotting pods of playful dolphins and other marine creatures. We'll indulge in an on-board barbecue dinner, all while enjoying some local sparkling wine. It's the perfect finish to our stay in the Western Cape!
  • 8
    Sep 4Knysna » St. Lucia
    Knysna » St. Lucia
    Highlights: Morning flight and Zulu Cultural Village visit
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    After breakfast, we'll begin our trip to the other side of the country. A quick flight will take us from the Knysna airport to the King Shaka International Airport near Durban. Upon arrival, we'll head out to a cultural village, presenting us with a chance to discover the deep-rooted customs and traditions of the Zulu people, the largest ethnic group in South Africa. Through a combination of stories and folkore, fortune telling and traditional healing, this will be a highly educational experience. We'll then continue to the tranquil town of St. Lucia, where we'll settle into our conveniently located lodge.
  • 9
    Sep 5St. Lucia » iSimangaliso Wetland Park » St. Lucia
    St. Lucia » iSimangaliso Wetland Park » St. Lucia
    Highlights: Safari game drive, cruise along Lake St. Lucia
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Today will involve our first game drive as we head out to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. This park is full of wildlife, and also features an impressive mix of over 500 bird species. With its lake, beaches, grasslands and dune forests in the mix, not to mention the marine reserve, this makes it one of the best and most diverse parks in the country to experience. After exploring the park, we'll have lunch before switching gears. Our next activity involves a two-hour cruise along the Lake St Lucia Estuary. This isn't any ordinary lake - it's Africa’s biggest estuarine system where we'll be able to spot plenty of crocodiles and hippos that live in the area. We'll then return to St. Lucia for a relaxed evening and wonderful dinner.
  • 10
    Sep 6St. Lucia » Nature Reserve in KwaZulu Natal
    St. Lucia » Nature Reserve in KwaZulu Natal
    Highlights: Drive to the Sungulwane Game Reserve, safari
    Included: Breakfast, Dinner
    Leaving St. Lucia behind, a 2 hour journey takes us to Bayala, nestled in the heart of the Sungulwane Game Reserve. Here we'll be welcomed into our highly-rated tented lodge before heading out for a safari adventure. During our safari, with a naturalist guide, we'll be on the search for Africa's Big Five - the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo, all of which roam these lands. After the safari, we'll return to our welcoming camp for a cozy evening experience, complete with campfire, dinner and stargazing.
  • 11
    Sep 7Sungulwane Game Reserve
    Sungulwane Game Reserve
    Highlights: Safari game drive, free time
    Included: Breakfast, Dinner
    After enjoying an early morning cup of coffee overlooking the vast horizon, we'll embark on another wildlife safari, going even deeper into the reserve as we once again search for the Big Five and more! Our safari will be a relaxed adventure as we take our time, enjoy the nature around us and marvel at all that comes our way. Following this game drive, we'll return to our comfortable lodge for some well-deserved rest and optional activities in the afternoon.
  • 12
    Sep 8Sungulwane Game Reserve
    Sungulwane Game Reserve
    Highlights: Safari game drive, farewell dinner
    Included: Breakfast, Dinner
    It's South Africa, so we definitely need one last game drive! As we explore even further into the Sungulwane Game Reserve, we'll complete our trip with the most extensive safari yet. By this time, being among the wildlife will feel like a natural part of our days and it's an experience that we will never forget. The length of today's safari will depend on several factors and when we eventually return to the lodge, we'll have those expansive views and a beautiful pool to enjoy as we unwind from almost two weeks of non-stop and undoubtedly memorable activities. As the evening falls, we'll all gather for our farewell dinner, with one last night under the stars.
  • 13
    Sep 9Kwazulu Natal Game Reserves » Departure Day
    Kwazulu Natal Game Reserves » Departure Day
    Highlights: Departure day
    Included: Breakfast
    After breakfast, we'll take the 3 hour drive to the King Shaka International Airport in Durban. You will have the option to fly out that day or, if you wish to spend an additional night in Durban, we can arrange accommodation for you at an extra cost. We'll provide all transfers to the airport for all departing flights. ** IMPORTANT: Please make sure you book your departure flight from Durban at any time after 2:00 p.m. in order to have enough time to transfer to the International Departures area of the airport.

Tour Essentials

Medium Physical Level
While the tour itself is not very strenuous, please note that it can involve the following: somewhat long days, walking tours in the cities, long hikes in nature, being outside in potentially warm temperatures, long journeys, extended periods of time in safari vehicles along uneven roads, early morning wake-ups and other similar scenarios.
Accommodation
From safari eco-lodges to tented lodges to 3* and 4* hotels, you can always expect comfortable accommodation on this trip. All rooms have a private bathroom. There is a maximum of 6 single rooms available, offered on a first come-first served basis. The remainder of the rooms will be shared. Solo travelers will be paired together, two travelers per room in two single beds. (*Please note: If you book a shared room and we cannot find another traveler to share that room, there will be an extra surcharge for having a single room.)
Transport
During the trip, we'll get around with a combination of private vans, safari vehicles and short flights between certain regions.
Meals
Breakfast every day, 8 lunches and 7 dinners are included. With included meals, some will be served family style, others will involve food tasting at several places and other times you will be able to order anything you wish from the menu. All dietary restrictions can be accommodated.
Sustainability
As with all of our trips, we aim to offer as sustainable an experience as we can. Trash is recycled where possible and we avoid mass tourism activities that cause harm to the environment and/or do not benefit local communities.
Small Groups
This tour requires a minimum of 8 participants and has a maximum of 12 participants in order to ensure the best small group tour experience. With such a small group, you'll be able to enjoy unique, rewarding activities that would not be accessible with more people. That's the kind of trip we love to offer!

What's included

Included
  • Wandering Earl Tours group leader
  • Small group (maximum 12 participants)
  • Accommodation (12 nights – 3*/4* safari eco-lodges, tented lodges and hotels)
  • Transportation within South Africa (vans and internal flights)
  • Local English-speaking guides
  • All mentioned activities and entrance fees
  • Breakfast every day, 8 lunches and 7 dinners
  • Gratuities at hotels/included meals
  • All airport transfers
Not Included
  • Flights to/from Cape Town and Durban
  • Passport/visa fees
  • Meals and activities not mentioned
  • Travel insurance (mandatory)
  • Other gratuities