NOTE: This tour is now full - please see Africa Group 2, departing Aug 15
Unfortunately, Meryl Streep can't be the tour narrator but this Out of Africa journey will be no less absorbing as we visit some of the farming, cultural and scenic highlights of this amazing continent. We'll travel through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, the Okavango Delta and ultimately, Victoria Falls. Throughout this unforgettable journey we will become acquainted with innovative farmers and their agricultural operations. We'll also visit private game parks and iconic national reserves where we become very up close and personal with the local wildlife.
Group members departing from Perth will depart just before midnight on Aug 8 and arrive Johannesburg around 5 am on the 9th.
Those departing from the east coast can depart early morning on Aug 9 and arrive Johannesburg around 5.20 pm on the 9th.
There is the option of leaving a day or two ahead of the main group to rest up in Jo'burg before the tour begins in earnest.
Early morning or late afternoon arrival in Jo'burg depending on your departure point from Australia. Our guide will meet us and we will travel to Pretoria and rest up.
Today we enjoy guided tours of some of the highlights of the Joburg and Pretoria area including the Cullinan Diamond Mine and the massive Voortrekker Monument. This monument was built in honour of the epic exodus between 1835 and 1854 by disillusioned Boers from the Cape into the interior. This laid the foundation for the borders of present day South Africa. It is also a great insight into the evolution of modern agricultural techniques in southern Africa.
This afternoon we will travel to Brits to visit the Embryo Plus Centre. This centre specialises in embryo transfers and has established a worldwide reputation. In recent years it has exported approximately 12000 embryos to places such as Canada, USA, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and many African countries. You will see breeds like Brahman, Simentaler, Bonsmara, Senepol, Boran, Brangus and many other. Back to Pretoria. Tonight we will enjoy a presentation by a guest speaker from Agri SA.
We board our charter coach early this morning and head eastwards and into the farmlands of the Highveld. South Africa's Highveld is home to some of the country's most
important commercial farming areas.
After breakfast we will travel to the town of Belfast to visit the farm of Gerrit Roos. He farms with approximately 4000 German Merino sheep, Tuli and Pinzgauer (a dual purpose breed) cattle breeds, corn and soybean. We then descend from the Highveld and enter the bushlands on the western boundary of Kruger National Park. This is a region of vast cattle farms that have evolved into magnificent private game parks with unparalleled access to the resident wildlife including the big five game animals – lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhino. Our magnificent accommodation for the next two days is the Shiduli Game Lodge tucked away deep in the Karongwe Game Reserve.
Karongwe covers an area of some 9000 hectares of pristine African bush. We arrive in time for lunch then our first game drive late this afternoon culminating in sunset drinks in the African bush. Qualified and enthusiastic rangers will lead us through close and unrestricted encounters with Africa’s big game. Tonight we will enjoy dinner at the Lodge.
Today we can experience all the splendour of the African bush. We will have two open Land Rover safaris (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) and can also take a guided walk in the bush after the morning safari. We will also learn about the region's transition from commercial cattle farming to tourism.
After our morning game drive and breakfast we will visit the Three Rondavels at the Blyde River Canyon. The Blyde River Canyon, a gigantic gorge, is one of the natural wonders of Africa. This canyon is the largest green canyon in the world. From here we will travel to another private game – Hannah Lodge. This beautiful reserve embraces more than 8000 hectares of unspoiled African bushveld. Tonight we will enjoy a special “boma” dinner. After dinner a wildlife expert will address us about game farming in South Africa.
This morning we depart our lodge for Nelspruit airport and our direct flight to Cape Town. On arrival, we enjoy a brief city tour to help get our bearings. We will leave at 1:15pm and arrive in Cape Town at 3:55pm. Cape Town is South Africa’s oldest and arguably most attractive city. Known affectionately as the “Mother City” is was here that Jan van Riebeeck, a Dutchman, developed a victualling station in 1652.
After breakfast we will travel through the towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek to the town of Caledon. Here we will visit Rouxwil farm of Thys Roux. He will tell us more about farming in the Overberg area. He farms wheat, canola and sheep. There are approximately 3000 Merino-Dohne sheep on the farm. We will enjoy lunch on the farm, then travel through the stunning Paarl and Franschhoek valleys before returning to Cape Town.
Today we will experience the splendour of the Cape Peninsula where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. We will travel along the Atlantic coast to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Nearly 8000 hectares of indigenous fynbos (fine bush) cover the reserve and about 1200 plant species have been recorded in the area. We will also visit Boulders Penguin Colony in Simons Town. It is home to a unique and endangered land-based colony of African Penguins. This colony is one of only a few in the world. From here to Table Mountain and Signal Hill (weather permitting), to enjoy the spectacular views over Table Bay. Table Mountain (1134 m) is arguably the best-known mountain in the southern hemisphere.
After breakfast we will do a short city tour before we go to the airport for our flight at 11.15am, to Walvis Bay in Namibia. We then travel from Walvis Bay along the coast to Swakopmund. This is an amazing landscape of majestic sand dunes marching right down to the Atlantic Ocean.
Today we will take a spectacular charter flight over the dunes and desert to Sossusvlei and return. Situated in the largest conservation area in Africa (the Namib-Naukluft Desert National Park), Sossusvlei is a large, white, salt and clay pan surrounded by huge red sand dunes. The dunes in this area are some of the highest in the world, reaching almost 400 metres, and provide wonderful images.
We also fly over the Sesriem Canyon, carved by the Tsauchab river. The name Sesriem is Afrikaans and means "six belts" and was so named by the early settlers who had to join six belts to reach buckets down into the canyon to scoop up water. On the return flight, we travel up the spectacular and desolate coast of central Namibia.
This afternoon we enjoy a Living Desert Tour to learn more about one of the world's most arid coastal regions and wwhat survive in that desert.
This morning we travel north east to Erindi Private Game Reserve. On our way we will visit a big cattle/game farmer and arrive in time for lunch at Erindi which covers over 70,000 hectares. It is Namibia’s best private game reserve with the Big 5 and many other game. In the 1970s and 1980s Erindi was an over-stocked cattle farm causing severe damage to the natural vegetation. Owners Gert Joubert and his nephew Paul, phased out cattle farming entirely and re-introduced numerous species that once occurred naturally in the area. In 2007, the reserve was transformed into a nature conservation venture.
Over the years Erindi has successfully transformed itself into a unique, best-practice eco tourism and conservation venture – constantly implementing and monitoring programs across all aspects of the land rehabilitation process.
Today we will do two game drives and spend the rest of the day exploring this wonderful reserve. The Lodge is right next to a waterhole and the verandah provides some great wildlife viewing at any time.
More exploration and game drives in Erindi today as we discuss farming in the region before continuing south to Windhoek and a short tour of the city.
Transfer to the airport this morning for our flight to Botswana and Maun - the southern gateway to the magnificent Okavango Delta. On arrival in Maun we connect with our own charter flight into the fertile farms and wildlife wonderland of the Delta. We have a farm visit this afternoon. For the next two days we will be in a traditional mobile tented safari camp, with large Meru tents with en suite facilities. It is a real “Out of Africa” safari, but by no means roughing it. We will be with professional guides for boat trips through the Okavango Delta and game drives and walks in the Moremi National Park which is a great game viewing spot.
Today we explore farms and wildlife in the Okavango Delta. The Okavango Delta (or Okavango Grassland) in Botswana is a huge inland delta formed where the Okavango River reaches a tectonic trough in the central part of the endorheic basin of the Kalahari. All the water reaching the Delta ultimately evaporates and transpires and does not flow into any sea or ocean. Each year around 11 cubic kilometres of water spreads over the 6000 to 15,000 km sq area. Countless species of wildlife, some of which are endangered, favour the Okavango Delta. Five primary tribes make up the native people of the Okavango and they use the area for fishing, crops and hunting.
Today we take a charter flight to Pandamatenga, which is a major farming development in eastern Botswana. We will visit some of the farms and have lunch with the local farmers. Tonight we have dinner with the local farmers and are home-hosted at a number of farms.
After breakfast, we board our charter coach and travel north to cross the border into Zimbabwe and onto the township of Victoria Fall.
After checking into our magnificent hotel we will enjoy a sundowner cruise on the Zambezi River, including drinks and snacks.
Time to spend some serious time at Victoria Falls. We will have a guided tour of the Zimbabwe side of the falls in the morning, then afternoon options including viewing from the Zambian side, elephant safaris and helicopter rides.
Some free time in the morning before catching a flight to Johannesburg with connecting flights to Australia.
You also have the option of staying a little longer to visit other magnificent regions of Africa easily accessed from Vic Falls. Just some of the options include cruising the Lower Zambezi, meeting a Ugandan mountain gorilla or joining the Serengeti Migration.
Arrive into Perth at 12.20pm to connect with flights to other Australian destinations.