With the August 8 departure having filled up quickly – and more people wanting to join this fantastic tour to southern Africa – we have arranged a second ‘mirrored’ itinerary which leaves Australia one week later. This guaranteed to depart tour will visit the same farming, cultural and scenic highlights as the first group, but essentially in reverse order. After a rest in Pretoria, we’ll travel to Victoria Falls, then Botswana and the Okavango Delta, Namibia and onto South Africa.
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.
THE IMAGES BELOW ARE A JUST A SAMPLE OF SOME OF THE FANTASTIC PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY VARIOUS (AND VERY TALENTED) GROUP MEMBERS.
Group members depart Australia on Monday Aug 15 and arrive Johannesburg around 5 am on the 16th.
There is the option of leaving a day or two earlier to rest up in Jo'burg before the tour begins in earnest.
After being met at Jo’Burg airport we are transferred to our hotel in Pretoria to freshen up. We then enjoy a visit to 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.
Tonight we will enjoy a brief presentation by a guest speaker from Agri SA.
This morning we fly from Jo’Burg to Victoria Falls. The next two days includes activities such as guided touring of the Falls, farm visits and sundowner cruises on the Zambezi River. There are plenty of other options as well including viewing the Falls from the Zambian side, elephant safaris and helicopter rides.
Activities around Victoria Falls and then a free evening.
We cross into Botswana today and head south to Pandamatenga. ‘Panda’ is a major farming development in eastern Botswana. We will visit some of the farms and have lunch with the local farmers – many of them Zimbabwe ex-pats. We are hosted overnight at Panda by the local farming families.
Today we have our own charter flight from Panda and wets into the fertile farms and wildlife wonderland of the Okavango Delta. For the next two days we will live in a traditional mobile tented safari camp, and combine farm visits with boat trips and game drives.
It is a real “Out of Africa” safari, but by no means are we roughing it, with large Meru tents including en suite facilities.
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 km 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.
Our charter aircraft pick us up from the Delta this morning for our flight to Namibia’s capital, Windhoek. After lunch in Windhoek we set out by road and travel for around 2 hours to the north west to Erindi Private Game Reserve. Nestled in a beautiful mountainous setting, the reserve covers 71,000 ha of pristine wilderness, and presents an amazing array of diverse landscapes - from golden savannah to dense bush with mountains, natural waterholes, grasslands and pans. Over the next few days we combine game viewing, farming and relaxing in blissful surrounds.
More activities in and around Erindi Private Game Reserve.
We continue westwards this morning through arid farmlands and onto the Atlantic coastal town of Swakopmund. Once a major trading port, Swakopmund was founded by German interests in 1892 as the main harbour for the Imperial German colony — the deep sea harbour at Walvis Bay, 40 km to the south – belonged to the British.
Activities today include a 4WD excursion down the coast to Sandwich Harbour, through an amazing landscape of majestic sand dunes marching right down to the Atlantic Ocean. On the way back, we may be able to see some desert animals such as jackals, springboks and hyenas.
Today we have a spectacular charter flight over the coastal dunes and desert south to Sossusvlei. 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 to Swakopmund, we travel up the spectacular and desolate coast of central Namibia.
This morning we transfer to nearby Walvis Bay airport and our direct flight to Cape Town. On arrival, we enjoy a brief city tour to help get our bearings. 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.
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.
Today we will travel through the towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek and on to the town of Caledon. Here we will visit Rouxwil, the farm of Thys Roux. He will tell us more about farming in the Overberg area. Thys 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.
We transfer to the airport this morning for our direct flight to Hoedspruit, the gateway to the magnificent Kruger National Park region. 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 Chisomo Safari Camp which overlooks the Makhutsi River and is tucked away deep in the Karongwe Game Reserve. Karongwe covers an area of some 9000 hectares of pristine African bush. We have 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 early morning game drive and breakfast we board our coach and say goodbye to Chisomo and travel north to the the Blyde River Canyon and the spectacular Three Rondavels. 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. As we travel to the west we climb out of the low bushlands and onto the farmlands of the Highveld. South Africa's Highveld is home to some of the country's most important commercial farming areas.
We travel to Hannah Lodge, a private game reserve near the town of Ohrigstad. 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 speak to us about game farming in South Africa.
After leaving Hannah Lodge we will travel westwards through the Highveld and onto the farm of Gerrit Roos, located near the town of Belfast. Gerrit farms around 4000 German Merino sheep, Tuli & Pinzgauer (a dual purpose cattle breed), corn and soybean. We continue onto Pretoria for overnight.
Today we enjoy guided tours of some of the highlights of the Pretoria area including the Cullinan Diamond Mine. Then it's back to Pretoria to freshen up - and maybe some last minute shopping - before our flight home tonight.
Arrive various Australian capitals late evening of Sunday, Sept 4.