Southern Discovery! 2002
Cape Town against Table Mountain
DAY 1 ~ OCTOBER 20
Depart Columbus this morning for Atlanta. Connect with your overnight flight to Johannesburg. En route enjoy South African Airlines superb in-flight service and cuisine. (Meals Aloft)
DAY 2 ~ OCTOBER 21
Your jet lands in Johannesburg this morning where you connect with your flight to Cape Town. One of the world’s most beautiful cities, Cape Town – South Africa’s “Mother City” – was founded in 1652. While it reminds many travelers of San Francisco or Sydney, Sir Francis Drake aptly described the peninsula as “the fairest cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth.” You will be met and escorted to your hotel, located in the heart of the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront next to shopping centers and restaurants. Your award-winning hotel is built in the classical French style of a spacious country mansion. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner at your hotel.
Overnight at the CAPE GRACE HOTEL. (D)
Visiting New Rest Informal Community
DAY 3 ~ OCTOBER 22
Get set for an action-packed day. Board your minibus for a coastal drive to the southern tip of the African continent: the Cape of Good Hope. Pass quaint seaside towns and continue to Cape Point – where the stormy waters of the Atlantic meet up with the calming influence of the Indian Ocean. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
Next visit the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, a floral wonderland with over 1,200 indigenous plant species, 160 species of birds (including ostrich) and a quiet community of wildlife, ranging from Cape mountain zebra, springbok, steenbok, grysbok and grey rhebok to baboon, caracal and Cape fox. Continue to Boulders Beach where you will see a colony of African Jackass Penguins. Return to Cape Town and visit the local township of New Rest, an informal settlement created by people evicted from Cape Town under the Apartheid era. You will be accompanied by a guide from the township as you visit the crèche and community center. The tour will stop at the project where bricks are manufactured by the local people to build their own houses. Against all odds, township life prevails and conditions improve, but the transition is slow and hard. It is stark testimony to the injustices of the past and the enormous challenges to the peoples of the New South Africa in the coming years.
Overnight at the CAPE GRACE HOTEL. (B, L)
Southern Discovery! 2001 participants at the South-Eastern-most tip of Africa, the Cape of Good Hope.
DAY 4 ~ OCTOBER 23
Today, take a cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain (weather permitting.) You ascend 3,566 feet, enjoying dramatic vistas of the ocean, the city and towering mountains. Your sightseeing tour continues with visits to the Maritime Museum, the parliament buildings and the South African Museum featuring Bushman exhibits.
Visit the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, with 9,000 indigenous flowering plant species, including exotic protea. The beautiful terraced lawns, landscaped gardens and scenic walks along the back of Table Mountain are breathtaking and attract a plethora of multicolored birds: Cape sugarbirds, bulbuls, white-eyes, Cape robins and sunbirds. Following lunch at the gardens, return to your hotel.
This evening is a special treat! You will be guests in the home of Prof. Dr.
Sidney Cywes and his wife Marlene. Dr. Cywes is one for the world’s foremost authorities on the separation of Siamese twins, and he has an award winning and internationally acclaimed orchid growing business on their beautiful estate in Constantia in the shadow of Table Mountain. Enjoy a typical South African dinner and lively conversation.
Overnight at THE CELLARS HOTEL, CONSTANTIA. (B, L, D)
DAY 5 ~ OCTOBER 24
Enjoy a scenic drive into the towns and vineyards of Paarl, Franschoek and Stellenbosch. With its classic Cape Dutch architecture, South Africa’s second oldest town, Stellenbosch, is one of the most beautiful towns in the country. This charming community is also home to famous mansions, museums and monuments. Enjoy wine tasting at a local vineyard and lunch before returning to your hotel in Cape Town where the balance of your day is at leisure.
Overnight at THE CELLARS HOTEL, CONSTANTIA (B, L)
Okavango Delta, Moremi Wildlife Preserve, Botswana.
DAY 6/7/8 ~ OCTOBER 25/26/27
Fly to Maun, Botswana (via Johannesburg) this morning. Upon arrival in Maun you will meet Tim & June Liversedge, famous for their wildlife film documentaries and photography. Tim and June will accompany you this afternoon as you visit their film studios and their African Art & Images gallery. Following lunch at their home, board your private light aircraft for a flight across the Okavango Delta. The delta is formed from the waters which flow down from the Angola highlands and die in the sands of the Kalahari to create the world’s largest inland delta covering an area of 4,000 square miles. This results in seasonally flooded marshes and lagoons, dry woodlands and grassy savannas supporting an incredible amount of free-roaming herds of animals and the prey that follow them. Bird life is prolific with over 550 species found in the region.
You will be staying in the heart of the Okavango at Pom Pom, a part of the vintage collection of luxury tented camp in a private concession to the west of the Moremi Game Reserve. Pom Pom offers great Okavango scenery with game drives, night drives, walks and mokoro safaris as the main activities on offer. Hippo and Crocodile are found in the deeper lagoons in the area. Birding enthusiasts will enjoy sighting Pells Fishing Owl, African Fish Eagle, Giant Eagle Owl and White Backed Vultures. All the big predators as well as buffalo, giraffe, zebra and wildebeest are in the area. If you are lucky, some of the nocturnal animals such as serval, civet and genet may be seen on night drives.
This is a 12-bedded safari camp built and designed in the style of safari camps of old. The camp overlooks a scenic lagoon and is built under a grove of shady trees. This is a camp for the safari traditionalist. Pom Pom has six large walk-in tents, with en suite showers and flush toilets. The bathrooms are enclosed, but roofless – for a true bush experience.
Overnight at POM POM CAMP. (ALL Meals Daily)
Cheetah and young impala
DAYS 9/10 OCTOBER 28/29
Your flight now takes you to DumaTau, a 16-bedded luxury tented camp, in the private 125,000 hectare Linyanti Wildlife Reserve on the western boundary of Chobe National Park in northern Botswana. The camp is built under a shady grove of mangosteen trees, overlooking a large hippo-filled lagoon within the Linyanti waterway system. The luxuriously appointed rooms are raised off the ground and are under thatch with canvas walls, allowing guests to enjoy the night sounds of Africa in the comfort of their beds. The bathroom facilities are en-suite and each room has an additional outside shower. There is a dining room, pub, lounge, and plunge pool.
The camp is situated close to the confluence of the Savuti Channel and the Linyanti waterways. Because of the wide variety of terrain in the area, guests are able to experience wildlife on the water, on land and on foot. Day and night game drives are conducted in open 4X4 vehicles along the Savuti and Linyanti. The area is famous for its elephants – huge herds congregate in the winter along the waterways and lagoons – as well as at waterholes down the Savuti Channel. During the dry months sable and roan traverse down to the waterways to complement the impala, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, lechwe, tsessebe and other plains game in the area. Savuti is famous for its lions which have been documented in National Geographic films, one of the most exciting being the Joubert’s “Eternal Enemies: Lions and Hyenas” which depicts the conflicts between lion and hyena. Birding is great here with many of the Okavango “specials” such as the Slaty Egret, white rumped babblers to the various bushveld species.
Overnight at DUMATAU CAMP. (All Meals Daily)
One gets amazingly close to these magnificent animals.
DAYS 11/12 ~ OCTOBER 30/31
VICTORIA FALLS/ LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA
This morning transfer to Victoria Falls, one of the world’s greatest natural wonders – more than twice the size of Niagara Falls. The mighty currents of the Zambezi River seem inspired as they race forward to create the Falls. An endless curtain of the waters of the Zambezi, more than a mile wide, crash 400 feet to the earth below and then rise again in millions of droplets of spray that cloud the surface. The Africans who led Dr. Livingstone here described this breathtaking scene as “Musi oa tunya”: the smoke that thunders.
Your accommodation will be at the Royal Livingston Hotel in Zambia. This magnificent new resort is situated on the banks of the Zambezi River. Every detail has been lovingly crafted to create the impression of being in another place in time – a time of romance and adventure. The bedrooms are inspired by the grand estate house of a bygone era and each offers private balconies and terraces with spectacular views of the great river and beyond.
Visit Mukuni Village, a working African village of 7,000 people, sure to be one of the highlights of your stay. As you arrive at the village, near the Chief’s home, you will be met by your English-speaking village guide who will escort through their world, offering insights into the culture and ways of life unfolding before you. The daily rituals of these people are evident from the women cooking and mending to the artistic woodcarvings created (and available for sale). Children scatter about and you are welcome to mingle and take photographs. This is a privileged insight to a world not known by many outsiders, to be dealt with mutual respect and honor.
You will also visit the town of Livingstone, a peaceful and charming little town with great shops and fun restaurants. Optional activities available here include a visit to an African crafts village featuring native artists and sculptors, a flight over the falls on a Flight of Angels, or the challenge of white water rafting down the Zambezi river, one of the top rafting experiences in the world. Or you may choose to visit Livingston Island, one of the world’s most exclusive picnic spot. Enjoy a three-course champagne picnic served only a few yards from the spray of the Victoria Falls.
Overnights at the ROYAL LIVINGSTONE HOTEL. (B day 11/B, D)
Victoria Falls. Photo Credit, Dr. Donald L. Lewis,Southern Discovery! 2001.
Ruth McNeal, with Shona dancers at Victoria Falls.
Southern Discovery! 2001 participants at Dr. Livingstone’s Statue, Victoria Falls.
DAY 13 ~ NOV 1
This afternoon, fly to Johannesburg. On arrival in Johannesburg your luggage will be transferred to the Centurion Lake Hotel while you continue to Pretoria to visit the Voortrekker Monument and the Kruger House. Tonight you are invited into the home of Bienes and Ronel Schoeman for a true Afrikaans dinner and celebration. Bienes is Chairman of WenChem, a major South African agricultural firm, and an African big game expert. The food, music, company, and atmosphere will provide an exciting climax to your Southern Discovery, and it promises to be an evening you will never forget! After dinner you will be transferred to your hotel in the Rosebank suburb of Johannesburg.
Overnight at the ROSEBANK HOTEL. (B, D)
DAY 14 ~ NOV 2
Explore the Cradle of Humankind in the Sterkfontein Valley with your guide who holds a Ph.D. in Palaeo-Anthropology and is actively working on archaeological digs in the area. South Africa is famous for being home to 40% of the world’s hominid fossils. These fossils are as old as 3.5 million years and come from the time when the earliest human ancestors were roaming the African Savannah. From this beautiful piece of Gauteng countryside our ancestors set out to populate the world. The Gauteng Provincial government has nominated this area for inclusion in the World Heritage List. During this full day tour you will be seeing some of the caves where fossil hunters have extracted human fossilized bone; some if it so unique that it has changed the way the world thinks about human evolution. Various animal bones and tools have also been found. One of the sites, Swartkrans is world renowned for having produced the earliest evidence for the controlled use of fire in the world!
Following a picnic lunch, transfer to the Johannesburg International Airport where you will board your overnight flight to Atlanta. (B, L)
DAY 15 ~ NOV 3
Arrive Atlanta this morning bringing an end to your safari adventure! (Meals aloft)