The Essence of South Africa    *alt*

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Great Rail Journeys
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Description

Discover Glorious Natural Beauty
Explore the spirit of South Africa, from its glorious natural beauty to the buzz of its vibrant city scenes. With traditional tribal experiences and encounters with some of the world's most alluring wildlife, get to the heart of this flourishing country.

Tour Highlights
* Featherbed Nature Reserve
* Ostriches and Penguins
* New World wine tasting
* Cape Town & Johannesburg including city tours
* Cape Point & Boulders Beach
* The Cango Caves
* Premier Classe train
* Zulu battlefields & Shakaland Zulu experience
* Hluhluwe game drives
* Durban

What's Included
* Standard Class Rail
* Breakfast Every Day Selected Evening Meals 12 Nights' Hotel Accommodation 1 Overnight Train Journey
* Return Scheduled Flights Upgrades Available

Itinerary


 Days 1-2 London To Port Elizabeth

Our coast to coast exploration of South Africa begins with a flight from London to Johannesburg were we connect with our onward flight to Port Elizabeth, arriving on Day 2. We overnight here in 'The Friendly City'. Includes:Scheduled flightsIn-flight Dinner and Breakfast


 Day 3 Featherbed Nature Reserve

This morning we travel by coach along South Africa's Garden Route to Knysna. This scenic stretch of the country's southern coastline boasts some of the continent's most naturally beautiful landscapes. From here we take a ferry across Knysna Lagoon to Featherbed Reserve. Accompanied by a specialist guide, we enjoy a tour of this protected area which includes possible sightings of some of the local wildlife as we explore the sandstone cliffs, milk wood forests and the headland, for marvellous views of the Outeniqua Mountains. Includes:BreakfastExcursion


 Day 4 Oudtshoorn and the Cango Caves

We begin today with a drive to the laid-back Oudtshoorn, stopping along the way at the seaside resort of George. We continue to the ostrich capital of the world, visiting a local farm to learn more about the world's largest bird species. Our next stop takes us on a tour of the Cango Caves, set in the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains. We are led through a series of subterranean halls for a fantastic natural display. Includes:BreakfastExcursions


 Day 5 Stellenbosch wine tasting

After breakfast, we check out of our hotel ahead of our coach journey to Cape Town, pausing en-route at some of the most popular New World wineries in South Africa. Deep in the Stellenbosch Valley, we enjoy some delicious tastings before continuing west to Cape Town. Includes:BreakfastExcursion


 Day 6 Table Mountain and Robben Island

We begin this morning with an ascent by cable car up Table Mountain, with its unbeatable views over the cosmopolitan city. We descend to Kirstenbosch, a renowned botanical garden nestled at the foot of the mountain. For our final visit of the day, we travel to the humbling site of Nelson Mandela's 18 year incarceration - Robben Island. During our visit we take a guided tour, led by an ex-political prisoner, for a first-hand account of what life was like here. Includes:BreakfastExcursions


 Day 7 Cape Point and Boulders Beach

Our excursion today takes us firstly to Cape Point, where we board the Flying Dutchman funicular railway. As we soak in the outstanding panoramas over the vast meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, it's easy to imagine the fabled Flying Dutchman ship attempting its doomed journey around this headland. We continue by coach to Boulders Beach, for some time with South Africa's only native penguin colony who roam freely along this sheltered stretch of coastline. Includes:BreakfastExcursions


 Day 8 Premier Classe to Johannesburg

We say goodbye to Cape Town as we embark on our overnight journey by Premier Classe train to Johannesburg. These routes are one of the well-kept travel secrets, providing a good standard of rail travel through the superb South African scenery with spacious berths and plenty of dining options. We are welcomed aboard with drinks and snacks as well as enjoying a 4-course lunch, high tea and a 5-course dinner. Includes:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


 Day 9 Exploring Johannesburg

We arrive into Johannesburg late morning. The city has a turbulent history with its links to apartheid, but is now flourishing as a popular and cultural destination, aspects of which we explore during a guided tour. We spend tonight in Sandton, a cosmopolitan with restaurants and shops. Includes:BreakfastExcursion


 Days 10-11 Zulu battlefields

Today we visit the battlefields of the 1879 Anglo-Zulu war. A visit to Rorke's Drift is included - the site of the famous battle which was depicted in the epic 1964 film, Zulu. We stay in the region for the next two nights and on Day 11 we visit the battleground of Isandlwana, which in 1879 was the setting of the 'battle that rocked Victorian Britain'. It was here that 20,000 Zulu warriors annihilated a British contingent of 1,800 men, becoming a symbol against colonial oppression. Includes:BreakfastExcursions


 Days 12-13 On safari in Hluluwe

This morning we drive to Hluhluwe, where we spend two nights in a game lodge at the centre of this World Natural Heritage Site. Later we enjoy a game drive through the park - home of the 'Big Five'. Hopefully we will see one of these rare creatures, particularly as the reserve is famed for its 'Save the Rhino' campaign. The parkland is also home to many other animals including some of Africa's last remaining wild dogs, cheetahs, giraffes and 400 bird species. Each safari features open top transportation, making our chances of a successful spotting greater. We enjoy additional game drives on Day 13, to hopefully spot yet more of the elusive creatures. Includes:BreakfastExcursion


 Day 14 Shakaland Zulu experience

We leave Hluhluwe by coach for Durban today, breaking our journey at Shakaland for a spectacular Zulu experience. Expertly re-creating village life, the Sangoma tribe welcome us with traditional customs such as tribal dancing, spear making and beer-drinking ceremonies. Afterwards we continue to the beachfront city of Durban, where we spend two nights. Includes:BreakfastExcursion


 Days 15-17 Durban and the journey home

Enjoy a free day to explore Durban at your own pace, or simply relax with a walk along the golden sands. Following another relaxed day in Durban, on Day 16 we transfer to the airport and fly back to London via Johannesburg, arriving on Day 17. Includes:Scheduled flightsBreakfastFree Day