The wonder of South Africa is the dramatic and irresistible diversity of its cultures, landscapes and wildlife. Two of our longtime guests who have taken 13 trips with us, Terry and Dotty, explored the beauties of Cape Town, enjoyed the famous wines of the South African Winelands and searched for The Big Five—the elephant, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, lion, and leopard—on a three-day safari experience during their recent trip to South Africa with Classic Journeys. Here is a quick trip recap of their adventure that has us all adding this destination to our bucket lists.
Day 1 - Cape Town
Cape Town is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with sheer cliffs that fall into the cold sapphire-colored waters of the Atlantic to the west of the city mixing with the warm waters of the Indian Ocean to the east. Since its founding in 1652, the city's culture and architecture have been influenced by the indigenous groups, the Dutch and the British. Dotty and Terry explored the historical city with local Cape Town guide, Clive, and stopped for high tea at the famously painted pink Mount Nelson Hotel, located at the foot of Table Mountain. Following lunch, they walked along Lions Head Trail and took in the sweeping views of the coastal city. After a lengthy walk and day of exploration, they enjoyed a dinner of fresh seafood in a restaurant on the city's famous Bree Street.
Day 2 - Cape of Good Hope
The day started with a southward guided drive with their local guide, Clive, over Chapman's Peak Drive, an engineering marvel that hugs the cliffs and offers jaw-dropping ocean views. The day was dedicated to exploring the historic Cape of Good Hope where the Portuguese navigators once sailed in the 15th century. They walked on trails high above the ocean and stopped to enjoy the views over a glass of champagne. Clive recounted that while admiring the coastal views over champagne, a baboon snuck up and stole their cooler of waters providing for some laughs (at least it didn't steal the bubbly!). They then visited Boulder Beach, home to the largest colony of endangered African penguins as well as the famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, home to more than 7,000 plant species. Their day ended with a lovely dinner at Karibu restaurant, located along the city's Wharf.
Day 3 - Cultural Townships & Robben Island
In order to learn more about modern South Africa and the path the country has taken since apartheid, it's essential to visit the townships located in the peripheries of the city. Clive guided Dotty and Terry through the cultural townships and they had the chance to gain insights into South African culture that is hard to find anywhere else. They were then invited into a small school, where they delivered soup ingredients and met a class of South African children who were excited to sing for them and chat about their lives. They also had the chance to speak with a traditional healer in the area and even try a taste of home-brewed African beer. In the afternoon, they had the chance to visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for almost 20 years in an attempt to silence his anti-apartheid voice. Today, the island is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a symbol of the transformative power of forgiveness.
Day 4 & 5 - The Cape Winelands
Over the next two days, Clive guided Dotty and Terry to the Cape Winelands where they stayed in Stellenbosch, the capital of the Winelands. The Winelands are a premier location to walk through vineyards and enjoy the lovely olive orchards over chats with locals of the excellent South African cuisine. During their guided cuisine walks, they tasted fresh bread from the ovens of an artisanal baker, snacked at a family-run butchery, tasted wines at a lively wine bar in the area, and finally, sampled Cape deserts with a side of the locally grown teas.
Day 6, 7, and 8 - Safari
On day six, Dotty and Terry parted with Clive in Cape Town and flew to eastern South Africa where they began their three-day Safari. They settled into their luxurious and comfortable lodge on the grounds of the Phinda Private Game Preserve, looking out on the wild terrain where they searched for opportunities to view The Big Five - the elephant, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, lion, and leopard. With chances to go on daily game drives, bush walks, Zulu village tours, black rhino safaris, and more, Dotty and Terry were not disappointed with the South African safari experience you only hear about in storybooks.
Day 9 - Final Day
With time for a final drive in the morning, Terry and Dotty spotted a few more wildebeests and South African birds before departing the gorgeous Phinda Private Reserve and heading towards home to tell tales of the many animals they spotted on safari, the wonders of Cape Town, the delicacies of the Winelands, and so much more.
If you're interested in a trip like Terry and Dotty's, take a look at our South Africa Culture + Walking Tour for the chance to experience a trip of a lifetime in South Africa.