Day 1 – USA to Johannesburg
Today you will begin your Swain Destinations customized itinerary. Please note, international air has not been included in this package price.
Day 2 – Welcome to Johannesburg, South Africa
Upon arrival into Johannesburg you will be met and transferred to your accommodation.
Johannesburg is the economic heart of South Africa, the central focus of Egoli ('Place of Gold'), as the Sotho name for Gauteng suggests. The largest and richest city in South Africa, Johannesburg's lifestyle is a fast-paced and hectic one. No-one could have imagined the repercussions when an unemployed miner found a stone bearing traces of gold here in 1886, an event that led to the discovery of the world's richest natural treasure trove.
People flocked to the Johannesburg area from all ends of the earth, and the open pastoral landscape changed almost overnight. Shantytowns sprang up and were rapidly transformed into modern concrete cities. Johannesburg became 'The Gold Capital of the World', and the entire country was catapulted into an economic boom. Today the shantytown remains, a vast and sprawling tin-roofed expanse that houses millions of extremely poor blacks. Astonishingly, the opulent and luxurious mansions of the rich are located less than a mile distant, behind high walls and razor wire.
Despite its sociological problems, which intimidate many people away from exploring Johannesburg, the city is not to be written off as tourist destination. For those interested in South Africa's history and culture, Johannesburg offers fascinating museums. A thriving café culture and a thrumming nightlife exist in many of Johannesburg's suburbs. The townships are also interesting to tour.Starting Accommodation:
Day 3 – Lesedi Cultural Tour
Five cultures in a day, that’s what we’ll be exploring at the Lesedi Cultural Village, heart and home to families of a range of African tribes, all living harmoniously in true traditional homesteads. You’ll be right there experiencing the warmth and hospitality of people from the Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele, Sotho and Pedi cultures, and you’ll find it fascinating! Our multilingual, visual orientation depicts the history of South Africa, and will deepen your understanding of the complexity of our multicultural community. As evening falls, we all enjoy a traditional African meal, a fine way to round off a day of new experiences and fresh insights.Starting Accommodation:
Day 4 – Journey to Freedom
Many South Africans gave a lot, and some gave all, to achieve a truly democratic South Africa. Come with us on this full day tour which shares some of the journey, pain and struggle of those heroes; witness the places, experience the diverse museums where these momentous, tumultuous years have been so well documented.
Our day begins at the Hector Pieterson Museum, where we start to unravel the cause of the devastating riots, before travelling past Mandela House, where you have the option of visiting this small museum (own account). Our next significant stop is the fascinating Regina Mondi Church, site of so many of the underground meetings of the then banned political parties. Standing in here, you can feel the tension; picture the intensity, the strain on the faces of those unthinkably brave souls, committed at any cost to changing the way of life of a nation.
We’ve chosen to lunch in Soweto at a local restaurant (own account), before visiting the legendary Apartheid Museum. This is an interactive voyage of discovery, one which takes you from the dark days of ‘whites only’ privilege, through to Nelson Mandela’s historic release. The Apartheid Museum is a multimedia experience, with documentary film snippets, texts, sound clips and live accounts, recapturing life in the dark days of South Africa.
It’s a fascinating tour, filled with tales of bravery and sadness, but ultimately, it’s a story with the right ending.Starting Accommodation:
Day 5 – Johannesburg to Cape Town
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.Starting Accommodation:
Day 6 – Walk to Freedom Tour
Experience the wonderful raw energy of our 'Rainbow Nation' in one unforgettable morning. You'll be walking in the footsteps of the local communities - those of yesterday and today - seeing where and how both past and present generations lived, or just existed, during the dark days of apartheid, and experience how people of these townships live today. We'll explore the riveting District Six Museum (closed Sundays) for a sharp reminder of the past, then tour Langa, the oldest apartheid housing scheme in the Cape, and visit the impressive Tsoga Environmental Gardens. We want you to enjoy a hands-on experience of life in a township, so you'll be visiting an informal spaza shop, popping into a shebeen (pub), and visiting a hostel; tastes of the daily life of a community.
During the afternoon, visit Robben Island, cruel home of Nelson Mandela for so many years. It is a highly charged and emotional moment when you visit the site of this suffering, and realize how far South Africa has come from those days. On Robben Island, visitors' movements are restricted by regulation to the bus and the group's guide. Tour of the island is conducted in large buses.Starting Accommodation:
Day 7 – Cape Peninsula Tour
The Fairest Cape…and it surely is! You'll soon see for yourself where and why it earned its name. Sit back and relax, we're going to cruise along the exquisite stretch of coastline known as Millionaire's Paradise - from Camps Bay and Clifton to the exclusive beach hamlet of Llandudno - towards the charming working harbor of Hout Bay; if you so choose, you can embark on an up-close-and-personal Seal Island cruise (own account). Back on terra firma, we wind along the legendary Chapman's Peak Drive, hugging the cliffs and relishing the breathtaking ocean views, before arriving at our lunch spot of choice (own account): the wild and beautiful Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, an integral part of the world-renowned Cape Floral Kingdom. We meander back along the coast towards the City, visiting the historic naval port of Simon's Town and the endearing penguin colony at Boulder's Beach. The Fairest Cape of All, that was Sir Francis Drake's opinion…and we're sure you'll echo it.Starting Accommodation:
Day 8 – Cape Town to USA (via Johannesburg)
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Johannesburg then back to the USA.