Day 1 – USA to South Africa
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 South Africa
On arrival into Cape Town, you will be met once you make your way through the air bridge. A driver will transfer you to your Cape Town accommodation.The Queen Victoria
Situated in the heart of Cape Town, the Queen Victoria Hotel welcomes guests to experience the very essence of distinguished luxury, where classic elegance meets contemporary design. Its prime location in a quiet, historic precinct near to the V&A Waterfront allows for a serene city escape as well as convenient access to a range of outstanding amenities. The hotel’s regal ambiance is felt throughout the property, from its triple-volume foyer with a dramatic spiral staircase and glass lift, crystal chandeliers and marble finishes, to its spacious rooms and breathtaking suites. This grandeur, along with fine touches, expected of five-star properties, and hospitable service have earned the Queen Victoria, also referred to as the QV, recognition as one of the top 25 luxury hotels in South Africa. As its name suggests, this hotel truly is fit for royalty.Starting Accommodation:
The Queen Victoria
Day 3 – Cape Town City Experience
Today, explore South Africa's oldest city, affectionately known as the Mother City. On this half day tour you will encounter unique cultures, architecture, historical sites and unforgettable scenery. You will be driven through the streets of the Cape Town city center, where historic and important buildings will be pointed out to you.
Highlights include, the Bo Kaap or Cape Malay Quarter which has rich cultural, religious and architectural heritage, and is a mixed and cosmopolitan neighborhood with strong links to Muslim traditions and culture. The Cape Malays were originally shipped into the Cape Colony as skilled artisan slaves. The Bo Kaap is also home to the oldest mosque in South Africa, the Auwal Mosque, established in 1798.
Table Mountain offers spectacular views in all directions and gives a bird's eye view of the city. The upper cable car station is situated at 3,500 feet and the cable car floor rotates 360-degrees, enabling visitors to take in all of the breathtaking views. There are numerous pathways on top, viewing decks, souvenir shops, a self-service restaurant and coffee shop.
Company Gardens is the oldest in the country and was formally established in 1652 by Dutch settlers who sought to establish a victualing station to service and reprovision spice-trading sailing ships on the long sea route to the East. The Company Gardens in the middle of the CBD is also home to a beautiful rose garden, Japanese garden, fish pond and bird aviary. It is adjacent to numerous important landmarks, including the present-day Houses of Parliament, the Iziko SA Museum and Planetarium, the SA National Gallery and other historical buildings.
Castle of Good Hope, one of the oldest buildings in South Africa, it was built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company as a maritime replenishment station. It is a fort rather than a castle. The Castle Military Museum depicts Cape military history with one of the most impressive sword collections in the country. The William Fehr Collection of historical paintings and period furniture has a special relevance to the Cape. The Key Ceremony is performed during weekdays, followed by firing of the Signal Cannon. Horse and carriage rides are also available.
Green Market Square, one of Cape Town's oldest markets, is set on a cobbled square and still has an exciting buzz with some colorful and eccentric characters. You can pick up local art, crafts, fabrics and artifacts from almost every country on the African continent.Starting Accommodation:
The Queen Victoria (B)
Day 4 – Cape Point Experience
Today travel around the Cape Peninsula, named by early explorers as the "Fairest Cape." On your full day tour you will encounter beautiful beaches, remarkable scenery, the mythical meeting place of the two oceans and local wildlife. As this is a private experience, your guide will discuss the various options available to include during your Cape Point tour.
The Mother City has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton are white and sandy offering spectacular views and sunsets. See firsthand these beautiful beaches as you meander along the Atlantic seaboard. Hout Bay a vibrant harbor suburb of Cape Town. From here you will enjoy a boat trip to Seal Island which also offers beautiful views of Hout Bay. A return trip lasts approximately 40 minutes. Seal Island is a small island sanctuary for thousands of Cape Fur seals, as well as a variety of seabirds. Cape of Good Hope is one of the two world-renowned landmarks within the Table Mountain National Park, the other is Table Mountain. This part of the park is home to an array of fynbos, over 250 species of birds, buck, baboons, and Cape mountain zebra. False Bay has one of the Cape Peninsula’s most tranquil and picturesque stretches of coastline. Known for its scenic beauty, it encompasses small seaside villages along coastline. The most popular small towns include the historical naval village of Simon’s Town, Muizenberg - known for its epic waves, St James with its colorful huts, Kalk Bay for great seafood restaurants and Fish Hoek. Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town is home to the Jackass African penguin, now said to number over 3000, though the species as a whole is listed as endangered. Wooden walkways allow visitors to view the penguins in the natural habitat.Starting Accommodation:
The Queen Victoria (B)
Day 5 – Cape Winelands Experience
The Cape Winelands are among the most scenic in the world. A visual feast of lush green valleys, rugged mountains, fine cuisine, and world-class wine producing estates make up the Cape Winelands. Its many historic wine estates, characterized by classic Cape Dutch-style buildings with distinctive gables and thatched roofs, and massive vineyards, date back centuries. Wine estates are bordered by: the Hottentots, Holland; the Franschhoek Mountains; and in the North, by the Wemmershoekberg. The most popular and well-known are Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. The Cape Winelands offers some of the finest wine tasting experiences. Wine Tastings can be planned according to your wine preferences at some of the premier estates in the Cape Winelands. As this is a private experience your guide will discuss the various options available to include during your winelands tour.
Paarl is one of the oldest towns in South Africa. It offers historical charm, culture, architectural heritage, wine and fruit farms with breathtaking scenery. Main Street Paarl is a colorful collection of beautifully restored buildings representing Cape Dutch, Edwardian, Victorian and even Art Deco styles. Vineyards still grow in between residential neighborhoods maintaining a country feel to a town virtually the size of a small city. It is here that the struggle to gain recognition for Afrikaans as a written language was also achieved. Places of interest include the Afrikaans language Monument; the oldest Dutch Reformed Church in the country; and a drive by The Groot Drankenstein Prison, the last place in which Nelson Mandela was incarcerated.
Stellenbosch is the second oldest town in South Africa, full of charming scenes and rich in history. Old oak trees line the streets and frame the most beautiful surviving examples of Cape Dutch, Georgian, and Victorian architecture in the Cape. The Stellenbosch Wine Route is the oldest in South Africa which was established in 1971. Dorp Street is a national monument and has one of the longest rows of old buildings surviving in any major town in southern Africa. It was once the wagon way to Cape Town and now the oldest residential street in South Africa. Places of interests include a Historical walk through old part of Stellenbosch, famous Oom Samie se winkel, and Stellenbosch Village Museum.
Franschhoek was founded by the French Huguenots over 350 years ago, and widely regarded as the culinary capital of South Africa. It lies against the backdrop of the majestic Franschhoek and Drakenstein mountains. It’s beautiful setting with many guesthouses, café lined streets, antique stores, art galleries, bakeries and the chocolatier demonstrate a truly French flair. Places of interest include the French Huguenot Museum, Vintage Motor Museum, and Chocolate Tasting at the boutique Chocolatier.Starting Accommodation:
Day 6 – Day at Leisure
Today is at your leisure to explore Franschhoek and your accommodation. Set in the picturesque wine-producing valley of Franschhoek, the Franschhoek Country House & Villas offers luxury and indulgence. The Country House offers 14 luxury rooms - most lead out onto balconies or private patios. All rooms have expected luxuries and amenities, including satellite TV, direct-dial telephone. Some also feature fireplaces, under-carpet heating and air-conditioning. You can enjoy a complimentary sherry in one of the guest lounges alongside a crackling log-fire, creating a welcoming atmosphere in winter. Starting Accommodation:
Franschhoek Country House & Villas (B)
Day 7 – Cape Town to Kapama Private Game Reserve
Today you will be transferred to the Cape Town Airport for your flight to Hoedspruit Airport before being transferred to Kapama Private Game Reserve. Kapama Southern Camp
Kapama Private Game Reserve occupies a vast area between South Africa's northern Drakensberg Mountains and the Greater Kruger National Park. Kapama Southern Camp is a luxurious traditional safari lodge with suites and villas, private verandas and uninterrupted views of the African bush. It is situated in the south of the Big Five game reserve, and offers luxury game lodge accommodation, warm hospitality and friendly service in a tranquil setting that will be savored by even the most discerning nature lover. Kapama Private Game Reserve is home to over 40 different mammal species, including the most dangerous Big Five of elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhinoceros. Approximately 350 bird species and a myriad smaller species can also be seen here in their natural environment. Twice-daily game drives through the reserve, accompanied by expert guides and trackers, ensure unforgettable wildlife encounters in the African bush. The charm and hospitality of Southern Camp staff make it a warm and inviting place for families looking for the ultimate African safari. It’s a relaxed atmosphere where even the tiniest tots are a priority and the memories made will be with you and your family forever. Light, airy en-suite bedrooms lead out onto private patios from which to spot the local wildlife. Vast picture windows in every room never let you forget that you’re in one of the most beautiful places in Africa.Equipped for the African heat, each suite is fitted with air conditioning, as well as a personal bar for refreshments. Tea facilities and Lavazza coffee machines are also at hand. For peace of mind, there’s an electronic safe for your valuables, and international plugs for convenience. The lodge's lounge, pool and dining area offer a perfect spot to relax, sip on a refreshing beverage and play a one-sided game of hide and seek with the local wildlife. Breakfast and lunch are served in a contemporary, open-sided dining area with a tempting wine selection as a focal point. The traditional outdoor boma lets you dine under the stars as the chefs create dazzling fare right in front of you.Starting Accommodation:
Kapama Southern Camp (B, L, D)
Day 8 – Activities at Kapama Private Game Reserve
Kapama Private Game Reserve offers guests memorable sightings of wildlife on game drives, sleeping out in the bushveld in luxury al fresco style or pampering spa treatments at the Wellness Center. Game drives are accompanied by a skilled ranger and tracker, guests can expect to encounter a diverse range of animal and bird species on game drives. The day starts with an early wake-up call between 5:00am and 5:30am. Tea, coffee and rusks are enjoyed together before heading out at first light. While seeing big game is always exhilarating, there are many other smaller species that are also captivating, and birding enthusiasts will be delighted at the approximately 350 species of birds recorded on the reserve. Halfway through the game drive, there's a stop for hot drinks and snacks, before returning to the lodge at around 9:00am for a full breakfast. Throughout the day, it's likely you will see wildlife around the lodge - nyala antelope and vervet monkeys are frequent visitors, though seeing some of the Big Five is also not uncommon. At around 3:30pm, everyone gathers for a decadent high tea, before heading out with your ranger and tracker for the afternoon game drive through the reserve. En route, you'll stop for a sundowner drink and will have a chance to stretch your legs as you watch the sun set over the distant peaks of the Drakensberg mountains. As darkness falls, the nocturnal animals of the bush come out. The skilled tracker will scan the landscape using a spotlight, which illuminates animals' eyes. A variety of completely different species can be seen on the night drive back to the lodge. Arrival is at the lodge is usually around 7:00pm, allowing time to freshen up before enjoying a sumptuous dinner. In addition to the game drives a bush walk is also an option and included in your stay. Â Feel Africa underfoot on a guided bush walk with a highly trained game ranger. The experience offers an intimate encounter with nature and wildlife, and medicinal and other plants are identified en-route. Rangers also teach walkers to track wildlife in the traditional way, using animal footprints and scat. Expert trackers can tell the gender of many animals just from their footprints. Large and dangerous animals are avoided on walks, but many other species can be viewed from a safe distance at ground level. A bush walk through Kapama Private Game Reserve is a truly memorable and authentic encounter.Starting Accommodation:
Kapama Southern Camp (B, L, D)
Day 9 – Kapama to Sabi Sand
A driver will transfer you to the Hoedspruit Airport for your flight to the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve.Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge
Deep in the African bushveld, within South Africa’s famous Sabi Sand Reserve, "something enchanting lies in wait" – the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve. This award-winning private game reserve offers world-class standards in luxury accommodation, exceptional close wildlife encounters, personal service and delicious cuisine. Overlooking a waterhole and an open plain, lies a lodge that pulses to the rhythm of Africa’s heartbeat. This is Bush Lodge, steeped in tradition, vibrant and warm, the Sabi Sabi of “Today”. With a history spanning over 35 years, the lodge has earned a reputation of a “luxury home in the bush”, service excellence and effortless personal attention. The conventional safari style showcases a vibrant and eclectic mix of furnishings and décor garnered from all corners of the African continent.
To maintain privacy and intimacy, the lodge has 25 suites in total including 2 luxury villas and the Mandleve deluxe Suite with each suite featuring en-suite bathrooms and al-fresco, glass-fronted showers, with wonderful views of the bushveld. Bush Lodge has been sensitively designed to allow ample space to relax, unwind and savor the tranquility of the bush. The two swimming pools and large covered viewing decks overhanging the Msuthlu riverbed are an invitation to cool off in the filtered water or sit in comfort while spotting game at the well-utilized pan. An exquisitely furnished lounge, atrium and intimate bar area are perfect meeting places for friends old and new. As an extra indulgence, the Amani Spa at Bush Lodge offers the ultimate African Spa experience. The lodge is family friendly and children of all ages can enjoy the Elefun center, a fully-fledged children’s facility. Interesting environmentally themed activities, including hands-on ‘edutainment’ for several distinct age groups, are designed and supervised by qualified childcare professionals.Starting Accommodation:
(B, L, D)
Day 10 – Activities at Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve
Spend the day enjoying the activities offered at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve.
Southern Africa captivates everyone who is lucky enough to experience its power and magic. The concept of "Safari’"conjures up images of adventure, dramatic landscapes and exciting wildlife. Sabi Sand Game Reserve is geographically integrated with the Kruger National Park and epitomizes Africa’s magic. With no fences between the reserve and the Kruger Park, big game abounds, moving freely through this unspoiled part of the ancient African continent. The Reserve is blessed with a great biodiversity of habitat and wildlife giving an excellent chance of close encounters with the ‘Big Five’ (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard), as well as wild dog and cheetah. With over 300 bird species, the reserve is a birdwatcher’s delight.Starting Accommodation:
(B, L, D)
Day 11 – Activities at Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve
Safaris take place each morning and evening in open safari vehicles which drive through a wide variety of habitats, allowing visitors to view the vast interactions of the wild. After breakfast, you can go on a guided walking trail in the natural environment. The dedicated, highly trained and experienced Rangers lead you to discover miracles of nature you may never have dreamed existed.
An early morning call from the Ranger will wake you before first light, while the kitchen brews hot coffee or tea, and prepares cool fruit juices with a muffin, rusk or other freshly made delicacy. The bush is already alive, the air filled with birdsong as the rising sunlight dances off beads of dew on spiders’ webs. Nobody, not even the tracker who can read the bushveld like a book, knows what’s in store. He will watch the road for spoor, leaning forward intently to find any print left by a predator during its hunt in the dark.
Morning Guided Bush Walk
Renowned for luxury experiences, Sabi Sabi isn’t all about phenomenal game drives and exceptional dining. Opportunities for education and adventure are definitely on the cards for those interested and energetic. On the morning environmental awareness walking safari, you can be part of a small group that sets out on foot after breakfast. The walk is an opportunity to feel the pulse of Africa through the soles of your feet and experience the bushveld at close quarters. Sabi Sabi boasts approximately 350 different species of birds, a paradise for birdwatchers. Raptors are plentiful, including 11 species of owl, the seldom seen cuckoo hawk and rare bat hawk. There is an endless diversity of trees, shrubs and flowering plants, and whatever the time of year, no two walks are ever the same.
Evening falls and you prepare for the night safari. As the late afternoon draws, the inhabitants of the bush become restless, and the animals move out of the shade of the trees. The call of the crested francolin reverberates through the bushveld and birds increase the volume of their song. You will be aware of colors softening to the beautiful, gentle hues that vary with each season. New scents fill the air and as the sun dips behind the horizon your Ranger will choose a spot where you can stretch your legs and enjoy sundowners alongside the vehicle. Watch in awe as the sky turns to the sensational vibrant reds, golds and oranges typical of an African sunset. There is a lull as the animals sense the transition into a time of increased danger. It is during evening safaris that the nocturnal hunters start stirring, and their prey needs to be alert for survival through the night.
During your safari you may be lucky enough to watch lions prepare for their evening hunt. Their long bodies stretch to ease muscles cramped from lying in the shade during the day. There are numerous nocturnal hunters and on your evening safari, with the help of a spotlight, a leopard’s eyes may reflect back from a nearby tree. Or you may be lucky enough to spot another smaller predator, a genet, African civet or African wild cat. One can come across scenes at night that become etched in memory: elephants moving heavily but silently in the moonlight; the incredible flying leaps of bush babies from treetop to treetop, and the red shine from a lion’s eyes as it looks up from its kill. A Sabi Sabi evening safari will never be forgotten.Starting Accommodation:
(B, L, D)
Day 12 – South Africa to USA
You will be transferred to Skukuza Aiport for your international flight to the USA via Johannesburg. (B)