South Africa: Culture, Wine, and Wildlife

Trip Overview

Join AdventureWomen in late July 2017 to immerse yourself in South Africa's beauty, cultures, landscapes and wildlife. Learn about South Africa's fascinating cultures, enjoy a true African safari, and fall in love with sophisticated Cape Town, South Africa's "Mother City."

From the top of South Africa's flat-topped Table Mountain, for centuries a guiding beacon to mariners rounding the Cape of Southern Africa, to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, a living display of indigenous South Africa flora, you'll discover this country's cultural diversity as well as its delicious Cape Malay cuisine. Explore the breathtaking Cape Peninsula, surrounded by spectacular mountains and a rugged shoreline, driving past quaint seaside towns on the way to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope, where the stormy Atlantic meets the calm Indian Ocean. Watch for southern right whales, dolphins, and a variety of seabirds and then paddle sea kayaks to Boulder's Beach to meet its colony of African (Jackass) Penguins, found nowhere else in the world, as they swim and frolic in this picturesque cove!

Leaving Capetown, drive the historic and scenic South Africa Wine Route to discover and taste the region's celebrated red and white wines at acclaimed vineyards such as Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Franschhoek on the Western Cape. Browse the brilliantly preserved Cape Dutch buildings and explore the many galleries and shops. Then drive the Western Cape along the Garden Route, the jewel in the peninsula's crown, with stunning sea views, brilliant flowers and birdlife, and whales and cape fur seals.

But the pièce de résistance is, of course, South Africa's WILDLIFE! For five nights you will stay in two fabulous private game reserves. Tanda Tula Safari Camp is in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, adjacent to Kruger National Park. From your exclusive and luxurious tented suites, 4X4 vehicles take us to see big cats, lion, leopard, and cheetah, as well as elephant, buffalo, rhino and more! In the world- famous Sabi Sands Game Reserve that forms part of the greater Kruger National Park is Lion Sands River Lodge, set right on the banks of the Sabi River. Well-known for its record number of leopards, you will be thrilled with prolific wildlife sightings on your morning and evening game drives.

Join AdventureWomen in 2017 in one of the most diverse countries in all of Africa, at the southern end of the world’s most epic continent for the best of African culture, winelands and wildlife!

Main Attractions

  • Safari in South Africa's famous Kruger National Park, home to magnificent African wildlife and scenery.
  • Stay in two private luxury tented camps/lodges, and experience Africa with fully-guided game viewing in 4X4 safari vehicles and on foot.
  • Explore sophisticated Cape Town, its flat-topped Table Mountain, amazing Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, plus its cultural diversity, and delicious Cape Malay cuisine.
  • Paddle sea kayaks to Boulder's Beach to meet the colony of African (Jackass) Penguins, found nowhere else in the world, as they swim and frolic in this picturesque cove!
  • Drive the breathtaking Cape Peninsula on the way to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope.
  • Discover the historic and scenic Wine Route and taste the region's celebrated red and white wines at acclaimed vineyards.
  • Visit the Cheetah Outreach project and learn about cheetah issues and how best to conserve this highly endangered and magnificent animal.

What You'll See and Do

  • 4x4
  • Architecture
  • Birding
  • Cheetah Interaction
  • Cooking Class
  • Cultural Exploration
  • National Parks
  • Natural History
  • Photography
  • Safari
  • Sea Kayaking
  • Sightseeing
  • Walking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Wine Tasting

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

South Africa: Culture, Wine, and Wildlife

Trip Itinerary

Please Note: The itinerary for your South Africa Safari is correct at the time of writing, but is subject to change without notice.

Day 1

Sunday, July 30, 2017 - Depart the U.S. for Cape Town, South Africa
Your journey begins as you board your overnight flight to South Africa.
Meals Aloft

Day 2

Monday, July 31 - Arrive Cape Town - The "Mother City" of South Africa
This afternoon (or evening), arrive in Cape Town, South Africa’s “Mother City”. Upon arrival, you are met and transferred to your hotel. The provincial capital, Cape Town, is a sophisticated city with plenty to see and do, particularly around the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront area, where delightful buildings of the Cape Dutch and Victorian-era architecture have been restored as shops, restaurants, museums and pubs, as the busy water traffic of the docks goes on unabated. Cape Town, which faces north across Table Bay, has thrived from its birth, first as a Dutch settlement in 1652 when Jan van Ribeeck established it as a supply station for ships of the Dutch East India Company, and later, under the British as a port supplying ships with food and fresh water from the perennial mountain streams.

Your home for the next five nights in Cape Town will be at the splendid Queen Victoria Hotel

Queen Victoria Hotel
Portswood Close
Portswood Ridge Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001, ZA
http://www.newmarkhotels.com

From the creative brief of ‘where classic elegance meets contemporary design’, every effort has been made to ensure that the 35-room Queen Victoria Hotel is a haven of calm, luxury and understated opulence amid the hustle and bustle of Cape Town’s popular V&A Waterfront.

The interiors create an ambience of peaceful elegance, through the use of greys and taupes, marble-clad walls, crystal chandeliers, white marble and wooden parquet flooring, not to mention the triple-volume foyer with its dramatic white spiral staircase, glass lift and crystal chandeliers.

What sets this unique five-star boutique hotel apart is the attention to detail given by the creative team responsible for its development, who achieved this through their unwavering passion for awe-inspiring design.

Day 3

Tuesday, August 1 - The Cape Peninsula and Sea Kayaking with Penguins
For your exciting first full day in South Africa, sea kayak with penguins and then explore the breathtaking coastline with a drive along the Cape Peninsula!

Arriving in Simonstown, meet your sea-kayaking guide for a safety briefing and then gear up for a few hours of easy paddling in twin kayaks along the False Bay coast. Not to worry, as these are safe, comfortable "sit-on-top" kayaks which require almost no balance or skill. Paddle to the Boulders Beach’s colony of African (Jackass) Penguins and view them from the ocean as they swim around this quaint cove. Also known as the black-footed penguins, these are flightless seabirds, found nowhere else in the world except off the coast of Southern Africa – the only penguins found on the African continent.  This beautiful spot on the Cape Peninsula is framed by scenic white beaches that are protected by large granite boulders.

Leaving the kayaks, you'll have lunch at a local seafood restaurant. Then after lunch, continue your day with a drive along the Cape Peninsula, surrounded by spectacular mountains, rugged shorelines, a variety of flowering plants, and the blue sea. Your journey takes you past quaint seaside towns to Cape Point, where the stormy waters of the Atlantic meet up with the calm waters of the Indian Ocean. At Cape Point, you can choose to climb the steps or ride a funicular to the top, taking a close look at the ocean where we might see southern right whales, dolphins, and a variety of seabirds.

Covering over 19,000 acres, the reserve houses a truly astonishing variety of plant species – about 1,200 - of which 30 are considered rare. It is said that this area contains more floral species than the whole of the British Isles. Look for the distinctive orange found in leucospermums; one of the rarest types of proteas – the mimites; marvel at the helicrysums and pelarganium calcullums; and enjoy the ericas, phenacomas and fine bush which the Dutch called “fynbos”.

Although regarded as a botanical reserve, there is an extensive network of roads that allow visitors to view animals such as grey rhebok, Cape grysbok, Cape mountain zebra, bontebok, eland, red hartebeest, duiker, chacma baboon, Cape fox, caracal, rock dassie and porcupine, in addition to about 250 species of birds.  One of the reserve's most interesting creatures is the endangered sago-belly frog which lives in a few shallow, freshwater pools in a specially protected area. A marine reserve reaches out to sea on the western coast of the reserve, and there is a distinct difference between the marine life on the western shore and that found on the eastern shore.

On departure from the reserve you travel via Noordhoek and over Chapman’s Peak, heading towards the Atlantic Seaboard, through Camps Bay and Bantry Bay, and finally back to the hotel.

Note for today: Bring your swim suit and t-shirt, a windbreaker, sunhat and sunscreen, a towel and a change of comfortable clothes. Your experienced guide will carry a cell phone and full medical kit.
Breakfast and Lunch

Overnights at the Queen Victoria Hotel, Cape Town

Day 4

Wednesday, August 2 - The Winelands and the Cheetah Outreach Project
Depart the city to the Winelands region for a leisurely exploration of historic Wine Route towns, their liquid delights and famed hospitality. Discover the internationally acclaimed vineyards of Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Franschhoek on the Western Cape, along a most scenic route. A stop at the historic estate of Boschendal will introduce us to some of the most brilliantly preserved Cape Dutch buildings in the Cape and its collection of priceless period furniture. At Franschhoek, you'll explore lovely antique shops and gardens, nestled in the "Valley of the Huguenots" where the French first settled in 1688. You'll also stop in the university town of Stellenbosch, the oldest town in South Africa after Cape Town, undoubtedly the most scenic and historically-preserved town in Southern Africa. Oak-lined streets next to water furrows compliment the many fine examples of elegant Cape Dutch, Victorian and Georgian architecture – all part of this unique "Town of Oaks".

There are chances aplenty en-route for tastings of high quality reds and whites as well as Cap Classiques (South African “Champagnes”). Lunch will be at one of the many classic restaurants in the area.

Your day ends with a visit to the Cheetah Outreach project. This project performs very important work in educating the public and the world about cheetah issues and how best to conserve this highly endangered and magnificent animal. You’ll also see the Anatolian Shepherd Dogs that were bred in Namibia at the Cheetah Conservation Fund. These dogs are placed with sheep herds in farms in Namibia to defend them against cheetah attacks, making it unnecessary for farmers to shoot the cheetahs the way they have been doing in the past. The project aims to provide a voice to the free ranging cheetah through education and awareness in urban and rural communities.

Returning to Cape Town in the evening, you have another chance to discover one of the numerous fabulous restaurants that Cape Town has to offer.
Breakfast and Lunch

Overnight at the Queen Victoria Hotel, Cape Town

Day 5

Thursday, August 3 - West Coast National Park
Your first port of call this morning is Bloubergstrand, which in Afrikaans "blue mountain beach" after Blouberg. Much of Bloubergstrand's attraction lies in its white sandy beaches from which you'll get picture-postcard views of Table Mountain and the city of Cape Town. Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, can also be seen quite clearly from the beach at Bloubergstrand.

Continue north along the Atlantic coast to the West Coast National Park, a jewel in this peninsula's crown, and a rare biome formed by prehistoric changes in sea levels situated around the Langebaan Lagoon. The park is a paradise for some 55,000 birds, belonging to more than 150 species, that gather here each year - many migrating from northern climates to breed.

Spring flowers emerge from July to September depending upon the combination of rain and sun. Walking trails are the best way to experience the park's scenery, with stunning views of the sea, as well as fynbos and birdlife. The west coast of the Atlantic Ocean harbors giants of the sea including several species of whales and dolphins, cape fur seals and great white sharks. The southern right whales have been cruising, calving, breaching and blowing along the Garden Route for eons, making their way from the cold sub-Antarctic climates to this Indian Ocean coast where, every year from May to December, they mate, calve and rear their young. This is a superb vantage point for whale-watching, and to (hopefully) be amazed at the delightful and varied behavior of the southern right whales.

After spending some time in one of the bird hides in the park, you'll visit the information center at Geelbek, a historic farm and national monument, then drive through a private section of the park to see bontebok, eland and zebra grazing amidst vast carpets of spring blooms, a feature for which this landscape is famous.

After lunch, return to the city, pausing to view the Moravian Mission Station at Mamre, and possibly, stopping off at the West Coast Ostrich Farm or Fossil Park en route.
Breakfast and Lunch

Overnight at the Queen Victoria Hotel, Cape Town  

Day 6

Friday, August 4 - Cape Malay Cultural Experience with Table Mountain and Kirstenbosch Gardens
Today takes you to the top of Table Mountain, a Cape Malay cultural immersion and cooking class, and a visit to the amazing Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (maybe not in this order!).

Table Mountain is the signature of Cape Town, easily one of the most recognizable mountains in the world. Many a times a cloud covers this flat-topped mountain, which rises to 3,563 feet above sea level, and the locals affectionately call it a white tablecloth. Legend has it that a retired pirate met up with the devil while climbing the mountain, and in order to preserve his soul, the pirate challenged the devil in a smoking contest. So they stoked up their pipes and have been smoking ever since!

For centuries Table Mountain has been a guiding beacon to mariners rounding the Cape of Southern Africa. Sir Francis Drake described it as "the most stately thing and the fairest cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth." Despite its formidable appearance, it is possible to hike up Table Mountain (however, not sure anyone will opt for this...!). For nature lovers, the birding is awesome, and the wild flowers which poke out from rock crevices amid a scrub of ericas and gnarled proteas are awesome. More than 1,400 species of flowering plants have been recorded on the mountain, which makes it a spectacular sight in the spring. Cute guinea pig-like creatures known as rock dassies, or hyraxes, (genetically, the closest living relatives to elephants) scuttle everywhere. They are not afraid and scamper among the tourists seeking to be fed.

Next, you'll get to know aspects of the cultural diversity that Cape Town has to offer on an interactive guided walk through the historical heart of the Bo-Kaap, complete with a mini shopping safari. We'll meet our guide at the Bo-Kaap museum for a unique insight into the origins and history of the Cape Malay people. Across the street from the museum is the bustling spice market, where you will learn about the origins of the spices and how they are used in Cape Malay cuisine.

Stroll along the cobbled streets of the Bo-Kaap and learn about the colorful nature and architecture of the locals. The earliest members of the ethnic group that resides at Cape Malay arrived as slaves and were brought to Cape Town from Southeast Asia by the Dutch. Cape Malay also has a South Asian or Indian heritage, and it was their influence that brought Islam to South Africa. Over time their cultural and culinary adaptations became ingrained into daily life in South Africa, especially the food and especially in Cape Town.

To learn first-hand about Cape Malay cuisine, you'll have a warm, home-hosted Cape Malay welcome, learning how to fold samosas, and discovering this traditional and deliciously spicy Cape Malay dish. Once you've mastered the art, sit down to enjoy the feast that we created. "Cape Malay cuisine is a delicious fusion of Asian, European and African food genres. From clove laden denningvleis lamb to naartjie (tangerine) zest-laden tameletjie cookies, Cape Malay cooking is seasoned with history, infused with culture and full of fine flavors.”

The rest of the day is devoted to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, arguably one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. Founded in 1913, Kirstenbosch lies on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain and consists of landscaped gardens of indigenous plants and trees, watered by the Liesbeek River, as well as natural forest that extends up to the lower slopes. It is a living display featuring 9,000 of the estimated 20,000 species of indigenous South African flora, and close to 50% of the peninsula’s floral wealth. In the cultivated area, related plants are grouped together and radiate from the central lawns like the spokes of a wheel: the Cycad Amphitheatre, which hosts most species of these “living fossils” found in southern Africa; the famed Protea Garden on the higher slopes, with its profuse growth of silver trees (Leucadendron argenteum); the JV Mathews Rock Garden (named after the first curator) containing succulents of the genera Crassula, Aloe, Lampranthus and Euphorbia; and the Erica Garden and the Pelargonium Koppie. Of historical interest is an avenue of camphor trees and fig trees planted by Cecil Rhodes in 1898, and a small section of wild almond hedge (Brabejum stellatifolium) planted by Dutch settler Jan van Riebeeck in 1660. Birds of all sorts can be seen here as well – Dusky and Paradise Flycatchers, sunbirds, Klaas's cuckoos, bulbuls, pigeons, brilliant green and red Cape Sugarbirds (which pollinate the flowers), guinea fowls, and the Cape Batis.
Breakfast and Lunch

Overnight at the Queen Victoria Hotel, Cape Town  

Day 7 - 8

Saturday - Sunday, August 5 - 6 - Timbavati Private Nature Reserve and Tanda Tula Safari Camp
This morning, fly to Hoedspruit and you will be transferred to Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. Located to the north of the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve on the western edge of Kruger National Park, Timbavati Nature Reserve shares a common unfenced border with Kruger National Park, allowing the animals free range, and ensuring that guests have the opportunity to view the greatest diversity of wildlife that South Africa has to offer. The reserve is home to the great cats - lion, leopard and cheetah - as well as elephant, buffalo, black and white rhino, zebra, giraffe, and a host of antelope. The rare wild dog is seen on occasion. Night drives may afford a glimpse of elusive nocturnal animals such as the armadillo-like pagolin and African wildcat. Animal tracking, bird-watching and stargazing are other available activities.

Tanda Tula Safari Camp is one of the original game lodges of the Timbavati Nature Reserve. Tanda Tula, which means "to love the quiet", is situated in 20,000 acres of bushveld in the Timbavati Nature Reserve and is considered one of South Africa’s most luxurious tented camps. Set among stately trees such as lead wood, knob thorn and the jackal berry, the focal point of this safari camp is the bar/lounge that overlooks the watering hole. Afternoons spent around the pool are popular, while the highlight of each evening is the open-air dinner served around the log fire in the riverbed.

Your accommodations in Tanda Tula Safari Camp are luxuriously appointed East African-style tented suites, all with en-suite bathrooms and private timber decks, situated in lush riverine and overlooking the spectacular riverbed. The luxury tents, designed in a rustic chic style, offer hot and cold water and are equipped with fans, hairdryers, and mosquito netting. The camp permeates a sense of "joie de vivre", and offers unpretentious hospitality and friendly service, not to mention delicious Pan-African cuisine.

With a handful of visitors and a vehicle density of less than one per square mile, words "private, secluded and tranquil" best describe a stay here. Safaris are based on twice daily drives or walking excursions, accompanied by professional rangers and trackers whose passion for the wildlife has enriched their lives, and they willingly share their knowledge.
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Included are: local soft drinks, beers, spirits, and house wines with meals; morning and afternoon teas and coffees; and laundry. Two daily safari activities and optional guided game walk after breakfast.

2 overnights at Tanda Tula Safari Camp
www.tandatula.co.za

Day 9 - 11

Monday - Wednesday, August 7 - 9 - River Lodge at Lion Sand Game Reserve
This morning you transfer from Tanda Tula to River Lodge, the soul of the Lion Sand Game Reserve. Built on the banks of the Sabie River and positioned on a site with trees dating back 800 years, you need not move far to appreciate extraordinary wildlife, or to marvel at the spectacular riverside view. Passed down through generations, and hosted by a family of incredible and warm staff, it is known as one of South Africa's premier private game reserves

There are 19 en-suite chalets, all with their own private wooden viewing deck looking the Sabi River. Your luxury suite features both indoor and outdoor showers, and all suites are air-conditioned. You may not need to leave the privacy of your room to see wildlife roaming around the Lodge! Its chic public areas are linked by teak decks to the two swimming pools and Spa.

Activities are centered on morning and late afternoon game drives and walking safaris guided by experienced rangers and trackers. Lion Sands Game Reserve, within the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and Kruger National Park, is part of an ecosystem which is home to the largest concentration of wild animal species in the Southern Hemisphere, and the Sabi Sands, especially around the Sabi River, is famous for its record number of leopard sightings.

The chances of seeing the Big 5 are nowhere better than in the Sabi Sands. During time in between safari activities, there are a range of other activities for us: relax at the pool, read a book on your own viewing deck, or get pampered at the Lalamuka Spa.

We enjoy 3 nights and 3 days of game viewing from this spectacular safari lodge. What could be better!!??
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

3 Overnights at Lion Sands Game Reserve
http://www.lionsands.com/

Day 12

Thursday, August 10 - Fly to Johannesburg
This morning you'll savor one last wildlife drive at Lion Sands before transferring to Skukuza Airport for flights to Johannesburg, where you will connect with our overnight flight back to the US.
Breakfast

Day 13

Friday, August 11 - Morning Arrival in the U.S. and Flights Home
This morning you arrive in the US and connect with your flights home, savoring the memories of all the wonderful sights, sounds, and safaris of South Africa!
Meals Aloft

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

South Africa: Culture, Wine, and Wildlife

Traveling to South Africa


Passports, Visas and Health Requirements

Citizens of the United States must possess a valid US passport for travel to South Africa. It must be valid 6 months beyond your intended stay in Africa. You will need 2 empty passport VISA pages per country visited.

Citizens of other countries should inquire about requirements for entry. If you do not have a passport, APPLY NOW! Please do not wait until the last minute. You should always carry 2 extra passport photographs with you, in case of emergency (if your passport/visa is lost or stolen).

There is no visa required for U.S. visitors to South Africa for stays up to 3 months.

You MUST have your own health insurance, and have no physical problems or conditions that would be adversely affected by riding in 4 X 4 vehicles on rough, bumpy roads or walking 3-4 miles per day (on level ground.) You must be in very good physical condition to participate in this trip.

Vaccinations

There are no mandatory immunizations required for US residents visiting South Africa. However, please consult your personal physician, local health department, travel clinic, or immunization center about any vaccinations you may need to update, or others that may be personally recommended for you based on your age, health, and past vaccination history.

As far as Malaria is concerned, many women choose to take Malaria medication, but many choose not to due to possible side effects. If you do not want to take this, the best prevention is to avoid mosquito bites. Wear long slacks and long sleeved shirts in the evenings, use mosquito nets (provided in your rooms and tents), and a repellent with 30% DEET, Skin So Soft, or oil of citronella.

Traveling to South Africa: Arrival and Departure

Round-trip airfare from the US to Cape Town, and return from Johannesburg, plus your 2 internal flights within South Africa are NOT included in the cost of the trip package.

Our outfitter will most likely be booking the 2 internal flights within South Africa, and we will let you know more details after registration. But you are free to make your international airline reservations on your own.

Departure from the US for Cape Town, South Africa is July 30, 2017. You will arrive in Cape Town on **July 31.  Arrival times are dependent on what airline you take (i.e., South African Airlines from JFK arrives at 12:15 pm, from Dulles it arrives at 8:55 pm. Delta from Atlanta through Amsterdam arrives at 9:15 pm. Emirates and British Air also fly to Cape Town).

On August 10, 2017, you will depart Johannesburg, South Africa, with arrival back in the U.S. on August 11. Flights on most of the above airlines depart in the evening, and our internal flight from Skukuza Airport to Johannesburg will get you into Johannesburg with plenty of time to make connections.

**Airport pick-up on July 31. There will be one free pick-up for the majority arriving in Cape Town, on the same flight, or within 20 minutes of each other.  If you do not come at those times, there will be additional pick up fees, and they will be determined by how many women are in each transfer. The highest rate will be R550 ($36 US Dollars) per person. The more per transfer, the rate decreases.

Making Travel Arrangements to South Africa

We are happy to help you make your flight and travel arrangements. Please contact us for more information.

NOTE: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last minute registrants, we must often relinquish hotel space and air reservations up to 6 – 12 weeks prior to departure!

Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.

Final Payment

Final payment is due to AdventureWomen, LLC in a cash form (check, money order or wire transfer) on or before May 2, 2017.

Our Professional Naturalist-Guide

Russell Gerber was born and raised in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province where he spent much of his childhood exploring the famous Garden Route and Wild Coast, but now calls The Mother City, Cape Town, his home. He holds a degree in zoology and African vertebrate biology and a post-graduate honors degree in marine biology.

With his impressive credentials, Russell has hosted guests from across the globe on both marine and land-based safaris. His guiding experiences have taken him to remote areas of the World as diverse and far-flung as Southern and Eastern Africa, South East Asia, The Caribbean, and The Middle East, but it is Africa that stirs his deep passion for conservation of both environmental and cultural diversity—both of which are in abundance in South Africa. Russell’s experience and enthusiasm make him an ideal companion for exploring all that Africa has to offer.

Climate and Wildlife in August

May to September is the dry season, or South Africa's "winter". There is little to no rain, the skies are clear, most days are sunny and beautiful, and there are fewer mosquitoes. It is the perfect time for wildlife viewing since it is easier to spot because there is less vegetation, and the animals gather around rivers and waterholes.

At night and in the mornings it can get cold, so it's advised to pack warm clothing, especially for morning safari drives in open vehicles. The average morning temperature is 42°F. Afternoons will be much warmer with temperatures around 73-77°F. See our suggestions in the What to Bring section.

Tipping, Money and Credit Cards

The currency of South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR). One rand is made up 100 cents. The Rand is available in denominations of R1, R2, R5 (coins) and R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200 (paper notes). These notes nowadays bear images of South African wildlife as opposed to the images of political and historical significance in the early 1990's.  The cents are available as coins in denominations of 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c and 50c. As of July 2016, the exchange rate is 1 USD = 15.04 Rand (ZAR).

ATM's are in abundance on streets, in shopping malls, many local corner shops and petrol stations and you can simply use your overseas debit card to obtain local currency. The banking system is world class and you often obtain a better service than in many western countries.

Credit cards (Visa and MC) are widely accepted in larger shops, but not necessarily in the markets and small towns.

In Cape Town, you will need to change your money into ZAR. Restaurants, shops, and more will accept only the local currency. You can exchange money at the waterfront at a FOREX shop, or at the airport on arrival. On safari you will be able to tip in U.S. Dollars, but if you want to buy anything, book a Spa treatment, etc. you will need to pay in ZAR.

You should bring enough cash for tips while on safari, and to change your money into ZAR for other expenses.

U.S. residents are allowed to bring back $800 worth of merchandise, duty free.           

*Important information about credit cards! Please note: You should bring at least one smart card, usually referred to as a chip card, or chip-and-PIN credit card for travel to Europe and to other overseas destinations. These new cards are more secure and you are more protected from credit card fraud.

These so-called smart cards have embedded microchips in them. You will see the silver or gold microchip on the front of your card. They also have the traditional magnetic stripe, so can be used the same as your regular credit/debit card. You'll either sign for purchases, or enter a 4 digit PIN into a terminal. (Confirm with your bank that your PIN, or 4 digit number, will be the number that you use the FIRST time that a PIN is required for use with your new card. So just make sure you remember it for all future transactions!)

It is best to have your chip card as a VISA or MasterCard, since American Express is often not accepted in many places. In Europe and in parts of Asia, they simply don't acknowledge magnetic-strip cards anymore unless they are chip-and-PIN enabled. In addition, in any automated transactions such as train stations and gas stations, ONLY chip-and-PIN cards are accepted.

Chip-and-PIN cards have become standard in many European countries because of their superior fraud-prevention abilities. Now countries in Asia, North America and South America, and Canada are doing the same.

Water and Food

Bottled water is supplied during the daytime and on safari. It is important to take the advice of our guides whenever you are unsure about the safety of water. During safari, all food is very well prepared and it is safe to eat anything that is served.

 

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

South Africa: Culture, Wine, and Wildlife

What's Included:

  • 11 days/10 nights includes 5 nights in Cape Town and environs, plus 5 nights fully-guided wildlife safari
  • Guided excursions in Cape Town and environs: Peninsula tour with sea kayaking; full day Winelands tour; full day West Coast tour; Cape Malay cultural experience and cooking class, with Table Mountain and Kirstenbosch Gardens
  • Airport pick-up. On July 31, there will be one free pick-up for the majority arriving at the same time
  • All wildlife viewing and transportation throughout the safari in open-top 4x4 vehicles driven by knowledgeable, English-speaking driver-guides
  • Superior accommodations throughout, in a luxury hotel in Cape Town, and in luxury safari camps and lodges with private en-suite facilities and modern amenities, based on two people sharing a twin room
  • Services of professional safari staff in all private tented camps, plus laundry service
  • Full board, table d'hote breakfast, lunch, and dinner while on safari; with other meals as per itinerary
  • Complimentary bottled water during touring and safaris
  • Specialist Professional Guide throughout
  • One AdventureWomen Associate
  • All park entry fees and sightseeing as specified
  • All applicable hotel and lodge taxes and gratuities for baggage handling

What's Not Included:

  • Round-trip international flight from the S. to Cape Town, South Africa, returning from Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Internal flights: Cape Town/Hoedspruit and Skukuza/Johannesburg ($410 as of July 2016)
  • Passport and visa fees and service charges for obtaining visas. No visas are required for South Africa
  • Airport pick-up on July 31, if you are not part of the free pick-up for the majority arriving at the same time
  • Any excess baggage charges levied by airlines
  • Meals and beverages, other than specified
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Optional insurance coverage for Baggage, Accident, and Trip Cancellation/Interruption
  • Gratuities to guide, driver-guides and other staff:

-Specialist guide: $15/person/day
-Safari Driver-Guides: $10/person/day (one guide per vehicle)
-Lodge Staff on safari: $7/person/day (communal tips shared among the staff)
-Assorted other tips: bartender (depending on use!); guides for nature walks and other activities, to be determined

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

South Africa: Culture, Wine, and Wildlife

What to Bring:

Baggage

Unlike other trips in Africa, there are no baggage restrictions on the 2 internal flights within South Africa. These flights have normal airline restrictions of one bag at 50lbs for checked luggage and one bag at 18lbs for carry-on luggage.

That said, however, you should still pack light for your trip to South Africa! Remember, you will be able to have laundry done at each of the camps.

In addition to your duffel or suitcase, you should bring a small carry-on bag with everything you cannot live without (all camera equipment and film, toiletries, prescription medication, anti-diarrhea medication, all money, important travel documents, passport, etc.). Please go to www.tsa.gov/travelers on the internet for airline regulations regarding carry-on luggage.

Select your clothing based on comfort. Safari clothes should be washable, cotton or the new fabrics (not synthetics like rayon), and loose fitting. Some of the new fabrics like Coolmax, supplex, and polypropylene are excellent. Clothing should be light colored (tan, khaki, or neutral colors) on safari; it keeps you comfortable and is unobtrusive and non-threatening to wildlife.

  • A well broken-in, comfortable pair of lightweight walking shoes.
  • Pair of sport sandals.
  • 2 long-sleeved shirts.
  • 2 short-sleeved shirts and/or T-shirts.
  • 2 pairs of shorts.
  • Or 2-3 pairs long pants that zip off for shorts.
  • Underwear, socks, sleepwear.
  • Toiletries, including Wash & Dries.
  • Prescription drugs (with the labels on.)
  • A fleece and/or light jacket for cool evenings, plus a wool or synthetic cap and gloves. It can get downright cold in the morning and at night in August, so a jacket, hat and gloves for early morning and night game drives are essential.
  • A lightweight day pack for carrying camera, film, hat, sunscreen, etc. (you can also use your day pack as your carry on bag).
  • Moneybelt or waistpack for money/passport.
  • Washcloth (not supplied in most lodges/camps).
  • 2-3 cotton bandannas.
  • Bathing suit and pair of rubber “thongs” for the showers.
  • Sunglasses
  • Lightweight, wide-brimmed hat (a must).
  • A spare pair of glasses (if you wear glasses.)
  • Insect repellent.
  • Ziploc bags of various sizes.
  • Travel alarm clock.
  • Small flashlight.
  • Small, lightweight binoculars (a MUST) for game viewing and birds. You will be very disappointed if you do not have a good pair of binoculars. Nikon or Minolta make fine, lightweight viewing binoculars. Try a general game viewing 7 X 28, or 8 X 20 binocular.
  • Lonely Planet Watching Wildlife Southern Africa (Travel Guide) Paperback – September 1, 2009 by Matthew D Firestone, Mary Fitzpatrick, Nana Luckham, Kate Thomas

Camera Equipment

Since photography is such a large part of this trip, we suggest you bring the following:

  • Digital camera, LOTS of extra memory cards and batteries, battery charger, and adapter. You can charge your digital batteries in hotels and lodges. Most digital cameras have a built in converter so you only need to bring an adapter. Adapters can also be bought while in-country.

If you want to get great pictures of animals and birds, a long lens is a must. I have an 80-400 mm Nikon lens and I can get just about anything that you want to take photos of on this trip. There is really no need to have anything larger than a 400 mm lens. You will, of course, need a normal or wide angle lens (somewhere between 24 – 70 mm), to take pictures of people, villages, and general photography during the trip. Many lenses on newer cameras are “all in one” (i.e. 28 – 400-500 mm). Get advice from a good, reputable camera shop!

Electricity

It is strongly suggested that you leave all electrical appliances at home except those which are battery operated.

  • The Travel Plug Adaper for South Africa is the TYPE M Large 15 amp BS 546. You can bring one with you, or they can be purchased locally.

Personal First Aid Kit

  • Prescription drugs (with the labels on.)
  • Systemic antibiotic (prescription).
  • Cloth, not plastic Bandaids; about 10 individually-wrapped alcohol pads; and a small tube of Neosporin or other antibiotic cream.
  • Prescription medicines in their original bottles.
  • Acidophilus enzyme (available in capsules in health-food stores). This often helps your digestive system get in shape for "new" flora.
  • Immodium, Lomotil, or similar anti-diarrhea medicine.
  • Pepto-Bismol tablets and/or liquid (in leak-proof bottle.)
  • Laxative tablets.
  • Visine or similar eye drops.
  • Tweezers
  • Benadryl cream for itchy bites.
  • Aspirin/ibuprofen, etc.
  • Cold-symptom relief tablets, antihistamine, cough drops.
  • Insect repellent with Deet.

Last Minute Reminders

  • Make photocopies of your airline tickets and the first two pages of your passport, and put them in different locations (suitcase, carry-on bag, etc.).
  • Bring 2-3 extra passport size photos to use in emergencies.
  • Your valuables should be insured for the duration of the trip, but better yet, leave them at home.
  • Remove extra credit cards, driver’s license, and personal items from wallet or purse.
  • Make sure passport and airline tickets are valid and in the correct name.
  • Check with airline to reconfirm reservations and departure time (most airlines want to hear directly from the client for confirmations).
  • Please leave all valuable jewelry at home!!!

Some Extra Items to Add to your "What to Pack" List 

We think these items help make your long airline flights much more comfortable and even more bearable:

  • Neck pillow - Inflatable neck pillow for blissful support and deep sleep. For packing, it folds into itself. Self-sealing valve means nothing to close. Soft microfleece cover removes for washing.
  • Sleep mask /Comfort eye shade - Ultra lightweight and comfortable, the Comfort Eye Shade screens out light and distractions for a cozier flight. Ultra-soft micro fleece for comfort. Adjustable elastic strap for a perfect fit. Made of Molded Polyester Micro Fleece.
  • Travel compression socks - Reduce ankle and leg swelling and reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis. These doctor-designed socks stimulate circulation through gradual compression that stops swelling and guards against (DVT).
  • Noise canceling headphones - Block out unwanted sounds of children crying and airplane engine drone, and/or enjoy great audio sound. Reduce distortion and increase perceived loudness so you can enjoy sound at a lower volume. Get the around the ear design, which is very comfortable.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.