Odysseys Unlimited South Africa Odyssey

9/15/16
DAY 1—Depart the U.S. for Johannesburg, South Africa

We depart on our overnight flight to Johannesburg.

9/16/16
DAY 2—Arrive Johannesburg

Upon arrival in Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city and Africa’s fourth largest, we transfer to our hotel located in the suburb of Rosebank. As guests’ arrival times may vary greatly, we have no group activities planned. This evening is free to rest and relax and to enjoy dinner on your own in the “City of Gold,” the nation’s largest city as well as its most racially mixed.

Accommodations. 54 on Bath

9/17/16
DAY 3—Johannesburg/Soweto

We meet our fellow travelers today as we embark on a tour of Johannesburg’s renowned district of Soweto. Originally a collection of townships established by segregationists in the early 20″ century to house black laborers, the “Southwest Townships” (from which the “Soweto.” acronym derived) gained acclaim for its inhabitants’ resistance to apartheid and today is a vibrant residential area. Here we see the home of former Archbishop Desmond Tutu and visit Nelson Mandela’s home, now a museum. Next we visit the Hector Pieterson Memorial—a monument to the Soweto Uprising which figured prominently in the Struggle against apartheid. It was here that 13-year-old Hector was among those shot and killed in June 1976 while protesting the government’s order that school instruction be delivered in Afrikaans. We meet a local Sowetan who shares personal stories of the Soweto uprising, and what life is like today in this township. Afterwards, we enjoy lunch together at a local restaurant then return to our hotel where the remainder of our afternoon is at leisure. Tonight we toast the adventure ahead at a welcome dinner.

Accommodations: 54 on Bath
Meals. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

9/18/16
DAY 4-—Johannesburg/Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

This morning we return to the airport for our flight to Victoria Falls. Upon arrival early this afternoon, we board a motorcoach and travel to our deluxe hotel located in Victoria Falls National Park. With its 300foot-deep gorge and thundering spray, Victoria Falls, known locally as “the smoke that thunders,” is a wonder of the natural world, especially as hippos, elephants, crocodiles, and other animals roam freely in the surrounding jungle. “Vic Falls” reach is higher and even more impressive than that of Niagara, as it plunges Some 300 feet into the Zambezi Gorge below, forming the single largest cascade of water on earth. This afternoon’s tour is in a protected area (free from wildlife); you’ll be able to walk safely and photograph as you wish. Tonight we enjoy dinner together at the hotel.

Accommodations. The Victoria Falls Hotel
Meals. Breakfast, Dinner

9/19/16
DAY 5—Victoria Falls

This morning we encounter local life up close on a visit to a local grade school. We meet with teachers and students who treat us to a performance of traditional music and dance. Our tour director will facilitate the donation of any School Supplies or books you may choose to bring as a greatly appreciated gift.

Following our school visit, we spent some time walking through Victoria Falls town and visiting artisan shops. Late afternoon we traveled a short distance to embark on a “Sundowner” cruise on the mighty Victoria Falls town, where, as the sun sets, we kept our eyes peeled for wildlife along the river’s banks. We enjoyed dinner on board our boat before returning to our hotel.

Private Game Reserve

In the morning we embarked on an elephant-back safari through the bush in the Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve. Upon arrival at the reserve we heard a brief introductory talk about the excursion and meet the elephants and their handlers. Then we mount the elephants and embark on a ride through the bush. At the conclusion of our elephant experience we embark on a rhino safari for sightings of the most endangered of the “Big Five” species, as well as other game. Late afternoon, we enjoyed listening to a guest speaker discuss the trials and travails of David Livingstone, who “discovered” The Falls and claimed them for Queen Victoria in 1855.

Chobe National Park

In the morning we journey by motorcoach to spectacular Chobe National Park in neighboring Botswana for both a morning game drive and an afternoon game cruise through this exceptional reserve. Since many animals congregate along the river that runs through Chobe, we make a point of driving there in search of antelope, zebra, buffalo, and hundreds of species of birds. Thanks to a varied terrain and plentiful water supply, Chobe is renowned for its predator population, including lions, as well as zebras, hippos, and the rare puku, a species of antelope indigenous to the area. Chobe is home to the world’s largest elephant population.

Windhoek, Namibia

We flew via Johannesburg to Windhoek, Namibia’s German-influenced capital and the country’s largest city (pop. 150,000). With just over two million inhabitants in an area nearly four times the size of the United Kingdom, Namibia has the world’s second lowest population density.

9/23/16
Sossusvlei

After a brief tour of Windhoek, we set out on a journey through spectacular mountain passes en route to the Namibian desert of vast gravel plains and giant sand dunes that rise more than a thousand feet high. Though Namibia is one of the youngest of the African nations, it boasts a 130 million-year-old desert, the Namib. We traveled to the Central Namibia, which stretches for some 700 miles along the coast and is covered with huge dunes which each support tiny ecosystems – largely from the fog that rolls in off the ocean. Along the way we stopped for a quick lunch en route to the western part of this scenic country. We were in the heart of the Namibian desert, a kaleidoscope of color and mesmerizing sands at their most breathtaking during sunrise and sunset.

9/24/16
Sossusvlei

We embark on an early morning excursion to the dramatic red sand dunes at Sossusvlei – the world’s highest. Here the dunes seem to be “alive” – they constantly change and undulate as a result of the desert winds. Despite their barren look, the dunes actually support a rich, complex system of wildlife that includes the blind golden mole, a large dancing spider known as the “white lady,” plus geckoes and lizards. You most guests attempted to climb on the velvety sands of Big Mama, as the locals fondly refer to the largest dune. The winds were strong and most of us turned around before getting too far. We returned to our lodge afterward for a leisurely lunch during the heat of the day and time to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery and pool here.

9/25/16
/Swakopmund

We traveled through the Namib Desert today en route to German-accented Swakopmund, Namibia’s main port, a fishing center, and resort. During our journey we hope to see oryx, springbok, and ostrich in the wild; as well as picturesque mountain scenery. We arrived in Swakopmund in time for a late lunch, and then we get acquainted with the town by visiting the Natural History Museum, which occupies a former harbor warehouse; and the Crystal Gallery, which together lend us insight into Namibia’s colonial past and rich natural resources.

9/26/16
DAY 12—Swakopmund/Skeleton Coast

This morning we set out for a half-day cruise and lunch along Namibia’s famed Skeleton Coast, named for the many shipwrecks its rocks and fog have caused and for the many bones on its beaches from whaling and Seal hunting. Putting out to Sea on a catamaran, we will see this renowned coast from the perspective of the many mariners who went before, witnessing some of the shipwrecks the coast has claimed, as well as the Cape Fur Seals, pelicans, and other sea birds native to these waters. Our nautical exploration of this rugged and Striking region inland tribespeople call “the land God created in anger” will provide a cool respite after the arid desert atmosphere of Sossusvlei. After the cruise, we return to Swakopmund with the remainder of the day at leisure to explore this charming coastal city with its palm-lined streets and historic German architecture on our own. Options abound: visit the National Marine Aquarium or the Swakopmund Military Museum, venture to the main beach area, or spend your time browsing at one of the many shops or the local outdoor crafts market. This evening we enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant.

Accommodations: Swakopmund Hotel
Hotel Meals. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

9/27/16
DAY 13—Swakopmund/Walvis Bay/Cape Town, South Africa

En route to the Walvis Bay airport, we stop to see a slice of unspoiled Africa, where flamingos, pelicans, and a host of other water birds come to refresh themselves in the cool waters. (Please note that, based on local conditions, flamingoes may or may not be present). After our two-hour flight, we arrive in Cape Town, South Africa early afternoon. We transfer immediately to our hotel on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, and have the remainder of the afternoon and evening at leisure to enjoy Cape Town and the waterfront. Lunch is your own today; we enjoy dinner at a local restaurant tonight.

Accommodations. The Table Bay Hotel
Meals. Breakfast, Dinner

9/28/16
DAY 14—Cape Town/The Winelands

South Africa is one of the finest wine-producing countries in the world – and some of its best vineyards lie a mere 45 miles from Cape Town. We embark on a full-day excursion through the Cape Winelands region, which has been producing wine since 1679. We travel through the historic town of Paarl (meaning “pearl”) and the delightful village of Franschhoek; then stop at one of the region’s wineries for lunch. Next we travel to Stellenbosch, a former frontier town on the banks of the Eerste and the second oldest town in South Africa. The town square is one of the “newest” sections of town, with buildings from 1777 and several fine examples of Cape Dutch architecture. We return to our hotel late this afternoon; the remainder of the day is at leisure and you dine on your own tonight in this cosmopolitan city.

The Table Bay Hotel

9/28/16
Cape Town
Cape of Good Hope

On today’s full-day excursion to the Cape Peninsula, we visit the place that Sir Francis Drake called “the most Stately thing and the fairest Cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth” – the Cape of Good Hope. We pass by lovely Hout Bay before reaching the Cape Point Nature Reserve, with some 19,000 acres of protected parkland. Here on this unspoiled peninsula, mountains drop into the sea, unique flora thrives, and bird life is abundant. A funicular takes us to the summit of the Nature Reserve for a stupendous ocean view. After a Seafood lunch, we drive through historic Simons Town, headquarters of the South African Navy; then continue on to Boulders Beach, where we visit a unique penguin colony. Our final stop of the day is at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, considered among the finest in the world. Cutting a Swath across one thousand acres on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, the property was bequeathed to South Africa by wealthy industrialist Cecil Rhodes upon his death in 1902. The gardens planted here are almost exclusively devoted to the indigenous plants of South Africa – approximately 9,000 of the nation’s 22,000 species.

The Table Bay Hotel

9/30/16
Cape Town/Robben Island

On February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years of imprisonment, and in April 1994 he was elected the nation’s president in South Africa’s first free elections. This morning we come face to face with an indelible aspect of both Mandela’s and South Africa’s history; the notorious 17″-century prison at Robben Island in Table Bay that once held Mandela, Walter Sisulu, and other noted opponents of apartheid. We traveled by boat to the island, where we embark on an in-depth guided tour by bus and of the prison, often led by former prisoners who openly share their views. The prison is now a national museum chronicling a chapter of South Africa’s painful past. Following our tour, we return to Cape Town for a visit by cable car (weather permitting) 3,500 feet to the top of Table Mountain. The views from the summit are phenomenal, so be sure to bring your camera. Mid-afternoon we return to our hotel; tonight we toast our Southern Africa Odyssey together with a farewell dinner.

Accommodations. The Table Bay Hotel

10/1/16
Kapama Private Game Reserve

This morning we transfer to the Cape Town airport for the flight to Hoedspruit or Mpumalanga, where we then transfer to our lodge in the Kapama Private Game Reserve. Here, the magic and mystery of Africa begin to unfold as this afternoon we embark on our first game drive. This wildlife region, which sits adjacent to the enormous Kruger National Park, boasts an abundance of bird and mammal species, including the “Big Five”: elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, and rhino. Experienced rangers accompany us in our open safari vehicles to ensure we enjoy close-up encounters with the animals; they also tell us about the flora and fauna that surrounds us.

Lunch today is on your own en route from Cape Town. Upon arrival to our lodge, we have some time to freshen up before our first game drive, and dinner is included in camp upon our return to the lodge.

Accommodations. Kapama Southern Camp

DAY 18—Kapama Private Game Reserve

At morning’s first light and again in the late afternoon, when the animals hunt for their dinners, we embark on game drives. In between, we return to our lodge to rest, relax, and refresh ourselves.
Back in camp, we’re free to relax amidst the splendid setting, cool off in the Swimming pool, visit the library, gym, or spa, or observe wildlife from our lodge’s private elevated viewing decks. All of our meals today and tomorrow are served at the lodge.

Accommodations: Kapama Southern Camp
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 19—Kapama Private Game Reserve

We have in store another full day of game drives and relaxing at our lodge, Savoring the natural Splendor of this amazing habitat.
Accommodations: Kapama Southern Camp

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 20: Kapama/Johannesburg/Depart for U.S.

We return to the airport early this morning for the flight to Johannesburg where we will board our connecting flights to the United States.
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 21: Arrive U.S.

We arrive in the U.S. today and board our connecting flights home.