Your South African experience will begin with an overnight international non-stop flight from Philadelphia airport to Johannesburg. You will make a late afternoon arrival the next day at this temporary destination where you can unwind after a long, tiring flight.
Depending on which time of year you choose to travel, expect to be greeted by temperatures in the summer months from October to March ranging between 65 to 98 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature climate is sometimes accompanied by rains, usually in the form of afternoon thunderstorms. Typical winter temperatures range from 35 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter is marked by mild, sunny days which are ideal for game viewing and photography while on your safari.
The following morning it is time to board a light aircraft for a short flight to the magnificent Ngala Private Game Reserve located within renowned Kruger National Park. This is one of the richest wildlife regions on the continent, with a great diversity of large and spectacular wildlife. Elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and white rhino comprise the “Big Five” attractions within the reserve. They are all common and extremely relaxed when approached by vehicles on safari to allow unsurpassed viewing and photographic opportunities. The reserve is also heavily populated with other interesting wildlife, such as the warthog, giraffe, zebra, hyena, impala, jackal, and cheetah all in their natural habitat.
Activities at Ngala are centered on game-viewing drives in open four-wheel drive vehicles which travel typically prior to dawn and at dusk in search of wildlife, including nocturnal species which are best viewed after sunset. Each vehicle is occupied with a professional ranger and an armed tracker and has room for between 8 to 10 travelers. For those brave souls who may want a closer contact with this magnificent African wilderness or perhaps a white rhino, these armed rangers may lead you on bush walks.
In between two daily safari drives, you will enjoy all of the comforts of home because your lodge has been designed and constructed in harmony with its surroundings; a multitude of other wildlife – particularly birds and smaller creatures – is to be seen while relaxing in camp. That evening have dinner in the courtyard decked with starched white linen, crystal and fine china near a fireplace. Later, you can expect a restful sleep in a warm king-size bed.
In the morning, it is off to spectacular Cape Town via a flight from Johannesburg. It is here that you will visit one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Embark on a local tour where you will learn that this Dutch settlement was established in 1652 and South Africa’s oldest city came into being. Museums and art galleries are in abundance, reflecting the diversity of South African art and culture. Discover the history of Cape Town from its birth, through the years of slavery, apartheid and up to the present day of this very proud nation.
As part of your half day city tour including a trip by cable car to the summit of Table Mountain, you will marvel at one of the world’s most famous landmarks. It provides Cape Town with a uniquely beautiful setting. This level, but rocky summit offers breathtaking views of the city and the peninsula below. To the south is the Cape of Good Hope where the peninsula extends out and historic Cape Point where the two oceans meet.
The following day continue your adventure to Cape Point. Along the way you will pass the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, which are situated on the southern slopes of Table Mountain. These national gardens contain over 4,000 species of indigenous plants. Upon reaching your destination, either walk or take the cable car to the vantage point for a panoramic view of the dramatic southwestern edge of Africa. Enjoy lunch at a restaurant while taking in the scenery.
Your return journey will take you along two coastal passes, Chapmans Peak and Victoria Road, which are renowned for their magnificent beauty. Baboons are a common sight along this stretch of the road. Along the way, you can drive through quaint seaside villages, and a seemingly endless coastline stretch of white, sandy beaches and fresh mountain air. If you are fortunate, you may even spot the whales that seasonally enter the protected waters of the bay to give birth to and nurse their young.
Of course, no trip to Cape Town is complete without a tour of the wine lands. You will learn that the first wines were made in 1659 in the town of Stellenbosch, which today remains the center of the Cape vine lands. Many of the buildings here have been declared national monuments. Highlights of the tour will include Paarl with its rich history of wine making. Their cellar complex is one of the largest in the world. One of the best known Paarl vineyards is Nederburg Estate.
Another notable attraction is Robben Island where you will arrive by ferry. The tour of the island is hosted by a past political prisoner who will take you through the prison, on a tour of the village and then of the island itself. You may also choose to visit the historic Castle of Good Hope, which is a pentagonal Dutch fortress and is the oldest surviving building in South Africa dating back to 1666.
As your recommended two-week adventure begins to wind down, you should leave some leisure time to relax or do some last minute shopping. Down in the Harborside section of Cape Town is the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, which is very popular with its visitors for its entertainment, shopping and dining venues. You will want to view the common sight of the sun setting over majestic Table Mountain.
Then it is back to reality as you head to the airport to board your international return flight home to Atlantic City. The memories of your South African experience will last a lifetime.