Genesis and the Big Bang:
14-24 NOVEMBER 2005
Monday 14 November
Participants arrive in Johannesburg, the financial and economic hub of South Africa. Transfer to hotel in the northern suburbs. Those who arrive in the morning will have an afternoon tour to Soweto, a name synonymous with the Apartheid struggle; a vibrant and colourful city. Visit the Hecter Petersen memorial, and the former homes of Mr Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu.
Tuesday 15 November
Today we fly to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. This afternoon we will enjoy a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River - experience the magnificence of an African sunset with the possibility of seeing crocodiles and hippos in the water as we sail along. B,L,D
Wednesday 16 November
This morning we depart Victoria Falls for a full day tour to Chobe National Park in Botswana. Chobe is one of the greatest game reserves in southern Africa and famous for its huge elephant herds. The Chobe River flows lazily through the Caprivi flood plains and provides a haven for huge herds of buffalo and elephant, zebra, wildebeest and impala which are followed closely by the predators lion, hyena, the elusive leopard and the odd pack of the now rare wild dog. The bird life is exceptional.
Getting to Chobe includes crossing the Zambezi River on a boat at the point where 4 counties meet. Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. The Safari starts with a morning game viewing cruise on the Chobe River. Tea, coffee, drinks and snacks are served on board. Large flocks of birds, big pods of hippos and very large crocodiles are all about. Lunch is at a lodge overlooking the Chobe River and the plains beyond. Thereafter it's onto open safari vehicles for an afternoon game drive into the park. B,L,D
Thursday 17 November
This morning we visit the Victoria Falls. Our expert guide will explain how the Falls were formed and the local customs and traditions that surround them. The walk through the one mile rain forest has many spectacular viewpoints.
We will transfer back to Victoria Falls for return flight to Johannesburg and onward flight to Cape Town. Weather permitting we will take a cable-car up Table Mountain - enjoy the magnificent views over the Peninsula, especially with the sun setting. B,L,D
Friday 18 November
Departing Cape Town after breakfast, we proceed on a 45-minute drive through the spectacular mountain scenery and lush fertile valleys of the Cape to Stellenbosch, South Africa's second oldest city. This oak lined university town has a museum showing different styles of architecture in the Cape from the 16th century. We will proceed to Franschhoek, nestled in the valley where the French Huguenots first settled, and from there on to Paarl. We will visit the Taal Monument and a few wineries. The day can be spent combining a mixture of fascinating history with spectacular scenery and wine cellar tours and tastings. B,L,D
Saturday 19 November
This morning we will cross by ferry Robben Island, a world heritage site, the maximum security "prison" where former president Mr Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years. The Robben Island tour starts at Jetty 1 on the V&A Waterfront. It includes a return boat trip across Table Bay, a visit to the infamous Maximum Security Prison; interaction with an ex-political prisoner; a 45 minute bus tour with a guide providing commentary; the opportunity to explore the Murray's Bay Harbour precinct including the African penguin boardwalk and hide. The tour lasts 3.5 hours including the return ferry rides that take 1/2 hour each.
Jewish participants have the option of attending services at a local synagogue.
Afternoon at leisure to explore the V&A Waterfront. The V&A Waterfront is Cape Town's hot spot for shopping and entertainment. Set amidst a maritime backdrop of modern ships and turn of the century sailing vessels, the V&A Waterfront provides a harmonious setting for a drink or a stroll along the pier. The most remarkable and unique aspect of the V&A Waterfront is that it remains a real working harbour with a rich cultural heritage dating back hundreds of years. From here one can enjoy stunning views of Table Mountain, visit historic buildings and museums, take a boat ride, seaplane ride or visit a working brewery. B,L,D
Sunday 20 November
Today's journey takes us on a full day sightseeing tour to Cape Point. This 25-mile drive to Cape Point is a "must do" excursion for anyone visiting Cape Town. En route a stop is made at Hout Bay, a beautiful fishing village from where a boat trip is made to Duiker Island, to see the mass of seals (weather permitting) .To arrive at Cape Point, we pass through the 7750 hectare plant rich expanse of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. This reserve is home to a variety of indigenous wildlife species including the Cape Mountain zebra, red lynx, caracal and a variety of antelope. In addition about five troops of chacma baboons frequent the area. There are also over 250 species of marine birds. While the reserve itself is stellar for its natural beauty, a trip to the peninsula is not complete without a visit to the massive and spectacular headland, from where one can see the meeting of the Indian and Atlantic oceans. Cape Point's trademark turbulent waters and 300 metre sheer cliffs encompass viewers who may be lucky enough to spot seals, whales and dolphins. Leaving the reserve we drive along the False Bay coastline to Boulders Beach, home to South Africa's largest colony of Jackass Penguins. A stop will be made at Simonstown a naval base, then its back to the city via the very scenic Boyes Drive. B,L,D
Monday 21 November
It's now safari time. This morning we fly from Cape Town to Kruger Park International Airport at Nelspruit from where we take a connecting flight to our luxury private game lodge situated in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve. Arrive in time for lunch.
The Sabi Sands is a private reserve adjacent to the world famous Kruger Park. The fences are all down here so the game passes freely between the reserves. There are a number of ways to view the wildlife, from the unparalleled panorama from the viewing deck of each luxury loft, to the guided game walks and drives The area is marked by its diversity, from the leopards and lion that own the open spaces to the herds engaged in the ebb and flow of an archaic migration. Each creature is an intrinsic part of a precarious cycle, from the hundreds of species of birds to the flora and intriguing insect life. The days and nights here are shared with the animals, the sounds and smells of the African bush.
The usual program at the lodge is to go out on game drives with our ranger and tracker in an open 4 x 4 wheel drive vehicle in the late afternoon and early morning. This is the time when the animals are most likely to be seen.
The afternoon game drive starts immediately after tea, and we will return to the lodge after dark in time for drinks and dinner. During the drive we will stop for refreshments and the drive continues using lights to spot the nocturnal animals. B,L,D
Tuesday 22 November
It's an early start for our morning game drive. Tea/coffee are served prior to departing the lodge, and again there will be refreshments about mid-way through the drive. Return to the lodge for breakfast. Now we have the option of a bush walk, accompanied by our armed ranger. A wonderful way to learn about the flora and fauna of the area. Afternoon/evening program as per Monday. B,L,D
Wednesday 23 November
The morning activities can be either a game drive or bush walk. Thereafter it's time to pack up for our return flight to Johannesburg. B,L,D
Thursday 24 November
This morning we depart for Sterkfontein, a 45 minutes drive from Johannesburg. Since 1936, some of the most exciting fossils of our human ancestors have been found at sites in the Sterkfontein Valley. This is an opportunity to tour some of the world's most important and richest pre-human fossil sites in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site including the world-famous sites of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans and Drimolen. At Drimolen, a working site, we will have the privilege of seeing a two million year old fossil unearthed for the first time. We return to our hotel to collect our baggage before proceeding to Johannesburg International Airport for our return Trans-Atlantic flight. B,L
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