Hills of Africa

A Taste of an African Celebratory Safari Vacation to Southern Africa

Featuring Cape Town, Franschhoek, Sabi Sands, Kruger National Park, Victoria Falls

13 nights/14 days - Itineraries start at USD$20,000 per person

Day 1 - Cape Town

Welcome to Africa. On arrival in Johannesburg International Airport, you will need to clear South African immigrations, collect your luggage and proceed through customs. Please go all the way through to the Arrivals Hall (don't go through to transfers), where you will be met by your Hills of Africa Travel guide. You will be assisted with checking in for your South Africa domestic flight to Cape Town. (The cost of this flight is not inlcuded in the itienrary costs.)

IMPORTANT INFORMATION - US passports do not require visas to enter South Africa BUT must have at least two empty pages in their passports for each country visited and the passports must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of departure from the last country.

Welcome to Cape Town. On arrival in Cape Town you will collect your luggage and proceec to the Arrivals Hall where you will be met by your guide and transferred to Cape Grace Hotel.

Cape Grace Hotel

The Cape Grace offers gracious five-star style and a perfect waterside position in one of the world's most beautiful cities. Perfect Waterside Location: With its enviable location on the vibrant Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Grace is the perfect starting point for any outing. Whatever your needs, the staff genuinely delight in sending guests to exotic eateries tucked away, advising the best wine routes or shopping expeditions off the beaten track. Luxurious Hospitality: Each of the 122 guestrooms and suites features a carefully chosen selection of fine furniture, luxurious fabrics, and attention to detail that create an immediate sense of place. Double-glazed French doors open to scenic views of the international yacht marina, Table Mountain or the buzzing Waterfront harbor.

Spectacular and Full-Service Hotel: Personalized, impeccable yet warm service is the calling card of Cape Grace to ensure that every guest is made to feel welcomed, comfortable, and utterly pampered during their stay. As a full service hotel, Cape Grace offers a variety of superior facilities. Experience the award winning contemporary cuisine at its own restaurant, Signal Restaurant, where mouth-watering flavor combinations and inspired wine pairings entice all who dine there. For something more casual, Cafe Bascule is a lively coffee destination, yet by night it is the perfect place to ease into the evening, whiskey in hand. For sheer indulgence, African-inspired treatments relax and rejuvenate at the top floor spa. Other full service hotel facilities include an outdoor heated roof-top pool overlooking the international yacht marina, an elegant and comfortable library ideal for settling down with a book or newspaper and a conveniently situated communication center offering 24 hour complimentary internet access.

Fair Trade Label: Cape Grace has been awarded a Fair Trade label, one of a few select properties in all of South Africa. Its Fair Trade label is a testament to the pro-active efforts by the owners and management to uplift the local community and preserve natural resources. The common thread amongst Fair Trade labeled properties is they hire staff only from the immediate local villages, pay fair wages and ensure fair working conditions, provide useful training, promote from within offering a reward based environment and operate many other positive, pro-active policies.

Accommodation: 1 x rooftop terrace room on bed & breakfast basis for 3 nights

Day 2 - Cape Town

Today, Cape Town is your oyster. You and your private guide will custom design the morning to your desires; whether it be looking for African arts and crafts, shopping for gemstones or touring the area, we know that you will be blown away by the beauty of Cape Town, the Mother City.

Day 3 - Cape Town

Today you will enjoy an experience like none other - shark cage diving! Kleinbaai is a small harbor town, part of Gansbaai in the Western Cape of South Africa. This area is known as the best place in the world to see Great White Sharks in their natural habitat. Your team of shark enthusiasts constantly strives to place shark conservation and education foremost. This is done through educating clients on a daily basis, by conducting research and by maintaining structured marine education and development projects.

The cage remains afloat and about 60 centimeters of the cage floats above the water at all time. The cage is also solidly attached to the boat with two thick ropes that further prevent it from sinking or drifting away from the boat. The bottom of the cage is lying about two meters below the surface.

The shark cage is constructed with galvanized steel, equipped with many independent flotation devices to keep it aloft, attached to the boat with solid ropes and closed by a solid lid. Any reports or images that you may have read about, or watched involving White Sharks attacking cages, have all been triggered by the crew on the boat, and are the result of unnatural provocation. Provoked stimuli. Your guides respect the sharks and will not provide you with thrills like these in order to give you a false 'Jaws' experience. The cage, although attached to the boat, is free floating, so should a shark charge the cage at full speed (which would never happen in a normal unprovoked situation), the cage will just bounce off and absorb the impact force. Sharks have a sixth sense, the Ampullae of Lorenziniare sensory organs spread mainly through out the snout and head of Sharks, and allow the Sharks to sense magnetic fields to find potential or hidden prey in darkness, or murky conditions. The Shark cages and boat engines being metallic objects and connected to batteries will generate a magnetic field to which the Sharks are sometimes drawn by curiosity. The Shark will generally mouth the cage or engines in a gentle testing manner. The cage is indestructible and you will be 100% safe from the Sharks, but the cage can be a potentially dangerous object from other aspects: if the crew decides that the sea conditions are too rough for cage diving, it will not be without reason, and you should respect their decision in not risking your life and health.

You should also feel comfortable in the water, and preferably have some snorkeling experience. The cage can be a strange and intimidating environment, and the knowledge that Great White Sharks are swimming in close proximity might also enhance any anxiety. So the main potential risks involved in the shark cages are from injuries climbing in or out of the cage, and swallowing water or drowning. Make sure that you get used to a mask and ensure that you feel comfortable before entering the cage. The dive gear supplied is a 7 ml wetsuit (ranging from sizes small to 4 XL) with booties and hoodie plus mask. We make use of the breath hold method and this has proven to be the best method.

Day 4 - Franschhoek

Today, you will be collected by your Hills of Africa Travel guide for a private-guided day of wine tasting and exploring in the beautiful Cape Winelands.

On your first wine tour to the Cape, we introduce you to the Cape's oldest wine regions. The aim is to take a journey through this beautiful mountainous region and explore the history, wine, and architecture of the region. Be sure to mention what your interests are early in the day as well as whether you are a white wine or red wine drinker. The answers to these questions will change the direction that the tour goes during the day. Stellenbosch is the second oldest town; it boasts oak tree lined streets and gorgeous white houses from both the Dutch and English periods. This region is renowned as the best red wine region in the country. Today we explore Stellenbosch and possibly Franschhoek and Paarl - the routes will change depending on your interests.

Some of the experiences you enjoy could be: A visit to Vergelegen - one of our oldest estates, to explore their beautiful gardens and historical Cape Dutch Homestead; Wine tasting at some of the Cape's best estates; a tutored olive oil tasting or a chocolate and wine pairing experience; A cellar tour (note that this must be pre-booked well in advance.)

You will be transferred and helped to check into Le Quartier Francais.

Le Quartier Francais

Le Quartier Francais (the French Quarter) is a small, privately owned auberge situated in the French Huguenot valley of Franschhoek, in the Cape Winelands . We like to keep things simple, but exceptional and we pride ourselves on our reputation for warm, world class service - and the little touches that make the difference". Emphasis is on ultimate luxury and romantic charm, combined with the priceless gift of privacy, tucked away in the centre of the village.

A mosaic of treatments available from the Treatment Room at Le Quartier Francais using DECLEOR PARIS. Through 30 years of research into the science of Aromatherapy DECLEOR, the specialist in Aroma-Skincare has created a unique natural approach to caring for your skin.

Based on a Duo-Concept combining the effectiveness of Aromatherapy with the protection of Phytotherapy, DECLEOR range, including face, body, men and sun, can treat all skin types: normal, dry, mature, oily & combination, sensitive & reactive 100% pure 100% natural, 100% preservative-free, DECLEOR products provide a feeling of well-being through the stimulation of the senses. Creating an incomparable mosaic of treatments, DECLEOR has taken into account all the needs of your body and mind.

During your stay, explore the village's quaint shops, galleries, the chocalaterie, chacuterie or enjoy wine tasting, fly-fishing, horse riding and golfing. Eating is not a problem in Franschhoek - the gourmet capital of South Africa - abundant with great cafes and restaurants and more than 40 wineries to visit! We advise that you pre- book your restaurants, golf times and tours before you arrive in Franschhoek to avoid disappointment.

Accommodation: 1 x Grande Room on bed & breakfast basis for 2 nights

Day 5 - Franschhoek

Today your Hills of Africa Travel representative will collect and transfer your to Paarl where yuou will enjoy Hot-Air Ballooning in the beautiful and scenic Cape Winelands.

A gentle ascent takes you well above tree top level and with a light breeze you are flying away over fields, vineyards and orchards. All manuvers are smooth and silent with the exception of the short bursts of the burner. Enjoy this wonderful feeling of freedom, floating through the sky as slow as a cloud and as free as a bird. Since the balloon is completely dependent on the wind and it's direction, we never quite know where we will end up. Your float with the wind will last about one hour. The retrieve vehicle will follow on the ground and will meet you at landing. Then it is hands on again to pack the equipment on the trailer. We return to Paarl where Grande Roche Hotel expects us with a delicious breakfast buffet. Lovely Villiera Brut is served to celebrate our adventure in the sky! After packing the equipment on the trailer we all enjoy some fruit juice before returning to Paarl, where a sumptuous breakfast buffet and some excellent local sparkling wine is waiting for us at Grande Roche Hotel.

After meeting at the Grande Roche Hotel, we will meet drive to the launchsite together. All passengers get involved in the rigging of the balloon, all help is appreciated (please let us know, if you cannot support in the rigging). While safety instructions are given by the pilot, passengers have time to enjoy some coffee. All passengers climb in the basket with the pilot and will be flying for about one hour with the wind. Passengers should be able to climb into the basket and feel comfortable to stand for about one hour (the landing might have an impact comparable to a jump from a chair). The float with the wind is quiet and peaceful. Passengers will feel as free as a bird and enjoy the view to the Drakenstein mountain range and to Table Mountain in a distance. The flying area is in the winelands of the Boland and Swartland.

Season: daily from November through May (weather permitting)
Required information: names and weights of all the passengers (including clothes weight). 4 - 6 passengers in the basket is typical.

Day 6 - Sabi Sands, Kruger National Park

Today you will be collected from your hotel and driven back to Cape Town's Airport to connect with your flight to Johannesburg (The flight costs are not included in the itinerary price).

On arrival in Johannesburg International Airport, you will need to collect your luggage and proceed all the way through to the Arrivals Hall, where you will be met by your Hills of Africa Travel guide. Your guide will transfer you to the charter flight terminal.

You will check in and board a shared, light-aircraft shared charter flight with Bateleur Air from Johannesburg to the Sabi Sands Game Reserve in Kruger National Park. This flight may stop at other lodges on the way depending on their daily schedule.

Please note there are strict guidelines regarding size and weight of luggage for charter flights. Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions document for details regarding these restrictions. Should you need to arrange for excess luggage to be stored while you are on safari, we are happy to help make these arrangements (extra charges will be applied for this service).

On arrival, you will be met by your guide and transferred to camp.

Singita Boulders Lodge

Boulders Lodge has a contemporary air of tranquility that honors Africa in an authentic way. Inspiring the name Boulders was an enormous boulder that sat right in the middle of the place where the wine cellar was to be built. A simple decision was made to build the cellar around the boulder! Guests can enjoy wrap-around views from most parts of the natural stone lodge, and the lookout deck offers the perfect spot from which to observe wildlife drawn to the Sand River. The quiet pond alongside the thatched lounge area allows the light and the landscape inside to the wide open spaces, where straw baskets, neutral shades and textured fabrics complement wooden furniture.

Singita Boulders Lodge offers twelve suites, all with their own en suite bathroom and shower, outside shower, private heated swimming pool, double-sided fireplace, mini bar and fridge, room mini safe, air-conditioning, overhead fans, private lounge, direct dial telephones and game-viewing deck.

Accommodation: 1 x luxury suite on an all-inclusive basis for 3 nights

Day 9 - Kruger National Park

Today, you will take a short charter flight from Sabi Sands to Singita's Lebombo concession deep inside the Kruger National Park. Please note this flight may make stops en route to Singita Lebombo, depending on the passenger requirements on the day.

Please note there are strict guidelines regarding size and weight of luggage for charter flights. Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions document for details regarding these restrictions. Should you need to arrange for excess luggage to be stored while you are on safari, we are happy to help make these arrangements (extra charges will be applied for this service).

On arrival at Singita Lebombo's Airstrip, you will be met by your guide from Singita Lebombo and transferred to Camp.

Singita Lebombo Lodge

Like the Lebombo Euphorbia tree after which it was named, the design of Lebombo Lodge is one of a kind. From the sweeping wooden decks, you can watch the theatre that unfolds before you, while the lap pool beckons to enjoy a relaxing afternoon. The fifteen suites feature contemporary finishes with beds dressed with Egyptian cotton and silky-soft throws. Enjoy dinner in the boma, then spend the evening, if you so wish, sleeping under the stars on the bed of your private terrace.

All suites are en-suite with an inside and outside shower, bath, mini bar and fridge, room safe, air-conditioning, overhead fans, direct dial telephones and game viewing deck with a day bed. All the suites have direct dial telephones.

Dining areas overlook the expanse of the Lebombo Concession.There is also a gymnasium, health spa, wine cellar, traditional boma and a swimming pool on the property.

Accommodation: 1 x luxury suite on all inclusive basis for 2 nights

Day 11 - Victoria Falls

Today you will fly from the Sabi Sands to Kruger Mpumalanga Airport aboard a shared, light-aircraft charter flight.

You will then transfer and check in for your international flight to Livingstone, Zambia (The costs for this flight are not included in the itinerary price).

On arrival at Livingstone Airport, you will be met by your guide as you enter the Arrivals Hall and transferred to your hotel in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: US Citizens DO require holiday visas to enter Zambia & Zimbabwe, which you can obtain on arrival. Please make sure you must have at least two blank pages in a valid passport per country you are visiting. Passports must be valid for 6 months from date of entry into the last country visited.
Zambia Tourist Visa fees: USD50 single entry/ USD 80 multiple entry..
Zimbabwe Tourist Visa fees: USD30 single entry/ USD55 multiple entry
Please obtain multiple entry visas if you plan on enjoying both sides of Victoria Falls during your stay.

Yellow Fever Advisory: South Africa/Zambia: All travelers from South Africa to Zambia and/or from Zambia to South Africa require a yellow fever vaccination certificate. Please keep this in mind when visiting Victoria Falls as you may be flying into/out of Livingstone Airport in Zambia or may plan day trips into Zambia.

Victoria Falls Hotel

The Victoria Falls Hotel, popularly known as "the grand old lady of the Falls," is situated in the Victoria Falls National Park, a World Heritage Site, and is a member of the exclusive Leading Hotels of the World group. It is one of only three 150-accredited hotels in Zimbabwe.

The Edwardian-style five-star hotel, built in 1904, was recently redecorated and refurbished and now combines the charm of the old with the convenience of the new. Set in lush tropical gardens with lily ponds, palm trees and semi-tropical shrubs, it provides the tranquility and seclusion that many guests seek.

The famous Victoria Falls, referred to by locals as "the smoke that thunders," is just a ten-minute walk away using the hotel's private pathway.

World-class service, and food and beverage choice and preparation, make the hotel a magnet for international visitors and locals alike. There are a variety of restaurants to choose from and there is always something to please everyone. The Livingstone Room is known for fine dining and dancing; the Jungle Junction is famous for its decadent breakfast and dinner buffets, as well as ethnic entertainment in the evenings; and Stanley's Terrace, is celebrated for its clear view of the Victoria Falls Bridge, connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia, and is also renowned for its cocktails and afternoon teas. The Terrace has been a rendezvous for adventurers in Africa for over a century.

Accommodation: 1 x junior suite on a bed and breakfast rate for 3 nights

This afternoon, you will be taken on a tour of Victoria Falls. The tour will begin with a visit to the world renowned Victoria Falls where you will explore the geological history of the area that created this magnificent spectacle. The sights, sounds, and aromas of the Falls are truly an awe-inspiring experience that provokes humbling feelings from within - here, indeed, is nature's supreme masterpiece. No photograph can begin to depict the reality, and nothing prepares you for your first sight.

To discover how Victoria Falls was formed and what local customs and traditions surround this area, it's well worth taking a guided tour. These tours of the Victoria Falls are extremely informative and end with a visit to the local art and crafts center.

Day 12 - Victoria Falls

This morning, with your private guide, we will take you into a local village to interact with locals and take a tour of a real-life African village to experience their daily life. The Monde Village Tour is not only recognized for the quality of its content, but also for its inclusion of the local people in a real and beneficial manner. The Monde Community is a shareholder in the tour and the guides are local villagers.

Later today, you will be driven from the hotel to enjoy a helicopter flight over the Victoria Falls, and witness what David Livingstone described as "Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in flight". Each seat in the aircraft is next to a window and offers unsurpassed views of the spectacular scenery below. This 12 minute flight gives you an aerial view of Victoria Falls.

Day 13 - Victoria Falls

Today you will depart from your hotel for a full day of canoeing on the upper Zambezi river with a stop for lunch on one of the many islands here. Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be served during your day.

The canoe safari operates above Victoria Falls on the 15km (9.3 miles) stretch of the Upper Zambezi River between Simonga and Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, running between the Zambezi National Park in Zimbabwe and the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia. Take a deep breath and relax as you gently paddle your way down stream, gliding through hidden channels, under the overhanging waterberry trees. Be on the look out as you will paddle past pods of hippo, the shimmering green home of the crocodiles and watering holes of buffalos and elephants.

The canoe trail passes along the banks of the river and islands; vegetation consists predominately of ebonies, waterberries, palms, a variety of acacia and albizia. The river is not controlled by a dam so it is subject to seasonal variations creating different channels as the water levels rise and fall.

We encourage you to wear quick-dry comfortable clothing, shoes, sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat. Dry bags are recommended for camera equipment. No previous canoeing experience is necessary. If you are staying on the Zimbabwe side of the falls, no additional tourist visa is necessary.

Day 14 - United States of America

Today you will be collected from the hotel lobby and driven to the Victoria Falls Airport. You will check in for your international flight to Johannesburg, South Africa and onward international flights home (these flights are not included in the itinerary cost).

Thank you for travelling with Hills Of Africa Travel. Safe travels and we hope you have experienced the true magic of Africa!

Optional Cape Town Activity - add on

Optional Activitiy in Cape Town - Sand Boarding
Embark on an exciting and adrenaline filled afternoon of sand boarding on South Africa's well-known sand dunes.

This activity is optional and is not inlcuded in the itinerary. Please let us know if you are interested and we will be happy to get you pricing.

For decades, people of all ages have been sliding down sand dunes on some kind of plank or other and through the years sand boarding has developed to what it is today. Sand boarding is the art of standing with two feet locked onto a board and carving arks down a dune. The beauty of it is that you can control the board and speed by turning, stopping and jumping with easy control of the board.

The best part about sand boarding is that it is easy to learn and accessible to the absolute beginner. Adrenaline is just a slide away. Sand boarding is very similar to snow boarding and expert boarders will show you just how easy it is! South African's have pioneered Sand boarding in Africa and uses the latest snowboard technology to ensure safety and ease of learning.

Hills of Africa