WhirlAway Travel Manager, Jamie Jones, has had a passion for animals for as long as she can remember. Refusing to accept that the only way to see Africa’s creatures was in a zoo, she set her mind to focus on Africa and all that it has to offer. In the spring of 2013, Jamie completed her South African FUNDI specialist training and confidently started planning African adventures for groups, milestones, and honeymoons. In December 2013 she applied and was accepted to participate in a once in a lifetime Educational Journey to South Africa and Botswana for 2 weeks. This first hand experience has increased her passion for Africa more than she could ever imagine! Jamie on top of Cape Town’s Table Mountain.
AFRICA SAMPLE ITINERARY
Depart the US enroute to Johannesburg. Upon arrival you will be met by a representative to escort you through customs and to collect your luggage. You will them meet your private guide who will transport you to The Saxon Hotel for 2 nights to relax and rejuvenate after your long flight. Previously a private residence, The Saxon Hotel is home to an extensive art collection, world renowned restaurant, and luxurious spa. Former South African President Nelson Mandela completed Long Walk to Freedom, in the 6 months following his release from prison while calling The Saxon Hotel home. During your stay, enjoy complimentary breakfast each morning and a relaxing Rasul Chamber Treatment for two.
After breakfast, your private guide will pick you up for a full day Journey to Freedom tour. You will visit the Hector Pieterson Museum, Mandela House, and the Regina Mundi Church. You will enjoy lunch in SOWETO, acronym for South Western Township and home to over 2 million people. SOWETO is a cornerstone to South African history. You will end your tour at the world famous Apartheid Museum. Your guide will take you back to The Saxon Hotel where you have dinner reservations at Five Hundred.
After checking out of The Saxon Hotel, your guide will pick you up to take you to O.R. Tambo Airport where you will check in for your flight to Botswana for your safari adventure. Upon arrival into Botswana, you will be met by a representative who will check you in for your first bush plane experience on a 12 seater prop plane. After your 40 minute flight over the Okavango Delta, you will arrive on a dirt runway to your first safari camp, Mombo. Located deep in the Okavango Delta, Mombo is situated on Chiefs Island and boasts claim to the most nutrient dense vegetation in all of the Delta. Enjoy your first game drive before dinner. Arguably the best big game viewing in all of Africa, you may see the big five on your first drive!
The early bird catches the worm! Rise early for coffee and a light breakfast before heading out with your dedicated guide. Breath in the fresh air and enjoy the wonders of nature. The Okavango Delta is the only delta in the world that does not empty into an ocean. It is also a true oasis in that it is located in a desert. Upon return from your morning drive, enjoy brunch and discuss your amazing finds with fellow guests, or relax in the privacy of your suite, with your meal served to you. The afternoon is at your leisure. Get a massage, cool off in your private plunge pool, take a nap, read a book, RELAX! The animals are so plentiful here that you may have a visiting elephant for afternoon tea. Late afternoon you will be off again for an evening drive where you will also enjoy sundowners before heading back to camp for dinner and bed.
The choice is yours, rise early for another am game drive or sleep in. Today, visit a hide, where you can photograph birds and animals. Learn about Mombo’s conservation projects – Botswana Rhino Reintroduction Project, Elephant Ecology Study, Botswana Lion Genetics Study, and Okavango large Herbivore Ecology Project. Later this afternoon, enjoy your final afternoon game drive, sundowner, and dinner. Before retreating to bed, take a moment to look up to the sky. You will be able to see the Southern Cross and Milky Way. The African night sky is something you will never forget!
After your final morning game drive, you will be taken to the airstrip for your bush plane transfer to Jao Camp. Also located in the Okavango Delta, Jao Camp gives you a completely different safari experience. Much of your safari experience will be water based. Enjoy birds and plants while navigating the many channels via boat or Mokoro. Jao Camp also offers game drives and night drives. Upon arrival and a moment to freshen up, board your boat for your first water safari expedition. Enjoy the bird calls, water lilies, and soft flow of the reeds. If you are lucky you may even spot one of the tiny reed frogs. Return to camp for dinner and a good nights sleep.
This morning you will get to experience the ancient way of getting around the Delta, in a Mokoro. Traditionally dug out from trees, Mokoros are a fantastic way to truly experience the water of the Delta. A poler will gently guide you through tiny channels. Take a moment and listen to nature. Back at camp, feast on brunch before heading to the Spa or grab a line and go fishing. After your safari expedition late this afternoon (either in a boat or Land Rover, depending on what you would like to experience), enjoy dinner before retreating to a night under the stars. A hide has been made up especially for you to take in the night sky.
After your final safari experience, you will be taken to the airstrip for your bush plane to Maun. here you will board your flight to Cape Town via Johannesburg. Upon arrival in Cape Town, you will be met by your private guide who will escort you the grand dam of Cape Town, the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel. Located in the heart of the City Bowl, the Mount Nelson is within walking distance to the cultural center, and a short stroll to the famous V.A. Waterfront. Enjoy breakfast daily, internet access, and tea for two compliments of WhirlAway Travel. After dinner, have a nightcap at the hotel bar before retreating to your room for a nights rest.
After breakfast and a stroll around the gardens at the Mount Nelson, your private guide will pick you up for an excursion to Table Mountain. On a clear day you can see for miles and may even get a good view of Robben Island. Stroll around for awhile before heading back down. Today you will go on a tour of the city before heading to the waterfront for lunch, and some shopping at the craft market. The afternoon is yours to do as you please. There are many museums and areas of interest in Cape Town. Your guide will assist you in planning out your afternoon. For dinner tonight you have reservations at Signal Restaurant, located in the Cape Grace Hotel. Rated one of the top hotel restaurants in the world, Signal is sure to tempt your taste buds. If you have a hankering for whiskey, Cape Grace also boasts one of the top whiskey bars in the Southern Hemisphere. With over 500 different whiskeys to choose from, you will be sure to find a blend that pleasures your palate.
After an early breakfast at the Mount Nelson, your guide will pick you up for your Cape Peninsula excursion. Drive down the coast and take in the breathtaking views, meet penguins at Boulder Beach, and explore Cape of Good Hope. Watch out for the baboons! On your way back to Cape Town, enjoy a once in a lifetime lunch with Chef Bruce in his home. A world class chef, Bruce is a true locovore. All of his food is sourced within 12km of his home and his wine pairings with leave you wanting more! Dinner is optional tonight as you may not have room for more food but with all of the options in Cape Town, who am I to be the judge?
Enjoy your final morning in Cape Town before your guide retrieves you for a Cape Winelands tour. Located just under an hour outside of Cape Town, South Africa’s Winelands offer world class wines. Enjoy a vineyard safari (no game here, just grapes) at Waterford Estate followed by a wine and chocolate tasting experience that will throw your taste buds into overdrive. Purchase a bottle or two before heading into Stellenbosch for a late lunch and some leisure time around this gem of a town. Later, you are transported to paradise at your final resting spot for two glorious nights, La Residence. Voted by Conde Nast as the #1 hotel in the world, you will feel as though you are living in a fairy tale. With only 11 rooms and 5 villas, this manor has a level of service that can not be compared to anywhere else. Compliments of WhirlAway Travel, you will receive one lunch for two, private Franschhoek wine tasting, and a welcome bottle of their private label wine.
Today is at your leisure. Relax by the pool while taking in the breathtaking views of the vineyard and mountain backdrop, visit vineyards on horseback, hike mountains or walk through the quaint village of Franschhoek. If you are up to it, there is also a hop on hop off wine tram that departs from Frahschhoek and will take you to local vineyards. Enjoy dinner at La Residence followed by a nightcap relaxing outside under the stars or nestled up next to one of the blazing fireplaces.
After breakfast, bid farewell to your fairytale home. Your guide is waiting to take you back to Cape Town Airport where you will board your plane to return home. Don’t despair though, you experienced just a taste of all that Africa has to offer! Till next time…