Once voted the most beautiful country in the world, South Africa is comprised of diverse landscapes offering very different, yet equally incredible views. The mountains, forests, coasts and deserts all combine as a cornucopia for your eyes that will lift your spirits. One may be surprised at how South Africa is remarkably similar to the U.S. in many ways, offering comfortable accommodations, delicious food and a solid road system for safe and easy travels. In contrast, South Africa is home to one of the largest concentrations of wildlife on earth. Expect to encounter exotic creatures on six big game drives – Lions, Zebras, Elephants, Leopards, Giraffes, Rhinos, Penguins, and scores of other animals you’ve maybe only seen in pictures. Of course you will be staying in a five-star resort lodge while you are “Roughing It” in the wild. Follow the Garden Route through scenic Pretoria, Plettenberg Bay and Knysna National Lake Area. Travel the countryside from Johannesburg to Cape Town; visit a diamond mine, a corn and soybean farm, a banana plantation, a purebred cattle farm and an ostrich farm. Ascend Table Rock Mountain for spectacular views. Visit the Castle of Good Hope, the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Cape Point. Sample wines from impressive vineyards and learn about their fruit industry. Experience the vibrant and colorful traditions of various African tribes, and visit the Apartheid Museum, the world’s preeminent museum dedicate to South Africa’s 20th century history. This is a wonderful tour that always exceeds expectations.
- March 6 - 21, 2020
Day 1: Friday, March 6 Depart USA
Meet your Rupiper Tour Guide at the Atlanta, GA International Airport for your evening flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, for the adventure of a lifetime. (In-flight meal service)
Day 2: Saturday, March 7 Arrive in South Africa / Pretoria
Upon arrival in Johannesburg, enjoy your first glimpse of the country as you travel via private motor coach to Pretoria, the capital city of South Africa. Your hotel will be a welcoming sight after your long journey. Tonight you enjoy a wonderful dinner. (In-flight meal service, D)
Day 3: Sunday, March 8 Pretoria
This morning, depart for the Lesedi Cultural Village. “Lesedi” meaning “Light,” is set in the pristine bushveld and the rocky hills close to Johannesburg. At this multi-cultural center you experience the vibrant and colorful traditions of South Africa’s various tribes. Tour their traditional villages and see real South African culture unfold while listening to their rhythmic drums and whistles. The program includes traditional singing and dancing followed by a traditional dinner in the “Boma” – certainly a must to understand South Africa’s cultural diversity. After lunch depart for a tour of the Cullinan Diamond Mine, which was established in 1902. The world’s largest rough diamond was discovered here in 1905, with an uncut weight of more than 3000 carats. This diamond mine, which is the world’s only significant producer of rare blue diamonds, was recently sold by De Beers for $167 million. Return late afternoon to your lovely Pretoria hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 4 Monday, March 9 Pretoria / Kroonstad
Today’s adventure begins with a visit to a corn and soybean farm in the Free State Province. Enjoy lunch before departing to Kroonstad. Here you visit a game farm that raises a variety of species, including: rhino, buffalo and sable antelope. Experience a little taste of local hospitality as the Crous family invites you to a BBQ dinner. End the night relaxing at the lovely Arcadia Guesthouse. (B, L, D)
Day 5: Tuesday, March 10 Kroonstad / George
You will make your way to Edenville for a visit to the Sernick Group, a purebred Bonsmara cattle operation that is not only a breeding farm but also home to a large feedlot and grazing area. The feedlot capacity is 3200 head along with their own feed processing mill and storage bins. The Bonsmara breed originates from South Africa and has been scientifically bred and strictly selected for economical production in extensive grazing in sub-tropical climates. Fly to George Airport, located on the Garden Route of South Africa. Upon arrival you transfer to Premier Hotel: The Moorings in Knysna (pronounced Nye-sna) for the night. Knysna is one of the quaintest little towns you’ll ever experience and one of the great attractions on South Africa’s beautiful Garden Route. (B, D)
Day 6: Wednesday, March 11 Knysna / Plettenbergbay / Oudsthoorn
Your journey today includes one of the most picturesque regions of South Africa. Plettenbergbay, which was originally named Bahia Formosa (Beautiful Bay) by the Portuguese navigator, Manuel de Mesquita Peterestrelo, was later renamed after Dutch Governor Joachim van Plettenberg in 1779. Continue along the scenic Garden Route to the Tsitsikama National Park, where the booming breakers of the Indian ocean relentlessly pound rocky shores and where temperate high forest and fynbos roll down to the sea in an unspoiled verdant carpet. Tsitsikama means “water begins,” an indicator of the abundance of rainfall, rivers and streams in the area. Enjoy splendid views of the sea on one side and its forest and mountains on the other side. After a stop and lunch, you travel to Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of South Africa. Oudtshoorn, situated at the foot of the Swartberg Mountain range. Here you visit the Hooper High Gate Ostrich Farm. At this commercial and show farm, you learn how valuable the feathers, eggs, and hide of the ostrich are and the various uses for them. There are about 400 ostrich farmers in the surrounding area but only three farmers have distinguished themselves worthy enough to be show farmers. For the adventurous, you will have an opportunity to ride an ostrich! Tonight you stay in Oudsthoorn at wonderful accommodations. (B, L, D)
Day 7: Thursday, March 12 Oudsthoorn / Cape Town
Following breakfast head for Cape Town, traveling through the Klein Karoo region and Calitzdorp, known for its extensive apricot orchards as well as being the port wine capital of South Africa. Travel through the best crop producing region in South Africa via Barrydale, home to the first wine cellar of the area, which was established in 1940. This vineyard sparked the beginning of the wine industry in the region. Arrive in Caledon, one of the highest wheat producing areas, which also gained attention for their hot water springs. Stop at a working wheat and sheep farm situated in the heart of the Overberg. This outgoing farmer tells tails of farming in South Africa and paints the picture of this landscapes advantages and disadvantages. Enjoy a lovely home cooked lunch of traditional African dishes, which his wife always prepares for us. Here you can also look at the neighbors’ corn crop. Arrive late afternoon in Cape Town, the pride of the southern African subcontinent and South Africa’s most visited destination. You will stay in Cape Town for the next three nights. (B, L, D)
Day 8: Friday, March 13 Cape Town
Weather permitting you’ll ascend Table Mountain for one of the most spectacular views on earth. Continue on to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and to Cape Point for a memorable vista of the point where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. On the way back to Cape Town stop in Simonstown, which is famous for its beaches, particularly Boulders Beach. Here you visit a large penguin colony. Everyone loves seeing these cute little critters enjoying the warm and sunny weather! Return to the city where you will find a variety of restaurants on the waterfront, only steps from your hotel. (B, L)
Day 9: Saturday, March 14 Cape Town
Depart for the beautiful historic town of Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in South Africa. The town’s cultural heritage is depicted in local art galleries, antique shops, and fine architecture. There are more than 106 wine cellars within a 16-mile radius of Stellenbosch. The heart of South Africa’s wine industry is renowned for its unrivaled natural beauty, flourishing wine, fruit industry, and fine Cape Dutch architecture. Visit a lovely winery, where you will sample some of the local vintage. Enjoy a nice picnic lunch at the vineyard, before returning to Cape Town for an evening enjoying dinner along the pier, or perhaps getting a glimpse of the city from atop the Ferris Wheel next door. (B, L)
Day 10: Sunday, March 15 Cape Town / Mpumalanga / Kruger National Park
Early this morning fly to Mpumalanga International Airport and journey on to the famous Kruger National Park, one of the oldest and largest wildlife reserves in Africa. Check into a cabin at the Skukuza Rest Camp. The ambiance of the camp recalls the mood of colonial Africa with red-roofed public buildings, thatched rondavels and neatly raked paths. The accommodations, called huts, are arranged in circles and face inward in a protective “laager” fashion. Late in the afternoon, enjoy the beginning of your game drives – a great opportunity to discover the wonder of the African bush and to view wild animals in their natural environment. Conclude the day with a BBQ dinner. (B, D)
Day 11: Monday, March 16 Kruger National Park / Kapama Private Game Reserve
Start the day with an early morning game drive in an open vehicle, returning in time for breakfast. This national park of nearly 5,000,000 acres was established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld. Kruger Park is unrivaled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies. The large number of wild animals available to view in Kruger Park is almost unbelievable. Leave the park en route for Kapama Private Game Reserve via the northern Drakensberg mountain range, which provides a majestic backdrop to the largest private game lodge in the Greater Kruger National Park region. Arrive in time for high tea, followed by an afternoon / evening game drive in search of the BIG FIVE. You overnight at the Kapama Southern Camp. (B, L, D)
Day 12: Tuesday, March 17 Kapama Private Game Reserve
You can’t believe how wonderful your suite at the Kapama Private Game reserve is. Enjoy an early morning game drive in Kapama Game Reserve followed by breakfast. Travel off road and on paths to discover and witness the BIG FIVE (Lion, Rhino, Cape Buffalo, Leopard, and Elephant.) You will love the Private Game Reserve, which offers the best opportunities to see wild animals – and without the traffic and congestion of the National Park. The balance of the day is yours to enjoy. Relax at the pool or enjoy the luxurious amenities of this five star lodge. In the late afternoon, accompanied by highly skilled game rangers, adventure out on another game drive in search of the BIG FIVE. This is a great opportunity to take photos of Africa’s incredible wildlife in their natural environment. Dinner tonight at the lodge. (B, L, D)
Day 13: Wednesday, March 18 Private Game Reserve / Panoramic Route / Nelspruit
The knowledgeable drivers and nature guides are so friendly and helpful, and the surroundings are so beautiful, it is easy to see why this is the private game reserve is the highlight of the tour. This morning is your last chance to encounter Africa’s majestic inhabitants in the wilderness. The early morning game drive, followed by breakfast, concludes your once-in-a-lifetime African adventure. Bid farewell as you journey through the countryside admiring some of South Africa’s most spectacular scenery along the eastern escarpment of the Drakensburg Mountains. Visit God’s Window, Blyde River Canyon, and Bourke’s Luck Potholes – all scenes that can be found in every coffee table book that has ever been published about South Africa (B, D)
Day 14: Thursday, March 19 Nelspruit / Johannesburg
An incredible journey draws to an end as you depart on a scenic drive to Johannesburg. Late afternoon, check into the hotel to relax and get ready for your departure tomorrow. You have many dinner options next door in the attached casino. Even if you aren’t a gambler, you may want to take a stroll around and check out the action. (B)
Day 15: Friday, March 20 Depart to USA
Your short ride takes you to the airport to catch your evening flight to Atlanta, GA.(In-flight meal service)
Day 16: Saturday, March 21 Arrive USA
Arrive in Atlanta early this morning. You will have ample time to connect with your domestic flight home. (In-flight meal service)
Victoria Falls Extension
Day 15: Friday, March 20 Johannesburg / Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
This morning transfer to the airport for your 10:50AM flight to Victoria Falls. Upon arriving at 12:30PM, we are transferred to your hotel, the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. After check in, you’ll have time to freshen up and relax or take a little dip in the pool before your mid-day departure to the river for an afternoon of fun on the Sundowner Cruise. A “Sundowner” is the local term for a cocktail enjoyed during the sunset. Sit back and relax, take in the great sights of the Zambezi River, and enjoy alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. After your sightseeing, you are served dinner and drinks while on board. (B, D)
Day 16: Saturday, March 21 Victoria Falls
This morning is your opportunity to see one of the biggest and best waterfalls in the world. Victoria Falls is viewed as the most spectacular and widely regarded as the largest waterfall in the world. See why the locals call it “Mosi-O-Tunya’ or “the smoke that thunders.” The mist from the waterfalls, which can rise up to 1,300 feet high, looks like smoke from the distance. Spend the morning observing the falls from many angles before traveling next door to a high-up lunch spot, serving great food and great views. The afternoon is yours to enjoy on your own shopping for that last souvenir or taking a helicopter ride over Victoria Falls. Dinner is served at the award-winning MaKuwa-Kuwa Restaurant, a split level space with spectacular views over the on-site waterhole which is regularly frequented by buffalo, elephant, warthogs, various antelope, and a myriad of birds. (B, L, D)
Day 17: Sunday, March 22 Zimbabwe / Johannesburg / USA
Your final day in Africa begins with a late departure to the airport to connect with your evening flight to Atlanta, GA. Arrive in Atlanta at 6:00AM, leaving the day open to connect with your domestic flight home Monday, March 23.
Victoria Falls Extension Tour
Day 14: Pilgrims Rest / Johannesburg
Join us on a fun tour extension to Victoria Falls! This is your chance to visit one of the largest waterfalls in the world! After your scenic drive from Hazyview, travel to your hotel in Johannesburg for a relaxing evening. (B, L)
Day 15: Johannesburg / Zimbabwe
This morning transfer to the airport for your 10:50AM flight to Victoria Falls. Upon arriving at 12:30pm, we are transferred to your hotel, the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. After check in, you’ll have time to freshen up and relax or take a little dip in the pool before your mid-day departure to the river for an afternoon of fun on the Sundowner Cruise. Enjoy great sights along with hors d’oeuvres and drinks while on board. Return to the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge before dinner. The award-winning MaKuwa-Kuwa Restaurant is a split level space with spectacular views over the on-site waterhole which is regularly frequented by buffalo, elephant, warthogs, various antelope special plus a myriad of birds. (B, D)
Day 16: Victoria Falls
This morning is your opportunity to see one of the biggest and best waterfalls in the world. Victoria Falls is viewed as the most spectacular and widely regarded as the largest waterfall in the world. See why the locals call it “Mosi-O-Tunya’ or “the smoke that thunders.” The mist from the waterfalls, which can rise up to 1,300 feet high, looks like smoke from the distance. Spend the entire morning observing the falls from many angles and the afternoon is yours to enjoy on your own, shopping for that last souvenir or walking back for another glimpse of the magnificent Victoria Falls. Dinner tonight is at The Boma, which translates to “place of eating,” and provides a unique cultural experience that bombards the senses with the tastes, sights, sounds and smells of Africa – together with the warmth and hospitality of Zimbabwe and its people. Nestled in a “gusu” (indigenous tree) forest, the restaurant is partly open to the spectacular African night skies. (B, D)
Day 17: Zimbabwe / Johannesburg / USA
Early afternoon flight connects in Johannesburg with your international flight to Atlanta, GA. Arrive at 6:00am on Day 18, April 5th, leaving plenty of time to connect with your domestic flight home. (B, In-flight meal service)
International round-trip airfare • South African domestic airfare
International & Domestic Airline Taxes
Hotel accommodations • Meals as indicated: B (Breakfast) L (Lunch) D (Dinner)
Luxury motor coach • English speaking tour director & guides • Luggage Handling
Admission for tours listed • Special events as detailed in itinerary
Special Events and Sights
Six incredible Wildlife Safari Game Drives • Kruger National Park
Private Game Reserve - Kapama River Lodge
Apartheid Museum • Diamond Mine • Scenic Garden Route • Cape of Good Hope
Vineyard tour with wine tasting • Ostrich Farm • Lesedi Cultural Village • Penguin Colony
Johannesburg • Pretoria • Cape Town • Beautiful South African Countryside
Meeting of the Oceans • Large Scale Corn & Poultry Farm • Rural Home
God’s Window • Blyde River Canyon • Drakensburg Mountains • Table Mountain
South Africa Traveler Testimonials
"Excellent! Tour manager worked to meet individual needs and was very patient. The guide was very, very knowledgeable and went above and beyond! Excellent food & accommodations all the way. Highly Recommend."
- Paula F. (North Dakota)
"I love traveling with you! You tell us what we need to know and you don't overload us with info. Always friendly, always helpful - I never feel I can't ask for help! The safaris and Victoria Falls were amazing. I tell everyone about your wonderful trips. The all-inclusive pricing & the activities with no wasted days are just what I want."
- Linda C. (South Dakota)
"The guide was excellent in all aspects. She was fun, got to know everyone on a personal basis and had knowledge of sites visited. I greatly enjoyed the lodge at Victoria Falls. The tour exceeded my expectations. The tour manager was exceptional. The group was easy to get to know. The food was exceptional as were the accommodations. Easily give them two thumbs up!"
- Earl B. (Minnesota)
"Adele was fantastic! Very knowledgeable and friendly and fun.The drivers were great and we loved the farms and wildlife preserve."
- Jan F. (Missouri)
"There was not a bad hotel on the trip, but some of them were absolutely wonderful! We just love the country side and scenery, but Cape Town & George area were amazing. It was all new to us - loved the diversity of country and city, mountains and oceans, game parks and animals. We loved it all! The guide was wonderful and patient - she went above and beyond being helpful - loves and knows about her country."
- Sue W. (Nebraska)
"Had thoughts about going to South Africa but wasn't at the top of our list. Just needed a nudge from a friend who was traveling with you. Since we had traveled with you to China and Brazil, we knew it would be "top shelf" all the way, and it definitely was a fabulous trip. Wouldn't know what to change - loved the entire experience. Time goes too fast when you are with fun people, beautiful scenery, sat on an ostrich - just a great trip."
- Jerry & Dorothy J. (Minnesota)
"We thought it was a fantastic trip. It met all of our expectations - everything was great. We hope to go again. We had a great group of people on the trip and met some real nice friends. We wouldn't change a thing."
- Marvin & Margaret P. (Iowa)
"Had a ball. Guide was outstanding. My favorite sights were the safari's and Victoria Falls."
- O.B. F. (Oklahoma)
"This was an awesome trip!! We loved the guide!! She was very knowledgeable, fun to be around, and put up with us! Would love to travel with her again. Well planned trip - loved staying in Oudsthoorn. Wish I would have bought more diamonds, but my husband is happy!!"
- Kathy P. (New York)
"I felt very comfortable riding with the motor coach drivers. They drove sensibly and were very cautious in the cities. The guide was wonderful, so attentive to every person's needs, was a great communicator, and very knowledgeable. We loved the farm visits and the private game lodge. I have recommended Rupiper Tours to others and will continue to do so."
- Phyllis B. (Minnesota)
"The guide was one in a million - best guide we have ever had on any tour. Explained history and life in South Africa. Very knowledgeable and spoke very clearly - made us feel like family. This tour was exceptional - Great memories.
- Wayne & Susan S. (Oregon)
"Brent was the BEST!!! I loved the whole trip! Wouldn't change anything."
- Tammy & Steve W. (South Dakota)
"We loved it. Your office was friendly and made us comfortable in our decision to travel with Rupiper. We were more than satisfied with the guide - very knowledgeable. I rate this tour 5 out of 5!
- Nancy & Dick J. (Illinois)
"I would highly recommend Rupiper Tours to anyone. Any questions were answered promptly. The guide went above and beyond."
- Carol S. (Minnesota)
"This was a trip my husband wanted to take for years. We talked to a couple who had taken this trip and said we would enjoy it. People can't believe how close one gets to the animals. Seeing Cape Town, penguin colony, and some farming makes this a wonderful trip. Thanks for making my husband's dream come true! We enjoy traveling with Brent, this was our second tour. He does a good job being sociable with everyone on the tour and very helpful with questions. The tour guide was the best we ever had on a trip."
- David & Audrey S. (Illinois)
"Loved my first experience out of the country. Will definitely check out your other destinations when I'm ready for another adventure. The guide was great! Lots of knowledge and very accommodating."
- Mary K. (Minnesota)
"This was a lifelong dream - We enjoyed it thoroughly - met lots of nice people - our 50th anniversary gift to ourselves! The guide went above and beyond to get hearing aid batteries for us. We loved the Game Reserves and the farms."
- Bill & Sue B. (Illinois)
"Our tour guide was great and I would recommend her to anyone going to South Africa. She knew the answer to nearly every question, and if she didn't know right away, she would look it up and get back to us. The tour was great. I thought it was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but now I think I will return someday."
- Gordon F. (Utah)
"The tour company is very good at helping you get everything scheduled. I enjoyed the tour very much, with a good variety of different stops. The accommodations and food were very good, and the rooms were excellent."
- Richard B. (Nebraska)
"This was my first time with Rupiper Tours. I enjoyed every part. Our guide was awesome. She was obviously passionate and extremely knowledgeable about South Africa. She made sure we had a great time and had a great sense of humor. It was a great trip and hope I have the opportunity to go on future tours."
- Boone & Blythe M. (Nebraska)
"We loved the trip. I am not an animal person, but love scenery and places to visit, but I came home thrilled to see the animals in the wild on the fun safaris."
“We want to comment on the South Africa trip we recently enjoyed with your travel company. Our guide was exceptional, she met all of our needs, was very knowledgeable, humorous, accommodating and a pleasure to have as a guide. She always kept things in control. This trip went above our expectations and we thank you for putting together a memorable experience for us. The safaris were excellent and we learned so much about South Africa.”
- Roger & Carolyn D. (Colorado)
“Thrilled to death with the trip! I would go again in a heartbeat. Our guide was fabulous!”
- Karen S. (Illinois)
"The tour guide was excellent. She was knowledgeable. If she didn't know the answer to a question, she found out. She made sure we were taken care of. Bus drivers knew the routes and were very courteous"
- Tom & Peg K. (Wisconsin)
“Larry, We know it's late, but wanted you to know how much we loved our guide on our South Africa trip last March. She was superb! So knowledgeable & organized. She looked after all of us like a Mother hen. We enjoyed her so very much. It was a great trip in every way. The group we went with still keep in touch with us. We would recommend this trip to anyone. Hope to travel with you again soon.”
- Sally & Don A. (Ohio)
“Traveling to South Africa with Rupiper Tours was a great and memorable travel experience. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and shared so much extra information about the areas we visited. I especially had fun visiting the Ostrich farm, traveling along the beautiful coast and visiting Cape Town. Of course, the best part was to see all the animals in Kruger National Park!”
- Brenda D. (South Dakota)
“Our South African trip was very enjoyable. Our South African guide was the greatest. She not only handled all the luggage, hotel room keys, making sure our luggage was on board each day, checking to see if everyone handed in their room keys, but was very knowledgeable about her country. This is one of the greatest trips we have taken.”
- Jim & Carol S. (Wisconsin)
“Our trip to South Africa last fall was a wonderful trip. Larry did and always does a great job planning and directing the tours so there are no worries. The tour booklets they gave us were so nice as it explained each day’s events. We loved the morning and evening safaris. The elephant safari was so much fun. We would highly recommend any tours with Rupiper Tours.”
- Ken & Dorothy B. (South Dakota)
“What a wonderful time we had on our South Africa trip and you were right about the guide… she was awesome. I have so many good photos and many shared laughs. You all are at the top of our list.”
- Dennis & Clare (Minnesota)