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 4 - 18, 2018
Day 1: Departure
Meet your Rupiper Tour Manager 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: Arrive in South Africa / Pretoria
Upon arrival in Johannesburg, we are welcomed by our South African national guide. Enjoy your first glimpse of the country as we travel via private motor coach to Pretoria, the capital city of South Africa. Our hotel will be a welcoming sight after your long journey. Tonight, we enjoy a wonderful dinner. (In-flight meal service, D)
Day 3: Pretoria / Delmas / 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, the Irene Country Lodge. (B, L, D)
Day 4: Pretoria / Kroonstad
Depart after breakfast for the Free State town of Edenville and a visit to the Sernick Group, a pure bred 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. Enjoy lunch before departing to Kroonstad, where we visit a corn farm that also has game such as rhino, buffalo and sable antelope. The Crous family invites you to join them at their home for a BBQ dinner tonight, where you can see how the locals live. This evening you’ll absolutely love your overnight stay at the Arcadia Guest House. (B, L, D)
Day 5: Kroonstad / George / Plettenberg Bay
Travel through the countryside to the small town of Delmas and visit the prestigious estate of the Rossouw family. Beginning with an orientation in their offices, the Rossouw family will introduce you to growing corn, soybeans and sod in South Africa. They have their own commodity office for their large poultry and swine operation as well as their crops. Half way around the world, you’ll see John Deere tractors in the field, just like in the USA, and you’ll learn the good, bad and the ugly of farming in South Africa. Fly to George Airport, located on the Garden Route of South Africa. Upon arrival transfer to the Beacon Island Hotel in Plettenberg Bay where you will overnight. (B, D)
Day 6: Plettenberg Bay
Today’s journey includes one of the most picturesque regions of South Africa. Plettenberg Bay was originally named Bahia Formosa (Beautiful Bay) by the Portuguese navigator Manuel de Mesquita Peterestrelo, but was later renamed after the 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. Next drive to Knysna, (Pronounced Niesna,) one of the quaintest little towns you’ll ever experience and one of the great attractions on South Africa’s beautiful Garden Route. Enjoy splendid views of the sea on one side and the town of Knysna and its forest and mountains on the other side. After a stop and lunch, we travel to Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of South Africa. Oudtshoorn, situated at the foot of the Swartberg Mountain range, is where we 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 we stay in Oudsthoorn at wonderful accommodations. (B, L, D)
Day 7: 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 vinyard 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 for lunch at a working wheat and sheep farm situated in the heart of the Overberg. Arrive late afternoon in Cape Town, the pride of the southern African subcontinent and South Africa’s most visited destination. Here you will find a variety of restaurants on the waterfront, where your hotel is located. (B, L)
Day 8: 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 we visit a large penguin colony. (B, L)
Day 9: 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 Babylonstoren Farm, one of the best preserved farms in the Cape Dutch tradition. Not only the manor house from 1777, but pioneer structures all the way back to the founding of the farm in 1690. The Koornhuis (building for storing wheat and hay) and the old cellar are in exceptionally great shape. An ornate fowl house, pigeon loft, leaning bell tower and historic gates embellish a traditional courtyard surrounded by a low, whitewashed wall. The Babylonstoren logo, which consists of a pipe, representing the farm, a flower, representing the garden, and a bird, representing nature, combines the very essence of Babylonstoren, which is keeping things simple and as true to the earth as possible. (B, L)
Day 10: Cape Town /Mpumalanga / Kruger National Park
Early this morning fly to Mpumalanga 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 rondawels 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 our 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, L, D)
Day 11: 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 million 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 the Kapama Lodge 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. (B, L, D)
Day 12: Kapama Private Game Reserve
Enjoy an early morning game drive in Kapama Game Reserve followed by breakfast. The balance of the day is yours to enjoy. Relax at the pool or enjoy the luxurious amenities of this five star lodge. If you choose, Elephant rides are available at the lodge. In the late afternoon, accompanied by highly skilled game rangers, adventure out on another game drive in search of the BIG FIVE (Lion, Rhino, Cape Buffalo, Leopard, and Elephant.) 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: Kapama Private Game Reserve / Panoramic Route
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. Late afternoon, check into the hotel to relax and get ready for your farewell dinner. (B, L, D)
Day 14: Hazyview / Johannesburg / Depart to USA
An incredible journey draws to an end as you depart on a scenic drive to Johannesburg to catch your evening flight to Atlanta, GA. (B, In-flight meal service)
Day 15: 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 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
"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)