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Best of South Africa

13 Day Escorted Tour

South Africa, Africa
14 Meals Included
10 Excursions
Intermediate Pace

This tour offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the Big Five on safari at the famous Kruger National Park, soak up the unforgettable scenery along Chapman's Peak Drive, explore cosmopolitan Cape Town and discover the beautiful Winelands region.

Highlights

  • Embark on a picturesque coastal journey along Chapman's Peak Drive to the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point
  • Spot the mighty Big Five on a full-day safari in Kruger National Park
  • Scenic drives along the Garden Route and Blyde River Canyon
  • Visit Stellenbosch and Franschhoek in the beautiful Cape Winelands, with a cellar tour and wine tasting
  • Enjoy the sea air on a Lagoon Cruise to the Knysna Heads
  • Explore the lush forests and dramatic coastlines of Tsitsikamma National Park
  • Captivating sightseeing tour of Cape town

Map Key

Train
Coach
Boat
Airplane
Walking
1
Number of nights

Itinerary

Day 1
UK to Cape Town

Depart on your scheduled, overnight flight to Cape Town.

Day 2
Cape Town

On arrival the following day, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Day 3
Cape Town

Breakfast

Wake this morning to embark on a full-day tour around the Cape Peninsula. Leaving Cape Town behind, join one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world; Chapmans Peak Drive, affording exquisite panoramic views. Next, visit Boulders Beach in Simons Town; part of a marine protected area and home to a breeding colony of over 2,000 endangered African penguins. The Cape Point Nature Reserve awaits at the very tip of the Cape Peninsula. A declared world heritage site, the area affords dramatic scenery and extensive views where the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean meet in harmony. Lastly, stroll through the beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Unveiling sounds, colours, and aromas of the natural environment, the meticulously maintained gardens trace the history of the region and celebrate the botanical diversity of the Western Cape. Arrive back in Cape Town in time for dinner.

Day 4
Cape Town

Breakfast

This morning, enjoy a tour of Cape Town. Alongside high-rise office blocks, a harmonious blend of architectural styles has been meticulously preserved, including Edwardian, Victorian and Cape Dutch. Narrow, cobblestone streets and the Islamic character of the Bo-Kaap enhance the cosmopolitan ambience. During the tour you will see the Castle of Good Hope – this pentagon-shaped fort is the oldest surviving building in South Africa, and the Company’s Garden. The tour of this beautiful city introduces you to a rich culture and history. Enjoy an afternoon of leisure, or take an optional excursion (payable locally) including a helicopter ride over Cape Town and Table Mountain, or visit Robben Island (payable locally) where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years, or take the cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain and enjoy some magnificent views!

Day 5
Cape Town

Breakfast

Today, tour the breathtaking Cape Winelands, first stopping at the town of Franschhoek, then onto Stellenbosch. South Africa’s wine industry was first developed by French Huguenots who bought their wines with them and settled in Franschhoek in the 17th century. The reputation of South African wines flourished across the globe in the centuries that followed, even Napoleon had wine shipped to him during his exile in the 19th century. Take some time to explore these delightful towns before enjoying a wine tasting of ‘new-world’ wines.

Day 6
Cape Town to Knysna

Breakfast & Dinner

Take a scenic drive into the heart of the gorgeous Garden Route. Stop of at Hermanus, a popular fishing and holiday village, and Swellendam, a colourful agricultural town surrounded by mountains. Arrive at picturesque coastal, Knysna. This historic logging town is hemmed in between the Knysna Lagoon and the mountainous Knysna Forest.

Day 7
Knysna

Breakfast & Lunch

This morning, take a ferry across Knysna lagoon to the Featherbed Nature Reserve taking in views of the imposing Knysna Heads. Explore the nature reserve with a guided walk and 4x4 trailer drive seeking out Blue Duiker, Knysna Loerie and the rare African Oyster Catcher.

Day 8
Knysna to Port Elizabeth

Breakfast

Depart for Tsitsikamma, a section of the Garden Route famed for luscious forests and dramatic coastlines. Visit a Protea Farm to see South Africa's national flower, before travelling onward to Port Elizabeth, a city known for its laid-back coastal ambience and bold colonial architecture.

Day 9
Port Elizabeth to Kruger

Breakfast & Dinner

Fly from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg, where you will be transferred to the town of Hazyview. Your retreat will serve as the perfect base from which to explore Kruger National Park.

Day 10
Kruger National Park

Breakfast

An early morning start allows you to take advantage of the best time to enter the national park on what is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the tour. Kruger is one of the biggest, oldest and quite simply one of the best wildlife parks in the world. Covering an area of more than 19 square kilometres, Kruger boasts vast landscapes and the greatest variety of animals including the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino) as well as giraffe, cheetah, hippos and many species of antelope and smaller animals. Accompanied by an experienced game ranger, you will tour specific areas of the park in an open-sided vehicle offering the very best safari experience with a clear view of the game from an elevated position.

Day 11
Kruger National Park

Breakfast

Today is at leisure alternatively, or alternately take part in one of our optional excursions (at a fee) including a second 4x4 experience into Kruger.

Day 12
Kruger to Johannesburg

Breakfast

Today, travel along the magnificent Panorama Route, one of South Africa’s most stunning scenic drives. Climbing high into the cliff tops witness the fresh mountain scenery and sweeping views over the Klein Drakensberg escarpment at the start of one of the world’s largest canyons; the truly impressive Blyde River Canyon. With awe-inspiring vistas, the route passes natural landmarks such as the spectacular peaks of the three Ronavels. Continue to Johannesburg for your overnight stay.

Day 13
Johannesburg to UK

Breakfast

Enjoy a short sightseeing tour of the city, with a stop at the Apartheid Museum for a fascinating insight into South Africa's cultural struggles. Later in the afternoon, head to the airport for your scheduled flight back to the UK.

View Full Itinerary

This tour can be booked by calling 0330 818 8907

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Accommodation

The hotels listed below are provided for guidance only and final confirmation of your accommodation will be sent to you approximately 10 days before you travel
Protea Hotel Fire and Ice
4 nights
Cape Town, South Africa
More details
The Rex Hotel
2 nights
Knysna, South Africa
More details
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Tour Reviews

Marilyn Collins

03 Mar 20

Cape Town hotel needed some refurbishment but excellent service and food. Knysna - excellent in all respects. Port Elizabeth - very good Hazy View - lovely location and gardens. Rooms were rather basic. Food and service very poor. A superb programme with generally good accommodation and an excellent itinerary managed by a very experienced and effective tour guide. This was our first tour as we are usually independent travellers and were somewhat apprehensive. The quality of our experience means that we will certainly book a further tour with Mercury.

M Lewis

18 Sep 19

Our tour guide Mark was outstanding. His knowledge and passion for South Africa made this trip for us, his attention to detail and care of us was second to home. If you could guarantee a Mark Bayman on every tour. Thank you.

K Holland

06 Mar 19

The SA Garden Route was very good and our tour guide Danny was outstanding. The tour extension to Mauritius and the Jalsa Beach was exceptional in all aspects.

G Wilson

29 Nov 18

Guides were excellent both Danny in Cape Region and Tash in Johannasburg. Their local knowledge was superb and they both ensured that tourists had the best possible experience.

Extend Your Tour

Best of South Africa with Victoria Falls Extension

5 Day Extension
from

£3,948

pp

Best of South Africa with Mauritius 8 Night Beach Stay

9 Day Extension
from

£3,775

pp

Best of South Africa with Blue Train Extension

5 Day Extension
from

£4,518

pp

Best of South Africa with Mauritius 5 Night Beach Stay

6 Day Extension
from

£3,573

pp

Important Information

The order of events and sightseeing may vary according to local conditions or for operational purposes. The schedules of the domestic airlines in country are subject to frequent changes. For this reason, we have indicated approximate times only. Your local guide will inform you of any schedule changes as they are informed of them. Some road construction &/or weather conditions may lengthen the driving times. Our intention is to adhere to the day-to-day itinerary as printed; however, order of events and sightseeing may vary according to local conditions.

If booking more than 12 weeks before departure a deposit of £295.00pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 12 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 12 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.

Your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 6 months after the date you arrive and at least 3 blank pages.

South Africa visa requirements

British passport holders are not currently required to obtain a visa to travel to South Africa. This will be granted on arrival.

For clients travelling to South Africa with children under the age of 18: Children travelling with both biological parents must travel with:

• Valid passport of travelling parent and child • Visa, if required • Birth certificate listing both parents (note: these must be the original documents, or certified copies of the originals)

A child travelling with just one of the parents listed on his or her birth certificate must also present:

• Parental consent affidavit not older than 4 months or • Letter of special circumstances issued by director-general of home affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased, and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

For full details of requirements for travel to South Africa, please visit the Department of Home Affairs website.

We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote 'Mercury Holidays'. When calling the Travel Visa Company, they will advise you of any changes to the fees or the procedure, they will also advise you of all information they will require in order to apply for the visa. We recommend you check with your destinations' Tourist Board or Embassy prior to departure for the most up to date guidelines regarding these.

Please note that final flight details will be confirmed on your e-ticket and final documentation which will be sent to you approximately 21 days before departure. Weight restrictions will be finalized on your final documentation. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. Check-in should be at least 3 hours before departure. If you wish to arrange Airport car parking or accommodation at preferential rates, we recommend you book this in advance with Holiday Extras on 0871 360 2000, quoting HX313.

IMPORTANT: A printed E-ticket is no longer required at check-in, all you need to do is present your passport to the staff at the desk and your boarding pass will be given to you. Please note that you should carry your invoice with flight details on it as you will need to show this at the airport.

We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.

It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.

This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves full days of sightseeing, early mornings, long days of driving, some days with lots of walking and includes some climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

The currency in South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR). Credit cards are widely accepted and ATM’s are available in most town/cities.

We recommend that you exchange your currency before you leave the UK. Some local banks will not change money back into Pound Sterling, so do not exchange too much. It is advisable to carry smaller note denominations as some outlets and vendors may not accept the larger notes.

As normal practice you may be asked for your credit card details on check-in at the hotel in order to cover any extras incurred during your stay. If you do not have a credit card, you may be asked for a cash deposit. MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted in hotels as well as American Express.

You will need to take extra money with you to cover any dinners where these are not mentioned on your itinerary and personal purchases. Approximately £300-£400 per person should be sufficient for the duration of your tour.

Tipping

It is customary to tip both your driver and guide. We would recommend to tip your guide and driver approximately £6 per person per day in total and £6 (122 ZAR) per person per day for the ranger. Tipping for restaurants (recommended 10%) and the porters at your hotels will be at your discretion. Tips will be collected at the end of your tour. Tips are accepted in the local currency, US dollars, Euros and British pounds.

The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 35. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.

This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of the tour, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times. In the Kruger, you will have a Ranger who will be taking you on your safari. Due to the capacity of the safari vehicles, the group may be split with each vehicle having their own ranger.

Your accommodation is selected for convenience, location or character, and can range from business hotels to leisure hotels or lodges. Hotel accommodation is generally rated as local three to four-star standard, but please note there is no international classification system for hotels, and differences in facilities and quality do exist compared to what you might expect in the UK. Scheduled power outages, commonly referred to as load shedding, can be a common occurrence in South Africa. While most hotels and lodges are equipped to mitigate the effects of load shedding, ensuring that your comfort and convenience are maintained to the best of our ability, it's important to acknowledge that not all establishments may be fully functional during these times. As a result, you may experience temporary disruptions to certain amenities such as air-conditioning, television services, the operation of electric kettles, etc. The hotels/lodges and your guide however, will do their utmost to minimize any impact on your stay. Rest assured that all accommodation used by Mercury Holidays is regularly inspected by our staff and partners to ensure that standards meet your needs

Western and international food will be served however some establishments will serve traditional meals giving you a chance to experience local flavours. Vegetarian and Vegan options available, please request prior to departure. Please contact Customer Experience for questions about other dietary requirements or allergy information.

It is not recommended to drink the tap water, even in developed countries water may contain unfamiliar elements that can cause upset stomachs. In less developed countries water is not filtered in the same way. Bottled water will be available at shops and hotels/lodges.

On your arrival you will be met by a representative from our local agent, African Eagle, holding a sign displaying: “Mercury Holidays”. The Mercury Holidays/African Eagle representative will show you to your transfer vehicle. Your national guide will be on hand 24 hours a day should you have any queries.

If you need to contact your representative during your stay the details are:

African Eagle: Telephone Number 0027 82 325 0201 E-mail duty@ae.co.za

Emergency contact information: Please find below the emergency contact details for African Eagle 24 hour: 002782 325 0201