South Africa: Cape Town, national parks and beaches of the Northeast SA

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30 april - 10 may, 2022
11 days
Cape Town, national park safari, wildlife, beaches, ocean
Easy level
1950 EUR

Children under 6 y.o. - 50% discount

Children 6-16 y.o. - 30% discount
How does the tour take its course?
Cape Town and Surroundings
Cape Town is the tourist capital of South Africa and all of Africa. It is regularly ranked as one of the best places to visit by both Lonely Planet experts and tourists themselves, for example, on TripAdvisor. The English BBC Travel named Cape Town "The Cleanest City" and Conde Naste named it "Gastronomic City #1". All of these titles are well-deserved, indeed. The city is so cozy and harmonious that most of our tourists after visiting Cape Town say "if it weren't for work, I would stay here forever".

We will stroll through Cape Town neighborhood with brightly coloured houses, visit endless beaches, climb the hallmark of South Africa - Table Mountain, take pictures of the sunset on Lion's Head Mountain. We will visit the Cape of Good Hope where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.
Children will swim in two oceans, be photographed on the beach with penguins, climb mountains, and watch wild animals.
Indian and Atlantic Oceans
Africa's underwater world is rich and diverse. Near the Cape of Good Hope, two currents collide: the warm current of the Indian Ocean and the cold Bengal Current from the Antarctic. You can see the water temperature on the eastern coast of the Cape is always a few degrees higher than on its west coast. Nutrients accumulate near Cape Town, which attracts inhabitants from all over the world's oceans. Whales, sharks, penguins, seals, large groups of dolphins, and countless schools of fish can be seen here.

Our itinerary includes 3 water activities:
- A visit to the penguin beach, where penguins feel quite at ease and let photographers up close.
- Snorkeling with sea lions lead by a marine biologist. You just have to keep your head spinning and catch these frisky swimmers in the frame.
- Going out into the open ocean for whales (in case whales will be in the area at that time).
Durban's Warm Beaches
The second part of the trip starts from the city of Durban - South Africa's second largest seaport, known for its sandy beaches. Almost every day a new endless beach of the warm Indian Ocean with huge waves awaits us!
Hluhluwe-Umfolozi National Park Safari
Hluhluwe-Umfolozi is one of the largest nature reserves in the world, and a place with a huge concentration of wild animals. About 40 years ago, the world famous "Operation Rhino" was launched here to save this animal species. As a result, today this park is home to more than one-fifth of the world's rare black and white rhinos. The park covers an area of 96,000 hectares and is the fourth largest nature park in South Africa.

The protected area is home to over 80 species of mammals - African elephant, black and white rhino, lions, leopards, buffalo, cheetahs, antelopes, giraffes, wild African dog, hippos, spotted hyena, warthog and many others. More than 300 species of birds have been recorded in the park, including the silver eagle, night heron, Shelley's shrike, bustards, Claas's bronze cuckoo, tufted barbet and others. We hope to meet, if not all, but most of the inhabitants of the African savanna.

Our team has traveled to various national parks from Namibia to Kenya, and knows how to visit such places to take beautiful pictures and get a dose of adrenaline from the process of hunting animals. No local rangers or well-trodden trails! We only have cars, walkie-talkies and enough time to search.

The distinctive feature of Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park is that, on the one hand, it is relatively easy to visit and, on the other hand, the animals are in truly natural conditions. These are not kennels, which are more like zoos. This is real wildlife. We cannot guarantee encounters with all local species, but vivid memorable emotions we promise. Success depends on your own observation, persistence and luck.
St. Lucia Estuary
St. Lucia Estuary is the largest coastal lagoon in Africa at about 350 sq. km, with an average depth of 90 cm. The park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 1999 and is now home to more than 1,200 Nile crocodiles and about 800 hippos. The Saint Lucia Estuary is also home to rhinos, elephants, kudu, leopards, antelopes, thousands of flamingos, a host of invertebrates, fish and small animals. The park is home to South Africa's largest breeding colony of white pelicans.

In the center of the park there is the eponymous town St.Lucia, where you can meet herds of wild hippos strolling in the streets every evening! :) They are, in our opinion, the highlight of this town and our main purpose for visiting. We know all the "keys" to the place where these powerful animals come in the evenings to nibble on the lawns of ordinary residents of the city, where you can watch them at arm's length and even take selfies with a hippo:)

Day 1. Meeting in Cape Town
Meet and greet at Cape Town Airport. Check-in. Rest after the flight and free time. Briefing. Meeting the ocean!

Welcome to South Africa's second most populous, but first most famous city. It was founded in 1652 and served as a staging post for Dutch ships en route from Europe to India. Cape Town has all sorts of epithets - some call it the cultural capital, some call it the legislative center (it has the parliament and other state institutions) and many tourists are sure that it is the most beautiful city in the world. You will soon see it yourself.
Of course, it is not the city itself that we are primarily interested in, but its natural surroundings!
Day 2. Cape of Good Hope, penguins
Today we'll try to get up at dawn to drive to the southeasternmost part of the continent, the Cape of Good Hope, and on the way back we'll stop by the beach to swim and sunbathe with the penguins.

Technically, the Cape of Good Hope is not the southernmost point of Africa, although this is a common belief. The geographical misunderstanding is explained by the fact that when ships enter False Bay, they circle this very cape. It's a surprisingly picturesque place with soft white beaches alternating with sheer cliffs. Mixing the icy Atlantic Ocean with the warm waters of the Indian Ocean has created a unique coastal environment and one of the most productive marine areas. There is a nature reserve inhabited by rare animals and birds. We are sure to meet ostriches, antelopes, baboons.

Day 3. Table Mountain, snorkeling with seals
Take the cable car to the famous Table Mountain!

Table Mountain is recognized as one of the new wonders of the world and is a trademark of Cape Town. Its height is 1,085 meters above sea level, and its silhouette is depicted on the city's flag. From the outside the surface of the mountain seems completely flat, like the surface of a table, hence the name - Table. This place is visited by absolutely all the tourists who come to South Africa.

In the afternoon we will go snorkeling with sea lions! The tour to the seals will be lead by marine mammal specialist, biologist Steve Benjamin. You will be able to swim with these friendly animals, and we will give you snorkeling gear to rent (free of charge).

Seals are masters of diving and will amaze you with their acrobatic skills. The trip promises to be very fun, it is not easy to swim with seals and not laugh. The animals are playful and very responsive. The only question is, who is playing with whom?
Day 4. Wine farms, downtown Cape Town
A very relaxing and enjoyable day of our journey. We will go to see the best wine farms around Cape Town. We will visit several vineyards and taste wine in each of them.

Wine in South Africa is a destination for many travelers. This country knows the exact date of the beginning of its wine history - February 2, 1659, the date when Jean van Riebeek sent his first wine under the press. The venture was so successful that since then South Africa's wine industry has only blossomed. Most of the grape varieties at the moment are white, and the most common is Chenin Blanc, which is used to make white table ordinary wines. But there is also a unique sort, a real treasure of the country - Pinotage - from which both light and full-bodied red wines with a unique flavor of meadow grass, prune and strawberry are made.

In Cape Town we will visit Cape Town's most popular attractions: Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and the historic heart of Cape Town harbor. Walk through Bo-Kaap, the city's "colorful" neighborhood inhabited by descendants of slaves from Southeast Asia. Hence the second name "Malay quarter". Colorful buildings, winding streets, beautiful Muslim mosques. Don't forget to load up your cameras!
Day 5. Flight to Durban, Indian Ocean
We pack our bags and go to the airport. We have a flight to Durban. We stay one night at an English farmer's house and swim in the warm Indian Ocean.
Day 6. Umfolozi National Park
Let's head north for adventure! Transfer to Hluhluwe-Umfolozi National Park, where we will check into lodges within the park. In the evening we will go on our own safari through the park in our cars: we may see African elephants, black and white rhinos, giraffes and antelopes, and if we are lucky, lions, leopards, cheetahs and many others.
Dinner and overnight in lodges in the park.
Day 7. Umfolozi National Park
Again we try to get up at dawn, because the animals are as active as possible before it gets hot. Again we look for animals, and when we are tired we go to our new location, the town of St. Lucia.
Here we can have lunch and go to the beach.
And in the evening after sunset we will go in search of hippos in town. It will be one of the most exciting moments of this trip!
Day 8. Beach at Cape Vidal, evening hippo photography
We drive to Cape Vidal Park, stopping at a crocodile farm on the way. At the park we will see different animals and swim in the ocean. The highlight of the trip awaits us again in the evening: hippos on the streets! Where else can you see such a thing? Only in Africa of course! We will watch the most dangerous animals in Africa from an arm's length away as they peacefully nibble on the grass of the neighboring lawn.
Day 9. Hippo cruise, flight to Cape Town
Breakfast. Today we will go on a cruise and observe herds of hippos already from the water: did you know that hippos can run fast underwater, easily do it with their eyes open and can hold their breath for up to 5 minutes? We will learn this and much more during our fascinating journey around a lake teeming with these amazing animals. Along the way prepare for meetings with the Nile crocodiles, because as we know, in St. Lucia their population is more than 1000 animals!
After lunch we head to the airport.
Departure to Cape Town.
Day 10. Beach Day
A day of beaches, oceans, and photos! We'll swim and jump in the waves at the best beaches around Cape Town! We will visit the warmer Indian Ocean and the icy Atlantic Ocean! Those who wish will be able to go to the penguins again. In the evening, if we have enough energy, we will climb to watch the sunset on the Lion's Head Mountain!
Day 11. Departure home
Today we leave for the airport for our flight home. We'll be sure to say goodbye to the ocean on the way!
30 april - 10 may, 2022

1950 EUR
Children under 6 y.o. - 50% discount
Children 6-16 y.o. - 30% discount

Mike Korostelev
Tour leader
Mike founder of "Whale Watching Expeditions" project and inspirer of all new tours. Underwater Photographer.
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