Itinerary

This itinerary is preliminary and is subject to change.

Day One
September 2, 2018
Our journey begins with a flight out of Washington Dulles International Airport.

Day Two
September 3
We arrive in Cape Town in the evening ready for two weeks of beautiful gardens and stunning scenery.  Our coach takes us to the Vineyard Hotel in the suburbs of Cape Town, our home for the next five nights.  Lodging:  Cape Town(D)

Day Three
September 4
This morning we travel to the floral kingdom of Table Mountain. Here we have a guided walk to explore the indigenous plants because Table Mountain plays a vital role in preserving the floral heritage of this region.  Afterward, we then travel to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, one of the most famous botanical gardens in the world and home to more than 6,000 species. There is always something to see no matter the time of year, and you will come find some unusual features as you stroll through these lovely gardens. There is free time for lunch and shopping before our guided tour.  We return to relax by the pool or in the gardens at our hotel.  Welcome dinner together at a local restaurant. 
Lodging:  Cape Town (B)(D)

Day Four
September 5
Today enjoy a leisurely breakfast before we depart to the ‘Fairest Cape in all the World,’ the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. You will pass through the pristine beaches of Camps Bay, Clifton, and Llandudno, and via the lovely scenery of the Cape to the Reserve.  Amid the rocky crags and lovely landscape, blooms the magnificent flora of the Cape.  In this reserve you may also encounter zebra, eland, and ostrich as well as the rare bontebok antelope and many baboon. Spectacular sea and mountain views await you as you ascend the rocky outreach to the lighthouse. We return to the city via the naval port of Simonís Town, the country’s third oldest European settlement where you can view a colony of African penguins at very close range.  In the evening, we have free time to explore the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, full of shops, galleries, markets, and restaurants. 
Lodging:  Cape Town (B)

Day Five
September 6
At the Cape Town waterfront, we board a ferry for notorious Robben Island. For nearly 400 years, Robben Island, just 12 kilometers from Cape Town, was a place of banishment, exile, isolation, and imprisonment. It was here that rulers sent those regarded as political troublemakers, social outcasts, and the unwanted of society. During the apartheid years, Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years of imprisonment on Robben Island. Today we are escorted around the island by an ex-political prisoner.
Lodging:  Cape Town (B)

Day Six
September 7
Today we visit Skylands private garden in Bishopscourt with the plantswoman responsible for the garden. Later in the morning we visit The Cellars garden in Constantia for tea and refreshments before walking through the gardens with the resident horticulturist.  Then we go to Groot Constantia–a premier historical estate–with free time for lunch and tour the house. Afterwards, we visit Stellenberg, a superior private garden, touring the garden with the owner before refreshments are served.
Lodging:  Cape Town (B)(T)

Day Seven
September 8
We check out of our hotel and drive to Stellenbosch--heart of the wine-growing industry–for a guided visit to Stellenbosch Botanical Garden. Following a tour of the garden, there is free time to explore the historic town of Stellenbosch.  In the afternoon we visit Rustenberg & Schoongezicht–the famous award winning private estates of the Barlow family for tea and a tour of the garden.  Later we travel to Erinvale Estate & Spa, our hotel for the next four nights.   Lodging:  West Somerset (B)(T)(D)

Day Eight
September 9
This morning we enjoy the scenic coastal route to Fernkloof Nature Reserve. There we visit the herbarium and enjoy a guided walk through prolific indigenous flora with a local expert, followed by tea.  On our way to Hermanus we have great views to the ocean beyond. Then there is free time for lunch and whale watching once we arrive in Hermanus.  Following lunch we take a short drive to Hamilton Russell Vineyards in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley for a tasting of prestigious wines from the foremost wine estate in the area.
Lodging:  West Somerset (B)(T)

Day Nine
September 10
We start the day with a guided tour of Freshwoods private garden in the heart of apple-growing country.  After morning tea, we are off to the historic Vergelegen Estate.  Following lunch under the vines, we tour the house, garden and surroundings with the resident horticulturist.
Lodging:  West Somerset (B)(T)(L)

Day Ten
September 11
Our morning begins with a visit ‘Tokara,’ a homestead private garden, with indigenous plantings in a magnificent setting of mountains and water. Following a picturesque drive to beautiful Franschhoek, we lunch at La Petite Ferme–an award-winning restaurant in a spectacular mountain setting.  There is time to explore the village with its galleries and craft shops.
Lodging:  West Somerset (B)(L)

Day Eleven
September 12
This afternoon we fly to Johannesburg, immediately going to Bakubung Bush Lodge inside Pilanesberg National Park.  Tucked in the expanses of the malaria-free park, Bakubung Lodge offers the best of both worlds when combining the peaceful bush environment with luxury and comfort.  Elephants are often seen from the viewing deck. The Bakubung Bush Lodge name translates as People of the Hippo, offering guests an unforgettable stay in the untamed bush. 
Lodging:  Rustenburg (B)(D)

Day Twelve
September 13
Early this morning we travel into the bush.  Accompanied by a park ranger, we ride in an open 4X4 jeep in pursuit of lions, giraffes, hippos, rhinos and more. On our return to the lodge, a delicious breakfast awaits us.  We have free time in the middle of the day before setting off on another three-hour game drive in search of more wildlife.  Following the evening safari, we enjoy a fabulous outdoor dinner on the terrace overlooking the park.
Lodging:  Rustenburg (B)(D)

Day Thirteen
September 14
For early risers, there’s an opportunity for another drive into the bush before breakfast and our mid-morning departure.  As we leave the park and head toward Johannesburg, we stop at Beechwood Gardens.  This classic Johannesburg garden was laid out in 1945 by legendary landscape architect, Joane Pym and features magnificent trees including a colossal Water Oak believed to be one of the largest trees in Johannesburg. Christopher and Susan Greig acquired the 3.5-acre garden some 12 years ago and have worked extensively on redesigning and landscaping this botanical sanctuary.  After our visit, we travel to Lesedi Cultural Village.  Here we have the opportunity to spend the night in a traditional village setting with dinner and evening entertainment.
Lodging:  Lanseria (B)(D)

Day Fourteen
September 15
This morning, our African adventure comes to an end as we depart Johannesburg for our flight home. (B)

Day Fifteen
September 16
We have a mid-afternoon landing at Dulles.

Victoria Falls Optional
Extension

Day Fourteen
September 15
Our flight for Zimbabwe leaves mid-morning en route to Zimbabwe.  Zimbabwe offers a host of natural wonders, not least of which is the legendary Victoria Falls, also known as Mosi-Oa-Tunya or The Smoke That Thunders. In modern terms Victoria Falls is known as the greatest curtain of falling water in the world.  Once we check into Victoria Falls Safari Lodge the afternoon is free to explore the Victoria Falls Village, a village transformed by explorers, hunters and missionaries. A mere stroll through the village will give you a sense of the African cultures and history that have shaped this former frontier town.
Lodging: Victoria Falls (B)(D)

Day Fifteen
September 16
After breakfast, we enjoy a guided tour of Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.  The cliff over which the falls thunder transforms the Zambezi from a placid river into a ferocious torrent cutting through a series of dramatic gorges. Later this afternoon, we experience the other-worldly grandeur when we board a cruise boat for a sun-downer cruise along the Zambezi River in search of hippo, crocodile, and elephant in their home environment.  
Lodging: Victoria Falls (B)(D)

Day Sixteen
September 17
After a leisurely breakfast, we head to Victoria Falls Airport for our return flight to Johannesburg--and later, to our flight home.  (B)

Day Seventeen
September 18
We have a mid-afternoon landing at Dulles.

B - Breakfast included
L - Lunch included
T - Tea included
D - Dinner included