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Sip & Safari: 18 Days Among the Wines and Wildlife of Southern Africa
When you think of southern Africa, do you imagine sipping wines at a Cape Dutch estate, gazing out at vines that stretch to the horizon? Or would you want to experience the famous wildlife preserves on a safari? Perhaps the urban attractions of Cape Town, with its world-class restaurants and museums, have a special appeal. Of course, if you would like to venture farther to the Namibian Desert or the beaches of Mozambique, you may start to feel like there’s no way to see everything on your list on one trip.  

Fortunately, there’s no need to make any difficult choices. With TCS World Travel’s Southern Africa: Wine and Wildlife trip, departing on August 31, 2020, you’ll cover much of the southern half of the continent. You’ll see a variety of ecosystems, experience game drives, and enjoy some of the culinary and wine highlights of Cape Town, the Cape Winelands, and Hermanus.  

Even better, you’ll do it all in just 18 days. That’s because private jet travel allows you to maximize your time on the ground by minimizing your time in the air. Flying nonstop around the continent with TCS World Travel means you see many highlights in a short amount of time. Plus, most of your flights will be in extreme comfort, on an Airbus A318 that’s been specially outfitted for this trip with only 28 flatbed seats. The experienced flight crew and your expedition leader will ensure that you don’t need to worry about any logistical details. Perhaps best of all, every hotel, meal, tour, guide, and tip is included. This leaves you free to enjoy every game drive and wine tasting on this schedule that will show you the best of southern Africa.
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    Day 1
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Start your exploration of southern Africa in Cape Town, the so-called Mother City and one of the earliest European settlements in this part of the continent. You’ll spend the night at the world-famous Cape Grace Hotel, located right on the waterfront with views of Table Mountain from many rooms.            

    After admiring it from a distance, you may want to get a closer look at Table Mountain with its panoramic views of the city and the sea. When there, keep an eye out for the tiny rock hyrax, a rare, rodent-like creature. Continue your Cape Town tour at one of the city’s most exciting new additions, the Zeitz MOCAA, a museum focused on contemporary art from Africa and the African Diaspora. Another option for your day is to visit the Amy Foundation, which provides an opportunity to meet with local residents and learn about the challenges facing South Africa—especially among its most vulnerable communities. The foundation’s arts and culture programs and skills training provide many with the tools they need to succeed.  

    Note that while you only have one day in Cape Town on this itinerary, TCS World Travel’s trips can often be customized. If you would like to arrive several days earlier and spend more time in this fascinating city, they can make it happen.
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    Days 2 and 3
    Cape Winelands
    A half-hour helicopter flight will deliver you to your next stop, the Cape Winelands. You’ll be based in the quaint town of Stellenbosch at the Delaire Graff Estate. You can admire the views of the surrounding valley from your bed or your private pool while surrounded by buildings inspired by Cape Dutch architecture and design. When you aren’t exploring the local area, you can enjoy a spa treatment or sample one of the local wines at the hotel’s lounge.  

    In every destination on this TCS World Travel itinerary, you’re free to explore on your own, but expert guides will also be waiting to show you the best of each destination. At the Grand Provence winery, you can enjoy two different types of masterpieces—the winery’s famous liquid products and the African art on display in its gallery. Boschendal is a winery with a bucolic setting and a long history—it was founded in 1685. Your tour here will be followed by a curated food and wine pairing. The winery is especially known for its merlot and Cap Classique, a sparkling wine. Then, a tour of the town of Franschhoek highlights the beautiful whitewashed Cape Dutch architecture, the Huguenot Monument, and the charming bookstores, boutiques, and other stores.
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    Days 4 to 6
    Sossusvlei, Namibia
    A desert safari in Namibia’s Sossusvlei provides a decidedly different perspective on Africa than the classic African safari. This is an area of sweeping desert vistas, immense sand dunes, and wildlife that exists nowhere else in the world.  

    You’ll stay at one of two lodges. The &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is a dramatically contemporary property with stone-and-glass villas overlooking the desert landscape. Skylights look up to the star-filled southern night sky, and your private veranda is ideal for a late afternoon nap. Before dinner in the lantern-lit dining room, you may want to drop by the bar for a cocktail.  

    Other travelers will stay at the Little Kulala Camp, located on a dry riverbed in the Namib Desert. Floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the desert, and at night the views get even better. The sky fills with stars, and rooms feature rooftop star beds, ideal for gazing towards the heavens. 

    Whichever property you stay at, you’ll have a choice of walking and 4x4 tours. As you climb the towering dunes and the flat clay pans, the landscapes are otherworldly. Some of the animals you may encounter include ostriches, springboks, spotted hyenas, oryxes, bat-eared foxes, and aardwolves. Your expert guides are especially helpful at pointing out elusive and unfamiliar bird species like the dune larks.
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    Days 7 and 8
    Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
    A two-hour flight will bring you to one of Africa’s most famous sites, towering Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, a UNESCO World Heritage site. One of the largest waterfalls in the world, the Zambezi River plunges some 355 feet here. You’ll stay at the new 16-suite Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel, located just minutes from the falls.  

    During your time in Victoria Falls, you can take a guided tour of the falls, join a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, or opt for a game drive at the Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve, where you may spot lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, and other animals.
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    Days 9 and 10
    South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
    A 90-minute flight will take you to your next destination, in Zambia. It’s a special place: The walking safari was said to have been born in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park. With the dense concentration of wildlife here around the Luangwa River and watering holes, it is a logical place to see the animals on foot—there’s no need for long drives in pursuit of lions and leopards.  

    You’ll spend your nights here at the Mfuwe Lodge—a collection of chalets under a canopy of mahogany trees and decorated with local art. You can lounge on the open deck, swim in the pool, or sign up for a spa treatment. 

    Choose from walking safaris and game drives each day, in pursuit of hippos, crocodiles, elephants, and some of the 400 or so bird species found in this especially biodiverse part of the continent. Nighttime game drives offer opportunities to spot some of the many nocturnal species.
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    Days 11 to 13
    Pemba, Mozambique
    You’ve been exploring Africa for 10 days—and after the urban excitement of Cape Town, the wine tastings in the Cape Winelands, and getting up for early-morning game drives, you may be ready to take it easy with a few days on the beach. At Pemba, in northern Mozambique, you’ll be able to unwind on the powdery sands and swim in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.  

    You’ll stay at the Diamonds Mequfi Beach Resort, where the contemporary rooms have outdoor showers and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Indian Ocean. Other resort amenities include three restaurants, a saltwater pool, and a spa featuring treatments incorporating local ingredients. You can borrow kayaks, canoes, and snorkel gear when you’re ready to explore nearby reefs or the mangroves. On a naturalist-led walk along the seashore, you’ll come to realize the remarkable diversity of marine life found along the shore and in tide pools. If you’d like to learn more about life and meet some residents of this part of Mozambique, TCS World Travel can arrange a visit to a nearby village.
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    Days 14 and 15
    Kruger National Park, South Africa
    You’ll fly back to South Africa this morning, on your way to one of the continent’s most legendary safari destinations: Kruger National Park.  

    You’ll stay at the Sabi Sands Game Reserve: Lion Sands River Lodge, where you can watch animals gather along the Sabi River from your private deck. Late in the day, you can cool off in the pool while guests gather around the lodge’s firepit to share tales of wildlife sightings.  

    Even though the wildlife in Kruger National Park will make their way to your doorstep, you’ll also want to join drives every day to get a closer look. Whether you opt for a game drive or a walking safari, you can look for lions, buffalos, leopards, African bush elephants, and rhinoceroses in one of Africa’s most spectacular landscapes.
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    Days 16 and 17
    Hermanus, South Africa
    Having spotted animals in the Namibian desert and the interiors of Zambia and South Africa, you’ll turn your focus to the sea at your next stop, in Hermanus, near Cape Town. Here you’ll stay at the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, set amid a milkwood forest with stunning views—many of the ocean—from your canopy bed and private deck. The property’s restaurant highlights local produce, and much of it is grown on the hotel’s own farm.  

    Whale-watching expeditions provide an opportunity to spot southern right whales as well as the other animals of the marine “big five”—sharks, seals, penguins, and dolphins. A botanical safari, on the other hand, provides an interesting change from looking for giraffes, elephants, and other large animals. You’ll learn to turn your focus to small details, like the shapes of blossoms and leaves. Around 760 different plant species can be found on the Grootbos preserve, and around 100 of them are endangered. If you don’t begin the safari interested in botany, you will likely end it a new convert.  

    Hermanus is also located near many of South Africa’s acclaimed wine regions, known for the very different products created by the diversity of soil types and the many microclimates created by the coastal locations. A wine-tasting tour can include stops at some of the best wine estates in the Overberg region and the Hemel-en-Aarde valley.
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    Day 18
    Cape Town
    A 20-minute flight will return you to Cape Town, in time for your flight back home. If you have now decided that exploring the world by private jet suits your style, you may want to bookmark some pages from the TCS World Travel website and start planning your next adventure as you fly over the Atlantic.