Poignant History, Spectacular Game Viewing, and a Coastal Retreat: the Splendors of Southern Africa Posted June 25, 2018
Southern Africa remains one of the most underappreciated vacation spots on earth. The region offers an amazing diversity of sights, sounds, and experiences, and our Splendors of Southern Africa tour highlights this wonderful variety. Consider: in how many other regions can you explore a cosmopolitan city like Johannesburg, spot big game in two national parks, and visit a world-renowned waterfall before unwinding at a tropical seaside lodge? Nowhere else but southern Africa.
Here are five reasons to join us in 2019.
Johannesburg is a living history museum.
Our introduction to South Africa comes on a daylong tour of Johannesburg, the city synonymous with the struggle to end apartheid. We tour the renowned district of Soweto, the Southwest Townships of the city where former Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela lived and acted as two of the many voices working to gain equality for black South Africans. We also visit the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum, dedicated to the 1976 Soweto Uprising that resulted in the senseless killing of 13-year-old Hector, among many other victims. Our final stop in Jo-burg is perhaps the most emotional, as we listen to a local resident who was present during the 1976 uprising detail what life was like then and now.
Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park offers superb game viewing.
Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe’s largest protected park and supports more than 100 species of mammals and an astounding 400 species of birds, including the powerful martial eagle, pocket-sized pearl-spotted owlet, and fanciful lilac-breasted roller, seen above. The park’s elephant population is extremely healthy, and Hwange is also home to the Southern African lion, African leopard, and Southern African cheetah, along with a host of other game. While staying in a tented lodge, we take four game drives into this fascinating park.
Victoria Falls is simply extraordinary.
Known in the native Tonga language as Mosi-oa-Tunya, or “the smoke that thunders,” it’s the largest waterfall in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Scottish explorer David Livingstone, the first European to see the falls in 1855, wrote “No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes; but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.” Still, words and photos can do no justice to Victoria Falls.
Kruger National Park deserves its sterling reputation.
One of the largest game reserves on the continent, Kruger spans an enormous area of protected land in South Africa’s northeast corner. Kruger boasts 147 species of large mammals, more than any other African reserve, and features all of the Big Five – lion, leopard, Cape buffalo, black rhinoceros, and elephant. Five game drives and a three-night stay in Kruger give us ample time to explore this world-famous natural wonder.
Mozambique’s laid-back vibe provides the perfect way to wind down.
After a week and a half of touring, even the most experienced travelers sometimes need a bit of a break. And that’s exactly what our three-night stay in Mozambique affords, as we take up residence at an intimate coastal retreat along a deserted stretch of white-sand beach. With views of the placid Indian Ocean, and an afternoon followed by a full day at leisure, we are free to enjoy our time here as we wish. Options include relaxing at the lodge; walking or bicycling down the beach; or swimming, snorkeling, or fishing.
Whatever your reason is for visiting southern Africa, we encourage you to join our Splendors of Southern Africa tour in 2019!
Hector Pieterson image via Flickr.