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South Africa Gardens Tour
13 Day Tour

DAY 01:


Depart New York this afternoon via jet service enroute to Capetown, South Africa.


DAY 02:


Arrival in Capetown this afternoon.  Upon your arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Capetown is a beautiful city built at the base and lower slopes of a series of magnificent mountains. In 1910, Capetown was made the legislative capital of South Africa.


DAY 03:


Robben Island Prison
Robben Island Prison
This morning the tour begins with a drive to Signal Hill and a ride to the top of Table Mountain by cable car to enjoy the magnificent panoramic view this affords.  Drive through the centuries old Malay Quarter:  the Cape Malays are mostly the descendants of slaves brought in from Asia in the second half of the 17th century.  They are Muslims and live in a separate neighborhood close to the business district.  The Malay Quarter is worth a visit for the sight of the pastel colored little houses, the minarets, and the kindly people themselves.  Visit the South African Museum.  This museum is famous for its "Africa Room" which depicts scenes of African tribal life.  It is the oldest such institution in the country.  Visit the Cathedral of the Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, the first black to hold the post of Archbishop of Capetown and a Nobel Peace Laureate. This afternoon you will cruise to Robben Island Prison (based on availability of cruise), where former President Nelson Mandela spent most of his 27 year incarceration. It was likely that on many a day that Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela could see the Statehouse in Capetown. While in office he sat in that same Statehouse and saw Robben Island Prison that once held him. It is the most spectacular miracle of our time.


DAY 04:


Winelands of Paarl
Winelands of Paarl
Today you depart on a tour of the beautiful Winelands of the Western Cape, traveling to Paarl - a major wine producing area, where we visit a leading wine estate for a tour of the cellars, a look at the wine making process and a tasting of fine wines.  You then follow the wine route to the village of Franschhoek - site of the French Huguenot Memorial Museum.  In the afternoon, pass more vineyards before traveling along the Helshgoote Pass into South Africa's second oldest town - historic Stellenbosch with its oak lined streets, beautiful examples of Cape Dutch architecture and charming town square, Die Braak.  Early evening arrival back in Capetown.


DAY 05:


Tip of the Cape
Tip of the Cape
Depart this morning on a full day tour to Cape Peninsula. This tour offers unsurpassed scenery and a drive spanning the whole peninsula, one of the most beautiful promontories in the world. This tiny outcrop of land is washed on the west by the Atlantic and on the east by the Indian Ocean. Travel along magnificent Marine Drive beyond Lion’s Head, past Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles to Hout Bay, a quaint fishing village on the Atlantic seaboard. Over Constantia Nek, past Pollsmor Prison, over Silvermine Pass, via Kommetjie to Cape Point, where the Indian and Atlantic Ocean’s merge. Cape Point Nature Reserve covers 7750 unspoiled hectares of the southernmost part of the Cape Peninsula. The peninsula divides at the tip into three points. The Cape of Good Hope is the most southerly point; east of this is Cape Maclear, named after Sir Thomas Maclear, the 19th century astronomer; and still further east is Cape Point. Among the 150 species of birds that can be seen in the reserve, are ostrich, white-fronted plover, black backed gull, cormorant and sugarbird. Travel through the attractive False Bay resorts of Simon’s Town and Fish Hoek, along Boyes Drive, which offers glorious views of the False Bay coastline, and the Hottentots Holland Mountains, then over De Waal Drive with excellent views of Table Bay to Capetown.


DAY 06:


Mossel Bay
Mossel Bay
Depart via Sir Lowry's Pass and the apple country of Grabouw to the historic town of Swellendam.  Continue past Riversdale to Mossel Bay where we visit the Post Office Tree.  Then via Robinson Pass to Oudtshoorn for overnight.


DAY 07:


This morning proceed to the world famous Cango Caves and an Ostrich Farm.  Afterwards you head back towards George via the majestic Outeniqua Pass and onto the coastal resort of the Wilderness for overnight.


DAY 08:


Depart George and proceed towards Plettenburg Bay via Wilderness, Knysna with the magnificent lagoon and the Garden of Eden.  After a short break, we travel over the Groot River and Bloukrans to the primeval forest of the Tsitsikama.  From there, the road takes you through the rural landscape of the Eastern Cape to Port Elizabeth for overnight.


DAY 09:


This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Johannesburg.  Upon your arrival in Johannesburg you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Most of the world's great cities were built alongside rivers, but Johannesburg had to make do with an underground stream...of Gold!  That was enough to transform it in three years from meager grazing land to the biggest town in South Africa.  A century later, it is a dynamic metropolis of a bit more than two million people.  Like all South African cities, Johannesburg's historic population patterns had been dislocated by the racial separation laws.  Thus, some 50,000 Asians were resettled in their own suburb, Lenasia, and the blacks were assigned to vast townships on the outskirts; Soweto, by far the biggest and best known, is home for perhaps two million people.


DAY 10:


This morning you will visit the new "Museumafrica".  Continue for a visit to Soweto (South Western Townships), the "twin" city to Johannesburg.  Soweto has its own local authority, but is historically, and in fact, closely integrated with Johannesburg. For all practical purposes, it is considered to be the other half of metropolitan Johannesburg.  Soweto was created by the City Council of Johannesburg and the mining industry and in 1983 became one of the first Black communities to elect its own fully fledged Municipality.  It is the largest black city in South Africa covering over 95km, with a population over one million.  Return to Johannesburg in the afternoon.


DAY 11:


Church Square, Pretoria
Church Square, Pretoria
Drive north over the Transvaal Highveld to Pretoria, one of South Africa's three capital cities, visiting the Voortrekker (Pioneer) Monument, historic Church Square dominated by Paul Kruger's statue and the Union buildings - seat of the government. Pretoria is the administrative capital of the republic as well as the provincial capital of the Transvaal.  The historic heart of Pretoria is Church Square, where the early settlers built their first church in the 1850's.  In the middle of the square stands a statue of Paul Kruger, a rugged pioneer who was elected President four times in the late 19th century.  Around the base of the monument are statues of four rifle-toting citizen-soldiers of the era.  Facing the square are some distinguished official buildings of earlier days:  the old Raadsaal (parliament) in Italian Renaissance style, the South African Reserve Bank, designed by the famous architect Sir Herbert Baker, and the Palace of Justice, used as a hospital during the British occupation of 1900.  For miles around Pretoria you can see the Voorrekker Monument on its hilltop.  From afar it might be mistaken for an electric power station or some such windowless leviathan, but its purpose is purely symbolic - a shrine dedicated to the fortitude of pioneers of the 1830s who trekked from the Cape to the Transvaal to perpetuate their religion, language and austere way of life.  It is a shrine built to celebrate the white domination of black people.  Inside the granite monument, an aperture in the high domed roof is placed so that at noon on every December 16th, a beam of sunlight penetrates to a crypt far below, illuminating the inscription on a sarcophagus:  Ons vir jou, Suid-Afrika (meaning We're for you, South Africa).  This inscription was at the heart of the racist notion that God had somehow given South Africa to the white settlers and they were by "Divine Right" saviors of South Africa.  December 16th is the anniversary of the 1838 Battle of Blood.  Over 3000 Zulu warriors were killed in this battle over land that the Boers had taken from the Zulus.


DAY 12:


The day is at leisure for your relaxation and last minute shopping. Transfer to the airport in time to connect with your return flight to New York.


DAY 13:


Arrival back in New York in the morning local time.