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Grand Tour of South Africa

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You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
20242025
19 days From £8,495 £7,995 per person

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Embark on a luxurious voyage of discovery

Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys

Mobility Rating 2

2024 Tour code: AFJ24

About the tour

Discover fascinating wildlife on this South African rail adventure aboard the Pride of Africa - one of the world's greatest luxury trains. Our voyage of discovery takes us through South Africa's most well-known game parks and ends with four nights in the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - To Johannesburg

We board our overnight flight to Johannesburg, South Africa's biggest city.

Day 2 - Pretoria

Our flight arrives this morning and we transfer to our hotel in nearby Pretoria, a handsome city that's one of South Africa's three capitals and is filled with stunning jacaranda trees. On the way, we pause at the Voortrekker Monument. This enormous structure is dedicated to the history of South Africa and is found in a nature reserve close to the city. En route to Pretoria, we visit a local restaurant for a delicious lunch.

Day 3 - The Pride of Africa

We head to Capital Park in Pretoria, the home of the Rovos Rail Station and the starting point for our unforgettable trip on board the opulent Pride of Africa. This once-in-a-lifetime rail adventure takes us across the African plains in style and elegance.

On a journey spanning 11 incredible nights, we relax in luxurious, air-conditioned suites, enjoying fine china, crisp linen, and 5-Star service. All expertly prepared onboard meals and drinks are included in the elegant Dining Car, as are our meals during off-train excursions. We settle down on board as we make our way east towards the vast Kruger National Park.

Day 4 - Kruger National Park

We wake up early for a holiday highlight - a visit to Kruger National Park. The largest park in South Africa and one of the world's most renowned, all the 'Big Five' game animals - the lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros - can be found here.

We experience a game drive, hoping to spot antelope and tracking the herds of elephants that make this huge wilderness their home. We might catch a glimpse of a leopard as it stalks its prey, or enjoy the thrill of viewing a lion from close range. After enjoying lunch in Kruger National Park, we re-board the train.

Day 5 - Eswatini

This morning we arrive in beautiful Swaziland where we visit the wonderful Swazi Candles. We meet talented artisans as they create a variety of candles and admire the superb basketwork, woodcarvings, and colourful textiles that are on display.

Next, we experience the fascinating Mantenga Cultural Village. Tucked away in the mountains overlooking 'Execution Rock', this village is a living museum of old traditions that represent classic Swazi life during the 1800s. We admire the authentic beehive huts and cultural displays and enjoy a delicious lunch before returning to our train.

Day 6 - Hluhluwe Game Reserve

This morning, we relax aboard the Pride of Africa as we enter Hluhluwe Game Reserve. One of the oldest of its kind in Africa, the reserve is known for its conservation efforts and incredible wildlife. We enjoy a game drive through the beautiful, wildlife-rich scenery of the park, hoping to spot giraffes, zebras, hippopotamuses, and cape buffaloes. After re-boarding the Pride of Africa, we begin heading towards Durban, passing the forested scenery along the Indian Ocean coastline.

Day 7 - Durban

The Pride of Africa rolls into Durban today, a cosmopolitan beach city in the east of South Africa. We take a fascinating guided tour of the city, an intriguing coastal destination that's known for its Indian and Asian influences. After re-joining the train, we continue through the Valley of a Thousand Hills, an area of incredible natural beauty that stretches out as far as the eye can see. Perhaps unwind in the train's Lounge Car and take in the views from one of the deep sofas or cosy, wingback armchairs.

Day 8 - Spion kop Battlefield

We take a tour of Spion kop, 'Spy Hill', discovering the historic battlefield with a local expert. In 1900, this was the site of a bloody battle between Boer farmers and British troops, whose miscalculated tactics led to their embarrassing defeat.

Following our time here, we embark on a game drive in Nambiti Game Reserve, with another chance to spot more of Africa's incredible native wildlife. Later, the Pride of Africa makes its way through the Drakensberg Mountains, a stunning area characterised by soaring peaks and lush green forests.

Day 9 - Golden Gate National Park & Clarens

Today we drive through the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Nestled in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains, we admire the captivating scenery and colourful sandstone formations before arriving in the charming town of Clarens. You have some time to explore and enjoy lunch in this calm and beautiful town nicknamed the "Jewel of the Eastern Free State".

Then, we visit Sandstone Heritage Trust, a large agricultural estate with an impressive collection of heritage trains, tractors, buses, cars and military vehicles. We return to the Pride of Africa where you can enjoy the unique experience of the observation car leading the train for a while.

Day 10 - The Pride of Africa

This morning we enjoy a tour of Bloemfontein, South Africa's judicial capital. Exploring this relaxed and friendly city, we visit the Women's Memorial and Anglo Boer War Museum. The rest of your day is spent relaxing on board, soaking up the passing views, and enjoying the train's wonderful facilities.

You could take your favourite book and spend a morning in the beautiful surroundings of the Lounge Car. Visit the Dining Car for your meals, admiring the elegant pre-1940 dining cars, with their polished wood and nostalgic Victorian atmosphere.

Day 11 - Addo Elephant Park

This morning we travel to Addo Elephant Park for a game drive in open-top vehicles. The park is inhabited not only by over 600 elephants, but also lions, leopards and cape buffaloes, rhinos who live amongst the grasslands and woodlands. We return to the train in Port Elizabeth in time for a delicious lunch onboard. After some free time this afternoon, the Pride of Africa continues towards Oudtshoorn, a town found just inland from South Africa's famously lush Garden Route.

Day 12 - Oudtshoorn

Oudtshoorn is known as the "ostrich capital of the world" as it's home to the world's largest population of ostriches. We discover more about the animals that make the town famous on a unique visit to an ostrich farm, where we're treated to some fascinating insights into the beautiful and mighty birds. After our visit, we continue to the town of George. George is known for its many great golf courses, and we enjoy dinner at Fancourt Golf Estate where we spend the night.

Day 13 - Featherbed Reserve

We enjoy a scenic drive down the coast to Knysna this morning, a town famed for its picturesque setting on the shores of a large estuary. Here, we take a ferry out to explore Featherbed Nature Reserve, a stunning area of sandstone cliffs and caves, where there are excellent viewpoints over the coast and turquoise ocean. Back on board the Pride of Africa, we travel through the magnificent green scenery that characterises South Africa's famous 'Garden Route' to Riversdale.

Day 14 - Cape Town

Today is our final day on board the Pride of Africa, and our journey takes us through the wild and wonderful scenery of the Cape Fold Mountains. Here we enjoy some free time before the final leg of our journey to the waterfront city of Cape Town.

Set against the backdrop of iconic Table Mountain and surrounded by stunning beaches, expansive vineyards and lush farmland, Cape Town is South Africa's cultural capital and one of the most vibrant destinations in Africa. We bid farewell to the luxury of the train and transfer to our hotel in the heart of the city, where we spend four nights.

Day 15 - South Africa’s Vineyards

We travel by coach around two of South Africa's finest wine-producing areas today: the Franschhoek and Stellenbosch Valleys, in the beautiful Cape Winelands. The hilly region and warm climate of the Cape Winelands make ideal wine-producing conditions, which has given rise to many world-class vineyards nestled amongst the valleys.

Sitting down in the verdant surroundings, we enjoy a delicious 'boerebraai' lunch. This is a unique South African social event where family and friends gather to create a memorable dining experience. We're also treated to a tasting of the wines these areas are justly famous for.

Day 16 - Table Mountain and Robben Island

We ascend Table Mountain by cable car, enjoying panoramic city views (weather dependant). The cliffs are home to many different animals and plants, as well as a stunning range of fauna - some of which, like the Table Mountain Ghost Frog, isn't found anywhere else in the world. Following time for lunch, we board a ferry across Table Bay for a guided tour of Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. Today, the site is UNESCO World Heritage listed.

Day 17 - Cape Point and Boulders Beach

We take in South Africa's scenic coastal beauty today. We journey to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope via the stunning Chapman's Peak coastal road. At Cape Point, we ride the Flying Dutchman funicular railway to the upper lighthouse, where we enjoy some inspiring views of the gorgeous cape and crashing ocean. We continue to Boulders Beach, where an incredible penguin colony native only to Africa have made their home on the stunning white sands - a delightful sight.

Day 18 - Cape Town and home

Today you're free to explore the city further. You could visit the Grand Parade, where you'll find Cape Town's Italian Renaissance-style City Hall. For an insight into the city's history, visit the Slave Lodge, the second oldest building in Cape Town built in 1679. The building has served many purposes over the years and today, it holds the South African Cultural History Museum, where you'll find poignant exhibits centred around the theme "from human wrongs to human rights". We transfer to the airport this evening for our flight home.

Day 19 - Home

Our flight lands back in the UK, and our holiday comes to an end.

Additional information

Please note

Depending on the date of departure, this tour may run in reverse, with passengers flying into Cape Town and travelling to Pretoria on the Pride of Africa. Please call for more details.'

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Southern Sun The Cullinan, Cape Town

Southern Sun The Cullinan, Cape Town

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Fancourt Resort Hotel, George

Fancourt Resort Hotel, George

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Courtyard Arcadia, Pretoria

Courtyard Arcadia, Pretoria

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Train

The Pride of Africa

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