• South Africa

Overview

South Africa is a country of diverse wildlife, rich cultures, and a history of tumultuous politics. This tour is an opportunity to experience the scenic side of South Africa as well as delve into the history that made the country what it is today. Visit sites and museums dedicated to memorializing both the hardships of apartheid and the struggle to overcome discrimintation. It is truly a powerful experience to realize that such a beautiful country could have such a harrowing story of adversity.

Highlights

  • Dinner with an ex-guard at Robben Island – Over dinner, an ex-guard from Robben Island will share his own anecdotes of the prison and his experiences with Nelson Mandela himself.
  • Lecture at the University of Western Cape – Get a South African university classroom experience while sitting in on a lecture at the University of Western Cape.
  • Visit to Soweto – Internationall known for the Soweto Uprising in 1976, this township serves as a reminder of the apartheid regime and an example of perservance.
  • Albert Luthuli Museum – Among the many monuments and museums you will visit, this one is dedicated to the life and memory of Chief Albert Luthuli, the first African to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Cape Town

Arrive in Cape Town, one of the world’s most scenic cities. Cape Town is renowned for its relaxed lifestyle, natural beauty, vibrant culture, and unique history. You will transfer to your hotel for dinner and overnight. 

Day 2: Cape Town

Begin your day with a trip to the District 6 Museum, an impressive collection of photographs, street signs, and stories, all memorializing the forced removals of District 6 residents. Afterwards, visit the Slave Lodge. Now a monument, the Slave Lodge was once a part of the Cape Colony where the Dutch East India Company detained slaves that worked in the Company Gardens, an urban botanic center. Today, the Gardens are surrounded by popular sites like St. George’s Cathedral, The National Art Gallery, and more.  Continue on your learning journey with the the Bo Kaap Walking Tour, an opportunity to explore one of the most colorful suburbs in the Mother City. The tour guides you through the neighborhood of the Cape Malay people, including stops to experience food, culture, and learn about the history.  While in Bo Kaap, you will take a cooking class with a local Cape Malayan. This hands-on lession will teach you how to make your own Cape Malay traditional dish. 

Day 3: Cape Town

Today, visit the Genanendal Moravian Mission Station, the first mission station in Southern Africa. Founded by German missionary, Georg Schmidt, the station dates back to 1783 when the Moravian Church arrived to evangelize the Khoi people. After learning more about southern Africa’s religious history, experience some of the country’s rich wine culture at the Solms Delta Winery. In addition to its highly acclaimed wines, magical forest setting, and Fyndraai restaurant, the winery also had a museum exploring the slave heritage of the area.

Day 4: Cape Town

This morning, explore Table Mountain, the iconic flat mountain that defines the Cape Town city skyline. This afternoon, head to Robben Island, most well known for being where Nelson Mandela spend 18 of his 27 years in person for his fight against apartheid. Once on the island, share dinner with an ex-prison guard and close friend of Nelson Mandela. The guard will offer stories of his personal accounts with Mr. Mandela while he was imprisoned. 

Day 5: Cape Town

Begin your day at the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum, a memorial to South Africa’s apartheid history of migrant labor, the black workers’ movement, and sex hostels.  Afterwards, head to Khayelitsha Lookout, or Lookout Hill, for a panoramic view of the dunes and Khayelitsha, South Africa’s second largest township. Next, you will visit the University of the Western Cape. Explore the campus before sitting in on a lecture. Then, enjoy a group dinner at Marco’s African Place.

Day 6: Cape Town

This morning, head to Muizenberg Primary School for a visit with the local teachers and school children. Following your visit, enjoy a free afternoon at your leisure before reconvening with your group for dinner at The Crypt, a jazz restaurant in the Cape Town city center. 

Day 7: Cape Town - Durban

This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight from Cape Town to Durban. Because of its subtropical climate, the water in Durban stays warm all year round, making it some of the best city swimming and surfing in the world. Along the coast, there is a stretch of amusement parks and beaches, known as the Golden Mile, that contribute to Durban’s lively scene. Upon arrival, your first stop is the Victoria Street Indian Market, a perfect introduction to Durban’s relaxed Afro-Oriental feel. Spend some time shopping around before heading to the The Rainbow Restaurant.

Day 8: Durban

The day begins with a tour of the South African Sugar Terminal. The terminal’s three giant silos hold more than a half a million tons of refined sugar, making it one of the largest of its kind in the world. From the terminal, more than 800 tons of sugar per hour can be loaded onto the ships for transport. Next, head to the KwaMuhle Museum to learn more about Durban’s role in the fight against apartheid. You will even have the opportunity to participate in a group seminar discussing Durban’s past and future.  Continue on to the Cato Manor Heritage Museum, for an interactive museum experience like no other. The Museum uses their space and natural light to illuminate photographs from the apartheid struggle from floor to ceiling. Peruse exhibitions, including letters and newspaper clippings, before heading to dinner.

Day 9: Durban

Today is again dedicated to learning more about the rich history and culture of Durban. Begin your journey along the Inanda Heritage Route, as it winds its way to some of Durbans most important, yet less well known, historical sites. As you move through the Inanda Valley, learn about how South Africa and India’s past collide in Durban.  From there, you will stop in the Albert Luthuli Museum, built on part of the original 1927 home of Chief Albert Luthuli, the first African to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent stance on the fight for liberation.

Day 10: Durban - KwaZulu Natal - Durban

After breakfast, travel from Durban to the KwaZulu Natal Battlefields, the site of several struggles in the Zulu Civil Wars.  Learn about the clashes of the Boers and Britains, South Africa’s two white settler camps. Among one of the most well known battles was the Battle of Blood River, marking the first defeat for the Zulus. It became a turning point for the Boers, and later, Afrikanner history. Afterwards, visit the Talana Museum which captures the history of both the battlefield and of the coal mining industy in the town of Dundee. The farmhouse - on which part of the museum is located - was used by British soldiers for cover in battle. This evening, your over night will be at the Battlefields Country Lodge, conveniently located by the famous battle sites of Blood River, Isanlwana, and Rorke’s Drift.

Day 11: Durban - Johannesburg

From Durban, you will head to Johannesburg, the gateway to Southern Africa and an economic hub for the entire African continent. Once in Johannesburg, your first stop will be at the Worker’s Museum, one of the last surviving remnants of municipal compounds for black male workers. These workers were some of the many migrant laborers recruited through formal and informal means to work the mines and factories. Now, the compound is a reminder of the oppressive migrant labour system.  This evening, enjoy dinner at Little Addis, famous for their veggie and meat injera combo platters, among other Ethiopian dishes. The night will conclude with a show at the Market Theatre, also known as the “Theatre of the Struggle” (under own arrangements).

Day 12: Johannesburg - Soweto - Johannesburg

Head just outside of Johannesburg to one of South Africa’s most iconic townships, Soweto. Here, you can visit Nelson Mandela’s former home and stop in the Hector Pieterson Museum, named for one of the students shot in the Soweto Uprising in 1976. Not only will you learn the history, but get a feel for the culture; meet some of the locals, try some traditional goods, or maybe even sip on some Omqombothi, a traditional beer. As you make your way back to Johannesburg, stop by Gold Reef City, an adventure park themed around South African mining. Here, you can take a trip down a real mine shaft, before participating in a gold pouring expedition. 

Day 13: Johannesburg

This morning after breakfast, embark for Liliesleaf Farm, one of South Africa’s most notable heritage sites. It was here that many leaders of the fight for democracy took refuge. Just as the safe haven was a place of dialogue in the 1960s, you will participate in a group seminar about South Africa’s past, present, and future. Enjoy lunch at the farm. Afterwards, head to Constitution Hill, home of the Old Fort Prison Complex and the South African Constitutional Court. You may tour South Africa’s highest court or learn about the penitentiary complex where freedom fighters ike Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela spent time. 

Day 14: Johannesburg - Pilanesberg

After breakfast, head into the city to see the Voortrekker Monument, a symbol of South Africa’s diverse cultural heritage and a commemoration of the Voortrekkers in the Cape Colony. Then, on to the Pretoria, South African’s administrative capital. Here, you will see the Union Buildings which serve as the government’s headquarters, including the Presidential offices. Take in the beautiful architecture and landscaping before heading to Bakgatla Resort for your dinner and overnight. Bakgatla is located in Pilanesberg National Park, a great place to spot the Big 5, wild dogs, and over 360 species of birds.

Day 15: Pilanesberg

After your morning game drive in Pilanesburg, enjoy some group time before heading back out on safari. After a day of exploring the South African wild, sit down and relax at a boma dinner.

Day 16: Pilanesberg - Johannesburg - USA

This morning you will depart the national park to visit the Chameleon Craft Village, a great opportunity to shop for some last minute sourvenirs. You will then transfer to the airport for your return flight home.