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EBERSOLE  SOUTH AFRICA TRIP

DATES: (2022)
28th Jul - 10th Aug

LENGTH:

14 days, 13 nights 

GUESTS:
8 family members





We chose South Africa as the destination for your family trip because of the range of experiences that are on offer within the country. This "Rainbow Nation" (as it's sometimes referred to) is incomparable when it comes to ecological, cultural, geographical and culinary delights that are on offer, not to mention the quality that comes with it.

The trip will be split between two mains areas of South Africa, the North East (Johannesburg & Safari) and then the South West (Cape Town & the Winelands). The order of this can be changed depending on preference, so please don't take this itinerary as being set in stone.
 
On the right (or down below, if you are viewing this on your phones) is a very short itinerary with the main "purpose" or "activity" you'll be doing on each day as the title. Clicking the title of the day e.g. "HOEDSPRUIT" will take you further down the page, and give you more in depth info on what you'll be doing. Throughout this page, if you come across words that are underlined, they will have an external link taking you to a dedicated page with more information. 

ITINERARY

DAY 01: DEPART D.C.
DAY 02: ARRIVAL JOBURG
DAY 03: EXPLORE JOBURG
DAY 04: HOEDSPRUIT
DAY 05: SIMBAMBILI
DAY 06: SAFARI
DAY 07: TO CAPE TOWN
DAY 08: TABLE MOUNTAIN
DAY 09: CAPE POINT
DAY 10: ROBBEN ISLAND
DAY 11: WINELANDS
DAY 12: FRANSCHHOEK
DAY 13: DEPART JOBURG
DAY 14: RETURN D.C.

 

South Africa:

A few quick facts for you!

 

  • The Republic of South Africa (as it's officially called) has three capital cities, Pretoria (executive capital), Bloemfontein (judicial capital) and Cape Town (legislative capital).

  • Johannesburg, informally known as Joburg or Jozi, is the largest city in terms of area and population. It's also where you will be flying into. 

  • South Africa has 11 official languages, one of which is English (the most widely spoken) and the others include Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans and so on.

  • The official currency is the South Africa Rand (ZAR)

Accommodation:

I've included different hotels and lodges to choose from based on size, suitability for family groups and, of course, budget. I've also tried to only list accommodations that are South African owned and managed, but I'm happy to include International groups as well (such as Belmond, Hilton, The Taj etc). High end accommodation in South Africa can be good value for money; however, when it comes to Safari Lodges, prices are steep. If you're keen to splurge on any accommodation in particular, I'd definitely recommend doing it on the Safari Lodges. The luxury ones are incredible!

Safari:

One of the most exciting portions of your trip will be the Safari, so I wanted to put forward the suggestion of staying in the 'Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve,' which sits right next to Kruger National Park (one of Africa's largest Game Reserves, with one of the highest densities of animals). My reasons for suggesting Sabi Sand, is best described with a paragraph from their website...

 

"The Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve shares a 50km unfenced border with Kruger National Park and offers the best wildlife viewing in South Africa. The area is divided into individual private game reserves, all offering the ultimate Big Five experience. The reserves offer an exclusive experience with luxury accommodation, great service and excellent food." 
 

The "Big Five" is a term used to refer to South Africa's most prized Safari Animals. These are lions, leopards, elephants, white rhinos and buffalos. Seeing them all in one Safari trip would be unusual but it isn't unheard of! Wildlife viewing in Sabi Sands is at its best during the Dry season (June to September). August and September are particularly nice, since it is warmer than in mid-winter and animals tend to gather at water sources, making them easier to spot. On my first trip to South Africa, we stayed in Sabi Sand as a family and it still remains one of our most memorable family holidays.
 

When staying at the Safari Lodges in Sabi Sand (of which there are many), the majority of activities, food and drink are included. The included activities are things like 'game drives' (the term used when you're going out to watch/find wildlife), and walking safaris (also called "bush walks"). Extra activities that are sometimes on offer are hot air ballooning, helicopter rides, horse-riding and mountain-biking; however, these often come with a rather large price tag. If you'd like to include any of these activities, either during the safari or in other parts of South Africa, please let me know! 

ITINERARY

DAY 01 (28th Jul): Depart D.C. 


Check-in for your Emirates flight at Dulles International (IAD). Given the itinerary you sent in March, you will be departing at 11am, and it might be a good idea to get there at least 3 hours before your flight. If you are looking to upgrade one (or all) of your flight segments, you should ask this when you check-in, as you won't have much time to do this in Dubai when you're transiting.

- Overnight on plane​ -



DAY 02 (29th Jul): Arrival Joburg


Your layover in Dubai airport is only 1 hour and 45 minutes, so you'll have to head straight to your next flight. Luckily, Dubai does not make you clear immigration or customs, and their layovers are super smooth (not like the USA!).

When you land in Joburg at approx 4:15pm, I will be at arrivals to meet you with our driver. We'll head straight to our hotel and have dinner there, before getting a good rest.

- Overnight in Johannesburg​ -

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DAY 03 (30th Jul): Explore Joburg

Today we'll be exploring South Africa's largest city, Johannesburg, with our private transport and guide, Bongwe (aka Charlies!). From Nelson Mandela's house and Soweto to the Apartheid museum and Constitution Hill, we'll be exploring a bunch of different spots to give you a solid insight into 'The City of Gold.'  

Accommodation:

- Overnight in Johannesburg​ -

DAY 04 (31st Jul): Hoedspruit

After a decent nights sleep, we'll grab an early breakfast before heading to the airport at 8am. Our flight, at 10:30am is to a town called Hoedspruit, on the outskirts of Kruger National park. We'll land at approx 11:30am and be met by a driver, who'll transfer us to our safari lodge. The drive takes approx 1.5 hours, but could be longer depending the quality of the roads.

 

We'll arrive at our lodge, Simbambili (Thornybush), just in time for our 2pm check-in. Once you've settled into your rooms, you can explore the lodge, head to the spa or relax for the rest of the afternoon. We'll meet for our first safari sundowner and then grab dinner before getting an early night (morning game drives start at about 6am).

Accommodation:

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- Overnight at Simbambili​ -

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DAY 05 (1st Aug): Simbambili
 
Game drives at Simbambili lodge happen early morning and early evening, lasting approx 3 hours. For this first morning, I definitely suggest we all head out together (and then the other mornings, everyone can choose if they want to join or not!). Our morning games drive will start with a snack, tea and coffee before we head out, and we'll likely get another hot drink on the drive. Don't worry, we'll still get a hearty breakfast when we return to the lodge! Once we're done with the morning drive, we can grab brekkie, relax, spot wildlife, enjoy lunch and perhaps take part in some of the other activities that are on offer (e.g. walking safaris). The afternoon game drive will head out at around 3pm and will include sundowner drinks and snacks. Back at the lodge, we can all have a fire-side dinner together.
 
- Overnight at Simbambili​ -


DAY 06 (2nd Aug): Safari
 
Today will include more game drives and even more opportunities to spot wildlife. Every game drive offers different viewing experiences, and they're always equally thrilling. Throughout the day, there'll be plenty of time to relax, take a plunge in the pool, swot up on wildlife facts and perhaps go on a bush walk.
 
Something worth noting with the game drives is the fact that you're never guaranteed to see wildlife. Although Sabi Sands (the area, where the lodge is located) has a very high probability of wildlife encounters, the lodges can never 100% guarantee you'll see everything you want to see. It is wildlife after all!

- Overnight at Simbambili​ -

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DAY 07 (3rd Aug): To Cape Town

Sadly, this will be our last morning at Simbambili lodge. We may have time to do one last morning game drive before we catch our flight to Cape Town, but I'll check with the lodge to see what they advise. We will have to leave the lodge at about 10am, as our flight from Hoedspruit to Cape Town departs at 1:55pm. We'll arrive in Cape Town at approx 4:40pm and once we've landed,  we'll be picked up by Tim, our driver, who'll transfer us to our hotel. For the next few nights, we'll be staying at the Victoria & Alfred, right in the waterfront area.

  • Victoria & Alfred - luxury accommodation in the heart of Cape Town's harbour and tourist area. Easy walking distance to shops and sites.

- Overnight in Cape Town - 

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DAY 08 (4th Aug): Table Mountain

Today we're getting to know Cape Town! We'll be doing a walking tour in Bo Kaap, the most colourful neighbourhood in Cape Town, taking a cable car up Table Mountain and finishing the day on Bloubergstrand beach taking in sunset with a spectacular view of table mountain. It might also be a nice for you all to have some family time and do some of your own exploring, so I'm happy to factor this in as well. For dinner we will be going to The Pot Luck Club, consistently voted one of South Africa's best restaurants.

Other Cape Town activities we could do:

  • Lions Head Hike -  A 1.5 hr walk and then a bit of a scramble (!!) up a peak that overlooks Cape Town, Camps Bay and then back onto Table Mountain. At sunrise and sunset it is stunning!

  • Bo Kaap Cooking Tour // Class - a tour into the life, food and culture of the Cape Malay community. Whilst learning how to cook some Cape Malay delights.

- Overnight in Cape Town - 

DAY 09 (5th Aug): Cape Point

 

This morning we'll head off early and drive South to Cape Point, which sits in the Cape Point Nature ReserveThis iconic spot marks the point where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean. The nature reserve is also home to plenty of wildlife including ostrich, eland, Cape mountain zebra and plenty of baboons. On our drive back to Cape Town we'll stop off in Simons Town, check out their antique stores and hang out with some Jackass penguins. We'll pass through the little fishing village of Kalk Bay and then head back to Cape Town via the stunning Chapman's Peak drive. For dinner, we'll head to a Cape Town classic!

Other activities we could include:

  • Kayaking with penguins - rather than seeing the Jackass penguins from the land, we could paddle up to them in the water. This also means we could see seals and other sea-life, and even take a dip in the icey cold water!

  • Ostrich Farm - on the way out of Cape Point, we could dip into the ostrich farm and rehabilitation centre. Selfie with an ostrich?!

- Overnight in Cape Town - 

 
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DAY 10 (6th Aug): Robben Island

This will be our final day in Cape Town, but before we leave, you'll be heading out to Robben Island on a 9am ferry. In a nutshell, Robben Island is where Nelson Mandela spent over 20 years in prison, and it's now one of Cape Town's UNESCO heritage sites and points of interest. The tour takes 4 hours in total, and departs from the Victoria & Alfred waterfront (right by your hotel). We'll be back in time for a late lunch, which we can grab in the waterfront, before heading inland to the winelands. We'll end the day in Franschhoek, South Africa's food and wine capita, where we'll spend the next two nights. 

The drive from Cape Town to Franschhoek takes approx 1.5 hrs so, depending on how we feel, we can get there for early afternoon or evening. Sunset over the Franschhoek mountains is pretty spectacular.

Other activities we could include during the day:

Other activities we could include during the day:

  • Maison d'Or - boutique house right in the centre of town, next to my parents house.

  • 30 Van Wijk Street - my parent's house in Franschhoek.

- Overnight in Franschhoek - 

 

DAY 11 (7th Aug): Winelands

THE thing to do in Franschhoek (and the Winelands in general) is to eat, drink and be merry. So, today we'll be doing just that! I've organised for our driver to take us to a few vineyards (or, wineries, as they call the, in SA). We'll grab lunch together at one of the many wineries and finish the day at a Franschhoek classic, for dinner and sunset.

- Overnight in Franschhoek -

DAY 12 (8th Aug): Franshhoek

This will be our final morning in the Cape, so I thought we could do one last adventure and go horseback riding (or even go on a short hike). The other option is to just relax, read your books and take in the scenery, before we head to the airport in the afternoon. Your flight from Cape Town to Joburg departs at 7:30pm so we'll need to leave Franschhoek at about 4:30pm in order to get to the airport in good time. I won't be joining you on this flight, so this is where I'll leave you!

You will land in Joburg at around 9:30pm and, you'll be glad to hear that, you're staying at the Intercontinental hotel, right opposite the airport. Because you're arriving in the domestic terminal, you'll have to walk back to the International arrivals hall and then out to the hotel, which is a few steps away.

Accommodation:

- Overnight in Joburg -

 
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DAY 13 (9th Aug): Depart Joburg

Sadly, this is where the Ebersole family adventure will have to end! You can grab breakfast at the hotel, have a relaxing morning and then walk over to the airport terminal when you're ready to check-in. Your flight departs at 1:40pm so I'd recommend checking in at around 10:40am.

Your connection in Dubai is 2.5 hours so you might have some time to wander around and buy some dates! Again, if you're wanting to upgrade, I would suggest trying to do this in Joburg when you check-in.

- Overnight on the plane!  -

DAY 14 (10th Aug): Return D.C. 

Your flight arrives at 8:45am, which means you'll have the whole day to get home, relax and recover!

- Overnight back home  -

 
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