Depart Richards Bay harbour and travel in a northerly direction to the Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve. After about a 1 ½ hour drive, you arrive at Hluhluwe-Umfolozi - a reserve which extends across 96,000 hectacres of wilderness.
Proclaimed a game reserve in 1895, Hluhluwe has since become well known for its small population of the rare white rhino. In addition to rhino, the reserve has a spectacular variety of bird and animal life, including elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, blue wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, cheetah, mountain reedbuck, kudu and warthog.
The reserve preserves not only the wildlife of Zululand but also some of the indefinable charm and traditions of the natural surroundings, one of the most fascinating parts of Africa.
Enjoy your buffet lunch at Hilltop Restaurant, surrounded by beautiful scenery. After lunch, depart on another exciting game drive before returning to the ship.
This multiple award-winning lodge is nestled in the clifftops within a low-risk malaria Endangered Species Protected Area, making it the perfect place for an unforgettable double drive safari in one of South Africa’s most biodiverse regions.
On arrival a light-lunch will be served, followed by a chance to unpack in one of nine well-appointed stone and thatch chalets overlooking the river. All accommodation has a private plunge pool on its own balcony with spectacular views across Zululand to the distant Lebombo Mountains, while inside you will find a mini-bar, tea and coffee facilities, mosquito nets and an en-suite bathroom.
After settling in, you will be transported into the bush by an expert ranger and tracker in an open 4X4, for a thrilling late afternoon and sunset big game drive. No-one can guarantee exactly what you will see, but among the species that roam these vast African plains are the Big Five (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard), cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, lynx, zebras, giraffes, warthogs, impalas, wildebeest and blesbok, along with the shy Nyala, which are particularly endemic to the region.
After dusk falls, return to the lodge and enjoy a sumptuous South African dinner before unwinding beneath a pollution free night sky for some of the best stargazing on the continent. Awaken early to experience a sunrise big game drive as Maputaland comes to life, before enjoying a rewarding breakfast and returning to Aegean Odyssey with the safari memories of a lifetime.
We drive north to the beautiful iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site. Upon arrival in St Lucia you head out from Sunset Jetty along the walking trail where you have the possibility to see small antelope and do some birdwatching. We continue the walk down towards the boardwalk and have a look at the area where the St Lucia Estuary Mouth used to open into the ocean, and then return to Sunset Jetty.
Here you embark a boat for a leisurely two-hour cruise on Lake St Lucia. The vessel goes at walking speed all along the shoreline of the St Lucia Estuary, and the enthusiastic skipper/captain will tell you more about the hippos - the lake has the largest concentration in South Africa - and Nile crocodiles that inhabit St Lucia. This is home to about 2,000 Nile crocodiles, 800 hippos and about 526 species of birds, favourites of which are the African Fish Eagle and the Mangrove Kingfisher.
Learn more about the mangrove swamps and the five different eco systems of the St Lucia Estuary. Intermittent stops at the sightings will ensure that you are allowed good photographic opportunities and you are guaranteed to see plenty of hippos close up throughout this trip.
Leaving the port of Durban, you travel inland into the beautiful hills of Kwazulu Natal, in the heart of which nestles the province’s capital city, Pietermaritzburg. A city, encompassing old world charm, country living and beautiful Victorian architecture, is now a modern South African town and home to over 600,000 people.
You’ll visit the Natal Museum, one of five national museums in South Africa, which was designed by EJ Wellman in 1904. There are spectacular sections dedicated to African mammals, snakes, birds, reptiles and amphibians, fish, insects, geology and palaeontology. The ethnology display contains fascinating items from many regions of Africa including old guns from a Portuguese shipwreck on the Wild Coast, and a replica of a bushman cave contains drawings of rock-art.
Then continue to the historic centre of Pietermaritzburg with its legislative buildings, museums and galleries. Here at Churchill Square you’ll see City Hall - allegedly the largest red brick building in the southern hemisphere - as well as the Assembly Building and the Supreme Court. Also learn about Mahatma Ghandi’s famous incident here while viewing his bronze statue at the Square.
Next, visit Pietermaritzburg railway station. It was here that Mahatma Gandhi was thrown off a train for riding first class in 1893. On 7 June, while Gandhi was on his way to Pretoria, a white man objected to Gandhi's presence in a first-class carriage, and he was ordered to move to the van compartment at the end of the train. Gandhi, who had a first-class ticket, refused, and was thrown off the train at Pietermaritzburg. Shivering through the winter night in the waiting room of the station, Gandhi made the momentous decision to stay on in South Africa and fight the racial discrimination that existed against Indians at that time.
Continue past the Royal Agricultural Show Grounds, observing the quaint Victorian country shops lining the streets, then take a scenic drive up to the magnificent viewing spot known as World’s View. Here you have a photo opportunity and a moment to experience the sights of Pietermaritzburg and the beautiful mountainous surrounds that first captured the hearts of the Voortrekkers and the early settlers. Return to the ship in Durban.
Depart from the quayside along the Golden Mile. Drive along Durban’s beachfront promenade and on to Umhlanga Rocks, where you will visit the unique Shark’s Board, which is the control centre for maintenance of anti-shark measures on Durban’s bathing beaches. This is the perfect opportunity to learn more about sharks through a specialist’s presentation and a shark dissection.
There is a display hall with a large variety of lifelike replicas of fish, rays and sharks, including an 892 kg Great White. The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence (KZNSB) is mandated to be a global leader in bather protection against shark while minimizing environmental impact, thus promoting tourism.
The KwaZulu-Natal coastline is the only coastline with 38 beaches equipped with bather safety gear owned and maintained by the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence in South Africa. The curio shop sells unusual and stylish sharkskin leather goods and shark’s teeth. Return to the quayside in Durban.
Lalibela Game Reserve and Safari Lodge is located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, close to Port Elizabeth and Addo, which means it is not only malaria free, but spans five ecosystems, resulting in a breath-taking diversity of flora and fauna.
Lentaba, the “Lodge on the Hillside”, has eight beautifully secluded thatched chalets overlooking magnificent indigenous gardens that seamlessly merge with the bush. Every en-suite unit has a private observation deck to make the most of the views over the valley. The main lodge is decorated in a traditional African safari style and boasts a large lounge, observation deck and swimming pool.
On arrival a welcome drink will be served, followed by a light-lunch and the chance to settle into your accommodation. “High tea” will also be available, before you are transported into the 18,500 acres of bush by expert rangers and trackers in an open 4X4, for a thrilling late afternoon and sunset big game drive.
No-one can guarantee exactly what you will see, but among the species that roam these vast African plains are the Big Five (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard), hippos, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, lynx, zebras, giraffes, warthogs, impalas, wildebeest, blesbok and other antelope.
After dusk falls, return to the lodge to enjoy a sumptuous South African dinner before unwinding beneath a pollution free night sky for some of the best stargazing on the continent. Awaken early to experience a sunrise big game drive as the bushveld comes to life, before enjoying a rewarding breakfast and returning to Aegean Odyssey with the safari memories of a lifetime.
Affectionately known as “The Friendly City”, Port Elizabeth is rich in ethnic culture and diversity. Its closeness to some of the finest bushveld in South Africa’s Eastern Cape also offers the chance for a unique wildlife safari experience at one of two stunning malaria-free private game reserves.
Both Lalibela and Pumba span five ecosystems and offer the same huge range of flora and fauna to spot across thousands of acres of beautiful terrain. Upon arrival you will be greeted by an expert ranger and tracker, before being driven out into the bush in an open 4X4 for a thrilling big game drive.
No-one can guarantee exactly what you will see, but among the species that roam these vast African plains are the Big Five (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard), hippos, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, lynx, zebras, giraffes, warthogs, impalas, wildebeest and numerous antelope such as eland, kudu, bushbuck and wildebeest. There’s also the tiny blue duiker and rock hyrax to keep an eye out for, alongside a wide variety of birdlife.
Following the drive, a buffet lunch will be served before your return to Aegean Odyssey in Port Elizabeth.
Pumba is an eco-friendly destination in the malaria-free Eastern Cape of South Africa that provides an intimate safari experience within its 6,500 hectares of private property. The lodge has a range of 5-star air-conditioned chalets overlooking Lake Kariega, all of which have amazing views across the veld and water, giving visitors every opportunity to enjoy the ultimate in African luxury and style.
On arrival, a welcome drink will be served, followed by a light-lunch and the chance to settle into your accommodation. “High tea” will also be available, before you are transported into the bush by expert rangers and trackers in an open 4X4, for a thrilling late afternoon and sunset big game drive.
No-one can guarantee exactly what you will see, but among the species that roam these vast African plains are the Big Five (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard), cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, lynx, zebras, giraffes, warthogs, impalas, wildebeest, blesbok and other antelope endemic to the region.
After dusk falls, return to the lodge to enjoy a sumptuous South African dinner before unwinding beneath a pollution free night sky for some of the best stargazing on the continent. Awaken early to experience a sunrise big game drive as the veld comes to life, before enjoying a rewarding breakfast and returning to Aegean Odyssey with the safari memories of a lifetime.
Port Elizabeth is the third largest port and fifth largest city in South Africa. When leaving the harbour, you will pass a 52-metre high memorial, the Campanile, built in 1923 in memory of the first British settlers who arrived in 1820. It is situated on the site where the settlers landed and contains a carillon of 23 bells. Drive along the beachfront, stopping off at Shark Rock Pier for a photo opportunity, and then continue along the beachfront to Summerstrand, a very popular beach area, with many guesthouses and hotels.
Continuing your tour through the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Campus, you arrive at Bayworld. Unique in Southern Africa, this is a museum embracing a natural and cultural history, combined with a herpatalogical section with various reptiles and an Oceanarium which includes the African penguin and Cape fur seals amongst other marine life.
Proceed to the Donkin Memorial, a stone pyramid erected in memory of Sir Rufane Donkin's wife Elizabeth - Port Elizabeth was named after her. It was Sir Rufane who, with 4,000 British settlers, founded the city in 1820 and became the city’s first governor. From here continue to Fort Frederick, a monument that was named after Frederick, the Duke of York. In 1799, during the first British occupation of the Colony during the Napoleonic Wars, a stone fort was built named Fort Frederick after the Duke of York. This fort, built to protect against a possible landing of French troops, overlooked the site of what later became Port Elizabeth.
We pass the Nelson Mandela Stadium, Horse Memorial and St George’s Cricket Ground en route to the quayside via the city centre. Notable buildings you will pass include the Feather Market, the Library, the Post Office and City Hall, which was seriously damaged by fire in 1977, resulting in a major restoration programme. Finally a look at The Old Mayor's Garden and a replica of the Diaz Cross, which was erected on the coast at Kwaaihoek, where Bartholomew Diaz and his men first landed in 1488.
No visit to Cape Town is complete without a trip up Table Mountain, the city’s most celebrated landmark, and a ride in the famous cable car. You will ascend from the Valley Station (363 m) up to the Mountain Station (1,060 m) in under four minutes and enjoy spectacular views of the Cape, as the floor of the car rotates 360 degrees during the ascent and descent. Table Mountain gets its name from the flat-topped central massif of the mountain, which viewed from the city, is surrounded by Devil’s Peak on the left, Lion’s Head on the right and Signal Hill in the foreground. They form a sort of amphitheatre that encloses the city centre and some of the older suburbs.
From the summit, the natural protected area stretching from Signal Hill to Cape Point has been managed under the custodianship of the South African National Parks Board. This area has one of the highest concentrations of endemic plant and animal species in any area of its size, containing a staggering 2,285 plant species – more than the entire UK.
On your way back to the ship you’ll enjoy a short orientation tour of the city of Cape Town, including the colourful and historic houses of the Bo-Kaap (Malay Quarter), the Convention Centre, Adderley Street with statues of Jan van Riebeeck and Bartholomeu Diaz, the Castle of Good Hope, City Hall in Darling Street, the Dutch Reformed Church, Slave Lodge, St George’s Cathedral and the Cape Provincial government buildings in Wale Street.
This tour offers the perfect opportunity to experience the history, architecture and, of course, world-famous wines of Stellenbosch. Leave Cape Town by road for the scenic drive to Stellenbosch. This broad, fertile valley on the Eerste River was named after Simon van der Stel who became the region’s first governor in 1680.
Today, Stellenbosch is a major university town characterised by Cape Dutch-style architecture and streets lined by aged oak trees, some of which have been declared national monuments. After an orientation drive through the town, you will visit the Stellenbosch Museum, which is comprised of four different houses each from a different era of the town’s history. After this you are free to continue to explore this quaint and charming town. Then it is on t one of the great wine estates where you will enjoy a tasting session and learn about the wine making process. Then return to Cape Town and Aegean Odyssey.
Note: Moderate walking through wine estate, not suitable for pax with walking difficulties or wheelchairs.
This trip takes you on one of South Africa's most scenic routes to Cape Point, the most south-westerly tip of Africa. After driving through the suburbs of Green Point and Sea Point to Camps Bay, behind which are the impressive peaks of the Twelve Apostles, you travel along the Atlantic seaboard towards Hout Bay, a small fishing village with a charming harbour and the best fish and chips on the continent of Africa.
From Hout Bay, continue via the scenic Chapman’s Peak drive (provided the road is open) passing through the seaside suburb of Scarborough en route to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and their differing ecosystems meet. The reserve occupies 7,750 hectacres of indigenous flora and fauna, and Cape Point with its dramatic sea cliffs - among the highest in South Africa - is the main attraction in the reserve. A funicular railway takes you to the top of the point, from where you can enjoy the breathtaking views. From here, continue to a scenically situated restaurant for a seafood lunch.
In the afternoon, pay a visit to the African penguin colony at Boulders Beach, before travelling through the naval base of Simon’s Town to Fish Hoek. From here, continue to the colourful fishing harbour of Kalk Bay, and along Boyes Drive, which affords magnificent views of Muizenberg and False Bay. On the way back to the ship you’ll pass the University of Cape Town, Rhodes Memorial, Mostert's Mill and the famous Groote Schuur Hospital.
North-east of Cape Town, “Pearl”, as it translates, is a romantic city with a picturesque main street of colonial buildings that are well shaded by oak trees and jacarandas. The influence of Dutch settlers is also boldly displayed by the huge, expressionistic Taal Monument, which represents the evolution of Afrikaans as a language and how it connects Western Europe with South Africa.
From here the tour continues to a local wine estate, where a stop will be made to taste some local vintages on the way to the village of Franschhoek, or “French Quarter”, where the rich tradition and history of viniculture dates back to 1688.
The Huguenot Monument, situated at the foot of the Franschhoek Pass, was completed in 1948 to commemorate the arrival of the Huguenots in South Africa. After which the adjoining Memorial Museum focuses on the genealogy of the first Huguenots families to arrive during the 17th and 18th-centuries.
A second wine tasting will be followed by a picnic lunch at a local wine estate, before the tour continues to Stellenbosch, a university town and the second oldest in South Africa after Cape Town.
Renowned as the “Town of Oaks”, many of Stellenbosch’s impressive trees have been proclaimed national monuments. The town is also highly regarded for its traditional Cape Dutch-style architecture, which can be seen along the main thoroughfare of Dorp Street.
It might not be the oldest in South Africa, but Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden on the slopes of Table Mountain was the first in the world to be directly founded in order to preserve the country’s indigenous flora. It was also the first to be included within a natural World Heritage Site. With over 8,500 species of local plants and 36 hectares of cultivated terrain within a huge protected reserve on the mountainside, this bona fide national treasure has earned its place as one of the most famous public gardens in the country.
The route from Cape Town to Kirstenbosch skirts the slopes of Devil’s Peak, allowing for some wonderful views over the city. Strolling around these beautiful surroundings, displays are carefully arranged, making it easy for visitors to find their favourite species. The “Fragrance Garden” is an olfactory marvel that is full of sweet and unusual scents, while the ‘Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway’ offers a magnificent bird’s-eye view across the garden. For art lovers, the Mambo Stone Sculpture Garden features locally crafted figures and there will also be some time available for browsing in the well-stocked curio shop.
After Kirstenbosch, the tour passes through the attractive suburb of Bishopscourt to reach Constantia, where South Africa’s wine industry began over three centuries ago, for some wine tasting at a local estate. The scenic drive then continues to Constantia Nek, Hout Bay, the Atlantic seaboard suburbs of Camps Bay, Clifton and Bantry Bay, before returning to Aegean Odyssey.
The Cheetah Outreach Project was started eight years ago on a piece of land donated by the Spier estate outside Stellenbosch, but has since moved to the town of Somerset West, in the Western Cape. The project aims to provide a voice for free ranging cheetahs through education and awareness in urban and rural communities.
Cheetahs have been man’s hunting partners and royal companions for centuries. Ancient Egyptians deified them and the pharaohs kept them as close personal companions, believing they had the power to carry human souls into the afterlife. Sadly, however, these nimble beasts are on the brink of extinction.
This guided tour takes you face to face with these majestic cats to learn more about their lives, habits and the dangers that face them. The project’s cheetahs are very friendly, so you will have a chance to stroke an adult, before meeting a pack of Turkish Anatolian Shepard dogs, which are bred on the premises. These brave dogs are sent to rural farms to protect livestock against predators, as well as the cheetahs from the farmers.
Not far from the Cheetah project is the Morgenster Estate, which produces Bordeaux-style red wine and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. In 2005 their oil was ranked one of the fifteen best in the world and has won a number of prizes, including the coveted L’Orciolo d'Oro. Visitors to the Estate’s stylish tasting room, designed by Revel Fox, will be able to enjoy a unique South African wine tasting experience, before returning to Aegean Odyssey in Cape Town.