Cape Town, Jamestown on Saint Helena Island, Johannesburg & Marakele National Park
Experience where few have ventured before with a tour from Cox & Kings to scenic and history filled Saint Helena, one of the world's most remote inhabited islands, which up until recently was only accessible via a 5-day ocean crossing. Enjoy the beauties of South Africa's Cape region before your week-long visit to St. Helena, and finish your trip with three wonderful nights on an exciting Big 5 safari in Marakele National Park.
Welcome to South Africa! Upon arrival in Cape Town, you will be welcomed by your local Cox & Kings representative and escorted to your hotel.
This morning you are met by your private guide to begin a half-day tour. Start with a breathtaking 5-minute revolving cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain. Explore the mountain's summit and the iconic views that surround you. Continue on to visit some of the city's best-known sites, including the Company Gardens and the South African Museum. Next, visit the Castle of Good Hope, built between 1666 and 1679 by The Dutch East India Company. It's one of the oldest surviving colonial buildings in the country. A drive through the city center will take you past the Houses of Parliament, the Grand Parade, and City Hall, from where Nelson Mandela first addressed South Africans after his release from prison in February 1990.
Today you embark on a full day tour of the Cape Peninsula. Take in the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay, before crossing over to Hout Bay, where you may choose to join an optional boat cruise to Seal Island. From here you drive to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve via Chapman's Peak, one of the world's most breathtaking coastal drives, where you will board a funicular (optional and for your own account) to get to the top of the Peninsula to witness the symbolic meeting of the Indian and Atlantic oceans and enjoy spectacular views over False Bay.
In the afternoon, continue to Simonstown, the naval base, and visit the African Penguin breeding colony at Boulders Beach. Then stop at the world-renowned Kirstenbosch Gardens before returning to your hotel.
Your driver will accompany you from the hotel to the Cape Town Airport to board your flight to Saint Helena Island. On arrival you will be met by your guide, who will accompany you to the hotel, passing through small villages along the way. The volcanic nature of the island is immediately apparent in the rugged coastline scenery. After check in, explore Jamestown on a walk guided by a descendant of one of the Boer prisoners of war. Visit the castle and its tropical garden, St. James Church (the oldest Anglican Church in the Southern Hemisphere), and the famous Jacob's ladder that ascends 699 steps above the town. Return to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
Set on 10 acres of farmland in the countryside, your hotel is itself part of history. The Farm Lodge is an East India Company Planters House built around 1670. Pristinely maintained, the double story farmhouse with open verandah and Georgian style facade gleams inside with polished wood andbeamed ceilings, while the gardens provide much of the produce, fruit and coffee used on the estate.
After breakfast, meet with your guide for an orientation of the island by 4x4. Stop at Deadwood Plain, which was the campsite of Boer prisoners of war during the Anglo-Boer War of 1900-1902. Take a short walk to Flagg Staff for wonderful panoramic views across the island. Visit Fisher's Valley, where Napoleon rode his horse during his exile on the island and Levelwood, home to the Bell Stone-a rock that when struck, rings like a bell. Wind your way to the southwest point of the island for incredible views over the Atlantic Ocean, which stretches unbroken for 1,678 miles in every direction.
A highlight of the island awaits this morning as you join your skipper for a boat cruise. Home to huge schools of pan-tropical dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and rough-toothed dolphins, as well as turtles, devil rays, and whale sharks (in season January-March), the deep blue waters are bursting with marine life. The tour gives you a scenic view of Saint Helena's coastline and allows you to view some of the remaining old fortifications and outposts.
Return to port with the afternoon at leisure, although you may like to arrange with your skipper to snorkel this afternoon as a separate excursion. This can be planned directly with him and there are a number of good, safe snorkeling spots near the harbor.
Set off this morning with your guide for the south of the island, stopping at the Saint Helena Coffee Plantation en route. A highlight of the day is a picnic lunch at Sandy Bay, which isn't sandy, but is dramatic in its beauty and jagged cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
As you head back to Jamestown, a private tour of the Governor's residence, Plantation House, awaits. Built in 1792, it's currently the residence of Lisa Phillips, the island's first female governor . Perhaps an even more famous resident is Jonathan the tortoise, a 184-year-old giant tortoise who carries the title of world's oldest living animal. Visit St Paul's Cathedral and Knoll Fort on your way back to the hotel.
Today is at leisure to explore at your own pace. Highly recommended is the well curated Museum of St. Helena, which not only traces the varied history of the island, but also has artifacts from the number of shipwrecks that dot the coastline. Alternatively, you may like to book an optional boat cruise, or take a swim in the Atlantic-or in the public Olympic-sized swimming pool that sits near the harbor and is a great place to meet local islanders.
This evening, dine with a local family to experience the local cuisine and learn about island life, which often includes some not-so-confidential tales about neighbors and family members!
Today, set off for Diana's Peak, the island's national park. Experience the micro and macro life in a cloud forest, from the many endemic plants and invertebrate species, to the breathtaking views of the island.
You'll be driven to Cabbage Tree Road to start your ascent to Diana's Peak, the highest point on the island at 2700 feet (walkers need to have a reasonable level of fitness as there is an ascent of 574 feet). Enjoy a picnic lunch at the summit. In the afternoon, relax with tea hosted at the Farm Lodge.
Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to Saint Helena in 1815 and died on the island 6 years later. This morning, you'll visit Longwood House, owned by the French government, where he lived and died. It is one of the best Napoleonic museums in the world, with original furniture and over 900 artifacts.
Have your picnic lunch on Longwood Green before taking a fifteen-minute stroll to see Napoleon's tomb and the beautiful heart-shaped waterfall, before stopping at the Saint Helena Distillery on your return.
After breakfast you will have time for one last look around Jamestown before being accompanied back to the airport for your onward flight to Johannesburg. Upon arrival, you will be met and assisted with immigration, collection of luggage and customs thenescorted to a nearby hotel.
Your driver will meet you at the hotel and assist you to the Lanseria Airport to board your mid-day flight to the Marataba airstrip. A guide will be on hand to meet you and accompany you to the beautiful lodge where you'll be spending the next three nights.
Marataba Trails Lodge is located in the Marakele National Park in the Waterberg Biosphere. Its hillside setting offers views of mountain streams, gorges, valley grassland, distant mountains, and pristine bush. An eco-lodge built with respect to the natural environment, Marataba Trails Lodge is a sophisticated retreat, combining earth tones and natural fibers with an open floor plan perfect for socializing, plus huge glass windows that showcase the surrounding vistas.
Experience two full days here with time to enjoy your choice of many activities, including morning bush walks with expert trail guides, afternoon game drives, boat excursions, bush meals, and educational opportunities in astronomy and wildlife.
You will be escorted to the airstrip to board your return flight to Lanseria Airport, where you will be met by a local guide and accompanied to the Johannesburg International Airport for your departing flight.
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