South Africa

Spectacular natural beauty with a Mediterranean climate, abundant wildlife, a fascinating mix of cultures and a historic struggle for freedom all combine to make South Africa one of the world’s most compelling destinations. For the beach lovers there are miles of unspoilt coastline, food and wine enthusiasts will be right at home in the Winelands, and wildlife photographers and adventurers won’t be disappointed with the selection of safari camps in and around Kruger National Park.

When to go: June to August are peak times for wildlife viewing when game is most concentrated around watering holes. Cape Town is a year-round destination, but the beaches are best enjoyed December to March.

Itineraries

South Africa's Western Cape

Culture & Wildlife

Cape Town, Garden Route & Safari

Highlights

Cape Town & The Cape

Cape Town is renown for its harbor and stunning natural setting below Table Mountain. Hike or take a gondola to the top for the views, and spend a few days exploring the area. Going south on the Cape peninsula, visit Boulder’s Beach with it’s colony of African penguins, and the Cape of Good Hope National Park.

The Winelands

South Africa’s oldest and loveliest wine-producing area lies in a fertile series of valleys quite unlike the rest of the Western Cape where you can sample from several hundred different wineries. Stay on one of the many historic wine estates or in the charming towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl.

Greater Kruger Park Area

South Africa’s flagship national park has some of the best animal viewing in Africa. What’s more, the private reserves that are adjacent to the park—namely Timbavati and Sabi Sands are home to award-winning camps around which large populations of wildlife roam freely.

The Garden Route

Route 62 which runs 850 kilometers from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth is the world’s longest wine route. Sandwiched between the coast and inland mountain range, this scenic route is dotted with wineries, lakes, hiking trails and lush scenery. Visit Tsitsikamma National Park, an elephant sanctuary and towns such as Plettenberg Bay, Krysna, and Oudsthoorn.

KwaZulu-Natal

Ethnically diverse, this state is the homeland of the Zulu tribe and the cosmopolitan, busy port city of Durban. Immerse yourself in Zulu culture at villages around the province and visit the San (Bushmen) and thousands of their ancient rock paintings in Ukhalamba-Drakensberg National Park. In and around Durban, miles of golden beaches front the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

Johannesburg

As the air gateway to South Africa, Johannesburg is a good place to get a restful night or two on either entering or leaving the country. The city’s leading attraction is the Apartheid Museum. Combined with a visit to Soweto, South Africa’s largest black residential area, you’ll gain a closer insight into the forces that created modern-day South Africa.

REVIEWS

“I’ve been involved with two trips organized by Ponte, and both have been very thoughtfully arranged. Both Heather and Marta have taken a deeply personal interest in making sure that everything is set up to provide experiences that connect us with the people and places we visit. I hope to continue to travel Ponte-style.”

Mary, Seattle

 

“Selati was awesome! It was our first safari experience, and it was a great one. Very easy to get to and from, and the service and experience was really amazing—they were attentive, and fed/watered/boozed us more than we knew what to do with. It was nice to be at the smaller camp—it felt more intimate and relaxed without a huge group. I don’t think we had anything negative to say about it! Thank you for everything—it was great working with you on this! So…where do you recommend we go next…?”

Karina, Seattle

“Everything about our excursions was outstanding. Every aspect of the Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge approaches perfection, and you can recommend it unreservedly. We were very happy with both Mont Rochelle and Birkenhead House. I should mention that our dinner at the Grand Provence in Franschoek was maybe the best meal I have ever had. We are foodies, so that is saying a lot. It was very quiet—just one other table of guests that night—and I thought we might be disappointed. Not so! We are most appreciative of your expertise and great service.”

Catherine, Bellevue

“In regards to Selati Camp—for someone who has never done a safari before, I would say that it was absolutely perfect. As a first timer, the three days at the camp was the perfect amount of time. The food was exceptionally good, the rooms and amenities were very nice (also loved the upgraded room!). The guides were also really great. They did a great job at explaining what they were doing, how they were tracking, and were very patient with any questions that we had. The only complaint I have is the baboon that tried to break into my room at 4AM and climb on my roof. That was pretty scary. Like something out of Jurassic Park. Anyways though…loved Selati Camp, and would return!”

Derek, Seattle

Who we support

We believe that to travel responsibly, a portion of our tour cost should benefit communities in need. For this trip, our donation will go to a non-profit organization we support that is having a very positive impact around the world: DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS—a humanitarian-aid organization that provides ongoing emergency medical aid around the world.