South Africa’s exceptional variety often flies under the radar but on this trip you’ll witness it in gripping fashion as you explore from Cape Town to the City of Gold, riding one of the world’s greatest rail journeys in between.

Prepare to embrace all facets of South Africa’s intoxicating culture, from a delicious sample of its farm-to-fork gastronomy to wild experiences on safari and a raw glimpse of South Africa’s shady apartheid past. Begin your adventure in Cape Town, where you’ll wander the rainbow-hued houses of the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood and hop over to Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for eighteen years. Then, leave the city for the African bush for a safari drive in Aquila Private Game Reserve to spy leopards, lions, elephants and more.

Slow your pulse further by swapping Cape Town for the Winelands, a foodie paradise where you’ll indulge yourself in the gourmet garden-to-plate culture and hop between its sun-drenched wine estates on the iconic Franschhoek Wine Tram. Head back to Cape Town, where you’ll board the Rovos Rail for an epic three-night railway ride through South Africa’s patchworked landscapes in decadent carriages that transports you back to train travel’s Golden Age. You’ll stop along the way, first to experience Victorian elegance in the time-frozen town of Matjiesfontein and then to witness South Africa’s diamond-digging past at the Kimberley Mine Museum.

Roll into Pretoria, where you’ll make the short hop to Johannesburg, where you’ll wander the township of Soweto with your own guide. Not only witness apartheid history at its most raw with visits to the Hector Pieterson Museum and Mandela House Museum, but see how Soweto has emerged from its chequered past with its burgeoning café culture and arts scene.


Experience highlights

Soak up Cape Town
  • Land in Cape Town and take a private transfer to your luxury hotel Mount Nelson for three nights, where you can unwind in its luxurious Librisa Spa after a long flight.
  • Enjoy a full-day private guided tour of Cape Town’s history, spending the morning wandering the vivid houses of the Ba-Kaap and uncovering its Cape Malay heritage.
  • In the afternoon, board a boat for UNESCO-listed Robben Island, the legendary prison that incarcerated anti-apartheid activists – including Nelson Mandela. You’ll enjoy a guided tour by one of its former prisoners.
  • Leave Cape Town for a ranger-led game drive in Aquila Private Game Reserve, where you’ll spot giraffes, Cape buffalos, rhinos and more.
Gourmet indulgence in the Winelands
  • Take a private transfer from Cape Town to the Winelands, where you’ll stay at Mont Rochelle for two nights.
  • Your first day is at leisure – an ideal opportunity for a leisurely meal at the hotel’s restaurant MIKO, farm-to-fork South African cuisine at its zenith.
  • Hop aboard the Franschhoek Wine Tram and take a tour of some of the area’s most historic wine estates, sampling excellent vintages with widescreen countryside views for company.
Ride the Rovos Rail
  • Be driven back to Cape Town, where you’ll board the elegant Rovos Rail train for your three-night journey to Pretoria. Relax in its Victorian-Edwardian era carriages while passing some of South Africa’s most extraordinary scenery, including the sweeping Highveld grasslands.
  • Pause at the Victorian village of Matjiesfontein, which was founded as a refreshment stop on the railway line in 1890.
  • You’ll also stop at the Kimberley Mine Museum to unravel its rich diamond mining history.
Explore Jozi’s past
  • After arriving in Pretoria, your private driver will take you to Johannesburg and your hotel for two nights, the award-winning Fairlawns Boutique Hotel and Spa, where you can cool off in its pool or recharge in the spa.
  • Enjoy a guided after tour of the rejuvenated Soweto township, where you’ll visit the Hector Pieterson Museum and the Mandela House Museum.
  • Enjoy your last day in Johannesburg at leisure, before catching your flight home to the UK.

Experience highlights

Land in Cape Town and be taken to your hotel Mount Nelson
With its pink exterior, Mount Nelson is one of Cape Town's most elegant landmarks
Join your guide and explore the rainbow-hued houses in the Bo-Kaap
Hop on the ferry to Robben Island for a guided tour around the former prison
You'll see Nelson Mandela's former prison cell
Leave Cape Town for the wilds of Aquila Private Game Reserve
Spot giraffes, Cape buffalos, leopards and more on a game drive
Swap the city for South Africa's Winelands, staying at Mont Rochelle
As a working wine farm, a vineyard or cellar tour at Mont Rochelle is very much recommended
Savour farm-to-table food, South African style, at Mont Rochelle's restaurant MIKO
Hop between some of South Africa's most renowned wine estates on the Franschhoek Wine Tram
Head back to Cape Town and hop aboard the elegant Rovos Rail train
With its oak-panelled walls and en-suite bathroom, your Pullman Suite will be the most luxurious railway accommodation you'll have stayed in
Travel through epic South Africa landscapes like the barren prairie of the Great Karoo
Pause your epic rail journey to explore the Victorian town of Matjiesfontein
Witness South Africa's diamond mine history at the Kimberley Mine Musuem
Roll into Pretoria and be transferred to your hotel in Johannesburg’s trendy Sandton district, the Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa
Relax poolside in the gorgeous gardens at the Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa
Explore the township of Soweto with a private guide
Get a further glimpse of Nelson Mandela's life at the Mandela House Museum
Unwind in the exquisite bamboo forest gardens of the Balinese-style Spa at Fairlawns after a busy day exploring Johannesburg

Where you’ll stay

South Africa

Mount Nelson, Cape Town

Though the British admiral never stayed at Mount Nelson, he’d have been with some mighty fine company if he had. With its landmark pink exterior – painted in 1918 to celebrate peace following the First World War – Mount Nelson is a landmark itself and guests like the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and John Lennon have all stayed here. The immaculate grand colonial decor makes you feel as if you’re back to its opening in 1899 and its faultless staff have served guests under the gaze of Table Mountain ever since.

South Africa

Rovos Rail, South Africa

South Africa’s riposte to the Orient Express, the Rovos Rail channels a glorious Victorian-Edwardian era of train travel you probably thought have long been consigned to the history books. Luxurious suites, period furnishings and oak panelling cast you back to the country’s colonial heyday, while the dining carts will play host to some of the finest food you’ll ever have aboard a train. With varying routes available, Rovos Rail rolls through a selection of South Africa’s most eclectic scenery.

South Africa

Mont Rochelle, Franschhoek

Few places in South Africa can match Franschhoek’s scenic setting, pinned down by craggy peaks on three sides, and Mont Rochelle can easy claim one of the finest views. Flexing its muscles as a 39-hectare working wine farm, Mont Rochelle is a placid country estate only a half-hour walk to Franschhoek’s buzzing boutiques. Above all, what’s most admirable is the hotel’s deep passion for wine – all of the rooms are named after grape varieties, grapes are incorporated into the spa treatments and a vineyard and cellar tour is an absolute must.

South Africa

Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa, Johannesburg

Starting life as a private home for the wealthy Oppenheimer family, Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa still very much feels that way. In a leafy location in Johannesburg’s upscale neighbourhood of Sandton, its twelve acres of exotic gardens, sleepy courtyards and trickling water features ensure Fairlawns doesn’t run at the same frenetic pace as the rest of the city. The stately rooms, Balinese spa and fit-for-a-king cuisine all combine to make this the ideal pre- or post-safari pit stop.

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