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SA 09 Itinerary


SA 09 Itinerary

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									MAGICAL JOURNEY TO SOUTH AFRICA & BOTSWANA 15th –29th March, 2009 This is a Journey like no other. From the legendary magnificence of the Cape of Good Hope, through the high plains on which Johannesburg – the City of Gold, with its satellite city of Soweto – rose up as if out of the Earth, to two of Africa’s finest Wildlife Reserves, you will travel through a range of experiences that cannot be equaled anywhere else in such a short space of time. A Portuguese epic poem tells how Adamastor, a member of the race of giants, fell in love with Thetis a sea nymph. Her mother, Doris, told him that she had arranged a tryst for him with her daughter, but when he arrived, she betrayed him and imprisoned him in rock deep in the southern oceans. There he remained, imprisoned in his anger, to hurl great storms at the mariners trying to round his headland. The rock in which he was imprisoned is what we now call Table Mountain. Having endured the winter storms that can pound this peninsula, the first sailors to attempt to round the southern tip of Africa, returned to Portugal and told their king that they had found their way around the 'Cape of Storms'. The King immediately instructed that the name be changed to 'The Cape of Good Hope' because, despite its sometimes stormy nature, it provided a vision of a future that was filled with hope and potential for riches. As long as there have been humans, they have been living in South Africa. It is a country and society of astonishing diversity in many dimensions, human, natural and physical. Throughout history it has been a virtual laboratory of the nature of humanity. South Africa, as a society, has always been on the cusp of storm on one side, and a future of hope and fulfilled potential on the other. It is a society whose demise and descent into chaos, has been predicted by experts throughout its history. It is a society that has faced, and continues to face, many of the world’s most challenging problems and yet, whether looking back in time, or around one in the present, there is everywhere evidence of a cheerful, resilient and resourceful spirit that always seems to have faced and overcome, or bypassed, the challenging obstacles that lay in its path. So far it seems that the Portuguese King was right.

With Magical Journey you will travel in a way that few foreigners on commercial packages do. The Journey has been carefully structured to allow you to explore and enjoy as many dimensions of the region’s diversity as possible in the time that we have available, while having a truly great experience. We look forward to being your hosts.

THE ITINERARY Sunday 15th March Arrive at Cape Town International Airport and transfer to our hotel in Stellenbosch. After an introduction to the programme, South Africa and each other, you will be free to wander the Oak lined streets of this beautiful town and settle after the long flight. Stellenbosch is the oldest town in South Africa after Cape Town. Soon after the Dutch first settled in what is today Cape Town in 1652, their ‘Burgers’ moved out into the neighbouring mountains and valleys. They were later joined by French Huguenots and artisans from what is today Indonesia and Malaysia who were brought in as slaves by the Dutch East India Company. The mixture of these cultures produced the graceful and unique style of Cape Dutch architecture and a tradition of viticulture, which has been preserved down the centuries. As you travel around the Cape you will become aware that it is home to a population of people that is unique in Africa, and whose cultural and ethnic roots lie in the soils of the Khoisan - the oldest people of Southern Africa Europe, Indonesia and Malaysia. Monday 16th March A day in the Winelands. The estates of the Cape Wine Lands centered on Stellenbosch and Franschoek have held true to the legacy of their forebears enabling wine writer Hugh Johnson to claim that ‘wine is made in no more beautiful place on earth’. We will visit one of South Africa’s top, award-winning estates and lunch in the gardens of carefully preserved original Cape Dutch homesteads with their gleaming yellowwood doors, windows and floors. After our day in the wine lands we will return to our hotel in Stellenbosch (B) Tuesday 17th March We will leave Stellenbosch and drive through the magnificent Cape Peninsula and, weather permitting, will take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain from where we can gaze down on the City and suburbs of Cape Town and the Table Mountain National Park, a region which constitutes one of the six recognized floral kingdoms of the world. It includes 8500 plant species, of which more than 6000 are indigenous amongst which is the protea, an evergreen shrub for which South Africa is renowned, and which is the national flower. In the evening we will check into our Cape Town hotel. (B)

Wednesday 18th March We will visit Robben Island, where leaders of the ANC (African National Congress) and other movements were incarcerated during the struggle against the Apartheid Regime. You will see the cells of former State President Nelson Mandela, and other famous leaders. Robben Island is a place where, despite the intentions of the jailers and against all odds, positive energy and a spirit of hope and tolerance were kept alive. Today Robben Island is kept as a museum in the spirit described in this statement by Ahmed Kathrada a former prisoner and now Director of the museum: "While we will not forget the brutality of apartheid, we will not want Robben Island to be a monument to our hardship and suffering. We would want Robben Island to be a monument... reflecting the triumph of the human spirit against the forces of evil. A triumph of non-racialism over bigotry and intolerance. A triumph of a new South Africa over the old." (B) Thursday 19th March An additional day in Cape Town, to cover the many other attractions, and allow for flexibility in case weather has prevented us from making some of the planned visits. Cape Town is a city where one is never at a loss for things to do. Friday 20th March We will fly to Johannesburg for the start of the second, and very different, leg of our Journey. After settling into our Hotel, we will travel by bus to the Origins Centre of the University of the Witwatersrand. The area around Johannesburg, and Southern Africa in general, is where the most, and most complete, examples of early hominids have been found and studied. It is clear that Southern Africa has been the home to humanity over the millions of years from our first emergence. Wits University - as it is known - is one of the world’s leading institutions in the area of paleontology and paleo-anthropology having been lead by some outstanding personalities in the field for over three quarters of a century. The Origins Centre has only recently been established to familiarize we modern humans with who we are, and our becoming over those millions of years. We will be given talks on the path taken by hominids to reach modern man, as well as introduced to the origin and evolution of art and culture in Africa, with examples of the art and music of the San people, the last remaining survivors of the original inhabitants of Southern Africa. This visit will reinforce the reality of the essential ‘oneness’ of all humans and prepare us for what we will see the next day of what happens when we forget that. (B)

Saturday 21st March After a short tour of the city of Johannesburg, tracing its evolution in the space of just seventy years from a mining camp to the leading city on the continent, we will visit the Apartheid Museum. In this museum you will see the consequences of following a mistaken social and political ideology, and how this nation managed to free itself from the shackles of those consequences, and yet remain free from vengeance and retribution. We will then drive to Soweto (South Western Townships) Johannesburg’s twin city – the largest African city on the continent. We will lunch at a traditional Shebeen – a word borrowed from the Irish to describe an illegal drinking establishment. The Shebeens were originally illegal, bypassing the laws against the sale of alcohol to Blacks through other than ‘official’ outlets, and which developed into sophisticated restaurants and centres of social activity in the township. We will visit and walk in the only street in the world where two winners of the Nobel peace prize, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and ex President Nelson Mandela lived virtually side-by-side. In doing so you are very likely to experience first hand the warmth and friendliness of the people of Soweto. (B,L)

Sunday 22nd March to Saturday 28th March We will set out on the culminating phase of our Journey – meeting our fellow African inhabitants of Earth in their own environment. During this phase, the many historic and archaelogical sites, rock art and stone tools, will serve as a reminder of how long mankind has been part of this landscape. To make this phase as complete an experience as possible, we are going to vist two very different areas. For the first, we will cross the Limpopo river into Botswana, to the Mashatu game reserve. Here, in one of the oldest landscapes on Earth, you will be able to see a great variety of the wildlife for which Africa is famous. Mashatu is the home of no less than seven of Africa's giants: the African elephant, the lion, giraffe, the baobab tree, the eland, the ostrich, and the kori bustard. Along the river courses, huge Mashatu trees provide shade for eland, impala, wildebeest, giraffe and zebra, whilst at night, the bat-eared fox, African wildcat and the magnificent leopard search for prey. Some 366 species of birds may be seen. From Mashatu we will recross into South Africa and travel parallel to the Limpopo, the northern border of South Africa, to Pafuri at the northern end of the the Kruger National Park The Kruger National Park, had its origins in the establishment by President Kruger, the last President of the old Transvaal Republic, in 1897, of a Game Reserve in the east of his country, making it, along with Yellowstone, one of the oldest national parks in the world.

The park of today encompasses an area of nearly 760 000 square miles, and the actual area available for wild life to roam freely, has been significantly increased by the removal of fences between the park itself and the private game reserves that were established along its western border. As of now, there is a project underway, to vastly increase the area available for wildlife, sufficient to allow animals like the elephant to regain their historic migration patterns, by the formation of a vast Transfrontier Park incorporating adjoining game conservation areas in South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Botswana. We will be tavelling to an area known as Pafuri, which is at the epicentre of the Transfrontier park, being at the point where South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe meet. The Pafuri area is recognised as being a unique ecological and beautiful region: the meeting point of a multitude of habitats, and thus a region of incredibly rich bio-diversity. It is by far the most diverse area within the Kruger Park with 75% of its animal, reptile and tree species being found within only 1% of the total expanse of the park. The region is also historically important. There is evidence that it has been inhabited by humans from as far back as 1.7 million years ago. These early humans – probably homo erectus, have left us, particularly on hill tops from where they used to watch game, hundreds of thousands of stone tools. One can also see signs through their stone art, of more recent inhabitants of the area, including those who were part of the civilisation that built Great Zimbabwe and Mapungupwe, in the thirteenth century.. In the more recent past, it was a critical military area during the time that there was an undeclared war between South Africa and its neighbours, and thus, for many years, it could not be visited. In 1969, the local inhabitants, the Makuleke people, were moved out by the government, into an area outside the Kruger Park. Then, in a landmark restitution ruling in 1997, the area was returned to them. In a far sighted decision they decided to leave their land within the Kruger National Park and allow it to be co-managed as a wilderness concession, from which they would benefit both financially and in skills transfer. Pafuri is an area seldom seen by visitors, and certainly tour groups, and the diversity of experience available, adds up to it being an area well worth taking the time to get to as part of this unique and Magical Journey. During your stay in these two parks, you will enjoy comfortable lodgings, good food and be taken on

game drives and, for those who wish, walks on foot accompanied by Game Rangers who will introduce you to aspects of the wild that you could never meet and experience in a vehicle. You will also have the opportunity to combine game walks with visits to ancient sites. While one cannot orchestrate a true wildlife experience, we are sure that your time in these two parks will be remembered and thought of for years to come. (BLD) Saturday 28th March After our final Game experience we will make our way back to Johannesburg for our reintroduction into the modern urban world, hopefully with a renewed understanding of ourselves and the world we live in. (B) Sunday 29th March In the morning, you will have the opportunity, prior to your departure for home from Johannesburg International Airport in the evening, for last minute shopping at a colorful market where a full mix of goods is available, and where there are merchants from all over Africa selling their handiwork. (B) As you leave the ‘City of Gold’, we will be hoping that your visit will have enabled you to take with you, new perspectives, and a faith in the resilience of the human spirit which, with compassion and tolerance, can produce a better world for all of its inhabitants, human and others. But most of all we will be hoping that you will carry away memories that will bring you enjoyment for many years to come, and a desire to return to our shores. After all, a visit to Africa, is for all of us, a return to our origins. COSTS Land Costs for 15 day Journey: US$5750.00 * Single Supplement: US$2200.00 Land cost Includes: All accommodation includes quality hotels and lodges All meals in the game reserves with vegetarian options Other meals as indicated in itinerary All transfers and land transport. All entrance fees, game drives, tours and guided walks/hikes as per itinerary. Does not include: International Airfare to Cape Town returning via Johannesburg Gratuities Travel insurance and airport taxes. Items of a personal nature & optional activities not included in the itinerary. Drinks, and meals not indicated in the itinerary

Please note that this itinerary is for guidance, and while every attempt will be made to abide by it, changes may become necessary due to factors outside of our control, or to improve on the content, or make adjustments in the interests of the participants. A further note: these costs have been calculated in South African Rand and converted to dollars at current rates. Should the rates change significantly before payments are converted into ZARands, it may be necessary to adjust the dollar amount

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