Soulful South Africa
Thursday 4 August – Friday 12 August 2022
Day 1 – Thursday 4 August: Sawubona South Africa
Sawubona! The most common and beautiful greeting in Zulu (one of the 11 official languages in South Africa), which means ‘I see you’, ‘you are important to me’ and ‘I value you’. A warm welcome to the Soul Safari Retreat ‘Soulful South Africa’. Today you arrive at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Johannesburg is a big city with a long name, so it has a lot of nice nicknames too: Jozi, Joburg, Joni, Joeys or simply JHB. Joburg is a lively, bustling, creative city with a not so funny image and a sharp edge, that’s for sure. A bad image unfortunately too. Joburg is a city of hope, now and in the past. Joburg was discovered by gold and diamond diggers. Today, Johannesburg is called the City of Gold or Egoli and is Africa’s economic powerhouse. Depending on your flight schedule, you will arrive in the late evening and be able to dive straight into a soft bed in Safari Club SA, our guest house for the first night. If your flight arrives earlier in the day, you can visit the Apartheid Museum, an impressive museum dedicated to the dark days of the Apartheid regime, which has left its mark on South Africa intensely. When you buy an entrance ticket, you will receive a ticket for the ‘blankes’ (the white people) or the ‘nie-blankes’ (the non white people). You will feel how the Apartheid was like for the people of South Africa (please express your interest in advance, optional payable activity). Or do you prefer relaxation? Enjoy the homely ambiance of Safari Club and prepare yourself for a soul shining South African safari.
Day 2 – Friday 5 August:
A tribute to Nelson Mandela & staying at the gateway of the Panorama Route
After a restful night and a tasty breakfast, it’s time to surrender to your wanderlust. We check out in Safari Club and drive with our passionate guide and minibus through the green suburbs of Johannesburg to Pretoria, where we stop at the Union Buildings, the headquarters of the South African government. Here you will find a tribute to Nelson Mandela, a metres high bronze statue. A picture perfect moment. We learn more about the foundations of the rainbow nation. Leaving the cities behind, we cross vast farmlands and reach the picturesque village of Dullstroom where we will stop for lunch at Harries Pancakes, for a sweet or savoury pancake. Afterwards we will drive further to Hazyview, the gateway to the Panoramaroute and check in in Casa Do Sol our home for tonight. Casa Do Sol brings a Spanish hacienda-feel and is surrounded by tranquil pools, deeply shaded glades and lush gardens. Enjoy a peaceful evening with a special surprise dinner. Good night!
Day 3 – Saturday 6 August: The best of the Panorama Route & Discover your wild heart
After breakfast we leave for a full morning of exploring the spectacular Panorama Route, one of the most beautiful road trips in the world! The Panorama Route in Mpumalanga is named after its unbelievable views situated around every corner. The mountainous escarpment provides us with stunning vistas of the Lowveld. This wonderful morning includes sights such as God’s Window, a picturesque viewpoint called due its pure beauty contained in one view; Bourke’s Luck Potholes with its extraordinary rock formations; the highest waterfall of Mpumalanga, Lisbon Falls; the Blyde River Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world and the famous Three Rondavels. Re-wild your spirit with nature experiences that leave you breathless! Afterwards it’s time for the bush! We will check-in in Little Africa Lodge. Our home for incredible safaris in Blue Canyon Private Game Reserve, only a few minutes away from Greater Kruger, adjacent to Kruger National Park. We sleep in luxury safari tents, built on the banks of the Moditlo River. Settle into your elegant tent and enjoy lunch. After lunch we start our first game drive, which you are undoubtedly looking forward to. Ready for the wilderness, full of action and wildlife? You climb in open safari jeeps for an afternoon and evening full of adventure under the guidance of professional rangers who explain to us the rules and life in the bush. Your eyes focused on the bushes, you hear a rustling noise and suddenly the ranger stops at a magnificent sighting. A family of elephants, sleeping lions, a group of zebras, giraffes feeding on leaves in the trees. Adventure and full hearts guaranteed. The smells, the sounds, the call of the birds; the bush is getting ready for the night. We will find a beautiful sundowner spot and enjoy a skemerkelkie (a crisp South African g&t or glass of wine, a beer or a soft drink) with tasty bites. We see the sun disappear at the horizon, to make room for the moon and the stars. A delicious dinner awaits us at the lodge. Afterwards we tell safari stories around the campfire and make plans for a new safari day to come. Time to go to bed. Sweet safari dreams!
Day 4 – Sunday 7 August: Feel alive in the wild
Our guides will wake us up just before dawn. Drink a nice cup of coffee or taste a rooibos tea to wipe the sleep from your eyes and have a fresh start of the day. The ‘wildtuin’ (game reserve in Afrikaans) will bathe in beautiful morning light. This is the moment to spot a lot of game, because the animals will still be active. The animals keep rather quiet during the day because of the heat. Which animal do you hope to see today in all its splendour? A rhino, or rather a cheetah or leopard, a crocodile or hippo? Stretch your legs during the coffee & tea break, biscuits are provided. The morning game drive will certainly move you. During the morning, we return to the lodge for a delicious brunch. Afterwards, you can relax in your tent, in the lounge or at the swimming pool. Read your favourite book on your terrace or in the lounge, enjoy the infinity pool, an exotic cocktail on your sun bed or the silence of Mama Africa. The lodge is surrounded by wild animals and curious birds, let’s see who will pay you a visit. In the afternoon we will be treated to a late lunch and our afternoon game drive will start soon afterwards. Feel alive in the wild & let the bush surprise you. Enjoy a traditional soothing hand-washing ceremony and another pleasant gift before dinner will be served. Listen to the sounds of the wilderness, sleep well!
Day 5 – Monday 8 August: Take the road less travelled
After an early breakfast we say goodbye to Little Africa Safari Lodge. We leave for Leshiba Mountain Retreat, a hidden gem situated in the Soutpansberg Mountains and our home for the next three nights. Once we arrive at the foot of the mountain, 4×4’s and their drivers will pick us up in the afternoon to take the steep path to Venda Art Lodge, on your left and right you will see deep gorges, valleys, cliffs, vast plains and canyons. Venda Art Lodge is an authentic traditional village re-created by internationally renowned artist Noria Mabasa. This artistic wonderland of sculpted walls, seating areas, figures and entrances breathes the mystical spirit of Venda. Settle into your room, enjoy the pool with panoramic views and take time for yourself. Soak up some soul & solo time. Enjoy a delicious tea or coffee with cake and get ready for the afternoon game drive in Leshiba. We can expect to see giraffes with long eyelashes, dazzling zebras, crazy wildebeests, regal kudu and with a bit of luck the shy leopards. Some of the antelopes to be spotted are: kudu, waterbuck, impala, red duiker, Sharpe’s grysbok and klipspringer. Enjoy a magical sunset with bubbles, a delicious dinner and a good night’s sleep under a blanket of millions of stars.
Day 6 – Tuesday 9 August: Travel differently, connect to culture – taste culture
After breakfast, we travel on dusty roads between the Soutpans Mountains and get to know colourful Elim and its surrounding villages on an ‘Arts & Crafts, Lifestyle Tour’. Today we connect and taste the local culture of the Tsonga and Venda residents. We visit artists, musicians, woodcarvers, ceramists and students in a local school. We discover the melting pot of colours and rhythm, a mix of modern and traditional life, and become part of it. You will meet the most inspiring people. Enjoy the beautiful landscape of baobab and mopane trees during a picnic lunch. Shop for lovely home decoration, bags and jewellery. We drive along a dam with many crocodiles, beautiful green tea plantations and waterfalls. Let your eyes enjoy the sights of open markets with an abundance of informal and formal shops, hair salons and street stalls full of fruit and vegetables, colours, textures, traditional doctors with their indigenous medicine and traditional clothing. Enjoy a sundowner in Venda Art Lodge and afterwards a delicious dinner. A day to cherish forever.
Day 7 – Wednesday 10 August: Bushman rock art, slow down & soul food
After breakfast, we put on our hiking boots for a rock art & tour. This is a guided archaeological walk. We will discover several Bushman (San) rock paintings and Khoi hand and foot paintings. The rock paintings are between 200 and 2000 years old and provide evidence of the first inhabitants of this mystical region. We learn more about medicinal plants and their natural healing power, we track animals, go birding and get to know all about the history and archaeology of the region. In the afternoon it’s YOU time! Rest & relax. Book a massage (please express your interest in advance, optional paying activity). Slow down & find your tranquil spirit. In the evening, we will taste the delicious soul food typical of the Limpopo region during a cooking workshop. Nighty night!
Day 8 – Thursday 11 August: Goodbye Leshiba, Hello again Johannesburg
After breakfast, we say goodbye to Leshiba and have a long drive ahead of us to Johannesburg. We will arrive in the late afternoon. We are checking into Hallmark House, a trendy design hotel in the heart of Maboneng. Tastefully decorated rooms with African wax, traditional African textiles. Nice to know is that Hallmark House used to accommodate a diamond-cutting factory. We will freshen up ourselves and get ready for an urban safari, in ‘The Place of Light’, the Sotho word for Maboneng. Our guide takes us on a great city walk and tells us how a dreary neighbourhood was completely renovated into a hipster district. Cool street art, art galleries, vintage shops, funky bars and restaurants, film studios and industrial office spaces define the street scene. You imagine yourself to be in Brooklyn. Johannesburg is not called the New York of Africa for nothing. Chic on the inside, think of Manhattan and Sandton (Johannesburg’s business district) with its highest skyscrapers. And rough and rugged on the inside, think of Brooklyn and Maboneng. ‘Joburg is the one your mother warned you about. She is pierced, tattooed, laughs too loud, and drinks and smokes too much’. Most cities seduce you with their subtle charms, Jozi just knocks you on the head and drags you in’. After the inspiring city tour, we enjoy a lovely sunset apéro on the roof of Hallmark Hotel which offers the ultimate views of downtown Joburg, the City of Gold, will glow golden. We dine at Rooftop, industrial meets modern chic in one of the gritty city’s most instagrammable spaces. Not to mention The Hallmark Gallery, which showcases the latest in African contemporary art.
Day 9 – Friday 12 augustus: Soweto Tour & Time to Say Goodbye
We have breakfast in the trendy Hallmark House. We pack our luggage and drive to Soweto. Soweto stands for South Western Townships and includes a cluster of several townships southwest of Johannesburg, the largest township in the country and a true metropolis of over 5 million inhabitants. A visit to Soweto might sound scary! A lively mix of a turbulent history and a hard African street life, from modern villas with expensive cars in the driveway to slums with corrugated iron roofs, but above all, encounters with friendly and smiley residents. We explore all the highlights of Soweto: we have a panoramic view of Soweto from the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital (the largest hospital on the African continent). We visit the Hector Pieterson monument in Orlando West commemorating the uprisings on 16 June 1967, when hundreds of children and young people lost their lives in protests against the education system during the Apartheid regime. Not to miss is the former home of freedom fighter Nelson Mandela and the house of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Vilakazi Street. Soweto is the only place in the world where no less than two Nobel Prize winners lived in the same street. Soweto must be experienced with your own eyes! Receiving high fives from playing kids, tasting a home-brewed beer in a shabeen (small café) with an African mama, taking a look in old workers’ houses, attending street dance performances, tasting chicken legs at a local food stall, admiring the colourful streets with street art, the souvenir shops of artists… For a fun and exciting twist, we will explore this bustling township either on bikes or from a tuk tuk. We end this special morning and the Soul Safari Retreat ‘Soulful South Africa’ with a feast of typical South African dishes. On the menu is pap, chakalaka, boerewors and potjiekos (stews). The Soul Safari Retreat comes to an end. We are driving to OR Tambo International airport & wave our guide goodbye. South Africa is the place where you can find your soul again. I hope South Africa touched your soul deeply. The inspiring people who coloured our journey, gave meaning to our retreat. South Africa makes you understand things and puts events into perspective. The beautiful nature on the Panorama Route caused wonder and many wow moments. The unique wildlife encounters are memories we will always cherish in our hearts. Take the slow rhythm and the feeling of being one with nature home. Surf the waves of emotions that South Africa brought you. Soul FULL South Africa.
Have a look at the gallery!
Soul Safari Retreat ‘Soulful South Africa’
Trip duration: 8 nights, 9 days // Maximum group size: 10 // Accommodation: Twin shared rooms with two separate beds
Arrival & departure transfers
1 nacht in Safari Club SA, Johannesburg
1 nacht in Casa do Sol, Hazyview
2 nachten in Little Africa Safari Lodge (inclusief welcome drink & drankjes tijdens de ontbijten & de game drives)
3 nachten in Leshiba Mountain Retreat, Louis Trihardt
1 nacht in Hallmark House, Johannesburg
Aankomst & vertrek transfers
8 ontbijten, 8 lunches & 7 diners zoals vermeld
2 flesjes water per persoon per dag tijdens de transfers in een 15-seater minibus
Excursies en activiteiten zoals beschreven
Lokale Engelssprekende gids tijdens de ganse trip, die met veel plezier zijn kennis & passie met jou zal delen. We zullen een fantastische, zorgeloze reis ervaren in het comfort van onze groep en de expertise van onze gids. De transfers zullen worden uitgevoerd in een 15-seater minibus. Ik werk samen met New Frontier Tours (gesitueerd in Durban). Dit is één van Zuid- Afrika’s gevestigde en betrouwbare touroperators die fantastische reisbelevingen aanbiedt in Zuid-Afrika.
Safari Sophie als jouw gastvrouw, Afrika liefhebber & enthousiasteling vóór, tijdens & na de Soul Safari Retreat
Uitgebreid infopakket bij reservatie met onder andere achtergrondinformatie over Zuid-Afrika, tips & tricks, interessante weetjes & een gedetailleerde paklijst.
Whatsapp group to keep in touch
E-meet up, digital pre departure meeting to get to know the Soul Safari Tribe
Printed travel itinerary & program upon arrival
My signature do-goodie bag, made & filled with local love from conscious brands
Internationale vluchten van & naar Johannesburg OR Tambo Internationale Luchthaven
Annulatie -en reisbijstandsverzekering (reisbijstandsverzekering verplicht!)
Medicatie, en/of vaccinatie of Covid testing (graag je huisarts of Instituut voor Tropische Geneeskunde contacteren voor gepast advies)
All hot & cold drinks: coffee, tea, waters, soft & alcoholic drinks (except welcome drinks, drinks during breakfast & high tea)
Fooien voor gidsen/chauffeurs (naar eigen waardering)
Optionele activiteiten (Apartheidsmuseum in Johannesburg en massage in Leshiba Mountain Retreat, Louis Trichardt)
Services not mentioned in the program
Important note: Travelling to and in Africa requires a flexible attitude & an open mind. The travel programme, the choice of accommodation and the activities have been composed as detailed as possible, but can be changed before the start or on location, depending on the situation and availability.
€ 2635 per person
30% deposit to secure your spot
Remaining balance is due 6 weeks before departure
aI W A N T T O J O I N, W H A T ’ S N E X T ?
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Spots are limited (maximum 10 spots available) and will be filled on a first-come first-serve basis.
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