Based about 2 hours from Cape Town lies the town of Gansbaai – famous for its Great White Sharks. Why not enjoy a boat trip to Shark Alley, don a wetsuit and climb into a steel cage.
Lured close to the boat you will get a very up-close and personal experience as you come eyeball to eyeball with these huge apex predators.
Conveniently located 2 hours from Cape Town is arguably the best place to spot whales from the land. The Sleepy town of Hermanus plays host to southern right whales from June to November as they shelter in the calm bay giving birth and suckling their calves.
For a more close up experience you can take a boat trip out and their placid and inquisitive nature means that sometimes they come right up to the boat to check you out.
Imagine floating over the vast plains of the Masai Mara eco-system in the early morning with nothing more than the occasional blast from the burner. Gazing down on the vast herds that make up the Great Migration, you get a truly unique perspective of the topography and sheer scale of it all.
On landing you will celebrate with a bush breakfast which includes a glass of bubbles and a true sense of achievement – Don’t be worried if the music to Out of Africa starts ringing in your ears.
A constant quandary for people visiting the Cape Winelands is that one of your party has to forego the sampling as they are the designated driver. Franschhoek has the answer - A dedicated wine tram.
A combination of a tram and a tram bus, it takes you on a demarcated route and allows you to hop-on and hop-off and various estates along the route. A really fun and safe way to experience all the different wine varieties that the Cape has to offer.
Below the mighty Victoria Falls are a series of very narrow gorges through which the Zambezi River has to squeeze through. This in turn has created some wonderful rapids and as such has become one of the most popular things to do.
Various lengths of trips from a half day to full day will accommodate most schedules. You will be assigned a river guide and you and your fellow travellers will then get a full training brief of what you can expect and then it’s off.
No two trips are ever the same experience and even for the hardiest of thrill seekers – there is nothing that can quite top the exhilaration of getting through the rapid, drenched but with massive smiles on your face.
Whilst not an adrenaline fuelled activity – this is something that everyone should experience on their itinerary.
Incredibly knowledgeable guides will take to the actual sights of some of the battles such as Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift (immortalised in the film Zulu).
Whilst some might say it is macabre it is also important to know just how harrowing these battles were. Many casualties were had on both sides and to this day the local Zulu nation still tend the white cairns that were erected for the fallen all over the battlefield – irrespective of which side they were on.
Very few places left in the world that can boast that they have pristine dive sites. Mozambique is one of them. Untouched by mass tourism the dive sites remained unknown till recently and as such are spectacular.
The 2000 kms or so coastline provides amazing dives to suit all visitors from amateur to Padi certified – from Coral beds to ship wrecks. Mozambique has it all and at certain times of the year basking sharks and humpback whales frequent the waters – make it more thrilling.
Our closest relatives the Chimpanzees are in serious decline and as such there are relatively few places in the world that you can get to see them in their natural habitat.
Doing a trek allows you to move through the forest reasonably quietly and once located – spend a short time observing them and their habits. Being wild apes there is no guarantee of finding them – however the experienced guides are on hand to give you the very best chance of seeing them.
Terrain and length of the hike make this a thrilling experience and if you get to see the chimps (quite a high likelihood) then the sense of achievement is immense.
Many people have been on a traditional safari – sitting in a vehicle driving around the bush in search of animals – In Botswana and in particular the Okavango Delta you can enjoy a water based safari.
You are seated in a traditional Mokoro (wooden canoe) and your guide gentle punts you along through the swamp and shallow water. It is not uncommon to come across a lot of game as they move about in the wetlands – making this a thrilling experience and one not to be missed.
If you fancy working a bit for your game viewing then you can always try a canoe safari on the Lower Zambezi River.
Although much quieter than further upstream the river still needs to be navigated. Between the guide and yourself you paddle your way along the river and watch the animals come to the water’s edge to drink. As there are no motor engines – you are almost silent so getting close encounters with animals such as elephant is common.
Purported to be the highest dunes in the world – Sossusvlei is definitely on most people’s list of things to see when visiting Namibia.
A great experience though is attempting to climb one of them. Visits are generally done early morning before the desert heat gets too unbearable – it looks easy but trust us it is not. The ever shifting sands mean it sometimes feels like one step forward and two steps back. However if you reach the top – the views are incredible and if that wasn’t enough you have the wonderful experience of descending (much more rapidly that going up). A great form of exercise and truly a feeling of achievement once back at the bottom.
For those who want to experience the countryside at a leisurely pace without having to keep their ‘eye on the road’ all the time – then a luxurious train journey is the way forward.
Beautifully restored trains and carriages await as you step back into a by-gone era of elegance and sophistication. With various routes throughout southern Africa there is always a journey that can fit in with most itineraries. Choose between a one-night Pretoria to Cape Town (and vice versa) on the stunning Blue Train or meander on the superb Rovos Rail that takes two nights from the Cape to Pretoria (and vice versa). Various stops enroute allow you to explore some of the lesser visited areas with some informative excursions such as the Kimberley Big Hole.
So whether you just want to relax, watch the scenery on part of your holiday to making it the Holiday of a lifetime – there is a train journey there for you.
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Visions in Africa is a trading name of Visions Holiday Group which comprises of Visions of Africa, Islands of Greece and Ilios Travel.