DATES: March 8 -17, 2013*
SITES: Cape Town, Table Mountain, Robben Island, Gold Reef City, Johannesburg, and including a safari in Pilanesberg National Park!
PROGRAM FEE: $3,495. This fee covers roundtrip airfare from Washington DC (Dulles Airport) to Johannesburg, South Africa (including air transfer to Cape Town and then back to Johannesburg); all breakfasts, one lunch and some dinners; guided tours; transportation in South Africa on a deluxe motor coach w/AC; and all lodging-- double occupancy lodging in first-class hotels in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and 4-person lodging in chalets on safari.
Single room supplement available (single accommodations are not available on safari).
Tips for the driver and guides, as well as some meals are not included. Special drinks (anything other than tap water) at meals will be charged separately, so please keep this in mind and have cash on hand at meals.
The Center for Global Education recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance. Click here for the list of reliable companies recommended by the U.S. State Department.
- Seasonal temperatures in South Africa range from 80 -90 degrees Farenheit.
- Tap water in South Africa is safe to drink.
ACADEMIC DIRECTOR: Dr. Benedict Carton, History and Art History Department, George Mason University
CREDIT: We will be able to offer an optional one credit of HIST 398 (for the additional cost of $395). This coursework will be overseen by Dr. Benedict Carton, faculty director for this trip. Please contact Erin Mateu at the Center for Global Education for the syllabus or any other information about taking this trip for credit.
ELIGIBILITY: This program is open to the entire Mason community including students, alumni, faculty, and staff and to the general public so please invite your friends and family!
CONTACT: Erin Mateu, email@example.com, 703-993-3864.
REGISTER ONLINE and submit the $500 non-refundable deposit with your application by October 15th, 2012 to secure your spot on the program. First come, first serve. The program has a limited number of 40 slots available. The CGE office can take VISA or Mastercard payments for deposits only. Balance will be due by check (payable to George Mason University) by December 1st, 2012.
Please Note: All participants must have a full "Visa" page (specifically and uniquely) available in their valid passport for the South African tourist visa. If you are unsure if your passport meets this requirement, please contact Erin Mateu, Program Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-993-3864.
Tentative Day-by-Day Itinerary
Friday, March 8th: GROUP FLIGHT to South Africa!
Departure: Friday, March 8th, 2013 from Washington Dulles (IAD) at 5:40pm on
SA flight #208 and arrives in Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB) at 6pm on Saturday, March 9th, 2013.
Saturday, March 9th: Arrive in South Africa, air transfer from Johannesburg to Cape Town.
Air transfer from Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB) on SA flight #375 departing at 9pm and arriving at Cape Town, South Africa (CPT) at 11:10pm.
Group transfer (an approx. 15 minute drive) to The PortsWood Hotel.
Sunday, March 10th: Breakfast at the hotel. You will then be met by your guide who will transfer you to Table Mountain (pictured above), one of the seven "new" wonders of the world, where you will take a cable car ride. (The ride up takes only a few minutes.) A visit to Cape Town would be incomplete without a trip up the famous Table Mountain, which reaches a height of 1085 meters at its highest point awarding you the most breath-taking views over the peninsula. Since its opening in 1929, over 16 million people have taken the trip to the top of Table Mountain. The Table Mountain cableway has since become something of a landmark in Cape Town, and has carried some of Cape Town's most illustrious visitors including King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, as well as Oprah Winfrey, Sting, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Free time for lunch at the waterfront, where there are plenty of shops and restaurants.
Next you will be transferred to board the ferry to Robben Island (pictured below), declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1999 (a 45min. ferry ride each way). Here you will tour the island and visit the museum.
The group will then be transferred back to the hotel for free time.
Dinner is on your own. Take time to go down Long Street into the center of the city (approx. 10 minutes by taxi), or visit GreenPoint, a cool area. Camp's Bay, which is in a more ritzy area with open terraces and clubs (approx. 10 minutes by taxi in the other direction) is another option to explore. Lastly, the waterfront is also easily accessible for those who would like to return.
Monday, March 11th: Breakfast at the hotel. You will be met by your guide and transferred to Cape Point (pictured above) which is on the southwestern tip of Africa. There you may spot migrating whales, walk the ship wreck trail, or ride the funicular up to the viewing point. Visit Africa's most southwesterly point where the cold Benguela Current of the Atlantic Ocean and the warm Agulhas Current of the Indian Ocean merge. Situated in the Table Mountain National Park, a natural World Heritage Site, you will be treated to the stunning views over the two oceans from the steep sea cliff. You will be able to take a scenic walk towards the lighthouse (approx. a 20 min. walk up) or enjoy one of the numerous nature trails in the scenic landscape.
There will be a break for lunch on your own (free time) and then you will be transferred to Boulders Beach (pictured below) where you can observe the colony of African Penguins in their natural habitat. You'll walk along an elevated pathway that ends on the beach, getting a good view of the penguins without disrupting their habitat.
The group will then be transferred back to the hotel. Your guide will meet you later in the evening to take you to dinner at a fancy African restaurant for a sophisticated African dinner. You will enjoy a buffet dinner with local entertainment experience -- get ready for some amazing African drumming! After dinner you will be transferred back to the hotel.
Tuesday, March 12th: Breakfast at the hotel then take the optional wine tour (there is an additional charge for this outing) or enjoy a free day to hike to Lions head, laze on the beach or stroll the local markets.
OPTIONAL WINE TOUR ($90 per person): This full day tour takes you into the winelands region of the Cape where you will visit the areas of Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch know around the world for their exquisite wine farms set in amazing scenery. Along the way you will have a chance to sample some of the best wine on offer in South Africa.
The first stop will be in Paarl for an educational cellar tour of the famous KWV Cellars as well as a wine tasting. The scond stop is at Fair View Wine Estate where you can taste some wine and cheese. You then move across to Franschhoek, the culinary capital of The Cape where you will visit the old quaint vineyard of Chamonix. A winelands tour is not complete without a stop in Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in South Africa and home to the most national monuments of any town in South Africa. Here you will have the opportunity to walk the oak tree lined avenues taking in the charm and beautiful Cape-Dutch architecture. The Stellenbosch wine tasting is done at Tokara, a vineyard with one of the most captivating views in the winelands.
All transportation, guide, 3 wine tastings, 1 cheese tasting and a cellar tour are included. Meals and tips are not included.
Please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring sun block and a hat. It is also recommended to bring a warm top.
Wednesday, March 13th: Breakfast at the hotel will be early this morning. Check out of the PortsWood Hotel and depart for Johannesburg. You will be met by your guide and transferred to the airport for your flight to Johannesburg.
Flight information: SA flight #314 departing Cape Town (CPT)at 8:00am and arriving Johannesburg (JNB) at 10:00am.
photo taken by Namrata
Upon arrival in Johannesburg (pictured above), you will be met by your local guide and transferred to Soweto, where the tour will focus on the Apartheid history and you will visit the Nelson Mandela house. The house strives to be a world-class visitor attraction and a leading center for the preservation, presentation and research of the history, heritage and legacy of the Mandela family. The group will have lunch with a local family in Soweto.
The group will then be transferred back to the PH Melrose Arch Hotel (approx. a one hour drive) for free time and dinner on your own.
Thursday, March 14th: Breakfast at the hotel then check out around 9am. After breakfast we will take a scenic route (2 and a half hour drive) to Pilanesberg National Park where we will check into Bakgatla Bush Camp. Pilanesberg National Park is situated on the eroded remains of an extinct alkaline volcanic crater - one of only three in the world. The Park consists of numerous hills, wooded ravines and grassed open plains, making the area very picturesque. A wide diversity of eco-types makes a beautiful home for more than 35 species of large mammals, the sought-after " big five" and more than 300 bird species. The group will be accommodated in chalets, each with one double bed in main bedroom and three single beds in the loft. We'll enjoy an evening Safari game drive (approx. 3 hours) in open safari vehicles and then return to the lodge for a buffet dinner.
***Pilanesberg is in a Malaria-free zone, as opposed to the more widely known Kruger Park (also a 6-hour drive away as opposed to the 2 and a half hour drive to Pilanesberg), so no anti-malarial medications will be needed.***
Friday, March 15th: Early wake up today for a morning game drive around 6am (for approx. 3 hours) and then return to the lodge for breakfast. Spend the day relaxing at the pool or taking advantage of the other amenities at the lodge, then enjoy another evening game drive leaving at around 5pm (for 3+ hours), and culminating in a Bush barbeque! This will be the last night at the Bakgatla Bush Camp.
Saturday, March 16th: Breakfast at the lodge. Check out and depart for Johannesburg. We'll make a stop at the Chameleon Village (with tourist shops and restaurants) for lunch on your own and some free time, and then we'll be dropped off at the airport by 3pm for our flight home.
Return: Saturday, March 16th, 2013, from Johannesburg (JNB) at 6:10pm on SA flight #207 and arriving in Washington Dulles (IAD) at 6:25am on Sunday, March 17th, 2013.
Sunday, March 17th: Early morning arrival at Washington Dulles (IAD).
*CGE reserves the right to modify or cancel a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, or other unforeseen circumstances.