A Tribute to Nelson Mandela

A 8 day trip to South Africa
27 reviews

We bid farewell...and yet we want Nelson Mandela's light and legacy to continue shining forever. 

This journey follows in the footsteps of one of the world's greatest leaders. Visit the sites integral to Mandela's life and South Africa’s remarkable history in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Learn from first-hand accounts of the events that shaped his life. Experience excellent game viewing at a safari camp where Mandela hosted world leaders and dignitaries.

We expect this journey to be a life changing experience--a journey that will forever change and inspire your perspective.

General Information

Photos
Young Nelson Mandela
The site of one of Nelson Mandela's first speeches after being freed from Robben Island.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Johannesburg, Cape Town, Robben Island, Shambala Private Game Reserve / Zulu Camp

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Welcome to South Africa
Upon arrival at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, you will be met by a representative and transferred to the Saxon Hotel. A well-kept secret among the traveling cognoscenti, this boutique hotel is the epitome of elegance and sophistication. Set in the quiet suburb of Sandhurst, it is only a few minutes away from the bustling financial hub of Sandton. Apart from its impeccable service, fantastic cuisine and tranquil setting in lush tropical gardens, the Saxon is famous for being the place that Nelson Mandela chose to live while writing his autobiographical memoir, ‘Long Walk to Freedom’.

Day 2: Historical Highlights
Meet your guide, whose ability to regale you with vivid tales of South Africa’s turbulent history as seen through his eyes as a passionate citizen and entertaining raconteur will enhance your experiences of the places you are to visit.

Firstly, you head to Soweto, to Vilikazi Street, where Struggle luminaries such as Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela lived. Mandela’s former home has been transformed into a museum displaying artifacts, records and documents of this extraordinary man’s life. Further down the street, which is now lined with restaurants and stalls, stands a poignant reminder of the grim realities of the liberation struggle: a plaque commemorates Hector Peterson, a schoolboy killed by police during the 1976 student uprisings against an unfair educational system.

Next, you visit the Apartheid Museum. Set in 7 hectares of landscaped grounds, the exhibits take you through the narrative of Apartheid’s history through a series of film, sculptural and photographic installations. As you depart with a deeper understanding of the intricacies of this tremendous struggle against a fundamentally evil system and the people that formed a part of it, you move on to Liliesleaf Farm. This was the headquarters of the Congress Alliance, and the ANC’s military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation). The events and activities here were crucial in sending South Africa down the path of liberation, as luminaries such as Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and Mandela carved out a vision for a new, democratic country. It became the scene of the infamous police raid in 1963 where Mandela and 17 of his colleagues were arrested before being sentenced to life imprisonment at the notorious Rivonia Trial.

Next, visit Constitution Hill, a city precinct anchored by the South African Constitutional Court. It is also the site of Johannesburg’s notorious Old Fort Prison Complex, where thousands of ordinary people were brutally punished before the dawn of democracy. Many of South Africa’s political activists, including Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Walter Sisulu were detained here. What once was a place of injustice and brutality has been transformed into a place of solidarity and democracy. Wandering the precincts and halls of the court, you marvel at the incredible transformation that in a few short years has changed the course of South Africa’s history.

The final stop on the day’s tour is the Cradle of Humankind. Set amongst rolling countryside just outside of the city, this World Heritage Site is the scene of some of the most remarkable hominid discoveries. Displays depict the origin of our species and take you on a 4 million-year adventure through the mists of time.

Day 3: Welcome to Cape Town
Depart Johannesburg on a scheduled flight to Cape Town, where a representative from the Table Bay Hotel awaits you. Driving into the city, the first thing you notice is the bulk of Table Mountain, looming over the city nestled on its slopes. As you come over the hill, the Atlantic sweeps into view, with the docks of the waterfront crowding its shore. With this tremendous setting, you will no doubt agree with those who say that this is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Opened by Mandela in 1997, the Table Bay Hotel is centrally located in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a bustling working harbor and entertainment precinct lined with a variety of shops, restaurants and lively bars. Set between the yacht basin and the backdrop of Table Mountain, the hotel is the epitome of luxury and sophistication, placed in an ideal location to enjoy the many attractions of Cape Town.

Day 4: Visit Robben Island, the Presidential Residence and Table Mountain
Depart for Robben Island from the ferry station in the Waterfront, and cruise out into the waters of Table Bay, bound for the notorious prison. Former inmates of the penitentiary are there to guide you through this World Heritage Site, and these are the last people with first-hand memories of life on the island. Listen to their tales, sometimes harrowing, sometimes humorous and always edged with a gentle humanity that these prison walls could not take away from them. Visiting Nelson Mandela’s cell, where the great man spent 18 years and emerged without malice towards his captors, you will not fail to be moved by his enormous capacity for forgiveness and reconciliation.

Returning to the city, you next visit the Presidential Residence in Rondebosch, which became the residence of Mr. Mandela after his inauguration as South Africa’s first black president. This graceful and elegant turn-of-the-century building stands in stark contrast to the grim prison cell you have just visited, and serves as an example of human achievement.

Round off the day of history by riding the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain. One of the oldest mountains in the world at 540 million years old, this iconic flat-topped mountain rears up 3,000 feet from the Atlantic Ocean at its feet and cradles the city in its bowl. A network of paths lead you to a series of lookout points to survey breathtaking views of the Twelve Apostles, the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay, the adjacent Lions Head and the mountains of the wine lands in the distance.

Day 5: Walk the streets of Bo-Kaap and Visit the District Six Museum
Bo-Kaap is a small district on the slopes of Signal Hill. Formerly known as the Malay Quarter, where the descendants of slaves brought here by the Dutch in the 16th and 17th centuries still live, this vibrant and colorful area is home to a thriving Muslim community. Wandering the cobbled streets, you meet the locals as they sit on their porches, and take in the wonderfully quaint alleyways, lined with homes painted in a vivid assortment of colors. A short walk down the hill leads you past the popular Marco’s African Restaurant, past the thriving bars, eateries and coffee shops of Long Street, through the tranquil Company Gardens, and on to the District Six Museum.

In 1867 District Six was established as a mixed community of freed slaves, merchants, artisans, laborers and immigrants, a vibrant centre with close links to the city and the port. In 1966 it was declared a white area under the Group Areas Act, and by 1982, the life of the community was over. 60 000 people were forcibly removed to barren outlying areas aptly known as the Cape Flats, and their houses in District Six were bulldozed. The District Six Museum, established in 1994, works with the memories of these experiences and with the history of forced removals in general to provide a platform for the voices of a lost community.

Days 6 - 7: Wonders of the Waterberg
Depart Cape Town and fly back to Johannesburg. A guide will meet you at the airport and take you on a scenic drive northwards to the Waterberg mountains. A region of diverse ecotones and habitat, the area supports a great variety of birds and mammals, including the Big Five. Shambala Private Game Reserve is a haven of tranquility set in an African paradise, and a fitting location for the Nelson Mandela Reconciliation Centre, where Mandela hosts leaders and dignitaries from around the world.

The seven-room Zulu Camp sits at its center, and is the epitome of a luxury safari lodge, nestled in the embrace of the wilds, but with no detail spared when it comes to comfort and modern amenities.

Here you can enjoy up-close and personal wildlife experiences as you encounter herds of elephant silently moving through the bush to a waterhole, see giraffe peering curiously down at you from behind the trees, and experience the heart-stopping thrill of seeing a pride of lions hunting in the twilight. Enjoy a picnic out in the wilds, savor a sunset cocktail from a scenic viewpoint, and indulge in delicious cuisine in the evenings. Sit out at the fireplace with a nightcap admiring the Milky Way, while the sounds of the African night reverberate around you.

Day 8: Homeward Bound
Depart the oasis of Shambala and drive back to Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo Airport for the flight home. As the countryside rolls past you, reminisce on the experiences you have had in this wonderful country. The history and the turmoil, the grace and the reconciliation, all bound up in the rich tapestry of South Africa’s colorful past, set against a backdrop of incredible natural beauty.

Credit for Mandela photo: South Africa The Good News via Wikimedia Commons
Credit for Soweto Boys photo: thomas_sly via Flickr (Creative Commons 2.0)

Price

What's Included 

  • Seamless private ground handling
  • VIP Airport transfers
  • Internal flights
  • Private guide and vehicle for Johannesburg and Cape Town
  • 2 nights accommodation in Johannesburg at the Saxon Hotel in a luxury room inclusive of breakfast
  • 3 nights accommodation in Cape Town at the Table Bay Hotel in a luxury room inclusive of breakfast
  • 2 nights accommodation in the Waterberg at Shambala Private Game Lodge in a luxury chalet inclusive of all meals, selected beverages and included activities (guided game drives, etc.)

Price 

$9,320 per person based on double occupancy