Experience the life of Nelson Mandela on a custom-tailored legacy tour spanning the political and civil life of one South Africa’s greatest leaders. Follow in the footsteps of Mandela from childhood to presidency with specialist guides taking you on a distinctive tribute from Soweto to a private retreat at the Shambala game reserve. You will luxuriate along the banks of a glistening lake, uncover a storied life in the confines Robben Island, and enjoy the promises of a bright future in the colorful...
Johannesburg – Formative Political Years: Mandela’s Home and Legacy in Soweto
Serenity reigns at The Saxon where choral birdsong echoes through the gardens but other than this there is silence. The property hides along a tree-lined avenue in one of Johannesburg’s peaceful suburbs, a haven from which Nelson Mandela drafted South Africa’s interim constitution and edited Long Walk to Freedom. Upon his release in 1990, Mandela returned to his old Soweto home. After the second assassination attempt on his life, he moved to The Saxon. Today, it’s now an award-winning boutique hotel, which will serve as a quiet base for your stay in bustling Johannesburg. Your private driver will meet you at O.R. Tambo International Airport and escort you to the hotel upon your arrival.
Once you arrive, you will notice how the colors blur in Soweto. Graffiti covers industrial towers, political murals fill crumbling walls, and everywhere you look there will be another hue. This is the township where Mandela lived and Robin Binks will be your storyteller as he recreates history and recalls his own experiences in a joyous style. Stroll down Vilakazi Street, past Desmond Tutu’s house to Mandela’s small red-brick residence, where a museum tells of the 1950s and 60s. During your visit to Soweto and you will not be able to escape the cultural interaction in this ever-vibrant township that has transformed from a place of grief and protest to a city of enterprise. The apartheid struggle was fought here, and you'll get a sense of where Mandela forged his early political ideals and allegiances as you discover places of the uprising that now celebrate South Africa’s future.
Johannesburg – Militant and Revolutionary: The Fight Against Apartheid
Cape Town – Perched Between Table Mountain and the Ocean
Cape Town – Prisoner and Negotiator: Exploring Robben Island and Groote Schuur
Cape Town – The Urban Legacy: Cape Town’s Racially Charged Past and Buoyant Present
Waterberg - Freedom: Big-Game Safari at Mandela’s Former Private Residence
Waterberg – Future: Mandela Center for Reconciliation and More Big-Game Safari
Johannesburg – Departure
- Explore Mandela’s early years with a tour through the Soweto township, which features his former residence and the streets where his political views were formed
- Discover stories and sites from the 1960s, when Mandela was arrested and imprisoned, sites that now bear witness to his message of reconciliation
- Tour the prison on Robben Island, where Mandela spent 18 years incarcerated, with the political prisoner's former guard, Christo Brand
- Journey through Cape Town using Mandela's life as a lens as you take in the colors and conflict of the past, along with the colors and charms of the present
- Recreate Mandela’s final steps to freedom by stepping out from Drakenstein Prison and visiting Groote Schuur, where the prisoner negotiated South Africa’s move from apartheid to democracy
- Escape to a private game reserve and stay in President Mandela’s former private residence to mix big-game safari with serene places of recollection
- Luxuriate in the unique attractions of Shambala Game Lodge, where elephants and lions roam the landscape through the day then you relax in the place where Mandela entertained political figures in the evening
- Explore Mandela’s legacy with South Africa’s best guides, including award-winning Robin Banks in Soweto and former District Six resident Yusuf Voterson
- Discover Cape Town's iconic highlights, from Table Mountain to Africa’s pre-eminent contemporary art museum, Zeitz MOCAA
Mandela may be gone but you can still hear his words, whispered down South Africa’s streets of change. You can feel the power he continues to hold in the modern country he created. In this year of his centenary South Africans talk of making every day a Mandela day, inspiring change and living the life you can be capable of living. No other world politician achieved such transformation, leading a tense and violence-fueled apartheid South Africa into a contemporary nation of hope and beauty. The man may be gone but his legend will always live on.
100 years on from his birth, this handcrafted tour of South Africa immerses you in the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. The tribute will take you from his early years as Rolihahla (a Xhosa term meaning troublemaker) to the years he became affectionately known by his clan name, Madiba. Starting in 1950s Soweto, where his old red-brick house still stands, then ending in a private game reserve where President Mandela entertained visiting politicians, this unique journey will tell a story of both man and country. With the legendary figure as a lens, you explore the country he created, from Johannesburg to Cape Town, then elephants and lions on the savannah.
First discover Johannesburg through the eyes of Rolihahla, the militant and ANC revolutionary living in Soweto. Award-winning guide Robin Banks will be one of your storytellers as he leads you through the colorful streets where Mandela’s political views were formed. Visit his home, the farm where he was arrested, the court where he was tried, and take a haunting look back on the horrors of apartheid. Upon his release in 1990, Mandela tried to return to his humble Soweto home but assassination attempts forced him to reconsider and he went to live in the Saxon. It’s now a five-star boutique hotel where you will experience the palpable power of solace that influenced Mandela in the early 90s during your stay at the property.
Then, you will fly to Cape Town to spend some time getting to know the city. Table Mountain stands majestic, ocean views extend, and your five-star hotel is just steps from Zeitz MOCAA, a pre-eminent museum that provides an African narrative on contemporary art. Relive 18 years of incarceration with a tour of Robben Island led by Christo Brand, Mandela’s former prison guard. Recreate his final steps of freedom by walking from Drakenstein Prison. Discover the past and present of District Six and Bo Kaap, colorful neighborhoods on the frontline of racially-charged political struggles (an ex-District Six resident will be your guide). Most importantly, get to know a contemporary city that wouldn’t have been possible without Mandela’s messages of reconciliation.
Complete this tribute tour on safari, as you travel north to Limpopo and Shambala Game Lodge. In his time as president, this was Mandela’s private retreat, a place to relax in peace and to entertain visiting luminaries. Lions and elephants will write the script here and you enjoy an easy safari experience, with bush picnics, sundowner cruises, game drives and animals wandering past the suite. The on-site Nelson Mandela Center for Reconciliation complements your game viewing as you complete the journey from Rolihahla to Madiba.
For more inspiration in planning your dream tour of South Africa, consider reading travel reviews of our trusted South Africa travel companies.
$5,995 per person (excluding international flights)
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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