By Leonard & Mary Friesen, South Africa Tour Leaders
It’s no surprise that South Africa is on many people’s bucket lists. Where else can you take in two oceans, two world-famous Nobel Prize winners, Africa’s majestic “Big 5” animals, and perhaps the world’s most beautifully situated city?
South Africa is also a country of great contrasts, with a population breakdown of rich and poor that almost perfectly reflects the world breakdown. It is a land of seemingly endless beauty, yet its people endured one of the great struggles of our time when they overcame Apartheid.
Or take Cape Town, a city that is almost perfectly placed between two oceans on one side and the dramatic stone edifice of Table Mountain on the other. Yet it may be the world’s first city to deal positively with a threatened shortage in fresh water. And all of this takes place in front of Robben Island, the prison fortress where Nelson Mandela was held for many of his 27 years before his release and miraculous rise to power.
Add to this the Cape of Good Hope, and the chance to get up close and personal with one of Africa’s only remaining colonies of penguins (yes, penguins!), and South Africa’s bucket-list appeal is obvious.
Why South Africa with TourMagination?
Lots of tour companies go to South Africa. So what’s different about TourMagination’s tour?
Here’s what we think is special about this tour:
1. Most tours to South Africa keep you moving. They try to cover the country as a whole, with a night or two in every city, and lots of flights in between. The Cape region is often short-changed on those tours, especially Cape Town.
Our 2020 tour will give you the chance to unpack your suitcase. In fact, we will only have two main hotel stays for the entire trip (the Game Reserve, and Cape Town) with a one night stay in between at an equally memorable setting. We want to go deep into fewer spaces and spend less time at airports, more time on the ground.
2. Most tours have scores of tourists on them, and spend most of their time in isolated hotels, large tourist buses and hotel restaurants. The danger is that you end up cut-off from the very land and people that you’ve come to see.
That’s not our approach, especially for the 6 nights we’ll spend in Cape Town. We’ll have days when we won’t see the inside of a tourist bus. We’ll eat most of our evening meals (and many of our lunches) within the city itself, and we’ll often walk from our luxurious hotel to get to our restaurants. There will be lots of South Africans in the places we’ll be walking and eating, but very few tourists. We like it that way.
3. Our 2020 tour will take seriously the fact that we will travel as a faith-based community. We’ll hear from fewer paid guides and have more time for informal conversation; we’ll get to know each other (our smaller size will make that possible) and we’ll pay particular attention to the religious roots of South Africa. Perhaps most surprising, we’ll also explore the unusual Dutch Mennonite connection to South Africa.
4. Most tours rely on in-country guides and chaperones to tell the story.
Not this one. The two of us, your tour leaders again for the South Africa: Safaris & Capetown Tour, February 14-24, 2020, have together been to South Africa almost 10 times over the years. We’ve led numerous learning tours there in the past, including a highly successful TourMagination tour in 2018. It helps that South Africa has kept coming up in courses Len has taught over the years. We will be with you from day one to the day the tour ends. Each day there will be brief and informative evening talks.
Please note that February is considered the ideal month for travel to South Africa in terms of weather. And we will spend all of our time in the Eastern and Western Cape Provinces, which means that we’ll only be in malaria-free zones. That’s a definite plus!