This incredible 10 night holiday will take you from cosmopolitan Cape Town, packed with priceless natural beauty and steeped in fascinating history, to an exclusive wilderness for a safari experience with all the large game species from elephant and rhino to the big cats, and an amazing variety of birds.
Your holiday begins in Camps Bay, Cape Town. Stroll along the beach, enjoy spectacular sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean, and just unwind slowly into the holiday mood. The Bay Hotel stands proudly on the seafront, boasting not one but 4 swimming pools if the ocean proves to be a tad too cold for you! Guests at The Bay Hotel also enjoy honorary membership at the private beach club, Sandy B. Overlooking the popular Camps Bay Beach, it is a stylishly relaxed venue complimented by natural décor and is the ideal location for guests to revel in the sunshine and indulge in a glass of chilled champagne.
You then step aboard the Rovos Rail train for a 2 night epic journey across South Africa to Pretoria. The Rovos Rail has earned an international reputation for its truly world class travel experiences. Enjoy off-train excursions to the historic village of Matjiesfontein, and a tour of the city of Kimberley, the Diamond Mine Museum and 'The Big Hole' - one of the deepest holes ever excavated by hand in the search for diamonds.
Having spent one night in Pretoria at a spa hotel adorned with fine antiques and 17th Century tapestries, you are whisked away for the final 4 nights of your trip to a private game reserve, where your stay in a luxury tented suite will bring you closer to nature - without trading any comfort for the experience. All of the Big Five, including the rare and endangered black rhino, can be seen here, along with flourishing birdlife - on both daily game drives and boat cruises.
Arrive into Cape Town Airport. Once you have collected your luggage, make your way into the Arrivals Hall where your driver will meet you. You will then be transferred to Cape Town's Camps Bay - home to palm trees, beach cafes and perfect sunsets.
With the majestic Twelve Apostle mountain range as a back drop and the Atlantic Ocean less than a minutes walk away, The Bay Hotel boasts an unrivalled location in the heart of glitzy Camps Bay. After a busy day seeing Cape Town's world-class sights, exhale and relax with a sunset cocktail, a treatment in the on-site spa or some time lounging around one of the 4 sea-facing pools.
After breakfast, you will be collected and transferred to Cape Town Railway Station, where you will check in for your Rovos Rail train journey.
Depart from Platform 23 at Cape Town Railway Station at 11:00 for your 2 night journey. Guests may freshen up in their suites before joining fellow travellers in the lounge car or observation car at the rear of the train.
Lunch is served at 13:00 in the dining cars. In the afternoon, the train reaches Worcester in the Hex River Valley before climbing approximately 750m up the face of the escarpment. The train then arrives at the first of 4 tunnels on the pass. The last tunnel is 13.5 kilometres long so guests need to be careful when walking through the train and may wish to turn on necessary lights as they make their way to either the lounge car or the observation car for afternoon tea at 16:30. At 17:45, guests can disembark at Matjiesfontein for an opportunity to stroll through the historic village. Of special interest is the museum on the platform and a collection of historic cars and railway carriages to the right of the Lord Milner Hotel. Return to the train for a 19:00 departure, and dinner is served at 19:30 in the dining car. The train continues on through the night across the Karoo en-route to Kimberley.
Breakfast is served from 07:00 until 10:00 in the dining cars. After a morning of leisure, lunch is served at 13:00. The train arrives at 14:30 into Kimberley, and guests can disembark for a tour of the city, the Diamond Mine Museum and the Big Hole. The train departs again at 16:00. Ten minutes after leaving Kimberley, a shallow lake appears on the left-hand side of the train where, on most occasions, there are spectacular flocks of lesser flamingos (approximately 23,000). Afternoon tea is then served at 16:30 in the lounge car or observation car at the rear of the train. As the train travels onto Klerksdorp, dinner is served in the dining cars at 19:30.
Breakfast is served in the dining cars from 07:00 until 10:00. The train arrives into the Rovos Rail Station in Pretoria at midday.
You will be met and transferred to Illyria House for an overnight stay.
Illyria House is a magnificent hotel and spa with views that extend over historical Jacaranda City - otherwise known as Pretoria. Enter through wrought iron gates and be transported to a different world where gracious and romantic living unfolds.
After breakfast, you will be collected and transferred to Marataba Safari Lodge.
Marataba Safari Lodge is set in a malaria-free 23,000 hectare private concession within the Marakele National Park. Just 4 hours from Johannesburg, this is a sanctuary where busy people can find themselves again by connecting with nature. In the company of your Field Guide, you will learn more about the Big Five and the many unique animal species found on the Marakele National Park. Two safaris a day (one early morning, and one late afternoon, into the evening) are each approximately 3-4 hours long, and include a scenic coffee and sundowner break to purely appreciate just being in the moment.
After you return from your morning game drive, you will have time to enjoy breakfast at the lodge before you are collected and transferred to Johannesburg Airport, arriving in time to check in for your flight home.