598 Reviews of South Africa Tours
One of the more meaningful things I did! January 20175.0
Operator Give A Day Global
amazing trip December 20165.0
Capetown and the Garden Route October 20165.0
Some breathtaking views, particularly looking over Knysna (where it would have been good to spend more time), Table Mountain and Robben Island. We were lucky that our guide there was an ex-prisoner and he really brought to life his experiences there.
Tshepo and Mr John the driver made a great team. Tshepo tackled the difficult job of making the trip a happy and memorable one for a diverse group of 16 with tact and patience. Along with the most infectious laugh. Any issues - or matatas - were sorted out swiftly.
Pack plenty of layers - it was pretty windy in places. And essential if you're on the South African Airways flight, the flight home was freezing.
Try to fit in a township tour - we booked this through the hotel in Capetown as it is not offered as an optional by Exodus, which is a shame. Although a bit uneasy about it at first, I'm glad I did it and if you want to scratch beneath the surface and find the real South Africa I think it is really beneficial.
As mentioned in previous reviews, there is not enough time between arriving in Joburg and the connecting flight to Port Elizabeth due to the inefficiencies at the airport. If direct flights for those on the group flights were available back to the UK from Capetown I would have happily paid a bit extra. For those booking their own flights, leave plenty of time for transit.
Operator Exodus Travels
Fabulous adventure October 20165.0
Several - going up Table Mountain in the cable car; visiting Robben Island (optional); Chapman's Peak Drive - breathtaking scenery; the game drives and seeing so many wild animals; a visit to two of the Cape Town townships - this was not an included trip nor an optional trip, but I asked to do it as I couldn't see how you could go to South Africa without seeing how the vast majority of people live - it was sobering and thought provoking but imperative to do from my point of view.
Tshepo was excellent - helpful, accommodating and with a maturity and wisdom way beyond his years. He tried hard to accommodate everyone's wishes, which were often very diverse. He had a great sense of humour and spent ages answering numerous questions from group members. He had to deal with some awkward dynamics within the group and he did this admirably and with sensitivity. Thanks Tshepo, and John, our very capable and interesting driver, for an amazing 11 days.
Weather was chillier than I expected (Oct 8th departure) and varied so take lots of layers.
Be prepared for lots of sitting in the minibus on this trip but this has to be done to see the Garden Route - the bus could have been more comfortable though.
Do the zip lining at Tsitsikamma! - scary but fantastic! 12 out of the 16 members out of our group did this, including our lovely 85 and 81 year olds!
We didn't stay in Hermanus but in an 'Or Similar' hotel which was ok but an hour's drive away, so that was disappointing. Tshepo and John made up for this by driving people into Hermanus at different times to accommodate their wishes.
It was chaos and stressful at J'burg airport on the way out, long queues at passport control and we only just made our connecting flight. I would suggest to Exodus that direct flights are taken to avoid this.
Operator Exodus Travels
An amazing first African experience October 20164.0
The two days we spent in Tsitsikamma national park were a real highlight. The lodges we stayed in were right on the coast, so you go to sleep to the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks below. The walking in the park was amazing and varied- with a coastal walk along the start of the Otter trail to a large waterfall, forest walks and a walk across suspension bridges to a look out high on the hill. These are all optional but we enjoyed them all and saw some fantastic animals and birdlife. Among other highlights was the day in Addo elephant park - the first time we had been on safari and our first close up encounter with elephants - and hiking up Table Mountain!
Our group leader (Craig) had an encyclopaedic knowledge of local wildlife and I really appreciated that for this trip as he could immediately tell you what you were looking at and gave us pointers on what to look out for in the different places we visited. This is the kind of stuff you need in the moment (before whatever it is flies/walks off) and you just can't get that from a Rough Guide! Craig was always mindful of our safety, whether that was in Cape Town (no walking at night, taxis only!) or when leading us on day hikes up Table Mountain and in Tsitsikamma. Nothing was too much trouble - from getting up early to take us to our optional whale watching trip, to wielding the gaffa tape and screwdrivers to fix our leaky minibus roof!
Other reviews have highlighted the same point, but this trip just feels a day or two too short, so unless Exodus act on this feedback and extend the trip slightly, we would, with hindsight, have booked our own flights and stayed an extra day or two in Cape Town. This would also have meant we could have booked with British Airways and taken a direct flight back to the UK. South African Airways, while OK, wouldn't necessarily be my choice for future flights - we were very cold on both overnight flights, so pack a fleece and maybe even a hat for the plane!
Although a lot of the food is very similar to what you will find in the UK, you can also find African dishes on most menus and the steaks everywhere are amazing. Prices are cheap compared to UK prices and the quality was uniformly excellent everywhere we went.
We travelled in September, which is Spring in South Africa and a lovely time of year, but a bit unpredictable in terms of the weather. We were lucky as it was mostly warm and dry (18-23 degrees C) but it did get colder (12 degrees) at night and we had a couple of days that were also about 12 deg C when I wish I'd packed an extra jumper, especially for the boat trips we took and when we were on the coast.