“Know South Africa like the back of your hand”… Trip of the week: Sea, Safari, South Africa.
The safari trip to top all safari trips ever, welcome to Sea, Safari, South Africa, our newest and most dazzling safari trip yet! With wildlife experiences galore, you’ll hop on and off game drives at all times of the day. The adventure isn’t limited to one destination either: explore the seas and even other countries on this 14 day expedition.
If you’re lucky you’ll catch a sight of the spectacular and elusive Big 5 (not many people have seen all five on one trip so get your binoculars at the ready!), you’ll encounter unique cultures in Eswatini, a Zulu Village, and on a Township tour of Knysna, and the rest of your time will be filled with equally fascinating and amazing experiences. Catch golden sunrises in Cape Town and beautiful sunsets in Kruger National Park for a true cross-country adventure.
Calling all knowledge and thrill hungry travellers: if you think you fit the bill read on for our Trip Manager and Safari Guide Kyle’s expert guidance on all things awesome about Sea, Safari, South Africa.
Can you give me 3 reasons why I’ll love this trip?
Wildlife. Meaning. Contiki.
“This trip is special because it has more MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences than there are days on the trip, so you’re spending your days engaging in meaningful activities like discovering new cultures and meeting new people, as well as giving back to local communities.”
“Not to mention the abundance of wildlife experiences like game drives, sunrise and sunset safaris, kayak rides, elephant sanctuaries, etc. You get to view some rare and amazing wildlife from a respectful distance, and if you’re lucky you might even see the Big 5!”
“I think that this trip is the most Contiki trip of all: you’re on a coach most of the day, driving through the bush, with big groups of people all just as excited as you are. You have dinners together every night, some party towns here and there, and the usual culture and adventure that Contiki is so proud of.”
This trip is for me if…
“You want the ultimate South Africa (and Eswatini) trip from the bottom of Cape Town to the top of Kruger, literally, with everything in between. You’ll know South Africa like the back of your hand once you’re done here.”
What’s the most spellbinding view?
“During our Township Walking Tour in Knysna, while learning about the community, there are jaw-dropping views of the Knysna Lagoon. It’s just this expansive pane of beautiful water that feeds into the ocean, flanked by bright green on either side. There are loads of boats that look like little gems on the water, but best of all this is a great spot for dolphin watching.”
“Other notable mentions: viewing whales from the cliffs of Hermanus and view stops in the Kruger National Park while scanning for wildlife in its open plains.”
Image source:Nikolaos Anastasopoulos / unsplash
What’s the tastiest food experience?
Dinner in St. Lucia
“Our Lapa Dinner in St Lucia after a sunset hippo and croc boat cruise. Here we eat an all-time South African favourite: a braai (BBQ) of different meats while Zulu dancers show off their moves under the canopy of a forest with monkeys peering on and fires to huddle around. Ideal dinner setting if you ask me.”
I went on a Contiki in my own back yard: discovering South Africa as a South African through the lens of tourism
The sweetest stay:
The National Park stays.
“While all our nights are in superb hotels in central locations, the last two accommodations are based in National Parks. While in Miliwane in Eswatini, we spend the night in traditional beehive thatch huts. But the winner has to be Kruger where, yes, we might be staying in pre-made dome tents and not hotel rooms but this is the true African experience.”
“Staying in the middle (not outside like all the hotels) of Kruger National Park, sitting around the campfire under the stars after a hearty meal (cooked on that very fire) and listening to the whoop of a hyena or roar of a lion in the distance. The camp also has shops, a restaurant with deck overlooking a river for wildlife to come drink, as well as a pool to cool off in. Not too shabby for ‘camping’.”
Best spot for culture vultures:
Zulu Village experience.
“In St Lucia, we do a Zulu Village tour with a local guide which is just extraordinary. She takes us into her home in the village as well as showing us the traditions and customs, introducing us to witch doctors, showing us traditional dances, as well as what everyday life is like out there.”
“This is a real taste of South African culture: it’s a really unique facet of the traditions here, and just getting to meet people in the Zulu village and talk to them about their way of life and their heritage is wonderful. These are the kind of experiences that really open up the world.”
Most jaw-dropping included experience:
The walk through Tsitsikamma National Park.
“Our short hike in Tsitsikamma National Park to its famous Storms River suspension bridge is a bit of an endeavour, but it’s so worth the effort. Walking through a forest, past the odd waterfall, meandering along the cliffs with the ocean lapping below, it seems like you’ve stepped into Jurassic World.”
“The bridge offers great photo opportunities of the surrounding cliffs, ocean and the Storms River mouth (which we get to kayak up after) and people pull some of the best poses and selfies that’ll make their friends and family back home crazy jealous; understandably so.”
How many safaris does the trip have?
More than you can count!
“We go to 9 Wildlife Parks, 1 to hike, 1 to do a walking and biking safari, and the rest to game drive in; and there are a total of 10 Game Drives on offer throughout the trip! So, the answer is a lot.”
“The vast majority of them have the Big 5 (lions, elephants, buffalo, leopard, and rhinos) and those that don’t will have most of the individual animals to tick off while in the process. We also hit South Africa’s Big 3 Game Parks: Addo, Hluhluwe and Kruger.”
“Then there’s still the water safaris: a boat cruise up Lake St Lucia to look for crocodiles and hippos, an ocean safari to look out for whales, sharks, dolphins and seals and lastly a stop in Hermanus, one of the worlds best locations for land-based Whale watching as mothers come to have their babies in the bay.”
The South African Penguin Kayaking crew spill the deets on all things flippered-friends and eco-conservation
The Free-Time Add On that’ll give my friends the most FOMO?
All the food in Cape Town.
“Our full day Tastes of the Cape tour around Stellenbosch wine farms which is always an easy fan favourite – who doesn’t like food and wine?
“During the day we visit the town of Stellenbosch, go to the local food market, have a traditional South African braai (BBQ) for lunch and visit 3 different wine farms for wine and other beverage tastings. A day very well spent if you ask me: getting to know the local foodie scene, but also getting to know each other. Conversation flows along with the wine, doesn’t it?”
“All this with the gorgeous backdrop of stunning mountains, sunrises and sunsets.”
The thing that’ll surprise me the most about this trip?
“I’m pretty sure most people don’t know that this is even a country, and I feel like it most certainly wouldn’t be on anyone’s radar to look forward to. But we get to do so much in so little time in this country. There’s an included Village Walking Tour and Walking Safari, a chance to mountain bike in a wildlife reserve, and staying in traditional beehive huts with antelope walking around our accommodation.”
“By the time we’re getting ready to leave Eswatini all the travellers are back on the coach with some new knowledge and a new appreciation for Eswatini.”
Morning or evening game drive?
“Morning. Everything feels fresh as nature wakes up with the sunrise (as do you) and we head out with the excitement of not knowing what sightings lay ahead. Which tracks to follow in the sand, which direction the roars came from last night and simply letting the great game of hide and seek play out for us for the day.”
If this trip was a song it’d be:
“Waka Waka by Shakira, of course.”
If this trip was a drink it’d be:
“Amarula, which is a smooth and delicious drink. I’m sure many will be had around the campfires in the evening, or even in a morning coffee or two before heading out to spot the Big 5.”
Describe the trip in 3 words:
“Gees and Lekker, both Afrikaans words. There is no direct word for Gees (pronounce the G like you coughing up a furball) in English but it basically means a positive spirit or atmosphere. You would describe a stadium full of pumped up and excited people as Gees. And lekker means cool/great/awesome. Those two words can get through just about any conversation on this trip.”
Which part of the trip makes you love your job?
“I’m a qualified safari guide as well as a Trip Manager, so getting to show travellers the incredible wildlife Africa has to offer, and getting to see their reactions and emotions first hand is easily the best job satisfaction.”
“Seeing a traveller finally get to witness an elephant in all its huge and regal glory, or giraffes sauntering and bobbing around in the wild, brings a tear or two of joy and it’s truly humbling to know that I get to experience this almost every day. I feel very lucky, and I’m glad I get to make travellers feel the same way.”
Is there anything I haven’t asked about this trip that you think I should know?
“Just about the only thing we haven’t covered is that this is also a beach trip. We have some chilled beach time on varied beaches around South Africa to relax and catch some sun rays or go for a swim between all the sightseeing, culture and wildlife. They include Plettenberg Bay where the wealthy hang out, JBay – one of the best surfing beaches in the world and Durban’s endless beaches along the Golden Mile to name a few. So don’t forget to pack your swimsuit!”