Wine Safari to South Africa, with Kerry Shiels of Cote Bonneville Winery
January 17-January 28, 2024
Eleven nights in South Africa with Winemaker Kerry Shiels at Sunnyside’s Cote Bonneville Winery. A wine-lover’s tour of South Africa at a perfect time of year. Summer temperatures and sunny skies in Cape Town are a pleasant alternative to winter at home. We’ll visit some of the country’s premier wine producers, experience nature up close on safari, discovery important historical events, and soak up some South African sunshine. Two spots remaining as of 2/3/23.
Your tour includes:
- 11 nights accommodations in South Africa
- 3 nights Stellenbosch
- 2 nights Cape Town
- 3 nights Franschhoek
- 3 nights on Safari at Kariega Nature Reserve
- Air-conditioned motor coach transportation
- Meals on tour, including
- Breakfast each morning
- Eight dinners
- Seven lunches
- Sightseeing, wine tasting and admissions as indicated in the tour itinerary
- Pre-tour stopover options in Dubai
This 11-night tour is limited to 14-16 participants.
Items not included in your tour costs:
- Personal items
- Some meals
DAY 1: Wednesday, January 17
We’ll begin the tour in the town on Stellenbosch, our base for the first three nights of the tour. Starting with three days in wine country, move to Cape Town for a bit of local culture and history, then back for three days in Franschhoek wine country. Arrival flight times should have us on the group at Cape Town International Airport and ready to roll by noon.
Once we’ve met our guide and driver, we’ll be on our way to the hotel. Given that it’s a bit early to check in and we’d like to get on a local schedule as soon as possible, we’ll stop en-route for a wine tasting and light lunch. We’ll arrive in Stellenbosch by 3:30 with dinner planned this evening at 6:00 PM near the hotel. Overnight Stellenbosch (LD)
DAY 2: Thursday, January 18
Touring wineries in and around the town of Paarl. We’ll start the day with a short drive to the North for a visit at Nederburg Winery for a food and wine pairing lunch. Afterward, we’ll visit Babylonstoren for a self-guided tour of the grounds and fabulous garden before we meet at the cellar for a tour and wine tasting. We’ll return to Stellenbosch in the late afternoon for time to do a little shopping or just rest up. Dinner is on your own this evening. Overnight Stellenbosch (BL)
DAY 3: Friday, January 19
Another day of wine tasting in the Stellenbosch area first with a visit to the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden for an opportunity to stretch your legs. We’ll then visit Uva Mira Winery for their collection tasting a selection of meats and cheeses. Next visit is to Rust en Vrede Winery for a winemakers’ lunch with pairings. Return to the Stellenbosch Hotel late afternoon. Dinner is hosted at 7:00 PM near the hotel. Overnight Stellenbosch (BD)
DAY 4: Saturday, January 20
We depart our Stellenbosch Hotel in the morning for Cape Town, a distance of about 35 miles. En-route, we’ll take the cableway up to the top of Table Mountain. We’ll take about 90 minutes to wander/hike/walk and enjoy the views. There are two cafés on top to grab a quick bite.
In the afternoon we’ll take part in a walking tour of the city center, which includes: Bo-Kaap, Company’s Gardens, Greenmarket Square, and Bree, Long, and Kloof Streets. We’ll arrive at our waterfront hotel about 3:00 PM. You’ll have a bit of free time late on the waterfront this afternoon. Dinner is scheduled nearby at 7:00 this evening. Overnight Cape Town. (BD)
DAY 5: Sunday, January 21
We’ll be on the first ferry to Robben Island this morning for a tour of the museum and prison complex known primarily for its association with Nelson Mandela. After an introductory tour of the island, you’ll have a tour of the prison with either a former guard or prisoner as your guide of the complex.
You’ll have free time to enjoy lunch and the waterfront area in the afternoon. In the early evening, we’ll journey to the seaside community of Camps Bay for a sunset seafood feast. Return to the hotel after dinner. Overnight Cape Town. (BD)
DAY 6: Monday, January 22
We depart the Victoria & Albert Waterfront shortly after breakfast for a drive to the Boulders Beach Penguin Colony. We’ll spend about an hour in the park. Then we’re off to Franschhoek, a wine town with a decidedly French feel. En-route, we’ll stop at Waterford Estate for a Reserve Tasting with charcuterie. We’ll arrive in Franschhoek about 3:00 PM for check in. Your afternoon is free to explore the town before meeting for dinner in town at 7:00 PM. Overnight Franschhoek (BLD)
DAY 7: Tuesday, January 23
We’re back to serious wine tasting Our first winery visit of the day is at Stonybrook. We’ll have a tasting of five of their wines. The second visit today will be at Boschendal Wine Estate for a premium wine tasting with cheeses, charcuterie, and local breads. Both of these wineries are making award winning wines. You’re on your own for dinner this evening. Overnight Franschhoek (BL)
DAY 8: Wednesday, January 24
Today is an independent day with tickets on the Franschhoek Wine Tram that runs through the valley. Take your pick between eight different lines, each visiting a selection of wine estates showcasing a separate part of the Franschhoek Valley.
The Hop-on Hop-off experience allows you to curate and plan your own day. You get to choose how long you spend at each spot (within the line schedule, of course), where you eat, where you drink, and the activities you partake in.
Your experience begins at either the Franschhoek Terminal, where you can grab a coffee, and browse merchandise while waiting for your journey to start.
From the terminals, you will be transported around your selected line’s loop of stops on a combination of double-decker tram and open-air tram-bus, allowing you to disembark when you like. Dinner is on your own this evening. Overnight Franschhoek (B)
DAY 9: Thursday, January 25
We’re scheduled on a mid-day flight from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth to travel to the Eastern Cape and our safari experience. The flight takes about an hour, with a bus ride to the preserve about another hour. We’ll arrive the Kariega Nature Reserve about 4:00 PM in time for an orientation to the property and our safari activities for the next 2 ½ days. Ukhozi Lodge is all inclusive, which means that your welcome cocktail in the main lodge is just waiting for you. Dinner will be in the main lodge this evening. We’ll have a welcome cocktail this evening followed by dinner. (BD) Overnight Ukhozi Lodge
DAY 10: Friday, January 26
Your first safari day begins with an early morning wake up call for the morning game drive. We return to the lodge in late morning for a big breakfast, followed by free time. Lunch is served shortly afternoon noon. Your afternoon game time takes place just before dinner. Most of the action in the preserve takes place in the morning or late afternoon/early evening. Dinner takes place at the lodge later this evening. Overnight Ukhozi Lodge (BLD)
DAY 11: Saturday, January 27
Today is similar to the previous safari day. There are two game drives offered each day. You may choose to opt out of one or more. It’s almost a guarantee that the one time you stay back is the one where you get to see lions up close. I speak from experience on this. Overnight Ukhozi Lodge (BLD)
DAY 12:Sunday, January 28
We’ll depart the lodge shortly after breakfast (and another game drive if there’s interest) for the hour-long drive to Port Elizabeth and the flight to Cape Town. Our local flight is designed to join up with scheduled flights home. You’ll pick up your baggage at the domestic terminal, then check in for your early evening departure on Emirates, Qatar, British, etc. (B)
DAY 13: Monday, January 29
Your flight arrives in Seattle in the late afternoon.
The choice of safari camp was made based on access from Cape Town and the Cape Winelands, as well as the overall quality and guest reviews. Reserves on the Eastern Cape are malaria-free. This safari camp selected offers deluxe accommodations, exceptional cuisine, inclusive of drinks, knowledgeable guides and excellent service.
I’ve chosen a game reserve and safari experience in a Malaria-free zone.
Your safari stay includes your meals, and two safari excursions per day. We need to set those up the evening before each day’s tours. Alcohol is not included, but is available for purchase.
HOTELS ON OUR ITINERARY
Cape Town: Radisson Red
Stellenbosch: Oude Werf Hotel
Franschhoek: Protea Hotel Franschhoek
Getting There: Flights to Cape Town
There are many airlines that will get you to Cape Town. I’m using Seattle as a departure city here since most participants will come from there.
Given the duration of travel, you may want to consider a stopover en-route to split the flight time. All of these airlines allow for a layover at their hub without additional costs. Staying over to stretch your legs, sleep a solid 8 hours, or see some new sights will provide for a South Africa arrival in better shape mentally and physically.
There are 5 carriers that you should consider for flights to Cape Town. Each of these airlines will get you to Cape Town for an AM tour start. They also allow for a stopover at their connecting hubs for no additional costs.
Delta/KLM via Amsterdam
Qatar Airways via Doha
British Airways via London
Emirates Airways via Dubai
Lufthansa Airlines via Frankfurt
The warmest connection cities on your way to Cape Town would be Emirates via Dubai or Qatar via Doha. Emirates allows passengers to customize a stopover experience based on the number of nights and personal interest.
Qatar Airways and British Air have the best fares at this moment at under $1700 round trip, though you can expect all of these carriers to be competitively priced. I generally suggest you set up a fare alert online with Kayak.com. You’ll receive email advice from the site with suggestions on fare trends and the best time to buy or wait. I will likely book with either Emirates or Qatar with plans to spend a couple nights on the Arabian Peninsula on the way to Cape Town. I would be happy to make arrangements for anyone wishing to explore this option with me.
Weather in Cape Town for January
Expect ideal conditions with highs around 80, lows in the mid-60s, with low precipitation and cloud cover. It’s hard to imagine a better time to visit.
You’ll need a passport with at least 30 days validity from your departure from the country. Considering that many of the countries you’ll connect through will require 3-6 months of validity, make sure your documents are up to date. No visa is required at this time.
This tour is based on a maximum of 16 participants. Share cost, based on double occupancy, is $5,650 per person. The single supplement is $1,000. These prices assume payment is made by Visa/MasterCard. Guests opting to pay by check in lieu of credit card, may take a credit of $160 per person. Price does not include flights from the USA, but assistance is booking assistance is available for anyone needing it.
Complete the online registration. Once that is done, a non-refundable deposit of $2000 is due within seven days of confirmation. Guests paying by check should send payment to the Woodinville office. Guests paying by Visa/MasterCard will receive a secure link to process payment online. Balance of tour payment is due October 15, 2023. Assistance with booking flights is available.
What if I need to cancel my flight, tour or cruise?
Because payments are non-refundable, it’s strongly suggested that you consider travel insurance for this investment. The exception to this is in the event that a replacement is found to take the place of a cancelling party.
Both of the companies listed below have a policy rate calculator online. Enter the cost of your tour and personal data to receive a no-obligation cost estimate. Two recommended companies are:
Cancellation insurance will range in price based on the cost of your travel and the age of the applicant. Get a quote at the websites above before making a purchase. If you have a pre-existing condition to cover, you usually must purchase your policy within 2 weeks of the initial deposit.
Make Your Reservation!
If you have any questions about this tour, please contact Brad Cilley at email@example.com or by phone at 425 375 2676.