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Published on : Wednesday, July 8, 2015
A&S Signature Journeys continues to expand its exclusive, custom designed tour offerings, announcing a range of new tour options in South Africa that span the adventurous – such as shark diving in Gansbaai, South Africa – to the historical, which includes “Walking in the Footsteps of Mandela”. An increasingly sought-after destination, South Africa offers travelers exquisite natural beauty, a highly diverse wildlife and some of the most challenging adventure tours in the world. While the majority of tourists opt for traditional soft adventures, which include safaris and sightseeing, A&S seeks out the hidden gems to give their clients exclusive, personalized service for a truly unforgettable experience in the “Rainbow Nation”.
A Tail to Tell
Most tourists would shy away from holding a lion’s tail, but A&S recommends that their guests partake in this unique activity while in Zimbabwe – a country which borders South Africa and is just a 30-minute flight from Cape Town. The Walking with the Lions program is Africa’s first authentic effort to ethically re-introduce the offspring of rehabilitated, captive-bred African lions back into the wild, helping safeguard the future of the King of the Beasts. Individuals ages 15 and older can walk with these lions who are docile in nature, having been raised around humans. Children ages 10–14 can explore the surrounding bush with an experienced staff member.
For the more adventurous traveler and thrill-seeker, A&S has also added shark cage diving and repelling down a mountain. Travelers are transported to the western cape of South Africa to the fishing village of Gansbaai for a heart-stopping cage diving experience, where they will get up close and personal to the Great White Sharks. Guests can choose to dive in the cage or view the sharks from the more reassuring vantage point of the boat.
In South Africa’s capital city of Cape Town, which sits on a peninsula beneath Table Mountain National Park, A&S can make arrangements for guests to take a cable car ride to the mountain’s summit to experience the sweeping views of the city and its bustling harbor. The adventurous among the group can choose to descend the mountain by repelling off the table of the peak.
In Step With History
The memories of apartheid are slowly fading within South Africa. Among the ways to appreciate its impact on the culture of this nation is with a visit to Robben Island. Formerly a political prison and leper colony, the island is today a historic landmark, museum and national monument. Anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela, who later went on to serve as South Africa’s first Black President from 1994 to 1999, was incarcerated on the island for 18 of his 27 years in prison. Groups will view Mandela’s maximum-security prison cell where, as a black political prisoner, he received the lowest level of treatment. A&S can arrange a private tour of the facility accompanied by one of Mandela’s former prison mates.
While in Johannesburg, A&S also suggests visiting the Apartheid Museum to learn and understand South Africa’s history. On permanent exhibition is Mandela’s Release Speech, delivered at Cape Town City Hall on February 12, 1990. Portions of the speech were delivered in Xhosa, one of the major dialects spoken by black South Africans. Museum visitors will listen to the powerful and uplifting words spoken by Mandela: “Amandla! Amandla! i-Afrika, mayibuye! (Power! Power! Africa is ours”). The final stop of the Mandela tour takes place in Qunu, the birthplace and burial site of Nelson Mandela.
An Exclusive Stay in the Drakensberg Mountains
For its special clients, A&S can arrange a flight to the Drakensberg Mountains, where guests stay at Mount Anderson Ranch, which is rated as one of the best “hideaways” in the world. As part of A&S’ personalized service, the entire facility is reserved exclusively for the group, regardless of its size, with all accommodations, amenities and staff at their service.
Mount Anderson Reserve is a unique and exclusive mountain retreat set on 20,000 acres of dramatic landscape in the mountains above Mashishing (Lydenburg) in Mpumalanga, in the northern part of South Africa. Accommodations can include butler service, guest homes, private drivers and outdoor activities that include fly fishing, horseback and mountain bike riding.
A&S recommends pairing this exclusive stay with a luxury safari at the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, a private game reserve not open to day visitors. Guests are personally chauffeured to the camp from Mount Anderson Ranch, riding through dramatic sceneries that include the Blyde River Canyon and a pine forest plantation. Sabi Sands is considered one of the “ultimate South African safari destinations,” offering luxury accommodation and an exceptional “Big 5” safari experience.
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