Catch up on part 1 here! We've already checked out Cape Town, watched the penguins at Simon's Town, cage dived with great white sharks, saw whales from our hotel, driven along one of the most beautiful stretches in South Africa, the Garden Route, and stayed overnight right next to hippos.
Itinerary Day 8
Wake up before dawn, and observe a meerkat family at their burrow as they wake up (Just like Meerkat Manor! I'm not sure if that show is even still on, because I had to stop watching after Flower died trying to save her babies from that snake. Too sad. But to see them interact in real life would be so amazing!).
Tour Cango Wildlife Ranch, which is kind of touristy and cheesy, but you can cage dive with crocodilesthere. (Yes, I am going to be OD’ing on cage diving, but I can’t help it—it all sounds so awesome! I will definitely be bringing my waterproof camera case!)
Drive to Victoria Bay, check into The Waves B&B, and relax at the nearby beach in the late afternoon.
Cost: $120 for the meerkat observation, $120 for entrance to Cango Ranch and croc dive, $170.90 lodging for 1 night at The Waves B&B
Itinerary Day 10
In case the meerkat encounter was canceled due to weather the previous day, do it this day instead.
But most likely spend the day driving to Plettenberg Bay, and relax after checking into the UH-mazing Tesla Treetop Lodge (based on reviews, suite 7 is the for best monkey viewing). This lodge is crazy-expensive, but so freakin’ cool that it is worth it (and hey, this is my dream vacation, splurges are almost required)! You get your own private luxury tree house, connected by treetop paths to the main lodge, with a private plunge pool on your deck, and you can watch monkeys swing through the trees right out your window. Seriously, their website is worth a look, if only to drool over the accommodations!
Cost: $2,847.60 for 3 nights lodging at Tesla (includes breakfast)
Itinerary Day 11
Do the Animal Day at The Crags, at the foothills of the OuTeniqua Mountains. From the website:
“Get off to an early start at 7.30am and walk with the Cheetahs of Tenikwa through indigenous forest and Cape Floral Fynbos.
Join a guided safari through the world's first multi-species free-roaming primate sanctuary at Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary.
Thereafter work up an appetite as you wander through the world's largest free-flight aviary at Birds of Eden.
Luncheon under the vines at The Crags very own Vineyard, Bramon Wine Estate.
End off the day with the Elephant experience, as you join them for an Elephant Brushdown at The Crags Elephant Sanctuary.”
Um, yes please! You can’t fit many more animal encounters into one day than that! And I love that all of these places promote the conservation of animals and animal education.
Cost: $215.60 for a day of animal encounters
Itinerary Day 12
Relax at our luxury hotel in the morning, then go on an afternoon cruise on the Keurbooms River.
Cost: $31.56 for the river cruise
Itinerary Day 13
Drive to Port Elizabeth, stopping at Seaview Lion Park on the way.
Check into the Courtyard Port Elizabeth (nothing special, but cheap and in a good location), and check out downtown Port Elizabeth and the Oceanarium.
Cost: $13.14 entrance to Seaview Lion Park, $166.51 lodging for 1 night at the Courtyard, $10.50 entrance to the Oceanarium
This is the end of the driving portion of the trip, and so far, this is the route we would have driven, all on the left side of the road:
Itinerary Day 14
Fly out in the early morning from Port Elizabeth to Kruger National Park, the best place in South Africa to go on safari. Check in in time for an evening safari ride at Lion Sand’s Ivory Lodge. This is the ultimate in luxury and privacy safari lodging, with only 6 private villas, each with it's own plunge pool. It’s the only reserve in the Sabi Sands area with a full time ecologist, and you’re guaranteed never more than 6 people on your safaris
Cost: TBD flight to Kruger, $7,410 for 3 nights lodging at the Ivory Lodge (includes all meals and safaris)
Itinerary Days 15 and 16
Sample days from the Ivory Lodge’s website:
5:30 am, Morning Game Drive: Guests are waking up for their morning game drive.
7:45 am, Coffee & tea: Guests are enjoying coffee and tea in the bush.
9:00 am, Breakfast: Guests are returning from their game drive for a hearty breakfast.
11:00 am, Activities: Guests are enjoying an interpretive bush walk.
13:00 pm, Lunch: Lunch is served on the wooden viewing deck.
14:30 pm, Rest & Relaxation: Enjoy a massage on the deck of your suite or relax in your private pool.
16:00 pm, Evening Game Drive: Guests are enjoying high tea before evening game drive.
17:30 pm, Sundowners: Guests are sipping cocktails in the bush and watching the sun set.
20:00 pm, Dinner: The fires are lit in the boma for dinner under the African stars.
Itinerary Day 17 and 18
Check out of the Ivory Lodge, fly home to California.
Cost: TBD flight home
Now, I do have an additional 3 days planned, with flying to Livingstone, Zambia, and staying by Victoria Falls (one of the 7 wonders of the world), with a helicopter ride over the falls, a lion encounter right across the border in Zimbabwe, a sunset cruise on the river, swimming at devil’s falls (see pic below, you can swim right at the top of Victoria Falls during certain times of the year!), and visiting Gwembe Crocodile Park. However, this little side trip adds about $7k to the total trip cost, so I’ve given it up for now. :(
Food and drinks for 15 days (since the safari days are all inclusive, and breakfast is included in some of our lodging). I budgeted $150 per day, since I haven't researched restaurants yet, but we aren't foodies, and we usually only eat 2 meals a day on vacations. Cost: $2250
Misc expenses, checked bags, rental car gas, etc. Cost: $800
Souvenirs. Cost: $200
Grand Total, excluding airfare: $17,397.98
Yes, I know that is a LOT to spend on a trip. Yes, I know I could easily cut down the cost by staying at cheaper hotels. Yes, I know I probably over-estimated the cost of food and misc expenses, since this is what I usually estimate for trips, and it's always over.
But no, I don't want to change anything! This is my dream vacation we're talking about here. And I don't want compromise on my dreams. So it will probably be quite a while before we can take this trip. But in the meantime, I'm really glad I put together these two posts, because now I can easily go back to look at all the pretty pictures, and keep dreaming about someday, someday when we can take this trip of a lifetime....