Enjoy the best of this extraordinary country with two iconic experiences: the sardine run and an immersive safari in one of South Africa’s last remaining wilderness areas.
- When to go
- From Price
- £22,000 PP*
- Ideal Length
- 11 Nights
- Jump into the sea and witness the sardine run up close with your private marine guide
- A multitude of safari options: explore by 4×4, horseback, helicopter, or take a bush walk
- Dining from their Michelin-starred chef, rooted in local heritage and cultural diversity
- Meerkat experience: watch them pop out of their burrows from just a few metres away
Your South African adventure starts on the coast as you witness one of the wildest, most unpredictable events: the sardine run. You’ll watch as dolphins whip the ocean surface into whitecaps, thousands of birds dive into the water, and whales surface to feed on the shoals of scattering fish.
The sardine run is the largest biomass migration on the planet, and for the next six days you’ll be based in Port Saint Johns staying at the beautiful Prana Lodge – a small luxury beach lodge and wellness spa.
You’ll spend the first five days heading out to sea to marvel at this natural phenomenon. Rising at the crack of dawn, your private boat will take you out onto the ocean at 7.30am. The sardinax sadax (migratory sardine) are slow movers, so your personal marine guide will point out dolphins and gannets hunting to indicate the action.
After a few hours, you’ll take a break from all the excitement with a picnic lunch and warm drinks on board the boat. Then, fully immerse yourself in the action by spending the afternoon in the water watching the feeding frenzy. Spy nursery pods of dolphins, young humpback whales or some seals playing.
Up close with the predators
Before dusk settles in, you’ll follow your guide and line up in the water to watch more of the predators’ hunt (think dolphins, gannets and whales). For those who love diving, get kitted up and dive with the ragged tooth sharks for a truly amazing experience.
Then, head back to your accommodation to warm up. Spend the rest of the day relaxing in your suite’s private plunge pool before a gourmet dinner overlooking the spectacular Chintsa Bay. Before the next leg of your South African experience, you’ll have one full day at the lodge so make the most of the brilliant spa facilities.
The second part of your holiday begins with a unique and luxurious stay in the Kalahari Desert area of South Africa. Staying at Tswalu Motse, you’ll have access to one of southern Africa’s last remaining wilderness areas. The reserve is characterised by dramatic landscapes (think savannah grasslands, red dunes and ancient mountains), and you’ll be exploring it all.
The variety of habitat and climate here means that there’s an incredibly diverse animal population. With over 80 species of mammals and 240 species of birds, you’ll discover it all at your own pace with exclusive use of a private safari vehicle, guide and tracker. From the landmark Korannaberg mountains to the southern Kalahari’s typical arid savannah and iconic ochre dunes rippling away to the horizon, your days here are unscripted and easy-going.
This is no ordinary safari, and you won’t see the typical Big Five here (they couldn’t survive the extremes). Instead, you’ll spot black-maned lions and rare desert rhino as well as the elusive five: pangolin and brown hyena, aardvark, aardwolf and bat-eared fox.
Head out early morning or late afternoon when the creatures are most active for some incredible sightings. Spend a late-winter afternoon watching aardvark above ground foraging for termites, the open expanses making it easier to spy these locals. Head out on a bush walk or horseback safari or, for a different perspective, take to the skies in a helicopter to view the unique landscape down below and hop between nearby points of interest and historical landmarks.
Finish an extraordinary day among nature with an equally extraordinary dinner. Tswalu has sustainability at its core, and the dining experience is no exception. Helmed by Michelin-starred chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, every dish is a celebration of South Africa’s rich culinary heritage but with a modern twist.
Using seasonal produce sourced from local farmers and artisans, the cuisine is complemented by the finest wine from Tswalu’s private cellar. Enjoy a delicious meal at a spot of your choosing, whether that be private dining on your veranda or a barbecue in the boma to make the most of the endless views.
Meerkat Experience & Star Beds
One of the highlights of your stay at Tswalu, spend the morning visiting the meerkats and witness them in their natural habitat. Your guide will wake you at daybreak – the best time to see them as they first emerge. Watch as they pop in and out of their burrows, stand sentry, play and soak up the sunshine, as you get within a few metres of them for an unforgettable encounter.
As if you weren’t close enough to nature, spend a night under the stars and fall asleep to the sound of the reserve. You’ll have a spacious deck area for dining and stargazing before you doze off in comfort.
One of our team members, Lana, recently experienced the teaming Sardine Run off the east coast of South Africa. Her days were spent chasing enormous pods of feeding dolphins far off the coast for hours as birds flocked above. Lana mentions this as one of her most memorable experiences yet and recommends it for all underwater explorers:
“Seeing the culmination of multiple marine species come together like that brings about a whirlwind of emotions that are hard to explain but must be felt!”
Lana Jevremovic, Yacht Expedition Designer
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