Marilyn Foster: South African safari a bucket list trip | NevadaAppeal.com

Marilyn Foster: South African safari a bucket list trip

Marilyn Foster

One of the top bucket travel list trips should be to South Africa to view the magnificent animals still roaming in the wild.

As humans continue to lay claim to more and more of this earth, species are dying off, becoming extinct or threatened, and these photographic safaris allow you to view wild animals you might not otherwise see outside of a zoo.

Collette Vacations is offering such a trip through the Chamber Travel Club departing July 18 to Aug. 1 this year that promises to be the trip of a lifetime featuring breathtaking scenery, abundant wildlife, a history of politics that has shaped South Africa and cultural diversity not seen anywhere else in the world. Following is a highlight of the planned tour.

The 13-day journey begins in Johannesburg, where you'll learn about the apartheid movement that so changed the culture of this country. There will be no shortage of food on this trip and on this day, you'll meet locals at a special lunch.

We'll be traveling by motorcoach allowing us to take in the amazing scenery for which South Africa is so well known. We'll drive through the Northern Drakensburg Mountain Range, where we'll travel through the Blyde River Canyon, one of Africa's greatest natural wonders, as we head to the famous Kruger National Park where we'll be treated to a traditional Boma dinner — African outdoor dining at its best. We'll be spending two nights at the luxurious Casa del Sol Hotel & Resort Hazyview located next to the Elephant Sanctuary in the heart of scenic Mpumalanga — go ahead, say it!

While at Kruger National Park, we'll enjoy an all-day open air safari in our photographic hunt for elephants, buffalo, lions, leopards and rhinos, stopping for picnic lunch where we'll be surrounded by giraffes.

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Then, it's off to the Kingdom of eswatini — or better known as Swaziland — where we'll overnight in Bbabane. Here we immerse ourselves in the Swazi culture before returning to South Africa through the land of the Zulus.

A full-day safari is planned at the Mkuze Game Reserve in northern Zululand, home to exotic animals and about 420 species of birds. Here, we'll enjoy another picnic lunch among the animals.

On day 9, we leave the motorcoach behind and board a flight in Durban to take us to the waterfront resort town of Knysna for a three-night stay. There's a lagoon cruise planned that will take us to the Featherbed Nature Reserve where we'll enjoy a ride deep into the forest to see nature at its best. Instead of enjoying a lunch among the animals, we'll dine under the ancient milkwood trees.

While in Knysna, we'll enjoy a visit to one of the oldest working ostrich farms in the area and take a tractor safari through the Lucerne fields taking us to the area where we'll enjoy an outdoor barbecue lunch.

Then, it's on the road again to Cape Town traveling through the famous wine region where, yes, there will be a stop for wine tasting at one of the vineyards. When we arrive in Cape Town, we'll enjoy a panoramic tour and, weather permitting, a cable car ride 3,000 feet up to the famous Table Mountain.

We'll also enjoy visiting with the penguins at Cape Point.

Our tour ends in Cape Town, and it will end with a bang! Our farewell dinner will be a typical communal African dining experience featuring signature dishes from all over the continent.

Since this is a long journey — about 22 hours from Reno — Collette is offering pre and post optional excursions to break up the trip. You may enjoy three nights in Dubai on a pre-tour — quite a fascinating stopover – and/or stay a bit longer in Africa by going on a three-night tour of Victoria Falls.

If you book the Spectacular South Africa tour prior to Jan. 18, you'll be able to save $250 per person. The small-group tour includes 25 meals and 13 nights in four-star hotels, plus all touring and the expertise of a knowledgeable guide. For complete details, log on to the Chamber's Travel Club site at http://www.carsoncitychamber.com or drop by the office at 1900 S. Carson St. to pick up a brochure.

Marilyn is a consummate traveler and has traveled all over learning about this wonderful and interesting world of ours. She will be 90 at the end of January and has not yet stored her suitcase in her closet!