A country of undeniably unique experiences, where it’s possible to be in the presence of giraffes and hippos before breakfast is even served. Where by lunchtime you can have the surreal experience of being surrounded by hundreds of little penguins. Dinner comes with a glass of world-class wine, enjoyed on the patio of that very vineyard that produced it. South Africa is the country of wide open safaris with far more than just the “big 5”, underwater dives with great white sharks, white sand beaches that quickly morph into imposing mountains before fading into wide open plains.
A real experience in Africa sparks not just all five senses, but also imagination and emotions quite unlike any other place you’ll experience. Nature has been more than generous to this place, visible as much in its landscape, as in its wildlife at every turn. History has been tumultuous to say the least, emerging in recent years as a world leader in social progress and tolerance. Local South Africans have been rebuilding a country to be proud of, while creating museums and monuments to ensure the past won’t be forgotten.
Our 12-day experience through South Africa guarantees to showcase this country in all its glory. From the cosmopolitan, postcard-perfect city of Cape Town, to the expansive country estates of the Winelands, to the world famous safaris of Kruger park, before finishing in the big, busy metropolis of Johannesburg.
All land and air transportation within South Africa
Accommodations for your 12-day Detours experience
Full day wildlife safari through Kruger National Park
Full day wine hop-on/hop-off wine tour in the Winelands
3-course dinner with local family in Cape Town
Bo Kaap neighborhood tour with local guide
Group travel within South Africa
Knowledgeable and fun Detours leader
Meals and drinks outside of those listed above
Activities outside of the those listed above
South Africa’s location in the Southern Hemisphere means January to April are the sunniest and warmest months of the year, while June to August are the coolest months. That said, the Cape Town and Winelands area are really the only areas that have a big change, and the Kruger Park and Johannesburg areas are generally pleasant with clear skies any time of year. If you’re looking for the warmest weather and an escape from Northern Hemisphere winter, you’ll want to steer towards our January to April trip dates. Temperatures in January-April range from highs of low-30’s, while typical highs in June-August drop to around 15 celsius. That said, weather can sometimes be unpredictable anywhere in the world so it’s always good to pack a “just in case” outfit for the odd rainy day at any time of the year.
South African people are quick to point out how diverse their nation is – and it’s true! With 11 official languages in the country and a big visible mix of cultures, classes, and colors, it really is a place where many different types of people come together. When South Africa’s constitution was rewritten in 1994, it worked hard to make all people feel welcome and accepted in society. This includes the large LGBT population, even going so far as to legalize same sex marriage long before many other western countries. You’ll notice that the local people are very laid back and friendly, and are very welcoming to foreigners in the place their proud to call home. Don’t worry about a language barrier here – it would be very difficult to find someone who doesn’t speak fluent English!
While there are always plenty of options for all sorts of dietary restrictions including vegetarians, it’s meat that makes up a good chunk of menus here including some exotic meat options. Detours doesn’t believe in limiting your choices by including all of your meals at pre-decided restaurants as part of the trip package. Instead, we include all of your breakfasts to start your day off, then we explore all of the different restaurant options available for lunch and dinner. This way we can eat when we want, where we want, and spend what we want! Your trip leader definitely has their favorite spots so if you’d like some advice on the best in each location, just check with them.
What to Bring
Our advice is simple. Pack your bag, then take half of those things out and leave them back home. It’s common to hear people wishing they’d packed less stuff, but we’ve never heard anyone complain that they didn’t bring enough. Even if you realize you forget to pack some crucial item you can always pick up a replacement once you arrive in South Africa. We’ll include some trip-specific packing advice based on expected weather as part of our update email to you, sent 60 days prior to your trip.
We suggest just bringing your regular bank card from home and using the ATMs in South Africa to get cash. In our experience it’s cheaper than currency exchange shops here or even at home. South Africa has its own currency, the Rand (ZAR) and you likely won’t find shops or restaurants that will accept US Dollars or Euros. Credit cards are widely accepted in South Africa so it’s good to bring at least one on your trip too. Travelers checks are a thing of the past so we don’t recommend bringing them on any of our trips.
Just like in the United States, Canada, and some other places in the world, tipping is expected in South Africa for restaurant/bar service and any guides you may have along the way. We suggest adding somewhere between 12-18% gratuity to your bill for good service. Your trip leader will have advice for other services along the way including your safari guide.
We have pretty high standards when it comes to choosing our accommodations, and trust us, we’ve done plenty of room-sniffing, pillow-patting, bed-jumping and bathroom inspections to make sure we stay at quality spots. To be approved as a Detours accommodations provider, a hotel/guesthouse must: be locally owned (to support the local community), be in an amazing location (close to the hot spots), AND be gay-friendly. We won’t be staying in 5-star Ritz-Carltons but we also won’t subject you to anything we wouldn’t want to stay in ourselves. Clean and comfortable and approximately 4 stars, you can count on that!
Our trip leaders are a huge part of the success of your experience with us. All are gay, and all certified leaders must undergo a rigorous training routine that includes impromptu dancing tests, a few rounds of impossible tourist questions, and a thumbs-up from our Detours mother. Apart from these tough challenges, we require our leaders to know their stuff really, really well. Underneath their fun and quirky facades, our guides are experts and passionate about what they do. Don’t hesitate to ask them about anything that crosses your mind during your trip. If they don’t know the answer they’ll find it somewhere. Their job is to help ensure that this is your trip of a lifetime by taking the hassle out of your trip and enabling you to experience everything you came to South Africa for.
We do absolutely everything possible to avoid needing such a mundane awakening. A world without alarm clocks is one we want to be part of, and your “rise and shine” while in South Africa should come from the sound of a lion’s roar, or a hyena’s laugh. However, sometimes due to current train or flight schedules (and a morning safari!) we are required to make early departures, but we do everything we can to minimize this.
Extending Your Trip
For many people, 12 days in Africa just isn’t enough time. If you’re lucky enough to be able to stay longer, or if you decide to quit your job and become a lion tamer or rhino wrestler for the rest of your life, we’d be happy to help you extend (or cancel!) your return flight. We’ve been all over the area, so don’t think twice about asking where to go or what to do after your Detours trip is complete. Victoria Falls, the sand dunes in Namibia, Chobe Park in Botswana… many interesting destinations are close-by.
Our Detours groups are run with a maximum of 15 travelers. Ages of group members vary but almost all our travelers are in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Whatever the age of the guys on our trips everyone’s already got something in common, an exciting new experience in a new country! Each group is led by a Detours trip leader who is there to ensure everything goes off without a hitch, allowing you to focus on having the time of your life! We welcome both men and women onto our trips although it’s important to know that most groups are 100% gay men.
A Little Bit About Modesty
The areas of South Africa that we’ll be visiting are very open-minded and most people will be very welcoming of homosexuality. That said, South Africa is a small pocket of gay friendly attitudes, in a continent known for quite the opposite. For that reason, we do suggest being cautious about the amount of public excitement and passion you have for your partner or new local “friend”.
No problem! Don’t worry, at least half our travelers come solo and our trip will provide plenty of chances to meet great people both inside and outside of our group, including other solo travelers. As far as your accommodations go, you’ve got two choices. We can either pair you up with another solo group member in a two-bed room for no extra charge, or you can have your own room for a very reasonable surcharge.
South Africa uses several different plugs shapes so it’s a good idea to bring a multi-prong electrical adapter on your trip here. The voltage is 230V with 50 Hz frequency. These days, the majority of items that are plugged into an outlet are built to handle varying voltage and frequency levels, but just to be sure, we suggest checking your item for its acceptable range.
We don’t like staying in smelly shacks on our vacations and we’re pretty sure you don’t either! You work hard to go on vacation and we believe you deserve an enjoyable, comfortable place to wind down at the end of each day. We put a LOT of time into finding the perfect accommodation for your trip. After rigorous wifi signal testing, fluffing pillows, and taking a shower or two, we’ve narrowed down our favorite properties. Check out our approved accommodation to see where we’ve stayed in the past and where we’ll likely be staying on your trip.
CAPE TOWN: Protea Hotel by Marriott (Victoria Junction)
Set in a quaint district with plenty of bars and restaurants, the Protea Hotel at Victoria Junction is a short walking distance from popular Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and Two Oceans Aquarium. Featuring contemporary rooms with exposed brick, the rooms are equipped with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and safes. Room service and in-room spa treatments are available for a fee. There’s a casual restaurant and a bar. Other amenities include an outdoor pool and an exercise room.
WINELANDS (PAARL): Cascade Country Manor
Set against the backdrop of the Klein Drakenstein Mountains, the 4-Star Cascade Country Manor offers guests authentic country-style hospitality in 15 upmarket rooms. Known for its world-class service, the venue boasts an extensive range of luxury amenities including an on-site spa, outdoor swimming pool and wifi. Olive groves surround the manor house, providing gorgeous landscapes and exciting in-house cuisine. With locally sourced and fresh ingredients, the dining is an experience in itself. Within the estate’s vicinity, there’s something for everyone: from championship golf courses, museums and a close promimity to Ashia Cheetah Sanxctuary, Drakenstein Lion Park, and a myriad of wine estates, the Cascade Country Manor has something for everyone.
KRUGER NATIONAL PARK: Sabi River Sun
Comfortable accommodation enhanced by spectacular views, a rich heritage and abundant wildlife combine to create a stay that is unforgettable. In addition to its natural splendour and nearby safari opportunities, the resort offers guests an 18-hole golf course and recreational facilities. The spa offers an opportunity unwind in an atmosphere of bliss and privacy, with a range of exclusive rejuvenating treatments.
JOHANNESBURG: Silverbirch Hotel
The modern façade of this Johannesburg hotel is complimented by its pool and its two upscale restaurants. The perk of this property is its location at Johannesburg’s international airport, making your departure from South Africa quick and easy. Simple, colorful rooms offer flat-screen televsion viewing, desks, safes.
*Please note that due to availability, these exact hotels may not all be available during all Detours trips. However, we will always replace these with similar hotels, and will never downgrade.
47 Elizabeth Bay Road
Elizabeth Bay NSW
02 8667 3336