South Africa

Gold, Diamonds and Mammal-like Reptiles

Cape Town to Johannesburg
13-23 November, 2017

£1650

Includes 4 National Parks and 4 World Heritage Sites
Exclusive small group tour, number of participants : 4 - 7
Prices are per person, based on 2 people sharing a room.  Single supplement is an additional £60 per night. 

 Johannesberg is the world's greatest gold mining city

The Cullinan Diamond Mine, source of the world's largest diamond now in the Crown Jewels

Rhinos in Pilanesberg National Park, an ancient volcanic crater.

The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, Sterkfontein Cave, where important hominid fossils have been found.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Cape Town. Visit South Africa's most famous geosite and World Heritage Site Table Mountain.

Day 2- The Cape Fold Mountains. Night in Prince Albert

Day 3 - The Karoo National Park. Take the fossil trail and join a game drive.

Day 4 - Kitching Fossil Exploration Centre and Ganora Farm Museum

Day 5 - Bloemfontein Museum

Day 6 - Royal Natal National Park part of the Drakensburg World Heritage Site

Day 7 - Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Join a local palaeontologist for a dinosaur fossil hunt.

Day 8- Vredofort Meteor Impact World Heritage Site. Today we have a long drive which is broken half-way through the day with a visit to the Vredofort Meteor Impact crater, a world heritage site. The night is spent in Sun City.

Day 9 - Pilansberg National Park. The whole day is spent driving around this ancient volcanic crater that contains lions, rhinos, elephants, leopards and cheetah. We spend the night back in the same hotel in Sun City.

Day 10 - Tswaing Meteor Crater Geopark and Cullinan Diamond Mine. Our first stop is the Hartbeespoort Dam and Magliesburg. Here we take a trip to the top of the 1600m high range by cable car for panoramic views of the region. At the summit is a geological model prepared by the Geological Society of South Africa. From this viewpoint we can discuss the Bushveld Complex and its great reserves of platinum. Next we visit the Tswaing Meteorite Crater Geopark. The crater is 220,000 years old and is 1100m in diameter suggesting the meteorite that caused it would have been 30-50m in diameter with the energy of 100 Hiroshima atomic bombs. Finally we visit the Cullinan Diamond Mine, the source of the world's largest diamond, now part of the British Crown Jewels. The Cullinan at 1,200 million years old is also the world's oldest mined kimberlite pipe. Here at Cullinan we have the opportunity to join both an underground and surface tour. We spend the night in South Africa's capital, Pretoria.

Day 11 - Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and Gold Reef Gold Mine.  Our first stop today is the The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. The area has revealed a greater wealth of human prehistory than any other on Earth and contains at least 12 major fossil sites. At Sterkfontein we are on hallowed ground, as this is the site of the discovery of the famous 'Mrs Pies' in 1947 and, more recently, of a 4.1 million year old 'Little Foot'. Here at the caves we will join a guided underground tour which gives an account of how the fossils were found. We then travel into the city of Johannesburg, the world's greatest gold field, and visit Gold Reef City and the Mining Museum. Here, the No.14 shaft of the world-renowned Crown Mines is still operational; this is one of the richest gold mines that the world has ever known. We will then descend 220m underground and see the gold-bearing Kimberley Reef. When we return to the surface we visit the museum which has a 3D geological model on display, showing how the Witwatersrand Basin is thought to have evolved. We then drive to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport  where the tour ends.