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. Locals 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.
Our 12 days together in South Africa will be surrounded by incredible wildlife, vistas, and opportunites to get out there and take part in some amazing activities! Some of your "must do" activities like a full day safari in Kruger Park and a full day of wine tasting in the Winelands is included in this trip, but there are plenty more opportunities to take part in too! Listed below are just a few of the activities that will be available to you during the trip. Our unhurried travel concept ensures you'll have enough time to take advantage of as much (or as little!) as you'd like to make this your trip of a lifetime! Items below are just a taste, while more details can be found in our downloadable South Africa Activities Book.
• Diving with Great White Sharks
• Swimming with Seals
• Hike / Cablecar to Table Mountain
• Tour of Robben Island
• Gay Beach
• Visit the Penguin Colonies of Bettys Bay or Simons Town
• Dinner Theatre
• Many Museums
• Mountain Biking
• Additional Game Drives
• Safari Walks
• Bungee Jumping
• Animal Refuge Centers
• City Tour
• Apartheid Museum
• Lookout Tower
...just to name a few!
There are plenty of opportunities to keep as busy as you'd like during your time in South Africa and these are just a taste!
Our 12-day South Africa trips include many of the "big ticket" items of your experience, including your domestic flight, ground transportation, breakfasts and even a wine day and a safari! Check out our detailed list of inclusions and exclusions below.
• All Taxes
• All accommodation in hotels/guesthouses
• Domestic airfare from Cape Town to Kruger National Park (MPQ Airport)
• All ground transfers between remaining destinations
• Full day wine tasting in Franshoek with transfers and hop-on/hop-off wine train tickets
• Full day wildlife safari in open-air safari vehicle in Kruger National Park
• Additional evening visit through Kruger National Park
• Dinner with local family in Bo-kaap neighborhood of Cape Town
• All 3 dinners at Kruger National Park
• All full breakfasts
• Knowledgable and fun DETOURS trip leader
• DETOURS pre-trip guidebook
• Group travel within South Africa
• 16 years of trip leading experience
** - Trip prices based on twin share. Traveling solo? We'll match you up with another traveler at no extra charge, or just pay a $590 single supplement for your own room!
• Lunches and dinners not noted above
• Activities not noted above
• Optional tips for drivers/guides
• International Airfare
Our 12-day gay group trip through South Africa encompases the very parts of South Africa that makes it so well known! Think a safari in Kruger National Park full of lions, hippos, zebras, giraffes. Think wine tasting in the the midst of the worlds best vineyards in the Winelands. Think cosmopolitan Cape Town where you can dive with great white sharks, summit iconic Table Mountain, and walk in the footsteps of incredible history. Below is a brief itinerary of our stops, but for detailed info and available activities check out the links to the left.
Days 1, 2, 3, and 4
Cape Town is one of the great cosmopolitan coastal cities of the world, fringed by gorgeous beaches, with the imposing Table Mountain as its focal point. The streets are full of a wide variety of languages and colors, making up a local culture that is as varied as It fascinating to be a part of. We spend our first 4 nights here because there is so much to do! Head to the local gay beaches, up to the top of table mountain, into the water with great white sharks, out to famous Robben Island, to the penguin colonies and more! It's a city that is jam-packed with fun activities. Our first night's dinner is in the home of a local family in the Bo-kaap neighborhood who welcome us with a 3-course meal to start the trip off right!
Our time in Cape Town can go in so many different directions. If you're an adrenaline junkie then this is the most famous place in the world for hopping into a cage and to come face to face with great white sharks. It's one of those "once in a lifetime" kind of experiences that'll keep your heart racing!
The local history here also makes for some fascinating museums from the District 6 museum which teaches visitors about the people and events that forever affected the city, to the Iziko Museum which focuses on South Africa's cultural and biological diversity. Take a quick ferry ride out to Robben Island to explore the prison where 3 of South Africa's presidents (including Nelson Mandela) had been imprisioned during the apartheid years. Walk the V&A Waterfront, directly in front of our hotel, where you'll find a large concentration of markets, shops, and restaurants. Or spend an afternoon soaking up the sun on Cape Town's white-sand gay beach, Clifton 3rd.
Whether it's the history that brings you here, or the once-in-a-lifetime adventures, or the people... Cape Town is a city that will stay with you long after you leave.
Days 5, 6 and 7
The Winelands are not far from Cape Town, but seem a world away. The city fades into rolling vineyards that spread to the east and west as far as the eye can see, with the looming rocky mountains creating a natural border to the north. True to its name, the Winelands is the land of world-class wines - of which we have yet to taste a bad one! A visit to the Winelands is not complete without experiencing the reds, whites, blends and bubblies, along with stunning locations, fabulous food and hospitable people. That's why our time in the Winelands includes a full day of winery-hopping on board a hop-on/hop-off winery train!
Our accommodation here is within the borders of Paarl, one of the three towns that make up the trifecta of stunning wine towns. The property is so small that it's only comprised of a 15 rooms in total - yet so big that it has olive groves, a waterfall, mountain biking trails, and even a spa right here on the property! It's a gorgeous setting that sets a relaxed mood for our few days here.
On one of our full days in the Winelands we'll head out to the town of Franshoek and jump on board the wine train, which allows us to hop on anywhere we'd like, then hop off at any winery we'd like. We'll stop for some tastings or lunch at our favorite spots, then jump back on and do it again throughout the day! If you're not a wine-o then you're still in luck as there's great sherry tasting, beer breweries, and chocolate shops too. We love the flexibility of winery-jumping around the most incredible wineries in South Africa!
Days 8, 9 and 10
This 19,000 square kilometre (7,000 square mile) national park in South Africa’s Northeast region is one of the world’s most famous places for a safari – and that’s exactly what we’re here for! There’s no shortage of lions, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, springbok, cheetahs, elephants, hippos, and leopards here, and our mission is to find them. We fly from Cape Town to Kruger then take a short drive through the park to our beautiful hotel. The next day we wake up to a full day of game driving in the world-renowned Kruger National Park - a day you will never forget. Exploring the pristine wilderness in an open safari vehicle with a highly experienced ranger, who will ensure optimal game viewing with his in-depth knowledge of the African bush. As you search for the Big Five, keep an eye out for the many other smaller creatures that live in this reserve, including over 500 bird and over 100 reptile species.
A safari in Kruger Park is definitely the biggest draw to this area, but not the only draw! You can spend all your free time here in the park spotting all the exotic African animals you can think of, or you can choose to take part in some other great options in the area. Head over to the local elephant sanctuary, zip through the sky on ziplines, check out the reptile park, visit the local cultural center or even go white water rafting! After you're done getting as active as you'd like, there's always our beautiful and relaxed riverfront accommdation (complete with hammocks!) to come back to.
Days 11, and 12
After a drive to South Africa's largest city, we'll spend our last evening together before our 12 days of adventure comes to an end. If time before your flight permits, make sure to check out some of Johannesburg's sightseeing opportunities. We're here to assist with any post-trip excursions too!
Although we don't spend much time here as a group, the city can keep you entertained if you choose to add any extra time here. Our suggestions include the Apartheid Museum, a hop-on/hop-off bus tour, and the observation deck at Top of Africa.
If you'd like to extend your trip and visit some of the other incredible sites in Southern Africa, such as the world's largest waterfall, Victoria Falls, or the giant sand dunes in Namibia, just let us know!
*Note that the order of stops and duration at each location are subject to change.
We don't like staying in smelly shacks on our vacations, and we're pretty sure you don't either! After working hard for your trip, you deserve an enjoyable, comfortable place to wind down at the end of your day. We put a LOT of time into finding the perfect accommodation for your trip so after sniffing around, fluffing pillows, and testing showers we have narrowed down our favorite properties that won't disappoint. Check out our approved accommodation to get an idea of the types of places you can expect to lay your head during your Detours trip.
Breakwater Lodge Hotel
A former prison, located in the V&A Waterfront with easy access to the shops, eateries and destinations within the waterfront area as well as to Cape Town city centre, the nearby beaches and attractions such as Table Mountain. Dining options include the Time Out Cafe, an a la carte restaurant, and Stonebreakers, a self-service buffet restaurant, however there are a myriad of restaurants within easy walking distance from the hotel. Guests can make use of the in-house gym and the wireless hotspots that are available throughout the hotel.
Cascade Country Manor
The 4 Star Cascade Country Manor, with an enviable location in the Paarl Winelands is set against a backdrop of the Klein Drakenstein Mountains and offers guests authentic country-style hospitality in 15 upmarket rooms. Known for its superlative service, the venue also boasts an extensive range of luxury amenities including the on-site Cascade Spa and swimming pool. Surrounding the manor house are olive groves producing the fantastic oils the estate is renowned for and guests can truly look forward to meals here, as the menu features traditional favourites made from locally sourced and fresh ingredients. There is something for everyone in the vicinity from championship golf courses, museums and monuments to Butterfly World, the Drakenstein Lion Park, and myriad wine estates. There is a business centre on site and Wi-Fi internet access is available throughout.
Kruger National Park
Hippo Hollow Country Estate
Located on the banks of the beautiful Sabie River in the Mpumalanga town of Hazyview, Hippo Hollow Country Estate offers luxury accommodation in a beautiful setting to guests wanting to explore the attractions of the region. These include the famous Kruger National Park, only a 10-minute drive away. Facilities at the lodge include two large swimming pools, beautiful indigenous gardens, a curio shop and public lounge with internet access. When not relaxing on the estate, guests can opt for game drives into Kruger, hot-air ballooning, elephant and horseback safaris, shopping or visits to nearby wildlife rehabilitation centres.
Fire & Ice! Melrose Arch Hotel
Why we love this property:
An edgy, urban hotel that prides itself on its contemporary design and features, the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice is conveniently located close to OR Tambo International Airport and the Sandton business and shopping district with a Gautrain station within easy reach. Located in the trendy hotspot of the Melrose Arch Precinct, the hotel is surrounded by stylish shops, gourmet restaurants and various entertainment options. The energetic urban vibe of the hotel is carried through to all stylish bedrooms. Guests can dine at the modern in-house restaurant, indulge in speciality cocktails, sumptuous hamburgers or gourmet milkshakes and then work it all off in the swimming pool or fitness room. Golfing, tennis and gym facilities are all available in the vicinity of this chic hotel. An innovative 24-hour business station and free WiFi too!
*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.
Got an extra few days to tack on another incredible experience you'll never forget? Take a 3 night extension trip up to Victoria Falls, the world's largest waterfall, located at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe! We've crafted a self-guided extension to our South Africa adventure that will enable you to experience the massive falls up close and personal. Victoria Falls – known to locals as ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ – is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the sheer power of this massive body of water plunging into the Zambezi Gorge is awe-inspiring and unforgettable.
Check out of our group hotel in Johannesburg on the final day of your group trip through South Africa and jet off to Victoria Falls. Your 4-star boutique lodge sits close enough to the falls to get a mist view, while also being close enough to town to walk in just 6 minutes. All 22 rooms have a balcony giving guests a beautiful view of the impressive garden and swimming pool.
On the evening of your arrival here, you won't waste any time stepping into the romance of Africa with a two-hour luxury cruise down the Zambezi River complemented by the sinking sun and host of on-board amenities. Besides the ambience on board the boat, helped along by snacks, beer, wine, and soft drinks, this is a fantastic way to get in some game viewing as animals come down to the river banks to drink. You will be collected from your hotel in the late afternoon and dropped back off after sunset. A beautiful introduction to your time in Zimbabwe.
Your unforgettable day at the majestic Victoria Falls and encompassing nature reserves is truly an awe-inspiring experience. Tons of water plunge over a chasm that is nearly 2km wide falling more than 100m to the Zambezi River below. The shower of spray and the thunderous sound of the water can be heard from miles around. Today's guided tour takes you to the best view points of this iconic waterfall, one of the seven wonders of the world, allowing you to soak up the powerful and enigmatic atmosphere of Victoria Falls.
Lunch after your visit around the falls is included at The Lookout, perched on the edge of the Batoka Gorge with stunning views. Even the zipliners and bungee jumpers can be watched from the outdoor patio.
Take this day to relax and soak in the past couple weeks of jaw-dropping experiences you've just been a part of while sipping a drink by the pool. That, or keep it going right til the end of taking part in some of the area's other treasures. Opportunities include adrenaline-racing options such as bungee jumping from the Victoria Falls Bridge, swinging through the gorge on the gorge swing, white-water rafting down the mighty Zambezi River or taking in the falls view on a helicopter ride! If you're not looking to get your heart pounding there's always a bike tour or kayak ride that can be enjoyed too.
Your final evening in Zimbabwe includes a night of local cuisine complete with dancing and drumming. Experience traditional Zimbabwean food surrounded by the sounds of Africa as your send off at the end of your trip.
In enough time to catch your outbound flight, you'll be transferred back to the Victoria Falls airport, full of endless stories of your adventure of a lifetime.
• 3 nights at the Batonka Guest Lodge with wifi included
• Entrance fees to all parks and sightseeing venues
• A 2-hour luxury sunset cruise down the Zambezi River with snacks, beer, wine, and soft drinks
• Guided tour through Victoria Falls Park
• All breakfasts
• Lunch at The Lookout at Batoka Gorge (drinks additional)
• Dinner at The Boma restaurant (drinks additional)
• Transport in private touring vehicles
• Local English speaking driver/guide on all transfers and sightseeing excursions
• International flights (Need some assistance? Just request a quote from us)
• Lunches/Dinners not mentioned above
• Optional additional activities and transportation
This epic trip extension can be added to your trip by request - just let us know and we'll be happy to set it up for you!
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!
Vegetarians may want to prepare themselves for the amount of meat that makes up a South African diet! While there are always options for vegetarians, it’s meat that makes up a good chunk of menus here. 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. More packing information including a suggested packing list is included in your "Pre-trip Guidebook".
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 minimum of 4 travelers and up to 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 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.
Communicating with Home
Relax – we won’t keep you from updating your Facebook status and Tweeting zebra pics the whole trip. There is free WiFi all over the place and available at every hotel we stay at. If you’re more the “E.T.” type and would just rather call home, feel free to pick up a calling card at a corner store and make use of the many local payphones. Alternatively, if your mobile phone is "unlocked" you can pick up a local SIM card which is quite affordable and very simple to set up once you arrive in South Africa.
Cost of Living
South Africa is actually a surprisingly affordable country once you're here! Especially when compared to many European countries and North America. Your personal spending on the trip will include the costs for most of your lunches and dinners, entertainment, and shopping. We recommend that you budget $500 - $700 for all of your expenses during the 12 days. This amount should be plenty to cover all of your expenses while you're here.
• The low end of $500 budgets for eating all meals at restaurants, some souvenir shopping, doing activities, and some nightlife, but it is for a more budget conscious traveler.
• $700 on the other hand is for someone who plans to be more careless with their spending, or because they want to do all of the activities available.
• We must mention that there are also travelers who spend even much more than $700, but the bulk of that spending would come from spending extravagantly or shopping to the extreme!
Further information can be found in your "Trip Preparations" guidebook which will be available to you after your trip signup. However, if you have any further questions about your South African experience please visit our FAQ page or contact us.