The History & Culture of South Africa

Tour Overview

South Africa has a unique history - from the Zulu population and the early European settlers, through the dark struggles of apartheid to the modern democracy found today, and this exclusive guided tour allows the visitor to really get underneath the skin of this vibrant, multi-cultural destination.

The Telegraph’s renowned South African correspondent Peta Thornycroft will join the tour in Johannesburg to give her perspective on both historic and modern-day South Africa before one of the late & legendary David Rattray’s sons brings the history of the extraordinary Battlefields of KwaZulu Natal back to life. 

Cape Town is the last stop, with the finale a private tour of Robben Island in the company of Nelson Mandela’s former prison warder, and later friend, Christo Brand.

Tour Includes

  • Exclusive guided tour of Robben Island
  • Tour of Table Mountain & township experience
  • Soweto highlights tour with authentic lunch
  • Wine tasting and gourmet picnic lunch
  • Historical walking tour of cape town with renowned guide Garth Angus
  • Private battlefields tours with a member of the legendary Rattray family
  • The renowned journalist Peta Thornycroft will join the group in Johannesburg
  • Unique question & answer events with Peta Thornycroft & Christo Brand
  • Five-star accommodation
  • Use of business class lounge at cape town airport
  • Private tours of apartheid-era landmarks - Liliesleaf Farm, Apartheid Museum, Constitutional Court



Day 1Overnight flight to Johannesburg

Overnight flight to Johannesburg

Depart London Heathrow at on the direct overnight British Airways flight to Johannesburg.


Day 2Johannesburg


On arrival the group will be joined by the renowned & award-winning journalist Peta Thornycroft for a tour of the extraordinary Constitutional Court of South Africa. The first major post-apartheid government structure to be built, it was designed to embody openness and transparency. The 9m-high timber entrance door is a work of art, and it opens to the foyer which is lined with columns, a metaphor for the trees under which villagers would traditionally resolve their disputes. The court chamber hosts 11 judges’ seats which are demarcated by black and white hides of Nguni cattle, while a large beaded South African flag adorns the back wall.

After checking-in and having lunch at the Maslow Hotel the group will travel to visit Liliesleaf Farm, once the nerve centre of the South African liberation movement and a place of refuge for its leaders, (amongst them David Motsamayi, the alias of Nelson Mandela), but now a place where visitors can understand and engage with a seminal period in South Africa's liberation struggle. For 3 years the Goldreich family fronted as the property’s owners, their 'white family façade' concealing the real use of the property, and today the complex is home to artefacts from the liberation struggle.

This evening Peta Thornycroft will host an informal Question & Answer event before dinner, giving an unique perspective on both historic and modern-day South Africa and sharing some of her favourite experiences and stories from her time living and working in the country.

Overnight at the Maslow Hotel.


Day 3Soweto


The group will be joined again today by Peta Thornycroft for a trip to visit the major highlights of vibrant Soweto (short for South-Western Townships),  amongst them the former homes of Archibishop Desmond Tutu & Nelson Mandela, both of which are located on the only street in the world to have been home to two Nobel prize winners; Walter Sisulu Square, where the country’s Freedom Charter was first signed; the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, the world’s largest; and the brightly-coloured and iconic Orlando Towers.

After enjoying lunch at Sakhumzi Restaurant, where the cuisine is African township and the ambience complements the heritage tourism theme of its surroundings, the afternoon will be spent visiting the Apartheid Museum. 

Acknowledged as the world’s pre-eminent museum dealing with 20th century South Africa, the exhibits include provocative film footage, photographs, text panels and artefacts illustrating the events and human stories of the apartheid era.

Overnight at the Maslow Hotel.


Day 4Durban


This morning the group will transfer to Johannesburg airport to depart on the domestic flight to Durban. On arrival transfer into the renowned Battlefields area to stay for three nights on full board basis at the Fugitives Drift Lodge Guesthouse.

This afternoon take one of the walking trails into the heart of the property’s reserve and look for giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, and the elusive kudu. 

Overnight at Fugitives Drift Lodge Guesthouse


Day 5Isandlwana


The group will depart this morning in the company of one of the late David Rattray’s sons, Douglas or Andrew, for a guided tour of the extraordinary Isandlwana. Listening to a narrative en-route from David, who explains the background to the Anglo-Zulu War, the tour begins with a visit to the Museum at Isandlwana before a fascinating and emotive lecture is enjoyed on the battlefield.

Returning to the lodge for lunch, in the afternoon a guided walk is offered, stopping off at various look out points and finally ending at the site where Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill lost their lives in 1879 trying to save the Queen’s Colour of their regiment, winning the first two posthumous Victoria Crosses in history.

Overnight at Fugitives Drift Lodge Guesthouse.


Day 6Rorke's Drift

Rorke's Drift

The morning is at leisure to relax and enjoy the extraordinary surrounds, and after lunch a guided trip to Rorke’s Drift is on the agenda. Here the museum, memorials and graveyards can be visited, and the remarkable story, of how 100 British soldiers were attacked by 4,000 Zulu warriors, winning more Victoria Crosses than in any other battle in history, will be told to the group by Douglas or Andrew Rattray, who share their late father’s passion for, and knowledge of, the area.

Overnight at Fugitives Drift Lodge Guesthouse.


Day 7Cape Town

Cape Town

After breakfast the group will return to Durban airport to depart on the domestic flight to Cape Town.

On arrival the group will be met and transferred to stay for four nights on a bed & breakfast basis at the Table Bay Hotel.


Day 8Cape Town

Cape Town

The group will enjoy a unique and fascinating walking tour of Cape Town this morning in the company of the renowned guide Garth Angus.

Garth uses the bustling streets of Cape Town, old buildings and squares, people and places as props to develop the story of Dutch and British rule, slavery and apartheid, freedom and democracy. Amongst the highlights are Greenmarket Square, Adderley Street and its flower sellers, City Hall and the Castle of Hood Hope. Visits will also be made to the Slavery precinct and to Company’s Garden, which is home to Parliament and St George’s Cathedral, with stories told of the District Six and Bo-Kaap Cape Malay Quarters, and of the historical newsmakers of the time - Rhodes, Smuts, Mandela, Tutu & De Klerk.

After lunch there will be a trip up the city’s most iconic feature - Table Mountain. One of the new natural 7 wonder of the world, it is a mountain chain which stretches from Signal Hill in the north, to Cape Point in the South and is the single richest floristic area in the world. After taking the cable car trip up 1089 metres to the top, visitors can enjoy one of the hiking trails and explore the summit further or just soak up the commanding 360-degree views of Cape Town, Table Bay and the nearby peaks of the surrounding mountains, or spot the native rock dassies.

This evening the group will enjoy a unique presentation and Q&A event with Christo Brand, the former prison warder to Nelson Mandela. He will share his unique story of growing up on a farm, joining the prison service and being sent to Robben Island, where he ended up guarding, and ultimately becoming a close friend of, Nelson Mandela. He will share fascinating insights into the life of Mandela from Prisoner to President – and how the 2 men stayed in touch right until Mandela passed away, with Christo a guest at his funeral.  

Overnight at Table Bay Hotel.


Day 9Cape Town

Cape Town

The group will be joined this morning by Christo Brand for a truly memorable private tour of Robben Island, a World Heritage site and prison-island, where many of South Africa’s future leaders and statesmen were incarcerated.

In the exclusive company of Christo, the tour will visit such sights as the graveyard of people who died from leprosy, the Lime Quarry, Robert Sobukwe’s house, the Bluestone quarry, and the Maximum Security Prison where thousands of the country’s freedom fighters were held, culminating with a viewing of Nelson Mandela’s cell. 

Overnight at Table Bay Hotel.


Day 10Stellenbosch


The group will depart this morning for a full day trip, which will include a visit to a local township and to the historic wine-producing town of Stellenbosch.

Townships such as Khayelitsha, Gugulethu & Langa are vibrant, colourful and lively areas on the outskirts of the city which are home to many of Cape Town’s working population. Visitors, who are warmly welcomed, can experience life away from the five-star environment, and safely see the local markets, shebeens, restaurants, houses and community projects.

Continue onwards to the Blaauwklippen Vineyards which, at over 330 years old, is one of South Africa’s most historic wine estates. A cellar tour and wine tasting will be undertaken, before a gourmet picnic is then enjoyed.

Time permitting, there is the opportunity to explore the many delights of historic Stellenbosch - the Dutch Reform Church, the town hall, museum and numerous galleries & shops, including the famous Oom Samie se Winkel general trading store.

This evening a farewell dinner cruise will be held on board will be held aboard the fully glass-enclosed & air-conditioned Alba restaurant boat. Enjoy a three-course menu with wine pairing and experience the sights & sparkling lights of the harbour & marina at night.

Overnight at Table Bay Hotel.


Day 11Cape Town

Cape Town

The morning is at leisure before the group travels to Cape Town airport to depart on the direct overnight British Airways flight to the UK. Enjoy the facilities of a Business Class lounge at Cape Town airport prior to departure.


Day 12UK Arrival

UK Arrival

Arrive London Heathrow early morning.

  • Overnight flight to Johannesburg
  • Johannesburg
  • Soweto
  • Durban
  • Isandlwana
  • Rorke's Drift
  • Cape Town
  • Cape Town
  • Cape Town
  • Stellenbosch
  • Cape Town
  • UK Arrival

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