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Full Day by Day Itinerary
Make your way to Cape Town Station to board Rovos Rail bound for Pretoria.
Meals are served in one sitting only in the charming Victorian atmosphere of the dining cars and are complemented by a selection of fine South African wines. An enthusiastic team of chefs is responsible for overseeing the very important task of ensuring guests’ every need is catered for. There’s an accent on fresh local ingredients and traditional dishes such as game are a specialty. A gong heralds lunch and dinner.
For days on the train dress is smart casual. Evening attire is more formal – for the gentlemen a jacket and tie is a minimum requirement while for ladies we suggest cocktail/evening dresses or suits. Please include warm clothing for cold mornings and evenings. In maintaining the spirit of travel of a bygone era, there are no radios or television sets on board. The use of mobile phones, laptops and essentially anything that has the ability to disturb other passengers is confined to the privacy of your suites.
11:00 am: Depart from Platform 23 at Cape Town Station and proceed inland to Worcester. Guests may freshen up in their suites before joining other guests in the midway Lounge car or the Observation carriage at the rear of the train.
1:00 pm: Lunch will be served in the dining car/s. Trundle through the spectacular mountain ranges and scenic winelands of the Cape.
3:00 pm: We pass through Worcester on the way to the village of Matjiesfontein. In 30 minutes we reach the first of four tunnels which take us through the Hex River Pass. The third tunnel is 13.5 kms long so please be careful if you are walking through the train. If you are in your suite you may wish to turn on a light.
6:00 pm: Guests may disembark at Matjiesfontein for a stroll through this quaint and historic little village. Visit the impressive museum on the platform. Of special interest is the museum on the platform and a collection of historic cars and railway carriages to the right of the Hotel. Wander through the Lord Milner Hotel and its delightful grounds. The pub in the hotel is a great place for a refreshment stop.
7:00 pm: We depart Matjiesfontein.
7:30 pm: Dinner will be served in the dining car/s.
7:00-10:00 am: Breakfast will be served in the dining car.
12:30 pm: Lunch is served in the dining car/s
2:30 pm: The train arrives in Kimberley where we disembark and proceed by
coach/combi for a tour of the city, the “ Big Hole ”, the world’s largest man-made excavation, and it’s supporting Mine Museum.
4:00 pm: Depart from Kimberley and proceed overnight via Potchefstroom to Pretoria.
4:10 pm: Ten minutes after departing Kimberley there is a shallow lake on the left hand side facing forward. On most occasions there are spectacular flocks of Flamingos (approx. 23 000).
7:30 pm: Dinner will be served in the dining car/s as we pass through Bloemhof and Leeudoringstad en route to Klerksdorp.
7:00-10:00 am: Breakfast will be served in the dining car/s.
10:45 am: The train continues the journey towards Pretoria passing through Krugersdorp, Johannesburg and Germiston. We arrive at Centurion where one or two of our Rovos locomotives will collect us for the final leg of our journey.
12:00 pm: Arrive at Rovos Rail’s Capital Park Station, Pretoria. Upon arrival you will be met by a Jarat Tours representative and transferred to Peermont D’Oreale Grande Hotel located near Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport, where you will spend one night.
Take the complimentary shuttle to the airport in time for the scheduled flight to Lilongwe, Malawi. Upon arrival you will be met by Central Wilderness Safaris and transferred by road to Pumulani, situated on the west side of the Nankumba Peninsula on the Southern end of Lake Malawi, where you will stay for three nights.
Subtly nestled in the lush hills amongst the trees and craggy outcrops, the ten villas with their grass roofs to help reflect the heat, provide the ultimate in space, design, comfort and privacy.
David Livingstone famously named Lake Malawi “The Lake Of Stars” and for good reason, during the day the light dances across the deep blue water and once the sun has set the stars twinkle brightly both in the sky but also on the lake as the fishermen light up their hurricane lamps for their night on the lake.
Relax on the white sandy beach or enjoy an elevated view of the lake from the stylish infinity pool. For those seeking some activity the lodge offers waterskiing, sailing, kayaking, walks in the hills, sunset cruises on our handbuilt dhow and snorkeling and diving. Under water activities never fail to amaze as the diversity of fishlife is very surprising and experts say that this lake is home to more native fish species than any other in the world.
On the water
· Our 40ft traditional, hand crafted dhow is a slow and relaxing way to enjoy the tranquillity of Lake Malawi. Whether it be on a early morning breakfast cruise or a magical sunset cruise.
· Our 2 speedboats can whisk you around the lake with various water activities such as water-skiing, wakeboarding and tubing. Or an exhilarating drive to secluded spots where you can jump out the boat and snorkel or dive taking in the clouds of tropical fish that inhabit the water.
· For the more experienced sailors we have two dhingys which are great fun to nip around the lake in.
· Take a guided walk from the lodge up into the hills enjoying the views and beauty as well as the wonderful birdlife. Coming down from the hills to the lake shore a kayak will meet you there for a gentle paddle back.
· Cycle down the hill from the lodge through the village and around the point where the kayaks will meet you for your paddle back.
· Enjoy the peace and quiet and relax under the shade of a parasol or tree on the beach with a good book.
· Take a guided walk through the village seeing and having the local traditions and rituals explained.
· Revel in the joys of the night sky with our incredible star gazer, it will revolutionize the way you look at the stars.
At 8:00 am you will be collected from your lodge by Central African Wilderness Safaris, and transferred by road to Lilongwe, to connect with the scheduled charter flight to Likoma Island. It’s about an hour’s flight from Lilongwe to Likoma with beautiful scenery all the way up. Here you will stay at Kaya Mawa for three nights.
Each room is individually designed in partnership with Katundu Textiles, a workshop set up on the island to empower single mothers. All the workforce come from the neighboring villages and have been trained on site. The result – a uniquely stunning lodge with a feeling of contemporary rustic whilst ultimately chic.
The beach at Kaya Mawa offers our guests plenty of activities. From kayaking to sailing or just sitting on our sun lounges dotted around the beach you can find anyway to relax. Crystal clear and still in the mornings is a perfect opportunity to go snorkeling or water ski on the glassy water. On Kaya Mawa’s beach you can find the bar and restaurant where you have lunch and dine in the evenings.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling: Kaya Mawa is partnered with Likoma Island Divers and is a recognized PADI Resort. We have two in- house dive instructors so whatever skills you may or may not have we can get you exploring the amazing underwater scenery. Likoma Island, surrounded by the pristine waters of Lake Malawi, is widely regarded as having the best diving on the Lake, both in terms of the diversity of fish species and their sheer abundance.
ON THE WATER ACTIVITIES
Sailing: With three Lasers and one Laser 2 there is no excuse. Never been before? We have qualified instructors on site who can get you going solo in no time.
Kayaking: Three two and two new single kayaks gives you an opportunity to explore further terriotry on the water.
Waterskiing: With skis to fit ages 5 to 70 and a trained instructor on hand to give handy tips and pointers to ensure you will be on your feet (or knees) in no time.
Wakeboarding: Snowboarding on water.
Doughnutting: Hang on
Kneeboarding: A sure fire winner
Fishing: Our boatmen have all been fishermen in their past lives so know all the hot spots and fish to catch. We do promote catch and release unless you are planning to eat your prize.
OVER THE WATER ACTIVITIES
Kaya Mawa has the only Kite surfing center on Lake Malawi as far as we know. With all new Cabrinha equipment available to rent and our in house instructor your ready to try for the first time or get out on the lake as an experienced rider. A frequent early morning breeze or a good afternoon blow means there is nearly always an opportunity to get out there.
ON THE LAND ACTIVITIES
Walking: With an island as friendly as Likoma no guides are necessary, but are on hand should you wish. Wonder off and see where the road takes you, to the cathedral and the market, or the textiles workshop or one of the many community projects. It really couldn’t be much easier and safer.
Mountain biking: Fancy a bit of off road cycling? Then we have mountain bikes for all ages.
Quad biking: A much more leisurely way to take the island in is by quad bike, led by a guide you will be shown all the sights of Likoma without working up a sweat.
Football: Fancy going to see some local football where the atmosphere is buzzing? Talk to one of our managers to find out when a game is on.
DECLÉOR Spa: An expert in cosmetic aromatherapy, DECLÉOR allows you to be in harmony with yourself and your environment, revealing the natural expression of your beauty and giving you radiant skin. Our vision of beauty is inseparable from our vision of the world, where balance is respected and natural qualities are able to flourish.
The bar and restaurant are at the east end of our beach where it meets the rocky knoll. Split into a multi level deck the area offers seating at the bar, around coffee tables or a lounging area on comfy sofas.
The bar offers fantastic sunset views and all the way to the south of the lake just meters from the water. The restaurant is set off to one side of the bar and is used for the buffet breakfast and lunches. Dinners could be served anywhere, on a beach, on a deck, on a platform or on the gazebo, a perfect surprise private table every night.
Our Award Nominated kitchen here at Kaya Mawa prides itself on serving fresh, healthy and innovative dishes using local organic produce, handpicked herbs from our garden and well sourced meats and fresh lake fish. Indulge at breakfast time with a classic Eggs Benedict or Vanilla French toast or keep it light with fresh fruit salad and toasted muesli. Enjoy a lazy lunch of homemade bread and dips followed by the kitchen teams creation of the day. However active or languid your day has been our three course dinner served on the beach with feet tucked in the sand is the perfect way to end the day.
After breakfast, at a time to be advised by lodge management, you will be transferred to the airstrip for the scheduled charter flight to Lilongwe, where you will connect with the scheduled flight to Addis Ababa. Upon arrival in Addis Ababa, you will be met by a Travel Ethiopia representative, and transferred to the Sheraton Addis Hotel where you will stay for one night.
A century ago, one might have described Ethiopia’s capital as noisy, dusty, sprawling, and the like. Today, Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa is anything but. Rather, the thriving Addis Ababa stands as one of the continent’s largest business centers, and the fourth largest city in Africa. It is an intriguing blend of past and present; where old imperial statues stand beside poignant reminders of the former Marxist regime; where wattle and daub huts cower beneath towering high rise hotels; and where traditional tej beats serve golden honey wine while the cheery hands of club goers downtown carry fluorescent martinis.
Africa’s fourth-largest city and its diplomatic capital – is a place of contrasts: Priests in medieval robes walk the wide boulevards beside prestigious African businessmen, Ethiopian women in traditional garb gossip on modern cell phones, and Western aid workers make way for the occasional goat as they go about their day. Unlike any other African capital, it is Addis Ababa’s rare blend of complementing contrasts that makes this capital one of the most alluring cities on the continent.
At 6:00 am, you will be collected from your hotel by a Travel Ethiopia representative, and transferred to the airport to catch your flight to Bahir Dar. Bahir Dar is a pleasing city located at 1,800 meters above sea level on the shore of Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia. There are 37 islands on the lake and 30 of which have churches and monasteries of considerable historical and cultural interest. Up on your arrival you shall directly head to Lake Tana and enjoy a half day bat trip. You will visit the monastery of Ura Kidane Miheret, and Azwa Mariam located on the peninsula of Zegue, the churches at this peninsula are a pleasant surprise, not only because of the paintings but also because of the age of the building and the unique style of decorations.
In the afternoon drive to the spectacular waterfalls called Blue Nile falls (30 kms from Bahir Dar). Tiss Abay is the small town where we will leave the vehicle and walk uphill for about 20-30 minutes to reach the best view point of the falls which is 45 meters deep and up to 400 meters wide during the rainy season (end of June, July, August and September). Those who wish may descend to the base of the falls, climb back up the other side and cross the Nile in a papyrus boat (traditionally known as a “Tankwas”) in order to return to the point of departure (about an hour’s walk). Transfer to Kuriftu Resort where you will stay for one night.
At 8:30 am, you will depart with your Travel Ethiopia guide for Bahir Dar and drive along the edge of Lake Tana to Gondar (3 hours). What is definitely the most striking part of Gondar, are the ruins of the 17th Century castles. Two remaining churches from the same period survived the worse period in the history of the town. The Mahdist invasion in the 19th Century also destroyed most of the many Gondar historical churches. Over the years there followed a slow process of collapse, but the most harm to the royal buildings was done in 1941 by the Allies’ bombing. Learn the history of Gondar, the town founded in 1636 by the great Emperor Fassiladas. Set in a landscape of the incomparable beauty, it was the Royal Capital of Ethiopia. Visit the castles built by Emperor Fassiladas and his descendant.
Head just outside Gondar to Felasha, once the home to a thriving population of Falashas (Ethiopian Jews). Most were airlifted to Israel in the 1980s and today none remain. There are, however, a few original houses with interesting artwork on their fronts and the small synagogue. After the adoption of Christianity as the state religion, Falashas had their land confiscated for refusing to convert. To survive, many became skilled craftspeople. Research suggests Falashas may have provided the labor for the construction and decoration of Gonder’s castles. Sadly, the pottery for which they were once famous has mostly degenerated into half-hearted art. Project Ploughshare Women’s Crafts Training Center is helping disadvantaged women rekindle this craft, along with traditional Amhara weaving and basketry. You can watch the women working Monday to Saturday and buy the high-quality pottery every day. At the end of the tour, transfer to Goha Hotel where you will stay for one night.
At 7:30 am, you will be collected from your hotel by a Travel Ethiopia representative, and transferred to the airport to catch your flight to Axum. Axum is a town of Legends offering a glimpse to a truly remarkable past. It is littered with the ruins of palaces, underground tombs, mysterious monolithic stelae carved from single piece of granite and many historical relics. The founding of the Empire of Axum in the 5th century BC is often taken as the starting point of the Ethiopian civilization. The kingdom maintained trading relations with the Greek-Roman world, India and China during its most prosperous times.
The legends narrated in the Kebre Nagast “Book of Kings” recount how the city of Axum as early as the 10th century B.C was the city in which the Queen of Sheba resided. It is recounted that the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon brought the Ark of the Covenant to Axum and it remains there to this day, preserved in a sanctuary. Famous long before the time of Christ, Axum was the capital of the long Axumite reign, one of the oldest African empires, and represented a crucial connecting-point between Africa and Asia for almost a thousand years. A visit is organized to the steles, granite monoliths dating from pre-Christian times and decorated with symbolic engravings, and other archeological sites. There is also a visit to the church of Santa Maria of Zion, which contains the crowns of Ethiopian kings and other treasures. At the end of the tour, you will be transferred to Yared Zema Hotel where you will stay for one night.
At 9:20 am, you will be collected from your hotel by a Travel Ethiopia representative, and transferred to the airport for your flight to Lalibela. Known as ‘Africa’s Petra,’ Lalibela the jewel in the crown of Ethiopia, the home of the most famous rock-hewn churches, called the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, and the scene of so many major religious ceremonies. Following the tragic decline of the Axumite Empire, the Ethiopian rulers retreated to the towering escarpment of the central highlands, where in the natural protection of the formidable topographic sculptures, they could begin to rebuild. Growing ever suspicious of the outside world and those who sought to question their faith, the people of Lalibela effectively removed themselves from the external society, safe within their highland confines.
Upon arrival you will be taken on a tour to visit the Nakute Le’Abe monastery, 6km from Lalibela. The monastery is named after it constructor King Nakuto Leab who abdicated his throne in 1270 AD, and went to a cave to lead a hermit’s life. This cave has since become a monastery, and consists of a relatively simple church built around several holy pools which are fed by natural springs. The church has many treasures, some of which are claimed to have belonged Nakuto Leab himself.
After lunch you will visit the 1st group of the rock hewn churches, exceptional for three main reasons: their artistic refinement, their sophisticated construction, and the number found within such a small area. After exploring the city itself, head to the Mountain View Hotel where you will stay for two nights.
Lalibela has drawn Western visitors since the 16th century. It is hidden high in the Ethiopian highlands, and the journey is long and arduous for the thousands of pilgrims who travel there on foot. Cradle of the Zagwe dynasty in the 12th and 13th centuries, Lalibela was once the country’s capital and the home of kings. According to local tradition, the town’s ruler and namesake, King Lalibela, was briefly forced into exile to Jerusalem by his evil, usurping brother. Amazed by the churches there, Lalibela vowed to build a holy city on African soil upon his return to his homeland.
Lalibela’s unique appeal also lies in its timeless continuity. Monks and deacons, traditionally robed, glide along the candlelit passageways and tunnels that connect the medieval churches, and the sound of chanting still rises from the hidden crypts and grottoes. The deep, cool recesses of the extraordinary church interiors are filled with the heady fragrance of incense and burning beeswax candles.
Continue to visit the rock-hewn churches. The most majestic and best preserved of all Lalibela’s churches which you will see is Bete Amanuel, a 36-foot-high monolith one of the finest and most precisely worked churches in Lalibela, possibly because it was the private church of the royal family. Bete Markorios a cave church originally used for secular purposes and thought to be around 1,400 years old and Bete Giorgis the most majestic and best preserved of all Lalibela’s churches.
At 8:20 am, you will be collected from your hotel by a Travel Ethiopia representative, and transferred to the airport for the scheduled flight to Addis Ababa. Upon arrival, after collecting your luggage, proceed to the exit where you will be met by a Travel Ethiopia representative, and taken on a city tour of Addis. Begin with a drive to Mount Entoto. A sacred mountain with many monasteries, this is the historical place where Emperor Menelik II resided and built his palace, when he came from Ankober and founded Addis Ababa. At an altitude between 2,600 and 3,100 meters, you will have a magnificent view of the city.
Drive to the National Museum, which houses the nation’s artistic treasures, as well as many of the most precious archaeological finds, such as the fossilized remains of early hominids, the most famous of which is “Lucy,” the partial skeleton of a specimen of Australopithecus afarensis. The well-known Lucy is said to be 3.2 million years old. Continue to Trinity Cathedral Church, the highest ranking Orthodox cathedral in Addis Ababa. It was built to commemorate Ethiopia’s liberation from Italian occupation and is the second most important place of worship in Ethiopia, after the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Axum.
Later transfer to the airport for your departure flight. PLEASE CHECK IN FOR YOUR ONWARD FLIGHT ONLINE, otherwise you will have to be at the airport 3 hours prior to departure. If you check in online, you only have to be there one hour before the flight, which will allow you more time to sightsee.