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South African Tour

Arts & Culture Tour : 11 to 27 April, 2015

With 5 day Cape Town extension!

There is still space on this tour! Contact me for details.

itin-welcome-photo-.jpg I’m delighted to offer my third tour of South Africa in April 2015. Join me on a 17-day journey to my homeland for a personal journey designed to immerse you in a South African experience.

 We’ll travel in cities, small towns and rural areas where we get off the beaten track to meet local people. Starting in Johannesburg, we’ll head north through the provinces of Gauteng and Limpopo then south and east through Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal, ending the tour in Durban. Along the way we will experience spectacular natural beauties, discover something of the Venda, Tsonga, Shangaan, Zulu and San cultures, visit wildlife preserves, tribal villages, artist's studios, and the famous township of Soweto and Nelson Mandela’s house. Travel is in a comfortable touring coach. A highly experienced, registered South African Tour Guide accompanies us and will teach us a great deal about this diverse and complex country. Often we’ll hire specialist site guides who enrich our experiences.map-2015-tour.jpg



We’ve carefully selected cultural encounters where you’ll learn about traditional and contemporary arts and crafts - embroidery collectives, an Artist’s Print Shop, extraordinary ceramic studios, fine beaders, wood carvers, basket weavers, potters and quilt artists. The creativity of South African artists teaches much about the spirit of this land, and meeting them is one of the richest aspects of our tour. Many of the groups and individuals we’ll meet are award-winning. We'll chat with artists in their studios and visit self-help projects creating innovative textiles, jewelry and other amazing articles that often combine traditional skills with contemporary style. We’ll also visit fascinating galleries and museums, some privately owned, with remarkable collections.

Essential to South Africa is visiting one of its amazing wildlife reserves. We’ll stay 3 nights at the gateway itin-elephants.jpgto Kruger National Park, the premier wildlife reserve. Here, we’ll have 2 full days of safari drives in search of The Big Five; rhino, lion, leopard buffalo and elephant. We’ll relish the incomparable silence of African bushveld and enjoy abundant bird, antelope and plant life. Later, in the splendid Drakensberg Mountain range, we’ll visit a UNESCO World Heritage site and hike to see an extraordinary display of San-Bushman rock art in it’s natural setting.

We’ll stay in hotels and lodges carefully chosen to add to your South African experience. Along the way we’ll seek out ancient baobab trees, wander around open markets, enjoy the music, dancing, the people, African fabrics, great shopping opportunities and much more. South Africa's famous, fine cuisine and hospitality will enchant you.

Quotes from past participants:

  • A marvellous, magical tour. It had so many parts to it - culture, wildlife, people, landscapes, and of course SHOPPING! I don't know how it, or our group and leaders, could have been any better!
  • Great value, we got far more than we anticipated.
  • Trip of a life time!
  • A life-changing, outstanding trip!!
  • We are most grateful for the magical tour you led for all of us. Great value.
  • I liked meeing the people in the villages and out of the way places. So many great moments.
  • This trip was a dream come true. I found it to be all so friendly and warm. I enjoyed every minute of it.

This tour is open to anyone interested in a diverse arts and cultural experience of South Africa. The tour is sprinkled with plenty of textile opportunities, but it's not essential to be a textile person to love it. The weather will be mild, as this is the tail-end of summer in the southern hemisphere. Travel in South Africa is comfortable, roads are generally good, hotels world class and the water safe to drink.The exchange rate is favourable and ATM machines are plentiful. Prices and all details are listed below. Please email Val for the Registration form, which has full details. Previous tours have filled quickly. All photos and quotes are from our previous tours to South Africa. DEADLINE TO REGISTER IS NOVEMBER 9th 2014

References from previous participants are available on request.

Organizers: Val Hearder and Odette Tolksdorf 

Val was born and raised in Durban, South Africa, and has lived in Canada since 1975. Val is a quilt-maker, author, teacher and tour leader and lives in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. Her husband Veryan Haysom will accompany her on the tour. www.valeriehearder.com

Odette lives in Durban and is a noted South African quilt artist and experienced Tour Operator. Odette plans the logistics in South Africa with the finest attention to detail.






Jean Moore, our 2013 & 2014 South African Tour Guide with Veryan and Val.


Itinerary: 11 - 27 April 2015margaret-with-mapula.jpg


DAY 1   Saturday 11 APRIL             Johannesburg   

Arrive at O.R.Tambo International Airport and stay at a hotel in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs. In the evening enjoy a fabulous Welcome Dinner at one of Johannesburg's fine restaurants.


DAY 2   Sunday 12 APRIL              Johannesburg, Gauteng Province.

Today we explore parts of the bustling metropolis of Johannesburg and visit The Constitutional Court Art Collection, a world-class museum, to learn about South African history through the power of art. Soweto is a household name and our tour includes Nelson Mandela's first humble home in Soweto with a local lunch in Soweto. Afterwards, we visit one of Johannesburg's leading art and craft galleries.


DAY 3   Monday 13 APRIL            Pretoria, Gauteng Province.     

The Winterveldt is a rural area north of Pretoria where we’ll visit women from the remarkable Mapula Embroidery Group whose brightly coloured, and highly collectible embroideries tell stories of their lives and make social commentary on contemporary society. We'll visit the makers, learn about this 20 year old project and have an opportunity titin-mapula-banner.jpgo purchase their tapestries. Our day concludes with a visit to an artist’s studio.


DAY 4   Tuesday 14 APRIL           Soutpansberg,Limpopo Province.

Our destination today is Makhado (Louis Trichardt). We visit a fascinating location, Madia Thavha that has a Design Studio, Gallery and Museum of Venda, Tsonga and Northern Sotho art and artifacts. This Fair Trade in Tourism establishment is very involved in the local community and is situated in the picturesque Soutpansberg Mountains.  


 DAY 5    Wednesday 15 APRIL     Makhado, Elim, Limpopo Province.   itin-limpopo.jpg

Limpopo is home to many Shangaan, Tsonga and Venda artists and crafters in traditional, rural villages. Today we’ll visit some of their potery and woodcarving workshops with our guide. We also meet the women of Twananani Textile who use beading and embroidery to create décor and fashion items. We visit open air markets and projects that provide economic empowerment for women in a region of high unemployment.


 DAY 6   Thursday 16 APRIL        Letsitele, Tzaneen, Limpopo Province.  

Visit Kaross a highly successful hand embroidery enterprise started in 1989 by artist Irma van Rooyen and now veggie-market-sa.jpgproviding an income to over 700 people - a remarkable achievement. Kaross creates hand embroidered tapestries, art pieces, décor and fashion items. It's known for excellent quality and creative design that draws on the design idiom of the Tsonga tribe. Our next stop takes us to another textile project merging eclectic design, detailed craftsmanship, fine textiles and embellishments and providing employment for women in this remote area. Along the way we’ll be awed by some ancient baobab trees in their natural environment.  



DAY 7   Friday 17 APRIL         Blyde River Panorama Route, Mpumalanga.  

Drive along the spectacular scenery and breath-taking views of the Blyde River Panorama Route. We stop for a walk around charming Graskop, a small town with interesting galleries, shops and restaurants. Continue to our accommodation for the next three days,close to the entrance of itin-baobab.jpgthe Kruger National Park, on the banks of the Sabie River.



DAY 8  Saturday 18 APRIL           Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga.   

Experience the essence of Africa. We’ll visit the finest wild life preserve in Southern Africa, the Kruger National Park. Have your camera geared up for adventure, thrills and delights during two full day safari wild life drives in open safari vehicles. We'll be looking for Africa’s Big Fiveand other fauna and flora in the bushveld and will enjoy thrilling photo opportunities.    giraffe-drinking.-074.jpg


DAY 9   Sunday 19 APRIL           Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga. 


DAY 10   Monday 20 APRIL         White River, Nelspruit, KwaZulu Natal. 

Visit The Artists' Press where master printer Mark Attwood uses a variety of art printing processes to produce prints for well-known South African artists. We also meet Tamar Mason who works in various media including large embroidered textile pieces and clay sculpture. Their studio is situated in a beautiful location. After lunch we take a one-hour flight from Nelspruit to Durban’s King Shaka Airport and continue our journey in KwaZulu Natal. We’ll overnight in the small town of Ballito next to the thundering Indian Ocean.


DAY 11   Tuesday 21 APRIL        Ballito, Eshowe, KwaZulu Natal.  

After a morning stroll on the beach and a dip in the tidal pool, our coach will drive us to Eshowe for lunch. Here we'll visit the noted Vukani Zulu Cultural Museum and its julie-with-pot.jpgimportant collection of Zulu baskets. Next, we step into the historic world of the old Zulu kingdom as re-enacted by the members of the village of Shakaland. We’ll overnight in comfortable Zulu beehive huts (with all the mod cons) and enjoy a feast of local dishes and exuberant Zulu dancing. Our whole day will be steeped in learning about Zulu culture.


DAY 12   Wednesday 22 APRIL    Eshowe, Rorke's Drift, KwaZulu Natal.                         

We’ll drive through rural Zululand to Rorke’s Drift to visit the ELC Art and Craft Centre. It is one of the oldest Art training centres in South Africa, famous for it’s wool tapestry rugs, hand printed fabrics and pottery. We’ll visit the weaving studio to meet the weavers.This is the site of a famous 1879 Anglo-Zulu battle. We overnight at Fugitives Drift in a stunning lodge steeped in history. Enjoy the special silence of deep bushveld.



DAY 13   Thursday 23 APRIL      Rorkes Drift, Drakensberg, KwaZulu Natal.drakensberg-houses-mts..jpg

Our drive today takes us into the majestic splendor of the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Mountains, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we’ll have a relaxing afternoon with time to slow down and breath fresh mountain air.  Optional walks with guides. Our accommodation is set in the stunning beauty of the Drakensberg Mountains.



DAY 14   Friday 24 APRIL             Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, KwaZulu Natal.itin-drakensberg-rock-walk.jpg    

Our second day in the Drakensberg includes a walk along the grassy plateaus and valleys offering glorious mountain scenes. We’ll expereince the thrill of viewing ancient rock paintings, some of the finest examples of pre-historic San/Bushman rock art.



DAY 15   Saturday 25 APRIL         Drakensberg, Caversham, Pietermaritzburg, Durban, KwaZulu Natal.  

From the Drakensberg we drive through the soft rolling hills of the Natal midlands to the renowned Ardmore Ceramic Studio. Their flamboyant ceramics depict African scenes that intrigue collectors from all over the world. After a brief stop at the Mandela Capture Site Monument, we head to Pietermaritzburg to visit some leading textile artists who will discuss their innovative work. Our final stop today is Durban and our delightful botique hotel.



DAY 16   Sunday 26 APRIL           Durban, KwaZulu Natal.  

We visit the inspiring Hillcrest AIDS Centre to learn about the multi-faceted projects they’re involved in including their fine contemporary Zulu beadwork. Next we visit the extraordinary Phansi Museum  a fascinating private collection of Southern African arts, crafts, artifacts, and traditional costumes exhibited in a restored Victorian mansion. After a picnic in Durban’s lush Botanical Gardens, we have a free afternoon. Our Farewell Dinner tonight will be a special celebration of our South African journey.



DAY 17   Monday 27 APRIL         DEPARTURE DAY   Durban, KwaZuluNatal.

Transfer to Durban’s King Shaka International Airport for your flight home. OR to Cape town for a 4 day add-on tour.



Visiting Cape Town is an unforgettable experience. The add-on is being offered specially to our tour group members by our colleagues in Cape Town. This is separate from the Val Hearder Tour. Bookings and payment arrangements will be made between you and the Cape Town based Tour Operator. You can fly back home directly from Cape  Town. SEE DETAILS OF CAPE ADD-ON BELOW.


PRICE & DETAILS itin-shcool-children.jpg

Price of Tour:                             $5,990.00 (Canadian dollars)

Number of participants: 15 minimum and 25 maximum. A deposit of $800 with your Registration Form will secure your place. The Registration form has full details.



·         All accommodation (16 nights).

·         All meals except 2 dinners and 3 lunches.

·         Airport transfers.

·         Land transport in air-conditioned touring coach.

·         Tips for meals and luggage handling.

·         Wildlife viewing in safari vehicles.

·         Registered South African tour guide throughout the tour.

·         Specialist on-site guides.

·         Admission fees.



·         Round trip airfare to South Africa.

·         The internal flight from Nelspruit to Durban.

·         Meals not specified in the itinerary (2 dinners and 3 lunches).

·         Travel insurance. Airport Taxes.

·         Tip for bus driver and tour guide.

·         Personal expenses and self-selected activities.


Email Val for the detailed Registration Form. Once your deposit is paid and you’re registered, you’ll receive updates with advice on travel, health, and packing tips. You’ll be advised of the deadline to pay the balance of the trip and when to book the internal flight.


All participants will make their own travel arrangements. The round trip from Canada to South Africa costs about $1,500 to $2,000 including taxes. The internal flight will cost about $250. A travel agent can look after travel, or you can use airmile points, or search the Internet for flights. Check www.flysaa.com and http://www.southafrica.info/travel/advice/flights.htm



  27 April to 1st May 2015

 Tour provided by Select Destination: Luxury Travel Concepts.




 Day 1:


 Arrival Cape Town

 Arrival at Cape Town Airport, where you will be met by your tour guide and driver. Road transfer to your hotel and time to freshen up (check-in from 14h00). In the afternoon you are welcome to browse the shops and food markets of the Waterfront or weather dependent enjoy a boat cruise from the harbor. Dinner at a restaurant of your choice.

Overnight Victoria & Alfred Hotel.



 Day 2:




 Cape Town

Discover Cape Town and surrounds. A full day tour of the Cape Peninsula incorporating essential panoramic sightseeing as well as some fabulous and inspiring art and craftwork studios and shops in the Constantia Wine Valley.

Overnight Victoria & Alfred Hotel.




 Day 3:


 Cape Town

Discover Cape Town and surrounds. The Cape Winelands with the little towns of Franschhoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch are home to a range of scenic wine estates and classic as well as contemporary displays of art.

 Overnight Victoria & Alfred Hotel.



 Day 4:


 Cape Town

 After breakfast your guide will escort you on a walk around the colorful Bo-Kaap neighborhood and the vibrant inner city of Cape Town.

The afternoon is at leisure to either head up Table Mountain (weather permitting) or Lions Head. In the evening enjoy dinner at a classic Waterfront restaurant.

 Overnight Victoria & Alfred Hotel.



 Day 5:


 Cape Town – Departure

 Check-out by latest 11h00 and road transfer (one transfer for all guests) back to Cape Town airport for your international departure. Should you wish to have a separate transfer arranged a surcharge will apply.


Date of Travel


Room Type


Meal Plan

In: 27.04.2015

Out: 01.05.2015

Victoria & Alfred Hotel

4 x Loft Room

Cape Town



Costing Quoted in South African Rands



Per person sharing

Cape Town

ZAR 10 920,00


Single Supplement


Cape Town

ZAR 6 120,00

Included in the above cost:

-        Meet and Greet at Cape Town Airport

-        Return road transfer with driver and guide Cape Town Airport – Victoria & Alfred Hotel

-        Days 2 & 3: full day touring service (8 hours) with driver and guide (excluding entrance fees, meals, 

     gratuities, drinks)

-        Day 4: half day touring service (4 hours) with driver and guide (excluding entrance fees, meals, gratuities,


-        Overnights and breakfast

-        1 x 3 Course plated set dinner at Waterfront Restaurant (excluding drinks & gratuities)

-        Porterage at Cape Town airport and Cape Cadogan

 Not included in the above cost:

-        Any other services, meals, taxes, drinks, tips, transfers

 -        Any other services not mentioned above.