Visit Mauritius, South Africa and India on this multi-centre holiday that combines Africa and Asia. Start in India, where you’ll take a train from Delhi into the cool northern mountains. Marvel at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, spot fluttering prayer flags above the mountains in Dharamasala and ride the famous toy train in Shimla. Next, fly to Mauritius, for a well-earned beach break. Think white sands, rum cocktails and lush peaks – this is paradise. Fly over to Johannesburg to finish your trip on a malaria-free safari; look for wild dogs in the vast bushland of Madikwe and watch giraffes graze on the treetops in Pilanesburg National Park. This is a fantastic trip across two continents.
This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements; please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.
Depart the UK from your chosen airport.
On arrival in Delhi, you will be met and taken to your hotel, where you will check in for one night.
Board the early morning express train to Amritsar today; this journey takes around 6 hours as it winds north-west into the heart of the Punjab. On arrival in the city, you will be met and transferred to your hotel where you will check in for 2 nights.
You will spend the rest of the afternoon taking a guided tour of the Golden Temple, the heart of the city and home to the Sikh religion. The complex was built in the 16th Century; aside from the temple itself, there is an emerald moat surrounding it (‘Pool of Nectar’), a kitchen and dining room that feeds between 60,000 – 80,000 pilgrims per day, and a place where those pilgrims can stay as well as areas that refer to previous gurus and their legend. The Sikh holy book moves from its place of rest to an area where it is read from throughout the day; this ceremony happens twice daily and is great to see.
The morning is free for further exploration; get lost in the maze of alleys outside of the temple or return for sunrise. There are several other temples in the city worth a visit too. In the afternoon, you’ll join a tour to the Wagah Border between India and Pakistan to watch the lowering of the flags in a ceremony full of show with lots of noise and spectators.
Today, you will set off with your driver across a spur of the mighty Dhauladar Mountain Range; through forests of pine, beautiful hills and tea gardens, this journey takes you north-east to Dharamsala, the residence of the Dalai Lama in exhile. The journey takes around 3 ½ hours and takes you through some stunning scenery – enjoy the ride into the foothills of the Himalayas.
This morning you will take a tour to Upper Dharamsala – to McLeod Ganj, home to the HQ of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The area has become a centre for studying Buddhism and Tibetan culture and has an interesting mix of Tibetans, travellers, monks and volunteers. Make sure you take an umbrella if you’re there in monsoon (June-Aug), and have plenty of layers to hand from Nov-March when the temperatures drop.
The trip continues today – you will be driven 4½ hours south-east to the hill station of Shimla. This is the most famous of all the hill stations, as it was made very popular by the British in the 19th Century as the summer capital of India.
After breakfast, enjoy a guided tour of the area, where you can choose to take the car or walk part or most of the way. The tour covers the Jakhu temple, the Mall, the Viceregal Lodge via the Museum, Oberoi Cecil and a bird sanctuary.
Enjoy a ride on the famous ‘toy train’ through stunning mountain scenery along the narrow gauge line from Shimla to Kalka. Connect with the Himalayan Queen service from Kalka back to Delhi for your final night – you will be transferred from the station to your hotel.
After breakfast, you’ll be met and taken to the airport for your flight to Mauritius. On arrival, you will be met at the airport and driven to your hotel, where you will check in for five nights.
Your first two days in Mauritius are yours to spend at leisure, from strolling along the dreamy Indian Ocean shores to enjoying some downtime by the pool. Finish each day with a bowl of fresh local seafood and a glass of wine as you watch the sunset - these few days are purely for relaxation before getting out and exploring the island later in your trip.
After breakfast, you’ll embark on a full-day tour of the island. First, you’ll climb to the Trou Aux Cerfs volcano crater, before visiting at the Grand Bassin; a place of worship for Mauritian Hindus, who consider the lake an extension of the Ganges.
Next, you’ll visit the pretty waterfalls and lush mountains of the Black River Gorges National Park where you’ll discover an amazing variety of indigenous plants and birds. After lunch at the Avalon Estate, you’ll visit the Rhumerie de Chamarel where you can see how rum is made from yellow and red Mauritian sugar cane that thrives in the hills. Nearby you’ll stop in to see the ‘Coloured Earth of Chamarel’, where basaltic lava has turned into red, violet, pink and purple dunes – a must-see for any visitor to Mauritius. In the afternoon, you’ll return to the hotel.
Today you’ll go on a half-day hike through the Frederica Nature Reserve. You’ll trek from the Frederica Old Chimney through the river reserve until you come to a waterfall where you can dive into the pool below and enjoy the cooling waters of this natural wonder! We’ve included lunch after your hike, then you’ll return to the hotel and the rest of the day at leisure.
After breakfast, you will be driven back to the airport in time for your flight to Johannesburg. On arrival in South Africa, you will pick up your rental car before driving to your hotel in Johannesburg, where you will stay for one night.
Spend the morning in Johannesburg where you can explore at your leisure or we can book a tour for you exploring the township of Soweto. Here you can see Africa’s largest hospital, the Hector Pieterson Memorial and the street where both Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu have lived.
In the afternoon you’ll drive an hour to the Cradle of Humankind, just north of Johannesburg, where you’ll check into your hotel for two nights.
The Cradle of Humankind is an anthropological site, where the bones of ancient hominins have been found, from the famous skull, nicknamed “Mrs Ples” and the 15 skeletons found in the Rising Star Cave. The name is due to these fossils being some of the oldest hominin bones ever found, some over 3.5 million years old. Spend the day exploring the site – you can learn about the caves and their contents as well as learning about your early ancestors. It is a fascinating place to spend the day and will give you a glimpse into a time when apes and humans were starting to become individual species.
If you want to add a tour or a hot air balloon ride we can arrange this for you – just ask!
After breakfast, you’ll drive towards Pilanesberg National Park, where you’ll check into your lodge for two nights. The malaria-free Pilanesberg is home to the Big 5 and a great place to enjoy some of South Africa’s famous wildlife close to Johannesburg. This afternoon you’ll enjoy a game drive, looking out for elephants and antelope as they make their way to the waterholes for a drink in the heat. Enjoy dinner at the lodge in the evening before heading to bed, ready for the day looking for wildlife tomorrow.
Head off early for another drive through the bush, where you might spot nocturnal creatures like pangolins and porcupines returning home in the morning light as well as giraffes and zebras waking up to a new day. Spend a couple of hours enjoying the park before spending the rest of the morning at the lodge, enjoying the pool and relaxing in the beautiful surroundings. Embark on another game drive this afternoon where you can keep an eye out for hippos fighting in the river and cheetah cubs playing in the tall grasses.
Today you’ll drive even further north towards the Botswanan border to visit the Madikwe Game Reserve, a small area where a huge range of wildlife makes its home. Check into your lodge for two nights and enjoy an evening game drive through the bush as the sun sets before tucking into dinner underneath the treetops.
Today, you’ll spend time exploring the reserve with a morning and evening game drives, looking out for zebras grazing in the bushveld and leopards lazing in the acacia trees. Madikwe is famous for its resident packs of wild dogs and you’ve got a good chance of spotting these endangered creatures on your drive, as well as hippos cooling off in the river and lions sunbathing on the huge rocks. In the evening each out for caracals as they wake up to go hunting and warthogs as they retreat to safety in their burrows.
After an early morning wakeup call you’ll take one final exciting game drive through the bush before driving back to Johannesburg, where you’ll check into your hotel for one night. Why not head to Wombles for a steak to enjoy your final night in South Africa.
Today is your last day in South Africa, return your car hire to the airport in time to catch your onwards flight.
India’s summer kicks in from February onwards, often reaching and exceeding 40 degrees Celcius around April. This can be an ideal time to escape to the hill stations where you will find cooler air! The monsoon season arrives in the North around July to September/October time. November to February is considered ‘winter’ and this is often the best time to visit weather-wise – comfortable temperatures and clear skies. It will be cooler in the mountains of the North during this time so pack a jumper! This is peak tourist time though so beware that hotels and trains will be particularly busy, especially around holiday time when Indian’s travel domestically too.
Mauritius has a mild tropical climate all year round, with not much variation in temperature. November to April is generally a little more humid with June to September being slightly cooler. The higher you climb into the lush plateau of the island, the cooler it will become, but around the beaches, you can usually expect warm and sunny weather.
The climate is mild year round, however there are ‘seasons’ you may want consider when planning your trip along the Garden Route. They tend to experience rainfall during the winter months (June to August) when it tends to be greener all round. The rains come in with a cooler air, last maybe a day or two and are then usually followed by champagne days’ of crystal clear air, blue skies and brilliant colours!
The summer months (November to February) are usually warm or hot, and during December to January the surf is often at its best due to the south easterly winds.