9 Nights, 10 Days
Mandela - In the Footsteps of a Giant
Nelson Rolihlahla* Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in a countryside of waving grass covered rolling hills, in a tiny village, Mvezo, situated on the banks of the Mbashe River near Mthatha in the then Transkei. Mandela spent his childhood amongst the colorfully painted thatched Rondavels of the village in this vast landscape home to the Xhosa nation.
Nelson Mandela is an International icon for the struggle for freedom and equality, for forgiveness, peace and understanding and a Nobel Peace prize laureate.
Together with others he was incarcerated in prison for 27 years. Released by the South African government he went on to become the first democratically elected president of the Republic of South Africa.
This tour is a story, a story of the life and times of this world Icon.
Nelson Rolihlahla* Mandela
* "Pulling the branch of a tree"
Read more about Nelson Mandela at the end of the itinerary.
Please note: For the sake of convenience this tour can be divided into 3 seperate tours.
For more information please contact us on the details supplied on our contact page.
Day 1, Night 1
East London, Mvezo and Wild Coast
Meet and greet at the airport in East London or your place of residence at 8:30 am by Alan Tours where we board the tour vehicle and depart for our first stop Mvezo in the Transkei, the birthplace of Nelson Mandela.
We stop for lunch on the road and on arrival at Mvezo we’re taking a guided tour of the village where this icon of humanity was born.
Leaving Mvezo, we depart for the coast where we check into a country hotel reminiscent of the earlier colonial era part owned by the local community.
Overnight hotel on the Wild Coast, full board
Day 2, Night 2
The Wild Coast
Leisurely wake up for breakfast and a day of leisure on this picturesque coast, we set off across the Mbashe River by canoe for the remote beauty of the Dwesa nature reserve. Here we walk along the deserted beaches, look for seashells and keep an eye out for the southernmost Nile crocodiles in Africa, Buffalo, Zebra as well as the many species of antelope that inhabit the grass plains above the shore. Swim in protected pools and keep a watch for birdlife, seasonal whales and resident dolphins along this rugged shore line. We discover unusual rock formations, bleached whalebones and ancient Khoikhoi middens overlooking a rusted wreck lying under the blue Indian Ocean.
Overnight hotel on the Wild Coast, full board
Day 3, Night 3
The Wild Coast, Qunu, Mthatha, Ngcobo to Fort Beaufort
After an early breakfast, we leave the Wild Coast and rise up onto the grassland plateau where we stop at the picturesque setting of rural Qunu, the village where Mandela grew up as a herd boy. Madiba (his clan name) himself explains “it was here in Qunu where I spent the happiest times of my childhood.”
We visit the modern museum, dedicated to Nelson Mandela overlooking the valleys where the young man spent time herding the family cattle before we continue the short distance into the bustling centre of Mthatha and the Bhungu Mandela Museum in the centre of the town.
After a tour of the museum, we depart for Ngcobo the village where he went to the Clarkebury boarding institute a Europocentric mission school. We continue from Ngcobo to overnight in a mountain lodge in the Amatole mountains close to Healdtown where Mandela matriculated at the Healdtown Methodist Boarding school.
Overnight Mountain lodge / guesthouse or similar, B & B, lunch, dinner
Day 4, Night 4
Fort Beaufort, Healdtown to Alice, Fort Hare and Port Elizabeth:
Here we follow the life of the young man as he makes his own personal journey.
Early wake up for breakfast, check out and depart for Healdtown a short distance from Fort Beaufort where we look around the school where Mandela attained his high school education. Leaving Healdtown we continue through this spectacular part of the Eastern Cape to the town of Alice and the University of Fort Hare, one of the enlightened multi-cultural universities open to black students during the draconian Apartheid era. African leaders such as Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe were amongst many others who studied here. Nelson Mandela began his studies as a Bachelor of Arts student. Elected to the Student Representative Council (SRC) at Fort Hare, dissatisfied with the poor food and low polls Mandela resigns in protest. He is allowed to re-consider his decision by the rector while his mentor and Thembu Regent, King Dalindyebo insist that he should go back. Justice, the king’s son and Mandela’s cousin and himself refuse; steal a cow from the regent’s herd, the sale of which is used to finance a trip to Johannesburg. They lie to a magistrate about the reason to travel to Johannesburg and successfully get the documents and move to this city of promise.
We tour the university campus, the Old Fort that gave the university its name and view the Colonial graveyard in the campus grounds before departing for the nearby centre of King Williamstown, the historic centre of the province of Queen Adelaide of the colonial era. It is also birth place of another South African Anti-apartheid activist, and struggle icon, Steve Bantu Biko, who founded the Black consciousness movement and died at the age of thirty at the brutal hands of the apartheid security forces in 1977. Here we visit the house of his birth and the memorial erected in his honour.
We have lunch here before departing through a local game reserve to Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth where we check into our accommodation an evening meal and a good night’s rest on the completion of this the first leg of the Mandela tour.
Overnight Guesthouse Port Elizabeth, lunch, dinner, B & B
Day 5, Night 5Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg
Work and Activisms
An early wake up before breakfast a transfer to the airport before our flight to Johannesburg.
On arrival we pick up our tour vehicle, transfer to Guesthouse, check in, meet our local tour guide and depart on the Johannesburg leg of the tour.
We depart for Mandela’s first permanent home in this the “City of Gold” or Egoli as it is fondly known. He was able to rent a room in a room in the Xhoma’s family home in "Dark City" in Alexandra Township or Alex as it is known. It was named for its absence of electricity in this the poorest section of the bustling township.
After the township tou, we stop at an African cuisine restaurant for the evening meal before returning to our accommodation and a good night’s rest.
Overnight Guesthouse Johannesburg, lunch, dinner, B & B
Day 6, Night 6
Activism, Capture and Incarceration
We wake for breakfast at leisure before meeting our guide to board our tour vehicle and depart for the sprawling township of Soweto (or South Western Townships) and the suburb of Orlando West. We enter Vilakazi Street where we find the former home of Nelson Mandela which now hosts the Mandela family Museum at number 8115 Vilakazi on the corner with Ngakane streets where he lived from 1946 to 1962 while practicing law. This house is just a short distance up the road from Tutu House, the former home of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
Both Mandela and Bishop Tutu are recipients of the coveted Nobel Peace prize.
The township of Orlando was directly involved in some of the most important events of the struggle against the apartheid system and set the scene for some of the most dramatic clashes between the South African police and anti-apartheid demonstrators including the 1976 Soweto student uprising where 12-year-old Hector Pieterson was shot and killed. The Hector Pieterson Memorial Museum was established at 8287 Khumalo Street close to Vilakazi Street to commemorate those events. Visit Freedom Square and Freedom Charter Memorial.
We take lunch in a tavern in Soweto before leaving to visit Chancellor House in Fox street in down town Johannesburg where Mandela and Oliver Tambo opened the first Black owned law firm in South Africa. Then on to the Drill Hall on Twist street where the preliminary hearing was held in the 1956 treason trial when 156 people were arrested on charges of treason to the state. This building has recently been renovated, on to the Old Fort prison in which Nelson Mandela was incarcerated after the treason trial. We continue to Rivonia and the safe house at Lilliesleaf farm owned by Arthur Goldreich where the senior members of the African National Congress and leadership of Umkhonto we Sizwe were capture, later incarcerated to stand trial at what became known as the Rivonia Treason Trial.
Overnight Guesthouse Johannesburg, lunch, dinner, B & B
Day 7, Night 7
Johannesburg to Cape Town
We take our breakfast and check out before departing for the Apartheid museum at the Gold Reef City casino complex where we embark on a guided tour of this auspicious but fascinating account of the dark days of systematic apartheid. Leaving the museum we continue to the airport for our flight to the Mother City of Cape Town, the first city of South Africa.
On arrival, we pick up our tour vehicle and make our way to our overnight accommodation, check in and depending on the time of day and the weather, we either take the cable car up the imposing Sand stone massif of Table Mountain as it guards the city of Cape Town in a bowl shaped depression at its base. Should we not be able to do Table Mountain we will embark on a sightseeing tour of the Cape Peninsula to Cape Point and return by Simonstown and Boulders Beach.
We overnight in a local guesthouse or similar on a bed and breakfast basis, evening meal to be taken in one of a wide choice of world class restaurants.
Overnight guesthouse/hotel Cape Town, lunch, dinner, B & B
Day 8, Night 8
Incarceration and release
Early wake up for breakfast before departing for the Victoria and Albert Waterfront where we make our way to the quayside to catch the ferry to Robben Island the notorious island prison used to incarcerate a long litany of political prisoners from those who opposed the shackles of early colonialism and the dispossession of their land to those who fought against the inequalities of the brutal apartheid regime. Here we join a guided tour of the austere prison and the facilities that held Nelson Mandela for many years.
We return to the Waterfront for a well prepared lunch at one of the many world class restaurants lining the quayside of this working harbour.
After lunch, we drive to the leafy southern suburbs past the imposing walls and barbed wire of Pollsmoor Prison nestled as it is amongst some of the finest vineyards in the world and once home to Mandela before he was transferred to his final prison cell at the Victor Verster prison on the outskirts of Paarl. Now known as the Drakenstein correctional centre Mandela spent the last three years of his incarceration in a large three bedroomed house before being dramatically released.
After a visit to view the prison, we continue to Franschoek the capital of cuisine in south Africa where we sit down to a stylish evening meal in an award winning restaurant before making our way to our guesthouse set in this timeless valley surrounded by tall mountains, vineyards and forests.
Overnight in guesthouse Franschoek, lunch, dinner, B & B
Day 9, Night 9
Freedom and election as the first democratic President
Leisurely wake up for breakfast in these picturesque settings as we depart through mountain passes via Stellenbosch the second oldest town in South Africa with its Oak tree lined avenues and spectacular architecture.
We arrive back in Cape Town and make our way to the Grand Parade in front of the City hall and the balcony from which Nelson Mandela, only hours after his release from prison, made his first public speech after his release from the Victor Verster prison. It is also the venue from where he addressed South Africa following his election as the first democratically elected president of South Africa on 9 May 1994.
We stop at a well-known restaurant for lunch before continuing to the Houses of Parliament in the centre of the City and finally travelling through the tree lined streets of Cape Town we pass Tuynhuys, the historic home of all of the past and present heads of state of South Africa. We head back to our accommodation to freshen up before taking our meal at one of the many restaurants in the City.
Overnight guesthouse/hotel Cape Town, lunch, dinner, B & B
A leisurely wake up and breakfast as we prepare for a day of relaxation and shopping in the Mother City.
The end of "In the Footsteps of a Giant" tour.
2 persons on tour: R 63 500.00 per person sharing
3-4 persons on tour: R 42 500.00 per person sharing
5-6 persons on tour: R 35 900.00 per person sharing
Minimum 2 persons
Single supplement applies
Rate valid until 31 October 2020
Welcome to Africa
More about Nelson Mandela:
His mother, Nosekeni Fanny, the third wife of Gadla Hendry Mandela, had her kraal of thatched rondavels, her land that she farmed and her livestock that grazed on the communal pastures.
His father, Gadla Henry Mandela, was a chief by both blood and custom. He was confirmed as chief of Mvezo by the king of the Thembu tribe.
The Thembu tribe reaches back for twenty generations to King Zwide. According to tradition, the Thembu people lived in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains and migrated towards the coast in the sixteenth century, where they were incorporated into the Xhosa nation.
The Xhosa are part of the Nguni people who lived, hunted and fished in the rich and temperate south-eastern region of South Africa.
Each Xhosa belongs to a clan that traces its descent back to a specific forefather. Nelson Mandela is a member of the Madiba clan, named after a Thembu chief who rules in the Transkei on the eighteenth century. He is often addressed as Madiba, his clan name, as a sign of respect.
After a dispute with the local magistrate, Mandela’s father was found guilty of insubordination. He was deprived of his chieftainship, losing most of his cattle, land and income. The family moved to Qunu, where Mandela spent his childhood years.
As no one of the family had received formal education, the day that the 7 year old Mandela walked to the single-roomed school on the hill was auspicious. That first day at school Mandela was given the English name Nelson by his teacher.
Mandela’s priority remained his studies. He passed his final examinations he now hold what he had most wanted, a BA, but it still did not seem enough. He enrolled at the University of the Witwaterstrand (Wits in Johannesburg) for a law degree. But if his six years at Wits were to open him up to a new world of ideas and political ideologies, they ended in disappointment when he failed some of his exams. Mandela left Wits without a LLB degree. (He succeeded a few years later).
He married the attractive, quiet Evelyn Mase, who gave birth to two sons, Thembi, Makgatho and a daughter, Makaziwe.
For the moment, Mandela considered himself a nationalist, in the coming years he would be torn between this and the non-racialism being propounded by the Communist Party. In 1944 at the Bantu Men’s Social centre in Johannesburg, with other members of the ANC (African National Congress), the Youth League was born.
Towards the end of the Second World War there were hopes that a more tolerant government might emerge. After all, the Prime Minister, Jan Smuts, had been a co-signatory with the British minister, Winston Churchill, and the United States president, Franklin Roosevelt, of the Atlantic Charter with advocated freedom, democracy and the right of people to self-determination. In August 1946 the biggest strike the country hat yet experienced, 70 000 minders went out on strike for better working conditions and more pay, ended in violence with nine miners died, hundreds wounded and imprisoned.
Mandela remained convinced that Africans had a unique identity and political future. Years later, he would look back on the strike and the campaign as the beginning of a multiracial strategy to defeat what would soon become known as apartheid.
Mandela was a key figure in the Johannesburg ANC office in 1950. In 1952 he experienced his first incarceration. More arrests, with other members from the senior ANC and Indian Congress, had been done through the year. Any jubilation from Mandela and his friends was ended by a six-month banning order.
During that period, Mandela and Oliver Tambo went into legal practice and opened their offices in the Chancellor House. People would walk for miles to admire this now legendary black lawyer.