Meet The Women & Children of South Africa With This Unique Mother’s Day Tour

The Cultural Explorer, a US-based tour operator specialising in cultural and philanthropic travel in South Africa, has announced an exclusive tour “designed to introduce adventurous North American mothers and daughters to the resilient women and children of South Africa.”

The trip, billed as a “celebration of women”, offers an ideal opportunity for mothers and daughters “to spend quality time together while improving the lives of others, seeing spectacular sights, even going out on safari.”

According to Cultural Explorer, travellers will visit innovative organizations that work to improve the education and work skills of disadvantaged women in South Africa, meeting several women along the way who have “made a real difference in their communities”.

Guests will experience gourmet and traditional foods and stay in charming locally owned hotels and B&Bs. They will also visit an exclusive game reserve dedicated to the conservation and preservation of the wildlife and communities around it.

The trip, running from 3 to 17 May (taking in Mother’s Day on 11 May) and from 7 to 21 June, “will change perspectives and lives”.

Tour itinerary

Cultural Explorer travellers will start in Johannesburg, staying at a chic, woman-friendly boutique hotel with an organic cafe and a huge fitness centre right next door.

While in Johannesburg, the group will visit the vibrant townships of Soweto and Alexandra, meeting and sharing experiences with some special township women, and shopping at stores that promote the arts and crafts of disadvantaged women. The city tour will take in the Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill and downtown Joburg.

Then it is off to the majestic Drakensberg Mountains in KwaZulu-Natal, where travellers will stay at a charming resort hotel with magnificant mountain views, a swimming pool and easy access to a variety of walking trails.

While in the Drakensberg, travellers will visit Didima Valley to learn about the San, or Bushmen - the first inhabitants of the area - and view some of their ancient cave and rock paintings.

The highlight, however, will be a get-together with Miss Lillian and her family in a small Zulu village where they survive and thrive with no electricity.

Next up is a quick stop in the coastal city of Durban, staying at an elegant hotel off bustling Florida Street. Then it is off on safari - with a leisurely drive north to a luxury, eco-friendly game reserve where the group will spend two full days observing African wildlife.

During the day travellers will search for cheetahs, lions, elephants, rhinos and giraffes, while at night safari they can enjoy a massage on their private deck listening to the sounds of Africa, or a sundowner with the other guests.

Next is South Africa’s up-market Garden Route, where travellers will stay in the local’s favourite resort town of Knysna, while checking out small coastal towns such as Wilderness and Plettenberg Bay.

Guests will meet Selina, an inspiring Sangoma (traditional healer) who lives in a township above Knysna where she “proves that one woman really can make a difference.”

From there the group will take the picturesque drive to Cape Town, stopping in one of the oldest towns in South Africa, Swellendam, for lunch. In Cape Town they will stay at a traditional hotel along the Atlantic seaboard. Here the guests will meet women from the townships, an Afrikaans mother and daughter, and women entrepreneurs.

They will take excursions to Cape Point and Simon’s Town - to see the jackass penguins - and of course, Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for more than 20 years.

“All long the way, Cultural Explorer travellers will have plenty of time to get massages, take walks or workout, relax on the beach, tour interesting galleries and shops, and discover unique gifts to take home.”

Costs and contacts

This trip is for women only, and for ages 15 and above, as travellers will witness and discuss the impact of Aids on families and communities.

The trip costs $4 599 per person, including: all hotels, all group ground transportation including airport transfers, all entrance fees, all safari costs, all meals as indicated, and driver/guide expenses (except tips).

Not included in this cost are: international or domestic air travel, the domestic flight from Durban to George, alcoholic beverages except where included in dinners, personal expenses (laundry, cleaning, room service, massages, tips), and personal transportation expenses apart from group activities.

For more information, contact Pat Walker at +1-415-387-7593 or visit






Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".