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The journey of 10,000 miles begins!
Today marks the beginning of a thrilling 25-hour journey to Cape Town, South Africa, and the start of another Live Voyage Report. Waiting for me in Cape Town is Silversea’s intimate and luxurious Silver Wind - a ship I’ve long hoped to sail aboard. Over the course of 10 days, I’ll be reporting live as we chart a course along South Africa’s eastern coast bound for Port Elizabeth, Richards Bay, Durban, East London, and the Mozambique port of Maputo.
The best way to describe this 10-day roundtrip Cape Town voyage: a luxury African Safari Cruise. And the best part is that is that it is all brand-new to me, and hopefully to you, too.
To be honest, South Africa wasn’t on my radar until the last year or so. But I became interested in it after meeting so many people who were either from or had visited South Africa, and had fallen in love with the country. This trip took a lot of research; I read nonfiction books about South Africa and its struggle to escape Apartheid, and studied guidebooks on where to go and what to see.
But this itinerary appealed to me because it fits my personality to a “T”. I like adventure, but let’s face it: I’m not a “tent-in-the-wilderness” kind of guy. I’d like to go bob around in a 4×4 on a game drive during the day, and return to the quiet, elegant luxury of Silversea each evening.
Half of the appeal of this itinerary (which is offered again in January 2014) is the comprehensive shore excursion programmes put together by Silversea. There is literally a tour to suit every taste and budget, from adventurous all-day game drives to art and culture tours. If you’ve seen enough wildlife, there’s even a private, guided tour of the Mercedes Benz factory on offer in East London.
But for me, the safari excursions are the crown jewels of this itinerary. After all, I’ve only ever seen an elephant in a Zoo, let alone half of the other creatures I might encounter. But I’m most excited that I get to share this journey here, on From the Deck Chair. Together, we’ll visit the Addo Elephant Park; sail the UNESCO World Heritage site known as the iSimangaliso Wetland Park; partake in a 10-hour tour of the Hluhluwe-Umfolzi Game Reserve; set out for the Tala Private Game Reserve; and journey from East London to the Inkwenkwezi Game Reserve.
The full itinerary, both here and onboard:
|January 15, 2013||Cape Town, South Africa||Embark Silver Wind||11:00 PM|
|January 16||Cruising the Cape of Good Hope & the Indian Ocean|
|January 17||Port Elizabeth, South Africa||8:00 AM||6:00 PM|
|January 18||Cruising the Indian Ocean|
|January 19||Maputo, Mozambique||2:00 PM||7:00 PM|
|January 20||Richards Bay, South Africa||10:00 AM||Overnight|
|January 21||Richards Bay, South Africa||Overnight||11:00 PM|
|January 22||Durban, South Africa||8:00 AM||6:00 PM|
|January 23||East London, South Africa||12:00 PM||6:00 PM|
|January 24||Cruising the Indian Ocean & Cape of Good Hope|
|January 25, 2013||Cape Town, South Africa||8:00 AM||Disembark|
On my return to Cape Town, I’ll also have the chance to tour the Cape Grace Hotel, situated right along the V&A Waterfront. It looks like an absolutely stunning property. (what can I say? I like to keep myself busy!)
I said earlier that Silver Wind was “waiting for me” because that’s what a Silversea voyage does to you: it leaves you with the illusion (or fantasy?) that you might actually own the ship. I have had the opportunity to sail aboard the smallest ship in the Silversea fleet (the adventurous Silver Explorer, which carries just 132 guests), and the largest ship in the fleet (the elegant, 540-guest Silver Spirit), and both offered everything I have come to love and appreciate about Silversea: no lines. No waiting. No hunting around for that favorite seat in your favorite public room. No photographers dressed up in funny suits waiting to harass you at the end of the gangway – though, if you do sail on lines that have these, be nice: they have a tough gig!
The 296-guest Silver Wind was the second ship to join the Silversea fleet, and a “near sister” to the 1994-built Silver Cloud. There’s a few neat differences about Silver Wind, though, that make her unique: she has an observation lounge located on her uppermost deck, Deck 9, and an expanded Spa just aft of that. She was also refitted with an additional Owner’s Suite and five newly-created Medallion Suites. Four of these are located up on Deck 8 just aft of the navigation bridge, while a fifth is located on Deck 7 and features three large picture windows.
In August, I had the chance to speak with Ellen Bettridge, Silversea’s newly-appointed President of the Americas. I think she summed it up best when she told me that luxury – true luxury – is all about choice. With the choice to take part in adventurous game drives within the heart of South Africa, explore the port towns and cities, or to merely kick back and relax onboard Silver Wind with a poolside drink, this voyage certainly seems to fit that definition!
So come along with me as we sail on a silver wind, destined for South Africa. Our Live Voyage Report begins now!
Our Live Voyage Report from aboard Silversea’s intimate Silver Wind as she winds her way along South Africa’s East Coast begins in earnest on Tuesday, January 15th as we settle in onboard and take you for a photo-tour of this fantastic ship before setting sail from Cape Town late in the evening!
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