From USD $6,500.00
  • Duration: 12 Days (approx.)
  • Product code: P7MWNM

South Africa has it all! The beauty and urban vibrancy of Cape Town, cave sites holding the secrets to understanding the earliest modern human culture and cooperation, and some of the best game reserves in Africa. This trip will allow you to get your hands dirty digging around for fossils, become immersed in the history and prehistory of South Africa, and view fossil collections from recent disoveries in the Cradle of Humankind not usually open to the public at the University of Witwatersrand’s Origins Centre.

Soak up the urban vibrancy of Johannesburg, Africa’s second largest urban center, while doing a bit of shopping in the craft markets. The adventure ends in the hidden gem game reserve at Madikwe. Tour leader and IHO scientist Kaye Reed has chosen this reserve because of its thriving wild dog population, in addition to having the “Big 5”—lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo.

Reed, ASU President’s Professor and a paleoecologist, will lead the trip along with geologist and climate scientist David Feary. Reed led the research team in Ethiopia that in 2013 discovered the oldest known fossil in our genus Homo lineage. Feary also works in Ethiopia, and both are excavating a site on the west coast of South Africa.

Trip Highlights

  • Cape Town, the “mother city” of South Africa, and Table Mountain National Park
  • World Heritage Site Robben Island and the legacy of Nelson Mandela
  • West Coast Fossil Park
  • Incredible rock art at Clanwilliam
  • Stellenbosch wine country
  • IHO research site at Mossel Bay caves
  • Johannesburg and the culture of South Africa
  • University of Witwatersrand Origins Centre
  • Cradle of Humankind Museum and Sterkfontain caves
  • Three-day African safari experience at the Madikwe Game Reserve
  • Only 14 travelers will be confirmed for this adventure, so confirm your place right away!

Payment schedule

  • The programme costs $6,500 per person sharing (double), and $8,400 per person on a single basis. 
  • A $1,000 deposit per person is required immediately to confirm your reservation. 
  • $2,750 double / $3,700 single is payable by April 1, 2016
  • $2,750 double / $3,700 single is payable by August 1, 2016.


  • No refund on initial $1,000 deposit
  • After second payment (April 1, 2016), 50 percent refundable of the payment. 
  • If cancellation is made after August 1  2016, 25 percent of the third payment is refundable. 
  • No refunds for any cancellation after August 31, 2016

Charitable Contribution

A $2,500 gift is requested to benefit the ASU Institute of Human Origins payable by September 1,2016. Your gift will be deposited with the ASU Foundation for a New American University, a separate nonprofit organization that exists to support ASU. Gifts in support of ASU are subject to foundation policies and fees. Please consult with your tax advisor regarding the deductibility of charitable contributions. (IFAS 30002491).

This fee is payable directly to the foundation. Once the deposit is made, we will be in touch to make arrangements for the Charitable Contribution. 

Itinerary - Overview

Day 1: Saturday, October 8—Arrival Cape Town 
Your adventure begins in Cape Town, the mother city of South Africa, a beautiful and complex harbor city. You will be met at the airport and transferred to the four-star hotel. Enjoy some welcome snacks and drinks during a short welcome briefing. There will be a welcome dinner, featuring a selection of Cape Town cuisine, with a private concert featuring original compositions by a hot local act.

Included: Airport transfers, welcome snacks and refreshments, dinner 
Excluded: Drinks at dinner, discretionary gratuities, lunch if you arrive early in the day

Overnight in the Cape Heritage Hotel (or similar), Cape Town 

Day 2: Sunday, October 9: Robben Island and Table Mountain National Park
Start the day with an early ferry to Robben Island, a poignant World Heritage Site where Nelson Mandela was held for so many years. After the Robben Island tour, lunch is at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, a popular shopping and restaurant destination in the heart of Cape Town’s working harbor with a dramatic backdrop of Table Mountain. Then, head to Table Mountain via its famous cable car for a spectacular view of the city. You are joined by a Khoesan poet and storyteller, providing a view into the deep indigenous ancestory and narrative of the mountain and city.

Included: Dinner and entrance fees 
Excluded: Lunch

Overnight in the Cape Heritage Hotel (or similar), Cape Town

Day 3: Monday, October 10: Cape West Coast 
Check out after breakfast and travel by private motor coach up the West Coast for the next part of the journey. The first stop is the West Coast Fossil Park, renowned for well-preseved fossils dating back to five-million years. You will be able to dig for fossils during a private tour of the site. Enjoy a lunch featuring indigenous foods just outside the park at the !Khwa ttu San Cultural Estate. Then head to the West Coast National Park and check in to the hotel, with an afternoon lecture on environments and habitat by Kaye Reed and David Feary, followed by time for swimming in the lagoon or just relaxing. Dinner is a typical west coast “brai” or barbeque with local craft beers and wine.

Included: Lunch and dinner, entrance fees

Overnight in the Duinepos Lodge (or similar), West Coast National Park 

Day 4: Tuesday, October 11, Clanwilliam Rock Art 
Morning is at your leisure before driving through the beautiful countryside to Clanwilliam. After checking in to the hotel and lunch, the group will be hosted by the Living Landscapes Project, an archaeological project of the University of Cape Town, to tour the rock art site. Dinner will be at a local restaurant.

Included: Lunch and dinner, entrance fees

Overnight in the The Longhouse and the Yellow Aloe (or similar), Clanwilliam

Day 5: Wednesday, October 12, Wine Country 
Between Clanwilliam and Stellenbosch, the destination for the day, lies a great variety of places to visit in wine country. The group will make stops at estates in Tulbagh and Riebeeck Kasteel, and eventually at Stellenbosch for some biodynamic wine. Dinner will be on your own in Stellenbosch.

Included: Lunch, wine tastings 
Excluded: Dinner

Overnight in Oudewerf Hotel (or similar), Stellenbosch

Day 6 and 7: Thursday and Friday, October 13 and 14, Mossel Bay 
A lunchtime flight to George from Cape Town will allow for some shopping time in Stellenbosch in the morning. After arriving in George, a motorcoach will take you to Mossel Bay to check in to the hotel, and either late Thursday or early Friday, a trip to the Diaz Museum to set the context for the cave site visit. The Mossel Bay site has been under excavation by IHO scientist Curtis Marean for nearly 15 years and 
has uncovered over 50,000 years of human habitation in the caves. 

Included: Lunch (Friday) and dinner (Thursday and Friday) 
Excluded: Lunch (Thursday)

Overnight in the Protea Hotel (or similar), Mossel Bay

Day 8: Saturday, October 15, Johannesburg 
Return to George to catch a morning flight to Johannesburg. After landing, the group will head straight to the University of Witwatersrand’s Origins Centre for a private tour (your luggage will be taken to the hotel, ready for your check in). Here, you will have a private session, arranged by Dr. Kaye Reed, to view South African fossils from the Cradle of Humankind. Following a late lunch in Braamfontein, one of the creative hubs of the city, and some shopping in the craft markets, you will arrive at the hotel to freshen up before dinner on your own at the Melrose Arch, just around the corner.

Included: Lunch, entrance fees 
Excluded: Dinner

Overnight in the The Peech Hotel (or similar), Johannesburg

Day 9: Sunday, October 16, Johnnesburg 
Board the motorcoach this morning to drive to the Cradle of Humankind to explore the exhibition and the Sterkfontein caves, a World Heritage Site, and one of the richest and most productive anthropological sites in the world. This is a working archaeological site where the famous “Mrs. Ples,” discovered in 1947, and more recently the “Little Foot” fossil excavated in the 1990s, were found. Return to Johannesburg for dinner with the group at a local hotel.

Included: Dinner, entrance fees 
Excluded: Lunch at the museum

Overnight in the The Peech Hotel (or similar), Johannesburg

Day 10–12: Monday–Wednesday, October 17–19, Madikwe Game Reserve
Travel by motorcoach from Johannesburg north through the beautiful African landscape to the Madikwe Game Reserve. Settle in to a private lodge (only our group!) and enjoy a leisurely afternoon before a late afternoon game drive on Monday afternoon. There will be two game drives on Tuesday (morning and afternoon). On Wednesday morning, enjoy the final African sunrise and, after an early lunch, leave by motorcoach to return to Johannesburg for your flight home. Most flights depart in the late afternoon from Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. 

Included: All meals, game drives 
Excluded: Alcoholic beverages at safari lodge