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Spectacular South Africa including Rovos Rail Tour

Home Icon 18-day Spectacular South Africa including Rovos Rail starting at £4,395 £4,245pp

South Africa is blessed with so much that makes it an ideal destination for touring holidays. Take its vibrant cities and wonderful scenery, its more than 2,500 kilometres of dramatic coastline on the Atlantic and Indian Oceans; add its abundance of unique wildlife, flora and fauna, its cultural and political history, and its glorious climate. Together you have the perfect recipe for an unforgettable touring holiday of South Africa.

Distant Journey’s comprehensive yet leisurely 18-day Spectacular South Africa tour including Rovos Rail features a variety of sightseeing tours and included activities, interspersed with Freedom Days, which are yours to relax and enjoy as you please. An undoubted highlight of the tour will be the journey on board Rovos Rail; its lovingly restored wood-panelled coaches and period Edwardian features have led to it being dubbed ‘the most luxurious train in the world’. We enjoy the all-inclusive two night ‘Durban Safari’, with a choice of activities including game drives and a tour of the Spioenkop battlefields.

With superior accommodation, daily breakfast and several other meals included, the Spectacular South Africa including Rovos Rail tour represents exceptional value for money and a truly spectacular holiday experience.

SPECIAL OFFER: Book any Spectacular South Africa including Rovos Rail tour departing from August 2022 by 30th June 2022 and save £150 per person.

Spectacular South Africa including Rovos Rail, 18 days from

£4,395 £4,245 per person

Read on to discover why our Spectacular South Africa with Rovos Rail holiday is a fantastic way to experience South Africa’s many incredible and varied landscapes.


  • Day 1: Depart UK
  • Day 2: Cape Town, 5 nights
  • Day 3: Cape Town and Kirstenbosch
  • Day 4: Cape Point
  • Day 5: Cape Town
  • Day 6: Cape Town
  • Day 7: The Garden Route & Knysna, 3 nights
  • Day 8: Featherbed Nature Reserve
  • Day 9: Knysna
  • Day 10: Umhlanga Rocks, 3 nights
  • Day 11: Umhlanga Rocks
  • Day 12: Umhlanga Rocks
  • Day 13: Rovos Rail, 2 nights
  • Day 14: Spioenkop & Nambiti Private Game Reserve
  • Day 15: Pretoria, 2 nights
  • Day 16: Pretoria
  • Day 17: Depart Johannesburg
  • Day 18: Arrive UK

Day 1: Depart UK

Depart from the UK airport most convenient for you with British Airways or Lufthansa, at no extra cost. If you choose BA, your flight will depart from London Heathrow, with complimentary regional connections from Manchester, Leeds Bradford, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen or Belfast. If Lufthansa is your preferred airline, you may fly from London Heathrow, London City, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow or Edinburgh. All Lufthansa flights travel via Frankfurt.


Included meals: In-flight meals and drinks


Day 2: Cape Town, 5 nights

We land in wonderful Cape Town, and our waiting coach will whisk us to our hotel, the President Hotel. If travelling before September 2022, you will stay at the Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel. The rest of our day is at leisure to relax and settle in, and this evening we will gather for a welcome drink so we can get to know each other and look forward to the adventures that lie ahead.


Included meals: In-flight meals and drinks


Day 3: Cape Town and Kirstenbosch

We begin our day with a tour of Cape Town, South Africa’s Mother City, taking in its significant buildings and monuments, its lively yet laid-back culture and of course its wonderful scenery. We take a cable car ride to enjoy spectacular views from the top of Table Mountain, weather permitting, followed by a stroll through the colourful Malay Quarter of Bo Kaap, literally ‘Above the Cape’. Other sights included are Green Market Square and District Six. In the apartheid era, some 60,000 residents were forcibly removed from the area and District Six has a museum dedicated to all those people. We will also walk through Company Gardens and take a drive past the Houses of Parliament, City Hall, the Castle of Good Hope and Slave Lodge, which documents the long history of slavery in South Africa.

This afternoon, we visit the beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Founded in 1913 to preserve the country’s unique flora, Kirstenbosch features a fragrance garden, a medicinal garden and some 2,500 species of plants found on the Cape Peninsula, including the Protea, sometimes known as the sugarbush. The Protea is the national flower of South Africa and represents change and hope. The gardens are world-renowned not only for their beauty and diversity, but also for their magnificent setting against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain.


Included meals: Breakfast


Day 4: Cape Point

Today, we leave the city to explore the spectacular landscapes surrounding Cape Town. Our day begins with a scenic drive through the pretty seaside suburbs of Sea Point and Camps Bay, via Hout Bay, a pleasant fishing village with a spectacular mountainous backdrop. We then enjoy wonderful views as we travel along Chapman’s Peak Drive, a 9-kilometre coastal road and one of the world’s most breathtaking coastal drives.

We reach the Good Hope Nature Reserve and Cape Point, where the currents of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet and continue on to Boulders Beach. Its Penguin Colony was established in 1983 and is home to a unique and endangered land-based colony of African penguins. Raised boardwalks give you the best viewing opportunities. On our way back to Cape Town, we visit Simon’s Town which is renowned for its maritime history and is home to the South African Navy. Our day of stunning scenery ends back in Cape Town in the late afternoon.


Included meals: Breakfast and lunch


Day 5: Cape Town Freedom Day

This is our first Freedom Day, where we can explore as we please or just relax. Our Distant Journeys Tour Manager will be happy to help with advice and make any arrangements, book excursions or recommend places to eat. Wine-lovers won’t want to miss a tour to the winelands of the Western Cape. This full day excursion takes us through the valleys and vineyards of the Cape Winelands and includes a cellar tour and wine-tasting in one of the region’s fabulous wineries. Later in the tour, enjoy stunning scenery as we drive across the Helshoogte Pass to Stellenbosch. Known not just for the local vineyards, but for the oak tree-lined streets with their whitewashed traditional Dutch-style buildings, Stellenbosch is the second oldest settlement in South Africa. Enjoy a stroll as well as a spot of lunch whilst watching the world go by. Before heading back to Cape Town, we have some time in Franschhoek, meaning ‘French Corner’ in Afrikaans, another area known for its vineyards and old Cape Dutch architecture. Franschhoek is home to the Huguenot Memorial Museum, which honours the French settlers who arrived in the 17th & 18th century.


Included meals: Breakfast


Day 6: Cape Town Freedom Day

Another Freedom Day where we can choose to relax by the pool or possibly take an optional trip to Robben Island. Used between the 17th and 20th Centuries as a prison, a hospital for lepers and the socially unacceptable, Robben Island was also used as a military base during World War II. Latterly, the island housed high profile prisoners of the apartheid regime, such as the South African activist Walter Sisulu, but more famously Nelson Mandela. Today Robben Island is a World Heritage Site and a museum, as well as a reminder of the price Nelson Mandela and so many others paid for the freedom of democracy.


Included meals: Breakfast


Day 7: The Garden Route & Knysna, 3 nights

We say farewell to Cape Town today and travel eastward on the beautiful Garden Route. Our journey takes us to Swellendam, a one-time rebel republic’s capital and South Africa’s third oldest town. We continue eastward through undulating countryside and peaceful villages to Mossel Bay, where we visit the Post Office Tree. This 600-year-old milkwood tree is where the 16th and 17th century sailors left their letters for returning ships to carry to Europe. From Mossel Bay we continue to Knysna and our home for the next three nights, the Protea Knysna Quays. The hotel has a superb location directly on Knysna Quays with the lagoon right on your doorstep.


Included meals: Breakfast


Day 8: Featherbed Nature Reserve

This morning, we enjoy a visit to the Featherbed Nature Reserve, a unique 150-hectare private nature reserve, which is one of South Africa’s Natural Heritage Sites and occupies the whole of the Western Head of Knysna. Firstly, we cruise across Knysna Lagoon before stretching our legs with a gentle stroll through the reserve, enjoying the spectacular coastal scenery. The reserve hosts a variety of native flora and fauna including the endangered Blue Duiker; the smallest known antelope species in Africa, Cape Mountain Tortoises, Blue Cranes; the national bird of South Africa, and the rare Black African Oyster Catcher.

Our afternoon is free to relax or have a wander around Knysna’s pretty waterfront.


Included meals: Breakfast


Day 9: Knysna Freedom Day

On today’s Freedom Day, we will have the option to take an optional tour to the Cango Caves and Oudtshoorn, South Africa’s ostrich capital. The day begins with a drive over the spectacular Outeniqua Pass as we make our way to the stark beauty of the Klein Karoo. The Karoo is the vast semi-desert that comprises much of the interior of South Africa and on its southern edge is the Klein Karoo, a semi-arid area that still supports enough life to make farming possible.

We enjoy a tour of the Cango Caves, a vast series of magnificently colourful limestone caverns which to date have still only been partially explored. This is followed by a fun and informative guided tour of an ostrich farm, tracing the ostrich from egg to adulthood. Our tour ends with a drive via the peaceful country town of Oudtshoorn, with its quaint Victorian buildings, before returning to Knysna.


Included meals: Breakfast


Day 10: Umhlanga Rocks, 3 nights

This morning, our journey continues along the Garden Route, via Plettenberg Bay, with some fantastic photographic opportunities along the way. After lunch, we continue to Port Elizabeth in time for our flight to the coastal city of Durban, located in eastern South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. Upon arrival we will be transferred to the upmarket resort of Umhlanga Rocks and the wonderful Beverly Hills Hotel, located on a prime spot of beachfront overlooking the Indian Ocean.


Included meals: Breakfast and lunch


Day 11: Umhlanga Rocks

After breakfast, we travel to nearby Durban for a half-day sightseeing tour. Visits include City Hall, Victoria Embankment and Durban’s waterfront. Make sure to look out for the ornate Vasco da Gama Clock, which was bequeathed to the Port of Natal in 1897 by the Portuguese government. We also explore the impressive Durban Botanical Gardens, founded in 1849 which are Africa’s oldest surviving botanic gardens and home to an array of African, Asian and American trees and shrubs. Our afternoon is free to relax by the hotel’s poolside or take in the local area at your leisure.


Included meals: Breakfast


Day 12: Umhlanga Rocks Freedom Day

We have a Freedom Day to spend as we please on South Africa’s stunning Dolphin Coast. History-lovers will have the opportunity to take a full-day excursion to explore the 19th-century Anglo-Zulu battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. Knowledgeable guides inform us all about the fascinating history of the battles that took place in January 1879 and we are privileged to witness the landscape on which the fighting occurred. Alternatively, join an adventurous day trip to the tiny, landlocked kingdom of Lesotho. We travel in a 4×4 vehicle in order to cross Africa’s highest pass: the 9,435-foot-high Sani Pass, to enter this intriguing country. Once inside, we visit a Sotho village to experience how the locals live, making this a truly authentic and immersive experience.


Included meals: Breakfast


Day 13: Rovos Rail, 2 nights

Tour Highlight
This morning, we transfer to Durban Rail Terminal in time for what promises to be a highlight of our holiday; a magnificent overland rail journey, the Durban Safari, on board Rovos Rail. Known as one of the world’s most luxurious trains, step aboard the vintage wood-panelled carriages and sit back as some of the most varied and spectacular scenery imaginable unfolds beyond the windows.

We depart Durban and travel through the stunningly scenic Valley of a Thousand Hills. Following a delicious lunch, an afternoon excursion takes us to the fascinating Ardmore Ceramics Gallery. Ardmore Ceramics tells the story of the Zulu people, whose culture of colour, dance and song, as well as the spirit of the African imagination, can be seen in the artwork produced in the gallery. Returning to the train, we make our way to Ladysmith, while enjoying dinner paired with a selection of fine South African wines. Afterwards relax in the comfort of the Lounge Car with an after-dinner drink before retiring to your private cabin for the night.

Please note that your Tour Manager will not accompany you on the train. Instead you will be well looked after by the Train Manager and his excellent crew.


Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner PLUS selected on-board drinks


Day 14: Spioenkop & Nambiti Private Game Reserve

Following an early wake-up call and sumptuous breakfast on board Rovos Rail, we have a choice of excursions. The first is to take an open-jeep safari in Spioenkop Reserve, home to a rich selection of wildlife including white rhinoceros, giraffe and antelope. Alternatively, we may wish to join a tour of the Spioenkop battlefields. In the spring of 1899, Britain marched into the South African war, which lasted three years and was to become the costliest Britain had ever fought.

In the afternoon, having enjoyed lunch and some leisure time, we arrive at Elandslaagte, where we disembark for an afternoon safari experience in Nambiti Private Game Reserve. Nambiti’s 22,000 acres offer incredible biodiversity, with grasslands, riverine bush, savannah and thornveld, and is also home to over 40 other species of game including cheetah, giraffe, hippo, hyena, impala, eland and zebra. Enjoy your open-jeep 4WD safari in search of ‘The Big Five’! After returning to the train, enjoy a pre-dinner drink in the Lounge Car before dinner.


Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner PLUS selected on-board drinks


Day 15 – Pretoria, 2 nights

Take it easy today and enjoy the comfort of Rovos Rail as we continue our journey northwards. Fabulous panoramas can be seen as we travel through the gold mining areas of Gauteng, which literally translates as Place of Gold. Our arrival into the Rovos Rail Terminal in Capital Park, Pretoria is scheduled for late afternoon, and upon disembarkation our waiting coach will take us to the Irene Country Lodge, , a rustic retreat in Irene, just a 30-minute drive from Pretoria, where we stay for two nights.


Included meals: Breakfast and lunch


Day 16: Pretoria

Our morning is at leisure, with the option of a visit to the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Breeding Centre. Established in 1971, the centre prides itself on its contribution to the conservation and survival of the cheetah species through meticulous breeding (ensuring genetic diversity) and the ability to release cheetahs born in captivity.

In the afternoon, we enjoy a tour around the city of Pretoria, including the Union Building and the Voortrekkers Monument, a massive granite structure which commemorates the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854, and Melrose House, a Victorian mansion and a charming historical museum.


Included meals: Breakfast


Day 17: Depart Johannesburg

The day is ours to spend as we please before we leave for the airport later in the day. Perhaps use the opportunity to visit the region’s liveliest township, Soweto, (South Western Township), home to over 3.5 million people and steeped in apartheid history. Our Spectacular South Africa holiday comes to an end, as this evening we board our flight for our homebound journey to the UK.

Alternatively, you have the perfect opportunity to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Victoria Falls. Extend your African adventure with our 4-day Victoria Falls holiday extension.


Included meals: Breakfast and in-flight meals and drinks


Day 18: Arrive UK

Breakfast is served shortly before our arrival, bringing an end to our Spectacular South Africa with Rovos Rail tour.


Included meals: In-flight meals and drinks


4-day extension to Victoria Falls

Known as ‘The smoke that thunders’, Victoria Falls is famous for its magnificent curtain of falling water. Located just a short flight from Johannesburg, why not extend your South African adventure with our 4-day Victoria Falls holiday extension?

Spectacular South Africa including Rovos Rail – Departure dates & prices

All of the departure dates from August 2022 on our Spectacular South Africa including Rovos Rail tour have an exciting Special Offer. Book by 30th June 2022 to save £150 per person on all tours to South Africa.

Please note that our holiday prices are subject to the availability of flights in the lowest fare booking class. Air fares have risen steeply in recent weeks, and as a result there may be a flight surcharge to add to the price of your holiday. The correct price will always be confirmed to you before you book, and once you have booked, our Price Promise will guarantee there will be no further increases.


 Departure date Price (pp) Availability Offer
 14 September £4,695 £4,545 ON REQUEST Save £150 per person
 05 October £4,695 £4,545 ONLY 4 ROOMS LEFT Save £150 per person
09 November£4,695 £4,545ON REQUESTSave £150 per person
 07 February^ £4,695 £4,545 ON REQUEST Save £150 per person
 21 March^ £4,695 £4,545 JUST LAUNCHED Save £150 per person
 05 April £4,695 £4,545 ON REQUEST Save £150 per person

PLEASE NOTE:  ^ These departures operate in reverse beginning in Pretoria and ending in Cape Town.

Upgrade to a Deluxe Suite: Should you be celebrating a special occasion or simply would like a little more space in your on board suite, upgrades are available to Deluxe Suites from £795 per person.

Extend your stay: Take the opportunity to visit Victoria Falls which is only a short flight away. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site with our 4-day Victoria Falls holiday extension

Prices: Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin or double room.

Single occupancy supplement: £1,595

Deposit: £1,000 per person if travelling in economy class, £1,950 if travelling in premium economy class, £3,750 per person for business class.

Flight upgrades: Upgrade to Premium Economy from £1,395 per person, or Business Class from £3,795 per person.

Passports: When travelling to South Africa, your passport should have at least two blank pages when you present it at immigration to enter or leave South Africa. If you are extending your holiday to Victoria Falls, we recommend you have a minimum of four blank pages left in it for the combined trip.

Terms and conditions: Holiday prices are subject to the availability of flights in the lowest fare booking class and may change, however the correct price will always be confirmed before you book. For full terms and conditions see our terms and conditions page.

So much included

At Distant Journeys, we offer a leisurely and flexible tour of South Africa with so much included in the price. Your scheduled international flights, overseas transfers, expertly chosen hotels, daily breakfast, experienced local tour managers and knowledgeable guides, and many amazing excursions are all included.

Flights with Award-winning scheduled airlines

  • Return economy class flights with British Airways London Heathrow, Manchester, Leeds Bradford, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen or Belfast City Airport.
  • Alternatively, choose to fly with Lufthansa via Frankfurt from London Heathrow, London City Airport, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, or Glasgow.
  • Domestic flights within South Africa
  • All airport charges, security charges and any applicable fuel surcharges
  • UK Air Passenger Duty

Carefully selected hotels

  • First class and deluxe hotels in great locations
  • All hotel porterage
  • Applicable hotel taxes

Many meals

  • Daily breakfast, worth £267 per person
  • Five lunches
  • Two dinners

Unforgettable experiences

  • Sightseeing tours in Cape Town, Knysna, Durban and Pretoria
  • Visit Cape Point and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  • Tour along South Africa’s world renowned Garden Route

While on Rovos Rail

  • Choice of a safari in Spioenkop Game Reserve or tour of the Spioenkop battlefields
  • Safari experience in Nambiti Private Reserve
  • All meals on board
  • Selected alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, on board

On the ground

  • Services of an experienced Tour Manager and driver
  • All overseas transfers
  • Modern, air-conditioned coaches throughout

100% confidence

  • Your holiday is covered by our Price Promise
  • Your holiday is covered by our Covid Guarantee
  • Your holiday is fully ATOL protected

President Hotel, Cape Town

Located in Bantry Bay between the city centre of Cape Town and the Atlantic Ocean, the President Hotel is a sophisticated yet relaxed place to stay. The hotel is just a 3-minute walk from Queens Beach, and a short taxi… Find out more >
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Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel, Cape Town

Only a short walk from the V&A Waterfront with its fabulous shopping and world class restaurants, the Southern Sun Waterfront hotel is smart and comfortable. Not only does the hotel have a great location, but it also boasts excellent facilities… Find out more >
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Protea Hotel Knysna Quays, Knysna

With Knysna Lagoon on your doorstep, the Protea Hotel by Marriott Knysna Quays offers waterside accommodation in Knysna, at the heart of South Africa’s famous Garden Route, a highlight of our guided tours to South Africa from the UK. Step… Find out more >
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Beverly Hills Hotel, Umhlanga

With spectacular  views out onto the ocean, the Beverly Hills Hotel offers five-star accommodation in one of South Africa’s premier coastal spots, Umhlanga, in the outskirts of Durban. Established in 1964, the hotel has been synonymous with elegance and excellent… Find out more >
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Pullman Suites, Rovos Rail

A unique and memorable journey awaits you on the Rovos Rail. Aboard, you’ll be transported through many mesmerising landscapes you won’t want to miss. Simply take a seat by a window with a view, and enjoy the relaxing ride as… Find out more >
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Irene Country Lodge Hotel, Pretoria

For your visit to Gauteng, known as South Africa’s economic capital, you’ll be staying in the historical village of Irene. Here, your accommodation will be the enchanting African Pride Irene Country Lodge. As you approach the lodge, you’ll travel down… Find out more >
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Cape Winelands

In recent years, South Africa wines have rightly become world famous for their exceptional quality and value. The Cape Winelands day tour takes you to some of the finest vineyards...

R 1200 / GBP £71 Read More >

Cape Township Morning Tour

This morning tour gives an opportunity to gain insight into the lives of residents of areas of Cape Town not generally seen. You will have the opportunity to meet the...

ZAR 700 / GBP £39 Read More >
Pre-booking required
nelson mandela at robben island

Robben Island

Often described as “the triumph of the human spirit over adversity, suffering and injustice”, Robben Island is best known as home to Nelson Mandela for 18 of his 27 years...

ZAR 600 / GBP £38 Read More >

Oudtshoorn and the Cango Caves

We leave Knysna and travel via George over the breathtaking Outeniqua Pass to the town of Oudsthoorn, where we enjoy a visit to an Ostrich Farm including lunch. At the...

ZAR 1300/ GBP £76 Read More >

Battlefields Tour

A must for all history lovers, this full day tour visits the battlefields of Isandlwana, followed by Rorke’s Drift in the afternoon. The Battle of Isandlwana in 1879 was the...

ZAR 2915 / GBP £164 Read More >

Mountain Splendour Day Tour

For something slightly different during your time in Durban, take a 4x4 drive up the highest road pass in Africa on this full day excursion to visit the Kingdom of...

ZAR 2915 / GBP £164 Read More >

Shakaland Tour

Shakaland, known as 'the greatest Zulu experience in Africa', is an authentic replication of a Zulu 'Umuzi' or homestead. This enjoyable, full day tour includes an opportunity to sample traditional...

ZAR 1855/ GBP £105 Read More >

Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Breeding Centre – Pretoria

Established in 1971, the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Breeding Centre near Pretoria, also known as the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre, is one of South Africa’s leading wildlife attractions,...

ZAR 480 / GBP £30 Read More >

Soweto Tour

Discover one of Johannesburg's most energetic and fascinating townships on a half-day visit to Soweto, an area known for its rich political history and vibrant trendsetting culture. Soweto is home...

ZAR 925 / GBP £52 Read More >

Johannesburg Tour

Johannesburg, South Africa's biggest city and capital of Gauteng province, began as a 19th-century gold-mining settlement and is now considered both the economic and cultural centre of South Africa. This...

ZAR 850/ GBP £48 Read More >

Special Offer

Special Offer
When booking onto any of our Spectacular South Africa tours departing from August 2022, save £150 per person by booking your place by 30th June 2022. Please call our team for more details.

Customer reviews feefo logo

Discover what some of our past customers have to say about our Spectacular South Africa tour.  The reviews below have been independently verified by Feefo, who are a leading independent reviews company.


Order your free brochure

Excellent value for money, everything as per the brochure itinerary and sometimes more. Every day brought something different, the safaris were eye openers and we were so glad we added on Victoria Falls as that really was the highlight of the holiday - a lovely way to end our three weeks.
Mrs Vickers, Spectacular South Africa
To sum up this three week amazing adventure using just one word. WONDERFUL. I shall certainly return to this spectacular country which has stolen my heart. Thank you Distant Journeys for your excellent planning, itinerary & wonderful guides.
Miss Antrobus, Spectacular South Africa


Award-Winning Holidays

Distant Journeys has won 10 awards in the last five years, at the British Travel Awards, and we have been awarded Feefo’s highest Platinum Trusted Rating for customer satisfaction.

Guaranteed Price Promise

Know you are paying the best price for your holiday with our Price Promise. We never offer last minute discounts and we guarantee the earlier you book the better the offer you’ll receive.

100% Financial Protection

Book in the confidence your money is 100% safe. All Distant Journeys holidays are fully bonded by the Civil Aviation Authority (ATOL number 10913) or ABTOT (number 5427).

Our Covid Guarantee

For your peace of mind, if Distant Journeys is unable to operate your tour due to Covid-19, you will be given the choice of changing your tour or you may choose to receive a full refund.


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