One of Political Tour’s most successful tours to date. Now Jacob Zuma has gone South Africa is faced with the enormous task of restoring faith in the government and the economy. This wide-ranging tour starts in rural KwaZula Natal, passing through the Zulu war battlefields and includes both the townships of Johannesburg and Cape Town. You’ll meet some of South Africa’s top politicians and commentators and get exclusive access to the courts and parliament. The tour ends in the Cape Winelands. Even if you’ve been to South Africa already, you’ll get to see it in a different light on this unforgettable journey.

DATESTailor made

Durban, Rural KZN, Johannesburg, Cape Town

Led by Peter Sullivan, former Editor of the Star Newspaper, SA.

DURATION10 nights
All AccommodationMeals and Water
Local TransportationExpert Guide

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We assess the legacy left by Nelson Mandela and challenges that remain. Still admired for it’s peaceful transition from Apartheid rule to a multi-party democracy, South Africa is now struggling with more familiar problems: corrupt politicians and a lacklustre economy. Can it turn itself around?

First-rate speakers brief us on the latest issues affecting the country, and ordinary South Africans of all backgrounds give their perspective, as we ask if the country can keep Mandela’s dream of a united, prosperous and democratic South Africa alive. Local communities help us get to grips with the issues South Africans face daily. With fantastic food and great hospitality in Kwa-Zulu Natal, urban Johannesburg and the stunning Cape Wine Lands- this tour is an exhilarating getaway.

Led by the inimitable Peter Sullivan, one of the best known journalists in South Africa and former editor of The Star newspaper.

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Like all our tours the itinerary is focused on current affairs. Events on the ground may change and the final schedule may be adjusted accordingly.

This tour usually runs from a Thursday to a Sunday – it can be tailored to your own dates/days.

We start in Durban and end in Cape Town.

COVID-19: We won’t go to a country unless it is safe to do so- we remain guided by the UK Foreign Office travel advice.  For this reason some dates may change depending on the situation on the ground.

Day 1

Thursday: Durban

Welcome dinner. An introduction to the week ahead; local newspaper editors give an overview of where South Africa stands today. Overnight Durban
Day 2

Friday: Durban

We get an overview of  Natal’s largest city. Its Zulu and Zuma territory and home to the largest Indian population outside India. Durban is proud of its multicultural mix. We start with an introduction to daily life and some local history in ethnically diverse Durban. A packed first day covers the economy and the diversity of the population.  The informal sector is home to a vast array of small businesses, including markets for traditional medicines and local delicacies. A local resident guides us through the different sectors of  Warwick Market which attracts many day traders coming in to work, and commuters shopping.Covid and failing institutions have changed this city. Overnight Durban
Day 3 & 4

Saturday & Sunday: Dundee, Battlefields

Travel through rural KwaZulu Natal (KZN) and visit a remote village. We hear about education, local services and healthcare and the demands on them in the new South Africa. We visit a missionary hospital that has been at the centre of a successful battle against HIV and TB.  Jacob Zuma’s infamous home is not far from here. We visit Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana, a key site of the Anglo Zulu wars. Battlefield tour with the world renown Rattrays at Fugitive’s Drift Lodge.  These battles were a key point in British colonial history, and also in Zulu culture and identity. They help to understand modern South Africa and shaped both Afrikaner and Zulu identity. We visit a project that supports local communities and children in education, and see the impact this had in the area. Overnight Battlefields (2)
Day 5

Monday: Johannesburg, Soweto

After breakfast, we drive to Johannesburg.  In the afternoon we visit Kliptown and a local NGO that has changed the community.
Overnight Johannesburg
Day 6

Tuesday: Johannesburg

Breakfast with the Official Opposition leader in Johannesburg, a city whose annual budget exceeds that of Botswana, Mozambique and Angola combined.  We get privileged access of the Constitutional Court building with its politically relevant art works. Court clerks brief us on the Court’s current political and judicial role, and provide insight into South Africa’s sweeping and ambitious constitution. Tour of Old Fort Prison in the grounds and home for many political prisoners for years.
Overnight Johannesburg.
Day 7

Wednesday: Johannesburg

Visit to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange for a high level overview of the economy and business. After the stock exchange we head to Maboneng, one of the most lively and multi-cultural areas of central Johannesburg that a hub for cafes, galleries, streets art and crafts and a vibrant melting pot. We then head to Soweto which has changed in the last 20 years. We look at the range of contrasts, from smart middle class homes and new housing programs to makeshift camps. We also stop by a local “Shebeen,” or Soweto bar. Later we have briefings with members of Johannesburg’s leading think tanks on the state of politics and the economy.
Overnight Johannesburg
Day 8

Thursday: to Cape Town

Check out of our hotel and visit the Apartheid Museum that illustrates the rise and fall of South Africa’s era of segregation and oppression. Depart for Johannesburg airport and an afternoon flight to Cape Town; we will advise you on the best flight to suit the itinerary. After checking in you have a free evening to explore the downtown area.
Overnight Cape Town
Day 9

Friday: Parliament, District 6, Cape Town

Walk through Company Gardens and Parliament buildings, home to the new and former federal parliaments as well as the Cape assembly. Peter Sullivan recounts some of the key moments in recent history. We visit the District 6 museum and meet with a former resident. Cape coloureds were forcibly removed from this area in the 60s and out to the sprawling Cape Flats, followed by coffee at the Truth Cafe. We learn about the effects of apartheid.  Visit the remarkable township on the slopes of Table Mountain at Hout Bay, speak to local activists, see local industry. Lunch is fish and chips on the rocks of Hout Bay, under Chapman’s Peak Drive, one of the most beautiful in the world. We then visit a local gallery collective which promotes many township and rural craft projects and individuals. It aims to break even on its administrative and staff costs and profits put back into expanding craft and design marketing opportunities. Overnight Cape Town
Day 10

Saturday: Stellenbosch

A first-hand look at how the wine industry is doing and a look at tourism’s significant contribution to the SA economy. Lunch on a wine farm with stunning views an excellent way to wind up our tour, before heading back to Cape Town. Farewell dinner, where we sum up the past week. Overnight Cape Town
Day 11

Sunday: Tours Ends

Final Day – Breakfast and departure for airport

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What’s Included

All of your accommodation is included, as well as local transport (except during your free time). Flights are not included in the price and need to be arranged by customers themselves or with an agent. We can advise you on reservations if you need any help.

Following the news

Like all our tours the itinerary is focused on current affairs. Events on the ground may change and the final schedule may be adjusted accordingly.

This tour usually starts in Durban & ends in Cape Town.  For your bespoke tour we can adjust the itinerary to suit you.

This is a great tour for families and friends- you can combine it with a safari or extend your stay and do the garden route.  We have travelled extensively in South Africa and can recommend various options.

COVID-19: We won’t go to a country unless it is safe to do so- we remain guided by the UK Foreign Office travel advice.  For this reason some dates may change depending on the situation on the ground.

Group size

As on all our expert-led tours the groups are deliberately small and will not exceed 14 people. Limited spaces are available.

We have done bespoke tour s for individuals, families and small groups frequently in SA.


Four and five star centrally located hotels.


UK passport holders : If you’re visiting South Africa for tourism or business purposes for a period of up to 90 days, you don’t need a visa. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 30 days from the date of exit from South Africa. Your passport should have at least 2 blank pages when you present it at immigration to enter or leave South Africa.

Other passport holders may require a visa. It is always good to check with the embassy in your country for latest advice regarding visa requirements.

FCO Website – Travel Advice

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office publishes regularly updated travel information on its website which you are recommended to consult before booking and in good time before departure. Where it considers it appropriate to do so, the FCO may advise against all travel or all but essential travel to particular countries or parts of particular countries. Similarly, the FCO may withdraw any such previously given advice. Where the FCO issues such advice, we may as a result cancel your tour or make changes so as to avoid the area concerned (see clause 10 or our conditions). Alternatively, we may ask you to sign a form confirming you wish to proceed with the tour notwithstanding the FCO advice. It is in the nature of the itineraries we offer that the FCO may have issued such advice in relation to the country or parts of the country we are intending to visit prior to confirmation of your booking. In this case, you will be asked to sign the above form before we confirm your booking.

Medical Requirements

Advice on health requirements may be obtained from your GP, or alternatively from the Department of Health Leaflet Advice on Health for Travelers, or the Department of Health in the UK. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit


Local currency is South African Rand (ZAR)


It is summer in March. It is sunny and hot in the day. It can be cooler in the evenings.

What to wear

Dress is generally casual and comfortable, comfortable walking shoes are essential. We also have a range of meeting with politicians or senior officials where we are expected to be more formally dressed. For these men will need a jacket (and tie) and women the female equivalent.

Electricity & Plugs

Electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ. Most plugs are 15 amp 3-prong or 5 amp 2-prong (European) with round pins.

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Peter Sullivan edited The Star, South Africa’s premier daily newspaper from 1993 to 2000 – through the country’s transition to democracy. In 2001 he was appointed Group Editor-in-Chief of Independent Newspapers 16 South African titles, a position he held until 2010.

After teaching and the army he joined the Rand Daily Mail as a cadet reporter before becoming the country’s leading political analyst in Parliament. In the 1980s he interviewed domestic Presidents and Prime Ministers John Vorster, PW Botha, FW de Klerk; in Africa Zambia’s Presidents Chiluba and Kaunda, abroad President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher.

He has had many interviews with former President Mandela.

A keen twitcher, story teller, and World Economic Forum Veteran, in 2010 Peter was honoured by Print Media South Africa with a Print Media Fellowship, for “determination, dedication and integrity in a passionate drive for the betterment of the South African newspaper industry.”

Peter has travelled to over 60 countries, many as a guest of their governments. He served on boards from Johannesburg’s waste company Pikitup to The Smile Foundation; brought the Open Society Foundation to SA at George Soros’ request, and has chaired a brace of charities from BirdLife South Africa to The Star Seaside Fund, Operation Snowball and the Hamper Fund.

He is currently Chairman of Landelahni, a top recruitment, leadership and assessment company, which occupies a special place as it is owned entirely by people who are black or female.

Consultant on Media, Politics, Environment. | Peter Sullivan Consulting 
Johannesburg | 2010 – present
Chair | Landelahni 
Johannesburg | 2009 – present
Chair | BirdLife SA 
Johannesburg | 2007 – present
Trustee | Grey College Foundation 
Bloemfontein | 2007 – present
Director | Social Entrepreneur Foundation 
Johannesburg | 2006 – present
Chair | Press Freedom Committee, PMSA 
Johannesburg | 2003 – present
Chair | Star Seaside Fund 
Johannesburg | 2001 – present
Chair | Operation Snowball 
Johannesburg | 2000 – present
Director | Ngoma Trust 
Johannesburg | 1999 – present
Chair | Sauer Street Charities 
Johannesburg | 1998 – present

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An extraordinary trip and an extraordinary host.  One of the most important trips of my life.”
South Africa, July 2016

“Clear close insight into new South Africa – I’m a big fan of what Nicholas can put together – his interview style, his interviewees, his accompanying guides (here Peter Sullivan)”
South Africa, July 2016

“Our personal tour guide was Peter Sullivan, the Editor-in-Chief of one of the leading newspapers.  Charming, brilliant, and indefatigable.”
South Africa, July 2016

“Such a wide range of voices (very important) – rich and very poor, nice and not so nice, academic and impressionist – it all comes together if you’re ready to reflect”
GG, South Africa, 2014 It was well planned and gave a good perspective on the enormous advantages that South Africa has as a country, but also on the enormous problems that it is facing.  Political Tours looked after us impeccably.  Peter Sullivan’s participation in the trip enhanced it enormously – his personality and depth of knowledge were wonderful. JB, South Africa, 2014

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Political Tours recommended reading list for the South Africa tour

 “After Mandela: The Battle for the Soul of South Africa” by Alec Russell

  • Publisher: Hutchinson (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091926017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091926014

Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom is a must.

“An Inconvenient Youth: Julius Malema and the ‘new’ ANC” by Fiona Forde

  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Portobello Books (September 6, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0094EPI96

Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country is a universal tale of urbanisation and of apartheid.

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First as such edition (December 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074326195X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743261951

“Khayelitsha: Umlungu in a Township” by Steve Otter is also an interesting (but non-essential) read about racial divides today.

  • Publisher: Penguin Global (May 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143025473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143025474

The Madonna of Excelsior by Zakes Mda, a novel that looked at inter-racial relations in the 1970s but tells an interesting tale.

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (February 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312423829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312423827

There are current biographies of Cyril Ramaphosa and Thabo Mbeki, and

There’s also a slew of books on SA politics for the Christmas season.

Mmusi Maimane: Prophet or Puppet? – The first biography of the man who rose from obscurity to become leader of the DA

‘Mr Maimane, good evening to you and, with the greatest of respect, who are you?’ This is how journalist Jeremy Maggs began his television interview with Mmusi Maimane in 2011 when he was unveiled as the Democratic Alliance’s mayoral candidate for Johannesburg. Since then, the charismatic Maimane’s rise from obscurity to leader of the DA in 2015 has been nothing short of meteoric.

His anointment as leader of the DA made history, marking the completion of this political party’s transformation from ‘white’ political party to one whose new leader shared similar experiences to those of the majority voters. Yet there are those, even within the party, who denounce Maimane as nothing more than a puppet dancing to the tune of white masters. So who is the real Maimane? Experienced political reporter S’thembiso Msomi goes behind the scenes to examine how and why Maimane rose head up the opposition party. He delves into Maimane’s formative years, his time at the pulpit in the church, and his family, to bring substance to the man. Msomi also examines Maimane’s first year as head of the DA in the run-up to the local government elections, assessing how this young man has negotiated the often treacherous waters of political power. Finally, the author attempts to answer these burning questions: is Maimane his own man, and can he deliver the electorate that the DA so fervently desires?

Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Ball Publishers (1 July 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1868427080
  • ISBN-13: 978-1868427086

Not Without a Fight: The Autobiography Kindle Edition

by Helen Zille (Author)

Helen Zille’s long-awaited autobiography is one of the most fascinating political stories of our time.
Zille takes the reader back to her humble family origins, her struggle with anorexia as a young woman, her early career as a journalist for the Rand Daily Mail, and her involvement with the End Conscription Campaign and the Black Sash. She documents her early days in the Democratic Party and the Democratic Alliance, at a time when the party was locked in a no-holds-barred factional conflict.

Product description

About the Author

Before entering politics, Zille made a name for herself as a political journalist and outspoken critic of apartheid, working for South Africa s leading liberal newspaper, the Rand Daily Mail. Zille joined the Democratic Party in the mid-1990s, where she was asked to reformulate the party s education policy. After a term in the Western Cape provincial legislature under the newly formed Democratic Alliance she was elected to the National Assembly as a member of Parliament in 2004, serving on the Portfolio Committee on Education and as the party s national spokesperson. In 2006 Zille was elected mayor of Cape Town and in 2007 took over as leader of the Democratic Alliance. When her party won the Western Cape in the 2009 general election, she was appointed premier of the province, a position that she continues to hold after stepping down as DA leader in 2015.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 12915 KB
  • Print Length: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 1 edition (7 Oct. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01LX6KBD0

Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood Hardcover – 17 Nov 2016

by Trevor Noah

The New York Times Top 10 Bestseller

The compelling, inspiring, (often comic) coming-of-age story of Trevor Noah, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. 

Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (17 Nov. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1473635284
  • ISBN-13: 978-1473635289

Web sites

SA Institute of International Affairs (

Center for Development and Enterprise (,

CDE has an excellent series of policy papers and also has useful reading lists for those wanting a more in depth or academic assessment of economics and development in South Africa.

SA Institute of Race Relations (

The best place for reading about the day-to-day political debate is

There is The Daily Maverick as an unusual and informative irreverent site.

For a more academic approach it is worth while seeing some of the papers published by the South African Labour and Development Research Unit – SALDRU.

Peter Sullivan and friends recommend:

Favourite books on South Africa to read, suggested by friends of  our tour expert Peter Sullivan.  This is an eclectic mix from a politically savvy group who all are passionate about South Africa. 

Charles van Onselen, historian 


Alan Paton, Cry the Beloved Country,

JM Coetzee, Disgrace

Andre Brink, Dry White Season,

Eskia Mphalele, Down Second Avenue

Zakes Mda, Ways of Dying


Giliomee, The Afrikaners,

Brian Willan’s, Sol Plaatje – biography

Phyllis Ntantala, A Life’s Mosaic

Sol Plaatje, Native Life

RW Johnson,  SA’s Brave New World.

CW de Kiewiet,  Social and Economic History of SA. 

Jennifer Cohen, media consultant 


Spiral House by Claire Robertson. Fabulous for a million reasons.

Innocence of Roast Chicken by Jo-Anne Richards (belongs in the SA canon, with its sympathetic portrayal of a torturer).

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes. Won a Hugo award in the US.

Devil’s Chimney by Anne Landsman. Grim, but completely evocative.

The Track, by Katy Bauer (both set around Oudtshoorn) similar vein, but shorter than Devil’s Chimney.

Disgrace by J M Coetsee

Cold Stone Jug by Herman Charles Bosman

Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer.


Do we presume they’ll have read Long Walk to Freedom and My Traitor’s Heart?

And I liked Patti Waldmeir’s book on the transition, Anatomy of a Miracle: The End of Apartheid and the Birth of a New South Africa, which they may have read.

Plains of Camdeboo, Eve Palmer. My favourite.

Antjie Krog’s Country of My Skull about the TRC

Jonny Steinberg’s Midlands or Three-Letter Plague

Thieves at the Dinner Table, David Lewis (the class-action lawyer will like this)

Lerato Tshabalala’s The Way I See it: The Musings of a Black Woman in the Rainbow Nation

Ivan Vladislavic’s Portrait with Keys

Edwin Cameron’s love affair of the law, Justice: A Personal Account

Raising the Bar, Songezo Zibi

Maybe Tony Leon’s Opposite Mandela: Encounters with South Africa’s Icon

More historical perhaps Richard Steyn’s Jan Smuts,

Mostert’s Frontiers,

Pakenham’s Boer War.

Rochelle Keene, PA 


Antjie Krog: Country of my skull

Zakes Mda: The heart of redness

JM Coetzee: Disgrace (I hated it)

Chris van Wyk: Shirley, goodness and mercy

E’skia Mphahlele: Down Second Avenue


Luli Callinicos: The world that made Mandela

James Clarke, columnist and author


Daphne Sheldrick’s “Love, life and elephants” – a delightful read – it provides an unforgettable insight into elephants.

Denys Reitz ‘s “On Commando” for an intensely readable taste of the Boer War plus a look at the psyche of an educated Boer.

Maberley’s “Mammals of Southern Africa” (revised and updated by Richard Goss) – this is the best guidebook to SA Mammals.

Roberts Bird Guide

Clive Walker’s “Signs of the Wild” – illustrates spoor and droppings.

James Clarke’s “Save Me From the lion’s Mouth” the age-old conflict between rural people and wildlife.

Gordon Forbes, tennis legend and author


The Beadle by Pauline Smith

False River by Dominique Botha

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

Cry The Beloved Country by Alan Paton

Disgrace by JM Coetzee

Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner

A Dry White Season by Andre Brink


My Traitor’s Heart by Riaan Malan

Country of my Skull by Antje Krog

Jan Smuts by Richard Steyn

Commando by Denys Reitz

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

The Boer War by Thomas Pakenham