South Africa and Swaziland/Eswatini
November 5-18, 2021
November 5, Port Elizabeth
Depending on whether you choose to explore other parts of South Africa before the tour begins, we will officially gather at our guest house in Port Elizabeth by 4:00 pm and proceed to the Mohair South Africa's headquarters for a reception and overview on South Africa's mohair history, followed by a visit to their showroom and store.
November 6 & 7, Wheatlands
Less than three hours from Port Elizabeth, our home for the next two nights will be Wheatlands, an eighth generation mohair farm. We will stay in the original farm house which traces its roots to whiskey and ostrich feathers. Dinner that night will be with some of South Africa's top mohair producers We rise early to enjoy coffee from the mountain tops - overlooking the Karoo (and goats!) and In the afternoon, travel to the Valley of Desolation.
November 8 & 9, Addo Elephant Park
Addo Elephant Park has the largest elephant population in Africa. Our 5-star accommodations provide the perfect setting for both personal comfort and extraordinary game viewing. There will be four game drives total during our stay each one lasting 3-4 hours. For the rest of the day we can relax by the pool or the veranda, watching zebras, elephants, and lions visit the watering hole.
November 10, Adele's Mohair
Adele Cutten is truly a legend within South Africa's mohair industry. Following the collapse of her pig-farming business due to government intervention during apartheid, Adele rebuilt herself and her profession. hiring dozens of unemployed locals to spin and knit mohair. Her products are now sold around the world. We are privileged to spend the day with Adele and her staff, many of whom are now multi-generational families that have been with her from the beginning.
November 11, Gubb and Inggs
Gubb and Inggs is the largest mohair and wool manufacturer in South Africa. We are given VIP access to every stage of production ranging from behemoth machines clouded in smoke and suds as bale after bale of wool is scoured to the sleek automation of computerized carding with the cleanliness of a science lab. In conclusion, we see the finished product being made at Hinterveld weaving, producing everything from haute couture garments to traditional blankets.
November 12-14, Phophonyone
We fly out of Port Elizabeth early and drive to Piggs Peak in Swaziland, arriving in time for tea and a traditional Swazi welcome dance. For three nights, we will stay in our thatched huts at Phophonyane Falls Eco Lodge by the river's edge.
Our first day in Swaziland is spent at Tintsaba, a traditional sisal basket weaving company started in 1984, employing more than 700 women. We will learn how they spin, dye, and weave sisal, including a hands-on workshop. The afternoon is free to enjoy the lodge, hiking, swimming, or relaxing.
The following morning we visit Coral Stephens Handweaving. Murrae Stephens the owner will be our hostess, providing us with a full tour of the studio which was founded by Coral Stephens in the late 1940s. Nearly 50 local women spin, dye and weave mohair that is sourced from South Africa and Lesotho. That evening, we will enjoy cocktails and dinner from Murrae's spectacular home, Boshimela, near the top of the mountain.