Comment: Silversea’s Conrad Combrink shares excitement about hosting expedition to his homeland

Conrad Combrink, Silversea’s senior vice-president of expeditions, destination and itinerary management, shares what guests can expect on a Silversea expedition to South Africa and the importance of engaging with local communities.

Growing up in multicultural South Africa, I was granted exposure at an early age to some of the greatest wildlife and wilderness on Earth, as well as a deep respect for myriad cultures and traditions.

With safari reserves, the Cape Peninsula, Table Mountain and dramatic coastlines as my backyard, an adventurer’s spirit became part of my DNA.

This is Silversea’s first true expedition to some of the most secluded and often unheard-of ports along South Africa’s western shores – places such as Port Nolloth, gateway to the Northern Cape’s remote desert beauty; Langebaan, known both as the ornithological capital of South Africa and the Jewel of the West Coast; and Hermanus, the land-based, whale-watching capital of the world set against the Western Cape’s emerald-green hills.

For any expedition, the experience is more than the itinerary itself. Rather, it is how we interpret the destination, and this journey delivers extremely intimate and uniquely authentic discovery.

From Walvis Bay and Luderitz in Namibia to overnights in South Africa’s Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, and visits to Mossel Bay and East London, we’ve obtained special permission for Zodiac explorations of certain areas not accessible to traditional cruise guests.

Hosting a small expedition to my homeland has been a long-held dream of mine; and through years of relationship building, my team and I have cultivated exclusive partnerships that will escort guests into never-before visited communities.

Beyond the incredible wilderness and rare wildlife sightings, I am most eager to share in the cultural experiences, from the Xhosa in Hermanus to the Khoi peoples of Langebaan and Afrikaan history in Port Nolloth.

Silversea expedition cruise South Africa

I am thrilled that this expedition includes an optional complimentary overnight tented experience in Tankwa Karoo National Park, a place of wide-open spaces, big skies and the renowned Succulent Karoo Biome – a must-see biodiversity hotspot comprising the richest succulent flora on Earth (615 species at last count!).

Departing Langebaan and re-joining the ship in Cape Town, we’ll drive through small towns such as Ceres, Sutherland and Calvinia to reach the park, its deep valleys and vast open plains bordered by the Kouebokkeveld Mountains to the north, the Cederberg in the west, and the blue-grey Roggeveld in the east.

The crisp air here is heavy with peace and tranquillity while the night sky is alight with twinkling stars.

After a day of exploring, we’ll settle into our luxury tents and prepare for dinner under the stars and a campfire.

Morning arrives with a breath-taking sunrise, savoured with fresh-brewed coffee and authentic South African rusks (double-baked biscuits).

On the return to Cape Town, we’ll discover the Bushman’s fascinating ancient rock paintings and carvings (collectively called rock art).

Guests can discover South Africa’s authentic beauty on a 12-day voyage from Walvis Bay to Port Elizabeth, departing March 23, 2024, onboard Silver Cloud.

Door-to-door prices start from £6,500 per person including a one-category suite upgrade, $1,000 Shipboard Credit per suite ($500 per guest) and a refundable 15% reduced deposit.

Curated exclusively for this expedition, this once-in-a-lifetime experience requires advance booking no later than January 31, 2024. Requests after that date will be accommodated on a space-available basis.

Related Stories