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South Africa: A Journey of Discovery

17 days Nature & Wildlife
No other destination offers such a spectacular combination of scenery, cities and amazing wildlife sightings. One day you’re out on the savannah, spying on leopards and lions; the next, you’re sipping a crisp chenin blanc and feeling the breeze off the Indian Ocean.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 26 travelers

Tour pace: You will walk for about 1 hour daily across mostly flat terrain, including dirt paths and unpaved walkways, with some hills and stairs.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 14 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 5 lunches, 7 three-course or buffet dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Map of tour of South Africa

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Cape Town today.

Cape Town 4 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Cape Town

Welcome to South Africa! Settle in to your hotel this evening.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Cape Town

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Embark on a guided tour of Cape Town, a beautiful and culturally rich city.

• Take a cable car ride up Table Mountain (weather permitting) 

• Enjoy a visit to the South Africa Museum

• Catch glimpses of the National Gallery and the Houses of Parliament as you drive through the city and stop in the Malay District

• Take a ferry to Robben Island, the historic symbol of apartheid and South Africa’s struggle for freedom, for a tour with a local guide (weather permitting)

Enjoy a welcome dinner with your fellow travelers this evening.

Day 4: Cape of Good Hope

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today, you’ll set out on a full-day excursion to the Cape of Good Hope.

• En route, you’ll pass the beautiful Clifton and Camps Bay beaches

• Travel to Hout Bay and enjoy lunch with your group at Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, where the Atlantic and Southern Oceans meet

Day 5: Free day in Cape Town

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Cape town or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Cape Winelands Tasting & Lunch $95pp* Details

Leave the city behind for a scenic drive from Cape Town through the valleys of the Cape Winelands, finally arriving in the Stellenbosch wine region. Among the mountainous, treelined surroundings of the Stellenbosch Waterford Estate, get a taste for the region’s finest labels complemented by luxurious chocolate pairings. Continue on to Takora, an award-winning winery estate, for another wine tasting and a light lunch. Afterward, relax and soak in the vineyard scenery before returning to Cape Town.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Knysna 2 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Transfer to Knysna

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today you’ll continue on to Knysna, known for its sandstone cliffs and deep lagoon. Stop along the way to visit a local wine estate for lunch.

Day 7: Featherbed Nature Reserve

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Embark on a ferry ride to Featherbed Nature Reserve, a pristine piece of paradise only accessible by boat.

• Take a 4x4 vehicle tour up to an impressive view of the surrounding scenery

• Enjoy a guided nature walk along the coast, then hike or take a tractor tram back down the path

Port Elizabeth 2 nights Hotel info

Day 8: Transfer to Port Elizabeth

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today, travel to the sun-drenched shores of Port Elizabeth, set on the beautiful Algoa Bay, making several stops along the way. 

• Follow the Garden Route to Tsitsikamma National Park and Storms River

• Walk along the Storms River suspension bridge for an incredible photo opportunity. 

Venture out on an orientation tour of Port Elizabeth before settling in to your hotel.

Day 9: Pumba Private Game Reserve

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Get to know the wildlife and local culture on a series of guided visits today.

• Visit the Pumba Private Game Reserve for a game drive 

• Keep a lookout for white lions, elephants and other wildlife

• Tour a Port Elizabeth township with a local guide to learn about its history

• Stop by a local tavern to watch dancers and musicians perform

Hluhluwe 2 nights Hotel info

Day 10: Transfer to Hluhluwe via Durban

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Fly to Durban today, then continue on to Hluhluwe.

Day 11: Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park

  Included meals: Breakfast

Depart for the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, declared South Africa’s first World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999. 

• Explore the flora and fauna of the St. Lucia Estuary on a river cruise

• Try to spot hippos, bush bucks, crocodiles, fish-eagles, monkeys, kingfishers and mudskippers

Swaziland 1 night Hotel info

Day 12: Swaziland via Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today you’ll head out for a morning game drive at the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve. Then enter the Kingdom of Swaziland, one of Africa’s smallest countries and the continent’s last absolute monarchy.

Kruger Region 2 nights Hotel info

Day 13: Transfer to Kruger Region via Manzini

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Stop in Manzini, Swaziland for a visit to a local market before continuing on to Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in South Africa.

Enjoy free time in the Kruger Region or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Elephant Sanctuary $59pp* Details

Come face-to-face with gentle giants on a visit to an elephant sanctuary. Guides will give you in-depth information about African elephants as you experience them up close. With the help of professional elephant handlers, you’ll have the opportunity to pet the largest living land animals on Earth.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Day 14: Kruger National Park game drives

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Set out for a full day of game drives, where you’ll have a chance to see the Big Five game animals: Buffalo, elephants, leopards, lions and rhinos.

Johannesburg 1 night Hotel info

Day 15: Travel to Johannesburg

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Make your way to Johannesburg, where you’ll say goodbye to your group at tonight’s farewell dinner.

Day 16: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport to board your flight home, or continue on the tour extension to explore Victoria Falls.

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 17: Travel day

Arrive home today.

Add Victoria Falls Starting from $899 pp

When the Zambezi River is at its highest, the towering column of spray from Victoria Falls can be seen from over 20 km away. This magnificent waterfall—the world’s largest—marks the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Although the explorer David Livingstone named the falls after Queen Victoria, the locals call this natural wonder the “smoke that thunders.” Please note: A visa is required for U.S. and Canadian passport holders to enter Zimbabwe.

Victoria Falls 3 nights Hotel info

Day 16: Sightseeing tour of Chinotimba Township

  Included meals: Breakfast

Fly to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, located on the southern bank of the Zambezi River. Then, take a guided tour of Chinotimba Township, a village of the Nambya and Tonga people.

• Get a glimpse of local township life

• See old houses, taverns, local markets and churches

Day 17: Sightseeing tour of Victoria Falls

  Included meals: Breakfast

Explore Victoria Falls, the largest curtain of falling water in the world, on a guided tour, then continue on to visit a local charitable organization. 

• Take in spectacular views of the falls from several vantage points

• Learn about the history, flora and fauna of the area

• Visit the Rose of Charity to learn about their projects and ongoing work to improve the quality of life in local communities

Enjoy a free evening in Victoria Falls or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Sundowner Cruise $65pp* Details

This afternoon, travel from your hotel to the Zambezi River to embark on a leisurely, two-hour sundowner cruise. From comfortable chairs on your ship's cool wooden decks, keep watch for the local wildlife, including hippos, crocodiles and elephants. Your cruise includes light appetizers and drinks, so sit back and relax while meandering down the Zambezi at sunset.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $75)

Day 18: Free day in Victoria Falls

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a full free day in Victoria Falls.

Say goodbye to your fellow travelers at a farewell dinner in Victoria Falls.

Day 19: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast

Fly back to Johannesburg, where you’ll board your overnight flight home.

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 20: Travel day

Arrive home today.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 14 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 5 lunches, 7 three-course or buffet dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Map of tour of South Africa

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Cape Town today.

Cape Town 4 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Cape Town

Welcome to South Africa! Settle in to your hotel this evening.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Cape Town

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Embark on a guided tour of Cape Town, a beautiful and culturally rich city.

• Take a cable car ride up Table Mountain (weather permitting) 

• Enjoy a visit to the South Africa Museum

• Catch glimpses of the National Gallery and the Houses of Parliament as you drive through the city and stop in the Malay District

• Take a ferry to Robben Island, the historic symbol of apartheid and South Africa’s struggle for freedom, for a tour with a local guide (weather permitting)

Enjoy a welcome dinner with your fellow travelers this evening.

Day 4: Cape of Good Hope

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today, you’ll set out on a full-day excursion to the Cape of Good Hope.

• En route, you’ll pass the beautiful Clifton and Camps Bay beaches

• Travel to Hout Bay and enjoy lunch with your group at Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, where the Atlantic and Southern Oceans meet

Day 5: Free day in Cape Town

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Cape town or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Cape Winelands Tasting & Lunch $95pp* Details

Leave the city behind for a scenic drive from Cape Town through the valleys of the Cape Winelands, finally arriving in the Stellenbosch wine region. Among the mountainous, treelined surroundings of the Stellenbosch Waterford Estate, get a taste for the region’s finest labels complemented by luxurious chocolate pairings. Continue on to Takora, an award-winning winery estate, for another wine tasting and a light lunch. Afterward, relax and soak in the vineyard scenery before returning to Cape Town.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Knysna 2 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Transfer to Knysna

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today you’ll continue on to Knysna, known for its sandstone cliffs and deep lagoon. Stop along the way to visit a local wine estate for lunch.

Day 7: Featherbed Nature Reserve

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Embark on a ferry ride to Featherbed Nature Reserve, a pristine piece of paradise only accessible by boat.

• Take a 4x4 vehicle tour up to an impressive view of the surrounding scenery

• Enjoy a guided nature walk along the coast, then hike or take a tractor tram back down the path

Port Elizabeth 2 nights Hotel info

Day 8: Transfer to Port Elizabeth

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today, travel to the sun-drenched shores of Port Elizabeth, set on the beautiful Algoa Bay, making several stops along the way. 

• Follow the Garden Route to Tsitsikamma National Park and Storms River

• Walk along the Storms River suspension bridge for an incredible photo opportunity. 

Venture out on an orientation tour of Port Elizabeth before settling in to your hotel.

Day 9: Pumba Private Game Reserve

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Get to know the wildlife and local culture on a series of guided visits today.

• Visit the Pumba Private Game Reserve for a game drive 

• Keep a lookout for white lions, elephants and other wildlife

• Tour a Port Elizabeth township with a local guide to learn about its history

• Stop by a local tavern to watch dancers and musicians perform

Hluhluwe 2 nights Hotel info

Day 10: Transfer to Hluhluwe via Durban

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Fly to Durban today, then continue on to Hluhluwe.

Day 11: Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park

  Included meals: Breakfast

Depart for the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, declared South Africa’s first World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999. 

• Explore the flora and fauna of the St. Lucia Estuary on a river cruise

• Try to spot hippos, bush bucks, crocodiles, fish-eagles, monkeys, kingfishers and mudskippers

Swaziland 1 night Hotel info

Day 12: Swaziland via Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today you’ll head out for a morning game drive at the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve. Then enter the Kingdom of Swaziland, one of Africa’s smallest countries and the continent’s last absolute monarchy.

Kruger Region 2 nights Hotel info

Day 13: Transfer to Kruger Region via Manzini

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Stop in Manzini, Swaziland for a visit to a local market before continuing on to Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in South Africa.

Enjoy free time in the Kruger Region or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Elephant Sanctuary $59pp* Details

Come face-to-face with gentle giants on a visit to an elephant sanctuary. Guides will give you in-depth information about African elephants as you experience them up close. With the help of professional elephant handlers, you’ll have the opportunity to pet the largest living land animals on Earth.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Day 14: Kruger National Park game drives

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Set out for a full day of game drives, where you’ll have a chance to see the Big Five game animals: Buffalo, elephants, leopards, lions and rhinos.

Johannesburg 1 night Hotel info

Day 15: Travel to Johannesburg

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Make your way to Johannesburg, where you’ll say goodbye to your group at tonight’s farewell dinner.

Day 16: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport to board your flight home, or continue on the tour extension to explore Victoria Falls.

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 17: Travel day

Arrive home today.

Add Victoria Falls Starting from $999 pp

When the Zambezi River is at its highest, the towering column of spray from Victoria Falls can be seen from over 20 km away. This magnificent waterfall—the world’s largest—marks the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Although the explorer David Livingstone named the falls after Queen Victoria, the locals call this natural wonder the “smoke that thunders.” Please note: A visa is required for U.S. and Canadian passport holders to enter Zimbabwe.

Victoria Falls 3 nights Hotel info

Day 16: Sightseeing tour of Chinotimba Township

  Included meals: Breakfast

Fly to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, located on the southern bank of the Zambezi River. Then, take a guided tour of Chinotimba Township, a village of the Nambya and Tonga people.

• Get a glimpse of local township life

• See old houses, taverns, local markets and churches

Day 17: Sightseeing tour of Victoria Falls

  Included meals: Breakfast

Explore Victoria Falls, the largest curtain of falling water in the world, on a guided tour, then continue on to visit a local charitable organization. 

• Take in spectacular views of the falls from several vantage points

• Learn about the history, flora and fauna of the area

• Visit the Rose of Charity to learn about their projects and ongoing work to improve the quality of life in local communities

Enjoy a free evening in Victoria Falls or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Sundowner Cruise $65pp* Details

This afternoon, travel from your hotel to the Zambezi River to embark on a leisurely, two-hour sundowner cruise. From comfortable chairs on your ship's cool wooden decks, keep watch for the local wildlife, including hippos, crocodiles and elephants. Your cruise includes light appetizers and drinks, so sit back and relax while meandering down the Zambezi at sunset.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $75)

Day 18: Free day in Victoria Falls

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a full free day in Victoria Falls or add an excursion. Say goodbye to your fellow travelers at a farewell dinner in Victoria Falls.

Optional Excursion - Elephant Ride in Victoria Falls National Park $139pp* Details

Get up close to nature’s gentle giants at an elephant camp. The elephant handlers will introduce you to the world’s largest land mammal, the African elephant, and give insight into the camp’s mission along with a brief lesson on the species. Then, while seated comfortably on the back of an elephant, embark on a safari through the grasslands of Victoria Falls National Park, passing by the gorges of the Zambezi River along the way. Back at the elephant camp, feed the elephants before sitting down for a hot breakfast yourself.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Day 19: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast

Fly back to Johannesburg, where you’ll board your overnight flight home.

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 20: Arrival in the U.S.

Arrive home today.

How's the weather?

  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Knysna, South Africa
  • Port Elizabeth, South Africa
  • Hluhluwe, South Africa
  • Mbabane, Swaziland
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & visa

In order to enter South Africa and Swaziland (as well as Zimbabwe on the tour extension), U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry, and at least two empty pages for each country visited Additionally, U.S. and Canadian passport holders must obtain a visa in order to enter Zimbabwe. You may choose to obtain your individual visa in advance by applying directly to the Zimbabwean consulate or by using a visa provider, such as our partner company, VisaCentral. Travelers also have the option to purchase a visa upon arrival. Please note that all travelers visiting South Africa and Zimbabwe may be required to have a yellow fever certificate or a valid waiver certificate. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements. 

Baggage allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.  Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height).  Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Clothing & packing tips

Safaris are informal, and casual dress in comfortable lightweight cottons is appropriate. Since the temperature varies significantly from midday to evening, clothing that can be layered (eg, a windbreaker) is a good idea, as are comfortable shoes such as sneakers or lightweight hiking boots. Sandals or other shoes that expose your skin are discouraged. We advise that you wear a hat during the day, and make sure you use a strong sunblock. Insect repellent is also recommended. For your game drives, we recommend muted colors, as bright clothing can scare off the animals. Paid laundry facilities are available on tour.

Health

Visitors should be in good health. Please contact your family doctor well in advance of your departure for information regarding immunization and personal travel requirements. While on safari, you are assured the services of emergency medical evacuation to Johannesburg, which has been designed to bring first-rate medical care by superbly qualified personnel to outlying areas. All travelers returning to South Africa from extension in Zimbabwe will now be required to have a yellow fever certificate.

Important health tips

You are requested to obtain Yellow Fever inoculations at least 14 days prior to arrival in South Africa. Please be prepared to present your vaccination record or other proof of this inoculation. Visit travel.state.gov (U.S. residents) or travel.gc.ca (Canadian residents) for more information. In order for you to stay healthy on your South African tour, we recommend the following:         

  • Drink bottled water and refrain from drinking tap water.
  • Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they are cooked or washed in clean water and peeled.
  • Bring a small first aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication and any prescription medications.

Cuisine

You’ll find that most cuisine in the game lodges reflects the region’s Afrikaner and British colonial influences. Quality is superb with meats, vegetables and fruits from the surrounding area’s farmland. Always avoid drinking tap water in South Africa. Use bottled water for drinking and even for brushing your teeth, and be sure the bottle is sealed when you receive it. Bottled water is provided on tour each day. Remember also to avoid any drinks served with ice cubes.

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in Cape Town and depart from Johannesburg. A flight from Port Elizabeth to Durban is included. On safari, you will be traveling in a specially equipped safari van. The vehicle is open at the top, allowing for a panoramic view during game drives. The remaining transportation is by private motor coach. 

Electricity

South Africa operates on 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ. Most outlets take 15-amp 3-prong plugs with round pins. If you’re traveling on the extension, Zambia operates on 230 volts AC 50 Hz. Outlet varieties include the 2-prong European plug with round pins, the three-prong “Old British” plug with round pins and the British three-pin 13-amp plug with rectangular pins.

Time zones

South Africa and Zambia are one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), or six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it is noon in New York, it’s 6pm in Johannesburg.

Shopping

Local handicrafts, including wood carvings, textiles and jewelry, are generally inexpensive and make wonderful souvenirs of your trip. You will have the opportunity to shop at outdoor markets, small shops and tribal roadside stalls, as well as elegant boutiques in Cape Town and at some of the lodges. Prices in South Africa are almost always negotiated, providing an excellent way of meeting the South African people up close.

Items to give or trade

South Africans are fond of North American goods. Many travelers bring token items to offer as gifts or when bartering for souvenirs. Inexpensive items that the locals value include T-shirts, baseball caps, anything imprinted with professional sports logos, pens, cosmetics and toiletries. Although it has become common for American visitors to offer South African children candy and gum, this practice is somewhat controversial because the availability of dental care for these children may be negligible. Instead of sweets, children’s books in English are enormously appreciated. Small toys, games and crayons are also good gifts.

Currency

The currency you will be using on your tour is the South African rand (and the U.S Dollar, on extension). All African countries have stringent exchange regulations. Their currencies are not interchangeable. We recommend that you carry as little local cash as possible, and small amounts of the U.S. dollar for small purchases. (Please make sure that you only bring U.S. dollars printed in 2004 or later.) It is important to keep a receipt whenever you convert foreign currency. No local currency can be taken in or out of the country. Major American credit cards are accepted in South Africa. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3 USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6 USD/CAD to $9 USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2 USD/ CAD per local guide. Tips may only be paid in cash.

How's the weather?

  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Knysna, South Africa
  • Port Elizabeth, South Africa
  • Hluhluwe, South Africa
  • Mbabane, Swaziland
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Passport & visa

In order to enter South Africa and Swaziland (as well as Zimbabwe on the tour extension), U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry, and at least two empty pages for each country visited Additionally, U.S. and Canadian passport holders must obtain a visa in order to enter Zimbabwe. You may choose to obtain your individual visa in advance by applying directly to the Zimbabwean consulate or by using a visa provider, such as our partner company, VisaCentral. Travelers also have the option to purchase a visa upon arrival. Please note that all travelers visiting South Africa and Zimbabwe may be required to have a yellow fever certificate or a valid waiver certificate. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements. 

Baggage allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.  Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height).  Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Clothing & packing tips

Safaris are informal, and casual dress in comfortable lightweight cottons is appropriate. Since the temperature varies significantly from midday to evening, clothing that can be layered (eg, a windbreaker) is a good idea, as are comfortable shoes such as sneakers or lightweight hiking boots. Sandals or other shoes that expose your skin are discouraged. We advise that you wear a hat during the day, and make sure you use a strong sunblock. Insect repellent is also recommended. For your game drives, we recommend muted colors, as bright clothing can scare off the animals. Paid laundry facilities are available on tour.

Health

Visitors should be in good health. Please contact your family doctor well in advance of your departure for information regarding immunization and personal travel requirements. While on safari, you are assured the services of emergency medical evacuation to Johannesburg, which has been designed to bring first-rate medical care by superbly qualified personnel to outlying areas. All travelers returning to South Africa from extension in Zimbabwe will now be required to have a yellow fever certificate.

Important health tips

You are requested to obtain Yellow Fever inoculations at least 14 days prior to arrival in South Africa. Please be prepared to present your vaccination record or other proof of this inoculation. Visit travel.state.gov (U.S. residents) or travel.gc.ca (Canadian residents) for more information. In order for you to stay healthy on your South African tour, we recommend the following:         

  • Drink bottled water and refrain from drinking tap water.
  • Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they are cooked or washed in clean water and peeled.
  • Bring a small first aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication and any prescription medications.

Cuisine

You’ll find that most cuisine in the game lodges reflects the region’s Afrikaner and British colonial influences. Quality is superb with meats, vegetables and fruits from the surrounding area’s farmland. Always avoid drinking tap water in South Africa. Use bottled water for drinking and even for brushing your teeth, and be sure the bottle is sealed when you receive it. Bottled water is provided on tour each day. Remember also to avoid any drinks served with ice cubes.

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in Cape Town and depart from Johannesburg. A flight from Port Elizabeth to Durban is included. On safari, you will be traveling in a specially equipped safari van. The vehicle is open at the top, allowing for a panoramic view during game drives. The remaining transportation is by private motor coach. 

Electricity

South Africa operates on 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ. Most outlets take 15-amp 3-prong plugs with round pins. If you’re traveling on the extension, Zambia operates on 230 volts AC 50 Hz. Outlet varieties include the 2-prong European plug with round pins, the three-prong “Old British” plug with round pins and the British three-pin 13-amp plug with rectangular pins.

Time zones

South Africa and Zambia are one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), or six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it is noon in New York, it’s 6pm in Johannesburg.

Shopping

Local handicrafts, including wood carvings, textiles and jewelry, are generally inexpensive and make wonderful souvenirs of your trip. You will have the opportunity to shop at outdoor markets, small shops and tribal roadside stalls, as well as elegant boutiques in Cape Town and at some of the lodges. Prices in South Africa are almost always negotiated, providing an excellent way of meeting the South African people up close.

Items to give or trade

South Africans are fond of North American goods. Many travelers bring token items to offer as gifts or when bartering for souvenirs. Inexpensive items that the locals value include T-shirts, baseball caps, anything imprinted with professional sports logos, pens, cosmetics and toiletries. Although it has become common for American visitors to offer South African children candy and gum, this practice is somewhat controversial because the availability of dental care for these children may be negligible. Instead of sweets, children’s books in English are enormously appreciated. Small toys, games and crayons are also good gifts.

Currency

The currency you will be using on your tour is the South African rand (and the U.S Dollar, on extension). All African countries have stringent exchange regulations. Their currencies are not interchangeable. We recommend that you carry as little local cash as possible, and small amounts of the U.S. dollar for small purchases. (Please make sure that you only bring U.S. dollars printed in 2004 or later.) It is important to keep a receipt whenever you convert foreign currency. No local currency can be taken in or out of the country. Major American credit cards are accepted in South Africa. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3 USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6 USD/CAD to $9 USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2 USD/ CAD per local guide. Tips may only be paid in cash.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

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4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 5/13/2016

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: NJ

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

South Africa

This tour needs to be reorganized. First, an issue that would not affect all travelers. We live in NJ and were told the flight to and from Jo'berg would be out of JFK. My wife asked if we could fly out of Newark and was told yes. What she was not told was that the flight from Newark would be a prop jet flight to Dulles where we would have a 4 hour layover and a 6 hour layover on return. Had this been explained, we would have either flown out of JFK or driven to Dulles in 3 hours for the flight. Next, my main issue with Go Ahead is the tipping policy. I strongly recommend that you eliminate tipping, decide what you want to pay drivers and guides and factor that into the cost of the trip, so that everyone pays the same add on. We had two drivers who drove for up to 8 hours a day, and a third driver who we saw on a limited basis. Why is the same daily tip recommended for both? More importantly, there are people who are simply cheap, and I feel like a fool giving the guide the full recommended tip, when I know some people will give 1/3 of what I give. I feel strongly enough about this that it would be a reason for not using Go Ahead. If the basis of the policy is to encourage good service, just get rid of people who do not provide it. We elected the Victoria Falls extension. I would start the trip with this and limit it to one and a half days. Cape Town and the tours around that area were outstanding. The private game reserves give one a better chance of seeing animals because the area is compressed. Kruger is just too big for a short stay. Swaziland was a nothing because we essentially just drove thru it, although the Forester Arms Hotel was charming and had a very nice dinner service. I was sorry we didn't see Durban or Jo'berg. There was just too much time on the road, and it took us 31 hours to get home from Victoria Falls. There were a couple a of cancelled or changed events, and there needs to be a back up planned event should that happen. Our guide was very knowledgable and pleasant. I think he would be useful in considering ways to reorganize the itinerary.

 

Dear Edwin, Thank you very much for your feedback. We are glad to see that there were aspects of this tour that you truly enjoyed. We regret however that there were a few areas you feel could be improved. We are sorry to hear that your flight experience could have been better. Flight routing to South Africa is very restrictive and determined solely by the airlines. There is only one flight out to South Africa via Dulles every day. Therefore, we must make sure the whole group catches this flight. It looks like one of our Customer Service representatives called you prior to departure to discuss your flight routing. Again, we regret that this was a source of frustration and we are sorry if this was not clear to you. Regarding tipping, this aspect of the tour remains in the hands of our travelers, as tipping is a personal decision reflective of individual experiences. Our recommended tips are purely suggestions and often travelers give more or less, depending on their satisfaction with the services. Tipping on tour is not to encourage good service, but it is a gesture of appreciation for the hard work of our staff. That said, we will be sure to pass along your feedback regarding the tipping system so that it may be reviewed by our Operations team. We’re happy to hear that you enjoyed Cape Town and the surrounding area. It is indeed an incredible city! You’re right that there is quite a bit of time in transit on this tour, as the itinerary covers quite a bit of ground and South Africa is a relatively large country. We’re also glad that you enjoyed your Tour Director and that you found him to be knowledgeable. We hope he was able to suggest alternative options in light of some itinerary changes, which can happen from time to time for various reasons. Again, we thank you for sharing your experience with us. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always give us a call at 1-800-597-0350 and ask for Quality Control.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | June 06, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 2/19/2016

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: OK

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Enjoyed the food!

I was excited about this trip from the moment I chose it. I expected it to be good but it was so much more. Cape Town was such a diverse and beautiful place and then it kept getting better. So many things we got to see that I still am absorbing it all. Some highlights were the white lions of Pumba, the scenery at Storms River and Fetherbed Nature Preserve, the wildlife at the St Lucia Estuary, visiting Africa's oldest reserve, and then topping it off with Kruger where we got to see the big 5. Swaziland was such a pretty country and then ending the trip at Victoria Falls, Zimbawae - who could ask for anything more! Visited several markets which were fun, and visited two townships which were eye opening. The people were so friendly everywhere we went. The food was good and I got to try a lot of new things (the crocodile was really good!). Chris, tour director, did a great job.

 

Hi Terry! It sounds like you enjoyed your tour, and we are very happy to hear it! You certainly chose a wonderful destination. South Africa offers a variety of unique experiences and landscapes that make for an incredible tour. We’re glad you were able to spot the Big Five, and we’re also happy to see that you added the Victoria Falls extension. The falls are not to be missed! Eating crocodile must have been an interesting culinary experience, and we’re glad that it agreed with your palate. It’s great to know that you enjoyed your Tour Director and felt he did a good job of leading your tour. Thank you for sharing your experience, and we look forward to welcoming you on tour later this year!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | March 21, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 7/7/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: IL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Amazing!

This tour was everything that I hoped for! Being able to see Victoria Falls and so many incredible animals was amazing! Seeing animals in their natural habitat is wonderful - so much better than in a zoo. The time spent in Cape Town was also enjoyable & a great place to end the tour! Our Tour Director Duane was fantastic! I learned so much on this trip, which is something I enjoy about travel to other countries.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 4/21/2015

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: NV

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

All the Right Stuff!

South Africa, A Journey of Discovery was the culmination of a long held dream of visiting S. Africa. If your bucket list includes Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls, visiting the last absolute Monarchy of Swaziland, views of and from Table Mountain in Cape Town, and standing at the Cape of Good Hope, this tour checks them all. Couple it with game viewing and visiting lovely cities and beautiful National Parks and places with strange sounding names, it is a winner! Mountains, valleys, rivers and estuary, lakes, forests, and surf crashing the shore, coupled with exotic wildlife viewing make for the trip of a lifetime. The knowledge of the country shared with us by our trip leader added to enjoyment. He could speak extemporaneously about any questions asked. The country is beautiful, the people are friendly, the exchange rate is very good. What are you waiting for?

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 4/21/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Dream Do Come True!

This was truly a trip of a lifetime. Whether it was taking a walk in Nelson Mandela's shoes on Robbin Island, walking the majestic Victoria Falls, or taking a cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain the beauty of South Africa can not be put into words. The paper itinerary cannot come close to the sights and sounds of South Africa. The food was yummy! I tried warthog, kudu, Crocodile and ostrich. While in the reserves we were able to see lions, elephants, giraffes, rhinos and even a cheetah. The people of South Africa are known for their spirit of HUMANITY and they definitely showed it to us. The love, spirit and soul if South Africa were not on display it just enveloped us. Our tour guide Duane was so knowledgeable and he made this trip that much more special. He made sure our accommodations were as advertised and I really appreciate the time he took to allow us to experience those things and places that only the "locals" know about. I left a piece of my heart in South Africa and I can't wait to go back and visit again. This trip exceeded every expectation I had.

1 / 12

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 4/21/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Dream Come True

South Africa has so much too offer in regards to nature!!! We seen the best Falls, mountains, landscapes, animals; everything was just beautiful!!! The hotel's were simply amazing!!!! Of course there was a few customer service issues but nothing that made the hotel unbearable. OMG, our tour director was the BOMB. Duane made sure we were well taken care of in all aspects!!! He was so knowledgeable about everything. I couldn't have asked for a better trip!!! Job well done!

1 / 4

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/20/2014

Number of Past Tours: 9

From: MD

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Amazing!!!

One of the best ever!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 4/8/2014

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Beautiful South Africa!

This was the kind of vacation you dream about and hope to do someday. Beautiful, exciting places throughout the journey; friendly, wonderful people, and the animals! It takes your breath away to see the magnificent elephants, giraffes, rhinos, zebras and more up close. And Capetown is a spectacularly, beautiful city. Our tour director Duane was the absolute best! His knowledge and professionalism are fantastic. He takes care of his people to the utmost. He is very passionate about the beautiful land he grew up in.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 4/8/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: ON

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Over all Experience

For our first Go Ahead trip we had a fantastic guide (Duane ) he was very knowledgeable and if he didn't know the answer he would get right back to us. April was a good time of the year weather wise and to see the animals. Hotels were 4 star rating. It was an amazing experience.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 2/11/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NJ

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

"Breathtakingly Beautiful Country"

South Africa & the Southern region of Africa is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. Television & pictures do not do this country justice. The people were so genuinely warm, friendly & helpful. This tour gave a wonderful overview. Each place had it's own unique flavor. Zimbabwe/Victoria Falls was stunning. Swaziland was welcoming. The Hotel Foresters Arms was one of my favorite. The atmosphere was relaxing, food was good,service great & staff so helpful. Port Elizabeth was interesting. I was overwhelmed by Knysna. "Storms River" was indescribable. It was picture perfect. "Featherbed Nature Preserve" is a place that I wish I could to do a daily walk in. I am sure there is always something new to see. The "Elephant Sanctuary" is so needed & what a blessing. Enjoyed Capetown & all the tours that we did except the "South African Museum". Not much to see. We could have made better use of that time.

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