Build your tour

South Africa: A Journey of Discovery

17 days Nature & Wildlife Tours
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 with beer or wine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

Local cuisine with beer or wine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 14 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 5 lunches, 8 three-course or buffet dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing & select entrance fees

Overnight Flight1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Johannesburg today.

Johannesburg1 night Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Johannesburg

Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to South Africa! Meet your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Kruger Region2 nights Hotel info

Day 3: Transfer to Kruger National Park

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, travel across the savannah of Gauteng Highveld to Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in South Africa.

Enjoy a free afternoon in the Kruger Region or add an excursion.

Day 4: Full day game drives

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Kruger National Park

Today, 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.

Swaziland1 night Hotel info

Day 5: Transfer to Swaziland

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today you’ll enter the Kingdom of Swaziland, one of Africa’s smallest countries and the continent’s last absolute monarchy. 

• Stop in Manzini for a visit to a local market

• See traditional Swazi candles and weaving

Hluhluwe2 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve

Today you’ll head out for another day of game drives at the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, situated in the heart of Zululand.

Day 7: Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: St. Lucia Wetland Park

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

• Explore the St. Lucia Estuary on an ECO cruise tour

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

Port Elizabeth2 nights Hotel info

Day 8: Flight to Port Elizabeth

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today, travel to Durban and board your flight to the sun-drenched shores of Port Elizabeth, set on the beautiful Algoa Bay.

Day 9: Pumba Private Game Reserve

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Included entrances: Pumba Private Game Reserve

On today’s excursion, visit the Pumba Private Game Reserve, where you’ll enjoy a game drive and keep on the lookout for white lions, elephants and other wildlife.

Knysna2 nights Hotel info

Day 10: Transfer to Knysna

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Included entrances: Tsitsikamma National Park

Today you’ll continue on to Knysna, known for its sandstone cliffs and deep lagoon.

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

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

Day 11: Featherbed Nature Reserve

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Included entrances: Featherbed Nature Reserv

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

Enjoy a free evening in Knysna or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Knysna Sunset Cruise & Dinner $89*pp Details

Hop aboard an oyster boat and journey toward the impressive Knysna Heads. Take in the sights of the tranquil lagoon and dramatic cliffs as the sun sets. Enjoy a glass of white wine and fresh oysters during this leisurely, fully-guided boat tour. After the cruise, enjoy dinner with beer, wine or a soft drink at a local restaurant at Knysna Waterfront.

Cape Town4 nights Hotel info

Day 12: Transfer to Cape Town

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning, you’ll leave Knysna for Cape Town, the “Mother City.” Stop along the way to visit a local wine estate for lunch.

Day 13: Sightseeing tour of Cape Town

Included meals: Breakfast

Included entrances: Table Mountain, South African Museum, Robben Island

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)

Day 14: Cape of Good Hope

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Included entrances: Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve

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 15: Free day in Cape Town

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a full free day in Cape town or add an excursion. Say goodbye to your group at tonight’s farewell dinner.

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

Day 16: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport to board your flight home.

Overnight Flight1 night

Day 17: Arrival in U.S.

Arrive home today.

Add Victoria Falls $779 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.

Overnight Flight1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Johannesburg today.

Johannesburg1 night Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Johannesburg

Welcome to South Africa! Arrive in Johannesburg and enjoy an overnight stay.

Victoria Falls2 nights Hotel info

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Chinotimba Township

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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 4: Sightseeing tour of Victoria Falls

Included meals: Breakfast

Visit Victoria Falls this morning on a guided tour. Both a World Heritage Site and a Natural Wonder of the World, Victoria Falls is the largest curtain of falling water in the world. 

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

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

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

Optional Excursion - Sundowner Cruise $55*pp 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.

Johannesburgfor a day

Day 5: Johannesburg

Included meals: Breakfast

Fly back to Johannesburg and meet the rest of your tour group today (day 2 of the regular itinerary).

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

Local cuisine with beer or wine

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 & select entrance fees

Overnight Flight1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Cape Town today.

Cape Town4 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

Included entrances: Table Mountain, South African Museum, Robben Island

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 $95*pp 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

Knysna2 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

Included entrances: Featherbed Nature Reserve

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

Enjoy a free evening in Knysna or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Knysna Sunset Cruise & Dinner $89*pp Details

Hop aboard an oyster boat and journey toward the impressive Knysna Heads. Take in the sights of the tranquil lagoon and dramatic cliffs as the sun sets. Enjoy a glass of white wine and fresh oysters during this leisurely, fully-guided boat tour. After the cruise, enjoy dinner with beer, wine or a soft drink at a local restaurant at Knysna Waterfront.

Port Elizabeth2 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

Day 9: Pumba Private Game Reserve

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Included entrances: Pumba Private Game Reserve

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

Hluhluwe2 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

Included entrances: St. Lucia Wetland Park

Fly to Durban today, then continue on to Hluhluwe.

Swaziland1 night Hotel info

Day 12: Swaziland via Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve

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 Region2 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 a free afternoon in the Kruger Region or add an excursion.

Day 14: Kruger National Park

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Included entrances: Kruger National Park

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.

Johannesburg1 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 Flight1 night

Day 17: Arrival in U.S.

Arrive home today.

Add Victoria Falls $869 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 Falls3 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 $55*pp 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.

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 $139*pp 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 Flight1 night

Day 20: Arrival in the U.S.

Arrive home today.

How's the weather?

  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Mbabane, Swaziland
  • Hluhluwe, South Africa
  • Port Elizabeth, South Africa
  • Knysna, South Africa
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
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. 

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 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 Johannesburg and depart from Cape Town (usually stopping in Johannesburg). 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. Window seats are also guaranteed. The remaining transportation is by private motor coach. A flight to Port Elizabeth is also included.

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.

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.

Special Information: 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
  • Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
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. 

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 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. 

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.

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.

Special information: 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.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 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

Traveled On: 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

Traveled On: 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

Traveled On: 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.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 2/11/2014

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: MI

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

2ND To None Tour!

This was overall a 1st class tour. Tour Director, Chris was VERY knowledgeable and lots of fun. Everything was great so to pick one thing that was best about the trip is very hard. Overall, hotels were pretty good although for 2 ladies traveling together, we were disappointed that we had to have Housekeeping move the beds apart or give us a different room because they gave us l bed. It did work out each time though. Trip was much more than I expected and I would highly recommend it and also to take the excursions - it all is a once in a lifetime experience!!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 10/8/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: PR

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Execelent

Me gusto todo de la excursion.La recomendaria a otras personas.Excelente director.Crist.Amable.

3 / 5

3 / 5

Traveled On: 11/5/2013

Number of Past Tours: 8

From: AZ

Tour Director: 2 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

South Africa

Great itinerary - poor tour guide.

1 / 5

1 / 5

Traveled On: 11/5/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: AZ

Tour Director: 1 / 5

Tour Value: 2 / 5

Poorest tour I have taken!

Lack of information on where tour was visiting. Poor information from telephone calls, didn't know much about trip. Given one place to eat when paying for our own instead of numerous choices. Lack of interest in clients from tour director. Many had done lots of different tours and were treated as welcome guests to the country visited.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 11/5/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: AZ

Tour Director: 2 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Africa

We really enjoyed the tour. We were able to see a lot of beautiful South Africa. In the game parks we saw a lot of animals-elephants, buffalo, rhino, wildebeest, lion, giraffe, hippos and more-- on a real up close and personal basis. Our hotels were excellent and the food great. The tours were great but only as good as our guide. Our tour guide was average. He was hard to understand with his accent . He was not helped by the sound systems we had. Our guides in 2 of the game parks were poor in that we saw a lot of animals but information from the guides about the animals and the area was limited. All in all it was a great trip with a lot of memories.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 11/5/2013

Number of Past Tours: 6

From: ON

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Very Enjoyable Trip

South Africa is a beautiful country! Very nice scenery, friendly people and of course, lots of Wildlife to be seen. Our Tour director is very knowledgeable and helpful. The tour had a very busy schedule since it covered many places. We saw the Victoria Falls, Table Mountain, Cape of Good Hope and had several Safari Game Drives. Food was good and prices were very reasonable. I would recommend this tour to anyone who loves nature and animals.

Show More Reviews