South African Explorer

Johannesburg, Karongwe, Kruger & Cape Town plus Victoria Falls optional extension

Includes airfare, fuel surcharges, great hotels, transfers, many meals, touring and more!

This itinerary is for a past tour program.
Check out our new Best of South Africa tour program.

South African Explorer plus Victoria Falls optional extension tour itinerary
South African Explorer tour itinerary
Enjoy an exceptional value vacation in one of the world's most magnificent natural settings as you explore exciting South Africa. Visit modern, vibrant Cape Town, one of the world's hot new destinations for style, night life and gorgeous scenery, ans explore cosmopolitan Johannesburg, South Africa's largest metropolis. Visit several of the country's lush game reserves in search of the "Big Five," and even spend a night at a traditional rural village, where you'll be treated to warm, welcoming South African hospitality. Join us in South Africa and see why this destination is fast becoming one of the most popular in the world. It's a vacation of a lifetime, at a price you won't believe, but don't wait too long to reserve your spot, because space is limited and will go very quickly.

Detailed Itinerary

Johannesburg  © South African Tourism
Johannesburg   © South African Tourism
Day 1: Depart USA. Your fascinating journey to South Africa begins as you depart New York on your overnight flight for Johannesburg.

Day 2: Johannesburg. Morning arrival in South Africa's largest and most populous city. Enjoy a panoramic tour of this cosmopolitan city, affectionately referred to as "Jo'Burg" by the locals.

Check-in at your hotel and spend the balance of the day at leisure to explore the city on your own or join an optional excursion. Protea Fire & Ice! Melrose Arch

Soweto, Johannesburg Day 3: Johannesburg. This morning learn more about South Africa's turbulent past and its unwavering hope for the future on a fascinating tour to Soweto (short for Southwestern Township), a sprawling metropolis on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Your tour will give you a close-up look at daily life in this bustling neighborhood, the largest black urban settlement in Africa and center of political campaigns aimed at the overthrow of the apartheid state.

Johannesburg woman  © South African Tourism Highlights of the Soweto tour include the former residence of Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela; the Hector Peterson memorial for the victims of the civil unrest in the 1970s; the ultramodern Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and various other impressive community development projects. After lunch at a local restaurant, you'll visit the Apartheid Museum for an in-depth historical look at the system of extreme racial segregation that plagued South Africa from 1948 until 1994, when it was finally dismantled. Breakfast & lunch provided.

Blyde River Canyon
Blyde River Canyon
Day 4: Johannesburg & Karongwe Game Reserve. After an early breakfast, relax on the scenic drive from Johannesburg to the Karongwe Game Reserve. Stop along the way for lunch and breathtaking views of rolling mountains, verdant valleys, the Three Rondavels, and the Blyde River Canyon, one of the world's largest gorges. After your late afternoon check-in at the lodge, set out on an early evening game drive in a 4x4 safari vehicle. The Karongwe Reserve teems with an abundance of game, wildlife, and diverse vegetation. Shiduli Lodge Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.

A lion cub Day 5: Karongwe Game Reserve. Today, enjoy a safari drive at dawn, an optimal game-viewing time. The safari will bring you within close range of leopards, cheetahs, lions, elephants, and the various other animals that inhabit this wildlife haven. This reserve, like many of the others in South Africa, is also a birdwatcher's paradise. After your morning safari, you will return to the lodge for breakfast and leisure time before your late afternoon bush walk. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.

Baby elephant at Kruger Park Day 6: Kruger & Dullstroom. Depart early this morning for a game drive in nearby Kruger National Park, one of the world's greatest wildlife reserves. Be on the look out for the "Big Five"—rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard & elephant—as well as the other 140 varieties of mammals and 500 varieties of birds that roam the park's untouched scrubland, acacia and mopane trees, waterholes and riverbeds.

Proceed by coach to Dullstroom, where you'll enjoy dinner at your hotel. Critchley Hackle Lodge Breakfast & dinner provided.

Traditional dancing Day 7: Dullstroom, Lesedi Cultural Village & Johannesburg After breakfast this morning, travel by coach to Lesedi Cultural Village where you'll share the excitement and warmth of rural African culture. Located north of Johannesburg, this multicultural village is home to the Basotho, Ndebele, Pedi, Xhosa, and Zulu people. Enjoy this fascinating, colorful and friendly community.  As the sun sets over the African bush, you'll be escorted to the "Boma" for traditional singing and dancing followed by a lavish African buffet dinner. Later, gather round the fire  for a wonderful evening of storytelling, singing and dancing while you learn more about the myths and traditions of the people of South Africa. Protea Fire & Ice! Melrose Arch Breakfast & dinner provided.

Day 8: Johannesburg & Cape Town. Transfer to the airport for your short flight to Cape Town, South Africa's oldest and most spectacular city. Upon arrival, you'll be escorted to your hotel. Townhouse Hotel Breakfast provided.

Aerial view of Cape Town  © South African Tourism
Aerial view of Cape Town   © South African Tourism
Day 9: Cape Town. Your tour of Cape Town begins with a half day panoramic city tour showcasing the scenic and historic highlights of this vibrant city. Weather permitting, you'll travel by cable car to the top of Table Mountain, Cape Town's most striking landmark. Stop at Milnerton Lighthouse for spectacular views of the mountain and the city below. Proceed to the country's oldest building, the Castle of Good Hope, an imposing 17th century Dutch fort set against the dramatic backdrop of Table Mountain.

Beach Huts in Cape Town Continue to the Malay Quarter (Bo-Kaap). Lined with brightly colored houses and decorative mosques, this historic neighborhood was founded by former slaves from Malaysia whose Islamic culture gives the neighborhood a distinct character and contributes to Cape Town's rich cultural diversity. The final stop is the lively Cape Town Waterfront, where restaurants and entertainment options abound. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure to get better acquainted with Cape Town. Tonight, enjoy dinner with your travel companions. Breakfast & dinner provided.

Cape Point Day 10: Cape Point. A full day excursion to Cape Point begins this morning with a cruise along Hout Bay View where you'll see the seals of Duiker Island. Enter the nature reserve that covers the southern part of the Peninsula, and drive through the unique scenery towards Cape Point. Travel by funicular railway to Cape Point where you can take in stunning views of the Cape of Good Hope.

African Jackass Penguins After lunch, make a brief stop to visit the African jackass penguins at Boulders Beach, and then continue to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, where you'll enjoy a magnificent display of indigenous South African flora. Return to your hotel late this afternoon and spend the remainder of the day at leisure.

Tonight, we recommend an optional dinner at the lively Gold of Africa restaurant. Breakfast & lunch provided.

Day 11: Depart South Africa. Today is at leisure for independent pursuits before your afternoon transfer to the airport for your return flight home.Breakfast provided.

Day 12: Arrive USA. Your memorable South African adventure ends as you touch down this morning in New York.

Victoria Falls Pre-Tour Extension

Why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare to visit Victoria Falls, one of the world's most spectacular natural wonders. Passengers taking the pre-tour extension will depart the U.S. 4 days before the scheduled departure date.

Day 1: Depart USA. Your fascinating journey to South Africa begins today as you depart New York on your overnight jet bound for Johannesburg.

Day 2: Johannesburg. Morning arrival in Johannesburg. You will be met and transferred to your hotel. After check-in at your hotel, spend the balance of the day at leisure to explore the city on your own. Airport Grand Hotel or similar

Aerial view of Victoria Falls Day 3: Johannesburg & Victoria Falls. After breakfast board your flight to Victoria Falls. You'll soon discover why this UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered one of the greatest natural wonders—and the largest curtain of falling water in the world! Set at the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, Victoria Falls consists of numerous falls separated by islands in the river below. The Zambezi River spills more than 2 million gallons per second over the Bakota Gorge, casting multiple rainbows and resulting in an awe-inspiring display of raw power unrivalled by other natural wonders. The tremendous roar of the water and the ever-present cloud of spray give the Falls their local moniker, "Smoke that Thunders."

Check in at your award-winning safari lodge, located high on a plateau bordering the Zambezi National Park, and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure at the hotel swimming pools or game-viewing platforms. Elephants, buffalo and other wild animals often graze on hotel lawns. Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. Breakfast provided.

Hippos Day 4: Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe). Your exploration of the Falls begins with a guided tour of the Zimbabwe side. Later today, experience the glorious falls from an up-close vantage point as you set sail on a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. Be on the look out for hippos, monkeys, elephants, and crocodiles that frequent the waters and their surrounding areas. Breakfast provided.

Victoria Falls rainforest Day 5: Victoria Falls. Enjoy a full day at leisure to explore this magnificent natural wonder on your own on the well-marked trails through the rainforest that wind up to and around the Falls. The trails allow for excellent exploration and picture-taking from a variety of vantage points (be sure to protect your camera if it's not waterproof). Breakfast provided.

Local Child Day 6: Victoria Falls & Johannesburg. After breakfast this morning, transfer to the airport for your return flight to Johannesburg. There, you will meet up with the remainder of your tour group at your hotel. (Please see Day 2 of the itinerary above.)

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