Best of South Africa
Cape Town, Kruger, Elephant Whispers, Karongwe & Johannesburg plus Victoria Falls optional extensionBook now online
|Style||Small Group Tour
24 travelers max, dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departures||Scheduled Dates: Select a departure from January – September 2016|
|Departs||New York Kennedy (JFK), Washington Dulles (IAD) (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Cape Town, Hazyview, Karongwe, Kruger National Park, Elephant Whispers & Johannesburg|
|Themes||Active, History & Culture, Nature & Wildlife, Premium|
|What to Expect||This moderately-paced, escorted South Africa tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations and may have limited rest stops.|
Enjoy an African game safari at an exceptional price in one of the world's most magnificent natural settings as you explore exciting South Africa. Begin your South African tour in vibrant Cape Town, a truly hot destination for style, night life and gorgeous scenery. Then, head north and enjoy an in-depth wild-life experience in Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces where you'll stay at one of the country's lush private game reserves in search of the "Big Five". Continue your wildlife explorations at Kruger National Park, one of the world's oldest and most famous game reserves. A highlight of your tour is a visit to "Elephant Whispers" for an amazing up-close encounter with elephants. End your tour in cosmopolitan Johannesburg, South Africa's largest metropolis, also known as "Egoli" or City of Gold. Want even more? Extend your stay with a post-tour to the majestic Victoria Falls. 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.
Dates, Prices & Options
Departure Dates & Prices
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Wed||Nov 11||2015||Mon||Nov 23||2015||$3399||Departed|
|Wed||Dec 2||2015||Mon||Dec 14||2015||$3399||Closed|
|Wed||Dec 23||2015||Mon||Jan 4||2016||$4599||$4199||Closed|
|Wed||Jan 20||2016||Mon||Feb 1||2016||$3899||$3499||Available|
|Wed||Feb 10||2016||Mon||Feb 22||2016||$3899||$3499||Available|
|Wed||Mar 16||2016||Mon||Mar 28||2016||$3899||$3499||Available|
|Wed||Apr 13||2016||Mon||Apr 25||2016||$4099||$3699||Available|
|Wed||May 18||2016||Mon||May 30||2016||$4099||$3699||Closed|
|Wed||Jun 8||2016||Mon||Jun 20||2016||$4649||$4249||Available|
|Wed||Jul 6||2016||Mon||Jul 18||2016||$4649||$4249||Available|
|Wed||Aug 17||2016||Mon||Aug 29||2016||$4199||$3799||Available|
|Wed||Sep 14||2016||Mon||Sep 26||2016||$4099||$3699||Available|
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates, including extra hotel nights and separate airport transfers. Contact us about prices and availability.
Options, Extensions & Fees
|Best of South Africa|
|Single Room Supplement|
|Nov 11, Dec 2, Dec 23||+$499|
|All other departures||+$699|
|Walk to Freedom Tour||+$75|
|Victoria Falls Extension1|
|Victoria Falls Extension|
|Dec 2, Dec 23||+$1299|
|Jun 8, Jul 6, Aug 17||+$1599|
|Nov 11, Jan 20, Feb 10, May 18, Sep 14||unavailable|
|All other departures||+$1399|
|Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls) Visa Fee2 (paid separately)|
|All other departures||+$30|
|All other departures||included|
|Single Room Supplement|
|All other departures||+$199|
|Chobe National Park, Botswana|
|Full Day Chobe National Park excursion with lunch3|
|All other departures||+$195|
1. The Victoria Falls extension is a post-tour extension. Passengers taking the post-tour extension will return to the U.S. 3 days later than the return dates shown above. The Victoria Falls extension requires that your flights be confirmed separately by the airlines. Please note that it typically takes 3 to 5 business days to confirm your extension flights with the airline, and that we will notify you immediately upon confirmation of the flights.
2. Zimbabwe visa fee for Victoria Falls is paid locally for US passport holders: $30 for single-entry, $45 for double-entry, $55 for multiple-entry. Optional excursions to Zambia or Botswana require a double or multiple entry Zimbabwe visa.
3. This excursion requires a passport and double or multiple entry Zimbabwe visa.
Extension pricing is based upon certain air class service. Final price may vary based on availability at the time of booking.
Flights & Departure Cities
|New York Kennedy (JFK)||included|
|Washington Dulles (IAD)|
|Dec 2, Jan 20, Feb 10, Mar 16, Apr 13, May 18||included|
|All other departures||+$150|
This package includes round-trip flights from the cities listed above, subject to availability. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.
Coming from somewhere else? Unfortunately, we don't offer departures from cities that are not listed, but you can book your own connecting flights separately.
Transfers: Transfers for this package are provided on a group basis only. For passengers deviating in any way from the group program, transfers are not provided. Individual, private transfers can be arranged at a supplement in price. Taxis and other forms of transportation are also available and may cost less than private transfers. If you wish to arrange private transfers, please request this service at the time of reservation.
How to Make a Reservation
To make a reservation, simply select an available departure date and reserve online using our secure booking system. Or call us one of our travel specialists at 800-555-5765, Mon–Fri 9:30–6:00 Eastern time. But first, check out our Things to Know section.
We only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card or PayPal account. This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package, and is generally non-refundable (details). The balance is due 75 days prior to departure (or within 72 hours, if you're booking less than 75 days prior to departure), and can be paid by credit card, PayPal, check or money order.
Day 1: Depart USA. Your fascinating journey to South Africa begins as you depart New York on your overnight flight to Cape Town via Johannesburg.
Day 2: Arrive Cape Town. Arrive today in Cape Town, a beautiful jewel nestled between stunning Table Mountain and a dramatic coastline. Cape Town is a modern, bustling and vibrant city boasting gorgeous scenery, fabulous restaurants, hotels and beaches, bursting with history and culture. Upon arrival at Cape Town's airport, you will be met and transferred to your centrally located hotel. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. Accommodations: 15 on Orange Hotel. Dinner provided.
Day 3: Cape Town. This morning, enjoy a panoramic city tour of Cape Town 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 and recently announced one of the world’s New Seven Wonders of Nature. Descend from the top of Table Mountain and continue through 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 area a distinct character and contributes to Cape Town's rich cultural diversity. The final stop on your tour is the lively Cape Town Waterfront, where numerous restaurants and entertainment options abound. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure to become better acquainted with Cape Town or join an optional excursion to the Stellenbosch Winelands. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner and show at Richard’s Supper Club. Breakfast provided.
NOTE: July departures will visit Signal Hill instead of Table Mountain, while the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is closed for annual maintenance.
Optional Excursion: Half Day Stellenbosch Winelands, $55. Enjoy an optional half day excursion to glorious Stellenbosch, located the heart of the Cape Winelands. Take a leisurely drive through this beautiful, world-renowned region, before venturing into the wine-making process in a fascinating cellar tour with wine tasting. Then explore fine art galleries, architecture, history, and quaint shops in the region.
Day 4: Cape Point & Cape Town. A full day excursion to Cape Point begins this morning with a cruise along Hout Bay, 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. 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 have a magnificent display of indigenous South African flora. Return to your hotel late this afternoon and spend the remainder of the day at leisure. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 5: Cape Town. Enjoy a last day of leisure in the beautiful city of Cape Town. You can also choose a full day optional tour available for purchase locally. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Full Day Walk to Freedom Tour, $75. Experience the wonderful energy of Cape Town's townships in one unforgettable tour. Start with a visit to the oldest township, Langa. Stop by a local "shebeen" (pub), to get glimpse of local life. Then from Langa travel to Khayelitsha, the largest township of the Western Cape. In the afternoon, visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of the 27 years of his incarceration.
Day 6: Cape Town & Hazyview. Early this morning, transfer to the airport to board your flight bound for Johannesburg. Upon arrival board your motor coach and continue to Hazyview in Mpulamlanga province, located just a few miles outside the Kruger National Park. En route, enjoy lunch at the ever-popular Harries Pancakes then check in at your hotel, and take some time to relax in the beautiful surroundings. Accommodations: Perry's Bridge Hollow or similar. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 7: Kruger National Park & Hazyview. After an early morning wake-up call, depart for a morning safari in open 4x4 safari vehicles into the Kruger National Park, one of the world's most famous game reserves. You'll see the ever-present impala, and be on the lookout for wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, and many other types of antelopes. Return to your hotel for a full breakfast.
Later in the afternoon, depart for Elephant Whispers, an elephant interaction experience. Elephant Whispers is dedicated to securing the future of the African Elephant. There are five tamed and trained rescued elephants, varying in ages from 9 to 29 years. Experience the thrill of being close to these magnificent creatures, and witness their intelligence and compassionate nature. This evening enjoy a special Boma Dinner. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Optional Excursion: Elephant Ride, $70. Enhance your interaction experience at Elephant Whispers with an elephant ride. Saddle-up and set off into the African bush on the back of the elephant. Enjoy a different perspective while embarking on a journey that was once a privilege reserved only for kings.
Day 8: Hazyview & Karongwe Private Game Reserve. After a leisurely breakfast, relax on a scenic drive into the heart of Limpopo province. Pass through Graskop and the Blyde River Canyon, one of the world's largest canyons. Stop for breathtaking views of rolling mountains, verdant valleys, the Three Rondavels, God's Window and Bourke's Luck Potholes.
Continue to your lodge, located in the Karongwe Private Game Reserve. The Reserve teems with an abundance of game, wildlife and diverse vegetation. After check-in, you’ll have some time to freshen up before an afternoon game drive. Return to the lodge in time for dinner. Accommodations: Shiduli Lodge or Chisomo Lodge or similar. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 9: Karongwe Private Game Reserve. After a very early morning wake-up call and a fresh cup of coffee or tea, head out in open safari vehicles for your game drive into the African bush in search of the Big Five—lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo—as well as some of the smaller fascinating creatures such as chameleons, scrub hares and more. Stop in the bush for a hot drink with rusks, a typical South African biscuit. Return to the lodge for a full breakfast.
Relax at the lodge and perhaps take a nap. In the late afternoon, set off on foot for a bush walk with your experienced ranger, who will teach you some bush skills such as animal tracking as well as bird and plant identification. Return to your lodge for dinner. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 10: Karongwe Private Game Reserve & Johannesburg. After breakfast, leave the bush behind as you journey to Johannesburg, 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 enjoy the balance of the day at leisure. Accommodations: Maslow Sandton or The Michelangelo Hotel. Breakfast provided.
Day 11: 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.
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, and a drive by the ultramodern Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. 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. Time permitting, visit a local children’s home that provides shelter and counselling to many underprivileged children from the area. Breakfast provided.
Day 12: Depart South Africa. This morning, you have some free time for some last minute shopping. Later this afternoon, transfer to the airport for your overnight return flight home. Breakfast provided.
Day 13: Arrive USA. Your memorable South African adventure ends as you touch down this morning in New York.
Victoria Falls Post-Tour Optional Extension
Why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare to visit Victoria Falls, one of the world's most spectacular natural wonders. You'll return to the U.S. 3 days after the return dates shown.
Day 12: Johannesburg & Victoria Falls. This morning, transfer to the airport for 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! Located 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. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure at one of the hotel swimming pools or game-viewing platforms. Elephants, buffalo and other wild animals often graze on hotel lawns. Accommodations: Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. Breakfast provided.
Day 13: Victoria Falls. 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 lookout for hippos, monkeys, elephants, and crocodiles that frequent the waters and the surrounding areas. Breakfast provided.
Day 14: 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 picture-taking from a variety of vantage points (be sure to protect your camera if it's not waterproof). There are a wide range of optional excursions available locally on request basis including game drives, walking safaris, bungee jumping, and more. We recommend the full day tour of Chobe National Park in Botswana. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Chobe National Park, Botswana, $195. Take advantage of an optional full day excursion to the Chobe National Park in Botswana, renowned for its large elephant population. Begin the day with a safari boat cruise on the Chobe River. Afterwards, enjoy lunch at the Chobe Game Lodge and end the day with an afternoon game drive in an open vehicle. This excursion requires a passport and double or multiple entry Zimbabwe visa.
Day 15: Depart Victoria Falls. Today, transfer to the airport for your return flight home, via Johannesburg. Breakfast provided.
Day 16: Arrive USA. Your memorable South African adventure ends as you touch down this morning in New York.
I just returned from Friendly Planet's Best of South Africa tour and still cannot believe the high level of service provided. Everything was so well coordinated from the time we checked into the airport at JFK to the time we returned. Our tour guides were exceptional, Pieter , our guide in Johannesburg cared for us like a family member. Our lodging arrangements were nothing but exceptional. I cannot say enough about my experience and I greatly recommend Friendly Planet. Thanks for making my journey enjoyable and affordable.
Marie Jean-Pierre, Weston, FL
Things to Know
- Do I need a visa or any other documents? Travel visas are required for this package. Please review the requirements.
- Should I get travel insurance? Protect your travel investment with our comprehensive policies.
- What's the fine print? Read the terms & conditions for this package.
- I'm traveling solo. Can you help me find a roommate? Yes, you can connect with other travelers to share a room and avoid single occupancy rates.
- Can I bring my kids? Are there any age restrictions? To book this package, you must be 18 or older. Your traveling companions must be 8 or older at the time of travel.
- Tips about traveling in Botswana? Check our Fast Facts to learn about the best time to travel, what to wear, what to buy, currency conversion, tipping, weather, voltage & plugs, immunizations you should get, and more.
- Tips about traveling in South Africa? Check our Fast Facts to learn about the best time to travel, what to wear, what to buy, currency conversion, tipping, weather, voltage & plugs, immunizations you should get, and more.
- Tips about traveling in Zimbabwe? Check our Fast Facts to learn about the best time to travel, what to wear, what to buy, currency conversion, tipping, weather, voltage & plugs, immunizations you should get, and more.
More Common Questions
- Booked Passengers Forms you need to complete & information you need to have.
- Make a Payment Pay your balance due.
- Flight Schedule Departure & arrival times for your international flights and details on booking connecting flights.
- Baggage Allowance On this program you are permitted one carry-on bag per person and one piece of checked luggage not to exceed 44lbs. The carry on must not exceed 18" x 10" x 8" so that it fits under your seat or in the overhead compartment.