Best of South Africa

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Book this package
per person, double occupancy* based on Sep. 12, 2018 departure from JFK
$400 Early Bird Discount. Expires Jul. 26, 2018.*   All prices reflect savings.


Featuring Cape Town & Johannesburg, 3 game drives in Kruger and a private conservancy, plus an afternoon bush walk; stay in upscale hotels throughout
Style Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of 15-24 likeminded travelers escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. More of these packages
24 travelers max, dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
Departures Scheduled Dates; select from 5 open departures, September – December 2018
Price Includes
  • Flights
  • Coach
  • Transfers
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Guides
  • Round-trip flights from New York via South African Airways wide-bodied jet service, including fuel surcharges and taxes and fees
  • Flights, ground transportation and transfers within South Africa
  • 10 nights in superior first class and deluxe hotels
  • 18 meals: 10 American-style breakfasts, 4 lunches, & 4 dinners
  • Professional English-speaking tour directors
  • Comprehensive touring program and safaris, including entrance fees
  • Exciting excursions from Cape Town & Johannesburg
  • Post-tour extension to the majestic Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
  • Discover Cape Town on a half day panoramic tour
  • Ascend Table Mountain by cable car
  • Explore Cape Point including Hout Bay, Boulders Beach and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  • View the wildlife on 3 game drives
  • Experience a Boma Dinner
  • Enjoy a panoramic tour of Johannesburg
  • Learn about South Africa's past on a tour to Soweto
  • Visit the Apartheid Museum
Departs New York Kennedy (JFK), Washington Dulles (IAD) (flight schedule)
Themes ActiveHistory & CultureGrand ToursNature & Wildlife
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.

Prepare for your trip Already booked? Find everything you need to know before you go, including information about passport & visa requirements, flights, luggage, and more.

Best of South Africa itinerary

Explore deeper into South Africa on our comprehensive Best of South Africa small group escorted tour. Begin your tour in scenic Cape Town, exploring the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, storied past and incredible cuisine; then look down on it all from the top of Table Mountain. Your ticket is pre-purchased, so you won’t spend hours waiting in line to buy one. Then head north to safari in Kruger National Park, one of the world's oldest and most famous game reserves, as well as in Karongwe Private Game Reserve, where you’ll also embark on a late afternoon bush walk with an experienced ranger. Rest assured you’ll have ample opportunities to spot the Big 5! Finally, End your tour in cosmopolitan Johannesburg, South Africa's largest metropolis, also known as "Egoli" or City of Gold. While in Cape Town and Johannesburg, you’ll stay in 5-star hotels, giving you the most comfortable opportunity to explore the magnificent and cultural urban settings of South Africa. Want even more iconic Africa? Extend your stay with a post-tour to the majestic Victoria Falls.


Dates, Prices & Options

Departure Dates & Prices

Early Bird Discount: Save up to $400 per person if you book by Jul. 26, 2018!
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
Depart / Return Package Price Early
Early Bird
Good Thru
Departs: Wed, Jun. 6, 2018
Returns: Mon, Jun. 18, 2018
Jun 6 – Jun 18 $4099 Departed
Departs: Wed, Jul. 4, 2018
Returns: Mon, Jul. 16, 2018
Jul 4 – Jul 16 $4099 Closed
Departs: Wed, Aug. 15, 2018
Returns: Mon, Aug. 27, 2018
Aug 15 – Aug 27 $4099 Closed
Departs: Wed, Sep. 12, 2018
Returns: Mon, Sep. 24, 2018
Book by Thu, Jul. 26, 2018 (midnight ET) to get the current early bird discount!
Sep 12 – Sep 24 $4099 –$400 Jul 26 $3699 Select
Departs: Wed, Sep. 19, 2018
Returns: Mon, Oct. 1, 2018
Book by Thu, Jul. 26, 2018 (midnight ET) to get the current early bird discount!
Sep 19 – Oct 1 $4099 –$400 Jul 26 $3699 Select
Departs: Wed, Sep. 26, 2018
Returns: Mon, Oct. 8, 2018
Sep 26 – Oct 8 $3799 Closed
Departs: Wed, Nov. 7, 2018
Returns: Mon, Nov. 19, 2018
Book by Thu, Jul. 26, 2018 (midnight ET) to get the current early bird discount!
Nov 7 – Nov 19 $4099 –$400 Jul 26 $3699 Select
Departs: Wed, Dec. 5, 2018
Returns: Mon, Dec. 17, 2018
Book by Thu, Jul. 26, 2018 (midnight ET) to get the current early bird discount!
Dec 5 – Dec 17 $4099 –$400 Jul 26 $3699 Select
Departs: Wed, Dec. 12, 2018
Returns: Mon, Dec. 24, 2018
Book by Thu, Jul. 26, 2018 (midnight ET) to get the current early bird discount!
Dec 12 – Dec 24 $4799 –$400 Jul 26 $4399 Select

If you want a few extra days to explore on your own, we may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates, including extra hotel nights and separate airport transfers, for an additional charge. Ask us about prices and availability when (or after) you reserve. More information Want to extend your trip?

Options & Fees

Best of South Africa
Rooming selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Room Supplement
Sep 19, 2018;  Nov 7, 2018;  Dec 5, 2018;  Dec 12, 2018 +$699
Sep 12, 2018 unavailable
All other departures +$499
Optional Excursions
Stellenbosch Winelands +$55
Walk to Freedom Tour +$75
Victoria Falls Extension1
Victoria Falls Extension2
Aug 15, 2018 unavailable
All other departures +$1449
Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls) Visa Fee3 (paid separately) +$30
Rooming Selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Room Supplement
Sep 12, 2018 unavailable
All other departures +$149
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Full Day Chobe National Park excursion with lunch4 +$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. Extension pricing is based upon certain air class service. Final price may vary based on availability at the time of booking.

3. Zimbabwe visa fee for Victoria Falls is paid locally for US passport holders: $30 for single-entry, $60 for multiple-entry. Optional excursions to Zambia or Botswana require a multiple entry Zimbabwe visa.

4. This excursion requires a passport and double or multiple entry Zimbabwe visa.

So that we can offer you the best deals, our packages are, like most hotels and cruises, priced based on double occupancy rooms or cabins. We charge solo travelers an extra fee to cover the extra costs of single occupancy rooms or cabins. (Consider: if you booked a $200/night hotel room solo, you would pay the $200 yourself; but if a couple booked the same room, each one would pay only $100.) But you only pay extra for the rooms or cabins, nothing else, including meals, sightseeing, tips, etc.

Want to find a roommate and avoid single occupancy fees? We can help! Learn more
Why are single rooms more?

Flights & Departure Cities

Departure Airports
New York Kennedy (JFK)1 included
Washington Dulles (IAD)2
Sep 12, 2018;  Sep 19, 2018;  Nov 7, 2018 unavailable
All other departures +$100

1. For flights from JFK, upgrades may be available to Business Class starting from $5,500. For actual prices and availability from this or other cities, please make your request during the reservation process so that our air team can check the availability and provide you with the exact rate for your chosen travel date. Rates and space are subject to availability with the airline, an increased deposit may be required to confirm a seating upgrade.

2. Washington Dulles (IAD) is subject to availability and may take 2-3 business days to confirm.

This package offers round-trip flights from the cities listed above, subject to availability. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.

Want to fly from another city? Unfortunately, we don't offer flights from other cities, but you can book your own connecting flights.

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 one of our travel specialists at 800-555-5765. 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. 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.

Deposit $300


Day 1: Depart USA

  • Depart New York on your overnight flight to Cape Town via Johannesburg

Day 2: Arrive Cape Town

Accommodations: 4 nights Taj Cape Town or similar, Cape Town.

  • Arrive in Cape Town, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel
  • Remainder of day at leisure

Table Mountain, Cape TownFull Day Itinerary: 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.

Day 3: Cape Town

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Half day panoramic city tour of the scenic and historic highlights
  • Weather permitting, optional cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain
  • Remainder of day at leisure or join an optional tour to the Stellenbosch Winelands

Cape TownFull Day Itinerary: 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.

(July departures will visit Signal Hill instead, while the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is closed for annual maintenance.)

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.

Stellenbosch wine farm, Cape TownOptional Excursion: Half Day Stellenbosch Winelands, $55. Enjoy an optional half day excursion to glorious Stellenbosch, located in 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

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Full day excursion to Cape Point including a cruise along Hout Bay
  • Visit Boulders Beach and see the African jackass penguins
  • Afternoon tour of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  • Remainder of the day at leisure
  • Welcome dinner and show

Cape Point lighthouseFull Day Itinerary: 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. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner and show.

Day 5: Cape Town

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Last day to explore Cape Town at leisure
  • Or join an optional excursion to Cape Town's townships and a visit to Robben Island

Robben Island prisonOptional 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 a glimpse of local life. Then head 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 & Kruger National Park

Accommodations: 2 nights Kruger Park Lodge for Sep 19 departure, Protea Hotel by Marriott Kruger Gate, or similar for all other departures. Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Early morning transfer to the airport to board flight for Johannesburg
  • Transfer via motor coach to your hotel, located just outside the Kruger National Park
  • Remainder of the day at leisure

Full Day Itinerary: Early this morning, transfer to the airport to board your flight bound for Johannesburg. Upon arrival board your motor coach and continue to your hotel, located just outside Kruger National Park. On arrival, check in at your hotel, and take some time to relax in the beautiful surroundings.

Day 7: Kruger National Park

Included meals: Breakfast & dinner.

  • Early morning game drive in open 4x4 safari vehicles in Kruger National Park
  • Special Boma Dinner

Zebras drinking, Kruger National ParkFull Day Itinerary: 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.

This evening enjoy a special Boma Dinner.

Day 8: Kruger National Park & Karongwe Private Game Reserve

Accommodations: 2 nights Shiduli Lodge or similar, Karongwe. Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Morning drive through Graskop and the Blyde River Canyon into the heart of Limpopo province
  • Afternoon game drive in the Karongwe Private Game Reserve
  • Dinner at the lodge

Blyde River CanyonFull Day Itinerary: 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.

Day 9: Karongwe Private Game Reserve.

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Early morning game drive in open safari vehicles
  • Afternoon bush walk with experienced local ranger*
  • Dinner at the lodge

LeopardFull Day Itinerary: 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. (The bush walk may take place in the morning and is subject to ground conditions and animal movement.)

*Note: Passengers on the Sep 19 departure will have an afternoon game drive in lieu of a bush walk.

Day 10: Karongwe Private Game Reserve & Johannesburg

Accommodations: 2 nights Sandton Sun Hotel or similar. Included meals: Breakfast & lunch.

  • Panoramic tour of Johannesburg
  • Balance of the day at leisure

Johannesburg skylineFull Day Itinerary: After breakfast, leave the bush behind as you journey to Johannesburg, South Africa's largest and most populous city. En route, enjoy lunch at the ever-popular Harries Pancakes. 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.


Day 11: Johannesburg 

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Soweto Tour
  • Apartheid Museum
  • Lilieslief Farm

Soweto, JohannesburgFull Day Itinerary: 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. First, 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. Then continue to Soweto for 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. Drive by the Regina Mundi Church, where many secret underground meetings took place, and the Hector Pieterson Memorial. Then visit the former residence of Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela. Continue past the ultramodern Chris Hani Barawanath Hospital, to the residential suburb of Rivonia to Lilieslief Farm, once the headquarters of the military wing of the ANC. Here you will experience a first-hand account of the time when Nelson Mandela lived under an alias, and the events and circumstances leading up to the raid which ultimately led to his trial and incarceration on Robben Island. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon.

Day 12: Depart South Africa

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • This morning, enjoy free time for some last minute shopping
  • This afternoon, transfer to the airport for your overnight return flight home

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

Accommodations: 3 nights Victoria Falls Safari Lodge or similar. Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Transfer to the airport for your flight to Victoria Falls
  • Remainder of the day at leisure

Victoria FallsFull Day Itinerary: 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 into 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.

Day 13: Victoria Falls

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Guided tour of Victoria Falls
  • Sunset cruise on the Zambezi River

HipposFull Day Itinerary: 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.

Day 14: Victoria Falls

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Day at leisure or partake in an optional full day excursion to Chobe National Park

Victoria Falls rainforestFull Day Itinerary: 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.

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

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Transfer to the airport for your return flight home, via Johannesburg

Day 16: Arrive USA

  • Your memorable South African adventure ends as you touch down this morning in New York


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I'm a seasoned traveler having visited 80 countries and still counting. I'm usually a solo traveler, or travel with my brother or sister. The last trip I booked with a company was over 30 years ago. I just returned from Friendly Planet's The Best of South Africa tour and I have only the highest praise for EVERY aspect of the trip. I don't remember ever being so well-tended to. In fact I'm seriously considering doing the same tour all over again next year which should give you a pretty good idea of how much I enjoyed it. There is so much more I could say, but I'm still a bit jet lagged. Did want to get these positive words off to you while every thing is fresh in my mind. Massive gratitude coming your way

Lani Tierney, Junction City, WI

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