Best of South Africa

Johannesburg & Cape Town, 3 game drives in Kruger and a private conservancy, plus a bush walk; stay in upscale hotels throughout. Optional extensions to Victoria Falls or the Garden Route

Overview

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Style Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of no more than 24 likeminded travelers (and often much fewer), escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. More of these packages
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
Departures Group Size 24 travelers max
Themes ActiveHistory & CultureGrand ToursNature & Wildlife
Activity Level Recreational
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.
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Explore deeper into South Africa on our comprehensive Best of South Africa small group escorted tour. Begin your tour in cosmopolitan Johannesburg, South Africa's largest metropolis, also know as "Egoli" or City of Gold. Then head north to begin your safari in Karongwe Private Game Reserve, where you'll embark on a late morning bush walk with an experienced ranger. Continue your game viewing in Kruger National Park, one of the world's oldest and most famous game reserves. Rest assured, you'll have ample opportunities to spot the Big 5! Finally, end 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. Want even more? Extend your stay with a pre-tour to the majestic Victoria Falls or a post-tour to the scenic Garden Route, or both!

Package 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
  • 19 meals: 10 buffet breakfasts, 4 lunches, & 5 dinners, including welcome and farewell dinners with wine
  • Professional English-speaking tour directors
  • Comprehensive touring program and safaris, including entrance fees

Optional add-ons

  • Exciting excursions from Cape Town
  • Pre-tour extension to the majestic Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
  • Post-tour extension along the Garden Route, one of the world's most scenic coastlines
  • Flights from Washington D.C. (IAD) are available for an additional charge. Booking the Victoria Falls pre-tour extension will require you to leave the U.S. 1 day earlier and an extra hotel night. Request pricing when making your reservation.

Why you'll love it

  • Visit South Africa's largest and most populous city, Johannesburg, and learn about the country’s poignant past at Liliesleaf Farm and the Apartheid Museum.
  • Experience a close-up look at daily life in the bustling neighborhood of Soweto.
  • Come face to face with lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, buffalo and more during 3 game drives and a bush walk in Karongwe Private Game Reserve and Kruger National Park.
  • Enjoy the jaw-dropping view of the Blyde River Canyon, one of the world's largest canyons, during your drive along the astonishing Panorama Route.
  • Bask in the scenic and historic highlights of beautiful Cape Town, including a trip to Table Mountain by cable car.
  • Explore Cape Point including Hout Bay, Boulders Beach and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

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Dates & Prices

Dates & Prices

Dates & Prices, with flights
per person, double occupancy*
2019 DEPARTURES
Dates Price
Departs U.S.: Thu, Dec 5, 2019
Finishes: Mon, Dec 16, 2019
Dec 5 – Dec 16
$4499 Departed

Options & Fees

Best of South Africa
Rooming selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Room Supplement +$699
Optional Excursions
Stellenbosch Winelands +$75
Walk to Freedom Tour +$125
Victoria Falls Extension1
Victoria Falls Extension2 +$1629
Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls) Visa Fee3 (paid separately) +$30
Rooming Selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Room Supplement +$199
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Full Day Chobe National Park excursion with lunch4 +$170

1. The Victoria Falls extension is a pre-tour extension. Passengers taking the pre-tour extension will depart from the U.S. 3 days before the departure 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, $45 for double-entry. Optional excursions to Zambia or Botswana require a double-entry Zimbabwe visa.

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

Garden Route Extension1
Garden Route Extension2 +$1749
Rooming Selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Room Supplement +$399

1. The Garden Route extension is a post-tour extension. Passengers taking the post-tour extension will return to the U.S. 6 days after the return dates shown. This extension requires a minimum of 4 passengers to operate at published prices. The Garden Route extensions 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 a certain air class service. Final price may vary based on availability at the time of booking.

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. Why are single rooms more?

Flights & Departure Cities

Departure Airports
New York Kennedy (JFK)

This package includes round-trip flights from the city listed above. 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.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Depart USA

  • Depart New York on your overnight flight to Johannesburg

Day 2 Arrive Johannesburg

  • Arrive in Johannesburg, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel
  • This evening, meet your fellow travelers at a welcome dinner

Sandton Sun Hotel or similar Dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Johannesburg skyline

Arrive today in Johannesburg, South Africa's largest and most populous city. Upon arrival at OR Tambo International Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. En route, enjoy a panoramic orientation tour of this cosmopolitan city, affectionately referred to as "Jo'Burg" or "Jozi" by the locals. Check-in at your hotel and enjoy the balance of the day at leisure.

This evening, get to know your fellow travelers during a welcome dinner with wine.

Day 3 Johannesburg

  • Visit Liliesleaf Farm, where the journey to democracy in South Africa is honored
  • See what daily life is like in the Soweto neighborhood
  • Learn more about the rise and fall of apartheid at the Apartheid Museum

Sandton Sun Hotel or similar Breakfast

Full Day Itinerary
Soweto, Johannesburg

This morning, learn more about South Africa's turbulent past and its unwavering hope for the future. Begin with Liliesleaf 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. Then, continue on a fascinating tour to Soweto (short for Southwestern Township), a sprawling metropolis on the outskirts of Johannesburg 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. On the way, drive through the residential suburb of Rivonia, continue past the Hector Pieterson Memorial, Regina Mundi Church, where many secret underground meetings took place, and the former residence of Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Nelson Mandela. Later, 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. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon.

Day 4 Johannesburg & Karongwe Private Game Reserve

  • Depart for Karongwe Private Game Reserve
  • Afternoon game drive in the Karongwe Private Game Reserve

Shiduli Private Game Lodge or similar Breakfast & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Leopard

Depart Johannesburg this morning for a scenic drive 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 5 Karongwe Private Game Reserve

  • Early morning game drive in open safari vehicles
  • Bush walk with an experienced local ranger

Shiduli Private Game Lodge or similar Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Lions at a waterhole

After a very early morning wake-up call and a fresh cup of coffee or tea, served with rusks, a traditional South African biscuit, 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 hare, and more. Return to the lodge for a full breakfast.

Later, 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 to relax and enjoy the facilities.

Day 6 Karongwe Private Game Reserve & Kruger National Park

  • Drive along the awe inspiring Panorama Route
  • View the spectacular Blyde River Canyon
  • Arrive this afternoon in Kruger National Park

Protea Hotel by Marriott Kruger Gate or similar Breakfast & lunch

Full Day Itinerary
Blyde River Canyon

After breakfast, relax on a scenic journey through the Limpopo province. Stop for breathtaking views of rolling mountains, verdant valleys, the Three Rondavels, Bourke's Luck Potholes, and God's window and pass through Graskop and the Blyde River Canyon, one of the world's largest canyons. En route, enjoy lunch at the ever-popular Harries Pancakes.

Continue to your hotel, located just outside the 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

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

Protea Hotel by Marriott Kruger Gate or similar Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Zebras drinking, Kruger National Park

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 & Cape Town

  • Early morning transfer to the airport to board flight for Cape Town
  • Balance of evening at leisure

Taj Cape Town Hotel or similar Breakfast

Full Day Itinerary
Table Mountain, Cape Town

After breakfast, leave the bush behind as you transfer to the airport for your flight to 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 transferred to your centrally located hotel. Enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure.

Day 9 Cape Town

  • Witness the scenic and historic highlights of Cape Town on a half day panoramic city tour
  • Weather permitting, ascend by cable car to the top of Table Mountain
  • Remainder of the day at leisure or join an optional tour to the Stellenbosch Winelands

Taj Cape Town Hotel or similar Breakfast

Full Day Itinerary
Cape Town

This morning, enjoy a panoramic 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.

(If the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is closed due to maintenance or inclement weather, visit Signal Hill instead)

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.

Optional Excursion: Half Day Stellenbosch Winelands, +$75
Stellenbosch wine farm, Cape Town

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 10 Cape Point & Cape Town

  • 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

Taj Cape Town Hotel or similar Breakfast & lunch

Full Day Itinerary
Cape Point Lighthouse

A full day excursion to Cape Point begins this morning with a cruise along Hout Bay, where you'll see the seals of Druiker 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.

Day 11 Cape Town

  • Last day to explore Cape Town at leisure
  • Join an optional excursion to Cape Town's townships and a visit to Robben Island
  • Enjoy a farewell dinner and drum performance

Taj Cape Town Hotel or similar Breakfast & dinner

Optional Excursion: Full Day Walk to Freedom Tour, +$125
Robben Island prison

Experience the wonderful energy of Cape Town's oldest township, Langa. Stop by a local arts and crafts market, and a local community church. Continue to a community center and learn about their stained glass and pottery programs for local youth. In the afternoon, visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of the 27 years of his incarceration.

Note: Ferry tickets to Robben Island are limited and may not be available locally. We strongly recommend prepaying for this optional excursion.

This evening, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner and drum performance.

Day 12 Depart South Africa

  • This morning, enjoy free time for some last minute shopping
  • This afternoon, transfer to the airport for your overnight return flight home via Johannesburg
  • Your memorable South African adventure ends as you touch down tomorrow morning in New York

Breakfast

Victoria Falls Pre-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 depart from the U.S. 3 days before the departure dates shown.

Day 1 Depart USA

  • Depart New York on your overnight flight for Victoria Falls via Johannesburg

Day 2 Victoria Falls

  • Arrive in Victoria Falls, meet your local guide, and transfer to your hotel
  • Remainder of the day at leisure

Victoria Falls Safari Club, Victoria Falls Safari Lodge or similar

Full Day Itinerary
Victoria Falls

Today, arrive 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! 

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.

May 21, 2020 will stay at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge.

Day 3 Victoria Falls

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

Victoria Falls Safari Club, Victoria Falls Safari Lodge or similar Breakfast

Full Day Itinerary
Hippos

Your exploration of the falls begins with a guided tour of the Zimbabwe side. 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 unrivaled 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."

Later today, you'll have the opportunity to witness a breathtaking sunset while enjoying cruise along the Zambezi River. Be on the lookout for hippos, monkeys, elephants, and crocodiles that frequent the waters and the surrounding areas.

May 21, 2020 will stay at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge.

Day 4 Victoria Falls

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

Victoria Falls Safari Club, Victoria Falls Safari Lodge or similar Breakfast

Full Day Itinerary
Victoria Falls rainforest

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.

May 21, 2020 will stay at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge.

Optional Excursion: Chobe National Park, Botswana, +$170

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-entry Zimbabwe visa.

Day 5 Depart Victoria Falls

  • Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Johannesburg
  • See Day 2 of the tour itinerary above for the continuation of your touring program

Breakfast

Hotels

Sandton Sun Hotel

Sandton Sun Hotel
Deluxe

The Sandton Sun Hotel is comfortable, distinguished, stylish, and conveniently located in the heart of Sandton’s exclusive business district. The Sandton City Shopping Centre and nearby Nelson Mandela Square are easily reached from the hotel.

More information

Shiduli Private Game Lodge

Shiduli Private Game Lodge
First Class

Shiduli Private Game Lodge is located in a magnificent game reserve, home to a wide spectrum of wildlife, including over 350 species of birds, the “Big Five," cheetahs and hippos.

More information

Protea Hotel by Marriott Kruger Gate

More information

Taj Cape Town Hotel

Taj Cape Town Hotel
Deluxe

The 5 star Taj Cape Town Hotel captures the history and spirit of Cape Town’s inner city with all the opulence of the East. The hotel is optimally located, opening onto the bustling St. George’s Mall, nearby many of Cape Town’s top attractions and food destinations, along with a multitude of historic hot spots, galleries, and boutiques.

More information

Victoria Falls Safari Club

Victoria Falls Safari Club
Deluxe

Situated high on a plateau which forms a natural boundary to the Zambezi National Park, the Victoria Falls Safari Club is located within the magnificent grounds of the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. The Club enjoys uninterrupted views, spectacular Africa sunsets, and private waterhole with an abundance of game, and is just four kilometers from the majestic Victoria Falls. 

More information

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
First Class

Situated high on a plateau which forms a natural boundary to the Zambezi National Park, the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge enjoys uninterrupted views and spectacular African sunsets and is just four kilometers from the majestic Victoria Falls. Designed to give the impression of a vast open-plan tree-house, the Lodge is built on intricate levels offering magnificent views of the African bushveld. The use of vibrant fabrics and rustic finishes, local hardwoods and clay tiles gives Victoria Falls Safari Lodge an undeniable appeal and unique character.

More information

In the unlikely event that a particular hotel is not available, a similar or better hotel may be substituted.

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