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.


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Style Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of no more than 16 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. Travel safely and confidently with our new health & safety protocols.
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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 visit to the majestic Victoria Falls. See our Best of South Africa with Victoria Falls!

Package includes

  • Flights
  • Coach
  • Transfers
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Guides
  • Round-trip flights from New York via South African Airways wide-bodied jet service, including taxes & fees
  • Flights, ground transportation and transfers within South Africa
  • 10 nights in superior first class and deluxe hotels
  • 19 meals: 10 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
  • Flights from Washington D.C. (IAD) are available for an additional charge. 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 2 game drives and a bush walk in Karongwe Private Game Reserve and a full-day game drive in 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.


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 cityscape

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 South African Tourism

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 South African Tourism

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

  • Full day 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, Kruger National Park

After an early morning wake-up call, depart for an exciting full day 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. 

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 or similar Breakfast

Full Day Itinerary
Aerial view of Cape Town with Table Mountain

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 or similar Breakfast

Full Day Itinerary
Cable car to Table Mountain, 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 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 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



Sandton Sun Hotel
Sandton Sun Hotel

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. During downtime, dream away the hot midday hours around the natural swimming pool or enjoy a cocktail at the authentic African Bar. We recommend sipping sundowners at a waterhole while watching the spectacular African sunset—an experience not to be missed!

More information

Protea Hotel by Marriott Kruger Gate
Protea Hotel by Marriott Kruger Gate
First Class

The Protea Hotel by Marriott Kruger Gate is set on the Sabi River and offers a variety of pampering comforts set within the remarkable natural wonders of the African wild. Situated less than a mile from the Paul Kruger Gate of Kruger National Park, this hotel provides an ideal location to experience wildlife first hand while enjoying all of the luxurious amenities.

More information

Taj Cape Town
Taj Cape Town

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

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

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