We watched cheetahs stalk an impala, leopards savoring their kill up on a tree limb, lions in a mating dance, painted dogs protecting their den of new babies. And of course we enjoyed every delicious meal and delightful sundowner.
Pat & Charley, Providence, RI
Truly exceptional wildlife viewing, a fascinating history, and a wide variety of travel options make South Africa a prime safari destination for first-timers and return visits. South Africa is one of the most developed and geographically diverse nations in Africa with scenic and wildlife-rich national parks complemented by beautiful beaches, mountains and countryside, a climate characterized by dry winters and rainfall in the summer and a stable infrastructure.
Situated at the southern edge of the African continent, South Africa is bounded by oceans on three sides, with an interior that has a wonderful assortment of habitats, from lush tropical forests to arid deserts, from mountains to the open savannah of the bushveld.
Accommodations in South Africa
We highlight some of our favorite safari camps and lodges in South Africa below. While we regularly work with classic and well-known camps with proven track records, we also love recommending smaller owner-operated properties. Let us help you choose from the charming and distinctive properties we’ve hand selected.
Singita Boulders Lodge Greater Kruger
MalaMala Main Camp Kruger National Park
Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp Kruger National Park
TSWALU – The Motse Kalahari
Grootbos Forest Lodge Whale Coast
Cape Grace Cape Town
When it comes to wildlife and scenery, South Africa has a plethora of places to see, including a number of World Heritage Sites and incredible game reserves. One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town is built amongst an entire, unique Cape Floral Kingdom, one of only six Plant Kingdoms that cover the Earth. There are more naturally occurring, different species of flowers just around Cape Town than there are in the whole of North America or the whole of Europe! On the other side of the spectrum are the deserts and arid areas, including the world’s first National Park that traverses the borders of two countries, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
The coastline of South Africa is enormous, offering superb scenery, such as sandy beaches and sheer, fynbos-covered cliffs of the Garden Route, as well as amazing wildlife opportunities, from southern right whales breaching off Cape Town to pristine coral reefs on the KwaZulu-Natal Coast. The pride of South Africa’s natural heritage is the Kruger National Park. At 2 million hectares and over 300km long, this enormous area encompasses a savannah landscape with 147 mammal species, over 400 bird species and numerous reptiles, amphibians and insects.
CAPE TOWN, GARDEN ROUTE & WINE COUNTRY
Cape Town, one of the world’s most beautiful cities, is only 40 km from the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of the African continent. The scenic splendor of the city includes mountains, beaches and vineyards surrounding it, the latter being the oldest and most beautiful wine producing region of South Africa. The scenic valleys around Stellenbosch and Paarl, which were first settled in the 1670s will enrich your historical knowledge of South Africa. With inhabitants from diverse ethnic backgrounds, Cape Town not only makes for an unforgettable cultural experience, with an enchanting contrast between luxurious places with a European feel to them interspersed with Africa traditional arts and crafts, it also has a relaxed and open-minded atmosphere.
The Garden Route is a three to four day trip that visits the spectacular area in and around Cape Town. The route encompasses the coastline from western Still Bay to eastern Plettenburg Bay. The plains along here are forested and bordered by lagoons, sand dunes and beaches against the backdrop of the mountains with the Karoo desert behind them.
Penguins, coral reefs and lush vegetation line the beautiful coast. The tour begins along the Atlantic seaboard with a drive through Sea Point, Bantry Bay, Camps Bay, Llandundno, and the fishing village of Hout Bay. Treat yourself to delicious lunch at two oceans restaurant which marks the point where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. The return journey is a spectacularly windy excursion in penguin territory at Boulder’s beach followed by a visit to Simon’s Town and False Bay coastline to Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, the center for the study and preservation of indigenous flora of Southern Africa.
Formerly a place of isolation and imprisonment and institutional brutality, it now symbolizes the triumph of human spirit over hardship and diversity with the imprisonment and subsequent release of Nelson Mandela. It houses a museum with data, details and description of South African heritage. We will arrange a special, scenic and spectacular guided tour for you that includes a leisurely ferry trip to and from the Island.
An area of unrivalled flora and fauna, the table mountain can be explored by hiking on trails in the company of well informed guides. You can also choose to explore the caves for a magical excursion into the beauty of stalactites and stalagmites. Slow rides will give you an opportunity for great photography of the exquisite vegetation that hugs the mountains.
A blend of dramatic rock faces, massive spires, plunging waterfalls, endless grasslands, rivers and forests, the Drakensberg mountains are the highest and longest mountain range in South Africa. The magnificent Tugela falls, plummeting 948 meters down the sheer rock, are especially beautiful. Allow us to take you on the Drakensberg Meander with only a short drive from Durban or 3-4 hours from Johannesburg.
Kruger National Park stretches along South Africa’s northeastern border, adjacent to Mozambique. It is not only one of the most famous and beautiful parks in the world, it is also one of the oldest, as it was originally afforded protection under another name in 1898.
We will arrange an unforgettable 3-7 day trip where you will not only see wild game, you will do so in the comfort of an open vehicle in a luxurious safari lodge. You will see lions, cheetah and leopards with their kill, while enjoying the glorious sight of luscious vegetation. The enchanting archaeological sites, absent from many other parks, will invest you with knowledge on the culture and customs that shaped Kruger Park.
MASHATU GAME RESERVE
(Actually in Botswana but more easily accessed from South Africa)
It bears the title of the “Best Game Viewing Destination in Africa” with great pride as this has been awarded through diligent, consistent and fierce conservation of the rich environment. An area of fascinating history and legend, Mashatu offers some of the most exciting game viewing in Africa in the comfort of open 4-wheel drive vehicles or shaded patios in luxurious hotels, Mashatu boasts of record daily sightings of lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant. Personalized wildlife experience and a staff to guest ratio of 3:1 ensure that every need is met.
Kruger National Park is the largest and best-known wildlife park in South Africa. Much of the wildlife viewing is done in private reserves along the western border of the Kruger in the Sabi Sands. The Kalahari Gemsbok National Park is another fascinating and often-overlooked part of the country.
Next Adventure works with the best of the luxury safari lodges mostly in the Kruger region. A tour program linking one or two of these with lodges in other parts of the country makes for a comprehensive wildlife safari.
South Africa – 14-Day Luxury Safari – Sabi Sands, Kalahari & Cape Town
Highlights of South Africa: A World in One Country
This 11-day itinerary offers a glimpse at South Africa, the “World in One Country”, taking in a sample of its diverse collection of sights, sounds, people, places, amazing wildlife and cultures. Combining the Cape Town Area with the Sabi Sands near Kruger National Park, it explores sun-drenched beaches, floral kingdoms, vineyards and rural African villages, majestic mountains and exciting game parks. Above all, the friendly people and fascinating history will want to return to this magnificent country again and again.
A wonderful and dynamic holiday no matter the season, this itinerary is also perfect for families and can be tailored to suit your special interests.
For full details, please download our South Africa World in One Country PDF itinerary here.
Day 1 – Arrive in Cape Town today. Private transfer to Cape Grace Hotel for 3 nights on a bed & breakfast basis.
Day 2 – Private half-day tour of the City & Table Mountain. Afternoon at leisure. Breakfast & overnight at Cape Grace.
Day 3 – Private full-day tour of the Cape Peninsula. Breakfast & overnight at Cape Grace.
Day 4 – After breakfast & check-out, enjoy a tour of the Winelands before continuing along the scenic coast to Grootbos for 3 nights on a full-board basis.
Day 5 & 6 – Two full days to enjoy the many activities offered in the area. All meals & overnights are at Grootbos.
Day 7 – After breakfast, private transfer to Cape Town airport for flight to Nelspruit (quoted separately). On arrival, meet for shared road transfer into the Sabi Sands Game Reserve where you arrive at Mala Mala’s Sable Camp for 4 nights.
Day 8, 9 & 10 – Three full days of game drives and other wildlife-viewing activities. All meals & overnights are at Mala Mala’s Sable Camp.
Day 11 – After a final game drive and breakfast, transfer to Mala Mala airstrip for direct flight to Johannesburg. Meet & transfer to Main Terminal for departure.
Note: If you have a little more time available, we encourage you to extend your safari with 3 more days at either Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve (enroute from Cape Town to the Sabi Sands), Pafuri Tented Camp (Northern Kruger) or Mashatu Game Reserve (Tuli Block of Botswana).
Cost depends on the season (a great itinerary year-round!) and accommodations selected/available. The number of travelers does not affect costs very much as your game drives and activities are shared with other guests in camp.