On this extraordinary adventure through southern Africa, journey from glittering Cape Town to the vast wilderness of Kruger National Park—home of the legendary "big five". Visit Soweto township, where Nelson Mandela grew up; enjoy a homemade dinner with a local family in a Zimbabwean village; and witness the awe-inspiring beauty of Victoria Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Trip highlights

Carnivore Conservation Experience, A researcher from the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Cheetah Metapopulation Project will conduct a lecture and join us on a wildlife safari drive to share insights into the behaviour of cheetahs and other carnivores – and efforts to protect them. This National Geographic-sponsored project is part of the Big Cats Initiative.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Guided Tour, Stop and smell the flowers on a tour specially designed for National Geographic travellers. Walk with a botanist through the incredible Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, named one of the “10 most magnificent gardens in the world” by National Geographic.

Zimbabwean Family Dinner, Visit Flatter Ncube’s home and meet her extended family. On her homestead, you’ll sit down to a traditional Zimbabwean dinner made with produce fresh from the gardens. Hear what daily life is like for Ncube and her family over a delicious meal.

Itinerary - 12 Days

Day 1 Cape Town

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included.

Day 2 Cape Town

Begin the day with an exploration of vibrant Cape Town, wandering through the multicultural Bo-Kaap neighborhood. Then enjoy an exclusive guided tour of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, named by National Geographic Travel as one of the world’s 10 most magnificent gardens. Later, stop by Boulders Beach to see the resident population of African penguins, and continue to the Cape Point lighthouse and the Cape of Good Hope, the southwesternmost point in Africa.

Day 3 Cape Town

Enjoy a day of leisure in Cape Town, choosing from a variety of optional activities. Hike up iconic Table Mountain or hop on a cable car to the summit, taking in extraordinary views of the city and the Atlantic seaboard. Or explore the Cape Winelands, visiting the historical city of Stellenbosch, touring wine estates with expert guides, and indulging in a variety of tastings and pairings.

Day 4 Cape Town/Johannesburg

Fly to Johannesburg, then take a guided tour of Soweto township. Soweto was an important center of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement and home to its leader, Nelson Mandela. Visit the Mandela House Museum and learn about this painful chapter in the country’s history. In the evening, enjoy a traditional South African braai (barbecue) with your fellow travellers.

Day 5 Johannesburg/Greater Kruger Area

Set out towards Kruger National Park via the magnificent Panorama Route, one of the world’s most picturesque drives. Make stops at the dramatic Blyde River Canyon and Bourke's Luck Potholes, and take in panoramic views of the forest-covered valley from the God's Window viewpoint. Continue to our tented camp near Kruger National Park and savour a delicious South African dinner in a boma.

Day 6 Kruger National Park

Rise early and climb aboard an open jeep for a full-day safari in Kruger National Park—home to an extraordinary array of large mammals. Spot elephants, lions, giraffes, and perhaps elusive leopards as we explore this breathtaking wilderness of savanna and scrubland. Return to our lodge in the evening, where you can take some time to relax on the deck and enjoy the nocturnal sounds of the bush.

Day 7 Greater Kruger Area/Karongwe Private Game Reserve

Travel to the Karongwe Private Game Reserve, a pristine wildlife sanctuary located in the Greater Kruger area. Meet with a researcher from the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Cheetah Metapopulation Project—a program funded in part by National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative—and learn about efforts to protect the region’s cheetahs and other carnivores. The researcher then joins us for a wildlife-viewing excursion through the reserve.

Day 8 Karongwe Private Game Reserve

Spend the day exploring Karongwe on morning and afternoon safaris with our local guides. Search for Africa's famed "big five" as we drive through the shrublands of the bushveld. Back at camp, relax on deck or take a walk around the grounds.

Day 9 Karongwe Private Game Reserve/Johannesburg

Embark on one last safari this morning, keeping a lookout for Karongwe’s iconic inhabitants. Then head back to the city, where you’ll enjoy dinner in our local guest house.

Day 10 Johannesburg/Victoria Falls

Catch a flight to the town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, named after one of the most powerful waterfalls on Earth. Visit a nearby village and go grocery shopping in the bustling market. Then sit down with a local family for dinner, helping your hosts prepare a traditional Zimbabwean meal using the ingredients you picked out, and hear stories about local life and culture.

Day 11 Victoria Falls

Set out for a tour of magnificent Victoria Falls. Scottish explorer David Livingstone named them after Britain’s Queen Victoria, while their older, indigenous name is Mosi-oa-Tunya—“the smoke that thunders.” Opt for a scenic sunset cruise on the Zambezi River; soar above the roaring falls in a helicopter; and much more.

Day 12 Victoria Falls

Depart at any time.

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