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The Leader in Small Groups on the Road Less Traveled
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New! 2018 South Africa Safari & Swaziland: Kruger National Park, the Garden Route & Cape Town

South Africa: Johannesburg, Kruger National Park • Swaziland: Mbabane • South Africa: Hluhluwe, Port Elizabeth, Tsitsikamma, Cape Town

19 Days from only $5495 including international airfare

Activity Level:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderate

Courtesy of Chris Cascarano ©2013 The New York Times
What Mandela Means to South Africans

Learn about Nelson Mandela’s legacy, and the far-reaching effects he had on the world, through interviews with local South Africans.

Courtesy CNN
CNNGo Takes in Capetown

Discover deconstructed decor, scenic cityscapes, and more as you explore Cape Town with a local photographer.

Courtesy Tyler Fairbank
Safari South Africa

Embark on a whirlwind—and whimsical—journey into the heart of the South African wilds.

Courtesy Caspar Diederick
Meet South Africa

This uplifting introduction to South Africa's vibrant landscapes, cultures, and people showcases this multifaceted nation.

Courtesy Eric Cheng
Aerial Cape Town, South Africa

Embark on an exhilarating aerial tour of Cape Town’s stunning vistas—from the mountain to the shore.

FROM
$5495
19 DAYS
$290/DAY
including international airfare
18 DAYS FROM $4095 Small Group Adventure Only
Extend Your Trip
 
 

ATTENTION
This trip features long flights and/or multiple connections. Learn More »

 

Arrive early in Johannesburg
before your trip begins.
See More Options »

Find the Adventure That’s Right for You

Our Activity Level rating system ranks adventures on a scale of 1 to 5 to help you determine if a trip is right for you. See the descriptions below for more information about the physical requirements associated with each rating.

Activity Level 1:

1 2 3 4 5

Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 25 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 1-2 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last at least 1-2 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 2:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 40 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 2-3 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for at least 2-3 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 3:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderate

Travelers should be able to climb 60 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 3 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 3 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.

Activity Level 4:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 80 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 4 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 7,000 to 9,000 feet.

Activity Level 5:

1 2 3 4 5

Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 100 or more stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 8 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 10,000 feet or more.

Itinerary Overview

Journey into South Africa and Swaziland where you'll explore the open wilderness in safari vehicles ... step into local families' homes in rural villages and cosmopolitan cities ... and let harbor towns charm you along the famed Garden Route. Join O.A.T. on an adventure that takes you into the city streets of Johannesburg and Cape Town; the forests and bush plains of Kruger National Park and Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve; and the mountainous kingdom of Swaziland.

Make It Your Adventure

Personalize your trip to meet your individual needs, from preferred flights and air routing, to “breaking away” to spend more time in a destination.

  • O.A.T’s team of Adventure Specialists makes every effort to provide you with non-stop flights and acceptable connection times to and from your destination. You also have several other options for personalizing your air itinerary, which include:

    • Choose your departure city and airline: We list the most popular gateway cities on our website, but not all of them. If you don’t see yours listed, or there’s one that better suits your needs, let us know. You can also tell us if you have an airline preference and we will try to accommodation your request.
    • Depart from one city and return from another: Just because your flight leaves from one city doesn’t mean you have to return there. Maybe you flew out of Boston and wish to visit friends in Los Angeles after your trip is over. Tell us where you want to go and we’ll do our best to get you there.
    • Fly the way you want to: We’ll gladly arrange a flight upgrade to business or premium economy class if it’s available. And when you fly economy class, we’ll do our best to see that you get your choice of seating preference or even add a special meal request if you have dietary restrictions or needs.
  • You can extend your time abroad and "break away" anywhere you'd like to do more exploring on your own. Stay for a day, a week, or even a month in a favorite locale. Our Adventure Specialists can provide you with information on the accommodations we will use at the beginning of your trip so that you can make your own arrangements. That way, you'll know that you will be exactly where you need to be to meet your group.

  • Many of our travelers choose to take another trip directly after their first one ends. Think about it: If you’re already overseas, why not see more of the region and avoid the expense and length of another international flight? Many of our travelers have taken two or three consecutive trips before returning home. One of the most common adventures combined with South Africa Safari & Swaziland: Kruger National Park, the Garden Route & Cape Town is Morocco Sahara Odyssey.And now you’ll save an additional $250-$350 per person when you reserve two trips right after one another.

  • Many O.A.T. travelers simply don’t want their trips to end. With an array of pre- and post-trip extensions to choose from, you have the chance to experience more of the places you’ve traveled so far to see, including Big Five Bush Safari: Entabeni Game Reserve; Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe; and Cape Town. Plus, you lower your average per-day costs because you’re taking advantage of your already included international airfare.

Day-to-Day Itinerary

  • 4 nights from only $1195

    Begin your South African discoveries with three days in Entabeni Game Reserve, an 85-square-mile private reserve located in South Africa’s UNESCO-protected Waterberg Biosphere—the perfect setting for a unique and enjoyable safari experience. You'll spend your days searching for the legendary "Big Five"—Cape buffalo, elephant, lion, rhino, and leopard—and your evenings sleeping under the thatched roof of your comfortable tented chalet. It's the perfect introduction to your South African experience.

    View Extension Itinerary
Johannesburg Cape Town Expand All
  • Board your overnight flight to Johannesburg to begin your South Africa adventure.

  • Upon arrival this evening, an O.A.T. representative meets you at the airport and helps you transfer to your hotel. Here, you'll meet your Trip Leader and fellow travelers, including those who have just finished their optional pre-trip extension, Big Five Bush Safari: Entabeni Game Reserve.

  • This morning, we’ll begin our exploration of South Africa in the thriving metropolis of Johannesburg. Here we’ll see city skyscrapers, including the Carlton Centre, which is the tallest office block in Africa, as well as the Nelson Mandela Bridge.

    We’ll also visit the historic Old Fort Prison, originally constructed by the Boers in the 19th century during colonial times. Through the ages, the fort has held prisoners of war, common criminals, and, during the apartheid era, political prisoners including Nelson and Winnie Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. After our tour of the prison, we’ll visit a local market to experience daily life in Johannesburg.

    This afternoon, you’re free to seek out lunch on your own in Johannesburg before returning to your hotel where you may enjoy the afternoon at leisure. This evening, get to know your fellow travelers during a Welcome Briefing, and enjoy a Welcome Dinner.

  • After breakfast this morning, we’ll venture into the outskirts of the city to visit Soweto, a former shantytown. Today, Soweto is both a bustling center of black South African life and a poignant symbol of the struggle to end apartheid. Here, we’ll enjoy the opportunity to become immersed in local culture as we connect closely with the township’s residents, visiting them in their homes and where they work.

    After lunch together in a local restaurant we’ll set off to explore the Dobsonville suburb of Soweto, visiting with more residents in their homes. We'll also engage in a candid discussion about apartheid with a relative of Hector Pietersen—the young boy who was shot and killed by police during a protest in 1976, becoming an iconic image of the struggle for equality.

    Following our discussion, we’ll see sites of anti-apartheid activity in Johannesburg, including the place where Hector was killed. You’ll then visit the Apartheid Museum, where the history of nearly 50 years of unequal rights affecting more than 20 million black South Africans is recounted. With 22 exhibits spanning print, photo, and film, it's a fascinating and moving examination of the era before South Africa was governed by a constitutional democracy that celebrates diversity.

    We’ll return to our hotel later this afternoon, and dinner is on your own tonight.

  • After breakfast, we’ll depart for Kruger National Park. Along the way, marvel at breathtaking views of the Klein Drakensburg escarpment, with its densely wooded canyons, sheer sandstone cliffs, and sparkling waterfalls. With time to get lunch on your own en route, we’ll travel the Panorama Route through Mpumalanga, a spot with stunning views. Tonight, we’ll check into our camp, and enjoy dinner together as a group.

  • Today we’ll embark on a full-day game-viewing drive, during which we'll explore Kruger National Park aboard small, open-air vehicles. Perhaps you'll see one of the elusive "Big Five" safari animals during the journey.

    Kruger is one of the largest and most notable among African game parks. Transvaal President Paul Kruger saw the need to protect the wilderness and its animals and first proclaimed it the Sabie Game Reserve before it became a national park in 1926. With your Trip Leader's insights into wildlife behavior, you'll have increased chances of spotting the Big Five—always elusive, but certainly present here: lion, elephant, leopard, Cape buffalo, and rhino. In addition to game animals, Kruger boasts an avian population of almost 500 species, some of which are found nowhere else in South Africa.

    During our full-day safari, we’ll have the opportunity to purchase lunch during a break at one of the park's rest camps. Tonight, we’ll enjoy an included dinner together back at our camp.

  • We'll set off after breakfast today, joined by park rangers, on a walking safari. Then we'll return to the camp for some time at leisure and lunch, before setting off on an afternoon game-viewing drive. Dinner tonight is back at the lodge as a group. 

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    This morning, we get to spend time with the children of George Mhaule Primary School (when in session), supported by Grand Circle Foundation as part of the World Classroom initiative.

    After our visit, we’ll stop to enjoy an included packed lunch before we cross the border into the Kingdom of Swaziland, entering through its mountainous northwest. As we travel, we’ll take in a landscape of sloping hills and sugarcane plantations. A fully independent nation since 1968, this African kingdom originated in the early 19th century and maintained its cultural identity as a British protectorate—never absorbed into South Africa—through much of the 20th century. Today, Swaziland has a population of about 800,000 and is a peaceful, agricultural country where ancient and modern ways mingle.

    Our first stop in Swaziland is Ngwenya mine. Thought by many to be the oldest mine in the world, archaeological findings point to its earliest use dating back to the Middle Stone Age, when red ochre was extracted from the site for cosmetic and ritualistic uses. In more modern times, the mine has been used to glean iron exports. Our stop will include a scenic walk around the man-made gorge, plus a visit to a museum detailing the history of the mine. We’ll also visit the Ngwenya glass factory for a tea and chocolate break, and perhaps a tour of the factory if it is operating.

    This evening, we’ll arrive at our hotel in the capital city of Mbabane, with a bit of time to relax before dinner.

  • Today we'll enjoy a full-day exploration of Swazi culture, starting with a visit to a local farm where we'll learn about the daily life of a subsistence farmer. Contrary to commercial farming, subsistence farmers work primarily towards self-sufficiency rather than profit, living off the land and crops they cultivate for their family's well-being. Then we'll peruse the produce, local crafts, and wares of the Swazi people at the Mbabane Craft Market. This afternoon, we'll enjoy a Home-Hosted Lunch with a local family in a nearby homestead, and dinner is at our hotel tonight.

  • After breakfast and a scenic morning walk, we'll cross the border back into South Africa today, stopping en route for an included lunch. We'll enter South Africa in Hluhluwe, a small town within the Kwazulu-Natal province. Here the great warrior-king Shaka unified many clans in the early 19th century under the name Zulu, which was the name of his own clan. Though mostly ceremonial today, the Zulu monarchy continues as a proud symbol of a living culture.

    After checking in to our lodge, we'll depart for the Cat Project, an organization that aims to rehabilitate species including cheetah, caracal, serval, and wildcat. In addition to observing the sheer beauty of these endangered animals, we'll learn about the current challenges facing animal conservationists.

    Tonight, dinner will be served at the lodge.

  • Today after an early breakfast, we'll set off for a full-day game-viewing drive through the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve—the oldest park in all of Africa. Thanks to the efforts of conservationists, the once-threatened rhino population has soared here—the park is now home to the largest concentration of white rhinos in the world. Keep your eyes peeled for their signature horns.

    We'll break in the afternoon for a hot lunch back at the lodge, and this evening there will be time for a nature walk around the premises before dinner is served.

  • This morning, after an early wake-up and breakfast, you'll drive to Durban. From here, you'll fly to Port Elizabeth—the largest town on South Africa’s famed Garden Route. Lunch and dinner are on your own today.

  • After breakfast, we'll begin our explorations with a scenic hike along the unspoiled beaches and rock pools of the Cape Recife Nature Reserve. Then, we'll embark on a tour of the historic port town, revealing the history, culture, and beauty of South Africa’s famous Garden Route, a stretch of coastline noted for its rolling hills, verdant meadows, and pristine beaches that have served as inspiration for artists and writers for centuries. After an included lunch in town, the rest of the afternoon is yours to explore at leisure, and dinner is on your own tonight.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Today, we depart after breakfast for our drive to Tsitsikamma National Park, a protected area known for its dramatic coastal views and ancient forests. After checking in to our new hotel and having lunch, we'll go for our first hike through our new surroundings. Tonight, we'll return to the hotel for dinner. 

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Today, we'll truly experience the lush forests, and trickling rivers of Tsitsikamma with activities that are sure to be both adrenaline-inducing and educational. We'll begin with a canopy tour, zipping from platform to platform between 700-year old trees, and learning about conservationists' efforts to preserve the ancient indigenous forests, which are threatened by the spread of paper plantations.

    After some time for lunch on your own in the village, we will continue our explorations of Tsitsikamma by hiking some of its various walking trails. For those who do not want to continue hiking, the area provides many other options for independent explorations: perhaps you'll choose to go horseback riding, or scuba diving for example, where you may admire the area's magnificent marine life. This evening, we'll return to our hotel for some time to rest, and dinner will be on your own tonight. 

  • We depart Tsitsikamma today for Cape Town, South Africa’s “Mother City.” On our way, we'll stop first in Mossel Bay, a nearby coastal town where the Dias Museum awaits, filled with exhibits detailing the area's cultural and natural history. Consisting of three buildings, the museum showcases the area's marine life, maritime history, and flora. We'll stop next in Swellendam for an included lunch. Once we arrive in Cape Town this afternoon, you'll check in to your new hotel, enjoy some time at leisure, and dinner will be on your own tonight. 

  • Today our adventure continues with an exploration of scenic Cape Town. First we'll enjoy a city tour in the morning. Then, we'll take in breathtaking scenery on a cable car ride up to the top of Table Mountain (weather permitting), a 3,563-foot sandstone mountain that is remarkable for its flat top and incredible ocean views. Lunch is on your own today, and you may have the rest of the day at leisure. This evening, we'll gather for a Home-Hosted Dinner with a local Cape Town family.

  • We'll depart from our hotel after breakfast today and drive along the spectacular coast road, the Atlantic Ocean's crashing surf endlessly splashing the rocks below. Our first destination is the lush Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, home to a stunning variety of Cape Flora. Then, we'll reach the Cape Point Nature Reserve, with its wild fynbos landscapes, beautiful flowers, elusive bontebok, baboons, and ocean views.

    Contrary to popular belief, the Cape Peninsula is not consistently where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. Because of shifting currents, that distinction is shared with lesser-known Cape Agulhas, 100 to 200 miles east of the Cape Peninsula. Nevertheless, when you get to the tip of the Cape Point Nature Reserve, you'll see Cape Point, the technical "Cape of Good Hope." Rapidly changing climactic conditions and the Indian Ocean currents coming from Cape Agulhas make it a particularly dangerous spot for ships. Your Trip Leader might tell you that more "sightings" of the legendary ghost ship, the Flying Dutchman, are reported here than anywhere else in the world. Who knows what you'll spy on the distant horizons as you gaze from the Cape Point viewing platform?

    On the return trip to Cape Town, a stop along the False Bay coastline offers us a chance to see the penguins at Boulders Beach. Then, after lunch at a local restaurant, we'll return to our hotel to enjoy some time at leisure. Tonight, we'll gather for our Farewell Dinner. 

    • Meals included:

    After breakfast, you'll have the morning at leisure to explore Cape Town, or simply relax before you begin your journey back to the U.S. this afternoon. Or begin your optional extension in Cape Town or Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

    3 nights from only $1395

    Extend your discoveries of Africa's wonders with this optional extension to thundering Victoria Falls. You'll have ample time to view the Falls, twice as high as Niagara and one-and-a-half times as wide, perhaps taking an optional helicopter flight to witness its full grandeur. You'll also experience local culture at a traditional boma dinner and cultural show. During this extension, you'll have a variety of optional tours to choose from, including an all-day excursion to Botswana's celebrated Chobe National Park.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Cape Town

    3 nights from only $795

    With Table Mountain as its backdrop, a bevy of bays at its feet, and the lushest foliage this side of paradise, Cape Town arguably occupies one of the most spectacular natural settings on Earth. Here is your chance to revel in it—and to witness the amazing social transformation of the “Rainbow Nation.”

    View Extension Itinerary

Click below to read our Travel Planning Guide on South Africa Safari & Swaziland: Kruger National Park, the Garden Route & Cape Town

Read Travel Planning Guide