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South Africa Highlights & Safari

From
  • $2999
    Air+Tax Included
  • 14
    Days
  • Average Tour Review

CAPE TOWN, KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, ESWATINI, ZULULAND, SOWETO AND HLUHLUWE NATIONAL PARK

South Africa is truly a study in contrasts, and you’ll see its amazing diversity for yourself on our expertly curated South Africa tour from the U.S. Experience the cosmopolitan flavors of Cape Town and the uplifting legacy of Nelson Mandela. View the meek and the mighty at both the oldest and largest nature preserves in Africa. Discover enduring traditions and expansive landscapes in Zululand and eSwatini (formerly Swaziland). And gain a better understanding of South Africa’s struggle through history and the remarkable, big-hearted spirit of its people. The only way to enhance this tour is by extending it with a specially priced excursion to Victoria Falls, the “Smoke That Thunders.” Breathtaking!

Itinerary at
a Glance

  • 4 nights in Cape Town
  • 2 nights in Hluhluwe/Zululand
  • 1 night in eSwatini (Swaziland)
  • 2 nights in Kruger Park
  • 2 nights in Johannesburg
  • 3-night optional extension to Victoria Falls

Tour
Highlights

  • Table Mountain (Cape Town)
  • Cape Peninsula (Cape Town)
  • Indian Ocean Coast (Durban)
  • Hluhluwe Game Reserve
  • Kruger National Park
  • Apartheid Museum (Johannesburg)
  • Optional Victoria Falls Extension

Activity Level: Discoverer 

Your Tour
Includes

  • Round-trip airfare from New York (JFK)
  • Airfare taxes, fees & fuel surcharges
  • Intra-South Africa flight and ground transportation
  • Accommodations at superior first-class hotels
  • 18 meals: 11 buffet breakfasts (B), 2 lunches (L), 5 dinners (D)
  • Comprehensive touring and safaris
  • Experienced, English-speaking Tour Director

Your extension includes:

  • Round-trip airfare
  • Three nights at the luxurious lodge with buffet breakfast daily
  • Sundowner Cruise on the Zambezi River
  • A tour of Victoria Falls

Tour Itinerary

Click the Day-by-Day itinerary above (or swipe on mobile devices) to see the experiences that await on each day of your tour.

Depart from the U.S.

Overnight flight to Cape Town. Your tour includes round-trip airfare from the U.S.

Arrive in Cape Town

Welcome to South Africa’s oldest city, set on a stunning harbor in the shadow of imposing Table Mountain, where you’ll be met and escorted from the airport to your hotel. Meet up with your tour host and fellow travelers tonight for a welcome dinner and orientation. Learn more about all this city offers here.
D Cape Sun Hotel or President Hotel (or similar)

Cape Town

Today’s all about exploring (and savoring!) this unique city. Join a local expert to see the highlights and charms of Cape Town. We’ll ascend via cable car to the top of Cape Town’s iconic landmark, Table Mountain, for incredible city and bay views. Then you’ll have a chance to view and photograph Table Mountain from a distance from the historic, colorful neighborhood known as Bo-Kaap (the Malay Quarter). Our tour ends at the vibrant V&A Waterfront, where you can enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure. Relax at a café, sip a glass of South Africa’s renowned wine or browse…

Cape Town

Stunning seascapes, delicious seafood, spectacular gardens—and penguins? Our day on Cape Peninsula is truly extraordinary, as we pass steep mountains, secluded coves and sweeping beaches before a stop at a Hout Bay fishing village. Then it’s on to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, home to baboons, rheboks and Cape Mountain zebras. At Cape Point, soak up the majestic views at the confluence of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. After lunch at a famous seafood restaurant, we’ll head to the most remarkable of the mainland African penguin colonies, Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town,…

Cape Town

So many options! Today is at leisure for independent exploration, shopping or relaxing. Go to the beach, take an optional excursion to the scenic Winelands or take the plunge with a thrilling great white shark cage diving excursion. You may also use your free time to visit Robben Island and see where Nelson Mandela spent nearly two decades in captivity. B Cape Sun Hotel or President Hotel (or similar)

Cape Town/Durban/Zululand/Hluhluwe

Say farewell to Cape Town and board a morning flight to King Shaka International Airport on the Kwazulu-Natal North Coast, just outside the bustling port city of Durban. Our first stop is Westbrooke, a pretty beachside village where you can stroll golden sands along the Indian Ocean. We’ll continue north through cane fields and timber plantations to Zululand, home to one of the most famous of African tribal peoples. Our hotel tonight is set near the Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park, the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa and best known for saving the white rhinoceros from extinction….

Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park/Zululand

You’ll fall under the spell of the Zulu people as we visit the Dumazulu Cultural Village. Here, the ancient arts are kept alive, and we’ll learn about traditional dress and the construction of “beehive” huts, as well as meet a Zulu healer and watch tribal dancing. Our visit includes a special lunch with both Zulu and Western dishes. The enchantment continues as we climb aboard open safari vehicles to explore Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park, a haven for the second largest land mammal—the white rhino. B/L Emdoneni Lodge (or similar)

Hluhluwe/eSwatini

Swaziland

A scenic drive takes us to the tiny Kingdom of eSwatini. Formerly Swaziland, eSwatini was recently renamed to mark its 50th anniversary of independence. You’ll have the chance to shop for unique African souvenirs and see basket weavers in action at the colorful local markets. B Lugogo Sun (or similar)

eSwatini/Kruger National Park

Swaziland

Our journey takes us through eSwatini’s beautiful countryside to the world-famous Kruger National Park, South Africa’s premier wildlife sanctuary. Enjoy views of the wild from the comfort of our own motor coach as we wind our way to our safari home base, an upscale lodge located near the park. B/D Protea Kruger Gate Hotel by Marriott or Sabi River Sun Resort (or similar)

Kruger National Park

Your chances of viewing lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalo (the “Big 5”) are very good on today’s safari, as Kruger National Park boasts an estimated 1,500 lions, 17,000 elephants, 48,000 buffalo and even 1,000 of the elusive leopard. You may also spot hippos, crocodiles, zebras and giraffes as we navigate the park in open vehicles. Have your camera ready! B/D Protea Kruger Gate Hotel by Marriott or Sabi River Sun Resort (or similar)

Kruger Park/Mpumalanga/Sandton

Johannesburg

Scenic vistas abound as we traverse the wild countryside of Mpumalanga along parts of the Panorama Route. We’ll be wowed by mountains, rivers, waterfalls and more in what is called “Paradise Country.” Highlights include the magnificent Blyde River Canyon, divine views from God’s Window and the bizarre and legend-inspiring Bourke’s Luck Potholes. Our final destination is Sandton, a flourishing suburb of Johannesburg, the commerce and diamond mining center. B Garden Court Sandton City Hotel (or similar)

Soweto Excursion/Apartheid Museum

We’ll delve into South Africa’s turbulent past on a fascinating tour of Soweto, an urban settlement or “township” outside Johannesburg. Our tour takes us to Freedom Square, the home of Nelson Mandela and the Apartheid Museum, which documents the rise and fall of apartheid and offers a beacon of hope for a future all South Africans can call their own. Tonight we’ll gather with our fellow travelers for a traditional South African buffet feast. B/D Garden Court Sandton City Hotel (or similar)

Depart South Africa

Take care of last-minute shopping or explore independently before transferring to the airport for your return flight. B Garden Court Sandton City Hotel (or similar)

Arrive in the U.S.

Your South African journey comes to an end as you touch down in the U.S. this morning.

Guided Tour Pricing

Price includes land and round-trip airfare from the U.S. (Land-only pricing available upon request.)

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Rates are per person based on double occupancy.
Single room supplement is $449.

Note: Table Mountain has scheduled its annual maintenance closure for 7/8/2019-8/19/2019. During this time, the Cat Project Tour at Emdoneni will be offered as an alternative.
Business Class upgrade supplement is $5,700. (For JFK-Johannesburg-JFK flights only)

VICTORIA FALLS EXTENSION: Add $1289 per person double occupancy / $1489 single

If taking the Victoria Falls extension, a visa is required for Zimbabwe. US and Canada passport holders can obtain it upon arrival

For more information on this tour, please contact us here or call us during business hours (Mon-Fri, 9:00-5:30 EST) at 800-337-7773.

Reservations and Payments
Reservations can be made by phone 1 800 337 7773 and will be confirmed upon receipt of $300 per person non-refundable, non-transferable deposit which must be received within 48 hours of reservation. Full payment is due 75 days prior to departure. Baggage fees may apply. Space and prices subject to availability. For complete booking information and terms & conditions click here.

Extended Tours

Victoria Falls Extension

  • From approx. $1289 USD per person

This extension includes airfare, three nights’ accommodation, buffet breakfast daily, a Sundowner Cruise on the mighty Zambezi River, a tour of the towering Victoria Falls and all transfers. Extension starts on day 13.

Johannesburg/Victoria Falls

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Victoria Falls. You’ll be met and escorted to your deluxe hotel. Join a Sundowner cruise on the mighty Zambezi River. Marvel at the vegetation on the river’s banks and the spectacular sunset. B Ilala Lodge Hotel or Victoria Falls Safari Lodge (or similar)

Zambezi River/Victoria Falls

Begin the day with The Life of David Livingston, an inspirational story that offers insights into Africa’s tumultuous past. You’ll have time to see the traditional way of life before returning to the Zambezi River and the magnificent Victoria Falls, the largest curtain of water in the world. Twice as wide and deep as Niagara Falls, it looks much the same as it did to David Livingston in the 1860s. In the afternoon, you can return for more mesmerizing views of the 355-foot-high falls. B Ilala Lodge Hotel or Victoria Falls Safari Lodge (or…

Leisure/Optional Tour

Enjoy a day at leisure or go on an optional tour across the border to Botswana. Here you’ll visit Chobe National Park, which boasts one of the largest populations of elephants in the world. B Ilala Lodge Hotel or Victoria Falls Safari Lodge (or similar)

Victoria Falls/Johannesburg/Depart South Africa

Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Johannesburg, where you’ll connect for your flight back to the U.S. B

Arrive in the U.S.

Your South African and Victoria Falls journey comes to an end as you touch down in the U.S. this morning.

Optional Tours Customize your trip with these optional tours.

Pricing is subject to change. Payment (non-refundable) should be made by cash or credit card (VISA, MasterCard or AmEx, subject to service charge).

Half-Day Cultural Heritage Tour & Township Tour 

  • Cape Town
  • From approx. $40 Per Person

Time-travel through the history of “The Three South Africas”—from the monumental turning point in the Birth of South Africa to the now-decaying ruins of Apartheid South Africa to the townships of the New South Africa—on this can’t-miss tour. Gain insight into the greatness of Nelson Mandela and what South Africa has achieved ever since taking up his challenge to rise above pain and bitterness. Experience eye-opening encounters, especially when visiting Langa, the oldest black township, and Khayelitsha, the largest township, where cultural values and personal…

Robben Island Tour**

  • Cape Town
  • From approx. $40 Per Person

Catch the ferry to Robben Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the infamous maximum-security prison where Nelson Mandela and others were jailed. Adding to the realism of this tour: guides on the island were once political prisoners! Important tour details:

  • Ferries depart several times daily, weather permitting, from V&A Waterfront. Transfers from your hotel to the pier and back are not included.
  • The Robben Island excursions are operated by a non-profit foundation, and tickets are sold on a first-come-first-served basis. smarTours® does…

Winelands Tour

  • Cape Town
  • From approx. $53 Per Person

Taste for yourself why South African wines are so celebrated with a trip to the enchanting Winelands and the second oldest town in South Africa. See Stellenbosch’s oak-lined streets and admire the gables of Cape Dutch architecture. We’ll then head to a wine estate for a wine tasting session and to explore the grounds. Here’s your chance to purchase some local wines!

Full Day Great White Shark Cage Diving***

  • Cape Town
  • From approx. $159 Per Person, including breakfast, packed lunch and transfers

Truly a once-in-a-lifetime outing! Rise early for the trip to the coastal fishing town Gansbaai. Here you’ll meet your crew, review the day’s outing and safety instructions, and have breakfast. Then it’s off to open waters, where you’ll don your “shark gear” and climb into the secure cage for a wildlife viewing experience you’ll never forget. You’ll also enjoy watching the great whites from the comfort of the boat while your fellow divers are underwater.

***This tour operates on the last day in Cape Town, and it is not possible to do Robben Island or Winelands…

Victoria Falls Extension/Full-Day Chobe National Park (Botswana) Safari & Tour

  • Botswana
  • From approx. Approx. $175 Per Person

Travel from Victoria Falls across the border to Botswana and Chobe National Park. Embark on a safari boat ride on the Chobe River to view the rich wildlife and numerous bird species in this amazing game reserve. After lunch, enjoy an afternoon game drive in an open safari vehicle. Return to your hotel at Victoria Falls early this evening.

Reviews

Christopher

This was the first tour we’ve taken, having always arranged transpiration, hotel and sightseeing activities by ourselves in the past. I had less confidence about doing this for Africa and when our friends suggested SmarTours, we decided to try it. Efficiently hitting all the highlights, the South African Tour was outstanding and our guide, Jeremy was absolutely top notch. Very informative, on top of every detail, he arranged absolutely everything flawlessly. We will definitely be doing more SmarTours in the future! Signed by Susan Miller-Pinhey

Richard

This was our seventh tour with smarTours and it did not disappoint. The hotels, included meals, safaris, and guide exceeded our expectations. We saw the big five and enjoyed every safari. Our safari guides did everything possible to ensure we saw animals from the best vantage point. We extended our trip to Victoria Falls. This is highly recommended. We spent a full morning visiting the falls. Our entire group embarked on the optional tour to Chobe National Park in Botswana; this is not to be missed. If you are taking the extension to Victoria Falls and Botswana, you will need to buy a multi-entry visa upon arrival in Zimbabwe. Our tour guide gave us the entry form the previous night so we could complete it before departure. This was a great time saver, as many other arriving passengers, were filling out their forms at the entrance way to customs. We purchased a Kasi visa, which allowed us to walk across the bridge from Victoria Falls to Zambia. This self-guided tour was a highlight of our trip. The taxi from the Zambia side of the bridge to Livingstone cost $7. South Africa highlights and Safari is our most favorite trip.

Gail M

Loved our trip to South Africa. We very much loved Sean our guide as he went over and above on keeping all safe, informed, happy and laughing with his wonderful humor. Hotels and restaurants were over and above. Kruger was outstanding and we got to see 2 lion brothers fight right in front of us over a new bunch of lion cubs. Elvis our driver took us on quite a whirl and we saw many animals up close and personal. I got to hold baby lion cubs in my lap and my husband laid beside a Cheetah. Who does that? We loved Table Mountain and the enchanted clouds that rose just as we arrived. Also enjoyed Cape peninsula and Cape Point and the beauty and waters that surround it. The children and their wonderful principal that told us of the conditions of their school and what could improve it. The children's smiles as they sang to us. The wonderful museum that told us of the history and court trials of the past. The wonderful food so healthy and not packaged served in the restaurants. The high cliffs and twisty roads where families walked to their homes high in the mountains. The skyscrapers in Johannesburg and the wonderful progress that is there for all. Yes we highly recommend Smart Tours and their lovely tour in South Africa.

Gail

Just back from a wonderful vacation to South Africa and Safari. First I want to compliment our wonderful guide who went over and above to tell us about Africa, keep us all safe and keep us laughing with his wonderful sense of humor. Sean made it so much more enjoyable with all his history and facts. He never missed a thing.. obliging us in the wonderful hotels, vehicles, great food, wine and told us about every excursion in detail. What a time we had in Kruger seeing all the animals, two lion brothers fighting over their pride of cubs right in front of us, a cheetah up in a tree eating his latest kill, herds of elephants crossing in front of us. We had Elvis as our driver and that alone was a thrill, as he knew exactly where to bring us to see the best animals. I highly recommend signing up for the extra safari offered to all. We visited a school in Cape Town and realized what school is like for some that might not be so privileged. But the children were wonderful and sang their heart out to us with big smiles. They are great kids and hopefully will be voting soon and then a nation will be born to all. They had the most dedicated principal ever and we will all spread the word back home, so their school will have more. Table Mountain and the clouds that lifted as we arrived, made it like an enchanted visit from above the angels. The twisted roads that led to African homesteads and wonderful families walking in the fields and roads. The 4 star hotels and restaurants that served freshly grown foods that rarely came out of a package. The beds were all wonderfuI and oh so comfortable. The surroundings around the hotel each unique with transportation into the city. The modern city of Johannesburg with its skyscrapers and wonderful museums. We sat and watched the court hearings on screen at one museum and are thankful things are a bit better than long ago. The privilege of seeing wild cats up close and actually holding new born baby lions in my lap. My husband laying beside a Cheetah for a photograph. The visit to Cape Point and Cape Peninisula was well worth the stop and the beauty of its splendor. The penguins were interesting but not the highlight I thought. We really enjoyed the ride on the way more so , where we saw an Ostrich farm and a Baboon chasing them. The Ostrichs were more clever this time. We also loved seeing the Zulula dancers and how some of us got to dance with them and the laughter. We have gone on 5 trips with Smart Tours and you will always get a huge variety of activities and places that no other tours do quite the same. So I highly recommend the trip with Smart Tours to Southern Africa.... your gonna love it. Gail and Mark Mitchell New Hampshire.

Laurie H

I have to say that SmarTours is a WINNER! I am a college professor in California and my standards are a bit too high for my own good.. but SmarTours met every single expectation and MORE. Jason was the BEST guide in South Africa, he sincerely made our trip unforgettable. If I could do the same trip with Jason, and my small group of 7 again, I would do it in a heartbeat. I have shared my stories and pictures with my faculty and students at our campus and we are planning a tour to Africa with smarTours next year! Thank you for doing such a great job.. keep it up! You are the BEST!!!

Richard

I have had the good fortune to participate in many tours over the years. This South Africa tour was unquestionably the best tour in which I have ever participated. The itinerary, hotels and meals were all excellent. But our tour guide, Ron McGregor, put the tour "over the top". The combination of his impeccable attention to detail, encyclopedic knowledge of South Africa, humor and fabulous storytelling put him in the category of "the best tour guide I have ever had". It was no surprise to learn that his 50 years of experience made him the longest-serving tour guide on the African continent. He is a credit to himself and to SmarTours.

Carol

Tour guide Ron was excelent source of information on history of SA. Really enjoyed all tours and optional tours as well. Favorite was Kruger Park.

Santo

We had a fine trip and the guide was Ron McGregor, a superb guide. I recommend this trip.

Jeffrey

We were fortunate to have as our South Africa tour guide the very knowledgeable and personable Jeremy Poole. Our February 2019 trip was just magical! We learned and saw so much. It was our first SmarTours trip but it will not be our last. We cannot recommend this too much -- great value!!

Anonymous

This was our first trip with SmarTours and we were pleasantly surprised at how organized it was. This was due to our guide, Shawn. He was incredibly organized and went out of his way to make this a memorable experience for all of us. I would like to suggest that you let travelers know ahead of time the amount of small US bills they will need for tips,etc. . We weren't quite prepared for that. The optional tours that Shawn set up for us were as good as those included in the package. Our only complaint is with South Africa Airlines. I will never fly with them again. On our flight to SA we were fed, the lights turned off, and never saw an attendant again for 12 hours. It wasn't any different on the return flight. There was food available at the galley but you had to know it was available. Unnecessary!!! Other than the length of the flight, I would do this trip again and will promote it whenever I can.

Irving

This was our first experience with smarTours and it was a huge success based primarily on the talents of our outstanding host, Desmond Clack. The itinerary was well thought out and we accomplished more that we expected.

Alexander

Excellent Tour. The guide, Desmond Clack, was not only very knowledgeable, and personable with an excellent sense of humour but he worked diligently on the details to make the tour run smoothly and anticipated logistical issues. We had a great time.

Arthur

Excellent, well organized tour of Africa, Shaun Bartnik was a great tour director, he took care of all the details, changes, add on tours and was a wealth of information. I was surprised by the quality of the accommodations and food. I would pass on Swaziland next time though, really didn't add anything to the experience BUT the Victoria Falls extension and Chobe Park are highly recommended, we also rode elephants and walked with the lions.

Michael

This South Africa venture was our third smarTours outing, after India/Nepal and Vietnam/Cambodia. smarTours ticks all the boxes (which is why we keep coming back) - value for money, simple and clear booking processes and access to information, great hotels and transportation, and probably above all, great tour directors. We had Ron Armstrong as our tour director. Not only was he infinitely knowledgeable, but he helped us feel and understand both the history and the current issues facing this wonderful and complex country. We have no reservations whatsoever in recommending both the company and this particular tour.

Indiana

This was my first time traveling w/ smarTours (South Africa Highlights and Safari) and my first time traveling internationally on my own, but I must say I not once felt lonely or unsafe as my tour guide Renier was purely AMAZING! He made sure all single travelers (there were 3 in total) always felt part of the group or the family as that is sort of what we became during the trip. He was funny, uber knowledgable and super friendly. Not once did he get annoyed with the million and one questions people asked him, even during the times when he constantly had to repeat things for the chatty Kathy's on the bus. I really have to say he was one of the best parts of my trip! Shout out to Renier for being an awesome tour guide!!!I highly enjoyed all the scenery, seeing all the animals during the Game Drives, meeting all the people and trying out all the different foods. However, there are a few things I would definitely change for this tour.The amount of time spent at cool open markets was too short. We would stop to have lunch/shop and would have to do both in an hour or an hour and a half. Granted we were not shopping for homes, but I would have liked a little more time just to walk around and check things out instead of feeling rushed. This also goes for places like Table Mountain and The Potholes. More time to take everything in and really absorb the amazing views would have been great.I would also take out the trip to the DumaZulu Cultural Village as it's not a real village at all. It felt like I was at Disney watching people in costumes put on a show for us, with many of them who looked unhappy to even be there. Perhaps I was the naive to think I was walking into an actual village where the DumaZulu tribe actually lived at, but I was quite disappointed. I felt this part of the trip was a complete waste of time and could have been spent else where. I would have liked if there were a few more alternative options for people. I felt there were a few times where there was not much to do mainly because of the location of the hotel/lodge so having an option for an excursion or activity would have been nice.I would have also like to know going in that although some meals were included, drinks (of any kind) were not included. Not a huge deal, but just something I would have liked to be informed of before hand. (And if this was in the fine print and I missed it- my apologies in advance).All the hotel/lodge accommodations were great as well. They all had air conditioning, basic amenities (towels, hair dryers, shampoo/conditioner, etc) were well kept (of course some more than others) and the staff was usually friendly. Although food was usually buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner), there was always a nice variety to please everyone, including those with a sweet tooth. The farewell dinner was fabulous and we all had such a fun time.I met some interesting people and made some new lifetime friends so overall I had a terrific trip and would consider smarTours again.
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