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South africa cape town

Southern Africa is not so much a geographic or political entity, more a convenient term—often used by outsiders, including travel guides like ourselves—to group a collection of states marked by an astonishing diversity.

Botswana, Eswatini (Swaziland), Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, occupy the southern tip of Africa; their location being one of the few things they have in common (some include Angola; the island of Madagascar is usually excluded because of its distinctiveness).

One thing they do share is a troubled past: a visitor to any of these countries will find plenty of food for thought as to the long-term effects of colonialism, many of which are still playing out, including, arguably, in the travel industry.

On the positive side there are the most fantastic sights on offer, and experiences to be had. The natural beauty is, of course, breathtaking; a safari in one of the world-famous national parks is an adventure not to be missed. But there's so much more to Southern Africa than its safari parks. There are nearly 70 million people living here, speaking something like 1,500 different languages, with individual cultures and distinct identities. You'll come for the safari, but you'll fall in love with the people.

It will be stunning, it may be unsettling. But a trip to Southern Africa comes with one guarantee: the memories you take home will stay with you forever.

South Africa safari

An expert guide to the best South Africa safaris

I fell in love with South Africa the very first time I laid eyes on it. Like so many safari-goers before me, the love affair began in Kruger: big cats, rhinos, elephants and just about every species of charismatic mega-fauna weren’t just present. They were everywhere...read more

4 days

Leopard spotting in South Luangwa

Seeing Zambia’s famous big cat
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4 days

Lower Zambezi safari

Safaris on land and water
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6 days

Kafue National Park safari and Victoria Falls

Wildlife, waterfalls and wilderness
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7 days

South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi safari

See both sides of Zambia
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7 days

South Luangwa and Victoria Falls Safari

Zambia's classic safari itinerary in 7 days
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10 days

Victoria Falls and Zambia’s wildlife

Wildlife sanctuaries and powerful waterfalls
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13 days

Kruger & Kwa-Zulu Natal Safari Itinerary

13 day route to the jewels of South Africa
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  • Botswana

    Botswana

    Safaris for those in the know
    With almost one third of its land set aside for conservation, a low-density tourism policy that leaves it blissfully crowd-free and the largest free-roaming elephant population on the planet, a Botswana safari is for those in the know...
  • Okavango Delta

    Okavango Delta

    World-renowned as a mecca for wildlife, this year-round watery paradise is sustained by rainfall in the Angolan highlands which arrives in the form of an annual flood just as natural rain-filled pans are beginning to dry out...
  • Chobe National Park

    Chobe National Park

    Nestled in Botswana’s north-eastern corner, Chobe National Park incorporates Chobe Riverfront (close to the Zimbabwe and Zambia borders), famous for its large elephant herds; and Savute (in the west), where a juxtaposition of contrasting habitats and handful of pumped waterholes sustain a melting pot of species...
  • Central Kalahari Game Reserve

    Central Kalahari Game Reserve

    At some 52,000 square kilometres, making this Africa’s second largest reserve, Central Kalahari feels as wild and unfathomably remote as it was 50 years ago...
  • Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

    Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

    Once the heart of an ancient superlake, the vast network of the Makgadikgadi salt pans is now a mesmerising void expanse the size of Switzerland...
  • Nxai Pan National Park

    Nxai Pan National Park

    This compact, often overlooked park is worth visiting just to see the remarkable cluster of seven ancient baobabs (named after explorer and painter, Thomas Baines), presiding over a pristine salt pan...
  • Okavango Panhandle

    Okavango Panhandle

    Although not a big game destination, the broad meandering Okavango river in the northwest of the country is a birder’s paradise, with over 350 recorded species including several iconic Okavango specialties...
  • Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

    Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

    In the far south of Botswana, this transfrontier park spills over into South Africa...
  • Northern Tuli Game Reserve

    Northern Tuli Game Reserve

    Located in the far southeastern corner of the country and formerly divided into a number of segregated farms, NTGR is now the largest privately-owned conservation area in southern Africa...
  • Tsodilo Hills

    Tsodilo Hills

    Towering above the contourless landscape, the climbable summits of these four hills range from a short stroll to a day-long hike, rewarding you with expansive views in all directions...
  • Kwando Reserve

    Kwando Reserve

    Spanning over 2,300 square kilometres in Botswana's far north, the Kwando Reserve presents a vast, pristine, and lesser-visited wilderness...
  • Kwando River

    Kwando River

    ...
  • Selinda Reserve

    Selinda Reserve

    Scattered along the northern waterways of the perennial Linyanti and Kwando rivers, and the seasonal Selinda spillway, the camps in these three neighbouring private concessions operate in a similar manner to those inside the Okavango Delta...
  • Kasane

    Kasane

    ...
  • Moremi Game Reserve

    Moremi Game Reserve

    ...
  • Xakanaxa

    Xakanaxa

    ...
  • Maun

    Maun

    ...
  • Sankuyo

    Sankuyo

    ...
  • Khwai Private Reserve

    Khwai Private Reserve

    ...
  • Sepopa

    ...
  • South Africa

    South Africa

    Safari and beyond in the Rainbow Nation
    The Rainbow Nation has really come of age as a tourism destination and is a perfect introduction if you've not explored this mighty continent before...
  • Johannesburg

    ...
  • Kruger National Park

    Kruger National Park

    The showpiece of South African tourism, Kruger National Park is one of the world’s most famous protected areas, and for good reason...
  • Balule Nature Reserve

    Balule Nature Reserve

    Covering an area of 250 sq km, the Balule Nature Reserve is an integral part of the Greater Kruger eco-system, seamlessly blending with its surroundings...
  • Kapama Game Reserve

    Kapama Game Reserve

    Kapama, located within the greater Kruger region, serves as an ideal first-time safari destination...
  • Thornybush Game Reserve

    Thornybush Game Reserve

    Thornybush, once a fenced reserve ensuring the presence of numerous large mammals, restricted wildlife movement between the reserve and Kruger...
  • Timbavati Game Reserve

    Timbavati Game Reserve

    Timbavati, a private reserve bordering the main Kruger Park, hosts a wealth of mammal and bird species due to its unobstructed access...
  • Klaserie Nature Reserve

    Klaserie Nature Reserve

    Spanning 60,000 hectares, Klaserie Nature Reserve is among South Africa's largest privately-owned reserves...
  • Manyeleti Game Reserve

    Manyeleti Game Reserve

    Manyeleti, translating to "Place of the Stars" in Shangaan, spans 230 sq km and shares an unfenced border with Kruger...
  • Karongwe Game Reserve

    Karongwe Game Reserve

    Karongwe, a moderately-sized private game reserve, boasts an impressive likelihood of leopard sightings, nestled between four rivers and featuring views of the Drakensberg Mountains...
  • Sabi Sands Game Reserve

    Sabi Sands Game Reserve

    A place of superlatives, Sabi Sands Game Reserve is in effect a continuation of the massive Kruger National Park, but by anyone’s standards Sabi Sands is no mere Kruger add-on...
  • Sabi Sabi Game Reserve

    Sabi Sabi Game Reserve

    A collection of former rangelands, Sabi Sabi is a good choice for discerning safari enthusiasts seeking luxury and exclusivity...
  • Lion Sands Game Reserve

    Lion Sands Game Reserve

    Lion Sands Game Reserve, located within the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, is known for its high density of large mammals, in particular its three separate pride of lions...
  • Londolozi Game Reserve

    Londolozi Game Reserve

    Londolozi Game Reserve, one of South Africa's original private reserves, has a rich history spanning nearly a century...
  • Mala Mala Game Reserve

    Mala Mala Game Reserve

    Mala Mala, one of South Africa's original private game reserves, spans an expansive 130 sq km and has been operational since the 1920s...
  • Ulusaba Game Reserve

    Ulusaba Game Reserve

    Ulusaba Game Reserve, owned by Richard Branson, showcases many of the exceptional aspects of the Sabi Sands region...
  • Kwazulu-Natal

    Kwazulu-Natal

    Centred on the beach bum surf city of Durban, the huge, and hugely diverse, province of KwaZulu-Natal on South Africa’s east coast doesn’t have the stellar international wildlife reputation of other parts of South Africa...
  • Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park

    Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park

    Second only to Kruger National Park, the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is a nearly thousand square kilometre slab of wilderness surrounded by private game reserves...
  • Phinda Game Reserve

    Phinda Game Reserve

    If you’re a fan of that spotted blur of speed, the cheetah, then Phinda Game Reserve will make you very happy...
  • St Lucia

    St Lucia

    ...
  • Pongola Game Reserve

    Pongola Game Reserve

    ...
  • iSimangaliso Wetland Park

    iSimangaliso Wetland Park

    iSimangaliso Wetland Park, on the KwaZulu-Natal far northern coast, is a real gem for nature lovers...
  • North West Province

    North West Province

    This is one of the more easily accessible wildlife areas of South Africa...
  • Madikwe Game Reserve

    Madikwe Game Reserve

    Madikwe is unusual in that it is owned by the state in partnership with local communities and the private sector...
  • Waterberg Biosphere Reserve

    Waterberg Biosphere Reserve

    The vast upland massif of the Waterberg region is one of only two biosphere reserves in all of Africa...
  • Pilanesberg National Park

    Pilanesberg National Park

    Pilanesberg is safari made easy...
  • Eastern Cape

    Eastern Cape

    In many respects, the Eastern Cape is a microcosm of the best of South Africa...
  • Shamwari Game Reserve

    Shamwari Game Reserve

    Shamwari, an esteemed and exclusive private game reserve in the Eastern Cape, lies near Addo Elephant National Park...
  • Addo Elephant Park

    Addo Elephant Park

    Addo Elephant National Park, one of South Africa's largest, is renowned for its elephants but offers a diverse landscape encompassing river valleys, mountains, savannahs, forests, and beaches...
  • Amakhala Game Reserve

    Amakhala Game Reserve

    Amakhala, a compact private reserve of approximately 75 sq km, offers an impressive wildlife experience...
  • Kariega Game Reserve

    Kariega Game Reserve

    Kariega, a family-owned and managed 10,000-hectare private reserve, occupies former ranch and farmland in the Eastern Cape...
  • Kwantu Game Reserve

    Kwantu Game Reserve

    Kwantu Private Game Reserve, spanning 6,000 hectares, is relatively small compared to other African reserves...
  • Lalibela Game Reserve

    Lalibela Game Reserve

    Encompassing five distinct ecosystems, the malaria-free Lalibela reserve is home to a remarkable variety of flora and fauna, including the Big Five...
  • Pumba Game Reserve

    Pumba Game Reserve

    Pumba Game Reserve, situated near the bustling city of Port Elizabeth, attracts more visitors than some of the region's more remote parks due to its accessibility to day guests who participate in the reserve's organised safaris...
  • Tsistikamma National Park

    Tsistikamma National Park

    ...
  • St Francis Bay

    St Francis Bay

    ...
  • Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

    Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

    Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, in South Africa's Eastern Cape, is home to the famous Big Five – lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards, and rhinoceros – as well as cheetahs, giraffes, and various antelope species...
  • Western Cape

    Western Cape

    For most visitors to South Africa, the Western Cape is all about the finer things in life: food, wine, beaches and Cape Town — arguably the most beautiful city in Africa...
  • Aquila Private Game Reserve

    Aquila Private Game Reserve

    Aquila Private Game Reserve, named after the endangered black (Verreaux) eagle, is a 10,000-hectare conservancy established in 1999...
  • Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

    Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

    Sanbona Wildlife Reserve combines big cat sightings with wine tasting, offering a unique experience...
  • Wilderness

    Wilderness

    ...
  • Noordhoek

    Noordhoek

    ...
  • Oudtshoorn

    Oudtshoorn

    ...
  • Cape Town

    Cape Town

    ...
  • Durban

    ...
  • Nelspruit

    ...
  • The Karoo

    ...
  • Madikwe Game Reserve

    Madikwe Game Reserve

    ...
  • Pilanesberg National Park

    Pilanesberg National Park

    ...
  • Hluhluwe Game Reserve

    Hluhluwe Game Reserve

    ...
  • Welgevonden Game Reserve

    Welgevonden Game Reserve

    ...
  • Waterberg Biosphere Reserve

    Waterberg Biosphere Reserve

    ...
  • Lion Sands Game Reserve

    Lion Sands Game Reserve

    ...
  • Londolozi Game Reserve

    Londolozi Game Reserve

    ...
  • Ulusaba Game Reserve

    ...
  • Stellenbosch

    Stellenbosch

    ...
  • Table Mountain National Park

    ...
  • Port Elizabeth

    Port Elizabeth

    ...
  • Plettenberg Bay

    ...
  • Knysna

    ...
  • Hermanus

    Hermanus

    ...
  • Pretoria

    ...
  • Drakensburg

    Drakensburg

    ...
  • The Kalahari

    ...
  • Hazyview

    Hazyview

    ...
  • Zambia

    Zambia

    Discover Zambia, experience Africa
    It’s ironic that landlocked Zambia is best known for its waterways...
  • Victoria Falls

    Victoria Falls

    At the height of the rainy season, more than 500 million cubic metres of water plummets over the edge of the Zambezi River into a gorge 100m below...
  • Livingstone

    Livingstone

    Relaxed Livingstone is best-known as the base for visitors to the Zambian side of Victoria Falls, but it also has a growing adventure scene...
  • Lower Zambezi National Park

    Lower Zambezi National Park

    The Lower Zambezi National Park’s wildlife is centred around the floodplain along the northeastern side of the Zambezi River...
  • South Luangwa National Park

    South Luangwa National Park

    South Luangwa National Park, in the Eastern province of Zambia, is one of the most wildlife-rich national parks in the country...
  • Kafue National Park

    Kafue National Park

    Kafue National Park is one of Zambia’s oldest — and largest — national parks...
  • Lusaka

    Lusaka

    Sprawling Lusaka is Zambia’s capital and commercial centre...
  • Kasanka National Park

    Kasanka National Park

    Kasanka National Park is one of the smallest national parks in Zambia...
  • Liuwa Plain National Park

    Liuwa Plain National Park

    Liuwa Plains National Park is located in the Western Province of Zambia in the upper plains of the Zambezi river...
  • Luambe National Park

    Luambe National Park

    ...
  • Victoria Falls

    Victoria Falls

    ...
  • Chirundu

    ...
  • North Luangwa National Park

    North Luangwa National Park

    North Luangwa National Park is synonymous with walking safaris and is my favourite National Park in Zambia...
  • Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park

    Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park

    Zambia is famous for the Victoria Falls, the greatest sheet of falling water on the planet, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and a natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe...
  • Bangweulu Wetlands

    Bangweulu Wetlands

    Bangweulu means ‘where the water meets the sky’, and I think it’s a perfect description of this extraordinary, community-owned and protected wetland in northeastern Zambia...
  • Zimbabwe

    Zimbabwe

    Double-concentrate safari
    Going on safari in Zimbabwe is like a concentrated version of the safari experience...
  • Mana Pools National Park

    Mana Pools National Park

    Many travellers fall in love with UNESCO World Heritage-listed Mana Pools National Park, in northern Zimbabwe...
  • Victoria Falls

    Victoria Falls

    ...
  • Hwange National Park

    Hwange National Park

    At the eastern edge of the six-country Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area which is known for having the highest concentration of elephants in Africa, Hwange is very much a part of that heritage: elephants are everywhere...
  • Gonarezhou National Park

    Gonarezhou National Park

    Down south in Zimbabwe and sharing wildlife with parks just across the borders with Mozambique and South Africa, Gonarezhou sees far fewer visitors than it deserves...
  • Matusadona National Park

    Matusadona National Park

    I’ve never quite understood why Matusadona isn’t world-famous...
  • Matobo Hills

    ...
  • Zambezi National Park

    Zambezi National Park

    It may be a cliché, but there’s a very good reason why Victoria Falls is one of the most popular places to visit in Africa...
  • Malawi

    Malawi

    ...
  • Lake Malawi

    Lake Malawi

    ...
  • Blantyre

    ...
  • Majete Wildlife Reserve

    Majete Wildlife Reserve

    ...
  • Liwonde National Park

    Liwonde National Park

    ...
  • Cape Maclear

    Cape Maclear

    ...
  • Lilongwe

    Lilongwe

    ...
  • mulanje

    ...
  • Zomba

    ...
  • Namibia

    Namibia

    Southern Africa's hidden gem
    If there's one place that's truly about the journey, not the destination, it is Namibia...
  • Kalkrand

    Kalkrand

    ...
  • Namib-Naukluft National Park

    Namib-Naukluft National Park

    ...
  • Swakopmund

    Swakopmund

    ...
  • Damaraland

    Damaraland

    ...
  • Ongava Game Reserve

    Ongava Game Reserve

    ...
  • Omaruru

    Omaruru

    ...
  • Windhoek

    Windhoek

    ...
  • Okonjima Nature Reserve

    Okonjima Nature Reserve

    ...
  • Etosha National Park

    Etosha National Park

    ...
  • Divundu

    Divundu

    ...
  • Nkasa Rupara National Park

    ...
  • Onguma Game Reserve

    ...
  • Sossusvlei

    ...
  • Bwabwata National Park

    Bwabwata National Park

    ...
  • Walvis Bay

    Walvis Bay

    ...
  • ǀAi-ǀAis/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

    ǀAi-ǀAis/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

    ...
  • NamibRand Nature Reserve

    NamibRand Nature Reserve

    ...
  • Gondwana Namib Park

    Gondwana Namib Park

    ...
  • Mauritius

    Mauritius

    ...
  • Eswatini (Swaziland)

    ...
  • Mbabane

    Mbabane

    ...
  • Madagascar

    Madagascar

    ...

Places to go in Southern Africa

Southern Africa Tours

Lower Zambezi National Park, Lusaka

The Best Of Lower Zambezi

Four-day private safari of Zambia's Lower Zambezi

4 daysFrom $1,425
South Luangwa National Park

Explore South Luangwa Bush Camping

5 days bush camping in South Luangwa

5 daysFrom $3,047
South Luangwa National Park, Lusaka

Zambia’s Premier Wildlife Safari

Wildlife safari in South Luangwa National Park

7 daysFrom $4,120
South Luangwa National Park, Lusaka

Exploring Luangwa’s Unspoilt Wilderness

5 day walking safari in Luangwa National Park

3 daysFrom $2,925
Lower Zambezi National Park, Kafue National Park, Lusaka

Zambezi Canoeing & Kafue National Park

Canoe, safari and boat cruise in Kafue National Park

10 daysFrom $2,991
South Luangwa National Park, Kafue National Park

Zambia's Animal Kingdom

13 days safari in Kafue National Park and South Luangwa National Park

13 daysFrom $7,300

Southern Africa Travel Companies

Africa

Discover Africa Safaris

Authentic Luxury African Safaris, tailored for you
Africa

Wayfairer

Tailor-made luxury travel
Zambia

Absolute Zambia Safaris

Custom safari holidays to Zambia
Central America, South America, Africa (and 8 more)

Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris

In-depth nature & wildlife tours in outstanding destinations
Africa

Wild Frontiers

Safaris into East, West and Southern Africa
Botswana

The African Wild

Botswana tours and safaris
Africa

Take Me To Africa

Experts in small group travel to Africa
Central America, Africa, Central Asia

YellowWood Adventures

Sustainable travel for the modern-day explorer

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