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Spend three weeks discovering some of the most incredible sites southern Africa has to offer. Scan the landscapes of Kruger National Park for elephants and big cats, take in the otherworldly desertscapes of Namibia, gaze out over picture-perfect Cape Town from Table Mountain, and physically feel the power of Victoria Falls on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Step behind-the-scenes at Cape Town’s Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden on an expert-led tour.
Join a grantee from National Geographic Big Cats Initiative for a safari in a private game reserve.
Observe cheetahs up close at the Cheetah Conservation Fund, whose researchers have been supported by National Geographic.
See natural wonders from Namibia’s dunes to South Africa’s Panorama Route to Victoria Falls.
Itinerary - 21 Days
Day 1 — Cape Town
Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included.
Days 2 & 3 — Cape Town
Visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden alongside an expert from the South African National Biodiversity Initiative. National Geographic Traveler named these gardens among the top ten in the world. Explore vibrant Cape Town and Cape Point, with a stop at Boulders Beach to see the penguins. Enjoy free time the next day to hike Table Mountain or embark on a wine tour around Stellenbosch. (2B)
Day 4 — Panorama Route/Kruger National Park
Fly to Johannesburg. Meet your CEO and enjoy a traditional South African braai (barbecue) welcome dinner. (1B, 1D)
Days 5 & 6 — Panorama Route/Kruger National Park
Enjoy a scenic drive along the famed Panorama Route. Continue to our safari camp, conveniently located just outside Kruger National Park. The next morning, opt to take a sunrise game drive or nature walk. Later this afternoon embark on an included game drive in an open safari vehicle. (2B, 1D)
Days 7 & 8 — Karongwe Private Game Reserve
Continue on to Karongwe Private Game Reserve for two days. Enjoy morning and evening open-vehicle game drives while searching for Africa’s “big five”—lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and Cape buffalo. Meet with a researcher from the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Carnivore Conservation Programme, a project headed by National Geographic Big Cats Initiative grantee Kelly Marnewick. A member of Kelly’s team will tell us about their ongoing research and join us on one of our game drives. (2B, 1L, 2D)
Day 9 — Johannesburg
After one last game drive, head back to the city. This evening, enjoy a home-cooked dinner at our guesthouse. (1B, 1D)
Day 10 — Windhoek
Fly to Windhoek and transfer to the hotel with free time this afternoon to explore this cosmopolitan city. (1B)
Days 11 & 12 — Sesriem
Pass through dramatic landscapes on the drive to the desert town of Sesriem. The next day, go on an excursion into Namib-Naukluft National Park, home to some of the most stunning desert-scapes on the continent. See Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, clay pans covered in a crust of salt-rich sand surrounded by burned orange and red towering dunes. Continue to Sesriem Canyon, a natural rock formation carved by the Tsauchab River. (2B, 2D)
Days 13 & 14 — Swakopmund
Journey through the park on our way to Swakopmund, keeping an eye out for free-roaming zebra, kudu, springbok, and oryx. Stop in the quirky town of Solitaire to pick up a boxed lunch before heading into the countryside. Here we’ll meet a local who will take us on a drive and discuss survival strategies, some of which date back to ancient times. Settle into Swakopmund, on the Atlantic coast, and enjoy free time the next morning to go quad-biking or sandboarding, or just take a walk through town. In the afternoon, visit the township of Mondesa with a local guide. See the lively local market for an introduction to traditional foods and then drop by Datango, an arts-and-crafts shop that offers employment opportunities to local youth. Later, stop in at the shebeen (tavern) for a cool drink before heading to a family home for dinner and entertainment by the local choir. (2B, 1L, 1D)
Day 15 — Twyfelfontein
Travel to Twyfelfontein to see its ancient petroglyphs, Namibia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site. They’re thought to be the largest concentration of engravings in Africa, dating back some 5,000 years. (1B, 1D)
Days 16 & 17 — Etosha National Park
Depart early to visit the Petrified Forest national monument, an astonishing site of fossilized tree trunks approximately 280 million years old. Continue to our lodge located in the Etosha National Park area, considered the greatest wildlife sanctuary in Namibia. This afternoon, take an open-vehicle game drive. The next morning at sunrise, embark on another open-vehicle game drive with a local guide. Keep your camera at the ready to photograph elephants, lions, endangered black rhinos, and even leopards. The remainder of the day, you are free to relax at our lodge, take a swim, or join our CEO for another game drive. (2B)
Day 18 — Windhoek
Visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund, founded by Dr. Laurie Marker, a National Geographic grantee. Tour the facility and learn from one of its researchers about ongoing efforts to study, monitor, and protect cheetahs. Then enjoy a game drive to view some of these amazing animals up close. Finally, head on to Windhoek. (1B, 1L)
Days 19 & 20 — Victoria Falls
Fly to Zimbabwe and take a guided tour of the famous falls. Then gain insight into everyday life here with a walk through the local market and dinner at a family homestead. Take advantage of a free day to explore as you wish; options include a river safari, whitewater rafting, canoeing, and a flight over the falls. (2B, 1D)
Our newest line of trips, offered in partnership with G Adventures, blends fun, hands-on exploration, meaningful encounters with people and cultures, and more free time and choices—with the structure and security of traveling in a small group.
All trip prices are per person based on double occupancy. If you're traveling on your own, we'll pair you up with a roommate of the same gender so that you can pay the same rate as other travelers. Prices are subject to change without notice and do not include airfare. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars.
My Own Room
During your trip, sometimes it's just more convenient and comfortable to have your own room. That's why we offer the "My Own Room" option - a single room all to yourself.
My Own Room Option: From $2,099
Arrival transfer, transport between destinations and to/
from included activities, and activities as listed in
the itinerary. Optional excursions are at an additional cost.
Accommodations Guest house (2
nights); hotel/lodges (14 nights); comfortable safari camp (2 nights); comfortable tent or chalets (2 nights)
Meals Included 20 breakfasts, 3 lunches,
10 dinners. Allow total of $470–615 for meals
Transportation Air-conditioned touring vehicle, 4x4, open safari vehicle, plane
You can do whatever you wish during your free time on tour, but if you're in need of suggestions, we've got them. Details about any optional experiences for this trip will be available during the booking process. Please note, these are at an additional cost.