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South Africa: An Elegant Adventure (BBC Earth Journey)

12 days with Tauck   Rating: Deluxe

Click for Dates and Prices Day 1 Arrive Cape Town
Tour begins: 6:30 PM, Cape Grace. A transfer from Cape Town International Airport to the Cape Grace is included; the hotel, found on the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler's Gold List is perfectly situated right on the waterfront in the heart of the city. Meet your Tauck Director and your fellow travelers at our welcome reception in the Bascule Bar followed by dinner in the Conservatory. Join us for a welcome reception in Bascule Bar followed by dinner in the Conservatory. (D)

Day 2 Guided Discoveries on Robben Island and a Winelands visit
Tauck has arranged a visit to Robben Island (weather permitting), recognized as a World Heritage Site for its key role in South African history. The site of an extraordinary nature reserve and former whaling station, this island is probably best known for its old maximum security prison. A ferry takes you across Table Bay, with fantastic views of Table Mountain, for a guided "insider's" tour of the island. Learn about the island's complex history, visit the prison and see the cell that housed future South African President Nelson Mandela for so many years. South Africa's wines have enjoyed a royal following since the days of emperors and kings; savor the fruit of the vine along with local specialties at a wine-pairing dinner in Constantia in the Cape Winelands. (B, D)

Day 3 Up Table Mountain and on to the Cape Peninsula
Sightsee in and around Cape Town this morning, then head out to the spectacular Cape Peninsula. En route, weather permitting, take a rotating cable car up Table Mountain, enjoying 360-degree views of the city and bay during the ride up and on a walk at the top. Board a funicular for Cape Point and the historic lighthouse. Your bird's-eye view includes the Cape of Good Hope and the point that is thought to be where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean. After lunch, meet the African penguins; standing about two feet tall and endearingly curious, they are one of Africa's only two land-based colonies of African penguins. Meet them up-close in their unique beachfront sanctuary before returning to your hotel for a free evening to spend as you wish in Cape Town. (B, L)

Day 4 Fly to Kruger National Park and a Private Game Reserve
Depart Cape Town and board a flight for Skukuza airstrip and the incomparable Kruger National Park, where your safari experience begins at Lion Sands - Kruger National Park. Set in the South African lowveldt, it is one of the best game-viewing areas of the park; your classic safari accommodations are in a private riverside setting inside the park - the waters are a magnet for park wildlife. The area is home to many endangered and rare animals, birds and reptiles - as you'll discover soon beginning with an afternoon game drive before dinner. (B, D)

Day 5 Lion Sands-Kruger National Park
Wildlife viewing is at its best here at the Lion Sands-Kruger National Park Concession, which covers 12,000 acres and boasts one of the highest recorded densities of predators - and especially of leopards - in Africa; guests have spotted elephant, cheetah, rhinos, wild dogs and, of course, leopards in Kruger during their stay. You'll have ample opportunity to spot the animals who live here on two game drives today. Tonight, feast on regional culinary specialties at dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 6 Exclusive Game Drives in Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Enjoy a final game drive at Lion Sands this morning before moving on to Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge, situated within the Sabi Sands Game Reserve bordering expansive Kruger National Park. Comprising five smaller private game reserves set along the Sabie River, the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve is home to a great biodiversity of habitat and wildlife, including Africa's iconic "Big Five" - elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard; wild dogs, cheetahs and over 300 species of birds can also be spotted here. An afternoon game drive takes you into the African bushveld to spot wildlife. (B, L, D)

Day 7 At Home on Safari
Morning and afternoon game drives aboard four-wheel-drive, open-top Land Rovers today provide the possibility of up-close sightings of African game. Expert Shangaan trackers and experienced rangers help you spot the animals who migrate through the reserve, including gazelles, antelopes, kudu, impalas and giraffes. They are well-versed in the geography of the area, the wildlife and the efforts being made to conserve these living treasures and eagerly share their knowledge with you. You'll have opportunities to enjoy life at your lodge as well, which is reminiscent of safaris in days gone by - perhaps afternoon coffee, tea and biscuits, or possibly a swim between game drives. And tonight, a traditional braai - which is a barbecue; it's a social custom in South Africa that has been around for ages. (B, L, D)

Day 8 Johannesburg and its gems
Say goodbye to the wildlife-rich Sabie River region this morning as you depart the heart of the African wilderness and fly to Johannesburg, South Africa's largest city and commercial hub - and the world's largest city not situated on a river, lake or coastline - for a two-night stay. Among the most modern and prosperous cities in South Africa today, "Jo'burg" has derived much of its wealth from the major gold- and diamond-mining industry based here. Learn about the history of Africa's precious stones from an expert gemologist this evening, and then dine tonight at your hotel, 54 on Bath. (B, D)

Day 9 Sightsee Historic Soweto
During today's guided tour, you'll experience the diversity of Soweto, from its thriving business environment of today to its historical importance as a residential township in the time of the apartheid. You'll see the homes of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as well as South Africa's Constitutional Court. Visit the Apartheid Museum, acknowledged as the pre-eminent museum in the world dealing with 20th-century South Africa, at the heart of which is the apartheid story; the museum illustrates the rise and fall of apartheid. Return to the hotel, where the remainder of the day is free to spend as you please in Johannesburg. (B, L)

Day 10 Magnificent Victoria Falls
Fly to Victoria Falls today, regarded as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The Zambezi River plunges more than 300 feet into the Zambezi Gorge, often creating rainbows in the spray; the cataracts are nearly twice as wide and twice as high as Niagara Falls. Enjoy elegant accommodations at The Victoria Falls Hotel, established in 1904; nowhere is the hotel's gracious service more welcomed than at traditional afternoon high tea, which you experience during your stay. In your free time, stroll the hotel's private pathway atop the gorge for inspiring views of the Victoria Falls Bridge crossing into Zambia. A local historian offers insights into the life of the famous Dr. David Livingstone aboard a private sundowner cruise on historic Zambezi River this evening - watching the setting African sun is an added bonus! Tonight, dine at your choice of restaurants in the hotel. (B, D)

Day 11 Explore Zambezi National Park and meet the elephants
First up this morning is a privately guided walk around Victoria Falls, stopping to view its thundering waters from various vantage points including the Devil's Cataract, Rain Forest, Main Falls and Danger Point. You'll gain some amazing insights about African elephants from a naturalist during a hands-on visit to an elephant sanctuary where you'll interact with the elephants and watch them as they feed, play, and socialize. Majestic, wise and very intelligent, they have earned their nickname "gentle giants" as they are thought to be the largest living mammal on Earth today. Join us this evening for our farewell cocktail reception and dinner, a fitting end to a fantastic trip! (B, L, D)

Day 12 Journey Home
Tour ends: O.R. Tambo International Airport. Enjoy time at leisure in Victoria Falls before your return flight to Johannesburg. You should allow a minimum of three hours from the time of arrival in Johannesburg for check-in for your flight home. (B)
All This Included
Your 12 days in South Africa go beyond the ordinary with amazing travel experiences that include game drives in two of the most sought-after private game reserves - stay in the heart of the reserves, where you just might spot leopards, lions, elephants, impalas, and zebras. Attend wine tastings, special presentations and lectures with local experts... and experience the vast legacy of cultural and natural history in Cape Town, Robben Island, Johannesburg, and Soweto. Learn more about the struggle against apartheid, travel up Table Mountain for extraordinary views of "the end of the continent," and meet some elephants during your two-night stay at Victoria Falls. And when you cruise the Zambezi River at sunset... you know that South Africa has a place in your heart forever more. You'll find yourself immersed in the Earth Journeys experience, featuring on-tour films by BBC Earth natural history experts and when the opportunity arises, the use of field equipment such as night vision goggles and FLIR® thermal camera imaging that reveal the secret nocturnal life of South Africa's wildlife, providing a rare look at what is normally hidden in darkness.

  • On-tour film vignettes custom-made for Tauck by BBC Earth natural history experts
  • Field equipment may include FLIR® thermal imaging cameras and night vision goggles
  • Private game drives with skilled rangers and trackers during four nights at private game reserves in or near Kruger National Park - two nights at Lion Sands - Kruger National Park and two nights at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge
  • A prearranged visit to Cape Town's Robben Island, where you'll learn the story of the South African freedom fighters and see the cell where Nelson Mandela was held for decades
  • Exclusive cultural discoveries in historic Soweto; view the homes of Winnie Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  • A wine-tasting dinner in the Cape Winelands
  • A private gemologist lecture in Johannesburg
  • Two nights in Victoria Falls, with a private lunch with the elephants in Zambezi and a sundowner river cruise
  • Three nights at one of the "World's Best" hotels, Cape Grace in Cape Town, on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
  • Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as noted
  • 26 meals (11 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 9 dinners); gratuities to local guides, service charges, taxes and porterage
  • Earth Journey created with BBC Earth
  • Game drives for four nights at private reserves
  • Cultural exploration in Cape Town and Soweto
  • Wine tasting in the Winelands
  • Two nights at Victoria Falls
  • Custom-made BBC Earth on-tour film vignettes and when the opportunity arises the use of field equipment
Cape Town: Cape Grace
Kruger National Park: Lion Sands-Kruger National Park
Sabi Sands Game Reserve: Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge
Johannesburg: 54 on Bath
Victoria Falls: The Victoria Falls Hotel
  • Internal air (approximately $900 to $925 per person) is not included in the prices above.
  • January 26, February 23, September 5 and October 12 are small group departures, averaging 24 Tauck guests.
  • For activities marked with an asterisk (*), participation is at your own risk and a signed liability waiver will be required.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Tauck terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.