Day 1: Arrive in Capetown
Transfer to hotel and rest.
Day 2: Capetown
This morning, set out on a daylong tour of the Cape Peninsula, a rocky headland jutting into the Atlantic Ocean. At Boulders Beach, watch thousands of African penguins waddle about their business. Then visit the notorious Cape of Good Hope—where many an unfortunate ship met its watery doom during the Age of Exploration—and climb up to the lighthouse at Cape Point for fantastic views. Head back to Cape Town via the spectacular Chapman’s Peak Drive, which snakes its way along the Atlantic.
Day 3: Capetown
Spend the day at leisure, discovering the charms of Cape Town on a variety of optional excursions. Hike up iconic Table Mountain with a guide or hop on the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway for a quick ride to the summit, taking in incredible views of the Atlantic seaboard. Pay an eye-opening visit to the Iziko Slave Lodge—a museum devoted to the history of slavery in South Africa. Wildlife lovers can head to the Two Oceans Aquarium to gush over the variety of its marine residents—from adorable clownfish to translucent jellies.
Day 4: Capetown to Kruger National Park
Fly from Capetown to the Greater Kruger National Park and settle into your lodge, located at the gateway to the famed wildlife reserve.
Day 5: Kruger National Park
At over 19,000 sq km (7,500 sq mi), South Africa’s Kruger National Park is one of the largest and most impressive animal reserves in the world. With 147 species, Kruger has more species of large mammals than any other park on the continent.
Day 6: Kruger National Park and Area
Venture out on another early morning safari drive, looking for the creatures you didn’t get a chance to spot the day before. The afternoon is free to explore the Kruger region as you choose. Relax by the pool at our lodge or opt to experience the area by zip-line.
Day 7: Kruger to Johannesburg
After breakfast, head to Chimp Eden for an encounter with our closest relatives in the animal world. Run by the Jane Goodall Institute of South Africa, Chimp Eden is the first and only chimpanzee sanctuary in the country and harbours more than 30 rescued chimps. Legendary ethologist and National Geographic grantee Dr. Jane Goodall devoted her life to the study of chimpanzee behavior; at Chimp Eden, we’ll get an opportunity to see rescued chimps living in a safe and secure sanctuary and learn why Jane was so captivated by them when she first began her research in 1960. Later, settle in for the drive to Johannesburg, arriving in the evening.
Day 8: Johannesburg and Area
Step back millions of years in time on a visit to the Cradle of Humankind, where the fossils of some of our earliest known human ancestors were discovered. Here, National Geographic Explorer-at-Large Lee Berger excavated the Homo Naledi, a recently defined species of hominin. Descend into the otherworldly Sterkfontein Caves, where the remains of “Mrs. Ples” and “Little Foot” — both more than two million years old were found; then venture to the Maropeng Visitors Centre to gape at the actual skeletal remains and embark on an immersive journey through the evolution of our species. This evening, feast on a traditional South African braai (barbeque).
Day 9: Johannesburg to Victoria Falls
Catch a flight to Zimbabwe and check in to your hotel. Set out with a local guide for a tour of Victoria Falls, one of the largest waterfalls on Earth. Scottish explorer David Livingstone named them after Britain’s Queen Victoria, while their older, indigenous name is Mosi-oa-Tunya — “the smoke that thunders.” You can hear the falls’ mighty roar from up to 24 miles away; and standing at one of the cascade’s overlooks, you’ll be drenched by its powerful spray.
Day 10: Victoria Falls
The day is free to explore Victoria Falls and its surroundings. Embark on a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River; hit the rapids on a thrilling white-water rafting excursion; or take a memorable helicopter ride above the massive cascade. You can also take a day trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana to seek out its resident elephants. This evening, celebrate your journey with fellow travelers at a farewell dinner featuring a performance of local music and dance.
Day 11: Departure
Depart from Victoria Falls – Or Stay Longer