With three weeks in southern Africa, you can experience two, three, or four distinct countries. The national parks and game reserves of Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa are perfect destinations for wildlife lovers, while the deserts and coastlines of Namibia and South Africa are an excellent match for nature lovers with a penchant for fine dining and wine. You can also swap in Benguerra Island for a tropical getaway or experience a bit of everything on an ultimate highlights tour.

Itinerary #1: Explore Zimbabwe, Botswana & South Africa: Natural Wonders, Wildlife & Culture

On this three-week ultimate highlights tour through southern Africa, you'll experience the wonders of Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park, Kruger National Park, and the Garden Route. Between game drives and river safaris, you'll have a chance to spot (at least) elephants, hippos, and buffaloes. Plus, cultural experiences in Johannesburg and Cape Town, a thrilling shark cave dive, and three days in the Cape Winelands region make this itinerary perfect for first-time visitors seeking a well-rounded itinerary.

Visit the adorable African penguin colony on Boulders Beach
Visit the adorable African penguin colony on Boulders Beach
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), Sunset Cruise & Riverside Dinner Victoria Falls
Day 2 Rhino Walk in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Mukuni Village Tour Victoria Falls
Day 3 Transfer to Chobe National Park (Botswana), Chobe River Photo Safari Chobe National Park
Day 4 Sunrise & Sunset Photo Safari on Chobe River Chobe National Park
Day 5 Fly to Johannesburg (South Africa), Dinner at The Marabi Club Johannesburg
Day 6 Guided Tour of Soweto, Yeoville Dinner Club Experience Johannesburg
Day 7 Fly to Kruger National Park, Afternoon Game Drive Kruger National Park
Day 8 Sunrise & Sunset Game Drives in Kruger National Park Kruger National Park
Day 9 Morning Game Drive, Fly to Cape Town, Visit the V&A Waterfront Cape Town
Day 10 Food & Walking Tour, Multi-Course African Dinner & Dance Experience Cape Town
Day 11 Drive to Hermanus, Shark Cage Dive, Dinner at Bientang's Cave Hermanus
Day 12 Drive to Knysna via Wilderness National Park & Sedgefield  Knysna
Day 13 Explore Knysna at Your Own Pace Knysna
Day 14 Drive to Oudtshoorn, Explore the Ostrich Capital of the World Oudtshoorn
Day 15 Drive to Franschhoek, Free Afternoon to Explore Franschhoek
Day 16 Full-Day Vineyard Tour in the Cape Winelands Franschhoek
Day 17 Ride a Hop-On, Hop-Off Wine Tram Through the Cape Winelands Franschhoek
Day 18 Drive to Cape Town, Kayak with African Penguins Cape Town
Day 19 Full-Day Tour of the Cape Peninsula  Cape Town
Day 20 Township Tour, Cruise to Robben Island, Prison Tour Cape Town
Day 21 Community Development Tour, Depart Cape Town  

Welcome to Zimbabwe, where a two-day stay in Victoria Falls kicks off your trip in style. Cruise the Zambezi River, meet resident rhinos at Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, and dine with locals at Mukuni Village. Then, transfer to Chobe National Park and seek out elephants, buffaloes, hippos, and more during a trio of river safaris. A flight to Johannesburg lands next on your itinerary, and throughout your stay, you'll attend a dinner show at The Marabi Club and tour the storied Soweto township. Afterward, continue to Kruger National Park for a deep dive into the wildlife-filled wilderness.

Over two days in Kruger, you'll encounter the Big Five and more through numerous game drives and from your primely located lodge. Next, catch a flight to Cape Town, where you'll indulge in authentic South African cuisine during a guided food tour and a 14-course dinner and dance experience. Fueled up, it's time to collect your rental car for an extended road trip along the famous Garden Route. Throughout, pause in Hermanus for a shark cage diving experience, canoe in Wilderness National Park, hang with gentle giants at Knysna Elephant Park, and interact with ostriches in Oudtshoorn.

Next, tackle the iconic Route 62 west to Franschhoek. This picturesque town lies within the Cape Winelands and is the perfect place to kick back for a three-night stay. Spend your first evening exploring independently, then dedicate two full days to winery hopping—the first alongside a private guide and the second via a hop-on, hop-off wine tram. Afterward, return to Cape Town, where you'll round off your tour with an activity-filled three-day stay. Venture to Boulders Beach, explore Cape Peninsula's spectacular coastlines, and delve into the city's turbulent history through guided tours. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Namibia & South Africa Adventure: Deserts, Coastlines & National Parks

Make your way across Namib-Naukluft, Etosha, and Kruger national parks and around wonders of southern Africa on this nature-focused adventure. Remote lodges provide the perfect base to embark on game drives and other wildlife excursions, while stays in Cape Town and Franschhoek introduce you to fine restaurants and picturesque wineries. That's not to mention the spectacular road trip you'll embark on through Namibia, which introduces you to the dramatic Skeleton Coast and otherworldly desert landscapes.

Seek out lions on a game drive in South Africa's Kruger National Park
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Windhoek (Namibia), Optional Activities  Windhoek
Day 2 Drive to Sossusvlei, Optional Activities Sossusvlei
Day 3 Free Day in Sossusvlei Sossusvlei
Day 4 Drive to Swakopmund, Picnic on the Skeleton Coast Swakopmund
Day 5 Drive to Damaraland, Optional Activities Damaraland
Day 6 Elephant Tracking & Sunset Game Drive Damaraland
Day 7 Drive to Etosha National Park, Optional Activities Etosha National Park
Day 8 Etosha Safari Activities Etosha National Park
Day 9 Drive to Windhoek Windhoek
Day 10 Fly to Cape Town (South Africa), Traditional African Dinner Cape Town
Day 11 City Tour, Table Mountain & Dinner on the Waterfront Cape Town
Day 12 Cape Peninsula & Penguin Tour, Dinner in Champs Bay Cape Town
Day 13 Transfer to Hermanus, Food Tour Hermanus
Day 14 Hermanus Cliff Path, Marine Big Five Tour Hermanus
Day 15 Cape Winelands Tour & Tastings Franschhoek
Day 16 Curated Wine Tour Franschhoek
Day 17 Fly to Kruger National Park, Sunset Safari Kruger National Park
Day 18 Day Trip to Private Game Reserve Kruger National Park
Day 19 Morning & Afternoon Game Drives Kruger National Park
Day 20 Transfer to Johannesburg & Panorama Route Johannesburg
Day 21 Depart Johannesburg  

Upon arrival in Namibia's welcoming capital of Windhoek, shake off any travel fatigue through a self-guided city tour, then collect a rental car in preparation for a thrilling eight-day road trip. Your first destination is Sossusvlei, where you'll spend two days exploring red-desert landscapes on excursions of your choice, including hikes, a scenic flight, and a hot-air balloon ride. Next, pause in Swakopmund to take in the dramatic Skeleton Coast en route to Damaraland. This region is renowned for its abundant desert wildlife, especially elephants, which you'll encounter on foot and during a 4WD game drive.

Continuing your road trip, you'll soon reach Etosha National Park and settle in for two days of safari activities, including guided walks and game drives. Afterward, return to Windhoek and catch a flight south to Cape Town. An extended stay in this bustling city ensures you have time to check out the infamous Robben Island, venture up Table Mountain in a cable car, and walk with African penguins on Cape Peninsula. Then, transfer southeast to Hermanus, where a scenic hike in Fernkloof Nature Reserve awaits, as well as a fascinating cruise in search of the Marine Big Five (great white shark, southern right whale, dolphin, Cape fur seal, and the African penguin). 

The third week of your trip starts with a two-day stay in the beautiful Cape Winelands region, and beyond sipping your way through numerous wineries, you'll also treat yourself to stops at cheeseries and artisanal chocolate shops. Afterward, board a flight bound for Kruger National Park and check into a premier safari lodge. You'll seek out all sorts of safari animals during five game drives when you're not lazing by the pool or enjoying camp meals. Lastly, continue to Johannesburg, where a celebratory dinner wraps up your ultimate three-week adventure. Learn more

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Itinerary #3: Great Southern Africa Adventure: Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia & South Africa

This speedy three-week adventure takes you through four countries of southern Africa's rugged national parks, remote communities, and unforgiving coastlines. Perfect for travelers looking for a well-rounded and fast-paced tour, you'll soar above Victoria Falls in a helicopter, seek out elephant herds along the Chobe River, ponder ancient rock art in Tsodilo Hills and Twyfelfontein, and spend a night in an Indigenous San village. In addition, a three-night stay in Cape Town rounds off your itinerary with fine dining and wine tasting.

Experience Namibia's remote Skeleton Coast on this epic trip across southern Africa
Experience Namibia's remote Skeleton Coast on this epic trip across southern Africa
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), Boma Dinner & Drum Show Victoria Falls
Day 2 Victoria Falls Helicopter Tour, Sunset Cruise Victoria Falls
Day 3 Transfer to Chobe (Botswana), Boat Cruise Chobe
Day 4 Chobe Game Drive Chobe
Day 5 Transfer to Caprivi Strip (Namibia), Optional Activities Caprivi
Day 6 Transfer to Tsodilo Hills (Botswana), Optional Activities Tsodilo Hills
Day 7 Tsodilo Hills Day Tour Tsodilo Hills
Day 8 Transfer to Tsumkwe (Namibia), Overnight in a Local Village Tsumkwe
Day 9 Transfer to Etosha East, Evening Game Drive Etosha East
Day 10 Transfer to Etosha National Park, Wildlife Safari Etosha National Park
Day 11 Transfer to Twyfelfontein Twyfelfontein
Day 12 Transfer to Swakopmund, Tour Moon Valley Swakopmund
Day 13 Day Trip to the Skeleton Coast Swakopmund
Day 14 Scenic Coastal Transfer to Sossusvlei  Sossusvlei
Day 15 Sossusvlei & Namib-Naukluft National Park Tour Sossusvlei
Day 16 Transfer to Windhoek, Optional Activities Windhoek
Day 17 Township Tour & Wildlife Sanctuary Visit Windhoek
Day 18 Fly to Cape Town (South Africa), Optional Activities Cape Town
Day 19 Cape Town Sightseeing, Table Mountain, Dinner & Drum Show Cape Town
Day 20 Full-Day Cape Point & Penguins Tour Cape Town
Day 21 Day Trip to Cape Winelands, Depart Cape Town  

Your adventure begins with a thrilling two-day stay in Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls, which you'll explore by helicopter, on foot, and onboard a boat. Refreshed and ready for more, you'll next transfer to a comfy safari lodge in Chobe National Park. The main attraction here is wildlife, including elephants, giraffes, zebras, and wildebeest, and you'll have ample opportunity to spot many thanks to a river cruise and game drive. Afterward, overnight in Caprivi Strip on your way to Tsodilo Hills, and upon arrival, seek out ancient rock art paintings via bush walks and 4WD tours.

The second week of your journey starts with a transfer to Tsumkwe, located in northeastern Namibia, where you'll be welcomed into an Indigenous San village for an enriching overnight stay. Then, spend the following two days zipping across the savannas and open plains of Etosha National Park on game drives before transferring to Twyfelfontein. An overnight in this UNESCO-listed site allows you to ponder ancient San rock art and explore Damaraland's geological formations. Yet, the coast is calling, so continue to Swakopmund and let your imagination run wild during a full-day tour of the eerie Skeleton Coast.

Next on your itinerary is Namib-Naukluft National Park, where you'll pause to explore towering dunes and expansive salt pans. Afterward, a two-day stay in Windhoek introduces you to Gothic churches and imposing fortresses, as well as the heartwarming Naankuse Foundation Wildlife Sanctuary. Then, catch a flight to Cape Town and settle in for an action-packed three-day stay. Take a cable car up Table Mountain, taste your way through a 14-course dinner, uncover the highlights of Cape Peninsula, and hop between Cape Winelands' picturesque vineyards before catching your onward flight. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Highlights of Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana & South Africa

Ideal for travelers seeking an adventure packed with game drives, this alternate four-country itinerary whisks you between four national parks and a splash of game reserves. Watch preying lions in Etosha National Park, boat near crocodiles in Victoria Falls, and admire grazing giraffes in Chobe National Park. Then, spend two or more days each in luxury safari lodges tucked within Okavango Delta, Makgadikgadi Pans, and Kalahari Game Reserve.

Cruise down the Okavango Delta's waterways on a motorboat or canoe in search of wildlife
Cruise down the Okavango Delta's waterways on a motorboat or canoe in search of wildlife
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Windhoek (Namibia), Explore at Your Own Pace Windhoek
Day 2 Transfer to Sossusvlei, Explore the Namib Desert Sossusvlei
Day 3 Sunrise Hot-Air Balloon Ride, Tour the National Park Sossusvlei
Day 4 Fly to Etosha, Transfer to Ongava Etosha National Park
Day 5 Full-Day Game Drive in Etosha National Park Etosha National Park
Day 6 Morning Game Drive, Fly to Windhoek Windhoek
Day 7 Fly to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), Zambezi River Cruise Victoria Falls
Day 8 Victoria Falls, Scenic Helicopter Ride, Dinner & Drum Show Victoria Falls
Days 9-11 Transfer to Chobe National Park (Botswana) Chobe National Park
Day 12 Transfer to the Okavango Delta, Afternoon Game Drive  Okavango Delta
Days 13-14 Various Activities in the Moremi Game Reserve Okavango Delta
Days 15-16 Fly to Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Explore the Park Makgadikgadi Pans
Day 17 Fly to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve Kalahari Game Reserve
Days 18-19 Explore the Central Kalahari Game Reserve Kalahari Game Reserve
Day 20 Fly to Johannesburg (South Africa), Explore at Leisure Johannesburg
Day 21 Guided Tour of Soweto, Depart  

While your journey begins with an overnight in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, you'll head straight to the airport the following morning for a flight to Sossusvlei. A primely located luxury lodge provides an excellent base to uncover Namib-Naukluft National Park's desert landscapes through a hot-air balloon ride and driving tour. Then, continue to Ongava Private Game Reserve and dedicate two days to thrilling game drives in search of zebras, giraffes, and intriguing bird species, like the martial eagle. A night back in Windhoek awaits next on your itinerary, but with Zimbabwe calling, you'll soon be making your way to the airport. 

Your destination is Victoria Falls, and thanks to a leisurely boat cruise and a guided tour complete with a helicopter ride, you'll experience these mighty falls from all angles. In addition, treat yourself to dinner at The Boma before setting your sights on Botswana's Chobe National Park. Your home here is an eco-friendly lodge, and beyond featuring epic views of the Chobe River, it's an excellent starting point to tackle a mix of game drives, cultural experiences, and farm tours. Next, fly to the Okavango Delta, where you'll have three days to seek out all sorts of wildlife during excursions of your choosing. 

Another bucket-list-worthy destination kick starts week three of your adventure—Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Cruise the river in search of elephants, hippos, and crocodiles, set out on a game drive or two, and learn about local customs in the nearby village of Xhumaga. Then, board a flight bound for Central Kalahari Game Reserve, where you'll meet the local Basarwa people and learn about their culture. In addition, spend two days embarking on game drives, bird-watching tours, and guided bush walks before transferring to Johannesburg. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Southern Africa Explorer: Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa & Mozambique

This slower-paced journey around southern Africa features extended stays in Victoria Falls, the Okavango Delta, Johannesburg, and Benguerra Island. Perfect for those seeking an immersive tour with limited travel days, numerous days have been left open so you can conquer activities of your choice, while the occasional guided tour introduces you to the cultural nuances of Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, and Mozambique. When you're not out and about, delve into traditional dinners and relax at your remote wilderness camp and a dreamy beachfront hotel.

Your grand three-week adventure includes a scenic drive along South Africa's Panorama Route
Your grand three-week adventure includes a scenic drive along South Africa's Panorama Route
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), Sunset Cruise Victoria Falls
Day 2 Victoria Falls Helicopter Tour, Boma Dinner & Drum Show Victoria Falls
Day 3 Day Trip to Livingstone Island & Devil's Pool (Zambia) Victoria Falls
Day 4 Victoria Falls Township Tour Victoria Falls
Days 5-7 Transfer to Chobe (Botswana), Safari Activities Chobe
Day 8 Fly to Okavango Delta, Afternoon Game Drive Okavango Delta
Day 9 Okavango Delta Safari Activities Okavango Delta
Day 10 Okavango Guided Walking Safari Okavango Delta
Day 11 Fly to Johannesburg (South Africa), Soweto Tour & Dinner Johannesburg
Day 12 Maboneng Precinct & Apartheid Museum Tour Johannesburg
Day 13 Day Trip to Pretoria, Dinner & Marabi Jazz Johannesburg
Day 14 Full-Day Panorama Tour Johannesburg
Day 15 Fly to Vilankulos (Mozambique), Ferry to Benguerra Island  Benguerra Island
Day 16 Benguerra Island Activities Benguerra Island
Day 17 Day Trip to Local Village Benguerra Island
Days 18-20 Benguerra Island Free Days Benguerra Island
Day 21 Transfer to Vilankulos, Depart  

Renowned for its robust waterfalls and wildlife-filled Zambezi River, Victoria Falls is the perfect place to get your first introduction to southern Africa's charm. Start with a boat ride in search of crocodiles, then over the following days, take to the sky for a thrilling helicopter tour, explore Livingstone Island, and swim in the dramatic Devil's Pool. You'll also spend a day immersed in the life of local Nambya and Tonga peoples before transferring to Botswana's Chobe National Park. Here, more wildlife-themed adventures await, including land and water safaris in search of hippos, gazelles, and zebras.

Week two of your grand trip starts with a chartered flight to Okavango Delta, and with a comfy safari camp serving as your base, you'll always be near the animal action. However, there are also plenty of woodlands and shallow channels to check out, and alongside expert safari guides, you'll 4WD, boat, and walk amid them. Next, catch a flight to Johannesburg, where you'll spend four days delving into the city's storied history and lush surroundings. Visit Nelson Mandela's former homes, stroll through the artsy Maboneng Precinct, and embark on day trips to Pretoria and along the famed Panorama Route.

The final week of your adventure brings you to the tropical gem of Mozambique's Benguerra Island, located in the Bazaruto archipelago. Your home here is a beachfront hotel, the perfect place to laze between island activities. Perhaps you'll explore the island's wild interior, hop between secluded beaches, and hike up rolling dunes. A day trip to a local village is also on your agenda, and if you please, take the opportunity to scuba amid coral reefs brimming with tropical fish. Yet, before you know it, it'll be time to ferry back to Vilankulos, where your departing flight awaits. Learn more

More Great 3-Week South Africa Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to South Africa? Check out these other three-week South Africa itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.


Map of 3 Weeks in Southern Africa - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 3 Weeks in Southern Africa - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas