In three weeks and three countries, you'll discover unparalleled natural landscapes, abundant wildlife, and vibrant cultures. Start with a sunset cruise along the Zambezi River and end with a community development tour in Cape Town. Along the way, go on photo safaris in Chobe National Park, sample delicious local food in Johannesburg, and drive to the ostrich capital of the world. Other highlights include a rhino walk, diving with sharks in a secure cage, and kayaking with African penguins.


  • Cruise down the Chobe River and learn how to capture the perfect wildlife photo
  • Learn about apartheid and its impact with a guided visit to Soweto
  • Go on game drives to spot the Big Five game animals in Kruger National Park
  • Eat your way across Cape Town on a culinary tour, ending with a 14-course dinner
  • Explore the Cape Winelands on a hop-on, hop-off tram, stopping to sample wine

Brief Itinerary

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  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), Sunset Cruise & Riverside Dinner

Cruise down the Zambezi River at sunset and admire the distinct silhouette of the acacia albida trees

Welcome to Victoria Falls, a charming town in western Zimbabwe, home to the massive waterfall of the same name. Meet your driver outside the airport and transfer to your hotel, where you can relax until this evening's sunset cruise. When it's time, head to the shores of the Zambezi River and board your boar. Motor toward the thundering falls and admire them from a distance before sitting down at your lantern-lit table to savor a freshly cooked meal while the sun slowly sets around you. Before it gets too dark, look along the riverbanks for the resident elephants, hippos, and crocodiles.

Day 2: Rhino Walk in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Mukuni Village Tour

Go on a walk through Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park to admire the resident rhinos up close

Start your day with a rhino walk in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, just 30 minutes upstream from Victoria Falls. Complete a safety and etiquette briefing, then follow your guide into the middle of the African bush. Listen as they share insights into the rhinos' behavior, ecology, and the conservation efforts aimed at protecting these endangered creatures. Take a break along the way for homemade lemonade, cake, and cookies to recharge your energy levels. When you finally spot the rhinos in their natural habitat, stand back and watch them graze on vegetation or cool off in the mud.

In the afternoon, visit Mukuni Village; founded in the 13th century, it's now home to around 7,000 Tokaleya people. You'll be welcomed by the chief and have the opportunity to interact with residents and learn about their traditional customs, rituals, and ways of life. Stroll through the village and admire the thatched-roof huts, then enjoy an immersive activity such as basket weaving or hut painting. You'll also be invited to sit down and taste local dishes washed down with a beer or two. Afterward, you'll make the short transfer back to your hotel in Victoria Falls.

Day 3: Transfer to Chobe National Park (Botswana), Chobe River Photo Safari

Cruise down the Chobe River, cameras in hand, to catch the perfect shots of the national park's wildlife

After just two nights in Zimbabwe, it's time to bid the Falls farewell as you transfer one hour across the border to Chobe National Park in Botswana. Check into your hotel and freshen up in your room before venturing out for a photo safari cruise along the river. Don't worry if you don't have any photography experience, as one of your expert guides will teach you how to use a Canon 80D camera fitted with a 150-600mm Sigma zoom lens to get some close-up shots of the animals you come across.

Cruise down the Chobe River, and you'll likely see wildlife such as elephants, buffaloes, hippos, and crocodiles gathering along the riverbanks to drink, bathe, or socialize. Test your photography skills by snapping shots of the African fish eagles flying overhead or the marabou storks that scavenge along the riverbanks. After three hours on the water, return to the hotel to enjoy dinner al fresco on the pool deck.

Day 4: Sunrise & Sunset Photo Safari on Chobe River

Look out for lions prowling the riverbanks in search of prey.

Get ready for an early wake-up call to set off on another photo safari down the Chobe River, this time at sunrise, to see the first light of dawn illuminate the savanna. Jump in a boat and set off down the tranquil waterway, looking for hippos returning to the river from a night of foraging inland or crocodiles basking in the morning sun. This is also an excellent time to see nocturnal pangolins before they seek shelter for the day in burrows or dense vegetation. Disembark after 3-4 hours and enjoy brunch on the riverbanks as you listen to the morning bird calls. 

Afterward, return to the hotel to relax by the pool before heading out on another cruise, this time at sunset. As the sun begins its descent, casting a warm golden glow over the landscape, watch the river come alive with activity as the park's nocturnal residents start to wake up. Be sure to have your camera ready, as you may spot lions on the riverbank starting their nightly hunt or elephants coming to the water's edge to drink and cool off in the evening breeze. When darkness falls, return to the hotel to enjoy another al fresco dinner beneath the stars.

Day 5: Fly to Johannesburg (South Africa), Dinner at The Marabi Club

Listen to live jazz music while you enjoy your dinner at The Marabi Club

Enjoy one last photo safari in Chobe National Park, this time on land and the river. Try to get photos of any animals you may have missed, such as the elusive leopard or grazing zebras. After 3-4 hours with the animals, transfer to the airport for a two-hour flight to Johannesburg, South Africa's biggest city. Check into your hotel and relax until this evening's excursion to The Marabi Club, a live jazz bar with delicious food and drinks.

As soon as you step through the front door, you'll be enveloped by the sultry melodies and speakeasy vibe. Choose from the club's international and local menu and settle into a night of fine food and the best jazz in the city. You'll also enjoy a slice of history; the club has its origins in the 1920s and 30s when Johannesburg's illegal shebeens (bars) were havens for disruptive political ideas and even edgier music. 

Day 6: Guided Tour of Soweto, Yeoville Dinner Club Experience

Pay your respects to the victims of the 1976 uprising at the Hector Pieterson Memorial

This morning, delve into South Africa's complex history in Soweto, a township that was a site of resistance against apartheid and a symbol of the struggle for freedom and equality. Tour the township on foot, by bicycle, or tuk-tuk, stopping at landmarks like the Hector Pieterson Memorial, which commemorates the victims of the 1976 Soweto Uprising. End the tour at Lebo's, an outdoor kitchen and restaurant where you'll try potjiekos, a hearty stew cooked in a cast iron pot over an open flame. 

Your next stop is the Apartheid Museum, where you'll learn about apartheid's origins, impact, and eventual downfall through multimedia displays, photographs, and firsthand accounts. Return to your hotel to freshen up and grab some downtime before heading back out for dinner at the Yeoville Dinner Club. You'll be sharing a table with guests from around the world, where you'll enjoy a dinner of beautifully cooked Pan-African food. Your host for the evening is chef and owner Sanza Sandile, whose knack for pairing great food and conversation brought him to the attention of the late Anthony Bourdain.
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Day 7: Fly to Kruger National Park, Afternoon Game Drive

Watch the sunset over Kruger National Park and its wild residents on your game drive

Say goodbye to Johannesburg this morning as you head to the airport for a one-hour flight to Kruger National Park, one of the largest game reserves in Africa. Check into your lodge and leave your bags behind to venture out on a game drive in search of the Big Five game animals—elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, and rhinos. As the day cools and the sky transforms into red, gold, and orange hues, more wildlife will begin to appear. Look out for nocturnal creatures like hyenas, African civets, and bushbabies before returning to your lodge in time for dinner. 

Day 8: Sunrise & Sunset Game Drives in Kruger National Park

Look out for hippos lurking in the water on your sunrise and sunset game drives

Wake up before dawn for another game drive in the national park. As you traverse the rugged landscape, listen to the morning birdsong while you watch the sun slowly rise over the savanna. Your guides will teach you about the park's inhabitants as you search for them in the soft golden light. You may spot elephants, antelopes, giraffes, and lions, among other incredible creatures, thriving in their natural habitat. Stop at scenic viewpoints along the way, where you can stretch your legs and take in the park's natural beauty.

When it starts to get too hot around midday, return to the lodge for lunch and relax until this afternoon's game drive. Later on, you'll visit watering holes across the park to see herds of zebras cooling off with a drink, hippos going for a swim, or hyenas lurking nearby to hunt their prey. Continue until the sun begins to dip below the horizon and savor the sight of the landscape bathed in shades of crimson and orange. Then, journey back to the lodge for dinner and keep your eyes peeled for nocturnal creatures, such as the giant eagle owl. 

Day 9: Morning Game Drive, Fly to Cape Town, Visit the V&A Waterfront

Visit the bustling V&A Waterfront on your own to shop, eat, or just wander

Go on one last game drive in the national park this morning to try and spot any animals you may have missed, like wildebeests, cheetahs, warthogs, and crocodiles. After the safari, enjoy a morning coffee or tea with breakfast, grab your bags and transfer to the airport for a three-hour flight to South Africa's picturesque port city, Cape Town. Check into your hotel, where you can freshen up before going on a self-guided tour of the V&A Waterfront, named after Queen Victoria and her son, Prince Alfred, who visited in the 19th century.

Stroll along the waterfront promenade lined with palm trees, boutiques, artisanal markets, and eateries.
Shop for souvenirs, grab a drink, or go on a sunset cruise down the coast. There's also the Cape Wheel, a giant Ferris wheel that offers panoramic views of the city and iconic Table Mountain. End the night with dinner and a cocktail overlooking the water.

Day 10: Food & Walking Tour, Multi-Course African Dinner & Dance Experience

Sample an array of African food during your 14-course dinner

You may want to skip breakfast this morning as you set off on a food tour across the city, starting with a coffee tasting from the oldest artisan coffee roasters in South Africa. Continue with a stroll through the Company's Garden, originally established by Dutch settlers in the 17th century to grow fresh produce for passing ships. Today, it's a lush public park, providing an escape from the city's hustle and bustle. Sample local snacks while you walk before heading to Woodstock, a vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of town, for a craft beer and food pairing.

Get ready for a sweet treat as your next stop is a local chocolate shop to sample a rich hot chocolate. Once you have your sugar fix, walk up Bree Street, an upscale, tree-lined avenue known for its trendy eateries and chic boutiques. Sample a South African classic, biltong (air-cured meat), then make your way to Bo-Kaap, the city's Malay quarter. Smell the delicious array of spices and try traditional snacks like koe'sisters, a spicy, cake-like pastry topped with shredded coconut. End the tour with a cheese platter accompanied by some of the country's best wines.

Hopefully, you're not too full, as this evening, you'll sit down for a 14-course dinner of dishes from around Africa served family-style, accompanied by live entertainment. Listen to the mesmerizing sound of marimba percussion and djembe drums while the dancers, adorned in colorful attire, move to the beat. You'll even get to watch a Mali puppet show. With each course, learn about the ingredients and culture of the country that each dish originates from, such as tajines from Morocco or jollof rice from Senegal.

Day 11: Drive to Hermanus, Shark Cage Dive, Dinner at Bientang's Cave

Come face-to-face with great white sharks in a secure cage

Trade one coast for another this morning as you pick up your rental car in the city and drive to Hermanus, one of the best places in the world for land-based whale watching. The shortest route to town is 1.5 hours, but you may want to take the 2.5-hour scenic route along the coast instead to stop at landmarks along the way. Stretch your legs at Kleinmond for a walk along the picturesque waterfront promenade, then head to nearby Stony Point Nature Reserve to visit the world's largest breeding colony of African penguins. Admire the penguins from the wooden boardwalks before completing the drive to your hotel.

Change into your bathing suit and drive 30 minutes to Gansbaai, where you can dive with great white sharks in a secure cage. Complete a safety briefing, then jump on a boat in search of sharks. When your captain finds them, take turns entering the shark-proof cage and descending slowly into the water. You can still see the sharks from the boat, so don't worry about missing them. After everyone gets a turn, return to shore and warm up with a hot soup. Back at your hotel, shower and change, then venture back out for dinner at Bientang's Cave Restaurant in the depths of an ancient cave overlooking the ocean.

Day 12: Drive to Knysna via Wilderness National Park & Sedgefield 

Paddle down the tranquil Touw River in a canoe

After just one night in Hermanus, your journey continues in Knysna, a charming town along the famous Garden Route (a long stretch of coastline between Mossel Bay and Storms River). Although the drive usually is 4-5 hours, there are plenty of picturesque stops along the way. Start at Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of Africa. Climb to the top of Cape Agulhas Lighthouse for panoramic views of the Indian and Atlantic oceans then make your way to Wilderness National Park, where you can try your hand at canoeing down the Touw River.

You can paddle to Wilderness Beach and Wilderness Lagoon, the Touw River Waterfall, Island Lake, or the river's mouth, depending on your preference and skill level. Your final stop before Knysa is the coastal town of Sedgefield, where you can take a leisurely stroll along the shores of Myoli Beach. Look out at the turquoise waters and golden sands, soaking up the African sun before completing the drive to your hotel, where you can unwind after the long journey.

Day 13: Explore Knysna at Your Own Pace

Wander through Featherbed Nature Reserve and take in panoramic views of the Knysna Lagoon

The day is yours to spend as you wish, and there's plenty to do in Knysna. If you miss seeing wildlife, you could head to Knysna Elephant Park, just 20 minutes outside town. Learn about the sanctuary's efforts to protect rescued and rehabilitated African elephants and admire these gentle giants up close as you're able to touch, feed, and walk alongside them under the watchful eye of knowledgeable guides. Beyond elephant encounters, the park also has scenic walking trails you can explore. 

If the park's trails aren't enough, you could head to the Featherbed Nature Reserve instead, accessible by a short ferry ride across the Knysna Lagoon. Disembark and set off into the indigenous forest, following Featherbed Trail to the reserve's highest point. Look out for the reserve's array of bird species, including African spoonbills, black-headed herons, and olive woodpeckers. When you reach the end of the trail, take in panoramic views of the lagoon 

Day 14: Drive to Oudtshoorn, Explore the Ostrich Capital of the World

Visit an ostrich farm in Oudtshoorn to admire these intriguing birds up close.

Pick up your rental car this morning for a little road trip to Oudtshoorn, a charming town renowned as the world's ostrich capital. On the 1.5-hour drive, enjoy glimpses of the Indian Ocean and the towering Outeniqua Mountains. When you arrive, check into your hotel and freshen up before heading out to explore the area on your own. An excellent place to start is Cango Caves, just 30 minutes outside of town in the Swatberg Mountains. Join a guided tour of the cave's narrow passages and vast chambers adorned with stalactites and stalagmites.

Head to one of the many ostrich farms in the area next to learn about the farming practices and history of ostrich rearing in the region and the farm's conservation efforts to protect their animals. You'll have the chance to interact closely with the ostriches, from feeding them by hand to watching them race, showcasing their speed and agility. In the evening, return to town to wander down Baron Van Reede Street, a vibrant avenue lined with historic buildings, quaint cafés, and bustling restaurants. Try local specialties like ostrich steak or burgers to end the night.

Day 15: Drive to Franschhoek, Free Afternoon to Explore

Explore the Huguenot Memorial Museum at your own pace

Head out on another road trip this morning, this time along the iconic Route 62 to Franschhoek, a picturesque town nestled within the Cape Winelands. The 4.5-hour drive takes you through the Klein Karoo, a desert-like landscape where rugged mountains and vast plains stretch as far as the eye can see. Pass through charming towns like Ladismith and Montagu, where you can stop to stretch your legs and grab a bite to eat. Toward the end of your drive, watch as the landscape transforms as lush vineyards and rolling hills come into view. 

Check into your hotel, then spend the rest of the day exploring the town at your own pace. You could visit the Huguenot Memorial Museum to learn more about the Huguenots (French Protestant reformers), who sought refuge here in the 17th century. Delve into their migration, struggles, and contributions to the region's development as you browse the museum's collection of artifacts, documents, and personal belongings. When you've worked up an appetite, wander to the nearby Huguenot Road, a bustling thoroughfare lined with a variety of eateries, for dinner.

Day 16: Full-Day Vineyard Tour in the Cape Winelands

Visit three vineyards in the lush Cape Winelands region 

The Western Cape of South Africa is home to over 500 wineries; today, you get to visit three of them. This full-day private tour will be catered to your preferences and the season, so talk to your guide about the type of wine you like, and they'll decide where to stop. At each winery, tour the facilities, learn about the meticulous winemaking process, and sample an array of fine wines, from crisp sauvignon blancs to robust cabernet sauvignon. Enjoy lunch at one of the stops overlooking a lush vineyard, then return to your hotel in Franschhoek in the evening. 

Day 17: Ride a Hop-On, Hop-Off Wine Tram Through the Cape Winelands

Explore the Cape Winelands on a hop-on, hop-off tram.

Explore the Cape Winelands in style today on a hop-on, hop-off wine tram, starting at the terminal in Franschhoek. Board the double-decker, open-air tram and look out at the picturesque Franschhoek Valley, where you can enjoy panoramic views of vineyards, mountains, and quaint villages. You have full control of where to stop along the route, so you can tailor the experience to your preferences.

Whether indulging in wine tastings, enjoying a gourmet lunch, or simply soaking up the ambience of different estates, you're sure to enjoy your day. With onboard commentary providing insights into the history, culture, and winemaking techniques of the region, the tram isn't just a convenient way to explore the area but also an enriching experience for wine enthusiasts. 

Day 18: Drive to Cape Town, Kayak with African Penguins

Jump in a kayak and paddle to see the colony of African penguins on Boulder's Beach

Bid farewell to the Cape Winelands this morning as you drive back to the picturesque port city of Cape Town. Leave the rolling vineyards and towering mountains behind as the 1.5-hour drive takes you through scenic valleys and verdant farmlands. As you descend toward the coast, the iconic silhouette of Table Mountain comes into view. When you arrive in the city, drop off your rental car, check into your hotel, and refresh before transferring one hour south to Simon's Town to kayak with the nearby African penguin colony on Boulder's Beach.

Meet your conservationist guide at the jetty, complete a safety briefing and introduction to kayaking, then hit the water and start paddling. As you approach the penguins to watch them swim and frolic in their natural habitat, get an up-close look at the nearby navy shipwrecks. You may also spot Cape fur seals lazing on the rocks or going for a swim, so keep your eyes peeled. After two hours on the water, transfer back to your hotel in Cape Town.  

Day 19: Full-Day Tour of the Cape Peninsula 

Take in panoramic views of the ocean and rugged coastline at Cape Point

You'll have a driver for today's road trip, so you can enjoy the scenery on the one-hour drive south to Cape Point and take in the views of the Cape Point Lighthouse, dramatic cliffs, and rugged coastline. If time allows, you can go on a self-guided hike in the park, choosing from various well-maintained trails that lead to secluded beaches, tidal pools, and viewpoints. Back in the car, return to Boulder's Beach to see the penguin colony on land. Stroll down the wooden boardwalks and look at penguins waddling along the shoreline, swimming in the shallows, and nesting among the rocks. 

On the way back to Cape Town, you can stop at a winery for a wine tasting or Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, renowned as one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world. If you choose to visit the garden, follow the winding paths to discover an array of endemic plants, including fynbos, proteas, and cycads, interspersed with vibrant displays of colorful flowers and towering trees. Ascend to the tree canopy walkway for a bird's-eye view of the garden and surrounding mountains before returning to your hotel to relax.

Day 20: Township Tour, Cruise to Robben Island, Prison Tour

Go on a tour of Robben Island's maximum security prison, led by a former inmate

Learn more about South Africa's past today with a guided tour to one of the townships that were shaped by segregation policies from the Native Act of 1923 on the outskirts of the city. The townships are still filled with descendants of the original inhabitants who were forced to live here during the apartheid, so you can meet the locals and learn about their personal stories, struggles, and resilience. Then, explore the streets to see how residents have transformed the neighborhood into a vibrant cultural hub. 

In the afternoon, head to the V&A Waterfront to catch a 40-minute ferry to the UNESCO-listed Robben Island for another guided tour, this time led by former prisoners for a firsthand account of the island's role as a political prison during the apartheid era. Follow your guide through the maximum-security jail, stopping at the cell where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in captivity. After touring the prison, wander around the island to appreciate its natural beauty and take in panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean before taking a ferry back to the mainland and transferring to your hotel.

Day 21: Community Development Tour, Depart South Africa

Try to snag a window seat on your flight home for one last look at Cape Town

Your last day in South Africa starts with a five-hour tour of the city's eastern townships to gain insight into inspiring community development projects. This is where you'll learn more about South Africa's turbulent history and the challenges its residents still face today. Then, meet the unsung heroes working toward positive change in the city, from developing educational programs and skill-building workshops to sustainable agriculture and art initiatives. When it's time to go, thank the community for their warm welcome, then transfer to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!

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