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Introducing South Africa

South Africa has a diversity in landscape and beauty that is as varied as the rainbow of cultures that inhabit the land. From the precipitous mountains of the Cape with its picturesque vineyards to the iconic savannahs of the Kruger National Park where lions & elephants roam, South Africa has something for everyone.
 
A thorough and extensive road and air network allow travelers to easily get around during their holiday. You can combine world-class wildlife safaris, many different African cultural experiences, beautiful and vibrant cities such as Cape Town, Johannesburg or Durban, the vast open spaces of the Great Karoo, the warm & blue waters of the Indian Ocean with its golden beaches, and the green mountains known as the Drakensberg, famous for its vast collection of Bushman paintings.
 
South Africa serves as an important hub for the Southern African region, which means you can combine your trip with the highlights of other neighboring countries, such as the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls or the Namibian desert.

South Africa Travel Insights

Cape Winelands
Cape Town & Kruger Park Safari - 8 Days

Enjoy a majestic 8-day tour of Cape Town and Kruger Park Safari, two of South Africa’s top highlights. You will take in the beauty of the Cape Peninsula, Winelands and the city of Cape Town, followed by a great safari experience in the Kruger National Park, where the iconic African wildlife roam free.

South Africa's Garden Route - 10 Days

Get ready for 10 days of pure adventure and breathtaking scenery! This jam-packed jaunt around Cape Town and the Western Cape's Garden Route offers a mix of high-octane thrills, incredible wildlife, and rich cultural history. You'll meet sharks and elephants, tackle the world's highest bungee jump, and sample delicious local wines in the Winelands.

Blyde River Canyon
Best Outdoor Adventures in South Africa

When you think South Africa, you think African safari and of the ‘Big 5’ animals most people come to see. Or, perhaps, of its famous coastline, patrolled by Great White Sharks. But South Africa has much more to offer than this, especially when it comes to outdoor adventure travel.

5-Day Victoria Falls & Chobe River Houseboat

Victoria Falls is a hub for numerous tours and adventures in the surrounding region; the Chobe river is famous for its herds of elephants and hippo populations. Combined, these two regions make for a great 5-day adventure with the perfect mix of activities and relaxation. By the end of your trip, you’ll have visited Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa.

A lion at close range
"Big 5" Tour in Kruger National Park - 3 Days

This whirlwind tour features the best of Kruger National Park - home to more than 500 bird species, 100 reptile species, and 150 mammal species, including the Big 5 (elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, lion, and leopard) and the endangered African wild dog.

Meet our Local Travel Specialists

Experienced travel specialists with a passion for South Africa
Travel specialist Carla Ferreira
active 12 hours ago

Carla Ferreira

I have traveled to over 50 countries and know the importance of having someone with local knowledge and advice to give you tips on where to go for those unforgettable experiences. A born and bred...

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Travel specialist Marie-Louise Kellett

Marie-Louise Kellett

Andrew and I started Gravity Adventures in 1997 after working as river guides whilst we studied (I have a BA (hons) in Environmental Science and he is a qualified graphic designer). Our aim was...

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Travel specialist Lize Enderstein
active 10 hours ago

Lize Enderstein

I work as a senior consultant for African Travel Gateway and have 13 years of experience in the travel industry. We plan, book and implement tailor-made holidays for our clients that fit within...

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Travel specialist Deborah Smook
active 15 hours ago

Deborah Smook

I get super excited every time I get to share my country with anyone and I want to make sure that when someone does come, they are blown away by the people, the beauty, and the incredible value for...

read more...

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Authentic travel experiences

Kimkim’s local specialists ensure that you will have the best experience based on up-to-date local insights. On top of that, the vast majority of your money will go straight to support and grow local economies.

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Your local specialist is available during your trip to ensure things run smoothly.

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Trip Reviews for South Africa

The latest reviews by travelers who booked their trip on kimkim

Day wine tasting tour, South Africa - Sep 17 - Sep 17, 2018

Traveler: Asya C. - Local specialist: Carla Ferreira

We started planning our trip several months before coming to South Africa. Carla was extremely responsive, she worked with us on itinerary to accommodate our interests. She worked through small issues and we had a wonderful informative tour with our guide Mark. Highly recommend.

South africa self-drive, South Africa - Jul 15 - Aug 6, 2018

Traveler: AJ H. - Local specialist: Deborah Smook

This is an incredible service, and I can’t express how much I appreciate being able to visit a new place — new cultures, new languages, contested histories — and feel like I left it with something more than a superficial layer of tourist-appropriate experience.

Deborah (with help from Tara - of Elgin Africa) provided us with an incredibly thoughtful and perfectly paced itinerary for our 22-day holiday. Deborah’s understanding of us — she really listened to us — and of the options before... read more

This is an incredible service, and I can’t express how much I appreciate being able to visit a new place — new cultures, new languages, contested histories — and feel like I left it with something more than a superficial layer of tourist-appropriate experience.

Deborah (with help from Tara - of Elgin Africa) provided us with an incredibly thoughtful and perfectly paced itinerary for our 22-day holiday. Deborah’s understanding of us — she really listened to us — and of the options before us, given our interests and length of stay allowed her to guide us to choices we wouldn’t have considered or known about. The process of working with Deborah was easy — we emailed several times, and spoke on the phone once — and each ‘visit’ with her left us more and more excited about our trip.

Deborah has worked in tourism for many years, and not only knows places and people, but has an encyclopedic knowledge of how businesses are run, what their values are, and how accommodations, tours, and even key local people will suit her clients.

We loved (LOVED) this trip. We would trust KimKim with any future travel based on our experience with Deborah. She heard our desire to travel according to our values, even though it might mean risking new experiences with accommodation, local tour guides, or wildlife (!). We asked for a non-Disney version of South Africa, and that’s exactly what we got. We’ve been home for two weeks, and already we’re saving for our next holiday (with Deborah at the helm).

My husband’s primary interest was in tracing the lives and contributions of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Deborah ensured that we visited each significant location in that ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ — including the various branches of the Apartheid Museum. More than that, Deborah identified several contacts for us over the course of our holiday who we would meet and speak with to help us understand personal stories of activism during the struggle for a Democratic South Africa.

In Johannesburg, we stayed in the arts district Maboneng, and toured the city with “King,” a Soweto-born tour guide whose vibrancy and realistic portrait of the city challenged the ‘victory’ narrative. It was wonderful to have a more complex portrait of the country immediately — and with personal experiences and explanations to make that portrait more concerning.

In Qunu, the place of Mandela’s birth, Deborah paired us with an incredible local guide we’re still talking about. His activism during the struggle to end apartheid forced him out of university and into prison. Still an activist, and finished with his formal education, “Zim” allowed us to question him about his current work (defining and re-defining masculinity, and leading groups of people to experience their own power). Deborah had arranged for us to have lunch at his home, where we met his wife and ate a beautiful meal prepared with fresh vegetables grow in their garden. This sort of encounter is simply not possible without current connections and deep interest in one’s work. Wow, Deborah!

Deborah’s care throughout the trip created opportunities and connections like this for us. In Cape Town, for example, tickets to Robben Island were scarce because of ferry trouble and unforeseen closures of the museum. Deborah to the rescue. Robben Island may sound like a trip only for tourists, but I found it to be remarkably organized, insightful, and deeply moving. Need I mention that our tour of the prison/museum was led by a former political prisoner?

My primary interest in the trip was to see and experience the vast expanse of South Africa — its open skies, its languages, its people, and expressions of its cultures. Deborah consistently steered us toward places and encounters we wouldn’t have been able to have on our own. The range of people she put us in touch with ranged from shops selling the work of local people (sometimes co-owned and operated by those people), or informal locations where she was sure we would encounter local artisans selling their work. Our accommodations provided us with not just a white South African holiday. (On our flight home, we noticed that the cosmopolitan artsy 12 Decades Hotel in Johannesburg was written up as a ‘must-go’ location in the in-flight magazine!) Even before we left home, Deborah’s itinerary for us included descriptions of accommodations like this one, describing a beautifully designed backpacker lodge: “Hopefully you’ll meet one of the owners, Sal, who basically grew up at the lodge and is very knowledgeable about all the community projects in the area.” Intersperced with backpacker accommodations, Deborah planned luxurious nights for us. In another part of the itinerary she writes: “It’s 5-star accommodation at 4-star rates and includes breakfast.” She failed to mention that the staff at Falcon’s View Manor (“high above the town of Knysna”) would wash our car (!) while it was parked overnight in their covered carport. At this hotel, we got to our room and discovered that Deborah, who had passed through the area days before, left a beautiful bottle of wine for us. (Need I mention that the adjustment to routine life at home has been difficult!?)

Deborah arranged for several game drives during our holiday, including photographic safaris in Chobe National Park in Botswana. She had personally experienced these safaris, and although such an excursion wasn’t on our radar, our stay at Pangolin Lodge and experiences with drivers and our photography ‘teacher’ couldn’t have been better.

Our trip covered a true range of natural environments, cultural locations, and physical activities. Everywhere we were safe and cared for with attention to detail. Deborah put us in the path of people and encounters that moved us and enlarged our personal and political worldviews. This is the best of travel.

Deborah’s deep knowledge of her client’s desires (we wanted to support family-owned and community-supportive businesses), coupled with her vast knowledge of opportunities for tourism in South Africa, and even Zambia and Botswana, made this a trip our friends simply can’t believe we were able to take. Deborah’s itinerary for us included details about the businesses we patronized, what we should expect for food, even what to pack for day hikes in specific regions... I can’t tell you how grateful I am for her knowledge. Impressed, and grateful.

I can’t thank you enough for referring us to Deborah and to her collegue Tara at Elgin Africa. Although we’ll need to save for a bit before we travel again, I’d reach out to Deborah without hesitation. KimKim was a terrific way to get us started. I’m grateful for your expertise and for the thoughtfulness of your method in pairing travelers with local experts like Deborah.

Cheers!

Garden route, south africa, South Africa - Jun 23 - Jun 26, 2018

Traveler: Joanne J. - Local specialist: Carla Ferreira

The trip was amazing from start to finish! I had an amazing time. Carla and my tour guide, Julian were superb! Thank you.