Whether you’re seeking a Big Five safari experience, cosmopolitan cities, a rainbow nation of richly diverse cultures or “the cradle of mankind,” South Africa is like a world in one country – the ideal destination for those seeking variety in their journey to Africa.
Delve into a melting pot of differing cultures and traditions when you touch down in South Africa’s vibrant cities and provinces. Explore beautiful Cape Town, the “Mother City,” with its iconic Table Mountain, picturesque winelands and “Fairest Cape” peninsula. In Johannesburg, the “City of Gold,” follow in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela and learn about the country’s complex colonial history and banned apartheid policies. From colorful Durban on the Indian Ocean, ascend the continent’s highest pass to meet the Sotho People in the Kingdom of Lesotho, or visit the province of the Zulu Nation, the only African tribe that defeated the British, and its Mkuze and Hluhluwe game reserves.
With an abundance of activities and full range of lodging styles from five-star and boutique hotels to luxury tented camps, South Africa is an excellent choice for independent, self-drive or family travel. Wildlife enthusiasts will be pampered in world-class safari lodges and camps in Kruger National Park and the ultimate in luxury accommodations within the surrounding private game reserves. Join expert game trackers for magical game drives and bush walks, seeking out the Big Five and the wealth of unique and endangered wildlife indigenous to each reserve. Venture to the more remote Bushman’s Kloof to examine the ancient rock etchings of early man.
With conservation-oriented controlled development and a small population, Botwana’s stable government has ensured a small tourism footprint and a most profound safari experience. For a safari destination like no other, Botswana’s gem is the Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland delta. Explore the waterways with your expert rangers via slow motorboats or being poled in a traditional mokoro (canoe) spotting hippos, crocodiles and a myriad of birds. Fly from camp to camp to take in the delta’s diverse eco systems – wet and marshy delta that then empties into a desert full of wildlife. North of the delta is Chobe National Park and the Chobe River, one of Africa’s most sought-after safari destinations, where the elephant reigns supreme.
After experiencing awesome Victoria Falls and its plentiful adventure activities, visitors to Zimbabwe have a wealth of safari opportunities. Take a short flight to diverse Hwange National Park, and discover its at herds of elephant and large population of endangered African wild dog. Or visit Mana Pools, the country’s second World Heritage Site, to walk and canoe in a game rich region filled with elephant, buffalo, hippo and crocodile. Head southeast to the secluded Malilangwe Reserve, a breeding sanctuary for the sable antelope and black rhino, and explore more than 100 of the ancient Bushman’s rock art sites.
Beyond Victoria Falls and Livingstone, Zambia’s interior parks will delight those seeking a more off-the-beaten path safari experience. Explore three diverse ecosystems, each with its own distinctive wildlife and exclusive safari camps: the lush rivers and flood plains of Kafue; arid Luangwa where Africa’s first walking safaris were pioneered, and the Lower Zambezi National Park, a massive wildlife sanctuary opposite Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools Reserve.
With the giant sand dunes in Sossusvlei, the expansive Namib desert, and the stark Skeleton Coast named for its countless shipwrecks, you might think you’ve landed in no man’s land when you touch down in Namibia. While sparsely populated, here you’ll find the ancient bushman, portrayed in The Gods Must Be Crazy, continuing their humble modern coexistence along with the solitary oryx and giant elephants of Etosha National Park. Namibia promises an outof- this-world safari adventure.
Mozambique, whose coastline extends from South Africa to Tanzania, is known for its pristine, less-traveled beach destinations along the Indian Ocean. Accessible mainly by flying, there are several small beach resorts offering fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving, and small safari camps with simple accommodations.