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South Africa Safaris

South Africa’s bounty is plenty. From the coastal cities that beam with excellence to the evocative landscapes that host spectacular wildlife, a South Africa safari from Zicasso will lead you to some of the Earth’s most remote natural reserves, where you will experience incredible wildlife encounters coupled with premier luxuries. Design yours today.

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Sample Itineraries

You can have any trip tailor made for your private travel.

Luxury South Africa Safari & Mozambique Benguerra Island Tour

13 Day Custom Tour

From$5,195

This 13-day tour showcases Southern Africa at its finest as it combines three iconic wonders, offering up beautiful cities, spectacular safaris, and beach paradise with luxurious accommodation throughout. Start in stunning Cape Town where you will enjoy a magnificent diversity of activities. Then immerse yourself in the unforgettable wildlife of Kruger National Park, before you relax in the idyllic beach paradise of Benguerra Island, Mozambique's Bazaruto Archipelago. 

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South Africa Ecotourism: Conservation-Based Safari

14 Day Custom Tour

From$5,595

Step beyond the role of spectator and immerse yourself within South African conservation initiatives. This two-week tour combines learning with adventure, providing guests with a well-rounded understanding of this remarkable ecosystem. Follow leopards on foot, care for endangered species, and understand animal behavior through monitoring camera traps – all while experiencing intimate wildlife encounters.  This tour will expose you to the African bush in an unprecedented way – sure to wow the ‘Africa-addicts.’

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South Africa Tour: Cape Town, Winelands, Garden Route & Addo Elephant Park

11 Day Custom Tour

From$4,395

The beauty of South Africa sprouts from its craggy mountains, supple vines, golden savannah, and icy southern oceans. Wine trickles out of the bottles. Whales breach the water. Lions pounce in the bush and elephants parade through the trees. Stunning South Africa displays its beauty in its land, its history, and its wildlife, springing forth from the continent along the illustrious Garden Route. Travel the route and see the beauty that is the Garden Route in the wonder that is South Africa.

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Southern Africa Safari and Culture Tour

14 Day Custom Tour

From$6,995

Africa is an untouched paradise, home to ancient civilizations that existed at the dawn of time. Here is an opportunity to discover Africa’s magic on a 14-day adventure into the wilds. Find out what going on safari is really like as you drive into the bush in special 4x4 vehicles to watch animals going about their daily activities in their natural habitat. Experience what it’s like to dine under the stars in a traditional African boma before heading off for a good night’s sleep in some of Africa’s finest game lodges. Then waken at dawn to enjoy another game drive to view a variety of animals and birds, including the famous Big Five. Your tour guides know the bush intimately, and they will share their knowledge as well as some of Africa’s deepest mysteries with you. 

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South Africa Bush & Beach Vacation: Durban, KwaZulu Natal & Thanda Private Game Reserve

8 Day Custom Tour

From$3,195

This is the ideal bush and beach vacation - paired with awe-inspiring seascapes, face-to-face encounters with popular marine mammals and the ultimate South Africa safari with wildlife’s renowned Big Five. Delight in unforgettable bush dinners enjoying majestic sunsets, and experience unique walks led by expert guides through the bushveld’s untouched spaces. Stay in award-winning hotels, taste ethnically inspired dishes, uncover the traditions of the Zulu culture, and hear harrowing stories of bravery and survival from South Africa’s past.

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Family Safari: Malaria Free Private Villas in South Africa

11 Day Custom Tour

From$4,395

This 11-day journey combines two of South Africa’s best family-friendly and malaria-free wildlife destinations with an exquisite beach villa in Cape Town.  Enjoy horse-riding safaris in the spectacular scenery of the Waterberg at Ant’s Nest Lodge before a Big Five adventure in Phinda Game Reserve, with a grand finale at the luxurious Villa Lara in the shadow of the iconic Table Mountain.

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Nelson Mandela and South Africa: A Tribute to Righteousness

8 Day Custom Tour

From$3

Enjoy a transformative and inspiring journey into the soul of South Africa with a handcrafted tour celebrating the events shaping the storied life of Nelson Mandela. Discover the remarkable heritage of Cape Town and the distinctive ambiance of Johannesburg. Knowledgeable guides and local specialists with first-hand accounts of the former president offer a rare insight into the events that shaped Mandela’s journey from childhood to a respected world leader as you travel in his footsteps from the streets of Soweto township to the charming expanse of Shambala Private Game Reserve during your magnificent South Africa tour.

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Essential South Africa & Zambia Safari

11 Day Custom Tour

From$4,571

From discovering lions lazing in wild bush to lounging beneath the endless starlit sky, sampling mouthwatering cuisine to sipping award-winning wines, your handcrafted South Africa and Zambia safari reveals the mixture of captivating landscapes and luxurious safari lodges highlighting the wonders of UNESCO World Heritage sites and the breathtaking grandeur of nature. Whether indulging in an expansive view from a scenic flight or hiking to the top of Table Mountain, watching elephants trundle through the wilderness or wandering in the mist at the base of Victoria Falls, you will discover unforgettable jewels during your South Africa and Zambia vacation.

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South Africa Whale Watching Tour and African Safari

13 Day Custom Tour

From$5,195

Relish the rich natural beauty and diversity that South Africa has to offer, and enjoy the finest marine viewing experiences. Get up-close-and-personal to marine mammals in their natural environment – experience the thrill of watching humpback whales lobtailing, southern right whales breaching, dolphins jumping and seals playing, and be awed by great-white sharks. Then shift your search from the sea to the land and scout the African bush for the Big Five – this vacation is packed with wildlife viewing for your enjoyment.

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South Africa and Uganda Luxury Safari: Big Five, Gorillas and Chimpanzees

13 Day Custom Tour

From$12,995

The Big Five and the big primates, an epic safari that takes you from South Africa’s Kruger to the enigmatic forests of Uganda. In 13 days, you combine the wildlife highlights of a continent, immersed in the beauty of the Big Five, then baffled by the antics of gorillas and chimpanzees. Tailored for first-time visitors to the continent, this is a luxury journey that celebrates the wild wonder of both South and East Africa, with tree-climbing lions and hippo cruises among the extras.

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South African Safari: Sabi Sands & Cape Town

7 Day Custom Tour

From$3,495

Exquisite scenery and unforgettable experiences await you on this thrilling tour of South Africa. Ascend Table Mountain, Cape Town’s most impressive landmark, before embarking on an exploration of the city’s 300 year old history. Visit award-winning wine farms, flanked by lush vineyards and rugged mountains, where you’ll enjoy delectable fine wine. Discover the unparalleled wonders of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve on a definitive African safari for the Big Five and explore the untouched and majestic, wide-open spaces of Africa.

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Gems of South Africa & Botswana: Luxury Safari to Beautiful Winelands

12 Day Custom Tour

From$10,795

Revel in the endless thrill of elegant lions, graceful zebras, and the roar of Victoria Falls as you experience Southern Africa on a 12-day luxury safari. From the culture of the Kalahari Bushmen to elephants roaming the plain at dusk, the white sands of the Cape Peninsula to the delicate wines of the Cape Winelands, you will embark on a custom-tailored adventure through South Africa, Zambia, and Botswana.

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Mozambique & South Africa Getaway: Immersive Safari

9 Day Custom Tour

From$3,595

Travel from the famous wild bush of South Africa to the renowned beaches of Mozambique with a custom-tailored tour immersing you in the marvels of the land, sea, and sky. Tropical reef fish and whale sharks dive swirl through the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean; iridescent constellations shimmer against the backdrop of a black sky; Elephants graze on golden brush in the fiery sunsets and soft, white-sand beaches line the shores of a tropical island as you settle into the ultimate comforts of your captivating Mozambique and South Africa vacation.

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Untouched Southern Africa: Safari, Swaziland & Lesotho Tour

12 Day Custom Tour

From$4,795

Seductive traditions light up Southern Africa's kingdoms in the sky. Tribal villages practice ancient customs, mountain ponies canter past semi-nomadic shepherds, rock artwork depicts legends, and big mammals are a constant on the journey. Contrasts are remarkable as you travel through Swaziland, Zululand, and Lesotho, each tribal landscape telling a remarkable tale. Three safari destinations provide further narratives, intertwining giant mammals into a seamless South Africa tour.

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TO BE DELETED: Luxury Africa Safari at Sabi Sabi: Pristine African Wilderness

7 Day Custom Tour

From$5,595

The Sabi Sands Reserve ranks as one of the premier wildlife viewing destinations in the world, where incredible encounters with the Big 5 and other animals are all but guaranteed. Little Bush Camp offers an intimate and exclusive safari lodge experience where no detail or luxury is spared to make your stay as memorable as possible. Superior cuisine, luxurious accommodation, attentive service and highly experienced guides come together to create a safari experience par excellence.

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South Africa

Must-See Destinations in South Africa

Our South Africa travel specialists have provided recommendations so that you can imagine your itinerary based on any length of trip. With a custom Zicasso tour, you’ll have every detail designed to your interests, and the following suggestions are just a starting point.

How many days is enough for a vacation in South Africa?

The average US traveler spends ten days in South Africa. This typically includes three nights in Cape Town, two to three nights in the Cape Winelands, and three nights on safari.

Safari Destinations

The best destinations for a South African safari are unfenced private reserves in the Kruger area. Kruger National Park is public, and there is a lot of traffic and people. This detracts from the experience and disrupts the animals. In private reserves, you can see more wildlife in a smaller area without other vehicles or visitors.

The Sabi Sands is the most famous of these private reserves; however, almost all of Kruger’s private reserves offer comparable quality and prices to Sabi Sands. For example, Thornybush is a great Kruger alternative. In general, private reserves that directly border a national park are the best for wildlife encounters because they are deeper within the Kruger ecosystem (less animals roam around the edges).

Also, you should consider Madikwe on the border with Botswana along with the cheaper, yet excellent, private reserves in the Eastern Cape province. The Pilanesberg National Park safari area near Johannesburg also offers a great safari experience.

Other South Africa Destinations

Cape Town is a wonderful city with Table Mountain as its backdrop. It’s also a wildlife destination that is home to penguins at Boulders Beach, whales in nearby Hermanus, and baboons and antelope at Cape Point. It’s recommended to start in Cape Town rather than on safari because starting with a safari can be a bit of a whirlwind.

The Cape Winelands is a very relaxing destination only 30 minutes from Cape Town. Towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl all have their own unique appeal.

The Garden Route is an eight-hour route along the southern coast that leads from Mossel Bay to Port Elizabeth. Also near Cape Town, the Cederberg Mountains offer great rock art and hiking opportunities, while Hermans offers great whale watching from June to November. You should also consider Durban for its Zulu culture, surf, and war history. Many people want to avoid Johannesburg, but it’s very interesting, especially Soweto.

Ideal South Africa Itineraries

9 Days

Days 1 - 3 - Cape Town

Days 4 - 6 - Cape Winelands

Days 7 - 9 - Sabi Sands

9 Days

Days 1 - 3 - Cape Town

Days 4 - 5 - Hermanus

Days 6 - 7 - Sabi Sands

Days 8 - 9 - Thornybush

10 Days

Days 1 - 3 - Cape Town

Days 4 - 5 - Cape Winelands

Days 6 - 8 - Sabi Sands

Days 9 - 10 - Madikwe

10 Days

Days 1 - 2 Johannesburg

Days 3 - 5 - A Kruger private reserve

Days 6 - 8 - Cape Town

Days 9 - 10 - Cederburg

14 Days

Days 1 - 3 Cape Town

Days 4 - 5 Cederburg

Days 6 - 7 Cape Winelands

Days 8 - 9 Hermanus

Days 10 - 11 - Madikwe

Days 12 - 14 - Sabi Sands

Essential South Africa Safari Experiences

South Africa offers the world’s most comprehensive wildlife experience. Often, you can see a wide variety of animals from very close proximity.

What Wildlife is South Africa Best Known For?

South Africa is the best safari country for witnessing the classic Big Five animals: lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalos. Many reserves advertise these five, but you should be wary of small private reserves that offer a single day on safari. Although you may see each of the animals, these fenced reserves don’t have the space for any abundance. Witnessing two elephants is completely different from the sight of a massive herd.

The Kruger safari experience is fantastic for big cats, and Sabi Sands is the best place in Africa for leopards. You should also consider that there are more than 100 wild mammal species in the Sabi Sands alone. There is a lot to discover here, which is why you need at least three days.

Penguins are the second most requested wildlife experience after Kruger National Park. They can be visited on a day trip from Cape Town to Boulders Beach and Cape Point. Whales populate the Hermanus area from June to November, and cage diving with great white sharks can be experienced year-round in nearby Gansbaai.

What Is a Typical Day on Safari Like?

Guides will clearly explain the following day’s schedule each evening. The safari guide will also give you instructions on safety and a brief on where you may go.

A Kruger safari day usually starts with a very early wake up call between 4:30 and 5am. Guides will bring you a light breakfast, and the game drives typically start before sunrise. First, you will look for nocturnal species, such as big cats that are coming back from a hunt.

After the sun rises, you’ll continue the drive with a coffee break and snacks along the way. Animals are most active in the early morning hours, making an early start essential to maximize your experience. After returning to the camp around 9 am, there will be plenty of time to relax. Lunch is served at midday, and private meals can be arranged in your room or tent. Animals roam the surroundings throughout the day, so the safari experience continues.

High tea is served around 3:30 pm before an afternoon game drive. This is a picturesque time of day, and you will track different species in their native habitats. By 7 pm, you will have returned to the camp for a dinnertime feast, which will be accompanied by singing and dancing. Then it will be time for bed, andthe safari will start all over again at 5 am.

What Choice Do I Have With Accommodations on a South Africa Safari?

South Africa really places a premium on outstanding safari accommodations. You can fully enjoy five-star luxury in the wilderness and in lodges that are beyond the expectations of most visitors.

What is the Difference Between a Camp and a Lodge in South Africa?

The key difference is whether you are staying in a canvas-walled room or a thatched room. Canvas walls provide a very close connection to the environment because they allow you to hear the animals as they roam nearby.

Camps can be luxurious and five-star, so they are not like any typical notions of camping. Camps in South Africa are permanent structures with long poles that hold up the tents. Although there are some rustic safari camps in national parks, those in private reserves tend to be very high-end. They have a king-sized bed, feather pillows, butler service, and a safari feel. Even when some of the walls are made from brick, you can still enjoy an authentic safari connection. You can expect high-quality private bathrooms. Some camps even have indoor and outdoor shower areas.

Lodges are more traditional buildings with brick walls rather than canvas. Many of the best lodges feature floor to ceiling glass windows so that you always enjoy uninterrupted views of the savannah. Individual rooms are typically standalone , and there is a lot of space in the wild. At safari camps, you’ll enjoy a much bigger room than you can in a city. Some chalets have additional luxuries, such as a private plunge pool or an outdoor bathtub that overlooks a watering hole.

Both camps and lodges have a main area that is shared by all the guests. This is where you will dine, have drinks, and, perhaps, sit around a fire in the evening. Most lodges have at least one shared pool.

Is South Africa Accommodation Eco Friendly?

All the good South Africa camps and lodges employ people from the local community. They work with nearby communities to counter poaching and to ensure the area is safe. Camps and lodges aim to have a minimal impact on the environment and to interrupt wildlife movements.

How Many Days Should I Stay at Each Camp or Lodge?

Three nights is an ideal amount of time to spend on safari in one destination. South Africa’s private reserves are smaller than those in Botswana or East Africa, so you can comfortably experience all a reserve’s highlights in three nights.

For an extended safari, you should consider five nights across two different reserves. It’s not recommended to spend less than three days on safari. It takes one day to adjust to the wilderness and the unique travel experience. After three days, you will probably want to extend your stay.

Best Time to Visit South Africa

South Africa is a large country with many distinct microclimates. The best time to visit Cape Town is not the best time for a Kruger safari. This generally helps make South Africa a year-round destination. However, you can never enjoy the ideal time everywhere you go.

How Does South Africa’s Climate Change Throughout the Year?

Cape Town and the Winelands have a distinct four-season climate with a hot and sunny summer from November to March. The long hours of daylight and clear skies make this the best time of year to visit. Winter can be stormy, and while not very cold, the weather during this time showcases how Cape Town is on the very tip of the world.

Kruger and most of northern South Africa have a two-season climate, which is similar to neighboring Botswana. A long dry season takes place during the cool winter months, from April to November. This is the ideal time to go on safari. During the winter months, it can get cold, especially in the mornings from June to August. It’s hot and humid from December onwards, and most of the region’s rain falls in these summer months.

The Garden Route has one of the world’s most temperate climates, and you can experience four seasons in one day. Durban and the Eastern Cape can become unbearably hot during the summer but are generally sunny and warm year-round.

How Does the Safari Experience Change During Different Seasons of the Year?

The dry season provides the best game-viewing conditions. During this season, the vegetation and grass is low, so it’s easy to spot animals. Animals are easier to find because they huddle near permanent water sources. This is one reason the Sabi Sands is such a wonderful destination. Animals migrate here from Kruger National Park due to the Sabi and Sands Rivers.

Short sharp showers change the landscape and create the green season. There’s a risk of muddy roads, but we wouldn’t discourage travelers from a safari during this time. It’s still a great experience - just a little different. During the green season, you’ll see more baby animals, and the lush green landscape is impressive.

Modes of Transportation in South Africa

South Africa is the easiest country in Africa to navigate. It offers a well established tourist infrastructure and excellent transport connections between all major destinations.

The Best Airports For Flying In and Out of South Africa

OR Tambo International in Johannesburg is the busiest airport in Africa. It has many direct connections to cities in Europe and the Middle East as well as a direct connection to New York.

Cape Town is also a major international airport with flight connections to Europe and the Middle East. If you plan to start in Cape Town, we recommend flying into Cape Town as opposed to changing planes in Johannesburg.

Domestic Flights

Both Cape Town and Johannesburg’s airports offer domestic flights to South Africa’s main destinations. This includes direct flights from Cape Town to the Sabi Sands and other safari reserves. You should note that if you were to drive from Cape Town to Sabi Sands, it would take at least three days on the road. South Africa is a big country, and you need to utilize domestic flights.

Flights Via Zicasso

Zicasso Air Desk is an international air ticketing service that eliminates the stress of finding and booking the right flights for your upcoming vacation by employing the same personalized service you can expect from planning a trip with Zicasso. Our competitive flight pricing, 24x7 Service & Support, and Complimentary Consultation of Routing vs. Pricing with an Expert Flight Specialist make finding the perfect flight for your trip effortless.

Overland Travel

South Africa’s most popular overland route is the Garden Route, which is roughly 500 miles of breathtaking scenery along the southern coastline. The majority of Zicasso travelers prefer to hire a driver-guide rather than doing a self-drive itinerary. It is not particularly expensive, takes all the stress out of driving, and ensures that you also get to see lesser-known local spots.

What to Consider When Traveling in South Africa

South Africa is a safe destination for tourists and also offers malaria-free safari areas.

Is South Africa Safe for Travel?

South Africa’s main tourist destinations are generally safe. Most accommodations are in the safest areas, and it is very rare that a visitor stumbles into a township or other unsafe area. Johannesburg is considered risky for crime, especially if you don’t know the city. It’s recommended to use local guides because they know where not to go and will watch over visitors.

For safety reasons, you’re only allowed to access the main private reserves if you are staying at one of the lodges or camps. Guides are highly trained and often grew up in wildlife zones. They protect travelers and will provide clear safety briefings of what to do if you encounter certain species.

Health Questions

The Kruger area is still considered a low-risk malaria zone, although there have only been a small handful of cases over the last 30 years. It’s best to get advice from your physician as to whether you should take anti-malarials. Madikwe and safari reserves in the Eastern Cape are officially malaria free.

Long clothing and mosquito repellent is recommended because it reduces the risk of mosquito bites. South Africa does not have yellow fever, and a yellow fever certificate is only required if you’re traveling from countries where it is prevalent.

Travel Insurance

You’ve booked your dream vacation, now protect it with travel insurance. A wide range of factors can leave your vacation in limbo. Medical emergencies, inclement weather, and unexpected cancellations can cause turmoil for your trip, so in the unlikely event of a disaster, get the travel insurance coverage that provides peace of mind. To get a quote, visit our travel insurance page.

For Families

South Africa is generally a fantastic family vacation because you can combine wildlife with beach time and other diverse experiences. Children of all ages can go on safari, but it’s harder to go on safari with children under six years old because they don’t really appreciate where you are.

Children over the age of five can go on game drives. You should note that if your child is too loud or is not following the rules, the guide may place you in a private vehicle for your game drives (at an additional cost). Some camps have children’s camps and activities, such as the Bush Bumbles game drive at Madikwe.

For Seniors

Temperatures can be a challenge for some senior visitors. Kruger gets very cold in winter and very hot in summer. In general, a South Africa safari is a very accessible vacation. You rarely need to walk anywhere, and the program moves at a relaxing pace.

Recommendations for the Return Traveler

Cape Peninsula

The Cape Peninsula is a wonderland of natural beauty with windswept cliffs, crashing waves, tall sand dunes, and vibrant wildlife. The rugged peninsula stretches for 32 miles and features a variety of charming farming villages and excellent surf towns. Famous Chapman’s Peak Drive winds for three miles on pristine ocean road with near vertical cliffs and fabulous panoramas of the Atlantic Ocean. Penguins waddle along the beach at Boulder’s Bay, and the mix of epic views and wildlife along the Cape of Good Hope connects the majesty of South Africa.

Drakensberg

The captivating landscape of Drakensberg features sweeping greenery that is spread across a mixture of jagged summits. Sensational vistas spread from the mountaintops to countless waterfalls and from rippling streams to hidden rock pools. The scenery remains undisturbed above deep caves that are scattered across the more than 125 miles. The untouched wilderness creates the perfect escape for hikers, trekkers, cyclers, and even golfers.

Related South Africa Tours by Zicasso

Here is our list of other South Africa Tours we offer:

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Specific South Africa Destinations:

Reviews of Zicasso's Referral Service

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4.93 stars based on 1231 reviews. See all our reviews.

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