Namibia, South Africa
Cape Town, Sabi Sands, Johannesburg, Windhoek, Sossusvlei, Namib Desert, Etosha National Park
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Celebrating some of the planet’s ultimate travel highlights, your 12-day South Africa and Namibia safari offers four superlative destinations. Start in Cape Town, a city of color, charm, and home to Table Mountain. Explore the intimacy of the Sabi Sands, where the Big Five is just the beginning. Escape to the desert and nature’s gallery at Sossusvlei. Then, experience safari drama in Etosha to find rhinos and elephants.
Cape Town – Experiences on the City Beaches
A white beach will welcome you to Cape Town, and waves will lap gently against the shore. Gazing out, it will feel like you are on the edge of the world. If you turn around, Table Mountain looms over a kilometer high. Villas are scattered around the slopes and are punctuated by forest and a road to Africa’s southeastern tip. This is a city that is quick to make every visitor relaxed. Your excursion will begin with an airport transfer, driving past Table Mountain and the allure of nature. Then, it will continue on the beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton, which are sublime spaces that are very close to the city center. Nothing will be planned for today, so you can check into your villa, relax on the beaches, and watch the sun go down in the Atlantic.
Cape Town – Table Mountain and Cape Town’s Colorful History
The cable car will revolve as it takes you skywards. The city will rescind, and once you are upon the summit, the views will stretch all the way to the Cape of Good Hope. Crowds will gather around the cable car station, but it will be easy to escape them. Trails crisscross all across the mountain summit and are suitable for most fitness levels. You can take a hike with your guide, and slowly, the full 360-degree panorama will be revealed. Beaches are to the west and south, and vineyards and more mountains are to the east. If you gaze north, the coastline stretches out with virtually nothing between here and Namibia.
After a morning on Table Mountain, you will dive into the city and its culture. Pan-African markets bring art from across the continent. Brightly painted houses are only one part of the story on the streets of Bo Kaap. In District Six, there is gorgeous graffiti art along with an apartheid story that every visitor needs to hear. Out in Woodstock and the Observatory, there are more markets and places to feel the energy and vibrancy of Cape Town. You cannot fit all this into the afternoon, but the guide will tailor a route to your preferences, perhaps with sunset from Signal Hill to complete your day.
Cape Town – A Day in the Cape Winelands or Cape Peninsula
There will be two options for today’s private tour. Both will be full-day trips and will have you back in Camps Bay for the final two hours on the beach before sunset. Take the road south to the Cape Peninsula, twisting above the Atlantic Ocean and stopping to enjoy small fishing villages. Wild penguins parade around Boulders Beach as you keep heading south. Their antics will provide hours of entertainment before lunch. Soon, the road will take you past springbok and kudu. Completing the journey, you will find two lighthouses that mark the tip of Africa. Then, en route back to Cape Town, you will stop in Constantia where vineyards carpet Table Mountain’s back slopes.
With a Cape Winelands tour, you will visit four different wineries around Stellenbosch. You will start with bubbles, which is the local MCC that is produced in the same way as Champagne. You will move through the whites with wooden Chardonnay being especially well celebrated here. Wine will be paired with cheese at the next vineyard. An indulgent lunch will be accompanied by the region’s fruity reds with the Cabernet Sauvignon being very different than what comes from Bordeaux. You will finish at a farm that specializes in dessert wine where you can expect stunning views and a laid-back ambiance throughout. You can also expect to drift off during the one-hour journey back to Cape Town.
Sabi Sands – Elephants, Rhinos and Leopards
Elephants may march across the bushveld, and a trunk-swinging youngster may test their strength by frightening a warthog. A white may rhino watches them pass and then retire to a place of privacy. Following a hunch, the guide may stop beside thick grass. Soon, a leopard may emerge. There is always something new like a buffalo herd that is crossing the trail or a bashful hartebeest that is galloping off into the bush. This is the Sabi Sands, and there are over 100 large mammal species here. Next, it may be kudu, impala, zebra, or a pride of lions.
After your direct flight from Cape Town to Sabi Sands, you will check into your lodge on the Sabi River. Wildlife is abundant thanks to this river, and there is usually something taking a drink every moment of the day. So, before your first game drive, you may have encountered a dozen different species already. On your first safari day, the focus will be on the Big Five, which are the most famous of Africa’s wild mammals. A guide will tailor the drive to these first encounters, particularly leopards. The Sabi Sands is arguably the best place in Africa to see this spotted cat.
Day 5 - 6
Sabi Sands – Evocative Big-Game Safari Across the Greater Kruger
Spots may move through the grass at dawn, and impala may grazing ahead, and it will difficult to know if they are aware of the danger. You will have experiences here in the wild that you will never get at a zoo. They are raw and unscripted, and a safari shows you the true interaction between species.
In the Sabi Sands, the safari will take you off the trail and continue into the night. You will experience a nighttime game drive, which is another great opportunity for you to see the big cats on the move. The safari also continues at the camp with so many animals that may be visible from your suite and plunge pool. After the first day or two, you will start to appreciate the smaller animals, finding delight in unearthing species that you have not spotted before. Three days will be ideal as you may encounter over 50 different species and countless safari scenes without needing to rush. There will also be the option of driving into Kruger National Park, which is an experience that showcases the size and scale of the conservation area.
Windhoek – From Savannah to Desert
This is mostly a travel day as you connect South Africa with Namibia. First, you will fly from the Sabi Sands to Johannesburg. You will then transfer to the international terminal and fly to Namibia’s capital. You will land in the desert and find a remarkably quiet and laid-back city. Windhoek can feel more like a village than a city, with quiet streets and an inherent charm connected to the surrounding landscape. Nothing will be planned, but there are a couple of good restaurants to choose from, especially if you would like to try rare game meats.
Sossusvlei – Dazzling Flight Above the Namib and a Sandy Sunset
Crimson dunes stretch out beneath the wingtips, and ridges snake towards the Atlantic Ocean. Down below, there will be nothing but sand that appears as a carpet of changing shapes and colors. To experience the Namib, you really need to see it from the air and the ground. On this morning’s aerial safari, you will explore its magnitude as the plane swoops low over the dunes. You will touch down and realize how the enormity of these dunes dominates the experience. This desert world will make you feel small, and the silence is absolute. This is a digital detox and a getaway into lands that remain uncharted. It is also a chance to reset and feel the soothing power of nature. This afternoon, you will explore the dunes, climbing one of them for a blissful view of the Namib sunset.
Sossusvlei – Discovering Deadvlei and the Endless Dunes
Dead trees will stand like sentinels on a clay pan. Their blackened frames date back hundreds of years, but these trees still stand. Surrounding the pan is sand and epic dunes with an evocative, red hue. Sossusvlei is nearby, which is another clay pan that has been enveloped by the insatiable sand. At sunrise, the landscape appears a subtle orange, and it moves through hues of blood-red and vermilion before the sun bleaches the desert a more yellowish color through midday. By late afternoon, the color change comes in reverse. With a full day, you can admire how the desert changes, which is an experience that will be completed with a night beneath the southern sky.
Etosha National Park – Safari on the Arid Plains
Today, you will feast on the landscape once more with a safari flight that takes you from Namib dunes to Kalahari plains and Etosha. This is one of Africa’s ultimate safari destinations, and the experience is all about the battle for survival. Water means everything in a desert country, so animals come from hundreds of miles to drink in Etosha. A vast salt pan awaits in the park’s heart, and above it floats a mirage, which is where the animals emerge.
Your suite will look across the pan, which is the park’s centerpiece. Even when this pan is dry, the animals still come, seeking the nutritious salt. Rhinos are particularly conspicuous and many visitors are amazed by how many they encounter in Etosha. The landscape does make game viewing easy. Being flat and open, there is nowhere to hide, so shy animals such as rhinos are more easily encountered. After some downtime at the lodge, an afternoon game drive will allow you to witness these animals and others in their natural habitat. Usually, there is something dramatic to really grab your attention from male giraffe fighting to black-faced impala running from a watering hole as lions approach.
Etosha National Park – Tracking Giants Around the Waterholes
Safaris are made easier in Etosha because there is so little water. During the dry season, the animals must stay within reach of the watering holes that remain. So, on an arid landscape, you may suddenly find thousands of animals in a single view. Hippos may wallow, zebra may skip, and elephant herds may meet gracefully by the water. This final day on your safari is flexible, and the classic experience is to spend the full day driving and visiting Etosha’s different watering holes to see where the wildlife really thrives. Of course, predators also stick close to water. So, dramatic scenes may unfold as spotted hyena go after a weak springbok or lions stalk their next meal. You may even glimpse a cheetah that is perched on a rock, surveying the plains.
Etosha National Park to Windhoek – Final Game Drive and Departure
After a beautiful safari flight back to Windhoek, you will transfer to the international terminal for your outbound flight. In just 12 days, you have connected four of the world’s greatest travel destinations.
- Immerse yourself with rhinos and elephants around the Etosha Pan, discovering how wildlife thrives in the desert
- Scale Table Mountain and get to know Cape Town’s colorful streets
- Discover the Big Five and so much more during a three-day Sabi Sands safari
- Luxuriate during an aerial safari above the Namib Desert, admiring the unbounded sand dunes
- Track leopards on a nighttime game drive, admire elephants directly from your camp, and encounter up to 100 different mammal species
- Marvel at a desert sunrise above Deadvlei or Sossusvlei, and lose yourself in the tranquility
- Explore the Cape Winelands and find penguins en route to the Cape Peninsula
- Indulge in a trip to into Kruger National Park and wonder at the scale of Africa’s wilderness
- Cherish the peaceful nature during evening campfires as the southern sky shimmers above while nature sings a lullaby
South Africa and Namibia are home to four of the world’s most evocative travel highlights. This 12-day vacation connects them with each destination bringing a dazzling change in atmosphere and experience. Colors flicker down city streets beneath the shadow of Table Mountain, leopards prowl after impala, and sand dunes extend for seemingly an eternity. Out of a salty mirage may come four-legged giants who are desert specialists, marching past you in search of water. This is Southern Africa. It is wild and wondrous, and a sense of adventure will be with you at every turn. It is also tranquil as these destinations create a break from the modern world.
With 12 days, the pace can be comfortable even though the destinations are not very close to each other. Fly into Cape Town for three days in the city, easing into the African experience with mountains, beaches, vineyards, penguins, markets, and the enchanting streets of change. The Sabi Sands provide exclusive big-game safaris in the Greater Kruger. Elephants are your neighbors, and animals continually wander to the river below. With three days, you become immersed in the bushveld, following the perennial battle between predator and prey. There is the Big Five, but a safari here has hundreds of animals and so many scenes that only you are privileged to witness.
Fly to Windhoek via Johannesburg and spend a night in the Namibian capital. Next, you will experience the desert. The Namib is beautifully revealed on an aerial safari to Sossusvlei. Lose yourself in the silence and solitude here, experiencing how the desert is different every hour of the day. End your vacation in Etosha where stark and arid plains are a wonderful contrast to the Sabi Sands. Much of the landscape appears devoid of life. Game drives take you to permanent waterholes where animals congregate, sometimes in happy unity and sometimes intense battles for survival.
Sabi Sands and Etosha are an excellent combination whether it is your first or tenth safari. In South Africa, your safari is in a private concession, so activities include walks and nighttime drives as well. Predator encounters are legendary, and you experience modern luxury in the bush. Etosha feels private mainly because it is so big, and there are only a few visitors. Safari encounters are more about drama, such as battles between herds and the resonant growl of the black-maned lion. Your experience remains peaceful, especially when you are sitting around a campfire and looking over the Etosha Pan. Over the five safari days, you will explore two very different ecosystems, atmospheres, and animal populations, which will be such a wonderful complement to Cape Town and the Namib Desert. Consider learning more about our travelers’ best African Safari vacation activities by reading their travel reviews.
$5,395 per person (excluding international flights)
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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