Adrenaline & Adventure Tour of South Africa

Aerial shot of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa
A 12 day trip to South Africa 
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South Africa encourages excitement, the natural landscape suggesting thrills and charms. Cage diving with white sharks, horseback and walking safaris, helicoptering over Table Mountain; this country is always a unique adventure. On this 12-day South Africa tour, you experience an abundance of adrenaline, with stops in Cape Town, Sabi Sands, and the white beach of St Lucia. From the Big Five to vintage WWII sidecars and rappelling Table Mountain, this is South Africa for adventurous travelers.

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General Information

Photos
South African safari tour following close behind an elephant  in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Cape Town, Table Mountain, Cape of Good Hope (Cape Point), Boulders Beach, Gansbaii, Shark Alley, Sabi Sands, Kruger, St Lucia, Richards Bay, iSimangaliso Wetlands

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Cape Town – A Relaxed Welcome to South Africa

Descending into Cape Town provides breathtaking aesthetics. The plane swoops over the Table Mountain chain, jagged mountains rising sporadically above a carpet of vineyards. Atlantic Ocean waves glisten in the distance and the precipitous slopes of Table Mountain are eminently visible. Such a raw natural landscape immediately suggests adventure, while quickly inducing an atmosphere of serenity; with such a majestic mountain hanging above everything, nobody feels the need to rush anything in Cape Town. A guide greets you at the airport for the short transfer into the city and your five-star hotel, an ocean-facing residence with sublime sunset views. It's located within the V & A Waterfront, a large pedestrianized complex filled with restaurants, food markets, boutique shops, and bars.

What's Included: accommodation, airport transfer

Day 2: Cape Town – Climbing Table Mountain then Rappelling Down From the Summit

Gaze up at Table Mountain and there's usually conflicting opinions. Is this a mountain to conquer, or a mountain to connect with? For most people it's both, a chance to climb one of the newly appointed world wonders, and a chance to identify with an ancient icon of our planet. There are two hiking routes to choose from, the most popular being a steep ascent up the mountain's main vertical face. It's takes around two hours, but you rise some 600 meters in that time. Another route starts from the back of the mountain, a gentler hike that connects indigenous forest and remote lakes in four hours. Alternatively, it's possible to take a revolving cable car to the summit.

As you'd expect, panoramas spill out from the peak. Follow the mountain chain to the tip of Africa, look down upon the city, and gaze across at Lion's Head and the Atlantic Ocean waves. Now time to come down. It's possible to rappel from the summit and no previous experience is necessary. You're suspended above the city, stepping down the vertical face for some 100 meters; if you can brave it, leaning all the way back and looking out on the world is an unforgettable thrill. The exhilarating rappel doesn't quite make it to the bottom. You can choose to descend the rest of the way on foot, or ascend the 150 meters back to the summit and take the cable car down. The rest of the day is at your leisure and the V & A Waterfront has countless oceanfront bars perfect for a view of the sunset.

What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Cape Town – Driving a Vintage Sidecar to the Southwestern Tip of Africa

Expressive and evocative, the road from Cape Town to the Cape of Good Hope is one of the world's most memorable. It's built into the mountain, with long tunnels that curve 270 degrees like a surfer's point break. The road undulates, sweeping across summits then dropping into beautiful bays where seals frolic besides fishermen. And then it continues, roaming past vast empty beaches towards Africa's tip. Such a dramatic road requires memorable wheels. Today, you drive to the tip of Africa in a vintage WWII Sidecar, a polished three-wheeler that ensures you always have an uninterrupted view over the landscape. Along the way, you stop at Boulders Beach to meet a colony of jackass penguins, before you must disembark to walk the final 500 meters to the lighthouse that marks the end of the continent. The sense of wilderness is inspiring: swim out from here and the next landmass you would reach is either Antarctica or South America.

What's Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 4: Cape Town – Helicopter Flight Above Table Mountain and the Cape Peninsula

Table Mountain rises majestically, standing proudly above the Waterfront and Cape Town Stadium. Rugged peaks serpentine a path to Africa's tip, their near-precipitous slopes occasionally dappled with vineyards and forest. Flumes of frothy white scatter the coastline, Atlantic Ocean waves crashing into the coves and beaches. And then there's the city, harmonious with nature and filled with a resplendent display of color. On an exclusive helicopter flight, you tour it all, cruising down the Atlantic Ocean from Cape Town, admiring the dramatic mountain spine that rumbles to Africa's tip. The helicopter swoops around the pinnacle to the Indian Ocean, where the waves are bluer and the coastline stretches with a soft enchantment. In total, it's a 48-minute private flight, completed by looping back over Table Mountain and landing at the Waterfront. The rest of the day is at your leisure in Cape Town.

What's Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Cape Town – The Thrills and Surprising Charms of Great White Shark Cage Diving

Every day brings drama in Shark Alley. The seals don't want to swim in such a dangerous sounding place but they have to, as Shark Alley is the region leading to the seals' rocky islet residence to their feeding grounds. Great white sharks menacingly lurk in the waters, accelerating towards the surface and soaring above the waves with a fresh catch. This marine landscape is just two hours from Cape Town and it's always filled with drama. You'll be picked up early this morning and return around mid afternoon after shark diving.

A cage suspended in the water might not sound the safest place to watch the theater, but the shark cage diving industry has an exemplary 20-year safety record. You're not actually diving. The cage is attached to the boat and the sharks' looming shadows can be seen from above. A call comes from those on the boat and you hold your breath, dipping below the surface to view the ocean's greatest predator from just a few meters away. You are close enough to touch – but that really wouldn't be advised. A three-meter shark crashes past, teeth visible from the cage; turn the other way and a larger shark flashes through the water towards a seal. And when you climb back onto the boat, you watch sharks jump clear of the water before creating waves as they crash back down.

What's Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Sabi Sands – Big Five Safari Introduction in the Kruger Ecosystem

A new landscape, a natural playground, a realm of marauding rhinos and predatory cats. You fly from Cape Town to the Sabi Sands and are picked up in an open-sided safari vehicle. Escape into the wilderness from here, winding along dusty trails that traverse the epic savannah of Kruger. Lions lounge beneath jackalberry trees, resting through the heat of the day yet keeping an open eye on a kudu herd. Elephants march onwards, their nomadic journey passing giraffes wandering the other way. At an open clearing, a herd of buffalo stops to greet you, their grunts clashing with a baboon troop's raucous shouting. Kruger is a place of diversity and the game drive transfer provides introductions to many of Africa's famous mammals.

Your accommodation is a luxurious treehouse, a decadent wooden suite hidden in the forest and overlooking a waterhole. It's connected to the rest of the lodge by elevated wooden walkways and blends harmoniously into the surroundings. A wildlife procession can be spotted from your treehouse throughout most of the day. After checking in, you head out on a second game drive, this one focused on the predatory cats of the Sabi Sands. Leopards hide in the trees, cheetahs lounge in the grass, hyenas roam wildly and lion prides bask in the open.

What's Included: accommodation, domestic flight, transfer, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Sabi Sands – Exhilarating Walking Safari in the Sabi Sands

Springbok stop. So do warthogs. And zebra. Now a giraffe. They're stopping to look at you. On a walking safari, you're just another mammal, another wandering animal in a vast savannah. So not only do you get closer to those with four legs, they often come closer to you. A full-day walking safari combines exhilaration with a memorable enchantment, every few moments bringing a personal encounter with one of the Sabi Sands's wild mammals. It's very safe, with local trackers dictating the route and an armed ranger providing back up. Even elephants and buffalo might be encountered, two of the Big Five seen from the ultimate vantage point. Today, you go on a morning and afternoon walking safari. These are not expeditions moving at a high speed through the bush. They're serene journeys, picking up on the clues and connecting you with the landscape.

What's Included: accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8: Sabi Sands – Horse Riding in the Kruger

Slowly, the horse walks onto the savannah. Giraffes grace the horizon and a herd of impala grazes nearby. Pick up the pace, cantering across the bush towards a zebra herd. Get closer, approaching the zebra and then joining them gallop. A horse ride in South Africa isn't quite like that in other countries. You get the sublime landscape. Except it's shared with tens of thousands of wild animals. On this full-day horse riding safari, you visit Makalali Private Game Reserve, where it's possible to ride deep into the Kruger ecosystem. A picnic is packed in the saddlebag and a pool filled with hippos makes a good place to stop. Even elephants and rhinos can be encountered on horseback, as long as you respect the laws of the land and keep your distance. Expert guides take you close and experienced riders can gallop across the Kruger's expressive plains, kicking up dust like the zebra and kudu.

What's Included: accommodation, safari, transfer, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 9 – 11: St Lucia – White Beach Tranquility and Boat Safaris Through the iSimangaliso Wetlands

After the adventure comes the tranquility. Fly to Richards Bay via Johannesburg, and then cruise along the Indian Ocean coast to St Lucia. A long white beach cascades, delivering gentle hues after the drama of the Kruger landscape. For these three days, there's a utopian atmosphere, the sapphire waters lulling onto the quiet sand. Your lodge is built into the indigenous forest that hangs over the beach, providing shoeless access to the sand. Snorkeling and diving is possible from St Lucia, although the main emphasis of these three days is a tranquil counterpoint to the adventure.

But this is South Africa. So it's a beach with a remarkable difference. An array of monkeys jumps through the forest, regularly foraging from lagoons and on the beach. Follow a delta inland and you journey into the iSimangaliso wetlands, a UNESCO World Heritage site that teems with more primates and innumerable hippos. Elephants are also here, squirting water and rolling in the mud. On each day, you take a boat safari into this wetland. Paddle in your own canoe, circumnavigating the hippo pods and heading deep into the forest. On another day, you cruise at sunset, a larger boat helping you get closer to the big mammals. Then, a member of the Tonga tribe is doing the paddling, guiding you to ancient tribal burial grounds and revealing timeless local lifestyles.

What's Included: accommodation, domestic flight, airport transfer, safari, breakfast

Day 12: Richards Bay to Johannesburg – Departure

Richards Bay Airport is less than 30 minutes by car from St Lucia. You're transferred here for a domestic connection to O. R. Tambo International in Johannesburg, where your intercontinental flight departs.

What's Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$4,795
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.