From the soaring cliffs of the Cape Peninsula to the windswept mountains of Lesotho, embark on an unforgettable adventure in southern Africa, discovering stunning landscapes, rich cultures and legendary wildlife. Hike to the summit of Table Mountain in Cape Town and wind your way along dramatic coastal trails in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. In KwaZulu-Natal, witness colorful Zulu customs, soak up the vibrant energy and diversity of Durban’s oldest township, and go on game drives in two exceptional wildlife parks. Hike to one of the world’s tallest waterfalls in the Drakensberg mountains, and experience the stark beauty of Lesotho, one of the world’s highest-altitude countries.
Hike to the top of the Drakensberg’s towering rock Amphitheatre, climbing chain ladders to view one of the world’s highest waterfalls.
Experience life at a Zulu homestead and trace the footsteps of historic leaders in Durban.
Search for the “big five” in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park, and meet a National Geographic Emerging Explorer to learn about endangered birds.
Discover Lesotho’s unique Basotho culture and the pristine wilderness of Ts’ehlanyane National Park.
Easy and Moderate - We will be hiking 1 to 7 hours per day (1 to 9 miles), on most days. On game drives, we travel in 4x4 safari vehicles.
Itinerary - 12 Days
Day 1 — Cape Town, South Africa
Arrive in Cape Town and transfer to our hotel situated at the foot of Table Mountain. Gather for a welcome dinner at a restaurant on the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. The Cape Milner (D)
Day 2 — Cape Peninsula
Trace the coast of the Cape Peninsula on a breathtaking drive to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Walk along winding coastal trails through flowering shrublands, and hike to the lighthouse at Cape Point. Observe hundreds of African penguins on Boulders Beach, followed by a visit to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Later, meet with conservation biologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Steve Boyes or one of his colleagues, to learn about the National Geographic-funded Cape Parrot Project, a community-based conservation program that aims to reduce threats to the endangered Cape parrot. (1–2 miles hiking, 1 hour; 4 hours driving) The Cape Milner (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Cape Town
Hike to the highest point on Table Mountain and have lunch at the summit before riding a cable car back down. Explore Cape Town’s highlights, including the historic Company’s Garden and Greenmarket Square. In the colorful Bo-Kaap district, watch artisans crafting intricate wire and bead art. Tonight, enjoy an interactive djembe drumming session and a traditional feast accompanied by singers and puppeteers. (2 miles hiking, 3 hours) The Cape Milner (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Cape Town/Kwazulu-Natal
Fly to Durban, the largest city of KwaZulu-Natal province, and drive north into Zululand, the 19th-century kingdom of the Zulu people. Settle into our inn below legendary Ghost Mountain. During an afternoon walk in the Lebombo Mountains, visit a local homestead to witness rural Zulu customs. Stop for a sundowner, and experience the rhythmic energy of a Zulu dance performance. (1 mile walking, 1 hour; 3–4 hours driving) Ghost Mountain Inn (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Mkhuze Game Reserve
Mkhuze Game Reserve is a wildlife-rich wonderland of savanna, riverine forest and waterholes. Track black and white rhinos, leopards, buffaloes, giraffes, zebras and more. Go for a walk in the park’s fig forest where hundreds of bird species have been recorded. (1–2 miles hiking, 2 hours) Ghost Mountain Inn (B,L,D)
Days 6 & 7 — Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park/Lake Jozini
Set off on a game drive in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park, home to the legendary “big five” and renowned for its rhino conservation effort. The next day, enjoy a wildlife cruise on Lake Jozini where elephants, hippos and crocodiles can be spotted. Then meet with a local wildlife conservation group to learn about the preservation of Africa’s threatened species. Ghost Mountain Inn (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Durban
Spend the day exploring one of Durban’s townships, KwaMashu, created during the apartheid era and known today for its vibrant arts scene. Tour the poignant Sarvodaya house, where Mahatma Gandhi developed his philosophy of nonviolent resistance, and Ohlange High School, where Nelson Mandela cast his vote in the country’s first democratic elections. Visit a popular tavern, enjoy a shisa nyama barbeque, and meet a local family to gain insight into township life. Later, transfer to our beachfront hotel in Umhlanga Rocks. The Oyster Box (B,L,D)
Days 9 & 10 — Clarens/Drakensberg
Journey through the picturesque midlands of KwaZulu- Natal, stopping to visit the site where Mandela was arrested in 1962 before being imprisoned on Robben Island. With the Drakensberg mountains as our backdrop, cross into the Free State province to the charming town of Clarens, our base for exploring Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Hike toward the Sentinel rock formation and climb to the top of the sheer-faced Amphitheatre for stunning views of Tugela Falls, considered the world’s second-tallest waterfall. (Day 9: 4 hours driving; Day 10: 7–9 miles hiking, 6–7 hours) Protea Hotel Clarens (B,L,D)
Days 11 & 12 — Lesotho/Johannesburg
The mountainous nation of Lesotho is encircled by South Africa, yet a world apart. Visit a traditional Basotho village where we are greeted by residents cloaked in colorful blankets and conical hats. Meet a Basotho healer and sample home-brewed beer. Then hike the alpine trails of Ts’ehlanyane National Park, winding through a magnificent landscape of rivers, waterfalls and rugged valleys. The next morning, transfer to the airport in Johannesburg for your flight home. (Day 11: 3–4 miles hiking, 2–3 hours; Day 12: 4 hours driving) Protea Hotel Clarens (B,L,D; B)
Pricing starts at $6,495 per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $750. International airfare to Cape Town and return from Johannesburg, and airfare within South Africa is not included in the cost. The group flight within South Africa is $175 (subject to change). Group Size: 8–16
Accommodations (hotels, tents and cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. If you prefer single accommodations, and if such are available, you can pay a single supplement fee. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we can assign a roommate of the same gender. If there is no one with whom you can share, a single supplement fee will apply.
See special terms and conditions for this adventure.
Southern Africa Adventure
Group or Custom Journeys
Starting at $6,000 Per Person