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South Africa: A Journey of Discovery

with Victoria Falls extension
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This tour itinerary varies by year.
  • Duration: 17 or 20 days
  • Group size: 15-30
  • Reviews: 85
Journey to the southern tip of Africa to a country that defies comparison.

No other destination offers such a spectacular combination of scenery, cities, and amazing wildlife sightings. One day you’re out on the savannah, spying on leopards and lions; the next, you’re sipping a crisp chenin blanc and feeling the breeze off the Indian Ocean.

Your tour package includes
  • 14 nights in handpicked hotels
  • 14 breakfasts
  • 5 lunches
  • 7 dinners with beer or wine
  • 4 guided sightseeing tours
Included highlights
  • Robben Island
  • Cape of Good Hope
  • Tsitsikamma National Park
  • Pumba Private Game Reserve
  • Great St. Lucia Wetland Park
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Day-by-day itinerary
Overnight Flight1 night
Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Cape Town today.

Cape Town4 nights
Day 2: Arrival in Cape Town

Welcome to South Africa! Settle in to your hotel this evening.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Cape Town
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Embark on a guided tour of Cape Town, a beautiful and culturally rich city.

• Take a ferry to Robben Island, the historic symbol of apartheid and South Africa’s struggle for freedom, for a tour with a local guide (weather permitting)

• Take a cable car ride up Table Mountain (weather permitting)

• Enjoy a visit to the South African Museum

• Catch glimpses of the National Gallery and the Houses of Parliament as you drive through the city and stop in the Malay District

Please note: The order of activities is subject to change. In the case of inclement weather, you'll visit Signal Hill instead of Table Mountain.

Enjoy a welcome dinner with your fellow travelers this evening.

Day 4: Cape of Good Hope
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today, you’ll set out on a full-day excursion to the Cape of Good Hope.

• Drive along the Atlantic seaboard, passing the Clifton and Camp’s Bay beaches

• Visit the Cape of Good Hope and the lighthouse at Cape Point to soak in beautiful views of where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet

• Head to Simon’s Town for lunch, where you may see some penguins, before arriving back in Cape Town

Please note: The order of activities is subject to change.

Day 5: Free day in Cape Town
Included meal: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Cape Town or add an excursion.

Cape Winelands Tasting & Lunch
Excursion (additional cost)
Knysna2 nights
Day 6: Transfer to Knysna
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today you’ll continue on to Knysna, known for its sandstone cliffs and deep lagoon. Stop along the way to visit a local wine estate for lunch.

Day 7: Knysna Eastern Head
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Explore the pristine beauty of Knysna Eastern Head during today’s activities.

• Walk along Eastern Head to soak in the incredible ocean vistas

• Take a boat ride and enjoy eating lunch on board as you make you way to a nearby lagoon

• Head to a local beach that’s located on Plettenberg Bay

• Spend free time strolling along the sandy shores or enjoying a cup of coffee at a cafe

Port Elizabeth2 nights
Day 8: Port Elizabeth via Tsitsikamma National Park
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Travel to the sun-drenched shores of Port Elizabeth, set on the beautiful Algoa Bay, making several stops along the way.

• Follow the Garden Route to Tsitsikamma National Park and Storms River

• Walk along the Storms River suspension bridge for an incredible photo opportunity

• Enjoy an included lunch at a local restaurant

Venture out on an orientation tour of Port Elizabeth before sitting down for an included dinner.

Day 9: Pumba Private Game Reserve
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Get to know the wildlife and local culture on a series of guided visits today.

• Visit the Pumba Private Game Reserve for a game drive

• Keep a lookout for white lions, elephants, and other wildlife

• Enjoy an included lunch in the reserve

• Tour a Port Elizabeth township with a local guide to learn about how apartheid has impacted the area's struggle to overcome poverty

• Stop by a local tavern in the township to watch dancers and musicians perform

Hluhluwe2 nights
Day 10: Transfer to Hluhluwe via Durban
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Fly to Durban today. Then continue on to Hluhluwe and sit down for an included dinner.

Day 11: Wetland Park & Game Reserve
Included meal: Breakfast

Depart for the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, declared South Africa’s first World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999.

• Admire the flora and fauna of the St. Lucia Estuary on a river cruise (Please note: If your flight to Durban is in the morning on day 10, you will enjoy the St. Lucia Estuary cruise in the afternoon on day 10 instead.)

• Try to spot hippos, bush bucks, crocodiles, fish-eagles, monkeys, kingfishers, and mudskippers

This afternoon, join a wildlife guide and head out for a game drive at the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, looking for the Big Five as you go. (Please note: Depending on timing, your Tour Director may move the game drive to the morning of days 11 or 12.)

Swaziland1 night
Day 12: Transfer to Swaziland
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enter the Kingdom of Swaziland, one of Africa’s smallest countries and the continent’s last absolute monarchy.

• Stop at a local market

• Pass mountains, forests, and farms

Sit down for an included dinner this evening.

Kruger Region2 nights
Day 13: Transfer to the Kruger Region
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Continue on to the Kruger Region in South Africa, making stops along the way.

• Visit a glass blowing factory

• Say goodbye to Swaziland as you cross the border into South Africa

Sit down for an included dinner this evening.

Day 14: Kruger National Park game drives
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Set out for a full day of game drives, where you’ll have a chance to see the Big Five game animals: buffalo, elephants, leopards, lions, and rhinos. Sit down for an included dinner this evening.

Johannesburg1 night
Day 15: Transfer to Johannesburg
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Make your way to Johannesburg, where you’ll join your group at tonight’s farewell dinner.

Overnight Flight1 night
Day 16: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport to board your flight home, or continue on the tour extension to explore Victoria Falls.

Arrive Home
Day 17: Arrival at home

Arrive home today.

Extension to Victoria Falls

When the Zambezi River is at its highest, the towering column of spray from Victoria Falls can be seen from over 20 km away. This magnificent waterfall—the world’s largest—marks the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Although the explorer David Livingstone named the falls after Queen Victoria, the locals call this natural wonder "the smoke that thunders.” Please note: A visa is required for U.S. and Canadian passport holders to enter Zimbabwe.

Victoria Falls3 nights
Day 16: Sightseeing tour of Chinotimba Township
Included meal: Breakfast

Fly to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, located on the southern bank of the Zambezi River. Then, take a guided tour of Chinotimba Township, a village of the Nambya and Tonga people.

• Get a glimpse of local township life

• See old houses, taverns, local markets, and churches

Day 17: Sightseeing tour of Victoria Falls
Included meal: Breakfast

Explore Victoria Falls, the largest curtain of falling water in the world, on a guided tour. Then, continue on to visit a local charitable organization.

• Take in spectacular views of the falls from several vantage points

• Learn about the history, flora, and fauna of the area

• Visit the Rose of Charity to learn about their projects and ongoing work to improve the quality of life in local communities

Enjoy a free evening in Victoria Falls or add an excursion.

Sundowner Cruise
Excursion (additional cost)
Day 18: Free day in Victoria Falls
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a free day in Victoria Falls.

Later, join your fellow travelers at a farewell dinner.

Overnight Flight1 night
Day 19: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast

Fly back to Johannesburg, where you’ll board your overnight flight home.

Arrive Home
Day 20: Arrival at home

Arrive home today.

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4.7 average
Truly a Journey of Discovery!
by 2nd time traveler 

This trip to South Africa was the most interesting and wonderful trip, and my favorite trip. My two grandchildren and I saw so much, did so much, and learned so much. South Africa is beautiful and different, the people are warm and friendly all over, seeing the animals up close and personal was unbe...

Read more +
by 3rd time traveler 

I use Go Ahead Tours for the best of Everything! I am accustomed to best hotels, travel, food, and tours. Love this company. Scotland and Ireland was beautiful!

The Big Five & a Beautiful Big Region of Extremes: Complexity, Community, Chaos
by 3rd time traveler 

You'll see a surfeit of African animals in diverse settings from west to east to north. You'll see arid and wet landscapes. You'll see townships and charities, music and dance. You'll see mountain ranges and coastal sands. You'll see wealth and poverty. You'll see why so much blood was shed fighting...

Pros and Cons
by 2nd time traveler 

I'm writing this on behalf of my parents based on the feedback they gave me. They had a great time as this was the first time they traveled on a tour like this alone but said they met amazing people who they would love to travel with again. They had a lot of praise for the tour director Christopher...

Go Ahead Tours replied on 12/11/2018

Dear Jarnail, Thank you for your review. We are gl...

by 11th time traveler 

We just returned from South Africa and extension to Zimbabwe and highly recommend this tour. Be prepared to a good bit of travel on the bus but overall it was worth it consisting all that we saw. Our tour director, Chris, was outstanding, very knowledgeable and a people person. He is the first to...

Go Ahead Tours replied on 12/06/2018

Dear Theresa, Thank you very much for sparing a fe...

Our reviews are authentic and unedited.
Hotels, flights, & FAQ

Here's the nitty-gritty—where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there, and what to know about your destination before you go.


We handpick every hotel to strike the balance of comfort, location, and local charm. Specific accommodations will vary based on your departure date, but these are frequently used hotels for this tour and we're confident you'll be satisfied.

Southern Sun Cape Sun

This elegant hotel is located in the city center of Cape Town. Guests enjoy free Wi-Fi, a restaurant and bar, an indoor pool, and a spa. Nearby, you’l...

Protea Knysna Quays

This stylish, scenic hotel is located in Knysna. Guests enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool, and a sun deck. Nearby, you'll find Knysna Elephan...


Round-trip flights are one more thing we handle to make your journey as smooth as possible. Our team of travel experts will find the best flight itinerary for you at a competitive rate, thanks to our partnerships with top airlines.

Add our airfare package and you'll get:
  • Round-trip flight for your tour
  • Airport transfers at your destination
  • A great price locked in today
  • 24/7 support from our dedicated service team
  • Options for arriving early, staying longer, or requesting an upgrade
  • Flexible rebooking options if your tour itinerary changes
  • Find out more about flights
Passport & visa requirements
  • In order to enter South Africa and Swaziland (plus Zimbabwe on the tour extension), U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.
  • We recommend having at least three blank passport pages for entry stamps.
  • There is no visa required for U.S. and Canadian citizens traveling to South Africa and Swaziland.
  • U.S. and Canadian passport holders must obtain a visa in order to enter Zimbabwe on the tour extension. We recommend obtaining your individual visa by purchasing it on arrival at the airport, at the cost of $30USD. If you choose to purchase your visa in advance, you may do so by applying directly for an e-visa or by using a visa provider, such as our partner company, VisaCentral. (Please note: if you would like to visit both sides of Victoria Falls, you will need to purchase a multiple-entry visa to cross the bridge to Zambia and then re-enter Zimbabwe.)
  • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each destination country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
  • If you are or will be accompanied by a minor (under the age of 18), additional documents will be required to travel through South African ports of entry. Visit the South African Department of Home Affairs websitefor the most-up-to-date requirements for minors traveling to or from South Africa.
Tour pace
  • You will walk for about 1 hour daily across mostly flat terrain, including dirt paths and unpaved walkways, with some hills and stairs.
  • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
  • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times, as well as getting in and out of boats. This tour also includes long bumpy rides in safari vehicles.
  • Go Ahead Tours and the Tour Director who accompanies your group are unable to provide special, individual mobility assistance to travelers on tour. The responsibility of the Tour Director is to ensure the group as a whole enjoys a relaxing and informative journey, and he or she cannot be relied upon to provide ongoing, individualized assistance to any one traveler.
  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.
Transportation & arrival information
  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead Tours arrive in Cape Town and depart from Johannesburg. A representative from Go Ahead Tours will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.
  • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead Tours. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead Tours for an additional cost.
  • Flights from Port Elizabeth to Durban as well as a boat ride to Robben Island and St. Lucia Wetlands are included in the price of your tour. (The tour extension also includes one round-trip flight between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls.)
  • During game drives, you will be traveling in a specially equipped safari van.
  • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.
Baggage allowance
  • Please note that our travelers are limited to one checked bag and one carry-on bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.
  • Contact your airline(s) for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flights, which may include on-tour flights in addition to your round-trip flights to and from tour. Please note that your included on-tour flights may have more restrictive baggage limits.
  • Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage or exceed baggage size and weight restrictions. Be advised that you are responsible for any baggage fees incurred on all flights.
  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication, and documents in your carry-on bag.
Clothing & packing tips
  • Loose-fitting, layered clothing that can accommodate varying temperatures will be most comfortable. Quick-dry material is best for hot days outside and a warmer layer may be needed for chilly evenings and early mornings.
  • Comfortable closed-toes shoes, such as sneakers or lightweight hiking boots, are best for walking during the day.
  • Sun protection is very important. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a broad-brimmed hat to protect your face and the back of your neck from the sun.
  • Occasional rain showers are common during certain seasons, so lightweight rainwear may be necessary depending on the timing of your trip.
  • Insect repellent, binoculars, and a flashlight are highly recommended.
  • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at
  • Local governments may require proof of a yellow fever vaccination (often referred to as a yellow card) or a statement of medical exemption from the vaccine. This is only required of travelers arriving from a country with a risk of yellow fever virus transmission. (Please note: This does not include the U.S. or Canada.) Visit more information. Travelers flying with South African Airways with a fuel-stop in Dakar, Senegal, will not be exiting the aircraft and therefore will not be required to present proof of vaccination due to this stop.
  • Bring a small first aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication, motion sickness medication, and any prescription medications in your carry on luggage.
  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour and any possible delays encountered.
  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead Tours at least 30 days prior to your departure by logging in to your account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.
  • You’ll find that most cuisine in South Africa reflects the region’s British, German, and Dutch colonial periods as well as Afrikaner influences. High-quality meats, vegetables, and fruits are sourced from the surrounding area’s farmland.
  • On the tour extension in Zimbabwe, cornmeal is an important staple used for making porridge and sadza, which is thicker and resembles Italy’s polenta. Rice, greens, potato, pumpkin, peanuts, black-eyed peas, and local fruits are popular additions to any meal.
Electricity & air conditioning
  • South Africa operates on 220–240 volts and uses a Type M plug with two small round pins and one larger round pin.
  • Zimbabwe (on the tour extension) operates on 220-240 volts and uses a Type G plug with three large, flat pins.
  • We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter.
  • Not all of the hotels on this tour will have air conditioning.
  • Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons, and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.
  • Wi-Fi is available in some hotels, though charges may apply.
  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches or safari vehicles.
  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.
Time zones
  • South Africa and Swaziland (plus Zimbabwe on the tour extension) are two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Time (ET). South Africa and Swaziland (plus Zimbabwe on the tour extension) do not observe Daylight Saving Time.
  • From November through March, when it’s noon in New York, it’s 7pm on tour. From April through October, when it’s noon in New York, it’s 6pm on tour.
  • You will use the South African rand on this tour. (In Zimbabwe on the tour extension, it’s recommended that you use U.S. dollars or South African rand.)
  • You may be able to purchase South African rand in advance from your local bank or a foreign currency exchange retailer, such as Travelex.
  • Please note that travelers cannot import or export more than $25,000 in South African rand and may be required to claim any additional foreign currency at customs.
  • We recommend that you carry as little local cash as possible as well as small amounts of U.S. dollars (only crisp bills printed in 2004 or later).
  • ATMs are not readily available in more rural areas.
  • Major North American credit cards are accepted but can be difficult to use in remote locations (Visa is the most widely accepted).
  • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
  • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.
  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD to $10USD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD per person per day for your driver.
  • If applicable, we also recommend tipping the equivalent of $5USD per person for your local wildlife guides per game excursion and the equivalent of $2USD per local guide.
  • Tips can only be paid in cash.
  • Gratuities for baggage handling are included in the price of your tour.
Purchasing excursions on tour
  • Most optional excursions will be available forpurchase while you are on tour.
  • Your driver/guide will accept cash (in USDonly), Visa, or MasterCard as payment for excursions.
  • Please be advised that if you pay for an excursionby credit card while on tour, it may take up to threemonths for your card to be charged.
  • Some optional excursions may only be purchased inadvance. See page four of your tour itinerary for moreinformation.
  • You will have the opportunity to shop for local handicrafts, such as wood carvings and textiles, at outdoor markets and roadside stalls. Some lodges will have boutiques on the premises as well.
  • Prices at most markets are negotiable, so don’t be afraid to bargain—it’s a great way to strike up a conversation with a local.
Items to give or trade
  • Many Africans are fond of North American goods, and travelers often bring token items (such as T-shirts, baseball caps, pens, English-language books, small toys, and crayons for children) to offer as gifts or when bartering for souvenirs.
  • Offering local children candy or gum is somewhat controversial because of the potential lack of access to dental care.
  • Go Ahead Tours strongly recommends that you don’t bring any goods that will require batteries or chargers. International travel is, by its very nature, unpredictable. We must therefore reserve the right to change this itinerary, without advance notice, to meet with local conditions at the time of travel. We appreciate your understanding. Please refer to our website for Terms & Conditions, dates, and prices.
Choose your dates to start a quote
46 Departures
Tour prices are per person, before flights from your departure city, and based on two travelers per hotel room. Tour prices include on-tour flights where applicable.
Aug 16–Sep 1, 2019
Extension available
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Sep 6–Sep 22, 2019
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Oct 11–Oct 27, 2019
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Nov 8–Nov 24, 2019
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Jan 17–Feb 2, 2020
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Jan 31–Feb 16, 2020
Feb 14–Mar 1, 2020
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Feb 28–Mar 15, 2020
Mar 13–Mar 29, 2020
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Mar 20–Apr 5, 2020
May 8–May 24, 2020
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May 22–Jun 7, 2020
Jun 19–Jul 5, 2020
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Jul 3–Jul 19, 2020
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Jul 31–Aug 16, 2020
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Aug 14–Aug 30, 2020
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Aug 28–Sep 13, 2020
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Sep 4–Sep 20, 2020
Sep 18–Oct 4, 2020
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Sep 25–Oct 11, 2020
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Oct 9–Oct 25, 2020
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Oct 23–Nov 8, 2020
Nov 6–Nov 22, 2020
Extension available
Dec 4–Dec 20, 2020
Jan 15–Jan 31, 2021
Extension available
Jan 29–Feb 14, 2021
Feb 12–Feb 28, 2021
Extension available
Feb 26–Mar 14, 2021
Mar 12–Mar 28, 2021
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Mar 19–Apr 4, 2021
Apr 2–Apr 18, 2021
Extension available
May 7–May 23, 2021
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May 21–Jun 6, 2021
Jun 18–Jul 4, 2021
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Jul 2–Jul 18, 2021
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Jul 16–Aug 1, 2021
Jul 30–Aug 15, 2021
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Aug 13–Aug 29, 2021
Aug 27–Sep 12, 2021
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Sep 3–Sep 19, 2021
Extension available
Sep 17–Oct 3, 2021
Sep 24–Oct 10, 2021
Extension available
Oct 8–Oct 24, 2021
Oct 22–Nov 7, 2021
Extension available
Nov 5–Nov 21, 2021
Dec 3–Dec 19, 2021
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