Southern African Loop Overview
Explore southern Africa's highlights on a tour from Johannesburg.
Embark on a grand adventure through southern Africa - a region brimming with vibrant displays of life and diversity. Travel through South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, and experience a plethora of African adventures. From the hum of modern commercial cities and the wild beauty of national parks, to the stillness of remote mountain kingdoms, this trip provides iconic experiences and memorable moments without sacrificing on comfort. Be uplifted by the exuberant people that inhabit this corner of the world, intrigued by its fascinating history and thrilled by encounters with the animal kingdom. On walks through ancient forests, safaris across the savanna and visits to tribal villages, there are constant reminders of Africa's beauty around every corner just waiting to be discovered.
What's included in this trip
Southern African Loop SummaryAdd to Shortlist
For those who arrive early, be sure to visit Johannesburg's Apartheid Museum. Then, journey through the spectacular Mpumalanga province along the famous Panorama Route. Stop at breathtaking Blyde River Canyon for stunning views over the region below.
Enter prime game-viewing areas and seek out Africa's Big Five. An open-vehicle night drive is a chance to see the nocturnal activities of the many animals of the savanna.
Enjoy Swazi song and dance at a cultural village before continuing on to Hlane to track white rhinos on foot. At night, sleep soundly in a cosy lodge located in the grounds of the national park.
Cross the border into Mozambique, home to a stunning, sandy coastline with jade waters teeming with tropical fish. There's plenty of time here so choose to dive beneath the glistening waters to explore the pristine coral reefs or perhaps just relax and enjoy the lush surrounds.
Explore the wetlands of the St Lucia Estuary, home to a huge diversity of animals. Why not join an optional boat cruise to see hippos and crocodiles basking on the banks.
Travel to South Africa and visit Durban. Relax on the beach or take a stroll past the shops and cafes along the promenade.
Head out on a hike to explore Drakensburg's stunning mountain ranges, rich in plant and animal life.
Pass through the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, home to elands, zebras, mongooses and hundreds of bird species. Opt to explore the markets or ride a pony to a local village in the highlands of the Kingdom of Lesotho.
Head to the Wild Coast and spend time relaxing on the beach, exploring stunning stretches of coastline and learning about the customs and culture of the local Xhosa people.
Once just an elephant sanctuary, the Addo Elephant National Park now also shelters buffaloes, leopards, rhinos and the fascinating flightless dung beetle.
With old growth forests, superb sandy beaches and a range of optional adrenalin-packed activities, the Garden Route is sure to thrill. Visit breathtaking Tsitsikamma National Park, a top spot to see dolphins, porpoises and, at the right time of year, southern right whales.
Visit Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world. See impressive stalactites and stalagmites adorning the Cango Caves.
Relax amid the rows of vines in Africa's Stellenbosch winemaking region. Visit a vineyard to learn the secrets of making South Africa's legendary whites and reds.
Discover Cape Town's mix of scenic coastline, striking mountains, colourful arts scene and cafe culture while reflecting on the exquisite Grand Garden Route.
South Africa's quaint coastal town of Lamberts Bay is best explored on foot. View spectacular flocks of gannet then indulge in a fresh seafood feast in the evening.
Travel to Namibia and journey to the serenity of the Orange River.
Glide across the waters in a canoe, under the shadow of the ancient Richtersveld Mountains. Drive to Fish River Canyon, one of the largest canyons in the world. A beautiful area teeming with birdlife and small mammals, this landscape is seriously photogenic - especially at dusk when the canyon appears to glow orange in the setting sun.
Travel to the vast and imposing sands of the Namib Desert - the red, dusty landscapes are breathtaking.
With the help of a knowledgeable local guide, spend the morning climbing some of the world's highest dunes and exploring the parched landscape of the Sossusvlei. Experience the immense silence of the desert while travelling across the strange moonscapes of the Namib-Naukluft Park. After the desert adventure, travel to Swakopmund to enjoy beaches, European architecture, boutiques and scores of good restaurants.
Travel to Namibia and visit Windhoek. Use free time to enjoy this attractive German-style capital set against a backdrop of majestic mountains.
Search out desert elephants in Damaraland.
Enjoy spotting impala, rhinos, elephants and antelopes in the Etosha National Park.
With one of the biggest and most colourful markets in Southern Africa, Rundu is a great place to explore.
Accompanied by local guides, explore the watery wilderness of Botswana's Okavango Delta. Travel on foot and in a mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe. A seasonal habitat for many birds and animals including hippos, hyenas, antelope and eagles, this is the perfect place to be immersed in African wildlife. Appreciate the tranquillity of the Okavango Delta at night when sleeping on a houseboat.
Marvel at ancient rock paintings on a guided walk before heading back into Namibia to the Caprivi Strip. Take a game drive, meet friendly villagers and soak up the serenity of this beautiful region.
With a large elephant population, thick, green forests and marshes that are home to nearly all of Africa's major species, a safari in the Chobe National Park is a wildlife-enthusiast's heaven. Look out for crocodiles and hippos basking on the shore during a relaxing sunset river cruise.
Travel into Zimbabwe to marvel at the watery spectacle that is the mighty Victoria Falls. Having seen the best of Botswana, with a touch of Namibia and Zimbabwe thrown in, perhaps reflect on this incredible experience over another African feast.
Learn about the plight of the endangered African wild dog and the efforts to save this species from extinction on a visit to the Painted Dog Conservation. Afterwards, journey to the wilds of Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park. Head out and explore the park in an open 4x4 to try and spot lions, hyenas, giraffes, elephants and more.
Travel to Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo, and use free time to explore the markets, relax in a cafe or catch a local football match. The next day, head deep into the wilderness of Matobo National Park, the domain of rare black and white rhinos.
Travel to Masvingo, Zimbabwe's oldest colonial settlement. Explore ancient ruins thought to have once been a royal palace of the Zimbabwean monarchy and still considered one of the most significant archaeological sites in southern Africa.
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