Essential African Safari

9 Days | Take on the ultimate African adventure from Zimbabwe to Botswana and into South Africa

4.3 out of 5 based on 4 reviews submitted.
18 to 29s
AUD $1,628
View dates and book
This trip is for the 18 to 29 year olds

Get to know southern Africa’s big three most exciting destinations – Hwange and Kruger national parks and the jaw-dropping Victoria Falls. From South Africa's sprawling modern capital to a traditional village in Botswana, you'll experience a dizzying diversity of communities, cultures and landscapes in just over a week. Oh, and did we mention the animals you’ll see? You can expect rhino-tracking and 4x4 safaris in the day and by night you'll head out in search of the Big Five - keep your eyes (and ears) peeled.

Trip overview

Map of Essential African Safari including South Africa and Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Johannesburg, South Africa
18 to 29s, Overland
Zimbabwe, South Africa
Physical rating
Indicates how physically exerting a trip is, and how fit you will need to be to enjoy it. More info on physical ratings
Min 18 - Max 29
Group size
Min 1 - Max 22
Trip code
This trip generates 37.77 kg of CO2-e per person per day.
We offset these emissions on your behalf. But we know that is not enough, so we also have a carbon reduction target.
Bucket list destinations

Tick off all the popular spots and enjoy unique local experiences

Great value

Affordable trips with the freedom to choose how you spend your time

Responsible travel

You book, we donate to help support local communities

Why you'll love this trip
  • Discover the stunning cascades of Victoria Falls whichever way you please, with so many options to choose from – helicopter, anyone?
  • Visit the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust to learn about the rehabilitation of wildlife from conflict and poaching and have the possibility of meeting some rescued or orphaned wildlife currently in their care.
  • Pay the famous elephants and lions of Hwange National Park a visit from an open-air 4x4 vehicle on an exciting overland adventure.
  • Take your safari game to the next level by tracking rhinos on foot with an expert local guide in Matabos National Park.
  • What is the sound of a roaring lion if not a sweet soothing lullaby? You'll be camping right in the grounds of Kruger National Park, so you be the judge.

Is this trip right for you?
  • The African wild comes alive at sunrise, so there will be some early starts. Don't worry, the thrill of spotting your first lion or rhino will be well worth any loss of sleep.
  • This is an overland trip. That means you’ll be travelling with a group in a purpose-built vehicle, visiting remote communities, setting up your own tent, occasionally roughing it in the bush with no facilities, and getting the best possible views of the ‘big five’. While the trucks don’t have air conditioning, they do have sliding windows which let in the breeze and make it even easier to take spectacular snaps of the local wildlife. The drive days can be long, but it’s as much about the journey as the destination, and half the fun is the camaraderie. For more info on this style of travel, see our Africa overland page:
  • Please note that this trip can be partnered with other adventures into a ‘combo’, which means that some of your fellow travellers may have begun their journey before today, and some may carry on to further destinations at the end of this tour. If you’d like to spend more time in Africa, have a look at the combos that include this trip’s itinerary: Epic African Adventure (YGYSC) & Real Southern Africa (UBYSC).


This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2024 to 31 December 2024.

View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2023 - 31 December 2023

Map of Essential African Safari including South Africa and Zimbabwe



8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 6 dinners


Overland vehicle, Open safari vehicle


Camping (with facilities) (7 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)

  • Victoria Falls - Brewery Tour and Tasting
  • Hwange National Park - 4x4 Game drive
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust Visit
  • Kruger National Park - Overland Vehicle Game drive
Add on activities
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls Entrance Fee - USD50
  • Victoria Falls - Bridge Tour - USD68
  • Victoria Falls - Standard Sunset Cruise (excludes USD10 NP Fee) - USD45
  • Victoria Falls - Traditional Village Tour - USD55
  • Victoria Falls - Flying Fox / Bridge Slide / Zipline - USD48
  • Victoria Falls - Bridge Swing - USD168
  • Victoria Falls - Jet Boat (Seasonal - excludes USD10 NP Fee) - USD110
  • Victoria Falls - Whitewater rafting (Seasonal - excludes USD10 NP Fee) - USD126
  • Victoria Falls - Helicopter flight (12 mins - excludes USD25 Fuel & NP Fee) - USD150
  • Victoria Falls - River Song Sunset Cruise (excludes USD10 NP Fee) - USD75
  • Victoria Falls - Helicopter flight (25 mins - excludes USD30 Fuel & NP Fee) - USD284
  • Matobos National Park - Cook-led Cooking Class - Free
  • Matobo National Park - Rhino Tracking - USD100
  • Kruger National Park - Night Game Drive - ZAR290
  • Kruger National Park - Sunset Game Drive (from) - ZAR380

Dates and availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

2. This trip finishes upon arrival in Johannesburg on Day 9. Please do not book any flights until after 10pm this evening.

3. On occasion, especially during the peak months of May to September and December we are not able to secure campsites within the Kruger National Park. In this instance we will camp at a backpackers outside the park.

4. Our operator has advised that customers with the J&J vaccine and no booster may have difficulty crossing the border into Botswana (and potentially Zimbabwe) without a negative test result. This information conflicts with various government travel advice websites. We recommend you check with your local consulate before travel to ensure you have the most up to date information.

5. Border crossing delays in the region have been sporadic and difficult to predict as travel rebounds. What takes an hour one day may take four hours the next. This may affect the order of activities in the itinerary. We understand this uncertainty can be frustrating, and we strongly recommend packing a bit of patience and flexibility.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Read Essential Trip Information


4.3 out of 5 based on 4 reviews submitted.
While we try our best to display all reviews, removal may be due to the following: privacy concerns, profanity/inappropriate content or it is unrelated to this trip. We welcome honest feedback and will directly respond to negative reviews.

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Sarah · Traveled August 2023
I was nervous about doing a trip like this for the first time, as soon as the trip started any hesitations I had went away. Our crew was so friendly and accommodating. They made everything so fun! I would recommend doing this trip to anyone who would like to visit Africa and be close to the nature and wildlife.
Review submitted 04 Sep 2023

Ruby · Traveled March 2020
Absolute once in a life time opportunity! Highly recommended for those that love wildlife. Me and my sister really enjoyed it and would consider doing it again in the future Thank you Karabo, Sonkele and Gordon you were the best crew ever and I will remember you!
Review submitted 17 Mar 2020

Lisa · Traveled January 2020
The trip was amazing. Highly recommended!
Review submitted 21 Jan 2020

Kiran · Traveled December 2019
Felt like a Contiki trip. Did NOT enjoy that. If I wanted to party with a bunch of drunk strangers I wouldn't booked a Contiki trip. I wanted to learn about and see the beauty of Southern Africa. Instead, I just saw a bunch of service stops and limited camp facilities. Saw the inside of a bus and the inside of a tent most of the time. The included activities were an absolute shame. If you really wanted to enjoy your time then you'd have to shell out so much money and pay for the expensive optional activities, which completely defeats the purpose of a budget trip. Save your money and book elsewhere. Would not recommend!
Review submitted 11 Jan 2020
Essential African Safari
AUD $1,628