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South Africa Private Expedition
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10 days

from $12,194 AUD trip_detail hint icon

($8,295 USD)

Prices are per person, based on twin share occupancy. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange. The expedition price will be finalised at time of booking.

trip_detail module icon Private Expedition

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Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, and easy hikes.

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Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.

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Expedition Overview

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EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Spot marine life—from penguins to whales—off Africa’s southernmost shores, and stroll through the flowering fynbos of the Cape Floral Kingdom.
  • Stay at spectacular National Geographic Lodges of the World, including Grootbos Private Nature Reserve and one of the four stunning lodges set within the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve.
  • Track lions, leopards, and more with expert guides on a private game reserve.
  • Enjoy private tours of Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula.
Itinerary

From its dramatic coast to the undulating lowveld where iconic creatures roam, South Africa dazzles with its natural bounty. Get to know captivating Cape Town with a private guide, and explore the seaside landscapes of the Western Cape, blanketed in milkwood forests and exotic wildflowers. Then travel to a private game reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park for a thrilling safari experience.

Day 1: Arrive Cape Town, South Africa

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Arrive in Cape Town and transfer to your hotel, located on the Victoria Alfred Waterfront. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure, strolling the lively docks or dining on a harbor-front patio.

Day 2: Cape Peninsula

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The day starts with a guided trip along one of the most scenic roads in the world. Chapman’s Peak Drive is carved into coastal mountains, offering sweeping views of shimmering Atlantic waters. Our first stop is the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Here, hike coastline trails that run through flowering shrublands while keeping an eye out for rare bird species and baboons. Visit the reserve’s landmarks, including the Cape Point lighthouse and the Cape of Good Hope, the southwesternmost point in Africa. After lunch, walk to Boulders Beach, home to hundreds of African penguins. On your way back to Cape Town, get immersed in a sea of exotic blooms at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, where over 7,000 plant species flourish.

Day 3: Cape Town

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Ferry across Table Bay to Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Return to the mainland and ride the cable car to the summit of Table Mountain. From here, take in spectacular views over the City Bowl before descending and exploring the streets below. Wander past the brightly colored homes and mosques of the multicultural Bo-Kaap neighborhood. End your tour of Cape Town with visits to some of its foremost museums and historical sights, including the Castle of Good Hope, South Africa’s oldest existing colonial building.

Day 4: Grootbos Reserve

Today’s trip along the South African coastline takes you to the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve. Nestled in the nooks of an ancient milkwood forest with expansive views of the wildlife-rich Walker Bay, Grootbos is part of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection. This afternoon, trace the legacy of ancient peoples who once lived at water’s edge. Walk a path that winds along limestone cliffs and white-sand beaches to discover ancient seaside cave dwellings where important Stone Age artifacts and fossils have been unearthed. Tonight, as a National Geographic traveler, you’re invited to enjoy a special private dinner in the lodge’s boma, savoring excellent cuisine while surrounded by thousand-year-old milkwood trees and a starry sky.

Day 5: Grootbos Reserve

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Enjoy a full day to discover the diverse natural wonders of this pristine corner of Africa. Ride horseback along one of the many scenic trails winding through Grootbos Reserve and take in views of the vast Atlantic to the south and craggy peaks to the north. If you wish, dare yourself to encounter great whites face-to-face on an optional cage-diving adventure, or take an optional scenic flight for incredible aerial views of South Africa’s splendid coast. This afternoon, join a guide on a nature walk through the gnarled milkwood forests, a unique ecosystem in which some trees date back nearly a thousand years, or hike the fynbos-clad slopes of the nearby mountains. Breathe the sweet scents of seasonal flowers as you pass through a colorful Eden of over 750 plant species. Toast an ocean sunset from one of the lodge’s balconies.

Day 6: Grootbos Reserve

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Embark on a morning bird-watching expedition with a naturalist, spotting weavers at their dangling nests and other exotic and brightly colored species that call the reserve home. Or set out on an optional wildlife cruise, keeping your eyes out for southern right whales (June-September), dolphins, seals, and penguins. Go for an afternoon hike or take a coastal drive to see the convergence of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.

Day 7: Grootbos Reserve/Cape Town/Sabi Sabi Reserve

Fly from Cape Town to Skukuza, the airstrip for world-renowned Kruger National Park. Transfer to one of the four stunning National Geographic Unique Lodges set within the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve. Sabi Sand is the oldest private reserve in South Africa and shares an unfenced border with Kruger, allowing animals to roam freely. Head out on your first safari this afternoon and track elephants, lions, buffalos, leopards, rhinos, and so much more.

Days 8-9: Sabi Sabi Reserve

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Rise with the sun to join experienced rangers on two full days of game drives in search of wild dogs, hyenas, and impala engaged in their morning routines. If you choose, you may set out on foot with a tracker, learning about the smaller flora and fauna of the bush and identifying signs of wildlife. Grab your binoculars and go birding on the reserve, where roughly 350 species flutter and roost. Late in the afternoon, embark on a safari that continues into the evening. As the sunset creates a pallet of red, gold, and orange across the vast, African sky, stop for a sundowner drink, and then watch for the evening activity of nocturnal wildlife.

Day 10: Sabi Sabi Reserve/Johannesburg/Depart

Venture out on one last safari before flying to Johannesburg and connecting to your international flight home.

What to Expect

This expedition is rated as light; travelers should be in good health and comfortable sitting for extended periods of time. Excursions include safari drives in open vehicles on dusty, bumpy roads; wildlife cruises; and nature walks on uneven terrain, with options to go horseback riding. A typical safari day begins at dawn and includes 3- to 4-hour wildlife-viewing drives. The excursion to Table Mountain is weather dependent, and the seas can sometimes be rough during the boat transfer to Robben Island.

Accommodations
Throughout the expedition, you’ll stay in accommodations selected for their exceptional quality, location, and character, including two National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World: Grootbos Private Nature Reserve and Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve.

Expedition Team
Top private guides will accompany you throughout the trip, and local experts will meet with you along the way as described in the itinerary.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Our accommodations are selected for their exceptional quality, location, and character. Below are several of the accommodations featured on this expedition.

1 /7

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve - Western Cape, South Africa

Built on a hillside where two oceans collide, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, captures the magic of South Africa’s Western Cape.

2 /7

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve - Western Cape, South Africa

Built on a hillside where two oceans collide, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, captures the magic of South Africa’s Western Cape.

3 /7

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve - Western Cape, South Africa

Built on a hillside where two oceans collide, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, captures the magic of South Africa’s Western Cape.

4 /7

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve - Western Cape, South Africa

Built on a hillside where two oceans collide, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, captures the magic of South Africa’s Western Cape.

5 /7

Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge - Sabi Sand Reserve, South Africa

Surrounded by wildlife and inspired by nature, Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge offers an exceptional safari experience away from the crowds in the stunning Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve.

6 /7

Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge - Sabi Sand Reserve, South Africa

Surrounded by wildlife and inspired by nature, Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge offers an exceptional safari experience away from the crowds in the stunning Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve.

7 /7

Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge - Sabi Sand Reserve, South Africa

Surrounded by wildlife and inspired by nature, Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge offers an exceptional safari experience away from the crowds in the stunning Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve.

PRICES & DATES

  • date Jul 1-Dec 31, 2019
  • 2 People $14,252 AUD ($9,695 USD)
  • 4 People $13,223 AUD ($8,995 USD)
  • 6 People $12,782 AUD ($8,695 USD)

  • date Jan 1-Mar 31, 2020
  • 2 People $14,252 AUD ($9,695 USD)
  • 4 People $13,223 AUD ($8,995 USD)
  • 6 People $12,782 AUD ($8,695 USD)

  • date Apr 1-Jun 30, 2020
  • 2 People $13,517 AUD ($9,195 USD)
  • 4 People $12,488 AUD ($8,495 USD)
  • 6 People $12,194 AUD ($8,295 USD)

  • date Jul 1-Dec 31, 2020
  • 2 People $14,252 AUD ($9,695 USD)
  • 4 People $13,223 AUD ($8,995 USD)
  • 6 People $12,782 AUD ($8,695 USD)

Prices are per person based on double or single occupancy (unless otherwise noted) and do not include international airfare to/from your destination or internal flights during the expedition. Internal flights are $1,095 per person. Surcharges may apply to certain travel dates based upon international or local holidays, as well as local events and festivals.

The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange and subject to change. See the terms and conditions for this trip for more information.

  • Transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary
  • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
  • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Gratuities