Classic Tour of South Africa with Victoria Falls & Botswana

I have wanted to visit Africa since I can remember. It’s one of those destinations that I dream about often. While Morocco & Egypt are very high on my Bucket List, I want to see the Africa I’ve seen in movies & television with all of the animals on safari. When I visit the Walt Disney World Resort, about half of the time, I wind up staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. It’s a favorite of mine, and every time I walk in that amazing resort, I tell myself that I am going to “the real Africa” one day. I’m still not sure when I will get to go, but I may have found the tour I want to take when the time is right. I long to see elephants, lions, zebra, giraffe & bonteboks in the wild. I also want to visit Victoria Falls & Botswana. The latter, was never on my bucket list before a few years ago. One day, I happened to be wasting time at the Barnes & Noble (Morrow, GA) before a movie I wanted to see began at the local AMC. I bought a book that day, and fell in love with a country I had never before known.

Currently there are about 21 books in this series, and I’ve read most of them. I love Mma Precious Ramotswe, and I love how the author has basically created her country of Botswana as a character in the books as well. The books are a quick read, and I just love when a new entry in the series is published. When I visit Africa, I must visit Botswana because of the tea-loving Mma Ramotswe & her loyal associate, Grace Makutsi. If you haven’t read these, and have always wanted to visit Africa, I strongly suggest you checking this series out.

So, with all of my research of tours of Africa for a few clients of mine (I am a travel agent, you know!) I think I’ve found the one that I would book for myself, if I was booking right now. Of course, each tour company provides different levels of services, so you need to be aware of that when booking…. This tour with Gate1 Travel offers a more “budget-friendly” itinerary, but still books 3 & 4 star hotels!

Escorted Package Includes

  • All intra-flights: Cape Town-Durban, Johannesburg-Victoria Falls & Kasane-Johannesburg
  • 14 nights accommodations
    • 4 nights Cape Town
    • 1 night Hluhluwe
    • 1 night eSwatini
    • 2 nights Hazyview
    • 2 nights Johannesburg
    • 2 nights Victoria Falls
    • 2 nights Chobe
  • Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers included only with airfare purchase on package arrival & departure dates†
  • 26 meals: 14 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned motor coach
  • Game drives in modern 10-seater safari vehicles
  • Services of English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Entrance fees per itinerary

Special Features

  • Enjoy a tour of Cape Town, view the Castle of Good Hope, the Grande Parade and visit Table Mountain
  • During the Cape Peninsula Tour, visit the Cape of Good Hope reserve and view the penguin colonies at Boulders Beach
  • Game Viewing Cruise on the St Lucia Estuary, a uniquely diverse ecosystem
  • Game drive through Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve
  • A thrilling game drive in an open-vehicle through Kruger National Park
  • In Soweto, the most metropolitan township, visit Nelson Mandela’s former home
  • Visit spectacular Victoria Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Enjoy a sunset cruise on the mighty Zambezi River
  • Game drive through Chobe National Park, in northern Botswana
  • Sunset game viewing cruise on the Chobe River

†Transfers are available for purchase for land only or on alternative flight dates


DAY 1, Wednesday – Depart for South Africa
Depart for South Africa

DAY 2, Thursday – Arrive in Cape Town
Arrive in Cape Town, undeniably one of the most beautiful cities in the world. As you transfer to your hotel, you’ll see the towering symbol of the city – Table Mountain. The rest of the day is at leisure in this magnificent seaside city
Overnight: Cape Town

DAY 3, Friday – Cape Town City Tour
After an orientation meeting with your Tour Manager, depart on a half day Cape Town city and Table Mountain tour. Driving to the city center, pass famous landmarks such as the Castle of Good Hope built in 1666 by the Dutch East India Company and City Hall, a splendid baroque building, and of course the Grand Parade. See St. George’s Cathedral, the Anglican Diocese of Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Pass the Company Gardens and the Malay Quarter. The route then leads to Kloof Nek and the magnificent Table Mountain. Ascend to the top (weather permitting) by means of a cable car*. At the summit, see wildflowers, the famous silver tree, and marvel at a birds-eye view of the city and its beaches. On a clear day, it is even possible to see Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, on one side, and Cape Point on the other. Descend from the upper cableway station and proceed to the Milnerton Lighthouse. Later, you will have the opportunity to learn the three-billion-year-old story of diamonds while touring the prominent Shimansky Jewelers & Museum at Cape Town’s famous V & A Waterfront. The 45-minute tour reveals the origins of diamond mining and includes explanations of color, cut and clarity. Following the tour (or for those who do not wish to participate) stroll through the adjacent V & A Shopping Mall with its endless shopping and dining opportunities before returning to your hotel. This evening enjoy a Welcome Dinner with your Tour Manager and fellow travelers
*Table Mountain Aerial Cableway closes for annual maintenance in July & August. Exact dates will be advised in early 2021.
Overnight: Cape Town
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 4, Saturday – Cape Peninsula Tour
Depart on a full day Cape Peninsula Tour with lunch along the way. Drive to Cape Point at the southwestern tip of the Cape Peninsula, passing steep mountains, secluded coves, and sweeping beaches en route. After a stop at the fishing village of Hout Bay, one of Cape Town’s best-kept secrets, continue to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, comprising over 17,300 acres of indigenous flora and fauna, where you may see baboons by the roadside, rheboks, cape mountain zebras, bonteboks and the elusive eland. The native plant life, known as fynbos, forms one of only six floral kingdoms in the world. Following the coastline along False Bay, return to Cape Town after lunch by way of Simon’s Town. Here, visit the penguin colonies at Boulders Beach, and continue with a scenic drive over Muizenberg Mountain. Lastly, visit the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, resting at the foot of Table Mountain, for a short walking tour of the beautiful gardens before arriving to Cape Town. Tonight, experience local culture in a relaxed and comfortable environment at the optional Home Hosted Dinner
Optional: Home Hosted Dinner in Cape Town
Overnight: Cape Town
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 5, Sunday – Full Day in Cape Town
Enjoy the day at leisure in Cape Town. Perhaps join the optional South African Wine Tour* which takes you along the country’s principal wine route to the scenic towns of Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch with tastings along the way. Alternatively, thrill seekers will not want to miss the optional excursion to “Shark Alley” to experience great white shark cage diving.* Tonight, attend the optional Traditional African Dinner Experience for a memorable evening of live performances and African gastronomy before returning to the hotel
*The South African Wine Tour and Full Day Great White Shark Cage Diving operate simultaneously. Passengers may opt to participate in only one of these tours
Optional: South African Wine Tour
Optional: Full Day Great White Shark Cage Diving
Optional: Traditional African Dinner Experience
Overnight: Cape Town
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 6, Monday – Flight to Durban, Game Viewing Cruise on the St. Lucia Estuary
This morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Durban. Upon arrival in the early afternoon, drive to St. Lucia. Later, embark on a game viewing cruise that takes you on the St. Lucia Estuary. This tidal estuary is home to Nile crocodiles, hippopotami, sea turtles, and even sharks, making it a fascinating and uniquely diverse ecosystem. This evening, enjoy dinner at the hotel
Overnight: Hluhluwe
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 7, Tuesday – Game Drive in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, Travel to eSwatini
After an early breakfast, travel to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, situated in northern KwaZulu Natal, which contains an immense diversity of fauna and flora and is particularly famous for its conservation of black and white rhinos. Home to Africa’s “Big Five,” you may have a chance to see elephant, Cape buffalo, lion and leopard, in addition to rhino during your morning game drive through the reserve. The park also boasts warthog, crocodile, and antelope. Following the safari, continue to the border of the Kingdom of eSwatini*. This independent kingdom within the borders of South Africa is known for its lovely scenery and vibrant indigenous culture. Stop at a handicraft market this afternoon before arriving to your hotel in the early evening
*eSwatini is an independent country from South Africa and therefore has different entry requirements. Non-US passport holders are responsible to check if a visa is required for eSwatini in addition to all other countries on their itinerary
Overnight: eSwatini
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 8, Wednesday – eSwatini Sightseeing and Matsamo Village Visit
After breakfast visit the Ngwenya glass factory, where visitors can watch talented glass blowers create a range of enchanting African animals, birds and fish, as well as tableware, made from recycled glass that is collected by the children of eSwatini. Transfer to the South African border and visit Matsamo Cultural Village where you can learn more about the Swati traditions and customs. Enjoy traditional dance and song performances with authentic African instruments as well as traditional Swati cuisine. You may wander through the village with its many traditional huts and interact with the locals. Later, continue to the hotel in time for dinner
Overnight: Hazyview
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9, Thursday – Kruger National Park Game Drive
The day begins at dawn with coffee, tea, and rusks, a South African dry biscuit. Upon departure from the hotel, a pre-packed breakfast will be provided for you. Then, on to Kruger National Park for a thrilling full day open-vehicle game drive. Larger than the state of Connecticut, the park offers some of the best game and wildlife viewing opportunities in the world, and early morning is an optimal time of day. You may have a chance to see lion, elephant, giraffe, or zebra in their natural habitat. After stopping at a rest camp for lunch, continue your game drive. With any luck, you may even see cheetah and leopard. After the day’s excitement, relax by the pool and enjoy dinner at the hotel
Overnight: Hazyview
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10, Friday – Panorama Route to Johannesburg
Depart after breakfast and travel to Mpumalanga Province, known as “Paradise Country,” driving the spectacular “Panorama Route.” Stop to admire the views of amazing scenery along the 16-mile-long Blyde River Canyon, cut deep into red sandstone, and God’s Window (weather permitting), a breathtaking vista at the edge of the escarpment overlooking Kruger National Park. Visit Bourke’s Luck Potholes, a series of waterfalls and distinctive rock formations created by countless millennia of water erosion before proceeding this afternoon to Johannesburg. Stop at a family-run curio shop before arriving at the hotel
Overnight: Johannesburg
Meals: Breakfast

Blyde River Canyon, Panorama Route, South Africa

DAY 11, Saturday – Soweto Tour
After an early breakfast depart on a half day tour of Soweto. Experience a fascinating glimpse of the bustling neighborhood life of Soweto, the most metropolitan township in the country, setting trends in politics, fashion, music, dance and language. Drive by the former residence of Bishop Desmond Tutu and visit Nelson Mandela’s former home. Continue to the Apartheid Museum, where you will journey through the racial segregation experienced by millions of South Africans. This evening enjoy a Farewell Dinner with your Tour Manager and fellow travelers
Overnight: Johannesburg
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 12, Sunday – Fly to Victoria Falls & Sundowner Cruise
Transfer to the airport for your morning flight to picturesque and thundering Victoria Falls*, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Falls are a little over a mile wide and 351 feet high, making them one-and-a half times as wide and twice as high as the Niagara Falls. Here, you can still encounter herds of buffalo and elephant on their way to the Zambezi River. Afterward, return to the hotel. Tonight, attend the optional Boma Dinner & Drum Show, an unforgettable dinner experience featuring dance performances, lively songs and an interactive drumming show
*Flights to Victoria Falls will arrive into Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe or Livingstone, Zambia. The Livingstone airport is a 30-minute drive to the hotel in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Optional: The Boma Dinner & Drum Show
Overnight: Victoria Falls
Meals: Breakfast


DAY 13, Monday – Guided Tour of Victoria Falls
This morning, take a guided tour of the Victoria Falls, one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of the World”. The walking safari takes you through the magnificent rainforest to view the Cataracts, Livingstone’s statue and a wide variety of birds and plants. The rest of the day is yours to discover this beautiful area independently, or consider joining the optional guided Market Shopping Tour to discover Zimbabwe’s culture, artwork and handicrafts. Visit open-air markets and a variety of galleries and shops selling intricate wood carvings, stone sculptures, beaded jewelry and authentic African art
Optional: Market Shopping Tour
Overnight: Victoria Falls
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 14, Tuesday – Sunset Game Viewing Cruise in Chobe, Botswana
Spend a leisurely morning, or awake early for another chance to view the falls. Join the optional Victoria Falls Sunrise Walk through the luscious rainforest with your guide. Marvel at the spectacular Victoria Falls as the sun rises over the Zambezi River. The stunning sunrise provides great photo opportunities. After breakfast, travel from Victoria Falls over the border into Botswana. Upon arrival at the hotel, lunch will be served. Chobe’s wildlife roams in abundance and diversity. It is home to the largest concentration of elephant in Africa and during the dry season these herds, as well as large herds of buffalo, congregate along the fertile flood plains of the Chobe River. Spend time at leisure before departing on a sunset cruise where you will be introduced to a totally different game viewing experience. What better way to view wildlife, including numerous bird species, than drifting slowly down a side channel, the silence is broken only by bird calls. From the boat, it is possible to see herds of mighty elephant, giraffe, hippo and other wild animals returning to the Chobe River to quench their thirst
Optional: Victoria Falls Sunrise Walk
Overnight: Chobe
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15, Wednesday – Morning Game Drive in Chobe National Park
Magnificent sightings early this morning on the game drive in Chobe National Park. Be on the lookout for lion, wild dog, giraffe, sable and roan antelope, frequently seen in this area. Time on your own in the afternoon before departing on a delightful sunset cruise on the Chobe River. Tonight at dinner, share the day’s adventure with your fellow travelers on your last night in Botswana
Overnight: Chobe
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 16, Thursday – Depart South Africa
This morning bid farewell to Botswana and transfer to the airport in Kasane. Fly to Johannesburg and connect to your international departure flight this evening. Please select flights that depart no earlier than 7:30 PM
Meals: Breakfast

OPTIONAL TOURS (Not included in the price of the tour):

Home Hosted Dinner in Cape Town (Day #4 Optional)

This dinner will allow you to meet a local South African family and visit their home. You will have the opportunity to enjoy a home cooked three course meal with wine typical to South Africa. Give yourself the chance to experience local culture in a relaxed and comfortable environment with fascinating conversation about the way of life in South Africa, while also exchanging views as well as experiences with your hosts.

Full Day Great White Shark Cage Diving (Day #5 Optional)

Join a thrilling full day excursion to “Shark Alley” to experience great white shark cage diving. Early this morning depart Cape Town and head east to the coastal fishing town of Gansbaai. Upon arrival, the crew of your expedition boat will review the day’s activities, safety etiquette and provide fascinating insight to these marine predators. Enjoy a light breakfast before boarding your boat and heading out into the open waters between Geyser Rock and Dyer Islander where great white hunt for seals and penguins. Outfitted with a wetsuit, lifejacket and snorkeling mask, climb through the top of the cage secured to the boat. You will take turns with your fellow divers watching these predators under water and from the comfort of the ship deck.

Return to the port in the early afternoon where you will be greeted with a hot bowl of soup and bread. Relax as the marine biologist recaps your adventure and answers any remaining questions before your return to Cape Town.

*Departure from the hotel will be as early as 4 AM and the drive from Cape Town to Gansbaai is approximately 2.5 hours (one way). The boat will be launched around 9 AM and the boat trip will last between 3-5 hours depending on the weather and sea conditions. Shower facilities will be available after the ship returns from the dive. The return transfer to Cape Town will be at approximately 2 PM and arrival at 4:30 PM. Pick-up and drop-off times are approximate and will be advised locally.

*Due to limited capacity, advanced booking is recommended for this tour. This is not an exclusive tour and therefore you may be with passengers from other tour companies. Shark sightings are not guaranteed and are dependent upon weather and sea conditions. Due to inclement weather and/or rough seas, this tour may be canceled and refunded.

*Sea conditions can be unpredictable and may become choppy or very rough at times. As a result, some customers experience discomfort and/or seasickness. Some over-the-counter medications, such as Dramamine or Benadryl, may help reduce or prevent seasickness. Clients who are prone to seasickness are advised not to participate in this tour.

South African Wine Tour (Day #5 Optional)

Wind through South Africa’s fertile valleys, prized for their renowned vintages, and discover the rustic beauty of sprawling estates shaded by giant oaks and rows of vines running as far as the eye can see. Travel the country’s principal wine route and enjoy tastings at some of the excellent vineyards along the way. Begin with a visit to Stellenbosch, South Africa’s second oldest town and the historic heart of the country’s wine region. First recognized as an ideal location for vineyards in 1679, viticulture has been entwined with the town’s history ever since. Also of interest is the town’s fascinating variety of architecture, including buildings in Cape Dutch, Georgian, and Victorian styles. Then continue northwest to the old, scenic village of Franschhoek, founded near the Drakenstein Mountains in 1688 by French immigrants, whose descendants eventually supplied highly sought after wine to Napoleon, Bismarck, and even King Edward VII. Stop for lunch on your own, and then enjoy a final tasting before bidding farewell to the wine country and returning to Cape Town.

Approximate tour duration is 8 hours.

*Optionals “Full Day Great White Shark Cage Diving” and “South African Wine Tour” operate at the same time and should not be booked together.

Traditional African Dinner Experience (Day #5 Optional)

Treat yourself to a memorable evening of entertainment and traditional African gastronomy. Enjoy an exciting interactive djembe drumming session before dinner. Then, savor a 14-course meal with dishes from several African nations, accompanied by live performances. While dining, you will also witness an extraordinary Mali puppet show.

Approximate tour duration is 4.5 hours.

The Boma Dinner & Drum Show (Day 12 Optional)

Tonight, experience an unforgettable evening at The Boma Dinner & Drum Show. Enjoy the hospitality of the Zimbabwean people during an evening of entertainment featuring a four-course dinner including a variety of game meats and traditional Zimbabwean dishes. Revel in the energetic dance performances, lively songs, storytelling and interactive drumming show. This is a truly captivating event!

Approximate tour duration is 3 hours.

Market Shopping Tour (Day #13 Optional)

Embark on a shopping tour to discover Zimbabwe’s culture, artwork and handicrafts. Enthusiastic shoppers in search of bargains can try their hand at the African system of ‘barter-trade’. Visit open-air markets and a crochet hall where skilled artisans make lace by hand. Stroll through a variety of galleries and shops selling intricate wood carvings, stone sculptures, beaded jewelry and authentic African art.

Approximate tour duration is 2 hours.

Victoria Falls Sunrise Walk (Day #14 Optional)

Experience the magic of Victoria Falls one more time on a guided sunrise walk. Begin early in the morning with a hike through the luscious Victoria Falls rainforest. Marvel at the spectacular Victoria Falls, the tallest waterfalls in the world, as the sun rises over the Zambezi River. The stunning sunrise provides great photo opportunities.

Approximate tour duration is 1.5 hours.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to pack my bags for what seems to be a once-in-a-lifetime memorable experience! As of September 2020, pricing begins around $4500 – 5000.00 per person, based on double occupancy, not including the optional tours or airfare to/from South Africa. If you would like more information or to get actual pricing, just give me a shout! !