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Situated at the southern tip of Africa, South Africa is bounded by oceans on three sides, with an interior ranging from lush tropical forests to arid deserts, and from mountains to open savannah, or ‘bushveld’ in local parlance. Since the first democratic elections in 1994, South Africa has become one of the world’s top travel destinations, blending elements of both historic and modern, and juxtaposing epic wilderness and vibrant cities such as Cape Town.
Kruger National Park and neighboring Sabi Sands are world-famous as premier wildlife and bird-viewing destinations, while lesser known gems such as the Green Kalahari and Madikwe offer malaria-free safari options. The coastline offers superb vistas over sandy beaches and sheer, forest-covered cliffs. There are also amazing marine encounters available, from southern right whales to great white sharks.
This diversity is echoed in the country’s people and history. Filled with a colorful mixture of people and cultures, a poignant history, and a deep natural heritage, South Africans proudly describe their land as "the world in one country."
From exclusive private reserves by legendary Kruger National Park to chic Cape Town and the utterly scenic Cape coast, Boundless Journeys will craft an unforgettable custom tour of South Africa for you.
Why Trust Your Custom African Safari to Boundless Journeys?To develop a collection of truly unique safaris, Boundless Journeys has partnered with some of the best safari outfitters in Southern and Eastern Africa. In addition to experienced guides, first-class vehicles, and a diverse selection of camp and lodge options, our partners’ conservation efforts and community-mindedness are great matches for Boundless Journeys’ core philosophy.
Based on our years of designing custom safaris to South Africa, we believe that the combinations below deliver the best experiences in each region. Boundless Journeys' trip specialists can further customize these options to match your interests, and can mix and match the experiences below. Don't worry: If you don't see what you are looking for, there are many more options to explore! Give us a call at 1-800-941-8010 to start the conversation.
Cape Town is South Africa’s oldest city, famous for its diverse cultures, natural beauty, cuisine, and wine. Its highlights are legendary, including Cape of Good Hope, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, the Cape Peninsula, and iconic Table Mountain: at 3,500 feet above sea level, Table Mountain affords spectacular bird’s-eye views of both the city and peninsula. With one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world, and home to hundreds of species that are either endemic, threatened, or endangered, Cape Town and its surroundings invite endless exploration and discovery.
Sharing a 31-mile unfenced border with Kruger National Park is the Sabi Sands Wildtuin, considered the birthplace of sustainable tourism in South Africa. The reserves of the Sabi Sands are the original private reserves in the country and one of the premier spots in all of Africa for wildlife viewing — and that’s saying something!
Zebra, giraffe, hippo, and wildebeest are common sights at this 65,000-hectare reserve, and you can generally expect to see all of the Big Five (lion, elephant, leopard, rhino, and buffalo) within a two- or three-day visit. In particular, the elusive leopard is frequently spotted at Sabi Sands.
From exclusive private reserves bordering legendary Kruger National Park, to chic Cape Town and the utterly scenic Cape coast, this well-rounded itinerary provides the ultimate introduction to South Africa.
Sabi Sands | Cape Town
Day 1: Arrival and overnight Johannesburg (depending on flight schedule)Day 2: Bush flight to safari camp in Sabi Sands; afternoon safari activitiesDays 3-5: Morning and afternoon safari activities (game drives in open vehicles, guided bush walks with an armed ranger, night game drives)Day 6: Early morning safari activity; fly to Cape TownDay 7: Cape Town city tour and Table Mountain visitDay 8: Cape Peninsula tour and coastal villages explorationDay 9: Cape Winelands tour and tastingsDay 10: Departure from Cape Town
Set in what is known as the ‘Green Kalahari,’ Tswalu Kalahari is South Africa’s largest private game reserve, protecting over 110,000 hectares of spectacular grasslands and mountains. With conservation its core mission; the vision is to "restore the Kalahari to itself." No more than 30 guests at a time can discover the beauty of this arid savannah, its diverse wildlife, and the serenity of one of South Africa’s last great wildernesses.
Madikwe Game Reserve is currently the fifth largest game reserve and is also one of the lesser- known parks in South Africa; a hidden-gem that offers the Big 5 and a diverse selection of lodges in a malaria-free environment.
Ideal for the summer months of December-April, and for those who prefer to avoid needing to take malaria precautions, this Malaria-Free Safari offers excellent wildlife and diverse landscapes, from the Madikwe highlands to the 'Green Kalahari'
Madikwe Game Reserve | Tswalu Reserve
Day 1: Arrival and overnight Johannesburg (depending on flight schedule)Day 2: Bush flight to safari camp in Madikwe Game Reserve; afternoon safari activitiesDays 3-4: Morning and afternoon safari activities (game drives in open vehicles, guided bush walks with an armed ranger, night game drives)Day 5: Early morning safari activity; fly to Tswalu ReserveDays 6-7: Morning and afternoon safari activities (game drives in open vehicles, guided bush walks with an armed ranger, night game drives, visits to habituated meerkat colony, optional horseback riding)Day 8: Fly to Johannesburg or Cape Town for departure or further travels
An ideal add-on to your travels in Southern Africa, we suggest at least 4 nights in Cape Town to enjoy it's diverse highlights. Shorter or longer options are available.
Day 1: Arrival to Cape TownDay 2: Cape Town city tour and Table Mountain visitDay 3: Cape Peninsula tour and coastal villages explorationDay 4: Cape Winelands tour and tastingsDay 5: Departure from Cape Town
Cape Town is South Africa's oldest city, famous for its diverse cultures, natural beauty, cuisine, and wine. Its highlights are legendary, including Cape of Good Hope, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, the Cape Peninsula, and iconic Table Mountain: at 3,500 feet above sea level, Table Mountain affords spectacular bird's-eye views of both the city and peninsula. With one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world, and home to hundreds of species that are either endemic, threatened, or endangered, Cape Town and its surroundings invite endless exploration and discovery.
Cape Grace, South Africa
One of our all-time favorite boutique hotels, the Cape Grace is situated on a private quay at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, walking distance from its many shops and restaurants. All rooms are custom-decorated, featuring exquisite furniture, rich fabrics, luxurious marble bathrooms, and intriguing details. The Bascule Bar offers casual dining, while the fresh and inventive cuisine of Signal Restaurant is a Cape Town highlight. A well-equipped fitness studio, award-winning spa, pool and outdoor deck offer options for relaxation after days exploring the Cape.
Cape Town, South Africa
Located at the foot of Table Mountain, the Cloud 9 Boutique Hotel is walking distance from the heart of Cape Town and less than a 10-minute drive from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, as well as Camps Bay and Clifton Beaches. Amenities include a rooftop bar, sun deck and pools, and an on-site spa.
Franschhoek, South Africa
On the outskirts of Franschhoek village and ideally located in the heart of South Africa’s wine country, the Franschhoek Country House offers 5-star accommodations on what was once a Huguenot homestead. Surrounded by wine farms and mountain vistas, the house and its restaurant, Monneaux, offer a tranquil retreat of luxury and relaxation.
Well located in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront area, the Queen Victoria Hotel offers boutique accommodation in 3 suites and 32 luxury rooms featuring either Table Mountain or Waterfront views. The hotel offers designer spa, state-of-the-art gym, pool, and multiple dining options, all within walking distance of the shops and restaurants of the Waterfront.
With a wine-producing history dating back to the 17th century, South Africa is renowned for its outstanding array of wines. The country is highly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean whose cooling breezes affect the grapes grown here. Thus, the predominant types are similar to what would be found in France, Germany, and northern Italy: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Mourvedre, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and "Pinotage" (a South African invention, created by grafting Pinot Noir and Hermitage).
Just a short drive from Cape Town, South Africa's Cape Winelands boast spectacular scenery blended with charming Cape Dutch architecture, making for a compelling destination for both oenophiles and those simply looking for an idyllic countryside retreat.
Le Quartier Francais is a romantic 32-room boutique hotel including two independent villas (perfect for families or small groups) located in the heart of Franschhoek. Extraordinary staff, luxurious yet comfortable rooms, and attention to detail ensure that this auberge is an ideal destination for exploring the Winelands.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Originally a private residence, The Peech is a 16-room eco-chic retreat certified in Fair Trade tourism. Surrounded by lush gardens, the hotel evokes an oasis set apart from the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg, while offering easy access to up-and-coming neighborhoods.
At nearly 2,000,000 hectares in size, the world-renowned Kruger National Park has several private reserves within and on its borders. At over 7,500 square miles, it is one of the largest game reserves in Africa, offering jaw-dropping scenery, rich biodiversity, and amazing wildlife encounters with an impressive number of species: 507 birds, 147 mammals, and 114 reptiles. Unforgettable day and night game drives in big game country, as well as a range of affordable and luxury accommodation options including bush lodges, deluxe tented camps, and overnight hides make Kruger National Park a renowned safari destination.
Timbavati Private Game Reserve, South Africa
Set on the banks of a seasonal river in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve in the heart of northern Kruger National Park, Tanda Tula Safari Camp is a friendly, classic bush-style safari camp, shaded by majestic trees and overlooking a productive watering hole. 12 comfortable ensuite tents with private decks are complemented by a swimming pool and an open-air main lodge that is the setting for convivial evening gatherings by the fireplace.
Located next to Kruger National Park, Thornybush Private Reserve offers excellent wildlife viewing from a small collection of intimate lodges, each with its own distinct character. Enjoy luxury accommodation and delicious cuisine as a perfect complement to your safari experience.
Sharing a 31-mile unfenced border with Kruger National Park is the Sabi Sands Wildtuin, considered the birthplace of sustainable tourism in South Africa. The reserves of the Sabi Sands are the original private reserves in the country and one of the premier spots in all of Africa for wildlife viewing -- and that's saying something!
Lion Sands Game Reserve, South Africa
A private experience, a "treehouse" sleep out is an unforgettable experience. Reserved as an optional add-on for those staying in the Lion Sands Game Reserve, Chalkley’s Treehouse is set amid untouched wilderness, surrounded by African bush and uninhibited wildlife. Chalkley’s is a simple but elegent platform equipped with a comfortable bed draped with netting and a table for two. Guests arrive to the treehouse at sunset, where drinks and a scrumptious picnic dinner await.
Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa
Enchanting, intimate and family-friendly, Founders Camp is ideally located on the Sand River in the heart of the Sabi Sands. Accommodations feature ten ensuite chalets in the shade of ancient trees, each with outside shower, veranda, and private plunge pool. The camp features a pool, yoga deck, spa, restaurant and bar, and evening campfires and storytelling, along with engaging childrens programs.
Available as an optional add-on for those staying in the Lion Sands Game Reserve, a "treehouse" sleep out is an unforgettable experience. Discover the magic of the African night at the Kingston Treehouse. Set amid untouched wilderness, surrounded by African bush and uninhibited wildlife, the treehouse is a simple but elegent structure constructed of glass and wood with contemporary décor. Fully equipped with bathroom and shower facilities, the treehouse sleeps up to four people.
Sabi Sands Reserve, South Africa
With just 6 deluxe suites, featuring private decks with heated spa baths and a central swimming pool, Little Bush Camp is a charming retreat in an extensive private game reserve in the renowned Sabi Sands. Decorated with uniquely African design, complete with luxury furnishings, ensuite bathrooms, indoor and outdoor showers, and climate control, this jewel of the South African bushveld has it all beautiful setting, excellent cuisine, and abundant wildlife.
Mala Mala Game Reserve, South Africa
The largest private Big Five game reserve in South Africa, Mala Mala produces some of the most exciting wildlife sightings in Africa. 19 rooms are available, each with a spacious bathroom, temperature control, mini-bar and other amenities. The Main Camp features an impressive lounge, air-conditioned dining room and library, historic bar and a large deck. Also available is an infinity pool with magnificent views, well-appointed boutique, fitness facility and massage service.
Perched among a canopy of 100 year old trees overlooking the Sabie River, Narina Lodge evokes the feeling of a luxurious treehouse. The lodge is located in the Lion Sands Game Reserve, known as one of South Africa’s premier private game reserves, within the renowned Sabi Sands. Nine luxury suites offer complete privacy, featuring a private plunge pool overlooking the river, lounge, and deck with breathtaking panorama.
Set in the shade of 500-year-old ebony trees, Pioneer Camp is an excellent choice for small groups who prefer a private, exclusive experience. Three modern and sophisticated suites feature private pool and jacuzzi, outdoor shower, veranda, and floor-to-ceiling glass sliding panels which frame superb river views. The bathrooms are classic Victorian with modern accents. Focused on multi-generational family travel, this camp can be converted into a fully-staffed, private bush home for family groups of 614 people.
Londolozi’s Private Granite Suites offer exclusive accommodation for just six adults; discerning travelers who appreciate the finer details. Each of the three expansive suites offers elegant contemporary styling; a seamless integration with nature is achieved with large doors and windows all opening directly onto the Sand River and exposed granite bedrock. Private heated swimming pools, and an outside riverview bath are among the unique amenities.
Nestled in the largest private ?Big Five? game reserve in South Africa, each suite at Rattray?s on Mala Mala offers luxurious his-and-hers bathrooms, indoor and outdoor dining area, secluded outdoor shower, and heated plunge pool. A beautifully appointed library with rare African books, an elegant dining room, historic bar, large wooden safari deck where meals are served (with awesome game viewing), infinity pool, fitness facility, and massage service are among the amenities.
A distinctive lodge located along the Sabie River in the Lion Sands Game Reserve, within the renowned Sabi Sands, River Lodge features 20 thatched ensuite rooms overlooking the African bush or the Sabie River. Amenities include lounge area with mini bar and wooden deck, and some rooms feature private outdoor showers. Two swimming pools, an open lounge and dining area, gym and spa are also available.
Between the unfenced border with Kruger National Park and the Sand River, in the legendary Sabi Sands, Sable Camp boasts among the most prolific wildlife experiences in South Africa. A private enclave adjoining Main Camp, Sable Camp is the choice for those seeking a more intimate safari experience. A maximum of 14 guests enjoy six thatched-roof cottages, a shaded deck with views over the river, a library, bar and dining room, swimming pool, fitness center and traditional boma.
Singita Sabi Sand, South Africa
Singita Boulders Lodge is located in a private game reserve in the renowned Sabi Sands. Luxurious accommodations in 10 suites, each with ensuite bathroom and private infinity plunge pool, are complemented by a main lodge featuring swimming pool, spa, gym, library and extensive wine cellar. The surrounding landscape and animals can be seen and enjoyed from every angle, making for a truly immersive safari experience.
Singita Ebony Lodge is located in a private game reserve in the renowned Sabi Sands. Set among on the banks of the Sand River in the heart of big cat country, Ebony Lodge is a fresh interpretation of the classic safari lodge. 12 canvas and glass-walled suites, each with a private plunge pool and deck over the river, allow guests to be immersed in nature. The lodge also has a pool, gym, spa, and extensive wine cellar.
Located along the Sabie River in the Lion Sands Game Reserve, within the renowned Sabi Sands, Tinga is luxury safari lodge featuring 9 suites, each enjoying a private spot overlooking the river. Each suite features a bathroom with indoor and outdoor shower, separate lounge area with minibar, private plunge pool and deck, air-conditioning and many luxury amenities. Sophisticated and serene, the main areas open onto a deck and include a fireside lounge, dining area, and pool.
Available as an optional add-on for those staying in the Lion Sands Game Reserve, a "treehouse" sleep out is an unforgettable experience. Set overlooking the Sabie River, guests will be riveted by the many animals that arrive to quench their thirst. Tinyaleti offers a simple but elegent platform equipped with comfortable beds draped with netting and a dining table. Fully equipped with a bathroom, the treehouse sleeps up to four people (children welcome).
Tree Camp is an exclusive camp, ideally located within the Londolozi Game Reserve, on the Sand River in the heart of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Elegance and simplicity are the hallmarks of the camps six private suites, accommodating guests 16 and older. From private swimming pools and salas, to the fine decor, Tree Camp provides a matchless showcase of African excellence.
Ideally located on the Sand River in the heart of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Varty Camp the symbolic heart and soul of the Londolozi Game Reserve. 10 rooms each feature private swimming pools and thatched salas framed by timber decks overlooking the riverine bush. Living spaces are raised off the ground and shaded under a cathedral of trees. Down-to-earth and family-friendly, yet still luxurious, the camp offers daily yoga, as well as a gym, massage treatment room, and library.
This spectacular stretch of South African coastline sandwiched between mountains and the Atlantic Ocean offers some of the best land based whale watching in the world from August-December, as well as options for boarding a boat to get up-close with the "marine Big Five": whales, sharks, penguins, seals, and dolphins.
The main towns of the area are Kleinmond, Hermanus, Stanford and Gansbaai; interspersed by villages, farms, rivers, bays, coves and valleys—each with its own unique charm. Even outside of whale watching season, there is plenty to do here, from hiking in beautiful fynbos scenery to wine tasting.
Gansbaai, South Africa
With just 11 freestanding suites, this 5-star lodge boasts exceptional exclusivity and is located on 2,500 hectares of private nature reserve overlooking the countrys southernmost coast. True to its name, a sea of multi-hued flowers and lush fynbos foliage surround the stone and thatch retreat perched on a slope in the beautiful Grootbos Nature Reserve. A lively fishpond under milkwood thickets and a terrace with a swimming pool overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.
From providing accommodation options based on your budget, to recommendations on pre- or post-safari travels, to assisting you with booking regional air, to meeting you at the airport when you arrive: Boundless Journeys can help you with each step in planning your custom safari. We will seamlessly guide you, so that you can simply relax and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime in South Africa.
A variety of activities can be included on our custom South Africa safaris, but the primary activity is often game driving. The wildlife is typically most active early in the morning and late in the afternoon (these times also provide the best light for photography), and therefore we plan our activities accordingly.
Typically, one of the camp staff will knock at your tent door early in the morning, and the group will gather for a quick, light breakfast and coffee or tea before departing camp as the sun rises. We proceed slowly, and even when animals are not present, the landscape and sounds of the bush are entrancing. We spend a few hours exploring and observing animals at watering holes or on the move from one region to another.
As we come upon groups of animals, we allow plenty of time to simply observe and also take photographs. South African safari guides are experienced naturalists and will add greatly to your understanding of the animals. We keep a respectful distance - although the same cannot always be said about the animals, and it is not unusual to come nose-to-vehicle with baboons, zebras, wildebeest, gazelles, and elephants. By mid-late morning, we usually return to camp where a delicious midday meal awaits.
In the afternoon, there is usually a few hours of down time, enjoying the amenities of camp, resting, birdwatching, taking photos, or perhaps reading about the region you are visiting. By mid-afternoon, we gather for hors d'oeuvres and drinks before heading out for the afternoon activity. Some days this will be another game drive, or it may be possible to explore the area on foot in the company of our guide and a ranger. We then make our way back to camp, sometimes driving with a spotlight to look for nocturnal animals.
In the evenings, dinner is enjoyed as a group, and will vary from seated meals ordered from the daily menu, to dining in the camp boma (a traditional protected outdoor dining area). Each camp is different, some serving meals at seperate tables, while others serve meals family-style.
Summer in South Africa is from November to March, when it is likely to be a bit rainier and hotter than during the fall/winter months of April until October. Cape Town is pleasant year-round.
You may obtain other regional weather information at www.weatherbase.com.
South Africa can be a year-round destination with careful planning. In addition to great game-viewing opportunities (particularly in the private reserves bordering Kruger National Park, such as Mala Mala), South Africa offers diverse adventures and an important cultural heritage. A stay in Cape Town is a worthy addition to any safari in Southern Africa.
In terms of wildlife viewing, many agree the following are the best times to go to specific regions:
Kruger National Park: June - November; July - September for peak game viewingPrivate Reserves bordering Kruger: Year-round; June - November for peak game viewingPhinda: Year-round; March - September for peak game viewing
Today's South African cuisine is the result of a blend of influences from nearly every part of the world. Traditional African dishes have evolved along with Indian and European cooking to create a vibrant variety of tastes for the inquisitive traveler. Beef, pork, and chicken are the basis of most main dishes, with occasional opportunities to try indigenous meats like farm-raised springbok (a game meat similar to venison). Seafood may also be available, especially along the coast. From dinner at an award-winning restaurant in Cape Town to festive meals in the lodge boma, greatcuisine is an essential part of the experience when traveling in South Africa.
Vegetarians and other dietary needs can be accommodated with advance notice, though choices tend to be more limited.
Russell was born and raised in South Africa's Eastern Cape province, but now calls Cape Town home. He holds a degree in zoology and African vertebrate biology and a post-graduate honors degree in marine biology.
With his impressive credentials, Russell has hosted guests from across the globe on both marine and land-based safaris. His guiding experiences have taken him to countries as diverse and far-flung as Botswana, Mozambique, Thailand, The Bahamas, and The United Arab Emirates, but it is South Africa that stirs his deep passion for conservation of both environmental and cultural diversity—both of which are in abundance in South Africa. Russell's experience and enthusiasm make him an ideal companion for exploring all that South Africa has to offer.
With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work—the mark of a truly great leader—our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own. Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.
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