Recommended Luxury Safari Itineraries in South Africa
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South Africa has a long-standing reputation for the very best high-end wilderness adventures. While the wildlife-rich country is already acclaimed for the regular safaris offered in its several national parks, a luxurious safari in South Africa is the crème de la crème of safari opportunities around the world. Expect the highest comfort, the best of game-drive action, a gourmet menu, and a more personalized experience overall from these luxury trips.
Pick one of the suggested luxury safari itineraries below or use them as a guide to design your own luxury safari trip in South Africa with our travel experts. The safari trip of your dreams awaits.
1. A royal Kruger experience: 4 Days at Royal Malewane
A royal safari treatment awaits you in the Greater Kruger National Park. Indulge in Royal Malewane’s excellent service, and enjoy the finer things a South African wilderness has to offer. Should you desire more, it is also possible to organize self-drive safaris or guided safaris to Kruger National Park.
Day 1: Private charter flight and transfer to Royal Malewane luxury lodge. Relax after journey with a glass of champagne before a gourmet dinner.
Day 2: Enjoy a morning game drive before sunrise; one of the best times to see wildlife at its most active. End the day with a sundowner in the bush as the sun sets over the South African landscape.
Day 3: A thrilling, early bush walk awaits, followed by a relaxing spa. Dine in the bush tent, amidst glowing lanterns, sounds of the wild and local village choir. End the day under billions of stars, around a crackling fire.
Day 4: Opt for a helicopter ride over the Panorama Route, hot air ballooning over Blyde River or a cruise on Blyde Dam. At nightfall, set out into the wild with an expert tracker and a guide to watch the nocturnal animals come to life. Prepare for the departure the next day.
2. The best of two worlds: 6 Days in Greater Kruger and Madikwe
Bring together the huge variety of wildlife at the world-famous Kruger National Park with a more secluded and intimate experience in the less-commonly visited Madikwe game reserve; luxurious safari experience at its best.
Day 1: Land at Satara airstrip on a private charter, and transfer to Singita Lembombo Lodge. Stay at the private villa facing the N’Wanetsi River.
Day 2: Prepare for an early morning game drive to spot wildlife, including famously large prides of lions. Indulge in high-tea featuring decadent confectionary in the middle of the wilderness. End the under the African night sky as you sip on a glass or two of a handpicked wine.
Day 3: Start with a morning bush walk. Enjoy a wine tasting session in the lodge’s wine studio in the evening.
Day 4: Take a chartered flight to Madikwe Game Reserve. There, transfer to Molori Lodge, one of South Africa’s most luxurious.
Day 5: Start the day with an early morning game drive. Indulge in a luxurious spa in the outdoor deck surrounded by the African bush and the sounds of nature. One more game drive after sunset.
Day 6: Relish in a delicious breakfast after a morning bush walk. Spend the rest of the day at Molori Hide and Whisky Bar, sipping on some fine wine and whisky and observing wild animals at close quarters. This is the last night of the holiday.
3. A taste of the Kalahari: 3 Days at The Motse
Get ready for a safari in the unforgiving Kalahari, made unforgettable by the luxuries available on request.
Day 1: Fly to Tswalu Kalahari, South Africa’s largest private game reserve. Transfer to The Motse. Enjoy the stunning view from the comforts of your private sundeck.
Day 2: Go on a morning game drive followed by champagne breakfast. Afternoon brings another game drive and a luxurious bush picnic lunch. End the day with a quiet sundowner and braai dinner, a traditional South African barbecue.
Day 3: Explore the reserve on horseback. Relish a late afternoon spa in a private garden before the night drive in the Kalahari. Dine at your private deck with telescope for stargazing. Prepare for the return flight the next morning.
4. A Trip to two Giant Parks: 8 Days at the Greater Kruger & Kalahari
The ultimate safari holiday combining two utterly different locations — the Sabi Sands bordering Kruger National Park and the vast and dramatic landscape of the Kalahari. It is a safari experience quite unlike anything else in South Africa.
Day 1: Chartered flight to Sabi Sands, transfer to Ulusaba Rock Lodge.
Day 2: Wake up to freshly baked munchies and tea or coffee, followed by a morning game drive. Depart on an afternoon game drive in the lush valleys overshadowed by the Drakensberg Mountains. An evening sundowner awaits.
Day 3: Take to the skies as you fly over the park in a helicopter. Tonight, dine under the stars in the bush and spend the evening stargazing in bush observatory.
Day 4: Spend a leisurely morning before going on the afternoon drive. Enjoy a spot-lit evening drive before returning for a private dinner.
Day 5: Direct flight to Tswalu Kalahari. Transfer to the Tarkuni Luxury Lodge. Spend evening relaxing on the poolside deck, soaking up the semi-arid atmosphere of the Kalahari.
Day 6: Go on two game drives today — once in the morning, and again after sundown. Dine on a gourmet meal prepared by your personal chef.
Day 7: Start with an early morning bush walk, followed by a horseback exploration of the Kalahari. Dinner is a fabulous boma braai.
Day 8: Relax for the most part of the day. Cap this wonderful stay with a sundowner and a delicious gourmet meal. Your flight back home is due next morning.
5. One destination, so many safaris: 5 Days at Phinda Vlei Lodge
A safari trip that does not only guarantee encounter with wildlife but offers plenty of other activity to keep you occupied, and never once compromising on your comfort.
Day 1: Fly from Johannesburg to Phinda Private Game Reserve airstrip. Transfer to Phinda Vlei Lodge. Relax with a glass of champagne and a rejuvenating massage in the comforts of your room.
Day 2: Set out on an early morning game drive. Enjoy breakfast on the private deck; a great opportunity for game viewing and birdwatching. A late afternoon game viewing awaits you after lunch. Delicious gourmet meal under the starry sky.
Day 3: Go on ocean safari snorkelling trip in the Indian Ocean, or diving for certified divers.
Day 4: Venture on a black rhino tracking adventure on foot. Tonight, sleep beneath the stars in specially prepared luxury beds.
Day 5: Get up for a morning bush walk. Seasonally, river cruises are available too. Relax in your private plunge pool the rest of the day — prepare your heart for some unexpected guests like a thirsty elephant in the pool. Today is the last day of the stay. Prepare for a flight back home tomorrow.
6. A private safari: 6 Days in Pilanesberg and Madikwe
An enchanting private safari experience awaits you in Pilanesberg and Madikwe. The romantic air of Tshukudu with the secluded atmosphere of South Africa’s best kept secret — Madikwe, is the perfect recipe for a luxury safari.
Day 1: Fly to Pilanesberg airport and transfer to Tshukudu Bush Lodge, one of the most romantic game reserves in the country.
Day 2: A game drive before sunrise awaits. Take a much-needed spa session in the afternoon.
Day 3: Take a four-hour guided hike in park. Towards late afternoon, go for hot air balloon flight to watch sunset as you float peacefully over the park.
Day 4: Fly to OR Tambo airport. Take the air shuttle service to Madikwe Game Reserve. Check into Little Madikwe Private Camp, the epitome of luxury accommodation.
Day 5: Go on an early morning game drive in your personal game drive vehicle, accompanied by a game ranger. Sight elephants and other wild while you take a dip in the a swimming pool.
Day 6: Start your morning with a bush walk. Spend the afternoon at a game drive. Evening dinner is in the bush, around a crackling fire and under the dazzling African sky. The next day, transfer to airstrip for return flight.
7. The magic of three: 10 Days in Marakele, Pilanesberg and Kalahari
A magical safari experience calls you in the South African wilderness. Combine three national parks to create an exclusive safari story that is all yours, only yours.
Day 1: Take air taxi from Grand Central Airport to Marataba private airstrip in Marakele National Park. Transfer to Marataba Safari Lodge. Get dressed for a bush dinner under the stars.
Day 2: Early morning game drive. Return for breakfast and relax until lunch. Afternoon game drive, enjoy sundowner in the bush and return to lodge after dark.
Day 3: After breakfast, bush walk to allow you more intimate wilderness experience. Afternoon, pamper yourself in spa before taking sunset cruise on Matlabas river.
Day 4: Chartered flight to Pilanesberg National Park, transfer to Tshukudu Bush Lodge. Relax after journey with glass of champagne and enjoy scenery and wildlife from comfort of lodge.
Day 5: Game drive before sunrise. Return for breakfast then spend rest of morning indulging in spa treatment. Afternoon drive after lunch, return after sunset for dinner.
Day 6: After breakfast, four-hour guided hike in park. Return for lunch, spend afternoon relaxing at lodge. Depart for hot air balloon flight to watch sunset over the park.
Day 7: Transfer to airstrip for flight to Tswalu. Transfer to Tarkuni luxury lodge. Spend evening relaxing on deck soaking up atmosphere of the Kalahari.
Day 8: Early morning game drive to begin exploration of vast wilderness of Kalahari. Second drive in late afternoon. Finish day with night drive to observe nocturnal animal behaviour in the Kalahari.
Day 9: Start day with early morning bush walk. Afternoon, explore Kalahari on horseback. Finish day with boma braai, a traditional South African barbecue.
Day 10: Transfer to the Malori to spend final night of your holiday sleeping beneath the stars in a luxurious bed with the enormity of the Kalahari Desert all to yourself. Leave the next day.
When you think of going on South Africa tour, think of safari, think of luxury and comfort, think of sipping your favourite drink as you watch the sun go down over the timeless African landscape, think of gourmet dining under the stars. To ensure all that, and the best of the best safari experience, design a personal, tailored safari with us.
You can also check out our travel guide on how long to spend in South Africa to choose an itinerary that suits you. For a seasonal overview, see our article on the best time to visit South Africa.