Let me tell you, it feels really good to be planning a big trip again. I cannot tell you how excited I am now that we have locked in on booking a trip to South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana this autumn. I have really ramped up the Africa travel planning, and I am excited to continue sharing updates with you. It seems like the travel Gods are starting to smile down on us after a few rough years of having to cancel plans as well. South Africa just recently announced that it will be ending its COVID-19 testing requirement for entry for vaccinated travelers, which is huge news for us. Botswana had already ended its testing requirement for vaccinated travelers, so all we need to worry about now is entry into Zimbabwe and back into the United States. Hopefully, more countries follow suit and end the needless testing requirement for vaccinated travelers this year and make the lives of responsible travelers a lot less stressful.
In the second part of my Africa travel planning guide, I am going to outline what our travel itinerary will look like for this trip and start to talk about the logistics of our travel. Instead of booking a comprehensive tour for this trip, we have decided to book most of the travel and accommodations on our own, then use smaller tours for the sights that we would like to see. This means a lot more work planning the travel for me, but it also means that we will see significant savings and have a lot more flexibility to do what we want to do on this trip. This is important because we have a lot that we would like to see and do, and only a few weeks in which to do it. In this guide, I will share my secrets for making sure that I have all of the logistics covered as well as how much we are saving by planning a majority of this trip on our own. Before you dive into this installment of my Africa travel planning, I have linked to part one of my trip planning guide below for you to review if you haven’t already.
Our Africa Trip Travel Itinerary
As you can see in the map in my Africa travel planning guide above, there are quite a bit of logistics for me to plan for this trip. Essentially, we will be visiting four different areas on this trip. Because we fly Delta Airlines frequently and have points to use, we will be flying into an out of Johannesburg, South Africa. That will be our entry and exit point for this trip, so I will need to plan on starting and ending my itinerary in Johannesburg. From there, we will be taking a large loop down to the Southern Coast of South Africa, up into Botswana and Zimbabwe, and then back down to Johannesburg to fly home. All together, we have allotted sixteen days to complete this tour of South Africa and the Victoria Falls area.
Days 1-2: Travel to South Africa
Because of the time difference between the United States and South Africa, we will essentially lose almost a full day traveling out there just from the time difference alone. Together with the 24+ hour travel time, we are looking at almost two trip days (though really only one actual day) spent getting from the United States to Johannesburg, South Africa. We will be arriving early in the evening and getting some rest because we get picked up at our hotel for a four-day safari tour in Kruger National Park the next day.
Days 3-6: Kruger National Park Tour
We have decided to book a safari tour to see the famed Kruger National Park instead of renting a car and doing a self-drive. Although, it isn’t because we are afraid of doing a self-drive. We did a self-drive of Arusha National Park in Tanzania and loved the experience. If there is any park in Africa that is equipped to make self-driving safaris safe and fun it is Kruger, so definitely don’t be discouraged to do it. We chose to book a tour because we want to have experienced guides help us find the wildlife. Traveling to Africa is something we are lucky and privileged to be able to do, but we cannot afford to go often. Maximizing our chances of having good wildlife sightings is important to us.
If you would like to check out the tour we decided to use, I included a link below. We decided to book with Tour Radar again because the professionalism and class they treated us with for the Middle East tour we had to cancel is something we greatly appreciated and won’t soon forget. We decided it would only be right to reward their great customer service with our loyalty. Not to mention, they have some fabulous Kruger National Park tours available, including this premier 4-day safari that we booked.
|Learn More About Our Tour:|
|4 Day Classic Kruger Park Safari|
Days 7-8: Golf and Garden Route National Park
After our safari in Kruger National Park, we will be dropped off at our hotel in the Johannesburg area to rest up for the evening as we have an early morning flight South the following day to the George, South Africa area. We are visiting the George area because it sits near the entrance to the breathtaking Garden Route National Park and is in close proximity to many incredible South African golf courses. We plan on spending our first day in the George area driving along the coastline and enjoying the national park and then golfing the following day.
Days 9-10: Tour Cape Town
After touring the coastline and doing some golfing in the George, South Africa area, we will hop onto another flight on the morning of our ninth day of the trip to take a short flight to Cape Town. Cape Town, South Africa is a city that I have long wanted to visit because of its beauty, so I am very excited to get there and start exploring. Without a doubt, I will be working on additional travel planning materials for our time in Cape Town in the coming months, including a photography guide on areas where I would like to photograph this stunning city.
The biggest challenge that we will face while touring Cape Town is finding a place to get a COVID PCR test as we will be flying from Cape Town, South Africa to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. We will likely need to get tested on the day that we arrive in Cape Town so that we can be assured of having our results by the morning of our flight. This is where I really hope Zimbabwe drops their COVID testing requirement for vaccinated travelers before our trip like South Africa and Botswana have.
Day 11: Travel to Victoria Falls
After spending eight days exploring South Africa, we will board a flight from Cape Town to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Not only are we very much looking forward to exploring this incredible waterfall during our visit, but we also plan on using Victoria Falls as a base on which to take some additional safaris within Zimbabwe and Botswana. The first day we arrive will be all about getting settled into our camp and getting ready for our adventures in the area.
Day 12: Chobe National Park Tour
On our first full day in Victoria Falls, our plan is to take a day safari into the famed Chobe National Park. To be honest, I really wish we had more time on this trip to explore Botswana, as it is famed for having some of the wildest and most authentic wildlife game viewing parks in Africa. While we will get to go on a land and boat safari in the incredible Chobe National Park, we will not have time to check out the Savuti area (known for its large prides of lions who hunt elephants) or the Moremi Game Reserve (which is known for its incredibly large herds of elephants). A taste of the area will have to suffice for this trip, but we are very excited, nonetheless.
|Learn More About Our Tour:|
|From Victoria Falls: Chobe National Park Private Tour|
Day 13: Hwange National Park Tour
On our second full day in the Victoria Falls area, we plan on spending the time on safari in another one of Africa’s premier wildlife parks. Like Chobe National Park in Botswana, the incredible Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe is renowned for its incredible density of wildlife. In addition to its wealth of elephant herds, it is also one of the best places in southern Africa to view African Wild Dogs and is home to all of the Big Five animals of Africa. Again, we decided to book a day tour from Victoria Falls instead of renting a vehicle and doing a self-drive so that we can lean on the knowledge of a guide to maximize our chances of spotting wildlife.
|Learn More About Our Tour:|
|Hwange National Park Full Day Game Drive Safari|
Day 14: Tour Victoria Falls
On our final full day in Victoria Falls, we will spend the day preparing to travel home and spend part of the day touring the waterfall itself. Considered to be one of the natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in the world and certainly one of the most beautiful. It was named after Queen Victoria by the famed British explorer Dr. David Livingstone, who discovered the waterfall in his explorations of Africa. You can view the waterfall from both the Zambian and Zimbabwean side of the falls, and we plan on booking a tour that allows us to do both. However, before we are able to get out on this tour, we will need to make sure we take a COVID-19 PCR test so that we can get back into the United States. We have already spoken to the resort we are staying at in Victoria Falls and they will coordinate that test for us.
|Learn More About Our Tour:|
|Livingstone Victoria Falls Tour Zambia And Zimbabwe Combo|
Days 15-16: Travel Home
After spending an incredible twelve days in Africa, we will start making our way home. We will be taking a flight back to Johannesburg, South Africa and then flying home late that evening from there. While I really wish we could spend more time on this trip, this will have to be enough for now. It has been a very long two years since I have travelled internationally, and I am very anxious to get back out there and start exploring again. In the coming weeks, please keep a look out for additional Africa travel planning resources from me on my blog, as well as a number of photography preparation guides that I will be putting together for the locations I am visiting. Until then, safe and happy travels!