The Best of Southern Africa
Collected by Marie Frei , AFAR Local Expert
Southern Africa offers its visitors unparalleled wildlife encounters, authentic cultural connections, and outstanding options for food and lodging. Here are the major highlights you'll want to include when planning your trip through Southern Africa.
Kapama Private Game Reserve, R40, Hoedspruit, 1380, South Africa
They say the early bird gets the worm; in this case these early rising lions got the zebra. We did not witness the kill - thankfully for me since zebra have a special place in my equine-loving heart - and these two almost certainly had assistance...
Avoca Road, Thornybush Private Game Reserve, Hoedspruit, 1380, South Africa
Royal Malewane is a five-star lodge located on the 34,594-acre Thornybush Private Game Reserve within the Greater Kruger National Park region. Already quite glamorous, it underwent a refurbishment in 2018 and, in addition to several structural...
Located just a few minutes outside of Namibia's capital city, Windhoek, lies River Crossing Lodge: a haven for both relaxation and adventure activities. Unwind by the pool or with an incredible sunset over the valley, or challenge yourself with a...
C40, Palmwag, Namibia
On the way back to Windhoek after a five day Desert Elephant Tracking Experience with Ondjamba Safaris in northwest Namibia, our guide, Dieter, knew that our group was looking to have an authentic experience with the Himba, one of the most...
Safari outfitter andBeyond reopened 10 stone-and-glass villas in 2011 after a complete redesign. The night skies here are so pure, the area has earned status as an International Dark Sky Reserve. An astronomer leads stargazing sessions at the...
Corner of Promenaden Road and Ngami Street. (Entrance in Ngami Street), Windhoek, Namibia
Each of the seven suites at a new retreat in Windhoek, Namibia, is inspired by a different region of the country. Landscape photography and lights fashioned from woven baskets decorate the Erongo suite (shown). From $243. This appeared in the...
D826, Sesriem, Namibia
If you're looking for a place to stay near the famous towering red dunes at Sossusvlei, look no further than Sossusvlei Lodge, located mere feet from the entrance to Namib-Naukluft National Park. Since a visit to the dunes typically involves an...
C14 & C19 Junction - Unit D, Solitaire, Namibia
“It’s not even a town or a village, don’t call it that; it’s more of a pit-stop, really." Solitaire, Namibia, the pit-stop Moose McGregor calls home, contains nothing more than a general store, a small lodge, his bakery, and the only gas station...
R360, Upington, 8800, South Africa
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park was created through the cooperation of the governments of Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa. Their cooperation has united several smaller fragmented parks into a larger border-less area for wildlife to roam....
"Zimbabwe" means "the house of stone" and is named after the 11th century kingdom and trading city we now call Great Zimbabwe. This National Monument is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the southeast corner of the country is one place not...
B4, Kolmanskop, Namibia
Kolmanskop is a ghost town that was abandoned by German miners after the 1920's. In the 1980's, diamond giant De Beers refurbished some of the structures and established an on-site museum. After you check in and get your permit, you're allowed to...
Ngamiland, Botswana, Botswana
Zarafa, an intimate 8 guest camp, is located within the Selinda concession a large 320,000 acre private reserve on the eastern edge of the Okavango Delta. The camp's owners include renowned conservationists Derek and Beverly Joubert, so it comes...
The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town, 7915, South Africa
As soon as you've booked your flight to Cape Town, you'll also want to book your lunch or dinner reservation at the Test Kitchen. The restaurant was named to the “World’s 50 Best” list in both 2015 and 2016, making it one of...
2 Lighthouse Rd, Umhlanga Rocks, Umhlanga, 4320, South Africa
For nearly 90 years, one of the top luxury hotels in South Africa was nothing more than a cottage along the coastline of KwaZulu-Natal. It served as a beacon for passing ships until 1952, when it began its slow transformation: from family-run tea...
Strand Road, De Zalze Golf Estate, Stellenbosch, 7600, South Africa
Located on the family-owned wine farm Kleine Zalze, Terroir is the very definition of laid-back luxury. Since the restaurant opened in 2004, diners haven’t stopped raving about chef Michael Broughton’s modern South African fare, from...
Pafuri/Makuleke Region, Kruger National Park, 2021, South Africa
Most safari lodges channel traditional African styles. This one is unashamedly industrial, made of concrete and steel, with clean-lined furnishings. Retractable screen walls blur the boundary between indoors and out: Design steps aside, leaving...
Kleintuin Rd, Simon's Town, Cape Town, 7995, South Africa
If you're spending time exploring the Cape Peninsula area of South Africa, a visit with the penguin colony at Boulders Beach is a must. They made Boulders their home (wise penguins) in 1982 and you'll be surprised by how residential the setting...
Klapmuts - Simondium Rd, Simondium, Paarl, 7670, South Africa
About an hour outside of Cape Town, Babylonstoren is one of South Africa’s oldest werfs, or farmyards. In 2010, Karen Roos, a former editor at South Africa’s Elle Decoration, reimagined the property as a fantasy farm stay with an...
1d, 364 Voortrekker Rd, Maitland, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
"Ubuntu" is a Xhosa and Zulu word for conveying how, when we support one another as a part of a community, everyone in that community can accomplish great things. Ubuntu Bicycles, located in Salt River, is a bespoke bicycle shop combining the...
Old Marine Dr, Foreshore, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
Rolling through five countries in 14 days, the opulent Pride of Africa whisks passengers from the tip of South Africa to Tanzania’s largest city. The trip includes two nights at a five-star game lodge, a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, and...
801 Cedar St, Berkeley, CA 94710, USA
This is the trip of a lifetime—there's no better way to describe it. Beginning in the dynamic and colorful city of Cape Town and finishing at Londolozi Private Game Reserve in Sabi Sand—the very pinnacle of animal-viewing experiences—this trip is...
36 Saxon Road, Sandhurst, Sandhurst ,Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa
Welcome to the best layover of all time. The Saxon gently lulls guests into safari mode, enveloping them in its sophisticated African-chic decor and earthy tones. Name-droppers will love the Saxon: Nelson Mandela stayed here while writing his...
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
I spent much of my time at Victoria Falls looking into tumbling walls of water. A bit less overwhelming, and more picturesque, is the elegant steel bridge that was built here in 1905. You get a beautiful view of it while doing the standard Vic...
D826, Sesriem, Namibia
In the daytime, explore NamibRand, the largest private nature reserve in southern Africa, on guided walks through sand dunes, drives into the desert, and rides on ATVs. Ostriches, oryx (a kind of antelope), and Hartmann’s mountain zebras might...
Thornybush Private Nature Reseve, 1380, South Africa
Remarkably relaxed, the female cheetah lifted her head from the grass as our game vehicle drew near. Five cubs were playing king of the termite hill, pouncing upon each other. Our morning game drive from Tangala Lodge in the Thornybush Game...
Betty's Bay, 7141, South Africa
The Cape Whale Route lies east of Cape Town and is a scenic drive on R44 through villages and towns set along the Atlantic Ocean. Between August and October, the warm waters off the coast of the Cape Peninsula serve as breeding grounds for...
Sani Pass, Mkhomazi Wilderness area, South Africa
Having just spent 4 weeks in sweltering heat in South Africa, the last thing I expected in the middle of October was to get caught in a snow storm in Lesotho, the small country that lies like an island in the middle of South Africa. Yet as we...
Northern Park Way and Gold Reef Rd, Ormonde, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa
Opened in 2001, the Apartheid Museum powerfully—and extensively—documents the rise and fall of racial segregation in South Africa. Constructed on a 16-acre plot of land, the museum features a unique design—as you head through the...
A water-based African safari provides an entirely different experience from a land-based safari, and you can't get any more water-based (or any more luxurious) than a cruise through Namibia and Botswana on the Zambezi Queen. Floating slowly down...
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