Elephants walk through Chobe National Park (Dreamstime)
List 08 February

9 adventures through Africa's wild south

Whether you visit for glittering desert dunes, the majestic wildlife, rugged landscapes or the wild coasts - there's a southern Africa adventure for all

The southern tip of Africa is more diverse than many give it credit for: a spectacular blend of game-spotting safaris, echoes of ancient cultures and myriad landscapes ranging from widescreen dusty plains to thundering waterfalls. You’re certainly not short of options, and tour operators have greatly expanded their portfolios in recent years to reflect that. In short, they’re your key to seeing the very best this slice of the continent has to offer…

1: Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe

Elephant family walking in Namibian desert (iStock)

Elephant family walking in Namibian desert (iStock)

Frame landscapes across four countries

Tuck into slices of a southern Africa pie on Cox and Kings’ Four Countries Safari. Spot hippos on a cruise along the Zambezi to Impalila Island, see herds of elephants in Chobe National Park and rub shoulders with Motswana tribal members. Encounter lions among the lush grasslands of Hwange National Park before a final glimpse of the misty Victoria Falls.

Who: Cox and Kings (020 3813 9340)

When: Year round

How long: 12 days

2: South Africa

Sardines hunted by sharks in South Africa (Alex Safonov)

Sardines hunted by sharks in South Africa (Alex Safonov)

The greatest shoal on Earth

See one of wildlife’s great spectacles off South Africa’s eastern coast on Dive Worldwide’s Sardine Run Adventure. Each June, sardines track the cold winter currents past the KwaZulu-Natal coast as they make their way deep into the Indian Ocean. Spend your days diving and snorkelling among the swarms and glimpsing the predators they inevitably draw, including orcas, humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins.

Who: Dive Worldwide (01962 302087)

When: June-July

How long: 10 days

3: Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland

Giraffe in Kruger National Park (Tim Chan, G Adventures)

Giraffe in Kruger National Park (Tim Chan, G Adventures)

Go wild in a trio of countries

Seamlessly mix nature and urban delights on G Adventures’ Mozambique, Kruger and Swazi Discoverer trip to wildlife-rich parks in Swaziland and Mozambique before circling back to South Africa for the magnificent mammals of Kruger National Park.

Who: G Adventures (0344 2722040)

When: Selected dates June-November 2018; February-November 2019

How long: 13 days

4: Botswana and Zimbabwe

Chobe National Park at sundown (Shutterstock)

Chobe National Park at sundown (Shutterstock)

See two icons for the price of one

Bookend your adventure with a pair of African wonders on Jules Verne’s Victoria Falls to the Okavango tour. Feel the force of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, see lions in Botswana’s Chobe National Park and finish on the Okavango Delta.

Who: Jules Verne (020 3733 9566)

When: Selected departures March-April, June-July and September-December 2018

How long: 12 days

5: Swaziland and South Africa

African bush elephants in Kruger National park, South Africa (Dreamstime)

African bush elephants in Kruger National park, South Africa (Dreamstime)

Safari by foot or 4x4

Tread the wilds on Mountain Kingdoms’ Swaziland, Kruger and Wild Pafuri Walking Safari trip, fording the Malolotja Nature Reserve in Swaziland and South Africa’s Kruger NP, before tackling its remote northern tip (Pafuri) on two feet and four wheels.

Who: Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844400)

When: 11 June and 18 August 2018

How long: 14 days

6: Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana

Aerial view of Cape Town (Shutterstock)

Aerial view of Cape Town (Shutterstock)

All aboard the Pride of Africa!

Hop on Titan Travel’s Tracks of Africa tour to see South Africa’s best bits from the comfort of a train. From Port Elizabeth, trace the coast to Cape Town and board the Pride of Africa to Pretoria before visiting Chobe NP and Victoria Falls.

Who: Titan Travel (0808 115 5924)

When: Selected dates 2018–2019

How long: 17 days

7: Namibia

Namibian desert (Shutterstock)

Namibian desert (Shutterstock)

A road trip for all the family

See epic landscapes and wildlife that’ll wow both children and adults on Families Worldwide’s Cheetahs and Dunes trip. Drive the Skeleton Coast, cruise among dolphins at Walvis Bay and grin at lions, rhinos and elephants in Etosha NP.

Who: Families Worldwide (01962 302062)

When: Selected dates March, June–August, October and December 2018; February 2019

How long: 13 days

8: South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls photographed from a helicopter (Oasis Overland)

Victoria Falls photographed from a helicopter (Oasis Overland)

Cross four wild borders on four wheels

Soak up epic landscapes as you wheel across four countries on Oasis Overland’s Cape Town to Victoria Falls Southern Explorer trip. Highlights include spying whales off South Africa and spotting the big five in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.

Who: Oasis Overland (01963 530113)

When: Selected dates October 2018–March 2019; May, July–November 2019

How long: 35 days

9: Namibia

On the road through Namibia (Bruce Turnbull)

On the road through Namibia (Bruce Turnbull)

Camp out across the country

Join ATI Holidays on its Best of Namibia Luxury Self-Drive tour for an incredible wildlife experience. Track cheetahs, watch rhinos at a waterhole and camp near desert elephants before ending with a hot air balloon ride over the dunes.

Who: ATI Holidays (0808 234 9378)

When: Year round

How long: 16 days