Wildlife and nature
The huge herds of game; the hundreds of brightly coloured birds; exotic plants; ancient giant trees; the first glimpse of a mountain gorilla in its natural habitat; a pride of lions feeding on a kill; a lemur dancing on the forest floor; a trek up to the rim of a volcano; a journey through dense rainforest along a legendary river – all these things will touch your soul.
Southern Africa has a wide variety of climates, from high-altitude snow-capped peaks to dense humid rainforests; from sunny tropical island beaches to the champagne air of fabulous mountains; and from deserts with the highest dunes in the world to water wonderlands of low-lying wetlands and a unique inland delta.
Culture and heritage
Southern Africa is rich in history and culture. Its people everywhere are noted for their hospitality and friendliness, whether you visit a glamorous sophisticated city, a dusty small town, a traditional village or someone’s home. Discover ancient stone kingdoms, living rituals, unique cultures, the world’s finest collection of rock art, intriguing masks, intoxicating music from ancient drumbeats to cool jazz, iconic historical figures, events that changed world history, world-class cities, diamonds, gold, ingenious handicrafts and superb shopping.
Experience Southern Africa however you choose – drive, ride, raft, soar, glide, ski or hike; the options are endless.
Please be aware that parts of Southern Africa are malaria areas. It is advised that your clients check with the countries they are travelling to for more information and the precautions that need to be taken.
Here’s a brief introduction to the region’s 15 countries (the individual country modules will give you a more comprehensive understanding of these countries).
Neighbouring countries: the DRC, Zambia, Namibia and the Republic of Congo.
Major activities: beaches and water sports in Luanda; game viewing, birdwatching and river cruises in the Kissama National Park; climbing the Tundavala volcanic fissure; driving the Serra da Leba mountain pass; photographing the dunes in the Iona National Park.
Neighbouring countries: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia.
Major activities: water safaris; walking and elephant-back safaris; game viewing by open game vehicle or mokoro (traditional canoe) in the Okavango Delta; 4x4 wilderness travelling in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Neighbouring countries: Central African Republic, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Angola, Republic of Congo and Tanzania.
Major activities: cruising on the Congo River; sightseeing in Kinshasa; visiting Lake Kivu and the volcanoes of the Virunga mountain range; gorilla trekking; boating, rafting or hiking through the rainforests.
Neighbouring countries: surrounded by South Africa.
Major activities: climbing the historic Thaba Bosiu sandstone plateau; game viewing, birdwatching and pony trekking in the Sehlabathebe National Park; enjoying water sports at the Katse Dam; and skiing in the Maloti Mountains.
Major activities: snorkelling and diving at many fabulous beach resorts or unspoiled islands; unique lemur trekking, game viewing and birding in pristine wilderness reserves and rainforests; and sightseeing in Antananarivo.
Neighbouring countries: Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique.
Major activities: kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving off the pristine beaches of Lake Malawi; game viewing in Nyika National Park; exploring the Chongoni rock art; and climbing Mount Mulanje.
Major activities: water sports such as snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, jet-skiing, parasailing, windsurfing and swimming; hiking in the Black River Gorges National Park; visiting Le Morne Brabant peninsula; the buzzing markets of Port Louis; and the Mauritius National Botanical Garden.
Neighbouring countries: South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi.
Major activities: water activities of all kinds from kayaking, sailing, dhow trips and snorkelling to scuba diving, game fishing, swimming or just lazing on beautiful beaches. Top spots are Bazaruto Marine Park, the Quirimbas archipelago, historic Ilha de Moçambique and Ibo Island, the vibrant capital, Maputo, and for game viewing and birding, Gorongosa National Park.
Neighbouring countries: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Angola.
Major activities: visiting the highest sand dunes in the world at Sossusvlei; seeing some of the world’s oldest living plants and rare creatures in the Namib-Naukluft National Park; viewing the desert elephants in Damaraland; shopping in the capital, Windhoek; hiking in the Fish River Canyon; flying over the Skeleton Coast; and going on safari in Etosha National Park.
Major activities: lapping up the amazing scenery; water sports such as snorkelling, sailing or surfing; island hopping; visiting natural reserves and marine parks; horse riding, hiking and guided nature tours; visiting vibrant local markets; and enjoying the fabulous eclectic cuisine.
Neighbouring countries: Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Major activities: taking a cable car to the top of Table Mountain; visiting the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site outside Johannesburg; touring fabulous museums and historical battle and freedom struggle sites; game viewing, safaris and birdwatching in the world-famous Kruger National Park or any one of South Africa’s 19 national parks; meandering along the Garden Route; wine tasting in the Cape Winelands; water sports at coastal and inland resorts; hiking in the Drakensberg mountains; golfing; or visiting any one of the country’s eight World Heritage Sites.
Neighbouring countries: South Africa and Mozambique.
Major activities: visiting the Swazi Cultural Village and the King Sobhuza II Memorial Park; horseback safaris, game viewing and guided walks in the Hlane Royal National Park; hiking in the Malolotja Nature Reserve; and shopping for locally made curios and crafts.
Neighbouring countries: Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the DRC, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
Major activities: climbing Mount Kilimanjaro; visiting Zanzibar; game viewing and birdwatching in the Serengeti, Selous Game Reserve and the Ngorongoro Crater; and taking a boat trip on Lake Victoria.
Neighbouring countries: Tanzania, the DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Angola.
Major activities: walking along the forest paths or taking a scenic flight at the Victoria Falls; swimming in the Devil’s Pool above the Victoria Falls; white-water rafting and other water sports; legendary sunset river cruises; elephant-back safaris and game drives in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park; and some of Southern Africa’s best walking safaris in the South Luangwa National Park.
Neighbouring countries: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique.
Major activities: viewing the Victoria Falls on foot or on a scenic flight; sunset cruises on the Zambezi River; bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge; superb white-water rafting and other water sports; swinging through the Victoria Falls gorge; elephant-back safaris; game viewing in the Victoria Falls National Park; and visiting the Great Zimbabwe National Monument.