South Africa Ultimate Adventure & Safari
In providing the active adventure traveler with an alluring mix of breathtaking scenery, stirring cultural history, immense biodiversity, and a variety of exhilarating muscle-powered activity options, few destinations on earth can rival amazing South Africa. For our exciting new multisport trip, we've crafted an itinerary that showcases many of South Africa's natural and cultural highlights, incorporating memorable opportunities to discover the land, its people, and even its wildlife during a three-day safari in one of Africa's most famous game reserves.
Our journey begins in spectacular Cape Town, Africa's southernmost city nestled dramatically between the steep sandstone cliffs of iconic Table Mountain and the deep blue Atlantic coastline. The Cape region is perfectly suited for outdoor exploration and we take full advantage as we kayak in False Bay to an African Penguin colony, cycle through the vineyards of the beautiful Cape Winelands and hike to the summit of Table Mountain itself for panoramic views of the city and sea far below. From the southern tip of the continent, we fly northeast to the province of KwaZulu-Natal for more great hiking among the jagged peaks, towering pinnacles and deep gorges of the magnificent Drakensberg Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With our guide leading the way, we hike right from our hotel past crystal clear streams and through forests of fern into the heart of these rugged mountains, enjoying the tranquility of this pristine wilderness. The final leg of our journey provides pulse-pounding thrills of another kind as we travel to the renowned Sabi Sand Reserve on the border of Kruger National Park. Here, we set out on daily game drives in search of the "Big Five"; lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and Cape buffalo, as well as a large variety of additional mammal and bird species that make the Sabi Sand Reserve their home.
Throughout our adventure, our delicious meals feature many of the authentic tastes and flavors of the local cuisine and we spend our evenings in comfortable lodging ranging from charming guesthouses and small hotels to deluxe safari camps ideally situated in the one of the world's premier game-viewing destinations.
Looking for more Ultimate Adventures in Southern Africa? Check out our Namibia Ultimate Adventure & Safari.
Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
South Africa Ultimate Adventure & Safari Itinerary:
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town and meet your guide and travel companions at our centrally-located hotel this afternoon.
Day 2 Set out to explore the rugged Cape Peninsula. Sea kayak to an African Penguin colony and hike at the Cape of Good Hope.
Day 3 Hike to the top of Table Mountain for fantastic panoramic views of Cape Town and environs. Visit a local township this afternoon.
Day 4 Cycle through the quaint towns and picturesque vineyards of the Cape Winelands, stopping to taste some delicious wines along the way.
Day 5 Fly to Durban and drive to the spectacular Drakensburg Mountains, a jagged range containing some of Southern Africa's highest peaks.
Days 6-7 Spend two full days hiking and exploring the wild backcountry of the beautiful Drakensberg, a UNESCO World Heritage park.
Days 8-10 Enjoy a three-day safari in Sabi Sands Reserve, one of Africa's premier game viewing destinatations and home to the "Big Five".
Day 11 Fly to Johannesburg and bid a fond farewell to new friends before departing for home.
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.
All accomodations as specified on the itinerary; transfers as noted on itinerary including arrival transfer at Cape Town airport; all meals as noted on the itinerary; professional guide accompaniment throughout; all daily excursions/activities and associated gear as noted including sea kayaking in False Bay and Winelands cycling; wine tasting.
Round-trip international airfare to Cape Town/from Johannesburg; domestic airfare Cape Town-Durban, Durban-Nelspruit, Nelspruit-Johannesburg ($899 for these 3 flights); international entry/departure taxes; travel insurance; excess baggage charges; pre and post-trip tours; items of a personal nature; gratuities.
Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.
If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the full single supplement noted on the trip itinerary. If you wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a roommate if one is available. If a roommate cannot be found, you will be asked to pay a reduced single fee, which is half of the full single supplement. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single accommodations available.
We've scheduled our departures to operate during South Africa's late spring and early fall months, both great times of year to visit the various destinations on our itinerary. In Cape Town, expect typically sunny days with daytime temperatures in the 70s, dropping into the 50s at night. As we move northeast to the Drakensberg Mountains, daytime temperatures can range from the mid-60s to low 80s with nighttime temperatures in the 40s and 50s. Spring and fall months in the Drakensberg are generally regarded as the most comfortable average between the heat of summer and cold of winter with spring offering the added bonus of wildflowers. Sabi Sands will be warmer with days in the low to mid 80s and nights in the 60s. Game viewing is exceptional in Sabi Sands year-round and our lodge rooms will be air-conditioned should air-conditioning be required. In general, participants must be prepared for weather conditions that can vary greatly, particularly in the mountainous Drakensberg where rain is always possible. Please plan to arrive equipped with appropriate gear and clothing based on the specific recommendations of the trip Gear List.
This safari trip is rated Moderate . Our itinerary incorporates a variety of different activities including hiking, cycling and sea kayaking. Hikes range from 2-10 miles in length (1-6 hours) and include elevation gains of up to 2,500'. All hikes are on well-marked trails but some do include steep uphill sections. Our 20-mile cycling day is mostly on paved roads; options for longer rides will be available. We sea kayak for two hours on one day at a relaxed pace using sit-on-top kayaks. The kayaking is suitable for novices. The safari portion of the itinerary is not physically demanding but includes some vehicle travel over potentially rough terrain. All participants should arrive in good physical condition, prepared for an active 11 days of exploration. To maximize your enjoyment of the trip, we suggest beginning a regular exercise regimen at least 3-4 months prior to departure. Recommended exercises include hiking/walking with some elevation gain and ideally some cycling if possible. The better shape you are in, the more fun you will have.
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
South Africa Ultimate Adventure & Safari
The key to staying comfortable while on an active adventure trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary—this will help you and the field staff.
- Kayaks and paddling gear
- Hybrid bicycles w/front suspension
- Bicycle helmets
- Group first aid kit
- Valid passport
- Airline tickets
- Duffel bag or soft-sided suitcase (wheels and retractable handle are fine), sturdy and large enough to hold clothing and gear
- Daypack for camera, water bottles and extra clothing
- Passport security pouch or belt
- Luggage tags and luggage locks
- Lightweight, easily washable items for city wear or when traveling
- Lightweight rain jacket and pants, waterproof and breathable
- Lightweight fleece or synthetic top / jacket
- T-shirts, some synthetic
- Long sleeve shirts (some light-colored for safari)
- Shorts, some synthetic
- Hiking pants (zip-off legs are great)
- Hiking socks
- Liner socks
- Swimsuit (for hotel/safari lodge swimming pools)
- Sun hat
- Lightweight wool or fleece hat (for cooler temperatures while on early morning/evening game drives)
- Lightweight wool or fleece gloves (for cooler temperatures while on game drives)
- Hiking boots - lightweight, water resistant, broken in
- Comfortable walking shoes/sandals for evenings and for use while touring and on safari
- Water bottle(s), 1-quart size or hydration system
- Toiletry kit with soap/shampoo, lotion, toothpaste/brush
- Sunglasses and retainer strap
- Sun block and lip balm w/high SPF (35-50+)
- Insect repellent
- Personal first-aid kit
- Camera, memory cards, spare batteries and lens cleaner
- Reading and writing materials
- Flashlight with extra batteries/bulb
- Small binoculars (highly recommended for safari)
- Hand sanitizer gel
- Travel pillow
- Electrical plug adapter and/or converter
- Spare contact lenses or prescription glasses
- Several zip-lock plastic bags
- Motion sickness remedies
- Trekking poles
- Watch with alarm or travel alarm
- Ear plugs
- Travel-size laundry detergent packets for hand-washing clothing
Things to Consider
- Please remember to always pack essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, a change of clothing (including hiking boots), and medications in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed.
- Bring clothing that is light in weight and color, which ventilates and protects you from the sun. Neutral, light-colored clothing is best for the safari, to blend into the landscape and not stand out to wildlife. Camouflage and bright colors are not recommended. It is always good to have a lightweight, long-sleeve fleece or synthetic top, especially for early morning and late afternoon game drives.
- Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
- Make sure boots are broken-in. Thin liner socks worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters. The liner sock should be synthetic, not cotton. Test your sock combination before you go on the trip. Bring your favorite blister-prevention remedy such as Moleskin or Blister Block.
- If you wear prescription glasses, use a safety cord and bring an extra pair if possible. Contact lens users should also bring an extra set, or bring eyeglasses for a backup.
- We recommend that you carry a photocopy of your passport (the personal id information page) with you and keep it separate from your passport.
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.