Depart home for Cape Town, South Africa
Leave your cares behind and travel to Cape Town, arriving on day 2.
Please note: Arrive at your destination or home rested and refreshed! Convenient gateway city stopover options mean you can break up longer flights easily — just ask our Flight Experts for assistance.
Arrive in Cape Town and admire Table Mountain from the air
Sailors approaching the Cape in the 17th century reported seeing a magnificent flat-topped mountain rising out of the earth from a great distance. With some luck, we’ll see Table Mountain in all its glory as we fly into Cape Town, South Africa’s “Mother City.” If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, you’ll be met at the airport by a representative who will transfer you to your grand city center hotel, where you have the afternoon to relax and explore on your own (the hotel offers a free shuttle to the nearby V&A Waterfront).
Reach the top of Table Mountain and explore historic Cape Town
It’s impossible to resist the mystical allure of Table Mountain, one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, and today we aim to get to the top (weather-permitting). We’ll do it the effortless way in a rotating cable car, taking just five thrilling minutes hugging the craggy mountainside all the way to the top. Views from up there seem endless — you’ll be able to see all the way down the mountain range toward Cape Point, across the ocean to Robben Island, and over the city bowl hemmed in by land and water. It’s said to be the perfect Feng Shui city!
Along the way, discover the unique Fynbos plants, endemic to the Cape and found only here, which is why this important Floral Kingdom inside Table Mountain National Park was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Back down the mountain, relax on a guided drive of the historic city, where beautiful old buildings tell the story of its colonial past. We’ll see the battlements of the Castle of Good Hope, Italian-inspired City Hall, and the old Slave Lodge with its paradoxical carved pediment, next to the Houses of Parliament.
The afternoon and evening are at your leisure in this glorious city, with so much else to explore, including Greenmarket Square, Two Oceans Aquarium, V&A Waterfront, museums, galleries and gift shops.
Tonight, attend a Welcome Briefing and evening dinner at the hotel.
Spectacular scenic drive to Cape Point and visit Boulders Beach Penguins
Cape Town’s extravagant scenery will take your breath away, with mountains dipping their toes into the ocean. We’ll leave the city through the millionaire’s seaside suburbs of Clifton and Camps Bay and head south to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope.
On the way, we’ll drive along one of the most spectacular cliff roads in the world: Chapman’s Peak Drive. As we head around the curve of the bay, we’ll stop at viewpoints to marvel at nature’s grandeur and wonder how men ever managed to build such a road.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery until we reach the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, at which point you should look out for ostrich, bontebok, huge eland antelope, and tortoise moseying among the endemic fynbos plants. At the furthest end of Africa, we reach Cape Point, where the “Flying Dutchman” funicular railway takes us up to the old Cape Point lighthouse.
Gaze down over the treacherous rocks to a horizon so far distant, you can almost see the world curve. Sometimes, there is a distinct color separation in the water, giving rise to the rumor that this is where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. Your guide will reveal the truth!
Lunch is on your own before we drive out of the park to the charming old naval village of Simon’s Town and its famous penguins. The rare land-based African penguin colony at Boulders Beach is easily accessed on a boardwalk. These delightful little critters are a joy to watch! They may waddle clumsily on land, but they dart like torpedoes through the water, often past unsuspecting bathers swimming in nearby coves.
The evening is at leisure back in Cape Town.
Ocean cruise on a luxury motor yacht and Farewell Dinner
Live the life of the rich and famous this morning on a 3-hour luxury motor yacht cruise aboard the 76-foot Sherilyn. We’ll circumnavigate Robben island (or get as close as possible depending upon weather) to witness the same view of Table Mountain that Nelson Mandela would have seen from this inescapable prison island, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the cruise, we’ll get a first-hand account of what life was like on Robben Island from one of Nelson Mandela’s former prison wardens.
The tranquil inlets of Clifton are where pleasure yachts go to see and be seen, and we’ll pull into a sheltered cove and toast the morning with sparkling wine and canapes.
During this ocean adventure, we’ll look out for dolphins and penguins, Cape fur seals, and — from July to October — enormous 50-foot-long southern right whales, who migrate here to mate and calve. If you spot a large fin piercing the surface, it may not be a Great White Shark but the very strange Mola mola or ocean sunfish, which has a rudder instead of a tail and drifts with the currents. Our wonderful ocean cruise ends at the V&A Waterfront, where you’ll have the afternoon free to shop, explore, or rest.
Dinner at the hotel tonight marks our last night in Cape Town.
Fly to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and tour Victoria Falls
After breakfast, we’ll transfer to Cape Town’s airport and fly to Victoria Falls, in Zimbabwe.
We will proceed to check in at the luxury safari camp The Wallow, inside a private concession in Victoria Falls National Park.
In the afternoon, we’ll take a guided walk to the very edge of Victoria Falls, marveling at the colossal power and majesty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. With the roar of the falls, Devil’s Cataract, and the aptly named Rainbow Falls all around you, you’ll understand and hear just why Victoria Falls is known as Mosi-oa-Tunya (“the Smoke that Thunders”). There are more exceptional viewing sites as we walk through the subtropical rainforest of this national park (raincoats advised).
Tonight, gather for a fun cocktail party before dinner at the lodge.
Victoria Falls market and Chinotimba Primary School visit
Early this morning, you may head out on an optional Elephant Encounter and Village Tour for a powerful elephant encounter that allows you to interact directly with these majestic creatures, and even feed them. Being so close to them and learning about the work being done to save them is both enlightening and rewarding. You’ll also visit the Victoria Falls Trust Laboratory, where science is being used to aid conservation and anti-poaching. This optional morning tour ends at a local village, where the Chief will show you around and explain the village way of life.
Later this morning, we’ll visit a local market. This is a fun opportunity to interact with local artists and your chance to bargain for souvenirs, such as the distinctive stone carvings Zimbabwe is famous for. We’ll also visit Chinotimba Primary School, where we’ll be greeted with smiles and songs from the children, interact with them, and learn about their lives. Vantage Cares, our philanthropic arm, supports this school, and you will see firsthand the good you’re helping to spread by traveling with us!
Come back down to Earth for lunch on the banks of the Zambezi at the Lookout Café, perched on the cliff with a vertiginous view of Batoka Gorge and distant Victoria Falls bridge. We’ve had our thrill for the morning, but from this vantage point, we can watch adrenaline junkies zipline across the gorge, or leap off the cliff in a terrifying gorge swing.
This afternoon, you may choose to take a cruise on the Zambezi River. Glide along this timeless waterway and be treated to a talk about the “Trails of David Livingstone.” You’ll be floating along the very same stretch of river the legendary explorer once navigated! A third-generation Zimbabwean storyteller will reveal Livingstone lore that few history books include.
Take to the skies in a “Flight of the Angels” helicopter ride over Victoria Falls
Experience a once-in-a-lifetime “Flight of Angels” helicopter ride right over Victoria Falls. The helipad is just two miles from the hotel and you’ll soon be sky-high watching the Zambezi River flow to the edge of Victoria Falls, creating the widest curtain of falling water in the world. Lunch will be served at your lodge today.
The rest of the day is at leisure, with dinner at the lodge.
Seek out the Big 5 on safari in Pilanesberg Game Reserve, South Africa
After breakfast, we’ll transfer to the airport for a short flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. From here we head north to Pilanesberg Big 5 Game Reserve — this is your first taste of safari and the one place you’re likely to see black rhino (shyer and more endangered than the white rhino), as well as the other Big 5: elephant, cape buffalo, lion, and leopard. What a way to start your safari!
After checking in, the afternoon is at leisure. Tonight, we’ll enjoy dinner at the lodge.
Discover Pilanesberg on game drives and sip sundowners in the bush
Today is a day of game-spotting on morning and afternoon game drives in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, punctuated by lunch at the lodge and time to relax before setting off again.
You’ll get a great view of wildlife from the open safari vehicles — not only does this allow you unobstructed game sightings, but you’ll be able to smell nature, such as wild sage and the inimitable bovine whiff of buffalos.
The thrill of seeing Africa’s Big 5 should keep you alert and keen for the next sighting. Fun fact: these animals (elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, and rhino) are called the Big 5 because they are the five most dangerous animals to hunt.
To end our day on safari, we’ll sip sundowner drinks in the bush and watch the sun go down. Dinner is back at the lodge.
Safari life and bush lore in Pilanesberg
Now that your game-spotting eyes are in focus, you could be the first to notice a leopard in a tree or a lion scoping out his prey. Expect the unexpected on our morning and afternoon safari game drives!
From your knowledgeable guides, you’ll learn other useful tidbits about life in the bush, like how the milky sap from the indigenous tamboti tree is toxic to humans but not to animals, and that you should never use its wood on a fire as the smoke will make you ill.
There’s a good variety of other game on this 150,000-acre reserve in landscapes ranging from thornveld and thick bush to grassy savannas and wetlands. These different environments harbor brown hyena, jackal, cheetah, giraffe, ostrich, zebra, and numerous bucks. The reserve boasts 300 species of birds, including the endangered blue crane and a breeding pair of eagles.
Lunch and dinner are at the lodge today.
Fly to Dar es Salaam and prepare for safari in Selous Game Reserve
Today, we return to Johannesburg’s airport for a flight to Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania. This port city on the Indian Ocean is the gateway to many of the country’s safari destinations.
After checking into our 5-star hotel, enjoy the rest of the day at leisure in anticipation of tomorrow’s journey to one of Tanzania’s wildest game reserves.
Our Dar es Salaam hotel is just moments from the Indian Ocean’s sandy beaches, yet still in the heart of the city center, close to bustling fish and craft markets. You’ll find local restaurants as well as the hotel’s own, where you can savor freshly caught seafood.
Board a charter flight into the wilds of Tanzania
Today, we transfer to the airport for a short charter flight into Selous Game Reserve and the start of a safari in one of the wildest reserves in Africa. Selous is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of international importance, since it’s the largest uninhabited protected game area in Africa, with a higher density and diversity of species than any other similar habitat. We’re in for an eyeful of animals during our three days here. The reserve is home to globally significant numbers of elephant, endangered black rhino, and painted wild dog, plus one of the world’s largest populations of hippo, crocodile, and buffalo, along with 350 species of birds. After we’ve settled in, enjoy lunch at the lodge, followed by a game drive. Dinner is back at the lodge tonight.
Exhilarating private game viewing by vehicle, foot, or boat
Fall into the rhythm of safari life today with early morning and mid-afternoon game-viewing excursions. Open safari vehicles afford spectacular views of this extensive wilderness and the animals that call it home; boats get you close to water-loving hippos, elephants, and crocodiles; and walking safaris allow you to connect directly to the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations of the bush. Whichever option you choose, get an early start to see the animals at their most active. Return to the lodge for lunch and a rest before heading back out in the afternoon. Later, we’ll share tales of our wildlife sightings over dinner at the lodge.
Search for elusive animals on your last safari day in Selous
We’ll enjoy a second full-day of safari with two more excursions and try to fit in whatever we haven’t already done.
We’ll keep our eyes open for painted wild dogs, who roam vast areas and can therefore be very elusive. But since this preserve has an estimated one third of all the remaining endangered wild dogs, we’ve got a fighting chance of seeing them. Don’t forget to look up; you might spot black and white colobus monkeys staring down from the branches of the riverine forest, while flashing their tasseled white tails.
Savor a last dinner at our luxurious wilderness lodge tonight.
Fly to Zanzibar and relax into your opulent oceanfront hotel
After breakfast at the lodge, transfer to the local airport for a charter flight to the tropical palm-tree island of Zanzibar. Few places are as alluring as Zanzibar, where a rich fusion of Arab, African, Indian, and European influences have created a culture distinctive to this island. A casual stroll through the warren of alleyways that make up Zanzibar’s Stone Town reveals centuries of Swahili history. Notice the narrow lanes with two-story homes flaunting elaborately carved “Zanzibar doors.” Because Stone Town is such a fine example of an intact coastal Swahili trading town, it was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Upon arrival, we’ll settle in at our oceanfront hotel. Take the balance of the day to explore the charming surroundings on your own. We’ll come together for dinner at the hotel and to enjoy the nightly live music.
Discover east Africa’s rich history on a tour of Stone Town
This morning, we’ll go on a guided tour of Zanzibar’s historic town center. Also known as Mij Mkongwe — Swahili for “Old Town” — Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features ancient dhow harbors, a Portuguese fort, bright bazaars, an old slave market, and a 19th-century ceremonial sultan’s palace.
Exploring Stone Town’s labyrinthine streets crowded with minarets and elaborately carved wooden doors will give you a sense of this legendary east African trading town’s unique mix of influences. Following an included lunch, you’ll have the afternoon to wander this fascinating, multicultural maze on your own. There are so many ways to absorb the local culture! Beyond its historic sites, temples, mosques, and museums, Zanzibar also offers inviting white-sand beaches, as well as colorful markets, shops, and cafés.
Enjoy a morning at leisure, with an afternoon flight back to Dar es Salaam
Spend a leisurely morning in Zanzibar before transferring to the airport for an afternoon flight back to Dar es Salaam. We’ll check into a hotel now familiar to you, where you’ll have the rest of the day at leisure. This is our last evening in Tanzania. We’ll toast our experiences over dinner at the hotel.
Fly to Cairo and shop its bustling souk
After breakfast, we’ll transfer to the airport for our flight to Egypt’s sprawling capital city of Cairo. Our adventure in the land of pharaohs and pyramids has only just begun! First, we’ll check into our hotel and enjoy a late lunch. Then, we’ll visit the city’s famous Khan el-Khalili market, in Cairo’s Islamic district, and the old souk. This large souk is comprised of streets and alleyways brimming with colorfully chaotic trading stalls selling the most beautiful souvenirs, handmade goods, antiques, and jewelry. The coffee is strong here and the hookah pipes filled with scented tobacco — it’s an intoxicating experience! We head back to our hotel for dinner.
Marvel at the iconic Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx
Today begins with an exciting excursion to the UNESCO-listed Giza Plateau, where we’ll marvel at Egypt’s most iconic and monumental treasures: The Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx.
Constructed as tombs for pharaohs, each of the three giant pyramids were built by hand, using techniques that remain a mystery to this day. The Great Pyramid of Giza — or Pyramid of Khufu — is the oldest and largest of the three, dating back to Egypt’s fourth dynasty (2580-2560 BC) and standing some 455 feet tall. Also located at this otherworldly archaeological site is the legendary Sphinx, a huge limestone statue of a mythical reclining lion with the head of pharaoh Khafre.
After these awe-inspiring sights, we gather for lunch at a traditional local restaurant. You’ll then visit Cairo’s Grand Egyptian Museum — a brand-new, much-anticipated institution housing the priceless antiquities of Giza and beyond. Costing over $1 billion to build, it is the largest museum dedicated to a single civilization. Tonight, celebrate your incredible Egyptian discoveries over dinner at the hotel.
Delve into Cairo’s fascinating Islamic history
Tucked away within modern urban Cairo lies one of the world’s oldest Islamic cities, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, we’ll discover some of Cairo’s most notable religious sites on a tour that reveals churches, mosques, a citadel, and synagogues. We’ll begin with a visit to the ancient Coptic Christian neighborhood of Old Cairo to explore sacred landmarks, including the Hanging Church and the impressive Fortress of Babylon. Then, we’ll transfer to Cairo’s scenic Al-Azhar Park, a vast public green space in Old Cairo, to take in panoramic views of the city from a popular restaurant. After lunch, we delve into the city’s ancient Islamic history with visits to the fortified Saladin Citadel and the ornately decorated Al-Azhar Mosque, which has a millennium-long history. As you can imagine, this fascinating building displays many architectural and decorative influences, from medieval minarets to domes intact from the Ottoman period. Dinner tonight is at your leisure.
Fly to Luxor and board the new Vantage-exclusive m/s Nebu. Discover temples and tombs in the Valley of the Kings
A short flight this morning brings us to Luxor, site of what was once the ancient dynastic capital of Upper Egypt, Thebes. Here, you board Vantage Travel’s brand-new deluxe Nile cruising ship m/s Nebu. This will be your sensational luxury floating home for the next four nights. Enjoy lunch on board and begin your sail down Luxor’s West Bank, where we will explore the Valley of the Kings and the Temple of Hatshepsut, with over 60 pharaonic tombs and burial chambers cut deep into rock cliffs over a 500-year span.
You’ll get the chance to investigate some of the sacred chambers in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, including the tombs of revered King Ramses II and the famous boy king Tutankhamun. Inside the tombs, a specialist Egyptologist guide will interpret the hieroglyphics depicting some of Egypt’s powerful dynasties. You’ll also visit the multi-terraced Royal Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, named after Egypt’s longest-reigning female pharaoh. Many scholars consider her one of Egypt’s most successful rulers, with a reign marked by prolific building, new trade routes, and general prosperity. (Please note that tombs are open to the public on a rotating basis, to limit their exposure.)
To top off this day filled with historic wonders, we find ourselves in the vast mix of decayed temples, ancient ruins, and colossal columns of Karnak. It’s amongst these ancient stones that we will be entertained by Karnak Sound & Light show, recounting the history of Thebes and its many pharaohs. Afterward, in a state of awe at what we’ve seen today, we return to the ship for dinner.
More dazzling Nile discoveries and navigating through Esna Locks
Egypt continues to dazzle us as we enjoy breakfast on board while sailing south to Esna, passing through the various levels of Esna Locks. Make sure you are on deck to witness this busy event, where all the watercraft of the Nile sits out the change in water levels to proceed up or down the river. While we are waiting, traders may throw goods up for you to buy.
As we cruise onward to Edfu, you’ll see riverside farms bordered by lush grasses and date palms, an indication of how the river has sustained almost all Egyptian agriculture for millennia. The small villages with flat-roofed, clay houses look much as they did hundreds of years ago. Children playing on the banks might wave and shout as we pass by. Make sure to wave back!
Nile-side temples are a feature of Upper Egypt. We’ll cruise by the ancient temple of Khnum, honoring the God of the Nile depicted as a man with the head of a ram, and the 2000-year-old Temple of Horus — with its falcon-headed god, unearthed in the mid-19th century — perfectly preserved under deep desert sand. There’s fascinating history wherever you look on this Nile cruise.
We’ll have lunch and dinner on board the ship.
Sail to the unique Kom Ombo Temple. Then, cruise to Aswan
We begin the day in relaxing fashion, with a buffet breakfast and a morning sailing downriver to the temple of Kom Ombo. Considered one of the most scenically positioned temples along the Nile, Kom Ombo is unique for being dedicated to two gods, with symmetrical halves honoring the crocodile god Sobek and falcon god Horus the Elder, giving rise to its two names: House of the Crocodile and Castle of the Falcon. On either side of the well-preserved twin entrances are walls and columns intricately carved with sunken reliefs. Some 300 crocodile mummies were discovered here, and you can see some of them displayed at the on-site Crocodile Museum.
We’ll have a leisurely lunch on board as the ship sails onward to Aswan. Enjoy cruising through Upper Egypt’s most beautiful locations, with traditional feluccas sailing along the Nile and views of Aswan’s West Bank tombs, beautifully lit up in the evening. We’ll have dinner on board and moor at Aswan overnight.
See the Aswan High Dam, the Temple of Philae, and the Unfinished Obelisk
After breakfast, we’ll visit the Aswan High Dam, built across the Nile between 1960-1970 with Soviet funding, creating the Lake Nasser reservoir and bringing electric power to every corner of Egypt. Your Adventure Leader will describe some of the significant effects of the project on adjacent communities, such as how it tamed the destructive flooding of the Nile, but also displaced entire communities and necessitated the relocation of important archeological treasures.
We’ll then hop aboard small local boats to get to the island upon which the renowned Temple of Philae sits. This is one of the last temples built in classical Egyptian style around 690 BC, honoring the goddess Isis. This treasured monument was painstakingly moved to its current location when the High Dam was completed. Philae was one of the last pagan temples to operate after the advent of Christianity in Egypt; look closely and you can see gods’ images defaced and Christian crosses etched into walls.
We conclude at the northern quarry to see the “Unfinished Obelisk.” This monumental column was being carved out of a single piece of sheer bedrock, but was abandoned after cracks appeared. Commissioned by the pharaoh queen Hatshepsut (1508–1458 BC), at 137 feet high, it would have been one-third taller than any other ancient Egyptian obelisk.
Later, enjoy lunch and a relaxing afternoon on board. Or, you can stroll into Aswan on your own to shop in the vibrant bazaar, brimming with spices, carpets, and all manner of trinkets and keepsakes. Enjoy dinner on board this evening, while we are moored in Aswan.
Disembark the m/s Nebu and fly back to Cairo, concluding your Cape Town-to- Cairo journey
Flying from Aswan to Cairo today, we round off our epic Cape-to-Cairo journey with a transfer to your hotel and the rest of the day at leisure. Relax at the hotel or explore more of Egypt’s fascinating capital. If that’s the case, your Adventure Leader will be happy to offer some suggestions and guidance.
Tonight is your special Farewell Dinner. Celebrate the significant achievement of being one of the few people who can claim they’ve completed the momentous journey from Cape to Cairo!
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for your flight home, or transfer to Alexandria for your extension.
Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Adventure Leader or local representatives at the destination.
Please Note: The hotels listed are preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract our hotels a year in advance, unforeseen situations do occasionally occur. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality and value will be substituted. You will receive verified hotel information with your final itinerary.
Note: The hotel ratings are based on the hotel and a leading travel industry authority on hotels throughout the world.