May 14-25, 2023: South Africa!

Bucket List Travel

Annie Emanuelli
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7 reviews
May 14 - 25, 2023
Group size: 2 - 10
May 14-25, 2023: South Africa!
Bucket List Travel

Annie Emanuelli
  • Email address verified
  • Facebook verified
  • LinkedIn verified
7 reviews

May 14 - 25, 2023
Group size: 2 - 10

About this trip

Is South Africa on YOUR Bucket List?

Bucket List Travel is excited to offer this amazing 12-day, 11-night adventure in South Africa! 

This tour includes nine game drives to see the wild African animals; visits at sanctuaries for lions, elephants and monkeys, including a chance to touch lion cubs and walk with elephants; and tours of the Cradle of Humankind, Soweto, and the Apartheid Museum.

It also includes a 3-night visit to Cape Town, including round trip airfare there and back, and tours of Table Mountain, the Cape of Good Hope, the Boulders penquin colony, and a full-day tour of the winelands.

There is a limit of 10 guests on this tour to give each guest a chance to best see the wildlife from the safari vehicles. We are only traveling in malaria-free areas!

Stop dreaming; start packing!!

NEW! We are excited to now offer a 3-day add-on excursion to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Zambia. See details below!

The Best Time for Safaris!

South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, so the seasons there are opposite of ours here in the US. When it’s summer here, it’s winter there!  For most of Southern Africa, winter typically lasts from April to October. 

This is the best time to go on safari. Water is scarce and animals are forced to congregate around the few remaining water sources, making them easier to spot. The grass is lower, affording better visibility; and dirt roads are easily navigable, increasing your chances of a successful safari. Traveling in the dry season also means avoiding rainy season inconveniences and discomforts like flooding, high humidity and an abundance of insects. 


In Johannesburg, it starts to get cool in May as the high-altitude city settles into winter. Daytime highs average 68°F and the nights get down to 46°F. 

In Cape Town, you can expect an average high temperature of 70°F, and the overnight low temperatures average 50°F. The average ocean temperature near Cape Town is a chilly 64°F.

May is one of the driest months in Johannesburg, and it only rains an average of three days. 

Cape Town averages 12 rainy days during this month, with light precipitation. It is not uncommon to have cloudy days throughout May.

The length of the day is 10 hours 37 minutes by the end of May.  

You'll get an average of 9 hours of sunshine every day in Johannesburg, and 6 hours of daily sunlight in Cape Town.

What to Expect

Remember: Africa is a third world country! You are not in Kansas anymore!

Roads are bumpy and dusty, WiFi can be spotty, electricity may go off at odd times, and everything happens on Africa time (really S-L-O-W)!  

This moderately-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking and requires an average level of physical fitness. 

On game drives, we will spend much of our time driving over rough dirt roads in open air safari vehicles, which have high ground clearance and require some agility to embark and disembark. 

Many days we leave early in the morning. 

There will be limited bathroom stops. 

During game drives, you may come into proximity of wild animals whose actions can be unpredictable. Certain inherent risks are involved which should be considered at your own discretion.

Meals may be delayed for unforeseen reasons. We'll try to have snacks available, but if you have blood sugar issues, please bring any snacks you know you may need. 

We find our guests are happiest when they can roll with delays and last-minute changes that may happen in the unpredictable world of African travel. 

The best things you can bring with you are flexibility, patience, and a sense of humor!

Cost and Payment

This 12-day, 11-night adventure is priced $3,299 per person double occupancy (not including airfare to and from South Africa). Single supplement is $395.

For a limited time, we are offering booking with just a $1 deposit. 

We have a payment plan which allows the entire cost of the trip to be paid in 12 equal monthly installments of $275. (You are welcome to make larger payments at less frequent intervals if you choose.) The entire balance must be paid in full by three months before your departure.

Cancellation and Refunds

In the event that you need to cancel your trip, these fees will be applied:

• Between 150-101 days before your arrival date, $375.

• Between 100-61 days before your arrival date, $775 (25% of the entire tour price.).

• Between 60 and 46 days before your arrival date, $1,550 (50% of the entire tour price.)

• Between 45 and 31 days before your arrival date, $2,325 (75% of the entire tour price.)

• Between 30 and 1 days before your arrival date, 100% of the entire tour price.

Arrival Flights

Please plan to fly into and out of O.R. Tambo Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

You need to be in Johannesburg on Sunday, May 14, which means you will need to depart the USA on Saturday, May 13. (You might even need to leave as early as Friday, May 12 if your flight has multiple stops.) 

Please ASK US if you have any questions before you purchase your airfare!

Please plan to arrive in Johannesburg before NOON on SUNDAY, MAY 14. This will give us time to take you to Lesedi African Cultural Center, where we will enjoy a tour, show and dinner starting at 4 pm. (If your flight doesn't arrive before noon, you might consider flying in the previous day and spending an optional night at Protea Hotel O.R. Tambo Airport-available as an option for $135.)

Plan to depart from Johannesburg in the evening on Thursday, May 25. 

Suggested Packing List

Here is a suggested packing list: 

1-2 pair chinos or other light pants 

1 pair jeans 

1 pair shorts or capris 

4-5 tee shirts 

1-2 long sleeve tee shirt 

1 fleece jacket 

1 light puffer jacket or down vest

1 warm hat 

1 pair heavy sneakers/hiking shoes 

1 pair regular running shoes/sneakers 

1 pair sandals, like Tevas 

Underwear and socks-6 to 8 of each


Optional: bathing suit

Sunscreen (SPF 30-50), mosquito repellant, small flashlight

Keep it light, because there is a restrictive weight limit on the domestic flight to Cape Town.

Remember, there is laundry service at all the places we are staying, and they are inexpensive, quick, and convenient. 

Packing for an African safari 

Navigating dirt roads in an open-top jeep means that you'll get covered in dust, so you'll need clothes that hide dirt well. Because temperatures can change dramatically throughout the day,  the key to a comfortable safari outfit is layers. You should pack and wear layers to adjust to the wide range of temperatures you can experience on a typical day. While the morning can be freezing, by midday it can be hot. Layers will save you.

Best colors to wear on safari  

Unless you are seriously tracking wildlife on foot, which we are not, the color of your clothing is really not that important.  The basic rule on safari is to go neutral. When trying to spot wildlife you’ll have the best chance if you blend in as much as possible with your surroundings. Ideal colors to wear on safari are greens, browns, olives and khakis. Any other neutral colors are fine too, but there are some  you should avoid wearing on safari:

· White and very pale clothes show the dust and dirt you will inevitably be covered with, and it is hard to get out!

 · Camouflage clothing should be avoided. In some African countries is for army personnel only, and you could theoretically be arrested for wearing it.

 • Bright colors can attract insects.

Spending Money

The price you have paid for your tour includes: 11 nights accommodation; most meals; all tours escorted by a private guide; entrance fees to all sights in the itinerary; all transportation, with free water and Wi-Fi provided on board; domestic flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town; and all airport transfers .

Your tour does not include the cost of 5 meals, beverages, and gratuities.

All meals are included except 3 lunches and 2 dinners. You can budget $10 per lunch and $20 per dinner. You will also need money for drinks and souvenirs. Alcoholic beverages are less expensive in South Africa than they are in the USA.


Tipping is customary in South Africa. It is not compulsory; tipping is given entirely at your discretion. Ten percent is customary in restaurants. When you register, we'll provide suggestions for appropriate tips throughout the tour.

As a guideline, most guests use $400-$600 during the 12-day tour. 

Frequently Asked Questions

All accommodations provide shampoo and body wash, but not conditioner. They also provide hair dryers.


The rand (ZAR) is the official currency of South Africa.  

As of January 2021, $1 USD equaled 15.21 South African Rand.

You can either buy South African Rand at home from your bank or AAA office and bring it with you, or get South African Rand from an ATM when you arrive in Johannesburg. It is difficult to convert US dollars to Rand when you are in South Africa, so we don’t recommend this option.


In South Africa the power plugs and sockets are of type D, M and N, so you will need an adapter for electrical appliances from the United States. The standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz.


Free WiFi service is available in the rooms and common areas at all of our accommodations. 

If you need to be sure to have WiFi at all times, you can rent a mobile hot spot at the airport upon arrival in Johannesburg starting at about $30.


Laundry service is available at Mziki Lodge, Cradle Moon Lodge, and Villa Rosa. It is very inexpensive. Average costs are: 

T shirts, blouses, or shorts: $1

Jeans, trousers or dresses: $1.75

Socks and underwear: 75 cents

Domestic Flight Baggage Limits

Your domestic flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town flight entitles you to one free checked bag weighing up to 44 pounds and one piece of hand baggage weighing up to 15.5 pounds, plus a laptop bag or small handbag.  Any bag weighing between 44-70 pounds will incur a heavy bag fee of about $25 at the airport.

Optional: Hot Air Balloon

You have the option of taking a sunrise hot air balloon flight over the savannah.  Drift above the beautiful landscape, watching wild game roam the vast plains below. On most tours, we have seen animals on the ground below us, including rhinos, antelopes and baboons! 

Pickup will be at around 5 a.m. and take off around 6 a.m. to see the sunrise. After the flight, we'll have champagne on landing and then a full breakfast. We will be back at our lodge by 10 a.m. to leave for the rest of the day's tour. 

Price of the balloon flight is $225 per person.

*Please note that agility is required to embark and disembark the balloon basket. Wildlife viewing, quantity and species of animals seen is dependent upon local conditions including weather, wind and seasonal migration patterns. The take-off time and the duration of the flight and tour may vary due to weather conditions. Balloon rides vary but are usually 45 minutes to an hour.  

Optional Farewell Dinner

On our final evening of the trip in Cape Town, you may choose to join us for a festive farewell dinner at GOLD Restaurant.

Guests at GOLD Restaurant cannot help but be swept up in the excitement of archetypal African stories told through our live entertainment. To start, you'll feel the heartbeat of Africa with our pre-dinner interactive djembe drumming session. Then we'll enjoy praise singing to welcome you, Mali puppetry, and dancing to the rhythms of the marimba percussion and djembe drums.  

Then dinner-an edible map of Africa! African food is traditionally shared and enjoyed with family and friends. Similarly, our 14-dish tasting menu is served in generous individual and shared portions. Each dish is brought to your table with country of origin, cooking techniques and spicing explained. 

Price of this optional farewell dinner is $50. 


All travelers should be up to date on routine vaccinations while traveling to any destination.  These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.

PLEASE NOTE: We will let you know as soon as possible if a Covid-19 vaccination is required to travel.

Most travelers get these travel vaccines and medicines because there is a risk of these diseases in the country you are visiting:

• Hepatits A: CDC recommends this vaccine because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in South Africa, regardless of where you are eating or staying.

• Typhoid: You can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in South Africa. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater. 

Some Travelers: Ask your doctor what vaccines and medicines you need based on where you are going, how long you are staying, what you will be doing, and if you are traveling from a country other than the US.

• Hepatitis B: You can get hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products, so CDC recommends this vaccine if you might have sex with a new partner, get a tattoo or piercing, or have any medical procedures.

• Malaria: When traveling in South Africa, you should avoid mosquito bites to prevent malaria. You may need to take prescription medicine before, during, and after your trip to prevent malaria, depending on your travel plans, such as where you are going, when you are traveling, and if you are spending a lot of time outdoors or sleeping outside. Talk to your doctor about how you can prevent malaria while traveling. 

Areas of South Africa with risk of malaria: Present along the border with Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Specifically in Mopani, Vhembe, and Waterberg district municipalities of Limpopo Province; Ehlanzeni district municipality in Mpumalanga Province; and Umknanyakude in Kwazulu-Natal Province. Present in Kruger National Park (see Map 2-25). See more detailed information about malaria in South Africa.


• Rabies: Rabies can be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals in South Africa, so CDC recommends this vaccine for the following groups: Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities (such as camping, hiking, biking, adventure travel, and caving) that put them at risk for animal bites; People who will be working with or around animals (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, and researchers); People who are taking long trips or moving to South Africa; Children, because they tend to play with animals, might not report bites, and are more likely to have animal bites on their head and neck.

• Yellow Fever: Required if traveling from a country with risk of YF virus transmission and ≥1 year of age, including transit >12 hours in an airport located in a country with risk of YF virus transmission. Note: Yellow fever vaccine availability in the United States is currently limited. If you need to be vaccinated before your trip, you may need to travel some distance and schedule your appointment well in advance.

Passport Requirements

Every traveler entering South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Botswana is required to show a passport valid for at least 6 months. 

South Africa requires travelers to have two completely blank visa pages in their passports upon every arrival in South Africa. You will be denied entry and forced to return to your point of origin if you do not have two blank visa pages.

The US State Department advises making at least one photocopy of the information and photo page of your passport. You should carry this in a separate place from the original. In this way you can make it easier to replace your passport if you lose it during your time in South Africa.

Covid 19

The entire 2020 and most of the 2021 travel season in South Africa was cancelled due to the Covid 19 global pandemic. We are hopeful that travel will resume between the USA and South Africa by August, 2021.

The only thing visitors currently must have is a negative covid test within 72 hours from the time of departure from the USA.

We will monitor the situation, and share any information we can.

If you book this tour and find that you need or want to postpone it for reasons due to the pandemic situation, we will gladly change your tour date to a later one with no change fees.

Itinerary Changes

Traveling in Third World countries is often challenging, and sometimes changes in the itinerary are unavoidable. 

If changes are needed, Bucket List Travel will always make our best efforts to provide alternatives that are equal to or better than what was originally planned.

Victoria Falls 3 Day Add-On Excursion

Spanning more than a mile across the cliffs between Zimbabwe and Zambia—Victoria Falls is known as the largest sheet of falling water in the world. A little over a mile wide and 351 feet high, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one-and-a-half times as wide and twice as high as Niagara Falls! The spray from the falls typically rises to a height of over 1,300 feet, and on a clear day, you can see the mist from the falls from up to 30 miles away.

With a flight time from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls of only 1 hour and 40 minutes, it’s easy to add a short side trip to see this natural wonder of the world before or after your South Africa tour. We’ve put together an exciting 3-day, 2-night excursion for our guests.

After pickup from the airport and a transfer to your hotel, we’ll see the sun dip below the horizon during a River Song sunset cruise and watch the wildlife come out to the banks of the Zambezi – Africa’s fourth largest river. Relax onboard with a drink as you look for hippos, elephants, and buffalo that come to the water’s edge to drink at the end of the day. We'll have dinner at a Shearwater Cafe

The next morning, we’ll enjoy a guided tour of Victoria Falls and discover the best spots for photo opportunities. Well have lunch at the Rainforest Cafe, and then visit a cultural and craft market. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore the village and shops, relax by the falls, or take advantage of one of the many available activities – from bungee jumping and helicopter rides over the falls, to swimming in Devil's Pool at certain times of the year. Tonight we'll share dinner at the hotel. 

The next morning after breakfast, we’ll head back to the airport for the flight back to Johannesburg.

The price for this tour is $495 per person, double occupancy. Single supplement is $90. This does not include the price of the round-trip flight from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls.

This excursion includes: 

·  2 nights Explorers Village Deluxe Chalet, with breakfast

·  Sunset cocktail cruise on the Zambezi River

·  Guided tour of the falls

·  Day 1 dinner at a Shearwater Cafe

·  Lunch at Rainforest Cafe

·  Visit to cultural and craft market

·  Day 2 dinner at the hotel

·  Airport transfers

What’s included

  • 1 night stay
    Lesedi Cultural Village -
  • 4 nights stay
    Mziki Safari Lodge -
  • 3 nights stay
    Cradle Moon Lodge -
  • 3 nights stay
    Villa Rosa -
  • Tours
    All safaris and tours escorted by a private driver and a private guide
  • Entrance Fees
    Entrance fees to all sights in the itinerary
  • Domestic Flight
    Domestic flights between Johannesburg to Cape Town
  • All airport transfers
  • Meals
    11 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 8 dinners
  • International Airfare
    Airfare between the United States and South Africa is NOT included
  • Meals
    Meals not listed in itinerary
  • Beverages with meals
  • Tips
    Customary tips to tour guide, driver, etc.
  • Hot air balloon ride
  • Farewell dinner at Gold
  • Victoria Falls excursion

Available options

Single supplement4 left
Hot Air Balloon10 left
Farewell dinner at Gold Restaurant10 left
Pre-tour night10 left
Victoria Falls Add-on10 left
Victoria Falls Single Supplement10 left


Day 1
Welcome to South Africa!

Arrive in Johannesburg at O.R. Tambo International Airport. A Bucket List Travel agent will meet you and help you claim your luggage. Transfer to your accommodations at Lesedi African Lodge and Cultural Village.

Cultural show: Lesedi reflects the diversity of South Africa’s original inhabitants, and contains elements of Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Basotho, Nguni and Ndebele cultures. 

Traditional song and dance and a feast fit for a king top off an unforgettable day and night.

Buffet dinner: variety of meats (crocodile, ostrich, beef, lamb), assorted vegetables, pap (grits), salads and desserts.

Overnight at Lesedi African Lodge and Cultural Village in a traditional hut that offers the comforts of home. Wake to the sounds of the maskanda Zulu guitar and African melodies before being treated to a full English breakfast.

Your Organizer

Annie Emanuelli
7 reviews
Hi - I'm Annie, the founder of Bucket List Travel! Travel is my life! I left a 30+ year career as a corporate marketing exec to start my own travel business, taking people to Bucket List locations! I'd like to take you somewhere you've always dreamed of going. Stop dreaming, start packing!


Jordan has been at the top of my destination list since 2018. I finally made it! My heart was happy in Jordan. I had the opportunity to see and do everything on my wish list. Mt. Nebo, Jordan River, floating in the Dead Sea, private guide through Petra, exploring Wadi Rum and feeding camels. I can’t wait to go back and spend more time in Wadi Rum. Thank you Annie and Yasser for making my long awaited dreams come true!
By Kimberly M for Jordan!! Nov. 13-19, 2021 on 24 Nov, 2021
This is my second time booking thru bucket list travel with Annie and both trips I had a great time meet new people got to learn the history of the tours we took the food culture I will definitely refer my friends to book with bucket list travel.!
By Jessica N for Jordan!! Nov. 13-19, 2021 on 22 Nov, 2021
I just got back from the trip of a lifetime. Annie and her contacts in South Africa set up an itinerary to make sure you experience different facets of the country in the time you spend there but best of all they make you feel welcome and make sure you see the animals! The accommodations were great and the people we met were great. This vacation exceeded all my expectations and I may never top this trip!!
By Sheila C for Aug 29-Sept 9, 2021: Bucket List Travel! on 11 Sep, 2021
If you are thinking of going to Egypt, I highly recommend Bucket List Travel. My husband and I have just completed a private tour. We were their first booking since the pandemic started, and we truly loved the experience. Annie arranged a great itinerary tailored to our preferences,, and Yasser, our guide couldn’t have been better. He is a scholar in Egyptology who is passionate about his country, its history, culture, architecture, food and all things Egypt. He is also fun to be with and bends over backwards to give his guests the best experience possible. We normally travel independently, but are so glad we decided to see Egypt this way. We would not have gotten half as much out of the trip without the background and understanding provided by Yasser. I would recommend using Bucket List Travel without hesitation.
By Iris S for Egypt Private Tour: Iris Newman Stone on 11 Apr, 2021
This trip was beyond my expectations. A wonderful experience. I would highly recommend traveling with Bucket List Travel.
By Donna W for AUG 28-SEPT 9, 2019: Bucket List South Africa! on 12 Sep, 2019
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I just returned from a once in a lifetime trip to Cairo organized by Bucket List Travel. Annie took care of every detail of planning, and it really showed when I got off the plane and was taken care of from start to finish with the greatest care. Our guide Yasser was kind, professional, knowledgeable, and funny! He went above and beyond to ensure every need was met and we got the most out of each day in Egypt. I always felt safe and loved experiencing local life and culture. I plan to grab my friends and book again with Bucket List Travel!
By Noel G on 05 Feb, 2020