It’s time to journey to the world’s second-largest continent, the land where majestic elephants, massive buffalo, and elusive big cats roam. In addition to getting relatively up close and personal with members of the Big Five, we’ll dedicate time to learning about South Africa’s history, giving back to communities in Lesotho, and exploring the beautiful beaches, waters, and nature reserves of these beautiful African countries. This is a three-week expedition you’ll never forget!
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South Africa Safari and Service
21 Daysview dates and prices
Arrive: Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB)
Depart: Durban, South Africa (DUR)
Day 1-3: Tour Johannesburg and Elephant Experience
We’ll begin our trip in Johannesburg, the home to former president Nelson Mandela. We’ll explore the township and give back by working with local schools and community centers to help with whatever is most needed. Our next activity will lead us to Hazyview, where we’ll spend a morning introducing ourselves to African elephants. In this town’s sanctuary, you’ll be able to actually interact with and feed these gentle giants. You’ll tour the stables where they sleep and learn more about the largest mammal walking on Earth.
Day 4-5: Explore Kruger National Park
Ready to see some of South Africa’s famous wildlife? There’s no better place than in Kruger National Park, which houses more species of large mammals than any other African reserve. On the way, we’ll stop at Jane Goodall’s Chimp Eden, the only chimpanzee sanctuary in South Africa. Once in Kruger, we’ll set up camp near the Crocodile River, an area from which it’s not unusual to spot prides of lions, giraffes, and rhinos. The entire next day will be spent on a safari through the park, so keep your eyes peeled for all Big Five: lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo. But that’s not all the wildlife that lives in Kruger. You may also see different species of antelope, the African wild dog, giraffes, hippos, and mongoose.
Day 6: Whitewater raft the Sabie River and Bike Marloth Park
Our next activity will lead us to Marloth Park, another wildlife sanctuary home to dozens of animal species found only in South Africa! We will spend the morning biking and learning more about the land and animals that exist there. In the afternoon, we’ll kick it up a notch with a trip down class III rapids on the Sabie River!
Day 7-9: Explore Swaziland
Our next adventure takes us south to Swaziland, a heart center of our trip for over 20 years! Over the next two days we will stay in the local village engaging in service learning with the local community. We will share in local food, dance, and of course play a local favorite game of soccer with the children! Once we have finished weaving, and building sustainable projects within the village we will make our way to Hlane National Park-one of the most famous safaris in the South Africa region! We will have a sunset safari to search for nocturnal predators on the move and wake up for a morning bike ride to see the difference in life in the park.
Day 10-11: St. Lucia Ocean, Safari, and Rhino Conservation
We’ll spend the next few days in St. Lucia, our first real glimpse at the South African Ocean! While here we will explore Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park, the oldest nature reserve in the country. Known for its wildlife protection efforts, it’s likely we’ll see more of the Big Five here, especially the white rhino. You may also pass by the jackal, common warthog, baboon, and kudu. While here, we will learn about the specific Rhino conservation efforts through darting and dehorning and the impact this has had on population growth. The group will get up and personal with Rhino horns and depending on rehabilitation, perhaps even in the Rhino itself! On the second day, we’ll spend some time in the Emdoneni Cheetah Project, a rehabilitation center for cheetahs, serval cats, African wildcats, and, caracal (lynx). Not only will we learn more about the conservation of big cats, but we’ll get up close and personal with a few of their residents! While in St. Lucia we will enjoy some time at the beach, and an evening sunset cruise along the river.
Day 12-13: Service and Ocean Sea'Faris!
Our next adventure takes us to Ballito where we will be working with a local organization to spread awareness about single-use plastics and its effects on marine wildlife. This will include beach clean-ups and other wildlife protection services. The following day, we will spend time enjoying the ocean we are working to protect! The Ballito coast, famous for its bottle-nose dolphins, will become our ocean safari playground as we head out to sea in search of marine wildlife spottings! Afterward, we get our first taste of what it’s like to ride the waves with our first of several surf lessons. We will have the opportunity to snorkel on the Ballito beaches, in hopes of catching glimpses of the nine-striped cardinalfish, emperor angelfish, or honeycomb eel.
Day 14-15: Valley of 1,000 Hills
For the next few days we get fully immersed in a traditional Zulu community. We will travel onto sacred Zulu land and stay in a local village to get an up close view of what a day in the life of these ancient people looks like. We will enjoy a spectacular view of the valley with a sunrise hike, after which we will join a local school for a cultural exchange of singing, dancing, playing traditional games, and helping in the school.
Day 16-18: Visit the Drakensberg Mountains in Lesotho
For the next few days, we have a range of adventure in and around Lesotho, a neighboring country to South Africa. We will soar through the mountains on a zip-lining adventure, hike to the world famous Bushman painting sites, and take in the breath taking views of the mountains as we climb through a new country to enjoy the views!
Day 19-21: Durban Surfing and SUP Boarding
Our last full days in this beautiful country will be spent surfing and SUP Boarding in Durban. This sleepy coastal village is South Africa’s best-kept secret for surfing, great for beginners and experts alike. We’ll embark on a tour of the bay by Stand Up Paddle Boarding. We’ll glide through the calm waters of the Indian Ocean, above dolphins, exotic fish, and limestone reefs.
*Listed above is Bold Earth’s intended itinerary for this trip. All itineraries are subject to change in order to provide the best possible program quality.
Dates and Prices
|Departure Day||Return Day||Grade||Price||Availability|
Accommodations & Service
Community Service: Approximately 10 Hours
- Various Projects Include: Teaching English to students, repainting a local school, visiting an orphanage, and other environmental projects.
- 6 nights of lodge-style accommodations. We stay in small, comfortable, and authentic places.
- 11 nights of camping. We are staying in comfortable safari-style standing-room tents.
- 3 nights of glamping. We are staying in large safari-style standing-room tents with beds.
Community service: 10 hours
My favorite part about my Epic Africa adventure was the opportunity to see the countries in such a complete way from so many different viewpoints and activities. I got to have amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experiences with people that I had met a short time ago and bonded us in a unique way.
Mattie has done two People to People trips, as well as a school-sponsored trip. Bold Earth was the best. She definitely grew as a person and is more prepared to go off to college. The trip leaders were AMAZING! All of my interactions were very positive.
I could not be happier with the experience both as a parent and for my child. It’s hard to send a teenager on a long trip blindly, not knowing a soul. But I was blown away with the strong friendships my child developed and the excitement in my child’s voice as he told us stories of the activities and the chance to do some good for others in the world. I also feel that it opened my child’s eyes to the world and allowed a safe way to leave his comfort zone. I could not be more impressed/pleased/happy with the experience.
My experience with Bold Earth has been nothing but positive, from my interactions with Josh and Hayley before the trip, to the communication that we received from Izzy and Samson during the trip. The values that are exemplified in the activities and itineraries that Bold Earth creates offer an opportunity for kids to get out of their comfort zone and learn and grow. I am a huge Bold Earth fan!
I loved everything, especially the safaris, surfing, sandboarding, and the people. Out of my five Bold Earth trips, this Africa trip was my favorite!
Our son just returned from his first Bold Earth trip (Epic Africa) and he is already talking about his next summer adventure. Traveling to a different country and being exposed to different cultures helped our son grow as a person and broaden his horizons. We were thoroughly impressed with Bold Earth and we look forward to sending our son and daughter on future adventures. Every aspect of Bold Earth’s trips are thoughtfully planned and tailored. This is a life-changing experience your son/daughter will cherish.
My favorite part about the trip was every single day! I loved all of the community service we did, the safaris, camping, and experiencing Africa in all of its entirety. Going on Bold Earth trips has changed my life and my perspective on the
world. I have made so many new friends from around the world and have done so many amazing things that I think everyone should experience.
My favorite part about the trip was probably being able to create friendships and family-like bonds with all of the people in my group, while getting to experience so many incredible aspects of the culture in the places we were
exploring. I also loved being able to play with the kids at the schools and playgrounds; it was amazing to see how excited and energetic they
were! I would recommend Bold Earth to anyone because it gives you an opportunity to make connections with people from all over the world, see and explore new places, immerse yourself in new cultures, lend a helping hand to those in need, and make amazing memories!