The glorious panoramas from Cape Town’s Table Mountain and the candy-colored streets of its Bo-Kaap neighborhood set the stage for the sweet sights to come. Six open-air private game reserve drives near Kruger National Park offer a fascinating glimpse of up to 42 mammal species and 350 bird species. Keep your eyes peeled for the “Big 5”—lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and Cape buffalo—before branching out in Johannesburg. Here, you’ll explore Soweto, the city’s largest township, including the former home of Nelson Mandela and the most significant sites of the anti-apartheid movement. Your South Africa vacation crescendos at Victoria Falls, called Mosi-oa-Tunya (the smoke that thunders) on the Zambezi River. Twice the height of Niagara Falls, this breathtaking waterfall spanning the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia offers twice the photo ops.
Once you’ve seen the “Big 5,” why not turn your attention to the rare few? Wild dog, elephants swimming, and the not-so-sweet honey badger are just a few of the unusual sights you might see in Botswana. While Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated nations in the world, its Chobe National Park and Okavango Delta regions are brimming with fascinating wildlife.