This past year saw a resurgence in travel throughout Africa, with air travel across the continent approaching pre-pandemic levels. Safari camps from South Africa to Zimbabwe were fully booked, and travellers lingered in popular destinations well past peak season.

What does this mean for travel in 2024? It means that travel in Africa is back and that you have to book well in advance for the top hotels and lodges. It means that using a specialist travel planner is essential to ensure your trip doesn’t run into delays or unexpected diversions. Travelling in Africa can be complicated if you don’t travel wisely, especially if you’re headed to popular destinations – so always use the professionals.

Credit: GreatPlains | Selinda Explorers Camp

Where should you go in 2024? We put together our travel wishlist for the year to help you decide. We can’t wait to revisit some of our favourite spots to experience new bespoke itineraries, cutting-edge conservation efforts and exclusive retreats. In 2024, new experiences and lodges will come to market and we can’t wait to see them spark to life and add extra layers of intrigue to the old favourites.

Imagine going on a walking safari in Botswana, witnessing the roar of the world’s most thrilling natural wonder or learning how to cook traditional food in one of Africa’s most dynamic cities. This is our ultimate list of the top places to visit in Southern Africa in 2024, compiled by our expert travel designers.

1. Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park is an icon of Africa and one of the most renowned wildlife reserves in the world. If you like birds, there are over 500 reasons to visit Kruger. And if you like mammals, there are 147 reasons to visit. At the core of its attraction, however, there are three main reasons to visit Kruger in 2024.

Firstly, it’s home to a vast array of wildlife and is one of the best places in Africa to have intimate, thrilling encounters with the Big Five (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros). Visitors have the opportunity to witness these majestic animals in their natural habitats.

Credit: Tanda Tula Field Camp

Secondly, Kruger has long been the leader in Africa for award-winning accommodation. 40 years ago, it pioneered the concept of luxury safari lodges and it has never looked back, still boasting some of the best lodges in Africa. The park is flanked by renowned privately owned game reserves such as Sabi Sand, Timbavati and Klaserie. Keep in mind there are no fences between these reserves, meaning the animals can happily wander all over the vast park. The fine cuisine, luxurious rooms, expert guides and quality of experiences are truly exceptional.

Thirdly, let’s talk about the guides. A guide is the single most important ingredient when it comes to your safari. Even more important than the animals. That may sound strange, but a great guide will lock you into your environment and bring it to life in the most enthralling way. And Kruger, with its pedigree and history has some of the most impressive guides on the continent. The guides there are highly trained, knowledgeable and passionate about wildlife and conservation. Their extensive local knowledge about the park’s ecosystems, wildlife, and plant life enhances the overall safari experience, as guides can provide valuable insights into the animals’ behaviour and the park’s ecology.

2. Okavango Delta

There is nowhere on earth that’s quite like the Okavango Delta. It’s one of the world’s most captivating wilderness areas and you sense that as soon as you arrive. This is primal, pristine and perfect Africa.

It’s one of the world’s largest inland deltas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is characterised by a network of channels, lagoons, and islands, creating a habitat for a diverse range of wildlife – including elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, and various antelope species. The waterways attract a variety of bird species, making it a haven for birdwatchers.

Credit: Wynand Uys | Unsplash

Due to it being such a sought-after destination, the experiences and lodges on offer are truly special. The Delta offers a range of water-based activities, such as mokoro (traditional canoe) excursions, boat safaris, and fishing. Exploring the delta by water provides a different perspective and allows for close encounters with aquatic species. The lodges can be equally breathtaking, allowing you to enjoy the natural surroundings while still having access to modern comforts.

3. Victoria Falls

The iconic, immense and incomparable Victoria Falls is one of the world’s great sights to behold, and also one of its great tourist destinations.

The falls, located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, span over 1.7 kilometres (1 mile) in width, making it the largest curtain of falling water in the world. The sheer scale and power of the falls are a mesmerising sight. The towering mist and spray from the falls is visible from miles away and adds to the falls’ mystique.

It also happens to be known as the “Adrenalin Capital of Africa”, with a variety of thrilling activities on offer. Visitors can go white-water rafting, bungee jumping, zip-lining, and walking with rhinos. There are microlight flights above the falls, sunset cruises on the Zambezi and a heart-pumping, elevated swimming spot called Devil’s Pool.

The surrounding area is also rich in biodiversity, and visitors may have the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife, including elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and numerous bird species. Nature walks (such as the one with rhinos) and safaris in the nearby national parks complement the overall experience.

Whether you are an adventure seeker, a nature lover, or someone seeking a serene escape, Victoria Falls offers a diverse range of experiences that make it a captivating and unforgettable destination.

4. Cape Town

December 2023 saw the most visitors land in Cape Town ever in a single month, so it’s safe to say that The Mother City is as popular as ever. There’s a good reason for that because the city at the tip of Africa never sits still and there are always new hotels, restaurants, wine farms and experiences to check out.

While new things to do and places to stay are always popping up, the basic facts about Cape Town remain the same. It still has breathtaking natural beauty and is framed by the iconic Table Mountain, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, including the Atlantic Ocean and the city itself. The beaches are stunning and a wonderful place to unwind after a long flight.

Table Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a major attraction while many visitors also see the stunning Cape of Good Hope and the scenic Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. The Cape Winelands, located near Cape Town, are famous for their picturesque vineyards and historic wine estates. Visitors can enjoy wine tastings, cellar tours, and explore charming towns like Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.

The city offers a plethora of outdoor activities, including hiking, surfing, paragliding, and shark cage diving. And Cape Town’s culinary scene is diverse and vibrant, offering a mix of international and local flavours.

Whether you’re drawn to incredible wildlife, natural wonders, cultural experiences, outdoor adventures, or culinary delights, these four Southern African icons offer a diverse range of attractions that make them compelling destinations for travellers. If you’d like to find out how you can put it officially on your 2024 bucketlist then get in touch with one of our travel experts today.

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