An astonishingly diverse region fused by its prolific wildlife, breathtaking landscapes and remnants of ancient culture, Southern Africa is Africa at its most memorable.
Southern Africa has some of Africa’s greatest safari destinations: Kruger, Chobe, Etosha, South Luangwa and the Okavango Delta. The sheer number of elephants, lions, leopards, hyenas, rhinos, buffaloes, antelope and myriad other species will quickly overwhelm your camera. Spot them on self-drives, guided wildlife drives or charter flights...and if that’s not up close and personal enough, what about the chance to track highly endangered black rhino...on foot? Or the chance to see the fabled black-maned lions of the Kalahari, or the desert elephants of Namibia? Or explore the Caprivi Strip, one of Africa's emerging wildlife destinations, before the rest of the world catches on.
There's famous Table Mountain rising high above Cape Town, that mighty gash hacked out of the earth’s surface at Fish River Canyon, and the desertscapes of the Kalahari, but the lonely rural tracks that take you out into an otherwise trackless wilderness are just as memorable. In Namibia, huge slabs of flat-topped granite rise from mists of wind-blown sand and swirling dust. And Zambian floodplains are dotted with acacia trees and flanked by escarpments of dense woodland. Want to see all the landscapes the region has to offer? Put aside a lifetime.
For insight into extraordinary rock art left by ancestors of the San, an ancient people whose origins lie in the Stone Age, visit Tsodilo Hills in Botswana and the extensive rock-art galleries in Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Step back through the centuries in the cultural melting pot of Mozambique Island; stay in a mud hut in Zimbabwe and watch Shona sculptors at work; prop up the bar at a shebeen in Soweto; or mingle with Basotho people in highland villages in Lesotho. Southern Africa has so many different takes on African culture, both ancient and contemporary, that it can be difficult to know where to begin.
Namibia is Southern Africa's headquarters for adrenaline-pumping fun, but there’s adventure to be had all over the region. Sail by dhow past remote islands off Mozambique’s jagged coastline, abseil Livingstonia in Malawi, and try tackling the ferocious rapids down the Zambezi River or bungeeing from a bridge at Victoria Falls. In South Africa, the Garden Route with its old-growth forests offers shark-cage diving, surfing, skydiving, canoeing and kloofing (canyoning). But it's in Swakopmund in Namibia where you'll truly take off, with the stirring juxtaposition of sand dunes and Atlantic Ocean waves providing a splendid backdrop to so many acts of sheer joy.