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Many Things to Consider When Planning an African Safari Trip

We had to plan an African Safari trip.  We wanted a return trip to Cape Town, and the Stellenbosch Wine Region in South Africa.  The Rovos Rail luxury trainsOur wish list for planning included a trip to a safari camp.  We also wanted to stay at a safari camp in the area for a couple of days.  The challenge was to make it all work.  We worked with Tully Luxury TravelCreate the perfect African experience.

We have been to Africa in the past so our experience helped us plan.  There were so many incredible things to see and experience on Our first visit to Cape Town.  A Visit Stellenbosch for a day tripThe quick tour gave us a glimpse of this wonderful wine region. But we knew we wanted more.  

The following is a list of the most recent and relevant articles. We visited Africa for the first time, we did 3 great game drives – Shimba Hills Park in KenyaThe Huhluwe Game Reserve in Richards BayYou can also read about the Aquila Game Reserve is located in Cape Town.  Many animals were difficult to find during the midday hours when most game drive trips were conducted.  We saw many animals and came away with some amazing memories.  We still wanted to have the full safari experience and see animals early in the morning or late at night in their natural habitat.

Our visit to South AmericaWe planned an amazing Visit the Iguazu falls.  This set of mighty drops is definitely worth putting Victoria Falls in Africa on our travel planning list.  We were delighted to find the luxury accommodation in Africa. RovosWhen we saw that the train would take us from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Victoria Falls at the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia we knew this was what we wanted to add to our African journey. 

This is Our Itinerary for this Great African Adventure

After some research, we had a clear idea of what we wanted from our African adventure.  The plan we put together led to an amazing 4 week trip.

Day 1-3

There is no direct route between Toronto and South Africa.  When we last visited Cape Town, we found a great deal and experienced Flying First Class with EmiratesWe chose a route through Dubai that connected to other routes.  We found that the Emirates option was too expensive for this trip, so we looked into connecting options in Europe.  The flight to Cape Town landed two days after we had left Toronto, with two overnight flights.  The return trip took us just as long, but only one overnight flight.

Day 3-11

We planned to spend 4 days in Cape Town.  We planned 4 days in Cape Town, South Africa. We saw so much in Cape TownWe had little to see and do on our last trip.  So we booked enough time to recover from the long travel and to adjust to the time zone changes.  After a good rest, we planned another four days of wine tasting in the Stellenbosch region.  We knew that there was a lot to discover in the charming little towns in that region.

Day 11-13

After Stellenbosch we fly to Johannesburg, South Africa for two days.  We have a Maboneng Market Tour and Soweto Tour booked for a day.

Day 13-17

From Johannesburg, we travel to Pretoria and board the RovosLuxury train for four days.  We will have a luxury train trip with several day trips along the way to Victoria Falls.

Day 17-20

We are picked up at Victoria Falls and taken to our first safari stay. Thorntree River LodgeIn Zambia for 3 days  We will enjoy a number of safari excursions.  We have a helicopter trip planned to see Victoria Falls.

Day 20-25

Fly to Zambia from Zambia Sabi Earth LodgeBack in South Africa, for 4 days.  This private game lodge is located right next to Kruger National Park.  We are in for more exciting wildlife experiences.

Day 25-27

Then we fly back to Johannesburg, where we spend the night before boarding our flight to Toronto.  

Our African safari trip was a success!

Plan Your African Safari Trip Start Your Trip With A Return To Cape Town

We booked 4 nights in Cape Town for this stay. Westin Cape Town.  This centrally located hotel will be a great spot to enjoy views of the Victoria & Albert Waterfront, Table Mountain and the whole of Table Bay.  We are always excited to see new hotels. our Marriott Ambassador Elite statusWe can enjoy the Westin Executive Club Lounges.  

We planned to relax at the hotel after a long trip to Cape Town.  We know that it will take us a few days to adjust to the new time zone.

We were fortunate to see so many wonderful things on Last visit to Cape Town.  We definitely want to ride the cable car on this trip to the top Table Mountain.  We were teased at the top of Table Mountain with fog during our last visit.  

Table Mountain in Cape Town - Planning An African Safari Trip
Table Mountain in Cape Town

Cape Town was a great place to start our African Safari.

Wine Tasting in the Stellenbosch Region

On our first trip to Cape Town we did an excellent job. Visit Stellenbosch for a day trip.  We went wine tasting and explored some local points of interest.  We knew we wanted to return and spend more time. 

We booked an overnight stay at the boutique Clouds Estate.  This resort is situated on the highest point of the Helshoogte Pass, with a view of the Simonsberg mountain range and the Drakenstein mountain range.  Clouds EstateIt is a working farm and we were looking forward to seeing vineyards and the wine production.  The vineyards were particularly interesting. “Pink”This estate was famous for its Sauvignon blanc wine. 

We had planned to visit the Delaire Graff EstateWine tasting and art collection.  This was the second boutique resort we considered when planning our stay in Stellenbosch.

We wanted to see other wineries and enjoy the small town sights.  We wanted to include our short stay in Stellenbosch when planning an African Safari.

Johannesburg: A Quick Look

We fly from Stellenbosch to Johannesburg, South Africa.  We spend two nights at the hotel and one day there. Marriott Melrose Arch Hotel.  Even with such a short stay we wanted to be in the central area of Johannesburg to get a feel for this city. 

We booked a tour for our day out in Johannesburg.  Our tour will include the Maboneng Market for a glimpse of the local food, art and crafts – although we will miss the very busy market day.  We will also be given a Soweto Tour. Hector Pieterson Memorial MuseumMandela House. This will give a glimpse into the unique history and culture of South Africa.  We are confident that our local guide can provide additional local sites of interest.  When Tully Luxury TravelSet up a similar Private tour in Buenos AiresIt was a wonderful experience.

We return to Johannesburg, South Africa for one night at the end of our African journey before flying home.  We considered returning to the Marriott Melrose Arch HotelWe decided that staying close to the airport was the best option for our final stay.  We booked the Intercontinental Tambo.  This award-winning hotel is located within walking distance from the international terminal of the airport. We will have a relaxing and quiet day before our long journey home.

Rovos Train: Luxury and Adventure from Pretoria to Victoria Falls

Pretoria is the next stop on our journey from Johannesburg. RovosLuxury train.  We were pleased to be able to see this famous train station.  We had a deluxe train cabin and were happy to have a shower in our cabin.  This is the smallest space that we have shared in several days of travel!  We know that there are many places on the train where we can relax and enjoy the scenery.

We travel through Warmbaths, which are named after the mineral water.  Pass by the Nylstroom, which is the source for the Nile River. The train travels along the edge of escarpment at the Highveld’s sharp drop.

On the second day, we cross the Limpopo River on our way to Beitbridge. We complete the border formalities and enter Zimbabwe.

On day 3, we travel through the baobab region and take a day trip. Matobo National Park.  This is the country’s oldest National Park.  We visit Matopo Hills – a series granite kopjes formed over two billion years ago.  The earliest residents (the “San”The walls of caves, rock shelters and other underground spaces are painted with a variety of natural minerals and special pigments.  The natural minerals and special pigments used have survived the local climate as well as time.  We saw similar fascinating Rock wall paintings in Dazu, China

Day 4 takes the train along the eastern edge Hwange Park.  Another day trip is planned in the Hwange National Park.  This is the largest park in Zimbabwe, covering about 14,650 sq km.  The park is home a large variety of birds and mammals.  We are hoping to see tusker-elephants, which this park is famous for.  We are visiting the park at the beginning dry season, so there may be fewer elephants.  We hope this will give us more opportunities to see other wildlife on our game drive.

Thorntree River lodge at the Victoria Falls

You can also find out more about us on our website. RovosVictoria Falls, Zimbabwe is the final destination of this luxury train journey.  A driver will meet us at the station and take us into Zambia.  This should allow us to see Victoria Falls in both directions.  A bit like the movie we saw Iguazu Falls in both Argentina and Brazil

We have 3 nights booked at the Thorntree River Lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River in Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park.  Our safari includes a variety of activities.  We can choose from game drives in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, rhino tracking, bush walks, canoe trips, catch & release shore fishing and sunrise & sunset boat cruises.  We could also choose from visits to the Simonga Village, the Livingstone Museum or the Maramba & Makuni Markets.  

Rhino - Planning An African Safari Trip

Day trips also could include a visit to Zambian and Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls.  We pre-booked an aerial helicopter tour to view these magnificent falls.  We learned when The helicopter perspective provided a unique way to view the Iguazu Fall.On large waterfall systems.

We plan to relax at the spa or infinity pool overlooking the river in between our very busy day trips.  We expect to finish each evening with a fine meal and some stories around the fire at the sunken Boma. 

We are expecting a full and amazing experience at the Thorntree River Lodge.  At least one of these experiences is required when planning an African safari.  We were delighted to have two of them on this trip.

Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge – Staying Near the Kruger National Park

After our first safari experience, we fly back to South Africa where we stay at the Sabi Sabi Earth LodgeThe 4 day trip is for you. The Sabi Sabi Game ReserveFour different lodges are located in the South Western section of the Greater Kruger National Park.  The reserve is located in a central plain, between two rivers. This provides an environment that attracts many different species of wildlife.

The lodge offers day and evening game drives in open-air safari vehicles. Walking safaris are available to explore the bush on foot as a group.  Bush breakfasts and bush lunches are also available for a variety of experiences.  

Safari Jeep

This luxury lodge offers a wonderful way to combine a little pampering and some amazing African adventures.  We were so happy to have the opportunity to include this second stay in our African safari trip.

What to Address Plan Your African Safari Trip

We always planned a lot for longer trips.  When planning an African safari, we had to take into consideration a few additional things.

Start Planning Early

When we first started to consider a safari to Africa, we looked into the lead times for reservations. We were surprised when we found out that we had to book some of Africa’s most popular game reserves well in advance. And the Rovos Luxury TrainAlso, it was important to book well in advance. About 4 months prior to our trip, we had booked some hotels and international flights. We did not have as much time to plan for places like Stellenbosch, but we did research well in advance.

We had planned our African adventure well in advance, and the rest of our trip was based around it.

Itinerary and Transfers

We wanted to know what we would like to see, and how to create a perfect itinerary.  We were delighted to welcome the Africa specialists to Tully Luxury TravelTake our list and we’ll help you plan the perfect trip.  

We needed to plan the transfers because we were traveling between 3 countries and staying in different places.  We were happy that we could include all of this in our Tully Luxury Travel  package.  


You can also find out more about the following: RovosThe train portion of our Africa trip included pre-determined excursions.  We had to make decisions about what to do in some places.  We were able to make the most of our trip by doing some research before we left.

We had already visited Cape Town and Stellenbosch and knew what was available. We did not plan any additional tours.  We booked a private tour for Johannesburg in advance.

Both of our camps offered a variety of day trips and excursions.  We did some research about what we might like to do and see, but did not make any decisions.  We knew local experts would create a tailored experience for us once we arrived.  We booked the helicopter tour of Victoria Falls in advance.  We thought we could fit other things in around this excursion.

Packing and Luggage Requirements

Adventure travel requires us to pack our luggage with extra care.  When traveling on adventure, packing your luggage requires extra thought. We packed for AntarcticaWe were worried about both Antarctica – cold expeditionsA hot Visit South America.  This added complexity was not part of our African adventure.  

We needed to pack a mix of luxury travel clothes and safari trekking gear for Africa.  We made sure to pack plenty of bug spray and sunblock.  We also packed extra warm clothes, as we knew that night excursions can be very cold.  We also had luggage limits for flights within Africa.  We had to pack and repack several times before we met the minimum size and weight requirements.


We knew that we would need to consider vaccinations before traveling to Africa.  Prior to traveling to Africa, we knew that we needed to consider vaccines. Travel to Africa, ChinaThe following are some examples of how to get started: Along the Amazon RiverThe majority of the vaccines were still effective.  Malaria protection was still needed in certain parts of Africa.  We took a lot of precautions. DukoralAs a precautionary measure against Cholera, and also travellers diarrhea.


We were confident that as Canadians, we could easily enter South Africa.  We had to check the Kaza requirements for Zimbabwe and Zambia.  We were pleased that the Immigration forms were available on the RovosTrain and we would pay our Visa fee on a stop.  

We are excited to have finished planning our African Safari trip

We were thrilled when we completed the planning of our African safari. As we worked with Tully Luxury Travel  to create the perfect itinerary and get everything arranged in advance.  After all the planning is done, we can relax to enjoy the trip of a lifetime.

We will update our social media channels during this great African adventure.  Follow along! 

What else did we miss when planning an African Safari?  Have you got any tips on how to make the most of this trip?

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