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South Africa

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21 Days

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Arrive: Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB)
Depart: Durban, South Africa (DUR)

It’s time to journey to the world’s second-largest continent, 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 Swaziland, 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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Day 1-3: Tour Soweto's history on bikes

We’ll begin our trip in the culturally rich Soweto, the home to former president Nelson Mandela. We’ll explore the township on bicycles, stopping at such historical sites as Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum. This memorial commemorates the many students who played an important role in the struggle against apartheid. We’ll also pass by the Mandela house, where we’ll learn more about this family’s story and legacy. The next day will be spent giving back to Soweto, working with local schools and community centers to help with whatever is most needed.

Accommodation: Guesthouse

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.

Accommodation: Camping

Day 6: Whitewater raft the Sabie River and interact with elephants

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. In the afternoon, we’ll kick it up a notch with a trip down class III rapids on the Sabie River!

Accommodation: Hostel

Day 7-9: Cultural immersion in Swaziland

The journey continues as we cross our first border into Swaziland and north toward the Lebombo Mountains. We’ll spend two days in Simunye, learning local culture and how they sustain their mountaintop community. You’re sure to be challenged by local children to a game of soccer! Villagers will teach you how to make bangles, grass mats, necklaces, and more for the locals to sell at craft markets. At night, we’ll enjoy traditional African dancing around a campfire!

Accommodation: Camping

Day 10: Go on a Swaziland sunset safari

After we say goodbye to our new friends in Simunye, we’ll head to Swaziland’s Hlane Royal National Park, the country’s largest protected wilderness area. During our sunset safari, it’s likely we’ll see more large mammals, and possibly even other wildlife like cheetahs, wildebeest, and zebras!

Accommodation: Camping

Day 11: Snorkel in Kosi Bay

Our next adventure takes us south to Kosi Bay, where we’ll spend two days traversing the four interconnected lakes (Amanzimnyama, Nhlange, Mpungwini and Makhawulani) in iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The water (with its sparkling clarity and abundance of wildlife) is famous for the traditional Thonga fish traps, curved woven kraals used for more than 700 years by this community. We’ll spend some time fishing with these traps to catch that night’s dinner! The pristine waters are famous for bird habitats; Kosi Bay is home to more than 250 avian species, including the African fish eagle, flamingos, and the rare palm nut vulture. On its beaches, you’ll spot loggerhead and leatherback turtles. During an afternoon of snorkeling, we’ll hope to catch a glimpse of the nine-striped cardinalfish, emperor angelfish, or honeycomb eel.

Accommodation: Camping

Day 12-16: Snorkel in Ponta do Ouro

After crossing the border into Mozambique, we’ll spend four days in the coastal town of Ponta do Ouro, which means the “Tip of Gold.” What’s unique about this village is that it can only be reached via a 4×4 vehicle. We’ll take full advantage of its exquisite shallow coral reefs by spending our afternoons snorkeling. Ponta, as it’s called by locals, is famous for its dolphins, and it’s very likely we’ll get to swim with them! We’ll also give back to the community with a school and playground service project.

Accommodation: Eco Lodge

Day 17: Go on a safari in Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park

Back in South Africa, we’ll spend two days in 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. 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!

Accommodation: Camping

Day 18-19: Community service in St. Lucia

Next up is a service project in St. Lucia, on the southern tip of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a world heritage site acclaimed for its copious biodiversity and unique ecosystems. We’ll contribute to this village by building swings at a playground, participating in the soup kitchen, or planting new crops in the community vegetable garden. That afternoon, we’ll hop onto a boat and explore Lake St. Lucia, home to Nile crocodiles and hippopotami.

Accommodation: Guesthouse

Day 20: Learn to surf and kayak in Durban

Our last full day in this beautiful country will be spent surfing and sea kayaking in Durban. This sleepy coastal village is South Africa’s best-kept secret for surfing, great for beginners and experts alike. That afternoon, we’ll embark on a tour of the bay by sea kayak. We’ll glide through the calm waters of the Indian Ocean, above dolphins, exotic fish, and limestone reefs.

Accommodation: Camping


*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 1
  • Departure Day
  • Return Day
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Departure 1
  • Departure Day
  • Return Day
  • Grade
  • Price
  • Availability
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.
  • 9 nights of lodge-style accommodations. We stay in small, comfortable, and authentic places.
  • 9 nights of camping. We are staying in comfortable safari-style standing-room tents.
  • 2 nights of staying in bush huts.  Swaziland offers authentic accommodations during our stay.


Community service: 10 hours






Whitewater rafting



Noa, student from Scarsdale, NY

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.

Melissa C, parent from Cincinnati, OH

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. 

Amy P, parent from Woodinville, WA

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.

Jamie D, parent from Scarsdale, NY

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!

Ethan, student from Monroe Township, NJ

I loved everything, especially the safaris, surfing, sandboarding, and the people. Out of my five Bold Earth trips, this Africa trip was my favorite!

Marissa L, parent from Bedford Hills, NY

The communication between the trip leaders during our trip when we were in contact was great. It was very clear that Hayley and Nick created a bond between all of the kids as well as
between themselves and the group.

Marissa, student from Orange, OH

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.

Maddie, student from Bar Harbor, ME

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!