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Cape Town

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Why Go to Cape Town for Holiday

Set on a rugged peninsula between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans with iconic Table Mountain as its backdrop, the city of Cape Town sits in one of the world's most spectacular settings. But the scenery isn't restricted to the city alone: short drives take visitors to white sandy beaches, traditional fishing villages and wild mountain ranges while must-see destinations such as Cape Point, the Cape Winelands and the whale-watching capital of Hermanus are easy day trips. With so many beautiful places to explore, you only have to visit Africa's favourite city once and you’ll probably be planning your next Cape Town travel holiday before your tan’s had time to fade.

Cape Town will appeal to just about anyone in the mood for a holiday: romantics and honeymooners will love the exquisite accommodation and idyllic views; families with children can share a beach with inquisitive penguins; adventure lovers will relish the chance to discover the secrets of Table Mountain - one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World! - and gourmets shouldn't miss out on South Africa's finest food and wine experiences, served up at an affordable price.

It's a multi-faceted destination that deserves to be explored. Naturally, there are dozens of scheduled tours on offer but many visitors prefer to travel to Cape Town and discover this friendly and slow-paced city at their own pace: take some time to browse African craft markets in the walkably compact city centre, visit the colourful Cape Malay suburb of Bo Kaap, lounge on its best beaches and stroll around the ever-popular V&A Waterfront with its shops, restaurants and luxurious hotels.

There's no worrying about getting the right kind of accommodation for your vacation either: our wide range of Cape Town accommodation is a hand-picked selection of stylish guest houses, romantic boutique hotels, private villas overlooking the ocean and family-friendly hotels with expansive lawns for kids to run around on.

And finally, what makes Cape Town such a great place to travel to is that it's so easy to combine with other amazing destinations. With our selection of Cape Town holiday packages, you can hire a car and drive to the nearby Whale Coast before tacking your way down the splendidly scenic Garden Route, or fly to the Kruger Park - one of Africa's greatest game reserves - or how about thundering Victoria Falls? Simply chat to your well-travelled Africa safari expert: they’ve tried and tested all the options and will help you put together the perfect Cape Town holiday.

Quick links to travel advice

Best Time to Visit Cape Town

Cape Town

What is the best time of the year to visit Cape Town?
A Cape Town beach holiday is best during peak summer from December to February. Late April to early June has crisp and clear days, perfect for a hiking trip. A food and wine holiday is best from late June to August - dine at world-class eateries and go wine tasting in the gorgeous Cape Winelands. The best time for a whale watching holiday is from July to September when migratory whales arrive along the coastline.
May to October is the best time to go to Kruger for game viewing - days are dry and mild, and animals are easier to spot and follow. Combine a safari with a food and wine holiday in Cape Town to enjoy its fireside-friendly, rainy winter days. July to September is also a great time for whale watching along Cape Town's Whale Coast.
Temperatures peak between December and February, which is the most popular time to visit. These hot summer months also coincide with local school holidays, so book your accommodation early if you want to visit over Christmas or New Year.
Temperatures peak between December and February, which is the most popular time to visit. These hot summer months also coincide with local school holidays, so book your accommodation early if you want to visit over Christmas or New Year.
Temperatures peak between December and February, which is the most popular time to visit. These hot summer months also coincide with local school holidays, so book your accommodation early if you want to visit over Christmas or New Year.

Cape Town enjoys a temperate climate with warm, dry conditions from October to April. Temperatures peak between December and February, which is the most popular time for a Cape Town beach holiday. Expect busy beaches, a vibrant nightlife and gloriously sunny festive cheer. Cape Town’s fierce south-easterly wind blows during this time, occasionally clearing the beaches and blanketing Table Mountain in cloud.

By February the wind calms and most visitors head home, making late January to April absolutely fantastic – expect better rates, uncrowded world class beaches and less wind.

The best time for a hiking holiday in Cape Town is from late April to early June when the days are crisp and clear, great hiking weather. The best time for a Cape Town foodie safari is from late June to August. The fireside-friendly, rainy days of winter make the most of vibrant indoor markets, easy bookings at the city’s famous eateries and regular crisp, clear days for winetasting, cycling and hiking.

The best time for a whale watching holiday is from July to September when migratory southern right whales arrive along the coastline, wild flowers bloom on the West Coast and the weather warms up. Explore the Whale Coast for the best land-based whale watching.

Where to Go in Cape Town

It should come as no surprise that our top recommendations for where to go in Cape Town focus on the beaches, mountains and incredible natural beauty of the Cape Peninsula. Take a leisurely drive to Cape Point, stopping on the way to watch the amusing antics of the penguins at Boulders Beach, before returning along the Cape Town coast via the beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton. You could easily spend a day wining and dining in the bottle-green valleys of the Cape Winelands but equally as appealing is a picnic on the fynbos-fringed lawns at the extraordinary Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. And of course no Cape Town holiday would be complete without a trip to the top of Table Mountain.

Below is a list of our must-visit places of interest in Cape Town, but spend any time in and around the city centre and you're sure to find a few more favourites of your own.

Table Mountain: a Wonder of Nature

It is somewhat unusual to find a 1 000 metre mountain right in the middle of a big city but then again this is not your average mountain. With its instantly recognisable flat top, Table Mountain stands proudly as one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature and dominates the city skyline. Indeed, as you explore the city, you'll often find yourself reaching for your camera to capture Table Mountain's famous silhouette; the best views however are from the top. Take the cable car up on a clear day or lace up your boots and huff and puff your way up the mountain on one of the many hiking trails - the extra effort really will make you feel on top of the world as you look down on the city and its beaches, the surrounding mountains and the glittering Atlantic Ocean.

Cape Town's Beaches: our favourite stretches of sand

South Africa's largest, most diverse and oldest conservation area is simply known as 'Kruger' and refers to the national park itself, managed by the government parastatal SANParks and open to the public.

Straddling both Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces, the Kruger National Park is fully fenced, has an extensive network of tarred and gravel roads and is home to a wide range of accommodation and visitor facilities, most of which are located in the south and central regions where game viewing is traditionally better.

Boulders Beach: home to thousands of African penguins

A firm family favourite, Boulders Beach is a small cove of gently sloping sand studded with enormous granite boulders that were simply made to clamber about on. Sheltered and calm, the glassy-clear, turquoise water makes for safe swimming but the real stars of the show are the thousands of black-and-white African penguins that have made Boulders Beach one of their most important breeding colonies. Wooden walkways run right through the colony so you can get really close to the penguins - great for photography! We'd recommend a few hours on Boulders Beach to soak up the sunshine, and when you're warm enough, to brave the water - you might even find yourself swimming alongside the penguins.

Cape Point Nature Reserve: dramatic scenery & deserted beaches

At the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula lies the wild and rugged Cape Point Nature Reserve. Go on an organised tour to Cape Point and you'll be whisked straight through the reserve to the point itself where you can walk or take the funicular up to the old lighthouse at the very tip of the peninsula. The views are certainly spectacular - a rocky finger of land juts into the deep-blue Atlantic Ocean and vertical cliffs plunge over 200m into a churning sea - but away from the crowds lie fynbos-lined trails across mountains and deserted sweeps of clean, white sand. Our advice? Spend a few hours exploring; it's sure to be a holiday highlight.

V&A Waterfront: shopping, dining & entertainment complex

If you thought the V&A Waterfront was just a collection of shops with a harbour-front setting then you're in for a wonderful surprise. While you can certainly shop up a storm at the glamorous boutiques and market stalls, it's only once you venture outside that you really understand why Cape Town's Waterfront has become South Africa's most visited tourist attraction: gaze up at Table Mountain while sipping your morning cappuccino or dining on gourmet cuisine, listen to African drummers and street performers as you watch boats glide by or set sail on a harbour sunset cruise. If you're travelling with children, then the Two Oceans Aquarium is an absolute must-see and remember that the Waterfront is where to go in Cape Town to catch the ferry to Robben Island.

Robben Island: historic prison that held Nelson Mandela

Lying 11kms from Cape Town in Table Bay and accessible from the V&A Waterfront, Robben Island is the site of the infamous prison that held many of South Africa's most remarkable political leaders including Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu. Spend a morning or an afternoon on a Robben Island tour and be shown around the prison by an ex-political prisoner who will share his personal account of the harsh conditions of prison life during the Apartheid regime - it's a powerful history lesson which provides real insight into the high price that many people paid for South Africa's hard-won democracy.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens: picnics, hikes & sunset concerts

Kirstenbosch is without doubt one of the world's greatest botanical gardens but don't think you have to be a botanist to enjoy it: anyone of any age is sure to love the incredible variety of flowering plants and mature trees, arranged in astonishing and informative displays, and set to a dramatic mountain backdrop. Being such a wonderfully peaceful place, Kirstenbosch shouldn't be rushed, so set aside a good few hours to simply wander about - why not bring a picnic with you and find a big shady tree to set up under? Kids will love to run about on the wide green lawns and there are two restaurants within the gardens if you don't bring your own refreshments.

Cape Winelands: world-renowned wine estates close to Cape Town

Less than an hour's drive from Cape Town lie the serene green valleys of the Cape Winelands and the cosy little towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. The crisp country air will help you build up an appetite for all things good as you sample wines at the region's world-renowned estates or go on guided cellar tours; what better then to head to Franschhoek - the gourmet capital of South Africa and home to a handful of the country's top restaurants and one of the world's top 100. The Cape Winelands is an easy day trip from Cape Town but if you've got the time, we highly recommend spending a night or two in these beautiful and romantic surroundings.

Top Travel Tips for Cape Town

Cape Town Travel Advice

For general information on travelling to Cape Town, visit our South Africa travel advice page.

Top Travel Tips for Cape Town

Hire a car: Cape Town’s public transport network is improving but it still has a long way to go. However, what the city does have is an excellent network of well signposted roads, so do it yourself and hire a car, or head out of Cape Town and experience an African self-drive holiday.

Bring the kids: safe swimming beaches, tons of outdoor activities and a wide range of child-friendly accommodation make Cape Town an ideal destination for a family holiday.

Prepare for all weather: sitting right on the southern tip of the African continent between two huge oceans, Cape Town's maritime climate can deliver four seasons in one day. Always be prepared and pack a warm and waterproof top, especially if you’re going hiking or taking the cable car up Table Mountain.

Stop for sundowners: Capetonians don’t just watch the sunset, they celebrate it. For a front-row seat, go for cocktails at one of Camps Bay’s many bars or restaurants, or take a bottle of wine and some picnic goodies to the top of Table Mountain (the last cable car down generally leaves an hour after sunset).

Watch for whales: whale watching season runs from July to October, but for the best chances of seeing massive southern right whales breaching and tail-slapping, we recommend you visit around September and do a daytrip to Hermanus on the Whale Coast – home to some of the best land-based whale watching in the world.

Don’t forget the sunblock: despite often mild daytime temperatures, the Cape Town sun is harsh and sun protection is essential – especially in summer! A hat, sunblock and some common sense is all you need to be able to enjoy your day on the beach and still step out at night to show off your new tan.

Leave some space in your suitcase: The shopping in Cape Town is fantastic - from airy shopping malls to eclectic roadside markets, there is something to suit all tastes. Most shops are open from 8:30am to 5pm and on Saturday mornings - the V&A Waterfront and most other shopping centres close their stores at 9pm.

Cape Town Weather

As a general rule, Cape Town's winter (July-August) is relatively cold and wet, with temperatures ranging between 8 and 18 degrees Celcius, and summer (November - March) is hot and dry, sometimes getting up to 35 degrees Celcius. But you may experience warm days in winter, so consider packing a pair of shorts for the beach just in case.

Read more about the best time to visit Cape Town.

Cape Town's Landscape

Table Mountain forms the centre of Cape Town and is used by locals and visitors alike as a point of reference when navigating the city's highways and residential streets.

On the east coast of Cape Town, you will find the steep spine of the Southern Peninsula mountains, beginning at Devil's Peak in the southern suburbs and running all the way down to famous Boulders Beach.

The "Atlantic Seaboard" runs along the west coast past Clifton and Camps Bay, and on this side, the water is much colder. The city centre of Cape Town is the northern end of this Atlantic Seaboard.

Flights & Getting Around

Did you know you can book your flights through True Lion King Safaris? For more information and frequently asked questions, please see our Flights section.

Cape Town International Airport: one of Southern Africa's travel hubs, Cape Town is served by numerous international airlines and is the gateway for South Africa's Cape destinations - Cape Town, the Cape WinelandsGarden Route and the Eastern Cape.

Transfers from the airport into town are conducted in modern mini buses or sedan cars, as are guided tours around the Cape. However, it's a popular self-drive holiday destination with dozens of must-see places and many visitors choose to hire a car to see it all at their own pace.

Central Cape Town is one of the few African cities that can be easily and safely explored on foot. Most of its attractions are set in and around the city centre though you'll need to take a taxi or arrange transport to Table Mountain, Camps Bay and the Constantia Winelands.

Cape Town Holiday Packages: Top Tours & Safaris

Cape Town Holiday Packages: Top Tours & Safaris

Cape Town isn't one of the world's most popular cities for nothing: keep it local with guided city tours and Table Mountain hiking adventures, outdoor markets, wine estates and gorgeous sunny beaches. Further afield, you can head out on fantastic day trips to the Cape Winelands and rugged Cape Peninsula or try one of our Cape Town safari packages and set out on a safari from Cape Town to one of South Africa's famous game reserves.

Africa's favourite city is an excellent base from which to start a grander tour of South Africa. Popular Kruger Park and Cape Town safari holiday packages offer a classic beach and big game break, or you could be a little different and combine Cape Town with the Eastern Cape reserves for a malaria-free Big 5 safari. We’d also highly recommend a self-drive holiday starting with a few days in Cape Town then continuing along the world-renowned Garden Route - perfect for families and independent-minded travellers.

And that's just the start! Being a well-connected city with a modern international airport - anything is possible. Browse our selection of Cape Town holiday packages or simply ask one of our Africa Safari Experts to arrange the perfect vacation to suit you.


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Accomodation

Sanctuary Swala Camp

Activities travellers enjoyed: Bird watching Bush dining Game drives Local village visits Night drives Picnics Guided walking safaris Cultural tours

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$500

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Tours & Safaris

Ultra-Luxury Tanzania & Private Island

Destinations visited: Lake Manyara Ngorongoro Crater Serengeti Tanzania Zanzibar

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$8,895

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Destination

Tanzania - Tours

Top reasons to visit: SceneryBeachesWildebeest MigrationPrivate concessions and conservanciesHot air ballooningMobile campingCultural .

Best Cape Town Accommodation

Best Cape Town Accommodation

From the quirky and colonial to the stylishly minimalist and over-the-top indulgent, Cape Town accommodation is as varied as the city itself. Choose from a wide range of 5-star hotels on the beachguest houses & boutique hotels, as well as private villas and apartments, all of which aim to make your experience of Cape Town utterly memorable.

We can recommend accommodation in Cape Town for just about any traveller or occasion - family holidays, beach-lovers, honeymooners or explorers - and we'll take care of the details too: if you want sweeping views of the ocean or Table Mountain or just a peaceful hideaway, we can suggest just the spot.


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Accommodation

One & Only Cape Town

Top reasons to Stay: Providing a unique blend of location and luxury, One&Only Cape Town is an urban chic resort in

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$500

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Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

Top reasons to Stay: the most iconic luxury hotel in Cape Town situated within a sprawling lush garden estate in the heart of

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$8,895

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Taj Cape Town

Top reasons to Stay: This luxury hotel is perfectly located in the centre of historic Cape Town at the entrance of the famous

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$8,895

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Mont Rochelle Hotel & Vineyard

Top reasons to Stay: Nestled at the foot of the Klein Dassenberg mountain range, Mont Rochelle Hotel and Vineyard is

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Cape Grace

Top reasons to Stay: Situated on a private quay, nestled between the working harbour of Cape Town's bustling Victoria & Alfred

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$8,895

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Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa

Top reasons to Stay: This luxury boutique hotel offers easy access to spectacular beaches and tourist attractions while the

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve

Top reasons to Stay: At the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains only 270km from Cape Town, Bushmans Kloof

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$8,895

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Arabella Western Cape Hotel & Spa

Top reasons to Stay: Perfectly placed in the heart of one of the world’s richest plant kingdoms, this five-star retreat offers a

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$8,895

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Radisson Blu Hotel Le Vendome

Top reasons to Stay: Radisson Blu Hotel Le Vendome is a timelessly elegant boutique hotel, blending French five-star refinement

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$8,895

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Protea Hotel Fire And Ice

Top reasons to Stay: Prepare to be blown away with the same force as the winds of the iconic Cape South-Easter as you step

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$8,895

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The PortsWood Hotel

Top reasons to Stay: Originally built as part of the convict's station, today, The PortsWood is the type of place where you

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$8,895

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Cape Royale Luxury Hotel and Residence

Top reasons to Stay: Enjoy the rare combination of home from home comfort and a venue exotic enough for you want to

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$8,895

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The Table Bay Hotel

Top reasons to Stay: Between Robben Island and Table Mountain you’ll discover the famed Table Bay Hotel. During the day

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$8,895

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Accommodation

The Westin Cape Town

Top reasons to Stay: The Westin Cape Town is situated at the entrance to the historic Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.Our

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$8,895

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African Pride 15 On Orange

Top reasons to Stay: Distinctive architecture, decor that defies categorization and a guest service

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$8,895

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Grande Roche

Top reasons to Stay: Situated on a working farm in the heart of the Cape Winelands, Grande Roche is within easy reach

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$8,895

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The Cellars-Hohenort

Top reasons to Stay: Situated in the heart of the Constantia Valley in Cape Town, South Africa, The Cellars-Hohenort is

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$8,895

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Marriott Crystal Towers

Top reasons to Stay: Located in the heart of the Century City urban hub, the Cape Town Marriott Hotel Crystal Towers is settled

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$8,895

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Ellerman House Cape Town

Top reasons to Stay: Ellerman House is one of the world's most exclusive and private retreats. Its magnificent position sweeping

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$8,895

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Atlanticview Cape Town Boutique Hotel

Top reasons to Stay: The AtlanticView Cape Town Boutique Hotel, offers stunning views, 5 star suites and rooms with excellent

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Kensington Place

Top reasons to Stay: A hidden oasis laced with stunning opulence, complete with unrivalled service and unforgettable one

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$8,895

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Sea Star Rocks Boutique Hotel

Top reasons to Stay: Sea Star Boutique Hotel offers sweeping views of Camps Bay, Lion's head and Table Mountain,a refined

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$8,895

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Accommodation

Sea Five Boutique Hotel

Top reasons to Stay: Sea Five boutique Hotel's rooms all have private terraces; garden suites open out onto a secluded

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$8,895

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Accommodation

The Glen Boutique Hotel & Spa

Top reasons to Stay: The Glen Boutique Hotel - Cape Town's Best Boutique Hotel. Situated in Sea Point, Cape Town, South

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$8,895

Cape Town Travel articles

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Accomodation

Kruger

Activities travellers enjoyed: Animal tracking experience Beach activities Bird

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$500

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Tours & Safaris

Siwandu

Activities travellers enjoyed: Bird watching Boat excursions Game drives Guided walking safaris Private game-drives

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$8,895

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Destination

Gibb's Farm

Activities travellers enjoyed: Biking Cultural tours Game drives Guided walks Jogging trails Local village visits .

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$8,895

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Destination

Fundu Lagoon

Activities travellers enjoyed: Boat excursions Canoeing Day tours Deep sea fishing Dhow cruises Fishing .

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$8,895

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Accomodation

Mnemba Island Lodge

Activities travellers enjoyed: Beach activities Deep sea fishing Scuba diving Snorkelling Kayaking Animal tracking experience .

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$8,895

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Tours & Safaris

Jabali Ridge

Activities travellers enjoyed: Game drives Guided walking safaris Night drives .

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$8,895

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Destination

Rubondo Island Camp

Activities travellers enjoyed: Bird watching Boat excursions Fishing Game drives Hiking Guided walking safaris .

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$8,895

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Destination

Singita Faru Faru River Lodge

Activities travellers enjoyed: Biking Bird watching Game drives Hot air ballooning Specialist guides Tennis .

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$8,895

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Accomodation

Sayari Camp

Activities travellers enjoyed: 4x4 Drives Bird watching Bush dining Fine dining experience Full-day safaris Game drives .

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$1,475

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Tours & Safaris

The Highlands Ngorongoro

Activities travellers enjoyed: Cultural tours Game drives Hiking Guided walking safaris Local village visits .

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$425

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Tours & Safaris

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

Activities travellers enjoyed: Bird watching Game drives Local village visits Picnics Private game-drives Scenic drives .

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$1,115