Africa: Which tour for 1st timers?

We've done a few tours with Tauck, but never Africa.

I'm looking at 2023...we're somewhat fit, active mid 60's - still working so two weeks is max for us. I've read many of the reviews, but I'm still unsure about which one would be best for our first trip. Should we splurge for the small group tours? South Africa? K & T?

We want a combination of game drives, culture and history. Seeing all the "big 5" is not required - but of course we want to see animals! Personally, a few days of bouncing around in a 4 x 4 is enough for me physically.

Love to hear your thoughts...TY In advance!



  • SGF,

    I posed the same question quite some time ago on a different thread and received some excellent feedback. It was suggested that South Africa - An Elegant Adventure offered a balance of culture and game drives.

    I believe British (forum member and Africa enthusiast) can/will respond again with more detail.

  • SGF Hi.
    for most game drives the K&T is the best. I'm doing the Botswana, Zambia & Cape town this coming Sept.10th 2022. I'm sure it is going to be excellent and also something different then K&T, this one has Cape Town with a little more culture.
    First thing you should do it's figure out what you want from your trip, animals? culture? History? focus on the most important one for you, the one that will give you a unique experience - remember Africa is not only K&T it's also Morocco, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Zanzibar. etc..
    The K&T doesn't have too much walking like Egypt. but you do have several early morning activities.. This was my first Safari and it was AMAZING!
    Hope this helps.

  • Thanks kfnknfzk and mil. I guess I should have been more specific - African safari. We just came back from Morocco in November and I studied a year in Jerusalem in the 1970's, so I've been to the Sinai peninsula (technically Egypt now). My next two trips planned are Iceland and the Svalbard (Silversea Expeditions) and Costa Rica/Panama Canal with Tauck.

    I'm out on medical leave for 8 weeks (nothing serious) so I've had a lot of free time to dream about future vacations - it's pretty addictive!

  • We are (finally) taking our first trip to Africa in August (after re-scheduling twice due to Covid). We chose K/T, although we seriously considered Elegant Adventure. If we are fortunate enough to return to Africa, we would likely choose Elegant Adventure. Tough decision.

  • Zambia, Botswana, and S.A. offers part safari and part touring. I would recommend that one for what you described as your desired trip. K&T is ‘pure’ safari … we leave for that again in less than ninety days.

  • Beautiful photos, SueMS. Thanks for sharing!

  • CathyandSteve: We did the Northern India Nepal in 2017. It was amazing! I think you will enjoy.

  • SGF, We have taken all but the newest Tauck AFRICA tour. For what you describe, I would say that the Elegant South Africa is absolutely perfect for you, please feel free to reach out to me by PM if you want more comparison between the tours.

  • SueMS - great photos - thanks for the advice. Very exciting!


  • Our first Africa trip was Botswana, Zambia and South Africa. I think this trip is more of an active adventure. There is a ride on ATVs into the Salt pans and a helicopter tour, boat ride out to the seal island in In Capetown besides all the game drives. Loved every minute! We are going to K&T August 24th. When is your trip?

  • Debi - just in the pre-planning, wishful thinking stages. Trying to squeeze in as many trips as my body can take (before the $ runs out, or the grandchildren go to college!). All while still working PT!

    All jokes aside, I see how much time and energy grandchildren take up...we want to be part of their lives while still doing our thing. We just had our first - 3 mos. old grandson - can't get enough of him, although he lives in Brooklyn which is about 2 hrs. from us with the horrible NY traffic. I can't help but constantly count out on my fingers to see if I can book more trips before another baby is due! 🙄

    Still doing the Covid many of you, we missed several great trips. Onward we go!

  • SGF - I’ve only been on K&T, but if the safari part is most important to you, I’d recommend that one. It has more safari days. We loved it and it whetted our appetites for more. We hope to do Botswana, South Africa and Zambia in 2024.

    In the meantime, have fun with the grandkids.

  • And I would like to do South Africa without the safari piece! (Capetown, including Robbin Island, and Johannesburg). Sadly, it appears that my only option would be to do it on my own. If anyone has any other ideas for me, please PM me.

  • I really enjoy reading the travel blogs from this journalist. This one happens to be about his recent trip to east Africa. Enjoy the comedy of his life of writing.

  • We are inside the ninety day window now, so it is time to start working on the visas for Tanzania and Kenya. As said, this will be our third K&T. For SGF, these tours, K&T 30 people max, and Z, B, and SA 20 people max, are small group trips, and they are sometimes smaller than that. We loved Z,B,&SA, but see no need to visit the ‘touring’ sites a second time. The animals are always different … and we have done it in the dry and the wet. That is why you might see different clothing suggestions. If it is dry, you will be so covered with dust at the end of the day that you cannot see the color of the clothes you are wearing. So a quick shower and change of clothes before dinner is pretty important. If it is wet, no need to change. As you know I’m not a ‘mask’ person, but on safari in the dust we used scarves or gators.

  • edited April 2

    SGF, Our travel agent recommended the Elegant Adventure tour for our first Africa trip and it did not disappoint. We took this trip in January, and absolutely loved Capetown. There's culture, history, a winery and natural beauty. The safari portion was excellent and left us wanting to return to Africa. The animals were incredible, and the hotels on this trip were fabulous. You won't be disappointed.

  • milmil
    edited April 3

    SGF Hi again....
    Bottom line, as you can see everyone has gone more than once ... Africa it's super addicting and regardless of which country you visit first, it's all Amazing! I personally would tell you what my thought was once I decided to go.... " A city is a city- and they all have their special charm, but still a city. " Watching animals in the wild and so close to you it's MAGICAL!!! and no interactive experience or Zoo will ever give you the chills you get while on the game drives- I'm a fan of everything about culture & history, but a Safari is a unique experience.
    I would do K&T first. Look at Sealord, he has done same tour several times....
    Let us know, what you end up booking. :))
    Have a great weekend.

  • Shari,

    Based on your original post, I'd opt for South Africa, An Elegant Adventure. That gives you a good variety of history and animal safaris plus seeing Victoria Falls. I'm not sure if it's still available but when we went a few years ago, there was a non-included option there to visit a Lion Sanctuary where you got to pet, feed and walk with the lions- a real highlight. For this trip, I'm not sure there's any advantage to doing the small group as they'll break you up into smaller sub groups where it works well. Our experience with many Tauck trips as people are almost always on time for things, get along well and behave so there isn't enough difference with the two sized groups to justify the cost difference.

  • South Africa, An Elegant Adventure for sure !!!!

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