Cruising Southern Africa: 3 Cruise Options To Consider This Summer

If you’re dreaming of an unforgettable summer getaway, look no further than the breath-taking landscapes, vibrant cultures, and diverse wildlife of our extraordinary region. And what better way to explore its wonders than by embarking on a cruise?


  • Southern Africa offers a myriad of cruising options, each promising an immersive and enchanting journey through its captivating destinations.
  • There are three exceptional cruise options that will allow you to experience the very best of Southern Africa.
  • From the pristine coastlines to the bustling cities and magnificent wildlife sightings, get ready to set sail on an unforgettable summer expedition.
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Whether you’re seeking relaxation, cultural enrichment, or wildlife encounters, these cruises are sure to offer an unparalleled experience that will leave you with lifelong memories. From the high seas of the Cape to the vast rivers of Namibia and Botswana, there is something for everyone when it comes to cruising, plus, there are so many benefits including all-inclusive itineraries and only having to unpack once! So, get your luggage ready, grab your sense of adventure, and let’s set sail for the enticing world of cruising Southern Africa:


Norwegian Dawn, A Flexible Cruise Holiday

With a wide range of complimentary and speciality restaurants, 92,250 Gross Register Tonnage; 2,340 Guest Capacity double occupancy; 294m Overall Length; 2021 Refurbished Year Built 2002; 1,032 Ship Crew. From top to bottom and from bow to stern, Norwegian Dawn has enough onboard activities to fill every minute of your cruise. Image: Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is set to make a grand return to the captivating shores of South Africa following its successful inaugural 2022/2023 cruise season. This time, NCL presents an enticing array of options for travelers eager to explore the wonders of South Africa and its neighboring countries, or even venture into new territories.


Embarking on a 12-day cruise aboard the luxurious Norwegian Dawn, passengers can set sail on a remarkable journey through South Africa, Madagascar, and Mozambique. Departing from the enchanting city of Port Louis in Mauritius, this voyage promises an immersive experience in diverse cultures, breathtaking landscapes, and abundant wildlife.


For those seeking a slightly different route, Norwegian Cruise Line offers a 12-day adventure through South Africa and Madagascar, also departing from Port Louis, Mauritius. This itinerary allows travelers to discover the vibrant colors and unique wildlife of these remarkable destinations, creating memories that will last a lifetime.


Stepping up the voyage duration to 14 days, the Norwegian Dawn takes passengers on an extraordinary expedition through South Africa, Seychelles, Madagascar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. This extended journey promises an enriching blend of natural wonders, cultural encounters, and fascinating historical sites.


Back on the African continent, an 11-day cruise awaits those eager to explore South Africa and Madagascar. Departing from Port Louis, Mauritius, this voyage offers a balanced mix of thrilling wildlife encounters, picturesque landscapes, and opportunities to immerse oneself in the rich local heritage.


If Cape Town, South Africa is your desired starting point, Norwegian Cruise Line has a plethora of enticing options for you. Embark on a 12-day cruise that takes you through the wonders of South Africa, Madagascar, and Mozambique. This expedition promises an incredible diversity of landscapes, from the bustling cities to the serene beaches and lush rainforests.


For an even more extensive adventure, the 21-day cruise from Cape Town showcases the beauty of Namibia, Cape Verde, Angola, and Ivory Coast. Travelers will be captivated by the contrasting landscapes and cultures along this remarkable route.


Exploring the coastal gems of South Africa is made possible through a 12-day cruise that stops at Port Elizabeth, Durban, and Lüderitz. Departing from Cape Town, this voyage allows passengers to immerse themselves in the coastal charm of these vibrant cities while experiencing the rich history and diverse marine life.


Another captivating option from Cape Town is a 12-day cruise that combines South Africa and Madagascar. Passengers will have the opportunity to explore the unique ecosystems and endemic wildlife of Madagascar, while also enjoying the enchanting beauty of South Africa. For those seeking a comprehensive experience, a 15-day cruise tour starting and ending in Cape Town is the perfect choice. This cruise tour encompasses the highlights of Cape Town and its surroundings, providing a well-rounded exploration of the region.


With Norwegian Cruise Line’s exciting return to South Africa, travelers can embark on extraordinary journeys, uncovering the natural, cultural, and historical treasures of this remarkable part of the world. Whether it’s the pristine beaches, diverse wildlife, or vibrant cities that pique your interest, NCL’s cruise options offer unforgettable experiences for all who choose to embark on this unforgettable adventure.


For more information, visit the NCL website.


Zambezi Queen, A Luxury River Boat Cruise

Immerse yourself in the extraordinary wilderness of the Chobe National Park aboard one of the deluxe houseboats offered by the Zambezi Queen Collection. Image: The Sandton Times

Discover the Zambezi Queen Collection, a fleet of luxury houseboats operating on the stunning Chobe River within the wildlife-rich Chobe National Park, bordering Namibia and Botswana. Experience a unique and unforgettable holiday while enjoying the comfort and breathtaking views of the wildlife sanctuary. This floating boutique hotel provides all the comforts and luxuries of an exclusive retreat, ensuring a truly unforgettable river safari holiday.


Embarking on the Zambezi Queen, you’ll be greeted with a warm welcome and an introduction as you board the houseboat. Indulge in a delectable lunch while taking in the serene surroundings. The afternoon offers leisure activities and the opportunity to join a late afternoon river safari to witness the astounding array of bird and animal species. In the evening, enjoy a delightful three-course dinner after a captivating map talk about the Chobe area. Relax and embrace the tranquil African night.


The following day, take part in a range of activities available on the Chobe River. Choose from guided water-based game viewing, birding excursions, fishing trips, cultural tours, and photographic safaris. Start your day with a cup of coffee or tea served on the top deck as you enjoy the optimal morning conditions for activities like Tiger fishing or birding. Indulge in a hearty buffet breakfast before immersing yourself in the local culture with a village tour. Experience a game cruise along Chobe National Park aboard a tender boat, followed by a delicious onboard lunch. Relax by the splash pool or dive into a good book, and later, embark on another thrilling tender boat safari. The day concludes with a traditional African dinner, leaving you with lasting memories.


For those embarking on a three-night itinerary, each day offers the same exciting activities to choose from. Start your mornings on the top deck with freshly brewed coffee or tea and witness the breathtaking Chobe River sunrise. Engage in activities like Tiger fishing or birding excursions, followed by a buffet breakfast and a post-breakfast game viewing cruise. Enjoy a delightful buffet lunch and relax while taking in the views before embarking on the final excursion of the day. Experience traditional African dancing before a memorable dinner under the stars.


Extend your journey with the four-night itinerary, allowing you to make the most of each day. Engage in all the activities on offer, including guided game viewing, birding excursions, fishing trips, cultural tours, and photographic safaris. Enjoy a morning adventure, followed by a delicious breakfast on board. Explore the local village or embark on a game watching cruise on a tender boat. Indulge in a buffet lunch and some well-deserved rest and relaxation. In the mid-afternoon, join fellow guests for a tender boat safari as the sun sets. Engage in traditional African dancing before enjoying a delightful dinner.


On the final day, savor a fresh juice or a cup of coffee as you embark on a morning cruise during your buffet breakfast, keeping an eye out for wildlife. Prepare to disembark the Zambezi Queen for passport control. If you have an onward flight, a short road transfer will take you to Kasane Airport. Alternatively, if your African adventure continues, a transfer representative will be available for a convenient road transfer to your next destination.


The Zambezi Queen Collection offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience the natural beauty and wildlife of the Chobe River and Chobe National Park in Botswana. With luxurious accommodations, exceptional service, and a range of activities to choose from, a river safari with the Zambezi Queen Collection guarantees a unique and unforgettable adventure in complete comfort and elegance.


For more information, visit the Zambezi Queen website.


MSC Splendida, A New Eco-Ship Cruise Option

Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or new to the world of cruising, the MSC Splendida promises to offer everything you need for a perfect holiday at sea. Image: MSC Cruises

Get ready for an unforgettable cruise experience as the MSC Splendida makes its debut in South Africa for the 2023/2024 cruise season. This magnificent ship is set to arrive in November 2023, bringing with it a new level of luxury and excitement to South African shores.


The MSC Splendida is a modern and elegant ship, designed to provide the ultimate in comfort and relaxation. From the moment you step on board, you’ll be greeted by its grandeur and sophistication. With a range of voyages to choose from, you’ll have the opportunity to explore stunning destinations across the Indian and South Atlantic Ocean, all while enjoying the world-class amenities and entertainment on board.


For those seeking a quick getaway, the 2-night cruise from Durban is the perfect option. Departing and disembarking in Durban, this short but sweet journey allows you to experience the splendor of the MSC Splendida without taking too much time out of your busy schedule.


If you’re looking for a longer adventure, the 5-night cruises offer a chance to explore beautiful ports such as Pomene and Portuguese Island in Mozambique. These destinations are known for their pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant marine life, making them ideal for snorkeling, diving, or simply relaxing on the sand.


For a taste of both Mozambique and Mauritius, the 12-night cruise is a fantastic choice. Departing from Durban, you’ll have the opportunity to visit Port Louis in Mauritius, La Possession in Reunion, and the enchanting Portuguese Island in Mozambique. This voyage is a true exploration of the Indian Ocean’s beauty, combining stunning landscapes with cultural experiences.


Cape Town also serves as a departure point for several MSC Splendida cruises. Embark on a 3-night journey from Cape Town to Durban, taking in the breathtaking coastal scenery along the way. Alternatively, opt for the 4-night cruise that includes a visit to the picturesque Walvis Bay in Namibia, known for its stunning sand dunes and diverse wildlife.


No matter which itinerary you choose, the MSC Splendida ensures a luxurious and unforgettable experience. Onboard, you’ll find a wide range of amenities, including world-class dining options, spa facilities, swimming pools, and entertainment venues. Whether you prefer relaxing by the pool with a refreshing cocktail or immersing yourself in the vibrant nightlife, there’s something for everyone on this remarkable ship.


As the MSC Splendida sails across the Indian and South Atlantic Ocean, you’ll have the opportunity to create lasting memories and discover the wonders of the seas. So, mark your calendar for November 2023 and get ready to embark on an extraordinary journey aboard the MSC Splendida. It’s time to experience the luxury, comfort, and adventure that await you on this remarkable cruise ship.


For more information, visit the MSC Cruises website.


Whether you choose to set sail along the mesmerising coastline, delve into the rich cultural heritage of vibrant cities, or witness the awe-inspiring wildlife in their natural habitats, Southern Africa offers an abundance of unforgettable experiences. From the luxurious amenities and world-class service aboard the cruises to the breathtaking landscapes and captivating encounters, each option promises a unique and enriching journey.


So, whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or embarking on your very first voyage, let Southern Africa be the backdrop for the voyage of a lifetime. Bon voyage and happy cruising!


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Sandton Times Correspondent

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