Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Johannesburg, Kruger National Park, MalaMala Game Reserve, Hermanus
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
South Africa has it all from wildlife wonders and colorful cultures to mighty mountains and charming cities. Your immersion in the Winelands and an authentic Big Game safari is just the beginning. This two-week adventure will celebrate some of the very best that South Africa offers, including its finest safari destinations and the Nelson Mandela story. From the Cape to Kruger, you will discover the extraordinary experiences and upcoming hot-spots with private guides with handpicked accommodations...
Cape Town – A Secret Sunset Spot on Signal Hill
Cape Town will delight from your first glance. Table Mountain provides more than just a backdrop: it imposes itself immediately with the city, stretching out across its foothills. If you look away from the mountain, you can see the majestic ocean as it continues to the horizon. You will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your boutique hotel in the city. Here, you will be within walking distance of outstanding restaurants and evening hangouts. Later this afternoon, your guide will take you onto Signal Hill. Rather than the touristic pinnacle, your guide knows an old-war bunker that is hidden high on a slope. From here you can watch an Atlantic sunset and pop the cork of a bottle of MCC, which is sparkling wine. After this idyllic introductory experience in South Africa, you will be returned to your luxurious accommodation for the remainder of the evening.
Cape Town – Robben Island History and the Top of Table Mountain
Stories whisper from the ground on Robben Island, and for 18 years, Nelson Mandela was incarcerated here. Now, his former guard will be your guide. Christo Brand will take you on a tour of the prison, including the cell where Mandela wrote most of his memoirs. You will be able to sense the brutality of history but also hope for the future on a tour that will only increase your admiration for the former, South African president. After Robben Island, you will have some time to explore the V & A Waterfront before your guide leads you to the summit of Table Mountain. There are some superb hiking trails up here, but you can choose not to walk at all. On clear days during summer, the cable car stays open for visitors to watch the sunset from Table Mountain.
Cape Town – The Complete Cape Peninsula Tour
A spectacular road meanders toward the Cape of Good Hope. Carved into the mountain and rising above Atlantic waves, it is one of Africa’s ultimate drives, which is a journey that is filled with viewpoints and photos. After Chapman’s Peak Drive, you will cut across the wilderness to Africa’s Southwestern tip. Here, there are wild beaches, wandering antelope, and shipwrecks that have been somewhat consumed by sand. You can visit two lighthouses and stand on Cape Point, but you can also experience more than that on a private tour. The Cape Peninsula has some beautiful hiking trails, and your guide will outline your options, including the three shipwreck trails.
From here, the road winds to Boulders Beach, where African penguins nest around the sand. One boardwalk leads to lookout points and is often packed with tourists, while another is hidden and leads behind some boulders to the sand itself, which is where you can share the beach with the penguins. Constantia can be included on the route back to Cape Town. This small district of vineyards is located on Table Mountain’s back slopes, where the wines are excellent but the views are even better. You can also remain on this side for dinner and indulge in one of the city’s most elaborate restaurants.
Cape Town – The West Coast and Hidden Cape Town
The West Coast is finally emerging as a visitor destination, but it remains firmly off the beaten track. Today’s exact West Coast itinerary will be tailored to your interests. It can include many deserted beaches, a brewery and vineyards, the old whitewashed town of Darling, and the excellent San heritage center. At the center, a San bushman will be your guide. Using a comfortable and easy to learn style, they will show you some animal tracking skills and bush survival tips along with the ancient history of their tribe in the Cape. Other options today include the funky neighborhoods of Woodstock and Observatory or the precincts of District Six and Bo Kaap.
Stellenbosch – Exploring the Cape Winelands
The drive from Cape Town to Stellenbosch takes less than an hour, so you can take it easy this morning with perhaps some time at Camps Bay beach or another Cape Town highlight. Once you arrive, you will check-in to your vineyard lodge, where you will have the rest of the day to be customized to your tastes. Wine tasting is different here compared to other countries. The focus is on tasting rather than buying with luxurious tasting rooms and grand terraces that overlook the vines. Wine farms encourage you to come and spend a slow afternoon as opposed to rushing you through a flight of wines. This afternoon, your guide will pick two or three farms to try, where you can be immersed in typical South African flavors and stupendous Winelands views.
Stellenbosch – A Relaxed Day Around Franschhoek and the Stellenbosch Valleys
At one vineyard, you can taste in a rustic farmhouse with the cellar master. At another, you will gaze through floor to ceiling windows and sip slowly from crystal glasses. There are vineyards that specialize in sparkling wine, those that are great for Cabernet Sauvignon, and also the farms that define Pinotage. Over a dozen different grapes are grown in the region, and there is no definitive style. Often, you will find that neighboring farms produce vastly different wines. There is also no typical tasting room as each farm has its own artistic and architectural style.
With two nights, you can explore a good selection of valleys and vineyards in addition to South Africa’s two oldest towns. Stellenbosch is more dynamic with its iconic facade that towers over the lively streets. Franschhoek is older and smaller, and it is best suited for a half day’s visit as opposed to an overnight stay. Both have many charms and great restaurants along with all the wine farms, and while wine tasting and indulgent dining may be the main reason to visit the Winelands, you will be impressed by the old-world charm as well. Of all South Africa’s destinations, this is probably the most relaxed place to be.
Hermanus – Whale Watching Along the Southern Coast
From Stellenbosch, the road winds across the mountains and down to the Southern coast, which is where whales breach in Walker Bay, and golden beaches await your footprints. In Hermanus, the town crier blows on a giant, kelp horn whenever a whale is spotted. You can wander along a cliffside promenade and gaze out upon the giants, especially from July to November. Southern right whales are migratory visitors during these months while humpbacks are spotted year-round. Hermanus is a lovely town to spend two days with cafes and restaurants that gaze upon the bay. You can choose a whale watching tour here as well, which is a highly recommended choice for January to June.
Hermanus – Great White Shark Cage Diving
The world’s largest animal can jump clear of the surf near Gansbaai. Great white sharks thrive here as well, thanks to a massive colony of Cape fur seals. Every day, the seals must swim past the sharks in order to go fishing, and the encounters between predator and prey can be very dramatic. These great white sharks can also be viewed on a cage dive. It is safe and exhilarating, but you do not actually dive. Instead, you stand in the cage and press your head underwater when the sharks are near. These are predatory animals, and they do not hang around by the cage. The glimpse that you can get of these majestic creatures is magnificent. Shark cage diving is planned for today, but your itinerary can be customized if this is a bit too adventurous for your taste.
Johannesburg – Following in Nelson Mandela’s Soweto Footsteps
After your short drive back to Cape Town, you will fly to Johannesburg for a day of leisurely wanderings and a colorful modern culture. Soweto is bright and energetic, and it is a township with a warm heart and welcoming smiles. With a local guide, you will delve into its history, walking from the Hector Pieterson Museum to Nelson Mandela’s old house on Vilakazi Street. You will try traditional township food, meet with a local family, and trace an apartheid history that once marked the streets. Soweto provides an authentic look at life in South Africa and is the favorite highlight of many visitors to this country.
Mala Mala Game Reserve – Sublime Luxury Safari in South Africa’s Finest Private Reverse
From cultural streets to wild savannah, you will end your two-week, South Africa tour on safari. Mala Mala is one of Africa’s ultimate safari destinations, which is a private reserve that mixes modern luxury with wildlife wonder. It has a long unfenced border with Kruger National Park and another unfenced border with other Sabi Sands reserves. The Greater Kruger spans an area of 77,000 square miles. Here, wildlife moves freely, and an enormous number of animals migrate to the Mala Mala during the dry season from June to November. They join a resident cast of large mammals, including lions, zebras, and leopards.
Mala Mala is the ultimate destination for its location and the wildlife that it attracts. You will touch down after your short flight and will feel the beauty of a wild, African wilderness. It may seem raw as the atmosphere is dictated by strange sounds and exotic smells. You can sense that humans have had no influence here, especially when an elephant herd marches past or you come face to face with a rhino. There is a luxury as well such as a swimming pool, a beautiful shower that is open to the wild, and the chance to laze around an evening fire with a glass of wine in hand.
Mala Mala Game Reserve – Game Walks and a Nighttime Game Drive
In Mala Mala, you will explore many perspectives. Game drives track the giants and predators, and you can come eye to eye with a lion pride or a leopard that creeps through the grass. At times, your vehicle will stop and allow a herd of elephant or buffalo to walk past. Down by the water, you will witness dramatic scenes as predators come into contact with prey. Game drives can also cover relatively long distances, so they will provide you with the opportunity to encounter many mammal species. There are over 100 different mammals in the Kruger, and during your four days, you can expect to spot at about half of these.
Those that you do see are not seen on their own. Zebra herds may be a hundred strong, and springbok and nyala also gather in huge numbers. There can be wildebeest, eland, hippos, baboons, and monkeys, all in the same vista. Game walks stick close to the camp and provide an exciting impression of size. You will see the ungulates from the ground, and animals like zebra and buffalo appear far larger when you are walking. Nighttime game drives provide another outlook of the savannah after dark and the many nocturnal creatures that roam. There are not many destinations where all these activities are possible. In Mala Mala, you can craft your own safari program and experience all the angles.
Greater Kruger National Park – Hot Air Balloon Safari and the Untamed Kruger
With a South Africa safari, it is always recommended to explore two different destinations. Even in the Greater Kruger, there is a remarkable variety of habitats and animals along with distinct lodges and specialist guides. Before heading to Eastern Kruger and the Lebombo Mountains today, you will soar above the savannah on a hot air balloon ride. The aerial perspective will be magical, showcasing migratory patterns and the changing colors of the wild. After touching back down, you will then cross Kruger National Park, circling the watering holes before settling into a luxury lodge on a clifftop above the savannah.
Greater Kruger National Park – Final Day of the Safari Experience
Your final day on safari will be tailored to your interests and what you have done and seen up to this point. For example, if you are yet to spot a rhino, then your guide will search for them. You can spend an hour with zebras because they are your favorite animals or maybe your guide knows of a hyena clan that has been causing havoc among another herd. Safari days are almost always flexible, and every safari is unpredictable.
Johannesburg – Departure
From Lebombo, you will have a two-hour game drive to the nearest airstrip where an aircraft will be waiting to return you to Johannesburg for your outbound flight.
- Discover the surreal beauty of Cape Town, which is the lively city beneath Table Mountain
- Uncover the secrets of the savannah with four days of luxury safari in the Kruger
- Admire whales from the Hermanus shores and cage dive with great white sharks, the second of which is completely optional
- On a Cape Peninsula tour, walk with penguins, explore wild beaches, discover Constantia, and traverse Chapman’s Peak
- Enjoy the safari exclusivity of Mala Mala and see far more than the Big Five
- Indulge in a tasting at South Africa’s finest vineyards with winemakers and cellar-masters as your guides
- Trace Nelson Mandela’s story with visits to Robben Island and the Soweto township
- Hot air balloon above the Kruger and feel the thrill of a nighttime game drive
- Venture off the beaten track on a tour of the West Coast, where there are beaches, breweries, and bushmen
South Africa is a dozen vacations in one. Here, you can luxuriate on white beaches and listen to the poetry of the ocean waves. Then, the following day, you can be deep in the Winelands or standing on a majestic mountain. In South Africa, there is wild Africa, where giant mammals run free and evocative scenes play out at watering holes, and there is also cultural Africa, which can be found on vibrant city streets and markets that unite the continental diaspora. You can also indulge in contemporary opulence while an elephant walks past you. Here, there is nature, history, wildlife, marine life, and the most extravagant landscapes. The best part of South Africa is that you can nearly experience it all in just two weeks.
This two-week adventure showcases the very best of South Africa and includes many of its most iconic highlights. Accommodations have been handpicked to reflect the country’s authenticity and allure. This will be an active and fast-paced vacation with private activities and excursions that are planned for every day. The country’s atmosphere is laid-back, and you should feel at home everywhere you travel. This journey can be customized with fewer activities and a more sedate pace should you wish. It can also be tailored to have a larger focus on a specific South African experience such as a longer big-game safari or more time on the coast.
The stunning city of Cape Town will be your first stop. With four days here, you will explore Robben Island, Table Mountain, the Cape Peninsula, and the wild West Coast. City charms include atmospheric neighborhoods and superb dining along with beaches and markets. You will then spend days five and six in the Cape Winelands, which is a bucolic region where the country’s best wine is just one highlight. This is a destination of opulence and utter tranquility, but it still has a distinct, South African feel. Hermanus will be your next destination. Hermanus is a base for whale watching and shark cage diving, and you will spend two days in this quaint town.
After flying to Johannesburg on day nine, you will have an afternoon to follow in Nelson Mandela’s footsteps. Soweto provides the destination, and it is a township that is full of energy and exuberance. You will culminate your vacation with the ultimate South African safari, which will be four days that are spread across Mala Mala and the Greater Kruger National Park. Game drives will showcase much more than the Big Five before nighttime drives and game walks provide another perspective of these breathtaking locales. You will hot air balloon over the savannah and experience wild Africa while still basking in modern comfort. Four days on safari is not just about ticking off the animals, but you will gain an intimate understanding of how the wilderness operates, especially the interactions between animals. From the Greater Kruger, you will then fly back to Johannesburg for your outbound flight.
Interested in learning more by seeing some of our travelers’ South Africa vacation tour reviews? Click here for more.
$5,595 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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