Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Sabi River, Sands River, Johannesburg
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Travel from Cape Town to Kruger on your 13-day customized South Africa highlights tour. You will indulge in the beauty of the Cape Winelands and experience the legendary luxuries of Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve. Your immersive Africa safaris will reveal the famous Big Five while your exploration of the Cape Peninsula will unveil the region's unique wonders of penguins, wines, fine-dining, and untamed landscapes.
Stellenbosch – Tasting Upon Arrival and Stellenbosch Fine Dining
Green valleys will dominate the landscape as you settle into South Africa. It will be just a 30-minute transfer from Cape Town International Airport to the Cape Winelands where your vineyard accommodation will be high on the slopes. Gazing across great swathes of vines, you can find tranquility, and the Cape Winelands always provide an escape above anything else. You will check-in and enjoy a guided tasting at the vineyard, which will be your chance to travel through time with wines that are symbolic of the region. Pinotage is the indigenous grape while the Cabernet Sauvignon has an easy-drinking style that is very different from the Bordeaux. New-world Shiraz and old-world Syrah will provide contrast, and a number of other European grapes will showcase how the South African terroir makes all the difference.
You will begin with MCC, which stands for Methode Cap Classique and is the Cape’s sparkling wine that is produced in the same style as Champagne. Of the whites, Chenin Blanc is the most widely planted, but the region really distinguishes itself through wooded Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. After the tasting, you will transfer to a small restaurant that is located just outside Stellenbosch. This will be your opportunity to experience South African fine dining for the first time. The Cape Winelands is the country’s premier culinary destination with dozens of celebrated restaurants and many experimental flavors. They are symbolic of a destination where indulgence comes naturally, and serenity is quick to impress.
Day 2 - 4
Stellenbosch – Best of the Cape Winelands Private Tour
More than 400 vineyards can be found within an hour of your accommodation. They range from average to outstanding, boutique to large scale, and intimate to touristy. Most have their own specialisms, and it is this that makes the Cape Winelands such a superb destination. In the world’s other famous wine regions, there is a strong focus on a single varietal or style, such as Pinot Noir in Burgundy, France, or Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough, New Zealand. Most Italian and Spanish wine regions are all about a very specific grape or style. South African vineyards have traditionally been experimental, and they have imported European grapes, testing them in different soils and climates. Neighboring vineyards can produce vastly different, but delicious wines.
Another highlight here is a dedicated focus on wine tasting. It is not pretentious, nor do you taste quickly in an industrial cellar. Stellenbosch vineyards are heavily focused on the visitor experience and are designed around indulgence and serenity. Some have gorgeous open terraces that overlook the vines for slow outdoor tasting. Others are small, rustic farmhouses that shout of centuries past. Down one long corridor, you will find an extravagant contemporary tasting room. The neighboring vineyard is a traditional Dutch-style homestead where you will drink wines amid the barrels. Each will have a focus on inimitability that is showcased by the wines as well as the tasting experience.
As such, it would not be right to have a clearly prescribed itinerary. Over these three days, an expert local guide will customize a route that is based around your interests and tastes, taking you to between three and five vineyards each day. One intimate experience is not to be missed: a walk around De Waal vineyard with the owner. This was where Pinotage was first cloned by the grandfather of today’s owner. After the walk, you will sample a variety of back vintages, exploring how the flavors have changed over the last two decades.
If you like bubbles, then the guide knows where to take you. One of the valleys excels in heavy red wines, and another is focused more on delicate whites. Some vineyards produce experimental wines in shale terroir while others reflect classic South African flavors. Over these two days, you get to meet with a winemaker, taste with a cellar master and explore the full variety of tasting room styles. Stellenbosch is South Africa’s second-oldest town and is at the heart of the Cape Winelands. It is a lovely place to relax on any evening. Most vineyards also have their own restaurants, so the tasting journey will continue with afternoon food pairings and dinner.
Cape Town – Experiences Around Table Mountain
You will have a relaxed start to this morning, easing away from the Cape Winelands after three full days of tasting. It is only an hour to Cape Town, and your hotel will be located in Camps Bay. Once you arrive you can look out across the Atlantic from your balcony and go for lunch at one of the cafes on the beachfront before a Cape Town guide takes you upon Table Mountain in the late afternoon. Here, you will ride a revolving cable car to the summit and then choose your trail. Ascending the mountain is challenging, but only a few visitors appreciate how many walking trails can be found on the peak. Up here, you can walk for 20 minutes or three hours, quickly escaping the crowds that gather around the cable car station. Stay upon Table Mountain for sunset and then descend to be transferred to one of the city’s most celebrated restaurants.
Cape Town – Robben Island and a Changing City
To understand South Africa today, you must appreciate South Africa 40 years ago. On the UNESCO world heritage site of Robben Island, it will touch home how much this country has changed. Christo Brand will be your guide here, and he was Nelson Mandela’s former prison guard who has countless tales of friendship through adversity, offering an intimate insight into Madiba’s interesting life. After Robben Island, you will explore the former president’s legacy, which is most profound in colorful neighborhoods like Woodstock and District Six. Graffiti-laden streets are now filled with small businesses and boutiques with a very welcoming and multicultural atmosphere.
Cape Town – Exploring the Cape Peninsula
A road clings to the southeastern edge of Africa, twisting above waves and beneath peaks. On the drive, it will feel like you are traveling to the end of the world, especially when the final fishing villages give way to hopping springbok and dramatic cliffs. Along the route, you will find penguins as vast colony waddles across Boulders Beach towards their fishing grounds. Down on the Cape Peninsula, you will discover two lighthouses, which are places to mark the end of the continent. Then on the route back to Cape Town, you will cross rugged valleys and forested mountain slopes, finding an abundance of nature so close to the city. Visiting the Cape of Good Hope is the classic Cape Town day trip, and you will be back at the hotel by mid to late afternoon, leaving a few hours for the Camps Bay beach.
Cape Town – Contrasting the Constantia Vineyards
There will be time for some free Cape Town exploration this morning. Perhaps you will visit the shops and museums around V & A Waterfront, African markets in the city center, or one of the quiet Clifton beaches. You can travel to Constantia for lunch. Nestled onto the Table Mountain back slopes, Constantia is a spectacular suburb that has been made famous by its wines. These taste very different from those of the Cape Winelands, and your guide is likely to steer you towards white varietals. Endless hours of sun will be complemented by cooling mist that comes from the Atlantic, leading to sublime and subtle wooded whites. The food will be stunning as well with the experience being rounded off by a vertical tasting of the dessert wine that once wooed Napoleon. Today, it is currently awarded as one of the world’s top ten wines.
Sabi Sands – Start of the Big Five Safari
Today, you will fly directly to the Sabi Sands, and the safari will begin the moment you land. Elephants are found close to the runway while buffalo herds maraud around sandy trails. Some visitors witness the complete Big Five within the first hour of arriving, although you should not expect such an experience. Safaris are not just an adventure; they are an opportunity to relax in nature and feel the rhythm of the wilderness. Animal tick lists can invariably lead to disappointment, and they do not reflect your safari experience here. Many parks and reserves allow you to tick off the famous five animals. It is the abundance that makes the Sabi Sands special, and how can a tick list record the experience of being surrounded by more than 100 elephants?
After a short transfer to your lodge, there will be time to unwind before your first real game drive. You will bump off the trails as you follow a lion pride on the move, cross the open savanna that is populated by zebra and hartebeest, watch springbok skip past then turn around to white rhino, and gaze into the trees as a slight movement betrays a leopard’s camouflage. The guide will take you off the trail, getting you closer to this precious sighting. Elephants march past, giraffes always seem to mark the horizon, and after a first Sabi Sands game drive, you will have lost count of all your encounters.
Day 10 - 12
Sabi Sands – Luxury Safari in the Greater Kruger
For these three days, you will be immersed in the safari experience, tuning each of the senses into a wild landscape. The Sabi Sands is an unfenced collection of private concessions that are part of the Greater Kruger National Park. Wildlife loves it here because there is permanent water in the form of the Sabi and Sand rivers. Ungulates come to eat and drink while predators survive with relatively small territories thanks to the year-round food menu. Location is integral to the safari experience, and concessions on the edge of Sabi Sands have an outer fence against poachers. These are perimeter areas with less wildlife. In concessions that border Kruger National Park, you will have to pay a premium for location and are rewarded with a far greater density of wildlife.
Over these three days, you will realize it is not just one lion but many prides of lions. Elephants can be admired from the safety of your suite and plunge pool, and endangered rhinos will be a regular part of each game drive. Nighttime game drives provide stunning leopard sightings. A photography hide will help you get very close to the giants while the lodge’s riverfront location ensures that your safari continues during every moment of the day.
There are strict rules in national parks, but private concessions can set their own rules. So, you will be permitted to drive off the trail, which is an essential feature if you want to get close to the big cats. You can also drive at night and go on game walks, diversifying the safari experience. This makes Sabi Sands South Africa’s ultimate safari destination. Not only is it the location with most wildlife, but it is also where you can get extremely close to over 100 mammal species. Less strict rules also allow for unique and adventurous experiences. Think to take a picnic into the bush and watching hippos grunt below, or a fine dining evening beneath the stars with elephants in the vicinity. It is all very safe, and it is a celebration of indulgent style as it meets raw nature.
Johannesburg – Departure
On your final game drive, you wave farewell to the wildlife, and the vehicle will continue out of the concession to the Sabi Sands airport. From here, you will fly to O. R. Tambo International for your outbound departure.
- Explore the sensual luxury of the Cape Winelands with three days of private experiences at the country’s finest vineyards
- Bask to nature during four days in Cape Town with Table Mountain and the Atlantic beaches being integral to the experience
- Celebrate the wonder of an African safari in the Sabi Sands, which is home to so much more than the Big Five
- Taste with the winemakers, pair fine food with wine and tour the farm where Pinotage was first cloned
- Uncover elements of Mandela’s legacy and history, including a tour of the UNESCO world heritage site of Robben Island by Madiba’s former prison guard
- Track leopards on an exclusive nighttime game drive and feel the thrill of a walking safari
- Explore with penguins and more on the Cape Peninsula before tasting your way through the Constantia vineyards
- Wake up to elephants, track lions on the prowl, and discover the authenticity of a Sabi Sands safari
South Africa has style, and it loves to show off for visitors. Think of gazing across Stellenbosch vineyards with a glass of Pinotage in hand, admiring hippos while on a luxury picnic deep in the bush, spending leisurely mornings on white beaches, and adventurous afternoons on Table Mountain. This is the country where elephants drink from your plunge pool, and new-world fine dining can be part of your everyday. It is the country that always surprises, whether sampling Napoleon’s beloved dessert wine in Constantia or tracking leopards on a nighttime game drive. Of course, it has its history, which is perhaps best narrated by Nelson Mandela’s former prison guard during your tour of the UNESCO world heritage site of Robben Island. Mostly, you will find a changing nation and new definitions of decadence.
This exclusive vacation combines three of South Africa’s most luxurious destinations. After a long flight, there is little to rival a Stellenbosch vineyard: endless views, sensual tasting, fine food, and all the peace that you need. After your first day, you will spend days two to four on a private tour of the country’s finest vineyards, hopping across the Cape Winelands with a route that will be tailored to your palate. Discover where Pinotage was cloned, taste old vintages with the winemakers, enter vineyards that are usually closed to the public, and get to know the stories behind the scenes. Three full days here is not just about the wine, but it is about the culture and history that accompany the country’s wine scene.
It is only an hour to Cape Town on day four with Table Mountain providing a dazzling first impression. Check out the peak before lounging around your hotel in Camps Bay, as it will be within walking distance of the country’s most iconic beach. Day five takes you to Robben Island and Nelson Mandela’s former prison guard, Christo Brand, will be your guide. This will be followed by some of the city’s colorful, changing neighborhoods. Meet penguins en route to the Cape Peninsula on day six before the Constantia vineyards provide a nice contrast on day seven. With four days in Cape Town, there is also time to discover the city’s superb fine-dining scene as well as enjoying lazy hours on the beach.
Fly direct to the Greater Kruger, and end with four days in the Sabi Sands, which is South Africa’s most decadent safari destination. Wildlife encounters are highly authentic here. By staying in a private concession, you venture off the trails, bringing stunning intimacy with leopards, elephants, rhinos, and lions. Evening game drives and walking safaris also bring a new dimension. While the activities bring adventure, the lodge delivers charm. Here, you will luxuriate with a view over the Sabi River, watching animals come and go from the comfort of your suite and plunge pool. It is a wilderness experience, but as you will come to discover on this vacation, South Africa does everything with its own unique style. Learn more about how your luxury Africa Safari tour company can personalize the vacation of your dreams.
$5,195 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.
- In-country transportation
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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