Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Hermanus, Knysna, Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, Johannesburg
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
South Africa always enchants. From lions on the savannah to Table Mountain and colorful streets of change, the country always provides a unique travel experience regardless of the age of travelers. South Africa is welcoming, safe, and laid-back with a vibrant culture that can quickly make you feel at home. This handcrafted, two-week itinerary showcases some of the best South African destinations for senior travelers, including Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Hermanus, Knysna, and the Sabi Sands.
Cape Town – Dining Beneath Table Mountain
Table Mountain is some 600 million years old. Cape Town has evolved around its magnificent frame with the city spilling through foothills and onto the coast. You will touch down in the Mother City, and will not be able to miss the mountain. It looms large over everywhere, including your hotel at the V & A Waterfront. You will be met at the airport by a private guide who will transfer you to your luxury hotel. It will be located in a mostly pedestrianized area, so you can safely walk around the neighborhood should you wish. Transfers to anywhere in the city are included as part of your stay as well, and dinner reservations have been made for the evening, so you will dine beneath the iconic Table Mountain.
Cape Town – Robben Island and the Historical Waterfront
The fast ferry to Robben Island departs nearby your hotel. On this short ride across shark-infested waters, you can sense the island’s isolation and how lonely it must have been out here. You will disembark to meet your guide, a former prison guard who forged a friendship with Nelson Mandela, the site’s most famous inmate. Walking through the prison will only increase your admiration for South Africa’s favorite son, and your guide will help you understand life and history in this austere location. After your Robben Island tour, you can explore more of the V & A Waterfront. This includes charming buildings that have been converted into shops and markets, and the superb Zeitz MOCAA, which is Africa’s pre-eminent contemporary art gallery.
Cape Town – Exploring Bo Kaap and Streets of Change
Vibrantly painted houses line the streets of Bo Kaap. Green, purple, yellow, maroon, beige, red, pink, and every color you can imagine line the cobbles. There are more pre-19th-century buildings here than anywhere else in South Africa, and they always have a fresh coat of paint. Once the home of slaves, these houses hold a Cape Malay heritage that is fascinating to explore. After spending the morning in Bo Kaap, you can then find a rich, multicultural history in the city center with your guide who will narrate stories of the African diaspora. There is a great contrast from the old preserved Malay culture of Bo Kaap to the entwined heritage that has been created by a diverse array of African immigrants just two blocks away.
Stellenbosch – Beautiful History and Superb Dining
Like yesterday, you can choose your departure time this morning. For the following three days, you will have a private guide and driver, so there will be the opportunity to adjust every day to how you see fit. Today, you travel to Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands. Rolling hills are draped in vines here, but the mountain views are a highlight here as a rugged peak sits neatly above the old and whitewashed town. After checking into your boutique lodge, you will have a luxurious lunch at a nearby wine farm. Each dish can be paired with a glass of wine as you try the range of local flavors from sparkling MCC to fruity Cabernet Sauvignon and the indigenous Pinotage grape.
Stellenbosch – Spending the Day in Franschhoek
Franschhoek is South Africa’s oldest town, which is a charming place that is enveloped by mountains. It is also located some 50 miles from Cape Town, was settled by the French, and has been cultivating wine for over 300 years. You will indulge in a leisurely trip over there this morning with the opportunity to stop at one or two farms along the way. Along Franschhoek’s main street, you will find boutique shops and small cafes in addition to a market and wine tram. While out on this side of the Winelands, you need to try both the sparkling wine and the food. Your guide will have some recommendations that will depend on the flavors that you desire.
Stellenbosch – More Relaxed Wine Tasting and Views
More than 200 vineyards can be visited in the Cape Winelands, and your guide can arrange some exclusive experiences for you. For example, you can tour De Waal with the farm owner and grandson of the person who first cloned Pinotage. At some farms, you can taste with the winemaker or cellar master or do a vertical tasting through different vintages. There are farms to indulge in food and wine pairings and also those with more of a focus on the food. While the wines are excellent, the views are even better with all of it being complemented by Stellenbosch’s very serene atmosphere.
Hermanus – Whale Watching and Shopping on the Coast
From Stellenbosch, the road crosses a mountain before descending to the coast and Hermanus, which is a delightful little town that is famous for its whales. Southern right whales migrate to Walker Bay every July, and the Hermanus cliffside promenade overlooks this bay. When a whale breaches, the whale caller blows on his kelp horn, alerting everyone to the sighting. You can sit on a bench and watch the show with the whales sometimes being just 50 meters from the shore. You can also choose a whale watching cruise this afternoon if you want to get even closer to the whales. Later today, you should find Hermanus to be a quaint town that is filled with small boutique shops and quiet cafes. It is a perennial favorite of South African retirees.
Knysna – Another Favorite Town for Senior Travelers
Today’s drive is the longest on your itinerary. It will take you along the coast and Garden Route to Knysna, which will be roughly four hours on a stunning road with continual ocean views. Knysna is another South African favorite for senior visitors. The town is small and pedestrianized with shops and restaurants lining the harbor front. You will have a hotel that overlooks the ocean and will go on a boat tour through Knysna Heads this afternoon. Dramatic peaks stand over the lagoon as you look out towards Indian Ocean waves. Then, your boat will turn around, and you will cruise across languid waters back to Knysna, where there are some brilliant restaurants to try.
Knysna – Discovering Garden Route Highlights
Knysna is at the heart of the Garden Route. Within a 45-minute drive, you can be in Wilderness, the Tsitsikamma Forest, Plettenberg Bay, and a number of wonderfully quiet Indian Ocean beaches. Today will be tailored to your interests, and you can visit any of these destinations. You may want a morning on the beach, an afternoon at the shops, and an evening of dining at the harbor. You can also spend a full day in Tsitsikamma, which is where forest-clad cliffs stand over Indian Ocean waves. Plettenberg and Wilderness have superb beaches along with some charming cafes. Another option will be to cross a mountain pass and visit Oudtshoorn, which is a traditional farming town that is home to most of the world’s ostriches.
Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve – Start of the Big Game Safari
After an early start, you will transfer to Port Elizabeth for a flight to the Sabi Sands. Your total flight time will be around three and a half hours, and you will land in time for lunch with a view. African safaris are incredibly relaxing, and from your lodge, you can admire the Kruger savannah. Giraffes may poke their heads above the trees while elephants sound their arrival from a distance. You can also see zebra as they graze while the wildebeest scamper past your camp. Lunch will be served as animals drink from a river below you, and you will begin to realize that your safari experience is a mix of wild Africa and contemporary luxuries. It is possible to watch animals directly from your suite, and it is all very safe because a discreet, electric fence keeps the wildlife at a distance. Then, on an afternoon game drive, you will move even closer to Africa’s four-legged giants.
Day 11 - 12
Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve – Laid-Back Kruger Safari for Senior Travelers
On a morning game drive, you can track a lion pride on the move. Flitting in and out of the grass, these lions will be looking for breakfast, possibly after a disappointing nighttime hunt. Springbok may graze nearby, but these are too small and nimble for lions. You may pass a herd of buffalo, but that would also be a rather ambitious meal for a small pride. Lions are the nemesis of those with black and white stripes, and you can sometimes watch a hunt. You may also be able to see the aftermath, which will be either lions with a fresh kill or scavengers as they battle over what remains.
Prowling predators are a prime example of a wild African safari. In the wilderness, you will experience the rhythm of life, and that includes the brutal and beautiful interactions between animals. You will see monkeys and baboons as they stand guard for antelope because the primates howl when any cats are in the vicinity. Interactions play out at watering holes and rivers as well, sometimes with more than ten species drinking together at one time. You can take a picnic to these scenes and can also dine on a deck beneath the stars after your game drives. Again, it is this mix of authentic African excitement and laid-back luxuries that makes South Africa such a unique place to visit.
Over these two days, you will go on morning and afternoon game drives with the option of a nighttime game drive. Drives are usually under three hours and explore a compact and private reserve. Vehicles and visitors are restricted, so this Sabi Sands reserve never feels crowded. However, the reserve is unfenced and truly wild, so you can come to understand how wildlife behaves in a landscape that has remained mostly unchanged by human hands. The game drives will be complemented by downtime at your lodge, and here, you can dip in the pool, sip wines on a terrace, and feel the tranquility of the legendary Greater Kruger savannah.
Johannesburg – Apartheid History and Enchanting Soweto
After your morning game drive, you will be transferred across the savannah to a small airstrip. From here, you will fly to Johannesburg for a day in Soweto. Home to the anti-apartheid struggle, this township was where Mandela and others made their name. The streets remain as colorful and vivid as Mandela’s time, but the times have changed, and there is now a real positivity to Soweto. On a private tour, you will first visit the Apartheid Museum before moving onto Vilakazi Street and Mandela’s former house. From here, you can meet with some of the locals, sample traditional township food, and develop a sense of the history that took place beneath your feet. Rather than stay in Soweto, you will spend your final night in Sandton, which is at Nelson Mandela’s former retreat.
Johannesburg – Departure
This morning will be at your leisure before you are transferred to O.R. Tambo International Airport for your outbound flight.
- Escape to the Cape Winelands and spend three days in Stellenbosch, which is a charming town that is steeped in history
- Uncover the secrets of Cape Town, including the history of Robben Island and Bo Kaap
- Experience the beauty of an African safari with three all-inclusive days in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve
- Discover the enchanting Garden Route town of Knysna, which is a favorite of senior visitors from all over the world
- Watch whales from the shore during a day in the quaint old town of Hermanus
- Explore Soweto’s apartheid history and walk the street where Mandela and Desmond Tutu were both residents
- Taste your way through South Africa’s finest wines and sample some of the country’s best restaurants
- Admire the views all the way down the Garden Route and Cape Town from Table Mountain
- Fully relax into the safari experience and watch animals as they roam beneath your lodge
- Immerse yourself into South Africa’s welcoming and laid-back way of life
South Africa is very much an adventure. Here, you can encounter elephant herds and prowling leopards, and there will be a sense of wilderness as you explore some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes from Table Mountain to the Garden Route and Kruger. Every day, you can sense the magic of a continent, and it will be told through the people you meet and the histories that connect you with the land. South Africa also has one foot in contemporary, Western culture. You can also find five-star accommodations to rival anywhere in the world in addition to fine dining, modern luxuries, and all the comfort you require. This means that South Africa can offer you a new adventure that is full of unique experiences and encounters, and you will not need to travel beyond your comfort zone.
This two-week, South African tour is handcrafted for senior travelers and moves at a relaxed pace through the country. It will showcase the country’s favorite destinations for seniors, including a stunning African safari in the Sabi Sands. Private guides will be included throughout to provide flexibility to suit your needs. Each day, you can do and see more, or you can slow down and take more time to rest. There are a couple of timely drives during your vacation, and these will help you appreciate the country’s majestic landscapes.
Cape Town is your first stop, and you will spend three days in the Mother City, where Table Mountain stands proudly above the streets of history and change. You will dine at the excellent restaurants, discover Bo Kaap, and walk in Mandela’s footsteps during a morning on Robben Island. From here, it will be a one-hour drive to the Cape Winelands for three nights in Stellenbosch, which is South Africa’s second oldest town. With evocative vistas and sumptuous wine, it will be easy to fill three days here, especially when a local guide helps you to uncover local secrets.
From days seven to nine, you will drive the Garden Route with your private guide. The first stop will be Hermanus, which is a favorite town of South African retirees and a wonderful place to watch whales from the shore. In the heart of the Garden Route, Knysna has been voted South Africans’ favorite town on multiple occasions. It is a laid-back base for exploring this luscious, Southern region, and your guide can customize each day to your interests. Port Elizabeth is at the end of the Garden Route, and you will fly to the Sabi Sands from here. In the Sabi Sands, the Big Game safari is as good as anywhere on the continent.
You can settle into your safari and discover the dreamy combination of wild Africa and contemporary comfort. Here, you will feel entirely at home while watching elephants and rhinos directly from your lodge. You can also go on game drives in search of leopards in addition to your lodge’s superb, in-room dining. With three days, you will discover the authenticity of the wild, which is in an exclusive and unfenced Kruger reserve. There will still time for a day in Johannesburg before you leave South Africa. With its apartheid history and vibrant streets, it is a city that can tie the rest of your vacation together.
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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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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