Romantic Trip to Remember: Ideal South Africa Tour

Close up of a South African leopard resting in a tree
A 9 day trip to South Africa 

The marvels of the African landscape are endless during your luxury South Africa tour revealing true romance in secluded game reserves, pristine scenery, and the cultural heritage found in the wildlife and cuisine. Sink into the unfathomable passion of a sunset cruise at Table Bay and the mouthwatering pleasures of gourmet wines in the Cape Winelands. Search for roaming elephants or lounging lions in the grasslands and bask in the opulence of a safari lodge featured in season 15 of “The Bachelor,” horseback ride along the rugged coastline and savor the dreamy seclusion of the South African wilderness.

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Zebras on an African Safari
South African wineries.
Aerial view of the Cape Town coastline in South Africa
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Cape Town, the Cape Winelands and Lion Sands Game Reserve.

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Best time of year is anytime other than July & August, which is the Cape winter.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Arrive in Cape Town, South Africa

As you disembark the plane to arrive in Cape Town or the ‘Mother City,’ as she is affectionately known, we will be waiting to transfer you to the luxurious “O on Kloof” Boutique Hotel. Relax on your own private balcony and soak up your first taste of what’s to come – with mountain and sea views laid out before you. Take in the majestic Lion’s Head mountain peak, so named for its resemblance to Africa’s biggest cat – the lion. This peak sits just to the right of the iconic Table Mountain. Tonight we visit the impressive Victoria & Alfred waterfront complex, positioned around Cape Town’s harbor, for dinner at the award-winning Sevruga Restaurant. Sevruga acquired the “People’s Choice Award” in 2013 for best restaurant in the waterfront complex. Enjoy the fine dining on offer here before turning in for the night.  

Day 2: Explore the Cape’s Unique Floral Heritage 

Today, after breakfast you will visit one of South Africa’s World Heritage Sites – her magnificent and colorful Cape Floral Region, at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Your dedicated guide will collect you after breakfast to take you on a tour of South Africa’s rich indigenous flora, known as fynbos – from the stunning king protea, South Africa’s national flower, to red and yellow proteas that resemble pincushions. These epic gardens provide a home to more than 7,000 species of plants. The grand lawns and breath-taking location, on the slopes of Table Mountain, make a visit here a must. Explore endangered cycads (essentially “living fossils” that were fed on by dinosaurs) in the magnificent “Cycad Amphitheatre”, before taking one of the several paths on offer around the 36-hectare garden. Keep an eye open for the African art displayed. For lunch, find a shady spot on the lawns to throw down a blanket and enjoy the outstanding mountain views. Voted as one of the world’s best picnic spots by National Geographic Magazine, the location and remarkable views draw 750,000 visitors every year. Why not open a bottle of wine and raise your glasses to your spectacular surroundings. 

After lunch we travel to Cape Town’s most-loved attraction, and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World – Table Mountain. As you ascend her iconic face via cable car (weather permitting) you are greeted with breathtaking mountain and coastal scenery, but it’s her summit that provides undeniably the best views of the city and the white sand beaches which line Table Bay. Make sure you snap a picture of the island seen off in the distance - this is the famous Robben Island, where former South African president Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. This evening we’ll get a closer look at the harbor’s cargo ships and fishing boats as we embark on a romantic sunset cruise. We board a vessel at Vctoria & Alfred Waterfront and head out into the waters of Table Bay – for breathtaking sea views of the city. 

Day 3: Discover the Cape Peninsula 

Today after breakfast, you’ll experience the exquisiteness of the Cape. You’ll begin your journey driving along the rugged coastline toward Cape Point.  Along the way we’ll pass through picturesque seaside towns with magnificent white sand beaches scattered with impressive granite boulders. Once you enter the almost 8, 000 hectare expanse of Cape Point Nature Reserve, keep your eyes peeled for the resident rambunctious baboons and stunning fynbos. Your destination is the lighthouse, which used to guide ships around the menacing coastline. Today, it offers breathtaking views over the jagged rocks and towering cliffs. From here you journey into the ocean itself, as you board a boat to visit Duiker Island - home to thousands of Cape fur seals. Make sure you have your camera ready to capture the doe-eyed pups and the imposing 550-pound males. On your return, scan the waters for potential dolphins and southern right whales (June to November), before we visit the famous Boulder’s Beach, home to a colony of endangered African penguins.  

You’ll spend the afternoon enjoying the Cape’s white sand beaches but with a twist – you’ll be doing it on horseback. On the stunning Noordhoek Beach you’ll be cantering with the wind in your hair across this impressive and unspoiled five miles of beach. Take a ride out to the Kakapo, the beach’s famous shipwreck, or walk through the breaking waves and enjoy spectacular views of False Bay. Relax at the end of the day by dining at The Roundhouse, a 200-year-old restaurant well positioned close to Table Mountain. 

Day 4: Explore the Winelands 

Natural beauty, lush winelands, rich heritage and architecture dating back to the 17th century await you on today’s journey. You’ll travel to the Franschhoek Valley, located in the heart of the Cape Winelands. Surrounded by majestic mountains, this area is famed for its award-winning wines and heavenly cuisine. You’ll be transferred to the Franschhoek Country House and Villas, a restored manor house framed by spectacular views of the surrounding mountainside. Opt for lunch on the terrace at the award-winning Monneaux Restaurant, one of South Africa’s top ten restaurants. Monneaux is run out an old 19th century perfumery and provides modern dining in a historic setting. A variety of fine delicacies are on offer inspired by the local Cape Malay culture. In the afternoon, enjoy a trip to the nearby historic town of Stellenbosch, known locally as the ‘City of Oaks’ after the vast number of oak trees that grace the town streets. Stroll along the shady avenues reflective of the town’s rich history and culture - with their whitewashed buildings, old churches and modern-Victorian and Georgian edifices. 

Day 5: Tantalize your Taste Buds in Franschhoek

Today, enjoy a free morning in Franschhoek - the gourmet capital of South Africa. Art lovers will delight in the various art galleries and craft stores available, while outdoor enthusiasts will find a diversity of activities on offer. You could opt to hire a bicycle and take a relaxing cycle tour around Franschhoek and the surrounding farms. Alternatively, hike in the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve where you’ll be greeted with breathtaking views of the valley and surrounding mountains as you traverse through the Franschhoek Pass. Meanwhile, shining chrome and classic details will excite motor enthusiasts at the Franschhoek Motor Museum, which captures more than 100 years of motoring history. For lunch you’ll be treated to a sublime French-style picnic, in front of the striking Simonsberg Mountain, where you can unwind after your busy morning. As you tuck into a delicious array of baguettes, cold meats and cheese, enjoy the nearby sweet-smelling pines and peaceful ambiance. Tonight, tantalize your tastebuds as you dine at the award-winning Reuben’s Restaurant run by top South African chef Reuben Riffel. Grab a drink at the unique bar, erected from the wing of a vintage airplane, before choosing the dish of your fancy off one of the assorted chalkboards that display the daily specials.      

Day 6: Travel from Cape Town to Lion Sands Private Game Reserve

This morning after breakfast, bid farewell to Cape Town as you board your flight for Nelspruit, and then get transferred to 7,000 hectares of Big Five territory at Lion Sands Private Game Reserve. It was here that the Bachelor, Brad Womack, brought the final three contestants and it’s no wonder why - the reserve has been nominated for almost two-dozen awards. Accolades include “Best Overseas Boutique Hotel” and “Best Luxury Lodge in the World.” You’ll check into River Lodge, ingeniously positioned alongside the banks of the Sabie River and surrounded by 800-year-old jackalberry trees. After your journey, breathe in the fragrant jackalberry flowers as you relax in the safe outdoor safari lounge. From here, be on the lookout for various antelope, zebras, and giraffes as they come down to the river to drink. In the late afternoon you’ll get to see these animals and more, up-close-and-personal, as you depart on a game drive through the African bush. Tonight, dinner will be served in a traditional African boma (open-air dinning venue), around a roaring fire. Tuck in under the vast African sky, and enjoy the sounds of the surrounding bushveld.  

Day 7: Come Face-to-Face with an African Elephant (optional)

Animals are always out in the mornings, so this is a perfect time of day to explore the surrounding area and take in the wildlife. A bush walk offers you intimate encounters with nature, under the protection of your experienced safari guide. Take in the unique smells and feel the crunch of the grass under feet as you explore the African bush. You can be sure this experience will go down as one of the most memorable of your trip. After your morning walk we travel by road to interact with the largest land mammal on the planet – the African elephant (optional). You’ll visit Elephant Whispers, where the Bachelor’s Brad Womack took Emily Maynard to ride one of these majestic creatures. Here, skilled elephant handlers will share remarkable elephant behavior and facilitate your interaction with the elephants Tembo, Medwa and Lindiwe. You can not only touch their rough and hairy skin, but you’ll also get to brush them and be awed at the dexterity of their incredible trunk and the surprising softness of the skin behind their ears. 

After an extraordinary morning, you’ll return to Lion Sands. Relax on the deck of River Island, which is located on the river and allows an intimate, but safe, game viewing experience. Elephants love water, so if you can’t wait to see more of these grand creatures, scan the river for Tembo and Lindiwe’s cousins. You can also unwind at the Lalamuka Health Spa, which offers a variety of body, facial and hydrotherapy treatments. Avid outdoor enthusiasts and knowledge seekers will revel in the lodge’s specialist activities (included in the package). Tonight, enjoy one of these activities by attending the astronomy evening. Learn more about the various constellations viewable from the southern hemisphere and search for them in the African sky. 

Day 8: Uncover African’s Beauty on Safari

Another of the lodge’s specialist and popular activities is the hippo tour, which involves walking along the riverbank to view wildlife, in particular the water-loving hippos. Begin your day with this unique tour, where hippo pods can be viewed from the bank. Look out for other water-lovers like water monitors and crocodiles. Spend the rest of your morning enjoying one of the lodge’s unique wildlife lectures, which will undoubtedly leave you informed about the African wilderness. Consider enjoying a picnic lunch in the bush, then relax in the lodge’s secluded bird hide and see if you can spot any colorful kingfishers or majestic storks.  

Day 9: Leave Lion Sands to Return Home

This morning, after relishing the sights on one last drive, you leave Lion Sands for home (international flight not included). Your romance with Africa might be drawing to an end, but you’ll be wishing you never had to say goodbye. 

Price

Starting Price 

$3,595
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.