South African Escape for Couples: City, Beach & Safari

A couple standing on a bridge and admiring an African elephant from a safe distance
A 15 day trip to South Africa 
5
5 out of 5 stars
9 reviews

South Africa's sublime landscape bursts with romantic treasures; private safari adventures without boundaries, walks through lavish vineyards, getting lost on hidden beaches, sailing past breaching whales...This romantic South African tour offers a dreamy escape into a nation of superlatives, indelibly combining beach, city, safari, and indulgent nature. Luxuriant style provides an omnipresent backdrop and charming little touches elevate the romance even further.

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General Information

Photos
South African wineries.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Cape Town, Cape Point, Stellenbosch, Hermanus, Kruger National Park, Sabi Sands Private Reserve, St Lucia

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Welcome to Cape Town

Landing in Cape Town is a special feeling. The Table Mountain chain stands proud above the city, an iconic expanse of rock dominating a sprawling cityscape and shimmering Atlantic Ocean waters. As a luxury transfer takes you to the hotel you're eagerly staring from the window, soaking up the first glimpses of the mountain. Your hotel stands above the ocean, neatly situated in Cape Town's most discerning waterfront neighborhood. Gaze out onto the water and the next stop is Antarctica. But turn around and the views of the mountain are incomparable. And these are just the first glimpses of South Africa. You have a full two weeks to explore all its angles.

Day 2: Standing on Table Mountain and Discovering an Iconic City

The cable car rotates as you rise skyward, Cape Town getting smaller as you journey to the summit of Table Mountain. From up here the views are seemingly endless. Look north and the rugged coastline eventually leads to Namibia. Gaze east and the Atlantic merges with the Indian Ocean. Look down and the colors of Cape Town present themselves like a kaleidoscopic patchwork. Enjoy coffee with a view at the summit then descend to the city. This afternoon is deliberately left free so you can explore the city at your own pace. Cape Town center is surprisingly compact and in less than an hour you can walk through vivid street markets, colonial relics, cobblestone streets painted pastel colors, and poignant museums reliving the city's past. For an evening of indulgence you've got a table booked at Fork, a cute restaurant that combines Spanish-style tapas with indigenous ingredients.

Day 3: Wild Penguins, Stunning Vistas, and Beautiful Roads: Welcome to Cape Point

Cape Town has an enviable location, perched on the Southwestern corner of Africa and engulfed by pristine nature. It's this harmonious blend of nature and city that was part of the reason The New York Times declared it the number one city to visit in the world. Today's private tour takes you along the peninsula, the road clinging to the mountain as it traverses deserted beaches and historic fishing villages. Weave south and join the penguins swimming in the calm bays of Boulder's Beach. Wind further and stand together on the very edge of Africa. Then stop for a champagne picnic beside skipping springbok and mischievous rock dassies. The inland route back to Cape Town is equally spectacular, winding through botanical gardens, fields of ripening grapes, and more resonant panoramas.

Day 4: A Sensual Wineland Journey

Hundreds of vineyards cover the rolling plains of Stellenbosch and Paarl. Some are renowned estates, known the world over, yet humble at heart. Others are hidden, generations-old cellars and innovative newcomers operating from crumbling farmhouses. Today's private wine tour gives the senses a thorough workout, taking you on a journey into both the famous and local. Wander fields of fresh grapes, pair wine with chocolate, explore cellars of stained oak barrels, and meet the geniuses responsible for some of the country's finest exports. And that's before you've had lunch at an elegant farm estate. A diverse climate helps this area produce a rich diversity of wine, so the tour will be tailored to your tastes. Return to Cape Town in the late afternoon and enjoy another gentle evening around the Waterfront. Sailing boats dot the harbor, regal restaurants offer suave dining for two, and Table Mountain is always towering above you.

Days 5 – 6: Private Whale Spotting Safari in Hermanus

A rugged coastline extends eastward from Cape Town, the jagged cliffs towering over a convergence of cold and warm water currents. It's a famed migratory route for whales and you will be getting intimate with three different species. Let's start on land. Your boutique guesthouse is just out of town, gazing over the ocean and offering unrivaled privacy. With just a few downhill steps you can be walking hand in hand on unfrequented beaches. Hermanus retains a delightful village feel, offering all the enchantment of a cute fishing village. It's less than two hours from Cape Town and a place for watching the sun set over rocky outcrops, sipping wine as whales breach just off shore, and settling into a gentle rhythm of yesteryear. 

Set aside time to explore the ocean. A private boat safari heads out into the secluded bay. Slowly you cruise the benign waters. There's one, the humpback's immense tail crashing down and spraying water in every direction. There's another two, a Southern right mother and calf unhurriedly swimming the nursery waters. As you tuck into an opulent picnic a whole family of humpbacks coast past. Their leader is 15 meters long, weighs more than ten buses, yet it moves with an effortless and uncomplicated elegance. Water jets out of blowholes and the whales continue their migration. But turn around; the next family isn't far behind.

Day 7: First Big Five Impressions in Kruger National Park

Leave the coastline behind and fly north, the city break and marine encounters giving way to a rugged immersion in African plains. Every journey is a game drive in Kruger, the wild mammals roaming free in a national park that dwarfs some US states. Springbok dance across flourishing grasslands, rhinos rumble across wide open clearings, and the trumpeting calls of elephants come through the truck window. And you've not even officially started the safari yet. Kruger is one of Africa's oldest and largest national parks, an epic expanse that covers Northeastern South Africa. It's home to over half the world's rhino population, huge populations of big cats, and a dazzling abundance of Africa's mammals. First impressions fly past the window and it's hard to contain your shared excitement. Arrive at the remote Sabi Sands and you're surrounded by a version of Africa that appears in many visitor's preconceptions; wild, untamed, and straight from the wildlife documentaries.

Days 8 – 10: Unique Kruger Safari With a Romantic Twist

Open the curtains and check out the view. You're resting on a sumptuous king sized bed, gazing out of floor to ceiling windows at a group of wild rhinos. Is it time to get up yet? Or time to cuddle and watch the elephants saunter past in the distance? A Kruger safari experience is undeniably thrilling. But that excitement is always complimented by charming tranquil moments; like dining on croissants on a private verandah as herds of buffalo graze below, or clinking wine glasses with an uninterrupted view of prowling cheetahs. Like everywhere on this itinerary, the trips run at your pace. All game drives and safari activities are private. So you can decide to watch the morning show from your lavish en-suite bedroom. Or wake at sunrise and search for lion prides out on a hunt.

So what's a Kruger safari with a romantic twist? You get all the classic safari activities, and then they're supplemented by hidden experiences that elevate the feeling of immersion. For example, a morning game drive winds through the trees. Elephants rampage a trail to follow, kudu rest on the forest outskirts, and then a pair of lucid eyes grab your attention. Gaze onto the branches and the leopard lies still. A tail flickers and the leopard continues its slumber. But it eyes are always awake, ever alert for an opportunity. The game drive continues; mesmeric oryx, hyenas scavenging through the grass, every corner bringing a new sight. Then it takes a new turn. Stop on a secluded rocky outcrop and leave the truck. A picnic hamper has been set up above the plains, complete with wine bottles and binoculars. A huge section of Kruger extends beneath your eyes. So tuck into lunch and point out the herds that cover the landscape.

Game drives and romantic picnics are just the start. When dusk descends you're back out exploring, seeking out the nocturnal Kruger world. It's almost eerily quiet and the darkness is near absolute. The guide cuts the engine. You hear something. But what is it? Keep listening and it gets closer. Then a roving spotlight reveals a buffalo herd grazing just a few meters from your eyes. Over these three days the itinerary is completely flexible and it's all included. So if a night time game drive sounds too active, you can opt for a candlelit meal in the heart of the wilderness. A table is erected in a small clearing and dinner is served to the backdrop of wandering herds and meandering soundtracks.

Sublime surprises keep coming as you walk into the Kruger wilderness. It's a hand-in-hand walk with a difference. You're following the animal clues and joining those with four legs in their own environment. Vivid red hartebeest stand before you, blocking the trail with 2,000 pounds of bulk and a collection of horns. Up ahead there are more ungulates; zebra, kudu, giraffe, it's all much bigger when viewed from ground level. If conditions are right, on some walking safaris you could be standing in the bush admiring a group of White rhinos.

It's left to Kruger's greats to leave the final impressions. Let's not forget that this is a land patrolled by the big and powerful. Lion prides are regular parts of almost every game drive, either lounging beneath a tree or slowly stalking a varied dinner menu. A rhino wanders past the safari truck. But as you take photos you're already distracted; there's a further eight rhinos arriving from behind. These three days satisfy preconceptions and elevate them further. This isn't about ticking off the big five. It's about a private safari experience in one of Africa's finest parks, one that's sprinkled with romantic treats and treasures.

Days 11 – 14: Hidden Beach Paradise in St Lucia

City, safari, and now idolized beach paradise. Indian Ocean waves roll onto unadulterated white sand, rivers meander into lush surrounding greenery, and your private villa has glorious views into a haven of reverie. The long coastline around St Lucia rarely sees footprints. While the central beach has a mini hub of cafes and small restaurants, the outlying sand is blissfully tranquil and virtually deserted. Settle into your villa and listen. Silence. Except, of course, from waves rolling in the distance and endemic bird song occasionally flickering into life. For four days this is your own piece of beach heaven. And while South African St Lucia may share the visual characteristics of its namesake in the Caribbean, it gets just a small fraction of the tourists. And as you sip on your morning coffee, contemplating the tranquility, a local fisherman wanders past with the freshest seafood delights.

Wallow and indulge, spending the days sipping cocktails, lounging on the beach, and making outdoor barbecues in your private garden. St Lucia allows you to decompress completely, until there's nothing in the world but you, your partner, and the sand that squeaks beneath your feet. However, pull yourselves away and the surrounding area holds intrigue and wonder. Just an hour away are rivers engulfed by wallowing hippos and crocodiles. A mere 20 minutes’ walk away you'll find monkeys parading through indigenous forest. It's also possible to arrange day trips into Swaziland from here, a journey that showcases another angle of Africa. Then again, it's also possible to get cocktails delivered to the beach and a fresh seafood platter grilled before your eyes. Like most destinations on this itinerary, the days are left flexible and respond to your mood.

Day 15: Farewell to South Africa

It's been two weeks and your escape has come to an end. Which memories will linger longest? What was the highlight? Cape Town? Walking beside rhinos? Admiring whales breaching just meters away? Most likely it was it the whole experience of discovering a unique country with your loved one.

Be sure to browse the South Africa safari reviews to read about traveler experiences in South Africa. 

Price

Starting Price 

$5,995
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.