14 Perfect Days in South Africa

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Advisor - Kelsey Casey
Curated By

Kelsey Casey

  • International Travel

  • South Africa

  • Cape Town

  • Couples Travel

  • Luxury Travel

  • Adventure

  • Outdoors

  • Romantic

South Africa Travel Guide
Curator’s statement

I had the fortunate opportunity to study abroad in South Africa for four months while in college and let's just say, I will forever be positively changed from that experience. Having had the time to really go deep and explore the beautiful, diverse country of South Africa, as well as conduct a homestay with a family outside of Cape Town, I learned a tremendous amount about the culture, languages and history of the nation, and of course, delightfully indulged in the delicious cuisine and wine along the way. South Africa will always have my heart and is a place I full heartedly believe every traveler must visit at least once in their lives!

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Day 1-3: Cape Winelands

South Africa travel guide, Winelands.

Arrive into Cape Town International Airport and jet off to Franschhoek, which has become the gourmet capital of South Africa with great wines, premiere restaurants and stunning hotels. While here, exploring the bountiful vineyards will be your first priority. You can do so through Waterford Wine Drive Safari, a unique two-hour trip on a safari-type vehicle through the 120-acre Waterford Estate on the beautiful slopes of the Helderberg mountain. This tour includes two wine tasting stops in the vineyards and light snacks. You may also consider hopping on and off the Wine Tram and exploring the beautiful village of Franschoek during a day at leisure. Lastly, enjoy a wine tasting experience at My Wyn and a beer tasting at Hey Joe Brewery to close out your visit in the winelands.

With award-wining restaurants everywhere you look, the hardest thing will be deciding which ones to visit.

La Petite Colombe: A unique Michelin-starred restaurant where the Chef's Experience in the farm environment is extremely satisfying.

Day 4-7: Cape Town and Cape Peninsula

Cape Town, South Africa bird's eye view.

Complimenting your days in wine country with a stay in the city of Cape Town is highly encouraged. On your way downtown, stop at Babylonstoren for a morning coffee and walk around the farm. Then, make a second stop in Woodstock, an edgy, evolving neighborhood where cafes and galleries occupy old factories with dazzling murals. A visit here wouldn't be complete without exploring the renovated Old Biscuit Mill, which is home to cool design stores and a weekly Neighbourgoods Market.

While in Cape Town, there is so much to see and do. Conduct a Private Street Art and Cape Malay Food Experience with Baz-Art to uncover unique insights into the local and international street art and food scene in Cape Town. Enjoy a beer tasting at Shackletons Brewery. Hike to the top of Table Mountain. Visit Robben Island, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the Nobel Laureate and former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, was imprisoned for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars before the fall of apartheid in the nation. As UNESCO claims, "Robben Island's buildings, and in particular, those of the late 20th century maximum security prison for political prisoners, testify to the way in which democracy and freedom triumphed over oppression and racism." Lastly, explore the city on foot starting at the top of Bree Street to immerse yourself in the pulse of the capital.

Exploring the Cape Peninsula nearby is an incredible adventure as well. You can complete a kayaking experience in the bay, walk through the quaint fisherman's village of Kalk Bay, visit the penguins in Simon's Town and walk along the boardwalk to Boulders Beach and drive along the scenic Chapman's Peak Drive. The landscapes along the way will leave you awestruck!

Again, you will have plenty of eateries to choose from while in Cape Town. My favorites include The Test Kitchen, an inventive restaurant within the Old Biscuit Mill, The Shortmarket Club, for classic and modern global cuisine, Oranjezicht City Farm Market for farm-to-table brunch, and Fyn Restaurant, No. 37 of The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2022.

Day 8-12: Kruger Safari

South Africa travel guide.

Take a short transfer from Cape Town International Airport to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport to explore Kruger National Park over the next few days. Known for its high concentrations of big game, Kruger is the crown jewel of South Africa's parklands and game reserve. Should you stay at any of the Singita properties within the park, you are in for a treat. Not only do the properties sit within private concessions of the park, prime for face-to-face experiences with wildlife personalities, but you'll also be treated to twice daily open Land Rover safaris, guide-led walking safaris and sundowners in the bush. The food is superb and outrageously fresh, plus the modern cocktails and wine cellar are worth noting. In between game drives, bliss may be found at the fabulous swimming pools and spa. While in this vast, gorgeous land, enjoy stillness, connection, wellbeing and a sense of place.

Day 13-14: The Garden Route

South Africa travel guide: The Garden Route.

Your final days in South Africa will entail pure relaxation at one of the Garden Route's most celebrated and best-loved hideaways, Birkenhead House. Choose to stay put at the property and enjoy the award-winning spa, take a whale sightseeing tour departing from nearby Kleinbaai Harbour or visit the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, known for its amazing vineyards, jaw-dropping scenery,and the nation's finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. For the brave, you may consider going diving in a shark cage. This was an experience I'll never forget — coming within inches of a 9-foot Great White shark left me speechless. As you depart this beautiful place to head home, take in every moment to appreciate the Garden Route's dramatic mountains, vast Indian Ocean coastline and quaint beach towns in their wildest glory.

Advisor - Kelsey Casey

Travel Advisor

Kelsey Casey

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This itinerary is part of our ongoing series travel to South Africa. Looking for more adventure travel inspiration? Check out my 7-Day Road Trip through Breathtaking Slovenia.