With one week for a luxury South Africa trip, it's best to focus on two regions. Foodies and wine aficionados will appreciate vineyard-hopping in Franschhoek and fine dining in Cape Town. Wildlife enthusiasts can spot the Big Five on safaris in the Eastern Cape or Timbavati, while those seeking a beach getaway can snorkel and indulge in spa treatments at Mabibi Beach. Travelers looking for unique cultural experiences can enjoy a private jazz concert in Johannesburg and the chance to meet a Zulu healer.

Itinerary #1: Laid-Back Luxury in South Africa: Cape Town & Winelands

Exclusive gastronomic experiences await on this relaxed Cape Town and Winelands getaway. Between sightseeing excursions like a private helicopter flight over Cape Town and a sunset champagne cruise, you'll dive into the city's fine dining scene with a 14-course tasting safari at GOLD and an evening of Japanese-inspired African dishes at Fyn. Then, it's off to the Cape Winelands for a wine blending workshop, a round of golf on a signature course, and a leisurely horseback ride between the vines—stopping for tastings at local wineries along the way.

After three days in Cape Town, it's off to a luxury farm estate in the Cape Winelands (photo courtesy of La Cotte)
After three days in Cape Town, you're off to a luxury farm estate in the Cape Winelands (photo courtesy of La Cotte)
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town, Dinner at GOLD Cape Town
Day 2 City Tour, Table Mountain & Helicopter Ride Cape Town
Day 3 Marine Biologist for a Day, Dinner at Fyn Cape Town
Day 4 Cape Town Community Project, Sunset Champagne Cruise Cape Town
Day 5 Transfer to Franschhoek, Cape Winelands Tour & Tasting Franschhoek
Day 6 Golf at Pearl Valley, Wine Blending Workshop Franschhoek
Day 7 Winelands Horseback Ride, Transfer to Cape Town, Depart  

Kick off your trip at Camissa House, a boutique hotel in Cape Town where you'll enjoy panoramic views from your private terrace and have high tea by the infinity pool. In the evening, embark on a 14-course tasting experience complimented by live African music and dance at GOLD restaurant. The following day, you'll tour Cape Town's historic landmarks, then soar above Table Mountain on a private helicopter flight. Next, you'll spot penguins and swim in a kelp forest on a private outdoor adventure before indulging in Japanese-inspired African fine dining fare at Fyn restaurant.

Spend a day with responsible tourism nonprofit Uthando and engage with local people working to improve their communities, then toast your Cape Town adventures on a sunset champagne cruise. In the morning, your driver will take you to Franschhoek, the heart of Cape Winelands, for vineyard hopping and wine tasting from your base at the elegant La Cotte estate. Play a few rounds of golf at Pearl Valley and create your own custom blend in a winemaking workshop, then round out your trip with a horseback ride around Franschhoek's top vineyards, stopping to sip wines paired with regional foods. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Luxury South Africa Highlights: Winelands, Garden Route & Eastern Cape Safari

Perfect for travelers looking to experience the best of South Africa in luxurious style, this well-rounded adventure blends wine tasting, spectacular coastal scenery, and a classic safari experience. You'll settle into a French-style manor in Franschhoek, then take a wine tour of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley before setting off along the Garden Route for whale watching in Hermanus and a sunset Knysna River cruise. End on the Eastern Cape, searching out the Big Five on safari in Shamwari Private Game Reserve and partaking in an African-style dinner with drumming and dancing at a luxury tented camp.

You won't be roughing it on safari at your luxury camp (photo courtesy of Shamwari)
You won't be roughing it at your luxury safari camp (photo courtesy of Shamwari)
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town, Transfer to Franschhoek & Wine Tour Franschhoek
Day 2 Transfer to Hermanus, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Wine Tour  Hermanus
Day 3 Transfer to Knysna via the Garden Route Knysna
Day 4 Day Trip to Plettenberg Bay & Sunset River Cruise Knysna
Day 5 Transfer to Eastern Cape Reserve, Afternoon Game Drive Eastern Cape Game Reserve
Day 6 Full-Day Shamwari Safari Experiences Eastern Cape Game Reserve
Day 7 Transfer to Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), Depart  

On arrival in Cape Town, your driver will transfer you to La Cotte, a luxury French-style manor in Franschhoek. Freshen up, then head to the vineyards to sample cabernets, merlots, and pinotages paired with artisanal goat cheese and chocolates. Next, your driver will whisk you to the seaside town of Hermanus, where you'll take a tasting tour through the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and then unwind with a spa treatment at Marine Hotel, a 5-star property overlooking Walker Bay. Enjoy coastal scenery on the Garden Route to Knysna, and end the evening with a private chef-prepared dinner on your deck.

Swim in a tranquil lagoon and feast on local seafood on a day trip to Plettenberg Bay, then watch the sunset on a Knysna River cruise. The final leg of your journey will take you to the Shamwari Private Game Reserve. Here, you'll search for the Big Five and other wildlife on an afternoon game drive, then sit down to an African-style boma dinner complete with traditional music, dancing, and drumming. You'll also have time for a morning game drive and a dip in your private plunge pool at your luxury tent at Sindile Safari Lodge before transferring to Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) for departure. Learn more

Plan your trip to South Africa
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Itinerary #3: Luxury South Africa City & Safari Adventure: Johannesburg & Timbavati Game Reserve

Pair urban adventures with a nature escape to the bush on this immersive Johannesburg and Timbavati trip. After a private jazz concert and an overnight at former president Nelson Mandela's residence-turned-boutique-hotel, you'll venture into the wilds of Timbavati for game drives and wildlife spotting from the serenity of Walkers Plains safari lodge. Then, you'll return to Johannesburg to wrap up your trip with a bike tour of Soweto and an elevated South Africa dinner cooked over open flames and paired with South African wines at Marble Restaurant. 

You won't have to go far to spot Big Five animals at your luxury safari lodge (photo courtesy of Walkers Plains)
Spot Big Five animals at your luxury safari lodge (photo courtesy of Walkers Plains)
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Johannesburg, Afternoon Jazz Safari Johannesburg
Day 2 Fly to Timbavati Game Reserve, Sunset Game Drive Timbavati Game Reserve
Day 3 Kruger & Timbavati Safari Game Drives Timbavati Game Reserve
Day 4 Timbavati Safari Game Drives & Guided Bush Walk Timbavati Game Reserve
Day 5 Fly to Johannesburg, Dinner at Sanctuary Mandela Johannesburg
Day 6 Soweto Bicycle Tour & Traditional Lunch, Dinner at Marble Restaurant Johannesburg
Day 7 Apartheid Museum & Cradle of Humankind Tour, Depart  

Start your adventure in Johannesburg with a "jazz safari," hopping around to various venues, attending a private concert in the home of jazz musicians, and enjoying a late set at a jazz club. Get a good night's rest at the Sanctuary Mandela, former South African president Nelson Mandela's residence that's now a boutique hotel and cultural center. In the morning, catch a flight to Timbavati Game Reserve, where game drives and bush walks offer the opportunity to spot lions, leopards, elephants, and more. You'll also enjoy sundowner cocktails and a private plunge pool at your bungalow at Walkers Plains

After three days in the bush, fly back to Johannesburg, where you can soak in your French tub or relax on your private balcony at Peech Boutique Hotel. Return to Sanctuary Mandela for a dinner in which you'll taste some of Mandela's favorite dishes made from his personal chef's recipes. The next day, you'll learn some local history and culture on a Soweto cycling tour that includes stops at a workers' hostel, Nelson Mandela's former home, and a local pub. Finally, cap off your trip with dinner cooked over open flames—paired with South African wines and city views—at the upscale Marble Restaurant. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Luxury Escape to South Africa's East Coast: Safari & Beaches in KwaZulu-Natal

Focused on South Africa's stunning but lesser-visited east coast, this safari and beach escape is ideal for sun-seekers and animal lovers looking for some pampering alongside outdoor adventures. You'll experience the thrill of close encounters with the Big Five, savor the serenity of sunsets from the infinity pool at Rhino Ridge, learn about Zulu culture on a village visit, and unwind in the beachfront paradise of Mabibi. With opportunities for snorkeling, dolphin spotting, and rejuvenating spa treatments, this itinerary promises a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation.

Combine a 5-star safari experience with a beach vacation on South Africa's eastern coast (photo courtesy of Thonga Lodge)
Combine a 5-star safari experience with a beach vacation (photo courtesy of Thonga Lodge)
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Durban, Transfer to Hluhluwe & Rhino Ridge Hluhluwe
Day 2 Rhino Ridge Safari Excursions Hluhluwe
Day 3 Rhino Ridge Zulu Village Homestay Experience Hluhluwe
Day 4 Transfer to Mabibi Beach & Thonga Lodge Mabibi Beach
Day 5 Thonga Lodge Activities: Snorkeling, Kayaking & Hiking Mabibi Beach
Day 6 Thonga Lodge Activities: Beach Time, Sea Turtles & Spa Treatments Mabibi Beach
Day 7 Transfer to Durban, Depart  

After touching down in Durban, your driver will take you to the Hluhluwe Game Reserve, home to all of the famous Big Five wildlife. You'll stay in style at Rhino Ridge, which offers panoramic views of the wilderness from the sun deck and infinity pool. Rise at dawn to catch the wildlife at its most active, then fill your days with safari adventures, lounging around the pool, and dining under the stars. You'll also spend a day engaging with residents of a nearby Zulu village, visiting artisans and a sangoma (traditional healer), listening to stories around the fire, and overnighting in a private hut.

Swapping the savanna plains for the beaches of Mabibi, you'll stay at Thonga Lodge, an exclusive beachfront resort located within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Here, you can cool off in your private plunge pool and see the Indian Ocean from your wraparound windows. You'll have free time to do as you please, perhaps snorkeling, kayaking, or hiking, followed by a spa treatment. Keep an eye out for dolphins, and depending on the season, you may have a chance to witness sea turtles nesting. Toast your trip with a farewell dinner overlooking the ocean before returning to Durban for departure. Learn more

More Great 1-Week South Africa Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to South Africa? Check out these other one-week South Africa itineraries, with luxury adventures, culinary activities, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.


Map of 1 Week in South Africa - 4 Luxury Itinerary Ideas
Map of 1 Week in South Africa - 4 Luxury Itinerary Ideas