With 12 days in South Africa, your itinerary can bring you from the southern Cape provinces to Kruger National Park in the north. Or you can focus your energy on getting to know a particular region like Cape Town, the neighboring Winelands, and the coastal Garden Route. And safari buffs can even combine South Africa with the highlight sights of neighboring countries, such as Victoria Falls and Namibia’s Chobe National Park.

Itinerary #1: Classic South Africa - Cape Town, Johannesburg, & Kruger 

This fabulous 12-day tour of South Africa combines the two top cities and most important national park for safaris. You’ll experience the very best of Cape Town and Johannesburg, and thrill to bush walks, game drives, and a visit to an animal rescue center in Kruger.

Mature male lion
Mature male lion
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town, City Tour & Table Mountain Cape Town
Day 2 Wine Tour in the Cape Winelands Cape Town
Day 3 Atlantic Seaboard & Cape Peninsula Cape Town
Day 4 Cape Town Township & Robben Island Museum Cape Town
Day 5 Cape Town to Johannesburg & African Dinner Johannesburg
Day 6 Soweto Township Visit, Traditional Dinner, & Local Storytelling Johannesburg
Day 7 Safari Arrival Day, Big 5 Night Drive, & Bush Braai Kruger National Park
Day 8 Big 5 Sunrise Bush Walk Kruger National Park
Day 9 Full Day in Kruger National Park Kruger National Park
Day 10 Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre Kruger National Park
Day 11 Blyde River Canyon with Three Rondavels Johannesburg
Day 12 Depart Johannesburg  


You’ll arrive in Cape Town, the chic, sophisticated coastal city with a rich history and stunning setting. A walking tour of the city core takes in the highlight sights, such as Parliament and the District Six Museum. You’ll also enjoy a cable car up Table Mountain.

Days two and three are dedicated to visiting wineries in the Winelands, including savoring regional wines and delicious foods, followed by a Cape Peninsula driving tour to the Cape of Good Hope, at Africa’s southernmost tip. Of course, you’ll stop en route to visit the penguin colony at Simons Town and swim at Maidens Cove. Next day visit one of Cape Town's iconic townships before taking the ferry to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for many years.

On day five you’ll fly to Johannesburg for two days in South Africa’s largest and most vibrant city. Here you’ll visit the Nelson Mandela Museum, plus enjoy a guided tour of Soweto township, and a walking tour of the Maboneng Precinct, a former industrial zone that has been transformed with art galleries, restaurants, markets, and a buzzing nightlife. Or opt to visit the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens. A highlight will be an interactive culinary experience that spans the African continent.

Day seven you’ll travel to Kruger National Park, considered the crown jewel of South Africa’s game parks. Here you’ll spend four days on the lookout for the Big Five—elephants, buffalo, rhino, lion, and leopard—and other creatures during open-vehicle game drives, and a sunrise bush walk along the Olifants River. You’ll also view Stone Age archaeological sites and even visit the Moholoholo Rehabilitation Center, where injured and orphaned animals and birds are cared for.

On day 11 return to Johannesburg via the magnificent Blyde River Canyon. On day 12 transfer to the airport for your flight home. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Cape Town & Garden Route Adventure 

Consider a Western Cape tour, with time to explore the region in-depth. From city tours and wine tastings to a shark dive and wildlife safari, this itinerary packs in a huge amount of exhilarating activities and top venues.

Cage-dive with great white sharks
Cage-dive with great white sharks
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town, Bloubergstrand Beach Cape Town
Day 2 Cape Town City Tour & Table Mountain Cape Town
Day 3 Atlantic Seaboard, Cape Pensinsula, & Stellenbosch Stellenbosch
Day 4 Stellenbosch to Cape Agulhas, Wine Tasting Cape Agulhas
Day 5 Hermanus Whale Watching & Betty's Bay Penguins Hermanus
Day 6 Garden Route Drive & Wilderness Canoe Sedgefield
Day 7 Bungee Jumping or Tsitsikamma National Park Jeffreys Bay
Day 8 Addo Elephant National Park Safari, Explore Jeffrey's Bay Jeffreys Bay
Day 9 Oudtshoorn, Caves, & Ostriches Oudtshoorn
Day 10 Wine Tasting on Route 62 Cape Town
Day 11 Shark Cage Diving Adventure Cape Town
Day 12 Depart Cape Town  


On day one you’ll arrive Cape Town and spend the afternoon relaxing at Bloubergstrand Beach, then dine in style at an open-plan demo kitchen. Next day a walking tour takes in the highlight sights, such as Parliament and the District Six Museum. You’ll also enjoy a cable car up Table Mountain. Day three drive south along the dramatically scenic Cape Peninsula to the Cape of Good Hope. Then head inland to Stellenbosch, in the heart of Cape Winelands.

Next day, indulge in delicious cuisines and wines in historic Stellenbosch and Franschhoek—South Africa's twin wine and food capitals. Then head south to Cape Agulhas for sunset and overnight at the southernmost tip of Africa. Day five, head for Hermanus, South Africa's top whale-watching destination, where your activity options include sea-kayaking and a whale-watching tour (June-November). Round out your day with a visit to the penguin colony at Betty's Bay. Next day, drive east along the Garden Route for canoeing in Wilderness National Park. End the day in lovely Knysna.

Day seven you’ll continue via Plettenberg Bay to Bloukran's Bridge where travelers can leap into the gorge from the world's highest bridge bungee jump, or hike in nearby Tsitsikamma National Park. End in Jeffrey's Bay, nicknamed 'Surf City.' Up early on day eight for an exciting game drive in Addo Elephant National Park, followed by free time in Jeffrey's Bay for surfing or other activity. Day nine, wind through the Langkloof Mountains and Klein Karoo, home turf of the African ostrich. You’ll visit Cango Ostrich Show Farm, plus explore underground in Cango Caves to admire dripstone formations and prehistoric pictographs.

Next day follow scenic Route 62 to Cape Town, stopping at Ronnie's Sex Shop, a legendary roadside bar festooned with quirky miscellany. Start day 11 with a short drive to Kleinbaai for a thrilling full-day diving adventure with great white sharks from the safety of a shark-proof cage. On day 12, depart Cape Town for home. Learn more

Itinerary #3: Southern Africa Safari, Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park

This multi-country itinerary combines sophisticated Cape Town, the Cape of Good Hope, and the Winelands with a safari through Sabi Sands Game Reserve, plus the majesty of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, and Namibia’s watery and wildlife-rich Chobe National Park by houseboat.

Rainbow created by mist at Victoria Falls
Rainbow created by mist at Victoria Falls
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town, City Tour & Table Mountain Cape Town
Day 2 Cape Peninsula Tour, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden Cape Town
Day 3 Cheese, Wine, & Chocolate Tour Cape Town
Day 4 Cape Town to Sabi Sands Safari Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Days 5-6 On Safari in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Day 7 Sabi Sands to Victoria Falls Victoria Falls
Day 8 Guided Tour of Victoria Falls & Sunset Cruise Victoria Falls
Day 9 Victoria Falls to Chobe Safari, Zambezi Queen Houseboat Chobe National Park
Days 10-11 Houseboat Safari in Chobe National Park Chobe National Park
Day 12 Depart Namibia via Johannesburg  


On day one you’ll arrive Cape Town and spend the afternoon relaxing at Bloubergstrand Beach, then dine in style at an open-plan demo kitchen. Next day a walking tour takes in the highlight sights, such as Parliament and the District Six Museum.

Day two is given to exploring the dramatic shoreline of Cape Peninsula, including Cape of Good Hope and Simons’ Town penguin colony, plus Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, with its Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway. Next day, foodies will particularly enjoy a full-day indulgence in the Cape Winelands, with visits to three notable wineries to savor fine wines, cheeses, and dark Belgian chocolates.

On day four you’ll fly to Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, bordering Kruger National Park. Based at a deluxe game lodge, you’ll spend three days heading out on morning and afternoon game drives and walking safaris in search of the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino) plus more elusive nocturnal wildlife.

From here you’ll fly to Livingstone Airport in Zambia, then transfer to the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls, where your hotel has a sensational locale overlooking "The Smoke that Thunders." You’ll also delight in an afternoon dinner cruise along the Upper Zambezi. Next day enjoy a guided walking tour of the falls and end the day with another sunset cruise. Day nine, transfer to Namibia and board the Zambezi Queen houseboat for three days sensational wildlife viewing as you cruise the waterways of Chobe National Park. Chobe boasts the world's largest concentration of African elephants, large pods of hippos, plus massive herds of Cape buffalo, and many lions and other predators. On day 12 you’ll fly to Maun airport for your onward flight home. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Discover Cape Town, Winelands, & Tswalu Kalahari 

The magnificent and remote northern region of Tswalu Kalahari is a highlight of this sensational 12-day trip replete with activities to boost your endorphins: biking, sea-kayaking, scuba diving with sharks, and safari bush walks, to name a few. Plus, you’ll experience the best of both Cape Town and Johannesburg and their surrounds.

Beautiful landscape in Cape Winelands
Beautiful landscape in Cape Winelands
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town Cape Town
Day 2 Guided Cape Peninsula Sidecar Tour Cape Town
Day 3 Shark Cage Diving Adventure Cape Town
Day 4 Guided Sea Kayak & Table Mountain Tour Cape Town
Day 5 Free Day in Cape Town Cape Town
Day 6 Cape Town to Franschhoek, Afternoon Free Franschhoek
Day 7 Guided Bike Tour of the Winelands Franschhoek
Day 8 Winelands to Kalahari Game Reserve Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Days 9-11 Kalahari Safari Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Day 12 Depart Kalahari via Cape Town or Johannesburg  


Arrive Cape Town on day one, with time to enjoy a harbor cruise, or visit the Two Oceans Aquarium or the Diamond Museum. On day two you’ll hop aboard a motorcycle sidecar and drive south along the dramatically scenic Cape Peninsula to the Cape of Good Hope. After viewing the penguin colony at Simons Town, head inland for wine tasting in the Constantia Winelands. Start day three with a short drive to Kleinbaai for a thrilling full-day diving adventure with great white sharks from the safety of a shark-proof cage.

A sunrise kayak along the Cape Town coast from Moullie Point on day four offers a chance for close-up encounters with whales and dolphins, while your afternoon is given to a tour by open-top bus plus a cable-car ride up Table Mountain for scenic hiking. End your day with dinner at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Then enjoy a free day in Cape Town for activities of your choice. Spend day six in Franschhoek to partake from a smorgasbord of optional activities, including a ride on the Franschhoek Wine Tram. Then, next day, indulge in a full-day biking tour through the vineyards of the Franschhoek Valley, including a picnic lunch at a wine estate.

Day eight fly to the Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve, adjoining the border with Botswana. Ranging from sand dunes to savanna, its range of habitats harbor a wealth of wildlife. When not relaxing at your oasis-like resort, you’ll spend four days exploring the wilderness in search of black-maned lions, critically endangered desert black rhinos, and other remarkable creatures. On day 12, fly to Cape Town or Johannesburg for your flight home. Learn more

Itinerary #5: South Africa Family Adventure

Whether you’re traveling with wee ones of adolescents, a family adventure is sure to awe all family members. From rotating your way up Table Mountain in a cable car and making chocolates to a thrilling zipline ride and a wildlife safari in Shamwari Game Reserve, your week is chock-full of great activities and venues.

Mother leopard with cub
Cute enough to cuddle
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town, Family Time on the Beach Cape Town
Day 2 Mountain Peaks & Pirate Ships Cape Town
Day 3 Peninsula Day: Cape Point, Penguins, & Playgrounds Cape Town
Day 4 Family Fun in Franschhoek Elgin
Day 5 Elgin Adventures: Zip Lining, Vineyards Maze, & Beach Zorb-balls Elgin
Day 6 Big Cats & Big Milkshakes: Elgin to Oudtshoorn Oudtshoorn
Day 7 Oudtshoorn: Ostriches, Biking, and the Cango Caves Oudtshoorn
Day 8 Meerkat Morning, Sandboarding & Strawberries, Ocean & Oysters Knysna
Day 9 Garden Route: Waterways & Wildlife Knysna
Day 10 Arrive at Shamwari Game Reserve Eastern Cape Game Reserve
Day 11 On Safari at Shamwari Game Reserve Eastern Cape Game Reserve
Day 12 Transfer to Cape Town or Johannesburg via Port Elizabeth, Depart  


Arrive Cape Town on day one, with time to enjoy a harbor cruise, or visit the Two Oceans Aquarium or the Diamond Museum. Next morning ride the cable car up Table Mountain to hike at the summit, with a packed picnic lunch. Then view the mountain from the ocean with a trip aboard the Jolly Roger pirate ship, followed by a sunset ride on the Cape Wheel Ferris Wheel. If it’s raining, head to the Planetarium and Science Center

Day three, journey along the Cape Peninsula, keeping an eye out for baboons, Cape mountain zebra, and ostriches. Then visit the penguin sanctuary at Boulders Beach, maybe by renting a sea kayak. You’ll also visit the Kommetjie Imhoff Village farm animals, and maybe play paintball, enjoy a horseback ride along the beach, or a coastal train ride to Muizenberg

Next day start with a sensory experience at Babylonstroen Winelands and Gardens, then head to Boschendal, South Africa's second-oldest wine farm, which offers farm learning experiences for kids. A ride on the Wine Tram adds to the fun, as does learning to make chocolate at the Huguenots Chocolate Shop or maybe a visit to the Franschhoek Motor Museum. Day five includes a zip line ride at the Cape Canopy Tour Adventure Park, exploring the vineyard maze at family-friendly Southhill Vineyards, and paddle-boarding the lake at the mountaintop Old Mac Daddy farm lodge.

Next, hit famous Route 62 for Oudtshoorn, stopping en-route at the Panthera Big Cat Sanctuary, a rescue center where kids will love the enrichment tour. Linger next day in Outdtshoorn to visit an ostrich farm, rent bikes, or even thrill to a hot-air balloon ride; and don’t miss exploring the Cango Caves. Day eight, visit a game reserve for a meerkat encounter as you eat breakfast in the bush. Continue to Mossel Bay to sandboard on South Africa’s largest dune. Then it’s on to a strawberry farm for more fun activities. You’ll arrive the seaside town of Knysna with time for a sunset yacht cruise along the coast.

Day nine is for hiking the Tsisitakama Forest and maybe kayaking the Stormsriver Gorge. Then visit the Fynboshoek Cheese Farm, plus the Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for an afternoon of education. Next day, transfer to Shamwari, a luxury private game reserve with a special Kids on Safari Adventure. Your two days here includes game drives, birding, walking safaris, and a visit to the Born Free Foundation Big Cat Rescue Center. Day 12, transfer to Port Elizabeth for connecting flights home. Learn more

Map

Map of 12 Days in South Africa - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 12 Days in South Africa - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas