With nine days, you can see three of South Africa's regions or national parks, or focus on one area like the Western Cape, including the Winelands or a scenic drive along the Garden Route. Thanks to the frequency of domestic flights, you can start and end your trip in Cape Town, spend a few days in wine country, and also thrill to a classic safari in Kruger. Or, take a food-focused trip that includes detours to Johannesburg. Read on for five unique itineraries.

Itinerary #1: Cape Town, Johannesburg, & Kruger National Park

This highlights tour of South Africa combines three classic destinations, allowing sufficient time to delve deep into each of the country’s two main cities—Cape Town and Johannesburg—and the magnificent Winelands. Plus, three exciting days of safari in Kruger includes a sunrise bush walk and night game drive.

Blyde River Canyon
Blyde River Canyon
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 to Johannesburg & African Dinner Johannesburg
Day 5 Safari Arrival Day, Big 5 Night Drive, & Bush Braai Kruger National Park
Day 6 Big 5 Sunrise Bush Walk Kruger National Park
Day 7 Full Day in Kruger National Park Kruger National Park
Day 8 Blyde River Canyon with Three Rondavels Johannesburg
Day 9 Depart Johannesburg  

You’ll arrive in Cape Town, defined by its the gorgeous coastal location with Table Mountain as a backdrop. On a walking tour, you’ll explore such city landmarks as Parliament, the Castle of Good Hope, and the District Six Museum, which commemorates forced relocation under apartheid. You’ll also take the cable car to the top of 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 view the penguin colony at Simons Town.

On day four you’ll fly to Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city. Here you’ll 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 five you’ll travel to Kruger National Park, considered the crown jewel of South Africa’s game parks. Here you’ll spend three 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. End with a bush braai (a classic South African barbecue) before returning to Johannesburg via the magnificent Blyde River Canyon. On day ten you’ll depart South Africa from Johannesburg. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Cape Town, Winelands, & Eastern Cape

Filled with exciting and invigorating activities, this 9-day adventure combines scenic excursions through some of South Africa’s most popular regions with fun experiences guaranteed to boost your endorphins.

Cage-dive with great white sharks
Cage-dive with great white sharks
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 Guided Bike Tour of the Winelands Franschhoek
Day 6 Franschhoek to Eastern Cape Safari Eastern Cape Game Reserve
Days 7-8 Eastern Cape Safari Eastern Cape Game Reserve
Day 9 Depart Eastern Cape via Cape Town  

The adventure begins with your arrival in Cape Town. The balance of day one is yours to explore this vibrant city, perhaps shopping for arts and crafts on the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, admiring the undersea life at the Two Oceans Aquarium, or enjoying a harbor cruise or even a helicopter flight. On day two you’ll drive south along the dramatically scenic Cape Peninsula to the Cape of Good Hope. After viewing the penguin colony at Simons Town, head inland via Muizenberg—famous for its surfing—for wine tasting in the Constantia Winelands.

Days three, four and five, you’ll sample a smorgasbord of super activities. You’ll start 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 of course. Next day, a sunrise kayak along the Cape Town coast offers a chance for close-up encounters with whales and dolphins, while your afternoon is given to a cable-car ride up Table Mountain for scenic hiking. Finally, a full-day biking tour through the vineyards of the Franschhoek Valley includes a picnic at a romantic wine estate. 

On day six, fly to Port Elizabeth and drive along the dramatic Garden Route coastline to a private game reserve. You’ll spend the next two days thrilling to sightings of lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, and other wildlife on early morning and late afternoon game drives, while birders can count off hundreds of bird species on a peaceful boat cruise on the Bushman's River. On day nine, fly from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town for your flight home. Learn more

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Itinerary #3: Safari: Cape Town, Victoria Falls, & Chobe National Park

This exciting 9-day itinerary combines sophisticated Cape Town with a safari through Sabi Sands Game Reserve bordering Kruger National Park, plus the majesty of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, and Botswana’s watery and wildlife-rich Chobe National Park.

Elephant in Chobe National Park
Elephant in Chobe National Park
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
Day 5 On Safari in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Day 6 Sabi Sands to Victoria Falls Victoria Falls
Day 7 Victoria Falls to Chobe Safari, Zambezi Queen Houseboat Chobe National Park
Day 8 Houseboat Safari in Chobe National Park Chobe National Park
Day 9 Depart Namibia via 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. Day two is given to exploring the dramatic shoreline of Cape Peninsula including its penguin colony, plus Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Next day, foodies will particularly relish 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 two 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.

Fly to Livingstone Airport in Zambia on day 6, then transfer to the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls, where your hotel overlooks "The Smoke that Thunders." You’ll also delight in an afternoon dinner cruise along the Upper Zambezi. Next day transfer to Botswana and board the Zambezi Queen houseboat for two 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 9 you’ll fly to Maun airport for your onward flight home. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Food & Wine - Cape Town, Garden Route, & Johannesburg

Satisfy your culinary cravings on this 9-day gourmet experience as you indulge in the wines and cuisine that have earned a reputation as some of the best in the world. You’ll stroll the colorful streets of Cape Town, enjoy the wineries of Winelands, explore the Garden Route, and head to Johannesburg for a cultural and historical immersion in Soweto Township and the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.

Grapes in a Cape Winelands vineyard
Grapes in a Cape Winelands vineyard
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town Cape Town
Day 2 Wine Tour in the Cape Winelands Cape Town
Day 3 Elgin Food Tour Elgin
Day 4 Wine & Dine on the Garden Route Knysna
Day 5 Knysna Heads Oyster Tour Knysna
Day 6 Knysna to Johannesburg & Storytelling Around the Fire Johannesburg
Day 7 Soweto Township & Cooking Class Johannesburg
Day 8 The Cradle of Humankind, Sterkfontein Caves, & African Dinner Johannesburg
Day 9 Depart Johannesburg  

On day one you arrive in Cape Town. The rest of your day is spent relaxing or exploring downtown highlights, including the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, with its Two Oceans Aquarium and fabulous shopping in Watershed Market. Next day a full-day wine tour through the Cape Winelands sets the tone for the rest of the trip, with winery visits around Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl. Day three begins with an educational visit to an organic farm-to-table establishment, including a cooking demonstration. Then learn how to smoke meats the South African way and learn that fine art of salt-curing.

Days four and five head along the Garden Route to Knysna. Highlights include sipping sparkling wine while picnicking on the beach, thrilling to a horse-drawn carriage ride through vineyards, and a sublime wine and chocolate pairing. Plus, you’ll explore the Featherbed Nature Reserve, hike the coastal forest, and enjoy an oyster-tasting cruise on Knysna Lagoon.

Fly to Johannesburg on day six. Spend the balance of the day exploring Soweto Township, famous as a center for civil unrest during the Apartheid era. A traditional African dinner under the starry night skies is accompanied by live music. On day seven, gain further cultural and historical insight in Soweto, including visits to the Nelson Mandela Museum. After buying fresh produce in a local market, you’ll learn to cook the traditional way: in potjies (cast iron pots) over a fire.

Day eight is given to exploring the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, famous for its caves where superbly preserved fossils and cave art record the evolution of humankind during several million years. End with an interactive pan-African culinary experience around a camp fire. On day nine depart Johannesburg for home. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Wine & Nature - Cape Town, Winelands, & Cederberg

This 9-day tour is packed with fun, thrilling, and enlightening sights and activities, from cosmopolitan Cape Town to prehistoric cave art and even diving with great white sharks in and around Cape Town.

Ancient rock art in the Cederberg Mountains
Ancient rock art in the Cederberg Mountains
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town, City Tour & Table Mountain Cape Town
Day 2 Atlantic Seaboard, Cape Peninsula, & Wine Tasting Cape Town
Day 3 Shark Cage Diving Adventure Cape Town
Day 4 Cape Town to Franschhoek, Afternoon Free Franschhoek
Day 5 Guided Olive & Wine Tour, Stellenbosch Franschhoek
Day 6 Franschhoek to Cederberg Mountains Cederberg
Days 7-8 Free Day in Cederberg Cederberg
Day 9 Depart Cederberg via Cape Town  

Begin your adventure with an arrival in Cape Town. Your first day is spent exploring the historic heart of the city, including such highlights as Parliament and the Castle of Good Hope, South Africa's oldest existing Dutch East India colonial building. Plus, you’ll thrill to a cable car ride up Table Mountain. Next day enjoy a scenic drive winds through Cape Point Nature Reserve to the Cape of Good Hope, plus the penguin colony at Simon's Town. Then head into the Constantia Winelands for wine tasting. 

Day three guarantees an adrenalin rush as you journey to Kleinbaai, from where it’s a short boat ride to “Shark Alley.” Donning a wet-suit and diving gear, you’ll enjoy memorably exhilarating close-up encounters with great white sharks from the safety of a shark-proof cage.

Days four and five are dedicated to savoring South Africa’s renowned wines, olive oils, and fine cuisine amid the rolling vineyards of Winelands. Your time will be focused on historic Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, renowned as culinary capitals. Fun activity options include bicycling or a horseback wine-tasting tour, hiking at Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, polo or golf at Paarl Valley golf course, or even a ride on the Franschhoek Wine Tram.

Next transfer to the Cederberg Mountains for three days enjoying the beauty of nature, not least its dramatic sandstone formations and caves full of ancient rock art—most dramatically displayed at the Bushmans Kloof Heritage Center. Lace up your boots for mountain hikes, and choose from a wealth of other fun activities, including canoeing, fishing, mountain biking, and perhaps a spa treatment. On day nine, depart Cape Town for home. Learn more

More Great 9-Day South Africa Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your South Africa trip? Check out these other 9-day South Africa itineraries, ranging from active, to cultural, to luxury, or family-friendly trips.

Or, describe your ideal trip and we will connect you with a local specialist to make it happen.


Map of 9 Days in South Africa - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 9 Days in South Africa - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas