Over two weeks, you'll do everything from touring Cape Town's top tourist destinations to eating lunch in a local tavern in the township of Soweto. The trip will start with five days discovering the best spots in Cape Town and its vibrant city life before flying to the Eastern Cape where you'll spend four days in Knysna and Jeffreys Bay exploring the Garden Route. For two days, you'll get up close with the big five while staying in a tented camp in Manyeleti Game Reserve before heading to South Africa's commercial capital, Johannesburg, where you'll have a full city tour.

Highlights

  • Get up close with the Great White Shark while cage diving
  • Discover panoramic views of Cape Town by taking a cable car up Table Mountain
  • Enjoy the wonders of the Garden Route while roadtripping
  • Spot the Big Five at Manyeleti Game Reserve
  • Learn about authentic South Africa during a Johannesburg Tour

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town Cape Town
Day 2 Full Day Cape Peninsula Tour Cape Town
Day 3 Great White Shark Diving Cape Town
Day 4 Private Winelands Tour Cape Town
Day 5 City Center Tour - Table Mountain Cape Town
Day 6 Transfer to Knysna - Discover Garden Route Knysna
Day 7 Garden Route Tour Knysna
Day 8 Drive to Jeffreys Bay along Garden Route Jeffreys Bay
Day 9 Jeffreys Bay Beach Day Jeffreys Bay
Day 10 Transfer to Manyeleti Game Reserve Manyaleti Game Reserve
Days 11-12 Safari Day Manyaleti Game Reserve
Day 13 Transfer to Johannesburg Sandton
Day 14 Tour Soweto - Apartheid Museum Sandton
Day 15 Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cape Town

Aerial view over Cape Town
Aerial view over Cape Town

After arriving in Cape Town, your driver will transfer you to your hotel (Cloud Nine Boutique Hotel) where you will spend the next five nights as you explore what many believe is South Africa's most beautiful city. 

This evening, after you have rested and settled in, you may want to head out for drinks and dinner at Long Street or Bree Street (home to many bars and restaurants facing the vibrant street) or visit the famous V&A Waterfront.

Day 2: Full Day Cape Peninsula Tour

Cape Point from within the park
Cape Point from within the park

After breakfast, a private transfer will collect you for your full-day private tour of the scenic peninsula. 

Today, prepare yourself to take in Cape Town’s magnificent coastline, fynbos-covered mountains, and indigenous wildlife on this scenic adventure. You will get to climb the iconic lighthouse at Cape Point, get up close and personal with penguins at Boulder’s Beach, and admire rare plants in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

The itinerary includes:

  • Discovering unforgettable views at Chapman’s Peak Drive.
  • Visiting Cape Point Nature Reserve including the famous lighthouse with views of the dramatic sea below.
  • Going to Simon's Town, where you will visit the penguin colony in Boulder's Beach and the town's historic naval base.
  • Taking a trip to Hout Bay where you can indulge in fish and chips for lunch as well as meeting the friendly seals at the harbor.
  • Viewing South Africa's incredible flora and fauna, lovely views of the surrounding mountains, and discovering the state of the art aerial walkway at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

Day 3: Great White Shark Diving

Shark cage diving
Shark cage diving

Early this morning, you will be picked up in time for your full-day White Shark Cage Diving Experience. This will include breakfast or lunch (depending on your pick up time that will be confirmed the evening before) as well as a return transfer to your hotel. 

This excursion is not only thrilling and exciting but you'll also learn a lot about sharks as well as have some time to relax on the luxury boat. The experienced researchers and experts on board will show you how to distinguish between male and female sharks as well as how to identify specific sharks by their unique dorsal fin and scars. On most days, we'll see at least two (if not more) members of the Marine Big Five which are sharks, dolphins, whales, seals, and penguins. 

This is an overview of the trip itinerary:

  • All guests will meet the Great White House in Kleinbaai where you'll be served breakfast and get your wetsuit.
  • There will be a pre-trip safety briefing about what to expect during the trip as well as a biological background on Great White sharks.
  • We'll then walk 200 meters to the harbor to board the boat to Dyer Island (the boat ride will be 20 to 30 minutes).
  • Usually, we will anchor for two hours, but this also depends on the shark activity, conditions, and the number of divers.
  • If the weather is good, we will take a trip through the infamous Shark Alley.
  • After returning, there will be a debrief in the Great White House as well as some soup and bread offered to warm you up.

Day 4: Private Winelands Tour

A clear day brings out the luminescent colors of the vineyard
A clear day brings out the luminescent colors of the vineyard

After breakfast, you will be collected for a private full-day tour to world-renowned wine estates in the breathtaking Wineland region. You'll explore the picturesque and historic towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl which all have something unique to offer travelers.

Today's itinerary includes:

  • A visit to the quaint, university town of Stellenbosch with its unique historical architecture and collection of wine estates.
  • Exploring Franschhoek with its majestic mountain vistas and centuries-old vineyards.
  • Paarl, an authentic Afrikaans town in the Cape, and the third-oldest town in South Africa.
  • A drive past natural and historic heritage sights such as the Afrikaans Taal Monument.
  • Wine tastings at three different world-renowned wine estates including a cellar tour.

Day 5: City Center Tour - Table Mountain

A view of Lion's Head from the top of Table Mountain
A view of Lion's Head from the top of Table Mountain

Today, you will enjoy breathtaking views over Cape Town from the cable car as you go up to Table Mountain. You will also learn about Cape Town’s colonial past and vibrant atmosphere when you visit historic landmarks such as the Castle of Good Hope and explore the city center.

This itinerary includes:

  • Climbing to the top of Table Mountain by cable car with unbelievable views over Cape Town by.
  • Viewing the vibrant colored buildings of Bo-Kaap at the Malay Quarter.
  • Discovering charming restaurants and cafés of Cape Town's city center and the authentic stalls in Greenmarket Square.
  • Learning about Cape Town's colonial past when visiting the Castle of Good Hope, a famous bastion built by colonizers in the 1600s.
  • Visiting the famous flower sellers in Adderley Street.

Day 6: Transfer to Knysna - Discover Garden Route

Knysna seen from Featherbed National Park
Knysna as seen from Featherbed National Park

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Cape Town Airport where you will board your scheduled flight to Port Elizabeth. After arriving, your rental car will be ready to collect at the airport.

Suggested activities in Knysna include:

  • Explore one of the local hiking trails such as Fisherman's Pass, Garden Route National Park or the Perdekop Trail.
  • Visit Waterfront Drive for lunch or sundowners.
  • Discover the scenic view of the Knysna Heads.
  • Learn about local history at Knysna Museum or the Old Gaol and Art Gallery.
  • Do some shopping at Knysna African Arts and Craft Market.

Driving time: 3 hours
Driving distance: 170 miles (273 km)

Day 7: Garden Route Tour

Knysna Lagoon looking towards Knysna Heads
Knysna Lagoon looking towards Knysna Heads

Today, a tour will give you the chance to explore some of the natural beauty in the Knysna area.

The tour will include:

  • A visit to the Garden of Eden which is within the lush, green, and indigenous Knysna forest. As you meander through the thick green foliage, gently flowing streams, and spot the famous Yellowwood trees—you will feel as if you've been transported into a fantasy film or novel.
  • A tour of the Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary where you'll spot a variety of free-roaming primates. This sanctuary is well-known for its efforts to rehabilitate previously caged primates and reintroduce them into the wild.
  • A trip to the famous Eastern Head where you'll get spectacular views of the Knysna Heads.
  • Some time to sunbathe and swim at Brenton on Sea. This breathtaking holiday location is a nature lover's paradise with its unspoiled beaches and picturesque setting.

The rest of the afternoon is free for you to relax or explore at your leisure.

Day 8: Drive to Jeffreys Bay along Garden Route

A pod of Bottlenose Dolphins at Jeffreys Bay
A pod of Bottlenose Dolphins at Jeffreys Bay

After breakfast, you'll say your goodbyes to Knysna before heading to Jeffreys Bay, where you'll spend the next two nights.

It's worth taking some time to explore the Garden Route when doing this scenic drive to Jeffreys Bay. Plettenberg Bay and Nature's Valley—which are picturesque beach towns famous for their breathtaking scenery—are great places to visit. Tsitsikamma National Park, where you'll find Storm's River, offers breathtaking scenery as the sea, river, and forest all come together. Those feeling adventurous may also choose to kayak through the mouth which will take you past unbelievable cliff faces. Adrenaline seekers can bungee jump off Bloukrans Bridge and those not up for the jump can simply stop at the bridge to enjoy the incredible views.

Depending on what time you arrive in Jeffreys Bay, you can either relax or spend some time exploring this surfer town.

Driving time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Driving distance: 120 miles (193 km)

Day 9: Jeffreys Bay Beach Day

A view of Jeffreys Bay beach at sunrise
A view of Jeffreys Bay beach at sunrise

You'll have today free to soak in some sun and swim in one of Jeffreys Bay's peaceful beaches. 

Paradise Beach is a favorite among the locals but the town's other two beaches, Point Beach and Dolphin Beach, are equally as lovely. Once you've had enough of suntanning, you can visit one of the town's lovely beach restaurants, bars or coffee shops. As you wander along the streets filled with shops, you'll become aware of how much surfing is a part of Jeffreys Bay's culture, which is made clear by all of the surfing shops.

You can then enjoy sundowners at Kitchen Windows Beach Restaurant as you watch the sky turn to reds and oranges above the sea.

Day 10: Transfer to Manyeleti Game Reserve

The tented camp in the reserve
The tented camp in the reserve

In the early morning, you'll leave Jeffreys Bay and drive to Port Elizabeth Airport. After returning your rental car, you'll board your scheduled flight to the airport in Hoedspruit which goes via Johannesburg.

At your arrival in Hoedspruit, you'll be met and transferred to the Manyeleti Game Reserve to stay at Honeyguide Khoka Moya Tented Camp for three nights. This full board basis will include bush walks, game drives, supplied water in the tent, a sunset stop, community levy, and park fees.

The Sabi Sand, the Timbavati, and the Manyeleti private game reserves all share an open border with the Kruger so that the animals move freely between the reserves. Some of the world’s finest game lodges are found in these private reserves together with some less well-known bush camps.

You'll get the chance to enjoy game drives in an open-vehicle led by an experienced ranger and a local Shangaan tracker. They will work together to bring you up close to the wildlife as well as to help you develop a deeper understanding of the natural cycles of the bush. The drives are usually early in the morning or in the later afternoon since this is when the animals are most active. You'll also be able to enjoy a sunset in the bush before going on a night safari where you'll follow the nocturnal animals as they start hunting.

The evening meal is usually served in an authentic boma setting.

Driving time: 1 hour
Driving distance: 56 miles (90 km)

Days 11-12: Safari Day

A two month old rhino with its mother
A two-month-old rhino with its mother

Today, you'll have the chance to spot the Big Five during a morning and afternoon game drive.

Immediately after your early morning tea or coffee, you'll head out for the game drive. The animals usually rise fairly early to hunt before the day warms up. After this two to three-hour game drive, you'll return to the reserve in time for a late breakfast. If you're up for a guided walk after breakfast, a ranger will be able to take you an unforgettable up-close experience. The guided walks are great for spotting smaller bush inhabitants such as birds, insects, butterflies, trees, flowers, and grasses as well as the geology and ecology of the reserve. You will, of course, also spot some of the game on the walk and maybe even the Big Five. 

After lunch, there will be another game drive, with the chance to spot more (and different) game than the earlier game drive.

Day 13: Transfer to Johannesburg

Johannesburg lighting up at night
Johannesburg lighting up at night

After your last morning game drive, your driver will transfer you back to the airport in Hoedspruit. You'll then board a flight to Johannesburg. A driver will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel in Sandton.

In the evening, you may enjoy visiting Nelson Mandela Square or Monte Casino to discover the glitz and glamor of Johannesburg's city life.

Day 14: Tour Soweto - Apartheid Museum

An aerial shot of Johannesburg's city center
An aerial shot of Johannesburg's city center

Today, you'll have a full day of touring "the City of Gold" since our two most popular tours will be combined into one. This authentic tour—which will take you into Soweto township, Johannesburg's top spots, and the Apartheid Museum—will give you a full experience of South Africa's commercial and financial capital city.

The tour includes:

  • The suburbs of Sandton, Rosebank, and Houghton (where you will drive past Nelson Mandela’s home).
  •  Braamfontein, a trendy part of the city that is home to the Constitutional Court of South Africa.
  • The downtown area of Johannesburg, City Hall, Diagonal Street, Newtown, Nelson Mandela Bridge.
  • The Carlton Centre where you'll get a view over the city from the “Top of Africa”. You'll access an enclosed viewing deck on the 50th floor of the center.
  • Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital which is the largest hospital in Africa (and third largest in the world).
  • A tour of Soweto which will include visiting Regina Mundi Catholic Church, Hector Pieterson Memorial, Vilakazi Street (Nelson Mandela’s former home and Bishop Desmond Tutu’s home).
  • An optional lunch stop at a local tavern in Soweto.
  • A visit to the Apartheid Museum.

Day 15: Departure

Plane awaiting departure
Plane awaiting departure

After breakfast, you will be transferred to OR Tambo International Airport, where you'll be able to catch your international flight back home or continue traveling. We hope to see you again soon!

Map

Map of Authentic South Africa: Cape Town, Garden Route, Safari, and Johannesburg - 15 Days
Map of Authentic South Africa: Cape Town, Garden Route, Safari, and Johannesburg - 15 Days