Get a glimpse of the rich world of South Africa and Mauritius on this 16-day itinerary. Begin in Cape Town with views, wine tastings, and historical insights, then spend a brief few days in Johannesburg to delve deeper into the country's history. Go on game drives and bush walks in Kruger National Park. Then, end your trip in Mauritius, where you can explore the island's pristine beaches, cruise to Ile aux Cerfs, swim under powerful waterfalls, and sample local rum.


  • Visit some of Cape Town's iconic landmarks, like the Castle of Good Hope
  • Learn about Johannesburg's dark past in the township of Soweto
  • Go on game drives and bush walks in Kruger National Park
  • Admire the Seven-Colored Earth Geopark's vibrant sand dunes

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town (South Africa), Half-Day City Tour Cape Town
Day 2 Wine Tour in the Cape Winelands Cape Town
Day 3 Road Trip Along the Atlantic Seaboard & Cape Peninsula Cape Town
Day 4 Guided Tour of a Cape Town Township & Robben Island  Cape Town
Day 5 Guided Food & Culture Tour of Bo-Kaap & Woodstock Cape Town
Day 6 Fly to Johannesburg, Walking Tour of the Maboneng Precinct Johannesburg
Day 7 Guided Tour of the Soweto Township, Traditional Dinner Johannesburg
Day 8 Fly to the Kruger National Park Reserve, Night Game Drive Kruger National Park
Day 9 Sunrise Bush Walk, Afternoon Game Drive Kruger National Park
Day 10 Full Day in Kruger National Park Kruger National Park
Day 11 Transfer to Johannesburg via the Blyde River Canyon  Johannesburg
Day 12 Arrive in Plaine Magnien (Mauritius), Explore at Leisure Mauritius
Day 13 Luxury Speed Boat to Ile aux Cerfs Island Mauritius
Day 14 Transfer Grand Baie, Island Rum Tasting Mauritius
Day 15 Full-Day Tour of Chamarel on the West Coast Mauritius
Day 16 Depart Mauritius  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cape Town (South Africa), Half-Day City Tour

Cable car to Table Mountain
Take a cable car to the summit of Table Mountain for panoramic views of the city

Welcome to South Africa's legislative capital, Cape Town! Meet your driver outside the airport and transfer to your hotel to refresh before heading out on a four-hour tour of the city. Explore Cape Town's different eras and learn about the country's history, as well as the people who shaped it. Start at the Company's Garden, which was previously farmland dating back to the 17th century, that's been turned into a beloved park, offering a respite from the urban bustle. Around the corner is the Iziko Slave Lodge, a national history museum dedicated to exploring the history of slavery in the region. 

Nearby sits the historic Green Market Square, which has served as a slave market, vegetable market, and center for political protests under Apartheid. These days, it hosts a flea market with African souvenirs and crafts for sale. Your next stop is the Castle of Good Hope, South Africa's oldest existing Dutch East India colonial building. On the way, you'll pass by several memorials and monuments, including the We Are Still Here Street Memorial, dedicated to destitute children, and the District Six Museum, which commemorates forced relocation under Apartheid. 

After visiting some of the city's landmarks, stop for lunch in the downtown core. In the afternoon, give your legs a rest with a hop-on-hop-off tour aboard the distinctive red open-top bus. Start at the Cape Town City Center Terminal, then take the bus to Table Mountain. From the bus stop, continue to the summit on a cable car for spectacular views of the city, mountains, and ocean. Take the cable car back down the mountain in time for dinner at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, where you'll find a variety of fine dining restaurants and pubs with views of the ocean.

Day 2: Wine Tour in the Cape Winelands

Spend a day sampling local wine in the lush Cape Winelands

Start the morning with a pickup from a local guide for a laid-back, full-day wine tour through the Cape Winelands. From the minute you step out the door, your experience will be perfectly curated, so you don't have to worry about a thing—besides sipping wine. The Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve, which extends from the Kogelberg Reserve in the south along the Cape Fold Mountain Chain to the north, is an internationally recognized area within the Cape Floristic Region

Spend the day exploring the rolling hills of the Winelands, visiting wineries in the Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, or Elgin wine regions. At each vineyard you visit, eat mouthwatering foods and drink some of the best wines South Africa has to offer, from a variety of whites and reds as well as each estate's own blends and styles. Enjoy the scenery and the beautiful vineyards and white-gabled farmsteads that dot the landscape, then return to Cape Town in time for dinner. 

Day 3: Road Trip Along the Atlantic Seaboard & Cape Peninsula

Follow the boardwalks of Boulder's Beach to see the resident penguin colony

Hit the road with your guide for a full-day road trip along the Cape Peninsula, which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean at the southwestern extremity of Africa. At the southern end of the peninsula is Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. On the northern end is Table Mountain, overlooking Cape Town. The southernmost point of the Cape Peninsula has outstanding flora and fauna and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Cape Floristic Region. Leave Cape Town early in the morning, passing Cape Town University as you make your way to the coastal suburb of Noordhoek.

Stop here for a coffee break and some photos, then visit the Cape Point Nature Reserve, where you'll visit the Cape of Good Hope and its iconic lighthouse. Continue to Simon's Town to see the penguin colony nearby on Boulder's Beach before breaking for lunch at a local seafood restaurant along the water in the sleepy fishing town. Back in the car, your driver will follow Chapman's Peak Drive, one of the scenic roads along the Atlantic Seaboard. Pass by the beaches of Llandudno and Camps Bay, then stop at the iconic Maidens Cove for a quick dip in the water to end the full-day tour.

Day 4: Guided Tour of a Cape Town Township & Robben Island 

Go on a tour of Robben Island's prison with a former inmate to learn about the area's dark history

Wake up early for a full day of sightseeing, starting at one of Cape Town's iconic townships to get to know the local history and meet with its residents. Visit with key community leaders to discuss history, culture, and politics, as well as current and future socio-economic challenges facing the township. On Sunday mornings, the tour includes a stop at a local church, where you can join the congregation in a joyful celebration of community and faith. After lunch, catch a ferry across the water to the UNESCO-listed Robben Island, located 4.3 miles (6.9 km) offshore.

Meet your guide, a former inmate of the island's prison for criminals and anti-Apartheid political prisoners. Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first Black president and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was imprisoned here for 18 years of his 27-year term for his anti-Apartheid activism. On the tour, stop at his cell before exploring more of the island. Bird-watching enthusiasts will enjoy a walk along the rugged coastline, as the island is a safe haven for about 132 species of birds, such as crowned cormorants and black-crowned night herons. After the tour, return to the mainland in time for dinner. 

Day 5: Guided Food & Culture Tour of Bo-Kaap & Woodstock

Wander down the streets of Bo-Kaap, lined with colorful houses, to sample authentic Cape Malay food

You might want to skip breakfast this morning, as today, you learn more about the city's incredibly diverse cultures through an international medium—food. A lot of the food in the country is sourced fresh, so the tastings will depend on the time of year and season. You'll also learn about one of South Africa's many ethnic groups, the Cape Malays, originally brought here from Dutch colonies as enslaved people, political prisoners, or exiles. Start your guided tour with a walk through the Company's Gardens to sample rooibos tea and rusks, an Afrikaner biscuit.

Continue to the Earth Fair Market to sample local treats from a variety of vendors, then head to Bo-Kaap, the colorful Cape Malay district, for a traditional lunch. Stop in and visit Atlas Trading Company, a family-owned spice shop that's been in operation since 1946. From here, take the city bus to the trendy suburb of Woodstock to sample craft beer and locally-produced gin. Then, round out the day with a visit to an artisanal chocolate factory. Return to your accommodation in the late afternoon or enjoy a free evening in the city center.

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

Day 6: Fly to Johannesburg, Walking Tour of the Maboneng Precinct

Discover the bustling streets of the Maboneng Precinct on a walking tour

Say goodbye to Cape Town this morning as you head to the airport for a two-hour flight to Johannesburg, South Africa's largest city. Check in to your accommodation in the city, then venture out on a walking tour of the Maboneng Precinct, a former industrial zone that's been transformed into a vibrant part of the city. Maboneng, a Sotho word for 'Place of Light,' is a fitting name for a neighborhood that has quickly become a center for creative urban artists. Visit art galleries and historical museums, then head to the 50-story Carlton Center for a bird's-eye view of the city. 

For dinner, make your way to the Chiefs Boma Restaurant for an interactive culinary experience that spans the African continent. Enjoy cocktails or craft beer on the deck overlooking the Boma Dam, then meander through the herb garden before sitting down to enjoy your meal to the music of a marimba band. With over 120 options, ranging from North African dishes to a "Big Five Game Kebab" made from five kinds of antelope, you're sure to find something to suit your tastes. After dinner, enjoy a glass of wine and roasted marshmallows over a cozy fire.

Day 7: Guided Tour of the Soweto Township, Traditional Dinner

Visit the Hector Pieterson Memorial on your walking tour of Soweto

Learn more about the Apartheid era and subsequent uprisings this morning in the eastern township of Soweto, where you can explore by bicycle, tuk-tuk, or foot with your local guide. The neighborhood was once a segregated area for the city's Black population, igniting uprisings, with the most notable one occurring in 1976, when tens of thousands of black students took to the streets to protest the rule that Afrikaans should be the official language for schools in the area. Several hundred students were killed during the uprising, including 12-year-old Hector Pieterson.

The Hector Pieterson Memorial commemorates his and all the students' bravery. After stopping by the memorial, enjoy a quiet stroll down Vilazaki Street to see the former homes of Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu, then visit the Nelson Mandela Museum. In the evening, experience firsthand accounts of Soweto's history from the township's residents. Listen to stories of freedom fighters, students from the 1976 uprising, and other key historical figures. Enjoy live art performances and music as you feast on a traditional African dinner under the starry night sky.

Day 8: Fly to the Kruger National Park Reserve, Night Game Drive

Look out for the nocturnal African civet on your game drive in the Kruger National Park Reserve

Leave the city behind this morning as you set off on a one-hour flight or five-hour transfer (depending on your preference) to the Kruger National Park Reserve, one of South Africa's most remarkable safari destinations. After arriving at the lodge, take some time to freshen up and relax. Have a drink at the bar to unwind, go for a swim, or a stroll to stretch your legs after the day's travel. In the evening, board an open safari vehicle for your first game drive in the park. The three-hour drive is a thrilling and exciting opportunity to see South Africa's wildlife up close.

You may see the Big Five, which includes elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, lions, and leopards, so keep your eyes peeled. When darkness falls, the tour guides use spotlights to scan the landscape for the glowing eyes of nocturnal animals, like the spotted hyena or African civet. Dinner is a bush braai—a South African take on a barbecue in the middle of the reserve. Mouthwatering meats are sizzled to perfection atop an open wood fire—the perfect ending to a long day. After dinner, continue the game drive before returning to your lodge for the night.

Day 9: Sunrise Bush Walk, Afternoon Game Drive

Watch the sunset over the savanna on your afternoon game drive

Get an early start this morning for a drive to a remote location along the Olifants River, where you can set off on a four-hour sunrise bush walk. Surges of adrenaline will come aplenty as you spot wild African animals, but your adequately armed ranger will ensure your complete safety. Follow the area's Big Five on foot as you learn about the African bush and observe animals in their natural habitat. Don't forget to look up, as the reserve is home to an array of birdlife, from colorful lilac-breasted rollers to majestic martial eagles.

Make sure you wear comfortable shoes or boots and clothing that can protect your skin from the brush, and don't leave your camera and binoculars at the lodge for this one—there's plenty to see as you follow the river's edge. Return to the lodge for brunch, then spend a few hours resting and catching up on sleep after your early rise. When the air starts to get cooler in the afternoon, head out on another game drive. While your guides expertly navigate the rugged terrain, watch the sunset over the vast savanna, looking for the silhouette of wildlife against the horizon. Return to your lodge for dinner and a relaxing evening.

Day 10: Full Day in Kruger National Park

Small spotted hyena at sunset
Look out for hyenas at sunset before returning to the lodge

Spend another day exploring more of the park in an open-sided game vehicle, which allows for excellent wildlife viewing and photographic opportunities, so keep your camera on hand. Scores of giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, lions, hyenas, and countless other animals call the park home, so you have plenty of opportunities to see amazing wildlife in their natural habitat. Over 300 Stone Age archaeological sites have been located in the area, which you can visit as well to see plenty of evidence of the San and Iron Age people from 1,500 years ago, with San art found throughout the entire park. 

Day 11: Transfer to Johannesburg via the Blyde River Canyon 

Stop at the Blyde River Canyon on your way back to Johannesburg

Enjoy a pre-breakfast sunrise bush walk, then check out of your lodge and hit the road for your five-hour journey back to Johannesburg. On the way, stop at the Blyde River Canyon, one of the world's largest canyons and home to a wide variety of lush subtropical plants. Stand at the canyon's edge and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding cliffs, rugged rock formations, and tranquil Blyde River. Back in the car, make another stop at the Three Rondavels Viewpoint to see the three rock formations that resemble traditional African round huts. 

After taking in the sweeping views, keep driving to Johannesburg, arriving around 5:00 pm. Spend the night relaxing at your hotel, or head out to 7th Street in the vibrant suburb of Melville to eat at one of the trendy cafés, bistros, or restaurants lining the road. Unwind after the long drive with a cocktail or beer at one of the nearby bars before returning to your hotel to rest. 

Day 12: Arrive in Plaine Magnien (Mauritius), Explore at Leisure

Look out for the endangered Mauritius kestrel if you visit Bras d'Eau National Park

Bid farewell to South Africa this morning as you head to the airport to catch a four-hour flight to Plaine Magnien on the beautiful island of Mauritius. Meet your driver outside the airport and transfer to your accommodation on the East Coast. After checking in, spend a few hours relaxing on one of the many white-sand beaches where the fresh sea breeze blows year-round. While Mauritius has earned a reputation as a top holiday destination, few visitors know how many different activities are on offer. Kite-surfing, hiking in nature preserves, sea cruises, beach walks—the possibilities are endless.

The east coast is famous for its beautiful beaches and emerald-colored lagoons, dotted with luxurious hotels and small towns. This area is less traveled, and the small fishing villages and stunning views of the Grand Port mountain range are well worth the trip. Alternately, head to Bras d'Eau National Park for a guided hike through the thick bush and shaded forest. Follow an old railway line to the lava caves to see the ruins of a former sugar factory and look out for the colorful birds that call this park home, like the endangered Mauritius kestrel. Return to town in time for dinner.

Day 13: Luxury Speed Boat to Ile aux Cerfs 

Snorkel in the crystal-clear waters around Île aux Cerfs

After breakfast, head out for a full day on the water. Take a speed boat to the privately-owned Île aux Cerfs, which means Deer Island in English, a paradise of lush vegetation and white sand beaches. Spend the day snorkeling in the crystal blue waters, exploring the Trou d'Eau Douce lagoon, visiting Grand River South East Waterfalls, and relaxing on the beach. For lunch, stop at the exclusive Ilot Mangenie, a small resort island, for a delicious local barbecue and refreshing drinks. After the meal, enjoy a guitar and jambé show before returning to the mainland. 

Day 14: Transfer Grand Baie, Island Rum Tasting

Spend a few hours relaxing on the pristine La Cuvette Beach

Grab your bags and transfer to Grand Baie this morning, a premier tourist destination on the northern coast. It's the launch point for nautical adventures to the northern islands and has a variety of local boutiques, cafés, and tour operators who organize trips to the nearby archipelago. One of the town's two beaches, La Cuvette, is a discreet hideaway from the hustle and bustle in the town center. Spend a few hours relaxing on the fine sand for some serenity by the water.

Then, stroll through the narrow streets behind the main road, where small shops, bars, and a variety of restaurants line the charming streets. After checking in to your hotel and grabbing lunch in town, hit the road for a rum-tasting tour to taste three different rums paired with carefully chosen local ingredients to bring out the distinct notes of each spirit. Try the island's classic cocktail, the "Gold-Fashioned"—a delightful combination of Gold of Mauritius rum, sugar cubes, finished with chocolate and tawny port.

Day 15: Full-Day Tour of Chamarel on the West Coast

Overlooking all seven colors of earth
Admire the vibrant dunes of the Seven-Colored Earth Geopark

Today's adventure takes you to the west coast of the island to visit the small village of Chamarel. Start your full-day tour of the area with a visit to the Ebony Forest, a small rehabilitated preserve that features thousands of planted endemic species—most notably the ebony tree, which the Dutch and British harvested for export. The preserve offers walkways and short tours that educate visitors on the flora and fauna of the western coast. Cool off with a dip in the shallow waters at the base of the thundering Chamarel Waterfall, then make your way to the Seven-Colored Earth Geopark.

These striking dunes rise from the lush forest and are renowned for their vibrant colors, which formed as a result of uneven cooling of the lava rock. As the colorful sand settles on the dunes, it creates surreal patterns that you can view from an elevated wooden walkway. Choose between lunch at Varangue sur Morne or Rhumerie de Chamarel. After lunch, get a behind-the-scenes look at Mauritius' rum-making process at Rhumerie de Chamarel's distillery, then end your day with a visit to the Curious Corner of Chamarel, a fun gallery featuring dozens of interactive optical illusions.

Day 16: Depart Mauritius

Soak up some last-minute sun on Gris Gris Beach

Spend your final few hours in Mauritius discovering the island's southern coast on your own, starting with a visit to the coastal village of Bel Ombre. When you arrive, you can wander down the waterfront or visit a 19th-century sugar mill, standing as a testament to the village's sugar-producing past. Explore the rustic charm of the mill, surrounded by lush sugar cane fields, and learn how the crop shaped the island's identity.

After exploring the village, continue 30 minutes east to Gris Gris Beach, known for its dramatic cliffs and powerful waves. You can't swim here due to the strong currents, but you can enjoy fresh seafood, cooked the Mauritian way, overlooking the water. When it's time, transfer one hour to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Classic South Africa & Mauritius: Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kruger Safari & Mauritius - 16 Days
Map of Classic South Africa & Mauritius: Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kruger Safari & Mauritius - 16 Days
Written by Sonya Pevzner, updated Apr 15, 2024