- Gaze out across Cape Town from atop Table Mountain
- Sample the world-class vintages of the Cape Winelands
- Search for the Big 5 on a safari in Kruger National Park
- Meet the marine life surrounding the Tonga Beach Lodge
|Day 1||Arrive in Cape Town, City Tour & Table Mountain||Cape Town|
|Day 2||Atlantic Seaboard, Cape Peninsula, & Wine Tasting||Cape Town|
|Day 3||Cheese, Wine, & Chocolate Tour||Cape Town|
|Day 4||Cape Town to Kruger, Big 5 Night Drive||Kruger National Park|
|Day 5||Transfer from Safari Lodge to Bush Camp||Kruger National Park|
|Day 6||Safari Camp, Bush Walk||Kruger National Park|
|Day 7||Transfer from Safari to Thonga Beach Lodge||Thonga Beach|
|Days 8-9||Thonga Activities: SCUBA, Snorkeling, & Sea Turtles||Thonga Beach|
|Day 10||Transfer to Johannesburg from Thonga, Departure|
Day 1: Arrive in Cape Town, City Tour & Table Mountain
Welcome to South Africa! Arrive at Cape Town International Airport and transfer to your accommodation to unpack and unwind. After you settle in, spend the rest of your day exploring the city.
Known as the 'Rainbow Nation,' Cape Town and South Africa have a long and complicated history involving a multitude of ethnic and cultural groups. The area's history starts with the indigenous Khoisan and Bantu people, who were the primary residents of the area until the Portuguese and Dutch arrived in South Africa, beginning a centuries-long occupation.
These days, South Africa is home to a diverse population. Roughly 80% of South Africans are of Bantu ancestry from a variety of ethnic groups, each with a distinct language. The remainder of the community is made up primarily of European, Asian (Indian, Chinese, and others from the formerly enslaved and indentured population), and mixed-race (Cape Coloured) ancestry.
Meet your local guide in the city center for a 4-hour walking tour of the historic city. You'll explore the different eras of Cape Town and learn about South Africa's history, as well as the people who shaped it. Stops along the tour include the Company's Garden, Parliament, Green Market Square, The Castle of Good Hope, and the Slave Lodge.
The Company's Garden dates back to the 1650s when European settlers farmed the land to grow fresh produce to replenish ships rounding the cape. Around the corner is the Iziko Slave Lodge, a national history museum dedicated to exploring the history of slavery at the Cape. Since its construction in 1679, the building has functioned as a center for the bustling slave trade (primarily operated by the Dutch East India Company) as well as a government building and supreme court.
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.
Just down the street 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 to destitute children and the District Six Museum, which commemorates forced relocation under apartheid.
After strolling the streets of Cape Town, stop for lunch in the city center. 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 the cable car for spectacular views of the city, mountains, and ocean. Return to Cape Town in time for dinner at the bustling Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, where you'll find a variety of fine dining restaurants and pubs with views of the ocean.
Day 2: Atlantic Seaboard, Cape Peninsula, & Wine Tasting
Today's excursion is the ultimate driving tour. Hit the road with your guide for a full-day adventure on this Cape Peninsula Tour. The Cape Peninsula is a rocky peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean at the south-western extremity of the African continent. At the southern end of the peninsula are Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. On the northern end is Table Mountain, overlooking Cape Town. The Cape Peninsula has outstanding flora and fauna and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Cape Floral Region.
Afterward, head to Simons Town and visit the penguin colony before breaking for lunch at a local seafood restaurant along the water in the sleepy fishing town.
In the afternoon head to the scenic Boyes Drive above Muizenberg—famous for its surfing—then continue to the Constantia Winelands district. Pick from the many wineries to experience a South African wine tasting, then return to the city in time for dinner.
Day 3: Cheese, Wine, & Chocolate Tour
Enjoy a full-day cheese, wine, and chocolate tour—a heavenly combination. You'll sample dark chocolates, creamy cheeses, and superb wine while experiencing South Africa's stunning scenery and acclaimed hospitality.
Start your day with a 1-hour drive to the Fairview Winery. With several hundred years of wine-making heritage originating on the farm, it's no wonder that Fairview wine has become a cornerstone of South African wine history. Enjoy a wine and goat cheese tasting in an intimate setting, then head outside to visit the winery's furry mascots (baby goats!) and take in the beautiful views.
Your next stop is the Tokara winery in Stellenbosch for wine tasting, located on the southern slopes of Simonsberg Mountain about 20 minutes down the road. Round out your wine tour with a 20-minute drive to visit Bilton, on the foothills of the Helderberg Mountains. Here you can sample fine South African wines, accompanied by dark Belgian chocolates to complement the flavors of the wines.
Return to Cape Town in the evening.
Day 4: Cape Town to Kruger, Big 5 Night Drive
Today you head to the Greater Kruger National Park Reserve, one of South Africa's most remarkable safari destinations. Depending on your preference and timing, you may choose to fly, shuttle with a driver, or rent a vehicle to complete the drive yourself.
The park was created in 1926 when Sabi Game Reserve joined with the adjacent Shingedzi Game Reserve and local farms to develop South Africa's first national park. With a rich history and vast landscapes, the park is a must-see destination for unforgettable wildlife experiences.
Within the park, choose from a wide variety of accommodations, from rustic bush lodges and tent camps to 5-star luxury all-inclusive resorts. No matter what your budget, you'll find unique lodging in a breathtaking landscape.
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 stroll around the lodge to stretch your legs after the day's travel.
In the evening, board an open Land Cruiser for your first game drive in the park. The three-hour trip is a thrilling and exciting opportunity to see Africa's big wildlife up close. The Big 5 include elephants, buffalo, rhino, lion, and leopard, and were named by big-game hunters for being five of Africa's biggest most dangerous animals to hunt. Keep your eyes peeled for nighttime animals as you cruise around the park in the comfort of the Land Cruiser. When darkness falls, the tour guides use spotlights to scan the nighttime for nocturnal animals.
Top off the evening with a drink as you listen to the sounds of the nighttime bush life.
Day 5: Transfer from Safari Lodge to Bush Camp
After a game drive in the morning and a filling brunch, transfer to your safari camp in an open 4x4 vehicle.
Settle into your tent and explore the camp, then enjoy tea time followed by a brief introduction to bush walks by your guide. The guides in the park pass strict requirements to lead tours and hold the highest possible qualification. After the informational meeting, head out with your armed guides for an introductory walk. Return to your vehicle in time for sundowners and a short night drive, then enjoy dinner at camp under the starry skies.
Day 6: Safari Camp, Bush Walk
After an early morning wake-up, enjoy coffee with rusks (a South African tradition) then head out with your guide for a safari walk. Nothing is predictable in the bush, so each new walk offers a unique opportunity to see African wildlife. Your guides will share specialized knowledge about the park's birds, animals, and medicinal plants. They'll also share local folklore, basic tracking, and traditional survival techniques.
Walking trails in the bush are best enjoyed in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday heat. Return to camp in time for brunch and relax during the heat of the day. Cool off with a dip in the pool and enjoy the views of the plains where zebra, buffalo, giraffe, elephant, rhino, and lions gather.
In the afternoon head out for another game drive followed by a short walk, then return to the vehicle for sundowners before returning to camp for dinner.
If you want the ultimate African Bush experience, opt for an overnight tent sleep out. The giant treehouse and tall elevated platforms provide safety from the wildlife while giving you unparalleled views of the sunrise. Head out in the late afternoon for the one-hour walk to the tents, arriving in time for dark. Enjoy sundowners by the watering hole as your guides prepare the fire and a traditional South African braai (barbecue).
Day 7: Transfer from Safari to Thonga Beach Lodge
After one final morning bush walk, return to camp for brunch and a shower before packing up. Drive to Skukuza or Nelspruit Airport, then catch your charter flight to Mazengwenya Airstrip. The flight is incredible, with views of Kruger, Swaziland, and northern Zululand.
From the airstrip, you'll take a 4x4 ride to Thonga Beach Lodge, a scenic half-hour drive on sandy roads.
On arrival, you'll be welcomed with a refreshing drink and ocean breeze. Take some time to relax and sunbathe on the deck, or enjoy afternoon coffee and cake before treating yourself to a pamper session in the Sea Spa.
In the evening, head to the bar for a drink before ending the night with dinner under the stars.
Days 8-9: Thonga Activities: SCUBA, Snorkeling, & Sea Turtles
Spend the day exploring the coastal area, enjoying all the activities the resort has to offer.
Go SCUBA diving at Mabibi, with diving options ranging from beginner to advanced. A myriad of fish, dolphins, whale sharks, manta rays, and sea turtles inhabit the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. If SCUBA diving isn't your thing, board a boat for a trip out to the open ocean for snorkeling and incredible views.
Explore the coast on a sea kayak, take in the sunsets from the beach decks, or visit beautiful Lake Sibaya. Learn about the local indigenous people on a Tsonga cultural tour, go for a nature walk in the forest, or simply relax with a spa treatment at the resort.
If you're visiting from November to January, join a nighttime beach walk to see sea turtles laying their eggs. You'll witness the culmination of an incredible open ocean journey as giant leatherback and loggerhead turtles come ashore to carefully dig nests in the sand and lay their precious eggs. In December, tiny baby hatchlings emerge and make their frantic dash to the water.
The turtles' safety is threatened by a variety of factors throughout their lives, so every precaution is taken to ensure that they are not disturbed during the laying process. Information collected during the turtle walks and drives is submitted to the Ezemvelo Turtle Monitoring Program to aid in research projects.
Day 10: Transfer to Johannesburg from Thonga, Departure
After breakfast, check out of your Thonga resort and hop into a 4x4 vehicle to meet your transfer for your trip back to Richards Bay Airport.
Board a short flight back to O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, then meet your connecting flight back home. Safe travels!