In two weeks, you can experience South Africa fully, fall in love with the dramatic landscapes and melting pot of cultures, as well as fit in a couple of longer road trips and more off-the-beaten-path destinations. This Ultimate Guide is the perfect introduction with two to four-night stays and focuses on Cape Town and hot spots of the Western Cape province, including touring the Cape Winelands and seeing wildlife off the southern Cape, like sharks, fur seals, and penguins. A short flight takes you cross-country to must-see Kruger National Park for Big Five safari adventures and ends in Johannesburg with a history lesson on Apartheid.
And if you're lucky enough to have an extra week, you'll be able to skip the flight like on this itinerary and drive along South Africa's southern coast, covering additional provinces (and the famed Garden Route) like the ever-popular Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. You'll see the Drakensberg Mountains, Cango Caves, explore the Wild Coast, and have time to witness additional wildlife of the Addo Elephant National Park. With added time, you can certainly see more of South Africa up close, but a 2.5-hour flight like that from Cape Town to Johannesburg certainly saves on time and offers the chance to focus on multiple areas of the country.
It's also possible to combine a trip to neighboring Namibia, Botswana, or Zimbabwe. All are within easy reach and offer incredible sightseeing, including the mighty Victoria Falls.
Have a generous three weeks to spare for your holiday? You shouldn't forsake the Wild Coast, full of craggy cliffs, untamed wilderness, and untouched coastline. It takes a 4WD and some patience to reach Coffee Bay, but your camera will thank you after laying eyes upon the Hole in the Wall—strong swimmers can take a dip in the ocean and swim through the hole.
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For a satisfying South Africa holiday, most travelers should plan on spending two weeks in country. This gives you enough time to explore outside of the main cities, take your time, and drive through some beautiful parts of the country. With nine provinces to explore, there's plenty to keep you busy.
In two weeks, you can easily fit in a Big Five safari, wine tasting in Franschhoek or Stellenbosch, a few days exploring Cape Town, time at the coast, and even a couple of days experiencing the best of Johannesburg. If you're lucky enough to have a third week to spare, consider adding Drakensberg or some of South Africa's Wild Coast.
A shorter stay in South Africa is possible too, especially as part of a longer, multi-country Africa itinerary. Five days gives you enough time to explore Cape Town and its surrounds; with 7-10 days you can add a few days of safari as well.