See and taste the best of South Africa over 10 packed days that will not only take you on an epic safari but also to the most captivating corners of its top cities (and therefore best restaurants). It's a luxury tour that kicks off with fine dining and champagne cruises in Cape Town, then continues to the lush vineyards of Cape Winelands to taste the fruits of its terroir. The last leg of the trip will see you on safari at a private nature reserve before walking in the footsteps of history in Johannesburg.


  • Experience Cape Town's best restaurants and see views from Table Mountain
  • Spend an afternoon visiting the wineries in Stellenbosch via horseback
  • Witness the marine life near Cape Town and safari game animals on the savanna
  • Bike around the historic districts of Johannesburg to meet locals and share a meal

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town, Dinner at GOLD Cape Town
Day 2 Visit Table Mountain, City & Food Tour Cape Town
Day 3 Marine Biologist for a Day, Dinner at Fyn Cape Town
Day 4 Transfer to the Cape Winelands, Tasting & Horseback Tour Stellenbosch
Day 5 E-Bike Wine Farm Tour, Private Blending Workshop Stellenbosch
Day 6 Fly to Timbavati Game Reserve, Sunset Game Drive Timbavati
Day 7 Kruger & Timbavati Safari Game Drives Timbavati
Day 8 Morning Game Drive, Fly to Johannesburg, Dinner & Jazz Johannesburg
Day 9 Soweto Bicycle Tour & Traditional Lunch, Dinner at Marble Restaurant Johannesburg
Day 10 Apartheid Museum & Cradle of Humankind Tour, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cape Town, Dinner at GOLD

Kick off your trip with three nights at this boutique hotel (photo courtesy of Camissa House)

Welcome to South Africa! You'd be hard-pressed to find a more captivating city in the country than your arrival destination of Cape Town. One of South Africa's three capitals, it embodies the "Rainbow Nation" moniker bestowed upon the country by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It's home to many Indigenous residents of Bantu ancestry, plus Cape Town enjoys a long and storied history of migration, from European settlers to enslaved peoples from Southeast Asia. That's to say nothing of the natural beauty here, best exemplified in its most iconic landmark, Table Mountain.

A driver will be waiting at the airport upon your arrival to take you into the city and Camissa House. Nestled in the hills, this 4-star boutique hotel offers both proximity to city fun and the tranquility of a mountain hideaway. It's also peaceful, featuring a mere eight luxury guest suites with private terraces offering panoramic city views. If you like, take afternoon high tea by the infinity pool, which overlooks the coast and massive Table Mountain looming overhead.

Dinner tonight is an exclusive experience at one of the city's best restaurants. Located in the scenic (and trendy) V&A Waterfront district, GOLD features a 14-course tasting safari that spans the continent. But the food is only part of the experience—each night on stage, African musicians and dancers perform for the guests. The night begins with champagne flecked with 24-carat gold leaf flakes, followed by the meal and a curated "spice experience." This gastronomic storytelling adventure will take you down the continent's ancient spice routes from Uganda to Burundi, one bite at a time. 

Day 2: Visit Table Mountain, City & Food Tour

Witness Cape Town's best views from atop Table Mountain

After an early breakfast, you'll get a sense of Cape Town's full scope during a trip up Table Mountain. This sandstone monolith and UNESCO World Heritage Site looms 3,562 feet (1,086 m) over the city, and you'll ascend it via a dramatic five-minute cable car ride. From the summit, enjoy panoramic views of Cape Town, the Atlantic seaboard, Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned), and the mountains of the Cape Peninsula, the southwesternmost point on the continent.

After returning to the lower cable car station, you'll embark on a food and city tour around Cape Town. The first stop is a coffee tasting at one of the oldest artisan roasters in South Africa. From there, you and your guide will stroll through the 17th-century Company's Garden, the city's "green lung." As you walk, you'll snack on local treats like koeksisters (a South African doughnut). Later, head to Woodstock, a hidden gem on the outskirts of town, for a craft beer and food pairing. Cap this leg of the tour with a visit to a specialist chocolatier, complete with tastings and complimentary hot chocolate.

Now that you have your sugar fix, return to the city proper and continue up Bree Street, Cape Town's coolest strip. There will be a stop to sample biltong (a type of beef jerky), a local favorite. Then, follow the scent of exotic spices to the colorful Bo Kaap district. The Malay/Indonesian residents of this area are famous for their Pacific Rim cuisine, which includes samosas and the famous Cape Malay curry. Finish the day at local cheesemakers, where you'll sample some artisanal cheeses paired with a few of South Africa's best wines.

Day 3: Marine Biologist for a Day, Dinner at Fyn

The Cape Peninsula is home to exotic animals like African penguins

The Western Cape region supports diverse marine life thanks to its extensive coastline along the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Get in touch with your inner marine biologist this morning as you travel south to the Cape Peninsula and spend time with the area's most famous aquatic animals. This day tour includes hikes through coastal fynbos shrubland as you spot animals like African penguins, dolphins, and (from Jun-Nov) humpbacks and southern right whales. Along with an expert guide, you'll explore this coastal wilderness and its deserted beaches, and even swim in a kelp forest.

Return to Cape Town in time to enjoy dinner at Fyn. One of the city's most popular fine-dining restaurants, it features a mouthwatering Japanese-inspired African menu, with highlights including nylon shrimp sashimi and Atlantic Ridge kinglip baked in kelp. The dining room is centered around an open kitchen, which puts guests in the center of the action. Expect first-class table service and artistic dishes enhanced by intricate Japanese-style plating techniques. 

Day 4: Transfer to the Cape Winelands, Tasting & Horseback Tour

Trade Cape Town's urban energy for the beauty of the Cape Winelands
Plan your trip to South Africa
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Get an early start to experience the glory of the famous Cape Winelands region. Nestled amid soaring Cape mountain ranges and dotted with fertile valleys, this area is home to over 500 wineries. The diverse terroir and microclimates here mean these vineyards produce a variety of top-notch wines, including cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and the uniquely South African blend, pinotage.

It's a one-hour drive east from Cape Town to the Winelands and one of its top viticulture areas: Franschhoek Valley. The area was settled by French immigrants in the late 17th century and, over the centuries, has remained one of South Africa's top wine-producing regions. You'll taste the fruits of this heritage on a wine tour by horseback. After meeting your guide and hopping in the saddle, ride around some of Franschhoek's top vineyards. At each estate, you'll sample top wines paired with delicious tidbits like homemade goat cheese and artisanal chocolates.

Afterward, transfer to the nearby wine valley of Stellenbosch and the Oude Werf Hotel. Located in the center of town, this 4-star hotel was established in 1802 and is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the country. The property has been lovingly restored, with elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites that blend traditional Cape Dutch architecture and modern amenities like king beds, smart TVs, and Nespresso machines. As for cuisine, its gourmet restaurant offers modern takes on South African country favorites like venison bobotie, house-smoked river trout, and ostrich carpaccio.

Day 5: E-Bike Wine Farm Tour, Private Blending Workshop

Experience the Winelands' distinct terroir one sip at a time

There's nothing like cycling around the flourishing vineyards of the Cape Winelands. On this full-day bike ride, however, you'll let technology shoulder the burden as you cruise between wine estates on an e-bike. Meet your guide and group in the morning and depart from Stellenbosch to the adjacent countryside, enjoying the scenery as you pedal between different valleys.

Besides stops for wine tastings (with chocolate pairings), you'll visit historic landmarks like mission stations. The scenery is nothing short of epic as you ride around gardens and along mountain streams. Lunch will be at a local restaurant in the dazzling Banhoek Valley.

Later, leave the bike and head to a café in town for a "winemaker for a day" workshop. Over two hours, under the guidance of an expert winemaker, learn about different grape varieties and how they're blended to create wines that become more than the sum of their parts. It's not just theory, either. You'll create your own blend, complete with custom cork and label. Take the bottle home as a souvenir—or enjoy it with dinner tonight at the chic bistro in town.

Day 6: Fly to Timbavati Game Reserve, Sunset Game Drive

The deck of your safari lodge is the best spot to enjoy a sunset (photo courtesy of Walkers Plains)

Say goodbye to the Western Cape, as you'll transfer back to the airport in Cape Town this morning. There, you'll board a connecting flight (likely in Johannesburg) to the airstrip at Ubabat Nature Reserve. Located in northeastern South Africa, Ubabat is right next to your ultimate destination: Timbavati Game Reserve. Covering approximately 207 square miles (536 sq km), this relatively small protected area shares an unfenced border with the massive (and iconic) Kruger National Park. As such, there's free movement of wildlife between the two areas, making for world-class safari expeditions.

You'll arrive at the edge of the reserve and Walkers Plains, a family-owned bush camp sitting on the African savanna. Expect personal attention from twin brothers Steve and James Walker, whose decades of combined experience as guides have resulted in an intimate connection with the African bush. As for the amenities, don't let the word "camp" fool you. You'll be staying in a comfy, spacious bungalow equipped with all creature comforts and a plunge pool. From the deck, you'll enjoy views of the resident wildlife and the vast savanna plains out to the famous Drakensberg Mountains.

Though you'll arrive in the late afternoon, you won't miss any safari fun. After dropping off your bags, you and your guide will hop in a 4WD vehicle for an afternoon game drive. This twilight safari begins with sundowner drinks before continuing with a night drive. After dark, the savanna comes alive with the sound of nocturnal animals like African wildcats, honey badgers, porcupines, and even leopards out for their nightly hunt. Dinner will be served shortly after returning to camp, where your friendly guides will share stories of the park and its wildlife denizens around the campfire.

Day 7: Kruger & Timbavati Safari Game Drives

You're all but guaranteed to see lions in Timbavati Game Reserve

Both Timbavati and Kruger are home to hundreds of species of animals, including the famous Big Five: lions, leopards, black rhinos, African bush elephants, and African buffaloes. After yesterday's twilight drive, you'll set out again for a full day of game drives to spot these magnificent creatures.

The first outing is a morning drive at dawn to spot the animals when they're most active. Leading this memorable wildlife tour will be one of the camp owners, who will act as a guide and seek out the most impressive specimens at locales where they congregate in the mornings, like watering holes and riverbanks. Other incredible specimens you can photograph here include elephants, giraffes, wildebeests, impalas, and more.

After a break for lunch back at the camp (and some time to relax), you'll head out again in the afternoon. During this late-afternoon game drive, you can see the animals as they wind down for the day, plus witness a spectacular Kruger sunset over the savanna. It's also a great opportunity to spot the park's over 500 species of birds, which include starlings, hornbills, and the occasional ostrich. Afterward, you'll return to the lodge.

Day 8: Morning Game Drive, Fly to Johannesburg, Dinner & Jazz

Finish the trip with two nights in the chic suburb of Melrose (photo courtesy of Peech Boutique Hotel)

Enjoy one last morning game drive before saying goodbye to your new bush friends and returning to the airstrip. There, you'll board a plane for the one-hour flight to Johannesburg. Known as "Jo'Burg" or "Jozi" to locals, South Africa's largest city is both a cultural and historical hub. You'll experience the city in all its glory when, after arriving at the airport, a driver transfers you to your hotel.

Your accommodation is the epitome of Johannesburg cool, as it's located in the chic suburb of Melrose. The 4-star Peech Boutique Hotel features spacious, individually decorated rooms and suites outfitted with king beds and private balconies looking out over lush gardens. Upon arrival, you can take the edge off the flight with a nice long soak in your French tub, relax by the shimmering courtyard pool, or grab a seat at the bar in Basalt, the hotel's intimate fine-dining restaurant.

When the sun sets, you're in for some real fun. Dinner tonight is at the Marabi Club, Johannesburg's premier jazz venue. Located downtown and tucked away in the basement of the Hallmark House, a modernist boutique hotel, Marabi has a fun, speakeasy vibe. After all, the club has its origins as an illegal shebeen (bar) in the 1920s and 30s. Once you sit down inside, the impeccably dressed staff will be there to serve fine food and drink accompanied by the best live jazz in the city.

Day 9: Soweto Bicycle Tour & Traditional Lunch, Dinner at Marble Restaurant

Explore the sights and break bread with locals on a ride around Soweto

After breakfast, you'll travel to Soweto, located on the city's western outskirts. The history of this township is infamous in that it was founded in the 1930s by the white government of South Africa as a segregated residence for the Black population of Johannesburg. You'll learn all about Soweto's contentious history plus experience its rich culture on a guided 2.5-hour cycling tour. During the ride, you'll stop at some of its most interesting historical sites, including a workers' hostel, Nelson Mandela's former home, and a local shebeen (pub), where you can mingle with locals over a beer.

The tour ends with a home-cooked lunch in Soweto. This traditional meal is called "bunny chow" and includes either stew or curry cooked over fire, then served in a hollowed-out loaf of fresh bread or with pap, an African cornmeal porridge. After the bicycle tour, you can choose to spend the remainder of the afternoon at the community park or enjoy activities with kids at the local youth club.

The theme of cooking over flame continues tonight, albeit in a fine dining atmosphere. For your last dinner in South Africa, you'll snag a table at Marble Restaurant. The "meat and flame" aficionados at this exclusive eatery celebrate the quintessential South African tradition of cooking over an open flame, be it meat, poultry, seafood, or even bread. You'll feast on such delicacies, which range from seabass and salmon to lamb and rib-eye, all fresh, local, and cooked to perfect over wood fire. Expect a great night out, with delicious food paired with top SA wines, amid some of the city's best views.

Day 10: Apartheid Museum & Cradle of Humankind Tour, Depart Johannesburg

See where civilization originated at the "Cradle of Humankind"

Conclude your grand tour of South Africa with a deep dive into its history, both recent and ancient. First up is a morning tour of the Apartheid Museum. Though the main focus is the country's apartheid policy of forced segregation, it also offers an overview of 20th-century South African history. It does this through fascinating exhibits, both permanent and temporary, which allow visitors to bear witness to a particularly dark period in the nation's history.

Later, travel 31 miles (50 km) northwest of the city to the Cradle of Humankind. This massive paleontological site (recognized by UNESCO) features the highest concentration of human ancestral remains in the world. You'll tour some of the places where these remains were discovered, including the Sterkfontein Caves, where a 2.3 million-year-old fossil of Australopithecus africanus was uncovered in 1947, and learn more about the development of hominids, at the Maropeng Visitor Center. Afterward, you'll transfer to the airport in time to catch your flight home. Until next time!

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