Spend two weeks discovering the fruits of South Africa, all while traveling in the lap of luxury. There's no better spot to begin a first-class holiday than coastal Cape Town, where you'll spend a few days touring the highlights, enjoying fine dining, and exploring landmarks like Table Mountain and the Cape Peninsula. Then, after sampling the best bottles in the Cape Winelands region, you'll embark on safaris at private nature reserves and finish up in Johannesburg for a deep dive into the real Africa.


  • Enjoy helicopter rides of Cape Town and see the city highlights
  • Dine at Cape Town's best restaurants and taste fine wines at Stellenbosch
  • Spot big cats, elephants, and giraffes on safari in Timbavati Game Reserve
  • Visit historic nightlife venues and walk around local townships in Johannesburg

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town, Dinner at GOLD Cape Town
Day 2 City/Food Tour, Table Mountain & Helicopter Rides Cape Town
Day 3 Cape Peninsula & Penguins, Lunch at Crofter's Kitchen Cape Town
Day 4 Community Project, Sunset Champagne Cruise Cape Town
Day 5 Marine Biologist for a Day, Dinner at Fyn Cape Town
Day 6 Transfer to Cape Winelands, Tasting & Horseback Tour Stellenbosch
Day 7 Elgin Valley Zipline Tour Stellenbosch
Day 8 E-Bike Wine Farm Tour, Wine Blending Workshop Stellenbosch
Day 9 Fly to Timbavati Game Reserve, Sunset Game Drive Timbavati Game Reserve
Day 10 Kruger & Timbavati Safari Game Drives Timbavati Game Reserve
Day 11 Safari Game Drives & Guided Bush Walk Timbavati Game Reserve
Day 12 Morning Game Drive, Fly to Johannesburg, Dinner & Jazz Johannesburg
Day 13 Soweto Bicycle Tour & Traditional Lunch, Marble Restaurant Johannesburg
Day 14 Depart Johannesburg  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cape Town, Dinner at GOLD

Dinner tonight is a musical and culinary journey into South African culture

Welcome to Africa! There's no better representation of the continent than its southernmost country. It's a premier safari destination with a gorgeous coastline, dynamic cities, and world-class wine regions. However, much as the sights, a big part of any journey to Africa is getting to know the people. And South Africa's population is a model of diversity. Many residents of Indigenous Bantu ancestry. Besides the tours and safari fun, you'll also enjoy cultural experiences that reveal the heart and soul of "Rainbow Nation."

It all kicks off today with your arrival in Cape Town, the capital of the pristine Western Cape region. A driver will be waiting at the airport 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 Cape Town's most iconic landmarks, like the massive Table Mountain.

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: City/Food Tour, Table Mountain & Helicopter Rides

Explore all of Cape Town, from Table Mountain to the outer districts

Rise and shine! There's a lot of Cape Town to see and only a day to see it. After breakfast, you'll get a sense of the full scope on 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 coast, Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned), and the mountains of the Cape Peninsula. If you're looking to see the city from above in an even grander style, you can also opt for a quick private helicopter tour.

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 private 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. End at local cheesemakers, where you'll sample some artisanal cheeses paired with a few of South Africa's best wines.

Day 3: Cape Peninsula & Penguins, Lunch at Crofter's Kitchen

Travel to the southwesternmost tip of the African continent and meet the penguins of Boulders Beach

A private driver will pick you up from your hotel this morning for a trip south of the city to the tip of the famous Cape Peninsula and the towering headland of Cape Point. Throughout the ride, you'll be treated to epic views of the Atlantic coastline as you pass wide beaches and picturesque seaside villages. Feel free to stop and explore the rocky coastline with its fynbos shrubland vegetation, home to birds like oystercatchers and ostriches, as well as animals like baboons and the Cape mountain zebra.

Eventually, you'll arrive at Cape Point Nature Reserve, stopping at the Cape of Good Hope. Here, you can hike up to the iconic lighthouse and enjoy views over the headland to both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Afterward, it will be time for lunch, which is another culinary treat. Transfer to Crofter's Kitchen, the Cape Peninsula home of "rock star" celebrity chef Nicky Gibbs. The owner herself will welcome you with true South African hospitality for a delicious six-course meal utilizing fresh ingredients foraged from her own garden. Also, each course is paired with aromatic floral and herbal teas.

Later, head to the eastern side of Cape Peninsula to Simonstown. Besides its naval base and maritime museum, the town is famous for the penguin colony at Boulders Beach. This sheltered inlet is home to a colony of African penguins, and you can view them up close via a network of wooden walkways. After spending time with your new penguin friends, you'll return to Cape Town. There's the option for one more stop at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Set against the slopes of Table Mountain, this lush paradise houses thousands of endemic and exotic plants.

Day 4: Community Project, Sunset Champagne Cruise

You've seen Cape Town's famous sights; now get to know its people

Experience an authentic slice of South Africa as you head to Cape Town's eastern townships (districts) with Uthando (Love). The goal of this responsible tourism nonprofit is to raise awareness of the millions of South Africans living in extreme poverty who struggle to survive on a daily basis. Uthando does this by creating links between travelers and local community development projects.

During this half-day experience, you'll meet some unsung heroes doing great work in these communities while learning about the country's turbulent history and unique challenges. It's all about the people, as you'll visit several inspiring public works projects, which might include urban agriculture collectives, youth-led dance or music programs, special education, or refugee support.

After this heady and rewarding experience, you'll have some time on your own until the end of the afternoon. Then, transfer to the waterfront and board a luxury catamaran for a private sunset cruise. As the sun bathes the Atlantic Ocean in a golden glow, you'll relax on deck and toast the experience with a glass of bubbly. It's the perfect end to a memorable day—or the perfect start to an evening of revelry in the city.

Day 5: Marine Biologist for a Day, Dinner at Fyn

Explore the coast and spend time with 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 return to the Cape Peninsula to spend time with some of the region's most famous aquatic animals. This private 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, 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 6: Transfer to Cape Winelands, Tasting & Horseback Tour

Spend a few relaxing days amid the vines of Cape Winelands

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 transfer 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 private wine tour by horseback. After meeting your guide and hopping in the saddle, you'll 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 retreat 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 7: Elgin Valley Zipline Tour

Get a bird's-eye view of South Africa's most beautiful valleys on a zipline tour
Plan your trip to South Africa
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Gear up for a wild adventure as you leave early this morning on a 1.5-hour transfer south from Cape Town to the Elgin Valley. Another top wine-producing region, this valley is also famous for its biodiversity and scenic beauty, as it abounds with picturesque mountains and forests. It's an excellent place for an outdoor adventure, which is exactly what's in store.

You'll arrive at an elevated platform in the wilderness, meet your guides, and strap into a harness. Then, zip over the forest canopy on a thrilling zipline tour. The network of crisscrossing ziplines here will take you around jaw-dropping scenery, which includes towering trees and cascading waterfalls. Afterward, break for lunch at an Elgin Valley restaurant before capping the day with a tasting of Cape brandy at a local distillery paired with artisanal chocolates. Return to Stellenbosch afterward for a relaxing afternoon at your leisure.

Day 8: E-Bike Wine Farm Tour, Wine Blending Workshop

Cycle around the Cape Winelands countryside and stop for a tasting

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 private guide 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 private "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 9: Fly to Timbavati Game Reserve, Sunset Game Drive

Watch the sunset from the deck at Walkers Plains (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 wild cats, 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 10: Kruger & Timbavati Safari Game Drives

See lions and other apex predators while on safari at Kruger and Timbavati

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 Cape buffalo. 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 11: Safari Game Drives & Guided Bush Walk

See animals up close when you hit the trail on foot on a guided bush walk
Rise early for another full day of safari drives. The schedule will be similar to yesterday's, but you'll also have the option to embark on a guided bush walk. During this three to four-hour guided excursion led by safari rangers, you'll experience Africa's exotic wildlife up close as you hike across beautiful savanna grasslands. As you go, your guide will impart interesting facts about the surrounding flora and fauna, including bush survival skills like the medicinal use of native plants and tips on tracking animals.

Day 12: 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 "Joburg" 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 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 13: Soweto Bicycle Tour & Traditional Lunch, Marble Restaurant

Hop on a bicycle and discover the culture and history of Johannesburg

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 private 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, 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 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 meal 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 sea bass and salmon to lamb and rib-eye, all fresh, local, and cooked to perfection over a wood fire. Expect a great night out, with delicious food paired with top South African wines, amid some of the city's best views.

Day 14: Depart Johannesburg

A colorful sunset over Johannesburg
It's been one for the books, but, alas, this African adventure has reached its conclusion. A driver will pick you up early for the ride to Johannesburg's airport, where you'll catch your flight home. Baai!

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Map of Luxury South Africa Food, Wine & Safari Adventure - 14 Days
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