Combine a relaxing luxury vacation with thrilling outdoor adventures on this weeklong South Africa tour. Taste the quality of the country's most famous vineyards on a visit to the Cape Winelands region before hitting the road on the Garden Route, one of the most spectacular coastal drives on the continent. And no trip to Africa is complete without safari fun, so finish the adventure in an open-topped safari vehicle seeking big cats, elephants, rhinos, and other majestic creatures on the savanna plains.


  • Hit the wine trail around the lush vineyards and French towns of Cape Winelands
  • Travel the famous Garden Route, passing coastal forests and seaside towns
  • Embark on full-day safari drives to spot exotic animals in the Eastern Cape Reserve

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town, Transfer to Franschhoek & Wine Tour Franschhoek
Day 2 Transfer to Hermanus, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Wine Tour  Hermanus
Day 3 Transfer to Knysna via the Garden Route Knysna
Day 4 Day Trip to Plettenberg Bay & Sunset River Cruise Knysna
Day 5 Transfer to Eastern Cape Reserve, Afternoon Game Drive Eastern Cape Game Reserve
Day 6 Full-Day Shamwari Safari Experiences Eastern Cape Game Reserve
Day 7 Transfer to Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cape Town, Transfer to Franschhoek & Wine Tour

Spend your first night in luxury amid the Cape Winelands (photo courtesy of La Cotte)

Welcome to South Africa! The highlights of this nation are many, and you've got a mere seven days to experience them. Luckily, this itinerary covers the best, starting with your arrival in Cape Town, capital of the Western Cape region. One of the most gorgeous corners of the country, its iconic landmarks include Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope, the southwesternmost point on the continent. It's also where you'll find Cape Winelands, South Africa's premier wine region. That's where you're off to when, after arriving at the airport, you'll travel an hour by private car to the Winelands.

This scenic area, denoted by lush vineyards on rolling hills at the foot of soaring mountains, is home to more than 500 wineries, and you'll visit a few of the best for a tasting. Travel between colorful Winelands valleys like Stellenbosch, Paarl, and the French town of Franschhoek (where you'll overnight). As you go, you'll visit top estates to sample incredible Cabernets, merlots, and the uniquely South African blend, pinotage. As an added treat, you'll pair them with delicious tidbits like homemade goat cheese and artisanal chocolates.

At the end of the day, you'll return to Franschhoek and your luxury accommodation, La Cotte. This redesigned farm was built by French immigrants in the late 17th century and enjoys a privileged location beneath the Cape mountains, surrounded by well-manicured gardens. The elegant guest rooms at this manor homestead feature high ceilings, French doors, and private terraces. An on-site gourmet restaurant serves everything from farm-fresh breakfasts to garden salads with locally harvested greens and line-caught Franschhoek river trout.

Day 2: Transfer to Hermanus, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Wine Tour 

Hemel-en-Aarde Valley wine tour with Sommelier and tastings with the winemakers
The next stop on the wine trail is Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, on the southern coast

It's time bid farewell to Cape Winelands already—but the wine adventures are far from over. This morning, you'll join your private driver for a 1.5-hour transfer south from Franschhoek to Hermanus on the south coast. This charming seaside town is known for its Blue Flag beaches and prime whale watching, which you'll get to do during your stay here.

Upon arrival, you'll check into the 5-star Marine Hotel. Perched on coastal cliffs overlooking the idyllic Walker Bay, the property offers jaw-dropping mountain and sea views of the Western Cape's Overberg region. As for amenities, you'll lack for nothing, as its premier rooms and suites are equipped with king beds and terraces, many affording ocean views. Enjoy the welcome drink on arrival, then perhaps head to the day spa for a wellness treatment. It's an extensive menu that includes a variety of massages, facials, body wraps, manicures/pedicures, and more. There are also couples treatments.

Newly refreshed, meet your local sommelier guide in the afternoon for a quick ride inland to the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. This is the premier wine region in the area, and during a private tour, you'll visit a few wineries in these vineyard-covered hills. The cool, coastal climate here is responsible for the chardonnays and pinot noirs that the region produces, and you'll sample some of the finest during a full-day tasting. Afterward, you'll return to Hermanus.

Day 3: Transfer to Knysna via the Garden Route

Reach Knysna in time to catch the sunset from your private terrace (photo courtesy of Head Over Heels)

Meet your driver early and leave Hermanus on a five-hour journey along the coast to Knysna. To describe this drive as scenic would be an understatement. Most of it follows the famed Garden Route, which runs 190 miles (305 km) from Mossel Bay east to the mouth of Storms River. Among other highlights, this stretch of road features some of South Africa's most incredible coastline and native forest.

Upon arrival in Knysna, you'll check into Head Over Hills. This 5-star luxury retreat is situated next to the Knysna Heads—large headlands that shelter the town from the open sea. It's one of the most awe-inspiring landmarks on the Garden Route, and the hotel delivers front-row seats. Enjoy sweeping views of the Heads while relaxing on your personal wooden sun deck or while sprawled out in your Hästens handcrafted bed. If you like, take your meals on the deck—choose from the a la carte menu created by the private chef and pair it with a bottle from the hotel's extensive wine cellar.

After checking in, you can stretch your legs on a walk around Knysna. The town's waterfront area is a bustling hub with shops, restaurants, and cafés overlooking a river-fed lagoon. Enjoy a meal with a view, explore local artisanal shops, or take a leisurely stroll along the promenade.

Day 4: Day Trip to Plettenberg Bay & Sunset River Cruise

Travel to some of the most secluded, beautiful beaches on South Africa's southern coast
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It's a quick 30-minute drive east this morning to Plettenberg Bay. This charming seaside town is an ideal spot for a relaxing day trip, as it's famous for its wide, golden beaches and tranquil lagoons. There's plenty to do (and not do) here, be it lazing on the sand, enjoying a tasting at a nearby winery, or sitting down for a fresh seafood lunch at a waterfront café.

After whiling away the hours in Plettenberg Bay, you'll transfer back to Knysna. However, the day is far from over, as you'll head just outside of town to the Knysna River. There, you'll board a catamaran for a luxury cruise down this scenic waterway. The journey culminates with your arrival at the river delta, where you can witness the golden sun dipping below the Indian Ocean.

Day 5: Transfer to Eastern Cape Reserve, Afternoon Game Drive

Settle into your luxury safari lodge, then head out on your first game drive (photo courtesy of Shamwari)

South Africa is famous for its national parks. However, throughout this country, various private game reserves offer the same great wildlife experiences, often without the mass crowds. Today, transfer about four hours up the coast to the Eastern Cape and one such locale: Shamwari Private Game Reserve.

Your destination is the Sindile Safari Lodge. This secluded getaway is nestled deep in the African bushveld (woodlands), overlooking a river and vast savanna plains. Each freestanding tent has luxurious amenities and modern conveniences, like air-conditioning, four-poster king beds, and French tubs with hot water. There's also a communal dining area and bar with a terrace affording views over the reserve. You can even choose from a list of "safari spa" treatments at the on-site wellness center, which includes massages, facials, and hand/foot rituals.

But that's for later. Upon arrival, drop off your things and hop in an open-topped 4WD vehicle for your first game drive in South Africa. This private half-day tour is a great opportunity to spot the legendary Big Five (lions, leopards, buffalo, elephants, and rhinos), all of which can be found at Shamwari. The drive ends late in the afternoon after the sun sets over the savanna. Depending on your arrival time, you can opt for a night game drive followed by an African-style boma dinner full of traditional music, dancing, drumming, food, and entertainment.

Day 6: Full-Day Shamwari Safari Experiences

See big cats, giraffes, and elephants on private game drives (photo courtesy of Shamwari)

Starting around dawn, you'll enjoy a full day of private safari game drives in Shamwari. It's the best time to see the animals at their most active, as they often congregate near water sources early in the morning. Besides the Big Five, other creatures you'll see include giraffes, wildebeest, zebras, and antelope.

After the morning drive, return to camp for lunch, then spend a couple of hours relaxing and enjoying your private plunge pool. Later, meet a ranger guide and hop in a vehicle for another afternoon game drive. As with the safari yesterday, this one doesn't end until the sun goes down. Then, return to camp in time for dinner with the other guests.

Day 7: Transfer to Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), Depart

Embark on one last safari before heading home
Unfortunately, it's your last morning on the great plains of Shamwari. Make the most of it by embarking on one more dawn game drive to say goodbye to all the creatures of the African realm. Later, you'll meet your driver for the transfer to the coastal city of Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), where you'll catch your flight home. Baai!

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Map of Luxury South Africa Highlights: Winelands, Garden Route & Eastern Cape Safari - 7 Days
Map of Luxury South Africa Highlights: Winelands, Garden Route & Eastern Cape Safari - 7 Days