Experience 11 days of edible education with this South Africa itinerary. You'll learn about the history of Cape Town via a food tour, followed by lessons in wine appreciation, salt curing, and oyster tasting along the Garden Route. Continue the curriculum in Johannesburg with dinner and storytelling around a fire, a cast-iron cooking class, and more—all complete with samples.


  • Collect and create with farm-fresh ingredients in Elgin
  • Learn about the history of South African wine
  • Sample the famous oysters of the Knysna Lagoon
  • Hear the complex history of Soweto Township
  • Have dinner 197 feet (60 m) in the sky above Johannesburg

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town Cape Town
Day 2 Guided Cuisine & Culture Tour Cape Town
Day 3 Wine Tour in the Cape Winelands Cape Town
Day 4 Elgin Food Tour Elgin
Day 5 Wine & Dine on the Garden Route Knysna
Day 6 Knysna Heads Oyster Tour Knysna
Day 7 Transfer to Johannesburg, Storytelling Around the Fire Johannesburg
Day 8 Soweto Township & Cooking Class Johannesburg
Day 9 The Cradle of Humankind, Sterkfontein Caves & African Dinner Johannesburg
Day 10 Yeoville Culinary Tour & Dinner in the Sky Johannesburg
Day 11 Depart Johannesburg  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cape Town

Cape Town with Table Mountain in the background
Cape Town with Table Mountain in the background

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 relaxing, taking in the views, and exploring the town. In the evening, head to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. Shop for art and crafts at the expansive Watershed market, visit the Two Oceans Aquarium to explore underwater life, or enjoy a harbor cruise as you watch the sunset. Other options include the Diamond Museum, which explores the history of the diamond rush in South Africa, or a helicopter flight to see Cape Town's sights from the sky.

For dinner,  choose from a variety of restaurant and bar options.

Day 2: Guided Cuisine & Culture Tour

Colorful spices
Colorful spices

Spend the day exploring Cape Town's incredibly diverse cultures through an international medium: food. South Africa's multicultural culinary influences are as vibrant as the communities where they originate. A lot of the food in South Africa is sourced fresh. Therefore, the tastings will depend on the time of year and season.

Start your guided tour with a walk through the Company's Gardens, established by Dutch colonists as a supply station, to sample Rooibos tea and rusks, an Afrikaaner biscuit. Continue to the Earth Fair Market on St. George's Mall to sample local treats from various vendors, then head to the Bo Kaap, the colorful Cape Malay district, for a traditional Cape Malay lunch. Stop in and visit Atlas Trading, a family-owned spice shop that's been in operation since 1946.

From here, take the city bus to the trendy suburb of Woodstock to sample craft beer and locally produced gin, then round out the day with a visit to an artisanal chocolate factory. Return to your accommodation in the late afternoon to enjoy a free evening in the Cape Town city center.

Day 3: Wine Tour in the Cape Winelands

Winery in Franschhoek
Winery in Franschhoek

Start the morning with a pickup from a local guide for a laid-back, full-day wine tour through the Cape Winelands. From the minute you step out the door, your experience today is perfectly curated, so you don't have to worry about a thing—besides sipping wine. The Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve, which extends from the Kogelberg Reserve in the south along the Cape Fold Mountain Chain to the north, is an internationally recognized area within the Western Cape's Floral Kingdom.

You'll spend the day exploring the rolling hills of the Winelands, visiting wineries in the Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, or Elgin Wine Regions. Today will be spent eating mouthwatering foods and drinking some of South Africa's best wines. The region's wineries offer a variety of whites and reds, as well as their own blends and styles. Enjoy the scenery and the beautiful vineyards and white-gabled farmsteads that dot the landscape, then return to Cape Town in time for dinner. 

Day 4: Elgin Food Tour

Pear plantation
Pear plantation

Spend the morning at Rosenhoff Farm, an organic farm-to-table establishment that features vegan options and sustainable agriculture. After an educational walk through the farm, enjoy vegan snacks and a cooking demonstration. Afterward, head to the next-door food stall, where you'll learn about the local process of smoking meat and sausages. Combining slow-smoking, blue smoke methods, and local wood chips with heritage breeds of meat, the result is a mouthwatering barbecue with perfect flavor. Enjoy a cooking demonstration, then dive into ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and plenty of sides.

In the afternoon, head to one of Elgin's elite wine farms for a salt-curing cooking course. The focus of this method is on authenticity and quality ingredients. Start with a welcome of warm bread, followed by an explanation of the various salts and their flavor profiles. Depending on the season and what's available, feast on local produce and home cooking. Enjoy appetizers like fresh tomato slices, wasabi cream pine nuts, and crispy onions. Don't miss the cured trout with salmon mousse and horseradish emulsion and the braised pork belly sourced from a neighboring farm. Follow up with seared hake, mussel velouté, and squid ink tagliatelle, then round out your meal with Thai spiced custard or a banana split for dessert.

Return to your accommodation in the late afternoon for a relaxing evening.

Plan your trip to South Africa
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 5: Wine & Dine on the Garden Route

Knysna lagoon
Knysna lagoon

Start your morning with a hotel pickup, then head to Knysna on the coast for a 5-star wine and food tour. You'll follow the Garden Route from vineyard to ocean, experiencing the best of the region.

Spend the day sipping sparkling wine and eating snacks on the beach, learning about South African wine history, and relaxing on a horse-drawn carriage ride through boutique vineyards. Enjoy a wine and chocolate pairing, then tuck into a South African platter lunch. In the afternoon, explore the exquisite rose gardens, then end the day with a venison biltong platter paired with some more wine and sunset views.

Day 6: Knysna Heads Oyster Tour

Knysna waterfront
Knysna waterfront

In the morning, head to the Featherbed Nature Reserve on the Western Head in Knysna. Spend the first half of the day enjoying the scenery, including indigenous fynbos and a multitude of wildflowers and shrubs. Start your trip with a ferry ride across the Knysna Lagoon, then board a 4WD vehicle for a drive through the forest. Stop to see spectacular viewpoints, then stretch your legs on a short (1.4 mi/ 2.2 km) walk through the coastal forest and fynbos to see ancient sea caves. Afterward, enjoy a buffet lunch at an outdoor restaurant under a canopy of milkwood trees.

In the afternoon, take in the sights from the water on an oyster cruise on the Knysna Lagoon. Learn about one of the world's most loved delicacies and enjoy tasting wild and cultivated oysters while cruising around the lagoon. Round out the experience with a glass of white wine on the deck.

In the evening, transfer back to your accommodation.

Day 7: Transfer to Johannesburg, Storytelling Around the Fire

Johannesburg skyline
Johannesburg skyline

In the morning, head to the airport for your domestic flight to Johannesburg. After arriving, take some time to settle in, then head out for a storytelling evening in the Soweto Township. Spend the afternoon exploring on your own. In the evening, experience firsthand accounts of Soweto's history from the township's residents. You'll listen to stories of freedom fighters, students from the 1976 uprising, and other key historical figures. Enjoy live art performances and music as you feast on a traditional African dinner under the starry night skies.

Day 8: Soweto Township & Cooking Class

Street art
Street art

Head out for a half-day tour of the Soweto Township in the morning. Take a bicycle or yellow tuk-tuk, or stroll around the Orlando West area with your local guide. You'll pass by historical sites and learn the history of this vibrant community.

Stop by the Hector Pieterson Memorial, then enjoy a quiet stroll down Vilazaki Street to see the former homes of Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu. Visit the Nelson Mandela Museum to learn about the legacy of South Africa's first Black president, then continue exploring the area. Along the way, you'll pass street vendors selling fresh fruit, snacks, and various African art—the perfect excuse to stop for a midmorning treat and a quick shop for souvenirs. Enjoy lunch at a relaxed outdoor restaurant.

In the evening, join the outdoor kitchen and restaurant chefs and learn to cook the traditional way: in potjies (cast iron pots) over a fire. Combine the fresh vegetables and herbs from the on-site garden with local ingredients from the market, then blend it all with spices to stir up a typical Sowetan braai, a South African take on the barbecue. Enjoy dinner in the starlight at the community park around the boma (an outdoor dining enclosure with a fire at the center)

Day 9: The Cradle of Humankind, Sterkfontein Caves & African Dinner

Art exhibit at Cradle of Humankind
Art exhibit at Cradle of Humankind

In the morning, make your way to the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, one of 10 similar sites in the country. The area is famous for its complex of fossil-bearing caves, many of which contain a superbly preserved record of the evolution of humankind over the past four million years. It's the world's richest early hominid site and boasts around 40 percent of all known human-ancestor fossils. The recent discovery of Homo naledi, a previously unknown species, in a remote and hard-to-access cave put the Cradle of Humankind back in the global spotlight.

Learn about all this and more at the Maropeng Visitor Center, which features award-winning exhibits that explore the development of humans and our ancestors through time. View fossils, learn about the history of humankind, and see million-year-old stone tools as you journey through human history.

After lunch, visit the Sterkfontein Caves, famous for their fossils and easy visitor access. Tour the caves on the modern walkways and boardwalk that pass by the excavation site. Here, dozens of notable discoveries took place, including the unearthing of the fossils of Mrs. Ples and Little Foot—a nearly complete Australopithecus skeleton that dates back more than three million years.

For dinner, head to the Chief's Boma Restaurant for an interactive culinary experience that spans the African continent. Enjoy sundowners or craft beer on the deck overlooking the Boma Dam, then meander through the herb garden before sitting down to enjoy your meal to the music of the African Marimba Band. With over 120 options ranging from North African Moroccan Dishes to a "Big Five Game Kebab" made from five kinds of antelope, you're sure to find something to suit your tastes. After dinner, enjoy a glass of wine and roasted marshmallows over a cozy fire.

Day 10: Yeoville Culinary Tour & Dinner in the Sky

Ponte building interior
Ponte building interior

Meet your guide and driver in the morning for a full-day culinary experience. Start in the 54-story Ponte Building, in an apartment on the top floor, for sweeping views of the city. Learn about the remarkable story of this building, which was once considered one of Africa's most luxurious high-rise properties. After falling into decay in the 1990s, the building is being revived with a story that reflects the turbulent history of Johannesburg as a whole.

From here, continue to Rockey Street in Yeoville, a Pan-African neighborhood famed for Congolese bars and West African eateries. Learn about the area's history, including its past as a whites-only community and transformation to a cultural melting pot for everything African. Experience Ghanaian cooking at a Yeoville street market and browse local stalls, where everything from yams, fresh and dried fish, and a variety of fruit crowd the vendors' tables. This market is where many local restaurants source their ingredients for mouthwatering dishes.

Visit a Nigerian bar and restaurant to sample a selection of yams, breadfruit, beans, goat stew, their take on spaghetti Bolognese, and succulent fish. For a different cuisine, stop at an Ethiopian restaurant where a variety of meats and vegetables are served atop injera, an Ethiopian sourdough flatbread. Follow up the meal with Ethiopian coffee—a cultural and culinary experience.

Transfer back to your accommodation to freshen up before you head out for your evening meal. Dinner tonight is an adventure at Dinner in the Sky, a unique restaurant experience that lifts a dinner table and its guests 200 ft (60 m) into the air for the duration of the meal. With enough seating for 22 people and three staff (chef, server, and entertainer), the intimate and exhilarating experience is sure to leave a lasting impression. 

Day 11: Depart Johannesburg

Sunrise over Johannesburg
Sunrise over Johannesburg

Depending on your departure details, you may have time to pick up any last-minute souvenirs before transferring to the airport for your connecting flight home.

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Map of South Africa Food & Wine Tour: Cape Town, Garden Route & Johannesburg - 11 Days
Map of South Africa Food & Wine Tour: Cape Town, Garden Route & Johannesburg - 11 Days
Written by Sonya Pevzner, updated Nov 29, 2022