Get a quick taste of South Africa on this six-day itinerary. Between the two major metropolises of Cape Town and Johannesburg, you'll be able to sample the country's many culinary influences on walking tours, around the braai, and more.

Highlights

  • Sip the vintages of the Cape Winelands
  • Visit a family-owned spice shop since 1946
  • Participate in interactive storytelling in Soweto
  • Learn to cook potjies-style

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town Cape Town
Day 2 Wine Tour in the Cape Winelands Cape Town
Day 3 Guided Cuisine & Culture Tour Cape Town
Day 4 Cape Town to Johannesburg & Storytelling Around the Fire Johannesburg
Day 5 Soweto Township & Cooking Class Johannesburg
Day 6 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 exploring the city. 

Known as the 'Rainbow Nation,' Cape Town and South Africa have a long and complicated history involving a multitude of ethnic and cultural groups. The area's history starts with the indigenous Khoisan and Bantu people, who were the primary residents of the area until the Portuguese and Dutch arrived in South Africa, beginning a centuries-long occupation. 

These days, South Africa is home to a diverse population. Roughly 80% of South Africans are of Bantu ancestry from a variety of ethnic groups, each with a distinct language. The remainder of the community is made up primarily of European, Asian (Indian, Chinese, and others from the formerly enslaved and indentured population), and mixed-race (Cape Coloured) ancestry. 

After checking in to your accommodation, spend the afternoon 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: Wine Tour in the Cape Winelands

Winery in Franschhoek
Winery in Franschhoek

Start the morning with a pick up from a local guide for a laidback, 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 the best wines South Africa has to offer. 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 3: 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 multi-cultural culinary influences are as vibrant as the communities where they originate. A lot of the food in South Africa is sourced fresh, so the tastings will depend on the time of year and season. 

To understand South Africa's cuisine, you need to understand the country's history. From the indigenous Bantu and Khoisan people to the Dutch and English colonists, the formerly enslaved Indonesian, Madagascan, and East African peoples, and the Indian and Chinese indentured workers and immigrants, the country has a wide variety of ethnic and culinary diversity. 

It was South Africa's colorful cultures that prompted Nelson Mandela,  a leader of the anti-apartheid movement and the country's first black president, to coin the term 'Rainbow Nation' to describe the country. 

One of South Africa's many ethnic groups are the Cape Malays, a name that's derived from the Cape of Good Hope and the Malay people, originally from Southeast Asia and the East Indies. The Cape Malays are the only cultural group of their kind in the world. Originally brought to South Africa from Dutch colonies as enslaved people, political prisoners, or exiles, they trace their origins to communities from India to Eastern Indonesia. 

Multiple groups make up the Cape Malay ethnicity, but the commonality which ties them all together is the maize (corn) that serves as the primary food staple. You'll spend part of the day exploring Cape Town's Cape Malay cuisine, as well as others. 

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 a variety of 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 4: Cape Town 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

Soweto's history stems back to the early 1900s when the government began forcibly separating blacks from whites by removing the black population from the city and relocating them into separate areas. These were separated from the white neighborhoods by a cordon sanitaire (sanitary corridor) like a river, road, or industrial area. 

Several prominent individuals have called the district home including Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and the South African comedian Trevor Noah. 

The area experienced civil unrest during the Apartheid era, with the most notable riots occurring in 1976. The riots followed a rule that Afrikaans should be the official language for schools of black Africans in the area (most of whom spoke indigenous African languages). Tens of thousands of black students took to the streets to protest the decision. The demonstrators were met with police violence and brutality; several hundred students were killed, and many more were injured. 

One of the murdered students was 12-year-old Hector Pieterson. His story became the face of the student uprising after a photo of his body being carried by an older student gained international fame. The Hector Pieterson Memorial Site commemorates the students' bravery. 

Spend the afternoon exploring on your own. In the evening, experience first-hand 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 5: Soweto Township & Cooking Class

Street art
Street art

In the morning head out for a half-day tour of the Soweto Township. 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 mid-morning treat and a quick shop for souvenirs. Enjoy lunch at a relaxed outdoor restaurant. 

In the evening, join the chefs of the outdoor kitchen and restaurant 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 your dinner under the starlight at the community park around the boma (an outdoor dining enclosure with a fire at the center)

Day 6: Depart Johannesburg

Sunrise over Johannesburg
Sunrise over Johannesburg

Transfer to the airport for your connecting flight home.

Map

Map of South Africa Food & Wine Tour: Cape Town, Winelands, & Johannesburg - 6 Days
Map of South Africa Food & Wine Tour: Cape Town, Winelands, & Johannesburg - 6 Days