Go off the beaten path in South Africa on this diverse trip which explores the southern tip of the country and its plentiful wildlife. Start in Cape Town and learn its living history, then visit West Coast National Park to discover aquatic life along with rock formations, wildflowers, and prehistoric cave art. Take a series of big game drives in search of the "Big Five" at Kruger National Park, and finish up your journey marveling at the sumptuous vistas of Blyde River Canyon.


  • Enjoy sandy white beaches and fun water sports at Langebaan Lagoon
  • Hunt for wildflowers and rock formations at Cederberg National Reserve
  • Get your camera ready in search of the Big Five at Kruger National Park
  • Revel in the stunning beauty of Blyde River Canyon

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town, Dinner on the V&A Waterfront Cape Town
Day 2 Full-Day City Tour, Robben Island & Table Mountain Cape Town
Day 3 Cape Point, Penguins & Playgrounds Tour Cape Town
Day 4 Drive to Langebaan & West Coast National Park Langebaan
Day 5 Free Time in West Coast National Park Langebaan
Day 6 Drive to Cederberg, Cederberg Ridge Activities Cederberg
Day 7 Spring Wildflower Viewing, Optional Activities in Cederberg Cederberg
Day 8 Fly to Kruger National Park, Private Evening Safari Kruger National Park
Day 9 Full-Day Kruger National Park Safari Kruger National Park
Day 10 Big Five Sunset Game Drive Kruger National Park
Day 11 Transfer to Johannesburg via Blyde River Canyon Johannesburg
Day 12 Depart Johannesburg  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cape Town, Dinner on the V&A Waterfront

Welcome to Cape Town
Aerial view of Cape Town

Welcome to Cape Town! Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will transfer you to your hotel. If you have the energy, head out to get your bearings after settling in. Start by discovering the best vantage point in the city. Hop on the aerial cableway to the summit of Table Mountain and marvel at breathtaking views of the city 3,563 feet (1,086 m) below. Visit the Two Oceans Aquarium to explore the marine 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.

In the evening, you'll head over to the V&A Waterfront. This scenic harbor is a gastronomic and commercial wonderland filled with world-class restaurants, food markets, bars, boutiques, shopping malls, and even day spas. Enjoy dinner here with options ranging from traditional South African cuisine and Asian fusion to sushi and fine dining. 

Day 2: Full-Day City Tour, Robben Island & Table Mountain

Get the full Cape Town experience
Get the entire Cape Town experience on today's tour

This morning, board a ferry for the 40-minute ride to Robben Island. This island is notorious for having housed Nelson Mandela, who spent 18 of his 27 years imprisoned here. Now a museum, you'll take a bus tour around the island and a guided tour of the prison, which includes Mandela's former cell. After returning to the mainland, you'll start the city tour. Drive through the colorful Bo-Kaap neighborhood and see the brightly painted houses influenced by the influx of Malays after the abolition of slavery. Visit Greenmarket Square, formerly a slave market, to shop for souvenirs and crafts.

After lunch, continue your drive to see historic buildings like the 17th-century Castle of Good Hope, the oldest colonial building in South Africa. Finish the tour by hopping back on one of the city's famous cable cars to Table Mountain, where you'll enjoy panoramic views over the city out to Robben Island and catch the sunset over the Atlantic. 

Day 3: Cape Point, Penguins & Playgrounds Tour

Cape Point, Penguins, and Playgrounds
Walk like a penguin at Boulder Beach
Get an early start for the best views of Cape Point, an hour south of Cape Town on the Cape Peninsula. Here, the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, creating a unique ecosystem where flora and fauna like fynbos, baboons, Cape mountain zebras, ostriches, and sugarbirds flourish. Head to the eastern side of Cape Peninsula to Simonstown. Besides its naval base and maritime museum, the town is famous for its African penguin colony at Boulders Beach. Stroll along a network of wooden walkways within this rocky beach inlet to get up close and mingle with the penguins. 

Other afternoon activities include visiting the Kommetjie Imhoff Village farm animals, playing a round of paintball, going for a horseback ride along the beach, or enjoying a coastal train ride from Simonstown to Muizenberg. Afterward, take in views from the Cape Point Vineyards with a glass of wine for the adults and a gourmet picnic dinner for the whole family. Spend the evening strolling through the Noordhoek Village Market, where you'll find crafts and foodie delights. As the sun sets, finish your day with a drive along Chapmans Peak Drive on your return trip to Cape Town.

Day 4: Drive to Langebaan & West Coast National Park

Self Drive from Cape Town to Langebaan
Enjoy ocean sports at Langebaan

Pick up your rental car this morning and set off on a leisurely drive following a scenic coastal route to Langebaan, the "Jewel of the West Coast." Langebaan is the gateway to West Coast National Park, a nature reserve that runs along the coast up to Yzerfontein. The park was established to conserve the Langebaan Lagoon, a designated wetland site, and surrounding landscapes, including the islands in Saldanha Bay. Once you arrive, hike to Seeberg's lookout to catch the beautiful panoramas of the lagoon and its turquoise water.

Plan your trip to South Africa
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
For water activities, you'll have your pick. The world's best kite surfers and windsurfers descend on the lagoon for safe, flat water and consistent breeze. You could rent a kayak, go water skiing, snorkeling, or paddle boarding. Explore the secret beach of Preekstoel for secluded patches of beach, beautiful aquamarine waters, and striking rock formations near the rugged cliff faces. Lounge on the white sandy beaches or wade in the protected lagoon.

Day 5: Free Time in West Coast National Park

West Coast National Park
Zebras in West Coast National Park

The West Coast National Park is home to over 250 bird species, reptiles, and mammals, as well as seasonal visits by pods of whales. Nature lovers will be in their element, spotting gemsboks, zebras, and tortoises as you discover the park's diversity and some of its many possible activities available. If visiting in August and September, view the native wildflowers when the ground beneath your feet explodes into a dazzling patchwork of vibrant, varied daisies. Discover history at Geelbek Visitor's Centre and learn about the park's fauna, flora, and culture.

If you'd like to stay inland, enjoy a leisurely cycle or an exhilarating mountain bike ride through the park's glorious surroundings. All rides start at Langebaan Gate, with the first route taking bikers on a 19-mile (30 km) round route to Geelbek and back. The second trail goes to the ever-beautiful Kraalbaai and back, covering 43 miles (70 km) of terrain. You can also hike and explore the park from the Green Trail up to the Seeberg Bird Hide and back or the Red Trail, which goes to Seeberg Lookout before heading to Mooimaak and back.

Day 6: Drive to Cederberg, Cederberg Ridge Activities

Cederberg Ridge Activities
Rock formations at Cederberg Ridge 

It's a short drive northeast today to Cederberg, the gateway to the UNESCO-listed Cederberg Wilderness Reserve. Once you've checked in to the lodge, you'll have many activities available. Enjoy guided (or independent) walking trails and mountain biking right from the lodge or along the mountain ranges, which are part of the reserve. Or take a rock art walk excursion. The area is teeming with the great and ancient rock art of the San Bushmen people, and you'll learn more about these first inhabitants of South Africa from your guide along the way.

Visit a local rooibos tea farm where you can see how they grow and process the tea. Of course, you'll be able to taste it too. Go bird watching on Lambert's Bay Bird Island, with its vast array of gannets and cormorants. Nearby, the Clanwilliam Dam provides a stunning setting for a sunset cruise and water-based activities in the evening. With the mountain as your backdrop, soak up the fiery sky at dusk on a sundowner cruise, and go star gazing before bed to learn all the mysteries of the constellations with a guide.

Day 7: Spring Wildflower Viewing, Optional Activities in Cederberg

Spring Wild Flowers
Spring wildflowers in Cederberg

If you're fortunate enough to be in Cederberg in August, enjoy a self-drive tour over the Pakhuis Pass to the Biedouw Valley to view the spring wildflowers. After winter rains, the normally dry land of Agter-Pakhuis becomes a carpet of flowers with nemesias, lachenalias, babiana, and ixias seen in great profusion. Other areas for spring flowers include the Botterkloof Valley and Nardouwsberg. If you visit outside of August, there are other activities to try. Go on a walking tour or game drive in one of the spectacular nearby nature reserves. Explore the wilderness and enjoy ever-changing landscapes.

Savor a traditional lunch before getting a massage and indulge in a combination of soothing treatments based on ancient African traditions and the aromatic power of healing plant oils. Following an afternoon of relaxation, there is much to be seen (and heard) after sunset. You may want to explore this dark world on an after-dinner drive under a canopy of stars. Enjoy unparalleled stargazing and spot elusive, nocturnal wildlife highlights such as the aardwolf, African wildcat, bat-eared fox, Cape fox, and porcupine.

Day 8: Fly to Kruger National Park, Private Evening Safari 

Sunset in Kruger
Sunset in Kruger with the elephants

Brace yourself for the Big Five! Today, you'll drive to the airport in Cape Town, drop off your rental car, and catch a flight to Hoedspruit airport. A driver will be waiting to take you to the lodge in Kruger National Park. Take some time to freshen up and relax. Have a drink at the bar to unwind, go for a swim, or stroll around the lodge to stretch your legs after the day's travel. 

In the evening, board an open Land Cruiser for your first game drive in the park. This is a thrilling and exciting opportunity to see Africa's big wildlife up close. The Big Five include elephants, buffalo, rhinos, lions, and leopards, and they were named by big-game hunters for being five of Africa's most dangerous animals to hunt. Keep your eyes peeled for predators as you cruise around the park in the comfort of your vehicle. When darkness falls, the tour guides use spotlights to scan the savanna for nocturnal animals. Finish the evening with dinner and drinks as you listen to the sounds of bush life after dark.

Day 9: Full-Day Kruger National Park Safari

Spot leopards on a safari in Kruger National Park
Spot leopards on a safari in Kruger National Park
After an early wake-up call, you'll hop in a 4WD vehicle and head to the Orpen Gate, one of the western entrances to Kruger National Park. It's guaranteed to be exciting because this region has the greatest concentration of animals in the whole of Kruger. And from your elevated position in an open-topped 4WD safari vehicle, you'll enjoy the perfect vantage point to snap photos. There's no rush, either, as you'll have the entire day for wildlife viewing and spotting exotic birds. 

Leading this unforgettable wildlife tour will be an expert guide who will search out giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, and impalas—because where these animals are found, lions and other apex predators aren't far behind. You can also spot some of Kruger's incredible 517 species of birds, including starlings, hornbills, and the occasional ostrich. There will be various stops throughout the day to stretch your legs and take a lunch break. You'll return to the lodge in time for dinner at the end of the afternoon.

Day 10: Big Five Sunset Game Drive

Big 5 Sunset Game Drive
Keep your camera handy on game drives

Spend today relaxing at the lodge. Feel free to sit back and unwind by the pool or take a spa treatment to soothe your sore muscles. For those with more energy, go bird-watching with a local guide or take a safari bush walk. You'll hike across Kruger's beautiful savanna grasslands during a three-to-four-hour excursion led by certified safari rangers. As you go, your expert guide will impart fascinating facts about the surrounding flora and fauna, including bush survival skills and tips on tracking animals.

This evening board an open game-viewing Land Cruiser for another sunset drive. Don't forget your camera—the light is perfect for capturing the park's wildlife. Pause as night falls at the Marula Tree Boma, an enclosure deep in the bush where you'll find a clearing full of flickering lanterns and dishes grilled over open fires. Dinner will be an unforgettable braai or bush barbecue. Then continue your quest, searching for nocturnal wildlife by a spotlight as you make your way back to the lodge.

Day 11: Transfer to Johannesburg via Blyde River Canyon

The Three Rondavels, at Blyde River Canyon
The Three Rondavels at Blyde River Canyon

Before leaving your accommodation, consider waking up early for a sunrise walk before breakfast. Afterward, your driver will pick you up for the ride to Johannesburg. Along the way, you'll stop at the awe-inspiring Blyde River Canyon. At 66,585 acres (26,946 ha), this is the third-largest canyon in the world. Its soaring cliffs rise as high as 2,625 feet (800 m), and much of it is blanketed in lush, subtropical foliage. Among the many impressive vistas, the canyon also offers breathtaking views of Three Rondavels—colossal rock formations that resemble ancient stone beehive huts. 

After some time snapping photos around Blyde, you'll get back on the road and should arrive in Johannesburg at around dinner time. When you do, your driver will drop you off at your accommodation, and you can then spend the evening relaxing at your hotel or opt to have dinner at one of the prestige restaurants in the heart of the city.

Day 12: Depart Johannesburg

Farewell South Africa!
Today you will depart South Africa with wonderful memories to hold onto forever. After checking out of your accommodation, your driver will transfer you to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of South Africa's Hidden Gems: Cape Town, Langebaan, Cederberg & Kruger National Park  - 12 Days
Map of South Africa's Hidden Gems: Cape Town, Langebaan, Cederberg & Kruger National Park - 12 Days