This two-week adventure delivers the grand highlights and lesser-visited gems of southern Africa. Arrive in Cape Town to witness living history on walking tours and go wine tasting in the famous Cape Winelands. Jet off to Zimbabwe for sunset river cruises and vintage train rides around Victoria Falls, then hop over to Botswana for game drives in Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta. Your trip culminates back in South Africa with more safari adventures in Kruger National Park.

Highlights

  • Enjoy city tours and wine tastings in and around Cape Town
  • Take a sunset cruise along the Zambezi River and marvel at Victoria Falls
  • Spot Big Five game animals like lions and elephants on safari game drives
  • Explore the unique ecosystem of the Okavango River Delta in Botswana

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town, Traditional African Dinner Cape Town
Day 2 Cape Town Guided City Tour Cape Town
Day 3 Full-Day Winelands Tour Cape Town
Day 4 Free Day in Cape Town Cape Town
Day 5 Fly to Victoria Falls, Sunset Cruise Victoria Falls
Day 6 Tour Victoria Falls Victoria Falls
Day 7 Transfer to Chobe National Park Chobe
Day 8 Optional Activities in Chobe National Park Chobe
Day 9 Fly to the Okavango Delta, Afternoon Game Drive Okavango Delta
Day 10 Okavango Canoe Tour & Walking Safari Okavango Delta
Day 11 Okavango Game Drive, Fly to Johannesburg Johannesburg
Day 12 Fly to Kruger National Park, Sunset Safari Kruger National Park
Day 13 Full-Day Safari in Kruger National Park Kruger National Park
Day 14 Kruger Bush Walk, Transfer to Johannesburg & Depart   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cape Town, Traditional African Dinner

Welcome to Cape Town

Welcome to Cape Town and South Africa! This beautiful nation at the end of the continent is home to a diverse population and was even christened "Rainbow Nation" by Archbishop Desmund Tutu. Roughly 80% of South Africans are of Bantu ancestry from various ethnic groups. The remainder comes from primarily European, Asian (Indian, Chinese, and others from the formerly enslaved/indentured population), and mixed-race ancestry. You'll both see and feel this diversity and complicated history on the streets of Cape Town.

Upon arrival at Cape Town's airport, a driver will meet you and take you to your hotel in the city. After settling in, you'll have the rest of the day free to explore. Perhaps head to the V&A Waterfront. This historic harbor is popular with both locals and visitors due to its wealth of restaurants, bars, shops, and cafés. It's a great place to relax and sip a cocktail or coffee amid epic waterfront views backed by the looming plateau of Table Mountain.

Later, sit down for a traditional African dining experience in which you'll enjoy a 14-dish tasting menu that spans the continent. But the food is only part of the experience. Each night on the restaurant's stage, African musicians and dancers perform for the guests. This is particularly fun for children—in addition to learning how to perform basic beats on a djembe (a type of traditional drum), they can hop on stage and dance along with the performers. They'll even get to enjoy traditional Mali puppetry. 

Day 2: Cape Town Guided City Tour

The Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town
See more of Cape Town today with a half-day guided tour of the city. Explore its historic landmarks as you learn about South Africa's history and the people who shaped it. Stops along the way include the Company's Garden, the Houses of Parliament, the 17th-century Castle of Good Hope, and the Iziko Slave Lodge. You'll also visit Green Market Square, which once served as a slave market but these days hosts a popular flea market. Afterward, you'll return to your hotel and will have the rest of the day free.

Day 3: Full-Day Winelands Tour

Cape Winelands
The vineyards of Cape Winelands
Plan your trip to South Africa
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Embark on one of the most popular activities in the region with a tasting tour through the Cape Winelands. This part of the Western Cape of South Africa is home to more than 500 wineries, and today you'll get to visit several of the best. A bonus is that Cape Town's wine country is incredibly beautiful, so the drives between estates will be scenic and unforgettable experiences in their own right. 

The guide will pick you up in the morning, and then it will be up to you which of the six viticulture regions of Cape Winelands you'd like to visit (of course, there will be recommendations according to your specific tastes). At each estate, you'll taste incredible cabernets, syrahs, and other varietals and pair them with delicious tidbits like homemade goat cheese and artisanal chocolates. You'll return to Cape Town in the late afternoon. 

Day 4: Free Day in Cape Town

The colorful homes of Bo-Kaap in Cape Town

Spend the day exploring Cape Town's most iconic and culturally significant landmarks. Head out on a stroll (or take a city bus) to the V&A Waterfront. From here, you can board a ferry for the 40-minute ride to Robben Island. Before being shut down in 1996, this notorious island housed Black South African political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, who spent 18 of his 27 imprisoned years here. Today, though, it's a museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site. On a tour, you can visit Mandela's former cell.

Back on the mainland, make time for a visit to the colorful Bo-Kaap. The brightly painted houses of this charming neighborhood on the slopes of Signal Hill belie a painful history. Back in the late 18th century, enslaved peoples from Malaysia and Indonesia were brought to South Africa and housed in this area. When they were finally granted the right to own property, they painted their formerly all-white houses bright colors as a symbolic expression of their new freedom.

Day 5: Fly to Victoria Falls & Sunset Cruise

Sunset over the Zambezi River

In the morning, you'll transfer to the airport in Cape Town to catch a three-hour flight north to Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls. Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will pick you up and transfer you to your accommodation. Later in the day, you'll hop in a boat for a safari cruise down the mighty Zambezi River as the African sun sets over the horizon. It's an unforgettable experience traveling down the same waterway that feeds Victoria Falls.

As you continue down the river, you'll be treated to the sight of giant crocodiles sunning themselves on the banks, families of hippos soaking in the water, and herds of elephants bathing in the river. And as wild zebras line up on the banks to enjoy their last sip of the day, keep an eye out for flycatchers and herons skimming the waterline. After sunset, you'll head to shore and return to your accommodation. 

Day 6: Tour Victoria Falls

Witness the majesty of Victoria Falls

No trip to southern Africa would be complete without witnessing the spectacle of Mother Nature that is Victoria Falls—the largest waterfall on earth. Here, 17,657 million cubic feet (500 million cubic m) of water cascade over the edge of sheer basalt cliffs every minute. Its different cataracts vary in size, but the tallest is Rainbow Falls, which plunges 354 feet (108 m) into a river gorge below. There is a semi-permanent rainbow here, and during the rainy season, you can see the misty spray from 12 miles (20 km) away.

You'll witness all this grandeur and more on a 2.5-hour guided tour. It begins upon arrival at the rainforest entrance to Victoria Falls National Park. After spending time enjoying the falls and snapping plenty of photos, return to the park entrance, where you can browse a craft market. There's a large selection of high-quality items made by local artisans that make great souvenirs to take back home. To end the day, step back in time with a trip on the Bushtracks Express, where you'll enjoy a five-course gourmet dinner as you travel along the edge of the falls at sunset in a restored steam train.

Day 7: Transfer to Chobe National Park

See the famous elephants of Chobe National Park
See the famous elephants of Chobe National Park
Transfer west by land this morning into Botswana and Chobe National Park, where you'll check in to your accommodation. After settling in, you can head out and explore. This 12,597-sq-foot (11,700 sq m) reserve is the first national park in Botswana (it was created in 1967) and is famous for its 100,000 Kalahari elephants that congregate near the Chobe River. This waterway is also a haven for other exotic wildlife, including lions, leopards, hippos, giraffes, wildebeest, and plenty more.

Day 8: Optional Activities in Chobe National Park

There are giraffes and zebras here too

For your second day in Chobe, you can choose from a number of optional activities. These include safari game drives, boat cruises down the Chobe River, fishing trips, and day trips to Victoria Falls. More specialized tours include sunset boat cruises, private boat hire, scenic flights over Victoria Falls, and Namibian village tours.

The park is divided into a series of unique ecosystems, including marshland, swamp, and dry savanna. One of the best areas to spot wildlife is along the Chobe riverfront, where you're likely to spot crocodiles and hippos in the water. Watch as plentiful herds of zebras, gazelles, and buffalo flock to the banks to drink, and keep an eye out for the predators who are never far behind. 

Day 9: Fly to the Okavango Delta, Afternoon Game Drive

See lions in the Okavango Delta
See lions in the Okavango Delta

At the appropriate time, you'll check out of your accommodation and transfer to Kasane Airport, where you'll take a one-hour charter flight to the Okavango Delta. The remote Okavango is an inland river delta that, rather than emptying into an ocean, dissipates at an inland basin in northern Botswana. During the seasonal flooding, these grassy plains turn into wetlands that are a haven for exotic wildlife. In the morning, you'll embark on a safari that will put you up close to the endemic wildlife of the area.

It begins when you hop in a 4WD vehicle with your expert guide and head off into the delta wetlands. Go searching for Big Five safari animals like lions, leopards, elephants, and buffalo as you scan the woodlands for antelope, giraffes, and zebras. Also, on the edges of the delta, you can marvel at herds of elephants bathing in the shallow channels. At the end of the excursion, you can return to your accommodation or continue on a nocturnal game drive to see more rare animals, like the armored pangolin.

Day 10: Okavango Canoe Tour & Walking Safari

Glide over the water on a tradtional mokoro canoe
Glide across the water in a traditional mokoro canoe
On this excursion, you'll traverse Okavango's maze of clear channels and opaque lagoons on a traditional mokoro boat. Once carved out of ancient delta trees, today, these vessels are made from environmentally friendly fiberglass. You'll sit mere inches above the water as you silently glide past the unsuspecting wildlife in this biodiversity hotspot. Encounter grazing herds of elephants and red lechwe antelope while crocodiles and hippos wade under the watchful eye of the stately African fish eagle.

Later, you'll eschew the 4WD vehicles in favor of joining an expert guide on a safari bush walk. As you follow the trails through the wetlands, your guide will reveal the fundamentals of animal tracking. In doing so, you'll learn to identify certain animals just by their footprint. You'll also get to observe the delta's magnificent birdlife. Spot the rare go-away bird, the iridescent lilac-breasted roller, the brown snake eagle, and the grey-headed kingfisher. After the walk, you'll return to your accommodation.

Day 11: Okavango Game Drive, Fly to Johannesburg

You'll spot plenty of hippos in Okavango

In the morning, you'll head out on an early half-day safari in the Okavango Delta. This is a great opportunity to try and spot some of the Big Five game animals you might have missed over the last few days. Afterward, you'll check out of your accommodation, transfer to the airport for the one-hour flight to Kasane, and then connect to Johannesburg. Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will transfer you to your hotel in the city.

Day 12: Fly to Kruger National Park, Sunset Safari

Spot rhinos on a sunset safari
Spot rhinos on a sunset safari

You're back on the move today with a transfer to the airport in Johannesburg for the one-hour flight to Kruger National Park. Upon arrival, a driver will pick you up and transfer you to the premier safari lodge in the area: Tremisana. Here, walkways pass between palm and bougainvillea-filled gardens to 15 chalets, each equipped with modern conveniences like en suite bathrooms and air conditioning. After check-in, feel free to relax and perhaps take a refreshing dip in the pool.

At dusk, you'll board an open-topped 4WD vehicle and embark on a sunset safari to spot some of the park's plentiful wildlife, including rare black rhinos. After enjoying an African sunset over the savanna, your guide will lead you on a nocturnal wildlife tour. With powerful spotlights, you might spy animals like hyenas and lions out for their nightly hunt. Before returning to the lodge, you'll break for a traditional bush braai (South African bbq) dinner.

Day 13: Full-Day Safari in Kruger National Park

Spend the day on a game drive in Kruger
Spend the day on a game drive in Kruger
Today's full-day safari begins before sunrise as you travel to one of the best wildlife-viewing areas in Kruger. You'll spend the day visiting the watering holes and river areas where grazing herds of animals tend to congregate. Enjoy a pre-packed breakfast before heading out in search of the Big Five safari animals, plus other exotic mammals and bird species. Lunch will be served at one of the rest camps within the park. Afterward, you'll return to your accommodation for a leisurely afternoon at the lodge.

Day 14: Kruger Bush Walk, Drive to Johannesburg & Depart

The Three Rondavels, in Blyde River Canyon

Wake up early and experience the wonders of Africa's exotic wildlife one last time on a safari bush walk. During this three to four-hour excursion led by certified safari rangers, you'll hike across Kruger's beautiful savanna grasslands in search of the Big Five. 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.

Afterward, you'll leave the savanna behind as your driver picks you up for the ride to Johannesburg. Along the way, you'll stop at 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 subtropical foliage. Besides its many impressive vistas, the canyon also offers breathtaking views of the 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 in the early evening. You'll transfer to the airport at the appropriate time to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

More Great South Africa Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to South Africa? Check out these other South Africa itineraries, explore more ways to spend two weeks in South Africa, and learn about the best time to visit South Africa.

Map

Map of Southern Africa Highlights: Wildlife & Natural Wonders - 14 Days
Map of Southern Africa Highlights: Wildlife & Natural Wonders - 14 Days