The approximately 250 mile (400 km) stretch of coastline from Heidelberg to the Tsitsikamma Forest and Jeffreys Bay boasts a remarkable kaleidoscope of topography, vegetation, and outdoor activities. This area provides as complete an experience as the country can offer, including Cape Town, wine tasting in Cape Winelands, Oudtshoorn (with its abundance of ostriches), nearby game parks, and even cage diving with great white sharks. The information below will help you plan an appropriate itinerary for your schedule and interests.
South Africa Travel Insights
South Africa, with its expansive size, varied topography, and coastlines bordering both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, conjures diverse weather patterns. While summer sun shines on the cloudless Cape Provinces, rain deluges the safari parks of KwaZulu Natal and Greater Kruger. As a consequence, with game reserves scattered throughout the country, the choice of where and when to visit can leave you scratching your head. The following information will help you weigh your priorities and determine which season and destination is right for you in this country of many climates.
Kruger National Park is a year-round destination, but understanding how the dry and wet seasons affect game-viewing is key. Depending on how you weigh your priorities, the following information will help you decide which season is right for you.
Planning your trip to Cape Town requires flipping your mental calendar, as the southern hemisphere’s seasons are a reverse of the northern hemisphere. South Africa’s hot, dry, and popular summer (December-February) corresponds to North America’s winter, and vice versa. However, you should also factor in when best to avoid the crowds and find the most reasonable rates. Depending on how you weigh these factors, the following information will help you decide which season is right for you.
Kruger is the park with the greatest diversity of wildlife in South Africa, and you could spend up to a week enjoying safari and nature walks here. A minimum of two days will give you a real taste for the park’s stupendous wildlife viewing, but you’ll want at least five days to truly appreciate its diversity. With a park this spectacular, even two weeks isn't too long, especially when combined with Victoria Falls.
You can have a great safari adventure in South Africa in as little as a long weekend. With game parks scattered throughout the nation, you can easily access one or more reserves close to Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, or Durban if you have only a few days to spare. Of course, a week or more is recommended for a more diverse experience across different parks and regions, including game drives, bush walks, and even a hot-air balloon “safari.” Two weeks would let you combine several distinct parks and reserves in South Africa as well as its neighbors, including Greater Kruger, Victoria Falls, and the Kalahari, plus other highlights of the region.
South Africa is a year-round destination thanks to its varied landscapes—it's always sunny somewhere. No matter what season you visit in, you'll find something to do: Kruger safaris in winter, Hermanus whale watching in spring, Cape Town beaches in the summer, Franschoek wine in the fall. Visit during spring or autumn when the weather is predictable and mild, wildlife is active, and there are fewer crowds. Read on for advice on South Africa's weather, unmissable events, and travel tips.
South Africa Safari & Cities: Johannesburg, Kruger Private Reserves, Cape Town, & Winelands - 13 Days
Experience the best of South Africa on this two-week itinerary, from the privately owned game reserves of the north to the internationally-acclaimed wines of Franschhoek. Fly into Johannesburg, then spend a week on safari at looking for Africa's Big 5 near Kruger. Continue to Cape Town where you'll rent a car, allowing you to drive along the Atlantic Seaboard and take an overnight trip to the Winelands. This itinerary combines a variety of activities with enough free time to explore at your own pace.
This two-week trip takes you through South Africa and into Botswana, starting in the vibrant city of Cape Town where you'll go whale watching, visit the penguin colony on Boulders Beach, and tour the scenic Cape Peninsula. The luxury train Rovos Rail will take you across the country, stopping in Matjiesfontein, Kimberely, and Pretoria, and ending with a flight from Johannesburg to Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Sleep in luxury tents and track Big Five wildlife before transferring to Botswana and exploring the Okavango Delta with traditional mokoro boats and a hot air balloon ride.
Explore South Africa's culture and wildlife on this 10-day trip, starting in the vibrant city of Cape Town with a tour of the Cape Peninsula, a visit to Boulders Beach to view the penguins, and a whale-watching cruise near Walker Bay. Then hop aboard the luxury train Rovos Rail to traverse the country, stopping in Matjiesfontein, Kimberely, and Pretoria along the way. End your trip with a flight to Thornybush Game Reserve for daily safaris and dinners under the stars in a luxury tented camp.
This 7-day wildlife tour starts in the bustling city of Cape Town, where you'll enjoy strolling its busy harbor and discovering its natural beauty along the Cape Peninsula and Kalk Bay. Visit the penguin colonies on Boulders Beach, go whale watching near Hermanus, and drive the scenic Chapman Peak at sunset. Then catch your flight to Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve where you sleep in luxury while enjoying daily safaris and bushwalks, tracking the continent's famous Big Five wildlife.
This itinerary will start in Cape Town, where you will have a few days to explore the culturally-rich and scenic city, including a visit to Robben Island as well as a cable car ride up to Table Mountain. You will then drive through the Cape to the quaint town, Caledon, before exploring the Klein Karoo and spending a night in Oudtshoorn. Over the next few days, you will discover the famous Garden Route while staying in Knysna before heading to Amakhala Game Reserve for two days of safari.
This 15-day itinerary combines the highlights of South African travel with the chance to relax on the white sand beaches of Mauritius. You'll arrive in Cape Town, where you'll discover the Cape wine region and explore the city's top scenic and tourist spots including Table Mountain and Robben Island, before traveling to Manyeleti Game Reserve, which shares an open border with Kruger National Park. Over four days, you'll spot the Big Five and other species during game drives or guided walks, and then depart for Johannesburg where you'll catch a flight to Mauritius.
Sun, surf, great wine, and incredible vistas: these some of the things that define Cape Town, South Africa. With 24 hours you can go beyond the city and travel around the gorgeous Cape Peninsula. Spend two or three days here and add a kayak excursion and cable car ride up to iconic Table Mountain. With closer to a week you can test your mettle on a shark diving-adventure plus enjoy a bit of culture with visits to an African art museum and Robben Island, the prison where Mandela spent 18 years of his life.
Over two weeks, you'll do everything from touring Cape Town's top tourist destinations to eating lunch in a local tavern in the township of Soweto. The trip will start with five days discovering the best spots in Cape Town and its vibrant city life before flying to the Eastern Cape where you'll spend four days in Knysna and Jeffreys Bay exploring the Garden Route. For two days, you'll get up close with the big five while staying in a tented camp in Manyeleti Game Reserve before heading to South Africa's commercial capital, Johannesburg, where you'll have a full city tour.
This Southern Africa tour encompasses the natural and cultural highlights of four distinct countries. Beginning in Cape Town, you'll head north to Namibia to hike up Dune 45 for sunrise and safari in beautiful Etosha National Park. From there, journey to Botswana for a traditional Mokoro ride through the Okavango Delta and finish with a relaxing sunset boat cruise on the Chobe River before ending at iconic Victoria Falls.
This 15-day Cape Town tour focuses on exploring this exciting city by pushing the boundaries of your body and mind. Enjoy fitness classes, surf lessons, and cross-fit challenges as you make your way through South Africa's most popular destination. You'll also get your adrenaline rush through adventure experiences like abseiling, canoeing, obstacle courses, and seal snorkeling. Finally, cycle through some of the most beautiful natural landscapes that surround Cape Town, including the Cape of Good Hope and the Cape Winelands.
This 3-week wellness retreat starts in bustling Cape Town where you'll enjoy several spa treatments at a posh accommodation while adventuring out of the city for scenic drives and wine tasting. Foodies will be pleased with exquisite meals made from traditional methods and served with seafront views, plus tours of colonial tea farms. Where pampering meets adventure, this trip also includes safaris, submarine rides, whale watching, sightseeing flights, and catamaran cruises.
South Africa offers a perfect mix of culture, nature, and adventure. Discover the "Rainbow Nation" through its famed wildlife on a world-class safari and in the neighborhoods of metropolitan Cape Town. Stay in remote lodges, taste local vintages in the rolling Winelands, and enjoy museums and fine dining in Johannesburg. Keep reading to learn more about planning your perfect trip to South Africa with kimkim's local specialists.
"Chasing the light"—a photographer's true calling—has never been this invigorating as you explore the most mesmerizing mountains, rivers, coastlines, and plateaus across the Western and Eastern Capes in South Africa. Flexible for all budgets and skill levels, photographers will explore the shadows of Cape Town's colorful neighborhoods, capture stunning sunrises atop Table Mountain, and cruise the Stanford River in search of glistening sunbeams. End your trip by heading east along the coastal Garden Route for even more photographic scenes of nature and wildlife, including rare rhinos and meerkats in their natural habitats.
Perfect for those wishing to explore the best of South Africa, this 2-week tour includes some of the country's most popular regions, including a luxury stay with 5-star, private safaris. Start in Cape Town exploring its impeccable coastline, penguin colony, and Table Mountain, before renting a car and heading into the famous wine country. Sip world-renowned wines, go cave spelunking, visit an ostrich farm, and try the country's best oysters before heading north to Zimbabwe to hike Victoria Falls and view elephants.
This two-week adventure spans southern Africa to mix luxurious activities with rugged safaris. Explore Cape Town's award-winning wine region and walk with penguins on Boulders Beach before catching the 2-night luxury Blue Train to Pretoria. Enjoy glamping-style accommodation while hiking to Victoria Falls, searching for big game in Chobe National Park, and navigating the diverse waters of the Okavango River Delta on traditional wooden boats.
This wildlife adventure combines some of Southern Africa's most beautiful natural sights, including Victoria Falls and safaris in Kruger National Park. Perfect for those wishing to see wild game roaming the savanna while sipping their morning coffee in luxury accommodation, this trip offers endless opportunities to marvel at wildlife in their natural habitats. Traverse three countries while enjoying sunset river cruises and multiple safaris in a region with Africa's largest concentration of elephants.
After arriving in Johannesburg, you will have the chance to explore the vibrant "City of Gold" including the many art galleries, markets, and historical museums. You will also take a township tour through Soweto, South Africa's "living museum" filled with rich history, before departing for Kruger National Park. A few days in Kruger National Park will give you a full opportunity to discover the reserve's thousands of wildlife species and unique heritage spots before you depart back to Johannesburg and visit Blyde River Canyon along the way.
South Africa and Zimbabwe Safari: Cape Town, Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, Mana Pools National Park, & More - 10 Days
Travel across southern Africa for ten days on this safari-centric tour. Spend three nights exploring Cape Town and its surroundings, then head out into the bush and three different parks to try your hand (and eyes) at spotting the Big Five and all their friends.
South Africa and Zimbabwe Safari: Cape Town, Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, Mana Pools National Park, & More - 11 Days
Crocodiles have been on earth for roughly 200 million years. See if you can find one and ask it some historical questions on this 11-day trip. You'll start out gazing out at Cape Town from atop Table Mountain and sipping the famous vintages of the Winelands, then head out on safari through Sabi Sands reserve and the Hwange and Mana Pools national parks to see what you can learn.
South Africa and Zimbabwe Safari: Cape Town, Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, Mana Pools National Park, & More - 12 Days
Painted dogs may look pettable, but they're actually one of the most efficient hunters of any large predator. You'll visit a painted dog conservation center along with two national parks and a game reserve on this 12-day trip, with some Cape Town city time in the mix, to see how many potential four-legged fuzzballs southern Africa has to offer. Just keep your hands to yourself.
South Africa and Zimbabwe Safari: Cape Town, Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, Mana Pools National Park, & More - 13 Days
Rumor has it the "big 5"—elephant, leopard, lion, buffalo, and rhino—gained their name by being the hardest animals to hunt on foot. Luckily, you won't be walking through this 13-day itinerary and will only be hunting with your eyes. After strolling through the city streets of Cape Town, you'll set out on safari at three separate destinations to test out your animal-spotting skills.
South Africa and Zimbabwe Safari: Cape Town, Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, Mana Pools National Park, & More - 14 Days
The African continent has more than 3,000 protected areas of land, and while you won't be able to cover all of them on this trip, you can get a good look. From the treetops of the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town and vineyards of the Winelands, you'll continue to the Sabi Sands game reserve and two different national parks in Zimbabwe to take in all the scenery and safari time the southern region of the continent has to offer.
South Africa and Zimbabwe Safari: Cape Town, Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, Mana Pools National Park, & More - 15 Days
More than a billion gallons (5 million cubic meters) of water pour over Victoria Falls per minute. Watch it all rush by on this 15-day itinerary that takes you from the city comforts of Cape Town and culinary highlights of the Winelands out into three separate parks to spot as much wildlife as your binoculars can manage.
South Africa and Zimbabwe Safari: Cape Town, Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, Mana Pools, & More - 16 Days
See just how many of southern Africa's animals you can spot over the course of 16 days. After four nights in Cape Town, which include encounters with penguins and whales, you'll set off on safari through three different national parks, with a stop at Victoria Falls on the way.
One week is enough time to experience the highlights of Cape Town, Winelands, and the famed Cape Peninsula, plus three days of world-class safari in Kruger National Park. Another option is splitting your trip between the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces, including a safari at the Shamwari Game Reserve. It's even possible to hop from Cape Town to Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park in Botswana, if you don't mind a fast-paced trip.
Combining the highlights of the Cape Town area with a classic "Big 5" safari in Kruger National Park is a popular choice for a six-day trip to South Africa. Culinary travelers may want to skip the wildlife watching in favor of a food and wine tour that spans top restaurants, vineyards, and cooking classes. And if you don't mind a whirlwind itinerary, consider a multi-country itinerary that hops from Cape Town to Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park.
In eight days, you can combine the highlights of Cape Town and Johannesburg with two nights in Kruger National Park. Or, start with a tour of the windswept Western Cape, flying to the Eastern Cape province to end your trip with a safari. Yet another option is making it a multi-country itinerary, with stops at the legendary Victoria Falls and Botswana's Chobe National Park.
South Africa is a large country, but with ten days you see quite a bit, from the southern Cape provinces to Kruger National Park in the north. Or you can focus your energy on getting to know a particular region like Cape Town, the neighboring Winelands, and the coastal Garden Route in-depth. And safari buffs can even combine South Africa with the highlight sights of neighboring countries, such as Victoria Falls and Botswana’s Chobe National Park.
With 12 days in South Africa, your itinerary can bring you from the southern Cape provinces to Kruger National Park in the north. Or you can focus your energy on getting to know a particular region like Cape Town, the neighboring Winelands, and the coastal Garden Route. And safari buffs can even combine South Africa with the highlight sights of neighboring countries, such as Victoria Falls and Namibia’s Chobe National Park.
South Africa is a large country, but with 11 days you see quite a bit, from the southern Cape provinces to Kruger National Park in the north. Or you can focus your energy on getting to know a particular region in-depth, like Cape Town, the neighboring Winelands, and the coastal Garden Route. And safari buffs can even combine South Africa with the highlight sights of neighboring countries, such as Victoria Falls and Botswana’s Chobe National Park.
With two weeks, you can cover much of South Africa. Choose an action-packed adventure that takes you from the southern Cape provinces to Kruger National Park in the north. Or you can focus your energy on getting to know a particular region like Cape Town, the neighboring Winelands, and the coastal Garden Route. Safari buffs can even combine South Africa with the highlight sights of neighboring countries, such as Victoria Falls and Namibia’s Chobe National Park, or South Africa’s own Kalahari.
With 15 days to spend in South Africa, you can choose an action-packed adventure that takes you from the southern Cape provinces to Kruger National Park in the north. Or you can focus your energy on getting to know a particular region like Cape Town, the neighboring Winelands, and the coastal Garden Route. Safari buffs can even combine South Africa with the highlight sights of neighboring countries, such as Victoria Falls and Botswana’s Chobe National Park. And 15 days allows for the ultimate road trip of South Africa end to end.
With only five days to explore South Africa, you can focus on a single region or visit two. Thanks to the frequency of domestic flights, you can start and end your trip in Cape Town and also enjoy a safari in Kruger National Park. Or indulge in a foodie tour in the Winelands or delight in a coastal drive to the Cape of Good Hope, along the Garden Route, or into the Cederberg Mountains. These unique itineraries will help you make the most of your time.
Sample a small slice of the Cape Town culinary scene with this five-day itinerary. You'll focus on the city and its surroundings as you both stroll the streets and venture out along the coast and into the Winelands, tasting as you go.
With 13 days to spend in South Africa, you'll have time to see much of the country, from the southern Cape provinces to Kruger National Park in the north. Safari buffs can even combine a South Africa park or two with the highlights of neighboring countries, such as Victoria Falls, Botswana's Chobe National Park, and the Okavango Delta. Of course, you can also opt for a deep dive in a particular region, like Cape Town and the neighboring Winelands. See our itineraries for more ideas.
With nine days, you can see three of South Africa's regions or national parks, or focus on one area like the Western Cape, including the Winelands or a scenic drive along the Garden Route. Thanks to the frequency of domestic flights, you can start and end your trip in Cape Town, spend a few days in wine country, and also thrill to a classic safari in Kruger. Or, take a food-focused trip that includes detours to Johannesburg. Read on for five unique itineraries.
Despite their dramatic size difference, the elephant's closest living relative is the hyrax. See if you can spot both elephants and their cousins as you take your own family on this 16-day adventure that will take you from up in the trees of Kirstenbosch Garden, onto the cliffs of Cape Point, out to sea for marine wildlife sightings, down into caves, and into safari grasslands, just to name a few, to take in landscapes as varied as your family.
While parenting can feel like an extreme sport at times, you can really get your adrenaline up on this 15-day itinerary. Warm up with a hike or cable car ride up Table Mountain and some beach time in Cape Town before you get on the road and follow the Garden Route to adventures like ziplines, a shark encounter, sandboard rides down one of the world's largest dunes, and safari drives.
Sharks can give birth to up to 100 pups at once, so if your child asks to pet the pups on this itinerary, make sure you know what kind they're referring to. Learn about all sorts of small fry on this two-week trip through South Africa as you go from atop Table Mountain and pirate ship rigging in Cape Town to the farms and vineyards of the Winelands, followed by marine tours, cave excursions, swinging bridges, and safaris.
Cape Town may be known as the "Mother City," but every member of the family can enjoy this 13-day trip. You'll scope out the scenery of Cape Point, enjoy extreme sports in Elgin, road trip through small towns and sparkling lagoons, and safari on both land and sea.
Sample some of South Africa's favorite family spots over the course of 12 days. You'll start with three nights in Cape Town to settle in and explore the city before you hop on the road toward farms in Franschhoek, extreme sports in Elgin, animal encounters in Oudtshoorn, and more, all topped off with a safari.
Take your small humans to meet some small (and large) animals on this 11-day outing. Whether you're visiting the penguin colonies of Boulders Beach, big cats at the Panthera Sanctuary, meerkats and ostriches in Oudtshoorn, or wide range of creatures on safari, there's a potential new friend around every corner.
Elephant calves can weigh around 260 pounds at birth; hopefully your own offspring aren't quite as heavy as you tote them through this 10-day trip. After three days in Cape Town, hit the road to enjoy working farm experiences, road trips, lagoons, and more before you end on safari in the Shamwari Game Reserve.