Marisa's Guide to South Africa
South Africa is one of my favorite places in the world. The light is different, the sky seems bigger, and there never seemed to be an end to things to do.
I was there in 2013 but I happily would go back again and again.
While you could absolutely spend 2 weeks just in Cape Town (which I did and loved!), the best itineraries get further afield to explore the wineries and savannah plains.
Trip length? 12 nights
Best time to go? Depends on safari migration but in general, February - October
When to book? 9 months to 1 year in advance
"Can't Miss" Experiences
- Track wildlife on safari
- Cage dive with great white sharks
- Pass an afternoon with penguins
- Picnic in a winery
- Visit contemporary art galleries
- Watch the sunset from Table Mountain
- Absorb the culture and history at the District 9 Museum or Robben Island
Suggested Itinerary & Hotels
Start your trip in Cape Town, a city unlike any other. It's a cosmopolitan oasis with stunning views at every turn. The most unique and wonderful part of Cape Town is the blend of different nationalities and cultures - Indian, Malaysian, Dutch, African, Sri Lankan, Xhosa, and many others call Cape Town home.
It wasn't always easy and there are still issues today but a "Rainbow Nation" is certainly something to aspire to. While tourists could skip over the dark past, do yourself a service and learn what you can in the halls of the District 9 Museum or Robben Island. Not only will you understand the historical context but you will understand Cape Town today, a city that's busting with creativity, color, and strength.
Spend a few days enjoying the city life, visiting markets and galleries, and soaking in the natural beauty of Table Mountain.
Stellenbosch and Franschhoek
After Cape Town, escape to the peaceful wine region for true culinary experience. The small towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are charming and full of great restaurants and shopping.
Spend a few days here testing out all of the different wineries and trying local South African wines. Bicycle through gorgeous vineyards and unwind at the pool.
Kruger National Park
End your trip in the spectacular Kruger National Park. Choose a morning or afternoon safari and bring your best camera to capture the "Big Five."
Back at the lodge, you can participate in conservation efforts, learn more about the natural environment, or just lounge by the infinity pools. If you're lucky, an elephant or two will take a stroll along the lodge.
Your time at Kruger park is all about slowing down, enjoying the natural environment, and connecting with each other. To make the experience even more special, you may want to consider a hot air balloon ride or going on a digital detox.
South Africa has so much to offer and it's the kind of place you'll never forget. While this itinerary touches on it's highlights, there are so many ways to see the natural wonders of the country.
You can follow this route or add on an extra week in the stunning tropical oasis of Seychelles.
Either way, I know you'll love South Africa and won't regret taking a trip there!