One of the most culturally and geographically diverse places on earth, South Africa, fondly known by locals as the 'Rainbow Nation', boasts 11 official languages, and its inhabitants are influenced by a fascinating mix of cultures. Discover the gourmet restaurants, impressive art scene, vibrant nightlife, and beautiful beaches of Cape Town. Enjoy a local braai (barbecue) in the Soweto township, browse the bustling Indian markets in Durban, or sample some of the world's finest wines at the myriad wine estates dotting the Cape Winelands. Some historical attractions to explore include the Zululand battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal, the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, and Robben Island, just off the coast of Cape Town. Above all else, its untamed wilderness is astonishing: wildlife roams freely across massive unfenced game reserves such as the world-famous Kruger National Park.
Days 1 - 4
Cape Town is one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world. Cradled by Table Mountain, it has immense charm and historical interest. We never tire of soaking up the beauty & buzzy atmosphere of this relaxed city with its cosmopolitan dining options.
No Cape Town visit is complete without taking the cable car up Table Mountain. You can even abseil off the top for the ultimate adrenalin rush. In the city, you can visit the colourful Bokaap quarter, an ecletic array of museums from District Six to the Museum of Gold or browse through the vibey street markets such as Greenmarket Square. Alternatively meander through the wonderful Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, head out to Robben Island by boat or simply relax on the golden beaches of Camps Bay or Llandudno.
When you want to range further, the Cape Peninsula offers one of the finest coastal drives in Africa – Chapmans Peak Drive - to the Cape of Good Hope. Here you might see whales breeching just off the bay or quirky penguins on Boulders Beach.
Days 4 - 7
Stellenbosch is the second oldest town in South Africa – and certainly one of the prettiest! This historic university town began in 1685 and still has a number of charming Cape Dutch streets lined with water furrows and shaded by oak trees. The architecture of Stellenbosch is simple in style and character with white limestone walls, thatched roofs and wide avenues. Amble up the picturesque Dorp Street, or head into the Stellenbosch Village Museum, a collection of four preserved houses that give insight into the lives of the early settlers.
Foodies can indulge in mouth-watering cuisine and fine wines at one of its chic restaurants or buzzing bistros. Stellenbosch is also the ideal base from which to explore the renowned local wine route, with a high proportion of the country’s leading wine estates in the vicinity.
Days 7 - 10
Plettenberg Bay, known as 'Plett, is a chic resort town with long sandy beaches and a panoramic view of the sweeping bay, backed by the velvet-green Tsitsikamma Mountains.
'Plett' is known for its vast expanses of golden beach. It is immensely popular with South Africans as well as occasional sorties by the international polo jet-set crowd. But outside of the festive season it returns to being a charming seaside town.
From the beaches, you may be lucky to see the Southern Right Whales which comes right into the bay to calf from July to November. Daily water safaris are on offer for boat-based whale-watching. Other activities include cruising up the Keurbooms River, enjoying an alfresco lunch at Lookout Beach and coastal walking in the spectacular Robberg Nature Reserve.
It also makes a great base to explore The Crags. Here you can visit the Monkeyland primate sanctuary, Birds of Eden, the Elephant sanctuary, even wine-tasting at Bramon. To the east lies the Tsitsikamma, a dense indigenous forest, with rugged ravines, streams and waterfalls. Enjoy the short but scenic walk to the suspension bridge over the majestic Storms River mouth. The adventurous can opt for more hectic walking trails, bungi-jumping or ziplining through the forest on the Treetop Canopy Tour.
Amakhala Game Reserve
Days 10 - 13
Located between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown and just east of Addo Elephant Park, the Amakhala Game Reserve is the perfect place to enjoy Big Five Safaris. Featuring spectacular topography created by the Bushman’s River, the reserve is home to a huge array of animal species - besides the big five, visitors can also spot cheetah, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, plenty of antelope species, and many other smaller interesting animals.
Amakhala is also inhabited by prolific birdlife (the majestic African Fish Eagle is a particular highlight), and idyllic boat cruises provide a delightful way to see this. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of fantastic game drives, guided walks, and horse trails. Just outside the park, there are plenty of attractions to discover, including the Amakhala Craft Centre, and the Bushman Sands Golf Course and Health Spa.