Planning to spend 10 days in South Africa? Here’s the ideal trip planner for you to take to your local safari specialist. With airfare sales to South Africa, the flight may be long, but the cost is about the same as flying to Europe. And South Africa offers much better value for money than any other destination with the equivalent luxury of fine dining, great wines, incredible unique sights — not to mention the adventure of going on safari and seeing the “Big Five”.
Day One – Arrive at Cape Town airport and transfer to your hotel. For luxury hotels I would recommend the Cape Grace or 12 Apostles. If you wish to be more centrally located and away from the Waterfront, Cape Cadogan is an excellent choice. We recently rented our own house in De Waterkant area, and it gave us lots more room, Table Mountain Views and a pool for the kids, all in a great location. Winchester Mansions is also a family-friendly option.
Try to stay awake during this first day, the best option is to get down to the V&A Waterfront. The sea air will clear your head, the musicians will thrill you and make you feel like you’ve really arrived in Africa, and there are lots of excellent restaurant choices, all with harbor views.
Day Two – Opt for a half day city tour that includes Table Mountain if you have a clear day. There are plenty of tours to choose from, but a standard tour is perfect to give you an idea of the lay of the land. Keep your afternoon free to browse around your neighborhood shops, or take a nap (you’ll still feel a little woozy from your flight). Make reservations for one of Cape Town’s fine restaurants, an early dinner time will suit you.
Your hotel can arrange a taxi for you, and the restaurant will call a taxi for you at the end of your meal.
Day Three – Take a full day tour through the Winelands today, and if possible opt for a private tour. There are some lovely small wineries not on the “tourist trail”. Ask your driver to stop at Meerlust or Muratie for example, you will love them. If you can, try and visit the Winelands during the week to avoid the crowds, you’ll get better personal service during the tastings. Stop at Stellenbosch or Franschhoek for lunch, or enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the larger wine estates like Boschendaal.
There are some excellent organic food markets in the area, you can also pick fruits, taste olives and cheese — be spontaneous when you see the signs!
Day Four – Take a half day tour of Langa Township in the morning, followed by an afternoon drive out on the Peninsula, and head to Boulders Beach for the penguins. Most tours will stop at Cape Point, but unless you are adamant at seeing the “two oceans meet”, I would spend more time with the Penguins and enjoy the scenic drives with a stop at Kalk Bay to browse the art galleries. On the way back to town, watch the sun set over table mountain with a sundowner in Camps Bay.
Day Five to Day 10 – It’s safari time. Fly from Cape Town direct to Kruger and head to one of the safari lodges in a private concession. Sabi Sands, Timabavati, Londolozi and Savanna are among the best private reserves. This is where you want to spend more of your budget to ensure a really wonderful safari with good guides and trackers. The wildlife is incredible in this area, but the landscape is a little bushier and hillier than in East Africa. This means that in order to spot the more elusive animals like leopard and cheetah, your guides have to know what they are doing. Generally, the more you pay, the better your guides will be, but there is plenty of room in the middle. Contact your safari specialist for their recommendations. Try and stay at 2 different lodges to experience different areas of the bush.