The Ultimate South Africa Safari Holiday

| Harshil Gudka / Unsplash
Gethin Morgan

Content Editor

There’s one thing you cannot separate from the image of holidays in South Africa, and that’s safari. This comprehensive Garden Route tour goes from culture in Cape Town to a luxurious safari game lodge, making it the ultimate tour of South Africa.

Browse the full itinerary for our 11-day Splendid South Africa trip here.

A tour of Cape Town

There’s only one place we could start our South African adventure. Cape Town is one of the most culturally rich cities on Earth, with a unique and fascinating sense of identity forged in the fires of its difficult past. Having met the group, dined at a local restaurant and had a good night’s kip in our Sea Point district hotel, our first full day aims to experience the city’s melting-pot culture first-hand. We’ll start by heading to Langa, the oldest Black African Township in the city. Coming here is crucial in order to contextualise your visit to South Africa. Whilst the history is tough to swallow, this place is also a testament to the power of community, especially in dark times.We’ll have some lunch in Langa before returning to the city. Later on, we’ll head to Bo Kaap to learn about the country’s Muslim communities, gaining unique cultural insights on a Cape Malay cooking masterclass – this fusion of South African and Eastern cuisines is a symbol of the nation’s multicultural history in a bite, and a delicious one at that.

The next day is focused more on the natural splendour that surrounds Cape Town. We’ll start with the obvious, taking a cable car up to the top of Table Mountain. This surreal, almost-eerily flat-topped peak is a remarkable natural structure, which towers over the city. You’ll have time atop the mountain to explore footpaths and take in the vistas of Cape Town, with the Indian and Atlantic Oceans in the backgrounds. After that we’ll head to Simons Town for lunch, as well as an optional kayaking excursion with the local penguins. Then we’ll get back on the road for a visit to the Cape of Good Hope, a spectacular Atlantic headland, and the most southwesterly point in all of Africa.

The view from Table Mountain is something else

The South African wine tour of your dreams

If there’s one thing South Africa is famous for – that doesn’t have four legs – it has to be wine. The Cape Winelands produce some of the finest grapes on the planet, so our next stop is the stunning Cultivar Guest Lodge, found in the stunning shadow of the Stellenbosch mountains. We’ll only spend one day here, but that day is dedicated completely to the Franschhoek wine tram. This gorgeous old locomotive is a hop-on, hop-off service with multiple routes that take you directly from one vineyard to the next. We’ll visit at least three wineries on our tour, stopping for a tasting session at each, before retiring to our lodge and having dinner at an authentic local restaurant.

All aboard the wine tram!

Mystical caves, a luscious national park and a charming seaside town

Our road trip across the Garden Route continues as we traverse Route 62’s stunning coastal roads to Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world. Naturally we’ll mark our arrival with a tractor safari at a local ostrich farm before settling into our scenic countryside estate hotel. Then it’s on to Knysna, a beautiful coastal town popular with staycationers in South Africa. En route we’ll visit the nearby Cango Caves, a jaw-dropping limestone cave complex, 20m years in age and with one cavern the size of a football pitch. Then it’s on to Knysna, where we’ll hop on a boat tour of the town’s awesome river mouth, Knysna Heads, before spending a laid-back evening enjoying the town’s seaside delights.

The next day is dedicated to exploring the nearby Tsitsikamma National Park, where the finest range of South African fynbos (heathland) can be found, not to mention luscious forestry, dramatic cliffside walks and secluded pebble beaches amid the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean. We’ll explore verdant hiking trails, cross Storms River on an amazing low-hanging suspension bridge and eventually reach the much larger Bloukrans Bridge. It’s famous for being the world’s tallest bungee jump bridge and, yes that’s right, the adrenaline junkies among you can take the leap of faith if you want. Alternatively, the Skywalk bridge tour is a little more gentle on the heart rate.

We’ll show you the prettiest spots in Tsitsikamma National Park

Spot the Big Five on a five-star safari lodge retreat

It’s what you’ve all been waiting for! Our epic South African adventure could only end one way, and that’s with a safari tour. We haven’t gone half-hearted on our itinerary either, since you’ll be staying at Gondwana Kwena Game Lodge, one of the most luxuriously beautiful safari reserves in the country. We’ll have over 11,000ha (over 27,000 acres) of private wilderness to explore across up to four game drives – two mornings and two afternoons – as we search for the Big Five. When you’re not spotting lions, giraffes and rhino, you might want to chill by the infinity pool – sometimes shared with the local elephants. You can also rent bikes, go on guided nature walks, have an indulgent picnic or pamper yourself with a massage at the spa. Come nightfall, you’ll have a range of indoor and outdoor dining options to enjoy, before retiring to our cosy lodge suites. We’ll spend two stunning nights here, before making the journey back to Cape Town for our last night in South Africa.

If you’re hoping to witness the Big Five up close, join a Culture Trip tour

Sold on our Splendid South Africa itinerary? Browse the full itinerary and book your spot on a trip today!

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