“Two weeks? You’re only spending 2 weeks in South Africa?” My mum’s face was a picture when I told her my summer holiday plans. I understood her concern. With a history spanning 100,000 years, and beautiful scenery taking up 120,000 square miles, South Africa is a whole lot of country to squeeze into a short space of time.
But, as a part-time traveller, I don’t have the luxury of unlimited travel, so I was damn well going to spend my two weeks wisely.
Below, I’ve outlined the itinerary I followed for two weeks in South Africa, so you can do it too.
Day 1 – Fly into Johannesburg
Try to get a flight that arrives in Johannesburg in the morning. That way, you can try to sleep off your jet lag or head out on a tour of Johannesburg for the afternoon.
Stay: Safari Club, Johannesburg for a cosy garden room with super friendly staff and free 15 minute airport transfer.
Day 2 – Safari in a private nature reserve
A safari is a must in South Africa, so head to a private lodge or camp in Greater Kruger to spot incredible wildlife for a few days. The transfer can take up to 7 hours by road, so pack entertainment and snacks to keep you going. The scenery is pretty spectacular so don’t waste too much time sleeping!
When you arrive at your lodge, head out on your first game drive in the afternoon and keep your eyes peeled for the Big 5. You’ll have time for a sundowner before you drive back to the lodge on the lookout for nocturnal animals with the help of your guide’s spotlight.
Have dinner in the main camp with the other guests and enjoy drinks around the campfire before bed.
Transfer: Ashtons for a professional shared minibus service to a number of stops in Kruger National Park. Make sure you allow enough time, though. Our first driver managed to add two hours to our journey as he kept taking wrong turnings and ignoring his sat nav!
Stay: Africa on Foot for the most incredible guides, beautiful accommodation and access to a private nature reserve. I have genuinely never recommended anything more. I fell in love with the lodge as soon as I stepped foot in it, and never wanted to leave.
Days 3-4 – Two full days of safari
Spend two full days at your safari lodge, waking up early for a morning bush walk as the sun rises, and taking afternoon game drives as the sun goes down. When not out on safari, your lodge is the perfect place to relax and look out for wildlife that could stroll through the camp at any moment. After a cosy night sleep in your camp, you’ll be ready to do it all again the next day!
Stay: Another two nights at Africa on Foot for delicious food and evening drinks around the campfire.
Day 5 – Transfer back to Johannesburg
You won’t want to leave your safari lodge, I can almost guarantee that. But, sadly, it’ll be time to go after your final game drive in the morning. Say goodbye to your guides and the wildlife as you see what else this beautiful country has got to offer.
The Ashtons transfer back to Johannesburg should take 5-6 hours so I recommend another night in the city before flying south to the coast. Upon arrival into Johannesburg, check into your hotel and relax…
Stay: Safari Club, Johannesburg for one more night.
Day 6 – Fly to Port Elizabeth
The flight from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth takes just over an hour, but it’s chockablock with spectacular scenery and one of my favourite approaches ever. Coming into land at PE, you fly out over the sea and then gently descend over the lovely little town. If the flight is empty, you may even be offered a jammy upgrade like we were for just £25!
If you arrive before 2pm, you could transfer to Addo Elephant National Park with enough time for an afternoon game drive. The park is home to hundreds of elephants, a pride of lions and the world’s last remaining flightless dung beetle. You could drive yourself around, or book one of the shared jeeps driven by an experienced tracker and guide.
Stay: Addo Elephant Rest Camp for a bungalow right on the edge of the national park.
Day 7 – Start the Garden Route
After a final game drive in the morning, it’s time to make your way to the Garden Route. The Garden Route is a beautiful stretch of countryside, lush forests and rocky coastline in the south of the country. It runs for 300km so you’ll want to spend a few days on it. The journeys always take longer than you think. Every two minutes you’ll want to stop to take photos of the scenery.
The Garden Route officially starts at Tsitsikamma National Park, so that’s where you’ll head first. It is THE place to be for adventurers and thrill-seekers. Along the trail to the park, you can leap off the highest bridge bungee in the world, but it was too windy for us to jump. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!
So, instead we stopped off to visit a 2,000 year old tree. Much safer!
Stay: Tsitsikamma Village Inn in the heart of nearby Storms Village. The hotel rooms are set in original cottages and buildings, laid out around a central courtyard and garden.
Restaurant recommendation: Tsitrus Cafe in Storms Village for a cosy meal of homemade pizzas, local beer and cider.
Day 8 – Explore Tsitsikamma National Park
Head to the National Park for the day to take your pick of wonderful activities. You could take a walk along the beach, hike up a mountain, go snorkelling, kayak, or head to the open fronted restaurant overlooking the sea and spot dolphins while devouring seafood. Guess which one we did…?
Back in Storm Village, you’ll be equally spoilt for choice for the afternoon. Go for walks in the woods, zip line through the forest, taste beer at the microbrewery, eat ice cream sundaes in the village diner and make friends with the local cats. Whatever takes your fancy.
Stay: One more night at Tsitsikamma Village Inn to sleep off your adventures.
Restaurant recommendation: Rafters in Storms Village for a romantic meal on the patio.
Day 9 – Oudtshoorn
Today, continue along the Garden Route to Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world. You could stop off at a farm for a tour to learn more about the animals and visit incubation sites. However, if you pull over next to an ostrich field, you’ll get hundreds of the things wandering over to say hello! Save those pennies!
In the afternoon, visit Cango Caves: a cavernous complex of tunnels and chambers filled with stalagmites, stalagtites and questionable formations. You can only go in with a guide to find out about the history and discovery of the caves. Apparently a farmer noticed his cattle were disappearing, and he tracked them down a massive drop into the caves! It was a pretty awesome moment when the lights went out to show how dark it would have been when he first arrived. You couldn’t see a thing!
After your tour, head back to Oudtshoorn to relax and wander around the sleepy town before dinner.
Stay: Turnberry Boutique Hotel for large, comfortable rooms and a good, central location.
Restaurant recommendation: The Black Swan in Oudtshoorn for tasty wine, delicious food and a wonderfully classy atmosphere.
Day 10 – Stellenbosch & the wine region
Get a good breakfast this morning – you’ll need it. There’s lots of wine coming your way today!
It’s quite a long drive from Oudtshoorn to the main wine estates, so sit back and enjoy the spectacular scenery. You could stop off at Ronnie’s Sex Shop – a little building in the middle of nowhere. The story goes that Ronnie sold jams and marmalades before his friends vandalised the sign. It’s now world famous but still has nothing to do with sex!
Have lunch at Rooiberg Wine Cellars where you can enjoy a glass of wine with your meal for absolute pennies. And it’s good stuff too! I could have stayed here all day, looking around the cellar shop and admiring the view from our al fresco lunch spot. Yet our day of wine had only just begun!
Next, head to Simonsig – one of the more traditional wine estates in the Stellenbosch region – for a wine tasting. To celebrate my birthday, we were treated to a premium tasting of seven delicious wines. This included a sparkling wine that Tim opened by sword! The whole tasting was pretty special and something I would urge any visitor to South Africa to try!
When you’re satisfyingly sozzled, it’s time to head to Cape Town to round off your amazing two weeks in South Africa. You should arrive in time for dinner, and there’s an incredible amount of choice in the city. Find out where to eat in a Cape Town in my blog post, coming soon!
Stay: Townhouse Hotel in Cape Town for a little bit of luxury in the centre of the city.
Restaurant recommendation: Kloof Street House for a pretty spectacular meal in a beautifully romantic setting. Booking is highly recommended as we had to sit in the lounge for our meal, rather than the restaurant itself!
Days 11-13 – Cape Town
Spend another 3 nights in the Mother City checking out all it has to offer. Hint: it’s a lot!
You could take the cable car up to Table Mountain, catch a ferry over to Robben Island for a guided tour, explore the colourful neighbourhood of Bo Kaap, drive to the most South-westerly point of Africa at Cape Point and while away the hours souvenir shopping, wine drinking and seafood eating at the V&A waterfront.
My complete guide to Cape Town is coming soon, so keep checking back!
Day 14 – Fly home 🙁
Sorry guys, but your trip has to end eventually! Today, take a transfer to Cape Town airport ready for your flight back home.
What an incredible trip! It was through doing this two week itinerary that I completely fell in love with South Africa. I found two weeks was the perfect amount of time to start exploring, but I’ve only scratched the surface. Now I have a much better idea of what South Africa has got to offer, I’ll certainly be going back!
Have you been to South Africa? Where would you suggest I go on my next visit? I’d love for you to tell me in the comments below!
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