Great South Africa Itineraries: How Many Days to Spend?

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If you’re looking for a country with sunshine, adventure, wildlife, and wine, these South Africa itineraries will have you racing to plan your next trip. In one unforgettable vacation, experience exhilarating face-to-face encounters with wildlife as you search for the Big Five during your trip to Kruger National Park, gape at the jaw-dropping natural scenery of the Western Cape, spot whales off the coast, and then relax as you cruise the world’s longest wine route in search of the best wineries South Africa has to offer. There are a lot of things to do in South Africa. If you have the time, a South Africa itinerary is bound to astound!

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How much time should I spend in South Africa?

If you’ve only got a week for your South Africa vacation itinerary, you can certainly squeeze in some of the country’s most famous highlights, like Kruger National Park and Cape Town. If you’ve got up to three weeks for your South Africa trip, you really can see it all, from the penguins of Boulders Beach to the wineries of Stellenbosch and all the wild animals in between. Our advice though is to spend ten days getting to know the country. It’s just the right amount of time to get a really good feel for South Africa, sample some wine, and maybe even see all of the Big Five, without overextending yourself. 

Located at the foot of the Table Mountain, Cape town is a stunning city.
Cape Town is a vibrant city with a mix of diverse cultures, landscapes and cuisines

When you’re putting together your one-week South Africa itinerary, make sure you plan to see some of the country’s highlights. In a week you’ll be able to hit the gorgeous seaside city Cape Town, where you can head to Table Mountain by riding in a rotating cable car for gorgeous panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. If you’re interested in history, stop off at Robben Island, home to the living museum that was once the prison holding Nelson Mandela. 

Then, take a tour of the stunningly scenic Cape Peninsula as you cruise along Route 62 and indulge in some of the country’s best wine. Then head to Kruger National Park where you can go on a Big Five night drive to try and catch a peek at the park’s famous lions, leopards, buffalos, elephants and rhinos. You’ll still have a day to spend exploring the park on a daylight safari that you’ll never forget! When you’re done, head to Johannesburg to catch your flight home.

Check out our 7-day trips to South Africa

Johannesburg is the largest and the wealthiest city in South Africa.
Johannesburg is a cultural hub suitable for all traveler types
Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa
Go on a wildlife safari in Kruger National Park and discover varieties of unique wildlife

With ten days in South Africa; you’ll be able to add even more to your trip and add all kinds of animals to your safari checklist! Spend a little extra time getting to know Cape Town - maybe take a historical tour. After two days in Kruger National Park, you can head to the Karongwe Private Game Reserve, where you can get even closer to South Africa’s incredible wildlife with fewer tourists to share the experience with. The next day, pay a visit to the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. Book your safari for the morning when there are more animals out and about as you continue your search for the Big Five.

Once you’ve had your fill of nature (if that’s even possible) head to the vibrant city of Johannesburg. With two days in your South Africa Itineraries to spend exploring the country’s largest city, you can visit Africa’s tallest skyscraper, enjoy some of Johannesburg’s famous fine dining, where there’s something to sate everyone in your party’s appetites, and even take an all-day bike tour of the Soweto township!

Why not look at our 10-day trips to South Africa for some ideas.

Located in Cape Penisula, Boulders beach should be added in your itinerary.
Visit the picturesque Boulder Beach in South Africa and get up close and personal with the penguins

If you’re putting together a two-week South Africa travel itinerary, you can get the most out of your trip by extending your stays along the way. Go on a four-day trip to Cape Town and while you’re there, in addition to all the other suggestions above, take some time to hike up Lion’s Head for some great views of Table Mountain and take some Instagram-worthy photos of the colorful Bo-Kaap neighborhood.

Head out to the Cape Winelands and enjoy some fantastic wine tastings. On the way, stop by Boulders Beach and check out South Africa’s famous penguin colony. If you're a surfer, add a trip to the surfing hotspot of Muizenberg Beach.

Drive the Garden Route along the Southern Coast. You’ll be met with gorgeous views all along the way. Stop off to go hiking, scuba dive with seals, go cage diving with great white sharks, or any other adventure that catches your fancy! There are plenty of amazing places to stop on your way to Kruger National Park where you can visit the many fantastic places for a safari, self-driven or with a tour guide!

Check out our 14-days trips to South Africa.

21 days in South Africa

Franschhoek is a small and one of the oldest towns of South Africa.
Indulge in the finest wine and cuisine of South Africa when in Franschhoek

Three-week South Africa itineraries give you plenty of time to see almost all of the country’s best sights. If you’re going to stay this long, switch things up. Start out in Johannesburg and see the country in the opposite direction. Don’t miss everything we talked about above, but you can add in things like a visit to Blyde River Canyon (the world’s third-largest canyon) on your way to Kruger National Park, where you can stay in one of the adjoining game reserves.

After your road trip down the Cape Peninsula be sure to visit the Cape of Good Hope to see the very end of the African continent - you’ll arrive in the wine heartland of the country. Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are the two most popular towns for wine enthusiasts. Enjoy some of the tastiest wine the country has to offer set against a gorgeous backdrop of sprawling wineries and low mountains.

When you’ve finished driving along the gorgeous Garden Route, with its stunning natural vistas, you can finish your trip in the scenic Elephant Park. You can stay in a cozy mountaintop lodge and enjoy one final safari before you head home.

Get some inspiration from our 21-days trips to South Africa.

Planning a trip to South Africa?

If you like any of these itineraries or would like to create your own, connect with our local Travel Expert in South Africa to plan a custom South Africa itinerary for your upcoming South Africa adventure. If you’d like to join a group tour and explore South Africa while making new friends, you can also check out our South Africa tours page.

For a seasonal overview, see our article on the best time to visit South Africa.

Published by Lisa Hopp, updated on March 8, 2022

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