Planning a trip to South Africa? What could be better than a vacation spent soaking up the sun or going on safari in one of the world’s most beautiful destinations? South Africa is a magical place. Here, you can expect to see landscapes that remind you of the Italian countryside, warm beaches, mountainous forests, charming, old-school villages as well as modern cities. It is more than possible to see a range of beautiful cities and natural wonders, and partake in numerous activities, in just 10 days.
To see the most of the country, rent a car and embark on a road trip in South Africa, through mountain ranges, game reserves and deserts. Also for most people traveling to South Africa, the exchange rate is favourable, making it a relatively affordable holiday destination.
This itinerary is designed to see as much as possible in 10 days, so it is quite rushed. If you would like a more relaxed itinerary, spend at least 2 nights in each destination.
A South Africa trip itinerary might seem intimidating if you’ve never been to the country and don’t know where to start. But we’ve got you covered!
This itinerary is designed to help you see as much of the beautiful country as you can in 10 days. So, expect to be on the road a lot with new adventures each day. Of course, extending your trip in some of these places is always an option as well.
Let’s take a look at what you can get up to and where you’ll be traveling to.
So you’ve arrived in the Mother City, now it’s time to start a crazy 10-day journey through South Africa. Cape Town naturally has to be the first stop and the international airport allows you to do just that.
Top tip: As soon as you’ve arrived at the airport, pick up your pre-booked rental car to get the trip started.
Cape Town has some top of the range restaurants in the city center. Why not treat yourself to lunch after your long journey? Walk along Kloof Street, where the best restaurants in the country are found. It is a great way of getting a proper feel of South Africa on your first day.
Complete the day by venturing to Signal Hill to watch the sunset over the ocean before heading to your accommodation for the night.
On your second day, get to know Cape Town a little more. As mentioned, Cape Town is great for foodies. Pick a breakfast spot and fuel up for your day.
Visit the V&A Waterfront to say hello to the local seals, go for a walk in the Bo-Kaap and visit some of the iconic beaches.
If the weather is showing off, take a trip on the cable car and head up Table Mountain. The views from the top will take your breath away. If you’re a hiking enthusiast, you can alternatively hike up Lions Head and see the views from there.
The Cape Peninsula is the epitome of the Western Cape’s world renowned flora and fauna biodiversity. The peninsula juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope are situated at the Southern end of the area.
The Cape Peninsula is often thought to be the Southernmost tip of Africa. While this title actually belongs to Cape Agulhas, there is no shortage of natural beauty, and things to see and do in the area. Climb the lighthouse at Cape Point or hike through one of the six different routes available.
Cape Point National Park, situated on the peninsula, gives some of the best views over False Bay. After exploring the area, round off your time there with a delicious meal at the Two Oceans Restaurant.
Say goodbye to Cape Town and hello to the idyllic town, Hermanus, where you’ll be spending the night. Hermanus is a coastal town, just an hour away, known for its whale watching and seaside atmosphere.
At the seaside town, visit the Old Harbor Museum and wander around the open-air museum. Hermanus offers pleasant shopping opportunities, all of which can be walked to. Pop into antique book stores, the village restaurants, and stalls along the road.
End the day with a walk along the magical paved coastal path through the fynbos.
Start your day bright and early by leaving Hermanus and beginning your road trip along the Garden Route. Expect to drive along twisted roads near the gorgeous coast and through valleys of lush trees.
The 200 km stretch of coastline from the Western to Eastern Cape is a road tripping favorite amongst South Africans.
Places to stop at are Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. In Knysna, visit the Knysna Heads and Thesen Island. The quaint island features ice cream shops, book stores, local clothing shops, and seafood restaurants.
From Knysna, drive 30 minutes to get to Plett. Spend the night here.
Day 6 includes a lot of driving. However, if you’re not up for 12 hours on the road, you can fly to Johannesburg from Plett. The journey will be a mere two hours and you can drop your rental vehicle off at the airport.
If you opt for the scenic drive to the city, you’ll go through the Outeniqua Mountains, the Drakensberg Mountains, and several small villages.
Be sure to pick up some road trip snacks for the car, and make stops to stretch your legs. There are plenty of beautiful places to break at along the way.
Once you’ve arrived in the eclectic city of Johannesburg, the choice of adventure is yours. You can make this a cultural trip or soak up the city life through experiencing the amazing restaurants, art, and activities on offer.
For those looking for a cultural experience, take a short trip to Soweto, a township steeped in history. Soweto was once home to Nelson Mandela and is also the place of the Soweto Youth Uprising, a protest led by students.
An iconic part of a South African vacation is a safari. After all, our game reserves are some of the few places left in the world where wild creatures can still roam freely. Your drive here can take between 4-6 hours, depending on where your accommodation is.
The Kruger National Park is the country’s largest game reserve. Given its size, there is a wide range of accommodation options. These range from extremely luxurious lodges to camping spots along the rivers and self-catering rentals.
Once you’ve settled in, head out on a game drive with the chance of seeing the famous Big 5 and other wildlife. Hundreds of mammals and bird species call this magnificent landscape home, and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to share it with them.
In the early morning, embark on your last game drive. The 5 am drives offer some of the best game viewing experiences, as most of the wildlife slowly start to wake up and begin their day. Enjoy delicious hot chocolate drinks on the drive.
Once you’ve enjoyed the wildlife viewing and packed up, start the drive to Durban, which could take around 8-9 hours. By the time you arrive in Durban, you’ll be ready for dinner along the beach promenade, or some great local takeaway curry - the city’s specialty.
Your 10-day South Africa trip has almost come to an end. On your last day before leaving for the airport, enjoy the beach! Unlike Cape Town, which is on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, Durban is blessed with the warm Indian ocean.
Spend a day at the beach, or if you’re up for a wildlife ocean styled adventure, visit Ushaka Marine World. The theme park offers diving experiences, walks with penguins, rides, and underwater wildlife talks.
Head to King Shaka International Airport and start your journey back to wherever you call home.
After a busy 10 days, you might just have fallen in love with South Africa. This itinerary is perfect for cases like those, simply extend your stay in any city that steals your heart.
If you have limited time, then optimizing it is important. Plan a trip to South Africa with this vacation itinerary. You’ll have the chance to see the best parts of the country while experiencing it in the most authentic way possible.
You can also opt to fly between cities. With several airlines, moving around the country is easy.
This is a guest post.