Want to visit Southern Africa but don’t have a lot of time? Follow in my footsteps and you’ll be amazed at how much you can see and do with just two weeks in southern Africa!
My trip to southern Africa was honestly life changing. I dreamed of going ever since I was a little kid and had such high expectations for the trip. I had no idea that reality could be better than the dream. From start to finish, our trip through South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana was perfect and there is literally nothing I would do differently. If you want to have the best trip of your life, do exactly what I did!
Cape Town-Sabi Sand Game Reserve/Kruger National Park-Victoria Falls-Chobe National Park-Johannesburg
Days 1-4: Cape Town, South Africa
Two things we wish we had been able to do were Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, and a township tour. You must buy your Robben Island tickets in advance. To take a township tour, try to arrange it with either your hotel or travel agent in advance. We tried to do it the day of but it’s a coordinated effort between your guide and the township guide and needs to be arranged early in the day and by the time we asked about it, we were too late.
Cape Town is probably the most gorgeous city I’ve ever visited. There is so much to do here that you will inevitably feel like you need at least a few more days here to do everything (enough is never enough!)
When you first arrive in Cape Town, take a walk down the V & A Waterfront. There’s something for everyone here, with a big mall, a Ferris wheel, tons of bars and restaurants and great views of the city. It’s also very safe to walk around here as there are police officers everywhere.
My favorite activity that we did in Cape Town was cage diving with great white sharks in Gansbaai, home of Shark Alley and lots and lots of great whites. This is a full day activity and it will go way too fast! We went through Marine Dynamics and saw 18 different sharks.
Take a city tour and see some of the beautiful neighborhoods nestled at the base of Table Mountain. Cape Town is a very historical city, a very diverse city, so the neighborhoods and old buildings are really interesting to see.
The Table Mountain Cableway costs R225 round trip (A bit over $18 US at the time of this posting). The ride up takes 5 minutes and runs from sun up to sun down. If you’d rather hike, it will take you about 4 hours, so plan an entire day at the Mountain.
Spend a relaxing afternoon strolling in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on the eastern side of Table Mountain. The gardens showcase South Africa’s most beautiful plant life and you’ll also find a plethora of birds and butterflies in the flowers. Kirstenbosch is also home to tAdmission is only R50.
You must take a day trip around the Western Cape. The tour will take you down the breathtaking coast and you’ll stop at Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope, which is the most southwestern point of the African continent. Next stop-Antarctica.
The next stop will take you to Boulder’s Beach, home to a large colony of endangered African penguins. They’re super adorable! Unfortunately, you are no longer allowed to go onto the beach and you must stay on a boardwalk which is packed with other tourists, but it’s still really cool to watch the penguins swim and play.
Take a wine tasting tour at one of the Western Cape’s famous wineries. Constantia Valley is the closest to Cape Town, although I’d say Stellenbosch is arguably the more famous of the two, and only about an hour outside of the city. We’re not really big wine drinkers, but spending some time in the quaint, laid back towns are a great way to spend an afternoon.
Days 5-9: Safari in Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa
Our favorite part of our trip was our safari in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa. It’s adjacent to Kruger National Park and the animals are able to roam freely between the two parks. Spend a few days on safari, trying to spot the Big Five. It probably won’t take you long!
We stayed at Idube Game Reserve and could not have asked for a better experience. Your days will start early with a wake-up call at 5 am. It’s not as bad as it sounds because you’ll probably be so excited to go out on safari that you’ll be wide awake in no time! The game drives start at 6 and last until 9 or 9:30. Once you’re back at camp, you’ll have breakfast and the opportunity to go on a bush walk with your ranger. Even though you’ll be tempted to take a nap, the bush walks are a great opportunity to see the animals from a different point of view. Lunch is at 2 and the afternoon drive begins at 3:30 pm. You’ll stay out until about 7 and then you’ll wash up and head to dinner at 8. It’s tiring, but I promise you will not want to leave. Stay as many days as you can.
Days 9-11: Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe
A visit to Victoria Falls will be one of the highlights of your Southern Africa journey. The falls straddle the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe and can be reached on either side. We stayed on the Zimbabwe side as all of the hotels in Livingstone, Zambia were booked solid. Both sides offer awesome activities such as helicopter rides over the Falls and white water rafting. You can buy a dual Zambia/Zimbabwe visa which allows you easier border crossings, although there will probably be a line no matter what time of day you try to cross. The bridge between the countries closes at 6 pm so make sure you’re back on your correct side before it closes!
Days 11-13: Safari at Chobe National Park, Botswana
Chobe National Park is just an hour and a half away from Victoria Falls, so it’s an easy add-on to your trip. Chobe is unique as the Chobe River runs through it, allowing you to do land safaris as well as boat safaris. Botswana is also home to Africa’s largest elephant population, so it’s a guarantee that you will see a lot of them!
Fly to Johannesburg and prepare to head home.