South Africa Itinerary for 2 weeks

South Africa Itinerary + Victoria Falls: 7 Bucket List Items to Check Off

Last updated Jan 13, 2023 | Africa Itinerary, South Africa

Africa will be unlike any other place you have visited. It will seep into your soul, and you will be craving to come back before you even leave. Our South Africa itinerary included a lot of “firsts” for us. These “firsts” were bucket list items that were incredibly unique. Are you a foodie trying to score reservations at one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and experience the best wine a country has to offer? Or maybe you are the adventurous type who would love to experience swimming on top of the world’s largest waterfall or coming eye to eye with a great white shark? South Africa has it all. Here is my personal itinerary and top bucket list items of one of the most epic trips I have ever done!

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Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel Room

DAY 1: ZIMBABWE

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Arrive in the afternoon at Victoria Falls Airport. Obtain your Kaza Univisa on arrival, which allows multiple entries into Zambia and Zimbabwe and also day trips into Botswana. The Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel will pick you up.

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You will be exhausted but try to push through and visit Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side that afternoon, which is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World! No guide needed. The hotel will arrange the transfers. Then you can come back to the hotel, eat a quick dinner on-site, and go to sleep early since jet lag will be settling in quickly.

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Dinner: At hotel (delicious gourmet a-la-carte meals!) 

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Overnight: Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel. This beautiful African chic hotel is stunning and is the perfect base for your Victoria Falls adventure! If interested, check out my full hotel review.

Swimming in Devil's Pool at Victoria Falls

DAY 2: MORNING IN ZAMBIA, AFTERNOON IN ZIMBABWE

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Arrange through the hotel to cross over into Zambia to do one of the most epic bucket list experiences. 

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10:30 am: Bucket list Item #1. Swim in Devil’s Pool on top of the world’s largest waterfall, Victoria Falls. How do you do it? Read more about my epic Devil’s Pool experience. Lunch/2nd late breakfast included.

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Afternoon: At your leisure. We decided to relax and drink champagne by the pool. Other options: Afternoon safari drive at the hotel property or a sunset Zambezi River Cruise.

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Breakfast: Watch the giraffes on the dining terrace while you eat a delicious made-to-order breakfast, which is included in your hotel rate 

Dinner: At hotel

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Overnight: Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel

Bull elephant near Chobe River at Chobe National Park

DAY 3: BOTSWANA FULL DAY TRIP

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Arrange through the hotel to transport you to the Wild Horizon’s office in Zimbabwe. This is the tour operator, who will take you to Botswana. Why are we going to Botswana? ELEPHANTS!

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7:30 AM – 6:30 PM: Be prepared for a long day, but it will be well worth your time. Chobe National Park is home to 120,000 elephants. You will have the unique experience of doing a safari drive by BOTH boat and jeep. To find out more about this incredible experience, check out my article on Chobe National Park.
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Breakfast: Request a to-go breakfast box provided by your hotel

Lunch: Chobe Marina Lodge in Botswana (included in your tour rate)

Dinner: At hotel

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Overnight: Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel

Cape Vue Country House in Franschhoek

DAY 4: CAPE WINELANDS (FRANSCHHOEK)

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Fly 3 hours nonstop from Victoria Falls Airport in Zimbabwe to Cape Town International Airport through South African Airlink.

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Land at 2:40 pm if taking the nonstop flight from Victoria Falls. Rent a car with the highly-rated local company, Cabs Car Hire. I am very particular about what countries I feel comfortable driving in. I definitely felt safe driving in South Africa. Use common sense, avoid driving at night, and have your partner constantly remind you to “stay left,” and you will be fine. Drive 1-1.5 hours to Franschhoek for Bucket List Item #2, the Cape Winelands. Learn how to plan your ultimate wine country getaway by reading my comprehensive article on South Africa wine country. Arrive around 4:30 pm. Settle in and relax the remainder of the evening.

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Breakfast: One last delicious meal at At Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel

Dinner: Casual dinner at Tuk Tuk Microbrewery in Franschhoek. 5 min. walk from the hotel. No reservations required.

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Overnight: Cape Vue Country House, an adorable B&B within walking distance of all the shops and restaurants in Franschhoek
Multi course lunch with wine pairing at Creation Wines

DAY 5: CAPE WINELANDS (HEMEL-EN-AARDE VALLEY)

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All-day wine tour with La Rochelle Tours to Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, home to the top pinot noir producers in South Africa! 1.5 hour scenic drive from Franschhoek.

8 am: Pick up time

10 am: Storm Wines

11:30 am: Creation Wines (multicourse lunch + wine pairings)

2:15 pm: Hamilton Russell

3:30 pm: Quick stop to check out the seaside town of Hermanus

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Breakfast: Wonderful made-to-order breakfast at the hotel (included in the rate)

Dinner: 7:30 pm reservation at top restaurant La Petite Colombe

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Overnight: Cape Vue Country House

Kanonkop Award Winning Pinotage

DAY 6: CAPE WINELANDS (FRANSCHHOEK + STELLENBOSCH)

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We designed our own DIY wine tour using Uber. To find out more how we did our own wine tour, check out my article Cape Town Wine Tour.

9 am: Pick-up time via Uber 

10:30 am: Kanonkop Wine Estate. No South Africa itinerary is complete without trying the quintessential South African wine, the pintotage

12:30 pm: The Table at De Meye (farm to table lunch + wine). Our favorite restaurant in South Africa (dare I say, even more than The Test Kitchen!). See 5 Must-Try Franschhoek Restaurants & Beyond for details.

4 pm: Moreson Wine Farm

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Breakfast: At the hotel. Always eat a big breakfast before a wine tour.

Dinner: 7:30 pm reservation at top restaurant Chefs Warehouse at Maison

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Overnight: Cape Vue Country House

The Test Kitchen in Cape Town

DAY 7: CAPE TOWN

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Drive 1 hr. to Cape Town. Check-in and drop off luggage/rental car at the hotel.

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12 pm: Uber to Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill, which is held on Saturdays from 9am – 2pm.  Lots of vendors to try some local Cape Malay food.  

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1:30 pm: Uber over to V&A Waterfront. Take in the sites around the harbor.

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3 pm: Take the aerial cableway to Table Mountain (weather-dependent activity).

All of these activities are included in my best Things to Do in Cape Town.

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Breakfast: One last breakfast at Cape Vue Country House before the drive

Dinner: Check off Bucket List Item #3. Dine at one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, The Test Kitchen. How do you get reservations? Check out my article Best Restaurants in Cape Town. If you are a foodie, this is a must for your South Africa itinerary.

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Overnight: Derwent House Boutique Hotel, an incredibly warm and friendly hotel
South Africa penguins at Boulders Beach

DAY 8: DAY TRIP FROM CAPE TOWN

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Drive around the Cape Peninsula. Lots of sites to check out! 

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10:30 am: Check out the brightly colored bathhouses at Muizenberg Beach.

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12 pm: No South Africa itinerary is complete without seeing the South Africa penguin, whose home is the beach! Find the hidden entrance to swim with these penguins at Boulders Beach.

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2:30 pm: Have the best fish & chips for a late lunch at Fish on the Rocks at Hout Bay. Even Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix thinks so.

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4 pm: Walk along the spectacular Tree Canopy Walkway at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

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Breakfast: At the hotel

Dinner: Soup and snacks at hotel. Tomorrow is going to be an early morning! 

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Overnight: Derwent House Boutique Hotel 

Bronze Whaler Shark seen while shark cage diving in South Africa

DAY 9: ALL DAY TRIP TO GANSBAAI

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4:30 am: Pick up. Why are you getting up this early? To cross off Bucket List Item #4.

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8 am – 5 pm: Shark cage diving with Great White Shark Tours! Nothing can prepare you for staring eye to eye with a 4,000 pound powerful great white shark. You will also see plenty of bronze whaler sharks. I have written in detail all you need to know about shark cage diving in South Africa.

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Breakfast: Light continental breakfast at the Great White Shark Tours headquarters. You do not want to eat too much in case it comes up later!

Dinner: 6:30 pm at Thali, lovely restaurant focusing on modern Indian tapas. No reservations required.

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Nightcap at The (not-so-secret) Gin Bar located in a chocolate shop. Intrigued? Check out my article on Top 10 South African food and drink.

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Overnight: Derwent House Boutique Hotel 

City of Cape Town as seen from the Lion's Head Hike

DAY 10: CAPE TOWN

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Uber to the start of the trailhead of the Lion’s head hike.

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10:30 am: Witness the beauty of the city of Cape Town from the top of Lion’s Head, Bucket List Item #5. This gorgeous city is surrounded by both mountains and ocean. To see how to get this view, please see my article on Lion’s Head hike.

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1:30 pm: Have some of the best coffee in the world at Truth Coffee, and you must try their eclairs.

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4:30 pm: Stroll around the vibrantly painted Cape Malay neighborhood known as Bo-Kaap.

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Breakfast: At the hotel

Dinner: 8:30 pm at another top South Africa restaurant, The Pot Luck Club 

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Overnight: Derwent House Boutique Hotel 

Lion Sands River Lodge Fire Pit

DAY 11: SABI SAND

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Drop off the rental car and take the 10:35 am 2.5 hr. nonstop flight via SA Airlink to Skukuza Airport.

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4:30 pm: 3 hr. afternoon safari drive. They do not waste any time. You arrive at the safari lodge early in the afternoon and a few hours later are riding around in a jeep scoping out all the wildlife. 

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Breakfast: At Derwent House Boutique Hotel before your early flight 

Dinner: At Lion Sands River Lodge. All gourmet a-la-carte meals are served at the lodge and are mouthwatering. All meals and drinks included.

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Overnight: Lion Sands River Lodge, a beautiful contemporary safari lodge. I have written a full review of Lion Sands River Lodge if you want to know more.
Leopard seen on a safari drive in Sabi Sand

DAY 12: SABI SAND

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5:30 – 8:30 am: Morning safari drive

8:30 am – 4:30 pm: At your leisure. Swim, work out in the gym, or get a massage or facial at the spa. I opted for the massage.

4:30 – 7:30 pm: Afternoon safari drive

Your 2-week South Africa itinerary includes the ultimate Bucket List Item #6, the South Africa safari. If you feel overwhelmed with the planning process on how to book the best safari experience, I have written a comprehensive article on all the questions you may come across while planning your South Africa safari and how to choose a safari lodge.

What animals are you going to see? Everything. Lions, leopards, elephants, zebras, buffalo, rhinos, giraffes, wild dogs, wildebeest, hippos, warthogs, African civet, and many species of birds. Wow.

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Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner: At Lion Sands River Lodge

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Overnight: Lion Sands River Lodge

Chalkley Treehouse at Lion Sands River Lodge

DAY 13: SABI SAND

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5:30 – 8:30 am: Morning safari drive

8:30 am – 4:30 pm: At your leisure

4:30 – 7:30 pm: Afternoon safari drive

Another spectacular safari day out in the African bush

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Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner: At Lion Sands River Lodge

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Overnight: Chalkley Treehouse at Lion Sands River Lodge. You have to reserve this experience ahead of time. No walls. No roof. No Wi-Fi. Just you and a starlit sky.

The South Africa itinerary culminates in one of the most romantic experiences. Sleeping in a treehouse is Bucket List #7. Please check out my article on the Chalkley Treehouse to hear about our experience.

Lion snuggling in Sabi Sand

DAY 14: SABI SAND

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5:30 am: Last morning safari drive

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Take the 2:50 pm 1 hr. nonstop slight via SA Airlink to Johannesburg Airport.

Take the 9:45 pm 8 hr. 25 min. flight from Johannesburg Airport to London Heathrow Airport and then home to the United States via Virgin Atlantic

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Breakfast: At Lion Sands River Lodge

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One last martini at the gorgeous Lion Sands River Lodge bar before the long flight home.

Victoria Falls + South Africa Itinerary as Seen on a Map

2 week South Africa Itinerary

2 week South Africa Itinerary + Victoria Falls: Map of Destinations Visited

Who Will Like This Victoria Falls + South Africa Itinerary

  • Foodies
  • Casual wine drinkers and serious wine connoisseurs
  • Outdoor enthusiasts
  • Animal/nature lovers
  • Thrill-seekers

Best Time to Visit Victoria Falls + South Africa 

The best time to do this 2 week Victoria Falls + South Africa itinerary will depend on what activities you want to do. 

  • Best Time To Swim in Devil’ls Pool in Zimbabwe: mid August – late September
  • Best Time To Do Great White Shark Cage Diving in Gansbaai: June – September
  • Best Time To Do a Safari in Sabi Sand: May – early October (dry season) 
  • Best Time to be in Cape Town: December – early March (summer months). During the spring months (September – November), the weather gradually starts to warm up, and the chance of rainfall decreases. 

We decided the best month to accomplish all of our bucket list items was SEPTEMBER. Now that I have done the trip, I can say it was a good choice. 

Number of Nights in Each Place 

  • 3 nights in Zimbabwe
  • 3 nights in Cape Winelands (Franschhoek)
  • 4 nights in Cape Town
  • 3 nights in Sabi Sand

Hotels Booked 

  • Zimbabwe: Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel 
  • Cape Winelands: Cape Vue Country House
    • Cape Town: Derwent House
    • Sabi Sands: Lion Sands River Lodge

    Airlines & Airport Lounges Used

    Ethiopian Airlines

    • United States to Victoria Falls Airport in Zimbabwe via a short layover at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia (booked with United points)

    South African Airlink

    • Nonstop flight at 11:45 am from Victoria Falls Aiport in Zimbabwe and arrived in Cape Town International Airport in South Africa at 2:40 pm
    • Nonstop flight at 10:35 am from Cape Town International Airport in South Africa and arrived at Skukuza Airport in Sabi Sand at 1:05 pm
    • Nonstop flight at 2:50 pm from Skukuza Airport and arrived at Johannesburg Airport at 3:50 pm

    Virgin Atlantic

    • Johannesburg Airport back to the United States via a layover in London Heathrow Airport (booked with Virgin Atlantic points)

    Dzimbahwe Executive Lounge

    • Victoria Falls Airport

    Bidvest Premier Lounge

    • Cape Town International Airport

    Shongololo Lounge

    • Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport

    Car Rental & How to Get Around South Africa 

    • Cabs Car Hire (Cape Town/Cape Winelands). Our hotel in Cape Town recommended this company, and they did not disappoint. Incredibly efficient and reliable. Drive your rental car to the Cape Winelands and on the full day trip to the Cape Peninsula.
    • Otherwise, when you are in Cape Town, use Uber. Super cheap and reliable.

    Tour Operators We Used for This South Africa Itinerary

    • Tongabezi (Devil’s Pool at Victoria Falls)
    • Wild Horizons (Chobe National Park day trip)
    Since we went, there is another highly-rated company (5.0 on TripAdvisor) offering Chobe day trips called Maano Adventures.
    • La Rochelle Tours (Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Wine Tour)
    • Great White Shark Tours (Shark cage diving in Gansbaai)

    Lunch/Dinner Reservations We Booked in Advance 

    • La Petite Colombe (Franschhoek in Cape Winelands)
    • The Table at De Meye (Stellenbosch in Cape Winelands)
    • Chefs Warehouse at Maison (Franschhoek in Cape Winelands)
    • Creation Wine (Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in Cape Winelands)
    • The Test Kitchen (Cape Town)
    • The Pot Luck Club (Cape Town)

    Wineries Booked in Advance

    • Storm Wines
    • Creation Wines

    7 Bucket List Items to Complete 

    • #1 Swim in Devil’s Pool on top of the world largest waterfall, Victoria Falls
    • #2 Drink the best South African wine in the Cape Winelands
    • #3 Go shark cage diving
    • #4 Dine at The Test Kitchen, one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 
    • #5 Hike Lion’s Head to get the most epic view of Cape Town
    • #6 Go on a South Africa safari 
    • #7 Sleep in a treehouse 

    Travel Insurance Purchased for This South Africa Itinerary 

    • Explorer Plan by World Nomads Insurance (covered 2 people for 2 weeks and all of the higher risk activities we participated in at a cost of $291.82 USD)

    What I Would Have Considered Changing in My Itinerary 

    • Staying 1 less night in Franschhoek and adding 1 night in the seaside town of Hermanus
    • Staying 1 extra night in Zimbabwe to take advantage of the hotel’s safari drives and having time to do a sunset Zambezi River Cruise
    • If I had another 5-7 days, I would have loved to explore the Garden Route. Next time!
    Elephants seen on a safari drive at Chobe National Park in Botswana

    Elephants at Chobe National Park

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    Question about our South Africa itinerary?

    Let me know in the comments below!

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