If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that I recently took a 2 week trip to South Africa. It was incredible!
Since, I’ve gotten so many messages asking for trip info so I thought I’d share everything here. I planned the trip myself and we tried to find a perfect balance between doing things ourselves (renting a car, Airbnbs) and ease. I think this was my favorite trip we’ve ever taken so I think we found the perfect balance for us!
Below is our day by day itinerary with all links:
TRIP TO SOUTH AFRICA DAY ONE
We flew from Chicago to Atlanta and then from Atlanta to Johannesburg, South Africa. We’ve never done a flight this long but we loved that there was only one long flight vs two longer ones.
We landed in Johannesburg and stayed over at the Intercontinental hotel at the airport. This hotel was a bit pricy but it was worth it because it was stress-free and right at the airport after a loooong flight. We got room service, watched an episode of Survivor (my favorite show!), and fell asleep early.
The next morning, we got picked up and were driven to our safari lodge. The drive was about 6 hours, and although we were originally planning to drive it ourselves, I was happy we had someone else pick us up as we were both jet-lagged and not used to driving on the left side of the road. The drive was beautiful.
After arriving to our amazing lodge, Vuyani Safari Lodge, we were given welcome drinks, dropped off our bags, and left on the evening safari shortly after. Within 5 minutes of getting to our room, a nyala drank out of our private pool and I took pictures of monkeys playing in our trees.
We were originally going to do a cheaper, more self service style lodge however while Googling the day before we left, I found out it had closed without letting us know. After a little panic, I found Vuyani and am SO happy we ended up there!
DAYS FOUR to SIX
These were our full safari days. At Vuyani, our rate included a sunrise and sunset safari each day (pretty essential for any trip to South Africa!). We also went to an elephant sanctuary one afternoon between game drives. We stayed in both the honeymoon suite and the presidential suite because we booked so last minute. Both were amazing.
And, if that wasn’t enough, we did a full day in Kruger National Park.
And we visited an elephant sanctuary.
We were lucky enough to see the Big 5 in addition to lots of exciting things. We saw lions kill a pig (it was actually quite loud and made me cringe!), a cheetah eat a steenbok, lions mating, and so many baby animals. I got stung by a scorpion (which turned out to be just fine but ahh!!) and ate some of the best food I’ve ever had in my life.
These days were so exciting, easy, and awe inspiring.
This was our last day on safari. We woke up and enjoyed our last game drive. I fell asleep sitting up in the open air vehicle. If you know me in person, you’ll know this is VERY unlike me. We just had too much fun and had stayed up late the previous night enjoying some beer with newly met friends.
We were driven back to Johannesburg airport (6 hours) and then caught a flight to Cape Town! We landed around midnight and were picked up at the airport and driven to the most amazing Airbnb I’ve ever seen. The power was out when we arrived, but when we woke up, we were treated to this view.
This was a full blown lazy day. We sat in our Airbnb and relaxed. We walking to a nearby cafe for lunch and ordered delivery for dinner. I was so tired so this was such a needed day. We were originally supposed to shark dive this day, but conditions weren’t great so we rescheduled for later in the week.
We woke up early, ate a quick breakfast, and got picked up for a day of wine drinking! We toured 4 wineries and enjoyed wine tasting, a chocolate pairing, lunch, and a cheese tasting. It was rainy but such a fun day!
We went through Wine Flies and I’d definitely recommend them!
DAYS TEN + ELEVEN
We woke up pretty early again this morning, packed up, rented a car, and drove to Hermanus. We heard you could see whales from the land this time of year and were quite excited but had NO IDEA how amazing it would turn out to be. Apparently, it’s an amazing year for whales. There was more than 650 mom/calf pairs in a short stretch of coast recorded this year.
We got another breathtaking view at our Airbnb and pretty much stayed there for 90% of our time in Hermanus. We did visit a winery and a restaurant in cave right on the water, but otherwise pretty much just whale watched. There wasn’t a time where we looked outside and DIDN’T see whales. It was incredible. We saw every whale behavior imaginable, sometimes for 5 minutes straight!
While it was an amazing year for whales, it wasn’t a great year for great white sharks. Ironically, cage diving with great white sharks was the reason I began looking at South Africa so we spent this day driving further away from Cape Town to cage dive with great whites in Gansbaai.
It was INCREDIBLE and we got lucky enough to see three different great whites.
We drove back to Cape Town after this just in time for a great sushi dinner and bedtime.
We flew out at 11pm this day so we returned our rental car and spent most of the day packing and walking around Cape Town. Our Airbnb was really centrally located and made it so easy! We enjoyed the V&A waterfront and finished up some wine we had! 🙂
We flew from Cape Town to Amsterdam to Chicago. A looooong day of flying but it was definitely worth it! 🙂 The end of a perfect trip to South Africa!
If you have any questions, let me know! I absolutely love vacation planning and South Africa was just such an amazing place to visit.
We rarely want to go back to places we’ve been because there’s just so many places to see but I’d be surprised if we don’t go back for another trip to South Africa! There’s so much to see and do and we really had the best time. My husband and I got to know each other in Kenya and it was incredibly fun to get ourselves back to Africa! (Update 2020: I got to go back to Africa when I went to Ghana as an SLP volunteer!)
Thanks for reading!