7 days in South Africa - 5 travel itineraries

So, you've got a week to spare and you're itching to explore the wonders of South Africa? With just seven days at your disposal, you might wonder how to make the most of your time in this captivating country. In this case, you’ve come to the right place — here’s our expert guide to creating the perfect 7 days South Africa itinerary. 

Is 7 days enough for South Africa?

Is a week in South Africa enough? Well, it's definitely long enough to get a taste of what this amazing country has to offer. But let's be real – with so much to see and do, you could easily spend months exploring every nook and cranny. 

If you’re planning to visit South Africa for a week, you’ll likely want to focus on one key area. You’ll definitely want to plan ahead as much as possible, as there will be little time for downtime. Make sure to check the typical weather patterns during the time you’d like to take your trip. If you can swing it, consider adding a few extra days to your trip to allow for a more relaxed pace or simply soak up more of that South African sunshine. 

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the thought of planning your South African adventure, why not enlist the help of a professional? Our tailor-made trip service takes the stress out of planning and booking, leaving you free to focus on enjoying your journey. Our trips are designed by local travel experts and are fully customizable.

Matjiesfontein wild flowers, South Africa © Shutterstock

Matjiesfontein wild flowers, South Africa © Shutterstock

Itinerary #1: Cape Town and the Garden Route

On this South Africa itinerary, you’ll explore the rich culture of Cape Town and the stunning and scenic Garden Route. This itinerary is all about soaking up the best of what this beautiful region has to offer.

Your adventure kicks off with a relaxed day in Cape Town on day one. Take your time wandering the streets, soaking in the atmosphere, and getting a feel for the city's unique vibe. On day two, it's time to hit the road for a full-day Cape Peninsula Tour. From the charming fishing village of Hout Bay to the majestic cliffs of Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, you'll be treated to breathtaking views 

Day three brings a delightful combination of wine tasting and chocolate indulgence at Waterford Wine Estate before you make your way to Oudtshoorn. Here, on day four, you'll have the chance to get up close and personal with ostriches at a local farm and explore the mysterious depths of the Cango Cave before cruising the serene waters of Knysna Lagoon.

As you journey from Knysna to Mossel Bay on day five, be sure to take in the natural wonders along the way, including the famous Post Office Tree. But the real highlight awaits at the Gondwana Game Reserve, where you'll enjoy a delicious lunch and embark on an exciting game drive.

The sixth day offers a full day of game drives in Mossel Bay. Finally, on the seventh day, enjoy a morning game drive before transferring to Cape Town airport for your departure flight. Book this trip.

South Africa, Tsitsikamma National Park, wooden bridge suspended above Storms River on Garden Route

Wooden bridge suspended above Storms River on Garden Route © Shutterstock

Standton at night, Capetown, South Africa

Standton at night, Capetown, South Africa © Shutterstock

Itinerary overview

Check out this 7 days South Africa itinerary:

Day 1

  • Welcome to Cape Town.
  • Leisure time to explore.

Day 2

  • Cape Peninsula Tour.
  • Full-day privately guided tour.
  • Visit Hout Bay, Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, Cape Point.
  • Pass through Simon's Town, Kalk Bay, Constantia.

Day 3

  • Wine and chocolate tasting at Waterford Wine Estate.
  • Explore Stellenbosch.
  • Transfer to Oudtshoorn.

Day 4

  • Explore Oudtshoorn.
  • Visit ostrich farm and Cango Caves.
  • Transfer to Knysna.
  • Lagoon cruise to the Knysna Heads on the John Benn.

Day 5

  • Knysna to Mossel Bay via Wilderness.
  • Discover natural sites in the area.
  • Visit the Post Office Tree in Mossel Bay.
  • Arrive at Gondwana Game Reserve.
  • Lunch and afternoon game drive.

Day 6

  • Full Day Game Drive in Mossel Bay.
  • Explore Mossel Bay on a safari tour.

Day 7

  • Enjoy the morning game drive.
  • Transfer to Cape Town airport.
  • Departure flight.

Looking for a new experience? Book your trip now.

Muizenberg Beach, Cape Town, South Africa © Shutterstock

Muizenberg Beach, Cape Town, South Africa © Shutterstock

Itinerary #2: Best of Northern South Africa

This trip is great for those with limited time. On this 7 day itinerary, you will spend seven days near Johannesburg — and not wasting too much of your time on travelling between destinations. 

On the first day, you'll be welcomed to Johannesburg where you'll have free time to explore the city. The second day sees you journeying to Sun City, where you'll explore the wonders of the Lost City at Sun City Resort Complex. Here you’ll find an aquatic theme park, gardens, and maze, and other activities at the Entertainment Centre.

 The third day offers free time in Sun City before transferring to Madikwe, starting with breakfast at The Palace Of The Lost City and ending with dinner at Tau Game Lodge. 

Days four and five are all about immersing yourself in the wild beauty of Madikwe with thrilling 4x4 game drives. Spend your mornings spotting wildlife against the backdrop of stunning landscapes, and your afternoons exploring cultural sites within the reserve. 

On the sixth day, you’ll enjoy one last morning game drive in Madikwe before transferring back to Johannesburg for more free time in the city. Finally, on the seventh day, after breakfast, you'll be transferred to your departure flight. Book this trip.

stairs-johannesburg-south-africa-shutterstock_1208264443

Johannesburg South Africa © Shutterstock

Johannesburg, South Africa © Mark G Williams/Shutterstock

Johannesburg, South Africa © Mark G Williams/Shutterstock

Itinerary overview

Check out this 7 days South Africa itinerary:

Day 1

  • Welcome to Johannesburg.
  • Transfer to hotel.
  • Free time in Johannesburg.

Day 2

  • Johannesburg to Sun City.
  • Explore Lost City at Sun City Resort Complex.
  • Visit aquatic theme park, gardens, and maze.
  • Enjoy activities at Entertainment Centre.

Day 3

  • Free time in Sun City.
  • Transfer from Sun City to Madikwe.
  • Breakfast at The Palace Of The Lost City.
  • Dinner at Tau Game Lodge.

Day 4 & 5

  • Madikwe: 2 full days of 4x4 game drives.
  • Morning game drive in Madikwe Game Reserve.
  • Spot wildlife and enjoy the scenery.
  • Explore cultural sites in the reserve.

Day 6

  • Morning game drive in Madikwe Game Reserve.
  • Transfer from Madikwe to Johannesburg.
  • Free time in Johannesburg.

Day 7

  • Breakfast.
  • Transfer to OR Tambo Airport.
  • Departure flight from Johannesburg.

Interested? Don't miss the opportunity to book this trip now.

Port St Johns, Eastern Cape, South Africa © Shutterstock

Port St Johns, Eastern Cape, South Africa © Shutterstock

Itinerary #3: A family self drive

On this 7 day itinerary, you’ll have the opportunity to explore Africa with your family in your own rental car, the perfect companion for exploring Kruger National Park at your own pace.

On the first day, you'll fly into Tambo International Airport and then explore Dullstroom, known for its fly fishing, quaint shops, and country restaurants. On the second day, visit Blyde River Canyon and Bourke’s Luck Potholes to enjoy scenic vistas and geological formations. 

The third day is reserved for a full-day game drive in Kruger National Park. Day four sees you crossing the border into Swaziland, where you'll drive to Piggs Peak to explore its mountainous landscapes and delve into its rich history.

Continue your Swazi adventure on day five, driving through Lavumisa and the Lubombo Mountains. Take a bushwalk along the Msineni River, soaking in the sights and sounds of the African bush as you observe birdlife and plains game in their natural habitat.. 

On the sixth day, get ready for some thrilling 4x4 action as you embark on a game drive in Hluhluwe Game Reserve. Finally, on the seventh day, after breakfast, transfer to Durban Airport, marking the end of your exhilarating journey. Book this trip.

Blyde River Canyon, South Africa © AdobeStock

Blyde River Canyon, South Africa © AdobeStock

Kruger National Park, South Africa

Kruger National Park, South Africa © Shutterstock

Itinerary overview

Check out this 7 days South Africa itinerary:

Day 1

  • Fly into Tambo International Airport.
  • Explore Dullstroom: known for fly fishing, quaint shops, and country restaurants.
  • Adventure trails, rock climbing, and hiking paths available.

Day 2

  • Visit Blyde River Canyon and Bourke’s Luck Potholes.
  • Enjoy scenic vistas and geological formations.

Day 3

  • Kruger National Park full-day game drive.
  • Explore Kruger Park on a 4x4 game drive.
  • Spot Big Five and diverse wildlife.
  • Stop at rest camps for breaks.

Day 4

  • Transfer to Swaziland.
  • Drive to Piggs Peak, Swaziland.
  • Explore mountainous landscapes and historic sites.
  • Visit Swazi Candle Factory in Malkerns.

Day 5

  • Explore Swaziland.
  • Drive through Lavumisa and Lubombo Mountains.
  • Bushwalk along Msineni River.
  • Observe birdlife and plains game.

Day 6

  • 4x4 Game Drive in Hluhluwe.
  • Explore Hluhluwe Game Reserve.
  • Spot Big Five and other wildlife.
  • Visit viewing hides for close-up viewing.

Day 7

  • Breakfast.
  • Transfer to Durban Airport.

Interested? Don't miss the opportunity to book this trip now.

10. Hippos, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Hippos, Kruger National Park, South Africa © Shutterstock

Itinerary #4: Amazing Cape Town

On this week-long itinerary, you’ll explore the best of Cape Town, as you turn along the circular route encompassing the stunning peninsula. 

On the first day, you'll arrive in Cape Town and explore the Blue Flag beaches of the Atlantic Seaboard, followed by a visit to Noordhoek village and beach. Your trip continues with a visit to Cape Point Nature Reserve and a scenic drive along the False Bay coastline, culminating in a wine tasting in Stellenbosch. 

On day two, get ready to kick things up a notch with a thrilling sidecar tour of the Cape Peninsula. Feel the wind in your hair as you zoom into iconic landmarks like Cape Point and Kalk Bay, immersing yourself in the Table Mountain chain's rich maritime history along the way.

Day three promises an adrenaline-pumping adventure as you hop aboard a jet boat for a high-speed coastal ride. Enjoy a relaxed morning at your hotel on the fourth day before transferring to Kapama Game Reserve. 

The fifth day is dedicated to exploring the reserve with a ranger and tracker, encountering diverse wildlife on morning and afternoon drives. 

Day six invites you to explore the reserve on foot with bush walks led by knowledgeable rangers. Finally, on the seventh day, transfer to Johannesburg for your departure. Book this trip.

Cape Town, South Africa - aerial view © Mark Van Overmeire/Shutterstock

Cape Town, South Africa - aerial view © Mark Van Overmeire/Shutterstock

Most beautiful country in the world Lion's Head, Cape Town, South Africa © Richard Cavalleri/Shutterstock

Lion's Head, Cape Town, South Africa © Richard Cavalleri/Shutterstock

Itinerary overview

Check out this 7 days South Africa itinerary:

Day 1

  • Arrival in Cape Town.
  • Explore Blue Flag beaches of the Atlantic Seaboard.
  • Visit Noordhoek village and beach.
  • Discover Cape Point Nature Reserve.
  • Scenic drive along False Bay coastline.
  • Wine tasting in Stellenbosch.

Day 2

  • Sidecar tour Cape Peninsula.
  • Visit Cape Point and Kalk Bay.
  • Explore Table Mountain chain.
  • Learn about maritime history.
  • Spot wildlife and bird species.

Day 3

  • High-Speed adventure on a jet boat.
  • Fast ride along the coast.
  • Marine life spotting.
  • Whale watching alternative.

Day 4

  • Relaxed morning at your hotel.
  • Transfer to Kapama Game Reserve.

Day 5

  • Explore reserve the with a ranger and tracker.
  • Encounter diverse wildlife.
  • Morning and afternoon drives.
  • Spotlight for nocturnal species.

Day 6

  • Bush Walks.
  • Explore the reserve on foot.
  • Guided by trained rangers.
  • Learn tracking skills.
  • View wildlife from a safe distance.

Day 7

  • Transfer to Johannesburg.
  • Departure.

Inspired? Don't waste any time and book this trip now.

Cape Town by night, South Africa

Cape Town by night, South Africa © Shutterstock

Itinerary #5: Wildlife, wine and whales

On this week-long South Africa itinerary you will explore the abundant natural beauty surrounding Cape Town.

Upon arrival into the city on the first day, you'll be transferred to your hotel. Day two is all about embracing the spirit of exploration as you dive into a full-day tour of the Cape Peninsula.

Day three is all about unwinding as you discover the delights of the local wine regions. Sip, swirl, and savor your way through the Paarl Valley and Franschhoek Valley, with plenty of stops for wine tasting, leisurely lunches, and exploring charming Franschhoek. And of course, no wine tour would be complete without a visit to Stellenbosch.

Day four is dedicated to a South African safari, visiting a safari park to spot lions, cheetahs, rhinos, and more before returning to Cape Cadogan. On the fifth day, you'll go whale-spotting in Hermanus, and enjoy a scenic coastal drive via Gordon’s Bay and Pringle Bay.

Day six offers a leisurely free day to explore Cape Town at your own pace. Finally, on the seventh day, you'll depart for home. Book this trip.

best places to go with kids African penguin ( Spheniscus demersus) also known as the jackass penguin and black-footed penguin. Boulders colony. Cape Town. South Africa

African penguins near Cape Town © Shutterstock

Kirstenbosch National park in cape town, South Africa © Shutterstock

Kirstenbosch National Park, South Africa © Shutterstock

Itinerary overview

Check out this 7 days South Africa itinerary:

Day 1

  • Arrive at Cape Town Airport.
  • Transfer to hotel.

Day 2

  • Full-day tour of Cape Peninsula.
  • Visit Hout Bay and fish market.
  • Trip to Seal Island (weather permitting).
  • Scenic drive along Chapman’s Peak Drive.
  • Explore Cape of Good Hope.
  • See the African Penguin colony at Boulder’s Beach.
  • Visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
  • Enjoy scones and coffee at the garden café.
  • Return to Cape Cadogan.

Day 3

  • Wine region discovery.
  • Explore Paarl Valley.
  • Wine tasting at local estates.
  • Visit Franschhoek Valley and the village.
  • Lunch and exploration in Franschhoek.
  • Proceed to Stellenbosch.
  • Wine tasting in Stellenbosch.
  • Return to Cape Cadogan.

Day 4

  • South African Safari.
  • Visit safari park.
  • Spot lions, cheetahs, rhinos, and more.
  • Return to Cape Cadogan.

Day 5

  • Whale-spotting in Hermanus.
  • Coastal drive via Gordon’s Bay and Pringle Bay.
  • Visit Harold Porter Botanical Garden in Betty’s Bay.
  • Continue to Hermanus.
  • Explore Hermanus village and markets.
  • Explore Dyer Island.
  • Return to Cape Cadogan.

Day 6

  • Free day in Cape Town.
  • Explore local attractions.

Day 7

  • Departure from Cape Town.
  • Transfer to Cape Town International Airport.

Ready to pack your bags? Book your trip now.

A giraffe in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, situated in the Kalahari Desert which straddles South Africa and Botswana © David Steele/Shutterstock

A giraffe in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park © David Steele/Shutterstock

Prepare your South Africa itinerary

Allow our team of local travel experts to curate your dream trip to South Africa. When you're ready to embark on your adventure, reach out to us, and we'll craft a personalized itinerary just for you.

Browse our pre-designed South Africa itineraries for ideas, and remember that all can be tailored to meet your specific needs. For more information, read our South Africa travel tips, discover some of the best things to do in South Africa, or check out our Rough Guide to South Africa

Dre Roelandt

written by
Dre Roelandt

updated 20.05.2024

Dre Roelandt is originally from the United States but lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Dre is a freelance writer and artist with a passion for travelling. They are an in-house Content Editor at Rough Guides.

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