South Africa: From Sea to Savanna

Cape Town, Wine Country, Garden Route and a Big Five Safari with Frank Dwyer


Experience the immense wonder and variety of South Africa—the only place in the world you can see elephants and whales, lions and great white sharks, hike and kayak one of the most gorgeous coastlines on the planet, and taste some of the best wines in the Southern Hemisphere! We’ll head down to the Cape of Good Hope, a biodiversity hotspot with its unique Cape floral kingdom and rare penguins, explore Cape Town’s stylish harbor, boat out to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held for 19 years, and taste the wares at historic 17th century Cape Dutch wineries. On the luxuriant Garden Route along South Africa’s stunning coast, we’ll venture into the Indian Ocean to look for the “Marine Big Five,” including southern right whales and Cape fur seals, and kayak in Knysna Lagoon, with an intertidal moonlight meander with a marine biologist in search of bioluminescence—a rare and mesmerizing delight. After a walk in an ancient indigenous forest on the Garden Route, we’ll fly to our exclusive safari camp, a hidden gem nestled in a remote corner of Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, adjoining the epic Kruger Reserve. Fascinating ranger-led game walks and 4WD safaris in search of the Big Five in Timbavati make a wonderful grand finale to our adventure.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3
Cape Town / Kirstenbosch / Cape of Good Hope

Explore Cape Town, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Ferry to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held as a political prisoner, hike on Table Mountain, explore the fabulous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, then enjoy the breathtaking trails at the Cape of Good Hope.

The Victoria and Alfred Hotel
Cape Town, South Africa
Days 1 to 3 (3 nights)
Days 4-6
Cape Winelands / Franschhoek / Big Five Marine Excursion

Enjoy the scenic beauty and taste the award-winning wines of the Cape Winelands, with its ancient Cape Dutch architecture and historic vineyards, with overnights in a luxurious wine estate outside Franschhoek and an exclusive Chef’s Table dining experience. An exciting day trip brings us to Hermanus on the coast for land-based whale-spotting, oyster tasting, and a fantastic “Marine Big Five” boat excursion on the lookout for southern right, humpback, and Bryde’s whale, plus sharks around the renowned Shark Alley.

La Residence
Franschhoek, South Africa
Days 4 to 6 (3 nights)
Days 7-8
The Garden Route / Knysna Lagoon Sea Kayaking / Moonlight Meander

Fly to the Garden Route, a gorgeous stretch of the Indian Ocean coastline famed for its sandy beaches, lagoons, and indigenous forests. Go sea kayaking on sheltered Knysna Lagoon, take a moonlight meander along a tidal beach with a marine biologist—with a chance to see bioluminescence! Sample the fresh local oysters (a Garden Route specialty), and hike in a native rainforest environment.

Sedgefield, South Africa
Days 7 to 8 (2 nights)
Days 9-10
Kambaku Klaserie Trails Camp / Klaserie Private Nature Reserve

Fly to Hoedspruit and head to Klaserie Private Nature Reserve adjoining Greater Kruger National Park. The Big Five wildlife found in Kruger can also be found here—but without crowds of safari-goers. Enjoy the remote atmosphere of this rustic camp, with bush walks, game drives, and an option for a “sleepout” under the African stars.

Kambaku Klaserie Trails Camp
Timbavati, South Africa
Days 9 to 10 (2 nights)
Days 11-13
Kambaku River Sands / Johannesburg

The luxurious Kambaku River Sands lodge in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve is home to an active watering hole, spa, and air-conditioned suites—each with a private plunge pool—and offers fantastic game walks and game drives in search of the Big Five. Depart on Day 13 via Johannesburg.

Kambaku River Sands
Timbavati Game Reserve, South Africa
Days 11 to 12 (2 nights)



Experience all the best hidden gems South Africa has to offer on a single active journey through this beautiful and diverse country
Enjoy a Big Five safari in Timbavati, a private wildlife concession adjoining Kruger National Park
Discover the Garden Route with hikes in indigenous forest, sea kayaking, whale watching, and an evening intertidal walk with a marine biologist
Explore Cape Town’s Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Gardens, and Cape of Good Hope
Go wine-tasting in the Cape Winelands, with luxury accommodations on a wine estate in Franschhoek and an exclusive Chef’s Table dining experience


Length: 13 days
Cost From: $11,595  
Arrive: Cape Town, South Africa
Depart: Johannesburg, South Africa
Lodging: 12 nights luxury lodges, boutique hotels, and safari camps
Meals: All meals included except Day 1 as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Walking, Wildlife and Natural History, Safaris
Trip Level:

Game viewing by 4WD vehicle, bush walks, sea kayaking, intertidal walks

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