South Africa Itinerary

For a 3 week – 21 day trip. Our objectives were to experience a Safari, Cape Town, Wine Country, Great White Shark Dive, Whale Coast, Garden Route, and Addo Elephant National Park. We want to get great photographs, have some adventures, learn about South African culture and connect with people.

In search of new African experiences we put together an itinerary that reflects our passion for photography, outdoor adventures, and settling in with the locals.  After arriving in Hoedsprit via Johannesburg we begin our three-week trek in the eastern province of Mpumalanga heading to the private game reserve, Tanda Tula, Timbavati for a six-day safari full of game drives and bush walks.

Next stop – Cape Town. We look to connect with the colorful pulse of the South African urban landscape. We learn about the people and history of South Africa by walking the city, visiting the District Six Museum and experiencing a Township. Spending a night in Khayelitsha, one of the largest townships in South Africa, at a bed and breakfast we meet members of the community on an afternoon walk. A Table Top Mountain hike shows us the unique geographical features of this prominent landmark.

After tasting South African wines from our local supermarket in Santa Monica, we are eager to explore the Napa Valley of South Africa where they all come from and head towards the verdant valleys of the Western Cape. We stay in Franschhoek, the culinary mecca, for three days of wine tasting, 5 star dining, cycling, and spa-ing.

As shark lovers the Great White Cage Diving in Gansbaai is a must. Here we readily jump into deep waters to come face to face with one of the most respected and feared alpha predators.

Next we head to De Hoop Nature Reserve for an off-the-beaten path adventure watching migrating whales and walking white sand dunes.

Tsitsikamma National Park runs along the Garden Route where canyons, forests, rivers and the Indian Ocean provide plenty of opportunities for kayaking, scuba diving, hiking and bird watching.

Our last stop is Addo Elephant National Park, the famous elephant sanctuary, known for it’s transformation of the elephant population from a dwindling herd to a population of over 500 in less than 20 years. Here we do a self-guided game drive through the park to see these large intelligent animals.

After three months of research this is how it all played out:
Sept 22 – Depart LAX (Delta) 10:20am ( Upgrade to Economy Plus then ask for Bulk head seats at the gate )
Sept 23 – Arrive Johannesburg 5:10pm ( Yes, that is a 22 hour trip )
Sept 23 – City Lodge Hotel @ Airport ( Clean, comfortable hotel at the airport – we would stay again- amazing breakfast buffet )
Sept 24 – Fly SAA to Hoedsprit ( 2 hours )
Sept 24 – 29 – Tanda Tula Timbavati ( Highly recommended – 5 stars )
Sept 29 – Fly SAA to Cape Town ( 2 Hours )
Sept 29 –  Cape Town – Urban Chic Hotel ( Recommended- rooms have a view of Table Mountain )
Sept 30 – Cape Town – Table Top Mountain ( Recommended- plan on 1/2 day ) Mama Africa’s Restaurant ( Recommended – Authentic food & music )
Oct 01 – Khayelisha Township -Koganong B&B ( Highly recommended – )
Oct 02 – Pick up car ( Airport ) & drive to Franschhoek ( 1.5 hours ) Stay at La Petite Ferme ( Highly recommended – )
Oct 03 – Franschhoek – Tour vineyards, walk charming downtown
Oct 04 – Franschhoek – Hugentot Muesuem, Spa at Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa ( Recommended – Hot stone massage )
Oct 05 – Drive to Gansabaii / Stay at La Petite Ferme ocean house ( Highly Recommended )
Oct 06 – Great White Shark Cage Dive – ( Disappointed in water visibility, boat guide annoying – )
Drive to De Hoop Nature Reserve ( Highly Recommended Don’t rent the rondavels – too many critters inside and smells like animal urine we moved to a house )
Oct 07 – De Hoop Nature Reserve – Day at the Indian Ocean Coast photographing sand dunes & watching whales migrating
Oct 08 – Drive to Tsitsikamma National Park
Stay at Misty Mountain Reserve ( Nice but wished we had booked a cabin at the ocean here )
Oct 09 – Tsitsikamma National Park  – Hike along the Indian Ocean coastline on the famous Otter Trail  ( Highly recommended  )
Oct 10 – TstisiKama National Park – Kayaking & Kloofing ( Highly recommended – )
Drive to Jeffery’s Bay ( Only recommended during winter as waves are low and surfing disappointing in spring )
Oct 11 –  Addo Elephant National Park ( Highly recommended for elephant lovers )
Oct 12 – Addo Elephant National Park Self-guided drives thru the park ( Stay in Addo Rest Camp – very comfortable )
Oct 13 – Drive to Port Elizabeth Airport Fly SAA to Johannesburg International Airport to catch return Delta flight to Los Angeles

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