Bucket-list South Africa
Abseil Table Mountain, recreate My Octopus Teacher and embark on the world’s best safari
Bucket-list South Africa
About your trip
Wine, wildlife and abseiling adrenaline. Give up 11 days and you’ll get the best of South Africa in return.
Your 11-day South Africa adventure will see you snorkel among octopi in mysterious kelp forests and embrace adrenaline as you, quite literally, step off the edge of a cliff. You’ll catch your breath at the sight of animals you’ve only ever seen on screen roaming the African plains before you, and you’ll toast to spotting the Big Five in a safari-side infinity pool.
This small group tour is also an opportunity to witness the cosmopolitan side of South Africa. You’ll discover urban artwork and meet traditional storytellers; stroll through vineyards and dive into the history of Johannesburg; experience the bright lights of Cape Town by night and enjoy rooftop drinks overlooking its sprawling, coastal cityscape.
- Max 14 travellers per group
- Exclusively for people in their 30s & 40s
- All activities mentioned on the itinerary
- 10 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
- One domestic flight
- Hand-picked 4 star hotel & luxury safari lodge
- We offset 0.72 tCO2e (carbon) per person on this trip
- Tips for the guide & driver
- Private minibus & safari Jeeps
- Arrival Airport transfer
- Accommodation in twin rooms
- Experienced Pack Leader with you throughout the trip
Flashpackers are required to produce proof of COVID-19 vaccination 30 days before departure. Remember, flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team
Day 01 Touch down in Cape Town
Hallo and welcome to South Africa. Bask in the views of Table Mountain and the sprawling coast as a private transfer escorts you from the airport to the Cape Town waterfront Radisson RED, a chic hotel located in the centre of the oldest working harbour in South Africa. After settling into your art-filled room, it’s time to meet your fellow Flashpackers at the RED Rooftop Bar. With a backdrop of Table Mountain and the sea, you’ll sip on craft cocktails, sample tapas and look forward to your days ahead exploring the colourful cape.
Day 02 Step off Table Mountain
Today’s agenda: conquering Table Mountain. One of South Africa’s most iconic landmarks, this flat-topped mountain (hence its name) towers majestically at 1,086 metres. Once you’re at the top and all kitted out, you’ll gather your courage and literally “step off” the edge of Table Mountain to abseil down a 110-metre cliff face. Having conquered fears and mountain-faces, you’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant to refuel for a sundowner’s hike up Lion’s Head Mountain. As the South African sun sets, relax in the hotel’s rooftop pool or explore the five shopping districts and more than 80 eateries of the famous V&A Waterfront.
Day 03 Snorkel with octopi
Start the morning in the best way possible: by strapping on a snorkel to swim in the eerie kelp forests made famous by the Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher (if you haven’t watched it, be sure to make time before you fly). Be the first to spot squatted gully sharks and seals as your expert local kelp forest guide takes you on a private tour away from the crowds. Afterwards, stroll the boardwalk to take in colonies of African penguins at Boulders Beach. In the afternoon, you’ll tour the Cape Point Nature Reserve, the most southwesterly point of the African continent, where animals including ostrich and zebra roam freely before you. Then, finish off the day with a drive along the peninsula’s beautiful west coast.
Day 04 Vineyard cycling & private tastings
After a hearty breakfast you’ll be whisked to the wine estates set within the rolling hills of the Stellenbosch wine region. Cycle through lush green hillsides on an e-bike as you follow an off-road path that winds through the spectacular patchworks of gardens and vineyards. A real highlight today will be your visit to Boschendal Wine Estate. Here you’ll get to experience a private cellar tour, with two exclusive wine tastings. Having enjoyed some of the best wines in the region, you’ll enjoy lunch on a terrace overlooking the gardens with free time to shop the artisan products from local suppliers. Later, you’ll have a chance to soak in the last of Cape Town and prepare to journey onwards into the wilderness.
Day 05 Gin, then game drive
Today you’ll start the trek toward Kruger National Park, one of the largest game reserves in the world. Upon arrival at Mpumalanga Province, you’ll be treated to a gin tasting at Gin & Co distillery, with four varieties of flavours and botanicals. Suitably sated, you’ll carry on to your wild base for the night. Nestled in indigenous gardens on the banks of the famous Sabie River, the chalets in Hippo Hollow Country Estate are the start of the adventure that awaits over the next few days. Don’t be surprised if an elephant or hippo greets you there.
Day 06 Gorge zip-lining
Begin the day with a rejuvenating drive through the Panorama Route, home of stunning waterfalls, towering rock formations and canyons that will fill your camera with unbelievable photos. You’ll grab lunch at The Chubby Pig eatery, a rustic riverside hotspot featuring local South African food, before reaching Graskop Gorge. Here you’ll descend 51 metres down the face of the gorge in a glass-encased lift and into the indigenous forest below. On your private tour, you’ll see the forest from wooden walkways and suspension bridges, then get your heart rate up again with a high-wire zip-line over the gorge.
Day 07 Arrive at safari luxury
Today will see you setting up camp at the Mdluli Safari Lodge in the heart of Kruger National Park, where you’ll stay in a luxury tent on community land owned and operated by Mdluli royals. The lodge is one of the first projects of its kind, where land restitution and tourism work together. Enjoy lunch à la carte on the open deck by the infinity pool and prepare for your first game drive. Make sure you bring your binoculars and a serious camera lens so you can get the best look at some (hopefully all) of the Big Five: lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and African buffalo.
Day 08 Big 5 game drives
Following tea and rusks, you’ll head out to capture the diurnal wildlife of Kruger National Park. From your safari vehicle, you may spot a journey of giraffes, a dazzle of zebras, and some of the more elusive species like sable antelope, eland, and red duiker. We’ve got a surprise waiting at lunch, but you’ll have to wait and see exactly what this looks like… Feeling like you want to continue the adventure? You have the option of booking an additional game drive in the afternoon, which we’d thoroughly recommend.
Day 09 A walking safari & sundowners
You’ll begin with an atmospheric sunrise bush walk where you can focus in on the tiny reptiles and insects of the bush, as well as learning how guides track big game. You might even spot animals in the distance — a totally unique and heart-stopping experience when on foot. After breakfast at the lodge, hop back in the 4×4 for an afternoon game drive, where you’ll have another opportunity to glimpse the Big Five. Back at camp, it’s time for a sunset hike to Granite Rock, where you’ll enjoy the blazing colours of sunset with a 360-degree view of Kruger. There you’ll be served locally produced gin and authentic Bushveld canapés — an idyllic way to toast a perfect day in the wilderness. Weather allowing, you’ll round out the evening around the fire, beneath an impossibly starry African sky.
Day 10 A storytelling dinner
After a final game drive, you’ll go from the wild bush to the cosmopolitan culture of Johannesburg, a city pulsing with the Rainbow Nation’s diverse histories, arts, and cultures. Upon arrival, settle in at the glamorous four-star Protea Hotel at Melrose Arch and rejuvenate from your time in the wilderness in chic style. Tonight, you’ll enjoy a truly unique Joburg Storytelling Dinner. This experience combines a seven-phase fusion of migrant-inspired South African food with captivating stories and conversation. Listen as your storyteller, Charlie, relays the riveting history of Johannesburg in its seven phases of development, including the future of the city. It’s the perfect introduction to a city with so many layers and so much incredible food.
Day 11 Totsiens Suid Afrika
The City of Gold is yours this morning. Having got to know your interests, your Flash Pack guide will help organise your customised tour through the heart of downtown Jozi. You’ll get to see Maboneng, listed as one of Forbes’ 12 coolest neighbourhoods in the world, with its brilliant markets and edgy artwork. You’ll visit Braamfontein, the historic mining district, and Victoria Yards, a shining example of inner-city redevelopment. Depending on your preferences, other stops may include the Rosebank art galleries or visiting Soweto Township. A final, immersive farewell experience to round off your South African adventure and the start of your love affair with this wildly beautiful continent.
Our Favourite Hotels
Browse a selection of our favourite hotels, for a flavour of where you may stay on this trip.
RADISSON RED, CAPE TOWN
This unique boutique hotel boasts stunning views of the Western Cape and the iconic Table Mountain. Expect contemporary food and drink at the OUIBar + KTCHN, and a poolside bar on the rooftop.
MDLULI SAFARI LODGE, KRUGER
This lodge is a sustainable tourism initiative that benefits the Mdluli Community and honours a deep commitment to conservation. An infinity pool that overlooks the park, luxury tents, sightings of African wildlife, and a cosy boma fire create an unforgettable safari experience.
HIPPO HOLLOW COUNTRY ESTATE
Nestled on the banks of the Sabie River and embedded within indigenous gardens, these quaint cottages will be your introduction into safari living. Sprawling gardens and two swimming pools next to Kruger National Park prepare you for a truly African experience.
- Which airport do I fly in and out of? Plus airport code
Fly into Cape Town International Airport (CPT) and fly out of O. R. Tambo / Johannesburg International Airport (JNB)
- What time should my flight arrive? (to arrive in time for the welcome meeting)
Before 4 pm ideally. The welcome meeting and dinner will be from 6 pm onwards starting at the hotel, which is located approximately 20 minutes away from the airport.
- What time should my flight depart on the last day?
There is an activity on the last day which ends at approximately 1pm, so we don’t advise booking return flights until 6pm onwards.
The airport is approximately 30 minutes away from the hotel, and your Pack leader can help you book your transfers the night before if needed.
- Do I need a visa?
Most likely, you will not need a tourist visa to enter South Africa. At the moment, there are up to 50 nationalities, like those travellers from the UK and the USA who are able to travel visa-free to South Africa for tourism for stays of 30-90 days. However, you will need to present a valid passport upon arrival in South Africa to gain a visa-free tourist stay in the country. Other foreigners must obtain a South African tourist visa in advance from an embassy or consulate, or apply for an e-visa online.
- Do you include airport transfers?
Yes. The arrival transfer is private to Flash Pack and will be in a group depending on flight times.
We don’t include a departure transfer however, the airport is approximately 30 minutes away from the hotel, with the cost of a taxi being around 1300 ZAR per taxi, the equivalent of approximately £65 / $85.
If you and some other flashpackers are all getting the same flight, we recommend splitting the taxi journey.
- How much should I budget per day for extras?
Guide and driver tips are included and many of the meals too.
We recommend approximately 500 ZAR, the equivalent of £25/$35 per day.
- What fitness levels do I need for this trip?
This adventure is fast-paced, and perfect for you if you want to challenge yourself.
A good level of hiking fitness is required for the Lions Head Sundowner Hike in Kruger as there is a sustained ascent with a challenging section at the top if you are not the biggest fan of heights.
This trip does include abseiling and zip-lining also, so please bear that in mind.
You will be walking most days across the national parks in Kruger also, so please ensure you are comfortable walking over uneven ground, and happy on your feet for a long time. We recommend having a read-through of the itinerary above, and getting in touch if you have specific questions on fitness.
- When's the best time to go? What is the weather like?
South Africa is an all-year-round destination, but between May to September is the best time for safari as the conditions for viewing big game like wildebeest are wonderful.
Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate and so it usually experiences rain between May-August. However, their summer months which are between November and February are hot and dry, and this is also a great time to visit for birdwatching in Kruger.
The best times to visit Cape Town are from March to May and from September to November. During these times, it tends to be much quieter tourist-wise too, and flights can be cheaper, making it a fantastic time to visit.
The best time to visit the Cape for whale watching is between July and November also.
- Will the itinerary change?
Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control – but we’ll always do our best to ensure it has little impact on your experience. From time to time, we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh and exciting.
What Flashpackers say
"Everything was organized brilliantly. A great mixture of adventure, relaxing and just hanging out with some fun people. Want to paddle board with penguins? Have the most beautiful vineyard picnic or swim with seals and spot a herd of giraffes right next to the road in the middle of nowhere? Then this is your vacation. "
"The tour itself was the right mix of activities and downtime. Our guide Jamie was so knowledgeable and very much became part of our group. I've met some great people and experienced new things... swimming with seals and drinking wine in vineyards are just a couple of the highlights. I highly recommend it as a way to travel and would absolutely recommend Flash Pack."
"Our guide did really well trying to cater for everyone and did a good job of reorganising activities when the weather wasn’t on our side. Overall, a once-in-a-lifetime experience with a lovely group of people."
"What a great trip! Flash Pack put together a very diverse and interesting itinerary covering everything from city life, wine country, beach activities, safari, and even a touch of history. The local guide provided a wealth of knowledge on the history and culture of SA – even geology and wildlife. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone looking to check out South Africa for the first time!"
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We only work with trusted local guides who know their destinations better than anyone. We include guide and driver tips to make sure that our team are well looked after
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