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 at your boutique tented lodge.
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 travelers per group
- Exclusively for people in their 30s & 40s
- All activities mentioned on the itinerary
- 10 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 6 dinners
- One domestic flight
- Hand-picked 4-star hotels & safari lodges
- We offset 0.72 tCO2e (carbon) per person on this trip
- Private minibus & safari Jeeps
- Arrival airport transfer
- Accommodation in twin rooms
- Experienced Pack Leader with you throughout the trip
Flashpackers must provide evidence that they have purchased travel insurance for the duration of their adventure. 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 into central Cape Town. After settling into your chic hotel, it’s time to meet your fellow Flashpackers. Against a backdrop of Table Mountain and South Africa’s oldest working harbor, you’ll sip on craft cocktails, sample tapas and look forward to your days ahead exploring the colorful 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 meters. 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 110 meters down the face of the cliff. Having conquered fears and mountain-faces, you’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant to refuel for a short but steep hike up Lion’s Head Mountain for sundowners. As the South African sun sets, enjoy a free evening to 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 sharks, starfish and beautiful marine plants as your expert kelp forest guide takes you on a private tour away from the crowds. Afterward, stroll the boardwalk to take in colonies of African penguins at Boulders Beach. From here, you’ll continue along Chapman’s Peak Drive – one of the most spectacular scenic marine drives in the world – descending into the picturesque fishing harbor of Hout Bay, before journeying along the Atlantic Seaboard with its upmarket beachfront neighborhoods.
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. En route you’ll experience two exclusive wine tastings, followed by a three-course lunch on the terrace at Boschendal Estate, a 17th-century Cape Dutch farmstead. Having sampled some of the best bouquets in the region, you’ll be free to enjoy a picnic in the garden or stroll through 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 onward into the wilderness.
Day 05 Gin-tasting & riverside living
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 flavors and botanicals. Suitably sated, you’ll carry on to your wild base for the night. Nestled in indigenous gardens close to the famous Sabie River, your boutique lodge is the start of the adventure that awaits over the next few days. Don’t be surprised if an elephant greets you there.
Day 06 Gorge ziplining
Begin the day with a heart-stopping adventure at the dramatic Graskop Gorge. Here you’ll descend 51 meters down the face of a sheer cliff in a glass-encased lift into the indigenous forest below. On your private tour, you’ll see the forest from wooden walkways and suspension bridges, then get your adrenaline pumping with a high-wire zipline over the abyss. You’ll grab lunch at The Chubby Pig eatery, a riverside rustic hotspot featuring local South African food before a rejuvenating drive through the Panorama Route. Home to stunning waterfalls, towering rock formations and canyons, you’re sure to fill your camera with unbelievable photos.
Day 07 A night under canvas
Today will see you setting up camp in the heart of Kruger Park, where you’ll stay in a boutique tented lodge on community land owned and operated by Mdluli royals. A truly special place and a highlight of the trip, the lodge is one of the first projects of its kind, where land restitution and tourism work together. Enjoy a hearty lunch 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. Tonight, you’ll drift off to sleep lulled by the distant sounds of the savannah.
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. Following a stop for lunch, you’ll 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 colors 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.
Day 09 Bright lights, big city
After a final dawn game drive, we’ve got a surprise waiting at breakfast, but you’ll have to wait and see exactly what this looks like… Afterwards, you’ll leave the wild bush behind and travel to the cosmopolitan culture of Johannesburg, a city pulsing with the Rainbow Nation’s diverse histories, arts, and cultures. Upon arrival, settle in at your boutique hotel and rejuvenate from your time in the wilderness. The City of gold is yours tonight. Your Flash Pack guide can recommend nearby restaurants for dinner – and with its fast-evolving food scene, Jo’burg offers eclectic options.
Day 10 Soweto history & storytelling
For your final full day, you’ll delve into the city’s complicated past to understand how it developed from a dusty gold mine into Africa’s richest metropolis. You’ll take a walking tour through the once notorious township district of Soweto, now a thriving city in its own right, visiting Nelson Mandela’s house and exploring the Hector Pieterson Museum, dedicated to the 1976 Soweto uprisings. Quench your thirst with some local craft beer, before a truly unique lunch. The experience combines traditional potjie and braai with captivating stories and conversation with storyteller, Antoinette Sithole (Hector Pieterson’s sister). Later, you’ll gather with your group for a farewell dinner and raise a toast to your adventure.
Day 11 Totsiens Suid Afrika
Today your trip comes to an end. It’s time to round off your South African adventure and the start of your love affair with this wildly beautiful continent. It’s time to bid farewell to your new-found Flash Pack friends and make your way to the airport – fueled by memories of an epic 11 days of adventure.
Our Favorite Hotels
Here's a taste of the hotels we sometimes use on this adventure. The hotels you'll stay in for your departure will be shared with you one month before you go.
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 honors a deep commitment to conservation. An infinity pool that overlooks the park, boutique tents, sightings of African wildlife, and a cozy 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 (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 approximately 20 minutes away from the airport.
- What time should my flight depart on the last day?
There are no activities planned for the last day, so leave any time you wish.
The airport is approximately 30 minutes away from your final hotel, and your Pack Leader can help you book your transfers the night before if needed.
- Do you include airport transfers?
If you arrive on Day 1 of your adventure, or you book pre-tour accommodation with us, your airport arrival transfer will be included. If you book alternative pre-tour accommodation or are arriving by another mode of transport you must arrange your own arrival transfer.
Arrival transfers are private to Flash Pack and will be in groups depending on flight times. Sometimes this means waiting in the airport for a short while until other flights have arrived.
We don’t offer a departure transfer as Flashpackers leave at different times of the day and many stay for extra nights. We will offer you support with finding a local taxi, which should cost around 1300 ZAR / 85 USD.
- Do I need a visa?
You do not need a visa if you’re visiting as a tourist from the EU, UK, USA, Australia or Canada for up to 90 days.
Please check with your local consulate/embassy if the country you are travelling from requires a visa.
We recommend that you travel with at least six months validity remaining on your passport and can show a return ticket.
- What are the Covid-19 requirements for visiting South Africa?
Due to the changeable nature of Covid-19 entry requirements, we strongly advise Flashpackers to consult the travel advice issued by your local consular services well in advance of your departure date. Some countries do still require travelers to comply with pre-arrival testing and/or vaccination requirements. Links to the key consular services can be found on our Safety page.
- What other vaccinations and medication will I need?
We recommend checking with your local travel clinic six to eight weeks before your trip to see if any medications or vaccinations are required.
- How much should I budget per day for extras?
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 reasonable level of fitness is required for the Lions Head Sundowner hike in Kruger as there is a steep initial ascent, but no previous hiking experience is needed.
This trip does include abseiling and ziplining also, so please bear that in mind if you’re not the biggest fan of heights.
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.
- Is South Africa safe to visit?
At Flash Pack, the safety and security of our travelers are of utmost importance to us. We work closely with our ground staff to ensure that our itineraries prioritize safety above everything else. South Africa is a beautiful and welcoming country, but it’s important to be aware of potential safety issues.
Although most tourist areas are generally safe, it’s still possible for travelers to experience crime. Exercise caution, especially in major towns and cities after dark or during planned blackouts. We recommend avoiding walking at night and using reputable transportation services instead, like Uber or hotel shuttles.
As captured on Instagram
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