South Africa-Wine, Culture, Safari Tour

Pricing | Itinerary | Reserve

South Africa Wine, Cape Town, the Garden Route, and Bush Safari

January 11th to January 22nd
January 23rd to February 3rd

Join me on this unique tour of South Africa with a wonderful mix of great wine, outstanding cuisine, history, culture, scenic beauty, and a safari experience that is second to none.  I’ve taken the best of my experiences over the past four year with four different tour groups.  Cape Town is always a I’ve cut back on some of the time in wine country (it was a LOT of wine), swapping that for time on the coast in Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, and Jeffries Bay, the best of the South Africa’s Garden Route.  I kept the three-night Safari experience exactly the same.  There was nothing to improve.  Two game drives per day with time to dine, rest up, take another tour, or swim.

Two weeks from which to choose.  Weather is a bit milder in January, but not by more than a few degrees.  It’s the warm dry season.  Expect mostly sunny days with temperatures in the upper 80s to low 90s.

Three tours I managed in 2024 were outstanding.  The weather was warm and sunny, making for a nice alternative to the Pacific Northwest in January.  Wine was an incredible value, leading me to ask why we don’t see more imports here in the USA.  Each tour is limited to 18 participants.

This tour includes:

  • Three nights in Stellenbosch
  • Two nights in Cape Town
  • Three nights in Plettenberg Bay
  • Three nights in Kariega Game Reserve
  • Six game drives
  • Breakfast each morning
  • Most dinners
  • A few lunches
  • Admission to sites, tastings, and attractions as indicated
  • Air-conditioned motor coach transportation throughout
  • Services of a local guide

What’s not included:

  • Some meals
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature


International Airfare is not included. The fare for this itinerary is currently priced at under $1800 on Emirates Airlines. Assistance is available for booking these flights.  

Cost for this 11-night program is $5675 per person, based on double occupancy. The single rate is $7250.   You can pay by electronic link by Visa or Mastercard.   If you choose to pay by check, there is a discount of $180 per person, taken on the balance in October.  The initial deposit to confirm your space is $2000 per person. The balance is due October 10th, 2024.

Itinerary-Two from which to choose

DAY 1: Saturday, January 11 / Thursday, January 23
We’ll begin the tour with a stay in the town of Stellenbosch, our base for the first three nights of the tour.

Arrival flight times should have us on the group at Cape Town International Airport and ready to roll by noon.  Once you get your flights booked from the USA, I would like you to forward the details to me.

Once we’ve met our guide and driver, we’ll be on our way to the hotel.  Given that it’s a bit early to check in and we’d like to get on a local schedule as soon as possible, we’ll stop en-route for a wine tasting and light lunch.

Our visit is planned for Neethlingshof Winery at 2:00 PM.  We’ll take about 90 minutes there before taking another short hop to the hotel.  Total travel time, with the stop, is just 45 minutes.  Already in the area?  You can meet us there about 2:00 PM instead of coming to the airport to join the group.

We’ll arrive in Stellenbosch by 3:30 with dinner planned this evening at 7:00 PM near the hotel.  Overnight Stellenbosch  (de Wagen Boutique Hotel)  (LD)

DAY 2: Sunday, January 12 / Friday, January 24
We’ll start shortly after breakfast this morning with a visit to the winery of Ernie Els, with wine tasting and light bites.  We’ll enjoy an afternoon visit to Lanzerac Winery.  You’ll have some shopping strolling time in Stellenbosch in the afternoon and dinner is on your own this evening.  There may be another option thrown in as well.   Overnight Stellenbosch. (de Wagen Boutique Hotel) (BL)

DAY 3: Monday, January 13 / Saturday, January 25
We’ll begin our touring about 9:30 this morning with an opportunity to stretch our legs and expand our artistic senses with a tour of the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden.  Departing there, we make a very short drive to the Uva Mira Winery for a wine tasting and light lunch.  In the afternoon, we’ve got one more tasting at the Spier Wine Farm.      Dinner is hosted at 7:00 PM near the hotel.  Overnight Stellenbosch (de Wagen Boutique Hotel) (BD)

DAY 4: Tuesday, January 14 / Sunday, January 26
We depart our Stellenbosch Hotel in the morning for Cape Town, a distance of about 35 miles.  En-route, we’ll take the cableway up to the top of Table Mountain.  We’ll take about 90 minutes to wander/hike/walk and enjoy the views.  There are two cafes on top to grab something to see you through to dinner.

In the afternoon, you can either choose to travel with the coach to Boulders Bay to see the Penguin colony or drop off at the hotel for free time.  The drive there is one of the most scenic in the world.  Round trip drive time round trip from the hotel is about 2 hours.  Dinner is scheduled nearby at 7:00 this evening on the Victoria and Alfred Pier, a great place for dining, shopping, and entertainment.  Overnight Cape Town.   (Radisson Red Hotel)  (BD) 

DAY 5: Wednesday, January 15 / Monday, January 27
We’ll be on the first ferry to Robben Island this morning for a tour of the museum and prison complex known primarily for its association with Nelson Mandela.  After an introductory tour of the island, you’ll have a tour of the prison with either a former guard or prisoner as your guide of the complex.

You’ll have free time to enjoy lunch and the waterfront area in the afternoon.  In the early evening, we’ll journey to the seaside community of Camps Bay for a sunset seafood feast.   Return to the hotel after dinner.  Overnight Cape Town.   (Radisson Red Hotel) (BD)

DAY 6: Thursday, January 16 / Tuesday, January 28
We have a late afternoon flight from Cape Town to George, a small town situated mid-point along the Garden Route and just about 90 minutes away from our hotel at Robberg Beach near Plettenberg Bay.  Before check in, we’ll spend a couple early morning hours and the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, one of the best in the world.  We’ll have dinner this evening close to our hotel.  Overnight Robberg Beach Lodge (BD).

DAY 7: Friday, January 17 / Wednesday, January 29
Sightseeing today enjoying the majestic scenery of the Garden Route. We will spend the afternoon at the Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary and the Birds of Eden Free flight Bird Sanctuary. Return to Robberg Beach late this afternoon for free time before dinner, which will take place at Adi’s Kitchen in Plettenberg Bay.   Overnight Plettenberg Bay (BD)

DAY 8: Saturday, January 18 / Thursday, January 30
 Today we’re sticking close to the sea with a free morning to enjoy the beach, nature reserve, and town in Plettenberg Bay.  In the afternoon we’ll drive the short distance to the coastal community of Knysna.   We’ll have an opportunity to take a 2-hour whale watching excursion planned for 4:00 PM, followed by dinner arranged nearby and just a short walk from the end of our boating excursion at Sirocco Restaurant.  Return to the hotel at Robbens Beach after dinner.   Overnight Plettenberg Bay (BD)

DAY 9: Sunday, January 19 / Friday, January 31
We leave Plettenberg Bay behind and head toward the Eastern Cape.  We’ll take time to stop at the Storms River Suspension Bridge in Tsitsikamma National Park.  It’s about a 30-minute walk to the bridge and well worth the calories for the time and effort in an incredible seascape.   We’ll continue on for lunch on the water at Jeffreys Bay.

We’re planning our arrival at Kariega Game Reserve at 4:00 PM in time to check in, have a snack and a beverage, then get ready for our first game drive, followed by a late dinner.  Ukhozi Lodge is a 10-Suite private lodge situated in the middle of almost 25,000 acres of game reserve.  Your suite comes with its own plunge pool just outside the rear door.  (BD)   Overnight Ukhozi Lodge

DAY 10: Monday, January 20 / Saturday, February 1
Your first full safari day begins with an early morning wake up call for the morning game drive.  We return to the lodge in late morning for a big breakfast, followed by free time.  Lunch is served shortly afternoon noon.  Your afternoon game time takes place just before dinner.  Most of the action in the preserve takes place in the morning or late afternoon/early evening.  Dinner takes place at the lodge later this evening.    Overnight Ukhozi Lodge (BLD)

 DAY 11: Tuesday, January 21 / Sunday, February 2
Today is similar to the previous safari day.  There are two game drives offered each day.  You may choose to opt out of one or more.  It’s almost a guarantee that the one time you stay back is the one where you get to see lions up close.  I speak from experience on this.   Overnight Ukhozi Lodge (BLD)

A couple links to share about Kariega Game Reserve.  One is a charitable site that supports communities in the Eastern Cape, called Pack for a Purpose.  The other is a site loaded with photos of wildlife captured at the park.

DAY 12: Wednesday, January 22 / Monday, February 3

We’ll depart the lodge shortly after breakfast (and another game drive if there’s interest) for the hour-long drive to Port Elizabeth and the flight to Cape Town.  Our local flight is designed to join up with scheduled flights home.  You’ll pick up your baggage at the domestic terminal, then check in for your early evening departure on Emirates, Qatar, British, etc.  (B)


Stellenbosch                      Southern Sun de Wagen Hotel
Aan de Wagen Road, Stellenbosch
+27 21 415 4444

Cape Town                         Radisson Red Hotel
No. 6, Silo, Silo Square, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town
+27 (0)87 086 1578

Plettenberg Bay                Robberg Beach House
89 Beachy Head Dr, Plettenberg Bay
+27 (0)44 533 1169

Kariega Game Reserve    Ukhozi Lodge-Kariega Game reserve


Politics, Safety, and security
South Africa continues to be on the state department warning list for violence and crime against tourists.  These stats are largely from large cities in the north of the country.  Johannesburg and Praetoria are not friendly places, which is precisely why they were not included in this tour itinerary.  Cape Town depends greatly on tourism and the authorities have taken measures to combat crime.  That said, it’s still not a good idea to wander on your own after dark.

The Western Cape is the only South African province not under the control of the African Nation Congress, which has had a history of corruption.  The Western Cape gives more priority to keeping the infrastructure intact, with an eye to keeping tourists coming. 

Common sense applies.  Be alert and aware of your surroundings.  You need to be extra alert just about the time your guard is down.  Searching for an item in tour purse, making a phone call, checking a bag, taking a photo.  These are all times when you’re distracted, flashing a green light to the people who want what you’re got.

There is safety in numbers.  Don’t flash signs of wealth.  Leave your jewelry at home.  Be especially alert at the ATM and go with a friend.  The number to phone police in South Africa is 10111. 

Some health sites include South Africa in a large list of developing countries for  a hepatitis vaccination.  That’s the only specific recommendation that I have.  Our safari destination is not in a malarial zone. Malaria pills, which can carry side effects, are not necessary. 

I’m looking forward to another summer in the southern hemisphere.  Temperatures run warm to hot for late January and February.  Humidity is relatively low in Cape Town, but more humid inland.  Plenty of daylight with sunrise about 6AM.  Sun set about 8:00 PM. 

City                             average high           average low             Inches of rain/month
Cape Town               85                               63                               0.5
Port Elizabeth           83                                61                                1.4

We’re casual the entire tour.  No need for dress apparel.  Comfort is the key-Layer up in the morning, remove layers as needed.  Comfortable walking shoes are a must, as is a light-weight rain jacket.  Consider a sun hat.

It’s important to bring the appropriate gear for safari.  Comfortable shoes, jacket for the morning and evening, sun hat, bug spray.  Not advisable to wear shorts in the bush.  Long pants are a better idea.  I recently purchased convertible, light weight hiking pants at Columbia Sportswear.  The legs zip off, making them ideal for cool morning temps, warming in the afternoon.

Passports and Visa
There is currently no visa required for South Africa for Americans traveling to the country for less than 90 days.  Americans traveling to South Africa should have a minimum of 30 days validity remaining on their passport.

Travel Insurance
Though not mandated, it’s worth considering.  Travel insurance programs likely won’t provide coverage if the world shuts down again, but it will reimburse you for your tour costs if you have to cancel at the last minute.  Many policies now provide compensation if you’re forced to pay out of pocket to isolate.  There are two companies that have done a better job than most at paying and being responsive to claims…

Roughly ½ of my clients purchase a policy.  I had a last-minute cancellation for a Costa Rica tour last December, caused by a traffic accident on the way to the airport.  Her auto insurance (or the guy who hit her) may reimburse for some of the missed trip.  If she’d had a policy in place, she would have been compensated through the policy. 

Getting There-Flights to Cape Town
There are many airlines that will get you to Cape Town.  I’m using Seattle as an example here since most participants will come from there. 

The warmest connection cities on your way to Cape Town would be Emirates via Dubai or Qatar via Doha.  More on this later.  You also have KLM Via Amsterdam, British Airways via London or Lufthansa via Frankfurt.  There are other airlines that will get you there via east coast gateways, but I strongly advocate flights over the pole for the most convenient service. 

It’s not a short trip.  Depending on the carrier and connection time, you’ll spend between 22 and 35 hours in transit.  You may want to consider stopping over at the connection point either direction or possibly both ways.  All of these airlines allow for a layover at their hub without additional costs.  Staying over to stretch your legs, sleep a solid 8 hours, or see some new sights will provide for a South Africa arrival in better shape mentally and physically. 

Emirates connects via Dubai.  The flight from Dubai to Cape Town departs at 4:00AM with an arrival into Cape Town at 11:30 AM.  Keep that late/early departure time in mind when planning.  Qatar Airways via Doha has a similar schedule.

British Airways connects via London/Heathrow.  The flight from London to Cape Town departs at 9:30 PM, with an arrival a little before noon.  Both of these options employ a redeye from the connecting city, arriving in Cape Town the morning of the start of the tour.  Similar schedules are operated by Qatar Airlines and Lufthansa, with an arrival before noon. 

The exception to this is Delta/KLM, with an elapsed travel time of only 22 hours from Seattle to Cape Town (Via Amsterdam).  The short, 90-minute connection time concerns me and the connecting flight from Amsterdam departs in the AM, with a late-night arrival.  Anyone using this schedule would want to arrive a day early to join the tour by noon. 

Qatar Airways and British Air have the best fares at this moment at under $1500 round trip.  I generally suggest you set up a fare alert online with  You’ll receive email advice from the site with suggestions on fare trends and the best time to buy or wait.  I will likely book with either Emirates or Qatar with plans to spend a couple nights on the Arabian Peninsula on the way to Cape Town.  I would be happy to make arrangements for anyone wishing to explore

If you’re searching for a place to extend or enhance your tour, consider a stopover for a few nights to sightsee and catch your break in Dubai, Doha for warmer temps, or Amsterdam, London, or Istanbul, for colder connection points.  Some airlines, depending on your fare, will offer stopover programs at a discount.


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If you have any questions about this tour, please contact Brad Cilley at or by phone at 425 375 2676.