2 Weeks in South Africa: 3 Itineraries

DISCLAIMER: This post might have links to travel services and products that we enjoy. We might make a commission from it at no extra cost to you.

South Africa is probably one of the most popular countries in the continent of Africa. It offers the continent’s most unique safari experiences, beautiful sceneries, tasty wines, and even beautiful beaches.

Visiting Africa was something I’ve always dreamed of. I want to go on those wild safaris where I can see animals roaming freely in their natural habitats up close. Originally, I wanted to do it in Tanzania or Kenya, but the season was not a match for the vacation date I had.

So, I looked a bit more, and ended up deciding on South Africa, which works just great. I think, as a first-time visitor to this continent, South Africa is an awesome place to start.

English is the main language here, together with the other 10 languages, you will not have a problem communicating with the locals. While renting a car was also so easy and affordable. In this article, I will show you how to spend your 2 weeks in South Africa.

Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, animal lover, historical geek, or wine connoisseur, South Africa has something to offer you. This country located in the southern part of Africa makes it so much easier to travel around.

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE GOING TO SOUTH AFRICA

4 images - two two-horned rhinoceros, cape of good hope aerial view, a leopard sitting on a bring, penguins on boulders beach - 2 weeks in South Africa

Before I show you the itinerary samples, I want to paint a picture of what it’s like to travel and spend a holiday here. Below, you will find some helpful travel tips for South Africa to help you plan and visualise your 2-week vacation in South Africa.

When is the best time to travel to South Africa

This is an objective question. For example, if you want to avoid steaming hot weather, you probably should visit from May to September when the temperature is cooler and more bearable.

However, if you want to see greener fields, forests, and national parks, the rainy season run from November to February but I can imagine how uncomfortable it could be to travel when it’s cloudy and muddy. For that, it’s better to visit after the rainy season when things are still green and lushful.

September and February might be a safe choice. I visited in later October until early November and I had the best time.

Important things to pack for South Africa

If you plan to do Safari, you definitely have to bring some off-tone clothing (brown and green) that will help you avoid spooking the animals. If you plan to hike, remember to bring your hiking shoes, while you can buy one here, they can be more expensive.

Spending 2 weeks in Africa is a sweet spot, it’s not too long nor too short. However, if you don’t want to arrive and find out you missed packing some things, I highly recommend you have a packing list.

The funny thing about this destination is how you can experience so many seasons in just two weeks. First, the seasons here are the other way around. Meaning summer here is from November to February and winter is from May to August.

Another concern is, that some places are somehow like a desert, which means they can be scouring hot in the day but chilly at night. Read our basic packing list for a 2-week trip.

Getting around South Africa

Renting a car is one of the best ways to get around South Africa. Luckily, they recognise most international driver’s licenses or any driver’s license from abroad as long as they are 100% in English.

Make sure yours is updated before you fly in. If you have a car rental, you also don’t need to arrange an airport pick-up or waste time figuring out how to get out of the airport and get swamped by taxis.

The most common transportation that the public use is a minibus, there are also proper buses for going to intercity and interprovince. These are affordable, but they can get quite uncomfortable and can be slow since the driver waits until the minivan is full.

Flying domestically is often the best choice, as it saves time, and is actually pretty affordable. South Africa is a big country, so if you only have 14 days, it’s better to book a flight ticket between big cities, such as from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

Moving around the city, you can use taxis or ride-hailing apps like Uber, Bolt, Zebra Cabs, and inDriver.

I like booking a day trip. The organiser will arrange the transportation, tour guide, and sometimes include entrance tickets and/or food or drinks. This makes the trip much easier and really maximises your day.

Visa

South Africa offers free visas (30 to 90 days) for visitors with passports from most Americas except, Bolivia, Colombia, Suriname, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic. It’s also available to most Europeans, Oceania, and Africa.

While many countries Asia, Africa, and some countries in Europe and the America, must apply for an evisa in advance. Evisas are valid for 90 days.

Do not geotag when doing Safari

Even though there are already laws in place against poaching, it is still a big issue in South Africa. This is why it’s highly recommended to never geotag your location when posting on social media a picture of animals you found.

Geotagging means adding the location of where the photo is taken. This kind of feature is being taken advantage of by poachers. Simply use Kruger National Park and Camp Site’s name if you want to add your location to your social media post.

Other basic travel tips and tools

When planning your trip to South Africa, I recommend you use travel services with a flexible cancellation and a wide range of options from affordable, mid-range, to luxury.

Here is a list of the travel websites I always use whenever I book my travel arrangements. From flights, hotels, tours, securing a visa, car rental, and even buying travel insurance and arranging an airport pickup.

TOP THINGS TO SEE IN SOUTH AFRICA (pinned map)

Click the icon on the top right to enlarge the map. Credit: map data: Google

2 WEEKS IN SOUTH AFRICA ITINERARY

I will show you three different itineraries for South Africa to spend your 14-day holiday. You can choose between slow travel, a busier itinerary, and one that covers the most-like destinations in this country.

You can also just use these travel plans as inspirations and create a more suitable itinerary for yourself.

Itinerary #1: Fist-timer (Kruger National Park, Johannesburg, Cape Town)

This itinerary for South Africa in two weeks is, I think a perfect choice for those visiting for the first time. You can cover all three most popular places to visit.

You will enjoy doing the safari with plenty of days on your plan, visit the historical Johannesburg, and then explore the beach and famous areas of Cape Town.

This itinerary will be a time saver if you land in one of the airports near the Kruger National Park. There is a direct flight from O.R. Tambo (Johannesburg) to Skukuza Airport.

You may also land in Johannesburg, rent a car, and drive yourself to Kruger Park – this is what I did because I wanted to spend some time in Jburg and catch up with sleep. If you land at Skukuza Airport, there should be options for car rental at the airport.

Kruger National Park for 5 days

Kruger National Park is a must-see during your 2-week vacation in South Africa. Doing a safari to see wild animals in their natural habitat is definitely something you must try. There are two ways to go about exploring this national park.

One and the most popular is to rent your own car and drive yourself around. You can book accommodation inside the park or you can also stay outside it. The experience for accommodation inside is different, but the options outside the park can be more affordable.

The other option is to book a tour. Let’s say you are staying outside the park, the hotels can arrange a tour for you. You will be picked up from your hotel and join other tourists in a big truck with a local driver and a local tour guide.

If you are staying inside the park, you can also book a tour through the reception office. What I did was drive a car to the park and spend the first 2 to 3 days diving around the park. However, there’s a tour called “bush walk” and it can only be done with a licensed tour guide from the park.

One thing to remember is there are things you can’t bring inside the park such as raw meat for grilling. There is a convenience store inside and they have everything you need, from grilling materials to basic snacks, clothing, and souvenir and there’s also a restaurant.

One last thing, you need to pay for a park entry per day. You will pay for this when you enter, but for accommodation, you must book it in advance. If you really like wild safari and plan to come back to Africa in the future, you should consider spending a 2-week holiday in Kenya.

Rest Camps to stay in Kruger Park:
  • Skukuza
  • Satara
  • Olifants
  • Mopani

Johannesburg for 3 days

If you choose this itinerary, 2 weeks in South Africa must include a visit to Johannesburg. This is a great destination if you love history and want to learn more about South Africa’s history and culture. There are museums, areas, and a lot of tours you can book covering the city and surrounding areas. Spending about 3 days in Johannesburg is plenty. From here, you can fly to Cape Town directly.

TIP: get a hop-on, hop-off bus ticket

Cape Town for 5 days

Cape Town is such an interesting and exciting destination. From beach bumming to a fun hiking adventure. You can also learn more about South Africa’s history and remarkable people, specifically – Nelson Mandela.

Start your day in Cape Town by exploring the city and planning your next few days, such as booking tours for Cape of Good Hope, Penguin Colony, and getting a ticket for Table Mountain cable car or deciding which trail you want to take for the hike, and booking a tour for Robben Island.

2 images - colourful street of cape town and aerial view of cable car for table mountain - 2-weeks in South Africa

TIP: get a hop-on, hop-off bus ticket

Itinerary #2: Kruger National Park and Cape Town

This itinerary is slow travel. Kruger National Park is a massive place, by making sure you have plenty of days to spend here, the higher the chance you will see not only the Big 7 but also many other species that many people missed.

After that, you can spend 6 days hiking around Cape Town, visiting wine regions, and lying down on the beach.

Rest Camps to stay in Kruger Park:
  • Skukuza
  • Satara
  • Olifants
  • Mopani

Kruger Park for 7 days

With 7 days, you can cover 2-3 campsites which means you are more likely to see big cats who are very elusive. I recommend you consider Skukuza, Satara, and Mopani Rest Camps.

By doing this, you will cover the south, central, and a little bit northern part of the National Park.

Remember that you have to book the accommodation in advance if you plan to stay inside the park since they book up quite fast, while there are also accommodations outside. Then there’s the daily park fee depending on your age and nationality (it simply means, locals, pay less).

Everything you will need is available in the park. Each campsite has a convenience store – small but surprisingly has many things. There are also gas stations inside and paying with your bank card shouldn’t be a problem. But make sure to have plenty of cash just in case of technical issues.

Cape Town for 6 days

You can fly directly from Kruger Park to Cape Town, it’s about a 2.5 to 3.5 hour flight direct and with the connection.

Cape Town Airport is only 25-minutes downtown. Here, there are museums, gardens, and hiking trails to explore. It is also filled with restaurants, bars, cafes, and shopping centres.

Itinerary #3: Busy-schedule (Johannesburg, Kruger National Park, Port Elizabeth and Jeffrey’s Bay, and Cape Town)

This is a bit hectic itinerary but it’s still much doable. Choosing this one will ensure that you get to see wild animals at the safari, catch some waves down south, and see some penguins at Boulders Colony.

This travel plan is suitable for those who enjoy a jampacked itinerary seeing everything that South Africa has to offer.

2 images - on the left is a wild board, on the right are three elephants, mother elephant, and two baby elephant - 2-weeks in South Africa

Kruger Park for 4 days

2 weeks in South Africa is incomplete without visiting Kruger National Park. Doing this itinerary might mean you have less time to do the safari, but it’s still plenty.

I recommend you only choose 1-2 campsites so you can spend more time driving around looking for animals instead of wasting time changing into different accommodations.

Johannesburg for 2 days

2 days in Johannesburg out of 2 weeks in South Africa itinerary can be a little too tight but it’s doable. I recommend you book a late afternoon flight to Port Elizabeth or arrive early in the morning in Johannesburg.

You can use the morning time to explore the city without losing daylight to flying and moving between the cities.

Elizabeth Port and Jeffrey’s Bay for 4 days

Elizabeth Port has its own airport and you should take a domestic flight from Kruger Park. This town is popular as a place dedicated to Nelson Mandela. There are so many attractions and places to visit here in honour of the famous South African.

Only a 30-minute drive is Jeffrey’s Bay or J-Bay, a well-liked area for surfing. It’s quite a small town but it has everything you will need. It’s a great place to simply lie down, swim, and read a book. An ideal spot to catch your breath and process everything you’ve seen so far.

2 images - penguins on boulders beach and cape good hope - 2-weeks in South Africa

Cape Town for 4 days

Even with a tight schedule, you simply can’t skip Cape Town. This is the gateway to the Southern Cape, where you can see where the Indian and Atlantic Ocean meet. Although four days here is a bit short, it’s enough to cover all the popular places.

MUST-TRY DISHES FROM SOUTH AFRICA

I’m not the most sophisticated when it comes to food, so when I was travelling in South Africa, I pretty much munched on biltong the entire trip! However, I also didn’t miss my chance to try local dishes, which you should too!

One of my favourite places was a restaurant in Cape Town with an amazing view. I had a bobotie, a glass of local wine, while enjoying a beautiful sunset on the rooftop dining. Here’s a quick list of the best food to check out while in South Africa:

  • Boerewors: A flavorful South African sausage made from a blend of beef, pork, and spices, often barbecued.
  • Bunny Chow: Hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with curry, a fast-food dish with Indian origins.
  • Biltong: A form of dried, cured meat similar to jerky, seasoned with various spices.
  • Bobotie: A spiced minced meat dish baked with an egg-based topping, often including raisins or apples.
  • Sosaties: South African kebabs made with marinated meat and sometimes dried fruits.
  • Potjiekos: A slow-cooked stew prepared outdoors in a round, cast-iron pot.
  • Vetkoek: Deep-fried dough bread that can be stuffed with various fillings like minced meat or jam.
  • Peri-Peri Chicken: Chicken marinated in a spicy chili pepper sauce, then grilled.
  • Malva Pudding: A warm, sticky dessert served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of custard.
  • Milk Tart (Melktert): A custard-based tart with a cinnamon sprinkle, often enjoyed as a tea-time treat.
  • Koeksisters: Braided dough deep-fried and soaked in syrup, offering a sweet and sticky texture.
  • Rooibos Tea: A herbal tea made from the South African red bush, caffeine-free and rich in antioxidants.
  • Amarula: A creamy liqueur made from the African marula fruit, often served over ice.
  • Umqombothi: A traditional African beer made from maize and sorghum, enjoyed during various cultural celebrations.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN SOUTH AFRICA ITINERARIES

To make it easier, I listed the things to see and do in South Africa during a 2-week visit. I categorised them by location as well.

Kruger National Park

  • Classic safari tours (self-drive or book a guided tour) – you a book a full-day tour
  • Sunset hike (guided tour)
  • Sunrise hike (guided tour)
  • Overnight wild camping

Port Elizabeth

Johannesburg

  • Hector Pieterson Memorial
  • Apartheid Museum
  • Constitution Hill Human Right Precinct
  • Mandela’s House – join a Soweto Town tour that includes a visit to Mandela’s House
  • Vilakazi Street – a popular spot for marketplaces, artisan products, etc
  • Cradle of Humankind – join a tour
  • Pilanesberg Nature Reserve – if you are skipping Kruger National Park, you can do a full-day safari tour here

Cape Town

ACCOMMODATIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA ITINERARIES

Booking a place to stay before you arrive at the destination is hassle-free. If you are travelling to South Africa during peak season, make sure to book your hotel in advance. Booking a hotel for about 3 months is not too early (especially for rest camps which have limited space), it’s better safe than running out of hotel choices while paying a higher rate.

Kruger National Park

  • Skukuza
  • Satara
  • Olifants
  • Mopani

Jeffrey’s Bay

Port Elizabeth

Johannesburg

Cape Town

SUMMARY OF 2 WEEKS IN SOUTH AFRICA ITINERARIES

There are many ways to explore South Africa even though you have a limited time. You can explore it by filling up your itinerary or travelling slower. Either way is fine, do what works for you when spending 2 weeks in South Africa.

You probably noticed that I always end the itinerary in Cape Town. This is because the international airport there makes it easier to take a flight back home. You can also start in Cape Town and end your trip in Johannesburg, O.R. Tambo International Airport has about the same options for international flights.

I hope that this 2 weeks in South Africa itinerary has been helpful for you. Have a good trip, you deserve it!


SAVE THESE ITINERARIES ON YOUR PINTEREST:

Backpacking South Africa offers a diverse adventure through vibrant cities, wild safaris, and stunning landscapes. Experience the rich history, cultural diversity, and natural wonders from Cape Town's beaches to Kruger National Park's wildlife. A journey full of contrasts. via @twoweektraveller