South Africa

8-Day South Africa itinerary

My mom recently visited me in South Africa and with only 8 days here, we packed a lot of activities into a short trip. Eight days in South Africa is not a long trip, so we couldn’t see and take part in everything that South Africa has to offer, but if you are interested in other things to do in South Africa, check out my blog posts here!

Based on my mom’s trip, here is the ultimate 8-day South Africa itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival

My mom arrived in the late afternoon, so when I picked her up from the airport, we just picked up the rental car and headed to the hotel in Pretoria. You could also stay the night in Jo’burg (since that is where the airport is), but Pretoria is my home away from home, so that’s where we stayed.

Where to stay: My favorite backpackers in Pretoria are Pumbas Backpackers, 1322 Backpackers, and Hatfield Guesthouse.

Day 2: hazyview

On Day 2, we started our drive to Kruger and stopped at the Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre. We toured the facility and learned about all the work they are doing to rehab wild, African animals.

Wild Dogs at Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre.
Some type of eagle/falcon at Moholoholo.

After Moholoholo, we headed to Elephant Whispers, a sanctuary that takes care of abandoned and injured elephants. We also got to interact with a few of the elephants!

Where to stay: We stayed at an Airbnb in Hazyview, a town on the border of Kruger.

Elephant Whispers in Hazyview.

Day 3: Kruger

We spent the day in Kruger National Park. We went on a guided tour with one of the Kruger game rangers in an open-top vehicle.

Where to stay: We spent the night in our Hazyview Airbnb again.

Numbi Gate at Kruger National Park.
A rhino in Kruger National Park.
Baby elephant in Kruger National Park.
A zebra in Kruger National Park.

Day 4: Village

We left Kruger in the morning and drove to my village. If you aren’t a Peace Corps volunteer with a village to visit, you could spend this time in Pretoria/Jo’burg visiting the Apartheid Museum, Voortrekker Monument, or Cradle of Humankind. I have a lot of blog posts about fun things to do in Pretoria and around Pretoria.

Mom and I eating dinner with my host mom (far right) and neighbors.

Day 5: Mystic Monkeys

We spent the morning in my village and then drove back to Pretoria. On the way to Pretoria, we stopped at Mystic Monkeys, another animal sanctuary (clearly we have a thing for animals).

Where to stay: Back to our original backpackers in Pretoria.

Holding hands with a baboon at Mystic Monkeys.

Day 6: Tour Cape Town

We left bright and early on Day 6 to fly to Cape Town. We arrived in Cape Town around 9 a.m., picked up our rental car, and spent the day at Mount Nelson for high tea, as well as walking around the V&A Waterfront, and overall just being tourists. We were supposed to snorkel with seals but unfortunately, due to the weather, it was canceled.

Where to stay: During our time in Cape Town, we stayed at an Airbnb. I can’t recommend the place where we stayed, but there are plenty of Airbnbs to chose from.

High Tea at the Mount Nelson in Cape Town.

Day 7: Whale Watching Tour

Cape Town is known for its abundance of aquatic wildlife. We drove to Gansbaai, which is about two hours from Cape Town, and went on a whale watching tour with Dyer Island Cruises. The scenery was beautiful and we saw a baby whale with its mother!

On the way back to Cape Town, we stopped at one of the wineries in Stellenbosch since Cape Town is also famous for its wineries.

Whale watching in Gansbaai.
You can’t tell, but behind me are Cape Seals.

Day 8: Table Mountain

We spent the morning of Day 8 hiking up and down Table Mountain. It was not an easy trek, but the views were completely worth it. I highly recommend Mother City Hikers. Our guide was so knowledgeable and friendly.

Hiking Table Mountain.
View of Camps Bay and Clifton Beach from halfway up Table Mountain.

In the afternoon we drove to Cape Point and Boulder’s Beach to see the penguins. I have a blog post about that experience, which you can read here.

Boulder Beach in Simon’s Town.

My mom flew home on the night of Day 8 from Cape Town International Airport and I flew back to Jo’Burg early the next morning.

Travel Fail

I got pick-pocketed in Cape Town. Ugh, I hate retelling this story.

While walking on a crowded street toward the V&A Waterfront, my mom and I saw two guys trailing us. We decided to walk into a store in hopes that they would stop following us. I moved my phone from my backpack to my inner jacket pocket, but I didn’t move my iPod. We left the store and kept walking. Suddenly, I had the sense that someone was behind me and when I looked in the shop windows, I could see the reflection of a man with his hand in my bag. I turned around and grabbed his wrist and started yelling. Unfortunately, he broke free and ran away. I am so bummed that he got my iPod, and I am so bummed that I didn’t try harder to kept ahold of his wrist. However, I get some relief knowing that he thought he got an iPhone and he will be thoroughly disappointed when he realizes its just an iPod.

Keep your valuables in secure pockets at all times, people!

What would you do on an 8-day trip to South Africa? Let me know in the comments!


Leave a Reply