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DATES: (2022)
28th Jul - 10th Aug


14 days, 13 nights 


11 family members

South Africa is a country packed full of treasures that are just waiting to be explored. Most importantly, it has everything you need for an Ebersole family adventure!

We chose South Africa as the destination for your family trip because of the range of experiences that are on offer within the country. This "Rainbow Nation" (as it's sometimes referred to!) is incomparable when it comes to ecological, cultural, geographical and culinary delights that are on offer, not to mention the quality that comes with it.

Subject to your stamp of approval, the trip will be split between two mains areas of South Africa, the North East (Johannesburg & Safari) and then the South West (Cape Town & the Winelands). The order of this can be changed depending on preference, so please don't take this itinerary as being set in stone.


On the right (or down below, if you are viewing this on your phones) is a very short itinerary with the main "purpose" or "activity" you'll be doing on each day as the title. Clicking the title of the day e.g. "SKUKUZA" will take you further down the page and give you more in depth info on what you'll be doing that day. Throughout this page, if you come across words that are underlined, they will have an external link taking you to a dedicated page with more information. 

















South Africa:

A few quick facts for you!


  • The Republic of South Africa (as it's officially called) has three capital cities, Pretoria (executive capital), Bloemfontein (judicial capital) and Cape Town (legislative capital).

  • Johannesburg, informally known as Joburg or Jozi, is the largest city in terms of area and population. It's also where you will be flying into. 

  • South Africa has 11 official languages, one of which is English (the most widely spoken) and the others include Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans and so on.

  • The official currency is the South Africa Rand (ZAR)


The best routes from Washington D.C. Dulles (IAD) to Johannesburg O.R Tambo (JNB) seem to be on QATAR, EMIRATES, ETIHAD or TURKISH Airlines; however, none of them are currently listing prices for August 2021 flights. If you have a preference (based on loyalty cards etc.) then please let me know. QATAR is part of One World (with American Airlines) and TURKISH is Star Alliance (with United). Looking at flight routes, it seems that whatever flight you take (on the above airlines) you will be travelling for over 26 hours, doing two overnight flights, and there will be a layover of at least 6 hours (maybe more). Of course, routes and times may change, but I just wanted to include this as a heads up.


I've included different hotels and lodges to choose from based on size, suitability for family groups and, of course, budget. I've also tried to only list accommodations that are South African owned and managed, but I'm happy to include International groups as well (such as Belmond, Hilton, The Taj etc). High end accommodation in South Africa can be good value for money; however, when it comes to Safari Lodges, prices are steep. If you're keen to splurge on any accommodation in particular, I'd definitely recommend doing it on the Safari Lodges. The luxury ones are incredible!


One of the most exciting portions of your trip will be the Safari, so I wanted to put forward the suggestion of staying in the 'Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve,' which sits right next to Kruger National Park (one of Africa's largest Game Reserves, with one of the highest densities of animals). My reasons for suggesting Sabi Sand, is best described with a paragraph from their website...


"The Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve shares a 50km unfenced border with Kruger National Park and offers the best wildlife viewing in South Africa. The area is divided into individual private game reserves, all offering the ultimate Big Five experience. The reserves offer an exclusive experience with luxury accommodation, great service and excellent food." 

The "Big Five" is a term used to refer to South Africa's most prized Safari Animals. These are lions, leopards, elephants, white rhinos and buffalos. Seeing them all in one Safari trip would be unusual but it isn't unheard of! Wildlife viewing in Sabi Sands is at its best during the Dry season (June to September). August and September are particularly nice, since it is warmer than in mid-winter and animals tend to gather at water sources, making them easier to spot. On my first trip to South Africa, we stayed in Sabi Sand as a family and it still remains one of our most memorable family holidays.

When staying at the Safari Lodges in Sabi Sand (of which there are many), the majority of activities, food and drink are included. The included activities are things like 'game drives' (the term used when you're going out to watch/find wildlife), and walking safaris (also called "bush walks"). Extra activities that are sometimes on offer are hot air ballooning, helicopter rides, horse-riding and mountain-biking; however, these often come with a rather large price tag. If you'd like to include any of these activities, either during the safari or in other parts of South Africa, please let me know! 


DAY 01 (28th Jul): Depart D.C. 

Check in for your evening flight at Dulles International (IAD). All flights with the previously mentioned airlines depart in the evening.

- Overnight on plane​ -

DAY 02 (29th Jul): Travel Day

Your layover airport will depend on the airline. If you are all travelling in Business Class, you will have access to a Business Class airport lounge (yay!).

  • Food and drink will be included in the lounge. There may even be showers and sleeping pods (depending on airline).

  • Onward flight time will depend on airport/airline.


- Overnight on plane​ -

DAY 03 (30th Jul): Joburg

All airlines listed above will have you arriving into Joburg in the morning, but this could change depending on airline schedules. Either way, you will quite likely be exhausted and may want a relaxing day! It might be a good idea to check in to the accommodation early and relax. Depending on how everyone feels, we could include an afternoon activity such as Maboneng, a trendy downtown Joburg arts district or even head to the Apartheid Museum.

Suggested accommodations:

  • The Winston Hotel - upmarket hotel in the heart of Johannesburg

    • Approx USD 90 /person/night

  • Hallmark Hotel - Black-owned Joburg business, in the trendy Maboneng area of Joburg.

    • Approx USD 80 /person/night

  • THABA Eco Lodge - Eco Lodge on outskirts of Joburg, with great views. 

    • Approx USD 150 /person/night

  • Hyde Park - Boutique hotel catering more to business travellers. 

    • Approx USD 100 /person/night

My first choice would be The Winston Hotel, followed by THABA Eco Lodge!

- Overnight in Johannesburg​ -

DAY 04 (31st Jul): Skukuza

After a decent nights sleep, we'll get breakfast at our accommodation, check out and then head to a few of Joburg's main sites, including Mandela House and the Apartheid Museum (if we don't visit the day before). In the afternoon we'll catch a 1.20pm flight from Joburg Airport (JNB) to Skukuza Airport (SZK), next to Kruger National Park. In Skukuza (flight is around 1hr), we'll be transferred to our safari lodge in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve for the next three nights.


NB: If you'd rather spend less time in Joburg, we can always catch a 10am flight to Skukuza airport and check into the safari lodge earlier.



  • ​Simbambili (Thornybush) - beautifully designed high-end luxury lodge facing a riverbed and woodlands.

    • Approx USD 1100 /person/night (if you stay in September 2021, they offer 3 nights for the price of 2!)


Prices listed above are a reflection of the quality of food, facilities, service and rooms, not a reflection of the number of animals that you'll see. They're also a reflection of the quality of guides and rangers you'll have on the games drives. In other words, you're more likely to get a zoologist with 20 years experience at Kirkman's Kamp than you are at Elephant Plains (although a zoologist isn't guaranteed!). If you'd be willing to delay the trip to the start of September, Simbambili would 100% be my top choice. If the trip is August, then Jock Safari Lodge would be my first pick!

- Overnight in Sabi Sand​ -

DAY 05 (1st Aug): Sabi Sand


Game drives tend to happen early morning and early evening, lasting approx 3 hours. Morning drives usually include snacks, teas and coffees before they head out, and you often get another hot drink on the drive. Don't worry though, you always get a hearty breakfast when you return from the morning drive! All the lodges listed above have pools, some even have gyms and spas. Throughout the day you'll be able to relax, spot wildlife, enjoy lunch and perhaps take part in some of the other activities that may be on offer (walking safaris!). Afternoon game drives often include sundowner drinks and snacks, and then they get you back to the lodge in time for dinner.


- Overnight in Sabi Sand​ -

DAY 06 (2nd Aug): Safari


Today will include more game drives and even more opportunities to spot wildlife. Every game drive offers different viewing experiences, and they're always equally thrilling. Throughout the day, there'll be plenty of time to relax, take a plunge in the pool, swot up on wildlife facts and perhaps go on a bush walk.


Something worth noting with the game drives is the fact that you're never guaranteed to see wildlife. Although Sabi Sand has a very high probability of wildlife encounters, the lodges can never 100% guarantee you'll see everything you want to see. It is wildlife after all!

- Overnight in Sabi Sand​ -

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DAY 07 (3rd Aug): To Cape Town

Given the current flight schedules, we may have time to do one last morning game drive before we catch our flight to Cape Town (via Joburg). This means we'll have done a total of 5 game drives and over 15 hours of wildlife viewing! 11am is the check out time for all the lodges listed above and it takes approx 1 hr to get to Skukuza airport from the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve.

  • As it stands, there are two departure times from Skukuza Airport: 1.20pm and 2.50pm (flight is approx 1 hr).

  • Layover in Joburg is approx 2hrs.

  • Joburg to Cape Town flight is around 2.5hrs!

We'll arrive in Cape Town in the evening, between 7pm and 9pm (depending on flights) and transfer straight to our hotel.

Suggested accommodations:


Downtown Cape Town (Kloof Street):​

  • Derwent House Boutique hotel a stone's throw from Kloof Street, Cape Town's most vibrant and popular stretch of road.

    • Approx USD 100 /person/night

  • Welgelegen Guesthouse - Boutique hotel set in a Victorian house, close to some great eateries, at the top of Kloof Street.

    • Approx USD 100 /person/night

  • Cape Cadogan - boutique guesthouse set in a Georgian-Victorian town house

    • Approx USD 175 /person/night


Waterfront Area:

  • Victoria & Alfred - luxury accommodation in the heart of Cape Town's harbour and tourist area. Easy walking distance to shops and sites.

    • Approx USD 200 /person/night

  • The PortsWood Hotel - mid range hotel in the ​Victoria & Alfred waterfront area. Handy for walking around and access to shopping areas.

    • ​Approx USD 100 /person/night​

My top pick for Cape Town would be the Welgelegen Guesthouse.

- Overnight in Cape Town - 


DAY 08 (4th Aug): Table Mountain

Today we're getting to know Cape Town! We'll be doing a walking tour of Kloof Street, followed by Bo Kaap, the most colourful neighbourhood in Cape Town, taking a cable car up Table Mountain and finishing the day on Bloubergstrand beach taking in sunset with a spectacular view of table mountain. It might also be a nice for you all to have some family time and do some of your own exploring, so I'm happy to factor this in as well. For dinner we could try The Pot Luck Club, consistently voted one of South Africa's best restaurants.

Other Cape Town activities we could do:

  • Lions Head Hike -  A 1.5 hr walk and then a bit of a scramble (!!) up a peak that overlooks Cape Town, Camps Bay and then back onto Table Mountain. At sunrise and sunset it is stunning!

  • Bo Kaap Cooking Tour // Class - a tour into the life, food and culture of the Cape Malay community. Whilst learning how to cook some Cape Malay delights.

- Overnight in Cape Town - 

DAY 09 (5th Aug): Cape Point


This morning we'll head off early and drive South to Cape Point, which sits in the Cape Point Nature ReserveThis iconic spot marks the point where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean. The nature reserve is also home to plenty of wildlife including ostrich, eland, Cape mountain zebra and plenty of baboons! On our drive back to Cape Town we'll stop off in Simons Town, check out their antique stores and hang out with some Jackass penguins. We'll pass through the little fishing village of Kalk Bay and then head back to Cape Town via the stunning Chapman's Peak drive. Dinner plans are undecided just for the moment, but I'll find some suggestions!

Other activities we could include:

  • Kayaking with penguins - rather than seeing the Jackass penguins from the land, we could paddle up to them in the water. This also means we could see seals and other sea-life, and even take a dip in the icey cold water!

  • Ostrich Farm - on the way out of Cape Point, we could dip into the ostrich farm and rehabilitation centre. Selfie with an ostrich?!

- Overnight in Cape Town - 

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DAY 10 (6th Aug): Robben Island

Depending on the long list of things we can do, this may be our final day in Cape Town (there is always the option of extending or coming back though!). For this final morning, I thought we could head to Robben Island on the 9am ferry. In a nutshell Robben Island is where Nelson Mandela spent over 20 years in prison, and it's now one of Cape Town's UNESCO heritage sites and points of interest. The tour takes 4 hours in total, and departs from the Victoria & Alfred waterfront, a pedestrianised area with shops, restaurants and bars that's fun to explore on foot. We'll be back in time for a late lunch, and I thought we could try Den Anker, our family's favourite Belgian (and South African) restaurant. For the remainder of the day we can relax at the waterfront or head inland to the town of Franschhoek, where we'll be staying for a final few nights. Franschhoek is often referred to as the food and wine capital of South Africa, and I've spent a decent portion of my childhood and adulthood there!

The drive from Cape Town to Franschhoek takes approx 1.5 hrs so, depending on how we feel, we can get there for early evening or late afternoon. Sunset over the Franschhoek mountains is pretty spectacular!

Other activities we could include during the day:

Suggested accommodations:

  • Spacious Vintage Villa (Airbnb) - central private house, 5 bedrooms (3 x double rooms & 2 x twin rooms)

    • Approx USD 80 / person/night​

  • Le Franschhoek - luxury hotel & spa on the outskirts of Franschhoek.

    • Approx USD 150 /person/night​

  • Maison d'Or - boutique house right in the centre of town, next to my parents house!​

    • Approx USD 90 /person/night​

  • Maison Cabriere - small guesthouse in the centre of town with lovely rooms.​

    • Approx USD 90 /person​/night

Franschhoek is a lovely village to walk around and explore, so it might be nice to be based in the centre. With that in mind, the Maison d'Or or Maison Cabriere would be my top choices!

- Overnight in Franschhoek (or Cape Town if you wanted to stay another night) - 


DAY 11 (7th Aug): Franschhoek

THE thing to do in Franschhoek (and the Winelands in general) is to eat, drink and be merry! I figured it might be a nice idea to round up the family holiday somewhere super relaxing, where you can wander at your free will, drink loads of wine and eat some of the best food that South Africa has to offer. The wine-drinking can be facilitated as a wine tasting experience across a couple of vineyards (or wineries as they call them in South Africa) or it can be done on the Franschhoek Wine Tram, which is a hop on hop off service that takes you to plenty of vineyards! Alongside the eating and the drinking, there are spas, walking tours and some great daily markets where you can pick up arts and crafts to take home.

- Overnight in Franschhoek -

DAY 12 (8th Aug): Winelands

This will be our final whole day in South Africa, so it can be a repeat of the day before (more food and wine!) or we can include a couple other activities. I've left this day fairly untouched as I wanted there to be some flexibility. If you'd like to shorten the trip, you could very easily depart on this day and head back to D.C. but you might also enjoy kicking back, reading your books and taking in the scenery.

Other activities we could include:

  • Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve Hike - we could head out for a few hours on the trails, in the mountains above Franshhoek. There are stunning views, beautiful flora and we'll likely come across baboons.

  • Horseback Riding - ride out into the wineland hills for a morning, or even half a day. There is also the option of wine tasting and horse riding, which might not seem like the best option, but could be amusing!

  • Ziplining - 45 minutes from Franschhoek and we're in the depths of the Hottentons-Holland mountains, where we could try our hand at ziplining. Travis and I did this in 2016 and it was actually really good fun.

- Overnight in Franschhoek -

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DAY 13 (9th Aug): Depart Cape Town

Sadly, this is where the Ebersole family adventure will have to end! We'll have one last breakfast together and then head to Cape Town International Airport, where you'll catch your flight home to D.C. My intention is to only include one layover on your way back to D.C. which is doable on QATAR, EMIRATES, ETIHAD & TURKISH Airlines. Based on current schedules, all flights depart after 12 noon, so we won't need to rush too much in the morning. 

- Overnight on the plane!  -

DAY 14 (10th Aug): Return D.C. 

QATAR, EMIRATES, ETIHAD & TURKISH Airlines flights will have you arriving between 8am and 4pm on this day, which will hopefully provide enough time to recoup, get home and get a good nights sleep!

- Overnight back home  -

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