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February 04, 2013

Visit Cape Town after your African safari

A lion at Fairy Glen, near Cape Town. Photo courtesy Bevis King

While one week isn’t sufficient time to properly explore Cape Town, let alone Africa, this timeframe is a reality for many travellers, and thousands manage this every year.

Maybe you have a conference somewhere in Africa and would like to extend your stay by a week to safari and see Cape Town, or maybe you work in the United States and pretty much only get one week off every year, meaning you need to plan your trip to Africa very efficiently.

An African safari has long been portrayed as the ultimate vacation adventure, and with good reason. Cape Town, TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Best Destination in 2011 and home to one of the New7Wonders of Nature (Table Mountain), is the other reason many people would fly across the world to visit this great continent.

Game reserves within comfortable driving distance of Cape Town (Aquila, Fairy Glen, Inverdoorn) host some or all of the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo), so you could tick them all off your list without having to fly anywhere else.

However, other parts of Africa are better known for their safari offering, and many of them are directly connected to Cape Town on flight routes.

Fly to Johannesburg → Drive/fly to Kruger National Park → Fly to Cape Town

The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s second most popular visitor attraction (behind the V&A Waterfront) and is within driving distance of OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

You could spend several nights here and then fly to Cape Town from Nelspruit, with South African Airways.

Fly to Nairobi (Kenya) → Take a safari tour → Fly from Nairobi to Cape Town via Johannesburg

I was born in Kenya and can vouch for the excellent safaris there. Nairobi is just a six-hour flight from London and Masai Mara, Tsavo and Amboseli are just a few of the excellent reserves you could visit with a tour company.

You could then fly with South African Airways from Nairobi to Cape Town, with a change-over in Johannesburg. This would be about seven hours of flying time.

Fly to Gaborone (Botswana) → Take a tour of Maun → Fly directly to Cape Town

There are now direct flights from Maun to Cape Town, meaning that you could easily go on safari in Botswana and then be in the Mother City in less than three hours when you fly with Air Botswana.

Making the most of Cape Town

This is a view worth flying around the world to see, surely?

Once in Cape Town, the main attractions likely to be on your list are Table Mountain, the V&A Waterfront, Cape Point and Robben Island. The City Sightseeing bus is a great way to get around, as you can hop on and off at various points throughout the day, with the same ticket.

Read Tara Turkington’s personal account about how to spend 48 hours in Cape Town, for an idea how much you can see and do, even if you have meetings during this time.

See a list of direct flights to Cape Town and view Cape Town Tourism’s accommodation for ideas about where to stay.

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