Itinerary: After four days in Cape Town, hop a flight to Botswana to spend a week in the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park.
Mountain views. In Cape Town, hike or take a cable car (about $11 one way) to the top of Table Mountain for breathtaking 360-degree views of the city, the Atlantic, and Cape Town Stadium, which hosted a number of 2010 World Cup matches.
Safaris in the Okavango Delta. This massive swath of Botswana is home to more than 444 bird and 122 mammal species, including lions, zebras, and wildebeests. For a truly once-in-a-lifetime splurge, spend a night at Abu Camp, where an elephant-back safari is part of the all-inclusive rate (from $1,783 per person). Then move on to a more affordable option, such as Machaba Camp on the Khwai River (from $415 per person). “It’s a great value for the money,” says Dennis Pinto, director of tour operator Micato.
Elephants at Chobe National Park. This protected land has the largest elephant herds in Africa. All-inclusive lodging within the more than 4,500-square-mile park can be exorbitant, so opt for camps such as Kubu Lodge (from $310 per night, breakfast included), located on the banks of the Chobe River, near the park entrance. A three-hour game drive will cost you $45, plus a $14 park fee.
Insider pick. Outside Cape Town, zip along the left-hand side of the Stellenbosch wine route. Stop off at vineyards such as Waterford Estate (tastings from $4) — where you can pair wine and chocolate samplings — and Warwick Wine Estate (tastings from $3), which is dotted with prime picnicking spots. “Try Pinotage and Chenin Blanc; the latter is the most planted grape in South Africa,” says sommelier Luvo Ntezo of the One & Only Cape Town resort.