Best for: Cape Town capers
If you want to fly in and out of Cape Town, stick to the cape and you can still have an amazingly diverse trip: watch whales in Hermanus, and sip Chenin Blanc in Stellenbosch.
The journey: 93 miles
In Cape Town, check in for three days at the luxury Table Bay Hotel on the V&A Waterfront. Before hitting the restaurant scene, take the cable car to catch the sunset view from the top of Table Mountain – or book a tour. There are seasonal game kebabs to be had at restaurant Belthazar and, after exploring the agapanthus-filled Kirstenbosh Botanical Gardens on its Tree Canopy Walkway, visit Robben island. It was in this infamous former prison that Nelson Mandela served 18 years of his 27-year sentence.
In this desert region of caves and switchback roads you might spot a meerkat, or even a meteor: the Klein Karoo desert is a perfect wilderness for star gazing.
Though Cape Town could pull you in for weeks if you let it, hire a car to visit the surrounding area. A short drive out takes you in to the heart of the winelands. With a history of viticulture from 1659, the bottles produced on the estates here don’t exactly put the ‘new’ in New World wine. At Stellenbosch, stay at Oude Werf Hotel and enjoy its pool in the dappled shade. Just down the road there’s lunch to be had at Schoon de Comanje Deli. You’ll find that where the vines grow, the best restaurants in South Africa gather. In nearby Franschhoek, lunch at La Petite Ferme is a must for many travellers. From its sunny terrace you can watch the green valley scenery tumbling down before you.