South Africa Food Tours: Wines, Wildlife & World-Class Cuisine
There is nothing quite like South Africa, where legendary game, abundant Winelands, and a proud, multicultural population envelop you in a country as diverse as it is colorful. This modernizing nation, interwoven with deeply traditional African roots and bound together by its complex history, beckons the culinary explorer. Join one of our once-in-a-lifetime South Africa food tours and discover distinctive cultures and the vibrant traditions that define them.
You will begin your South Africa food tour in the bustling metropolis of Johannesburg, where the famed township of Soweto looks to a modern future while honoring those who fought for equality. We then journey to the magnificent Drakensberg region, enjoying the humbling mountain range from the comfort of a sumptuous world-class manor. Next, we discover Durban, the largest Indian city outside of India, followed by a flight to the breathtaking coastal city of Cape Town. Finally, we explore the verdant Cape Winelands, sampling deeply flavorful local wines created from the warmth of the golden African sun. Along the way, you’ll connect with Zulu tribal people, savor authentic local dishes, view native game, and learn to cook Indian, African, and Cape Dutch cuisine.
With Access Culinary Trips, you’ll get exclusive insider experiences and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with an expert local guide. Cap off your spectacular journey with one of our optional Safari extensions and make your South Africa vacation simply unforgettable.
Top South Africa Culinary Tour Experiences:
Three South African cooking classes: learn to prepare African, Indian and Cape Dutch cuisines
Cook lunch with tribal women in a Zulu village home
Sip world-class wines in the famed Winelands
Walking food tour of Cape town
Support a cooking school in Langa Township that helps locals out of poverty
Discover why South Africa enchants its visitors by joining one of our South African food tours. For more information, please call 1-800-567-9400 or email us today.
Is a South Africa Culinary Tour for You?
Our South Africa food tours are ideal for people who are passionate about cooking and cultural travel. These trips are perfect for those wishing to discover a multi-cultural nation with unique and diverse cuisine, stunning landscapes, incredible wildlife and a poignant history. Even if you’re not a food fanatic, you’ll love exploring modern cities, tribal villages, and tranquil farms in South Africa with us.
Please note that although our South Africa food tours are not exceptionally active trips, there is quite a bit of walking, including some portions of the tour on uneven pavement.
All of our food tours include a rich combination of delicious ingredients: expert cooking classes, visits to flourishing farms and vibrant markets, and world-class cuisine!
Max group size: 12
Prices from $4,990 USD
Tribal villages & townships
Farms, wineries & local restaurants
Authentic cooking classes
Wildlife & game drives
Luxurious boutique hotels
Support a social venture cooking school
Detailed Itinerary … learn more
Food: Daily breakfast, 7 lunches & 3dinners … learn more
Accommodation: 8 nights boutique hotels & inns … learn more
Travel Info … learn more
Recommended Reading … learn more
Your South Africa Culinary Tour Itinerary
DAY 1: Your South Africa Culinary Tour Begins in Johannesburg
Welcome to South Africa! Get ready to experience one of the most culturally unique and visually inspiring places on earth on one of our South Africa culinary tours. After passing through immigration and customs, you will exit the airport, where our guide will be waiting for you with a sign. Feel the warmth of the African sunshine as you head to your boutique eco-chic hotel in an upmarket suburb of Johannesburg. After spending the afternoon at your leisure, tonight’s welcome dinner will be at a quintessential South African restaurant where many of the traditional local dishes are cooked over a grand wood-fire grill.
Drive time: 40 minutes
Meals included: Dinner
DAY 2: Visit to Soweto Township & Dining Experience
This morning it’s time to get to know the people of South Africa with a visit to the Soweto Township. Known for its significance to the Apartheid resistance, Soweto is home to Nelson Mandela’s house as well as the Hector Pieterson Museum. It is also home to 1.3 million residents with proud African heritage. We will begin the morning with a visit to this sprawling township along the southwestern side of Johannesburg, visiting a number of rich historic sites along the way. For lunch, you’ll enjoy an authentic dining experience in Soweto at a restaurant known for its true “kasi” flavor. Kasi, meaning township, represents a vibrant community welcoming everyone in for lively local tunes and authentic home cooked Soweto food!
This afternoon, we’ll savor the beauty of the countryside as we make our way to the breathtaking Drakensberg region, a World Heritage Site. Once there, you’ll check into your serene manor hotel, which boasts uninterrupted views of the mountain range, enjoy dinner, and relax for the evening.
Drive time: 4 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 3: Kitchen Tour & Zulu Village Visit
This morning is your first of two awaking in the stunning Drakensberg region. You’ll begin the day touring our country manor’s production kitchen, gaining first-hand experience on their philosophy of sustainable, responsible, and healthy production and consumption, including the roles of permaculture (regenerative agriculture) and vermiculture (the use of worms to decompose waste!) in their farm-to-fork cuisine.
We will then journey to a nearby Zulu village where we’ll be warmly welcomed with home-crafted mahewu Zulu beer. You’ll meet the village’s traditional herbalist, Mama Rati, who looks forward to sharing her extensive knowledge of South African herbs and plants and how they can be used in traditional healing. We’ll also visit a local homestead where the ladies of the village will prepare a traditional Zulu meal for you to enjoy.
Upon return to the hotel you can spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the farm, the kitchen gardens, or just relaxing. Dinner is an inspired farm-to-table meal served in the manor restaurant with stunning vistas all around you. The menu changes daily with locally-sourced ingredients that reflect the harmony of the land, people and community.
Drive time: 1 hour
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 4: Indian Cooking Class in Durban & Short Flight to Cape Town
This morning you will transfer the three hours to Durban, a coastal town that is also the largest Indian city outside of India. As a way to get to know the local culture, we’ll learn how to make Indian curry, a South African staple. Our chef will show us the intricacies of authentic curry while illuminating another facet of South Africa’s myriad cultures.Following the cooking class and the delicious lunch you’ve just prepared, you will transfer to King Shaka International Airport for an easy 2-hour flight to Cape Town. Upon arrival in the cosmopolitan and picturesque city, you will check in to your luxurious boutique hotel where the rest of the evening is free for you to enjoy.
Total travel time: 7-8 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
DAY 5: Cable Car Ride up Table Mountain & Walking Food Tour of Cape Town
We’ll start the day with a cable car ride up Table Mountain, one of the most iconic features of South Africa’s topography. Rising over 3,500 feet above sea level, this massive plateau will provide you with truly unforgettable panoramas and a picturesque view of Cape Town from above. After taking the cable car back down to sea-level, we’ll enjoy a walking food tour of Cape Town, giving us the chance to sample a vast array of traditional Cape Town dishes. Nibble on popular African soul foods and sip coffee produced in a micro artisan roastery as you stroll the streets with our knowledgeable guide. During the walk you’ll discover this region’s multicultural history, people, and architecture while getting your fill of delicious local snacks.
Tonight you may choose to enjoy an optional meal at a unique (and touristy, but fun!) African restaurant in the heart of Cape Town. Their 14-course Cape Malay and African menu will bring together flavors from across the continent for a truly African culinary experience.
Drive time: 30 minutes
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
DAY 6: Full Day Tour of Cape Point & Peninsula
Today we have a full day tour of Cape Point and Peninsula, starting off with a scenic drive along the Atlantic coast. Our first stop is Hout Bay, where we’ll take in the scenery before continuing on to Cape Point Nature Reserve. Here, you’ll discover a wide array of local flora and fauna, including baboons, rhebok, Cape Mountain zebra, bontebok, and approximately 1,100 indigenous plant species. A fun funicular ride or hike will bring you to a stunning viewpoint where you can witness firsthand the melding of the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Continuing back along the coastline toward Cape Town, we’ll stop to visit a local penguin colony and quaint fishing village. Dinner tonight will be at your leisure, giving you a chance to savor your last night in Cape Town.
Drive time: 4.5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
DAY 7: District Six Museum & African Cooking Class
Our South Africa culinary tour continues today as we visit the District Six museum, which depicts a long and difficult period of South Africa’s recent history. Next we’ll travel to the Langa township for a class at a small cooking school that provides underprivileged locals with vital culinary job skills. Your participation helps support this worthwhile organization while giving you the opportunity to cook traditional African food alongside locals in an authentic South African cooking school. During your visit, you will learn about African and Xhosa culture and cuisine, interact with residents, and–most importantly–contribute to a community initiative that is changing lives. After preparing and eating your delicious lunch, we will transfer to the Winelands and check into our upscale Provencial-style retreat surrounded by gorgeous mountain views and the vibrant town of Franschhoek. The rest of the evening is free for you to enjoy.
Drive time: 2 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
DAY 8: Exploring the Winelands & Cape Dutch Cooking Class
Today will begin with a scenic drive through the heart of the Cape Winelands, taking in jagged mountain ranges, expansive vineyards, and classic Cape Dutch homesteads. After arriving in the famous Stellenbosch wine region, you will enjoy your first wine tasting of the day set amongst giant oak trees and beautifully preserved colonial buildings. Lunch will be held in the Winelands followed by a short transfer to a resplendent Cape Dutch working farm situated on a 10,000 acre nature reserve. After a refreshing high tea, we will take an exciting guided drive in an open-top vehicle through the grounds to view springbuck, black wildebeest, baboons, foxes, lynx, and more. Upon returning to the grand lodge, you’ll enjoy a cooking class and interactive workshop that combines traditional farm favorites with fresh, local ingredients. Together we’ll savor our delicious farewell dinner that we’ve prepared before returning to your Winelands retreat for the evening. This is a spectacular way to end our South Africa culinary tours.
Drive time: 3.5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 9: South Africa Culinary Tour Ends & Depart for Optional Safari Extension
Following breakfast, our South Africa culinary tour ends. You’ll transfer to the Cape Town International airport to depart for home or set off on one of our incredible optional safari extensions.
Drive time: 1.5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast
Optional Wildlife Safari Extensions
Cap off your South Africa culinary tour with one of our incredible wildlife safaris! See more information below:
Please note: This itinerary is designed to give you an idea of what to expect during our South Africa culinary tours but is not set in stone. What we actually do on a given day is flexible and can be tailored to the interests of the group.
South Africa Cooking Tours: Authentic South African Food
South African cooking is a sensuous and flavorful meld of European and native African cuisines with prominent Malay, Indian, and Portuguese influences. The result is a unique fusion of flavors that echoes South Africa’s powerful and significant history as well as its distinctive ingredients. Indian spices, hearty meats, and farm fresh ingredients dance across your tongue in a seamless blend.
Our food tour invites you into traditional South African kitchens where you will cook with renowned chefs as you learn about their culture. We will make a tasty curry with an Indian chef in Durban, cook Cape Dutch cuisine on a farm in the Cape Winelands, and prepare delicious African food at a township cooking school that promotes social advancement by providing locals with vocational skills.
On one of our South Africa cooking tours you have an opportunity to sample–or even cook–many dishes from this multifaceted cuisine:
Pap (similar to polenta)
Falooda (Muslim rose milkshake)
Our South African cooking tours include daily breakfast, seven lunches, and three dinners. Some of these will be delicious meals you prepare during cooking classes, and one lunch will be a traditional Zulu village meal where you will get the opportunity to truly connect with the locals.
South Africa Hotels & Safari Lodges
Traveling through South Africa will give us a unique opportunity to experience its diverse regions as well as the many cultures who call this nation home. On our South Africa tour, you’ll stay in luxe boutique hotels that are both comfortable and authentically South African. Each South Africa hotel boasts its own unique splendor but is consistently charming and intimate.
Our lovely Johannesburg hotel is an eco-chic boutique hotel situated in an upmarket suburb of the city. Surrounded by tall trees and an acre of gardens, our hotel offers garden rooms, private patios, and a convenient central location.
We’ll spend the next two nights in a stunning manor that overlooks the Drakensberg Mountain range. Complete with fireplaces and private verandahs, this palatial country hotel offers sweeping views and a cozy atmosphere.
In Cape Town our luxurious boutique South Africa hotel is in a historic Georgian-era house. Featuring high-beamed ceilings and a shaded courtyard, this hotel retains a sense of old-world charm while being centrally located in Heritage Square.
Our final nights are spent in a picturesque Provencal-style country house set amidst the rising mountains and sprawling plains of the Cape Winelands. Tranquility and relaxation are not hard to find as this intimate retreat offers a heated pool, manicured gardens, and gorgeous landscape vistas.
Each hotel includes breakfast, en suite bathrooms, and internet access.
South Africa Safari Lodges:
Most of our guests choose to extend their tour with one of our spectacular wildlife safaris. You will have the option of staying in one of our classic safari lodges or one of our luxury safari lodges. Please contact us for information on both options.
Note: All South Africa hotels and safari lodges are subject to availability and may be changed as needed.
South Africa Travel Information from Access Culinary Trips
Arrival & Departure Travel Information
You should arrive at Johannesburg’s O. R. Tambo International Airport (airport abbreviation: JNB). We recommend that you arrive no later than 5PM on Day 1 of the tour in order to join the group welcome dinner. Your guide will be waiting for you once you exit customs to escort you to your vehicle, which will take you to your hotel in Johannesburg. Group airport transfers are generally scheduled for late morning and late afternoon. We will not know the exact times until we have received the final flight information from all guests. We will notify you in advance should there be a wait time longer than one hour from your flight’s scheduled arrival time. In this case, you may choose to wait for the included group transfer or we can arrange in advance of your trip a private car and driver for an additional cost.
You should depart from Cape Town International Airport (airport abbreviation: CPT). Group airport transfers are included. We will not know the exact times of the transfers until we have received the final flight information from all guests. We will notify you in advance should there be a wait time longer than two hours from your flight’s scheduled departure time. In this case, you may choose to take the included group transfer or we can arrange in advance of your trip a private car and driver for an additional cost.
Safari Extension: If you are taking one of our optional 4-day Safari Extensions, you should book your departure flights out of Skukuza (SZK) or Hoedspruit (HDS). Please contact us for more details.
Pick-up & Drop-off Information
We provide complimentary group airport pick-ups and drop-offs at the specified airports and times on the first and last day of the trip. We will be waiting for you with a sign saying ‘Access Culinary Trips’ as you exit customs at Johannesburg’s airport. If you would like a private transfer, to be picked up or dropped off on a different day, or brought somewhere other than the airport, please contact us.
Note: We are not responsible for last minute adjustments due to changes or delays with arrival and departure flights.
We do not book international flights to or from South Africa for our clients. If you would like assistance with purchasing your flights, please let us know and we will forward your contact information and trip details to our travel agent partner.
Internal airfare from Durban to Cape Town on Day 4 is included in the trip price.
TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS FOR SOUTH AFRICA
Travel medical insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is compulsory for all our trips. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation protection so that you will be covered in the event that you are unable to attend our trip (due to injury, illness or other unforeseen circumstances). Please do not attend any of our trips without purchasing appropriate insurance coverage and providing the details to Access Culinary Trips.
Please note: proof of insurance is due within 14 days of booking, and delay in receipt may result in late documentation charges.
We do not provide travel insurance for our clients. Additional details are on our website here.
Passports & Visas
Travel to South Africa requires a valid passport (most countries require a minimum of 6 months validity) and US citizens do not require a tourist visa. To learn more about visa and entry requirements for South Africa, please check out the State Department’s website at: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/south-africa.html
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documentation.
HEALTH AND SAFETY IN SOUTH AFRICA
If your friends or family need to contact Access Culinary Trips due to an emergency while you are on the tour, please have them refer to the pre-departure email that is sent out three weeks prior to departure, which will have specific contact information relevant to your trip. If you need to contact Access Culinary Trips while traveling, please also refer to the emergency contact information in the pre-departure email.
Guests with preexisting medical conditions are required to disclose this information prior to traveling with Access Culinary Trips, and all guests with preexisting conditions are required to provide a note from a doctor clearing them for travel to Morocco. The US Department of State recommends that travelers with medical prescriptions consider bringing small additional amounts of prescribed medicines as well as a copy of the prescription and a letter from the prescribing physician explaining the need for prescription.
We strongly recommend that all of our guests visit a travel doctor before embarking on international travel. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you receive any necessary vaccinations before traveling on your trip with us. If there is a chance that you may be pregnant during your trip, please discuss your travel plans with your doctor.
While Malaria is not widespread among most parts of South Africa, it is present in some places including Kruger National Park and parts of the Gauteng province. If you plan to take one of our optional Safari extensions to Kruger National Park, you will need to consult your physician about taking a course of anti-malarial medication. Please click here for more information.
Please carefully review the health information section of the following webpage for up-to-date health information, including information on the quality of medical care, the availability of medications and the necessity for vaccinations in the destination country: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/south-africa
Our trips are open to anyone who wants to explore our exotic destinations through cuisine. We do engage in multiple walking tours, some of which last several hours. This tour also includes scenic drives that last for a few hours.
Safety & Security
To maximize your safety during our tours you should exercise common sense and caution at all times. We recommend that you always stick to set travel arrangements, and avoid unknown areas. We also recommend that you wear minimal jewelry and that you keep valuable items (including cell phones) safely stored. Always keep a copy of your passport, airline tickets, and credit card numbers separate from where you keep the originals.
For more information on safety and security in South Africa, please review the safety and security section of the following webpage: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/south-africa.html
Note: Tap water in urban areas of South Africa is safe to drink and cook with, but tap water in rural areas may not be safe for consumption. Check with guides as needed.
Children ages 12 and up are welcome on group trips. Children under 12 are welcome on private tours. Please contact us with any questions.
CURRENCY, BANKING & SPENDING MONEY IN SOUTH AFRICA
The South African currency is the rand (ZAR or R), divided into 100 cents. Coins are issued in denominations of 1R, 2R, and 5R, and 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents. Banknotes come in denominations of 10R, 20R, 50R, 100R, and 200R.
ATMs are available in all cities and major towns.
Banks generally offer better exchange rates than hotels or exchange bureaus.
For the latest currency exchange information please go to: https://finance.yahoo.com/currency-converter
Meals: All breakfasts, seven lunches, and three dinners are included, plus the meals you cook during cooking classes. Please plan to bring at least USD $10-$20 per lunch and USD $20-$40 per dinner for those meals that are not included – but this can vary considerably based on where you choose to eat. Also remember to bring money for snacks, drinks, and bottled water.
Tipping: Tipping is a common practice throughout South Africa, especially in the service industry. We recommend 10% of the total bill in restaurants and bars.
In hotels, you should expect to leave R15 per day for housekeeping and around R10 for porters if they assist you with your luggage.
Discretionary tips to your tour staff for good service are very much appreciated. We recommend 135 rand per person, per day for the guide (approx. $10 USD) and 65 rand per person, per day for the drivers (approx. $5 USD).
Other Expenses: You should also plan to take spending money for incidentals such as internet cafes, souvenir shopping and nightlife.
SOUTH AFRICAN CULTURE
South Africa is one of the most culturally diverse countries on the planet. Out of respect for all the different cultures and societies we will be visiting, please note:
Dress conservatively, especially during village visits – while the general urban dress code is casual, most South Africans are very conservative.
It is commonly considered an insult to leave food on your plate.
While there are a number of different races represented in South Africa, it is not generally considered polite to refer to anyone by their race and instead the term “South African” should be applied.
The apartheid is still a very sensitive topic for most South Africans.
Language: Many people speak English as a second language in addition to another prominently spoken language, including IsiZulu, IsiXhosa, and Afrikaans. South Africa has 11 official languages in total.
SOUTH AFRICA’S CLIMATE
South Africa sits below the equator in the Southern Hemisphere, so their seasons are the opposite of the Northern Hemisphere. Our tours operate from March to November, which encompasses both the wet and dry seasons. During this time, we travel through a number of diverse regions so you should be prepared for a variety of temperatures and conditions.
South Africa’s winter, lasts from May to September. While the mornings and nights are cold, most days are sunny and mild with clear blue skies and very little to no rain except in the southwest. You can expect daytime temperatures of approximately 70 F and nighttime temperatures of 45 F for this time of year. Summertime, from October to April, is when South Africa experiences its best weather overall, with daytime highs of about 82 F and nighttime lows of 60 F.
If you are traveling on one our optional safari extensions, wildlife will be easier to spot during the dry season, as there is less bushy vegetation and more animals gather around rivers and waterholes. If you are traveling on our extensions during summertime, the landscape will be much greener, offering very pretty scenery with lots of newborn animals around. This is also an excellent time for bird watching.
While South Africa is beautiful year-round, the two different seasons offer very distinct experiences. If optimal weather is a high priority, you should consider booking our departures in March. However, if an increased likelihood of seeing big game is your top priority, you might consider our May tour dates.
Regardless of where or when you visit South Africa, it is recommended to pack for all types of climates. Please check specific weather for your dates before you travel. You may consider a website such as Weather.com.
ELECTRICITY & INTERNET IN SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa uses 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ and generally uses 15 amp 3-prong or 5 amp 2-prong plugs with round pins.
There is internet access in all of the hotels.
Most US cell phones will not work in South Africa, unless you have a specific international plan. Contact your cellular provider to see what options you have in terms of international calling plans.
WHAT TO TAKE ON YOUR SOUTH AFRICA CULINARY TOUR
We strongly recommend using TSA approved luggage locks on your bags and to hand carry valuables on the plane.
We recommend that you pack as lightly as possible. There may not always be someone available to help you carry your bags so you should only bring as much as you can carry on your own.
We suggest that you bring the following items:
Clothing & Equipment
Season specific casual clothes
Dress clothes for upscale restaurants
A pair of comfortable walking shoes
Neutral-colored clothing for Safari extensions
Bathing suit (some accommodations may have a pool)
A warm jacket (NOTE: It can be quite cold in the Drakensberg region during winter. Please pack appropriately for cold evenings.)
Power adapter and converter for 220/230v, 50 HZ
Sunscreen, sunglasses and hat
Insect repellent with DEET
First-aid kit (should contain lip balm, aspirin, band aids, a cream for sore muscles (e.g. deep heat), Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
Passport (with photocopies)
Travel insurance (with photocopies)
Airline tickets (with photocopies)
Credit and/or debit card and/or cash
This document, printed
RECOMMENDED READING LIST
Click here to check out our recommended reading before your tour!
FINAL NOTES ON YOUR SOUTH AFRICA TOUR
This is a tool meant to help you decide what you should bring on your upcoming trip. It is by no means comprehensive. While we do our best to be as thorough as possible, we cannot foresee every possible condition. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
The information contained in this document is provided in good faith. Due to the nature of travel, details in this document may change. You should thus use the above information as an indication only and not as a contractual obligation on the part of Access Culinary Trips.