DAY 1. Johannesburg – Dullstroom – Panoramic Route – Sabie
You are collected from your hotel at around 09h00 to start your tour. Collection from the O R Tambo International Airport outside Johannesburg can also be arranged. We travel from Johannesburg via Middelburg, Dullstroom and Lydenburg. Continue to Pilgrim´s Rest, the early gold mining town turned into a living museum. Rich deposits of alluvial gold were found here at the end of the 19th century, hence the existence of the town deep in the mountains. We continue to Sabie. Overnight at the Ligna Lodge.
DAY 2. Panoramic Route – Private Game Reserve
We visit Lone Creek Falls and travel via Graskop. Marvel at scenic areas such as God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon, and some of the spectacular waterfalls in the area. Finally we descend to the Lowveld via Abel Erasmus pass and the Strijdom Tunnel to arrive at Mohlabetsi Lodge in the Balule private game reserve. This afternoon our encounter with Africa’s wildlife begins as we travel on an open vehicle to search for the game. Enjoy a great dinner under the stars tonight (weather permitting).
DAY 3. Private Game Reserve – Kruger National Park
After an early morning safari, conditions permitting a search for the wild on foot, and breakfast we enter the Kruger National Park. Spend the day in this magnificent reserve around 2 million ha in extent. Overnight in a free-standing round ‘rondavel’ type room with air-conditioning and en-suite facilities in one of the camps.
DAY 4. Kruger National Park – Swaziland
We rise early for a game drive and return for breakfast in the camp. Spend the rest of the morning in the reserve and depart in the afternoon for the mountain Kingdom of Swaziland. We visit the Ngwenya Glass Factory. Continue to Mbabane, the capital city of Swaziland and onto our hotel in the mountains at Mhlambanyatsi. Overnight at Forester’s Arms Hotel.
DAY 5. Swaziland – Zululand – Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park
This morning we have an early breakfast and then visit Swazi Candles in the Malkerns Valley where we watch the locals hand-moulding wax into a variety of interesting shapes. On this site there is also a market where the locals sell their craft, as well as other shops where you can buy items like batik, hand-woven cloth, colourful handbags, etc. We then continue along the Ezulwini Valley towards Manzini, the country’s industrial centre, and then swing south towards Nhlangano on a scenic route where crossing every hill opens up a new vista. We exit Swaziland at the Onverwacht border post. We enter Zululand and travel southwards to Hluhluwe and arrive at our private lodge for check-in. Then we embark on another exiting open vehicle safari this afternoon. We return for a well-deserved dinner and overnight.Late afternoon we check in at Zulu Nyala Game Lodge.
DAY 6. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park – Lake St Lucia – Durban
After an early breakfast we do our final game drive before travelling to the village of St Lucia. Here we join a boat cruise of the famous Lake St Lucia. It is a paradise with bird species such as fish eagle, Goliath heron and many more. Your guide will show you the world of the hippo and the crocodile and the other mystic inhabitants of the “deep”. After this unforgettable experience we travel to Durban, South Africa’s holiday Mecca. Overnight at the Umhlanga Ridge City Lodge or a hotel of your choice.
DAY 7. Durban
Durban is an intriguing cultural blend of East, West and Africa. With its endless summer climate, effervescent and lukewarm ocean lined with golden beaches, it offers a subtropical carnival atmosphere all year round. Our tour of this bustling metropolis, often called the cultural ‘melting pot’ of South Africa, includes a drive through the sports corridor with its impressive sporting facilities to the Blue Lagoon area on the Umgeni River where you get a panoramic view of the whole bay of Durban. Then past the so-called Apartheid Beaches, the Marine Parade (Golden Mile) where
you will see the rickshaws, en route to the impressive developments at the new Point Waterfront area.
We drive past the busiest harbour in Africa and various historical monuments. In the city centre we visit the second railway station, the City Hall and the Post Office buildings, each with a story to tell. At the Indian Market you get a glimpse into the Indian culture and bargain for souvenirs and spices. Our last visit is to the Botanical Gardens. You have the option of being dropped off at the end of the tour at the Ushaka Marine world with its world-class aquarium, and many shops and restaurants. Return to your hotel with our bus or spend the rest of the afternoon here and take a taxi back to the hotel.
DAY 8. Durban – Port Elizabeth – Garden Route – Plettenberg Bay/Knysna
An early transfer to the local airport for a flight to Port Elizabeth where our tour begins.
We depart from Port Elizabeth, also called the ‘Friendly City’ along the N2 national route to the Storms River with the impressive Paul Sauer Bridge across the valley, towering 139 m above the river. Our next stop is at Tsitsikamma National Park (Khoisan for “The place of much water”) stretching over 100 km of wild and rocky coastline, characterised by massive cliffs, narrow isolated beaches and shady indigenous forests along the river valleys.
Now, truly in the famous Garden Route of the Cape, we traverse more magnificently scenic river valley passes to Knysna. The town is situated on the edge of the Knysna Lagoon with its entrance to the sea, guarded by two promontories known as the ‘Heads’. The area also falls within a National Park proclaimed to conserve the extraordinary natural beauty of the Lakeland and adjacent indigenous forests. Knysna also offers shopping opportunities of unusual locally made art and craft, etc. Overnight Augusta Bay Lodge.
DAY 9. Garden Route – George – Oudtshoorn
We travel along the lake areas and the Wilderness National Park which leads us to the scenic Outeniqua Pass and to Oudsthoorn, also known as the ‘Feather Capital’ of the world, as by far the largest concentration of ostrich farms in the world are found here. We visit the Cango caves, regarded as one of South Africa’s foremost natural wonders. The fascinating calcite caves comprise an underground wonderland of stalactites and stalagmites.
An optional visit to the Cango Wildlife Ranch can be done. The Ranch encompasses of over 90 different animal species. They provide guided tours which are fundamental in educating the public, giving each species a voice, and highlighting animal and environmental issues. Overnight at La Plume Guest Lodge.
DAY 10. Oudtshoorn – Route 62 – Cape Town
After an early start we visit an ostrich show farm for some unique experiences with these strange birds.
We travel via Route 62 through the Little Karoo with its many unique mountain ranges and vegetation to the Wine regions of Montague, Robertson and the Breede Valley Wine – heartland of South Africa’s Brandy producers. We visit one of the many Wine Estates in these areas for a wine tasting. Our route to Cape Town takes us over the Du Toitskloof Pass and Paarl where we arrive late afternoon.
NOTE: Also see our Taste Of South Africa tour – 11 Days for an additional day in the Garden Route