A comprehensive Accommodated Southern Africa Safari visiting South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.
Departing from Cape Town, we visit the rugged Cape Whale Route, continuing into the Small Karoo for a tour of Cango Caves. Explore the scenic Garden Route including coastal Plettenberg Bay, Natures Valley and Tsitsikamma National Park.
Then we go game viewing in Addo Elephant National Park and visit historic Graaff-Reinet and the Valley of Desolation in the Karoo, before heading into mountainous Lesotho. From Lesotho, we travel to the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park and on into Zululand via Durban. Next, we head to iSimangaliso Wetland Park and encounter Africa's wildlife in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve, before crossing the border into Swaziland.
From Swaziland, it's off to South Africa's premier game reserve, Kruger National Park, for some unforgettable game viewing. Lastly, visit the Panorama Route and explore more of Kruger Park before driving to Johannesburg, where our Budget Southern Africa Tour of a lifetime comes to an end.
This Accommodated Southern Africa Tour departs from Cape Town and travels into the Cape Winelands, South Africa's top wine growing region. From the idyllic Cape Winelands, we proceed along the rugged Cape Whale Route of the Western Cape. Our first stop is Stony Point Nature Reserve, near the small coastal town of Betty's Bay. At Stony Point, we get to see one of the world's largest breeding colonies of African Penguins and endangered cormorant species. Then you are treated to a Chocolate & Wine Tasting in Betty's Bay to sample the decadent delights of the Overberg region.
Arriving in Hermanus, the most famous destination on the Cape Whale Route, we may spot southern right whales frolicking in the waves during whale watching season (between July and November). In the evening, you can enjoy an optional dinner out in Hermanus. We overnight in twin share rooms with en-suite bathrooms at a beachfront hotel with ocean views.
This safari comes with an optional Activity Package at an additional cost. The itinerary includes these highly-recommended activities. Contact African Budget Safaris for a detailed breakdown of what is included in the Activity Package and see the Full Pricing Information above for the cost of the Activity Package.
On day two of our South African adventure, we drive inland along the famous Route 62 towards Oudtshoorn. Our drive takes us over the Hottentots-Holland Mountains and into the sparsely populated, semi-arid Small Karoo - inland of the coastal Garden Route. If time permits we stop in at a quirky pub, with the eye-catching name; Ronnie's Sex Shop. The Route 62 is famous for its quaint farm stalls, local wines and its arts and crafts.
We visit the Cango Caves, taking a guided tour of the elaborate underground cave system (included in Activity Package). The Cango Caves feature some of the most impressive limestone caverns on the planet and the different formations are quite astonishing.
Tonight we stay at a resort in Oudtshoorn town in the Klein Karoo. We stay in twin rooms with en-suite bathrooms at the resort with a pool and internet.
This morning we drive toward the coast, traversing the scenic Outeniqua Mountains, en route to the much-loved Garden Route.
One of South Africa’s most picturesque areas, the Garden Route is a nature lover's paradise with pretty lagoons, majestic mountains, sandy beaches and rocky coast, indigenous forests and fynbos. Continuing along the Garden Route, we head to the charming coastal village of Wilderness where we overnight at a resort. Accommodation is in twin share rooms with en-suite bathrooms and facilities include a pool, bar, restaurant and internet.
Spend the morning enjoying the beautiful beaches of Plett, as the seaside resort town of Plettenberg Bay is known locally.
From Plett, the choice is yours - pick an optional adventure activity or head to Nature's Valley. Your guide can help you to organise optional activities and the safari truck moves between selected points on a set schedule to enable you to move between highlights. Options include sea kayaking, ocean safaris and bird or animal sanctuary visits. In the afternoon you can go to Nature’s Valley to hike along the coast and relax on the unspoilt beaches - enjoying the peace of this scenic hideaway.
Later in the afternoon, a short drive takes us to the Tsitsikamma area near Bloukrans Bridge, further east on the renowned Garden Route. Adventure-seekers can bungee jump off the 216m high Bloukraans Bridge (the highest commercial bungee jump in the world) for a full-on adrenalin rush.
On night four and five of our Southern Africa Tour, we sleep in twin rooms with en-suite bathrooms at a Tsitsikamma resort, featuring a bar, internet and laundry services.
On day five we explore the scenic coastal region of Tsitsikamma National Park. One of South Africa’s natural treasures, the Tsitsikamma National Park incorporates rich marine ecosystems, lush indigenous forests and fynbos-covered hills. While in Tsitsikamma we walk the first stretch of the Otter Trail, one of the most famous hiking trails in the country. We also walk to the Big Tree, an eight-hundred-year-old yellowwood in the indigenous forest of Tsitsikamma.
Alternatively, you can do the easier walk along the boardwalks at Storms River Mouth, crossing the suspension bridge along the way. This afternoon, after our beautiful hike we embark on a tour called the Woodcutters Journey (included in Activity Package). This interesting journey reveals more about the indigenous flora and fauna of this rich ecosystem, as well as the local history of the Tsitsikamma area. Alternatively, you can do a treetop canopy tour (optional extra) in the indigenous forests of Tsitsikamma.
Our journey through South Africa continues along the Garden Route and into the rustic Eastern Cape Province. Along the way, we stop off in Jeffreys Bay, one of the top surfing spots in the world. Visit the surfing museum, take a quick surf or sit back and watch the waves with a cup of coffee.
Then we head to a private game farm near Addo Elephant National Park, which is home to one of the densest populations of African elephants in the world. In the afternoon we embark on a game drive in Addo Park in our safari truck. This massive game park also boasts the ‘Big Seven’ (elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard, southern right whale and great white shark) as the game park includes both land and marine habitats.
We stay in permanent tented-rooms with en-suite bathrooms at a lodge with internet and laundry services, and a bar.
This morning you have the option of visiting the seaside city of Port Elizabeth for some sightseeing or relaxing at our safari lodge. The lodge is set on a small private game reserve in the Sundays River Valley, near Addo Park, and hosts various antelopes and small animals.
After lunch at the lodge, we set off into the game-rich Addo Elephant Park to experience the African bush and search for wildlife. The afternoon game drive in Addo Elephant National Park is conducted in our safari truck, which provides an elevated vantage for spotting wildlife and birds.
Today we travel to Graaff Reinet in the semi-arid Karoo. The Karoo is known for its expansive, flat landscapes with dry sheep farms and a scattering of remote towns.
In the afternoon you have the option of joining a local guide for a historical tour of Graaff-Reinet, time allowing. The fourth oldest town in South Africa, Graaff-Reinet hosts one of the highest concentrations of monuments in the country. Alternatively, you can explore on your own and take a leisurely stroll through town.
Later this afternoon we drive to the nearby Valley of Desolation, where we have sundowners and enjoy the breathtaking panoramas. Watch the sunset over the plains of Camdeboo and Graaff-Reinet, and get a closer look at the local flora and fauna before returning to town. In the winter months, the excursion to the Valley of Desolation takes place the following morning instead.
On day nine we travel through the arid Great Karoo and cross the Gariep (Orange) River entering the mountainous country of Lesotho. Known as the Kingdom in the Sky, Lesotho is one of the highest countries in the world, with the entire country lying over 1000m above sea level.
Day 10 begins with a hike in the mountains of Lesotho, soaking up the beautiful scenery and fresh mountain air. We hike to a village where you get to meet the local Basotho people and find out more about their way of life. The Basotho are known for their traditional straw hats, colourful textiles and hardy ponies.
You have the chance to go pony trekking in the hills (optional) of Lesotho this afternoon. On the pony trek, local villagers guide you along secluded mountain trails to enjoy the breathtaking views from horseback.
We stay in en-suite rooms at a lodge with a bar on day nine and ten.
On day 11, we return to South Africa, staying in the mountains where we visit the Royal Natal (Ukhahlamba Drakensberg) National Park. Along the way, we drive through the impressive landscapes of the Golden Gate National Park in South Africa.
We spend the next day exploring mountain paths and enjoying the beauty of the towering Drakensberg Mountains. The Drakensberg Mountains are South Africa’s highest peaks, also widely considered the most beautiful.
On the morning of day 12, we set off on a hike in the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg National Park, where we meet with local guides and view ancient San rock paintings. Alternatively, you can enjoy optional outdoor activities or simply unwind in the scenic Drakensberg Mountains. There are plenty of walking trails to choose from so you can enjoy nature at your own pace and preferred level of activity.
Our accommodation is in en-suites rooms at a resort with a pool, bar, internet and laundry services.
Our Southern African journey takes us through some amazing scenery on our way down to the KwaZulu-Natal coast. Along the way, we stop at the monument that marks the place where Nelson Mandela was arrested in 1962. After visiting the site where this famous Nobel Peace Prize laureate and political icon was arrested, we stop to admire Howick Falls and enjoy the views.
Then our journey takes us to the bustling city of Durban, South Africa’s largest port and well-known surfing destination. Pausing in Durban, there is time to stretch your legs on a short walk along the beachfront promenade. Then we leave the city, travelling north into Zululand along the east coast of South Africa. We head to the town of St Lucia where we spend the next two nights.
This evening we experience Zulu culture - sampling the local Ilala Palm beer unique to this region, learning a few Zulu language basics and finding out more about Zulu traditions.
Today we drive to nearby Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve for a morning game drive (included in Activity Package) in this wildlife-rich wilderness area. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve is famous for its rhino conservation successes, hosting one of the world's largest white rhino populations. Hluhluwe and Imfolozi together make up one of Kwa-Zulu Natal's best game parks - the oldest game reserve in Africa.
We take a game drive in open 4x4 vehicles exploring the only state-run park in the province of KwaZulu-Natal where all Big Five occur. After our morning of bird watching and game viewing in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, we drive back to our lodge in St Lucia.
After a short rest, we embark on a sunset boat cruise (included in Activity Package) on the iSimangaliso lagoon for some excellent bird and hippo watching! Isimangaliso Wetland Park, formerly known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, was the first UNESCO World Heritage Site to be declared in South Africa. This World Heritage Site is extremely varied and includes habitats of lakes, beaches, coral reefs, wetlands, woodlands, coastal forests and grasslands together supporting an astounding diversity of animal, bird and marine life.
Next, we cross into Swaziland to explore the beautiful Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, the oldest game reserve in Swaziland. Covering 4 560 hectares of open grassland plains and towering mountains this wildlife refuge is a scenic delight. Soak up the beautiful scenery of Ezulwini Valley - 'the Valley of Heaven', or embark on one of the optional activities.
Options include game drives, Swazi cultural experiences, mountain biking and hiking in Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. Walking and cycling are popular activities here as there are no large predators and a variety of trails and self-guided hikes. Exploring Mlilwane on foot is a great way to get up close to nature and see the smaller creatures and birds up close.
Today begins with a nature walk in scenic Mlilwane. Your guide leads you on a walk along the Nature Trail sharing insights about the history and natural environment of this area as you explore.
Later we visit the Esijeni community with a local guide (included in Activity Package). Walking through the village offers a chance to meet the locals and get a glimpse into their lives and culture. You may get to grind some maize, help carry water, build something or see how locals wash clothes in the stream. Alternatively, you can set off on an optional adventure activity of your choice- hiking, mountain biking or game viewing in the hills of Swaziland.
Day 17 sees us leaving Swaziland and heading back into South Africa. Along the way, we may stop to visit a craft market in Swaziland, which is known for its exceptional local arts and crafts.
Crossing the border back into South Africa, we drive north through the Mpumalanga Province to Kruger National Park. The world-famous Kruger Park covers almost two million hectares (19485km²) of untamed bushveld in north-eastern South Africa. This is one of Africa's best game parks, renowned not only for its sizeable populations of Africa's Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo) but for the spectacular array of other wild animals, reptiles, insects and birds.
We spend the remainder of the day wildlife viewing in the massive Kruger National Park en route to our safari camp. Today's game viewing is done in the overland truck which provides an elevated vantage for seeing over the bush and taking photos. Keep an eye out for predators including cheetahs, wild dogs and hyenas, and prey, such as springbok, kudus and bushbuck as we drive. Other inhabitants commonly sighted include hippos, impalas, zebras, giraffes and warthogs to name just a few.
Our next base is a safari camp inside a private concession area, within Kruger National Park.
On day 18, you can join an optional game walk in the reserve early in the morning. After the bush walk, we set off on a trip to the Panorama Route.
The Panorama Route takes us along the Great Escarpment of the Drakensberg Mountains, where the plateau gives way to the Lowveld of Mpumalanga. We visit several of the scenic highlights of the Panorama Route, admiring the spectacular views of Blyde River Canyon, one of the largest canyons in the world. Viewpoints include Bourke's Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels and God's Window.
Later this afternoon we head back to our safari camp in Kruger Park.
Today the Activity Package includes a full-day game drive in an open 4x4 safari vehicle in Kruger National Park - one of the world’s most famous nature conservation areas. Exploring the reserve in an open 4x4 brings you close to nature allowing you to view and photograph the animals and birds without windows between you, immersing you in the bush.
Travellers who opted not to take the Activity Package will explore Kruger in the overland vehicle with your tour guide. Later this afternoon there is an opportunity to embark on an optional sunset game drive with sundowners.
We spend a final morning game viewing in Kruger National Park on our way out of the protected area. Leaving the African bushveld behind we drive to Johannesburg, the economic capital of South Africa. Arriving in Johannesburg late this afternoon our Southern Africa Safari comes to an end.
Most tour groups book an extra night at the post-safari lodge which offers a traditional braai (barbecue). The optional dinner can be booked through your guide the day before.
This northbound Accommodated South African Safari is also available in the reverse order, starting in Johannesburg and ending in Cape Town, check out the southbound Accommodated South African Safari.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.