Kruger game drive

Kruger, Swaziland & Lesotho Small Group Adventure Safari

Tour Length14 days
Priced from pps $2284 R32950 £1715 2015 A$3220 C$3037 NZ$3330 Full pricing info
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Summary of this Lodge Safari

  • Max. Group Size 12 Travellers
  • Departs from Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Ends at Port Elizabeth, South Africa
  • Accommodation Lodge
  • Transport Small Overland Vehicle / Open 4x4 Game Viewing Vehicle
  • Wildlife Big 5, Elephant, Leopards, Lions, Rhino & More
  •  See Departure Dates

Quick Itinerary Overview

Explore Southern Africa, travelling from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth in a Luxury Adventure Vehicle, offering extra comfort and style for a small group of 12 guests.

On this Small Group Southern Africa Adventure, you visit top wildlife, scenic and cultural highlights in South Africa, as well as the small Kingdom of Swaziland and mountainous Lesotho. This route has been carefully designed to incorporate the most unique and worthwhile destinations of the region, including well-curated lodge accommodation and activities along the way.

An authentic overland journey to the unforgettable mountains, beaches, game-rich bushveld and other gems of Southern Africa! 

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Itinerary for this Tour

Day 1: Johannesburg to Kruger National Park – South Africa

This morning our overland safari departs from Johannesburg, the commercial capital of South Africa. We travel eastwards into the Mpumalanga Lowveld - the leading safari region in the country, home to numerous top game reserves.

Entering Kruger National Park, we head to our first lodge, located inside the world-renowned game park. Those who booked the optional sunset game drive, embark on this exciting activity late this afternoon. An excellent time to venture into the African bush, many animals are at their most active around dusk. After sundowners in the wilderness, we return to the tented lodge where dinner and a cosy campfire await.

Accommodation is in permanent walk-in tents with en-suite bathrooms, air-conditioning and deck areas, offering a comfortable and authentic stay.

  • Optional Activity: Sundowner game drive (subject to availability)
  • Included Meals: Dinner

Please note: Booking is essential for the optional sundowner game drive and is to be arranged with your guide at the beginning of the day.

Activity Package:

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.

Day 2: Kruger National Park – South Africa

A full day of 4x4 game viewing in Kruger National Park! One of the best game parks in Africa, Kruger is famous for its world-class game viewing and conservation practices.

Kruger incorporates 19 485 km² of untamed wilderness, hosting a staggering variety and abundance of animals, insects, plants, reptiles, amphibians, fish and birds.

Our open 4x4 vehicle game drive (Activity Package item) takes us in search of the fascinating lifeforms found in Kruger, from tiny bee-eaters and geckos to hulking hippos and the largest antelopes in the world, eland. The Big Five of Africa - lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo, are often spotted in Kruger Park. With about 147 mammal and 114 reptile species present, there are plenty of animals to be seen today!

Later this afternoon you have another chance to embark on the optional sunset game drive with sundowners in Kruger - the perfect way to end a rewarding day in the African bush.

  • Activity Package: Kruger National Park 4x4 game drive
  • Included Activity: Game drive in tour vehicle (for non-Activity Package clients)
  • Optional Activity: Sundowner game drive (subject to availability)
  • Included Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Please note: For those not opting for the Activity Package, game drives are conducted in the enclosed tour vehicle and not an open 4x4 vehicle.

Day 3: Kruger National Park & Panorama Route – South Africa

On the morning of day three, we are up early for an optional game walk in Kruger Park. For those joining the bush walk, we set off bright and early on foot with an expert guide. This is a thrilling way to experience the bush, with the constant possibility of coming face-to-face with wildlife, including large game, on foot.

Those not walking, get to sleep in and take it easy at the camp. Later we travel to the Panorama Route, one of the most scenic parts of South Africa. Winding along the edge of the Drakensberg Escarpment and into Blyde River Canyon, we marvel at the stunning scenery of the Panorama Route.

Along the way, we stop at the unusual rock formations of Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the viewpoint overlooking Blyde River Canyon and the distinctive Three Rondavels mountains. Not to be missed, we stop at God’s Window to admire the panoramic views over the deep canyon, waterfalls and rock formations, with the Lowveld stretching out more than 900 metres below.

Returning from the beautiful Panorama Route, we settle down for a peaceful evening at our comfortable lodge inside Kruger Park.

  • Included Highlight: Panorama Route - Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window
  • Optional Activity: Morning game walk (subject to availability)
  • Included Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 4: Kruger Park to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary – Swaziland

We are up early for coffee and rusks at our lodge in the bush, before setting off into Kruger Park. We drive to the southern border of the park in our air-conditioned 4x4 tour vehicle, game viewing as we proceed. From Kruger, we drive to the landlocked country of Swaziland. The Kingdom of Swaziland is one of the smallest countries in Africa and one of the last total monarchies in existence today.

We travel to the Nyonyane Mountains in the northwest region of Swaziland, where Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is located. This beautiful reserve lies in the "Valley of Heaven" or Ezulwini Valley, south of the capital Mbabane, and is known for its idyllic setting. Covering 4 560 hectares of open grassland plains and towering mountains, this is the oldest protected area in Swaziland. The people of Swaziland are known for their friendliness towards visitors and their strong cultural traditions and customs.

  • Included Activity: Game drive as we exit Kruger National Park (in tour vehicle)
  • Included Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 5: Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary – Swaziland

Day five starts off with a nature walk in the scenic Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. Your safari guide takes you for a walk on the Nature Trail and tells you more about the local environment and history as you go.

Later on, we head to the Esijeni community for a guided tour of the village (included in Activity Package). A local guide conducts the two-hour guided walk through the village introducing you to Swazi culture. This interactive tour offers a chance to participate in some of the day-to-day activities of life in the village, from grinding maize to carrying water. This afternoon is free for optional activities, relaxing in nature and exploring Mlilwane further. Go hiking or mountain biking or join a game drive, the choice is yours.

  • Included Activities: Nature Walk with your guide
  • Activity Package: Esijeni Cultural Tour
  • Optional Activities: Game drives, Swazi cultural experience, mountain biking and hiking
  • Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 6: Mlilwane to St Lucia – South Africa

Day six sees us cross the border back into South Africa and drive through the KwaZulu-Natal Province to the sunny Indian Ocean coastline.

The small town of St Lucia is our next overnight stop, located on the fringes of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, formerly the Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park. This World Heritage Site covers 220km's (137 miles) of the Zululand coast, incorporating five overlapping ecosystems which host an incredibly high diversity of flora and fauna.

This evening we get a taste of Zulu culture, discovering a bit about the traditions and customs of the Zulu people. Known as the Zulu Kingdom, KwaZulu-Natal is the historical and modern heartland of the Zulu tribe, the largest ethnic group in South Africa.

  • Included Highlight: Zulu cultural experience
  • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 7: Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve & Isimangaliso – South Africa

Begin the day with a 4x4 game drive in the prestigious Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, one of South Africa's premier safari destinations. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi is renowned for its successful white rhino conservation program that played a major role in saving rhinos from extinction in the 1980s. It is also the oldest protected area in Africa!

On our game drive in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, we may encounter the Big Five, including black and white rhinos. Lions, buffalos and elephants are sighted regularly but leopards are elusive big cats, sighted less frequently. Keep your eyes open for endangered African wild dogs, cheetahs and an array of antelope species.

After our rewarding wildlife drive in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Reserve, we retrace our steps to the lodge and spend some time resting and relaxing. Then, we enjoy an afternoon boat cruise on the beautiful St Lucia Estuary of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park. The boat cruise is ideal for bird watching as this extensive estuarine system attracts over 500 species of birds. The hippo population is massive and crocodiles are numerous, so we are sure to spot these massive creatures along with other animals.

  • Activity Package: Game drive in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park & St Lucia boat cruise
  • Included Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 8: St Lucia to Durban & uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park – South Africa

On day eight we travel further south along the beautiful east coast of South Africa to the city of Durban. We pause for a short walk along the promenade in Durban, a major port city and favourite beach holiday destination.

Then we leave behind the golden beaches of the KwaZulu-Natal coastline, travelling inland to the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, formerly Royal Natal National Park, located in the unbelievably scenic Drakensberg Escarpment. You will soon understand why the mountains are named the Drakensberg, which means 'dragon mountain' in Afrikaans. The Zulu name uKhahlamba is equally apt, meaning 'barrier of spears'.

En route we stop to visit the historic attraction of the Mandela Capture Site where a statue of world-famous Nelson Mandela, or Madiba, marks the place of his arrest in 1962. After visiting the site where Mandela's 27-year long imprisonment first began, we drive to Howick Falls to marvel at the beauty of nature.

For the next two nights, we stay in the heart of the impressive Drakensberg Mountains, soaking up the picturesque scenery and fresh mountain air.

  • Included Activities: Visit Mandela Site & Howick Falls
  • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 9: uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park – South Africa

Wake up in the lofty Drakensberg Mountains, the tallest range in South Africa. Today we explore the scenic uKhahlamba-Drakensberg National Park on foot.

A local guide leads us into the mountains on a hike this morning, taking us to see some ancient San (Bushmen) rock art. The semi-nomadic San were the first inhabitants of Southern Africa, an ingenious and unique indigenous tribe of hunter-gatherers.

The Drakensberg is famous for its beautiful hiking trails, offering plenty of walks to choose from today. The hiking activities of the day are arranged to suit your fitness levels and can be done at your own pace.

  • Included Highlight: Hike with your guide in Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park
  • Included Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 10: Drakensberg Mountains to Malealea – Lesotho

Hop back into the luxury overland vehicle for our journey over a stunning mountain pass and into the Maluti Mountains. Stop to see rare vultures up close, at a vulture centre along the way to Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Driving through the towering sandstone cliffs of the national park, we see the golden and ochre hues that its name denotes.

From the north-eastern Free State, we cross into our next African country - Lesotho. This small landlocked country is one of the highest in the world, falling entirely above 1000 metres (3281 feet) in altitude, hence the moniker - 'Kingdom in the Sky'.

In the afternoon we pass the capital city of Maseru, proceeding up into the mountains of Lesotho where our next lodge is located.

  • Included Highlight: Drive through Golden Gate / Vulture Centre visit
  • Included Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 11: Malealea – Lesotho

This morning we head into the hills of Lesotho on foot. Our short hike ends at a rural village where we stop to mingle with the locals and see what life is like here. Many of the Sotho people still follow traditional practices and old customs, making for an interesting cultural encounter. We are bound to see locals wearing traditional straw hats and colourful blankets, as well as the round huts typical of Lesotho.

This afternoon you have the option of taking a pony trek in the mountains (own expense). The Kingdom of Lesotho is famous for its hardy Basotho ponies and pony trekking is a must in these parts!

  • Included Highlight: Morning hike, Lesotho Village visit
  • Optional Activity: Pony trekking, extra hiking
  • Included Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 12: Malealea to Graaff-Reinet (Karoo) – South Africa

Time to leave the mountains behind, journeying onto the flat plains of the Great Karoo region of South Africa. Our drive takes us across the deserted, open landscapes of the Karoo, covering much of the central plateau of South Africa, measuring about 400 000km². Crossing the Gariep River, we travel through expansive farmlands and succulent-rich open landscapes to the historic Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet. Take a walk around Graaff-Reinet (time allowing), to see the fourth oldest town in South Africa, hosting over 200 historical buildings.

Later this afternoon we visit a nearby geological wonder of the Valley of Desolation. End the day with sundowners at a viewpoint overlooking the sheer cliffs and dolerite columns of the unique valley, the town of Graaff-Reinet and the plains of Camdeboo National Park. During winter we visit the Valley of Desolation the following morning instead, taking a sunrise excursion to soak up the scenery.

  • Activity Package: Valley of Desolation sundowners
  • Included Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 13: Graaff-Reinet to Greater Addo Elephant Park – South Africa

Today we continue south-east through the semi-desert Karoo to Addo Elephant National Park.

Covering about 1 640 km² of land and marine ecosystems Addo Park is the third largest national park in South Africa. Addo is best-known for its massive elephant population, hosting one of the highest concentrations of elephants on the continent.

Arriving at the national park we set off on a game drive in search of the diversity of inhabitants found here. The reserve incorporates five biomes, protecting a wide range of species, amongst them, the flightless dung beetles unique to the region. Addo Park is home to the Big Seven, which consists of the Big Five of Africa (lion, rhino, buffalo, leopard and elephant), in addition to great white sharks and southern right whales. We may also encounter hyenas, cheetahs, wild dogs, zebras, eland, red hartebeest, kudu and other antelopes.

On our last night, we stay over at a country estate near Addo Elephant National Park.

  • Included Highlight: Afternoon game drive in Addo National Park (in tour vehicle)
  • Included Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 14: Addo Area to Port Elizabeth – South Africa

After breakfast on the final morning of our Small Group Safari Adventure, you are transferred to the coastal city of Port Elizabeth. Arriving in Port Elizabeth you are dropped off at the selected post-tour hotel, bringing our Southern African Safari to a close.

  • Meals: Breakfast

Please note:

This itinerary has been written with the Activity Package excursions included. If you wish to participate in all of the activities listed, then you will need to purchase the Activity Package.

Luxury Overland Vehicle

This Kruger, Swaziland & Lesotho Safari is conducted in a state-of-the-art 4x4 overland vehicle. The custom built luxury vehicle comfortably accommodates a maximum of 12 guests. These specially designed vehicles provide extra space and amenities, offering a more luxurious safari experience with all the adventure, but in added style and comfort.

Features include an onboard toilet and a water filtration system for purified drinking water throughout the journey. The vehicle has reclining leather seats that rotate 180 degrees and lock into your preferred position (for example, window or front facing). Each seat has overhead air-conditioning vents that can be independently operated for individual control of air flow and temperature.

Every seat also features a USB port panel for charging your electronic devices and there is a reading light above each seat. Each seat has a safety deposit unit with individual key code access, for storing your passports, phones and smaller valuables.

Optional Extras and Excursions

For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.

  • sunset game drive in Kruger Park
  • morning game walk in Kruger Park
  • Lesotho pony trekking
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For confirmed pricing on these optional items, please drop us an enquiry
  • sunset game drive in Kruger Park
  • morning game walk in Kruger Park
  • Lesotho pony trekking
+Included in the Tour Price
  • transport in a 12-seater luxury 4x4 vehicle (with air-conditioning & onboard toilet)
  • accommodation in twin-share, en-suite rooms or permanent tents
  • qualified crew
  • breakfast & dinner (as per itinerary)
  • highlights as per itinerary
  • entrance fees to national parks
+Not Included in the Tour Price
  • personal items & snacks
  • drinks (alcohol, bottled water & soft drinks)
  • entrance fees for optional activities
  • Activity Package
  • optional activities
+Departure Dates

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