Travel overland from Johannesburg to Cape Town in the comfort of a Luxury Adventure Vehicle, exploring Southern Africa in a small group of at most 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 memorable destinations of the region, including well-curated lodge accommodation, breakfasts and almost all dinners, and great activities along the way.
Kruger, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi and Addo Park offer superb game viewing. Cultural encounters range from traditional Sotho, Swazi and Zulu to Afrikaans and Xhosa. Experience the incredible natural beauty of the Panorama Route, Isimangaliso Wetlands, the Drakensberg Mountains, rural Lesotho and Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary in Swaziland. Explore the arid Karoo, rugged Cape Whale Coast and idyllic Cape Winelands before heading to picturesque Cape Town.
Driving east, we head into the Lowveld Region of Mpumalanga - the heart of big game country! This afternoon when we reach Kruger National Park those who booked the optional sundowner game drive set off into the wilderness. Booking is essential for the optional sunset game drive and can be arranged with your guide at the start of the day. The sunset game drive is a fantastic way to start your safari, immersing you in the untamed African bush right away.
We spend our first three nights at a tented lodge inside Kruger Park. Sleep in comfortable permanent tents with en-suite bathrooms, air-conditioning and deck areas. The spacious walk-in tents offer a real safari experience in the African bushveld, without compromising on comfort.
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 we get up early and drive straight into Kruger Park for an action-packed day of game viewing. This is one of the most famous game parks in the world, rated amongst the best in Africa.
We spend the day exploring the wilderness in an open 4x4 vehicle (included in Activity Package), getting up close to the diverse flora and fauna of Kruger. The open vehicle offers excellent visibility and allows you to experience the sounds, smells and sights of the bush more directly. Keep your cameras ready; Kruger National Park is home to healthy numbers of the Big Five of Africa - lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo. There is, however, so much more to see than the Big Five animals, with Kruger hosting some 147 mammals, 114 reptiles and about 340 tree species, not to mention numerous insects, amphibians and even fish species!
For those not taking the Activity Package, game drives are conducted in the enclosed tour vehicle and not an open 4x4 vehicle.
This evening you have a second chance to take the optional sunset game drive in Kruger Park, stopping for sundowners in the bush. Sunset is a good time for spotting game as diurnal animals take advantage of the last light before retreating for the night and some nocturnal creatures begin to emerge.
Wake up early for the morning game walk if you have chosen to join this thrilling optional activity on day three. Otherwise, lie in a bit and get up later for breakfast. The game walk is ideal for experiencing the bush up close and personal, and offers the exhilarating possibility of encountering large wildlife species on foot!
After the bush walk, we drive to the Panorama Route, one of the most beautiful parts of scenic South Africa. This drive takes us along the edge of the northern Drakensberg Escarpment and into Blyde River Canyon where we stop to admire several striking natural features. We pause at the peculiar rock formations known as Bourke’s Luck Potholes and at the viewpoint overlooking Blyde River Canyon and the Three Rondavels mountains which are shaped like traditional huts (or rondavels). While exploring the Panorama Route we also visit God’s Window lookout point to take in the breathtaking views of the canyon, waterfalls and rock formations, with the plains of the Lowveld region, spreading out into the distance more than 900 metres below.
After soaking up the spectacular scenery of the Panorama Route we return to our lodge inside Kruger Park for a relaxing evening surrounded by the African bushveld.
This morning we head back into the legendary Kruger National Park looking out for wildlife as we head south through the bush. Leaving Kruger we cross into the small, landlocked country of Swaziland, encompassing a diversity of terrains, from lowlands to towering mountains.
We head 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 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.
In Mlilwane we take our time to tune into nature, soaking up the fresh mountain air and scenery.
Day five of our small group adventure 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.
This morning we are off to the East Coast of Africa, bidding farewell to Swaziland. We drive back into South Africa heading to St Lucia at iSimangaliso Wetland Park, near the Mozambique border. Isimangaliso was the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in South Africa when it was still known as the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park. The area is a heritage site given the high biodiversity it protects, including threatened and endemic species, across its range of habitats.
This evening we are treated to a cultural experience, gaining insight into the local Zulu people, their traditions and language.
Explore the prestigious Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve on a 4x4 game drive this morning! This is the oldest game reserve in Africa, world-renowned for its successful white rhino conservation program in the 1980s.
Hluhluwe-Imfolozi is still a stronghold for endangered rhinos, hosting both black and white rhinos. Other rare and endangered species that we may encounter on our game drive, include African wild dogs, lions, elephants, cheetahs, leopards and vultures. The game reserve is home to all of the Big Five so we may see buffalos too, along with a diversity of other animals.
After our outstanding game drive in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, we return to our lodge near St Lucia, where we have some free time to rest. Later we set off on an afternoon boat cruise on the beautiful lagoon. Keep your eyes open for birds and animals as the St Lucia wetlands are home to numerous birds, hippos and other creatures.
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 popular seaside 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. The name, Drakensberg, translates to 'dragon mountain' from Afrikaans, and the Zulu name uKhahlamba, means 'barrier of spears' - both names aptly capturing the imposing, jagged features of these massive mountains.
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.
We spend two nights in the Drakensberg Mountains, visiting the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Wake up in the hiker's paradise of the Drakensberg, ready for a scenic day of hiking in the fresh mountain air.
On the morning hike, a local guide takes us to see old San (Bushman) rock art in the area. The San were the original inhabitants of Southern Africa, known for the rock paintings and engravings, found in caves and rocky areas across sub-Saharan Africa.
There are plenty of hiking trails to choose from in the Drakensberg, South Africa's highest mountains, with options suited to various levels of fitness. We may split into smaller groups for hiking today, depending on the energy and fitness levels of group members. Relax in the great outdoors and enjoy the spectacular scenery while walking through the lush forests and valleys at your own pace.
Back on the road again, this morning we traverse one of the impressive mountain passes of the Drakensberg Mountains. The road takes via a vulture centre, where we pause to take a look at these rare raptors.
Then we drive through Golden Gate National Park, winding our way through the tall sandstone cliffs of the Maluti foothills as we proceed to Lesotho. Like Swaziland, Lesotho is a small, landlocked kingdom where traditional African culture remains active. The Kingdom of Lesotho is the only country in the world that lies entirely over 1000 metres (3281 feet) above sea level, and is thus known as the 'Kingdom in the Sky'.
This afternoon we pass Lesotho's capital city, Maseru, as we ascend to our riverside lodge up in the heart of the mountains.
This morning we set off into the mountains on foot. We hike through the peaceful hills to a nearby village where we get to experience rural Sotho culture. The locals often wear traditional hats and colourful blankets, hallmarks of Lesotho society.
Later you have the chance to embark on an optional pony trekking excursion (own account). Lesotho is renowned for the sturdy mountain ponies that serve as a popular means of transport in the high mountains. Riding into the hills on a hardy Basotho pony with a local guide is an ideal way to take in the scenery and get a feel for local life.
Descend from the lofty hills of Lesotho to the arid Great Karoo, covering almost 400 000km² of flat interior plains in South Africa.
This unique place is one of the quietest dry regions of the world, hosting a diversity of succulent species across its plains and rocky hills. Driving through remote farmlands we cross the mighty Orange (Gariep) River and drive to Graaff-Reinet under cloudless wide skies. The fourth oldest town in the country, Graaff-Reinet is known as the 'Gem of the Karoo' with over 200 historical buildings and charming old streets.
In the afternoon you can explore Graaff-Reinet on your own, or join a local guide for an optional historical tour of the town (time allowing). During summer, we head to the Valley of Desolation, lying 14km's from Graaff Reinet, for sundowners. The sheer cliff faces and towering dolerite columns of this breathtaking landscape provide the perfect setting for sundowners overlooking the massive plains of Camdeboo and the old colonial Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet.
In the winter months, we visit the Valley of Desolation early this morning, instead of the previous evening. Sunrise over the rolling plains is breathtaking. Take a moment to admire the flora and fauna of the region whilst watching daybreak. Alternatively, in summer, you can walk around Graaff Reinet this morning and explore the monuments, art galleries and museums.
From Graaff Reinet, we return to the East Coast of South Africa, driving southwards through the open landscapes of the Karoo. Early this afternoon, we arrive at Addo Elephant National Park and set off on a game drive. Addo is one of the largest national parks in the country covering a range of biomes in the Eastern Cape Province. The Addo Elephant Park is home to a huge population of elephants as the name suggests, along with the rest of the Big Five and numerous other wildlife species. Keep your eyes open for the unique flightless dung beetle, endemic to the Addo region!
Tonight we stay at a restored colonial estate near Addo Park.
This morning you have the option of visiting the seaside city of Port Elizabeth for some sightseeing or enjoying a laid-back morning on the country estate. After lunch at our camp, we embark on another afternoon game drive in Addo Park.
The game reserve is home to more than 600 elephants and over 400 Cape buffaloes, thus chances of sighting these large mammals are high. Other herbivores include rhinos, springbok, red hartebeest, eland, gemsbok, kudu, bushbuck and zebra. We may see lions, hyenas and other predators too.
One of the most beautiful parts of South Africa, the Garden Route is our next destination.
Drive west to Jeffrey's Bay, or J'Bay, as this internationally renowned surfing hotspot, is known. We stop off in J'Bay to check out the waves and peruse the little Surfing Museum. Then we continue along the leafy Garden Route, travelling to Tsitsikamma where rocky shoreline and majestic mountains meet.
We stay in the village of Storms River for the next two nights, a stone's throw from the Tsitsikamma National Park section of the Garden Route National Park.
Walk along the rugged coastline in Tsitsikamma National Park this morning. Setting off from the Storms River Mouth area, we walk the first part of the Otter Trail, the most famous hiking trail in South Africa. This relatively challenging hike takes us along the rocky coastline to a seaside waterfall with clear pools where you can take a refreshing dip next to the pounding waves. We also visit the Big Tree of Tsitsikamma to see this incredible eight hundred-year-old yellowwood.
There are other trails in the area if you prefer a less strenuous walk, such as the boardwalk trail at Storms River Mouth, which can be crossed at the suspension bridge. This afternoon you are free to explore the indigenous forests of Tsitsikamma, hosting an interesting array of birds and small animals.
In the afternoon we embark on a tour called the Woodcutters Journey (included in the 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. You also have the option of taking a zip-line ride through the canopy of the old forest to experience this lush natural habitat from a new perspective. Get your pulse rate up as you zip between the treetops of this vibrant ecosystem.
Day 17 - free time to hit the beaches and enjoy activities of your choice. Your guide helps you to plan the day and the tour vehicle travels between major attractions on a set schedule, enabling you to move from one activity to the next as you see fit.
There are plenty of stunning beaches along the Garden Route and today we spend time lazing on the sandy shores and more. Go walking in the dense coastal forests and along the beach at Nature's Valley, a tiny seaside village tucked away in lush natural vegetation. Relax on the uncrowded beach at Nature's Valley and go swimming in the warm Indian Ocean. For the more adventurous spirit, there is the option of bungee jumping at Bloukrans Bridge, which hosts the highest commercial bungee jump on the planet. Animal and bird lovers may like to visit Birds of Eden and Monkey Town to view the exotic and fascinating creatures.
By late afternoon we meet up on the sandy beach at Keurbooms Lagoon near Plettenberg Bay. 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.
Waking up in the heart of the Garden Route we have breakfast at the riverside resort before setting off for the interior. Leaving the lush coastline, we traverse the stunning Swartberg Pass through the Outeniqua Mountains to reach the Klein Karoo. Our destination for today is the Klein (or Little) Karoo town of Oudtshoorn, famous for its abundance of ostriches and the nearby Cango Caves.
Arriving in the Oudtshoorn area we make our way to the Cango Caves. This underground cave network is made up of a grand complex of interconnected caverns and passageways. We take a tour of the caves to see the magnificent stalagmites and stalactites in the large limestone caves.
Today we drive along the well-known Route 62, passing through the barren Klein Karoo on our way to the Cape Whale Route. We stop to sample the homemade confectionaries and baked goods, and browse local arts and crafts, at one of the many quaint and unique farmstalls along Route 62. One of our colourful stops is at a quirky bar, with an eye-catching name - Ronnie's Sex Shop - which is actually just a country pub.
Our next destination is the coastal town of Hermanus, the top whale watching hotspot in the country. Tonight we stay in en-suite rooms at a comfortable hotel overlooking the ocean. In the evening you are free to relax at the hotel or eat out with your fellow travel companions.
Start the day with a scenic stroll along the seaside boardwalk for some fresh air and whale watching in season. During whale watching season (July to November) southern right whales are commonly sighted off the coast here.
Leaving Hermanus we drive west along the Cape Whale Coast Route to Betty's Bay and the nearby Stony Point Nature Reserve. Visiting the Stony Point reserve we encounter one of the world's largest breeding colonies of African Penguins and endangered cormorant species. Next, we stop in at a wine farm in the Stellenbosch region of the famous Cape Winelands. Here you are treated to a Chocolate & Wine Tasting to sample the decadent delights of the Western Cape.
Then we make our way towards the iconic Table Mountain and Cape Town. Completing the last leg of our Accommodated Overland Tour through Southern Africa, our memorable journey ends in the beautiful city of Cape Town.
This itinerary includes the Activity Package items. If you wish to participate in all the activities listed, you will need to purchase the Activity Package.
This Southern Africa Small Group 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.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
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