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 most dinners, and great activities along the way.
Kruger, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi and Addo Park offer superb game viewing, whilst Graaff-Reinet, Bulembu and Stellenbosch add historical intrigue. Cultural encounters range from traditional Sotho, Swazi and Zulu to Afrikaans, South African English and Indian, to name a few. Experience the incredible natural beauty of the Panorama Route, Isimangaliso Wetlands, the Drakensberg Mountains, rural Lesotho, the Garden Route, the Cape Winelands and more.
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, 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.
Today we rise early and have coffee with rusks (traditional tea biscuits) at the lodge. Then we pack up and head out into Kruger Park in our 4x4 tour vehicle. Driving from the Numbi Gate area to the southern boundary of Kruger, gives us a last chance to look out for the abundant wildlife of this legendary game reserve.
Leaving Kruger we drive south to the nearby border of Swaziland, crossing into one of the smallest countries in Africa. Entering the landlocked Kingdom of Swaziland we make our way to our overnight lodge at the base of Mount Emlembe, Swaziland’s highest mountain. Swaziland is known for its friendly people and the strong presence of traditional cultures and customs. In fact, this landlocked country is one of last absolute monarchies in the world.
In the afternoon we go to the local mining museum to find out about the troubled history of Bulembu, its now inactive mining industry and its enterprising community.
On day five we travel back into South Africa, entering the KwaZulu-Natal Province. Our next stop is on the lush east coast of KwaZulu-Natal, along the sub-tropical shores of the Indian Ocean.
We drive to the small town of St Lucia, the hub for exploring the St Lucia Wetlands Park, now called the Isimangaliso Wetland Park. Tonight we are treated to a Zulu cultural experience, providing insight into traditional Zulu customs, beliefs and language. This region is known as the Zulu Kingdom, the heartland of the Zulu people - the largest ethnic group and high profile tribe in South Africa.
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.
We drive south to the vibrant coastal city of Durban this morning. Durban is one of the top beach destinations in the country, boasting long sandy beaches, and sunny, warm weather year-round. It is especially popular with surfers, drawn to the excellent waves, warm waters and numerous hotspots.
This afternoon we laze around on the Golden Mile beaches along the beachfront of the city, swimming in the sea and soaking up the sunshine.
The city has a unique blend of cultural, architectural and culinary styles with strong Indian and Zulu influences. In the evening we go out for dinner (own account), sampling the fresh seafood and Indian cuisine that this laid-back city is known for.
Start the day slowly, taking time out to walk on the beach and swim in the welcoming Indian Ocean.
Next, we make our way into the Drakensberg Mountains. The highest mountains in South Africa, the Drakensberg range forms the eastern side of the Great Escarpment.
Along the way we stop to view the pretty Howick Falls and visit the Nelson Mandela Capture Site, marking the place where this political hero and peace icon was arrested in 1962. This is the place where Mandela's 27 years of imprisonment began, prior to him becoming the first democratically elected president of South Africa.
We head to Champagne Valley in the Central Drakensberg, an incredibly scenic natural area of towering mountains. 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.
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 here, 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.
Enjoy a laid-back morning on the country estate, before heading back into Addo Park on a second afternoon game drive.
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. Arriving in Storms River it's time to taste some craft beer, brewed locally.
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.
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.
You also have the option of taking a zipline 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 in Plett, as Plettenberg Bay is called locally. Tonight we eat out (own account) in Plett, sampling fresh seafood and other tasty dishes at one of the great local restaurants.
Waking up in the heart of the Garden Route, you have the morning free to explore and do optional activities in this beautiful nature lover's paradise.
Set off on an exciting ocean safari to view marine life and enjoy the surf. This popular seaside resort is an excellent spot for whale watching in season (July to November). Alternatively, you can go sea kayaking in Plett or rent a surfboard and hit the waves. You can take it easy and chill-out on the Blue Flag Beach at Plettenberg Bay, take a dip in the ocean and stroll along the sandy shores. Another laid-back option - explore the town, sit at one of the cute coffee shops and do some shopping.
In the afternoon we leave the lush coastline, traversing 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. Arriving in the arid Little Karoo we visit one of the ostrich farms near Oudtshoorn to get a closer look at the largest birds found in the world today.
This morning we head underground into the limestone caverns of the Cango Caves. The guided tour takes us through the extensive network of caves, dating back some 20 million years, to view the impressive stalagmites and stalactites, winding passageways and large halls.
After exploring Cango Caves, we travel along the Route 62 through the Klein Karoo. Fantastic road tripping country, here we experience secluded rural landscapes dotted with small Karoo towns and quirky farm stalls, called 'padstals' in Afrikaans. Along the way, we stop in at a farm stall or two to browse the handmade arts and crafts. Don't miss out on the delicious homemade goods and local specialities.
Tonight we stay at an elegant lodge in the Drakenstein Mountains, in the Boland Region of the famous Cape Winelands. Dinner tonight is a Cape Malay feast in celebration of our magical journey through Southern Africa.
Wake up in the heart of the picturesque Cape Winelands on the final morning of your Southern Africa Adventure.
This morning we visit the charming university town of Stellenbosch, the second oldest European established settlement in South Africa. Walk through the tree-lined streets of Stellenbosch, known as the 'City of Oaks' or 'Eikestad' in Afrikaans, sightseeing and browsing the art galleries and quaint shops. Before leaving the Cape Wine Route we enjoy some wine tasting at one of the celebrated local wine farms.
Then we drive to Cape Town, our final destination. Rated as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town is a vibrant and cosmopolitan urban destination. Arriving in the city of Cape Town late this afternoon our adventure comes to a close, at the foot of Table Mountain.
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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