Knysna by Michael Howe-Ely

Durban to Cape Town Overland Camping Safari via Lesotho

Tour Length12 days
Priced from pps $705 R9360 £549 646 A$943 C$960 NZ$1022 Full pricing info
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Summary of this Overland Camping Tour

  • Max. Group Size 24 Travellers
  • Traveller Age Range 18 to 39 Years
  • Departs from Durban, South Africa
  • Ends at Cape Town, South Africa
  • Accommodation Standard Camping
  • Transport 4x4 Vehicle / Overland Vehicle
  • Wildlife Big 5, Elephant, Leopards, Lions, Rhino & More
  •  See Departure Dates

Quick Itinerary Overview

Set off from Durban on the sunny East Coast of South Africa, driving to the Underberg and Sani Pass in the scenic Drakensberg Mountains.

Stand on the historic KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields and explore the Royal Natal National Park, then travel into the beautiful mountains of Lesotho. Return to South Africa and head to the Mountain Zebra National Park and Addo Elephant National Park for exciting game viewing. Next, spend time enjoying the great outdoors on the Garden Route, exploring Tsitsikamma National Park and seaside Knysna, then Oudtshoorn and Cango Caves in the Small Karoo.

Lastly, drive to the whale watching hotspot of Hermanus and the famous Cape Winelands, before reaching our final destination - the picturesque city of Cape Town.

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Itinerary for this Tour

Day 1: Durban to Underberg Area - South Africa

This Southern African Overland Camping Safari departs from the coastal city of Durban, travelling through Pietermaritzburg into the southern Drakensberg Mountains. South Africa's tallest mountain range the Drakensberg is a lush and incredibly scenic region.

We head to our base at the foot of Sani Pass, the only road traversing the Drakensberg Escarpment and arguably the most impressive mountain pass in South Africa. For the next two nights we camp at a peaceful lodge in this stunning mountainous setting.

The Sani Pass above the lodge was once a mule track that served as the trade route between the Underberg in South Africa and Mokhotlong in the Kingdom of Lesotho. In the afternoon you are free to relax and take in the beautiful views, breathe the fresh mountain air and walk around. There are plenty of activities available here - from abseiling and mountain biking to horse riding and fishing. You can also go hiking in the hills or visit the rock art sites.

  • Accommodation: Lodge or similar (Twin share tents with shared facilities)
  • Meals included: Lunch, dinner
  • Optional Activities: Bushman hike
  • Travel: about 220km / 3 hours drive

Day 2: Underberg Area & Sani Pass - South Africa

Day two - meet up with local guides and venture into Lesotho, travelling in a 4x4 vehicle.

We drive up the rugged Sani Pass, at 2874 metres above sea level, enjoying the breathtaking views over the Drakensberg Mountains and looking out for wildlife and birds. The guides tell tales of the early days when pioneers first forged this route, sharing a bit about the history of this remote area. We travel deeper into Lesotho stopping in a small village to visit a local home and get a taste of local culture and rural life in Lesotho. We visit a shearing shed where we get to see an angora goat or sheep being sheared by hand, if it is shearing time.

Then we drive up Black Mountain - Lesotho's second highest mountain road pass at 3240 metres above sea level. We stop for a picnic lunch up on the pass, taking in the sweeping mountain views. Then we meet up with the local shepherds who spend the summer tending their flocks in the area. Next we walk the short distance to a viewpoint looking onto Thabana Ntlenyana - the highest point in Southern Africa, at 3482 metres above sea level. From the towering mountain tops we return to our camp at the foot of Sani Pass, stopping for a drink at the highest bar in Africa along the way.

  • Accommodation: Lodge or similar (Twin share tents with shared facilities)
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, dinner
  • Optional Activities: Horse riding, hiking
  • Travel: about 30km / Full day tour

Day 3: Underberg Area to Battlefields & Drakensberg - South Africa

Today we delve into the history of the KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields, where many a famous battle took place during colonial times. Thousands of British, Boer (Dutch settler) and Zulu soldiers died in fierce battles over territorial control and power in the 1800s.

First we go to the site of the famous Battle of Blood River, where 10 to 20 thousand Zulu warriors armed with spears, were defeated by 470 Voortrekkers (Dutch pioneers) armed with guns. Then we visit the historic site of the Battle of Rorke's Drift, one of the most significant Anglo-Zulu battles. This intense 12-hour battle saw 150 British soldiers defend Rorke's Drift against over 3000 Zulu warriors. Next we visit the site of the Battle of Talana Hill, also known as the Battle of Dundee, where the Boer War between British and Boer troops began in 1899. From Talana Hill we make our way to the historic town of Ladysmith and on through the Drakensberg foothills. Later in the afternoon we arrive at our remote lodge and get an early night before the active day tomorrow.

  • Accommodation: Lodge (Twin share tents with shared facilities)
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Travel: about 240km / 5 hours drive

Day 4: Drakensberg & Royal Natal National Park - South Africa

We spend today exploring the Royal Natal National Park, forming part of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site. Taking day packs with us we head into this scenic national park, featuring mountain streams and waterfalls.

This mountainous region of KwaZulu-Natal is ideal for walking, with numerous hiking trails to choose from. You can set off on a short walk, or either a half or full day hike in the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park. Horseback rides are another option and there is a comprehensive guidebook showing the walking and horse trails. One of the highlights in the Drakensberg foothills is walking to the Amphitheatre geological feature to admire the dramatic cliff face. The caves in the area are also worth visiting to see ancient San rock art.

After a day of soaking up the stunning mountain views and fresh air we return to camp for a wholesome dinner.

Note: An alternative hiking trail may be used in the case of poor visibility and weather conditions.

  • Accommodation: Lodge (Twin share tents with shared facilities)
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Optional Activities: Guided Tugela Falls hike, horseback trails

Day 5: Drakensberg to Malealea - Lesotho

On day five we cross from the Drakensberg into northern Lesotho via Mareru Bridge Gate. Making our way through narrow passes in the undulating mountains we drive southwards to our lodge camp in the secluded Mafeteng District. There are an array of optional activities available, including cultural experiences and walks to admire the lovely mountain vistas.

  • Accommodation: Lodge (Twin share tents with shared facilities)
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Travel: about 350km / 8 hours drive

Day 6: Malealea - Lesotho

There are no set activities planned for day six, leaving you free to do optional activities, explore and relax. Options include going mountain biking in the hills of Lesotho to admire the stunning scenery and be close to nature. Alternatively you can go hiking and visit a local village to get a taste of the Basotho culture and the way of life here.

Lesotho pony trekking is the most famous activity on offer, taking you into the hills along scenic trails to waterfalls and mountain villages. Exploring on the back of a hardy Lesotho pony with a local guide is the best way to experience this hilly area.

  • Accommodation: Lodge (Twin share tents with shared facilities) / WiFi
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Optional Activities: Pony trek full day, pony bushman paintings, pony ride, guided hiking trails, mountain biking

Day 7: Malealea to Mountain Zebra National Park - South Africa

On day seven we get going early, driving down from the Lesotho mountains and back across the border into South Africa. Passing through diverse, beautiful landscapes we travel to the Mountain Zebra National Park in the Eastern Cape.

The Mountain Zebra National Park was formed in 1937 to save the endangered Cape mountain zebra from extinction. Today the park hosts over 350 of the mountain zebras after which it is named.

Black rhino, Cape buffalo and cheetah have been reintroduced to the national park, as well as brown hyena and more recently lion. Covering some 284km², Mountain Zebra National Park is also home to a variety of antelopes, including black wildebeest, reedbuck, grey rhebok, eland, springbok, red hartebeest, kudu and gemsbok. Caracal and bat-eared foxes also roam here, and both baboons and vervet monkeys are common.

We explore the malari-free park in our overland truck, looking out for wildlife and birds as we head to camp. Tonight we camp at the well-run rest camp located inside Mountain Zebra National Park.

  • Accommodation: Rest Camp or similar (Twin share tents with shared facilities) / WiFi
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Travel: about 430km / 9 hours drive

Day 8: Mountain Zebra National Park to Addo Elephant National Park - South Africa

Today, we travel on to Addo Elephant National Park, the leading national park in the Eastern Cape and one of the largest in the country.

We spend the day game viewing in Addo Park, going in search of the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo) and other creatures big and small. Addo is best known for its huge concentration of elephants, as well as for being home to the so-called Big Seven which includes two heavyweight marine species - the southern right whale and the great white shark. The game reserve is also home to the endemic dung beetle and large mammals such as spotted hyena, antelopes (hartebeest, eland, kudu, bushbuck and more) and zebras.

After our game viewing adventure in the huge Addo Elephant National Park we head to our overnight resort near Port Elizabeth. Our camp is located right on the beachfront, close to the coastal city.

  • Accommodation: Resort or similar (Twin share tents with shared facilities)
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Travel: about 300km / 5 hours drive

Day 9: Port Elizabeth Resort to Tsitsikamma & Sedgefield - South Africa

Today we are up early, travelling to Tsitsikamma National Park on the Garden Route of South Africa. The national park lies between the Indian Ocean and Tsitsikamma Mountains along a dramatic stretch of coastline, incorporating indigenous forests, rivers, plantations and Fynbos-covered hills. In the Tsitsikamma area of the Garden Route National Park there are plenty of things to do, especially outdoor and nature-based activities. Go mountain biking, canoeing or black water tubing on Storms River, set off on a forest walk, take a boat cruise, do some bird watching or climb into the trees for a forest canopy tour.

From the wild Tsitsikamma Park we drive to the nearby Bloukrans Bridge where you can do one of the highest bungee jumps in the world, or join a bridge tour. Then we travel further along the Garden Route passing through the town of Knysna, a popular seaside destination. Later this afternoon we head to our lodge on Sedgefield beach, kicking back at the seaside.

  • Accommodation: Travellers lodge or similar (Twin share tents with shared facilities) / WiFi
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Optional Activities: bungee jump, bridge walk
  • Travel: about 330km / 5 hours drive

Day 10: Sedgefield to Oudtshoorn - South Africa

After breakfast this morning you are free to explore the great outdoors around Sedgefield, which is located between lofty Outeniqua Mountains, and the shores of the Indian Ocean. Go down to the beach, take a canoeing trip on one of the tranquil lagoons and rivers of the Garden Route or rent a surf board and try out the waves.

In the afternoon we drive inland to Oudtshoorn in the Klein (Small) Karoo, where the horizons widen and populations dwindle. We head to the semi-arid region between the Outeniqua and Swartberg mountain ranges. Oudtshoorn is the self-proclaimed ostrich capital of the world, where all sorts of local ostrich products - from eggs to biltong and feathers, can be found.

Arriving in the Oudtshoorn area we take a tour of the nearby Cango Caves, a massive underground cave system. We enter the tall caverns and narrow passages of the caves to see the impressive limestone formations and marvel at the sheer size of this famous geological feature. After visiting the Cango Caves we return to our lodge in historic Oudtshoorn and enjoy a relaxing night in the quiet Karoo town.

  • Accommodation: Travellers Lodge or similar (Twin share tents with shared facilities)
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Optional Activities: Cango Wildlife Ranch
  • Travel: about 150km / 3 hours drive

Day 11: Oudtshoorn to Hermanus - South Africa

From the semi-arid Small Karoo we drive through rolling farmlands to the rugged southern coast of South Africa. Our journey takes us via Cape Agulhas - the southernmost tip of Africa, a dramatic stretch of coastline known for its treacherous waters. We visit the towering lighthouse erected in 1848 and look out over the stormy waters where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans are said to meet. After lunch at the tip of the continent we make our way to the famous whale watching hotspot of Hermanus. Once a small fishing village, today the marine life, especially the whales and dolphins, of Hermanus attracts visitors from across the globe.

In the afternoon you are free to participate in optional activities, do some land or water based whale watching (seasonal) and stroll around the town. This evening you an sample the nightlife and local cuisine (own account), celebrating your last night on safari!

  • Accommodation: Backpackers or similar (Twin share tents with shared facilities) / WiFi
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Optional Activities: Hermanus Whale Watching/Cruise
  • Travel: about 420km / 8 hours drive

Day 12: Hermanus to Cape Town - South Africa

Spend your last morning on safari exploring Hermanus, browsing the quaint shops and whale watching (in season). Take a walk along the rocky coastline on the boardwalk to spot whales, or join a whale watching boat tour (extra cost). Visit the open-air Old Harbour Museum, a provincial heritage site conserving the historic fishing harbour that Hermanus once centered around.

By lunchtime we are on the road, following a scenic seaside road along the Cape Whale Coast. Our final stop is at a wine farm in the celebrated Cape Wine Region, surrounding Cape Town. We tour the winery and do some wine tasting, sampling locally produced wines, before continuing to Cape Town. Arriving in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town, our Durban to Cape Town Overland Camping Safari comes to a close.

  • Meals included: Breakfast
  • Travel: about 130km / 3 hours drive

Please Note:

This 12 Day Durban to Cape Town Overland Camping Safari via Lesotho is also available as an Accommodated Overland Safari following the same itinerary, but staying in lodge and backpacker accommodation. See the Full Pricing above for the price of the accommodated tour version.

This tour covers a section of the longer 19 Day Kruger to Cape Town Overland Camping Safari via Swaziland & Lesotho. For more details contact us.

Adventure Pass (Local Payment):

Please note that this tour comes with a highly-recommended Adventure Pass at extra cost. We strongly recommend this optional Adventure Pass as it includes major tour highlights and activities. This local payment can be purchased when booking your tour, or at the start of your trip, payable directly to your tour guide. Contact African Budget Safaris for the detailed itinerary listing what is included in the Adventure Pass and see the Full Pricing above for rates.

Tour Accommodation:

Sleep in two-person dome tents with fly sheets, sewn-in groundsheets, zip-up insect screens and foam mattresses. The campsites usually have reasonable washing and showering facilities, electricity points and sometimes even a small shop, bar or swimming pool. We camp at hotels, backpackers, lodges and similar establishments.

Tour Transport:

Travel in a 24-seater, self-contained, custom-built safari truck with on-board tables, plug sockets, freezer, water tank, mini-library, iPod jack, safety features and 70-litre individual lockers. A 4x4 safari vehicle is used for game drives.

Optional Extras and Excursions

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


Underberg area

  • Bushman Hike

Garden Route

  • Bungee jumping
  • Bridge Walk
  • Cango Wildlife Ranch
  • Hermanus Whale Watching/Cruise

Drakensburg

  • Tugela Falls (Full day hike)
  • Horse ride

Malealea

  • Pony Trek (Full day)
  • Bushman painting trek
  • One hour pony trek ride
  • Hiking trails with guide
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+Where does the tour go to?
+Optional Activities & Day Trips
For confirmed pricing on these optional items, please drop us an enquiry


Underberg area

  • Bushman Hike

Garden Route

  • Bungee jumping
  • Bridge Walk
  • Cango Wildlife Ranch
  • Hermanus Whale Watching/Cruise

Drakensburg

  • Tugela Falls (Full day hike)
  • Horse ride

Malealea

  • Pony Trek (Full day)
  • Bushman painting trek
  • One hour pony trek ride
  • Hiking trails with guide
+Included in the Tour Price
  • all tour highlights
  • 2-person dome tents & mattresses
  • fully equipped safari vehicles
  • camping & cooking equipment
  • services of two crew
  • road & vehicle taxes
  • ground transportation
  • meals as per itinerary
+Not Included in the Tour Price
  • Adventure Pass activities & excursions (optional)
  • visas & travel insurance
  • flight departure taxes & airport transfers
  • optional activities
  • tips & drinks
  • sleeping bag & personal items
  • dinner on days 7 & 11, and lunch & dinner on day 12 - not included in the tour price or Adventure Pass
+Departure Dates

Scheduled Tour Departures
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If you do not see departures listed for your dates, or would like information on potential changes, please do contact us for further info.

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