An excellent Budget Camping Safari into Lesotho and along the Garden Route of South Africa, starting in Durban and ending in Cape Town, South Africa.
From Durban we travel into the Drakensberg Mountains where we enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Royal Natal National Park, before crossing into mountainous Lesotho to go hiking, visit a village and do optional pony trekking. From Lesotho, we drive to Graaff-Reinet in the arid Small Karoo of South Africa. In this remote inland region, we have sundowners in the Valley of Desolation and explore the historic town of Graaff-Reinet.
Next we go game viewing in Addo Elephant National Park, before driving west along the scenic Garden Route of South Africa, where highlights include Tsitsikamma Park, Nature's Valley and Plettenberg Bay. Then we drive along the Route 62 into the Cape Winelands where we go wine tasting and explore the charming town of Stellenbosch on foot. This memorable Durban to Cape Town via Lesotho Safari finishes with a cultural tour of Cape Town where our journey ends.
This Budget Lesotho & Garden Route Camping Safari starts in Durban on the warm east coast of South Africa. The morning is free for you to go to one of the sandy beaches, take a quick surf, or explore Durban and visit Ushaka Marine World.
Then you meet up with your safari guides and fellow travellers and drive inland to the Drakensberg Mountains, leaving the stunning golden beaches of the KwaZulu-Natal coast behind. Along the way we stop at the place where Nelson Mandela, the first democratically elected president of South Africa, was arrested in 1962. After visiting the monument built to commemorate the long struggle of this world-famous political icon and Nobel Peace Prize winner, we stop at Howick Falls and admire the views. From there, we continue our drive to the incredibly scenic Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, also known as the Royal Natal National Park.
The Drakensberg Mountain Range is the tallest in South Africa peaking at over 3000 metres, and named after the mountains that look like dragons' backs. On day two your guide leads you on a hike in this mountainous area, where hiking is the most popular activity. We walk in the Royal Natal National Park, where we have the chance to see old San rock paintings with a local guide. Alternatively you can enjoy optional outdoor activities, such as horse riding - an exciting way to explore the Drakensberg.
We camp (shared ablutions) at a resort with a swimming pool, bar, internet, laundry services and a shop.
An optional Activity Package is offered with this safari. The extra payment includes highly-recommended activities, considered as "essential activities" on the tour. This itinerary includes these activities. For those that can't afford all of these activities there is the option of doing the basic safari without the Activity Package. Contact African Budget Safaris for a detailed breakdown of what is included in the Activity Package. See the Full Pricing Information above for the cost of the Activity Package.
Next we set off early for the beautiful drive into Lesotho, famous for its mountain scenery and pony trekking. We travel via scenic mountain passes, a vulture centre and the impressive landscapes of the Golden Gate National Park in South Africa. This afternoon we make our way up into the hills of Lesotho, passing the capital city of Maseru.
Day four begins with a hike in the mountains of Lesotho, soaking up the beautiful scenery and fresh mountain air. We hike to a village where we 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.
This afternoon you have the chance to go pony trekking, high up in the hills (optional). On the pony trek, Lesotho villagers will guide you along secluded mountain trails with spectacular views. This landlocked country falls almost entirely above an altitude of 1000 metres. You can relax at the lodge and do more hiking this afternoon if pony trekking isn't for you. The rural mountains provide a scenic setting for taking a break from modern living.
We stay at a campsite with shared ablution facilities, at a mountain lodge with a bar.
This hot inland region, called the Karoo, is an open and flat terrain with sheep farms and a scattering of remote towns. Driving through the vast, dry plains of the Karoo we cross the Gariep (formerly Orange) River on our way to Graaff-Reinet.
This afternoon, we drive to the Valley of Desolation, only 14km's from Graaff Reinet. We end the day off with sundowners in the Valley of Desolation, watching the sun go down over the dramatic plains of Camdeboo and the distant town. In the winter months, we visit the Valley of Desolation early the following morning and spend this evening exploring the historic town of Graaff Reinet instead.
This morning you have the option of joining a local guide for a historical tour of Graaff-Reinet, the fourth oldest town in South Africa (time allowing). Or you can take a stroll on your own and do some sightseeing in the town, which hosts one of the highest concentrations of monuments in the country. During winter we set off early on our sunrise excursion to the Valley of Desolation. Whether we visit at sunrise or sunset, the views are spectacular and the local flora and fauna fascinating.
From Graaff-Reinet we head to Addo Elephant National Park in the rugged Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Addo Elephant Park also boasts the ‘Big Seven’ (elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard, southern right whale and great white shark), as the game park includes both terrestrial and aquatic habitats.
We camp at a game lodge with shared ablution facilities, a bar, laundry services and internet.
Most of day seven is spent game viewing in Addo Elephant National Park, exploring the bush in our safari truck. The truck provides an elevated vantage for scanning the bush for wildlife and birds.
This unique, malaria-free game park is home to one of the densest concentrations of African elephants in the world, hence the name - Addo Elephant National Park. 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.
Later in the afternoon, you have the option of embarking on a 4x4 game drive, stopping in the bush for sundowners at sunset.
Day eight starts with one last game drive in game-rich Addo Elephant Park. From Addo National Park we make our way to the Garden Route, a lush and scenic nature lover's paradise along the southern coast of South Africa. Along the way we stop in Jeffreys Bay, one of the top surfing spots in the world.
Continuing west along the Garden Route we head to Tsitsikamma National Park, where majestic mountains and dramatic coast converge. We spend day nine exploring the striking 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. The park stretches about 80km's along the coastline and includes the belt of sea along its shores for about 5km's out into the ocean, making it one of the largest marine protected areas worldwide.
On the morning of day nine we hike the first stretch of the Otter Trail, one of the most famous trails in the country. The morning hike is challenging but incredibly scenic, taking us along the rugged coastline to a pretty waterfall and back.
If you prefer to take it easy you can walk along the boardwalks in the indigenous coastal forest and across the suspension bridge at Storm's River Mouth. In the afternoon you can do an optional treetop canopy tour, viewing the forest from a zip-line suspended in the branches.
A short drive west brings us to the haven of Nature’s Valley, where you can unwind on the beach or go hiking along the coast.
Then we move on to the next Garden Route gem - the popular beach resort town of Plettenberg Bay, known for its stunning Blue Flag beaches. There are plenty of optional activities to enjoy in and around Plett, as locals call it. Your guide helps with planning and booking activities to ensure that you get the most out of today. The safari truck will travel between selected points of interest on a set schedule providing you with the freedom to join or leave activities as you choose.
At the end of the day we meet up on a pretty beach of the Keurbooms Lagoon and this evening we celebrate our adventures with an optional meal out in Plettenberg Bay. Tonight we stay in twin share rooms with en-suite bathrooms (hot showers) at a lodge with a swimming pool, near Plettenberg Bay.
In the morning you have time for one more optional activity in the Plettenberg Bay area, before our scenic journey continues. Go sea kayaking, laze on the beach in Plettenberg Bay, explore the town or set off on an ocean safari in season. Whale watching safaris are a highlight in Plett, which is a whale watching hotspot in season (July to October).
Next, our Budget Lesotho & Garden Route Tour travels inland, taking us over breathtaking mountain passes of the Outeniqua Mountains; which separate the coast from the semi-arid Klein (Small) Karoo region. Leaving the green belt along the ocean we make our way to Oudtshoorn, a historic Karoo town famed for the Cango Caves and the ostrich farms.
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.
Our overnight stay in Oudtshoorn is at a resort campsite with a pool, internet, drinkable water and shared ablution facilities.
Today begins with a short tour of an Ostrich farm. Oudtshoorn's ostrich industry is huge - this is the ultimate place to see plenty of these big flightless birds up close and buy all kinds of ostrich-related souvenirs from ostrich feathers to eggs and biltong.
Then we drive along the well-known Route 62, passing through the barren Klein Karoo on our way to Somerset West in the Cape Wine Region. Along the way we stop to sample the homemade confectioneries and baked goods, and browse or buy local arts and crafts, at one of the many quaint and unique farm stalls along the 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.
We overnight in en-suite rooms at a Cape Winelands hotel, with a swimming pool, bar, internet and laundry. In the evening you are free to relax at the hotel or eat out with your fellow travel companions.
After breakfast, we drive to nearby Stellenbosch, in the heart of the scenic Cape Winelands. Stellenbosch is the second oldest European-established town in South Africa, home to one of the country's leading universities. Arriving in the historic town we walk through the leafy streets dotted with monuments, museums, art galleries and cafes that give the town its charm.
After walking around Stellies, as locals call it, we go to a wine estate in the area to sample the wines the region is famous for producing. Wine and cheese tasting (included in Activity Package) complete, we drive towards Table Mountain and the beautiful city of Cape Town.
Those joining the Cape Town cultural tour (included in the Activity Package) will set off in a smaller tour vehicle to explore the historic area of District Six, before heading to the informal settlements (townships) of Langa and Khayelitsha to see how the locals live. Visiting the informal settlements is a real eye-opener for many - offering a glimpse into the dynamic cultures and hardships of township life.
The order of today's activities may be switched around on Public Holidays and Sundays, but our memorable Lesotho & Garden Route Safari, still comes to an end back in Cape Town this afternoon.
This southbound Durban to Cape Town via Lesotho Safari is also available in the reverse order as the Cape Town to Durban Safari via Lesotho starting in Cape Town and ending in Durban.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
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