Begin with Big Five game viewing in South Africa's premier safari destination, Kruger National Park, and then head into unspoilt nature in the secluded Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary in Swaziland. Crossing back into South Africa, enter KwaZulu-Natal and drive to the warm Indian Ocean coastline. Join a boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary and visit Durban city, before driving to the Underberg and Sani Pass in the Drakensberg Mountains.
Stand on the historic KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields and explore the Royal Natal National Park, then travel into the beautiful hills of Lesotho. Return to South Africa and experience excellent game viewing in the Mountain Zebra National Park and Addo Elephant National Park. Next, enjoy the great outdoors in Tsitsikamma National Park and Knysna on the Garden Route. From lovely beaches and coastal mountains, we drive inland to Oudtshoorn in the Small Karoo and visit the nearby Cango Caves.
Lastly, we journey to the whale watching hotspot of Hermanus and the Cape Winelands, before reaching our final destination - Cape Town.
This Kruger Park to Cape Town Safari sets off from the mega-city of Johannesburg, the economic heart of South Africa.
Leaving Johannesburg, known as Egoli (the Place of Gold), we travel northeast into the rural Mpumalanga Province. Our drive takes us into the beautiful mountains of the Drakensberg Escarpment via the Panorama Route. Along the way, we stop to look out over the plains of the Lowveld and the distant mountains, from a viewpoint called God’s Window.
From the breathtaking Panorama Route, we continue to the small town of Hazyview, located close to Kruger National Park. Our hotel is in the Greater Kruger region, consisting of the national park and surrounding private game reserves. After dinner, we relax at the peaceful lodge and enjoy our first night under starry skies.
On day two we rise with the sun, heading to Kruger Park in time to enter the protected area, as soon as the gates open. We spend the whole of day two game viewing in the world-renowned Kruger National Park, one of Africa's best wildlife destinations.
Your professional guide is an expert at tracking and spotting wildlife and birds which makes all the difference in the bush. Kruger is home to the Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant) and a plethora of other wild animals, including almost every major mammal species of Africa. Birdlife is also prolific with over 500 bird species in addition to the 148 mammal species and numerous reptiles, amphibians, insects and plants.
During the heat of the day, we take a break at one of the shaded rest camps, usually stopping at a camp featuring a pool, gift shop and swimming pool. Then we continue our search for wildlife, driving through the diverse habitats of this exceptional game park. After our game viewing adventure in Kruger, we return to the hotel and our camp for an early dinner and a laid-back evening around the flickering campfire. You also have the option of embarking on a night game drive (extra cost) - an exhilarating wildlife experience!
Today we are up at sunrise for a light breakfast, before returning to Kruger Park for our second adventure-packed day of game viewing. Exploring Kruger in an open 4x4 game viewing vehicle offers unhindered views for capturing photographs and a close-to-nature experience in the wilderness.
Your experienced guide shares his/her knowledge with you - pointing out wildlife, birds, other creatures and indigenous plants of the region. Kruger Park is world-famous for its progressive environmental policies and management practices, as well as its unrivalled array and sheer abundance of African animals and birds. Having spotted all kinds of weird and wonderful creatures out in the African wilderness we return to the camp in the late afternoon.
Onwards on day four, we drive south along the border of Kruger National Park, making our way towards Swaziland. Along the way we pass farming towns and Shangaan settlements, pausing in Nelspruit before heading through fertile farmlands. Then we ascend into the hills, traversing scenic mountain passes, as we wind our way up into the small, land-locked country of Swaziland.
As we drive through Swaziland, we come across local markets showcasing the signature crafts of the Swazi people. Passing Mbabane, the capital of Swaziland, we proceed to the incredibly scenic Ezulwini Valley, which means 'Valley of Heavens’. Here we will spend time exploring the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - a non-profit owned and managed protected area.
For the next two nights, we camp near the secluded Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Swaziland’s oldest game park.
This morning we wake up in the stunning Ezulwini Valley, surrounded by unspoilt nature. Keep your eyes and ears open for birds and antelopes as we eat breakfast before we venture into Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. The protected area hosts more than 40 species of animals, including kudu, zebra, hippo, ostrich and baboon. More unusual finds range from aardwolf and dwarf mongoose to striped polecat and honey badger.
First, we visit the Royal Enclosure to explore the rich history and culture of the Kingdom of Swaziland. Then we walk through a traditional Swazi village with a local guide who tells us more about the customs and cultural practices here. There is time to browse the arts and crafts at the market stalls and walk around the village. Back in Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, we have lunch and then you are free to enjoy optional activities or simply relax at the pool and soak up the scenery. Choose from horse riding trails, game viewing drives, guided nature walks and mountain biking in the area.
At the end of the day, we sit back with sundowners watching for animals and birds at the hippo pool, followed by a tasty dinner prepared by the crew.
From Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary we travel through rural Swaziland and back into South Africa. Entering the KwaZulu-Natal Province we make our way to the East Coast of South Africa and our next destination - St Lucia. This small town is located in a beautiful and wild natural area, boasting rugged beaches, wetlands and an unspoilt estuarine system.
This afternoon we set off on a riverboat cruise on the scenic estuary of the former St Lucia Wetland Area, now named iSimangaliso Wetland Park. On the boat cruise, hippos and crocodiles are a common sight, along with an abundance of birds and other animals.
After dinner, we relax in the leafy gardens and watch the starry African skies.
On day seven you are free to stroll into the seaside town of St. Lucia and browse the markets and shops, or simply relax at the pleasant camp.
In the mid-morning, we continue through pine and sugar plantations on our way south to the coastal city of Durban. One of the largest commercial ports in Africa, Durban is a popular holiday destination, known for its sandy beaches, balmy weather and warm Indian Ocean waters. This afternoon you can explore the city or spend time on the beach and in the evening you can enjoy the lively nightlife and excellent restaurants.
Today we leave the coast, travelling through Pietermaritzburg on our way 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 go walking or hiking in the surrounding hills.
Day nine - 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 of 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 meters 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 meters 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.
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 through the Drakensberg foothills towards our lodge between the Royal Natal National Park and Cathedral Peak Reserve. Later in the afternoon we arrive at our remote lodge and get an early night before the active day tomorrow.
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 enjoy 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.
On day 12 we cross from the Drakensberg into northern Lesotho via Maseru 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.
There are no set activities planned for the day, leaving you free to do optional activities, explore and relax. Options include going mountain biking in the hills of Lesotho to admire the beautiful 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.
We are up early and back on the road, descending from the scenic hills of Lesotho. Returning to South Africa we pass through beautiful changing landscapes, en route to the Mountain Zebra National Park.
Covering some 284km² of semi-arid wilderness in the Karoo, the national park features a variety of biomes across its hills and valleys. The Mountain Zebra National Park is named after the Cape mountain zebras it was formed to protect in 1937. Having saved the species from extinction, the national park now hosts over 350 of these zebras. Today the park is also home to black rhino, Cape buffalo, cheetah and lion which have been introduced into the area. Numerous antelopes can also be seen here, such as black wildebeest, reedbuck, grey rhebok, eland, springbok, red hartebeest, kudu and gemsbok.
Making our way to tonight's camp inside the national park we watch for wildlife and birds from the vantage of our safari truck.
Today, we travel to Addo Elephant National Park where the game viewing adventures continue. Addo Park is the top 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 great 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 seeing elephant herds and other animals, birds and creatures in the diverse Addo Elephant National Park we travel to our accommodation just outside of Port Elizabeth, right on the beachfront.
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 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. Then we travel further along the Garden Route to the town of Knysna, a popular seaside destination set beside a tranquil lagoon. Tonight you can explore the town and eat out at one of the local restaurants, where fresh seafood is a favourite.
Start the day with breakfast in Knysna, located near the lofty Outeniqua Mountains, along the shores of the Indian Ocean, amid the indigenous forests and plantations of the Garden Route. After breakfast, 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.
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 Cape Whale Route and 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 can sample the nightlife and local cuisine (own account), celebrating your last night on safari!
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 centred 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 Southern African Overland Camping Safari comes to a close.
This 19 day Kruger to Cape Town Overland Camping Safari is also available as an Accommodated Overland Safari following the same itinerary but offering lodge and backpacker accommodation instead of camping in tents. See the Full Pricing above for the price of the accommodated tour version.
This tour is also available in a shorter version, covering a section of the same itinerary - the 12 Day Durban to Cape Town Overland Camping Safari via Lesotho. The 7 Day Kruger to Durban Overland Camping Safari via Swaziland also offers a shorter tour option, with a similar itinerary. For more details contact us.
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.
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, some with WiFi. On a few nights, we stay in twin rooms with en-suite bathrooms and dorm rooms with shared facilities.
Travel in a 24-seater, self-contained, custom-built safari truck with onboard tables, plug sockets, freezer, water tank, mini-library, iPod jack, safety features and 70-litre individual lockers. A safari vehicle is used for game drives.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Garden Route & Whale Coast
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