A comprehensive camping safari into South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, starting in Johannesburg and ending in Cape Town, South Africa.
First, we travel to the vast Greater Kruger National Park for game viewing in South Africa's premier wildlife reserve and explore the scenic Panorama Route. From there it's off to Swaziland to hike in Mlilwane Nature Reserve, before crossing back into South Africa to visit the diverse iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the prestigious Hluhluwe-Umfolozi National Park.
Stopping over in Durban we travel into the Drakensberg Mountains where we enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Royal Natal National Park, before visiting mountainous Lesotho. Then we drive into the semi-arid Small Karoo of South Africa and on to Addo Elephant National Park for more game viewing. Next we travel along the well-known Garden Route of South Africa taking in beach and nature highlights, and stopping in Oudtshoorn to see Cango Caves.
Lastly, we make our way into the Cape Winelands Region, where we enjoy wine tasting and walk in the charming town of Stellenbosh, before embarking on a cultural experience in Cape Town where our safari ends.
Welcome to South Africa! Leaving the bustling city of Johannesburg we travel east into the Mpumalanga Province, making our way to Kruger National Park. We head into the Lowveld region, which hosts numerous top game parks and is known as the safari capital of South Africa.
In the late afternoon you have the chance to embark on an optional sunset game drive which needs to be booked in advance (your guide can assist you on departure this morning).
Our first campsite is at a lodge located in a private wildlife concession inside Kruger National Park. This evening your guide tells you more about the safari adventure ahead as we relax around the campfire.
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 make our way into the world-famous Kruger Park for an unforgettable day of game viewing. Entering the vast Kruger Park the game viewing adventure begins right away. Kruger National Park is home to Africa's Big Five, as well as a multitude of other African animals, both small and large. This is South Africa's premier national park, famous for its superb game viewing and progressive conservation practises.
Our truck offers an elevated vantage for seeing over other vehicles and the bush, providing excellent opportunities for spotting and photographing as many of the wild animals in Kruger Park as possible. If you have opted for the Activity Package then you take a 4x4 game drive in an open safari vehicle instead, immersing yourself in the wilderness that is Kruger National Park.
In the late afternoon you can set off on a sunset game drive as an optional extra.
On day three you have the option of venturing into the bush on foot for a guided game walk (optional extra) or you can sleep in a little.
Then, we visit the Panorama Route, driving into one of the most scenic parts of South Africa. Travelling along the Panorama Route we stop to admire the spectacular views from God's Window, looking out over the Lowveld to the distant mountains along the Mozambique border. We also stop to view Bourke’s Luck Potholes - peculiar rock features created by water erosion over decades. Our drive takes us along Blyde River Canyon, one of the largest vegetated canyons in the world.
From the scenic splendours of the Panorama Route we return to our safari camp in Kruger.
This morning we head back into the legendary Kruger National Park looking out for game as we head south through the bush. Leaving Kruger we cross into the small, landlocked country of Swaziland, encompassing a diversity of terrains, from lowveld 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.
This morning we take a nature walk in the reserve or you can enjoy optional activities in the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - from mountain biking to a village visit - and simply relax in this scenic haven. Bush walks are a popular activity here as large predators are absent from this scenic wilderness area. The variety of self-guided hikes offer visitors a chance to get up close to the local flora and fauna - a fascinating way to explore nature.
Then we are off to the East Coast of Africa, bidding farewell to Swaziland. We drive back into South Africa heading to iSimangaliso Wetland Park, near the Mozambique border. Isimangaliso was the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in South Africa, when it was 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.
Today we head to nearby Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve for a morning game drive in this wildlife-rich wilderness area. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve is famous for its rhino conservation successes, hosting one of the world's largest white rhino populations. Hluhluwe and Imfolozi together make up one of KwaZulu-Natal's best game parks - the oldest game reserve in Africa.
We take a game drive in open 4x4 vehicles exploring the only state-run park in the province of KwaZulu-Natal where all of the Big Five occur. After our morning of bird watching and game viewing in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, we drive back to Isimangaliso.
Later this afternoon we embark on a relaxing sunset boat cruise on the lagoon for some bird and hippo viewing in the scenic iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
On day seven we travel further south to the city of Durban, on the east coast of South Africa. Durban is a popular seaside holiday destination, known for its sandy beaches and excellent surfing spots. One of the busiest ports and biggest cities on the East African coast, Durban is a vibrant and culturally diverse place.
In the afternoon you can go to one of the pretty golden mile beaches, or visit to the world-class Ushaka Marine World. This evening you are free to head out for dinner in Durban, with Indian food being a specialty given the large population of Indian descendants living here. After dinner you have the option of enjoying some of the nightlife of the city.
We leave behind the beautiful beaches of the KwaZulu Natal coastline, travelling inland to the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg, formerly Royal Natal National Park, located in the unbelievably scenic Drakensberg Escarpment. 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 day nine exploring mountain paths and enjoying the beauty of the towering Drakensberg Mountains. The Drakensberg Mountains are South Africa’s highest peaks, also widely considered the most beautiful. In the morning your guide takes you on a hike in Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park where we have the chance to meet with local guides and view San rock paintings. Alternatively you can enjoy optional outdoor activities, such as horse riding, or simply unwind in the scenic Drakensberg Mountains.
Next, we take an inspiring drive into Lesotho, travelling via spectacular mountain passes, a vulture centre and the impressive landscapes of the Golden Gate National Park in South Africa. This afternoon we arrive at our campsite in the hills of Lesotho, famous for its mountain scenery and pony trekking.
Known as the 'Kingdom in the Sky', Lesotho is one of the highest countries in the world, with the entire country lying over 1000m above sea level.
Day 11 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 breathtaking views.
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.
In the late afternoon, we head to the Valley of Desolation, 14km from Graaff Reinet, for sundowners. We soak up the spectacular views of the Camdeboo plains at sunset and take a closer look at the unique flora and fauna of the area. In the winter months, we visit the Valley of Desolation early the next morning and spend this evening exploring the historic town of Graaff Reinet instead.
On the morning of day 13, you can join a local guide for a historical tour of Graaff-Reinet, the fourth oldest town in South Africa (time allowing). Or spend some time 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.
Leaving Graaff Reinet behind we head to Addo Elephant National Park in the rugged Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. This unique, malaria-free game park is home to one of the world's densest concentrations of African elephants. 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 lodge with a bar, laundry services, hot showers and internet.
This morning we explore Addo Elephant National Park, one of the biggest game parks in the country.
We head into the bush where we are surrounded by elephants and other creatures, from the flightless dung beetle to the regal lion. Game driving in our elevated safari truck in Addo provides the perfect opportunity to take some great photos of Africa’s big game and other wildlife and birds.
In the late afternoon, you can embark on an optional sunset game drive in Addo, exploring the park in open 4x4 safari vehicles.
Day 15 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 16 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 16, 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 further westwards along the Garden Route brings us to 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.
This afternoon 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 the season (July to October).
Next, our Budget 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 with a pool, internet and drinkable water.
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.
On our last morning together we travel to Stellenbosch, in the heart of the Western Cape’s Wine Region. This 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 explore the leafy streets on foot to see the 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 doing the Cape Town Cultural Tour (included in the Activity Package) will set off from the city in smaller tour vehicles with a private tour company. First we visit District Six, the historic part of the city from which over 60 000 people were relocated to informal settlements during Apartheid. Then we travel into the townships of Langa and Khayelitsha, to encounter the locals, meet a traditional healer and visit a shebeen (informal bar). 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 Overland Camping Safari still comes to an end back in Cape Town this afternoon. Activity Package: Cheese & Wine Tasting / Cape Town Cultural Tour
This southbound South African Camping Safari is also available in the reverse order as a South African Safari - Northbound, starting in Cape Town and ending in Johannesburg.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
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