Durban to Johannesburg Self Drive Safari

Tour Length7 days

Summary of this South African Self Drive Tour

  • Departs from Durban, South Africa
  • Ends at Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Accommodation Seaforth Farm / Hippo Hideaway / Hilltop Camp / The Mlilwane Rest Camp / The Royal Hotel / Airport City Lodge
  •  See Departure Dates

Quick Itinerary Overview

This self drive option is a nature lovers dream. Both Fauna and Flora are in abundance along the route.

 Your first port of call heading out of Durban is the coastal town of Ballito. Here you can enjoy a relaxing beach day and partake in some dolphin spotting along the warm tropical waters of the North Coast of Kwazulu Natal.

 From Ballito you head further north to the town of St Lucia, which will serve as your springboard into the Greater St Lucia Wetland area, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Heading out of St Lucia you enter South Africa's oldest Game reserve, the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park where, if you're lucky, you will see Africa's BIG 5.

Continuing in the game viewing mode you head from Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary in Swaziland. Leaving Swaziland behind you head back into South Africa with your next stop being the historical mining town of Pilgrims Rest.

 Pilgrims Rest was an old mining town that has been lovingly restored to capture the essence of a bygone era. Gold Fever is the name of the game in Pilgrims Rest. From Pilgrims Rest you will head towards vibrant city of Johannesburg and its here where your holiday sadly comes to an end.

Enquire About This
Departure Dates
Send to a Friend

Itinerary for this Tour

Day 1 - Durban to Ballito

You start your self drive holiday leaving from Durban and head towards the town of Ballito on the North Coast of Natal otherwise known as the Dolphin Coast. The Dolphin Coast is one of South Africa's most popular and most beautiful holiday spots. The region got its name from the many schools of bottlenose dolphins which can be seen playing in the water almost every day of the year.

Ballito, the heart of the Dolphin Coast, lies nestled between rippling fields of Natal's famous `green gold' and is flanked to the east by golden beaches and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

Accommodation: Seaforth Farm

Day 2 & 3 - Ballito to St. Lucia

Heading out of St. Lucia you continue your journey to the town of St. Lucia. St Lucia town acts as a base to explore a surrounding countryside like no other in the country.

The wetlands, swamps, mangroves and lagoons making up the town's environment attract many eco-tourists and nature lovers. Extensive conservation programmes have been undertaken since a game reserve was establish on the estuarine system fed by the Mkuze, Nyalazi and Hluhluwe Rivers. No trip to Kwazulu-Natal's northern coast is complete without a visit to this unforgettable place.

Isimangaliso Wetland Park (Greater St Lucia Wetland Park)

A very special slice of Africa, the former Greater St Lucia Wetland Park offers eco-tourists some of the most diverse wildlife and outdoor experiences imaginable.

Besides Lake St Lucia - a unique, 38 000 ha expanse of lake, islands and estuary - the park incorporates an astonishing variety of habitats ranging from the Ubombo mountains to grasslands, forests, wetlands, mangroves and vegetated dunes, with magnificent beaches and coral reefs.

The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park stretches along the Zululand coast from Mapelane in the south to Sodwana in the north. This diversity gives rise to a multiplicity of fauna and flora, unrivalled anywhere in South Africa. It supports an abundance of Nile crocodile and hippo, as well as rhino (both black and white), elephant, buffalo, giraffe, waterbuck, kudu, nyala, impala, duiker and reedbuck, amongst a host of other species.

You can dive on coral reefs or walk for miles along golden beaches; explore great dunes and wander through magical coastal forests; or roam across grassy plains as the wind carries the whistling calls of reedbuck on the alert. You can try your hand at canoeing while enjoying a wilderness trail, and if snorkelling, angling or boating take your fancy, this is the place to indulge yourself.

Migrant whales cavorting along the coast, leatherback and loggerhead turtles, nesting on the beaches at night in summer, add to the park's special attractions. From Mapelane the park stretches northwards, incorporating St Lucia Game and Marine Reserves, False Bay park, Cape Vidal, Sodwana Bay, Mkuzi Game Reserve and the Maputaland Marine Reserve. The 260 000 ha park is internationally recognised, with two parts of it registered as Wetlands of International Significance under the Ramsa Convention.

Accommodation: Hippo Hideaway

Day 4 - St Lucia to Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park

Heading inland for some big 5 game viewing in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park.
Set in the heart of Zululand, the oldest game reserve in Africa where Zulu kings such as Dingiswayo and Shaka hunted and put in place the first conservation laws, where today the "big five" of African legend stalk the verdant savannah. The Park became world renowned for its white rhino conservation.

Established in 1895 game viewing is the prime attraction. Viewing hides overlook pans and waterholes enabling visitors to see animals at close range.

Previously managed as two separate parks, the Hluhluwe (in the north) and Imfolozi (in the south) were joined into one large game reserve. The Park covers some 96 000 ha and contains an immense diversity of fauna and flora.

Larger mammals to be seen include buffalo, blue wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, elephant and large numbers of impala, waterbuck, common and mountain reedbuck, nyala, kudu, bushbuck, steenbuck, duiker, warthog, black rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyaena and jackal.

In excess of 300 species of birds have been recorded.

Please Note Visitors pay a conservation fee of R70 per person per day (children 50%) replacing entry fees.

Accommodation: Hilltop Camp

Day 5 - Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary (Swaziland)

Heading out of Kwazulu Natal you head towards Mbabane the capital city of Swaziland. The landlocked Kingdom of Swaziland is surrounded on the north and south by provinces of South Africa, and on the east is bordered by Mozambique. You will discover a whole new country filled with bygone African traditions and culture.

With an area of just over 17,000 square kilometres, Swaziland is the smallest country in the southern hemisphere. Small as it may be, Swaziland is an exciting tourist destination with its art and craft outlets and traditional markets and wildlife reserves.

The oldest and most visited Swazi park, Mlilwane is situated within easy reach of the popular Ezulwini and Malkerns tourism hubs. The Sanctuary is a tranquil retreat for the weary and a scenic family paradise. 24 hour access to the Sanctuary is a valuable feature for late arrivals, business travellers and those on night excursions to other nearby attractions.

Accommodation: The Mlilwane Rest Camp

Day 6 - Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary to Pilgrims Rest (South Africa)

Leaving the Kingdom of Swaziland behind you head towards the old mining town of Pilgrims Rest. A living museum - the entire town has been declared a national Monument - taking the visitors to the day of old Transvaal Gold Rush.

Pilgrim's Rest was declared a gold field in 1873, soon after digger Alec "Wheelbarrow" Patterson had found gold deposits in Pilgrim's Creek. The Valley proved to be rich in gold and by the end of the year, there where about 1500 diggers working in the area. As a result, Pilgrim's Rest became a social centre for the diggings.
Mining was active until 1971 when Beta Mine was closed down. Transvaal Gold Mining Estates opened again in 1999 and there is active gold mining in the hills around Pilgrim's Rest.

Accomodation: The Royal Hotel

Day 7 - Pilgrims Rest to Johannesburg

Leaving Pilgrims rest you will continue your journey to Johannesburg where you will spend you last night. Combine New York, London and Amsterdam. Add a touch of Calcutta, Rio and Los Angeles, and you get Johannesburg. It is the second largest city in Africa, south of Cairo, and home to some eight million people.

Johannesburg is the financial, economic and cultural giant of South Africa - and by implication the entire African continent.

Johannesburg can seem overwhelming to the first-time visitor. Some travellers fear it, but most love it. Take the time to explore the city and be amazed by the diverse cultures, interesting people and numerous places to visit.

Accomodation: Airport City Lodge


The accommodation indicated in each area is dependant on availability. Should there be no availability during your requested period African Budget Safaris will provide an alternative option.
You can extend your package by checking out our various other self drive options or alternatively you can drop your hired car of at the Johannesburg International Airport and fly onwards to your next destination. Check with African Budget Safaris for a list of budget airlines that can be booked online.
Pre tour accommodation can be booked for you in. Please contact African Budget Safaris for details.
This package is available in reverse (Johannesburg to Durban)


You have a choice of vehicles available through African Budget Safaris. Each vehicle is priced according to make, model, size and attributes of the vehicle (i.e. mnaual / automatic, airbags etc.). When enquiring about a self drive option, please indicate the vehicle group that you are wanting to hire.

Enquire About This
Departure Dates
Send to a Friend

Browse Similar Trips

Filter Tours by Price, Length & Destinations

+Where does the tour go to?
+Included in the Tour Price
  • Car Hire
  • Accomodation on a B&B basis
  • Detailed route instructions.
+Not Included in the Tour Price
  • Lunch and Dinner
  • Fuel
  • Flights
  • Airport Taxes
  • Items of a Personal nature
+Departure Dates

Daily on Request

Scheduled Tour Departures
Click on a departure date to enquire

If you do not see departures listed for your dates, please do contact us for further info.

Explore the Route

Our TrustPilot Reviews for South Africa

Unsure of where, when or what to book? Talk to a friendly human!

Our team has the destination knowledge to help you plan an unforgettable African adventure. We're based in Cape Town and ready to help.

The African Budget Safaris team

We can also plan you an affordable private group or tailor-made tour. We built our business on turning luxury travel into affordable travel.

Talk to us today