The South Africa Scenic Route is an overview tour of South Africa, including the well known highlights and focuses on the national parks. This tour covers a great distance in this diverse country and involves long days on the road, generally followed by a full day to explore the area. This is an all encompassing tour and a fantastic way to explore not only South Africa, but Swaziland and Lesotho as well.
Meals: 17 breakfasts, 15 lunches and 14 dinners will be provided by the safari crew, prepared at the truck with assistance from the group. 3 breakfasts are provided by lodges.
Transport: We use custom-built safari trucks with 12 forward facing seats, comfortable for cruising and excellent for game viewing. Large sliding windows and front hatches give everyone a good view; or (on 5% of tours) Mercedes Sprinter minibuses with 12 forward facing seats and air conditioning (and trailer for equipment and baggage). There are several long days of traveling but the vehicles have a comfortable cruising speed – it’s all about the journey and not just the destination! The emphasis of the trip is “getting out and doing things”.
An essential part of your safari is participation – from putting up your tent to packing the truck in the morning – it’s all part of your adventure and when everyone puts in a little effort the trip will run smoothly. Your tour leaders will do all the meal preparation but we do ask you to help (on rotation) with the washing up. Team spirit is part of the fun!
Day 1 : JOHANNESBURG to MPUMALANGA
Departing from Johannesburg at 06:30am we head east towards Mpumalanga. A landscape characterized by mountains, panoramic passes, valleys, rivers, waterfalls and forests. We will camp the night in the old gold rush town of Pilgrims Rest, a living museum dating back to 1873. We explore the quaint town, visit Bourke's Luck Potholes
and the viewpoint at God’s Window.
Includes: Entrance to God’s Window & Bourkes Luck Potholes.
Overnight: Campsite – good ablution facilities & hot showers. Distance/time: 350kms, ± 5 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch.
Day 2 - 3 : KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
Big game country - exciting game drives provide us with excellent game viewing. Spot lion, elephant, rhino and other animals in one of the last African wildernesses. Early morning & afternoon game drives get us close to the wildlife.
Includes: Entrance to Kruger National Park, morning & afternoon game drives.
Overnight: Campsite – good ablution facilities, hot showers, swimming pool, restaurant & shop. Distance/time: 150kms, ± 2 hours + 3x 3 hour game drives. Optional Activities: Night game drives in National Park open game viewing vehicles.
Day 4 : KINGDOM OF SWAZILAND
The mountainous Kingdom of Swaziland, led by King Mswati III, is one of only 3 monarchies in Africa. Swazis are proud of their traditional lifestyle & cultures. We explore the Malolotja reserve on foot to enjoy the mountain scenery, rare birdlife, and the 95m high Malolotja waterfall. Overnight in log cabins with fantastic panoramic views.
Includes: Entrance to Malalotja Game Reserve.
Overnight: Malolotja Nature Reserve - 1 night, mountain cabins, 2 twin bedrooms per cabin which share
a bathroom and a washroom. WiFi not available. Distance/time: 200kms, ± 4 hours, excluding 2-3 hour morning drive out of Kruger, shopping stop in Malelane, Jeppe's Reef border formalities & stops for sightseeing etc.
Day 5 - 6 : ZULULAND
After visiting the craft markets near Mbabane, we re-enter South Africa. KwaZulu Natal is one of the last refuges for the threatened rhino populations. We have a game drive in search of these ancient creatures and stop waterholes to watch game come down to drink.
Includes: Entrance fees, game drive
Overnight: Campsite – good ablution facilities, hot showers. Distance/time: 300kms, ± 4 hours, excluding border formalities + game drives.
Day 7 - 8 : DRAKENSBERG MOUNTAINS
Moving further south to the base of the Drakensberg (Dragon Mountains), we have two nights at the foot of the mountains allowing time for walking along beautiful mountain stream paths, or just enjoying spectacular views.
Includes: Morning and afternoon hikes in the Drakensberg Mountains.
Overnight: Campsite – good ablution facilities, hot showers. Distance/time: 400kms, ± 6 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch.
Day 9 - 10 : LESOTHO
We travel through the towering red sandstone cliffs of Golden Gate en route to Lesotho. Quaint villages and towns offer interesting stops along the way. We cross the border and head to southern Lesotho to our overnight chalets at Malealea. This lodge nestled in the mountains forms our base for two nights. The next morning we are up early and spend the day trekking with a local guide and his pony through the rugged mountains.
Includes: Trekking with local guide and his pony.
Overnight: Malealea Lodge, Basotho Huts – 2 nights, bedrooms are twin sharing with shared ablutions. WiFi not available. Distance/time: 370kms, ± 8 hours, excluding stops for border formalities sightseeing & lunch.
Day 11: KAROO
Descending from the Lesotho highlands we make our way into the great Karoo. It covers most of central South Africa and is a vast semi desert. It has become famous for its sheep and ostrich farming industries, and roadside stalls selling handmade windmills.
Overnight: Cradock Tuis Huis Guest House – 1 night we stay in an historic guest house. Twin rooms en
suite. Restaurant. WiFi available. Distance/time: 370kms, ± 8 hours – a long day! excluding stops for border formalities sightseeing & lunch.
Day 12 : ADDO ELEPHANT NATIONAL PARK
A conservation success, Addo Elephant N.P. offers a unique wildlife area, famous for the Addo elephants. We head out on game drives in search of elephant, black rhino, lion, buffalo and leopard. Evening viewing at the floodlit waterhole allows us to watch the nocturnal animals.
Includes: Entrance fees to Addo Elephant National Park, afternoon & morning game drives.
Overnight: Campsite – good ablution facilities, hot showers, restaurant, bar, shop & floodlit waterhole. Distance/time: 276kms, ± 3½ hours excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch + game drives. Optional Activities: Night game drives in National Park open game viewing vehicles.
Day 13 - 14 : TSITSIKAMMA NATIONAL PARK
Indigenous Tsitsikamma forests surround the campsite at Storms River mouth, and there are walks up the Storms River Gorge and along the rocky coastline. There is an option of the world’s highest bungee jump (own expense). Whales may be seen in season (July to November).
Includes: Entrance fees to Tsitsikamma National Park.
Overnight: Campsite – good ablution facilities, hot showers, restaurant, bar & shop. Distance/time: 220kms, ± 3 hours excluding stops for sightseeing. Optional Activities: Bungee jumping, whale watching & treetop canopy tour.
Day 15 : OVERBERG
After visiting the famous “Knysna Heads”, which overlook the sea’s entrance to the tranquil Knysna lagoon, we travel south along the Garden Route. We drive along the coast before turning inland through the beautiful scenery of the Overberg region and overnight on the doorstep of the Cape Winelands.
Overnight: Campsite – good ablution facilities, hot showers. Distance/time: 510kms, ± 7 hours excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch.
Day 16 – 17 : CAPE TOWN
We visit Stellenbosch, for wine tasting and a cellar tour. Explore Cape Town and the “Mother City’s” many attractions; visit the harbour at Hout Bay, Chapman’s Peak drive, Cape Point, the Cape of Good Hope, enjoy the famous beaches and the V&A Waterfront. Optional visit to Robben Island (own expense). Meals at a variety of local restaurants (own expense).
Includes: : Cellar Tour, entrance fees to Penguin colony & Cape Point National Park.
Overnight: Sweetest Guesthouses – is a collection of individually decorated houses in a metropolitan area of Cape Town near the V&A Waterfront. The group may be spread among any of the houses, within walking distance of each other, and the group breakfasts will be taken in the same house. Rooms are twin with en-suite facilities (or similar guest house). WiFi available. Distance/time: 160kms, ± 2 hours + Winelands tour & full day Cape Peninsula tour on day 17. Optional Activities: Robben Island cruise, Shark Cage diving, Seal Colony visit.
Day 18 : CAPE TOWN - TOUR ENDS
We climb Table Mountain in the morning admiring the views over Table Bay and Cape Town. Spend the afternoon catching up on last minute curio shopping or just lazing on the beach absorbing the Cape’s sunshine.
Tour ends at +/-18:00.
Includes: Guided walk up Table Mountain
Overnight: N/A Distance/time: N/A
Please note: This tour covers a great distance. You’ll see all the highlights of this diverse country but this means we have to spend several days traveling. This involves long days on the road, generally followed by a full day to explore the area. The distances and times are an estimate only, and subject to local road conditions and photo stops! The accommodation specified above and in the itinerary, is a guide only and is subject to availability. Alternatives will be of a similar standard, and accommodation changes may be made without notice.
Special Interest: Lesotho Pony Trek - We trek for a day through the mountainous regions of Lesotho. Ponies have been used for hundreds of years by the Basotho as transport through the Drakensberg.
Sustainable Tourism: Our stay in Lesotho supports the Malealea community. Local guides, village accommodation and some of the fresh produce used in the lodge are sourced from the local villages in a responsible and sustainable method, thus providing income, and better living standards for the Malealea villages and the local community.
Camping: For 11 nights of the safari we stay at designated campsites in national parks and towns. South African campsite facilities are generally very good. There are hot and cold showers, restaurants, washing facilities & laundries, post office/telephones, kiosks available at most of the campsites. We supply all the camping equipment with the exception of your sleeping bag and pillow. The dome tents we use are 2.2 x 2.2 x 1.8 metres and putting them up or down takes only 5 minutes. Tents have built-in insect nets. We supply mattresses, which are about 5 cm thick, warm and comfortable. The camp chairs have a backrest.
Walking: There easy to moderate walks throughout the tour. Walks are 3 – 4 hours.