South Africa is one of the most diverse countries in the world, a place where you will find exotic combinations of landscape, people, history and culture that offer the traveller a totally unique experience. From the pristine beaches of Cape Town and South Africa’s world-renowned wine estates, to the thrilling wildlife safaris of the Kruger National Park, this fascinating South African self-drive expedition is a journey of a lifetime. It’s a trip that combines the natural beauty, cultural diversity and African wildlife experience with the trendy metropolis of Cape Town and its breath-taking surroundings.
- Discover the spectacular landscapes of the Kruger region Explore the Panorama Route, taking in the picturesque views at God's Window, the watefalls at Graskop and the rugged mountains at Drakensberg.
- Unearth the heart of Africa on safari Travel to Karongwe Private Game Reserve to get exclusive access, day and night, to a wide range of animals including the "Big Five".
- Experience the fruitful lifestyle of the Cape Region The Cape Winelands offer world class wine and beautiful scenery whilst the cosmopolitan buzz of Cape Town serves up, amongst others, Table Mountain, one of the New seven Wonders of Nature.
In the north of the country, you will explore South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province, one of the country’s top tourist destinations. Here you will get to see the famous Panorama Route, one of the scenic highlights of any tour through South Africa. Few regions in the world can match the extraordinary beauty of the Lowveld and escarpment. Further north-east, in the expanse of the Lowveld, you’ll find the world’s biggest game reserve, better known as Kruger National Park.
Experience the magnificent Panorama Route with its dramatic landscapes and become one with the African bush while looking out for the “Big Five” on safaris at Karongwe Private Game Reserve and Kruger National Park.
From there, a domestic flight from Nelspruit takes you south to the Western Cape Province where you will explore the pulsating city of Cape Town and the picturesque Cape Winelands. You'll spend time tasting some of the world’s finest wines, exploring the beauty of the countryside and experiencing the sights and sounds of South Africa's Mother City, Cape Town!
The tour comprises 11 nights and 12 days of escorted adventure and transfers to the next highlight – you just sit back and relax while the driving-part is done for you.
Day 2 – Arrival at Nelspruit Airport (KMIA) – Ohrigstad
Upon arrival at Nelspruit Airport you will be greeted by one of our local partners. A good 2 ½ hour transfer will take you through some of South Africa's most spectacular landscapes characterised by mountains, panoramic passes, valleys, rivers, waterfalls and forests. Upon arrival at Hannah Game Lodge you will have the opportunity to enjoy your first guided game drive (extra charge, about ZAR 170 pp) on the 8 000 hectare Private Nature Reserve with abundant wildlife. Relax by the pool and enjoy a sundowner on the veranda while watching the sunset in the late afternoon sky with a spectacular array of colours.
You will spend 2 nights at Hannah Game Lodge.
Day 3 – Escorted Panorama Route Excursion
Together with your private driver-guide you get to explore the Panorama Route, leading through the rugged mountain range of the northern Drakensberg. Here in the north-eastern part of the escarpment, the inland plateau declines abruptly and opens up fantastic views of the Lowveld plains a thousand metres below. This view is most reliable in the dry winter months.
Your round-trip takes you through Pilgrim’s Rest, a historical gold-mining village which has been declared a national monument and boasts many quaint shops and museums. Afterwards you make your way through Graskop with its countless waterfalls towards the northern part of the Panorama Route where you will find the most spectacular scenery. Visit the bizarrely shaped Bourke’s Luck potholes and breath-taking viewpoints at God’s Window and the Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world.
Travelling distance approx. 180 km, driving time: full day excursion
Day 4 & 5 - Safari at Karongwe Private Game Reserve
Spend the morning at Hannah Game Lodge with some leisurely walks and great scenery. After check-out a gentle one hour transfer will take you to the 8 500 ha Karongwe Private Game Reserve, home to the “Big Five”. En-route you have the opportunity to visit the Echo Caves, some of the oldest caves in the world and have been declared a Historical Monument. Aim to arrive at the Lodge by 1pm, in time for a light lunch. You can use the time to get orientated with the lodge, have a dip in the pool or even a quick doze and then you will have your first game drive in the afternoon.
The private reserves and concessions have many advantages over the national parks in South Africa - vehicles don't need to be covered, there are no other vehicles on the roads, rangers can follow animals off the roads and you can go on bush walks and night drives! Boma dinners around a fire and beneath the stars are truly invigorating. Above all, you and only the guests staying at Karongwe, will have exclusive access to the game reserve.
The animals get off to an early start, and so you do too! It’s the perfect time to spot elusive night-time predators that are still active. Your early morning game drives, bush walks and sunset safaris will be interrupted only by exquisite meals or poolside dozes. Spend these two days in the blissful routine of eating, sleeping and various wilderness activities.
You will spend 2 nights at Karongwe Private Game Reserve.
Day 6 - Karongwe Game Reserve via Hazyview to White River
Awaken to a spectacular African sunrise before embarking on a final guided morning safari through Karongwe. After a sumptuous breakfast you will be picked up by your private driver-guide and continue your journey towards the east and the famous Kruger National Park. Your journey takes you through the sub-tropical town of Hazyview with its many fruit orchards. Hazyview is the gate to the Kruger National Park and the main hub in Mpumalanga for adventures and activities where you have the opportunity to enjoy the thrills of river rafting, tubing, abseiling, zipline, aerial cable trail and quad biking to name a few.
For the less adventurous, Hazyview offers elephant interaction, elephant-back safaris, horseback safaris as well as cultural experiences. At Shangana Cultural Village visitors experience the different facets of the Shangaan way of life, including their history and customs, initiation ceremonies, the practice of polygamy, the outfits and weapons of masocho (warriors), the construction of homes, ornate beadwork clothing, and the preparation of food. In the afternoon your driver-guide will take you to the picturesque and quaint town of White River where you will spend the night.
You will spend 2 nights in White River.
Day 7 – Escorted Kruger National Park Excursion
Today you enter the borders of the world-renowned Kruger National Park, the primary destination in South Africa for most international tourists. Together with your private driver-guide will explore the southern part of the park on a self-drive basis. Being the largest game reserve in South Africa, the Kruger National Park is larger than Israel.
Nearly 2 million hectares of land that stretch for 352 kilometres (20 000 square kilometres) from north to south along the Mozambique border is given over to an almost indescribable wildlife experience. The wildlife found in the Kruger National Park is unique: 114 different species of reptiles, 507 bird and 147 mammal species are represented here. Certainly it ranks with the best in Africa and is the flagship of the country’s national parks. A network of 697 kilometre tarred road makes the Kruger Park an easy self-drive destination. The best time for observing the animals is the dry winter season. During this time the grass is low and the bushes and trees don't have leaves, giving you an unobstructed view.
Because it virtually doesn't rain in winter, the animals come to the waterholes to drink in the mornings and evenings and can easily be spotted from the car.
Day 8 - White River – Nelspruit Airport (Domestic Flight to Cape Town)
A short transfer takes you back to Nelspruit Airport, where you will embark on a domestic flight to Cape Town in the late afternoon.
Upon landing at Cape Town International Airport a 30 minute transfer will take you to the Cape Winelands, origin of some of the world's most popular wines and a destination of ultimate indulgence and relaxation just north of Cape Town.
The fertile green valleys of the Cape Winelands are surrounded by stunning mountain ranges that provide a breath-taking view. With hundreds of wine farms to discover and wines to taste, award-winning restaurants on every corner and wonderful scenery, the Cape Winelands is South Africa’s equivalent of Provence in southern France. Enjoy the next two nights at a guest house in the beautiful and historic town of Stellenbosch the second oldest European settlement after Cape Town.
You will spend 2 nights in Stellenbosch.
Day 9 - Cape Winelands Exploration on Vine Hopper
Enjoy the day exploring the heart of the Cape Winelands. Take a stroll through the historic town of Stellenbosch with its numerous Cape Dutch style buildings, boutiques, cafés, galleries and monuments. With your Vine Hopper ticket you will have the best Wine Route experience by way of a Hop on Hop off service! The Vine Hopper operates two routes on alternative days in the Stellenbosch Wine area. Each of these two routes can take you to six different top wine estates.
NB: Wine tasting fees are not included in the Vine Hopper ticket price and differ from farm to farm. Guideline: Normal tastings range from ZAR 15 - ZAR 35 per person/farm and generally include tasting of 6 wines per farm.
Day 10 - Stellenbosch - Cape Town
Just under an hour’s transfer from Stellenbosch takes you from the countryside to the vibrant city of Cape Town, South Africa’s first European settlement which is fondly known as the Mother City. Cape Town lies in the arms of Table Mountain, more often than not shrouded in cloud and one of the world’s most recognisable landmarks. Cape Town is said to be the favourite African city and it’s not difficult to see why. The mother city of South Africa features wine farms, glamorous city life, Blue Flag beaches, unique nature reserves and a jam-packed calendar of cultural events all year round. And all this drama unfolds under the graceful omniscience of Table Mountain and its attendant peaks running the length of the peninsula.
You will spend 3 nights in Cape Town.
Day 11 – Hop-on Hop-off Cape Town Sightseeing Tour
Explore Cape Town attractions at your own pace on a Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour. Conducted aboard a fire engine-red, double-decker bus, the open-air guided tours traverse the city centre and beyond, both orienting newbies and re-introducing even seasoned tourists and locals to Cape Town’s most-loved highlights.
The two main scenic routes – there’s a heritage-rich city centre route (red route) and a breathtakingly beautiful mini-peninsula route (blue route) – include 17 stops, and riders are free to hop off the open-top bus at each stopping point to explore attractions at their own pace. Depending on the circuit, buses arrive at each stop every 20 to 35 minutes, so once you’ve taken in the view from Table Mountain, had your fill of beautiful people on Camps Bay beach or tasted some of the outstanding wines in the Constantia Valley, you can simply board the bus again and carry on to your next destination.
Each guided bus tour includes insightful commentary – told in 16 different languages – about the city, its history and its culture, and the vehicles are wheelchair friendly. Tours run 7 days a week, 365 days a year (rain or shine), and start and end at the V&A Waterfront.
Red City Sightseeing Bus Tour Cape Town: A whirlwind way to get acquainted with Cape Town’s city centre, the red route tour starts at the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront and winds its way through the heart of the Mother City’s CBD, up to the Table Mountain cable car, down into the politically-famous District Six area, on to beachy Camps Bay, along the Atlantic coastline through Sea Point, and back to the starting point. On the way, visitors have the opportunity to not only mount Cape Town’s most formidable natural wonder (Table Mountain), but also to familiarise themselves with the city’s rich history and heritage via stops at various museums and architectural talking points: the District Six Museum, Castle of Good Hope, South African Museum and St George’s Cathedral, to name a few.
Blue Mini-Peninsula Sightseeing Bus Tour Cape Town: A lightning-fast introduction to what lies beyond Cape Town’s CBD, the blue route tour whisks visitors from the Mother City’s commercial Waterfront area to its world-famous botanical gardens; into an authentic local township; onward to Hout Bay’s beloved fish n’ chips destination, Mariner’s Wharf; and back to the starting point via the vibrant beachside suburbs of Camps Bay and Sea Point. Along the way, riders can hop off and explore the Constantia Valley vineyards and the World of Birds, have high tea at the legendary Mount Nelson Hotel or enjoy an afternoon cocktail and a panoramic ocean view from the terrace of Sea Point’s Winchester Mansions.
A free add-on to the Blue Mini-Peninsula Sightseeing Tour, the Winelands route ushers visitors through the sloping vineyards of the lush Constantia Valley. The trip includes stops at three wine farms, one of which is the oldest and most historic winery in South Africa: Groot Constantia. While wine tasting, lunch and a private group cellar tour are not included in the price of the general ticket, they are, nonetheless, recommended, and are available at an additional cost.
Day 12 – Full Day English guided Seat-In Cape Peninsula Tour
Your English guided seat-in day tour to Cape Point takes you along the scenic Atlantic seaboard coastal road. You pass the pristine beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay with their soft white sand and assure blue water. The formidable 12 Apostles Peaks rise above the road on one side, while sheer cliffs and incredible rock formations drop into the icy Atlantic Ocean on the other side. There is no doubt the coast of the Cape peninsula offers magnificent scenery with its great biodiversity.
Upon arrival at the quaint fishing village of Hout Bay with its imposing Sentinel you have the opportunity to embark on a boat cruise to Seal Island (own account) or shop for souvenirs at the craft market at the harbor.
Our tour continues over Chapman’s Peak which offers amazing photo opportunities, and onto the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. This area is home to magnificent ‘fynbos’, many different species of buck and birds, the Cape Mountain Zebra, and mischievous baboons. These creatures entertain guests enjoying lunch at the restaurant which has splendid views of False Bay. Take the funicular (own account) to the lighthouse to see the meeting of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans at the Cape Point.
Afterwards you visit Boulders Beach to see the Jackass penguins (own account) before arriving at the naval base of Simonstown, and then we venture inland to our last stop of the day at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. With the sun setting over the tall peaks of Table Mountain the last rays sparkle on the trees and flowers, and offer a fitting end to a day filled with all the Cape has to offer.
Included: Cape Point gate / Chapman's peak / Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Excluded: Seal island Cruise +/- ZAR 60, Lunch, Penguin colony +/- ZAR 55, Cape point Funicular +/- ZAR 70
Depart the hotel +/- 08h15, return +/- 18h00
Day 13 - Departure Cape Town
Before embarking on your transfer towards the airport, spend some more time at the V&A Waterfront or strolling along Long Street with its numerous boutiques and shops. At Cape Town International Airport you proceed to the check-in counters for your outbound flight back to London.
Travelling distance: approx. 55 km, driving time approx. 45 minutes
Highlights Kruger, Winelands and Cape Town - Escorted Tour
- Day 1Nelspruit to Ohrigstad
- Day 2Panorama Route
- Day 3Karongwe Private Game Reserve
- Day 4Karongwe Private Game Reserve to White River
- Day 5Kruger National Park
- Day 6White River to Nelspruit Airport (Domestic Flight to Cape Town)
- Day 7Cape Winelands
- Day 8Stellenbosch to Cape Town
- Day 9Cape Town
- Day 10Cape Peninsula
- Day 11Depart Cape Town
Holidays at Highlights Kruger, Winelands and Cape Town - Escorted Tour
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