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 Kapama 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.
From the buzzing city of Johannesburg you will travel east to 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 Kapama Private Game Reserve and Kruger National Park.
From there, a domestic flight from Johannesburg 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 adventure and includes car hire during your entire journey.
Day 1 - Departure from the UK
Day 2 - Arrival Johannesburg - Ohrigstad
Upon arrival in Johannesburg you will be greeted by one of our local representatives, collect your hired car and set off east on a four-hour journey towards Mpumalanga. The route is simple and the roads are clearly marked with sign posts. While the first half of your journey might appear rather uneventful, the second half takes you through some of South Africa's most spectacular landscapes characterised by mountains, panoramic passes, valleys, rivers, waterfalls and forests. Upon arrival at Iketla Lodge, which is situated on a 540 hectare private nature reserve, you can stretch your legs and explore the reserve on a guided nature walk. Enjoy excellent birding and magnificent views with unparalleled natural beauty, silence, peace and tranquillity.
You will spend 2 nights at Iketla Lodge.
Travelling distance approx. 360 km, driving time approx. 4 hours
Day 3 - Panorama Route
Today 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 take you through Pilgrim's Rest, a historical gold-mining village which has been declared a national monument and boasts many quaint shops and museums. 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 - Kapama Private Game Reserve
Spend the morning at Iketla Lodge with a leisurely walk in great scenery. After check-out a gentle two hour drive will get you to Kapama Private Game Reserve, an African Eden and home to the "Big Five" being elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhino.
Sweeping across 13 000 hectares of savannah and riverine forest, Kapama represents a piece of Africa as it used to be. With the mighty Drakensberg Mountains in the distance and iconic Kruger National Park to the east, Kapama has distilled the finest wildlife safari offerings for the enjoyment of guests. As part of the greater Kruger area, vast herds of buffalo, elephant and antelope are resident on Kapama, along with plentiful predators. The reserve is a slice of wilderness paradise far from the madding crowd; a place of renewal and reconnection with the natural world.
Upon arrival at Kapama River Lodge Camp you will enjoy a light lunch and have time to explore the lodge and its facilities. Spend some time taking a splash in the swimming pool, enjoying a treatment at the Wellness Centre or a poolside doze. In the afternoon you will embark on your first game drive. Accompanied by a skilled ranger and tracker, you can expect to encounter a diverse range of animal and bird species on game drives. Since this is a Big Five reserve, seeing lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo is possible over a two-day safari in Kapama Private Game Reserve.
The animals get off to an early start, and so you do too! A typical day at Kapama starts with an early wake-up call before sunrise. It's the perfect time to spot elusive night-time predators that are still active. After coffee/tea and rusks you set off to your early morning game drive, which takes, depending on the game viewing, approximately 3 hours. Back at Buffalo Camp you enjoy a hearty brunch and have time at your own leisure.
Active guests should not miss out on a bush walk (included): The experience offers an intimate encounter with nature and wildlife, and medicinal and other plants are identified en route. You ranger will teach you to track wildlife in the traditional way, using animal footprints and scat. Expert trackers are able to tell the gender of many animals just from their footprints. Large and dangerous animals are avoided on walks, but many other species can be viewed from a safe distance at ground level. A bush walk through Kapama Private Game Reserve is a truly memorable and authentic encounter.
After your sunset game drive and upon return at the lodge, a boma-dinner will be served next to a cosy fire under a canvas of a million stars (weather permitting) - a truly invigorating experience!
Additional (optional) activities offered at Kapama include Elephant Back Safaris and Interaction, Hot Air Ballooning, Romantic Sleep-outs in the bush, treatments at Kapama Wellness Centre and a visit to Hoedspruit Centre for Endangered Species.
Did you know? 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! Above all, you and only the guests staying at Kapama will have exclusive access to the game reserve.
You will spend 2 nights at Kapama Private Game Reserve.
Travelling distance approx. 120 km, driving time approx. 2 hours
Day 6 - Kapama Private Game Reserve to Hazyview
Awaken to a spectacular African sunrise before embarking on a final guided morning safari through Kapama. After a sumptuous brunch you continue your journey towards the east and the famous Kruger National Park. Your journey takes you to 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 visitors can enjoy the thrills of river rafting, tubing, abseiling, zipline, aerial cable trail and quad biking to name a few.
For the less adventurous visitors, 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.
You will spend 2 nights in Hazyview.
Travelling distance approx. 90 km, driving time approx. 1 Â½ hours
Day 7 - Kruger National Park
Today you enter the borders of the world-renowned Kruger National Park, the primary destination in South Africa for most international tourists. You 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.
Travelling distance approx. 100 km, driving time: full day excursion
Day 8 - Hazyview - Johannesburg (Domestic Flight to Cape Town)
A five-hour journey takes you from Mpumalanga back to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, where you will return your rental car and embark on a domestic flight to Cape Town in the late afternoon.
Travelling distance: approx. 380 km, driving time approx. 4 Â½ - 5 hours
Upon landing at Cape Town International Airport and collecting your hired car, you will take a 30 minute drive 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 L'Avenir Wine Estate nestled in the valley below the magnificent Simonsberg Mountains, only five kilometres from the historic town of Stellenbosch and in the heart of the Stellenbosch Wine Route - your perfect base from which to explore the Cape Winelands.
You will spend 2 nights in the Stellenbosch winelands.
Travelling distance approx. 40 km, driving time approx. 35 minutes
Day 9 - Cape Winelands
Enjoy the day exploring the heart of the Cape Winelands. Take a stroll through the historic towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek (also known as the culinary capital of South Africa) with its numerous Cape Dutch style buildings, boutiques, cafes, galleries and monuments. The Franschhoek Wine Tram hop-on hop-off tour is one of the best ways to discover the true essence of the Franschhoek Valley, compromised of picturesque vineyards, breath-taking scenery, warm hospitality, world-class cuisine, fine wines and 300 years of history.
Travelling distance approx. 100 km, driving time: full day excursion
Day 10 - Stellenbosch - Cape Town
Just under an hour's drive 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.
Travelling distance approx. 55 km, driving time approx. 45 minutes
Day 11 & 12 - Cape Town & Cape Peninsula
Spend the last two days of your South African journey exploring the beauty of Cape Town and surroundings. Take in the glorious vies of the famous V&A Waterfront, where you can enjoy the buzz of the working harbour, world class restaurants, shopping and so much more.
A Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour is great way to explore Cape Town attractions at your own pace. 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.
A must-do is a day excursion to Cape Point at the tip the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Boulders Beach in Simon's Town with its African penguin colony. Simon's Town is situated on False Bay and is rich in history, character and atmosphere.
Day 13 - Departure Cape Town
Before departing 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 return your hired car and proceed to the check-in counters for your outbound flight back to London.
Travelling distance: approx. 25 km, driving time approx. 40 minutes
Day 14 - Arrival back in the UK
Highlights Kruger, Winelands and Cape Town - Deluxe Tour
- Day 1Johannesburg to Ohrigstad
- Day 2Panorama Route
- Day 3Kapama Private Game Reserve
- Day 4Kapama Private Game Reserve to Hazyview
- Day 5Kruger National Park
- Day 6Hazyview to Johannesburg (Domestic Flight to Cape Town) to Stellenbosch
- Day 7Cape Winelands
- Day 8Stellenbosch to Cape Town
- Day 9Cape Town & Cape Peninsula
- Day 10Depart Cape Town
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