Date: You pick!
Host: Locally Guided
Cost: Varies by experience
The following is an outline of a trip itinerary that can be customized to your specifications. Take only parts of this trip, modify, add, whatever suits you!
Click on a day to view details:
Day 2 - Ukhahlamba Drakensburg Park
Day 2 – Ukhahlamba Drakensburg Park
This morning you will meet your private guide and leave Durban in a private vehicle and travel through Ukhahlamba Drakensburg Park. Your eyes will be treated to the breathtaking landscape of soaring mountains with basalt cliffs, dramatic cutbacks, cascading waterfalls, and golden sandstone ramparts. En route to your hotel, you will visit the site of Nelson Mandela’s capture in 1962, on the outskirts of Howick, KwaZulu-Natal. You will also visit some of the unique arts and crafts stores that make up the Midlands Meander, which is the original and now the largest arts and crafts route in South Africa.
You will be spending the next two nights at the Sani Pass Hotel. The hotel is nestled in the beautiful Mkhomazana valley at the foot of the spectacular Sani Pass. You will experience warm hospitality and awe-inspiring views of the Drakensberg, which is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa, rising up to 3,482 metres (11,420 ft) in height.
Day 3 - Ukhahlamba Drakensburg Park
Day 3 – Ukhahlamba Drakensburg Park
After breakfast, you will be collected by a guide and 4x4 vehicle, for the ascent of the spectacular mountain road of Sani Pass. This pass climbs 1300 m in 12 km, into the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho (passports required to enter Lesotho; some passport holders may require visas). Along the way you will discover the rustic charm of a Basotho settlement. The Basotho people are one of the few African tribes living in a mountainous environment and are often seen wearing warm wool blankets that have been woven with beautiful patterns. The Basotho pony is their main and best form of transportation in the mountains.
You will enjoy lunch at the highest pub in Africa (2784 m), affording majestic views of the mountains. In the afternoon, you will travel down Sani Pass back to the Sani Pass Hotel.
Day 4 - St. Lucia
Day 4 – St. Lucia
You will head out early today and travel via the rural heartland of KwaZulu-Natal, passing through Greytown and Kranskop to reach St. Lucia, which is located within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (a World Heritage Site). The iSimangaliso Wetland Park comprises a number of conservation areas, the oldest of which is the St. Lucia Game Reserve, established in 1895. This region contains the highest vegetated dunes in the world, extensive and diverse wetland systems, as well as coastal grasslands with an associated fauna that includes Africa's highest density of common reedbuck, along with many other species of game. Numerous species of sea, forest, and grassland birds and waterfowls provide an attraction to birdwatchers from around the world. Options for the day (dependent on arrival time) will be a walk on the pristine beach, a game drive into the reserve area on the Cape Vidal road, or a visit to the crocodile research centre. Dinner will be at a restaurant in town and will be at your own expense.
You will have one overnight stay at the St. Lucia Kingfisher Lodge. This 135-year old colonial homestead is privately owned and managed by Michelle and Philippe (from Southern France) and is set in the heart of the Greater Isimangaliso Wetland Park. Surrounded by indigenous forests to the south, the warm enticing Indian Ocean to the east and the estuary to the west, a truly marvelous place awaits you. Spectacular views, abundant bird life, monkeys, antelope, hippo and the occasional sightings of leopard are all part of the St. Lucia Kingfisher Lodge experience.
Day 5 - St. Lucia to Hluhuwe
Day 5 – St. Lucia to Hluhuwe
After breakfast, you will have time to further explore and experience St. Lucia. Enjoy a 2- hour trip up the narrows of the St. Lucia Estuary with excellent opportunities to view crocodile, hippo and the abundant birdlife of the area. You will also make a visit to the Veyane Cultural Village to experience the traditional Zulu culture.
Departure for Hluhluwe will be around lunchtime (dependent on your interests) where you will have a 2-night stay at the Rhino River Lodge. The lodge is set against the backdrop of the lovely Lebombo mountains and is part of the 22,000-hectare Zululand Rhino Reserve, the largest private game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal. This reserve was one of the few areas selected for the re-introduction of the rare and endangered black rhino. You will be staying in a cottage, which has a private entrance and a secluded verandah overlooking the Umsunduze River where you can enjoy an early morning coffee or an evening sundowner.
Day 6 - Hluhuwe
Day 6 – Hluhuwe
You will have a full day to explore the Rhino River Lodge reserve, gaining unique insights into the issues around rhino conservation in South Africa. There are also opportunities for nature walks or an open vehicle game drive in the reserve. You also have the option of leaving the reserve for a 3 to 5 hour game drive into the nearby Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park. The park accommodates both game viewing on foot and from an open vehicle but the experience will not be as intimate as on the reserve. (Overnight: River Lodge, B, D)
Day 7 - Swaziland
Day 7 – Swaziland
Before checking out from the Rhino River Lodge, you will have another opportunity for game viewing before traveling to Swaziland. En route to Swaziland, you will visit Swazi Candles in the Malkerns Valley – a factory that produces unique candle designs that are renowned throughout the world.
Your accommodation for the next two nights will be in the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. This is Swaziland’s pioneer conservation area and is a beautiful, secluded sanctuary situated in Swaziland’s “Valley of Heaven”, the Ezulwini Valley, which is in between the city’s of Mbabane and Manzini.
Day 8 - Swaziland
Day 8 - Swaziland
You will have a full day to explore Mlilwane, with activity options that include a game walk or drive, a horseback back ride, or a sunset drive. Bear in mind that this area does not have dangerous game so an outdoor excursion such as a walk or a horseback ride could enhance your experience.
Day 9 - Swaziland to Johannesburg
Day 9 – Swaziland to Johannesburg
You will have a final game drive before your transfer from Umkumbe Safari Lodge to Manzini Airport. From there you will have an internal flight to Johannesburg where you will be transferred to your overnight accommodation at the Falstaff Superior Boutique Hotel.
Day 10 - Johannesburg
Day 10 - Johannesburg
Your guide will meet you at the hotel and you will embark on a township tour of Soweto and a visit to the Apartheid Museum of Constitution Hill; this national heritage site has witnessed a century of South Africa’s history, from rebellious British soldiers who fought with the Boers at the turn of the century, to the youths caught in the Soweto uprising, to the dawn of democracy.
Day 11 - Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth and Plettenburg
Day 11 – Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth and Plettenburg
Self-drive tour begins. After breakfast, you will be transferred to the OR Tambo International Airport for the flight to Port Elizabeth. On arrival you will pick up your rental vehicle, which will be a Chevy Cruze or similar. You will be given driving directions to the guesthouse in Port Elizabeth. The remainder of the day is free to explore Port Elizabeth.
Charming Guest House is situated just 10 minutes from the airport, this hotel offers a tranquil retreat in a Mediterranean styled country estate. Set within a nature conservancy, the hotel offers beautiful walking paths, tennis courts and a swimming pool. This intimate guest house offers just 8 rooms.
Day 12 - Port Elizabeth
Day 12 – Port Elizabeth (180km)
Today your self drive tour begins with a trip to Addo Elephant National Park. Here there are great opportunities to see elephant and other game in their natural environment. Park fees are at your own expense and payable locally. Conservation levy is included.
Day 13 - Port Elizabeth
Day 13 – Port Elizabeth to Tsitsikamma National Park
From Port Elizabeth you will travel to the Tsitsikamma National Park. Tsitsikamma is a khoi word meaning "place of abundant or sparkling water", and the park offers the contrasting beauty of river, forest, sea, and fynbos. Take in a short walk along the rugged coastline before an open-air lunch with spectacular views of the sea. The Tsitsikamma’s spectacular scenery includes the Indian Ocean breakers, pounding rocky shores beneath 180 m high cliffs, ever-green forests and fynbos (proteas and heath) rolling down to the sea in a lush carpet where ancient rivers have carved their path to the ocean through rocky ravines. Tsitsikamma National Park protects a wonderland of inter-tidal and marine life. This is one of the largest Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in the world, conserving 11 percent of South Africa’s Temperate South Coast rocky shoreline. Approximately 30% of the park is covered in fynbos (Cape Floral Kingdom), scattered amongst the forest vegetation, boasting a wide variety of beautiful flowers, including proteas and heath.
Day 14 - Tsitsikamma National Park to Nature's Valley
Day 14 – Tsitsikamma National Park to Nature’s Valley
There is time before checkout for additional walks in the national park. Today you will travel to the Nature’s Valley via the Storms River Adventure center. The Adventure centre offers a canopy tour for the more adventurous or a woodcutters journey in open vehicles down the old Storms River Pass.
You will overnight at Lily Pond Country Lodge in Nature’s Valley, a short distance from these activities. The lodge is surrounded by 12 hectares of magnificent indigenous forest and unique lily ponds.
Day 15 - Nature's Valley
Day 15 – Nature’s Valley
Embark on surf boat trip.
What to Bring: Many of our passengers will want to bring their cameras or video equipment along. We do encourage this and our Skippers will always try to get you into the most favorable position to get great images – while considering the comfort of the animals at all times. While it does happen that we are occasionally not able to get all that close to animals, we find that a camera with a lens of less than 300mm will suffice. On the opposite extreme, sometimes such lenses are too big so it is often wise to bring along a lens with a wider angle in case the animals get really up close and personal. Due to limited deck space and as a courtesy to other passengers, we discourage the use of tripods and monopods on the trip. Also, be sure to just watch the animals for a while without looking through a viewfinder… some of the finest memories can only be captured in the mind.
With regards to clothing, our best suggestion is that you dress according to the weather on the day of your trip. We would suggest bringing at least a light jumper along, even on hot days as the conditions may well change during the course of the trip. Should you have a weather-proof jacket, this too could come in handy. A hat (although you may have to hold onto it at times), and sunglasses are recommended while high-heels are definitely not appropriate. We suggest you apply sun-screen at least one hour before the trip starts. Should you have concerns with regards to possible motion-sickness, we suggest taking one tablet at least 24 hours before the trip and another one hour beforehand.
Day 16 - Nature's Valley to Knysna
Day 16 – Nature’s Valley to Knysna
Under Milkwood is a village of timber log chalets amidst a forest of majestic Milkwood trees and lies on the shores of the famous Knysna Lagoon. This tranquil resort offers guests a haven of leisure and comfort, wonderful views of the lagoon and the Outeniqua Mountains in the background.
Day 17 - Knysna
Day 17 – Knysna
You will spend four unforgettable hours in the pristine Featherbed Nature Reserve on the Western Head of Knysna. This private nature reserve is accessible only by ferry. The trip includes the ferry ride, a hearty lunch at the Foo d Forest restaurant, a 4x4 trailer ride and an optional 2.2 km walk through Milkwood forests to beachcomber caves. You will have time to take in the arts and craft shops on the main street of Knysna.
Day 18 - Knysna to Mossel Bay
Day 18 – Knysna to Mossel Bay
We will utilize one of the best beachfront lodges as an ideal base form where to discover and explore the famous Garden Route. The guesthouse has cozy, sea-facing rooms that offer the chance to watch dolphins swim by while enjoying patio breakfasts. All living units are equipped with air conditioning, a minibar, radio, shower, toilet and TV.
Day 19 - Mossel Bay to Oudstshoorn
Day 19 – Mossel Bay to Oudstshoorn
Weather permitting spend time on the beach before taking the '”ld road” over the Outeniqua Mountains via the Robinson Pass into Oudtshoorn, this is a quieter road. Alternatively if you want to stay on the main road head inland via George and the impressive Outeniqua Pass. The pass was opened in 1951 after 10 years of construction. From the summit that is 600 metres above the start there are fine panoramic views of the region. Visit the world famous Cango Caves. Near Oudtshoorn you can visit an Ostrich Farm meet the animals close up and perhaps even try riding one.
You will be spending the night at a 1902 homestead on a working ostrich, alfalfa and vine farm. It is situated in the tranquil Olifants River Valley, offering spectacular views of the Swartberg Mountains. The rooms bear names rather than numbers and different types of ostrich feathers adorn the doors; each room has a unique signature of colour, aroma and furnishings.
Day 20 - Oudstshoorn to Swellendam
Day 20 – Oudstshoorn to Swellendam
An early start with a tour of a working Ostrich, vine, cattle and alfalfa farm with owner Bartel or dependent on conditions there is the option to do a meerkat tour (your own expense) on a neighboring property. Both activities occur in the early morning and therefore a choice needs to be made. A leisurely breakfast at the guest house and then travel via Calitzdorp, Ladismith and Barrydale through the Little Karoo to overnight in Swellendam. The little Karoo is an area which extends eastwards for about 250 km from the town of Montagu and is sandwiched between the Swartberg to the North and the continuous ranges of the Langeberg and Outeniqua mountains to the South.
Swellendam, established in 1745 as a military outpost, lays claim to being the third oldest town in South Africa. Check into your bed and breakfast in the village and then time to explore on foot and visit the museum (own expense).
Enjoy a beautiful Victorian bed & breakfast - right on the Garden Route - radiates an old- world charm and rustic elegance that has made it famous the world over.
Day 21 - Swellendam to Hermanus
Day 21 – Swellendam to Hermanus
Travel to Hermanus via Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa, before travelling via Stanford to overnight in the quaint seaside town of Hermanus. Originally established as a fishing village in the late 1800’s it has grown rapidly and today lays claim to being the ‘Whale Capital of the World’, with large numbers of Southern Right whales starting to arrive in late June and leaving again in November. The late afternoon at leisure to explore the town and walk the cliff top path in search of whales.
Day 23 - Hermanus to Capetown
Day 23 – Hermanus to Capetown
Your travels to Cape Town today will be along the scenic coastline via Kleinmond, Betty’s Bay and Rooiels. Self-drive tour concludes, car rental needs to be returned tomorrow.
Dinner will be at your own expense and will be either at the hotel or at a restaurant close to your lodging. Your tour guide will contact you to confirm arrangements for your private day tour tomorrow. Stay in the heart of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town’s premier entertainment and tourist attraction.
Day 24 - Capetown
Day 24 - Capetown
You will need to return your rental vehicle by 8 a.m. Today you will depart Cape Town early and travel to Simonstown harbour in time to arrive for the 7am boat departure. Lunch will be served on board.
You will have an unforgettable experience when you come and spend the day with the Great White Sharks of False Bay. The one day shark trips are centered around shark breaching, shark predation and shark cage diving. The high season for great white sharks is from April to the middle of September (with June, July and August being the best three months).
You will spend 5-6 hours on the boat and then you will be transferred back to Capetown. You will have the option to use the scuba gear if certified or snorkel gear if not scuba certified.
Day 25 - Capetown
Day 25 – Capetown
Your guide will then meet you to take you a full day tour of Cape Town, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and Table Mountain. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are nestled on the southern slopes of Table Mountain, this garden of approximately 528 hectares and has become one of the major tourist attractions of Cape Town. Proclaimed in 1913, it consists of both cultivated and nature reserve sections and was a gift to the nation from Cecil John Rhodes. The gardens were planned as a garden where indigenous flora of Southern Africa would be collected, propagated, studied and preserved. (Overnight, B)
Day 26 - Capetown
Day 26 - Capetown
Today you will visit Cape Point with your private guide. The coastline stretches for almost 40 km’s and includes some of South Africa’s most dramatic scenery including the Cape of Good Hope where you have the option to walk up to the lighthouse (weather permitting).
You will continue onwards to Boulders Beach National Park where there are great views of an African Penguin colony. Nestled in a sheltered cove between Simonstown and the Cape Point, the penguin colony has grown from just two breeding pairs in 1982 to around 3000 pairs today. You will drive along Chapman’s Peak before returning to the hotel in the late afternoon. Lunch is enroute and at your own expense.
The price of this trip will vary based on the time of year and level of experience you are looking for. We have a variety of options available and can tailor this trip to your needs. Please contact us for more information.