Go South Africa
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Last updated: 02/19/2009
All of South Africa's best attractions in one incredible journey! Take in the Kruger Park, Swaziland, St.Lucia, Umhlanga, Knysna, the Garden Route, Cape Town and more!
Arrival in Johannesburg and drive to Pretoria
Your flight from the UK will most likely depart in the evening and arrive in South Africa the following morning. After arrival, you'll pick up your rental car and you'll get to known our local representative either at the rental office or at your first hotel. Once you have your car, you'll drive for approximately 60km to your hotel in Pretoria. After arrival at your hotel you'll have time to freshen up, rest up and visit a few of the sights in Pretoria such as the Buildings of Parliament and their gardens, the Voortrekkers Monument (to commemorate the Boers that trekked north into the heart of the African grassland) and the Paul Kruger House. Invigorated by all of the new impressions and surroundings, you'll probably have enough energy to visit the bars, restaurants and stores in Hatfield in the evening.
Total distance on Day 1 is approximately 60 km.
If you choose a direct flight to South Africa, you'll most likely arrive late at night. We'll make reservations for you in Johannesburg, not far from the airport, so that you don't have drive all the way to the hotel in Pretoria after arrival.
Pretoria - Hazyview
You'll leave Pretoria early in the morning by rental car and take the N4 to the eastern province of Mpumalanga. Gradually the countryside will become more meadow-like, hills will appear and traffic will become scarce. After a while you will see the peaks of the Drakensberg looming in the distance and you'll pass the impressive, in some areas 700 meter deep, Blyde River Canyon. Your trip ends in the village of Hazyview; a village beautifully situated between sugar cane and banana plantations, at the Kruger Park border. Spend the night just outside of the village in a charming hotel with swimming pool amidst fields. Stay in for a great dinner or explore other dining options in the area; it's all up to you!
Total distance on Day 2 is approximately 400 km.
Hazyview - Blyde River Canyon You will have plenty of time for sightseeing today. You'll drive past Blyde River Canyon and visit the uniquely shaped hills at the Three Rondavels. Along the way stop to see the amazing effects of wind and erosion on stone at Bourkes Luck Potholes. Another must is Gods Window, where you can see all the way to Mozambique if skies are clear. There are several other possible stops along the way, such as the quaint village of Sabie or the former mining town Pilgrim's Rest with its historic houses, facades and stores. Be sure to visit one of the many friendly cafÃ©s for lunch.
Total distance on Day 3 is approximately 200 km.
Hazyview - Kruger Park
Hazyview is only a few kilometres away from the Numbi gate at Kruger Park (the 'National Wildlife Reserve'). Wake up early and try to arrive at Kruger just after sunrise. This is the best time to see wild animals and even more importantly, the Big Five. Tickets and maps are available at the entrance of the park. The speed limit in the park is 40km per hour, so please drive carefully. Spend the night in one of the rest camps in the middle of Kruger. These rest camps are completely surrounded by gates and therefore closed off from the park for your protection. You'll sleep in a rondavel (a round hut with a thatched roof) with an area for a 'braai' or barbeque. The camp also has a bar, a restaurant and a store (open until approximately 19.00). If you like, you can also prepare your own dinner.
Total distance on Day 4 is approximately 60km.
Day 5 will also be spent in Kruger Park. With 2 million hectares of land, Kruger park is almost a country in itself! Be sure to wake up early: an hour before sunrise you'll take off in a group of a maximum of 8 people (12 years and older) for an adventurous 3-4 hour walking safari (game walk) lead by two armed rangers. Explore the park on foot while searching for small and large wild animals and finding out all there is to know about Kruger. The walk ends back at camp where a hearty breakfast will await you. After breakfast, be sure to stock up on supplies for your drive today.
The roads, mostly asphalt, are in excellent condition and there are plenty of opportunities to stop along the way and enjoy the view and the animals. You'll spend the night in one of the camps in the southern part of the park: Skukuza, Lower Sabie, Pretoriuskop, Berg and Dal or Crocodile Bridge (approx. 60km).
Kruger Park - Swaziland
From the southern part of Kruger Park, the drive to Mlilwane National Park is approximately 275km. Once you leave Kruger behind you it won't be long until you reach the Swaziland border. After customs, you'll have entered an entirely different country. A scenic road leads through the mountain passes of Piggs Peak and along the Malotja reserve to the hectic, somewhat chaotic capital city of Mbabane. After a visit to the Swazi market stands, where all types of art and other products can be purchased, you'll reach Mlilwane Natural park. This is the largest natural park in the country. After you've passed the entrance, head for camp where you'll spend the night in a small Swazi village in a traditional beehive hut. Accommodation is quite basic, featuring 2 single beds, electricity, mosquito netting and basic plumbing. But then again, what else do you need?
At your request you can also stay in nearby wooden chalets with private facilities for the same price. The colonial lodge 'O'Reillys', home of the founder of the park, is a more expensive and exclusive option. Just ask our travel specialists for more details.
Total distance on Day 6 is approximately 275km (approximately 3 hours).
Why not get an early start and take a hot bath in the warm springs just outside of camp. Float around in the warm water at sunrise, under the watchful gaze of impalas or zebras.... it's a great way to start the day. Looking for a little less unconventional way to start your day? How about a dip in a 'regular' swimming pool?
Today, you'll have all the time you need to unwind from your long road trips. Make reservations the prior evening and go on an early morning horseback ride straight through the park (for beginners and intermediates) or perhaps you would prefer a mountain bike ride to âExecutioners Rock'? In the past, unlucky criminals were thrown to their death from this elevated rock formation.
There are also several hiking trails near camp. Walking through nature, leaving all forms of motorized transportation far behind, will have an incredibly calming effect on you. Although you won't see any lions or other predators, there are plenty of crocodiles and hippos in the lakes, streams and banks of the river. Be sure not to get to close to these areas. If you like, you can also hike towards a nearby Swazi village, accompanied by a guide. Visiting these villages is a great way to learn more about the Swazi culture, not to mention a fun chance to dance and sing with children living in these villages.
Swaziland - St Lucia
Today, you'll leave Mlilwane and drive further south past Manzini and Big Bend along the Mozambique border to Golela, the KwaZulu Natal border. The landscape will become flatter and more arid the further you drive. Once you reach South African territory, take the highway to Hlhuhluwe and then take the exit to the village of St. Lucia. The village is located near a lake and reserve both known by the same name, St. Lucia. You'll spend the night in a small, pleasant accommodation with swimming pool near the main street, restaurants and stores. There are several bars nearby where you can enjoy a cold drink and some music in the evening hours.
Total distance on Day 8 is approximately 350 kilometres or 4 hours.
You'll have two days to explore Lake St. Lucia and Hluhluwe National Park. There's a 2 hour boat cruise that leaves from the village of St. Lucia and continues on over St Lucia lake. You'll see crocodiles, hippos, flamingos, pelicans and other fish-eating birds. This trip can be booked after your arrival in South Africa.
The Hluhluwe-Imfolozi reserve is about an hour's drive from the guest house. Aside from lions, (many many) elephants and giraffes, this park is also known for being the home of the nearly extinct black rhino. In order to get up close and personal with these magnificant animals, you'll be able to take your own rental car on a game drive. The best time for seeing wild animals is right after sunrise or around sunset, so try to plan your game drives around these times of day. If you'd like a professional ranger to guide you through the park, your accommodation can arrange an open landrover game drive for you through Hluhluwe park. This usually costs about Â£38 per person for half a day (coffee and muffins are included in the price) or Â£50 per person with lunch also included. Tonight, you'll stay in St. Lucia once again.
Total distance on Day 10 is approximately 150 km.
St Lucia - Umhlanga (Durban) This morning, you'll head further south over quiet, well maintained highways. You'll reach the Indian Ocean coast effortlessly and before you know it you'll be driving past beach towns filled with country cottages owned by people from the cities. Eventually you'll arrive at beach town Umhlanga and nearby Durban. Durban is a large, hectic and exotic harbour city. Durban is the largest harbour in South(ern) Africa and it has a booming city centre with beautiful buildings. For the best fish restaurants, visit the harbour district. The climate in this area is subtropical and the city is ideally located at the edge of Indian Ocean beaches. Your accommodation is located slightly to the north of Durban in beach town Umhlanga. From here you'll be able to either spend the day at the beach or you can visit the city. You'll spend the night in a fine bed & breakfast close to the beach.
Total distance on Day 11 is approximately 300km.
Tip: Have some free time left and want some rest and relaxation? Stay at the sandy beaches of Umhlanga for a few extra days. This is particularly enjoyable during the months November-April. The average temperature during this time of year is 28 degrees Celsius.
Umhlanga - Addo
From Umhlanga, it's a short drive to Durban airport. At some point during the day you'll drop off your car at the airport and catch a quick flight to Port Elizabeth (around 1 hour 15 mins). After arrival, you'll pick up another rental car for you to use during the remainder of your trip. After about an hour drive you'll reach Addo. You'll spend the night near the Addo Elephant National Park. The park has reasonable sandy roads which make it possible to drive through the park in search of elephants with your own rental car. The National Park is mostly known for elephants; however there are also rhinos, bush bocks, kudus and zebras in the park. If you're lucky you may even see a hyena or a lion sneak through the grass. Keep your camera at hand; there are many beautiful pictures to be taken here.
If you like, you can go on an organised game drive in nearby Schotia Game Reserve for instance. Ask for more information at your accommodation.
Addo - Knysna
From Addo, you'll drive your rental car to Knysna. Along the way, you can stop off at beach towns such as St. Francis Bay or Jeffrey's Bay. After a while you'll reach Tsitiskamma National Park where there are several hiking trails available to you. At the end of the day you'll reach Knysna, your home for the next few days. Your hotel is centrally located near many great restaurants.
Total distance on Day 13 is approximately 290km.
Your unforgettable South Africa trip is nearing its end, but there are still some very unique adventures up ahead. Today, you'll spend the day in Knysna and surrounding areas. Knysna is one of the most important towns along the Garden Route. Everything you could ever need is located nearby, including a beautiful lagoon. The town itself isn't very large; however there are fun bars, pubs and restaurants featuring live-music until late at night. There's plenty to do during the day as well: hiking, dolphin-spotting or whale-watching, kayaking on the Knysna lagoon, diving and snorkelling, mountain biking, rock climbing, a visit to Tsitsikamma, a visit to the Robberg reserve and much more.
Tip: If you decide to stay for two extra nights, you can add on our module Hiking the otter trail.
Knysna - Oudtshoorn
This morning, you'll travel from Knysna lagoon through George and on to the arid region of the Small Karoo. Here you'll find the world capital of ostrich farming, Oudtshoorn. This is a spread out town with broad lanes and lovely old buildings. You'll spend the night just outside of town, amidst ostrich farms, in our cosy little guest house with swimming pool. Breakfast is included.
In the afternoon, you'll have several different interesting activities to choose from such as a visit to the nearby Cango limestone caves.
If you prefer to remain outdoors, drive a little further until you reach the beautiful 'Rust en Vrede' ('Rest and Peace') waterfall. It's located in a small natural park that closes at 16.30. Another option is to visit the Cango wildlife ranch. This is a very different kind of zoo where you can do much more than merely 'look' at animals. You can also pet a lion, hold a snake and go cage diving between crocodiles.
Note: If you want to see the ostriches, the caves and the Prince Albert pass, you'll need to book an additional stay in Oudtshoorn.
Total distance on Day 15 is approximately 175km.
Oudtshoorn - Swellendam Tpday, you'll travel through the broad oak-lined streets of Swellendam where historic houses create a classic atmosphere of years gone by. Once you've left Karoo, the landscape changes drastically and becomes green and spotted with hills. You'll follow the famous Route 62 along rugged mountains, friendly villages, vineyards and paddocks filled with ostriches. You'll spend the night at our cosy bed & breakfast in Swellendam.
Total distance on Day 16 is approximately 230km.
Swellendam - Hermanus - Cape Town
Your journey will continue today with a drive through flowing fields along the N2 from Caledon to Hermanus. Keep a close eye on the coast; you may be able to spot a dolphins from here and perhaps even a whale if they are in season. While driving along the coast you'll head towards the Cape Peninsula and eventually you'll reach Cape Town. If you're running a bit late today, skip the peninsula and head straight to Cape Town and visit the peninsula tomorrow. You can combine a trip to the peninsula with a visit to the wine territories Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. This area is too beautiful to miss.
Total distance on Day 17 is approximately 225 km.
Cape Town, Cape Point, Wine country
Cape Town is often regarded as the most beautiful city in South Africa and, in any case, it is the most frequently visited city in South Africa. It features a mix of the Western and Third World, with luxurious suburbs and extreme poverty in the townships. It is also well known for the Table Mountain, the sweeping winelands surrounding the city and the many outdoor activities available.
Cape Town, Cape Point, Wine country
The city has a wonderful, exciting feel to it - anything is possible! Visit the city centre (CDB - or City District Bowl), ride the cable-car to the top of the Table Mountain, relax with a picnic at Kirstenbosch botanical gardens, drive the Cape Peninsula Coast Road and head to the winelands for a glass (or two... or three) of SA wine. Be sure to add Robben Island to your itinerary - this is where Nelson Mandela, among others, was imprisoned for so many years during the Apartheid regime.
Cape Town, Cape Point, Wine country On Day 20 you'll return your car to the rental office at the airport and board a plane back home. If you have time, a final visit to the beautiful Camps Bay beach for a stroll on the sand will help you relax before your flight.
- Inclusions -
- Car rental category B (with air conditioning) all mileage, taxes and full insurance coverage, domestic flight Durban - Port Elizabeth, overnight stays with breakfast (Kruger overnight stay only), game walk in Kruger Park, trail information
- Exclusions -
- All other car expenses on location, such as 2 x one-way fees, 2 x contract fees, 2 x deposit. Park entrance fees, optional excursions and intercontinental flights
- Extras -
- Â£1098 per person is based on 2 people sharing
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Email the tour operator - Go South Africa
Important Notice : Avoiding Fraud
It's rare, but some helpful hints to watch out for with regards to fraud:
- It is important to NEVER wire funds or use/employ other fund transfer mechanisms such as western union: Always use a credit card to protect yourself against fraud. If owners pressure you into providing a deposit or refuse to accept credit cards, there is a high probability that this is a scam.
- If at all suspicious of fraud, ask to see their website, or any other literature they can provide or send to you. Ask them for contact details for guests who have previously stayed on their property insisting on telephone numbers. Be suspicious of emails that originate from free email services (yahoo, hotmail, gmail, etc)
- Research the property thoroughly on the internet to see if there is any history or mention of scams associated with the property.