South Africa Without Borders
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- 1378 GBP /person
- 01273 322047
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Last updated: 02/19/2009
Get lost in South Africa for four unforgettable weeks. From game drives to horseback rides, from rugged mountains to sandy beaches, from remote villages to vibrant cities pulsing with activity.
Arrival in Johannesburg - Drive to Pretoria
Your flight to will most likely depart from the UK in the evening and arrive in South Africa the following morning. After arrival you'll be able to pick up your rental car and become acquainted with our local representative either here or at the first hotel. Once you have your car, you'll drive for approximately 60 km to your hotel in Pretoria. After you arrive 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 should have enough energy left to visit the bars, restaurants and stores in Hatfield.
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. Slowly but surely, the countryside will become more meadow-like and hilly and traffic will become scarce. After a while the Drakensberg peaks will loom in the distance and you'll come across the impressive, in some areas 700 meter deep, gorge of Blyde River Canyon. Your trip will end in the village of Hazyview, beautifully situated between sugar cane and banana plantations, at the Kruger Park border. Spend the night just outside of the village in a cosy guest house with swimming pool with fields all around you. Restaurants in Hazyview are easily accessible for dinner in the evening.
Total distance on Day 2 is approximately 400 km.
Hazyview - Blyde River Canyon - Private Game Park Bush Lodge When morning comes it's time to get back behind the wheel of your car. You'll have plenty of time to explore the spectacular surroundings. Take a drive along Blyde River Canyon and have a look at the uniquely shaped hills at the Three Rondavels, see the result of wind and erosion at Bourkes Luck Potholes and enjoy a the view at Gods Window (see picture above). You can see all the way to Mozambique if the skies are clear! There are several other possible fun stops along the way such as the quaint village of Sabie or former mining town Pilgrams Rest with its' historic houses, facades and stores. Be sure to stop for lunch at one of the friendly cafÃ©'s in the area.
Just before Klaserie lies the exit to Kruger Park's Orpen Gate. At the end of the afternoon you'll arrive at the lodge where you'll spend the next few nights. This cosy lodge is run by enthusiastic South African staff-members, who have turned their hobby and love for the bush and the outdoors into their livelihood. When the skies turn dark you'll be able to enjoy a drink or two at the campfire with nothing but stars in the sky above you. Of course, you can also choose to meet new friends at the bar. All in all, we're sure you'll enjoy this traditional bush atmosphere.
Total distance on Day 3 is approximately 200km.
Private Game Park Bush Lodge
Your stay at the bush lodge is based on full board. Full board includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2 game activities. Take part in a morning or afternoon game drive in an open land rover (see picture). It's also possible to go on a bush walk with a guide who will let you in on all of the secrets of the bush. Additionally you can choose to book other activities on location such as an ultra light flight, which would allow you to search for wild animals by air. On arrival at the property, the owners will let you know which activities are possible and you can decide whether you'd like to participate in them or not. Of course, you can also always decide to pull up a comfortable chair, grab a good book and enjoy the sounds of the many wonderful birds serenading you.
Private Game Park Lodge - Kruger National Park
After breakfast, say goodbye to your new friends at the bush lodge and drive towards Kruger's Orpen Gate. As you pass Satara and the Orpen dam, you'll head further and further south through Kruger. The roads are in excellent condition and you'll encounter all kinds of wild animals during your drive. Stop at one of the many camps or rest stops along the way to stretch out for a bit.
Keep in mind, the speed limit in this area is 40-50 km/hour.
You'll spend the night in one of the southern camps: Skukuza, Lower Sabie, Pretoriuskop, Berg and Dal or Crocodile Bridge. Be sure to take into account that the park is larger than you would imagine it to be and that at 18.00 all camp and park gates are closed.
Kruger National Park - Swaziland/Johannesburg If you feel like going on a game walk or game drive in Kruger this morning let us know and we'll arrange for an armed ranger to accompany you through the park. Most of the time these game walks are completely booked full by the time you arrive at the reserve, therefore it's better to book these activities ahead of time. Coming from the southern part of Kruger Park it's about a 275 km drive to Mlilwane National Park. Once you leave Kruger behind you it won't be long until you reach the Swaziland border. A scenic road leads through the mountain passes of Piggs Peak and along the Malotja Reserve to the busy, 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 the camp where you'll spend the night in a traditional âbeehive' or beehive hut in a small Swazi village. These accommodation are very 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.
Total distance on Day 6 is approximately 275 kilometres or 3 hours.
Wake up this morning with a nice warm bath in the natural spring just outside of camp. Surely you'll enjoy floating around in the warm water, while sleepy impala or zebra watch from a distance. There's also a large swimming pool on the property if you prefer a more conventional option. This will be another day for stretching out from all the driving around. If you made reservations the prior evening, you can embark on a refreshing morning horseback ride straight through the park. For a more rigorous morning activity, rent a mountain bike for a bike ride to âExecutioners Rock', a high rock elevation from which in the past unfortunate prisoners were thrown to their death. There are also several different hiking trails if you'd prefer to walk through the park. This trip 'back to nature' without any motorized vehicles will do wonders for your state of mind and is utterly relaxing. Although you won't encounter lions or other large predators, there are crocodiles in the lakes and streams and hippos on the banks of both, so please keep an eye out and stay out of harms way (don't get too close to these areas).
Swaziland - St. Lucia
Leave from 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. 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 very nearby the lake and reserve both known by the same name, St. Lucia. Spend the night in a small, pleasant accommodation with swimming pool near the main street, restaurants and stores. There are also several bars nearby that would be great for a drink and some music in the evening hours.
Total distance on Day 8 is approximately 350 kilometres or 4 hours.
You have two days to explore Lake St. Lucia and the beautiful Hluhluwe National Park. A boat leaves from the village of St. Lucia several times a day for an approximately 2 hour cruise on St Lucia lake. Aside from crocodiles you'll also see hippos, flamingos, pelicans and other fish-eating birds. This trip can easily be booked on location. Visit the nearby beach of Cape Vidal. The trail past many cut down trees is unique and on route to the beach you may even run into the white rhino!
Hluhluwe-Imfolozi The Hluhluwe-Imfolozi park is about a 30 minute drive away from your accommodation. Aside from lions, (many, many) elephants and giraffes this park is also known for being the home of the nearly extinct black rhino. You can easily use your own rental car for a game drive. The best time for seeing animals is right after sunrise or around sunset, so try to plan your game drives around these times of day. If you'd like an experienced 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 (morning coffee and muffins included) or Â£55 per person (lunch included). This evening will be spent in St. Lucia once again.
Total distance on Day 10 is approximately 150 km.
St. Lucia - Durban / Umhlanga
Today you'll drive further south over quiet, well paved highways. Reach the Indian Ocean coast effortlessly, before you know it you'll be passing by beach towns and 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. It houses the largest harbour in southern Africa and has an interesting city centre with beautiful buildings. For the best fish restaurants, visit neighbourhoods in the harbour area. The climate is subtropical and the city is ideally located at the Indian Ocean beaches. Your accommodation is located slightly to the north of Durban in beach town Umhlanga and lends itself perfectly to either 'do' a day at the beach or visit the city. Spend the night in a charming bed & breakfast near the beach.
Total distance on Day 11 is approximately 300 km.
Tip: have some free time left and want to have a relaxing break? Stay at the sandy beaches of Umhlanga for a few extra days. This is particularly worthwhile during November-April. The average temperature during this time of year is 28 degrees Celsius.
Durban/Umhlanga - Coffee Bay
Today you'll travel from Durban (or one of the locations stated above) to Coffee Bay. You'll have to travel in a somewhat roundabout way to reach it. First you'll drive approximately 100 km to the hectic, slightly rundown, yet typical African capital city of Umtata (this is a good place to exchange currency if necessary). Then head off towards the sea for approximately 80 km until you reach Coffee Bay, one of the most beautiful coastal towns along the Wild Coast. You'll find a long sandy beach, idyllically situated between green hills and the turquoise sea. The bay got its' name in 1893 when a ship full of coffee beans wrecked there. Some of the coffee beans sprouted, however the plants did not survive and you won't find any coffee bean plants in the area. Spend the night in a cosy hotel with pool at the beach.
Total distance on Day 12 is approximately 480 km.
Spend the day relaxing on the beach or by the pool. Want to unwind from your long drives in a more active manner? How about a horseback ride or some surfing? Be sure to visit the Hole in the Wall, a spectacular rock formation and the result of centuries of waves and erosion (see the picture to the left). Or go dolphin-spotting or whale-watching (only in the appropriate seasons). There are also organized township tours that leave from the village. Spend another night in Coffee Bay.
Coffee Bay - Stutterheim
At the foot of the Amatola Bergen lies your next stop, Stutterheim. Here you can visit the Mgwali Village and become acquainted with the Xhosa population of South Africa. The language spoken here is also called Xhosa. This 'clicking' language consists of pronouncing the X with a click. It's quite difficult to master, however you'll be at the right place to practice your Xhosa language skills here. You'll spend the night in our comfortable guest house with swimming pool.
Total distance on Day 14 is approximately 300 km.
Stutterheim - Addo Elephant National Park
Today, head towards the Addo Elephant Park. This extremely wooded bush field is located at the Sundays river valley, on the Eastern Cape. The park was declared a national park in 1931, when there were only 12 elephants left in the area. These days the eco-system has been restored. You'll find more than 350 elephants, 300 buffalos, black rhinos, all kinds of antelopes (luckily not all in the same spot). There are plans to expand the 125.000 acre park by approximately 4x its' size. Spend the night on a real farm, just outside of the park. In the evening, you can go on an organized game drive in the Schotia Game Reserve if you wish (ask our travel specialist for details). Your accommodation can give you more information about this activity.
Total distance on Day 15 is approximately 200 km.
Addo Elephant National Park - Knysna
Head from Addo to Knysna. Along the way you can stop at the beach towns Francis Bay or Jeffrey's Bay. Later you'll reach the Tsitsikamma National Park, where you can stop for a while and go on one of the many hikes or trails set out through the area. For instance, go on a one hour walk to the wobbling Suspension Bridge. At the end of the day you'll reach your home base for the next few days, Knysna. Your hotel is centrally located near enjoyable restaurants. Breakfast is included.
Knysna Today you'll spend the day in Knysna and surrounding areas. Knysna is one of the most important towns on the Garden Route. Everything you could ever need is nearby, including a beautiful lagoon. The town itself isn't very large, however there are fun bars, pubs and restaurants that feature live-music until late at night. There's plenty to do during the day: 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
Today you finally get to truly stretch out and recover from all the driving you've been doing. About an hour from Knysna you'll find the Tsitsikamma National Park. This is where the famous Otter trail is located; a spectacular 5-day hike from Storms River Mouth to Nature's Valley. The guided Otter trail hike (which includes overnight stays in huts along the trail) is so popular, especially among South Africans, that it is booked full a year in advance. However the trail can also be hiked independently. The Tsitsikamma is a long narrow stretch of rugged coastline with massive cliffs created by the relentless pounding of ocean waves, secluded beaches, waterfalls and native coastal woods known as fynbos in the river valleys.
Total distance on Day 18 is approximately 120 km.
Knysna - Oudtshoorn
This morning, you'll travel from Knysna lagoon through George and through the arid region of Small Karoo. Here you'll find the centre of ostrich farming, Oudtshoorn. This is a spread out town with broad lanes and lovely old buildings. Spend the night just outside of town, in the midst of ostrich farms, in our cosy guest house with pool. Breakfast is included.
In the afternoon, you'll have several different options available to you, such as a visit to 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 4.30pm. Another option is to visit the Cango wildlife ranch. This is a small zoo where you not only can look at animals, but you can also pet lions, hold snakes and cage dive between crocodiles.
Oudtshoorn - Swellendam
Today you'll travel on to Swellendam with its' broad, oak-lined streets with historic houses that bring back an atmosphere of days gone by. Once you leave the Karoo, the scenery changes dramatically and becomes green and hilly. Follow the famous Route 62 past rugged mountains, friendly villages, wine vineyards and ostriches in pastures. After arrival in Swellendam you'll spend the night in a cosy bed and breakfast.
Total distance on Day 20 is approximately 230km.
Swellendam - Tulbagh
Today you'll travel through the wine territories on your way to Tulbagh, a peaceful, picturesque town known mainly for its unique architecture. Practically the entire town is a replica of an 18th and 19th century village in South Africa. Although many buildings are not authentic, they were rebuilt according to the original designs after earthquakes destroyed them in 1969 and 1970. The town also houses excellent restaurants, many of which are also restored 'homesteads'. On your way to Tulbagh you'll find many places to stop at and perhaps you'd even like to do some wine tasting along the way. While in Tulbagh you can visit a large number of wineries or perhaps you'd like to take a step into the past at the 'Oude Drosdy Museum'. Here you'll be able to view old Cape furniture and household supplies, such as old record players. There are also many trails in this area that are quite suitable for walks through this charming area. Furthermore you can also enjoy bird watching, horseback riding and mountain bike riding in this area. Spend the night in our guest house, located only two minutes away from historic Church Street.
Total distance on Day 21 is approximately 200km.
Tulbagh - Paarl - StellenboschBefore leaving from Tulbagh, you may want to visit a very special winery named "Twee Jonge Gezellen" (Two Young Gazelles). This is the only winery in South Africa that produces 'Champagne'. Naturally the only true Champagne is produced in France; however after you've tasted a sip of this bubbly drink you'll see why it's so popular!
Then it's time to head on to Paarl, one of the largest wine producing areas in South Africa. Approximately 7 kilometres after the centre of town you'll run into the Nederburg winery exit, which is one of the largest wine producers. A slightly smaller estate with a lovely terrace, Landskroon, can be found nearby. In Paarl you can visit the KWV cellars, the largest wine cooperative in South Africa. However, the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve is also very much worth a visit. During it's season, you'll find 15 different kinds of Protea's here (the South African national flower).
Eventually you'll continue on to Stellenbosch and after arrival you'll spend the night in our charming guest house (breakfast is included).
Tip: Interested in a unique dining experience during your stay here? We can reserve a table for you in a private gazebo in the Moyo restaurant located on the Spier estate. This open air restaurant has several 50 metre-long buffets with the most delicious dishes. Best of all, it's an all you can eat buffet! You won't forget this dining adventure anytime soon. At the guest farm's reception area you can reserve a taxi and go on to enjoy the most amazing wines during dinner.
There's plenty to see while you're in Stellenbosch. At the Braak, the market square, you'll find the Burger House, the VOC- Powder House and the beautiful St. Mary's church. Be sure to visit the 'Dorpsstreet' and the famous (albeit very touristy) 'Oom Samie se Winkel'.
Blauwklippen is one of the most enjoyable wine-estates, located 4 kilometres south of Stellenbosch on the road to Somerset West. There is also another estate in the area, the Hartenberg Estate, located 10 kilometres northwest of Stellenbosch. It's a beautiful estate and they produce fine wine; however when we visited the estate we were not quite impressed with their hospitality.
Stellenbosch - Cape Town
Today you'll drive to Cape Town at your own pace; it's not that far from Stellenbosch and won't take too long to reach. You may want to take a detour and drive around Cape Point into Cape Town. Follow the beautiful coastal route past Falsebaai, Muizenberg, Kalkbaai and Simonstown. If you drive a little further you'll reach the popular Boulders Beach with its' Penguins and white sandy beaches. This would be a great moment for a refreshing dive into the sea. As you continue along the route you'll reach the Cape Nature Reserve, a park with many small wild animals (better known as Cape of Good Hope). There are plenty of spots where you can stop along the way, stretch out for a bit and perhaps have a pick nick on one of the secluded beaches. After lunch, continue on the Chapmans Peak route and pass by fisherman's town Houtbaai. From here it's only a 30-minute drive to Cape Town.
In Cape Town you'll be staying at the Portview House, a cosy guest house run by friendly owners. Your accommodation is situated in the heart of Greenpoint, Signal Hill and is only an 8-minute walk from the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. You'll be staying in the centre of Cape Town and yet the guest house is located on top of a quiet hill; therefore you'll still be to enjoy a peaceful stay in this accommodation. There is sufficient parking space in front of your accommodation.
Total distance on Day 24 is approximately 150 km- depending on which route is chosen.
Cape Town Cape Town is the most beautiful city in the world to many and in any case 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 wine territories surrounding the city and the many outdoor activities that can be participated in here. Above all the city has a wonderful, exciting feel to it; anything is possible! At the very least you should try to visit the city's centre, take a ride on the cable car up to the top of the Table Mountain, go on a picnic in the botanical gardens and take a boat trip to Robben island; this is where Nelson Mandela, among others, was kept imprisoned for so many years during the Apartheid regime.
Cape Town Today and tomorrow are completely dedicated to this amazing city! If the weather was less than cooperative yesterday, have another try at visiting the Table Mountain today (in the event of hard winds, mountain access prohibited). You can also stroll along the booths at the craft market in the centre of town or enjoy a drink and the view from a terrace at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. If you like, you can also get in your car and drive to Cape Town's northern beaches. Blouberg beach offers a particularly good view of the Table Mountain.
Cape Town On Day 27 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 -
- Rental car category B (with air conditioning) including all mileage, taxes and full insurance coverage, accommodation with breakfast (Kruger and Addo accommodation only, bush camp half board and 1 game drive/walk per day) and trail information
- Exclusions -
- All additional car expenses on location such as 1 x one-way fee, 1 x contract expenses and 1x deposit, park entrance fees, optional excursions and intercontinental flights
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Email the tour operator - South Africa Without Borders
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.