11-Day Tour of South Africa – Guided Tour
This 11-day guided tour of South Africa offers the traveller a taste of the country and its diversity. The tour incorporates the Panoramic Route, Kruger National Park, a private reserve in the Greater Kruger area, Eswatini (Swaziland), Zululand and a private reserve. It also includes iSimangaliso; the first proclaimed world heritage site in South Africa, with a boat cruise on Lake St Lucia situated inside the heritage site. Afterwards, we travel through the scenic Garden Route ending in Cape Town.
DAY 1. Johannesburg – Dullstroom – Panoramic Route – Sabie (Safari)
Your taste of South Africa starts with travelling from Johannesburg via Middelburg, Dullstroom and Lydenburg to Pilgrim´s Re; the early gold mining town turned into a living museum. Rich deposits of alluvial gold were found here at the end of the 19th century. We continue to Graskop. Overnight Angels View Hotel.
DAY 2. Panoramic Route – Private Game Reserve
We visit Lone Creek Falls and travel via Graskop to marvel at scenic areas such as God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon, and some of the spectacular waterfalls in the area. Afterwards, we descend to the Lowveld via Abel Erasmus Pass and the Strijdom Tunnel to arrive at Mohlabetsi in the Balule private game reserve. This afternoon our encounter with South Africa’s wildlife begins as we embark on an open vehicle safari to search for the game. Enjoy a sumptuous dinner under the stars tonight (weather permitting). Overnight Mohlabetsi Lodge.
DAY 3. Private Game Reserve – Kruger National Park
After an early morning hike, searching for the wild on foot and breakfast, we enter the Kruger National Park and spend the rest of the afternoon in this magnificent reserve around 2 million ha in extent.
DAY 4. Kruger National Park – Eswatini (Swaziland)
We rise early for an open vehicle safari and return for breakfast in the camp. Afterwards, we spend the rest of the morning in Kruger Park. Exit the park in the south later in the morning and travel to the mountain Kingdom of Eswatini. We visit the Ngwenya Glass Factory. Travel further via Mbabane, the capital city of Swaziland, to our hotel in the mountains at Mhlambanyatsi. Overnight Forester’s Arms.
DAY 5. Swaziland – Zululand – Private Reserve
This morning we have an early breakfast and afterwards visit Swazi Candles in the Malkerns Valley, where we watch the locals hand-moulding wax into various interesting shapes. On this site, there is also a market where the locals sell their craft and other shops where you can buy items like batik, hand-woven cloth, colourful handbags, etc. Continue along the Ezulwini Valley towards Manzini, the country’s industrial centre.
From here, swing south towards Nhlangano on a scenic route where crossing every hill opens up a new vista. We exit Swaziland at the Onverwacht border post. Enter Zululand and travel southwards to Hluhluwe, and arrive at our private lodge for check-in. Then we embark on another exciting open vehicle safaris continuing into the evening. We return for a well-deserved dinner and overnight. Overnight Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge.
DAY 6. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park – St Lucia (iSimangaliso) – Durban
After an early breakfast, we travel to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Reserve. Enter through Memorial Gate and spend around two hours game viewing in this Big Five Reserve. Moreover, some extraordinary conservationists saved the white rhino from extinction here in the nineteen forties. Travel to the village of St Lucia and join a boat cruise on the estuary of the famous Lake St Lucia (proclaimed a World Heritage Site in 1999). The lake is a wildlife paradise with bird species such as fish eagle, Goliath heron and many more. Your skipper/guide will show you the world of the hippo and the crocodile and the other mystic inhabitants of the “deep”. After this unforgettable experience, we travel to Durban, South Africa’s holiday Mecca. Overnight City Lodge Umhlanga Ridge.
DAY 7. Durban
Durban is an intriguing cultural blend of East, West and Africa. With its endless summer climate, effervescent and lukewarm ocean lined with golden beaches, it offers a subtropical carnival atmosphere all year round. This morning, our tour includes a drive through the sports corridor with its impressive facilities. Travel via the Marine Parade (Golden Mile) and afterwards to the ongoing developments at the new Point Waterfront area.
We drive past the busiest harbour in Africa and through the city centre. However, at the Indian Market, you have a glimpse into the Indian culture and bargain for souvenirs and spices. Our last visit is to the Botanical Gardens. You have the option of being dropped off at the end of the tour at the Ushaka Marine World with its world-class aquarium and many shops and restaurants. Our bus returns to the hotel. Some may want to spend the rest of the afternoon here and return with a taxi. Overnight City Lodge Umhlanga Ridge
Day 8. Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) – Garden Route – Plettenberg Bay/Knysna
Our day begins departing from Port Elizabeth / Gqeberha, towards the Garden Route, so-called because of its lush, green scenery, looking much like gardens, along the N2 national route to the Storms River. This is the beginning of the Garden Route. Your next stop is at Tsitsikamma National Park (Khoisan for the place of much water), stretching over one hundred kilometres of wild and rocky coastline characterized by massive cliffs, narrow isolated beaches, and shady indigenous forests along the river valleys. Here you can do a relaxing walk/hike to the suspension bridge stretching over the mouth of the Storms River.
We then continue to The Bloukrans Bridge, 216 meters (709 feet) above the Bloukrans River. The Bloukrans Bungee is the world’s highest commercial bungee bridge and is the highest commercial natural bungee jump in the world!
On the road again, before entering Plettenberg Bay, we visit the Birds of Eden. This unique two-hectare dome (the world’s largest) spans over a gorge of indigenous forest. It is currently home to over 3,500 birds from over 220 species, with the main focus being African birds. Then a short stop at Monkeyland, the world’s first free roaming multi-specie primate sanctuary. On this visit you can expect to see a variety of primates, ranging from the Gibbons of Asia to the Lemurs of Madagascar. More than 700 primates live at the sanctuary.
Continuing past Plettenberg Bay to Knysna on the edge of the Knysna Lagoon with its entrance to the sea guarded by two promontories known as the ‘Heads’. The area also falls within a National Park proclaimed to conserve the extraordinary natural beauty of the Lakeland and forests. Knysna also offers shopping opportunities of unusual locally made art and craft, etc. Overnight at Stannards Guest Lodge or similar
Day 9. Knysna – George – Oudtshoorn
We spend the morning exploring Knysna visiting the “Heads” etc. Driving west, we experience some of the most magical views on the Garden Route and Wilderness National Park and scenic viewpoints along the way. We travel over the Outeniqua Mountains to the Little Karoo where you visit the Cango Wildlife Ranch and Valley of Ancients, an endangered species breeding facility extraordinaire. Then travel to our hotel—overnight La Plume Boutique Guest House or similar.
Day 10. Oudtshoorn – Mossel Bay
After breakfast you visit an Ostrich Show Farm for some unique experiences with these strange birds. You visit the Cango caves, regarded as one of South Africa’s foremost natural wonders. The fascinating calcite caves comprises an underground wonderland of stalactites and stalagmites. Visit Oudtshoorn, also called the “Feather capital” of the world, as over ninety percent of the world’s ostrich farms are found here. Continue to the Aquamarine Guest House or similar in Mossel Bay where you spend the night.
Day 11. Mossel Bay – Hermanus – Cape Town
You visit arguably the oldest post office in Africa, the Post Office Tree and the site of the first landfall, made by the Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Dias in 1488. Continue to Hermanus, the best place in the World to spot Whales from land – (July to Dec). After lunch you depart for Cape Town via the beautiful coastal route between Hermanus and Gordon’s Bay, arriving late afternoon.
Other tours that may interest you:
10-Day Taste of South Africa guided tour – SC-02/10
12-Day South Africa Explorer – Guided Tour – SC-04
19-Day Grand South African Tour – SC-06