11 Day Taste of South Africa Guided Tour
This tour is just that, a taste of South Africa and it’s diversity. The tour incorporates the Panoramic Route, Kruger National Park, a private reserve in the greater kruger area, eSwathini (Swaziland), Zululand and another private reserve, enter the first proclaimed world heritage site in South Africa, iSimangaliso, and a boat cruise on lake St Lucia. The last four days we travel through the scenic Garden Route ending in Cape Town.
DAY 1. Johannesburg – Dullstroom – Panoramic Route – Sabie (Safari)
Your first taste of South Africa starts with our day on safari, takes us from Johannesburg via Middelburg, Dullstroom and Lydenburg to Pilgrim´s Rest, 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 Sabie. Overnight Ligna Lodge.
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. After that, 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 Africa’s wildlife begins as we travel on an open vehicle to search for the game. Enjoy a great 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 day in this magnificent reserve around 2 million ha in extent.
DAY 4. Kruger National Park – Swaziland
We rise early for a game drive and return for breakfast in the camp. We spend the rest of the morning in the reserve. In the afternoon travel the mountain Kingdom of Swaziland. 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-molding wax into a variety of interesting shapes. On this site, there is also a market where the locals sell their craft, as well as other shops where you can buy items like batik, hand-woven cloth, colorful handbags, etc. Continue along the Ezulwini Valley towards Manzini, the country’s industrial center.
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. We 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 Game Lodge.
DAY 6. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park – St Lucia (iSimangaliso) – Durban
After an early breakfast, we travel to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Reserve. Enter through Memorial Gate for two hours of game viewing in the Big Five Reserve where the white rhino was saved from extinction. 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, which with its endless summer climate, effervescent and lukewarm ocean lined with golden beaches, offers a subtropical carnival atmosphere all year round. Our tour includes a drive through the sports corridor with its impressive sporting facilities. Travel via the Marine Parade (Golden Mile) en route to the impressive developments at the new Point Waterfront area.
We drive past the busiest harbor in Africa and through the city center. 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. Return to your hotel on our bus or spend the rest of the afternoon here and take a taxi back to the hotel. Overnight City Lodge Umhlanga Ridge
Day 8. Port Elizabeth – Garden Route – Plettenberg Bay/Knysna
An early transfer to the local airport for a flight to Port Elizabeth. From here we continue to our first stop at Storms River. The impressive Paul Sauer Bridge towers some 139 meters above the river. We visit the Tsitsikamma National Park (Khoisan for ‘The place of much water’) It stretches over 100 kilometers of wild and rocky coastline characterized by massive cliffs, narrow isolated beaches, and shady indigenous forests. Then we traverse through magnificently scenic river valley passes to Plettenberg Bay for a short visit. Continue to Knysna. We join a sundowners cruise on the lagoon. Overnight at Augusta Bay Lodge.
Day 9. Knysna – George – Oudtshoorn
Spend the morning in Knysna visiting the “Heads” etc. Knysna also offers shopping opportunities for unusual locally made art and craft, etc. We experience some magical views on the Garden Route and Wilderness National Park and scenic viewpoints along the way. Over the Outeniqua Mountains in the Little Karoo where we visit the Cango Wildlife Ranch and Valley of Ancients, an endangered species breeding facility extraordinaire. Then travel to our accommodation on a working ostrich farm. Overnight La Plume Lodge.
Day 10. Oudtshoorn – Mossel Bay
We travel over the Outeniqua Mountains to the Little Karoo to visit an Ostrich Show Farm for some unique experiences. We visit the Cango Caves, regarded as one of South Africa’s foremost natural wonders. The fascinating calcite caves comprise 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 Mossel Bay for overnight. Overnight Bar-T-Nique Guesthouse.
Day 11. Mossel Bay – Hermanus – Cape Town
We 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. Afterwards continue to Hermanus, the best place in the World to spot Whales from land – (July to Dec). After lunch depart for Cape Town via the beautiful coastal route between Hermanus and Gordon’s Bay, arriving late afternoon.
Other tours that may interest you:
8-Day Touch of Wildlife and Scenery Tour – SC-01 OR The same tour departing from Cape Town – SC-01C
10-Day Taste of South Africa – SC-02/10
12-Day South Africa Explorer – SC-04
19-Day Grand South African Tour – SC-06