Ultimate South African Safari

Johannesburg - Cape Town (or reverse)
Duration: 15 Days
Tour Type: Self Drive
Departs: Johannesburg
Returns: Cape Town

A self drive tour of South Africa, visiting exclusive Private Game Reserves and luxurious establishments as you travel from Johannesburg to Cape Town. You travel along the spectacular Panorama Route, enjoying the breathtaking scenery along the way. Spend time in the heart of forest country before making your way to one of the most exclusive Game Lodges in South Africa. Here you will be able to view a formidable concentration of big game and frequent Leopard sightings as you enjoy the bountiful comforts of the Lodge. You then travel via the Kingdom of Swaziland with its rolling hills and sugar cane fields to the North of KwaZulu-Natal. Visit one of Africa's most ecologically diverse regions as you indulge in the luxury of your private Game Reserve. Enjoy day and night drives as well as Walking Safaris as you search for the Big Five, the elusive cheetah and the scarce black rhino.

You then travel south along the Indian Ocean Coastline, enjoying the highest expression of exclusive hospitality. Your journey then involves a flight from Durban to Port Elizabeth before you travel to the ultimate luxury Big Five African Safari adventure and conservation effort coupled with responsible tourism. You will be introduced to current research and conservation projects while experiencing refined comfort, congenial service and enticing cuisine in the African Bush.

Your travels then take you on an exploratory journey of the Garden Route. Enjoy the experience of staying amidst the magnificent indigenous forests of Tsitsikamma National Park, before travelling to Oudtshoorn where you enjoy a visit to the famous Cango Caves and Ostrich Show Farms. Your travels then take you along Route 62, South Africa's largest Wine Route to Cape Town.

Daily Planner
Day One

Arrive at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport, where you can collect your hired vehicle. If you are not comfortable driving after a long flight, we can arrange for the car to be delivered to your hotel. Overnight at The Westcliff Hotel.

Situated in Johannesburg's most exclusive residential suburb, The Westcliff's hillside setting with cascading, sculpted gardens and elegantly opulent accommodation evokes a bygone era of leisure and refinement in one of the world's most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities.

Enjoy the relaxed welcoming ambience of the Conservatory and Pool Terrace as you indulge in the opulent traditional English afternoon tea, served from the conservatory buffet table. You are treated to spectacular views across the elevated pool deck as you relax in the African Sun.

Tucked away amidst the cascading gardens and tinkling fountains of The Westcliff's hillside retreat, lies the Botanica Spa Suites, an inviting oasis of indulgence and relaxation, where you can enjoy a variety of treatments.

The hotel offers a complimentary transfer to Sandton City, where you can indulge in the ultimate shopping experience. On your return to the hotel you can choose to enjoy al fresco dining on your patio, or elegant international cuisine, complemented by an extensive wine list, silver service and a spectacular backdrop of glittering night lights, at La Belle Terrasse. Its ability to delight the palate while charming the senses is seductive.

Meals Breakfast
Accommodation The Westcliff

The Westcliff is a charming and romantic retreat and its accommodations are both ergonomic and unashamedly indulgent. The extravagantly sized rooms and suites all feature gorgeous over-sized marble bathrooms and most have a private balcony.

Vehicle Classic Sedan
Day Two

After a leisurely breakfast travel from Johannesburg to Mpumelanga - 'Place of the Rising Sun'. Journey through Witbank, Dullstroom and Lydenburg; with a rich history associated with the Voortrekkers and the Anglo-Boer War. Along the Long Tom Pass , which offers breathtaking views of the Sabie Valley on to the town of Sabie, which is home to some spectacular waterfalls and pristine mountain streams. Travelling down to White River, you will be enthralled by the magnificent scenery along this route. Accommodation will be overnight at Cybele Forest Lodge and Health Spa, which is situated in the heart of forest country, high in the mountains. Set on three hundred acres of African paradise, The Lodge is a charming old farmhouse with a wide verandah where you can sip sundowners whilst looking out over the magnificent gardens. Let the world slip away as you watch the monkeys cavorting in the giant Turpentine Trees. Take in the cool violet of the Jacaranda, the shocking pink of the Tibouchina and the scarlet umbrella of the African Flame Tree. It is a founder member of Relais and Chateaux in South Africa, renowned for the five C's; character, courtesy, calm, charm and cuisine. Enjoy spectacular river walks to a beautiful waterfall, horseriding, cycling, helicopter and ballooning adventures. Enjoy your evening meal served in the gardens under the trees, in the dining room or in the privacy of your room.

Meals Breakfast
Accommodation Cybele Forest Lodge

The magic of Cybele emerges as you are shown to your room. Accommodation is limited to 28 guests, ensuring peace and quiet, and personal attention. Each of the suites and cottages has been furnished and decorated to exacting standards.

Day Three

After a leisurely breakfast enjoy a visit to the Mac Mac Falls, where the river plummets down 65m. Enjoy a refreshing swim in the pools to the south of the Falls, which consist of a series of rocky basins filled with water. Travel onto Pilgrims Rest, where the richest alluvial gold deposits in South Africa, were discovered in 1873.

Journey along the Panorama Route. The most spectacular stretch of the Panorama Route is the Blyde River Canyon, which is the third largest Canyon in the World. From many well-positioned vantage points one has a view of the 33 km long gorge, which starts at Bourkes Luck Potholes and ends at the Three Rondavels. The Potholes are very impressive rock formations that were shaped millions of years ago by erosion. The bizarre swirl holes developed when the once rapid river carried masses of sand and debris. Travel to Singita Sabi Sabi located in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, where you will enjoy supreme luxury, as your every expectation of a Wildlife Safari is exceeded. Ebony Lodge overlooks the Sand River and offers bountiful comforts that have earned Singita the highest international accolades. The Lodge has a commanding presence and an essence that evokes an intense feeling of familiarity. Sumptuous coziness is simply the order of the day - tempting you into relaxation and reflection. The Sabi Sand Reserve is recognized globally for its diversity and formidable concentration of big Game and frequent leopard sightings. When you venture into the wild in the company of Singita's skilful guides, your sightings will be intimate and far from the madding crowds, ensuring that your safari is filled with unforgettable stories.

After your safari enjoy your evening meal at the traditional open boma.

Meals All meals and Game Drives
Accommodation Singita Ebony Lodge

The secluded thatched suites are the epitome of elegant comfort, with rooms styled with an eclectic mix of colours, fabrics and textures. A colonial feel with Egyptian linen, African throws, antiques and modern luxuries combine to create a homely feeling.

Day Four

Enjoy an early morning Game Drive followed by a sumptuous breakfast. Venture into the Wild on a guided Safari walk, with your professional guide and tracker. On your return spend the day relaxing and enjoying the luxury of the Lodge.

You will then set off on another Game Drive in the early afternoon, enjoying sundowners under the African sky. Enjoy dinner on the timber Deck overlooking the Sand River.

Meals All meals and Game Drives
Accommodation Singita Ebony Lodge
Day Five

Explore the Kruger National Park further as you travel to your Safari hotel bordering the Park, the Malelane Sun situated on the banks of the Crocodile River overlooking the Kruger National Park. You will enjoy first class luxury accommodation. You are able to view a wide variety of wildlife from the luxurious viewing deck overlooking the river.

Meals Breakfast
Accommodation Singita Ebony Lodge
Day Six

Journey via Nelspruit to The Kingdom of Swaziland one of the last remaining monarchies in Africa, travelling through the Lebombo Mountains, Mbabane and Manzini. View the Sugar cane areas of Big Bend.

Re-enter South Africa at the Goelela Border Post and continue via the town of Hluhluwe to Phinda.

The Lodges are all uniquely and luxuriously designed to blend into the Natural surroundings. The Phinda Game reserve is situated in one of Africa's most ecologically diverse regions and borders the Greater iSimangaliso Wetland Park - a World Heritage Site. It consists of 23 000 hectares of prime conservation land. Seven distinct habitats shelter an abundance of wildlife including Africa's Big Five and over 350 Bird species, while the marine diversity off the nearby coast offers the thrilling optional activities, from air safaris to diving pristine coral reefs.

With only a handful of lodges sharing an area of 23 000 hectares (56 800 acres) and careful trained rangers and trackers in search of prime wildlife sightings, you are assured an exclusive game viewing experience.

You will be staying in the Forest Lodge Suites, where exquisite architectural design meets conservation in these luxurious hand-crafted suites. Set deep in the heart of a rare Dry Sand Forest, the Lodge comprises 16 private stilted suites, a sparkling rim-flow swimming pool, luxurious dining and sitting areas, and an expansive viewing deck with panoramic views of the game-filled plains.

Meals All meals and Game Drives
Accommodation Phinda Forest Lodge

The 16 air-conditioned glass suites are built on stilts and appear to float between the rare Dry Sand Forest floor and the towering torchwood trees. The suites are situated to ensure absolute privacy.

Day Seven

Enjoy day and night drives as you search for the Big Five, the elusive cheetah and the scarce black rhino. Enjoy a walking safari, where you will have the opportunity to identify tracks and insects, birdwatch and learn about habitats and ecology.

Meals All meals and Game Drives
Accommodation Phinda Forest Lodge
Day Eight

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast followed by a River Safari on the Mzinene River. Upon check- out, travel south along the Indian Ocean coastline arriving at your exclusive lodge located near the seaside village of Ballito on Durban's North Coast. The Fairmont Zimbali Lodge is situated on a breathtaking 700 hectare coastal estate. A 50 hectare reserve within the estate has been demarcated as conservation areas, providing a refuge to the rich variety of local flora and fauna. Pathways and wooden viewing decks throughout these areas allow you the opportunity to interact with nature. Zimbali is the Zulu name for "Valley of Flowers."

You will enjoy the "highest expression of exclusive hospitality" amidst ultimate five star luxury. Enjoy your evening meal at the Thandi restaurant or the Fountain Court which offers indoor and outdoor dining amongst a lavish atmosphere.

Accommodation Fairmont Zimbali Lodge

All rooms at Fairmont Zimbali Lodge are designed to harmonise in tone and style with the natural surrounding forest. The African classical architecture is complemented by warm wood tones which occur throughout.

Day Nine

Enjoy a full day at leisure, enjoying a swim in one of the 800 square metres of interlinking swimming pools right on the beach, or explore the surrounding areas with a visit to uShaka Marine World, a 16-hectare freshwater and seawater theme park. You can enjoy an Oceanwalker Experience where you take a walk among the sea's beautiful creatures. The Open Ocean Tank where you can take part in the Oceanwalk has magnificent sea creatures such as rays, sand sharks, tuna and dorado.

You can also come face to face with the fierce sharks at the Xpanda Shark Experience. The inhabitants of the shark Tank are Zambezi and Ragged tooth sharks. Here you need only your swimming gear, a mask and snorkel to be lowered into the Shark Tank in an acrylic cage, to view these magnificent predators of the sea.

Return to the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge where your personal butler will serve you dinner in the comfort of your luxurious room.

Meals Breakfast
Accommodation Fairmont Zimbali Lodge
Day Ten

Drive to Durban Airport for your flight to Port Elizabeth. On arrival at Port Elizabeth airport you will be met and transferred to Shamwari Game Reserve, the 20 000 hectare, malaria free, private game reserve only 45 minutes from Port Elizabeth. This is the "ultimate luxury big Five African Safari adventure and conservation effort coupled with responsible tourism." You will be introduced to current research and conservation projects. The reserve hosts a Born Free Foundation Centre, providing a sanctuary for big cats that have been rescued from captive conditions. Your choice of accommodation is in one of seven lodges, each of which is the ultimate in luxury, personsified in a contemporary African design.

Long Lee Manor is a reminder of an era of gracious living - positioned as the flagship of Shamwari - it overlooks a water hole and the sweeping plains leading down to the Bushmans River. Enjoy your evening meal at the river Boma.

Meals All meals and Game Drives
Accommodation Eagles Crag Lodge

Long Lee Manor, originally built in 1910, offers a distinctive Colonial experience. This splendidly restored Edwardian Manor House offers guests refined comfort, congenial service and enticing cuisine in the African bush.

Day Eleven

Enjoy morning and Afternoon game activities. Visit Shamwari's cultural village where Xhosa, Zulu and San cultures are showcased.

Between game drives you can laze around one of the two pools, relax in the beautifully appointed garden lounge, or experience a rejuvenating treatment in the spa. Weather permiting, enjoy a bush dinner with your Ranger.

Meals All meals and Game drives.
Accommodation Eagles Crag Lodge
Day Twelve

After an early morning game activity and breakfast your hired car will be delivered to you. Set off on your exploratory journey of the Garden Route via Port Elizabeth.

Enjoy the breathtaking scenery as you cross the Storms River and continue through Natures Valley and Plettenberg Bay.

You will arrive in the late afternoon at your Lodge, described as a "symphony of Stone, wood, glass and water" amidst the magnificent indigenous forests of Tsitsikamma, Tsala Treetop Lodge. Enjoy dinner at the highly acclaimed Tsala restaurant, where dishes are delicately prepared and exquisitely presented and consist of both local and exotic flavours, accompanied by a wide selection of the best South African Estate and Auction wines from the private cellar.

Meals Breakfast
Accommodation Tsala Treetop Lodge

Tucked into the forest canopy, 10 luxury hide-away suites are the epitome of opulent indulgence and romanticism.

Constructed of stone, wood and glass these ultimate of abodes comprise a sumptuous bedroom, an elegant sitting room with fireplace, and a spa

Day Thirteen

After a leisurely breakfast, take a drive to Plettenberg Bay where you can enjoy an Ocean Safari. You will be able to view Seals, dolphins and Whales in their natural habitat.

Enjoy an interactive experience with Elephants at The Craggs or visit The Birds of Eden and Monkeyland.

Alternatively enjoy a day on the Beach.

Accommodation Tsala Treetop Lodge
Day Fourteen

Drive via South Africa's 'Oyster Capital' Knysna and George to Oudtshoorn, via The Outeniqua Pass. Visit the Cango Caves, the magnificent underground wonder of the Klein Karoo, at the head of the picturesque Cango Valley. The caves are situated in a limestone ridge parallel to the well known Swartberg Mountains, they display the finest dripstone caverns, with their vast halls and towering formations. Overnight at Rosenhof Hotel on the outskirts of Oudtshoorn. With its luxurious facilities and excellent service, Rosenhof is recognized as one of the finest establishments in the region.

Meals Breakfast
Accommodation Rosenhof Country House

The carefully renovated homestead (Circa 1852), with yellowwood beams and ceiling and a tasteful collection of antique furniture, exudes an aura of authenticity.

Day Fifteen

After an enjoyable breakfast visit an Ostrich Farm, where you will be exposed to life on a working Farm. As you leave the Klein Karoo, travel along Route 62, South Africa's longest Wine Route. You will pass through the quaint towns of Barrydale, Robertson, Montague and Worcester, enjoying wine tasting along the way.

On arrival in Cape Town return your hired car to the airport, or keep it for a couple of days exploration of one of the most beautiful cities in the World.

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Highlights
  • Kingdom of Swaziland
  • Tsitsikamma Forest
  • Monkeyland
  • Three Rondavels
  • Cango Caves
  • Blyde River Canyon
  • Sabie Valley
  • Lebombo Mountains
  • Phinda Game Reserve
  • Ocean Safari
  • Birds of Eden
  • Panorama Route
  • Long Tom Pass
  • Singita Private Game Reserve
  • iSimangaliso Wetland Park world Heritage Site
  • Kruger National Park
  • Knysna the Oyster Capital of South Africa
  • Oceanwalker experience
  • Valley of Flowers
  • Africa's Big Five
  • Bourkes Luck Potholes
  • River Safari
  • MacMac Falls
  • Shamwari Private Game Reserve
  • uShaka Marine World
  • Ostrich Farm
  • Route 62
Inclusions
Includes Accommodation and Car Hire. Meals and Game Drives at all Game Lodges.

Excludes Excursions, items of a personal nature and the flight between Durban and Port Elizabeth.