South African Explorer
Enjoy this Accommodated Overland Tour which explores the highlights of South Africa. The tour begins with a scenic drive along the Panorma Route. This will introduce you to spectacular scenery that will enrich your soul. You then enter the world famous Kruger National Park where you have a good chance of viewing Africa's famed big five. From here the tour travels through Swaziland, the smallest country in the Southern Hemishphere to Isimangaliso, where we explore this Wetland Park, South Africas first Natural World Heritage site.
We then move on to game viewing in the Hluhluwe- Umfolozi Park before travelling to Durban. Here you can enjoy beautiful beaches and warm waters. We then travel through the splendid mountains of the Drakensberg to Lesotho, where you can do pony trekking through the Maluti Mountains.
Travel then continues to the picturesque Hogsback valley and onto the Addo Elephant National Park where you gain insight into these magnificent animals. We then travel through the Tsitsikama National Park to Plettenberg Bay. From here you will enjoy excursions to Oudtshoorn to visit the Cango Caves and an Ostrich Farm, and the seaside village of Knysna. Travel then continues on to Stellenbosch, just outside of Cape Town, where you will have the opportunity of sampling some of the finest South African wines. The tour then terminates in the Mother City of Cape town.
After a short briefing we leave Johannesburg on a scenic drive through Mpumalanga and the breathtaking vistas of the Lowveld. Blyde River Canyon, God's Window and Bourke's Luck Potholes will be some of today's highlights. The Blyde River Canyon is one of the most spectacular canyons in Africa and its cliffs rise between 600m-800m from the riverbed. At the 'Three Rondavels' viewpoint (also called 'The Three Sisters') is an unforgettable view of three huge rock spirals rising out of the far wall of the canyon. Their tops appear to have a hut-like rounded roof. Where the Blyde River and the Treur River meet, water erosion has formed one of the most remarkable geological phenomena in the country, known as 'Bourke's Luck Potholes'. Over thousands of years, surreal cylindrical rock sculptures created by whirling water have formed a series of dark pools which contrast artfully with the streaked white and yellow lichen covered rocks. Following the road and the Treur River south, there are further viewpoints; Wonder View, God's Window and the Pinnacle. The Three Rondavels are named after the Swazi Chief - Maripi's wives. From the lowest to the highest, they are Magabolle, Mogoladikwe and Maserote.
We get up early and visit a wildlife rehabilitation centre for an educational experience and then enter the world famous Kruger NP. The next two days are spent exploring the southern Kruger area and we have a good chance of sighting Africa's famed big five. An optional night drive with one of the South African National Park (SANP) rangers is an excellent way to see some of the nocturnal animals. . The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this national park of nearly 2 million hectares is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies. Approximately 145 mammal species occur in the park. Kruger has a list of almost 500 bird species, some of which are not to be found elsewhere in South Africa. There are 336 tree species in the park.
Today we leave the Kruger NP and cross the border into Swaziland. We spend the next two nights in the Mlilwane Nature Reserve where we are able to explore the area on foot. We also experience the wonderful Swazi culture when enjoying a display of traditional dancing.
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
We leave Swaziland and re-enter South Africa to drive down to the warm Indian Ocean coast. We spend the afternoon exploring the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park and take an afternoon sunset cruise on the lagoon. Traditionally the park has been zoned into five ecosystems, however they are so intertwined that it takes several days to understand this incredible labyrinth of nature, history and culture. The following morning we transfer to the Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve for a guided game drive. We enter the coastal city of Durban in the late afternoon.
Lake St. Lucia Villas
We leave the beautiful beaches of KwaZulu Natal, and travel inland to the Royal Natal NP, part of the massive Drakensberg escarpment. You can choose between many activities, including horse riding. A short guided hike to view Bushmen rock art can be very enjoyable.
Drakensville Berg Resort
After a long but scenic drive we cross the Lesotho border. The popular pony trekking excursion requires an early morning of those who are participating. Lesotho natives will guide you along remote trails and the scenery is spectacular. For those who prefer to remain at the lodge there are more relaxing activities available, such as a visit to the village school or craft market.
Optional Activities: Pony Trekking Excursion, Hiking.
We leave Lesotho and drive south to the picturesque Hogsback valley. In addition to a gentle hike into the surrounding forest your guides will also provide information on the other available activities in this area. Optional Activities: Horse riding, Mountain biking. The town of Hogsback nestles on the slopes of the Amatola Mountains and is particularly renowned for its indigenous forests and its fairytale landscape. The Amatola Mountains rise from the dry grasslands and hot valleys, their green flanks an oasis of jewelled colours and coolness. Paths lead through the indigenous rainforest that crowds the slopes, to waterfalls sparkling down the cliffs. Misty rainbows lead to the pots of gold and fairy hideaways. The Hogsback Mountain, 1937 meters high, overlooks a handsome forest where azaleas, rhododendrons, daffodils and many other species of European plants and fruits grow as well as a profusion of berries.
Away with the fairies.
As the name suggests, the Addo Elephant National Park is full of elephants! These magnificent creatures are always a highlight and you will be sure to get some superb photos.
Although the Addo Elephant belongs to the same species as the African Elephant, it is smaller, with more rounded ears and the females generally have no tusks. The park was named after the Khoi Khoi name Kadouw, which they gave to a forting place over the nearby Sundays River. The bush here is a combination of Acacia, Spekboom, Gwarrie and Boerboom. The English name for the Spekboom is "Elephants food".
Addo Elephant Park
After an early morning game drive we bid farewell to the elephants and drive along the sunshine coast until we reach Bloukrans. Optional Activities: Bungy Jumping (highest in the world), Treetop canopy Tour, Hiking. Tsitsikamma is a Khoi word meaning clear or sparkling water. In the forest there are several massive trees. The tallest of these is 36 m. Some of these trees are more than 1000 years old. The forest has more than 30 species of indigenous trees. Tsitsikamma National Park is situated at the heart of the picturesque tourist region known as the Garden Route, found in the Western Cape of South Africa. The Park incorporates 80 km of rocky coastline with spectacular sea and landscapes, a remote mountainous region with secluded valleys covered in mountain Fynbos and temperate high forests with deep river gorges leading down to the sea. The Tsitsikamma's spectacular scenery includes the Indian Ocean breakers, pounding rocky shores beneath 180 m high cliffs, ever-green forests and fynbos (proteas and heath) rolling down to the sea in a lush carpet where ancient rivers have carved their path to the ocean through rocky ravines.
Tsitsikamma Forest Cabins
It is only a short distance to Plettenberg Bay, where you can relax by the lagoon or take a walk through this interesting town. The following day we travel through the Outeniqua Mountains towards Oudtshoorn. The visit to the world famous Cango Caves is included. Later in the day you have the option of visiting an Ostrich Farm. Optional Activities: Ostrich Farm visit and Ostrich Riding.
Keurbooms Protea Hotel
We take a scenic drive to Stellenbosch. As this is the last night on tour we will go out to a local restaurant for dinner.
Cultivar Guest Lodge
After a leisurely breakfast, we go to a wine farm to taste some of South Africa's finest wines. We also visit the Cheetah Breeding Project and finally the tour ends in the afternoon.