South Africa Intensive
30-Day Self-Drive Tour, Accommodated
To: Cape Town
Number of Participants: Individual
Tour Price: from 24,900 ZAR pp sharing
Single Supplement: from 10,000 ZAR
This 30-day accommodated self-drive tour is designed in such a way that you have enough time to enjoy and explore the country without having to spend too much time driving. You will visit South Africa’s highlights including the Kruger National Park, Swaziland, Kosi Bay, St. Lucia, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, the Drakensberg and the Wild Coast before you travel along the Garden Route to Cape Town. This tour combines self-drive game viewing and gentle walks with swimming, snorkelling and relaxing on deserted beaches. Explore the best of South Africa in your own time, at your own pace.
Day 1-6; South Africa
- Johannesburg: Soweto township tours, Gold Reef City, Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Constitution Hill, Newtown
- Pretoria: Transvaal Museum of Natural History, Union Buildings, Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria Botanical Gardens and zoo
- Panorama Route: Self-drive game viewing, guided game drives and bush walks
- Kruger National Park: Game drives, guided bush walks
Day 7; Swaziland
- Manzini and Malkerns: Craft market, hiking, horse riding, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Day 8-20; South Africa
- Kosi Bay: Boat cruise, snorkeling
- St. Lucia: Boat cruise, forest walk
- Cape Vidal: Snorkelling
- Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve: Game drives
- Durban: uShaka Marine World, spice market, botanical garden, Indian cuisine, beach
- Drakensberg Mountains: Giant´s Castle, hiking, rock art, crafters
- Wild Coast: Quad biking, horseback riding, beach walks
Day 21-30; South Africa
- Jeffreys Bay: surfing lessons, beach
- Tsitsikamma National Park: Hiking, bungee jumping (optional), sundowner at Shark´s Point
- Knysna: Boat cruise on lagoon, The Heads, forest walks
- Oudtshoorn: Cango Caves, ostriches
- Hermanus: Whale watching (seasonal), forest and coastal walks, wineries
- Cape Town: Table Mountain National Park, V&A Waterfront, Cape Point, Robben Island, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, wineries, beaches, galleries
Instead of huge impersonal hotels we offer you owner-managed guesthouses and private lodges. We have visited all the selected lodges, guesthouses and camps to ensure unique and personable accommodation.
Day 1 Arrival in Johannesburg / Pretoria, South Africa
Distance approx. 70 km; driving time approx. 1h
After your arrival in Johannesburg, you pick up your rental car and drive to Brooks Cottage in Pretoria. The rest of the day is at leisure. Relax at the guesthouse’s pool or explore Johannesburg and/or Pretoria.
Day 2-3 Johannesburg, South Africa - Panorama Route, South Africa
Distance day 2 approx. 450-500 km; driving time approx. 5-6h
You will dive through the provinces of Gauteng and Mpumalanga towards Hoedspruit. On your way you will pass Dullstroom, Lydenburg and Ohrigstad before you head over the Abel Erasmus Pass to reach the Blyde River Wilderness Lodge. Take a dip in the pool to refresh and visit a private game reserve in the area or a wildlife rehabilitation centre nearby. The next day you have enough time to drive along the Panorama Route where you can visit the Blyde River Canyon viewpoint, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and God’s Window. You will spend two nights at the Blyde River Wilderness Lodge.
Day 4-6 Panorama Route, South Africa - Kruger National Park, South Africa
Distance day 4 approx. 200 km; driving time approx. 6-7h (incl. game drives)
Distance day 5 approx. 150 km; driving time approx. 6h
Distance day 6 depends on choice of route
You will enter the Kruger National Park at the Orpen Gate and drive in a northerly direction to the Olifants Rest Camp, where you will overnight in one of the bungalows. The camp overlooks the Olifants River below and is rich in birdlife. The following days you spend game viewing in the world famous Kruger National Park - hopefully you will spot the ’Big Five ‘(lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino). The second night is spent at Skukuza and the third night at Lower Sabie Rest Camp. Book a guided night game drive (in order to see the nocturnal animals) or guided bush walk.
Breakfast (day 4)
Bungalows are equipped with cooking facilities and supplies can be bought from rest camp shops, but there are restaurants in the camps should you prefer to take a rest from cooking…
Please note: In high season or school holidays some camps mentioned may fully booked. In this case we would consult you before booking alternative.
Day 7 Kruger National Park, South Africa - Malkerns, Swaziland
Distance approx. 250 km; driving time approx. 3-4h
You leave the Kruger National Park at the Crocodile Bridge Gate and cross the border to Swaziland. Via Manzini you travel into the direction of Mbabane Tonight you will stay at Umdoni Guesthouse on a pineapple farm near Malkerns. Here you can play tennis, take a bicycle ride and lounge around the pool. Stop at a local market to shop for colourful Swazi crafts - weaving, textiles, candles, woodcuts and more or visit the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary about 7km away.
Day 8-9 Malkerns, Swaziland - Kosi Bay, South Africa
Distance day 8 approx. 350 km; driving time approx. 4-5h
Kosi Bay is a small village in the 11000ha Kosi Bay Nature Reserve. The main attraction is the four beautiful freshwater lakes connected by canals which then eventually flow into the Indian Ocean. Boat trips on the one of the lakes (look out for ospreys and cormorants) snorkelling and turtle tours can be arranged by Utshwayelo Lodge, your accommodation for two nights. Relax at the lodge’s pool, go on walks and swim. Because of the variety and abundance of life where the warm fresh river waters meet the cooler sea, snorkelling at the river mouth is recommended. You will spend two nights at the Utshwayelo Lodge. Please take note that many activities in the region require the use of a 4x4 vehicle - book at the lodge. br />
Day 10-11 Kosi Bay, South Africa - St. Lucia, South Africa
Distance day 10 approx. 250 km; driving time approx. 3-4h
Today you drive to the little town of St Lucia where you will spend the next two days at the St. Lucia Wetlands Guesthouse. The town is located on the St. Lucia estuary – join a boat trip to see hippos and crocodiles – and visit the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Relax on the beach, go swimming, bird watching, horse riding or talk a walk through the forests. The area is also a paradise for bird enthusiasts; many hundred different types can be spotted. Between November and March leatherback and loggerhead turtles come to nest. Join a turtle tour to see the action. You can also go to Cape Vidal, drive through the iSimangaliso Wetland Park to get there. Cape Vidal which is close by and also offers some great beaches, fishing excursions and safe snorkelling in the rock pools.
Day 12 St. Lucia, South Africa - Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Park, South Africa
Distance approx. 100 km; driving time approx. 8-10h (incl. game drives)
Start off the day early for a day trip to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve. After a short drive past forests and sugar plantations, you reach KZN’s only ‘Big Five’ reserve. Thanks to the breeding programme the reserve is home to black and white rhino as well as elephant, lion, leopard and buffalo. Many people also consider the game reserve to be the most beautiful e in South Africa which may be because of its unique landscapes. Game drives and guided walks are available. In the evening you will return to the St. Lucia Wetlands Guesthouse.
Day 13 St. Lucia, South Africa - Durban, South Africa
Distance approx. 250 km; driving time approx. 3h
Your next destination is Durban, a lush green city on the Indian Ocean. Durban has a large Indian population which adds to the cosmopolitan feel of the city. A trip to the spice market is worthwhile for the sights, sounds and aromatic smells. If you can stomach it, visit the muti market next door… Other attractions include the botanical gardens, uShaka Marine World and promenade and a visit to one of Durban’s excellent beaches. You will overnight at the Fairlight Beach House in Umdloti - just 19km north of Durban. The guesthouse overlooks the ocean and is within walking distance of excellent seafood restaurants.
Day 14-16 Durban, South Africa - Central Drakensberg, South Africa
Distance day 14 approx. 250 km; driving time approx. 3-4h
Today you head inland along the N3 towards Mooi River. Here you will turn off and drive towards the Central Drakensberg region, an area of fly-fishing streams, artists, crafters (visit the Midlands Craft Meander), mountain hikes and private game reserves. Your destination is Antbear Guesthouse.
Be sure to visit the Giant’s Castle National Park, about 45km from the lodge. Hike to see the caves with rock art, swim in the mountain streams and taste freshly caught trout at the rest camp’s restaurant. Return to Antbear for a 3-course supper.
Day 17-18 Central Drakensberg, South Africa - Port Edward, South Africa
Distance day 17 approx. 350-400 km; driving time approx. 4-5h
Your journey takes you back to the coast and southwards along the N2 to Port Edward. You have a full day to go exploring the coves along the coast, swim, go coffee tasting, play golf or go horse-riding (optional). You will stay for two nights at the family-run Plumbago B&B in the small village of Leisure Bay.
Day 19-20 Wild Coast, South Africa
Distance day 19 approx. 500 km; driving time approx. 6-7h
Today you drive through the former Transkei. In this rural area you will share the road with busses, donkeys, local taxis and the occasional chicken. Drive carefully. Your destination is Crawford's Beach Lodge at Chintsa Bay. Here you can walk along the beach, swim, go surfing, kayaking, horse-riding or quad biking or just laze at the pool. An excellent buffet dinner is included in the rate. You continue in the direction of East London and make your way to today’s destination, the. The following day, enough time has been set aside for you to relax at the beach or to be a bit more active while. You will overnight at the Crawford's Beach Lodge.
Day 21 Wild Coast, South Africa - Jeffreys Bay, South Africa
Distance approx. 400 km; driving time approx. 5h
You pass historical Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth on your way to Jeffreys Bay, famous for its excellent surfing waves. You will overnight at the African Perfection Guesthouse with views over one of the world’s best surfing spots, Supertubes. Go for surfing lessons, horse-riding on the beach or book a fishing trip (all optional).
Day 22 Jeffreys Bay, South Africa - Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa
Distance approx. 150 km; driving time approx. 2h
Today you continue west to the Tsitsikamma National Park, a region of forest, rivers and stormy seas. The park is also a paradise for bird enthusiasts and lovers of dramatic coastlines. You will stay in the Storms River Mouth Rest Camp, form here you can walk the first section of the renowned Otter hiking trail. In the evening you can go for sundowners at Shark’s Point before returning to the camp where you will overnight in a chalet or oceanette. The rest camp has a restaurant, but the chalets have cooking and barbecue facilities should you prefer to cook.
Day 23 Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa - Knysna, South Africa
Distance approx. 100 km; driving time approx. 1-2h
Travel along the picturesque R102 before you turn off onto the N2 to see the Bloukrans Bridge, the highest single-span bridge in the world. Enjoy the fantastic view from the bridge before you travel back to the R102 and continue your journey via the beautiful town of Plettenberg Bay to Knysna. Go for a boat cruise on the Knysna Lagoon, drive up to the viewpoint at the Knysna Heads, walk in the forests, taste the oysters or join a township tour; so many things to do in Knysna. You will overnight at the Stannards Guest Lodge.
Day 24 Knysna, South Africa - Oudtshoorn, South Africa
Distance approx. 150 km; driving time approx. 2h
From Knysna you drive to George and then inland over the dramatic Outeniqua Pass to the little Karoo. Oudtshoorn is also famous for its ostrich industry and the town’s magnificent sandstone mansions testify to an era of great splendour. Visit an ostrich farm or join a tunnel tour in Cango Caves to explore the underground halls and caverns. You will overnight in a standard room at the De Zeekoe Guest Farm.
Day 25-26 Oudtshoorn, South Africa - Hermanus, South Africa
Distance day 25 approx. 350-400 km; driving time approx. 5-6h
Along the Route 62 you will pass Calitzdorp, Ladismith, Montagu and Swellendam before you get to Hermanus, South Africa’s premier whale watching destination. Between June and November it is the perfect site for whale watching as you stroll along the cliff path. Hermanus is located in the Cape Floral Kingdom a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its huge biodiversity. You will spend two nights at the FrancolinHof Guest House with beautiful views over the bay.
Day 27-29 Hermanus, South Africa - Cape Town, South Africa
Distance day 27 approx. 150-200 km; driving time approx. 2-3h
Cape Town, often compared to San Francisco, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With Table Mountain in the background and on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, overlooking Robben Island, the city offers a range of nature and city-based activities. From hiking the forested slopes of the mountain, exploring the towns and beaches of the Cape Peninsula to sampling designer coffees, hipster restaurants and art galleries in the inner-city, Cape has enough to fill your three nights here. You will spend three nights in the city at the Cactusberry Lodge, within walking distance to the restaurants and nightlife of Long and Kloof Streets.
Day 30 Cape Town, South Africa
Distance approx. 30-50 km; driving time approx. 1h
Time for some last minute shopping before driving to Cape Town international Airport to return your rental car. Want to stay longer? Let us book a connection tour or a few extra nights in Cape Town.
- Self-drive tour according to the itinerary
- 29 nights’ accommodation in guesthouses, chalets, bungalows and lodges
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary
- Flights (international and domestic)
- Rental car (please contact us for a quote)
- Meals not indicated in the itinerary
- Possible toll- and crossing border fees
- National park fees
- Optional activities
- Visa, tips, personal expenses, travel insurance
How safe is a self-drive tour in South Africa?
- In general South Africa is not a lot more dangerous than other countries in the world. Most crimes and acts of violence take place in the townships of bigger cities. Public areas around shopping centres, restaurants, banks etc. are very safe. Nevertheless you should stick to a couple of rules to avoid risky or dangerous situations. This includes staying away from dodgy areas, walking in the dark, carrying a lot of cash or expensive cameras on you, wearing flashy jewellery and leaving bags or valuables in the car.
What is the infrastructure like (road conditions, shops, petrol stations)?
- South Africa in general has a very good infrastructure and with the exception of private roads and some roads in the national parks, most of the roads are tarred.
- Petrol stations can be found alongside all major routes and highways as well as in cities/villages.
- There are more than enough different and well-stocked shops available and many petrol stations also have a little convenience shop.
On which side of the road will I be driving?
- In Southern Africa vehicles are right-hand drives hence driving is done on the left-hand side of the roads.
Do I need an international driver’s licence?
- According to the law, all you need is a valid driver’s licence with a photo and issued in English. If your national driver’s licence has not been issued in English or does not have a photo, you will need an international driver’s licence.
- As per the terms and conditions of the rental car companies, only a valid national driver’s licence and a credit card is required.
Can I enter the national parks with the rental car?
- Most roads within the national parks are tarred or good gravel and all are accessible to rental cars. Please however take note that you have to stick to the rules of the national parks at all time. These include: remaining in your vehicle unless you are in a designated area, sticking to the speed limit of 50 km/h on tar and 40 km/h on gravel roads and not littering.
- Most national parks offer guided game drives in open safari vehicles accompanied by a professional ranger. Night drives are especially recommendable if you are interested in seeing the nocturnal animals. All game drives can be booked at the camps directly.
How will I be able to find my way around?
- Along with your travel documents you will receive a voucher that includes detailed directions and contact details for all the pre-booked accommodation.
- Some rental car companies provide road maps but as not all of them do, it is advisable to bring a good map with a map scale of at least 1:1,5 mill. with you.
What meals are included and what food can be expected on tour?
- Meals are included as indicated in the itinerary.
- Breakfast usually consists of a full English breakfast and cereals, toast, cheese, jam, fruits, juices, tea, coffee.
- Since most of the days are spent on the road or in the national parks, no lunches have been included.
- As South Africa is well-known for its great cuisine and there is such a big variety of different restaurants, dinner has been excluded on most days. This allows you to make your own choices and to enjoy different dining experiences. Most restaurants offer an à la carte menu with different meat, poultry, fish, rice, pasta and vegetable dishes.
What about the money matter?
- You can either exchange your own currency for South African Rand at one of the exchange bureaus at the airport or in town or you can go to an ATM and draw South African Rand at the current rate of exchange. Please note that you need a Maestro card or any credit card (VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club) and your pin code to draw money.
- Credit cards are also widely accepted but as there are still some shops and petrol stations that do not accept credit cards, make sure you always have some cash on hand.
Do I need vaccinations for this self-drive tour?
- As the Kruger Park is situated within a malaria area, we would recommend some precautions. Please speak to your doctor or travel clinic about the different prophylaxis and their effects and side effects.
- Although none of the countries visited on tour require proof of immunization against tetanus, diphtheria, polio and Hepatitis A & B, we nevertheless recommend those vaccinations.