South Africa’s north east in Style
21-Day Self-Drive Tour, Accommodated
Number of Participants: Individual
Tour Price: from 45,300 ZAR pp sharing
Single Supplement: from 13,600 ZAR
On this 21 day accommodated self drive tour you will experience magnificent landscapes, great game viewing and finally enjoy some of the most pristine beaches of Southern Africa. Via the Panorama Route (Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window, and Bourke’s Luck Potholes) the journey takes you to the famous Kruger National Park. Thereafter you continue to Swaziland and to South Africa’s east coast, where you will relax at a private lodge on the white sandy beaches of the Indian Ocean. You will also travel to St. Lucia and the Central and Northern Drakensberg before you return back to Johannesburg.
Day 1-5; South Africa
- Johannesburg: Gandhi Square, Soweto, Gold Reef City, Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Constitution Hill, Newtown
- Pretoria: President Paul Kruger House, Melrose House, Transvaal Museum of Natural History, Union Buildings, Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria Botanical Gardens
- Panorama Route: Blyde River Canyon, God´s Window, Bourkes Luck Potholes
- Kruger National Park: Game drives
Day 6-7; Swaziland
- Malkerns: Hiking, excursion to the Milwane Wildlife Sancturary, candle factory
Day 8-14; South Africa
- Tembe Elephant Park: Game drives
- Maputaland: Snorkelling, diving, horse riding
Day 15-21; South Africa
- St. Lucia: Boat cruise, relaxing on the long and sandy beaches
- Drakensberg Mountains: Giant´s Castle, hiking, Bushmen paintings, Bushmen museum
- Royal Natal National Park: Hiking, cycling, horse riding
We have visited all the below mentioned lodges, guesthouses and camps and can therefore recommend them first hand. In order not to only “tick off” all the points of interest but to actually learn more about the visited places, the country and its people, we do not book our clients into big and anonymous lodges, hotels and resort. Instead of the huge impersonal tourism establishments we offer you owner-managed guesthouses and private lodges where you have a better opportunity of getting to know more about your destination, while interacting with the staff and owners.
Day 1 Arrival in Johannesburg, South Africa - 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 and you can either relax at the guesthouse or do a half-day trip to explore Johannesburg or Pretoria.
Day 2-3 Johannesburg, South Africa - Blyde River Canyon, South Africa
Distance on day 2 approx. 450-500 km; driving time approx. 5-6h
Through the provinces of Gauteng and Mpumalanga you drive in a northerly direction where you will pass through Dullstroom, Lydenburg and Ohrigstad before heading over the Abel Erasmus Pass to Hoedspruit. You then reach the Blyde River Wilderness Lodge where you spend the rest of the day. The next day you have enough time to go sightseeing along the Panorama Route where you can visit the Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window and Bourke’s Luck Potholes. The Blyde River Wilderness Lodge also serves as a good starting point for a visit to the Northern Drakensberg. You will spend both nights at the Blyde River Wilderness Lodge.
Day 4-5 Kruger National Park, South Africa
Distance on day 4 approx. 100 km; driving time approx. 2-3h
Via Klaserie you will reach the famous Kruger National Park. You will be spending two nights at the Rhino Post Safari Lodge in a private concession within the national park. In the mornings and evenings, a guide from the lodge will take you on game drives, hopefully allowing you to see the “Big Five” (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino). The afternoon is set aside for you to relax at the pool or to simply enjoy the view of the African bush from the comforts of your private veranda. Your stay at Rhino Post Safari Lodge includes all meals and two game drives per day.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6-7 Kruger National Park, South Africa - Malkerns, Swaziland
Distance on day 6 approx. 350 km; driving time approx. 4-5h
Today you leave South Africa behind and cross the border to Swaziland. You drive via Mbabane where you can visit colourful markets and souvenir shops to buy handmade arts and crafts. Swaziland is by far more pastoral compared to South Africa and the region around Mbabane is perfect for hiking in the mountains and excursions to the Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary. You will overnight at the Umdoni Guesthouse, which is close to a candle factory. Here you cannot only buy the candles but also watch the workers making them.
Day 8-9 Malkerns, Swaziland - Tembe Elephant Park, South Africa
Distance on day 8 approx. 300 km; driving time approx. 4-5h
In the north-eastern corner of KwaZulu Natal (an almost forgotten region), you find yourself in the land of the Tembe used to be known as the „Ivory Route“. For many years this route connected the ivory dealers from Mozambique with the Zululand. Tembe is widely known for having some of the largest known elephants in the world, called the “legendary tuskers”. In the Tembe Elephant Park you have the possibility of seeing more than 200 of these gentle giants. Because the park is situated between tropical and subtropical climate it is not only home to the “Big Five” but also to an enormous diversity of plants and bird species. You will overnight in permanent, luxurious tents at the Tembe Lodge. The rate also includes two daily game drives.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10-14 Tembe Elephant Park, South Africa – Thonga Beach Lodge, South Africa
Distance on day 10 approx. 50 km; driving time approx. 1h + 1h 4x4 transfer
Today’s journey takes you to the coast of the Indian Ocean. You will park your rental car at a designated and guarded parking area from where a driver from Thonga Beach Lodge will take you to the lodge. If you are travelling by 4x4, you have the option of driving to the lodge yourself.
Nestled into coastal dune forest, the lodge offers breath-taking views over the long, sandy beach below. During the next few days you can go snorkelling, diving and exploring the area around the lodge or you can simply relax on the beach or at the pool.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 15-16 Thonga Beach Lodge, South Africa - St. Lucia, South Africa
Distance on day 15 approx. 250 km; driving time approx. 3-4h
After breakfast you are taken back to the 4x4 parking area from where you will continue your journey to St. Lucia. This small town offers a big selection of activities. You can do a boat trip on the estuary where you might see hippos and crocodiles in the river and with a little luck you will also be able to see elephants and other animals coming to drink. Otherwise you can also go for long walks along the beach or just relax. Furthermore the entire region is a paradise for bird lovers. You can also visit Cape Vidal or the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve. You will overnight at the St. Lucia Wetlands Guesthouse.
Day 17-18 St. Lucia, South Africa - Central Drakensberg, South Africa
Distance on day 17 approx. 400 km; driving time approx. 5-6h
After a leisurely breakfast you continue your journey and drive via Stanger, Greytown and Mooi River to the Central Drakensberg. You can choose between different hiking trails at Giant’s Castle or in the surrounding area. From Giant’s Castle’s parking area it is only a short walk to the tracks of the original Bushmen tribe, who hiked on the very same trails that you will be walking on. You will visit the impressive rock paintings of the San Bushmen as well as a small museum. Thereafter you can hike along the river on the different trails (depending on your fitness level) and enjoy this unique landscape. You will overnight outside of the park at the Antbear Guesthouse.
Day 19-20 Central Drakensberg, South Africa - Royal Natal National Park, South Africa
Distance on day 19 approx. 150-200 km; driving time approx. 2-3h
From Giant’s Castle the journey continues to the Northern Drakensberg and the Royal Natal National Park, where you have the choice of many different hiking trails from easy and short to longer harder ones. The Royal Natal National Park is best known for its so called Amphitheatre. This up to one kilometre high rock wall in form of an arc is one of the nicest and most impressive backgrounds for hiking, bicycle tours and riding. You will spend both nights at the Montusi Mountain Lodge.
Day 21 Royal Natal National Park, South Africa - Johannesburg, South Africa
Distance approx. 350 km; driving time approx. 4-5h
Today you travel through the Free State to Johannesburg, where you drop off your rental car at the airport. You will board the plane for your flight back home where you will arrive with a lot of new impressions and experiences.
- Self drive tour according to the itinerary
- 20 nights accommodation in guesthouses, chalets, bungalows and lodges
as indicated in the itinerary
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary
- All game-viewing activities at Rhino Post Safari Lodge
- Flights (international and domestic)
- Rental car (please contact us for a quote)
- Meals not indicated in the itinerary
- Beverages (alcohol and soft drinks)
- 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& Mozambique?
- In general South Africa and Mozambique are nota 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.
- Mozambique’s infrastructure is still growing. While the main road along the coast is a good tarred road the smaller roads towards the coast are often gravel or sand roads. There are only very few roads sings in Mozambique.
- All major roads and highways have petrol stations en-route.
- In South Africa there are more than enough different and well-stocked shops available and many petrol stations also have a little convenience shop. In Mozambique you will find less shops en-route and only a few petrol stations sell snacks and drinks.
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 which has been issued in English and has a photo thereon. If your national driver’s licence has not been issued in English or does not have a photo, you 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 cardare required.
Can I enter the national parks in South Africa 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 roadsand 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.
- Mozambique is especially famous for its fresh sea food. As all the included accommodations have good restaurants and the selection of restaurants in the small beach villages is rather limited, dinner is included during your beach stay.
What about the money matter?
- You can either exchange your own currency for South African Rand at one of the exchange bureausat 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) andyour pin code to draw money.
- Credit cards are also widely accepted in South Africa 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.
- In Mozambique you can pay with South African Rand or exchange your own currency for Meticais at one of the exchange bureaus in town. Furthermore most ATM’s in town will allow you to draw Meticais with your credit card (pin code needed).
Do I need vaccinations for this self drive tour?
- As the Kruger Park and Mozambique are 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.