South Africa Explorer
Group Size: 4 - 17 passengers
South Africa is a haven of spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife, diverse cultures and first world norms, all topped with a healthy and invigorating climate. These qualities make it an adventure destination not to be missed. A country virtually the size of Europe with over 3000 kilometres of unspoiled coastline, boasting climatic differences from searing hot desert to snow-capped peaks, and varied cultures from the original Bushman to the most Western of ways. You will visit the highlights, but leave the beaten track to explore the great outdoors and visit a variety of African eco-systems. Overnight stops are all at comfortable Lodges, in pristine reserves, high in the mountains, or on the beach, always in truly unique surroundings. The tour is enjoyed by those with a flexible attitude and adventurous mentality.
Day 1 - Johannesburg
On arrival at Johannesburg Airport you will need to make your way to the Tourist Information desk in Terminal A to meet for your transfer to your accommodation. The remainder of the day and night is free but remember that it is a very early start tomorrow morning so an early night is suggested and check on breakfast times and if needed book a breakfast pack.
Located near the metro station, Signature Lux Hotel, by Onomo is in Sandton with good shopping. South African Museum of Military History and Museum Africa are cultural highlights, and travellers looking to shop may want to visit Nelson Mandela Square and Sandton City Mall. Enjoy an event or a match at First National Bank Stadium, and consider making time for Johannesburg Zoo—a top attraction that’s not to be missed.
Day 2 - Kruger
Departing the hotel early, meeting in the lobby by 06h00 and departing at 06h30, you will head north from Johannesburg – “The City of Gold”, like many intrepid explorers have done before, your journey takes you through the outskirts of the capital – Pretoria, and then out into the vast open plains of Africa. (BD)
Lunch today will be in the historic gold mining village of Haenertsburg (own expense). After lunch you descend into the Magoebaskloof, a spectacular lush mountainous area presided over by the Rain Queen – Modjadi. The last stretch of your journey today takes you into the Greater Kruger – world renowned for its protected natural environment and vast free-ranging animal populations.
Included Highlights / Activities: Scenic drive down to the Lowveld region, Private Game Reserve accommodation.
For the next two nights you get cosy at your well-appointed Bush Lodge, situated in a private reserve within the greater Kruger – where animals roam freely and unrestricted. This privately owned reserve allows you the freedom to explore the wilderness in open game drive vehicles in search of a variety of animals, both during the day and into the evening.
The lodge casually blends into the bush and offers crisp comfortable beds, stunning views over the surrounding wilderness, including a water hole regularly frequented by animals. Retire to bed whilst listening to a symphony of sounds from the African Bush.
Day 3 - Kruger
After a peaceful night’s rest you start the day with an early riser light breakfast of fresh coffee and rusks (a traditional South African biscuit), before embarking on your morning experience within the wild African bush. (BD)
Guided by a qualified ranger you explore the wilderness, with heightened senses, always on the lookout for an animal encounter while also discovering the smaller treasures often hidden from the eye. Before the heat of the day sets in you return to the lodge for a scrumptious brunch, after which it’s time to relax around the lodge and enjoy the serenity of the surrounding wilderness. A nearby waterhole attracts a variety of birds and wildlife that come to quench their thirst, displaying the pecking order ever so present. Unwind with a refreshing drink while game viewing from the deck.
With the heat subsiding in the late afternoon you embark on an open vehicle game drive which develops into an extensive night drive – in search of the nocturnal animals that come out after dark. As dusk approaches you pull over and enjoy a sun-downer drink or two, whilst marvelling at the magnificent sun setting over the African bushveld.
Included Highlights / Activities: Exclusive Private Game Reserve, Morning and afternoon guided experience in Big 5 area.
Day 4 - Panorama Route – Hazyview
Rising with the African sun, a hearty breakfast is enjoyed before setting off to climb the escarpment and explore the many natural wonders and viewing points in this incredibly scenic region. First stop will be to view the impressive Blyde River Canyon – the world’s largest “Green Canyon”. After viewing the Canyon you continue on to visit the museum town of Pilgrim’s Rest where you enjoy a walk down through the main street whilst reliving the days of the early gold rush.(BD)
Today’s lunch will be at your own expense at a venue literally on the edge of the escarpment and offering the most incredible views over the entire Lowveld.
Included Highlights / Activities: Panorama Route, 3 Rondavels, Pilgrim’s Rest.
Optional Activities (additional cost): Gorge Swing.
Greenfire Lodge Hazyview, a log cabin built spectacularly on stilts in the indigenous forest on the banks of the impressive Sabie River or “Fearful River” as dubbed by the locals. As well as a natural paradise this is also a working farm where coffee, limes and macadamias are produced and we will take the time to tour the workings on the property.
Day 5 - Kruger
Waking with the birds, you depart from the lodge at sunrise and travel a short distance to enter the southern sector of Kruger National Park for a full day of game viewing. (BD)
Driving slowly through this iconic National Park – the size of Israel or Wales, you will spend the day in search of the many animal inhabitants. From the high vantage point and comfort of your well-equipped vehicle the view is excellent. Your expert guide will take time to explain the behaviour of the many animals you see in this fascinating environment. Most of the day will be spent game viewing, however, you will stop regularly at various designated sites to stretch your legs and also to enjoy an own-expense lunch at one of the rest camps in the Park. Late this afternoon you exit the Park and return to the comfort of your lodge.
Included Highlights / Activities: Southern section of Kruger National Park, Full day game drive.
Day 6 - eSwatini
Departing after breakfast you pass through the provincial capital Mbombela (Nelspruit), before leaving South Africa and crossing the border into the Kingdom of eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland), a small landlocked country, rich in culture and natural beauty. Your journey today takes you high into the mountains, past numerous traditional homesteads, and into an area of spectacular natural beauty. The area is home to many traditional craft industries and time permitting, you will visit one or more during your time here. (BD)
You will spend some time exploring this small country before arriving at your accommodation for the night and enjoying a locally cooked meal.
Included Highlights / Activities: Kingdom of eSwanti, Scenic drive.
Set in stunning mountain countryside, Foresters Arms Hotel is a short, scenic drive from the capital, Mbabane, the perfect base for exploring all the attractions of this majestic Kingdom. Dating from colonial times, this country hotel is a traditional haven of comfort and a place of great character and charm. Set within extensive, beautiful gardens rich in native flowers and trees, Foresters Arms offers exceptional accommodation, excellent food and a genuine caring & friendly service.
Day 7 - St Lucia
Today you follow winding roads south through the Swazi countryside, before crossing back into South Africa. After completing the border formalities, you enter Zululand, a part of modern-day KwaZulu-Natal, and home to South Africa’s largest ethnic group – the Zulu people. Formed in the early 1800’s into the most powerful regional empire by King Shaka Zulu, the Zulus influenced a large part of southern Africa. (BL)
Once back in South Africa your journey continues to the bustling coastal town of St Lucia where you spend the next two nights.
Included Highlights / Activities: Scenic Drive through Swaziland, iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
Optional Activities (additional cost): Night drive in Wetland Park.
The architectural qualities are seen throughout the building, for Forest Lodge in St. Lucia is a modern and contemporary building style. The owners have vast experience in tourism and their demands. The Lodge design evolves around the luxury and comfort of its clients. This is the first newly build Lodge in St Lucia for the past 10 years. Its design and rooms cater for the clients with specific demands. Forest Lodge & Forest Villas in St Lucia offers accommodation for the individual traveller as well as families and groups. Forest Lodge has a perfect position from where all activities in and around St Lucia can be explored.
Day 8 - St Lucia
During your stay in St Lucia you will also visit the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a Subtropical Coastal habitat with white beaches, tidal pools, offshore reefs and coastal dune forest. This unique combination of coastal reserve and Wetland Park offers an absolutely unique experience, where you drive through the park viewing rhino, buffalo and a multitude of other large animals, before going for a walk on a deserted beach where at any time you can take a dip in the warm Indian Ocean. The day is spent exploring the beach, rock pools, pristine dune forest and other natural habitats of this amazing Park. (BL)
During the evenings you enjoy your dinners at one of the many local restaurants (own-expense). Beware of the wandering hippos that also visit town at night for a bite to eat.
Day 9 - Drakensberg
Departing St Lucia after breakfast, you continue travelling through the rolling hills of Kwa-Zulu Natal, an area famous for various battles between the Boers and Zulus, British and Zulus and the Boers and British. The area is filled with numerous historic sites that helped shape modern day South Africa. (BLD)
This afternoon you reach the majestic Drakensberg mountain range that rises 3400m, known to the locals as “The Barrier of Spears”. After a full day you arrive at your accommodation, where we spend two nights in cosy cabins surrounded by breath-taking views.
Included Highlights / Activities: Drakensberg Mountains, Tugela Gorge hike.
Optional Activities (additional cost): Horse riding.
This award-winning, four-star, self-catering mountain village promises guests an unforgettable time away. Families and nature-lovers can explore their surroundings with this luxury Drakensberg accommodation as a home base.
Superbly equipped Deluxe Chalets promise guests breathtaking views of Southern Africa’s highest mountain range. Enjoy a range of sports and leisure activities for all ages, offered on-site, or spoil yourself with a treatment at the stunning Be Spoilt Beauty Salon & Spa. Whether it’s for a day, a weekend or even longer, booking your stay at Alpine Heath promises an unforgettable time away!
Day 10 - Drakensberg
Today you will conduct a day hike in the Tugela Gorge which is located in the Royal Natal National Park, part of Drakensberg World Heritage Site. From here you will have a spectacular view of the towering cliffs of the Amphitheatre and the Tugela Falls, at 948m the falls are widely accepted as being the second highest in the world.
Day 11 - Southern Drakensberg
With tired legs, today you travel further south whilst hugging the Drakensberg Mountains and make your way into the Natal midlands, a lush farming area known to be one of South Africa’s prettiest. (BLD)
Your overnight stop tonight is on a working ranch. You arrive in the afternoon and will have time to learn more about farming in this area as well as the fascinating history that surrounds the farm and buildings on the property. For the adventurous there will also be an opportunity to assist with some of the farm work in the afternoon or early morning. Tonight you will enjoy a traditional dinner prepared fresh from the farm gardens.
Included Highlights / Activities: Scenic drive through Southern Drakensberg, Local farm stay.
A tranquil experience on this beautiful farm situated in the Southern Drakensberg KwaZulu-Natal. It is tastefully decorated and includes a Deli situated in full view of a beautiful dam and hillside country. The Deli offers breakfast, lunch, dinner but is closed on Sundays. Please make provision to self-cater for meals on Sundays. Farm activities includes, hiking trails, picnics (on request), milking cows, a basic obstacle course, star gazing, fishing and bird watching.
Day 12 - Wild Coast
Day 13 - Wild Coast
Another full day to enjoy the surroundings or just relax at the hotel. (BLD)
Day 14 - Cradock
Departing from the Wild Coast you follow lesser known roads through the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa and make your way into the Great Karoo, to Cradock, a town in the upper reaches of the Great Fish River valley, filled with rich history dating back to the mid 1800s. (BLD)
On arrival in Cradock you are met by a local guide who will take you on a colourful walking history tour, before you check into your accommodation for the night. You enjoy an evening surrounded by old fashion hospitality and history.
Included Highlights / Activities: Scenic drive in Eastern Cape, Historic town of Cradock, History Tour.
Die Tuishuise consist of 30 refurbished Karoo style cottages ideally located in Market Street, Cradock. Die Tuishuise have been awarded the coveted “Simon van der Stel” Gold Medal for restoration. These unique houses have been restored to their former splendour, recreating the gracious bygone era of the 1840’s. Guests are afforded the rare opportunity to escape the present and enjoy the historically rich surrounding, as well as the personalised service and amenities required by today’s discerning traveller.
Day 15 - Nelson Mandela Bay
An early start, you will aim to enter the Mountain Zebra Park as the gate opens – this Park is unlike any of the others you have previously visited, being in the semi-desert of the Great Karoo, and is home to not only the endangered mountain zebra, but also springbok, ostrich, cheetah, buffalo, black rhino, and an array of birdlife. You spend a few hours in search of animals, and to take in the spectacular views, before returning to the hotel for a sumptuous breakfast. (BL)
Once packed, you depart Cradock and head for the renowned Addo Elephant Park where elephants, buffalo and other animals can be viewed at close range in another unique environment, the succulent shrubs of the rhenosterveld. You will traverse this interesting National Park from the north to south.
Exiting in the late afternoon you travel the short distance back to the coast and to your hotel literally on the beachfront of the stunning Nelson Mandela Bay. The location of your hotel allows for you to stroll along the beachfront and to visit one of a variety of restaurants to enjoy an own expense dinner.
Included Highlights / Activities: Mountain Zebra National Park, Addo Elephant National Park, Nelson Mandela Bay.
The Beach Hotel is one Port Elizabeth’s finest family Hotel, situated on Port Elizabeth’s magnificent beachfront, directly opposite Hobie Beach and next to the Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment Complex. The Beach Hotel combines splendid service with quality accommodation, stylish cuisine and facilities for a perfect family holiday, business trip or relaxing getaway. The stunning four-star hotel offers homely comfort in its 58 spacious, en-suite bedrooms, some with stunning sea-views and others opening onto the tranquil courtyard.
Day 16 - Knysna
This morning you will have time for a stroll on the beach, perhaps a swim in the Indian Ocean or just a leisurely cup of coffee. After breakfast you then continue your journey into the heart of the spectacular Garden Route region. You will travel the length of this magnificent natural kingdom sandwiched between the ocean and the towering mountains, exploring the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here with the numerous estuaries, lakes and ancient forests. You will stop regularly to explore the highlights including the Tsitsikamma Coastal National Park where you will enjoy a walk along the rugged coast and over the suspension bridge spanning the Storms River mouth. (BLD)
This afternoon you travel to the vibrant town of Knysna. Surrounded by indigenous forests, fynbos and lagoons, this little town is a gem in a natural Garden of Eden. On arrival you have time to explore.
Included Highlights / Activities: Tsitsikamma National Park, Coastal hike.
Located in the centre of the quaint Garden Route town of Knysna, the Rex Hotel is a stylishly modern property. A fusion of contemporary and classic décor, the 30 rooms are well-appointed for guest comfort. Central areas are built around a courtyard and feature a lounge, trendy restaurant and bar. Surrounded by town life and conveniently situated, the Rex Hotel offers easy access to Knysna’s scenic attractions and the bohemian boutiques and cafés which give this town a certain charming appeal.
Day 17 - Cape Agulhas
Departing from Knysna you follow the coast through several small towns as you make your way down to Cape Agulhas – the most southerly point on the African continent. Here you will conduct a short walk down to the beach to experience first-hand the theoretical meeting point of the cold Atlantic and the warm Indian oceans. (BLD)
A picnic style lunch is enjoyed by all with the crisp clean ocean breeze, before leaving this treasure and retiring to your accommodation in Arniston. An afternoon walk down to the huge sea cave, Waenhuiskrans, is recommended.
Included Highlights / Activities: Cape Agulhas, Waenhuiskrans.
Day 18 - Cape Town
A relaxed morning drive takes you on the “Whale Route” through Hermanus – known across the world for excellent land based whale watching. You then hug the coast around the Hottentots Holland Mountains toward Betty’s Bay where you visit a small colony of African Penguins. (B)
This afternoon you travel one of the most scenic coastal routes in the world, along the edge of False Bay, before making your way towards the “Mother City”, Cape Town. Mid-afternoon you will arrive at your hotel, located in Sea Point. The hotel is conveniently located close to award winning restaurants, galleries, vibrant nightlife and the ocean promenade.
Cape Town is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world, rich in culture, award winning wines, world class restaurants, fashion and people from all walks of life, guests are encouraged to spend some extra time to explore the ‘Mother City’, and we would be happy to assist in making arrangements.
Included Highlights / Activities: Scenic drive to Cape Town, Coastal roads.
Optional Activities (additional cost): Parasailing, Boat cruise, Robben Island, Table Mountain.
Ideally situated within the Convention Centre and Cape Town International Convention Centre precinct, this premier four-star hotel (with its 16 Luxury Suites/Studios and 40 well-furnished Rooms) offers business and leisure travellers the ultimate accommodation experience.
The Canal Café boasts beautiful views of the canal and treats guests to a contemporary menu with a variety of simple, stylish and truly satisfying dishes. This is also an ideal venue for your next event or launch.
Within close proximity to the V&A Waterfront and Cape Town International Convention Centre, we offer a well-appointed conference venue on the picturesque Cape Town Foreshore.
aha Harbour Bridge Hotel & Suites is also nearby to other exciting attractions: Parliament, the Cultural History Museum, Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town Stadium, Century City, Grand West Casino, and Cape Town International Airport.
Day 19 - End of your South Africa Explorer Tour
Your tour ends after breakfast today. (B)
Dates and Pricing
- 25 Mar 23 - 31 Dec 23 $4,350 $4,975
Prices shown are per person based on twin share. Seasonal supplements and minimum night requirement may apply. Solo traveller and extra night prices available on request. Luggage restrictions may apply. International flights not included.
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