Package Tour - 16 day South African Essentials (Jhb-CT)
Categories: Big 5 / Nature / Sightseeing
On this tour you get to experience all the South African essentials. From Johannesburg to Cape Town in 16 days. Enjoy “Big Five” game viewing in the Kruger National Park. Visit the rugged Wild Coast, experience a rare interaction with ostriches and visit the World Heritage Sites of Table Mountain and iSimangaliso Wetlands. A glorious southern African experience, where you’ll see and savour the immense richness of the country.
At a Glance
Day 1: Johannesburg
Today you will be at leisure or alternatively take an optional guided afternoon city tour of Johannesburg (own account and excluding lunch). Share highlights of our City of Gold and its great historic and modern significance bridged by Nelson Mandela, joining two cultures and erecting the pillars of our Constitution.
Return to your hotel late afternoon, where you will be met by your tourist guide for a tour briefing at 18h30. Tonight enjoy dinner (own account) at your hotel.
Overnight: Crowne Plaza – The Rosebank Hotel or similar – bed and breakfast
Day 2: Johannesburg to Ohrigstad
Your tour today starts from your hotel where you will be collected by our tourist guide. We then head east to the rich poetic expanses of Mpumalanga, place where the sun rises, via Dullstroom to Ohrigstad.
Enjoy lunch (own account) in the picturesque village of Dullstroom, renowned for its trout fly-fishing and natural beauty. Venture further into the sub-tropical Lowveld passing Mashishing (Lydenburg) to our destination near Ohrigstad.
Enjoy pre-dinner drinks (own account) before tucking into dinner (own account) in this idyllic bushveld setting.
Overnight: Hannah Game Lodge or similar – bed and breakfast
Day 3: Ohrigstad to Hazyview
This morning you will be taken on an optional nature drive (own account) on the reserve. On this nature drive, expect to see plains game such as the rare sable, oryx, giraffe, zebra and serval. Leaving Ohrigstad you will travel through the Panorama Route via the Blyde River Canyon to Graskop.
The awe-inspiring Blyde River Canyon, which may be the world’s largest green canyons, is the start of today’s trip along the beautiful Panorama Route. This route also includes: The Three Rondawels, Lisbon Falls, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Wonder View, the highest viewpoint on this route. These are some of the country’s most beautiful views and cherished natural marvels.
Stop for lunch (own account) in Graskop. Arrive in the late afternoon at your overnight accommodation, on the fringes of Hazyview. Relax before easing into a leisurely dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Casa do Sol Hotel & Resort or similar – dinner, bed and breakfast
Day 4: Kruger National Park
Leaving the hotel after an early breakfast we travel to the iconic Kruger National Park.
Enjoy a guided closed vehicle game drive prowling the bushveld looking for the “Big Five”, their friends and natural enemies, inside the legendary Kruger National Park, a place where elephants always have the right of way.
The Kruger National Park covers 19,485km² and runs 360km from north to south. It supports a staggering variety of fauna and flora including 147 mammals and 507 birds species, some rare and indigenous to the area.
Staying inside the park, fill up on lunch (own account) while enjoying the wild scenery at one of the park’s rest camps, before continuing on your bush adventure.
Exit the Kruger National Park and head back to the hotel to freshen up and enjoy pre-dinner drinks (own account) before dinner.
Overnight: Casa do Sol Hotel & Resort or similar – dinner, bed and breakfast
Day 5: Hazyview to Hluhluwe
Departing the hotel after an early breakfast, we travel east on the N4, with a comfort stop in the Malelane area, before entering the warm and welcoming Kingdom of Swaziland at Mangana Border post.
Swaziland is a beautiful and culturally rich country. We drive through 1000 year old hardwood vegetation and shallower pans of the Hlane Royal National Park. Hlane is the Kingdom’s largest protected area and together with its neighbouring parks, makes up the vast bushveld expanse known as the Lebombo Conservancy. We stop for lunch (own account) at Nisela Safari Lodge. Exiting Swaziland at Lavumisa Border post, we enter the sub-tropical Zulu Kingdom of KwaZulu-Natal, in South Africa and make our way to Hluhluwe. We arrive towards early evening in time for dinner (own account) at this evening’s accommodation.
When entering the Kingdom of Swaziland, please ensure that you are in possession of a valid passport, and for nationals of certain countries, multi-entry visa terms and conditions will apply.
Overnight: Bonamanzi Game Reserve or similar – bed and breakfast
Day 6: Hluhluwe to Umhlanga
Today sees us travelling to Durban via Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park and St. Lucia.
Enjoy an early morning game drive in an open safari vehicle (included) in the nearby Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park. Historically, the hunting grounds of Zulu Kings such as Dingiswayo and Shaka, Hluhluwe and Umfolozi became the first game reserves in Africa and are the only area in KwaZulu-Natal where the “Big Five” can be found.
Return to the lodge for breakfast before heading to St Lucia, the only town in South Africa that lies inside a World Heritage Site, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, the largest estuarine system in Africa. Enjoy some time at leisure or take an optional boat cruise (own account) around the estuary. See rare wildlife and birdlife, mangrove swamps and vegetated sand dunes that make for an interesting and educational cruise.
Savour the sensational views of the lake while you enjoy lunch (own account).
A few hours’ drive down along the North Coast, takes you to the town of Umhlanga, on the warm Indian Ocean. This evening enjoy dinner out (own account) at one of the many local restaurants.
Overnight: Gooderson DumaZulu Lodge or similar – bed and breakfast
Day 7: Umhlanga to Coffee Bay
Sit down to an early breakfast, at the hotel, before departing Umhlanga for Coffee Bay via Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal South coast.
After a short orientation of Durban city, pass through the many beachside hamlets and resort towns along the South Coast drive inland to our lunch stop (own account) in Kokstad.
We continue along the N2 highway to the Wild Coast also known as the Transkei or Pondoland, in the Eastern Cape. This drive will present you with incredible untamed views of green rolling hills and rugged cliff faces, dotted with colourful traditional rondawels and free roaming cows and goats. With an unassuming beauty hidden from the modern world, it is a place where “African Time” makes sense.
The Wild Coast has a history as wild and rich as its coastal shores. It is a very traditional area where little has changed through the ages.
Our final port of call for the day is your hotel, situated in Coffee Bay. The village of Coffee Bay derives its name from a ship that ran aground here in 1893 with a cargo of coffee beans.
Admire the lovely views before gathering for a dinner of local fare, in this friendly setting.
Overnight: Peermont Mondazur Resort or similar – dinner, bed and breakfast
Day 8: Coffee Bay
Awaken to the calming and refreshing sounds of the ocean and enjoy breakfast along with the views. Today is yours; enjoy a full day at leisure.
Spend the day taking part in the many optional activities offered in the area (own account). Choose from hikes, snorkelling or fishing to the more adrenalin filled activities like abseiling, quad biking and rock climbing. Alternatively enjoy a more relaxed approach and spend the day on the beach, discover the legendary Hole-in-the-Wall with its mythology or just shop around for local crafts, while meeting the friendly amaPondo people.
Enjoy lunch (own account) at your own pace or at a venue in the area. Round off the day with pre-dinner drinks (own account) before savouring dinner at your hotel.
Overnight: Garden Court Mthatha or similar – dinner, bed and breakfast
Day 9: Coffee Bay to Port Alfred
An early breakfast and departure will see you travelling from the mystical beauty of Coffee Bay to the marina town of Port Alfred via Qunu, the birth place of Nelson Mandela.
Qunu, which is part of the former Transkei, consists of a number of little villages which have recently enjoyed much attention and growth as Mandela’s birth place. These are the green hills and pastures where Madiba herded sheep and cattle and which today still remains his family home. An area steeped in ancient Xhosa traditions and culture, taking you back to a simpler and humbler time.
Venture further south along the coastal road to East London. Lunch en route (own account). The coastal road brings you to Port Alfred at the heart of the Sunshine Coast, on the banks of the Kowie River.
We arrive late afternoon at your riverfront hotel. Enjoy some refreshing drinks (own account) before savouring the delightful local cuisine (own account).
Overnight: The Royal St Andrews or similar – bed and breakfast
Day 10: Port Alfred to Plettenberg Bay
After an early breakfast we take a boat cruise (weather permitting) along the scenic Kowie River before leaving the Sunshine Coast and travelling inland via the historical university town of Grahamstown and along the Garden Route. Grahamstown proudly owns the only genuine Victorian Camera Obscura in the Southern Hemisphere. We then travel via Storm’s River Mouth to the Garden Route. The Garden Route derives its name from the ecologically diverse vegetation present in the area, which lies between the Indian Ocean and the Tsitsikamma Mountains. Tsitsikamma is the ancient San name meaning place of abundant water, an enchanting and fabled part of the country. We lunch in Tsitsikamma (own account) before experiencing the wonderful views on the suspension bridge of the Storms River Mouth. Here you will observe the Storms River meeting the Indian Ocean in grand splendour.
Your final stop for the day finds you in Keurboomstrand, near Plettenberg Bay at your hotel. Enjoy some time at leisure or take a walk on the beach. This evening take pleasure in the oceanic ambience while you will dine at the resort’s elegant restaurant (own account).
Overnight: 3* Hotel - bed and breakfast basis
Day 11: Plettenberg Bay
Today is yours; enjoy a full day at leisure or venture on an optional excursion to a South African Heritage Site, Featherbed Nature Reserve and the Elephant Park in Knysna (own account, including lunch).
On arrival at the Knysna Waterfront, board the ferry that will take you to Featherbed Nature Reserve on the Western Knysna Head. On arrival at the reserve, board a Unimog-drawn trailer and drive up to the top of the reserve. While stopping at a scenic lookout point, our specialist guide will share fascinating tales about Knysna and the surrounding area while you enjoy the panoramic views. An optional 2.2 km guided nature walk takes you through the forest onto the cliffs into the caves and along the scenic coast. This is followed by a buffet lunch at the Forest Restaurant, a unique outdoor restaurant situated on the edge of the Lagoon under a canopy of Milkwood trees. After lunch we depart for an educational elephant interaction experience.
Enjoy time at leisure before dinner (own account).
Overnight: The Dunes Hotel & Resort or similar – bed and breakfast
Day 12: Plettenberg Bay to Oudtshoorn
After a hearty breakfast depart Keurboomstrand for the Klein Karoo via the scenic Knysna and surrounds.
This morning’s excursion presents you with some wonderful photographic opportunities at the lookout points at the Knysna Lagoon and the Heads.
Travel inland to the ostrich capital of the world, Oudtshoorn, driving over the Outeniqua Pass. Constructed by prisoners of war from 1943 – 1951 now bridges the coastal Garden Route and the semi-arid Klein Karoo.
For lunch (own account) we arrive at an ostrich farm on the outskirts of Oudtshoorn. A tour of the farm will introduce you to these strange and exotic birds, as well as the ostrich industry.
In the Cango Valley we discover the spectacular subterranean world of the Cango Caves. This 20 million year old world wonder features an impressive display of gold and vermillion dripstone stalagmites and stalactites.
Arrive at your hotel and enjoy some time at leisure. Delight in the charming country setting as you enjoy dinner (own account) of local fare and hospitality.
Overnight: Protea Hotel Riempie Estate or similar – bed and breakfast
Day 13: Oudtshoorn to Stellenbosch
After breakfast, our journey takes us west, via Route 62, to Stellenbosch in the heart of the Cape Winelands.
Route 62 is an iconic route with intoxicating and ever changing landscapes. Running along orchard lined valleys, towering mountain ranges, rivers and indigenous fynbos, Route 62 bridges the Western and Eastern Cape through the Klein Karoo, and includes what is possibly the world's longest wine route. Lunch en route (own account).
Next up is a visit to an award winning brandy distillery in Robertson, where you’ll have a fun and an educational experience in brandy tasting.
We journey further into the heart of the Winelands and arrive, late afternoon, in the beautiful and heritage proud town of Stellenbosch and see you safely to your hotel.
Leisure time to enjoy the comfortable and luxurious settings and views before drinks and dinner (own account) at one the hotel’s restaurants.
Overnight: Protea Hotel Stellenbosch or similar – bed and breakfast
Day 14: Cape Town
Cape Town, the oldest city in South Africa, lingers on the edge of Africa where oceans meet and cultures fuse under the presence of the majestic Table Mountain.
After breakfast, spend the morning at leisure discovering your Mother City or join an optional guided, full day Cape Point tour (own account), which incorporates Cape Point, Boulder's beach (entrance fee for own account) and Kirstenbosch Gardens.
This evening enjoy more of the Cape’s cuisine and wines, when you dine out or alternatively at your hotel (own account).
Overnight: Radisson Blu Le Vendome Hotel or similar – bed and breakfast
Day 15: Cape Town
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before spending the last day of the tour at leisure. Alternatively select an optional Table Mountain and city tour (own account).
A city with bountiful offerings of platinum beaches, an impressive mountain range, inviting night life, extensive shopping venues and art and cultural events, the Mother City has something for everyone to enjoy.
Table Mountain is a unique conservation area which presents its visitors the best views of Cape Town, ancient caves and some amazing hiking trails. It is also home to the Dassie or Rock Hyrax, a small, fury, guinea-pig like animal whose closest living relative is the African elephant. The Table Mountain Range is six times older than the Himalayas and five times that of the Rocky Mountains, and is estimated to be 260 million years old. Its original name was Hoeri 'kwaggo, sea mountain, then named Taboa da Caba, Table of the Cape by Portuguese. Enjoy the revolving cable car ride up the mountain (own account and weather permitting) to marvel at its panoramic views.
At your Cape Town hotel we'll say hamba kahle, good bye.
Overnight: Radisson Blu Le Vendome Hotel or similar – bed and breakfast