22 Day Kruger National Park and Coast to the Cape Tour
Price: US $ 3363.00
Take three weeks to travel South Africa from Johannesburg to Cape Town with an inordinate amount of awesome natural and cultural highlights to be enjoyed along the way.
The first stop on this three week holiday is Kruger National Park where safari tours take you in search of some of South Africa’s best loved wildlife in some exceptional protected habitat.
Next you’ll travel South Africa via the coast with the beaches of Kosi Bay providing plenty of chances to rest and soak up the sun prior to visiting Zululand and learning more about the traditional tribal culture and ancient heritage of South Africa.
From the Wild Coast to the Garden Route your South Africa holiday continues towards Cape Town with some stunning coastal, wetland and savannah landscapes combining to great effect as you immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region culminating in the R320 winery route.
|Day 1:||Johannesburg. Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa. Johannesburg is a sprawling city of remarkable contrasts. In the townships, mansions stand alongside tin shacks and there are as many green parks on the outskirts of the city as there are conglomerations of concrete in the centre. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can’t arrange a flight that will have you arrive in time, consider arriving a day early so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We’ll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so be sure to have these ready to provide to your leader. Perhaps arrive early and get an insight into South Africa’s history.|
|Day 2:||Kruger National Park. Heading for Kruger National Park (approximately 11–12 hours), you will leave Johannesburg and travel through the Mpumalanga Province, journeying along the famous Panorama Route through some of the most stunning scenery South Africa has to offer. The sights along the way include God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Three Rondavels (Sisters) and the magnificent Blyde River Canyon. Kruger, your final destination today, is one of the largest game reserves in Southern Africa. It boasts over 500 bird species, 100 species of reptile and 150 mammal species, including the Big Five and the endangered African wild dog. Your wildlife odyssey begins as soon as you enter the park. Heading straight into some prime game viewing areas on your way to the camp, you’ll have the chance to glimpse some amazing creatures. Your campground has shared facilities, hot and cold water, and upgrades are possible (subject to availability).|
|Day 3:||Kruger National Park. Rise early and enjoy a light breakfast of coffee and rusks before embarking on a morning game drive in the truck. Most of the day will be spent game viewing, birdwatching and stopping at various waterholes and viewpoints. Later on, there will be the option of a night drive with the park guide. This is a great chance to spot nocturnal animals and perhaps even a night-time predator or two – catch a lion or hyena out hunting, or perhaps impala out in search of a late-night feed.|
|Day 4:||Swaziland/Hlane Royal National Park. Journey to Hlane Royal National Park today (approximately 6–7 hours). Take a final slow game drive of between 20 and 70 kilometres before exiting the park mid-morning. Travel south-east and enter the Kingdom of Swaziland, which is nestled snugly between Mozambique, Northern Zululand and Mpumalanga. The border crossing between South Africa and Swaziland is generally very smooth, but there may be some delays at certain times of the year. A vast expanse of bushveld with ancient hardwood trees, Hlane Royal National Park is home to the largest wild herds in Swaziland. Take the opportunity to explore this amazing park on a guided game walk. Tonight you will camp inside the national park. Upgrades are possible (subject to availability).|
|Day 5:||Kosi Bay. Travel to Kosi Bay (approximately 5-6 hours), the jewel of the Elephant Coast and home to some of the wildest and most breath-taking coastal seascape in South Africa. Departing from Hlane, you will head to the Golela border post and into Maputaland. After completing the border formalities, cross through the rolling hills of the Kwa Zulu Natal Province north east toward the coast and your destination of Kosi Bay. Your campsite of the night is just outside the Kosi Bay National Park, which is a world heritage site, famous for its lakes, beaches, turtles and fish traps. It’s part of iSimangaliso Wetland Park and lies on the shore of Lake Nhlange in the pristine Kosi Lake system, stretching to the Mozambique border and the Indian Ocean to the East. The lakes house hippos, crocs and endless birds, while humpback whales can sometimes be seen off the beaches.|
|Day 6:||Kosi Bay. Today is a free day, and you can enjoy some of the optional activities available in the area. There’s something on offer for all tastes: how about taking in some local culture on a visit to a local traditional healer (Sangoma), or maybe take a trip down to the estuary to learn more about the ecosystem and the fish traps that have been handed down through generations of local Tsonga people. You could spend the day on the beach snorkelling or fishing, or head out on a guided hike to explore this breath-taking region – there’s the chance of spotting the elusive Pels Fishing Owl and resident Palmnut Vulture. In season (Oct-Feb), leatherbacks and loggerhead turtles make their way here to lay their eggs on the beaches. If the time’s right, a nightly tour can be arranged on arrival.|
|Day 7:||St Lucia Estuary. Depart Kosi Bay, making your way to Zululand and Lake St Lucia, stopping at a shop for supplies along the way (approximately 4–5 hours). Declared a World Heritage Site in 1999, St Lucia Estuary is home to thousands of varieties of birds, mammals and reptiles, with its most popular residents being the hundreds of hippos and crocodiles. You’ll take a boat cruise out on the St Lucia Estuary where you have the chance to spot such creatures basking on the banks – not to mention a diverse array of exotic birds soaring through the air on occasion. You will stay at a campsite with shared facilities (upgrades and WiFi are not available here).|
|Day 8:||Zululand. Make an early departure to the Valley of a Thousand Hills (approximately 5–6 hours). This is the heartland of the Zulu nation. You will gain an insight into the daily life of the rural Zulu people by spending the night in a traditional homestay. Here you’ll be treated to some traditional food, song and dance. Be sure to make the most of this rare opportunity to see a remote tribal culture from the inside. Interact with your hosts and perhaps impart some of your own culture and language in turn.|
|Day 9:||Durban. Travel on to Durban (approximately 3 hours). Durban is South Africa’s second most populous city and a tourist magnet thanks to its wealth of golden, sandy beaches and glitzy nightlife. One of its main attractions is the Golden Mile, a stretch of fine sands bordered by frothy surf on one side and an attractive beachfront of shops, restaurants and cafes on the other. Stay in dorm rooms with shared bathroom facilities and a great rooftop bar.|
|Day 10:||Drakensberg. Leave Durban and travel inland towards the majestic Drakensberg mountain range (approximately 5–6 hours). This highly fertile mountain chain, home to an amazing amount of flora and fauna, is Southern Africa’s highest range (3,482 m). It forms part of the border between South Africa and Lesotho. The range is often referred to locally as the Barrier of Spears or the Dragon Mountains. Your accommodation here is in en-suited twin rooms at a unique backpackers lodge in Drakensberg. Sip on a refreshing sundowner in the thatched-loft lounge room. Here there is a book-swap and internet cafe. Other property facilities include a pool, jacuzzi, barbeque, fire pit, and WiFi. Upgrades are available (subject to availability).|
|Day 11:||Drakensberg. Enjoy free time to go hiking through this incredible mountain range. It’s up to you how much time you spend exploring. Feel free to take a short hike for an hour or so, or perhaps challenge yourself to a full-day hike with a local guide (this is optional). This is a great chance to learn more about the region from a local as you walk along. Regardless of how deep you delve, there are sure to be some amazing views and excellent photo opportunities.|
|Day 12:||Lesotho Highlands. Leaving the Drakensberg behind, head into the mountain kingdom of Lesotho (approximately 7–8 hours). Nestled like a small island in the middle of South Africa, Lesotho is commonly known as the ‘Kingdom in the Sky’ with beautiful mountain ranges and endless hiking trails. Generally the border crossing into Lesotho is quite smooth, but you may experience some delays, depending on the time of year. Drive past the Golden Gate Highlands National Park which is famous for its extraordinary sandstone rock formations. The park is also home to elands, zebras, mongooses and hundreds of bird species – keep your eyes peeled along the way.|
|Day 13:||Lesotho Highlands. Today you will have a variety of hikes to choose from. The Lesotho Highlands offer excellent hiking for all levels of skill, so depending on your experience and level of fitness, you should be able to choose a suitable one that allows you to get the most out of these stunning landscapes.|
|Day 14:||Wild Coast/Cintsa. Head to the stunning Wild Coast of South Africa and the small town of Cintsa (approximately 10–12 hours). A charming little coastal town, Cintsa and its surrounding region are inhabited by the Xhosa people, whose lifestyle is deeply rooted in tribal traditions and customs. You’ll discover that they’re a warm and friendly people who can give you a great insight into rural South African life. Arriving in the late afternoon, you will have time to relax and freshen up before an optional group dinner. Your campground has shared facilities, an ATM, and WiFi. Upgrades are possible (subject to availability).|
|Day 15:||Wild Coast/Cintsa. Enjoy free time to explore the town, relax on the stunning beaches or pursue the many optional activities on offer. You might like to go hiking, swimming, mountain biking or surfing. Ask your leader about these optional activities.|
|Day 16:||Addo Elephant National Park. Travel on to Addo Elephant National Park (approximately 7–8 hours). A true success story in conservation, Addo Elephant National Park was created in 1931 to protect the region’s eleven remaining elephants. Today there are over 450 elephants in the park, as well as Cape buffalo, black rhinos, all kinds of antelopes and even the flightless dung beetle which is unique to the park. On arrival, you’ll take an afternoon game drive and try to spot some of these resident creatures, among others, from your truck. Your campground here has basic shared facilities and WiFi. Upgrades are possible (subject to availability).|
|Day 17:||Garden Route/Tsitsikamma National Park. Spend the next few days discovering the most superb stretch of the Garden Route. Your first stop is the Tsitsikamma National Park (approximately 4–5 hours). Protecting both land and sea, steep ancient forests meet the breakers of the Indian Ocean at this park. It’s a spectacular place for walking and viewing wildlife. Your leader will take you to a local activity centre where a range of activities will be on offer. The accommodation tonight is a campground with basic shared facilities, an ATM and WiFi access. Upgrades are possible (subject to availability). Notes: Our company has not risk-assessed all optional local activities. Only those listed in the trip notes are recommended. If you are unsure about any, please check with your leader. It is against company policy for leaders to facilitate the booking of any activities that have not been risk-assessed or do not adhere to our Responsible Travel ethos. This includes organising transport to and from these activities in our vehicles.|
|Day 18:||Garden Route/Tsitsikamma National Park. Explore this magnificent national park further. Cape clawless otters, dolphins, tortoises and southern right whales (in season) are all visitors here, along with baboons, monkeys and myriad birds. See how many of them you can spot!|
|Day 19:||Oudtshoorn. Head out across the arid Karoo region bound for Oudtshoorn (approximately 4–5 hours). Stop off on the way at Knysna to stretch your legs and explore this quaint little hamlet with a gorgeous lagoon. A short drive then takes you to the Cango Caves, where you explore the weird and wonderful rock formations – one is ‘Cleopatra’s Needle’, 29 feet high and at least 150,000 years old. Your local guide will give you all the ins-and-outs of their formation and history. Continue on to Oudtshoorn, which is the ostrich capital of the world. At the turn of the 20th century it was full of ‘feather barons’ that grew rich from the popularity of ostrich feathers. Today there are thousands of ostriches here being farmed for their meat, leather, and on a smaller scale, their feathers and eggs. Your campsite has hot showers and flush toilets. Upgrades are possible (subject to availability).|
|Day 20:||Swellendam. Travel from Oudtshoorn to Swellendam (approximately 4–5 hours) on the scenic Route 62. Drive through towering mountain passes on this impressive journey, crossing some of the most beautiful and rugged alpine scenery in the Langeberg. You should arrive in Swellendam by early afternoon. Set up camp and have the remainder of the afternoon for your white water rafting adventure. The river is an easy grade 1 & 2 suitable for all experience levels. Ride the rapids, taking in the impressive scenic spots along the route. Keep an eye out for any wildlife, if you can take your eyes off the foaming path ahead! After this wet and wild afternoon, return to relax at the camp, which has Wi-Fi access, limited upgrades and a bar.|
|Day 21:||Cape Agulhas / R320 Winery Route / Hermanus. Get up early this morning for your journey to Africa’s southernmost point – Cape Agulhus (approximately 5 hours). You’ll travel along the famous R320 winery route, visiting two or three wineries along the way, before heading onto the beach side town of Hermanus. This region is highly influenced by the cooling Atlantic Ocean that sweeps up past Cape Town and brings with it a nice breeze that cools down the grapes that are grown here. The predominant local grape varieties are French, German and northern Italian – such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Mourvedre, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage. You’ll camp with shared facilities tonight and have the opportunity to go into town for a farewell group dinner.|
|Day 22:||Cape Town. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Hermanus before driving back to Cape Town via the scenic bay route (approximately 4 hours). With its stunning coastline, dramatic surrounding mountains and modern cityscape, Cape Town is one of Africa’s most appealing cities. It’s a great place to end your trip, with vineyards, adventure activities and plenty of good restaurants and cafes at your doorstep. You’ll be dropped at the finishing-point hotel in Cape Town. Notes: No accommodation is provided for tonight. If you would like to extend your stay, this can be arranged when you book this trip. It’s best not to book any international flights for earlier than 10 pm this evening, in case there are delays today.|
OUR TOP TIP:
Take every game drive you’re offered – you’ll see something different on every one. They may involve early starts – but a lion surely beats a lie-in.
Small group. Min. age 6.
Luxury Guest House, Lodge or tented camp with a pool and treetop dining room. Private inside and outside bathrooms.
This trip can accommodate solo travellers with a surcharge.
TRAVELLING WITH A LOCAL OPERATOR
This holiday is operated by a company based in the holiday destination and they will be able to provide expert local knowledge. They will be able to tailor make your holiday to suit your requirements not only concerning the dates of travel but also typically the standard of accommodation, and thus price. It is rare for local operators to be able to help with the booking of your flights.
Flights and drinks.
Per person sharing. Rate airport to airport. Accommodation, transfers, all meals, game drives, bush walks, guides, listed activities.