22 Days Big Five Safari South Africa

  • Johannesburg - Blyde River Canyon - Kruger National Park - St. Lucia - Drakensberg - Kokstad - Cape Town - The Wild Coast - Kenton-on-Sea - Addo National Park - Knysna - Cape Agulhas - Mbrabane

Ultimate Safari in South Africa

This safari tour allows you not only to enjoy the exceptional South African scenery but also to discover the most misunderstood areas of virgin lands and wildlife that are a delight and a real distinctive feature for the traveler. Spectacular landscapes, modern and historic cities, spectacular fauna and flora, and a unique cultural heritage is what you are promised during this 22-day unforgettable journey.

Highlights

  • All entrance fees
  • 3 ranger-guided game drives
  • 2 cruises to St. Lucia and Hout Bay
  • Local guide in Soweta and South African guide
  • 8 dinners, 1 lunch, and 2 barbecues
  • 21 nights’ accommodation
  • Daily breakfast
  • 21 activity days
  • English
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You will be staying for 21 nights in an appointed accommodation at each location on your safari tour.

Day 1, Johannesburg City - Sandton

You will be welcomed to Johannesburg and have a meet-and-greet with the guide. Your trip starts there and you will be transferred to your hotel near Sandton City with time to relax and freshen up after your long flight, before a visit to Sandton City. This is the heart of Africa’s financial district and home to the Johannesburg stock exchange. Mandela square with its variety of restaurants is a recommended venue for dinner. You will have lunch and dinner on this day.

Day 2, Johannesburg City - Sandton

This morning, you will depart for the city, a unique experience that will take you from the suburb of Houghton (home of the late Nelson Mandela) to Hillbrow, the old Jewish quarter and various colonial buildings, the Supreme Courts, and a tour of Constitutional Hill.

You will visit Pretoria (South African administrative capital) for a tour of historical sites and places of interest such as the Kruger House, Church Square, City Hall, State Theatre / opera house, the natural history of the Transvaal Museum, and the Union Buildings.

On the late afternoon, you will enjoy Soweto township tour with a local guide to visit Hector Pieterson Museum as well as Freedom Square and memorial. You will also enjoy walking tour along Vilakazi street, the original home to two noble peace price nominees, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, you will then drive past Winnie Mandela home, the FNB stadium (formerly Soccer City). Your accommodation today is in an appointed bed and breakfast.

Day 3, Blyde River Canyon

You will depart for the beautiful Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga. You will follow the scenic route and travel to places such as God’s Window, Three Rondavels, Blyde River Canyon, Long Tom Pass, the battlefields, Bourke's luck potholes, MacMac waterfall, and Pilgrim’s Rest.

The last destination is a historical authentic village dating from the first South African gold Rush. Now, it is a national monument. On this day you will have lunch and an accommodation on the edge of the canyon. Dinner is included as well.

Day 4, Kruger Park

You will arrive in the morning at the famous Kruger Park and begin your visit having lunch on the banks of the mighty Sabie River. Enjoy your 4×4 sunset safari with a professional ranger. After that, enjoy a time off to relax and enjoy a typical South African Braai or barbecue.

Day 5, Kruger Park

Around 4:30 a.m., you will leave camp for a 3-hour morning 4×4 safari with a professional ranger to witness the African savannah and wildlife in all its splendor. Next, return to your camp for a hearty breakfast. Rest of the day is spent on safari with your guide. Your accommodation this day will be in national park chalets.

Day 6, Swaziland

Today, departure for the Kingdom of Swaziland (don’t forget to bring your passport). The landscapes are very similar to those of Switzerland. You will visit the Ngwenya Glass Factory and the oldest mine in the world, time permitting. You will visit the capital Mbabane where you will admire the royal palace, parliament, the Kings Mausoleum, and a craft market in the Ezulwini Valley. Stay overnight at a Hotel de Charme. Your dinner tonight is included.

Day 7, Lake St. Lucia - iSimangaliso Wetland Park

After breakfast, you will depart for St. Lucia which is situated along the tropical coast of Zululand. En route, you will visit a typical Swazi village and an orphanage run by a lady who has no NGO or governmental aid but somehow has given hope to many orphan children. An authentic experience will leave you with fond memories of her courage.

Next, you will stop for a light lunch at a game reserve. Upon arrival, you will participate in a cruise on the St. Lucia wetlands, home to a multitude of the most diverse ecosystems in the world and is a World Heritage Site. It is in this complex ecosystem where bush meets beach mangrove and sand forests. It is home to a stupendous diversity of wildlife and flora.

You will have the opportunity to encounter hippos, crocodiles, eagles, even maybe the elusive leopard. Thereafter, you will then arrive at your luxury bed and breakfast located in the heart of the St. Lucia wetland park.

Day 8 - Hluhluwe / Umfolozi National Park

Early morning, start from St. Lucia to Hluhluwe / Umfolozi Park, the second oldest national park in the world and home to the big five which is renowned for saving the white rhino from extinction. You will either spend the day exploring in a 4×4 accompanied by a professional ranger or you can head north to Sodwana Bay where you have the opportunity to swim with the dolphins, snorkel amongst the richest coral reefs on earth (if you have your PADI qualification scuba dive).

After that, return to St. Lucia in the late afternoon where you will be prepared a typical South African barbecue before a well-deserved rest. Your today’s breakfast, lunch, park entrance fees, safari, and barbecue are all included.

Day 9, Drakensberg

This morning you will depart for the Drakensberg mountain range, a UNESCO World Heritage site. You will stop for lunch at Howick, the peaceful capital of the Natal Midlands where the Umgeni River plunges 95 meters forming a spectacular waterfall.

After that, have lunch before you visit the Mandela capture site, where he was arrested in 1962 before the famous Rivonia trial when he was sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to Robben Island. A monument commemorates this event that changed the course of history. On the late afternoon, you will arrive at mountain lodge your dinner is included.

Day 10, Drakensberg

Many activities are available in this region. You can enjoy your optional excursions. You can choose to go on a guided hike to the famous 4000-year-old cave paintings left by the Bushmen, trek to the Tugela Falls which is the world’s second highest in the world, visit the historic battlefields of the 18th century when the English, Afrikaans, and Zulu armies engaged in bloody battles, or opt for a 4x4 excursion to Lesotho for the day via the Sani Pass, the highest in Africa.

Day 11, Kokstad

Today, you will travel on a route of exceptional landscapes to Kokstad in the Drakensberg where you spend the night at the foot of Mount Currie. The mountain range runs from the region of Kwazulu Natal to the Eastern Cape. On the afternoon, enjoy your lunch, and for your accommodation, you will stay in a lodge with dinner included.

Day 12, The Wild Coast

After a great breakfast, you will set off for the Wild Coast. It is one of the most unspoiled parts of the country where the population still lives in an authentic and traditional way. You will have the opportunity to visit Umtata and Nelson Mandela Museum. A few miles away, Qunu, a small village where Mandela grew up and now hosts his final resting place will be visited as well. You will learn about the legends that have affected the course of history. After that, you will enjoy your lunch.

Next, enjoy a trip to a place called “Hole in the Wall” a natural wonder, where the sea has tirelessly dug a hole in the cliff. The coast on either side of the Hole in the Wall is precipitous and notorious for the number of shipwrecks. Finally, you will reach Coffee Bay, a haven for swimming, fishing, and lazy occupations. Your accommodation will be at the hotel with a dinner included.

Day 13, Kenton-on-sea

Your route to the heart of the barren and wild Eastern Cape, the last witness of the ancient Xhosa culture will take you along the coast to the mouth of the “River Bushmen” via Grahamstown created in 1812 by English settlers. Grahamstown has 40 churches and rightly earned the nickname “City of Saints”.

Today, it is the national capital of the arts and every July it hosts an international-standard festival. After having lunch, visit Kenton-on-Sea, a small seaside resort with untouched beaches much the same as when Bartholomeus Diaz discovered it in the 15th century. Your bed and breakfast accommodation for today will have a breathtaking view of the river mouth. Dinner is included.

Day 14, Addo National Park and Schotia Private Game Reserve

Enjoy a morning safari in Addo, which is famous for elephants where you will not fail to see these magnificent animals at the water hole. Enjoy your lunch before an afternoon safari in a 4x4 vehicle with a professional ranger. You will also enjoy refreshments, tea or coffee, and wood-fired baked rolls.

Your safari continues until nightfall with a delicious dinner served in the “Boma” around the fire. Your accommodation In Bush Lodge provides rooms with luxury and unexpected charm in the middle of the African “bush”.

Day 15, Knysna

Enjoy an early game drive, and after breakfast, you will say goodbye to this haven of peace and continue the journey to the Cape. You will visit the “Big Tree”, a yellow wood towering above the other trees, which is growing in the last area of hardwood forest.Enjoy your lunch at the Tsitsikamma National Park restaurant. With stunning views over the sea, you will walk in the primary forest which will lead to Storms River bridge, a suspension bridge at the mouth of the river.

After the Bloukrans Bridge, the highest commercial bungee jump in the world you will have a panoramic view overlooking Plettenberg Bay. Finally, enjoy a walk at sunset on the Knysna Lagoon. You will also enjoy Dinner on the waterfront setting. Your night today will be spent at a luxurious guesthouse.

Day 16, Oudtshoorn

Before leaving town, you will visit ‘The Heads’ which consists of two cliffs that form a narrow entrance to the lagoon. The Outeniqua Pass, with magnificent scenery, leads to Oudtshoorn where you will visit an ostrich farm. Ostrich meat is now in great demand as well as its leather. The town is home to the world’s largest ostrich population and is called “the capital of the ostrich” since its founding in 1847.

Beside ostrich, you can see the famous “Palace of the pen” the opulent mansions of the early breeders who have made fortunes here. After lunch, you will go to “Cango Caves”, a series of underground tunnels with extraordinary limestone formations, the most beautiful caves in South Africa. You will stay on a farm on the outskirts of the city where you will partake of traditional local products.

Day 17, Cape Agulhas

Highway Route 62, via Tradoux Pass leads to the Little Karoo, a semi-desert, to the temperate zone of the Overberg, where you can enjoy beautiful landscapes and villages, as well as tasting local products such as the famous biltong (dried meat), artisanal cheeses etc. Have your today’s lunch at Barrydale.

Then, you will go to Swellendam, built in 1746. It was the third European cited in South Africa, to establish order, collect taxes, and enforce the law of the Dutch East India Company to “Trekboers” who had already settled in the area.

In 1865, a fire destroyed the city and in the 1970’s many buildings from that era were demolished in the name of the sacrosanct modernity. Fortunately, destruction ended when the authorities realized the tourism potential of the place. Now, it is preserved with pride. These relics of the past will delight you. You will visit the oldest, the “Drostdy” Museum which is one of the country’s great architectural treasures.

Leaving Swellendam, next destination is Cape Agulhas, the most southern point. The sharp rocks and waves are threatening and were the way to the India for mariners of yesteryear. You will be staying in a bed and breakfast at the seaside and dinner at one of the restaurants in this small town.

Day 18, Cape Town via Hermanus

En route to Cape Town, you will visit Elim, a village of white maisonettes and thatched roofs, which was formed in 1824 by members of the Church of the Moravian Brethren (a dissident branch of Lutheranism) and whose 2,000 inhabitants still live in the same community organization administered by a church council.

Gansbaai is known for its dense population of great white sharks. Some tourists come to flirt with the great white. Hermanus, a whale watching location as the protected bay offers a prime vantage point to view whale's breed every year during the austral winter. You will have lunch in Hermanus.

Last stop of the day is Betty’s Bay where you will visit a penguin colony. Finally, you travel along Clarence Drive, a scenic route between sea and mountains providing spectacular scenery. Your arrival in Cape Town will be in the late afternoon at a guesthouse with magnificent views of Table Mountain. Your evening will be spent at V & A Waterfront for shopping and dinner.

Day 19, The Wine Route

You will head out to Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in South Africa, an outpost established in 1682 by Governor Van der Stel who was amazed at how fertile the area. It was encouraged French Huguenot and Dutch settlers to start farming there. Here oak trees, wheat, and vines quickly replaced the giraffes, elephants, as well as Hottentots and Khoi-san peoples. Today, Stellenbosch is known for its beautiful and various architecture (Cape Dutch, Georgian, and Victorian style), and renowned wines, its famous university where the language of instruction is still mainly in Afrikaans.

You will visit the Bugerhuis museum, the famous Oom Samie Winkel, partake on a cellar tour and wine tasting. You will head over the beautiful Hels Hoogte pass on your way to Franschhoek, where the original French Huguenots settled and today, it is the culinary capital of South Africa. After lunch, you will visit the Huguenot museum and memorial. Thereafter, you will visit an exceptional boutique wine farm and taste a local vintage, including a vintage South Africa’s own unique cultivar. You then make your way to Paarl with a stop in front of Mandela’s statue at the entrance to the prison from which he was liberated in 1990.

Finally, your day ends in historical Paarl which means “Pearl” in Dutch, referring to the imposing granite mountains surrounding the town. the first French Huguenots settled there developing a winemaking tradition which still exists today. We visit the Taal language monument, dedicated to the Afrikaans language (world's only monument to a language), perched on a hill in a botanical garden overlooking the town, where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the valley. Enjoy dinner at the lively city V & A Waterfront as desired.

Day 20, The Cape Peninsula Tour

This region is a UNESCO world heritage site for its exceptional floral diversity. We follow the west coast via Clifton with a stop at Maiden’s Cove to enjoy a magnificent view, looking at the 12 apostles and camps bay, then onto Hout Bay, a charming little town where you take a cruise to Duiker Island which is home to the world’s largest fur seal colony.

Thereafter, you will drive along the scenic Chapman’s Peak drive offering breathtaking scenery. Eventually, you will enter the Cape of Good Hope nature reserve where the cold Atlantic waters meet the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. This famous landmark was named by the early Portuguese mariners.

You will journey down to the False Bay coast and have lunch at the old harbor of the historic naval port of Simon’s Town. After lunch, you will visit the well-known Boulders beach and visit Africa’s largest land-based penguin colony. Finish your day with a visit to Groot Constantia, South Africa’s oldest Cape Dutch manor house and wine farm, built by the first Governor of the Cape. Your dinner at your leisure.

Day 21, Cape Town and surrounding areas

Today, you will visit Cape Town, its historical places and parks, the Dutch East Indian garden, Castle, South African Museum, Malay quarter, District 6 and Greenmarket square. We take the opportunity to visit the noon gun in action on the slopes of Signal hill, the world’s oldest canon still in action. After lunch, we walk in Kirstenbosch, the only botanical garden situated in a world heritage site; this garden has more endemic plant species than any other in the world.

Day 22, Departure

You will transfer to the airport for your flight home. Depending on your departure time, various activities can be arranged. You may enjoy your lunch at this day. In the late afternoon, you can head along the west coast towards Blouberg where you can enjoy a “postcard” view of Table Mountain, Robben Island, and Table Bay. If your departure time is at night, you will be offered an authentic African dinner of more than thirty culinary dishes from across the continent.

On this safari, you will visit Johannesburg, The Blyde River Canyon, Kruger National Park, Swaziland, St. Lucia, Hluhluwe / Umfologi National Park, Drakensberg, Kokstad, The Wild Coast, Kenton-on Sea, Addo National Park, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Cape Agulhas, and Cape Town in South Africa.

All of your breakfasts are included along with 8 dinners, 1 lunch, and 2 barbecues.

  • 1 local guide in Soweto
  • 1 lunch, 8 dinners, and 2 barbecues
  • 1 South African full-time guide
  • 2 cruises to St. Lucia and Hout Bay
  • 3 game drives with professional rangers
  • 21 nights’ accommodation
  • All entrance fees to national cultural parks, museums, and tastings
  • Daily breakfasts
  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 2 days before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 60 days before arrival.

Cape Town, South Africa

Southern Africa Tours offers tailor-made holidays, self-drives and guided tours. Based in Cape Town, they actively participate and have extensive knowledge of Southern Africa.

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22 days / 21 nights

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