Self Drive Holiday - Highlights of South Africa

Introduction: 21-day Self Drive Tour of South Africa - Accommodated
This 21-day tour is perfect for travellers wanting to experience the very best of South Africa. You will start your self drive tour in Johannesburg and travel along the Panorama Route (Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and God’s Window) to the Kruger National Park. From here you will travel through Swaziland to the east coast and Durban.

From Durban you will fly to Port Elizabeth to continue your tour along the beautiful Garden Route. You will explore the Tsitsikamma National Park, Knysna, the Little Karoo and might even spot some whales in Hermanus before ending your tour in Cape Town, where you will spend three nights.

We focus on using small owner-managed guesthouses and private lodges as opposed to large impersonal hotels. We have visited all the selected lodges, camps and guesthouses to ensure a personable and unique experience.

The basics

How much: from ZAR 19700 pp (see exact price info)
Single client: ZAR 7000 (see exact price info)
How long: 21 days
Accommodation: This is an accommodated tour
Start point: Johannesburg, South Africa
End point: Cape Town, South Africa
Meals: As indicated below
Countries: South Africa, Swaziland

Itinerary l Highlights of South Africa l Self Drive Safari

Day 1 Arrival in Johannesburg / Pretoria, South Africa
Driving distance around 70 km; driving time around 1h
Upon your arrival at OR Tambo Airport, you will be picked up by your rental car and make your way to Brooks Cottage in Pretoria. The rest of the day is for you to enjoy at leisure. You can opt to explore the city of Pretoria and do a little bit of shopping or just take a dip in the pool and relax at your hotel. Shops and restaurants are within walking distance.

Day 2-3 Johannesburg, South Africa – Blyde River Canyon, South Africa
Driving distance day 2 around 450-500 km; driving time around 5-6h
After breakfast you will head in a northerly direction through the provinces of Gauteng and Mpumalanga. Along the way you will pass the beautiful towns of Lydenburg, Dullstroom and Ohrigstad before heading over the Abel Erasmus Pass to Hoedspruit. You will stay the following two nights in the Blyde River Wilderness Lodge. The lodge offers the best advantage point to explore the private game reserves around Hoedspruit and to experience the breath-taking Panorama Route. A quick stop at Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window and Bourke’s Luck Potholes are highly recommendable. At Graskop you can see weavers at work, browse the small curio shops and have some lunch.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 4-6 Blyde River Canyon, South Africa – Kruger National Park, South Africa
Driving distance day 4 around 200 km; driving time around 6-7h (incl. game drives)
Driving distance day 5 around 150 km; driving time around 6h
Driving distance day 6 depends on choice of route
The Orpen Gate, about an hour away from Hoedspruit, is your entry point into the Kruger National Park. Once you have entered you will head north in the direction of Olifants Rest Camp, where you will stay the night. The following days are set aside for self-drive game viewing in the national park. The park is well known for the “Big Five” and with a little bit of luck you might see all five – rhino, lion, elephant, leopard and the buffalo. The “Big Six” of the park are made up of the lappet faced vulture, martial eagle, saddle billed stork, kori bustard and ground hornbill as well as the nocturnal Pel’s fishing owl.

The second night you will stay at Skukuza and the third night at Lower Sabie Rest Camp. Both camps are located on the Sabie River. You also have the possibility of booking guided bush walks and night game drives at the rest camps.
Meals: Breakfast (Day 4)

The bungalows are equipped with cooking facilities. Supplies can be bought from the rest camp shops, but there are also restaurants available for those wanting to sit back and relax.

Please note that in high season and school holidays some camps may be fully booked and alternatives would be used.

Day 7-8 Kruger National Park, South Africa - Swaziland - St. Lucia, South Africa
Driving distance day 7 around 450-500 km; driving time around 7-8h
In the morning you will leave the national park through the Crocodile Bridge Gate and cross the border to Swaziland. Along the way you will pass Manzini and travel via Big Bend to the Lavumisi border, where you will re-enter South Africa.  You have now reached the Kwa-Zulu Natal province and will continue onwards to the town of St Lucia, close to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. St Lucia offers many activities such as boat trips to see the hippos and crocodiles, forest walks and sunbathing on the beach. You can drive through the wetland park to Cape Vidal, where you can go swimming and snorkelling in the rock pools, or book a guided game drive in the park. This are is a bird’s paradise and hundreds of species can be spotted. You will stay two nights at the St Lucia Wetlands Guesthouse.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 9 St. Lucia, South Africa - Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Park, South Africa
Driving distance around 100 km; driving time around 8-10h (incl. game drives/ safaris)
An early start is on the menu as you spend a full day in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve. A short drive pasts sugar plantations and forest takes you to Kwa-Zulu Natal’s only “Big Five” game reserve. This park is home to the endangered black and white rhinos, thanks to the park’s breeding program. Be on the lookout for the other members of the “Big Five” – the elephants, buffaloes, lions and leopards. In the evening you will return to St Lucia Wetlands Guesthouse.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 10 St. Lucia, South Africa – Durban, South Africa
Driving distance around 250 km; driving time around 3h
Today your journey takes you to Durban, one of the busiest trading centres on the Indian Ocean. The city of Durban is home to South Africa’s largest Indian population and this just adds to the cosmopolitan feel of the city. Take a trip to the local spice market and let the diverse sounds and smells enthral you! Other “must” sees are the uShaka Marine World aquarium, the botanic gardens and the muthi market. You will stay the night at the Fairlight Beach House in Umdloti, around 19 km north of Durban. For dinner, why not visit one of the nearby seafood restaurants (optional).
Meals: Breakfast

Day 11 Durban, South Africa – Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Travel by air. Driving distance around 30 km; driving time around 1h
Once you have returned your rental car at Durban’s King Shaka International Airport, you will board your flight to Port Elizabeth. Arriving in PE, you will pick up another rental car and travel to the Beach Walk Guesthouse, a few meters from Hobie Beach (a Blue Flag Beach). A shopping mall with casino and restaurants is located near the guesthouse.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 12 Port Elizabeth, South Africa – Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa
Driving distance around 200-250 km; driving time around 2-3h
After breakfast you will continue west towards Tsitsikamma National Park. Consider stopping for a swim at Jeffrey’s Bay or doing forest ziplining near the Storm’s River bridge. The Tsitsikamma National Park is a great destination for bird-lovers and lovers of dramatic coastlines. You will stay the night at the Storms River Mouth Rest Camp (chalet or oceanette), which offers beautiful views over the ocean. From your camp you can hike the first few kilometres of the Otter trail, go kayaking, walk on the suspension bridge over the river or explore the rock pools.
Meals: Breakfast

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available at the rest camp’s restaurant. A self-catering option is also available to you as the chalets have cooking and barbecue facilities.

Day 13-14 Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa – Knysna, South Africa
Driving distance day 13 around 100 km; driving time around 1-2h
After breakfast you will drive along the picturesque R102, before turning off onto the NT towards the Bloukrans Bridge, the highest single-span bridge in the world. You can take a moment to enjoy the spectacular views from the bridge or if you dare, even bungee jump off it. Your journey will continue via the pretty town of Plettenberg bay to Knysna, which is famous for its wood industry and oyster farming. The following day is for you to enjoy at leisure. You can drive up to the viewpoint on Knysna Heads, go for a boat trip on the lagoon, go swimming, join a township tour or just go for a hike or cycle tour through the forest. You will stay two nights at the Stannards Guest Lodge.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 15 Knysna, South Africa – Oudtshoorn, South Africa
Driving distance around 150 km; driving time around 2h
Today your journey continues through George and over the Outeniqua Pass to Oudtshoorn, which is well known for the Cango Caves, where you can explore the underground caverns and halls and the ostrich farms. If you are a little bit more adventurous you can also take a drive up the Swartberg pass. Tonight you will stay in a standard room at De Zeekoe Guest Farm. At the guest farm you can book a meerkat encounter and have dinner at their restaurant (both options are optional).
Meals: Breakfast

Day 16-17 Oudtshoorn, South Africa – Hermanus, South Africa
Driving distance day 16 around 350-400 km; driving time around 5-6h
On today’s route to Hermanus you will pass the towns of Calitzdorp, Ladismith and Montagu. Hermanus is the whale watching capital of the world and between the months of June and November, the southern right whales come to breed here. Take a stroll along the cliff path to get a better look at whales as they surface for air. Outside of whale season, the coast and Fernkloof Nature Reserve offer wonderful walks and the town with its good restaurants, wineries and art galleries offer more than enough to keep you busy. You will spend two nights at the FrancolinHof Guest House, situated on the mountain slope. The guest house offers beautiful views over the town and ocean.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 18-20 Hermanus, South Africa – Cape Town, South Africa
Driving distance day 18 around 150-200 km; driving time around 2-3h
After breakfast, you will travel to the mother city, Cape Town. Cape Town, situated between Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. You will have two full days to explore the town, hike up Table Mountain and Lion’s head, visit the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, stretch out on Blouberg or Camps Bay beach, explore Simons Town, take the ferry to Robben Island, go wine tasting, drink speciality coffees or just go shopping at the V&A Waterfront. You will stay three nights at the Cactusberry Lodge.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 21 Cape Town, South Africa
Driving distance around 30-50 km; driving time around 1h
Today your tour ends at Cape Town Airport, where you will return your rental car and embark on your journey home. Should you wish to spend more time in Cape Town or book a connecting overland trip, we will gladly assist you.
Meals: Breakfast

Price includes:

  • 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
  • Domestic flight from Durban to Port Elizabeth (max 20 kg luggage)

Price excludes:

  • Flights (international)
  • Rental car (please contact us for a quote)
  • Fuel
  • 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

Interested in the Highlights of South Africa Self Drive Holiday?