Discover South Africa

Some highlights are simply not to be missed when on a South Africa luxury self drive holiday. All these highlights are included in this South Africa holiday. Through a balanced itinerary we give you the opportunity to experience a breathtaking impression of South Africa in a relatively short period of time. This itinerary is designed so that you have enough time to actually enjoy your luxury South Africa holiday, without getting the feeling being rushed around. "Discover South Africa" takes you from Johannesburg to the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. After some unforgettable days in the bush and safaris continue to Swaziland and St. Lucia, where you'll spend some lovely days exploring Lake St. Lucia and surroundings. After a short flight from Durban to the city of George, this luxury self drive tour takes you to South Africa's famous Garden Route. Here you can explore ancient coastal forests, stunning beaches and a whole lot of activities. This journey ends with some exciting days in bustling Cape Town.

Tour duration: 22 days, 21 nights

Price: From £ 2999 per person (high), from £ 2709 per person (low) for two adults sharing

Best time to visit: All year round

Day 1 & 2: Flight to Johannesburg

johannesburg starter pack

Today your South Africa luxury self drive tour starts. Most flights from the UK arrive in Johannesburg the next morning after a flight time of about eleven hours. After clearing customs and reclaiming your baggage you'll be met by our local representative in the arrivals hall. You will receive a comprehensive information pack that contains local vouchers and driving instructions. There is a shuttle service between the airport and hotel for the first overnigh stay (leaving every half hour). The hotel is conveniently located near the airport so that you don't have to travel a lot today after such a long flight. The hotel is simple, but definitely modern and comfortable enough for a one night stay.

Hotel name: Protea OR Tambo Hotel style: travel convenience

Day 3: Johannesburg - Hazyview

hazyview panorama route

Well rested breakfast awaits you in the restaurant next morning. Shortly after breakfast your rental car will be delivered to the hotel. Now it is really to start your South Africa luxury self drive tour. From Johannesburg you depart in easterly direction for the five hour drive to Hazyview. The roads in this part of the country are of excellent quality, so you can concentrate fully on getting used to South Africa road etiquette. From the city of Nelspruit the route continues northbound over smaller roads to the village of Hazyview. The hotel for the coming night is located just outside the village and next to the Sabie River. Hazyview is a well known base for travellers visiting Kruger National Park and the Panorama Route. Upon arrival you have some time to relax, for example by taking a swim in one of the two swimming pools. Or go take a stroll along the river: with some luck you may be able to see hippos here. In the evening you can choose to stay in and have dinner in the lodge restaurant, but you can also choose to find an alternative in town. They happily advise you at the reception. Breakfast next morning is included and is served in the lodge restaurant. (Driving distance 380 miles)

Hotel name: Hippo Hollow Country Estate Hotel style: riverside fusion



Day 4: Hazyview - Sabi Sands Game Reserve

safari Sabi Sands

Before driving straight to Sabi Sands, we recommend visiting the Panorama Route. Please bear in mind this implies you need to get up rather early in order to see most attractions. And there are quie a few for you to enjoy: some magnificent viewpoints, thundering waterfalls and the famous Blyde River Canyon. It is a spectacular sight indeed: the canyon is 16 miles long and 800 metres deep making this the third largest canyon in the world. After your brief visit to the Panorama Route the route goes onwards to Sabi Sands. En route you'll pass the busy African village of Acornhoek, the last 25 miles from here to gate get rather bumpy as the road in untarred. Please take your time to drive this last section of the route to the lodge. After entering Sabi Sands through Gowry Gate you arrive at the lodge surrounded by green African bush. There's a very large waterhole right in front of the lodge where animals can be seen vert often. You'll stay in one of only ten luxury chalets built in local traditional style. If you arrived on time (before 3 o'clock) you can head out on an afternoon safari straightaway looking for the Big 5. Back in the lodge dinner under the stars awaits you. (Driving distance 180 miles)

Hotel name: Arathusa Safari Lodge Hotel style: under African skies

Day 5: Sabi Sands Game Reserve

luxury lodge Sabi Sands

You'll spend to full days in the African bush. A typical day when staying in a private game reserve goes like this: Early in the morning your ranger/guide knocks on your door, time to get ready for a gamedrive. After a cup of coffee or tea the ranger accompanies you for a morning safari. Many of the game rangers that work in Sabi Sands are born and raised in the area of the game reserve and possess a vast knowledge about anything that lives here. Unique about Sabi Sands is the incredible healthy wildlife poulation occuring here in great numbers. It is not unusual to see elephants, lions, leopards but also cheetahs during a single gamedrive. As a result of the dense wildlife population distances covered are relatively short while on gamedrive. Also your room is a beautiful place. They are spacious, and are equipped with air conditioning, private terrace, as well as an indoor and outdoor shower. Just before dinner your ranger picks you up from the room. This might sound a little strange but is necessary as the lodge is unfenced. Sometimes dinner is delayed a bit because an elephant walks through the lodge. 

Hotel name: Arathusa Safari Lodge Hotel style: under African skies

Day 6: Sabi Sands Game Reserve

gamewalk safari south africa

After a morning gamedrive it is time for breakfast. Breakfast is served on a terrace overlooking the large waterhole in fron of the lodge. It is not uncommin to see elephants and buffalos drinking from the waterhole while enjoying breakfast. In the afternoon there is time to relax at the swimming pool or in the privacy of your own room. Want to experience something different? After lunch there is an opportunity to join your ranger for a gamewalk. This is a safari on foot and emphasis is more on smaller things in the bush like birds, insects and plants. Between half past three and four the second gamedrive of the day starts. The bush looks and feels very different in the evening compared to a morning safari, there also is a chance of spotting different animals. Dinner is usually served in the traditional "boma": an enclosure made of torn bushes warmly lit by oil lamps and candles. The excellent chef serves delicious meals under Africa's starry sky. There also is a chance that dinner is served elsewhere, maybe outside the lodge in the bush?

Hotel name: Arathusa Safari Lodge Hotel style: under African skies

Day 7: Sabi Sands Game Reserve - Swaziland

Swaziland hotel

Following the bush experience near Kruger national Park, you continue your Africa safari to the Kingdom of Swaziland. It is considerable distance, over 200 miles. Take the road south by rental car to the border with Swaziland. Crossing the border normally doesn't take too much time, and from there simply follow the road to Mbabane. The accommodation for your overnight stop is located near Mlilwane National Park, the biggest national park in Swaziland. Surrounded by mountains and a colourful garden this lodge provides accommodation with a country feeling. The rooms are not particularly luxurious, but good enough for one night. They are equipped with bathroom, telephone and television. From the room and patio you can ejoy wonderful views over the moubtains. To recover from the long drive you can make use of the swimming pool or visit one of the nearby waterfalls. In the evening an excellent dinner awaits you close to the cosy fireplaceand the terrace offers a nice view of the surrounding mountains. In order to get the car you an afternoon swim in the pool or one of the nearby waterfalls. In the evening enjoy dinner by candlelight or cozy fireplace in the adjacent restaurant. (Driving distance 217 miles)

Hotel name: Foresters Arms Hotel Hotel style: highland simplicity

Day 8: Swaziland - St. Lucia

st lucia south africa

Today you cross the border into South Africa again. St. Lucia is easily reached via the N2 motorway. The guest house is located near the pleasant village where you can find many nice restaurants and bars. This striking guest house lies adjacent to the St. Lucia Wetland Park, from the garden you can enjoy views over the nature reserve. The structure is expecially notable for its magnificent architectural features: this type of design ins found nowhere else in South Africa. The project was designed by a Dutch architect and is based on so-called "Nouvelles Formes". The interior of the guest house is characterised by an optimal interplay between modern design and African nature. The result is a minimalist approach, while maintaining a warm African ambience. The guest house only has five large rooms (50 square metres each approximately), where diversity is emphasised by using different colours and special lighting effects. All rooms are air conditioned. In addition there are king-size beds with Auping matrasses, satellite television, comfy chairs, mini-bar and coffee/tea making facilities. The guest house is run by the Dutch Olga en Hans who are really passionate about St. Lucia and offer a wealth of information about what to do when staying in the area. (Driving distance 205 miles)

Hotel name: Serene Estate Hotel style: lakeside minimalistic chic

Day 9 & 10: St. Lucia

lake st lucia hippo

You have got two full days to spend in St. Lucia and surroundings. There are many activities and attractions around, so you will definitely need this time to make the most out of your stay. Some options for you to choose from: recommended is a cruise on Lake St. Lucia where you can see hippos and crocodiles in great numbers. Or maybe you rather visit the striking beach at Cape Vidal? You can stroll over the beach without seeing another person for hours. Maybe you really got hooked on safaris? Then visit Hluhluwe-Infolozi Game Reserve not fat from St. Lucia. Is today a beautiful weather day? Seize the opportunity and visit Cape Vidal first. The next day you can spend visiting Hluhluwe, Africa's oldest protected nature reserve. Here you can make your own safaris with your rental car and search for the Big 5.

Hotel name: Serene Estate Hotel style: lakeside minimalistic chic

Day 11: St. Lucia - Durban

durban

After the last night in incredible Serene Estate your stay in St. Lucia ends. You continue your South Africa luxury self drive tour to the southwest. Today's destination is KwaZulu Natal's largest city: Durban. We schedule a one night stay in our guest house overlooking the Indian Ocean. The guest house can be described as classic, cobined with some elegant and stylish touches. There are just fifteen rooms, all lavishly decorated. Rooms are equipped with wireless internet connection, satellite television and air conditioning. Not far from the restaurant are some excellent restaurants, please enquire at the hotel reception for advice. Also the beach is very close. (Driving distance 171 miles)

Hotel name: Goble Palms Guesthouse Hotel style: stylish urban

Day 12: Durban - George - Plettenberg Bay

plettenberg bay lodge

During the morning you travel to the brand new international airport of Durban and drop off your rental car. A short domestic flight takes you to George in the Western Cape. After reclaiming your baggage a new rental car awaits you for the second part of this South Africa luxury self drive tour. Before travelling to Cape Town you will first visit the famoous Garden Route. The next two night you'll sleep in a luxury lodge just outside Plettenberg Bay itself. The extensive grounds of the lodge is in fact a mini nature reserve, and feels far away from civilization. In reality, you are close to a bustling seaside resort town, with all facilities and comforts it has to offer. The lodge has an African look and feel. Rooms are equipped with king size beds, a cosy fire place for colder days, private patio with stunning views over the forest, and mini-bar. There also is a large swimming pool with a panoramic view over the gorge where the Matjies River meanders through. Breakfast is included. (Driving distance 93 miles)

Hotel name: Hog Hollow Country Lodge Hotel style: African fusion

Day 13 & 14: Plettenberg Bay

dolphins garden route

Plettenberg is the perfect base from where to experience all activities in the region. From July to November there is a chance of spotting whales in Plettenberg Bay. Throughout the year thousands of bottlenose dolphins reside in the same bay. Pick one of the nearby fantastic beaches for a walk or settling down with a good book. But most of all, there is a lot to do in the area. Not to be missed is Tsitsikamma National Park, less than an hour's drive away. This great nature reserve is located right on th coast whe huge waves crash onto the rocks. You can follow some rewarding walking trails where you walk in between the Indian Ocean and ancients coastal forests. The best way getting to Tsitsikamma is not via the N2 motorway. The much smaller -old- roads are much more beautiful and take you through some deep gorges.

Hotel name: Hog Hollow Country Lodge Hotel style: African fusion

Day 15: Plettenberg Bay - Oudtshoorn (Swartberg Pass)

swimming pool Plettenberg Bay Hog Hollow

The Garden Route takes you further inland. First follow the road along the coast and pass through the friendly town of Knysna. Knysna is worth a short stop to visit the "Knysna Heads", an inpressive views point from where you overlook the town and its lagoon. From the city of George you follow the road inland. You will pas a mountain range and once on the other side you imagine being in another world. Welcome to Klein Karoo, a semi desert. In the area there is a lot of fruit cultvation: especially peached, apricots and oranges. When you are travelling at the beginning of summer (November and December) make a stop at one of the many roadside fruit stalls. You can buy juicy fresh fruit for barely nothing. The next town en route is Oudtshoorn, centre of the South African ostrich farming. From Oudtshoorn it is another forty minute drive to the foot of the Swartberg Pass. Here you'll stay in a typical "Karoo style" small lodge that completely fits its surroundings. The adjacent restaurant serves excellent meals (nothing fancy). The best way of finishing your day is taking a glass of South African red and enjoy the endless Karoo sunset. The rooms are tastefully decorated and provide all comforts. (Driving distance 118 miles)

Hotel name: Swartberg Country Manor Hotel style: mountain splendour

Day 16: Oudtshoorn (Swartberg Pass) - Swellendam

Swellendam lodge luxury

We thoroughly enjoyed getting up just before sunrise when staying at Swartberg Country Manor. By doing so you can drive up the Swartberg Pass and enjoy a majestic sunrise from the top. Please drive slowly, the road is steep and has many sharp bends, but the reward is definitely worth the efoort once on top. Go prepared: it can be very cold and windy so early in the morning. Back at the lodge you can have breakfast before setting off to Swellendam. This village is one of the older settlements in the Western Cape, which shows through the many old "Cape Dutch" buildings that can be seen in the centre. For the next two nights you'll be staying in a very special guest house owned by the Dutch Carla and Maarten. They have a beautiful moden lodge on the outskirts of Swellendam. (Driving distance 161 miles)

Hotel name: Bloomestate Hotel style: minimalistic chic

Day 17: Swellendam

swimming pool Swellendam

Many travellers seize the opportunity to just sit back and relax a little bit after what has been quite an active holiday in South Africa so far. The guest house in Swellendam provides the excellent location to do so: the spacious garden invites you to relax by the pool or jacuzzi. You can also get a DVD from the extensive library and enjoy a movie in the privacy of your room. But of course you can also choose to venture out and explore Swellendam and surroundings. In whale season (August - November) it is recommendable to drive to the The Hoop Nature Reserve. Here you are able to spot the giant mammals from the beach. Also worthwhile is visiting Bontebok National Park, just across the motorway from Swellendam. Here you can see a large population of the rare bontebok, an animal species not commonly sighted in other places throughout Africa. Tonight you will stay another night in Bloomestate.

Hotel name: Bloomestate Hotel style: minimalistic chic

Day 18: Swellendam - Kaapstad

luxury boutique hotel Cape Town

After breakfast you'll leave in the direction of Cape Town. We selected a perfect hotel high on the slopes of Table Mountain, in the fancy Higgovale neighborhood. It proves the ideal base for exploring the city centre, the V&A Waterfront and of course Table Mountain. Because the hotel is situated somewhat at a higher level it provides amazing views over Cape Town. Your room is very spacious, yet intimate; elegant but not overly decorated. The king size beds are extra long. All rooms are equipped with flat screen television, DVD player, telephone, electronic safe and air conditioning. A real treat are the various artworks in the rooms, ranging from classic to modern. It is not for nothing that this hotel received so many accolades the last couple of years. Outside is an elegant garden with small swimming pool. Perfect for this hot Cape Town days. A delicious breakfast is included. (Driving distance 136 miles)

Hotel name: 2inn1 Kensington Hotel style: urban oasis

Day 19: Kaapstad

cape of good hope

Your first full day in bustling Cape Town. Within a short driving distance from the hotel many attractions are found. Beautiful weather? Seize the opportunity and visit the iconic Table Mountain. Making use of the cable car takes you to the top in about ten minutes time. From here some stunning views over Cape Town, both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, Robben Island and the Cape Peninsula await you. Sports enthusiast are advised to follow the Skeleton Gorge walking trail to the top, a two and a half hour walk. Also not to be missed are the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on the eastern side of Table Mountain. You can easily stroll around this beautifully landscaped garden for hours and enjoy an amazing variety of flowers and plants, but also contemporary art. Got some time left in the afternoon? Then visit the historic city centre: you'll find a whole range of small shops and good restaurants, but also some interesting museums and architecture. Not far from the city centre is the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town's old restored harbour. Also here you'll find some excellent restaurants.

Hotel name: 2inn1 Kensington Hotel style: urban oasis

Day 20: Cape Town uThando Community Projects excursion

day trip excursion uthando Cape Town

To get the most uit of your stay in Cape Town we already schedule a special half day excursion for your convencience. It is not an ordinary excursion, but the perfect opportunity to better understand daily life in Cape Town. The "uThando" initiative is a series of projects that focuses on inproving the living conditions of so many Capetonians. The work done by the projects varies from orphanages, homes for the elderly, environmental projects, as well as theatre and dance classes for kids. During this day trip you'll get to see some heartwarming development projects in the city. The projects visited change every day so that daily routine does not get interfered with. More information about this excursion can be found on our uThando page. We wholeheartedly recommend joining this very special Cape Town excursion. Tonight you'll sleep in 2inn1 Kensington again.

Hotel name: 2inn1 Kensington Hotel style: urban oasis

Excursion choice - Of course we realise that not all tastes are the same. For this reason we created a Cape Town day trips menu. You are free to pick the day trip of your choice, all activities have the same rate. So if you rather prefer to go wine tasting, or explore the Cape of Good Hope, this is no problem at all. The choice is yours.


Day 21 & 22: Return flight from Cape Town

Kaapstad aerial photo

Your South Africa luxury self drive tour almost comes to an end. Most flights to the UK depart in the evening allowing you to explore Cape Town just a little more today. A nice option for this last day is to drive across the Cape Peninsula towards the Cape of Good Hope. From the entry gate close to Simon's Town it is only a short drive to the most southwestern point of the African continent. En route you also have a chance of seeing the famous Bouler's Beach penguin colony. As said, your flight to the UK departs in the evening, you'll arrive in London the next morning.

You can request a quote for this complete South Africa luxury holiday by completing a quote request form. For more suggested itineraries see our luxury South Africa holiday overview.


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Transport

Rental car (included) and domestic flight.

Departure days

Daily.

In/excluded

Included: car hire category C; domestic fligh Durban - George; meet & greet; route information package

Excluded: extra costs car hire (more information); park entry fees; optional excursion; intercontinental flights; all items of personal nature and tips

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