Africa Deluxe Tours Blyde River Canyon

16 Day Highlights of South Africa Southbound Scheduled Tour

On this scheduled, guided tour you join up with other travellers for a journey through the most popular areas of South Africa. The tour will introduce you to various highlights, including cities, game reserves, scenic drives and beaches.

Travel along the beautiful Panorama Route before two days of exploring the massive Kruger National Park, viewing wildlife in their natural environment. From there you head for Hluhluwe in KwaZulu-Natal, travelling through the small kingdom of Swaziland. A game drive through the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve and a visit to St. Lucia – a world heritage site - awaits.

A night is spent in San Lameer, an exclusive golf estate on the subtropical KwaZulu-Natal South Coast - with access to a pristine beach. Next up is the Transkei, where Nelson Mandela was born. You spend two nights on the Wild Coast in Coffee Bay, with a full day at leisure to explore the area. Then it’s ‘Settlers Country’, with a night in Port Alfred (Sunshine Coast) - including a boat cruise on the beautiful Kowie River (weather permitting).

On the Garden Route you stop over at the scenic Storm’s River Mouth and continue to Keurbooms, near Plettenberg Bay. You have a full day at leisure to spend on the beach or you may opt for a day tour to scenic Knysna (own account). From the Garden Route you travel via the Outeniqua Pass to the Cango Caves for a tour. You also tour of an ostrich farm. On Route R62 you do a brandy tasting before staying over in Stellenbosch. After a walking tour of the historic town and visiting a wine estate you head for iconic Cape Town.

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Summary:

Blyde River Canyon

16 Day Highlights of South Africa Southbound

Price: R24,240 per person sharing (±US$ 1,712 )
R6,085 single supplement (±US$ 429 )


Duration: 16 days , 15 nights
Tour Type: Scheduled tours
Luxury Level: *** / ****
Accommodation: This tour includes five 4-star and six 3-star hotels.
Transport: Depends on group size. Luxury Sedan / Microbus / Coach.
Group sizes: minimum-2 average-7 max-26
Languages (guides): English , German
Tours are bilingual - when required. Other language guides available on request when tour is booked on private basis.
Countries: South Africa , Swaziland
Notes: This tour does not include touring in Johannesburg . You may choose a tour that does, see variations on this tour, or book extra days / excursions for this tour. For assistance contact us.
Highlights: Panorama Route , Blyde River Canyon , Kruger National Park , Swaziland , Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve , St. Lucia , Transkei , Hole-in-the-Wall , Garden Route , Storm’s River Mouth , Knysna , Cango Caves , Route 62 , Cape Winelands , Cape Town .
Starting dates: Tour departs on selected Mondays. See available departure dates indicated on calendar on this page. Click on an available date to make a booking enquiry for that date. Airport transfers can be arranged on request, as well as transfers from Pretoria or other outlying hotels (for your account).

Available starting dates: Nov 2014 - Oct 2015



Itinerary:

Arts & Crafts at a Mall of Rosebank Market

Day 1: Monday - Arrival at Rosebank - Johannesburg (±30km)

Destination: Rosebank (Johannesburg)
Accomodation: Crowne Plaza Johannesburg - The Rosebank Hotel
Meals included: None
Attractions include: Rosebank (Johannesburg) .

Your international flight to South Africa will arrive at O.R. Tambo International Airport close to Johannesburg. We will arrange a ±45-minute hotel transfer for you or you may elect to take the rapid rail Gautrain to Rosebank Station, a leisurely 10-minute walk from your hotel. If you should already be in Johannesburg for some reason, e.g. a conference, we'll make arrangements to transport you to your hotel for the night (all of these options for your own account).

Johannesburg is a fascinating city, it came into being in a matter of years after the discovery of Gold in 1886. Your hotel is located in Rosebank, an upmarket 'northern suburb' of Johannesburg. You can enjoy dinner at your leisure at any of the myriad of restaurant options within walking distance of your hotel, or at one of the hotel's trendy restaurants (own account). You will be met by your tour guide at 18:30 for a briefing of the tour.


Bourke's Luck Potholes

Day 2: Johannesburg to Hazyview via Panorama Route (±500km)

Destination: Hazyview
Accomodation: Casa do Sol Hotel & Resort
Meals included: Dinner and Breakfast
Attractions include: Panorama Route , Blyde River Canyon , Three Rondavels Viewpoint , Wonder View , Graskop , Bourke's Luck Potholes .

After breakfast you depart on your journey. You travel to the Mpumalanga province in the north-east of South Africa. The main focus for today is the Panorama Route, which includes a number of scenic vantage points. You’ll travel along the Blyde River Canyon, the largest green canyon in the world.

The Three Rondavels Viewpoint is perched high above the Blyde River Dam and the Blyde River Canyon - providing spectacular views of both, as well as of the Canyon’s open end with views onto the Lowveld. The viewpoint gets its name from three round buttresses on the opposite side of the Canyon, which happens to be the site of a very interesting battle - which your guide will tell you about. A little further, at the origin of the Canyon you’ll visit Bourke’s Luck Potholes, where an early explorer discovered alluvial gold. The Potholes lie at the confluence of the Treur (‘Sorrow’) and Blyde (‘Joy’) Rivers. Your guide will explain how the two rivers got their names.

Moving beyond the Canyon you’ll make a stop at Wonder View, the highest point on the Panorama Route, with views over the Lowveld far below. The vantage point is located on the edge of a steep escarpment.. You will have lunch at nearby Graskop (own account), before descending the escarpment towards Hazyview. Not far from Hazyview your home for the following two nights is the very unique Casa do Sol Hotel & Resort (or similar).


Kruger Park leopard snoozing

Day 3: Full Day in the Kruger National Park (±250km)

Destination: Hazyview
Accomodation: Casa do Sol Hotel & Resort
Meals included: Dinner and Breakfast
Attractions include: Kruger National Park .

Enjoy an early breakfast before leaving for the nearby Kruger National Park for a full day game drive in a closed tour vehicle. You will try and spot as many of the large variety of animals as possible. Lunch will be at one of the rest camps in the park (own account).

The Kruger National Park is huge. It covers 19,485 square kilometres and the distance from its southern to northern borders is 360km. It boasts a remarkable variety of fauna and flora. More than 500 bird and 147 mammal species have been identified. These include the ‘Big Five’ - lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino.

After an enjoyable day in the African bush and seeing many animals in their natural surroundings, you return to your hotel for dinner and a relaxing evening.

Optional: Instead of the game drive in our closed tour vehicle, you could opt for a full day game viewing in an open safari vehicle. (own account and excluding lunch)


Male Lion in Kruger

Day 4: Full Day Kruger National Park (±200km)

Destination: Malelane
Accomodation: Pestana Kruger Lodge
Meals included: Dinner and Breakfast
Attractions include: Kruger National Park .

After an early breakfast you check out of your hotel before travelling a short distance to- and spending another full day in, the Kruger National Park. Once again you’ll travel with your air-conditioned tour vehicle in search of the Big Five and the myriad of other game that roam the Park. Lunch (own account) will again be at one of the rest camps in the Kruger National Park.

Late afternoon you exit the Park via Malelane Gate on the Kruger’s southern border. Your overnight accommodation is a hop, skip and a jump away - right on the Crocodile River. You may opt for pre-dinner drinks (own account) on the resort’s pool / viewing deck, with views onto River and into the southern Kruger. With a bit of luck you may spot elephant, hippopotamus, crocodiles or other animals. Dinner is to be enjoyed at the resort's own restaurant.

Optional: Instead of the game drive in the closed tour vehicle, you could opt for a full day game viewing in an open safari vehicle. (own account and excluding lunch)


The Lusutfu River near Big Bend

Day 5: Malelane to Hluhluwe through Swaziland (±420km)

Destination: Hluhluwe
Accomodation: Dumazulu Lodge and Traditional Village
Meals included: Breakfast
Attractions include: Swaziland , KwaZulu-Natal , Dumazulu Lodge and Traditional Village .

After an early breakfast you depart for Hluhluwe in KwaZulu-Natal. You head south to enter the kingdom of Swaziland at the Jeppes Reef Border Post. The southbound road leads past Piggs Peak through beautiful rolling hills, dotted with rural traditional homesteads. After skirting Swaziland’s capital city, Mbabane, you descend into the beautiful Ezulwini Valley.

The Valley has become a popular destination for national head offices, leisure developments and expats over the years. In addition to one or two western-style shopping malls and golf resort hotels, it features a number of very worthwhile African curio stops and informal markets. Lunch (for your own account) will be enjoyed enroute. From Ezulwini you travel to the southern border post of Lavumisa to cross back into South Africa.

You'll travel through South Africa's beautiful sub-tropical province of KwaZulu-Natal. KwaZulu means ‘home of the Zulu’. Journey through lush green vegetation, interspersed by commercial wood and sugarcane plantations. Close to the town of Hluhluwe you arrive at your overnight stop, the DumaZulu Lodge & Cultural Village. Dinner may be taken at the DumaZulu Restaurant and is for your own account.

Please note: Passing through the independent kingdom of Swaziland requires that you have a valid passport. Nationals of some countries also need multi-entry visas.


St. Lucia Estuary hippo's

Day 6: Hluhluwe to San Lameer via St Lucia (±465km)

Destination: San Lameer
Accomodation: Peermont Mondazur Hotel & Spa at San Lameer
Meals included: Breakfast
Attractions include: Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve , St. Lucia , iSimangaliso Wetland Park , St. Lucia Estuary & Lake , St. Lucia boat cruises , KwaZulu-Natal South Coast .

After an early breakfast, you depart in your closed vehicle for the nearby Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve, the only public reserve in KwaZulu-Natal that features the ‘big five’ (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino). This Reserve is famous for successfully saving the endangered white rhino in the past - a species that is once again under threat. Hluhluwe-Umfolozi is different from the Kruger National Park in terms of climate (sub-tropical), as well as vegetation and is generally quite hilly.

You enter the Game Reserve in the north and after spending some time in the Game Reserve, you exit in the east and continue to St. Lucia in the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site, with the largest estuarine system in Africa. Enjoy some time at leisure or take an optional boat trip (own account) on the estuary, known for its large population of hippo’s, as well as crocodiles and a multitude of birds. Enjoy lunch in St Lucia (own account).

From St. Lucia you travel down the N2 Coastal Highway, eventually passing the outskirts of Durban, a coastal city, before venturing into the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. The South Coast is a very popular holiday destination for South Africans with dozens of small holiday towns and resorts all along the subtropical coastline with its year-round warm water. In-between you’ll pass through vast sugar cane fields and rural communities.

Your overnight destination is near the southernmost end of the South Coast. Your hotel is located within the exclusive and beautiful San Lameer Golf Estate. Enjoy dinner at your own leisure at a local restaurant and for your own account.


Xhosa initiate

Day 7: San Lameer to Coffee Bay via Mthatha (±370km)

Destination: Coffee Bay
Accomodation: Ocean View Hotel (Coffee Bay)
Meals included: dinner and breakfast
Attractions include: Transkei , Hole-in-the-Wall , Wild Coast .

Today's journey will take you into deep rural traditional land. Departing after breakfast, you turn inland and continue into the region of the Transkei, home to South Africa’s Xhosa people and part of the province of the Eastern Cape.

This is rural country and much of the Xhosa people’s traditional lifestyle is still retained. The countryside is dotted by small compounds of traditional (circular and often thatched) rondavels. Many people travel on foot and you will probably encounter free roaming cattle and goats along the way.

After passing through Mthatha, the main town of the Transkei, you turn towards Coffee Bay on the Wild Coast. A narrow meandering road criss-crosses over hills with valleys far below. The Bay was named after a ship that stranded there in 1893 and spilled its load of coffee beans. This long coastal belt of the Transkei is named ‘wild’ because of it’s underdeveloped, untamed and pristine state. In many places it features sheer cliff faces and large rock formations. Check in at the hotel and relax before enjoying dinner (local fare).


Hole-in-the-Wall

Day 8: Full day at leisure

Destination: Coffee Bay
Accomodation: Ocean View Hotel (Coffee Bay)
Meals included: dinner and breakfast
Attractions include: Hole-in-the-Wall , Xhosa people , Transkei , Wild Coast .

Today you have a full day at leisure after a week on the road. Get up early or sleep late, whatever you prefer. On stepping out of your room the sound of crashing waves will greet you.

How adventurous or calm you want your day to be is totally up to you. You may opt to simply relax at the hotel’s pool, or you may step through the hotel’s garden gate onto a beautiful sandy beach and spend your time there.

Alternatively you may head out further to Hole-in-the-Wall, about 11km (7mi) from the hotel. The hotel can shuttle you there (own account) or if you’re fit and up to it you may walk one or both ways. Other optional activities offered in the area, for your own account where applicable, include hikes, snorkeling, fishing, abseiling, quad biking and rock climbing.

Enjoy lunch (own account) at the hotel or a venue of your choosing in the area. Round off the day with pre-dinner drinks (own account) on the hotel’s deck while peering out over the ocean before savouring dinner at the hotel.


Port Alfred pier

Day 9: Coffee Bay to Port Alfred via The Sunshine Coast (±460km)

Destination: Port Alfred
Accomodation: Halyards Hotel
Meals included: breakfast
Attractions include: Transkei , Port Alfred , Kowie River .

Today you travel from Coffee Bay to Port Alfred on the Sunshine Coast of the Eastern Cape. After an early breakfast you leave the Wild Coast and travel inland to Qunu, the birthplace of former President Nelson Mandela. Qunu consists of a number of small villages. This is where he grew up, herded cattle and went to school. He never lost touch with this region which was dear to him and where he was eventually buried.

From Qunu you continue to East London, a small coastal harbour city, where the Sunshine Coast begins. You continue to the settler town of Port Alfred, founded by British Settlers who were brought into the country in 1820 to serve as a buffer between the British Cape Colony and the Xhosa people. Your hotel is situated on a beautiful Marina and next to a small-boat harbour. Check in and relax. Enjoy dinner (own account) at the hotel or at a local restaurant.


Storms River Gorge

Day 10: Port Alfred to Keurboomstrand via eastern Garden Route (±380km)

Destination: Keurboomstrand
Accomodation: The Dunes Hotel & Resort
Meals included: breakfast
Attractions include: Garden Route , Storm’s River Mouth , Tsitsikamma , Storm's River Mouth suspension bridge , The Big Tree (Tsitsikamma) , Kowie River boat cruises .

Enjoy an early breakfast before you board a river cruise boat for a scenic trip up the Kowie River (weather permitting). On your return, you take your leave of Port Alfred and travel further along the Sunshine Coast, crossing tidal rivers and passing through rolling green hills.

Continue your travels to the Garden Route, named after the abundance and variety of indigenous plants. The Garden Route lies between the Tsitsikamma Mountain Range and the Indian Ocean. En route you pay visits to the Tsitsikamma Forest and Storm's River Mouth. At Storm's River you have the option to hike along specially constructed boardwalks to three pedestrian suspension bridges that spans a small bay and the actual river mouth. Lunch will be enjoyed en route (own account).

The tour of the day ends at Keurboomstrand, near Plettenberg Bay. Check in at your hotel and enjoy some time on the 8km-long pristine beach, behind which the hotel is located. Dinner is at the hotel (own account).


The Dunes Hotel & Resort beach

Day 11: Day at leisure - Keurboomstrand (Garden Route)

Destination: Keurboomstrand
Accomodation: The Dunes Hotel & Resort
Meals included: breakfast
Attractions include: Knysna , Featherbed Nature Reserve , Knysna Elephant Park , Knysna Estuary , Knysna Heads .

Today, you have the option of enjoying a day of leisure at the resort and on the beach, or you could join an optional tour to the Featherbed Nature Reserve, and then pay a visit to the Elephant Park in Knysna (own account).

The optional tour will travel to the nearby town of Knysna where you board a ferry to take you to the Featherbed Nature Reserve, situated on the Western Head of the Knysna lagoon. On arrival, you board a trailer, pulled by a Unimog tractor that will take you to the top of the Heads for breathtaking views over the Indian Ocean and the Knysna lagoon. You have the option to return along a scenic pathway of about 2 km that leads through a Milkwood tree forest, over great vantage points on the Western Head - high above the estuary mouth below, past impressive sea caves and then along the tranquil estuary's river banks. On arrival at the Featherbed quay you enjoy a buffet lunch (included) at their open air restaurant.

After returning to Knysna by ferry, pay a visit to the Elephant Park for a close encounter with these wonderful creatures of Africa. Dinner is at the hotel (own account).


A section of the Cango Caves

Day 12: Keurboomstrand to Oudtshoorn (±160km)

Destination: Oudtshoorn
Accomodation: Protea Hotel Riempie Estate
Meals included: breakfast
Attractions include: Knysna , Cango Caves , Knysna Heads , Oudtshoorn ostrich farms , Outeniqua Pass .

After breakfast, you depart for Oudtshoorn in the Little Karoo. The route will take you along the scenic Garden Route via Plettenberg Bay, Knysna and George where you will cross the Outeniqua Mountains to enter the semi-arid Little Karoo.

The day offers wonderful photo opportunities. At Knysna you will have beautiful views over the Indian Ocean and the Knysna lagoon. En route you pass through the Wilderness region which offers scenic beauty begging to be photographed. At George you turn inland to cross the Outeniqua Mountain Pass and enter the Little Karoo, the opposite of the lush Garden Route, but attractive in a different way. You visit one of the Ostrich show farms outside Oudtshoorn for an interesting introduction to these exotic birds. Lunch to be enjoyed at the ostrich farm (own account).

The next visit will be to the famous Cango Caves, that runs deep into the Swartberg Mountains. You do a guided tour of one hour and visit different chambers with wonderful drip stone stalactites and stalagmites. You return to the outskirts of Oudtshoorn to check in at your country hotel for the evening. Dinner at the hotel (own account).


Section of the Cogmanskloof Pass

Day 13: Oudtshoorn to Stellenbosch via Route 62 (±410 km)

Destination: Stellenbosch
Accomodation: Protea Hotel Stellenbosch
Meals included: breakfast
Attractions include: Route 62 , Barrydale , Klipdrift Brandy Distillery .

Today you travel from Oudtshoorn to Stellenbosch via the iconic Route 62. The latter Route mostly follows the Little Karoo, an extended valley between two major mountain ranges. This makes for ever changing scenery that include mountain passes, gorges and valleys with vineyards and orchards. Route 62 is also known as the longest wine route in the world.

You stop at the scenic Barrydale for lunch (own account) before continuing to Montagu. After Montagu you leave the Little Karoo through a gorge called Kochman's Kloof. At Robertson you stop at a distillery (Klipdrift or similar) for brandy tasting before continuing through the magnificent Du Toit's Kloof and eventually the Huguenot Tunnel into the Cape Winelands and on to Stellenbosch.

Stellenbosch is the second oldest town in South Africa. It is known for it's historical architecture, Oak-lined streets, it's viniculture and local University. Check in at your hotel in Stellenbosch and relax. Dinner is in one of the hotel's restaurants (own account).


Fairview wine tasting

Day 14: Stellenbosch to Cape Town via the Cape Winelands (±100 km)

Destination: Cape Town
Accomodation: Inn on the Square Hotel
Meals included: breakfast
Attractions include: Cape Winelands , Paarl wine estates , Afrikaans Language Monument , Stellenbosch walking tour .

After breakfast enjoy a walking tour of this beautiful town rich in culture and history. Walk along the oak lined streets and stop at some of the historic old buildings in typical Cape Dutch style. Enjoy the setting of the town against the backdrop of majestic mountains.

From Stellenbosch you travel to Paarl in the Cape Winelands. Enroute you visit the house that Nelson Mandela lived in at the Drakenstein Correctional Centre (a.k.a. Victor Verster Prison) for the last 3 years of the 27 years total that he spent in prison. The Apartheid Government moved him into one of the houses meant for warders in preparation of his eventual release in 1990.

You visit one of the many wine estates around Paarl for wine tasting and lunch (both for your own account).

Paarl is South Africa's third oldest city, after Cape Town and Stellenbosch. The name ‘Paarl' is old-Dutch for ‘pearl’. It is derived form the huge granite boulders on top of the Paarl Mountain that shimmer like pearls in the sun after rain. The town is renowned for viniculture and has some outstanding wine estates in the vicinity. It is also known for the role it played in the recognition of Afrikaans as an official language. You visit the "Afrikaanse Taalmonument" or the Afrikaans Language Monument on the lower reaches of Paarl Mountain..

From Paarl you travel to Cape Town on the N1 with lovely views on the city at the foot of the majestic Table Mountain in the distance. Your hotel is situated in the heart of Cape Town on the historic Greenmarket Square. Dinner will be at the hotel (own account).


A Citysightseeing open-top bus above Cape Town

Day 15: Day at leisure in Cape Town

Destination: Cape Town
Accomodation: Inn on the Square Hotel
Meals included: breakfast
Attractions include: Cape Town .

Cape Town is a truly remarkable city, it is regularly ranked amongst the top cities to visit in the world in publications such as Condé Nast Traveller and similar. One could stay for a week and still not experience all that the city has to offer. Today, you have the opportunity of exploring some of greater Cape Town's attractions (own account).

Consult our 'tour finder' (see left menu) or go to the 'Tours & Safaris' link at the top of this page and click on 'Day Tours' in order to view a range of possible half-day and full-day touring options in and around Cape Town. If you choose not to extend your Cape Town stay we'd advise that you choose from one of the following options, the typical tours for a three-day Cape Town stay: Table Mountain & Cape Town City Half Day Tour, The Cape Peninsula Full Day Tour or the Cape Winelands Full Day Tour. You'll find many other options as well by following the links discussed above, or you may of course decide to spend a day on one of Cape Town's spectacular beaches, go shopping or whatever tickles your fancy.

Note: On enquiring about or booking this tour you may request us to quote for extending your stay in Cape Town, with or without pre-booked touring.


Ascending Table Mountain

Day 16: Day of departure (±20km)

Destination: Cape Town International Airport
Meals included: breakfast
Attractions include: Cape Town .

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel. How you spend this day will depend on the departure time of your flight back home. If time allows, we recommend that you consider one of the touring options discussed on Day 15 above..

Your transfer from the hotel to the airport is not included in your tour price and should be arranged separately. We will gladly assist with that (for your own account). Should you decide to extend your stay in Cape Town with an extra day or two you may request us to quote for this on enquiring about or booking this tour.

Return back home enriched with your experience of South Africa, hopefully to return again soon!