Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa. 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 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 please ensure you have these on hand to provide to your leader. If you arrive early, get out and explore Durban. A wealth of golden, sandy beaches and glitzy nightlife awaits. The Golden Mile is an essential spot – a stretch of fine sands bordered by frothy surf on one side and an attractive beachfront of skate parks, restaurants and cafes on the other. For dinner, perhaps grab your group and head to Florida Road for traditional Bunny Chow or fresh seafood.
Leave Durban and travel inland towards the majestic Drakensberg mountain range (approximately 5–6 hours). Stop along the way at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site and learn of the history of this great man. Then stretch your legs on a short hike among on the highly fertile Drakensberg 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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
Garden Route / Tsitsikamma National Park
Wake early and enjoy another game drive in Addo in our overland vehicle.
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: Intrepid 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 Intrepid’s Responsible Travel ethos. This includes organising transport to and from these activities in our vehicles.
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!
Garden Route / 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. Next stop is Weltevrede Fig Farm where you learn how to farm, dry and preserve figs. 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, known as 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. Your campsite has hot showers and flush toilets. Upgrades are possible (subject to availability).
Bontebok National Park
Wake very early this morning to spend some time with with wild meerkats, part of the so-called ‘Shy 5’. Head to their burrow, pull up a chair and sip coffee while the sun comes up and the meerkats climb out into the sunshine. Watch these habituated wild animals, which are never fed or handled by humans, go about their daily routine of foraging and frolicking. It’s rare to get this close to them in the wild. Then travel from onto Bontebok National Park (approximately 3-4 hours). Bontebok is the smallest of South Africa’s 18 National Parks and named after its unusually marked antelopes called Bontebok. Drive through towering mountain passes on this impressive journey, crossing some of the most beautiful and rugged alpine scenery in the Langeberg. where your Tour Leader will take you on a quick orientation of the town and point out a spot for lunch. After Cape Town and Stellenbosch, Swellendam is the third oldest town in South Africa. The town has over 50 provincial heritage sites, most of them buildings of Cape Dutch architecture. After lunch take the short rive to set up camp in Bontebok NP and have the remainder of the afternoon to hike one of the 3 nature-hiking trails, starting and ending in the rest camp areaTrail maps are available at the campsite.
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.
Enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Hermanus with a walk from Grotto Beach beach along the cliff and beach path back into town, or take a meander through the shops and coastal paths. We then drive 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 at approximately 3pm.
Drakensburg - Royal Natal National Park Hike
Howick - Nelson Mandela Capture Site
Addo Elephant National Park - Overland Vehicle Game drive
Addo Elephant National Park - Overland Vehicle Game drive
Oudtshoorn - Cango Caves Guided Tour
Weltevrede - Fig Farm visit
Oudtshoorn - Meerkat Experience
Hermanus - R320 Route Wine Tour