This three-week route suggestion starts in Gauteng and ends in the Western Cape.
Day 1 Middelburg – Pienaardam
On your first day, you depart from Gauteng and proceed to Pienaardam Leisure Resort close to Witbank. The resort offers many activities such as horse riding, a play park, canoeing, or you can simply relax by the pool or enjoy a sumptuous meal in the restaurant.
Day 2 Sabie – Merry Pebbles.
On your way from Pienaardam heading east towards the Kruger National park you will drive through the town of Dullstroom, well known for its trout fishing. After you have passed Lydenburg, you will drive through the Long Tom Pass. At the top of the Long Tom Pass is a large cannon called The Long Tom. That was the British name for this Boer-operated field gun that fired a 38kg shell for 10km and was the bane of British generals and their brigades. The Long Tom Pass was built as an alternative route for the wagoners of the 1800s to get through to the Mozambican port of Lourenco Marques (now Maputo) for trade. Your next stop would be the charming town of Sabie, gateway to the Panorama Route and historical gem. From Sabie, it’s a short hop to the historical village of Pilgrim’s Rest and Graskop, the town of the gourmet pancake.
￼Merry Pebbles Resort is situated on the bank of the Sabie river and after travelling for many hours, you can enjoy the hot and cold swimming pools while sipping a sundowner and later have a sumptuous meal in the cozy restaurant.
Day 3 Hoedspruit – Swadini Forever Resort.
From Sabie, you will head north to Hoedspruit, travelling through the heart of the Panorama Route. Plan your day ahead as there is much to see. A number of noteworthy waterfalls, natural pools, the Blyde River Canyon, the picturesque town of Pilgrims Rest, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Gods Window with spectacular views, Pinnacle Rock, the Three Rondawels and the Echo Caves, to name a few of the natural wonders in this area. The Swadini resort offers many activities for the whole family including hiking, swimming, boat rides on Blyde Dam where your tour guide will take you to the Kadishi Tufa Waterfall and the majestic Three Rondavels. Wildlife is abundant; you’ll be able to spot hippo, crocodile, as well as fish eagle. During this optional cruise, you can learn more about the history of the third biggest canyon in the world.
Day 4 Kruger National Park – Satara Rest Camp.
Today you are heading into the world famous Kruger National Park! Satara is well wooded and the bird- life is prolific. The camp is often referred to as the ‘cat camp’. Because of the fertile grazing land found in the area which attracts vast herds of Antelope, Satara Camp is one of the best spots in the world for viewing Lion, Leopard and Cheetah.
Satara is well wooded and the bird-life is prolific. At night the clink of fruit bats is fused with the chirping of cicadas and crickets. The calls of owls and nightjars add to the symphony that is punctuated intermittently by the whoop of hyena, the screech of jackal and the roars of lion.
Day 5 Kruger National Park – Skukuza Rest Camp.
You will now head south toward Skukuza Rest Camp which is the main camp in the Kruger National Park. Skukuza is situated on the southern banks of the Sabie River, and in the heart of “the Big Five”
territory. Here you can have both bush breakfasts and dinners, guided walks, guided drives, or if preferred, self drive for viewing the animals, and prolific birdlife.
Skukuza hosts an array of animals including lion, elephant, leopards,rhino (black and white), wild dog, warthog , vervet monkey, giraffe, impala, klipspringer, kudu, common and mountain reedbuck, oribi, striped polecat, steenbok, warthog and numerous others. Night time visits are made by genet, thick- tailed bush baby and fruit bat, while the river front of the camp offers an opportunity to look for hippopotamus and buffalo.
Bush breakfasts and dinners
Day 6 Swaziland / Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.
Swaziland, officially the Kingdom of Swaziland (eSwatini), is a sovereign state in Southern Africa. Swaziland is well known for its rich culture.
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is Swaziland’s pioneer conservation area and a beautiful, secluded sanctuary situated in the Kingdom’s Ezulwini Valley, ‘Valley of Heavens’.
Enjoy the sanctuary’s nature by foot, horse or mountain bike (available for hire). Just fancy relaxing? Enjoy a sundowner or savour a delicious meal at the popular Hippo Haunt Restaurant overlooking an exceptionally picturesque pool teaming with birdlife. Sit back, enjoy the resident game walking by or cool off by taking a dip in the rest camp’s swimming pool.
Day 7 Hluhluwe – Bushbaby Lodge.
Heading back into South Africa again your overnight stop will be at Bushbaby Lodge in Hluhluwe. The lodge is located in a picturesque tropical garden under the shade of enormous indigenous trees.
The Bushbaby Lodge is close to the Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve which is the oldest game reserve in Africa, and the only one under formal conservation in KwaZulu Natal where the Big 5 occur. Hluhluwe Game Reserve boasts a large population of both Black and White Rhino. The large population of Rhino’s in the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve is the result of intense conservation of small populations since the turn of the century. The reserve hosts over 1200 plant species, 84 mammal and 350 bird species not to mention the reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects.
Day 8 St. Lucia – Sugarloaf Resort.
The little town of St Lucia lies at the southern most entrance to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (formerly known as the St Lucia Estuary and Wetlands Park), a World Heritage site. As the doorway to a world of fresh water pans, lakes, mangrove and reed swamps, marshy grasslands, coastal dunes and an abundance of wild life, the town too lies in the heart of unspoilt beauty.
Day 9 Ballito – Dolphin Holiday Resort.
After leaving crocodiles and hippos behind, we now welcome the company of the playful dolphins in Ballito. Ballito is north of Durban, based in sub-tropical forest like surroundings, this offers peace and tranquillity which is a must for any holiday maker who needs to put up their feet and just relax.
Day 10&11 Winterton – Mountain Splendour.
Mountain Splendour is located in Champagne Valley in the spectacular central Drakensberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Drakensberg area has some of the most beautiful scenery that can be imagined. The area falls into four valleys, beginning with the Champagne Valley in the Central Berg, through the Cathedral Peak and Didima Valley, then the Royal Natal National Park and Amphitheatre Valley, and finally the Middledale Pass Valley in the Northern Berg. Each of the four valleys has its own kind of beauty and character; all have magnificent mountain views.
Day 12 Golden Gate National Park – Glen Reenen Rest Camp.
Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north eastern Free State lies the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. The park derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the park’s sandstone cliffs, especially the imposing Brandwag rock, keeping vigil over the main rest camp. Here you can find snow or frost on the highest peaks almost all year round and you can usually enjoy skiing between the months of May and July when the snow is plentiful. The mountains offer many other activities from hiking, mountain biking, and mountain climbing. There is also the famous pony and horse riding trails through the mountains.
Day 13 Ladybrand – Little Rock.
Picturesquely set in a small wooded valley surrounded by mountains, 3 minutes’ drive from Ladybrand town centre. The area is good for birdwatching and guest can go on scenic walks in the shaded valleys with water streams and waterfalls, and there are Bushmen paintings along the trails.
The ideal place for a barbeque or romantic picnic in the sandstone garden or for a sundowner at the cozy Ladies bar next to the pool.
Day 14 Middelburg – Carochalet Camping.
You will be travelling through the Karoo Heartland which offers the wide open spaces and that feeling of freedom that comes with drifting through such clear, scenic landscapes. arochalet is situated in Middelburg town in the Eastern Cape between Colesberg and Graaff-Reinet.
Day 15&16 Addo Elephant Park.
The original Elephant section of the park was proclaimed in 1931, when only eleven elephants remained in the area – today this finely-tuned ecosystem is sanctuary to elephant, lion, buffalo, black rhino, spotted hyena, leopard, a variety of antelope and zebra species, as well as the unique Addo flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively in Addo. The park can exclusively claim to be the only national park in the world to conserve the “Big 7” – the Big 5 as well as the southern right whale and great white shark off the Algoa Bay coast. Plans are currently afoot to include the proposed proclamation of a Marine Protected Area which includes islands that are home to the world’s largest breeding populations of Cape gannets and second largest breeding population of African penguins.
Day 17 Tsitsikamma National Park – Storms River Mouth.
This, “the place of much water”, is the Tsitsikamma National Park. The heartland of the park stretches some 5 km to sea, protecting a wonderland of inter-tidal life, reef and deep-sea fish. Dolphins frolic in the breakers, surfing and playing for the sheer joy of life, and the gentle giant of the ocean, the southern right whale visits here, coming inshore to breed.
This area is also home to the African Black Oystercatcher and the Knysna Lourie. The source of the name of the Otter Trail, the Cape Clawless Otter – this shy and elusive species hunts crabs along the park’s coastline and rivers alike. The miniature antelope called the Blue Duiker is found in the forests.
Day 18 Wilderness – Ebb & Flow.
Ebb and Flow Wilderness is set in the Garden Route’s vistas of dense coastal forests, estuaries and beaches against a backdrop of the rugged mountains. A Ramsar (Wetlands of International Importance) site, the area is an example of pristine conservation practices as the riverine system is the habitat of a diverse ecosystem of aquatic animals and is almost untouched by humans. This is the home of the Knysna seahorse, the most endangered seahorse in the world, which clings onto plants with its tail and changes colour to match its surroundings.
Tucked away in the Wilderness National Park, in the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains, Ebb and Flow Restcamp is known not only for its striking nature trails and thick woodlands but also for its famous inhabitants, the green and ruby-plumaged Knysna Turacos.
Day 19 Oudtshoorn – Kleinplaas.
Oudtshoorn, the “ostrich capital of the world” is the largest town in the Little Karoo region. The world’s biggest bird is just one of the many attractions in this area of exceptional contrasts and natural beauty. The region is also home to the spectacular Cango Caves, Africa’s largest show cave system; an ecological hotspot where three distinct plant biomes (succulent karoo, cape thicket and fynbos) converge; and the Swartberg mountain range, which is part of the Cape Floral World Heritage Site.
Day 20 Swellendam – Swellendam Caravan Park.
Swellendam is a scenic town nestled in the valley at the foot of the majestic Langeberg mountains. It is situated in the Overberg, halfway between Cape Town and George on the Garden Route.
Rare species of flora and fauna surrounding the Breede river can be found here, including Cape Mountain Zebra and grey Rhebok.
The town of Swellendam has much to offer: lovely old buildings, excellent restaurants, shops, and arts & craft projects.
Day 21&22 Melkbosstrand – Ou Skip Holiday Resort.
On your way to Melkbosstrand, you can stop at Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa, and where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean meet, and Hermanus – Fynbos covered mountains, sparkling sea vistas, a rich marine life and the best land based whale watching in the world, make Hermanus one of the most magnificent and desirable eco-destinations in the country. Quaint boutiques, art galleries, open-air cafes, restaurants and craft markets provide a creative, cosmopolitan and hospitable framework to complement the natural attractions.
Around Melkbosstrand you will find The Dikkop and Grysbok hiking trails close by and they pass through areas with sandy beaches, cliffs and dune veld with an abundance of wildlife. Melkbosstrand is about 30 km from Cape Town, and is close to the six main wine regions, each offering its own unique wine route. You can also explore Cape Town, where you can visit the V&A Waterfront, take a boat trip to RobbenIsland, or take the cablecar to the top of Table Mountain, there are also bus tours through the city.