South African Explorer (13 Days)

South African safari tour

The 13-day South African Explorer Tour covers the highlights of South Africa – Cape Town, Garden Route, Durban, Hluhluwe, eSwatini (Swaziland), Kruger National Park, Panorama Route, and Johannesburg. The tour starts in Johannesburg and ends in Cape Town. It can be done on either a scheduled guided tour (departing on selected Sundays with a maximum of 8 people) or on a private guided basis (for a small group of friends or family). Alternatively, there is also an option to drive yourselves on this tour (self-drive tour). The private and self-drive options may start on any day of the week, however; there may be slight price differences on other days. The tour is available in English, German, and French. See scheduled departure dates.

Enjoy game viewing in 3 different areas; stay at a private game lodge and see Africa’s ‘Big 5’. Spot unique wildlife at a World Heritage Site; board an ocean safari; enjoy a sunset oyster cruise on the Knysna Estuary and walk through the Tsitsikamma Forest.

South African Explorer Tour
South African Explorer Tour map showing the number of nights in each place on this tour

Skip to South African Explorer Tour Rates

South African Explorer Tour Highlights

‘Big 5’ private 5-star game lodge
Kruger National Park game viewing
Tick off the Panorama Route sights
Game viewing in a World Heritage Site, St Lucia
Dolphin watching on an ocean safari
Township school visit
Sunset Knysna oyster cruise
Tractor tour on an ostrich farm
Olive and wine tasting

South African Explorer Tour Summary

Day 1Johannesburg (±30km)
Day 2Johannesburg to Makalali Game Reserve via Dullstroom (±456km)
Day 3Makalali Game Reserve to Hazyview via Panorama Route (±180km)
Day 4Hazyview to Eswatini via Kruger National Park (±160km)
Day 5Eswatini to St Lucia (±335km)
Day 6St Lucia to Umhlanga (Durban) (±225km)
Day 7Umhlanga to Port Elizabeth (now called Gqeberha) – Flight (Own Account And Own Arrangements)
Day 8Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape) to Knysna via Tsitsikamma Forest (Garden Route) (±285km)
Day 9Knysna to Plettenberg Bay And Back (±60km)
Day 10Knysna to Oudtshoorn Via Wilderness (±125km)
Day 11Oudtshoorn to Cape Town Via Route 62 (±420km)
Day 12Cape Town – Cape Point Full Day Tour
Day 13Day Of Departure
South African Explorer Full Itinerary

Day 1, Sunday

On arrival at the airport, guests will be collected and transferred to the hotel. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure or explore the famous suburb of Sandton offering many shops and restaurants within walking distance from the hotel. Dine at the hotel or in the city (own account).
Overnight at Protea Hotel by Marriott Balalaika or similar – Breakfast.

Day 2, Monday

Guests are collected from the hotel and travel east to the province of Limpopo, via Dullstroom. Guests will stop for lunch (own account) en route and arrive at a private game reserve, to enjoy a guided, open-vehicle game drive. Return to the lodge for pre-dinner drinks (own account) and dinner.
Overnight at Makalali Main Lodge or similar – Dinner, breakfast, and 2 x game drives.

South Africa safari
Makalali game drive

Day 3, Tuesday

Experience an early morning start in the bushveld on a guided, open-vehicle game drive. They will enjoy coffee and rusks in the bush before returning to the lodge for breakfast. Head to one of Mpumalanga’s most magnificent attractions: the Blyde River Canyon and the Three Rondavels. The Panorama Route affords guests memorable views of the more significant sites in this area, including God’s Window and Bourke’s Luck Potholes. Lunch (own account) is enjoyed along this scenic route. The tour stops in Hazyview for the evening.
Overnight at Casa do Sol Hotel & Resort or similar – Dinner and breakfast.

Day 4, Wednesday

Guests enjoy an early breakfast before departing the hotel. We head towards Mpumalanga’s flagship attraction – the Kruger National Park. A closed vehicle game drive allows guests to take in the park and view the ‘Big 5’ and other fauna and flora. Enjoy lunch (own account) en route to the Kingdom of Eswatini. Guests enter at the Jeppes Reef border. Arrive at the hotel later in the afternoon and enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Overnight at Mantenga Lodge or similar – Dinner and breakfast.

NOTE: When entering the Kingdom of Eswatini, guests must ensure they are in possession of a valid passport, and for nationals of applicable countries, multi-entry visa regulations apply (own account).

Day 5, Thursday

After an early breakfast, guests stop to visit the Swazi Candle Factory and Crafts Market. Exit Swaziland at the Lavumisa Border post and enter South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province in an area colloquially referred to as the Elephant Coast. In the late afternoon, guests arrive at the hotel and have the opportunity to freshen up before pre-dinner drinks and dinner (both own account).
Overnight at Forest Lodge or similar – Breakfast and 1 x game excursion.

Day 6, Friday

Before breakfast, guests embark on an open safari vehicle and enjoy a game drive through South Africa’s first World Heritage Site, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a colloquial reference roughly translated as ‘miracle and wonder’. Observe hippos, crocodiles, and an abundance of birds on an eco-friendly boat cruise on the lake. They can have lunch (own account) while taking in the lake vista before departing for the coastal town of Umhlanga. Enjoy dinner at the beachfront hotel or in town (own account).
Overnight at The Capital Pearls or similar – Breakfast.

St Lucia Boat cruise
Boat cruise – St Lucia

Day 7, Saturday

Breakfast is enjoyed at the hotel and the morning is spent at leisure. Take a walk along the promenade or spend time on the beach. Guests are collected from the hotel and transferred to King Shaka International Airport for a flight to Port Elizabeth (flight not included). On arrival, guests are met and transferred to a city hotel. Dine (own account) at the hotel or at a restaurant of choice.
Overnight at Southern Sun the Marine or similar – Breakfast.

Day 8, Sunday

Guests are collected from their hotel and head west to Knysna via Storms River and the Tsitsikamma Forest; in the heart of the Garden Route. Guests will stop at Storms River and enjoy a short walk to the suspension bridge to take in the views. Enjoy lunch (own account) in the Tsitsikamma Forest area, home to century-old trees, then continue on to the picturesque town of Knysna. After arrival and check-in, guests board the informative Knysna oyster cruise to sample oysters and enjoy a sundowner. Guests savor an evening’s dinner next to the Knysna Estuary (own account).
Overnight at Protea Hotel by Marriott Knysna Quays or similar – Breakfast.

Day 9, Monday

After breakfast, guests make their way to Plettenberg Bay. Guests depart from Lookout Beach on a marine excursion (weather permitting) dedicated to the observation and conservation of marine mammals. This Fair Trade Tourism certified ocean safari affords guests extensive and memorable whale, dolphin, and seal watching. Back on shore, they can enjoy a relaxing lunch (own account). In the afternoon, guests take a guided tour of the Qolweni Township, school, and crèche. This is a community development program; allocated tour proceeds fund the education of Qolweni’s children. Guests are invited to donate pencils, books, and other stationery. Take the scenic drive back to Knysna; spending the afternoon at leisure or exploring the village of Knysna. In the early evening, guests enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants at the Knysna Waterfront (own account).
Overnight at Protea Hotel by Marriott Knysna Quays or similar – Breakfast.

Community upliftment tour
School Visit in Qolweni Township, Plettenberg Bay

Day 10, Tuesday

After breakfast, the tour departs for Oudtshoorn, in the Klein Karoo via the Outeniqua Pass, over the Outeniqua mountains. Lunch en route (own account). Oudtshoorn is the principal town of the Klein Karoo and the ostrich capital of the world. Guests visit the Cango Caves in the Cango Valley before an olive tasting, paired with Protea rosé or juice, at this evening’s boutique guest house. Enjoy dinner in this quaint setting.
Overnight at Surval Boutique Olive Estate or similar – Dinner and breakfast.

Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn

Day 11, Wednesday

After breakfast guests visit a working ostrich farm for an informative tractor tour of the farm on the outskirts of Oudtshoorn. Departing the farm, the tour traces Route 62, the region’s iconic freeway. Guests can enjoy a wine tasting (own account) and the sweeping views of the Tradouw Valley. Lunch is enjoyed en route (own account). Guests arrive at a Cape Town hotel in the late afternoon. Guests dine at the hotel or a city restaurant (own account).
Overnight at Protea Hotel by Marriott Fire & Ice! Cape Town or similar – Breakfast.

Day 12, Thursday

After breakfast, guests join a guided full day Cape Point tour. Travel along the Atlantic seaboard to Cape Point via Chapman’s Peak and the Cape Peninsula. Visit the Cape Point Nature Reserve; Boulders penguin colony (own account); quaint coastal villages and Rhodes Memorial site. Dine at one of many city restaurants (own account).
Overnight at Protea Hotel by Marriott Fire & Ice! Cape Town or similar – Breakfast.

Cape Town tour
Cape Point

Day 13, Friday

Guests enjoy breakfast and spend the day at leisure. A scheduled transfer to the Cape Town International Airport concludes the tour.

Scheduled Tour Departure Dates

Tour Language:Bilingual – English and GermanFrench
November 20226, 13, 2720
December 20224, 11, 18, 25
January 20231, 8, 22, 2915
February 20235, 12, 2619
March 20235, 12, 19, 26
April 20232, 9, 23, 3016
May 20237, 14, 21, 28
June 20234, 11, 18, 25
July 20239, 16, 23, 302
August 202313, 20, 276
September 20233, 10, 17, 24
October 20231, 8, 15, 2922

South African Explorer Tour Rates

Scheduled Tour Rates from 1st November 2022 until 31st October 2023: R 54,915 per person sharing (Single Supplement: R 24,085). Children from 7-11 years pay R 27,460.

South African Explorer Private Tour Rates
Number of travelers until 31st October 2023Per Person Rate
1 personR119 015
2 peopleR70 215
3 peopleR61 500
4 to 6 peopleR55 050
7 to 9 peopleR54 750
10 to 14 peopleR54 650
Single SupplementR15 513

South African Explorer Scheduled and Private Guided Tour Includes:

Accommodation: 3 and 4-star hotels; 5-star private game lodge
Meals: 12 breakfasts and 4 dinners
Entrance Fees: Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, God’s Window, conservation fee into Kruger National Park and private game reserve and Garden Route National Park (Storms River) conservation fee
Transfers: All airport transfers (within 2 days before or after the tour)
Excursions: 2 x open safari vehicle game drives in private game reserves and 1 x game drive in iSimangaliso Wetland Park, St Lucia Estuary boat cruise, sunset Knysna oyster cruise, ocean safari, ostrich farm tractor tour, Cango Caves heritage tour, olive and wine tasting, Cape Point full day tour
Green Seat: SANParks Honorary Rangers, Endangered Wildlife Trust, Trees for Tourism

South African Explorer Tour Self-drive Rates and Inclusions
Number of travelers from 1st November 2022 until 31st October 2023Per Person Rate
1 person Group B Car HireR62 295
2 people Group B Car HireR39 732
3 – 4 people Group V Car HireR38 720
5 – 7 people Group E Car HireR37 720
Single SupplementR12 040

South African Explorer Self-Drive Tour Inclusions:

Accommodation: 3 and 4-star hotels and a 5-star private game lodge
Meals: 12 breakfasts and 4 dinners
Arrival English Airport Meet and Assist
Air-conditioned vehicle of appropriate size (Europcar Group B, V, or E) including Tourism levy, 15% VAT, Carbon Emissions Tax, Airport Surcharge, Unlimited mileage, and Document admin fee. You will also receive a VIP Card giving you discounts / value adds.
Select conservation fees and excursions as per the itinerary
Green Seat: SANParks Honorary Rangers, Endangered Wildlife Trust, Trees for Tourism


Travel insurance, tolls, flights, visa fees, porterages, meals not mentioned, optional excursions, gratuities, and personal expenses

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