Day 1: Gauteng
ARRIVAL IN JOHANNESBURG/GAUTENG
After your arrival at the O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, you will receive your holiday vehicle at the car rental desk. Thus begins with a first direct contact to the people at the counter your self-drive journey. The first destination is the Leriba Hotel & Spa in Centurion about 45 minutes from the airport located for your first night in Africa. This wonderful luxury hotel in the 4 and 5 star area invites you to a pampering programme in the Spa & wellness area. Or you can be enchanted by the wonderful garden.
Day 2: Sabie
GAUTENG - MISTY MOUNTAIN ( 334 km / 3: 50h)
Your first travel day in Africa. Today you are driving a part of the not-for-nothing so-called panorama route up to your accommodation at Misty Mountain Country Lodge in the heart of the Mpumalanga region.
East of Gauteng, this province begins. The landscape changes rapidly as you drive eastwards. From the flat plateau you reach the rugged mountains of the Drakensberg of Mpumalanga, which, as the north-eastern part of the marginal Threshold mountains, delimit the Highveld of the Lowlands (Lowveld) upstream of the east.
Along the spectacular demolition edge, the Escarpment, is the so-called "Panorama Route", a scenic highlight of every South Africa trip-also for the South Africans, who like to have it green. In the vast expanse of the Lowvelds is the Kruger National Park, one of the largest and most beautiful game reserves on Earth.
The land of the former Transvaal is characterised by the settlement movements of the Voortrekker, which moved along with their oxen wagons and opened up the region under great sacrifices and hardships.
Take some short stops on the way, because in the Sabie region, the Lone Creek Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Sabie Falls, Mac Mac Falls, Mac Mac Pools and Forest Falls are a stop. Or you go back in time and explore the historic town of Pilgrim's Rest.
Day 3: Sabie
The Panorama route is one of the most impressive tourist destinations in South Africa. Here the domestic plateau (Highveld) suddenly and steeply falls by up to 1000m. On the entire route there are numerous spectacular viewpoints with a view to Mozambique. Especially in the winter months, when the air is dry and clear, you can almost endlessly look far. One of these views is ' God's window ', not far from Graskop.
A multitude of waterfalls of all sizes and shapes lie to the left and right of the path and you should look at several of them.
The ' Bourke's Luck Potholes ' are an impressive rock formations created by leaching within millions of years. You should definitely look at the bizarre vortex holes.
Undoubtedly the highlight of the great escarpment is the ' Blyde River Canyon ' with the ' three Rondavels '. This look takes your breath away, it is unforgettable!
Activities and Services
Day 4: Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
MISTY MOUNTAIN - UMLANI BUSHCAMP (190 km / 3:20h)
This morning departure is your first safari stage-a highlight of your trip. The next few days will be a sign of such wonderful African wildlife. In the Timbavati private nature reserve You can explore the African flora and fauna. On game drives, observe the large and small animals in their natural surroundings. Until noon you should have reached the nature reserve to relax in the afternoon for your first stalking.
Day 5: Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
TIMBAVATI PRIVATE NATURE RESERVE
Today you have to get up very early: you will be woken up before sunrise. After a coffee and the typical South African "Rusks" (hard pastries), you drive deep into the bush in an open jeep. Around this time there is a lot going on here, the nocturnal animals return, the diurnal ones come from their hiding places. In the light of the rising sun the bush shines in wonderful light, a paradise for photographers! After the game drive you return to your lodge where a rich breakfast is already waiting for you. Later on you will have time to relax at the pool, read, or maybe get some sleep.
However, there will still be something to watch: thirsty animals come to the lodge's own waterhole, colourful birds drink in the pool, and small antelopes roam around the accommodation and enjoy the safety of being close to people. After a lunch and often also a "High Tea" you go on a game drive in the afternoon, only interrupted by a sundowner in the bush. From now on you also have the possibility to observe nocturnal animals. Equipped with powerful spotlights you search for the many animals that are not visible during the day. With a good dinner and a drink or two at the bar, an exciting day comes to an end.
Day 6: Kruger National Park
UMLANI BUSHCAMP - MALELANE (approx. 250 km / 4:00h)
This morning you go on an early game drive again. Last chance to say goodbye to the fantastic animal world for the time being. What did you see? All the animals of the "Big Five"? If you didn't, there may be another opportunity... After returning to the lodge and eating breakfast you leave Timbavati and head south. You drive through Neslpruit (Mbombela) with its famous botanical garden. Continue on the N4 towards the Mozambican border. There are a number of attractions along the way that you could look at.
Alternatively you can also drive from Timbavati through the Kruger National Park... Certainly even the more beautiful variant! But make sure you pass through the parking gates in time for the evening.
Your accommodation for the night is situated in Malelane.
Day 7: Mkhaya Game Reserve
MALELANE - SWASILAND (approx. 210 km / 3:10h)
Today you can go back to Kruger National Park and maybe make up for the missed Big Five, or you can leave for Swaziland in the morning. The route is very attractive, but not particularly fast. On the way you will experience South Africa's little sister, who is similar but also so different. Today the destination is the rustic Stone Camp in the Mkhaya Game Reserve.
Day 8: Mkhaya Game Reserve
The Mkhaya Game Reserve is probably the most famous game reserve in Swaziland. It is a bit isolated and cannot be driven through with your own car. This makes it particularly wild and suitable for extended game drives with open jeeps or for guided bush walks. In the mornings and evenings you have the opportunity to do so. The Stone Camp does not have electrical connections. Please charge all required devices well beforehand.
Day 9: St Lucia
SWASILAND - ST. LUCIA (approx. 260 km / 3:00h)
This morning you have the opportunity to get close to and personal with the nature of Africa - this time in Swaziland. After hopefully many more sightings you leave the highlands and drive down towards the coast with its wonderful beaches, lagoons and different animals. The Avalone Guest House in St Lucia is your home for the next two nights.
Day 10: St Lucia
Time to relax and unwind. Or would you prefer a few activities? There is a lot to do in St. Lucia! A must is the cruise on the lagoon. Here there are many hippos and crocodiles, which can be observed very well from the water.
Day 11: Midlands Meander
ST. LUCIA - LIDGETTON ( approx. 350 km / 4:10h)
You drive along the dolphin coast today. Many times you have the opportunity to get to lonely beach sections and experience the incomparable view of the Indian Ocean. There is also a lot of South African history to the right and left of the route. From battlefields of various wars and memories of great tribal princes to historic towns there is much to experience.
Day 12: Northern Drakensberg
LIDGETTON - BERGVILLE (approx. 170 km / 2:10h)
Today you drive along the dramatic scenery of the Drakensberg mountains. Large parts of the mountains are protected as a national park and you have the opportunity to explore them today and tomorrow.
Day 13: Northern Drakensberg
The whole day is marked by the majestic Drakensberg mountains. There are various hikes, from easy and on your own to a day trip to the top of the amphitheatre. This has to be booked in advance, but wouldn't it be a great way to end your trip? You could also rent mountain bikes, do horseback riding, play golf and much more... Actually, the time is too short...
Day 14: Eastern Free State
BERGVILLE - BETHLEHEM (approx. 140 km / 2:00h)
At the Lionsrock Lodge & Big Cat Sanctuary, the four Paws organization has been operating this sanctuary on 1.250 acres since February 2008 to accommodate older cats from European zoos and safari parks. A 10-year success story in International animal welfare.
Here the cats are offered a dignified "life-Eve ". Today the lodge is your destination and you will surely be able to hear the lion's reputation at night.
Day 15: End of Itinerary
Upon your arrival at O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, return your rental car. If you have not booked a follow-up programme, your holiday is already over. We are sure that you have experienced a lot and collected unforgettable impressions.