Welcome to our unique country of contrasts! This 10-day one-way journey across South Africa will reveal the vibrancy and diversity of our people, culture and places – are you ready to discover an entire world in one country?
From vibrant cities to quiet, wild spaces; from vast, empty beaches to monumental mountain peaks; from rolling vineyards to alluring African plains, South Africa has it all. Every one of the 3000 kilometres travelled will reveal something different, something new.
If you’re looking for an interactive and fun way to travel between East London and Jo’burg; this small-group tour has it all! Explore some of the best spots along the eastern coast and surrounding inland areas along the way – the Wild Coast, Drakensberg, Battlefields and Kruger National Park.
But the journey is never just about the destination… it’s about taking detours, stopping and taking time to meet the locals and letting the open road lead the way. The best way to truly get to know a country is by understanding its people. This tour invites you to visit them, from varying cultures and backgrounds. Learn about world famous human-rights activists who emerged from South Africa’s legendary anti-apartheid movement, including the late former President Nelson Mandela. And with 11 official languages, one of the world’s most progressive constitutions, and a rich heritage, South Africa certainly has that unexpected ‘X’ factor.
Venture off the beaten track; follow the inspirational ‘walk to freedom’ of Nelson Mandela; surf world-class waves along the Wild Coast; drive country roads to unique locations; stroll along pristine beaches; spot the animals of the Big 5 in the wild; chase endless sunsets; all in search of a deeper connection with the Motherland. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – let the variety of South Africa’s unique canvases unfold before you.
Join a park ranger on an open top 4x4 vehicle as you search for animals in Kruger.
Feel the wind in your hair as you gallop along a sandy Wild Coast beach.
Learn to ride Wild Coast waves with a qualified surf coach.
Perfect your downward dog with a yoga class in a tranquil Chintsa forest setting.
Immerse yourself in Xhosa culture and meet with a traditional healer.
Visit the former home town of one of South Africa’s greatest leaders, Nelson Mandela.
Visit an incredible ocean rock phenomenon known as “Hole in the Wall”.
Discover more about the Father of our democratic nation, Nelson Mandela, with a visit to a museum in Mthatha.
Drink in spectacular views as you hike the mountain paths of the Drakensberg.
Take in the spectacular views from Sani Pass and enjoy a drink in the highest pub in Africa.
Visit the historic site of the Talana Battlefields Musem.
Make a stop at the Blood River Monument Heritage Site.
Learn about Howick Falls’ mystical resident, Inkanyamba
Spot members of the Big Five in the Kruger National Park.
Indulge in a beer tasting at an award-winning Nottingham KwaZulu-Natal micro-brewery.
Delve into the mystical world of traditional medicine and learn about Shangaan culture.
Make sure your camera’s fully charged… the Panorama Route will take your breath away.
Allow your senses to tune in as you track animals on foot in the Kruger National Park.
Early morning pick-up from your East London accommodation or East Lodnon Airport.
Begin your journey across our magnificent country as you pass the last of the Cape Fold mountains and head towards the Eastern Cape province. The closer you get, the emptier (and wilder) the landscape will become. Towns fade as grassy rolling hills become peppered with trees, cattle and clusters of rondavels. You’re now heading into the Wild Coast, one of South Africa’s most rural regions, and will have three full days to immerse yourself in an area that’s known for its astounding natural beauty and laid-back vibes.
Your first stop, Chintsa, is a small piece of paradise, oozing tranquility and your to-do list for the day is taken up by one extremely important task - relaxing. If you feel the need to while away hours in a hammock, with a good book in hand, that’s perfect. If you choose to stretch your legs and wander or run wild on the beach, well, you have 15km of untouched coastline to keep you occupied.
If you’d like to get out and do something, then of course we do have some suggestions for you. Fancy a horse ride across a wild beach? Learn to surf? Forest yoga? All here – all available for you to do. The culture vultures can even learn more about the Xhosa culture and meet with a traditional healer.
Overnight accommodation included according to your selected stay package. Subject to availability.
Back on the road, you’ll be heading inland on an enlightening and moving journey through South Africa’s history and politics, before turning towards the coast and travelling once again through the Eastern Cape’s vast, open landscapes.
Nelson Mandela has been instrumental in South Africa's sturggle against Apartheid. The next stop will visit Qunu, a humble rural area where the long walk to freedom really began, Mr Mandela's hometown.
After being shown around and hearing some stories from a very knowledgeable local guide, you’ll have time to ponder the legacy of Madiba as you drive through the former Xhosa homeland towards Coffee Bay.
With every kilometre you travel through the Wild Coast the landscape gets wilder and you'll be forced to go slower by the occasional herd of cows hogging the bumpy roads. From African huts lining rolling green hills to cliffs that drop dramatically onto pristine shores; snaking river estuaries and vast beaches, this area is simply enchanting.
Revel in the untouched tropical atmosphere of Coffee Bay, and be lured by the smell of the salty ocean waves breaking on the pebbled shoreline.
Make the most of your free day by kicking back and taking full advantage of the chilled vibes. Nature lovers can be awed by a hike to Hole in the Wall, a natural phenomenon that is quite a crowd pleaser in the region, and it’s no surprise why! The hike is not very physically demanding and the views make it well worth the trek. It will take up a large chunk of the day, but you’ll have plenty of time to stop and swim along the way, and still be back by sunset.
There really is no way to describe today without gushing about the landscape, and this journey really shows off South Africa’s contrasting geographical diversity. You will wake up overlooking a river estuary and the Indian Ocean, and then drive through wild hills, sparse settlements, small villages and farmlands until you reach the foothills of the mighty Drakensberg.
As you hit the road inland to the Mthatha Nelson Mandela Museum site, you’ll get a chance to learn more about our South African hero and view a collection of Mandela’s presidential gifts. After the histroy boffs have got their fix, you'll head north towards Sani Pass in the Drakensberg - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
So much to see, so little time. It’s always tough when travelling to choose how you’re going to experience a place… and this is one of those days. You can either hike the mountains by walking some easy (but really scenic) trails with a local guide, or head up Sani Pass with a 4x4 vehicle. When you reach the very top of the mountains, where South Africa meets Lesotho, the reward is sweet, with a view that will have you reenacting the scene from The Lion King; "Everything the light touches is our kingdom".
Spend the evening in the heart of the Drakensberg, surrounded by mountain views that are sure to woo you into coming back again sometime.
Leaving the mighty peaks of the Drakensberg mountain range behind, travel to one of South Africa’s favourite weekend playgrounds, the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. It’s a big farming region, and the patchwork-like rolling hills are interspersed with small nature reserves. The Midlands Meander, a collection of charmingly winding routes, offers an abundance of small family run farm stall stops.
The driving time today is around 3,5 hours, and you’ll break the journey by stopping at the thundering (especially after the rains) Howick Falls, in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal. Just a few kilometres away is “the Capture Site”: the place where Nelson Mandela was arrested in 1962. A quick photo stop gives you a chance to honour this hero's efforts, and marvel at the site's sculpture, comprising of a whopping 50 steel columns, that shows a dramatic representation of his multi-faceted influence on our nation. End off the day with a rather quirky beer tasting in the quaint town of Nottingham Road before spending the night in Dundee.
Northern KwaZulu-Natal, particularly the area around Dundee, is steeped in a very bloody history that was instrumental in shaping the South Africa we know today. Intense battles raged between the Brits, the Boers and the Zulus on these grounds and museum guides bring the past to life.
Fire off the history lesson with a stop at the Talana Battlefields in Dundee, where the first battle of the Anglo-Boer War took place, and end off at the Battle of Blood River monument.
Head north, skirting the border of Swaziland and make your way into the Lowveld. It’s a low-lying area that is dominated by open grassy plains and thorn trees… the home of the Big 5.
Wake up early in Mpumalanga (meaning “place where the sun rises”) and appropriately, head off into the Kruger National Park to catch the bush as it awakes.
Kruger, at nearly two million hectares, is the largest protected wildlife area in South Africa one of the greatest game reserves in the world. Roaming roads in the southern section of the park, you'll commonly encounter White rhino, hippos, sable antelope, kudu, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and impala.
In the morning you'll game spot your way through the bush in the tour bus to reach Pretoriuskop Camp. Chase this with an afternoon game drive in an open 4x4 safari vehicle, guided by a park ranger.
After the game viewing is done, return to the iconic African-style round huts at Pretoriuskop for the night. This fenced camp within Kruger ensures that you're totally safe… and it’s thrilling to fall asleep to the nocturnal sounds of the bush.
Overnight accommodation included according to your selected stay package. Subject to availability.
Awake your senses to the sounds and smells of the bush as you leave early on a guided bush walking safari. With the safety of an armed ranger by your side, track animals, examine insect and bird behaviour, and you might even stumble upon wild animals grazing. This is a moment when your senses completely tune in to being here, now, at one with nature, and you’ll return to camp exhilarated.
Leaving Kruger gives you the chance to do one last stint of game-watching before you exit the park and make for Hazyview, close to the Kruger boundary, where you’ll be spending the night. Make sure you charge your camera batteries tonight and offload your wildlife photos… you’ll definitely need battery power and memory space tomorrow…
What a way to end a tour across this beautifully diverse country! A day packed with places to go, and things to do that are certain to end your journey on a high note. After a morning visit to a Shangaan village, your chance to brush up on the culture of this part of South Africa, you’ll be treated to a route where panoramic scenes abound, and natural beauty awaits around every bend. Trust me – you’ve driven across South Africa but you ain’t seen nothing yet!
There'll be plenty of stops along the way at geological wonders and breathtaking vistas such as the famed God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and the Three Rondavels. By the time you reach the big city lights of Jozi this evening your Instagram feed will be bursting with unending landscapes. This is the end of a pretty comprehensive tour across South Africa – and what a journey it’s been! Hamba kahle, friend – go well and may Africa always have a special place in your heart.
End with an evening drop-off at your Johannesburg accommodation.
Maximum 13 guests per vehicle or guide.
Led by a local English-speaking professional tour guide.
Transfers to included tour highlights.
There is no central meeting point for this tour. A transfer service will collect you from your East London accommodation.
9 nights accommodation according to your Ways 2 Stay package.
Optional activities can be paid and booked during your journey as per price listed on itinerary.
Local and international flights are excluded.
You are responsible for your own personal travel insurance.
You can purchase meals + drinks on tour.
I love working with people and making them smile, it’s why I chose to work in the travel industry. To be able to help someone make their travel dreams come true really makes my day. When I’m not busy being the friendly voice on the other side of the Hotspots2c hotline, you’ll find me spending time with my daughter and my husband, exploring and, every now and then, indulging in a little art or dance.
Click terms for more details.
Full amount required to reserve or confirm a booking.
Children under 12 years are not allowed. Children between 12 and 18 years must to be accompanied by an adult.
11 official Languages Spoken
Afrikaans – English – isiNdebele – Sepedi.– Sesotho – Siswati – Xitsonga – Setswana – Tshivenda – isiXhosa
How to say hello?
Molo – Xhosa
Sawubona - Zulu
Hallo - Afrikaans
Dumela - SeSotho
Electricity – Volt & plug
The South African electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ. Most plugs are 15 amp 3-prong or 5 amp 2-prong, with round pins.
WiFi/Internet Access on tour
WiFi can be found at most accommodations, restaurants and airports, however, the download speed is often slow and many connections limit your data usage. In short, you’ll be able to stay connected with home, but don't expect to watch HD movies in your spare time.
When to go
South Africa is blessed with a mostly mild climate, but different areas will yield different temperatures throughout the year. Summer in South Africa is usually peak season, lasting between November – February, however Easter time (March) is often still considered peak season too. Temperatures range from 25ºC in coastal areas to high 30ºs in inland areas. Cape Town has ideal weather during this time and Durban sports warm beaches and humid air, Johannesburg experiences hot clear days and often an afternoon thunderstorm.
Shoulder season is April and May, as well as September and October. Surprisingly, the weather in Durban is often at its best during this time, and other areas simmer down from their scorching highs. Prices are lower and crowds are smaller. September and October see eruptions of flowers and blooms all around the country.
Winter is beautiful in most parts of the country. Cape Town experiences winter rain and is often a little cold and miserable, but still crisp and beautiful. Because of the warm Indian Ocean, Durban has spectacular weather in winter, often hovering around 20-25ºC with clear blue skies. Inland areas get quite chilly and the odd snowfall is not uncommon (it only lasts for a day though!). Prices are at an all time low and it is an ideal time for game viewing, as the animals are more active in the cooler weather.
Best time to go
Jun-Jul = Safari
Jan-Feb = Beach
With the possible exception of Christmas Day and New Year's Day, most tourist services and attractions are open on South African public holidays. In addition most city shopping centres, restaurants and entertainment venues remain open.
|1 Jan||New Year's Day|
|21 Mar||Human Rights Day|
|30 Mar||Good Friday|
|2 Apr||Family Day|
|27 Apr||Freedom Day|
|1 May||Workers' Day|
|16 Jun||Youth Day|
|9 Aug||National Women's Day|
|24 Sep||Heritage Day|
|16 Dec||Day of Reconciliation|
|17 Dec||Day of Reconciliation Holiday|
|25 Dec||Christmas Day|
|26 Dec||Day of Goodwill|
Visa & Travel docs
Travellers from most Commonwealth countries (excluding New Zealand), most Western European nations, Japan and the USA receive a free, 90-day visitor's permit on arrival. These travellers do not need a visa to enter South Africa. A valid passport is essential with at least two empty pages. You generally will need to show return or onward travel arrangements. Children aged under 18 must show an unabridged birth certificate (showing both parents details).
Some countries do, however, need a visa. Visas are not issued upon entry, they must be attained beforehand. It is advised that you clarify this before you leave, the Department of Home Affairs office has a comprehensive list of countries that do not require visas. http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/immigration-services/exempt-countries
What to pack
We're generally laid back in South Africa, so no need to haul out your best silks and diamonds when you head to our shores. Here's some clothing advice when in South Africa:
Health & Safety
There are no compulsory vaccinations required to enter South Africa with exception of a yellow fever vaccination if you have been in a yellow fever area within the last 12 months.
The only major health risk you might face in South Africa is malaria, which is confined to small areas in the north-eastern parts of the country. Small pockets of the northern parts of the Kruger National Park fall under this area but the risk here is considered extremely low and it is not always necessary to take anti-malaria tablets. Remember as a precautionary measure to check with your accommodation what is recommended.
South Africa may have high crime statistics, but if you conduct yourself wisely, most tourists enjoy the country without any incident at all. Ensure that you lock away your passports and travel documents in a safe, which is usually provided by your accommodation. Don't flash around valuables and keep an eye on your belongings at all time. Majority of South Africa’s crime is opportunistic petty crime, so if you are vigilant about your belongings you should not have any problem.
South Africa has 3 world-class airports that receive international flights every day; Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Most international airlines will have flights into one or all of these airports daily.
There are numerous budget carriers that offer domestic flights between the major cities for very reasonable rates; this is the fastest and safest way to span large distances, especially between Johannesburg and Cape Town, which is a 2-hour flight.
From the airports there are numerous shuttles and taxis that you can pick up upon arrival, there are also many different car hire options at each airport and in all major cities. Uber is another reliable and affordable option.
Our currency in South Africa is the South African Rand. You can easily convert your currency to rand at a bank or Forex Bureau, the airports and larger towns often have many different Forex options. You can also withdraw from an ATM, banks are available throughout South Africa. Be sure to check what international bank charges you will incur for withdrawals before you arrive. Major credit cards are usually accepted in hotels or restaurants, however, there may be a surcharge. It is advisable to have small amounts of cash for curios and tipping.