South Africa Self-Drive to Eswatini Tour – 13 Days
Embark on a self-drive expedition through South Africa’s heartlands, beginning in Mpumalanga. Witness the grandeur of Pongola Game Reserve, where wildlife roams freely amidst breathtaking landscapes. Dive into the azure waters of Sodwana Bay, a diver’s paradise of vibrant marine life. Discover the rich biodiversity of Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, where the Big Five roam majestically. Experience the royal charm of Hlane Royal National Park before venturing to Komatipoort, a gateway to untamed adventures. Finally, find serenity in Dullstroom, a quaint town enveloped in nature’s tranquillity. Your self-drive journey promises unparalleled encounters with nature’s wonders at every turn.
Your journey begins at the bustling OR Tambo International Airport, where anticipation for your South African adventure is palpable. Embracing the freedom of self-drive, you'll collect your vehicle and set forth toward the heart of Mpumalanga. Nestled in the charming town of Ermelo, your accommodation offers a fully serviced haven where luxury meets authenticity.
DAY 2 - Pongola Game Reserve
Step into the embrace of nature's marvels and the intricate dance of life that unfolds around you. Embark on guided walks, exhilarating game drives, or unique 'elephanting' adventures, immersing yourself in the wilderness' secrets alongside seasoned experts. Learn about nature's fascinating intricacies and let the wild unveil its wonders before your eyes. Today, your journey transports you to a realm where every moment is a celebration of life, nature's beauty, and the boundless wonders of the wilderness.
DAY 3 - Pongola Game Reserve
Nestled in Zululand's heart, Pongola Game Reserve spans 15,000 hectares of pristine wilderness. Home to the Big Five and over 350 bird species, this reserve offers thrilling game drives and intimate bushwalks. Expert guides unveil the secrets of the savannah, creating unforgettable wildlife encounters in a picturesque setting.
DAY 4 - Sodwana Bay
Set along the pristine eastern seaboard lies Sodwana Bay, a gateway to untouched marvels. Discover vibrant lakes, lagoons teeming with life, and lush forests harboring rare wildlife. This coastal haven unveils the treasures of South Africa's shoreline, inviting you to explore its enchanting secrets.
DAY 5 - Sodwana Bay
Embrace the thrill-seeker within as you dive into a world of exciting activities. Fishing and quad biking set the stage for adrenaline-fueled adventures, while treasure hunts add a touch of mystery. Take to the skies with microlight flights, or plunge into the depths with scuba diving courses ranging from the beginner-friendly "Discover Scuba Diver Course" to the advanced Dive Master’s program. Your day is a canvas of thrilling experiences waiting to be painted.
DAY 6 - Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park
Embracing the spirit of the wild, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife stands as the guardian of KwaZulu-Natal's natural wonders. Rooted in the province's rich biodiversity, Ezemvelo's mission, fueled by the KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Management Act, echoes through over 120 protected areas. From the heart of Pietermaritzburg, at Queen Elizabeth Park, Ezemvelo orchestrates a symphony of sustainable conservation. Beyond the lush landscapes, it weaves bonds with local communities, fostering job opportunities and empowering natural resource stewardship. Explore this conservation legacy, where the harmony of nature and humanity creates a tapestry of eco-tourism wonders.
DAY 7 - Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park
Located in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal, Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park stands as a testament to South Africa's commitment to wildlife conservation. This lush sanctuary, established in 1895, is the oldest proclaimed game reserve in Africa, boasting a diverse array of flora and fauna. Home to the famous Big Five, including the rare white rhinoceros, Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park offers a safari experience like no other. Meandering rivers, rolling hills, and dense forests create a picturesque backdrop for thrilling game drives and guided bush walks. The park's conservation efforts have not only saved species from the brink of extinction but also created a haven for birdwatchers, with over 300 avian species gracing the skies. Beyond the wildlife, the park's rich cultural heritage paints a vibrant picture of Zulu traditions. Visitors can delve into the past, exploring ancient sites and learning about the customs of the local communities. Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park is not just a destination; it's a journey into the heart of nature, where every rustle of leaves and distant roar tells a story of resilience and natural harmony.
DAY 8 - Hlane Royal National Park
As your self-drive safari continues from the captivating Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park to the enchanting Hlane Royal National Park, prepare for a seamless transition from one wildlife wonderland to another. Embark on picturesque drives through lush landscapes, encountering diverse wildlife along the way. Spot the iconic Big Five, including the endangered rhinoceros, in their natural habitat. Elephants, graceful antelopes, and an array of bird species add to the park's vibrant tapestry. Hlane Royal National Park offers more than wildlife; it's a cultural experience too. Encounter the rich traditions of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) as you interact with the welcoming locals. Engage in traditional dance performances, visit craft markets, and learn about the customs of the Swazi people. Embark on guided bush walks led by experienced rangers. Delve into the heart of the wilderness, learning about animal tracks, plants, and the park's ecosystem. These walks provide an intimate understanding of the natural world, perfect for nature enthusiasts. Hlane Royal National Park's expert guides lead game drives, ensuring you witness the park's inhabitants up close. Sunset drives add an element of magic, as the African sun sets the sky ablaze and nocturnal creatures begin their captivating activities. For bird enthusiasts, Hlane Royal National Park is a paradise. With over 300 bird species, including vibrant sunbirds, majestic raptors, and the striking purple-crested turaco, every moment promises a delightful sighting. Unwind in well-appointed lodges overlooking waterholes, where wildlife congregates. Enjoy sunsets with a backdrop of grazing animals and the soothing sounds of the wilderness. Indulge in traditional cuisine, savoring local flavors under the vast African sky.
DAY 9 - Hlane Royal National Park
Nestled in the heart of Eswatini (Swaziland), Hlane Royal National Park stands as a testament to Africa's natural beauty and biodiversity. Here, guests embark on a regal safari adventure, encountering the wild in its most authentic form. Hlane, meaning "wilderness," is aptly named. It is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including the Big Five – lions, elephants, rhinoceroses, leopards, and buffaloes. These majestic creatures roam freely in their natural habitat, offering guests a chance to witness their untamed behaviors up close.
DAY 10 - Komatipoort
Hlane, meaning "wilderness," is aptly named. It is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including the Big Five – lions, elephants, rhinoceroses, leopards, and buffaloes. These majestic creatures roam freely in their natural habitat, offering guests a chance to witness their untamed behaviors up close. Leaving Hlane Royal National Park, you'll traverse scenic routes along the majestic Lubombo Mountains. The winding roads offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, making your journey as captivating as the destination itself.
DAY 11 - Komatipoort
In Komatipoort, you're at the doorstep of one of Africa's most iconic wildlife destinations, the Kruger National Park. While in Komatipoort, take a moment to relax along the scenic Crocodile River, a natural border between South Africa and Mozambique. Here, you can often spot hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of birdlife, offering a preview of the wildlife encounters awaiting you in Kruger.
DAY 12 - Dullstroom
As you depart Komatipoort, the road winds through the scenic Mpumalanga Highlands. Marvel at the rolling hills, lush forests, and pristine waterways that define this enchanting region. The journey itself becomes an adventure, with every turn revealing a new panorama of natural beauty. Dullstroom is renowned for its excellent fly-fishing opportunities. The area boasts serene lakes and rivers teeming with trout. Fishing enthusiasts can indulge in the art of fly-fishing, surrounded by the tranquility of nature. Experienced guides are available for beginners, ensuring an enjoyable angling experience.
DAY 13 - Return to OR Tambo International Airport
Return your rental vehicle to the car hire depot at the airport and check-in, for your onward journey.