10 Sep 21 days South Africa Explorer tour
11 official languages, a stunningly beautiful landscape, super charming people and one of the best safari destinations in the world – explore South Africa, the rainbow nation.
South Africa has been my home for almost 3 years now and I have explored this country a lot. For everyone that hasn´t visited my second home yet, check out this amazing 21 days tour (which can also be spilt in 3 separate weeks), that friends of mine offer:
Through the canyons of the Blyde River, over the Drakensberg Mountains, along the wildest of coast lines, under the tree tops of Tsitsikamma, in the waves of J-Bay and on the beaches of the Garden Route; hearts have been filled and friendships formed for life.
By the hand on the African drums, with bellies full of fresh seafood, through walking in the footprints of buffalo, from pushing yourself to the limit and hiking to the 2nd highest waterfall in the world, by hearing a lion roar and seeing the sway of a giraffe, when laughing till 3 in the morning sitting next to a bonfire on the beach and learning to cook in a local mud-hut kitchen; by talking to locals and finding out just WHY we are called the rainbow nation; hearts have been opened and spirits lifted in this incredibly diverse paradise we call home.
Over the last 5 years the 21 day South African Explorer has become an expedition of a lifetime! And we have the friends, memories and close relationships with local suppliers to prove it!
What makes this tour different:
You can only get to know a country, its culture and traditions by meeting its people and by getting off the beaten tracks. That’s exactly what this trip offers – you will benefit from experiencing “the real deal”! When travelling with us you stop being tourist, you become local. You participate in your holiday and thus leave feeling enriched. We take you on road-trip style journeys and create those unforgettable real moments.
We create memories when you:
- discover a hidden stunningly beautiful beach that only locals know about
- go on a village tour and meet the people in a real South African village
- visit and assist at a soup kitchen in the local township
- experience a homestay in a local Xhosa family home
Itinerary Explorer Tour:
Day 1: Departure Johannesburg
At the crack of dawn we leave the city of Gold Johannesburg and the Highveld area of Gauteng province. We leave Curiocity Backpacker nice and early at 5 a.m. in the morning and start our route to the north/ direction Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park. On the way up north we will pass Long Tom Pass, Pilgrim’s Rest, God’s Window and of course Blyde River Canyon. The following two nights we will have the full bush experience at Thornhill Safari Lodge where you guys have to hunt for you dinner (#jokes). We will spend some awesome times with the Big Five under the African starry sky!
Day 1 – 3: Hoedspruit/ Kruger National Park
Hidden in the bushveld of Mpumalanga in between Thornybush and Timbavati Nature Reserve lies Thornhill Safari Lodge where we will stay the next two nights. All African round-style cottages are en-suite and breakfast, lunch, high tea and african dinner will be prepared for us. The daytime and also parts of the night we will obviously used for Big Five game drives, bush walks and the general spotting of big game (and small game) which definitely means bush action. Otherwise jump in the cool pool with a beer waiting for you at the bar or sit back and relax with a fantastic view onto the Drakensberg Escarpment!
Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, Big5 Safari, full day Kruger Park Safari, bushwalk
Day 3 – 5: Ezulwini/ Kingdom of eSwatini
Day 3, check, let’s swop countries and off we go to the Kingdom of eSwatini. After a last relaxed breakfast, we leave at 9 a.m. in the morning through the African bushveld direction south towards the regional capital of Nelspruit. We drive through the Barberton Nature Reserve, Mountainsland Nature Reserve and passing through the Songimvelo Nature Reserve until we arrive at Ngwenya border post into the Kingdom of eSwatini. After passing the capital Mbabane, we will arrive at our next destination – Lidwala Backpacker Lodge. Situated on the slopes of the Ezulwini valley surrounded by massive boulders and under indigenous trees we rest at this stylish backpacker which fullfills all criteria of an eco-run tourism business (solar heating system, own vegetable garden, strict recycling etc.). Day 4 offers local education from and with our local friends: The Lobamba Village Tour will teach us about the local history, show us the National Museum of the Kingdom and the royal residence of the King of eSwatini. The rest of the day is up to you guys to explore the surrounding area or whatever you want to do. The next morning we will leave back to South Africa with direction of the majestic Drakensberg Mountains.
Included: Lobamba Village Tour, breakfast, dinner
Day 5: Royal Natal National Park/ Drakensberg Mountains
At 8.a.m in the morning we will leave Ezulwini and the Kingdom of eSwatini in a south-western direction towards the escarpment of the Drakensberg Mountains. Our next stop is Amphitheatre Backpackers – a freestanding hostel with an exceptional location. Not only the activity range is amazing (Tugela Falls – the highest waterfall in Africa, rock climbing, horse riding, mountain biking, fly-fishing etc.), you try your luck at the climbing wall or jump into the jacuzzi in the bar or chill with other travellers at the pool area. An absolute highlight is our included Amphitheatre Hike (Tugela Falls) which of course is not compulsory if you don’t like hiking. In case you have other plans for the day (but let’s be honest here, you don’t wanna miss that) you are more then welcome to stay at the hostel and go for another fun optional activity. After a successful conquest of the mountains it’s the best to let the day end over here: The rec area – swimming pool, Satellite TV, barbeque (braai) area, climbing cave and the BAR!
Included: Amphitheatre Hike, African Braai Dinner Day 5, breakfast, dinner
Day 7 – 8: Durban
After rather mountainous, dry and dusty territories we are on the way to a more water-based environment, the Indian Ocean. After sleeping in a little we will leave around 10 a.m. we leave towards our next stop Durban. It might be wise to have a little nap during the drive in the morning to recover from the night before. We are heading straight to the big city which lies right at the Indian Ocean and has a subtropical flair. We are staying for one night ,as a little stopover, at Happy Hippo Backpacker. The rest of the day you can either sniff big city air or go with the flow (beach, shopping, Waterfront, Stadium, drifting around or chill at the hostel at the rooftop bar). Night life in Durban is mainly happening at the famous Florida Street with its many bars, clubs and restaurants which offer amazing local flavours or international cuisine. Obviously you can also stay in at the backpacker kitchen and cook yourself some delicious dinner. We are leaving at 9 a.m. the next morning, so nothing stands in the way of a little party night in Durban. Next stop is paradise!
WEEK 1 section (Saturday in Durban)
Day 8 – 10: Umzumbe
After a short drive of about 1 hour we arrive at one of our top spots on the Southcoast – Mantis and Moon Backpacker! Imagine a tropical jungle-like garden with a stunning rock pool in the centre. The en suite rooms are tree houses and the Jacuzzi is already waiting for you. The bar is extended into a little casino which gives you the chance to win some cash from your fellow travellers. The beach is located 2 minutes away from the backpacker, so it’s super convenient to quickly check the surf. On Day 9 we offer you an optional tour to Oribi Gorge which is just 25 km away and is home to one of the deepest gorge swings in the world. The Umzimkulwana river shaped a 27 km long and 1 km wide gorge over thousands of years, which is surrounded by untouched bushveld, wildlife and breathtaking views. But even if you’re not in the mood for that, there are plenty of activities like beaching, surfing, diving, fishing etc. available for you. And of course, there is still the sundeck from where you can spot dolphins or whales with a cold beer in your hand. After a really exhausting day in paradise we will offer you a fantastic African dinner once more (we cater for vegetarians as well as for carnivores). Umzumbe is the starting point of our route right along the Indian Ocean, we will find the most beautiful sunsets, endless kilometres of deserted beaches and ice cold beer in the jungle bars of our backpacker friends.
Included: African braai, breakfast, dinner
Day 10 – 13: Coffee Bay
We are now located in the Heartland of the old South Africa in a region called Transkei; back in the days of Apartheid this part of the country was under self-administration by the local people. Since those days the region kept its rural charm with soft hills which stretch right to the Indian Ocean. It literally means to take off your shoes, relax and get in touch with the abundant nature and the rich culture around you! We leave Umzumbe at 8 a.m. in the morning and drive further down the East-Coast direction South! Final destination: Coffee Shack Backpackers in Coffee Bay. It is one of the leading backpacker hostels when it comes to sustainable tourism and Fair Trade on the East Coast and is located directly at the Bomvu River Mouth at the beach. It is truly AFRICAN TIME in Coffee Bay: We will explore, surf, relax and mission over the soft hills along the oceanside to spend time with the local Xhosa people who lived here for centuries. Once in a while you will spot a group of dolphins which make their way up the coast. Day 11 or 12 can be used for an amazing hike to the Hole in the Wall along the Indian Ocean, which is included, obviously that’s up to you guys. Otherwise, why not chill in the hammock with songs of Bob Marley in the background and stare at the ocean. Or try one of the plenty activities that are offered at Coffee Shack. OR just do nothing and relax!
Included: Hole in the Wall Hike, breakfast, dinner, homestay with a local Xhosa family
Day 13 – 16: Chintsa West
We will stay on the coast and after a short drive arrive at the Chintsa lagoon sitting at the beginning of the Wild Coast. Leaving at 8am in the morning our next destination is Chintsa West – the one and only legendary Buccaneers Backpacker! Buccs is situated in a tropical garden on a hillside overlooking the Chintsa lagoon and the Indian Ocean. It is more or less a little backpacker village, as different houses and cottages are spread all over the property. The hostel village has an amazing pool house area with attached volleyball field (free wine will be provided for the games in the afternoon), a yoga and massage cottage and of course a fully stocked bar with a mindblowing view over the whole lagoon and 50km of beach stretching in front of your eyes. Activities are endless, game watching across the road, horse riding at the beach, surfing, mountain biking in the local area or just walking along the endless white sand beach. Buccaneers Backpacker is one of the places you just wanna stay – so we are staying one day longer
Included: breakfast, dinner, optional soup kitchen visit in the local Township
WEEK 2 section — (Saturday in Chintsa)
Day 16 – 17: Jeffrey’s Bay
We will leave Buccaneers Backpacker bright and early at 8:30 a.m. after a last delicious breakfast on the sundeck with the view over the Indian ocean. Our next stop is the surf mekka of South Africa – Jeffrey’s Bay. We will stay right at the beach again, at Island Vibe Backpackers which has the typical laid back surfer style. Jeffrey’s Bay offers various surf outlet factory shops ranging from Billabong to Quicksilver to Roxy etc. so that you can use the rest of the day for shopping stylish clothes for low prices.
Included: breakfast, dinner, optional township tour
Day 17 – 19: Storm’s River (Tsitsikamma National Park)
We leave J’bay after breakfast around 9 a.m. in the morning and are cruising along the Garden Route. We will retreat to the area of the Evergreen Forests and the Tsitsikamma National Park. Our next stop is Storms River Village – Tube’n Axe Backpackers. Surrounded by the majestic mountains and deep forest gorges we find Storms River Village in an area which is still blessed with indigenous forest which existed long before the first settlers set foot on the African continent (the famous Big Trees are just around the corner). We visit the provincial border from the Easter to the Western Cape at the highest Bungee Jump in the World at Bloukraans Bridge. Waterfall Zip Slides, Canopy Tours, Snorkeling, Mountain Biking etc. can also be organised for the guests who don’t fancy jumping 216m down a bridge. We will take you into Tsitsikamma National Park on Day 18 and hike parts of Otter Trail along the rocky shore coastline to a waterfall dropping into the Indian Ocean. Optional as well, just wander around the deep forest trails or relax and chill at Tube’n Axe. To refill energy levels, we will throw another legendary African braai for you guys, yummi!
Included: African braai, Storm’s River Mouth Tour (Tsitsikamma National Park), breakfast, dinner
Day 19 – 20: Oudtshoorn
We leave Storm’s River Village at 9 a.m. in the morning after breakfast. We proceed further along the coast and the Garden Route until we make a slight right turn and enter a completely different vegetation zone – the Little Karoo – a semi-desert – and the town of Oudtshoorn (the unofficial international capital of the Ostrich). We stay for one night at Backpackers Paradise from where you can either use the day and explore the world famous Cango Caves or visit an Ostrich Farm. If you wanna have a cage dive to make yourself familiar with crocodiles in a close environment – not a problem! The backpacker is directly in Oudtshoorn so that restaurants, movies, bars and banks are literally down the road.
Included: breakfast, dinner
Day 20 – 21: Ruiterbos/ Mossel Bay
At 8:30 a.m. in the morning we are leaving Oudtshoorn and drive through the desert landscape of the Little Karoo straight towards the Outeniqua Mountains. We drive over Robertson Pass and enter completely different area again which cane be best described as Lord of the Rings landscape. It is another favourite spot of we have chosen for our last night – Outeniqua Moon Farm. As at the beginning of the tour we fully cater for you here around the clock. Peter and Christine Watt have committed themselves to save the last great giants in Africa – the Percheron heavy draft horses – both run this Guest Farm and Percheron Stud with dedication and a spirit which is amazing. We promise you that you haven’t seen such big strong and beautiful horses in your life. Our stay here is the perfect time to sit back and relax at the pool with the view of the Outeniqua Mountains in the background and mellow down a little after the last weeks of action and fun in Africa. All of you have en suite rooms and will get fully catered by Chrissie and her cooking skills. We also offer to give you a personalised horse experience with the giants and the little ones, if you are keen. The evening we sit around the fireplace and njoy or homecooked dinner with the sunset over the mountains and chat about the last weeks and our adventure together. The next morning we leave with direction of the Mother City – Cape Town.
Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, Horse Experience
pic – credited to Lydiane – Autour du Monde
Day 21: Cape Town via Stanford and Hermanus
We will leave Outeniqua Moon at 9am in the morning sharp and drive along the Outeniqua and Swartberg Mountains direction Cape Town. A little detour will take us to Hermanus to spot some whales (in season from May – December), so sharpen your eyes. We will have a quick look at the penguins at Stony Point in Betty’s Bay before we drive along Clarens Drive along False Bay towards Cape Town.
From here it’s a mere 45 minutes before we hit the Mother City. Our tour ends in Gardens, which is a part of town that lies in the City centre with the more than impressive Table Mountain right in your face. Our last stop and hence the final is Ashanti Backpackers. This legendary backpackers is the place to stay in the Mother City. We recommend you to extend your stay in Cape Town at least for another three days so that you can enjoy in the metropolitan and cool vibes of the Mother City – at least a sunset from the top of the mountain is a must. Ashanti Backpacker has a travel center in the reception and the staff will help you with any requests around trips and tours wherever you wanna go in and around Cape Town.
- Organisation of pre-tour nights at Curiocity Backpacker as well as airport pick up from O.R Tambo (R 300, – per person for transfer)
- 2 days Greater Kruger National Park with 1 private Game Drive, 1 Full Day Kruger & Bush walk (fully catered with all meals)
- Lobamba Village Tour/ Ezulwini Valley – eSwatini (lunch included)
- Tugela Falls Hike (2nd highest waterfall in the world) (lunch included)
- Hole in the Wall Hike – Transkei (lunch included)
- Storms River Mouth Tour – Tsitsikamma National Park (waterfall hike)
- Horse interaction – Outeniqua Moon Percheron Stud & Guest Farm (fully catered)
- Professional guiding, transport & accommodation
- 3 x African braai
- breakfast, lunch & dinners if not stipulated in the itinerary
- optional activities
- curios and crafts
- any airport transfers
- travel insurance
- any international or domestic flights
- 7.10 – 27.10.2018
- 03.02. – 23.02.
- 07.04. – 27.04.
- 02.06. – 22.06.
- 04.08. – 24.08.
- 06.10. – 26.08.
- 08.12 – 28.12.
About the tour operator:
- fully registered and licensed South African tour operator with more than 15 years of experience
- accredited with SAYTC, Reisenetz e.V and SATSA in South Africa
- ZAR 31 950, – DORM (max. 4 – 6 sleeper shared rooms)
- ZAR 36 950, – EN SUITE (single/ double bed with own bathroom facilities)
ZAR – South African Rands
You would like to become a part of the discovery team and join this amazing trip or would like more information?
Then quickly drop me an e-mail to: [email protected]
I will put you in touch with the tour operator and will send you a Promo Code for a 10 % discount once you book.
Save even more money:
By the way you will not only benefit of my 10 % discount. The South African currency Rand is really weak right now. Especially people from the EUR-zone, USA, Australia… booking this trip will benefit from the weak Rand and will save lots of money. So rather make your booking now!
[Disclaimer: Please note I only recommend tours that fit my travel philosophy, that are run by people I know or that I have done myself. I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you once you get linked to the tour operator through me. This tiny commission will help support my blog hosting and other maintenance costs. All my opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way. Thank you!]