This 10-day itinerary is the ultimate introduction to South Africa for animal lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Start your adventure with two nights in Kruger National Park followed by a self-drive tour from the Eastern Cape through the Garden Route and all the way to Cape Town while seeing members of the 'Big 5', as well as ostriches, penguins, meerkats, and a range of marine life off the South Atlantic Coast.

Highlights

  • Pick between a number of open-air safaris in Kruger National Park
  • Gear up for a guided tubing experience in the Storms River Gorge
  • Join a sunrise meerkat watching tour and hang with the ostriches
  • Go on a caged diving excursion to see sharks, dolphins, whales, and/or seals
  • Get up close to some penguins in Cape Town before you depart

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Johannesburg - Drive to Kruger National Park Hazyview
Day 2 Explore Kruger National Park Hazyview
Day 3 Return to Johannesburg - Fly to Port Elizabeth Port Elizabeth
Day 4 Drive to Tsitsikamma National Park Stormsrivier
Day 5 Water Tubing in Tsitsikamma Stormsrivier
Day 6 Drive to Oudtshoorn Oudtshoorn
Day 7 Sunrise Meerkat Tour Oudtshoorn
Day 8 Drive to Gansbaai Gansbaai
Day 9 Shark Cage Diving Excursion Gansbaai
Day 10 Drive to Cape Town - Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Johannesburg - Drive to Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

Welcome to South Africa! Upon arrival in Johannesburg, you'll pick up your rental car and begin the 4- to 5-hour scenic drive through the mountainside outside of the city towards Kruger National Park

Once inside the park, you'll make your way to Nkambeni Safari Camp—a three-star resort with 146 luxury timber and canvas tented suites decorated in permanent safari style. Each unit offers two beds (plus two bunks for kids), a bathroom with an indoor/ outdoor shower, air-conditioning, and self-serve coffee. 

Nkambeni's huge property layout offers views of the surrounding park along with a range of game drives in open-vehicle safaris, including departures at sunrise and sunset, as well as bushwalks and other outdoor activities. Enjoy a range of meal options in the two restaurants: Danger Ranger Bush Pub and Boma.

Day 2: Explore Kruger National Park

Enjoy a sunset cocktail or BBQ to end the trip

Today, after breakfast, you'll have the entire day to enjoy the camp's range of experiences on offer. With the option to sign up for several game drives, guests can experience all facets of the reserve. These game drives are conducted in open 4x4 safari vehicles and driven by friendly guides who ensure that all guests are treated with great service. 
 
You'll also have the option to take a night drive, especially spectacular as one gets to experience the nocturnal activities and sounds of nature in an up-close and personal way. This is also the best time for game viewing since large predators are on the prowl and begin to hunt after the sun goes down. 

For the more adventurous guest, consider a bushwalking tour to see the finer details of the Kruger National Park. The camp's guides have extensive knowledge of the African bush including animal tracking, so you're in good hands here.
 
No matter what activity you choose, you can toast yourselves with sunset cocktails while the bush comes alive just before sunset. Better yet, choose a bush braai—an evening meal combined with a game drive to a BBQ—under the African sky for the ultimate finale of this camp experience.

Day 3: Return to Johannesburg - Fly to Port Elizabeth

Hobie Beach, Port Elizabeth

Today, after breakfast at camp, you'll depart Kruger National Park and make the drive back to Johannesburg's O.R. Thambo airport where you'll return the rental car and board a flight for Port Elizabeth in the province of Eastern Cape

Upon arrival in Port Elizabeth, you'll pick up your rental car and drive to your accommodations where you'll have the rest of the evening to rest and relax—or better yet, head to one of the area's magnificent beaches. 

Day 4: Drive to Tsitsikamma National Park

The Otter Trail in the Tsitsikamma National Park

After enjoying an early breakfast in Port Elizabeth, you will hit the road for the 2-hour drive to Tsitsikamma National Park for a beautiful half-day hike on the famous Otter Trail. No advance reservations necessary: Simply go to the park and register with a ranger on the day you arrive. 

Following your hike, you will drive to Tsitsikamma Lodge and Spa—your accommodations for the next two nights. This beautiful resort is built entirely of wood, with unique free-standing cabins and spa baths designed to complement the environment amidst the mountains and forests. Take a stroll in the gardens, relax at the spa, or enjoy a wide range of recreational amenities. 

Day 5: Water Tubing in Tsitsikamma

Storms River Gorge

Today is an exciting excursion in the park involving tubing! At the designated time, you'll meet your guide at Tube 'n Axe Lodge and Backpackers who will walk you through everything.

As you make your way to the tubing start point, your guide will explain the delicate negotiation with the phenomenal Storms River Gorge, which takes you on an unforgettable downstream journey to Tsitsikamma National Park and the Storms River Mouth Suspension Bridges. Don't worry: you'll be fully be kitted with specialized equipment.

During the ride, you'll encounter the Goesa Forest, the Witteklip and Storms River Confluence, and the Bat Cave, with opportunities for cliff and tube jumps (optional). This unforgettable experience is not only fun but elevates your relationship with nature. (Park entrance fees, equipment, guides, snacks, lunch, refreshments, and transportation are all included.) 

At the end of the trip, you'll transfer back to the lodge for your overnight.

Day 6: Drive to Oudtshoorn

Ostriches in Oudtshoorn

After breakfast at the lodge, you'll embark on a 3-hour drive to Oudtshoorn where you will be checked into De Zeekoe Farm Guesthouse. There are numerous activities that you can explore in this part of our country which offers a different topography and landscape with rock formations and desert bush compared to more lush green areas of the country.

Once you arrive, you can book a range of activities through the reception desk. For instance, visit the Cango Caves, book a horseback riding experience, drive along the scenic Swartberg Mountain Pass, visit an ostrich farm, and/or dine at one of the area's lovely restaurants.

Day 7: Sunrise Meerkat Tour

Pretty scenery in this part of the country

Early this morning, you'll get to enjoy one of the most popular activities in the area: a chance to get up close to the wild habituated meerkat. These tours only commence at sunrise and are dependent on fair weather, since these little creatures will not venture outside their burrows on cold and rainy days. If you're new to them, meerkats are part of the so-called 'Shy 5' which also includes the bat-eared fox, the aardvark, the porcupine, and the aardwolf.

Upon arrival at the meerkat burrows, guests are treated to a hot cup of coffee, after which they are issued with a lightweight aluminum chair to sit in while observing the meerkats as they come out of the burrow into the sunshine and then go about their daily routine of foraging and frolicking. These habituated wild animals are never fed or handled by humans.

No children under the age of 10 years allowed as you have to sit very quietly in order not to scare the little creatures. Pictures may be taken so please bring your camera.

Following the excursion, you'll have the rest of the day to explore the area on your own!

Day 8: Drive to Gansbaai

Stop by Ronnie's "sex" Shop

Today, you'll make the 3-hour journey to Gansbaai on the beautiful Route 62. There are many quaint little restaurants and coffee shops along the way and one particular not-to-miss stop would be Ronnie's Sex Shop. Before you cringe, Ronnie painted the name Ronnie's Shop while planning to open a farm stall to sell fresh produce and fruit. His friends played a prank on him by changing the name to Ronnie's Sex Shop. Initially angry about the involuntary name change, Ronnie left the name and continued fixing the dilapidated building, while eventually adding a pub. 

Ronnie's Sex Shop has received visitors from all over the world and judging by the graffiti, it has also become a regular pitstop for bikers, local farmers, and anyone traveling this road regularly.

After lunch, continue the journey to your accommodations in Gansbaai where you'll stay two nights. This fishing town is a popular tourist destination in the province of Western Cape and is known for its dense population of great white sharks (you'll see why tomorrow!)

Day 9: Shark Cage Diving

Get up close to the sharks on this exciting excursion

Today, get ready for an adrenaline boost with a Great White Shark Diving excursion! This experience is a combination of goosebump thrills, education, and relaxation on a luxury boat in the company of professional experts and researchers. Your crew will show you how to distinguish between a male and female shark and how to identify a specific shark by its unique dorsal fin and scars. The 20- to 25-minute boat trip to get to shark area is an exhilarating adventure in itself.

If that's not enough, there's the Slashfin. Named after a legendary male shark with a very distinctive dorsal fin, this unique, multi-million rand aluminum boat custom is designed for speed, stability, safety, and space and can comfortably accommodate 40 passengers and the crew at a time. On any given day, you'll usually see at least two or more members of the Marine Big Five including sharks, dolphins, whales, seals, and penguins, as well as several bird species.

A brief breakdown of what to expect:

  • Guests will receive breakfast or lunch and register your wetsuit size
  • Guests receive a pre-trip safety briefing about what to expect during the trip and a biological background on great white sharks
  • Travel time to Dyer Island is approximately 20 minutes, with the shallows being a short 10-minute ride (where you anchor depends on where the sharks are)
  • On average, you'll anchor for 2 hours, but this depends on shark activity, conditions, as well as the number of divers
  • Weather permitting, you'll take a quick trip through the infamous Shark Alley
  • Back on dry land, you'll be served soup and bread to warm up

Day 10: Drive to Cape Town - Departure

Spend a few hours exploring the city before departing

It's time to say goodbye to South Africa! After breakfast, you will depart Gansbaai bright and early and make the 2.5-hour drive to Cape Town in order to spend some time in the city. Explore the V&A Waterfront, visit Boulder's Beach to see the penguins, or hike up to Table Mountain. At the designated time, you'll make your way to the airport, return the rental car, and catch your departure flight. Safe travels!

Map

Map of South Africa Wildlife Road Trip - 10 Days
Map of South Africa Wildlife Road Trip - 10 Days