Map of Kruger, Coast & Cape including Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland

Hit the coastal route to some of southern Africa's hotspots

Embark on an action-packed Lonely Planet Experience through some of the most stunning scenery in southern Africa. In 22 days, head from Johannesburg to Cape Town on the spectacular coastal route, with plenty of epic stops along the way. Track down elusive wildlife on game drives in Kruger National Park, relax on golden beaches in Mozambique, visit remote Zulu to learn about tribal culture and mix it up with modern cities. From the savanna of Kruger and the lush wetlands of the St Lucia Estuary to the dramatic ocean vistas and fertile vineyards along the Wild Coast, see the best of southern Africa's blessed natural beauty, joined by a local leader with all the best advice and a group of likeminded adventurers keen to explore.


Start
Johannesburg, South Africa
Finish
Cape Town, South Africa
Destinations
Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Eswatini (Swaziland)
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience, Overland, Wildlife
Code
UBOSC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 22

A powerful partnership

Lonely Planet and Intrepid Travel share the same philosophy: we help curious people explore the world.

Why you'll love this trip

  • Go on an epic safari with expert local guides in search of lions, hyenas and more through Kruger National Park – one of the largest game reserves in southern Africa.

  • Spend a few days however you please on the white-sand beaches of Mozambique’s Ponta Malongane. Snorkel? Sun? Seafood feast? The choice is yours.

  • Visit the heartlands of the Zulu people and spend the night in a homestay, where you’ll be treated to traditional food and song, plus a meeting with the local healer.

  • Embark on a half-day guided walk in the mighty Drakensburg Range – one of many spectacular hikes along the Garden Route that you can choose to discover in your free time.

  • Rise early with your small group to watch wild meerkats wake and warm in the morning sun, before continuing south to Swellendam – South Africa’s third-oldest town.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is an overland trip. That means you’ll be travelling with a group in a purpose-built vehicle, visiting remote communities, setting up your own tent, occasionally roughing it in the bush with no facilities, and getting the best possible views of the Big Five. While the trucks don’t have air conditioning, they do have sliding windows which let in the breeze and make it even easier to take spectacular snaps of the local wildlife. The drive days can be long, but it’s as much about the journey as the destination, and half the fun is the camaraderie. For more info on this style of travel, see our Africa overland page: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/africa/overland

  • This itinerary includes a homestay in Zululand. Beds can just be a foam mattress on the floor, with clean linen and pillows, and rooms can be up to six-share, of the same gender. Hot water is not available on this night.

  • As the early bird catches the worm, the early camper sights the animals. There will be many early starts either to make use of the better safari time or to beat the morning traffic on long travel days.

Itinerary

Sawubona! Welcome Johannesburg, the sprawling South African capital. In Joburg (unlike a lot of city nicknames, this is one people actually use) mansions stand alongside humble tin abodes and there are as many green parks on the outskirts of the city as there is concrete jungle in the centre. Your Lonely Planet experience begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you can’t wait to begin exploring and arrive with time to spare, why not make your way to the Apartheid Museum and start your journey with some crucial history before you meet up with your group.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Rise and shine for a long day’s drive to Kruger National Park (approximately 11–12 hours). Leave Johannesburg and travel through the Mpumalanga Province and along the famous Panorama Route through some of the most stunning scenery South Africa has to offer, such as God's Window and Bourke’s Luck Potholes. Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Southern Africa. It boasts over 500 bird species, 100 species of reptile and 150 mammal species, including the Big Five and the endangered African wild dog. Drive through some of Kruger’s prime game viewing areas on your way to camp and try to spot some of these amazing creatures straight away! Set up camp and get settled for the evening.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Panorama Route - God's Window Viewpoint
  • Panorama Route - Bourks Luck Potholes
Optional Activities
  • Kruger National Park - Night 4x4 Game Drive - ZAR440
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your campground has shared facilities with hot and cold water. Upgrades are possible but subject to availability. Please speak to an Intrepid booking agent for more information on upgrades.

On occasion, especially during the peak months of May, June, July and December, we are unable to secure campsites within the Kruger National Park. In the event of this happening, we will camp at a backpacker lodge outside the park and will miss the short game drive on the way to the usual campsite.
Rise early and enjoy a light breakfast of coffee and rusk (twice-baked bread) before heading out on a morning game drive. Most of your day will be spent spotting game from your overland vehicle, birdwatching and stopping at various waterholes and viewpoints to rest along the way. In the evening, choose to relax at camp or perhaps head out on an optional night drive with the park guide. The optional night drives are a chance to spot nocturnal animals and perhaps even a night-time predator or two – maybe catch a lion or hyena out hunting, or perhaps impala out in search of a late-night feed.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kruger National Park - Overland Vehicle Game drive
Optional Activities
  • Kruger National Park - Night 4x4 Game Drive - ZAR440
  • Kruger National Park - Sunset 4x4 Game Drive (from price) - ZAR325
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Start the day with a slow game drive through Kruger, covering between 20 and 70 kilometres (depending on what animals you see along the way) in the park then exiting by mid-morning. Hit the road towards Hlane Royal National Park (approximately 6–7 hours). Travel south-east and cross the border into the kingdom of Eswatini, a country nestled between Mozambique, Northern Zululand and Mpumalanga. Arrive at Hlane Royal National Park, a vast expanse of bushveld with ancient hardwood trees, and begin exploring immediately on a guided game walk. Spend tonight at a camp within the national park.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hlane Royal National Park - Bush & Wildlife Walk
  • Kruger National Park - Overland Vehicle Game drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
The border crossing between South Africa and Eswatini is generally very smooth, but occasionally there are delays. Come prepared with good book just in case.

Please note that upgrades to your accommodation tonight are possible but subject to availability. Please speak to an Intrepid booking agent for more information on upgrades.
Set off this morning to your Mozambique beach camp (approximately 7–8 hours). Departing from Hlane National Park, head to the Golela Border Post and cross into Maputaland. After a little while, cross another border into Mozambique. Change vehicles to a 4WD for the drive to the beautiful seaside village of Ponta Malongane – your beachside oasis for the next two nights. Your campsite is the ideal base for seaside fun such as snorkelling, swimming and scuba diving.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hlane Royal National Park - Guided Walking Safari - ZAR200
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your accommodation tonight is basic but comfortable, with shared facilities.
Make the most of this gorgeous seaside getaway with a day to explore at your own pace. This is one of the many unspoiled beaches of Mozambique, and there is plenty to do here. Keen scuba divers can choose from many reefs – one of which is just 300 metres off the shore. Alternatively, you could explore the blue waters of the Indian Ocean on an optional boat cruise in search of dolphins – ask your leader about booking. Of course, you could always find a spot on the beach and chill out.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Mozambique - Boat Cruise - ZAR400
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depart southern Mozambique and drive to Lake St Lucia, part of the St Lucia Estuary. stopping at a shop for supplies along the way (approximately 4–5 hours). Declared a World Heritage Site in 1999, St Lucia Estuary is home to thousands of varieties of birds, mammals and reptiles, including hundreds of hippos and crocodiles. You can either explore on your own or join an optional boat cruise on the wildlife-filled waters for the chance to spot creatures basking on the banks.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • St Lucia Estuary - Hippo boat cruise - ZAR260
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Tonight, you will stay at a campsite with shared facilities (upgrades and wi-fi are not available here).
Rise early and head to the Valley of a Thousand Hills (approximately 5–6 hours), the heartland of the Zulu nation, for a unique homestay experience. Gain insight into the daily life of the rural Zulu people with a night in a local’s house, where you'll be treated to some traditional food, song and dance. Explore the village on foot and make the most of this rare opportunity to see a remote culture from the inside. Interact with your hosts and perhaps share some of your own culture and language in turn.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Zululand - Community Centre Visit
  • Zululand - Traditional Healer Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Make sure to wear comfortable footwear. You will only need a small overnight bag with essential clothing and toiletries.
Travel on to Durban (approximately 3 hours). Durban is South Africa's second most populous city and a tourist magnet thanks to its wealth of golden, sandy beaches and glitzy nightlife. One of its main attractions is the Golden Mile, a stretch of fine sands bordered by frothy surf on one side and an attractive beachfront of shops, restaurants and cafes on the other. Stay in dorm rooms with shared bathroom facilities and a great rooftop bar.
Accommodation
  • Dormitory (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Durban - Art Gallery - Free
  • Durban - Bay Cruise - ZAR240
  • Durban - Juma Masjid Mosque - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and meet your new fellow travelers.
Leave Durban and travel inland towards the majestic Drakensberg mountain range (approximately 5–6 hours). Stop along the way at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site and learn of the history of this great man. Then stretch your legs on a short hike along the Drakensberg mountain chain. Home to an amazing array of flora and fauna, Drakensberg is Southern Africa's highest range – sitting at 3482 metres – and forms part of the border between South Africa and Lesotho. The range is often referred to locally as the Barrier of Spears or the Dragon Mountains. Your accommodation here is in twin rooms with an ensuite at a unique backpacker lodge in Drakensberg. After you’ve settled in, enjoy a drink with your travel group in the thatched-loft lounge room, where there’s a book-swap and internet facilities. You’ll also be able to check out the onsite pool, jacuzzi, barbeque, fire pit and wi-fi.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Drakensburg - Royal Natal National Park Hike
  • Howick - Nelson Mandela Capture Site
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
For tonight’s accommodation, room upgrades are available (subject to availability).
Enjoy free time to go hiking through this incredible mountain range. It's up to you how much time you spend exploring. Feel free to take a short hike for an hour or so, or perhaps challenge yourself by booking into a full-day hike with a local guide. This is a great chance to learn more about the region from a local as you walk along. Regardless of your level of hiking or exploring today, there are sure to be some amazing views and excellent photo opportunities.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Drakensberg - Amphiteatre Day Hike - ZAR590
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Leaving Drakensberg behind, head into the mountain kingdom of Lesotho (approximately 7–8 hours). Nestled like a small island in the middle of South Africa, Lesotho is commonly known as the 'Kingdom in the Sky' and has beautiful mountain ranges and endless hiking trails. Generally, the border crossing into Lesotho is quite smooth, but you may experience some delays, depending on the time of year. Drive past the Golden Gate Highlands National Park which is famous for its extraordinary sandstone rock formations. The park is also home to elands, zebras, mongooses and hundreds of bird species – keep your eyes peeled along the way.
Accommodation
  • Dormitory (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you’ll have a variety of hikes to choose from. The Lesotho Highlands offer excellent hiking for all levels of skill, so depending on your experience and level of fitness, you should be able to choose one that allows you to get the most out of these stunning landscapes.
Accommodation
  • Dormitory (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Lesotho - Bushman Painting Hike - ZAR45
  • Lesotho - Pitseng Canyon Hike - 6 hours - ZAR65
  • Lesotho - Village and Museum Walk - ZAR50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Head to the stunning Wild Coast of South Africa and the charming little coastal town of Cintsa (approximately 10–12 hours). Cintsa and its surrounding region are home to Xhosa communities, whose lifestyle is deeply rooted in tribal traditions and customs. You'll soon discover that these warm and friendly people can provide you an insight into their enduring cultures. Arriving in the late afternoon, you will have time to relax and freshen up before an optional group dinner.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your campground has shared facilities, an ATM and wi-fi. Upgrades are possible (subject to availability).
Enjoy some free time to explore the town, relax on the stunning beaches or book one of the many optional activities on offer. You might like to go hiking or mountain biking in the hinterland, hire a canoe to explore the Cintsa River or book in for surfing lesson! Be sure to check in with your group leader to get their recommendations. You can even whip out your Lonely Planet app and see what else there is to do at this coastal hotspot.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Cintsa - Village Tour - ZAR235
  • Cinsta - Canoe Hire - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Travel on to Addo Elephant National Park (approximately 7–8 hours). Addo Elephant National Park was created in 1931 to protect the region's eleven remaining elephants and is a true success story in conservation. Today there are over 450 elephants in the park, as well as Cape buffalo, black rhinos, all kinds of antelopes and even the unique flightless dung beetle. On arrival, you'll take an afternoon game drive with your group and try to spot some of these resident creatures, among others, from your truck.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Addo Elephant National Park - Overland Vehicle Game drive
Optional Activities
  • Addo Elephant National Park - Night game drive - ZAR275
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your campground tonight has basic shared facilities and wi-fi. Upgrades are possible (subject to availability).
Wake early and enjoy another game drive in Addo Elephant National Park in an overland vehicle. Afterwards, begin your journey along the Garden Route, the first stop being Tsitsikamma National Park (approximately 4–5 hours). Steep ancient forests meet the breakers of the Indian Ocean at this park, protecting both land and sea. It's a spectacular place for walking and viewing wildlife. Your group leader will take you to a local activity centre where a range of activities will be on offer, some of which you may like to book for your free day tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Addo Elephant National Park - Overland Vehicle Game drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Intrepid has not risk assessed all optional local activities in the Tsitsikamma National Park. Only those listed in the Optional Activities are recommended. If you are unsure about any, please check with your leader. It is against company policy for leaders to facilitate the booking of any activities that have not been risk-assessed or do not adhere to Intrepid's Responsible Travel ethos. This includes organising transport to and from these activities in our vehicles.

The accommodation tonight is a campground with basic shared facilities, an ATM and wi-fi access. Upgrades are possible (subject to availability).
With another day in Tsitsikamma, you’ll have more time to explore this magnificent national park. Cape clawless otters, dolphins, tortoises and southern right whales (depending on the season) are all visitors here, along with baboons, monkeys and a heap of birdlife. See how many of them you can spot on a range of hiking trails, including those to the Stormsriver Mouth and waterfalls.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Tsitsikamma - Snorkelling - ZAR100
  • Tsitsikamma - Stormsriver Mouth Hike - Free
  • Tsitsikamma - Waterfall Trail - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Head out across the arid Karoo region bound for Oudtshoorn (approximately 4–5 hours). Stop off on the way at Knysna to stretch your legs and explore this hamlet with a gorgeous lagoon. Next stop is Weltevrede Fig Farm where you learn how to farm, dry and preserve figs. A short drive then takes you to the Cango Caves, where you’ll have time to explore the weird and wonderful rock formations – one is ‘Cleopatra's Needle’, standing at 29 feet high and at least 150,000 years old. Your local guide will give you all the ins-and-outs of their formation and history. Continue on to Oudtshoorn, known as the ostrich capital of the world. At the turn of the 20th century, it was full of 'feather barons' that grew rich from the popularity of ostrich feathers.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Oudtshoorn - Cango Caves Guided Tour
  • Weltevrede - Fig Farm visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your campsite for tonight has hot showers and flush toilets. Upgrades are possible (subject to availability).
Rise and shine very early this morning to spend some time with wild meerkats, part of the so-called Shy 5. Head to their burrow, pull up a chair and sip coffee while the sun comes up and the meerkats climb out into the sunshine. You’ll have time to watch these habituated wild animals, which are never fed or handled by humans, go about their daily routine of foraging and frolicking. Then travel onto Bontebok National Park (approximately 3-4 hours) – the smallest of South Africa's 18 national parks and named after its unusually marked antelopes. Drive towards Swellendam, through towering mountain passes and crossing some of the most beautiful and rugged scenery around. On arrival, take an leader-led orientation walk, perhaps grabbing some lunch afterwards. Swellendam, South Africa’s third-oldest town, has over 50 provincial heritage sites. After lunch take the short drive to set up camp in Bontebok, with the remainder of the afternoon to hike one of the three nature-hiking trails, all starting and ending in the rest camp area. Trail maps are available at the campsite.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Oudtshoorn - Meerkat Experience
Optional Activities
  • Bontebok National Park - Hiking Trail - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Get up early this morning for your journey to Africa's southernmost point – Cape Agulhus (approximately 5 hours). You'll travel along the famous R320 winery route, visiting two or three wineries along the way, before heading onto the beach side town of Hermanus. This region is highly influenced by the cooling Atlantic Ocean that sweeps up past Cape Town and brings with it a nice breeze that cools down the grapes that are grown here. The predominant local grape varieties are French, German and northern Italian – such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Mourvedre, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hermanus - R320 Route Wine Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Hermanus, perhaps with a walk from Grotto Beach along the cliff and beach path or along the local shopping strip. Afterwards, drive back to Cape Town via the scenic bay route (approximately 4 hours). With its stunning coastline, dramatic surrounding mountains and modern cityscape, Cape Town is one of Africa's most appealing cities. It's a great place to end your trip, with vineyards, adventure activities and plenty of good restaurants and cafes at your doorstep. You'll be dropped at the centrally located hotel in Cape Town at approximately 3 pm if your group doesn’t encounter any delays. With no activities planned after arriving in Cape Town, you are free to leave at any time.
Optional Activities
  • Cape Town - Harbour cruise - ZAR200
  • Cape Town - Robben Island tour - ZAR260
  • Cape Town - Table Mountain Aerial Cable - ZAR250
  • Cape Town - Table Mountain Hike - ZAR720
  • Cape Town - False Bay by train and lunch Urban Adventure - USD59
  • Cape Town - Salt River Street Art Urban Adventure - USD59
  • Cape Town - Taste of Woodstock Urban Adventure - USD72
  • Hermanus - Grotto Beach Walk - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
No accommodation is provided for tonight. If you would like to extend your stay in Cape Town, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability). It's best not to book any flight connections for earlier than 8 pm this evening, in case of any delays, and to allow time to transfer to Cape Town International Airport.
This trip is a Lonely Planet Experience
Our Lonely Planet Experiences include plenty of free time so you can do the things that suit your budget and interests. Between your Intrepid Travel leader’s local knowledge and Lonely Planet’s trusted travel tips and recommendations, your trip will be more epic than ever.

Meals

21 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 17 dinners

Transport

Overland vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (12 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nights), Dormitory (3 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (1 night), Lodge (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Panorama Route - God's Window Viewpoint
  • Panorama Route - Bourks Luck Potholes
  • Kruger National Park - Overland Vehicle Game drive
  • Hlane Royal National Park - Bush & Wildlife Walk
  • Zululand - Community Centre Visit
  • Zululand - Traditional Healer Visit
  • Drakensburg - Royal Natal National Park Hike
  • Howick - Nelson Mandela Capture Site
  • Addo Elephant National Park - Overland Vehicle Game drive
  • Oudtshoorn - Cango Caves Guided Tour
  • Weltevrede - Fig Farm visit
  • Oudtshoorn - Meerkat Experience
  • Hermanus - R320 Route Wine Tour

Lonely Planet extras

  • Free access to the Lonely Planet mobile app for one year
  • 25% discount on all items in the Lonely Planet Shop

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Kruger, Coast & Cape trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip. It does not include Day 8 in Zululand where we stay in a homestay.
2. This is a combination trip made up of two shorter trips. This means the composition of your group may change in Durban as some group members leave and new ones join you.
3. This trip finishes upon arrival in Cape Town on Day 22. Please do not book any flights until after 8 pm this evening.

Essential trip information

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