Itinerary – Self Drive Southern Africa
Natural Wonder, Safari, Wine, & Penguins
Four Weeks (February 1st – 26th, 2013)
This self drive Southern Africa trip is for extreme road-trip lovers, but even if you can’t squeeze in all of this 8000 km-plus journey, you’ll come away with an incredible appreciation for this special region. A rental car (4WD useful but not necessary) is your best bet for this mega road trip.
Using Johannesburg as our gateway, we grabbed our car at the airport and headed north to Francistown, Botswana for the first night of our self drive Southern Africa adventure. The next day, after a lunch break in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, we rolled into Hwange National Park. After an exciting day on safari, we continued north to one of the great natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls. A visit from both the town of Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and Livingstone (Zambia) gave a great perspective. From the Zambian side, we crossed the nearby border at Kazungula and headed for Kasane in Botswana, the gateway town to the wildlife-rich Chobe National Park. Here we organized a river cruise along the Chobe River front, and camped along its banks. From Kasane, it was an easy and fun journey along elephant filled highways southwest to Maun and the vast Okavango Delta. Here, we decided on a leisurely makoro (dug-out canoe) trip, past incalculable numbers of birds in this impressive ecosystem. In the morning, we headed west through the central Makgadikgadi Pans National Park and pulled into Windhoek, Namibia, a small but vibrant capital city, early that evening. After a modern morning, we again headed out into the desolation and pulled into Sossusvlei that evening, in time to hike the dunes for a magnificent sunset.
After a second dune summit in the morning, we continued south, headed for Hobas to see Fish River Canyon National Park, one of the continent’s great natural wonders. Ai-Ais Hot Springs soothed our aching bones in the morning, before our long trek south to Cape Town, for two days of Table Mountain, penguins, and the picturesque Cape Floral Kingdom. As we entered the fertile wine lands and the hip town of Stellenbosch, tearing ourselves away from this wonderful city felt a bit better. With a little buzz, we journeyed along the Garden Route and scenic Route 2 before landing in Knysna for the evening. After a travel day and layover in Bloemfontein, we entered the Kingdom of Lesotho and made our may to Semonkong to give the world’s highest abseil a try. After two days in the valley, we made our way over the Drakensberg Range before a stop for the night in Ladysmith.
We made our way to brilliant Mkhaya Game Reserve, noted for its black rhinos, for evening and morning safaris. After lunch in Mbabane and a quick drive through Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, we entered the world-renowned Kruger National Park (Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park) at Malelane Gate, for three days of mesmerizing encounters with the big five. We ducked out of Orpen Gate and made our way to Blyde River Canyon and the awe-inspiring natural sights of Three Rondavels and Gods Window, before landing in Graskop for our last overnight on our self drive Southern Africa journey. In the morning, we made the short trip back to Johannesburg completely exhausted and changed forever.
Budget = $3,400 / Person (Traveling with Four People)
- Yellow Fever Vaccination
- Small Tent (Will save $$$ in National Parks)
- DSLR Camera w/ Zoom Lens
- Something for long car rides