South Africa


From safari to wine tasting to world class hiking South Africa offers many reasons for a visit. Although generally
good roads make for easy road trips, you may want to cut long distances with domestic flights. 


Our first visit in September of 2011  was a 4 week road trip starting with a week in Kruger National Park before heading to the Drakensberg Mountains for 5 days of hiking. We then drove to Port Saint Johns on the coast in the Eastern Cape and spent the next 11 days following the coastline to Cape Town, stopping along the way at Grahamstown, Tsitsikamma National Park, Knysna, Swellendam, Hermanus and Franschhoek.

In 2016 we returned to South Africa. Using Johanesburg as a regional base we explored Madagascar, safaried in Botswana and Zimbabwe, and finished with the Otter trail on South Africa’s southern coast.


Arriving in Johannesburg – First Impressions

Cradle of Humankind, Johannesburg
Cradle of Humandkind, 50 kilometers northwest of Jo’burg, is a World Heritage Site and one of the earliest and richest archaeological sites in Africa, dating back about 4 million years.

Kruger National Park

Jo’burg to Kruger National Park
Includes our first night in Kruger Nat Park at the Berg-en-Dal rest camp.
Berg-en-Dal to Wolhuter
Includes a tour of the Berg-en-Dal rest camp and our first night at the Wolhuter walking safari camp.
Wolhuter Day 2
Daily life at the Wolhuter rest camp and descriptions of the walking safari including a face-to-face encounter with a herd of buffalo.
Wolhuter Day 3
Second day of the walking safari including a sad tale of rhino poaching.
Wolhuter to Shindzela
Drive through southern Kruger to the Shindzela Tented Safari Camp in the Timbavati Reserve. Animals spotted include buffalo, rhino, giraffe, elephant and the giant ground hornbill.
Shindzela Day 2
Driving safari. Animal spotted include elephant, giraffe and water buck.
Shindzela Day 3
Includes both driving and walking safaris. Animal spotted include various raptors, giraffes, a genet cat and a herd of buffalo.
From Kruger Back to Johannesburg
One more driving safari before heading back to Johannesburg. Animal spotted include rhino, kudu and one last visit of the buffalo herd.

Drakensberg Mountains

Johannesburg to Royal Natal Nat Park
Stayed in a self-catered chalet at Tendele Hutted Camp and hiked up to Sunday Falls.
Thukela Gorge Walk
A spectacular hike up the canyon with great views of the Amphitheater.
Drakensberg Mountains Day 3
Includes a visit to the rock art site at Royal Natal, a quick stop at Cathedral Peak and a sunset hike near Monk’s Cowl.
Feeling our Way to Blind Man’s Corner
Hike from the Monk’s Cowl parking lot to Blind Man’s Corner.
Rock Art at Kamberg Reserve
Hike up to one of the best rock art sites in the Drakensberg Mountains.
Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse
Elegant B&B with gourmet dining near Kamberg Reserve.

From Port Saint Johns to Cape Town

The So Called “Wild Coast”
A drive through the Wild Coast to Port Saint Johns.
A Day in Port Saint Johns
A lazy day exploring the area around this laidback granola outpost.
Port Saint Johns to Grahamstown
A long day of driving in the rain.
Discovering Tsitsikamma Nat Park
An amazing coastline on the eastern edge of the Garden Route.
Otter Trail, Tsitsikamma Nat Park
Bolder hopping along this fabulous stretch of coastline to a roaring waterfall. My favorite hike of the trip.
Whale Watching in Plettenberg Bay
Beach town on the eastern edge of the Garden Route.
Phantom Forest Eco Reserve, Knysna
Sleep and dine in the treetops at this high-end eco lodge overlooking Knysna.
Hiking Wilderness
You may want to read this before hiking the Pied Kingfisher Trail. Wilderness is not as “wild” as the name implies.
Wilderness to Swellendam
Leaving the Garden Route we head inland to explore the area around the historic town of Swellendam.
Loop Drive from Swellendam to the Little Karoo.
Includes spring wildflowers outside of Barrydale, a visit to the town of Montagu, and a hike in Marloth Nature Reserve outside of Swellendam.
Swellendam to Hermanus via Cape Agulhas
Includes more wildflowers, this time in the white sandy soil of the Overberg Region, a visit to South Africa’s true most southern point, Cape Agulhas, and a walk along the coastal footpath in Hermanus.
Hermanus to Franschhoek
Includes a visit to the Stony Point Penguin Colony at Betty’s Bay and the best meal of the trip at Bon Vivant in the wine town of Franschhoek.
Franschhoek to Cape Town
Includes a drive down the peninsula to the Cape of Good Hope.
Cape Town – Table Mountain and the Kirstenbosch Nat Botanical Gardens
Includes the amazing protea in full bloom.


In August to October of 2016 we used Johannesburg as our home base and did two shorter trips in South Africa. The first to the Blyde Canyon area outside of Kruger National Park and then the 5 day/4 night Otter Trail in Tsitsikamma National Park.

blue line – by car or foot, 
orange line – by plane

Home Base Johannesburg

Blyde Canyon

Blyde River Canyon in August
Post discusses hikes, logistics and the merits of visiting this region in August.
Hiking Blyde Canyon, A Forever Resort Trails
If you are going to do one trail in the region this is the trail to do.
Hiking Bourke’s Luck Potholes
While the potholes themselves are worth a visit. A hike out to the waterfall rewards with a secluded picnic spot.
Sleeping and Dining in Graskop

Plettenberg Bay, Gateway to Tsitsikamma

Sleeping and Dining in Plettenberg Bay
This upscale beach town is a great place to start or end a visit to Tstsikamma National Park.
Robberg Peninsula Trail
The penisula trail is a great way to get a taste of this awesome coastline.

Arrival at Tsitsikama

Boasting chalets with stunning sea views, Storms River Mount Rest Camp is worth a visit even if you are not doing the Otter Trail.

Otter Trail

This 5 day/4 night coastal hut to hut trail is not to be missed. Probably my favorite hike in the world.

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