17-day South Africa Rainbow Route

The Rainbow Route is an overview tour of South Africa including neighbouring Kingdom of eSwatini/Swaziland. The tour covers many highlights with a strong focus on the national parks. This diverse country is explored over great distances that may involve long days on the road, generally followed by a full day to experience the area. The fully accommodated tour offers a great value for money way to explore South Africa.

On this accommodated tour of South Africa you will explore the best of ‘The Rainbow Nation’, and the Kingdom of Swaziland, trekking, cultural visits and wonderful game viewing in the Rainbow Nation.

DEPARTS: JOHANNESBURG on Saturday at 06:30am
ENDS: CAPE TOWN on Monday at +/-18:00pm

Highlights
* Mpumalanga Panorama Route – sight seeing
* Kruger National Park – game drives
* eSwatinig/Swaziland – mountain walks
* Zululand – game drives & cultural village
* Drakensberg Mountains – mountain walks
* Wild Coast – beach walks & Xhosa culture
* Addo – game drives
* Tsitsikamma – forest walks
* Hermanus – beaches and whales
* Cape Town – Cape Point & Table Mountain

Overnight: 14 nights on safari we stay at small lodges and guest houses, with en suite facilities. 2 nights on the Wild Coast are in self-catering chalets where two bedrooms share a bathroom.

Meals: 16 breakfasts, 12 lunches and 11 dinners are included. Of which 10 breakfasts & 5 dinners are provided by the lodges. The remaining included meals are provided by the Sunway crew, prepared at the vehicle and eaten around the campfire or in a boma or dining area.

Transport: we use custom-built Sunway Safari trucks with 12 forward facing seats. The vehicles are comfortable for cruising and excellent for game viewing with large sliding windows and front hatches for ease of viewing. On 5% of tours we may use Mercedes Sprinter minibuses with 12 seats and air conditioning (with trailer for equipment and baggage).   There are several long days of travel providing for a beautiful journey on the way to exciting and varied destinations.

Limited participation: an essential part of your safari is some participation. From carrying your own bag to cleaning your window and packing the truck in the morning – it’s all part of your adventure and when everyone puts in a little effort the trip will run smoothly (especially on the longer days). Where the tour leaders provide meals, we ask that clients help (on rotation) with the washing up.

Highlights

  • Swaziland
  • Addo Elephant National Park
  • Central Drakensberg
  • Hermanus
  • Hluhluwe
  • Kei Mouth
  • Knysna
  • Kruger Private Reserve
  • Southern Kruger
  • Cape Town
  • South Africa

Tour Summary

Click to display the map

Full Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1 – 2 : Kruger Private Reserve

Departing from Johannesburg at 06:30am we head towards Mpumalanga where mountains, panoramic passes, valleys, rivers, waterfalls & forests characterise the landscape. We enjoy the views from God’s Window before descending off the escarpment and heading to our game lodge on the border of the Greater Kruger NP.

The following morning, we are up early for a full day of game viewing in Kruger National Park. We will return to our lodge in the late afternoon to enjoy sunset over the Drakensberg Mountains, a swim in the pool and a hearty meal before falling asleep to the sounds of Africa.

Day 2: Breakfast provided by the lodge
Day 1-2: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 1-2: Dinner will be a set meal provided by the lodge

Includes:                    Entrance to God’s Window & the Three Rondavels viewpoint
Overnight:                  Makuwa Safari Lodge – twin room with en suite facilities. Swimming pool.  WiFi not available. 3G
Distance/time:          Day 1 620kms, ± 8 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing, breakfast & lunch

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Day 3 : Southern Kruger

[chalet BLD]
We stretch our legs on a short morning walk exploring the surrounding bush before we re-enter Kruger NP and head south. Kruger NP is the largest game reserve in South Africa, boasts the world’s greatest concentration of species, and has an amazing 16 different ecosystems. Exciting game drives provide us with excellent game viewing. Spot the “Big 5” (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) and many other animals in this true African wilderness.

Day 3: Breakfast provide by the lodge
Day 3: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 3: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Includes:                    Entrance to Kruger National Park, morning & afternoon game drives
Overnight:                  Kruger National Park Chalets or Tents – we stay in national parks board in en-suite chalets or permanent tents. Swimming pool, restaurant, and telephone.  WiFi not available
Distance/time:          150kms, ± 2 hours + game drives
Optional Activities     Night game drive in national parks open game viewing vehicle

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Day 4 : Swaziland

[chalet BLD]
Malolotja Nature Reserve in the mountainous Kingdom of eSwatini/Swaziland is our next attraction.  Renowned for a great variety of habitats from short grassland, to thick riverine scrub, bushveld and moist forest, we explore the reserve on foot to enjoy the fantastic mountain views. Relax around a campfire dinner and stay in mountain cabins for the night.

Day 4: Breakfast will be provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 4: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 4: Dinner will be a set menu provided by the lodge

Includes:                    Entrance fees to Malalotja Nature Reserve
Overnight:                 Hawane Lodge – Chalet - twin bed en suite rooms. Swimming pool, restaurant & bar.  WiFi available
Distance/time:          200kms, ± 4 hours, excluding 2-3 hour morning drive out of Kruger, shopping stop in Malelane, Jeppes Reef border formalities & stops for sightseeing etc

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Day 5 – 6 : Hluhluwe

[tented lodge BLD]
We visit a craft market near Mbabane which has a range of handmade crafts and a local witchdoctor stall! We re-enter South Africa and head to our lodge on a private game reserve situated on the Msinene Nature Reserve, where our local guide will lead us on a walk through bushveld and riverine vegetation of the Msinene River, bird watching and game tracking. Nyala, hippo and the elusive leopard are all found on the reserve. The next day we take a game drive in Hluhluwe Game Reserve, which is a safe haven for the embattled rhino, followed by a visit to a local Zulu village. Relax in the late afternoon with a cold drink while enjoying the views over the reserve from the lodge.

Day 5: Breakfast will be provided by the lodge
Day 5: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 5: Dinner will be provided by the lodge

Day 6: Breakfast will be provided by the lodge
Day 6: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 6: Dinner will be provided by the lodge

Includes:                    Entrance to Hluhluwe Game Reserve, morning game drive and afternoon Zulu village visit with local Zulu community guide
Overnight:                  Zululand Lodge, permanent tented lodge - Each permanent tented room is en suite, and raised on a wooden deck.  WiFi not available
Distance/time:          295kms, ± 6 hours, excluding border formalities

 

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Day 7 – 8 : Central Drakensberg

[chalet BLD]
The Drakensberg Mountains or “uKhahlamba” - the Barrier of Spears, is a 200-kilometre-long mountainous wonderland and world heritage site. From Zululand we move further south to the base of these mountains where we overnight for two nights in quaint cottages. We will spend time walking along beautiful mountain stream paths, or just enjoying the spectacular views.

Day 7: Breakfast will be provided by the lodge
Day 8: Breakfast provide by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 7, 8: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 7, 8: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Includes:                    Morning and afternoon hikes in the Drakensberg Mountains
Overnight:                 Lotheni chalets – 2 nights in Drakensberg we stay in the park chalets. Twin rooms with en-suite facilities.   WiFi not available
Distance/time:          500kms, ± 7 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch. The last 50km is a slow gravel road

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Day 9 – 10 : Kei Mouth

[chalet BLD]
En-route to the Wild Coast we visit Qunu, the home town of Nelson Mandela, and pay our respects to this great man. The Wild Coast remains a relatively untouched paradise with unspoilt stretches of dramatically beautiful coastline, open spaces and pristine forest areas. We stay overnight in Kei Mouth and the next day is free to explore the area, meet local villagers or go down to the beach.

Day 9, 10: Breakfast provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 9, 10: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 9, 10: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

 

Includes:                    Nelson Mandela Museum (note: museum is closed for renovations May17-Apr19)  & scenic coastal walks
Overnight:                 Benmore Lodge – twin share rooms with 1 bathroom shared between two rooms. Swimming pool, bar, restaurant, bar, internet & telephone.  Free WiFi in reception
Distance/time:          600kms, ± 8½ hours excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch – a long day!
Optional Activities     Ocean fishing & village walks

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Day 11 : Addo Elephant National Park

[chalets B-D]
The Addo Elephant National Park was established in 1931 to protect the last 11 wild elephants from extermination. Today more than 600 elephants roam through the area. The park also offers excellent viewing of black rhino, Cape buffalo, lion and leopard, as well as a host of other large and small mammals and over 400 species of birds in the greater park area.

Day 11: Breakfast provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 11: Lunch will be an own expense meal
Day 11: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Includes:                    Entrance fees to Addo Elephant National park, afternoon & morning game drive
Overnight:                  Addo National Park chalets - twin share chalet (or lodge tent) with en suite facilities. (Sandflats Guest Lodge may also be used subject to availability; these rooms are twin share en suite) Swimming pool, restaurant, telephone & floodlit waterhole.   WiFi not available
Distance/time:          289kms, ± 4½ hours – a long day! Excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch + game drives
Optional Activities         Night game drives in national park open game viewing vehicles

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Day 12 – 13 : Knysna

[guest house Bx2 Lx1 -]
For two nights we will stay in a lodge resort in Knysna, which is nestled on a tranquil lagoon. We will take a day trip to the Storms River mouth where there are walks up the gorge and along the rocky coast. The Tsitsikamma National Park incorporates 80km of spectacular sea and landscapes; a remote mountainous region with secluded valleys, coastal forests with deep river gorges leading down to the sea. Sample seafood at one of Knysna’ s great restaurants (own expense).

Day 12: Breakfast provide by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 12: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 12: Dinner will be an own expense meal at local restaurant

Day 13: Breakfast will be provided by the guest house
Day 13: Lunch will be an own expense meal
Day 13: Dinner will be an own expense meal at local restaurant

Includes:                    Entrance fees to Tsitsikamma National Park
Overnight:                  Lagoona Inn – twin rooms with en-suite bathroom. Swimming pool, lounge & telephone & restaurant.   Free WiFi in reception
Distance/time:          300kms, ± 4½ hours excluding stops for sightseeing
Optional Activities     whale watching & treetop canopy tour

 

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Day 14 : Hermanus

[guest house BL-]
Hermanus offers some of the best land based whale watching in the world. From June to November Southern Right whales come up from the southern oceans to calve and mate in the shallow waters around the Cape. In whale season we will take a walk along this beautiful coastline. In the summer months we will explore the flowering fynbos in Fernkloof Nature Reserve. Enjoy the evening meal out at a local restaurant (own expense).

Day 14: Breakfast provide by the guest house
Day 14: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 14: Dinner will be an own expense meal at local restaurant

Includes:                    N/A
Overnight:                  Chesham House - rooms are twin share rooms with en-suite facilities.  WiFi available in lounge
Distance/time:          420kms, ± 6 hours excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch
Optional Activities     Whale watching by boat

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Day 15 – 16 : Cape Town

[guest house B - -]
Cape Town is one of the most picturesque cities in the world, with the majestic Table Mountain providing its central focus. On our way into Cape Town, we visit Stellenbosch, South Africa’s renowned wine region, for wine tasting (own expense) and a cellar tour. The “mother city” has many attractions; we will visit the harbour at Hout Bay, visit Cape Point, enjoy the famous beaches and the V&A Waterfront. Optional visit to Robben Island (own expense). We sample the local fare at a variety of local restaurants (own expense).

Day 15, 16: Breakfast will be provided by the guesthouse
Day 15, 16: Lunch will be an own expense meal
Day 15, 16: Dinner will be an own expense meal at local restaurant

Includes:                    Cellar tour, Entrance fees to Penguin colony & Cape Point National Park
Overnight:                  Sweetest Guesthouses – Sweetest Guesthouses is a collection of individually decorated houses in a metropolitan area of Cape Town near the V&A Waterfront.. The Sunway group may be spread amongst any of the houses, within walking distance of each other, and the group breakfasts will be taken in the same house. Rooms are twin with en suite facilities. (Or similar guest house).   WiFi available
Distance/time:          150kms, ± 2 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing + 150kms full day Cape Peninsular tour on day 16
Optional Activities     Robben Island cruise, shark cage diving, seal colony visit

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Day 17 : Departure

[- B - -]
In the morning we climb Table Mountain, offering panoramic views over Cape Town reaching out into the bay and Robben Island.  Having explored the highlights of the Rainbow Nation we take a last look at Cape Town and catch up on curio shopping in the afternoon, before your tour ends at 18:00 at the guest house.

Day 17: Breakfast will be provided by the guesthouse
Day 17: Lunch will be an own expense meal

Includes:                    Guided walk up Table Mountain

 

Included

Accommodation as per itinerary
Meals as per itinerary
Transport
Professional guides

Excluded

International flights
Pre / Post tour accommodation
Airport transfers
Travel insurance
Visas
Vaccinations
Gratuities
Optional activities