Popular Routes – South Africa

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip lives in South Africa and has authored many guidebooks to African destinations, including the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Philip lives in South Africa and has authored many Africa guidebooks, including the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Philip is the author of many Africa guidebooks, including the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Philip is the author of the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Popular Routes in South Africa

Popular Routes Where Wildlife Viewing Is a Major Part of the Tour

With good roads and general infrastructure, South Africa is a popular self-drive destination. The circuits described below can be done as a self-drive package or you can book a comparable group or custom tour, in which case all transport will be arranged by your tour operator.

Kruger and Zululand (2 to 3 weeks)

After arriving at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB), you head east to the Lowveld in the Mpumalanga province where the best wildlife parks are situated.

Destinations:

  • Kruger National Park (3 to 5 days) is South Africa’s largest and most famous park
  • Mala Mala Game Reserve (2 to 4 days) is one of the private reserves bordering Kruger where the Big Five can be checked off on a single game drive
  • Mkhuze Game Reserve (2 to 3 days) is excellent for watching animals from a hide
  • Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve (2 to 4 days) is a scenic park with rolling hills, known for its rhino and nyala populations
  • Durban (1 to 3 days) is a great place to end your trip with some shopping and time on the beach


Popular add-ons:

  • Drakensberg for hiking in a spectacular mountain setting
  • Cape Town for visiting Africa’s most vibrant city and taking a cable car up Table Mountain
  • The Garden Route for whale-watching and outdoor activities

Cape and Coast (1.5 to 2.5 weeks)

After arriving at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB), you take a connecting flight to Cape Town.

Destinations:

  • Cape Town (2 to 4 days) is one of the world’s most attractive cities with great city life and natural beauty
  • The Garden Route (4 to 8 days) is one of South Africa’s most scenic regions offering whale-watching, hiking, canoeing and relaxation on idyllic beaches
  • Addo Elephant National Park (2 to 3 days) is home to the Big Five and the elephant-viewing is out of this world
  • Oudtshoorn (1 to 3 days) is the ostrich capital of South Africa, and the base for a visit to the extensive Cango Caves


Popular add-ons:

  • Winelands tour for wine sampling and culture
  • Cape Agulhas for standing on the spot where two oceans meet
  • The Otter trail for hiking the most popular coastal trail in South Africa

The Atlantic Route (1.5 to 2.5 weeks)

After arriving at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB), you can choose the less-obvious route west of the country. A long drive to Upington brings you to the Kalahari, South Africa’s desert.

Destinations:

  • Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (3 to 5 days) is the place to see desert-adapted animals and predators on sand dunes
  • Augrabies Falls National Park (2 to 3 days) is a stark but scenic park with a magnificent waterfall
  • Namaqualand (3 to 5 days) is not to be missed from August to September, when the otherwise arid region transforms into a flowering desert
  • Cape Town (2 to 4 days) is a world class city offering excellent shopping, wining and dining as well as a full range of outdoor activities


Popular add-ons:

  • Winelands Tour for wine sampling and culture
  • The Garden Route for whale watching and scenic beauty

Want to Visit South Africa?