South Africa Eco Explorer: Small Group

From Johannesburg to Cape Town
  • South Africa
  • Small Group Tours
  • Wildlife and Nature
  • Drifters Adventure Tours
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Tour Description

Partake in an amazing small group Accommodated Tour of South Africa!

Experience the Unmatched Diversity of South Africa: A World Within One Country. Stretching across a landmass comparable to Europe, South Africa captivates with its pristine 3000-kilometer coastline and a vast range of climates, from scorching deserts to majestic 3400-meter mountains.

It proudly shelters a multitude of captivating ecosystems, teeming with an infinite variety of flora, fauna, and an equally astonishing tapestry of people and cultures – from the indigenous Bushman to the most Western influences. Our journey goes beyond the popular highlights, venturing off the beaten track to uncover hidden gems and lesser-known attractions, immersing ourselves in the great outdoors.

Throughout your journey, overnight stays in unique surroundings will further enhance your South African experience. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of pristine reserves, lofty mountains, or remote beaches, offer distinct glimpses of this captivating destination.

This tour is designed for the adventurous at heart, those with a flexible mindset ready to embrace the wonders that await. It goes beyond the popular highlights, leading you off the beaten track to uncover hidden gems and lesser-known attractions. Prepare to be captivated by South Africa's great outdoors, its awe-inspiring landscapes, its diverse wildlife, and its vibrant cultures. Get ready to create unforgettable memories as you explore this remarkable destination that truly offers a world within one country.

Video Highlights

Viva's Best Bits...

The majestic Drakensberg Mountains, offering a captivating blend of awe-inspiring landscapes, rich biodiversity, and cultural heritage. The range boasts dramatic peaks, deep valleys, and cascading waterfalls, creating a landscape of breathtaking beauty

Explore World UNESCO site iSimangaliso Wetland Park - this pristine park encompasses a diverse range of habitats sheltering an abundance of wildlife, including pristine beaches, lush wetlands, shimmering lakes and dense forests.

Visits Mountain Zebra National Park - The park's diverse landscapes encompass rolling hills, vast grasslands, and rugged mountains, creating an enchanting backdrop for exploring the area's rich biodiversity.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Johannesburg Kruger Bush Lodge

Starting our journey at 06h30 from Johannesburg, we embark on a captivating route towards the northeast of the country, encountering breathtaking natural landscapes and abundant wildlife in natural parks and game reserves.

Lunch is enjoyed in the historic town of Haenertsburg, located on the edge of the escarpment with beautiful surrounding views. The road is filled with picturesque beauty, from mountain passes to the Acacia trees scattered across the African bushveld.

The next two nights we get cosy at our well-appointed Bush Lodge, situated in a private reserve within the greater Kruger National Park, where animals roam freely and unrestricted. This privately owned reserve allows us the freedom to explore the wilderness in search of a variety of animals in open game drive vehicles, day and night.

The tented lodge seamlessly blends with its natural surroundings, offering crisp and cozy beds, en-suite bathrooms, a refreshing splash pool, and awe-inspiring vistas of the surrounding wilderness. Additionally, we are treated to views of a water hole frequented by a variety of animals. Drift off to sleep while being serenaded by a symphony of sounds emanating from the animal kingdom.

Day 2
Kruger Bush Lodge

After a restful night's sleep, we commence our day with an early morning light breakfast consisting of freshly brewed coffee and rusks—a traditional South African biscuit. With our senses heightened, we embark on a guided exploration of the Big 5 area, led by a qualified guide/ranger. Our quest includes not only encounters with majestic wildlife but also the discovery of hidden treasures that often elude the casual observer.

Guided by a qualified guide/Ranger we explore the wilderness, with heightened senses, always on the lookout for an animal encounter while discovering the smaller treasures often hidden from the eye.

Before the heat of the day sets in, we return to the lodge for a scrumptious brunch, after which it’s time to relax around the lodge and enjoy the serenity of the surrounding wilderness. A nearby waterhole in front of the camp attracts a variety of wildlife that come to quench their thirst, displaying the pecking order ever so present. Unwind with a refreshing drink and game viewing from the swimming pool or from your deck.

As the heat gradually dissipates in the late afternoon, we embark on an open game drive, which eventually transforms into an immersive night drive in search of nocturnal animals. As dusk descends, we pause and indulge in a sundowner drink or two, marveling at the breathtaking sunset that paints the African bushveld with hues of splendor.

Day 3
Panorama Route Hazyview

As the African sun rises, we greet the day and indulge in a hearty breakfast before embarking on an exploration of the captivating Panorama Route, renowned for its natural wonders and picturesque viewpoints.

Our first stop takes us to witness the awe-inspiring Blyde River Canyon, recognized as the world's largest "green canyon." We then proceed to Bourke's Luck Potholes, where the discovery of abundant gold once occurred, and finally, we visit the breathtaking God's Window, weather permitting.

Along the way, we have the opportunity to enjoy an optional lunch, allowing us to engage with the locals and experience their hospitality.

In the mid-afternoon, we journey to the serene Greenfire Lodge Hazyview, an enchanting log cabin elevated on stilts amidst the indigenous forest, overlooking the magnificent Sabie River, locally known as the "Fearful" river.

If time permits, guests can partake in a nature walk on the lodge's premises and the adjacent coffee farm, immersing themselves in the mystique of the forest. We will spend two nights at this tranquil retreat, reveling in its beauty and tranquility.

Day 4
Kruger National Park

Waking with the birds, we depart the lodge at sunrise and travel a short distance to enter a different area of the Kruger National Park for a full day of game viewing.

As we leisurely traverse this iconic national park, which spans a vast expanse comparable to the size of Israel or Wales, our primary objective is to spot the abundant wildlife that calls this area home. From the elevated viewpoint and comfort of our well-equipped vehicle, our knowledgeable guide will take the time to provide insights into the behaviors and habits of the diverse array of animals that we encounter in this captivating environment.

The majority of our day will be dedicated to immersing ourselves in game viewing, punctuated by occasional stops at designated sites to stretch our legs and relish in an optional lunch at one of the rest camps within the park.

Late this afternoon we exit the park and make our way back to Greenfire Lodge Hazyview, where we can unwind and reflect on the remarkable experiences of the day.

Day 5

Departing after breakfast we pass through the provincial capital Mbombela (Nelspruit), before leaving South Africa and crossing the border into the Kingdom of eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland), a small landlocked country, rich in culture and natural beauty. Our journey today takes us high into the mountains, past numerous traditional homesteads, and into an area of spectacular natural beauty.

The area is home to many traditional craft industries and time permitting, we will visit one or more during our time here.

We will spend some time exploring this small country before arriving at our accommodation for the night and enjoying a locally cooked meal.

Day 6-7
St Lucia

Today we follow winding roads south through the Swazi countryside, before crossing back into South Africa. After completing the border formalities, we enter Zululand, a part of modern-day KwaZulu-Natal, and home to South Africa’s largest ethnic group - the Zulu people. Formed in the early 1800’s into the most powerful regional empire by King Shaka Zulu, the Zulus influenced a large part of southern Africa.

Once back in South Africa our journey continues to the bustling coastal town of St Lucia where we spend the next two nights. St Lucia itself is home to many animals including Hippo, Crocodile and bird species.

During our stay in St Lucia we will also visit the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a Subtropical Coastal habitat with white beaches, tidal pools, offshore reefs and coastal dune forest.

This unique combination of coastal reserve and Wetland Park offers an absolutely unique experience, where we drive through the park viewing rhino, buffalo and a multitude of other large animals, before going for a walk on a deserted beach where at any time you can take a dip in the warm Indian Ocean.

The day is spent exploring the beach, rock pools, pristine dune forest and other natural habitats of this amazing Park.

During the evenings we enjoy our dinners at one of the many local restaurants (own-expense).

Beware of the wandering hippos that also visit town at night for a bite to eat.

Day 8-9

Departing St Lucia after breakfast, we continue travelling through the rolling hills of Kwa-Zulu Natal, an area famous for various battles between the Boers and Zulus, British and Zulus and the Boers and British. The area is filled with numerous historic sites that helped shape modern day South Africa.

This afternoon we reach the majestic Drakensberg mountain range that rises 3400m, known to the locals as “The Barrier of Spears”. After a full day we arrive at our accommodation, where we spend two nights in cozy cabins surrounded by breath-taking views.

On day 9 we will conduct a day hike in the Tugela Gorge which is located in the Royal Natal National Park, part of Drakensberg World Heritage Site. From here we will have a spectacular view of the towering cliffs of the Amphitheatre and the Tugela Falls, at 948m the falls are widely accepted as being the second highest in the world.

Day 10
Southern Drakensberg

With tired legs, today we travel further south whilst hugging the Drakensberg Mountains and make our way into the Natal midlands, a lush farming area known to be one of South Africa's prettiest.

Our overnight stop tonight is on a working ranch. We arrive in the afternoon and will have time to learn more about farming in this area as well as the fascinating history that surrounds the farm and buildings on the property. For the adventurous there will also be an opportunity to assist with some of the farm work in the afternoon or early morning.

Tonight we enjoy a traditional dinner prepared fresh from the farm gardens.

Day 11-12
Wild Coast

Setting off early, we pass through several small towns and follow beautiful roads towards one of the most exciting, truly off-the-beaten-track highlights of the tour – The Wild Coast.

Having formerly been an independent homeland, there has been little development in this area, resulting in endless unspoiled beaches, natural estuaries, rolling grassland, and a tapestry of traditional Xhosa villages.

We spend two nights on the Wild Coast at Coffee Bay allowing us a full day for hiking and exploring this rugged but stunningly beautiful area. The highlight of our stay will be a walk along the high cliffs, deserted beaches and rolling grasslands, to what is one the most impressive landmarks along the South African coastline – Hole in the Wall. Hole in the Wall is an island, just offshore with a natural arch carved by centuries of wave-action. The adventurous can swim out for a closer look.

This afternoon we will have time to simply relax and to enjoy the “Robinson Crusoe” surroundings as well as the comforts of our accommodation.

Day 13
Wild Coast Cradock

Departing from the Wild Coast we follow lesser known roads through the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa and make our way into the Great Karoo, to Cradock, a town in the upper reaches of the Great Fish River valley, filled with rich history dating back to the mid 1800s.

On arrival in Cradock we are met by a local guide who will take us on a colourful walking history tour, before we check into our accommodation for the night. We enjoy an evening surrounded by old fashion hospitality and history.

Day 14
Mountain Zebra Park/Addo Elephant Park Nelson Mandela Bay

An early start, we aim to enter the Mountain Zebra Park as the gate opens - this Park is unlike any of the others we have previously visited, being in the semi-desert of the Great Karoo, and is home to not only the endangered mountain zebra, but also springbok, ostrich, cheetah, buffalo, black rhino, and an array of birdlife. We spend a few hours in search of animals, and to take in the spectacular views, before returning to the hotel for a sumptuous breakfast.

Once packed, we depart Cradock and head for the renowned Addo Elephant Park where elephants, buffalo and other animals can be viewed at close range in another unique environment, the succulentshrubs of the rhenosterveld. We will traverse this interesting National Park from the north to south.

Exiting in the late afternoon we travel the short distance back to the coast and to our hotel literally on the beachfront of the stunning Nelson Mandela Bay. The location of our hotel allows for us to stroll along the beachfront and to visit one of a variety of restaurants to enjoy an own expense dinner.

Day 15
Garden Route Kynsna

This morning we will have time for a stroll on the beach, perhaps a swim in the Indian Ocean or just a leisurely cup of coffee. After breakfast we then continue our journey into the heart of the spectacular Garden Route region. We will travel the length of this magnificent natural kingdom sandwiched between the ocean and the towering mountains, exploring the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here with the numerous estuaries, lakes and ancient forests. We stop regularly to explore the highlights including the Tsitsikamma Coastal National Park where we will enjoy a walk along the rugged coast and over the suspension bridge spanning the Storms River mouth.

This afternoon we travel to the vibrant town of Knysna. Surrounded by indigenous forests, fynbos and lagoons, this little town is a gem in a natural Garden of Eden. On arrival we have time to explore.

Dinner tonight is included at the hotel.

Day 16
Cape Agulhas Southern Tip of Africa

Departing from Knysna we follow the coast through several small towns as we make our way down to Cape Agulhas – the most southerly point on the African continent. Here we will conduct a short walk down to the beach to experience first-hand the theoretical meeting point of the cold Atlantic and the warm Indian oceans.

A picnic style lunch is enjoyed by all with the crisp clean ocean breeze, before leaving this treasure and retiring to our accommodation in Arniston. An afternoon walk down to the huge sea cave, Waenhuiskrans, is recommended.

Day 17-18
Cape Town

A relaxed morning drive takes us on the "Whale Route" through Hermanus – known across the world for excellent land based whale watching. We then hug the coast around the Hottentots Holland Mountains toward Betty’s Bay where we visit a small colony of African Penguins.

This afternoon we travel one of the most scenic coastal routes in the world, along the edge of False Bay, before making our way towards the "Mother City", Cape Town. Mid-afternoon we will arrive at the Mojo Hotel, located in Sea Point and our accommodation for the night. The hotel is conveniently located close to award winning restaurants, galleries, vibrant nightlife and the ocean promenade.

Our tour will officially come to an end after breakfast on Day 18 of the tour.

Cape Town is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world, rich in culture, award winning wines, world class restaurants, fashion and people from all walks of life, guests are encouraged to spend some extra time to explore the ‘Mother City’, and we would be happy to assist in making arrangements.

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 17 nights hotel / lodge accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 17 breakfasts
  • Included Copy 20 12 lunches
  • Included Copy 20 13 dinners
  • Included Copy 7 alcohol, bottled water, soft drinks, restaurant meals
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 2 licensed, professional tour managers
  • Included Copy 20 group equipment
  • Included Copy 20 permits and park entry fees

Drifters Expedition Vehicle


  • Included Enjoy guided open vehicle game drives in a private concession
  • Included Wildlife viewing in the world renown Kruger National Park
  • Included Take in the scenic landscapes of the Kingdom of eSwatini (Swaziland)
  • Included Wildlife spot in the stunning Isimangaliso Wetland Park, a world heritage site.
  • Included Visit the Royal Natal Park, home to the spectacular Tugela Gorge walk
  • Included Explore the “Barrier of Spears” - Drakensberg Mountains towering peaks & cascading waterfalls
  • Included Take in the stunning views on a coastal walk to “Hole in the Wall” on the Wild Coast
  • Included Wildlife spot in Addo Elephant National Park and Mountain Zebra National Park
  • Included Explore Tsitsikamma National Park, home to ancient indigenous forests and a rugged coastline.
  • Included Discover the Pristine beaches found along the garden route and wild coast
  • Included Take an unforgettable journey along the Garden Route where Fauna and Flora delight.
  • Included Experience the meeting of two great oceans at Cape Agulhas (Southernmost Tip of the Africa)
Click here for dates & prices

18 days

Price from

$3,110 USD

Per person, sharing

Every Tuesday and selected Fridays