31 Days Johannesburg – Kruger National Park – Swaziland – St. Lucia – Durban – Drakensberg – Transkei – Chintsa – Grahamstown – Tsitsikamma – Knysna – Oudtshoorn – Hermanus – Franschhoek – Cape Town (or vice versa)
This Full Smiley self-drive of major historical and cultural experiences through South Africa has it all. It takes you through the famous Soweto township just outside Johannesburg, to our majestic Kruger National Park to search for the Big 5, for a cruise through the wetlands at St Lucia, a hike in the stunning Drakensberg mountain range and you visit the Transkei (the birth and resting place of Nelson Mandela). From there you drive through frontier city Grahamstown to the scenic Garden Route, the Swartberg Pass and get up close and personal with the Southern Right Whale (from May to December) in Hermanus before visiting Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands. You end your self-drive with a cycle through our Mother City Cape Town. You see, its got all the classics and way more – it’s the Full Smiley!
The Full Smiley Johannesburg – Cape Town Self-Drive includes:
– premium accommodation x25 + standard accommodation x5, breakfast x25
– a cycle tour through Soweto, 1x night drive in Kruger National Park, 2x early morning drive in Kruger National Park, 1x boat cruise through the St. Lucia Wetlands, 1x guided walk through frontier city Grahamstown, 1x Swartberg Pass mountain bike tour, a whale boat trip in Hermanus, 1x Robben Island tour and the Cape Town City Cycle tour.
Group size: minimum 2
You fly to O.R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and pick up your rental car to drive to your first night accommodation in Soweto.
The following day you get to explore your surroundings during a 2 hour cycle tour through the Soweto township. The many historical sites – like the Hector Pieterson Museum, Vilakazi Street and the Regina Mundi church – will give you a lasting impression of an important era of South Africa’s political past. The Smiley Face Tours team can also recommend a visit to the Apartheid Museum.
You then head off to the Kruger National Park in search of the Big 5 (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhino) under the guidance of a ranger during 3 game drives. You are free to spend the rest of your time in Kruger with spotting animals, taking in the views or just relaxing – you’ll be impressed by this majestic park!
From Kruger it’s a scenic drive to Swaziland for a stop at the traditional Swazi craft markets or the King Sobhuza II Memorial Park – it’s up to you. In the St. Lucia wetlands you get face-to-face with hippos and crocodiles from a boat. Its unique ecosystem is the world’s oldest protected estuary and Africa’s largest estuarine system.
Durban is your next stop. Laze on its famous beaches, stroll along the boulevard and do not leave without tasting a curry bunny – best bought at a corner shop. The local cuisine is influenced by the many Indian settlers who first came to these shores to work on sugar plantations, bringing with them an abundance of recipes redolent of the East. You can buy most of the fragrant spices at the local markets.
With your appetite satisfied its time to shed some of those extra kilos with a hike through the rugged Drakensberg mountain range. Smiley Face Tours happily assists arranging this extra activity for you. Otherwise, drive through the magnificent range and take those panoramic shots your friends at home will be jealous of.
From the Drakensberg you travel to the Transkei. Here you will find a place unchanged by time: the women, responsible for the running of the home, cook traditional fare in cast-iron pots. It is also the birth and final resting place of our beloved Madiba, former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela, who passed away in December 2013 and was laid to rest in the family burial grounds in Qunu.
Chintsa is a small town with quiet beaches where you can undertake a number of activities like canoeing and hiking. Smiley Face Tours can recommend you settling down on a high dune to watch the dolphins and sunset. You leave the coast to drive to frontier city Grahamstown – home to the annual National Arts Festival, Rhodes University and a vast number of monuments. Part of your booked walking tour is a visit to the Observatory Museum that holds one of only 4 working Victorian camera obscura’s in the world. During your stroll you’ll get to see an eclectic mix of cultures, something that makes this quaint town a fascinating place to stay.
From Grahamstown you will head down to the Tsitsikamma National Park and the Storms River Village where a walk in the forest is a must. This is known as an adventure hotspot, offering bungee jumping and zip-line tours for those who care to test their limits. Ask Smiley Face Tours to book these extra activities ahead of time.
We suggest you stop at Knysna and take a walk to the Knysna Heads to view the cliffs, or just browse the many shops at the quaint waterfront. This stop is a favourite for many travellers. Try to eat oysters – Knysna is famous for them!
Continue your self-drive up the pass to Oudtshoorn and find yourself in ostrich country. You may wish to cycle down the Swartberg Pass (a firm Smiley Face Tour team favourite) and visit the fairy-tale wonderworld of the Cango Caves, or even stand on top of an ostrich egg at the Ostrich Show Farm!
After this you travel down the beautiful Route 62 towards the whales and winelands. The Southern Right Whale chooses to give birth in the warm waters of the Hermanus bay from May to December. You can see the whales make some impressive moves like breaching, fluking, lob-tailing and spyhopping – if they are not just logging and spouting (lying around blowing water). You can see these enormous beasts interact from a booked boat tour that is included
in this self-drive. In Franschhoek your self-drive takes you to wine farms where you can taste and savour the fruits of the winelands.
Lastly you are off to our Mother City: Cape Town. Board the ferry to Robben Island, the notorious prison that incarcerated the iconic Nelson Mandela for 18 years. Also included in this self-drive is a city cycle tour, a great way to get to know the town and to experience its history and cosmopolitan vibe from up close. Spend your last holiday cash on marvellous seafood at the V&A Waterfront or buy souvenirs at one of the many markets. Take it all in and bid adieu to Table Mountain. You drop off your vehicle at Cape Town International Airport before boarding your flight back home.