Embark on the ultimate South African wildlife adventure, exploring the country’s biggest reserve in a 4×4 with an expert local guide. Make one of the greatest road trips on the entire continent, past incredible landscapes of mountains and valleys, waterfalls and canyons, on the spectacular Panorama Route. Traverse the South African landscape as the scenery changes from dry savannas to the great escarpment and Winelands, all in the comfort of the plush Blue Train. Witness some of the most breathtaking scenery in Africa, from Table Mountain to the rugged world’s end of the Cape Peninsula
Spanning some 19,500 square kilometres across South Africa’s Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, Kruger National Park is one of Africa’s vastest wildlife arenas. Wildebeest, zebra, elephants and eagles are just a handful of the beauties likely found on this independent trip. Detour to Blyde River Canyon via the Panorama Route, where some of South Africa’s superior scenery awaits. From Pretoria, ride the luxury Blue Train to spectacular Cape Town, a destination famous for its gourmet cuisine, picture-perfect scenery and dramatic history.
Independent travel, without the stress. Peregrine’s Independent Experiences are a range of short packages that you can add to other Experiences or as an extension to a longer tour, to craft your perfect holiday itinerary. Independent Experiences are for 1-3 travellers, depart daily and offer the back-up of Peregrine, our local offices and expert resident guides.
Welcome to South Africa. This Independent Experience begins in Johannesburg, where on arrival you’ll be met by a Peregrine representative and transferred to your hotel (approximately 45 minutes). You’ll have the rest of the day to settle in and spend at your leisure. Get some rest tonight, as there’s an early start and a long day of travel tomorrow.
Notes: You may hear of the opportunity to see or interact with Lion Cubs within the Guernsey Private Nature Reserve. We recommend that Peregrine travellers bypass this activity, as it is contrary to Peregrine’s Responsible Travel guidelines. Professional wildlife conservation organisations, including Born Free and the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA), advise that habituating lions to humans can shorten their life and may result in lion-human conflict issues. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards lion research, we feel that the negative impacts on the lions' rehabilitation far outweigh this.
Kruger National Park
Your Kruger adventure begins between 5:30am and 6:00am this morning. Leaving Johannesburg, ‘The City of Gold’, behind you will head for Greater Kruger National Park, arriving just in time for lunch. Your accommodation for the evening will be an intimate lodge tucked into the Greater Kruger, facing a waterhole with a breath-taking view of the bush and the Drakensberg Mountains. The lodge also offers a cosy bar, perfect for chatting with the other guests over a drink or two. There is also a crystal-clear swimming pool for a refreshing post-safari swim. One thing that makes the lodge stand out is the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff, who are committed to making your stay memorable. In the afternoon you'll be taken to a neighbouring game reserve for your first open 4x4 vehicle game drive by spotlight. This is a great opportunity to catch a glimpse of the elusive animals that operate after dark.
Notes: Today’s total driving time is approximately 8–9 hours, including stops. Your transfer from Johannesburg to Greater Kruger National Park will be a shared transfer and you will likely be joined by other passengers, including those from our sister brand Intrepid. Your afternoon game drive within the Private Game Reserve may also be shared with other lodge guests.
Greater Kruger National Park
You will wake early today and head into the park itself. Upon entry you’ll find yourself in prime game viewing territory, perched to catch a glimpse of the ‘Big Five’. Enjoy breakfast at one of the picnic spots within in the park, fuelling you for the full day of game viewing ahead. You will continue through the park, stopping off at various points and waterholes to observe the incredible animals go about their daily life. One of the largest game reserves in Southern Africa, Kruger National Park is home to over 500 bird species, 100 species of reptile and 150 mammal species, including significant populations of all the members of the ‘Big Five’ – lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo and rhino. The endangered African wild dog, herbivores like hippo, zebra, giraffe and numerous different types of antelope also enjoy the park’s rich mosaic of habitats, including savanna, mixed acacia woodland, rocky hills and mopane woodland. You will return to the lodge in the late afternoon, where you can enjoy an evening of relaxation.
Notes: Your game drive within Kruger National Park will be a shared game drive. You will be accompanied by other guests from the lodge.
Blyde River Canyon
Head to the Drakensberg Escarpment today. Travelling along the Panorama Route, you will experience some of the most glorious scenery in South Africa. The route in Mpumalanga province is one of the world’s great driving roads, home to mountain peaks, huge canyons and fertile valleys, rivers and massive caves. The views are spectacular throughout, with each corner turned bringing a new breath-taking vista, but a few of the sights stand out. God’s Window is an amazing viewpoint at the southern end of the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, with vistas of lushly verdant cliffs plunging hundreds of metres down into the valley. The canyon is the third largest in the world and also the greenest, with the bright-green subtropical plant life said to be reminiscent of the Garden of Eden, hence the viewpoint’s nickname. Bourke’s Luck Potholes are incredible natural sculptures shaped by water and time. The Treur River cascades down to join the Blyde River and, thanks to underwater obstacles that creates high-powered vortexes, stunning cylindrical potholes have been eroded in the beautifully coloured rock. After a full day of exploration, return to the lodge to relax by the fire.
Notes: Your Panorama tour will be a shared tour. You will be accompanied by other guests of the lodge. Total driving time today is approximately 8 hours.
Greater Kruger National Park
Today is your final day at the lodge, so you will have a free day to enjoy it. If you’re interested in something other than soaking up the atmosphere at the lodge, then today is a great opportunity to return to the park on a day trip for more wildlife spotting, seeking out any of the Big Five that you might not yet have seen. Tonight you will enjoy an outdoor dinner on the deck at the lodge. The deck overlooks the pool and small watering hole which often attracts giraffe and zebra.
It is another early start today for a guided bush walk in the area, where you’ll learn some interesting details about the natural surrounds, including identification of trees, spoors (the tracks or scent of an animal) and birds. You will transfer back to Johannesburg after your morning safari walk. There is plenty of time to stop and explore along the way. Take in amazing vistas at the viewpoint over Blyde River Canyon and see the pointed peaks of the Three Rondavels. After arrival back in Johannesburg, your transfer will then take you to Centurion Lake Hotel in Pretoria.
Ride the luxury Blue Train today, bound for Cape Town. Your day begins early, with a transfer from Centurion Lakes Hotel to the Pretoria train station. Register and check in at The Pretoria Station Lounge, and enjoy pre-departure drinks. Welcome snacks will be served on the train. Settle into your suite with the help of the butlers. Enjoy a leisurely brunch, and high tea in the lounge car a little later. Arrive at Kimberley Station, where you will disembark and head to the Kimberley Open Mine Museum for a tour. Return to Kimberly Station and sip a glass of sherry on arrival. Sit down to a formal dinner on board the train; men are requested to wear a jacket and tie, and ladies to dress in elegant evening wear.
Enjoy breakfast and a three-course lunch on the Blue Train. On arrival in Cape Town in the middle of the afternoon, you’ll be met by a Peregrine representative at the train station and transferred to your hotel. Your hotel is perfectly located between Signal Hill and the majestic Table Mountain in the Cape Town suburb of Tamboerskloof. After you settle in, the rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore your surroundings. Walk the laid-back streets of Tamboerskloof, with its Victorian style homes and great access to the nightlife found on the nearby Long and Kloof streets.
Cape Town - Walking Tour & Cape Point Peninsula
Retrace 350 years of Cape Town’s dramatic history on a three-hour morning walking tour with specially trained guides. Learn about the dark times of slavery, colonial life in The Cape, the tragedy of apartheid, and the triumph of the new ''Rainbow Nation''. Your tour will take in historical sights such as the Castle of Good Hope, Grand Parade, and significant historic slavery sites such as the Slave Lodge and Slave Tree. In Government Avenue near St. George’s Cathedral, Footsteps to Freedom tour guides will tell you about Cape Town’s three Nobel Peace Prize-winners; Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and FW De Klerk. You’ll visit the building where the apartheid laws were passed and where they were later repealed after De Klerk’s dramatic speech at the opening of Parliament in February 1990. In Greenmarket Square and St. George’s Mall, you can’t help but feel the energy of the new South Africa. This afternoon you'll travel down the spectacular coastline to Cape Point. Along the way some of the highlights include Clifton Beach view, Camps Bay, Cape of Good Hope and Boulders Beach Penguin Colony.
Cape Town - Winelands
Enjoy a tranquil escape to the Winelands on a full day tour. Make your way to the Stellenbosch area for a cellar door tour and wine tasting to gain an appreciation for the wines of the area. Afterwards head into the town for a city tour through its leafy cobbled lanes and elegant mix of 18th century architecture. Next stop is Franschhoek and another estate for a lunch stop and perhaps a wine while enjoying the stunning views over the Franschhoek Valley. Alternatively the French-style village street cafes are also recommended. After lunch head to Paarl via a prison that held Nelson Mandela captive for the final 13 months of his imprisonment and learn about his life. Once in Paarl visit the final wine estate for a cheese and wine pairing before heading back to Cape Town for the night.
Today is free for you to discover more of the many things that Cape Town has to offer. The city is a nature lover’s playground with beaches to surf, picnic and sunbathe at, and the peninsula-dominating Table Mountain to explore. You can hike up various routes or take the cable car to the top for fantastic views, while there’s also mountain biking on this iconic peak for those looking to get really active. For the history buffs, take a trip out to Robben Island, stand in Nelson Mandela’s old cell and learn about the political and social injustices of apartheid. From somewhere with a long and sad history, the island has now become a symbol of the triumph of the human spirit. Cape Town is also home to some of the best markets in the country – the food markets at the V&A Waterfront, The Old Biscuit Mill, and Oranjezicht City Farm Market are a feast for the eyes, and range from trendy designer food to laid-back, organic community veggies. Perhaps end your final night with a celebratory dinner in one of Cape Town’s many fantastic restaurants.
Today your Cape Town experience comes to an end, and you’ll be collected from your hotel by our local operator and transferred to Cape Town Airport (approximately 1 hour) for your onward flight. Additional accommodation can be booked if you’d like to extend your time here.