17 days of camper adventure in South Africa ER 412


Would you like to explore South Africa but prefer a more adventurous and more independent way then this camper trip will certainly appeal. All you need is to book your camper van and you can follow the route that has been set out for you and enjoy the fantastic camping sites. This 17 day tour takes you through all the highlights of a beautiful part of South Africa including among others the famous Kruger National Park, the Panorama Route, the Drakensberg Mountains, tropical coast and also allows you to experience the fascinating Kingdom of Swaziland.

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17 days of camper adventure in South Africa ER 412


Day 1 Nelspruit/Elangeni Holiday Resort/Camp site 1 night.
Distance: about 280 km.

You can collect your camper van at the camper depot in Johannesburg between 8 and 9 in the morning. After the paper work has been done and you received all your instructions, your adventurous holiday can start!

On your first day we are taking you through the Mpumalanga province which captures the world's vision of Africa. Endless bush veld, simmering haze above the hot plains, darting antelope and the thrilling sight of a buffalo, elephant, rhino or leopard. Don't be fooled by the monotonous landscape at first as this will change quickly!

If you feel you have spare time please visit the Botshabelo Mission Station, 13 km north of Middelburg. This area is the ancestral home of the Southern Ndebele, famous for their love of colourful and symbolic decoration and you can see exquisite examples of their famous work in this museum. Or visit the Fort Merensky, a strange but impressive historic building, lots of wars have been taken place in this region.

There will be lots to see in the flowing grasslands of Mpumalanga which stretches north and east of the Highveld plateau, rising towards the towering Drakensberg mountain range. The Drakensberg Escarpment marks the point where the Highveld plunges down over 1000 m, before spilling out onto the eastern lowveld. It is one of South Africa's most scenic areas, marked by dramatic cliffs, stunning views and an abundance of adventure activities. So drive slowly and enjoy the ride!

Your first night will be at the Elangeni Holiday Resort which is situated on the banks of the Elands River, on the N4 between Waterval Boven and Nelspruit. The resort is in a low risk malaria area and is the perfect breakaway to unspoilt nature. Please make sure you have done your shopping as there is only a small shop at the resort.

The resort offers i.e. fishing, bird watching, nature walks, a swimming pool and river tubing. You can park your camper under their shady trees on the camp site and relax after your first day.

Day 2-3
Sabie/Merry Pebbles Resort/Camping 2 nights.
Distance: about 100 km.

A short drive ahead but with lots to see so take your time. Check out the Montrose Falls which is the first of many water falls in this area. If you are a cave fanatic, do not forget to visit the impressive Sudwala Caves where a professional guide will take you 600 m inside and 150 m below the earth to admire nature's wonders!

Experience the picturesque beauty of nature in and around Sabie, a small country town nestled in the majestic Drakensberg Escarpment mountains which is located 1050 m above sea level and considered a malaria free area.

Sabie is the centre of the timber industry and a little forest museum in town is of interest. This is waterfall country and numerous short drives lead from the town to picnic sites and view sites such as Sabie Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Lone Creek Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and MacMac Falls. Please know that they are best to be visited before midday because of the sun.

Merry Pebbles Resort is waiting for you on the banks of the upper Sabie River just 1 km from the main road of Sabie. Here you can stretch your legs and enjoy the nature around you. There is a shop and restaurant and of course you can cool down in the swimming pool

Day 4-5 Blyde River Canyon/Forever Blydepoort Resort/Camping 2 nights.
Distance: about 60 km.

The route along the edge of the Drakensberg Escarpment is so spectacular that it is called the Panorama Route. If you are a water fall fan, you will be pleasantly surprised! The famous water fall route runs on the R532 to Sabie to Graskop.

The road northwards via Graskop to the Blyde River Canyon should be taken at a leisurely pace so that the breath taking views can be enjoyed! Pinnacle Rock, Jock's View, God's Window are some of the spots where you can stop to look out from a sheer cliff outposts over the expanse of the lowveld. Further north laid the Lisbon Falls and the Berlin Falls before you reach Bourke's Luck Potholes. Here you can follow the paths and bridges to the viewing sites overlooking the extraordinary example of river erosion.

The Forever Resort Blyde Canyon where you will stay for the coming 2 nights is situated between Graskop and Ohrigstad. It is surrounded by the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains and the breath taking scenery of the Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon of the world, which makes it the location perfect for nature lovers and adventure seekers! The resort offers 30 spacious caravan and camping sites equipped with power supply and serviced by two neat ablution facilities. There is a convenience store, filling station and not forgetting a famous restaurant where you can relax and enjoy the unforgettable view of the Three Rondavels.

So put on your hiking boots and start exploring or if you don't like to walk go horse riding!

Northwards the Blyde River Canyon has carved a magnificent gorge though the mountains which you can admire from the viewing points. The canyon is dominated by three similarly shaped peaks, the Three Rondavels and by Mariepskop. There are a number of short walks in the surrounding area to points where you can look down to the Blydepoort Dam.

Via the Bonnet Pass you can visit Pilgrim's Rest, the first gold mining town in South Africa. Today the entire quaint town is preserved as a national monument and living museum. Pilgrim's Rest is also the starting point for two routes, the Morgenzon Trail and the Rambler's Trail, offering a selection of short walks.

Be in time back in the resort to have you sun downer cocktail at the restaurant while overlooking the Three Rondavels!

Day 6
Kruger National Park/Satara rest camp/Camping 1 night.
Distance: about 120 km.

With its vast savannahs, abundant wildlife and long conservation history, the Kruger National Park is one of the best safari destinations of the world and you are about to experience that! Although it is served by an extensive network of roads and rest camps, this infrastructure barely affects the natural wildness. The speed limit of 40 mph should never be exceeded as not only for the fines but also game spotting is seldom successful when travelling above this speed.

It is unwise to cover large areas in a short time, it can be very rewarding simply sitting quietly at a water hole rather than driving around in the hot sun. The best game viewing is in the morning until around 10 am or in the late afternoon.

Most animals are found throughout the park, but the frequency of sightings is determined by the topography and vegetation.

Tonight you will stay in the Satara rest camp which is situated in an area of flat and fertile plains that attract large numbers of grazing animals and is one of the best spots to view lions. The ambience of Satara camp recalls the mood of the colonial Africa with red-roofed public buildings, thatched rondawels and neatly raced paths. This camp is the third biggest one in the park and has i.e. a grocery store, restaurant, filling station, laundry facilities and a swimming pool. So no time to waste here.

Think of booking a night drive which allows you in on the nocturnal activities of Kruger's secretive creatures while in the company of experienced guides and trackers. Guided bush walks with trained field guides who take groups of up to 8 people out into the bush for a few hours are not to be missed. Learn and observe fascinating facts about the African bush. There are also regular day game drives. Plenty of activities like bush barbecues and traditional dances complement the game viewing.

Day 7 Kruger National Park/Skukuza rest camp/Camp 1 night.
Distance: about 80 km.

The Skukuza rest camp is situated on the southern banks of the Sabie River. Well foliaged, with lofty trees along the river's edge, you can expect a diverse amount of animals and plants. This is the main camp of the Kruger Park with facilities similar to a small town. It offers adventure in the form of guided bush walks and game drives, all under the supervision of well informed and keen professional field guides. After a long special day you can cool off in one of their swimming pools and if you are a golf fan you can even play a bit.

Day 8 Kruger National Park/Berg-en-Dal rest camp/Camp 1 night.
Distance: about 60 km.

Near the southern rivers there are often hippos, elephants, crocodiles, buffalos and small herds of giraffes to be spotted. So take your time to drive to your next rest camp and enjoy the surroundings.

Located in the midst of striking prehistoric settlements on the Matjulu Spruit, Berg-en-Dal camp has been built with care and preservation for the surrounding area, original San rock paintings still clearly visible from the hill shelters along the Bushman trail. And here you will be staying tonight. This camp is one of the few places in which one can regularly see the rare and beautiful wild dog, Africa's most endangered carnivore. So keep you camper van closed at night! You will find all the necessary facilities like a shop, restaurant and fuel station and you can have some adventure in the form of guided bush walks and game drives, all under the supervision of well informed and keen professional field guides or just jump in their swimming pool.

Day 9 Swaziland/Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary/Camp 1 night.
Distance: about 200 km.

Have your passport ready as today you will experience another African country namely the Kingdom of Swaziland.

Swaziland is a fascinating country with its laid-back ambience, friendly people and relative lack of racial animosities. Small as it may be, Swaziland is an exciting destination with its art and craft outlets and traditional markets and wildlife reserves. Enjoy your way to the beautiful Ezulwini Valley where you will stay the night in the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.

At Mlilwane Game Reserve tame birds and animals are free to come and go and wander through the camp ground. This sanctuary is a tranquil retreat and offers horse and bike trails, game drives, walks and bird viewing. Or open your lungs by climbing to the top of a mountain and looking out at infinity or swim in the mountain springs.

The Mlilwane rest camp is found in the southern corner of the reserve, in the midst of a well matured rehabilitated area. Tall indigenous trees, all grown from seed, now tower over the camp overlooking an artificially created wetland system, which is home to hippopotamus, crocodile and a variety of water birds including infrequent visiting fish eagles.

The camp is unfenced, yet relatively safe as only smaller species of wildlife occur in the Sanctuary. The camp is tranquil and relaxing with a continual stream of animals such as impala, warthog and ostrich too, walking between the facilities quietly tolerant of human presence.

Day 10 Hluhluwe/Bushbaby Lodge/Camp 1 night.
Distance: about 250 km.

Back to South Africa and this time to Zululand a place of unspoilt beauty characterised by a pristine coastline, abundant forests, rolling green hills and zig zagging rivers. It is a world of rich natural diversity and enormous social contrasts, a place where modern lifestyles thrive adjacent to a culture steeped in traditions.

Tonight you will be staying at the Bushbaby Lodge in Hluhluwe in the heart of Elephant Coast, in a picturesque tropical garden under the shade of enormous indigenous trees with South African hospitality at its best. Treat yourself to traditional home cooking or make use of the equipped communal kitchen. Enjoy leisurely walks while viewing the rich bird live and game of the area. This is a malaria area so please take precaution.

They are only 20 minutes away from the Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve which cannot be missed! As one of South Africa's most celebrated game parks, the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is renowned for its variety of animal and bird life, its wide-ranging photography, and an extremely rich diversity of tree and plant communities. The game reserve offers visitors activities from self-guided walks, game drives as well as picnic sites. Viewing hides overlook pans and waterholes enabling visitors to see animals at close range.  

Day 11-12 iSimangaliso Wetland Park/Cape Vidal/Camping 2 nights.
Distance: about 80 km.

Today you only have a short drive so make the most of the extra time you have to explore the beautiful surroundings. Don't forget to buy your groceries and water in St. Lucia village as there are no shops at your next peaceful stopover in Cape Vidal.

Cape Vidal is a magnificent coastal resort set in a sheltered coastal bay in the Greater St Lucia/iSimangaliso Wetland Park, with shallow pools and rock ledges for snorkelling, fishing, and unspoilt beaches for walking and self-guided trails around the fascinating wetlands, in the rich coastal forest and on the shores of Lake Bhangazi. This iSimangaliso Wetland Park offers a mind-blowing range of natural systems, ranging from dune, swamp and coastal forests to rocky and sandy shores, coral reefs and submarine canyons, mangroves, savannah grassland, thickets, woodlands, and the largest protected wetland in southern Africa.

On the same day you could see hippos, crocodiles, buffalo, elephants, whales on their northerly migration to Mozambique to calve, loggerhead and leatherback turtles in summer as they come onto the beaches to lay their eggs, dolphins, and a variety of water, forest or grassland birds. In other words you will be spoilt by this unique piece of paradise and we trust you will indulge every moment.

Note: Gate times: Summer (01 October - 31 March) 05:00 - 19:00. Winter (01 April - 30 September) 06:00 - 18:00.

Day 13-14 Drakensberg Royal Natal Park/Mahai Camp/Camping 2 nights.
Distance: about 470 km.

An extra early start is recommended because you have a long drive ahead of you to the famous Royal Natal National Park. Make sure you stock up with groceries along the way.

This park lies in the northern section of the Drakensberg, in the green bowl of the famous Amphitheatre and with spectacular views of the tumbling Tugela Falls. Nestled among yellow wood forests and Protea savannah where, after a fierce summer thunderstorm, the rumble of the Thukela River can be heard below, you will be exposed to some of the most awe-inspiring mountain landscapes and hiking to be experienced in this area of flawless natural beauty.

Your home for the next two nights is a beautifully situated camp site nestled along the Mahai River with magnificent mountains forming the backdrop. Half the sites have electric plug points and barbecue stands, and the non-electrified section share barbecue facilities. All sites have shared cold water taps. Mahai camp site is serviced by modern ablution blocks with hot baths and showers, flush toilets, laundry machines and dishwashing facilities.

Young boys selling local handicrafts near parks and on the road sides are a common site in the Drakensberg Mountains. Most of these articles are made from Gashu, the weaving grass. This art form is passed from mother to daughter and the products made out of this make a beautiful present back home.

Note: Gate times: Summer (01 October - 31 March) 05:00 - 19:00. Winter (01 April - 30 September) 06:00 - 18:00.

Day 15-16 Golden Gate Highlands National Park/Glen Reenen Camping/Camping 2 nights.
Distance: about 60 km.

Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north-eastern Free State lies the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. The park derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the park's incredible sandstone cliffs. And that is where you are going to stay the last days of your holiday. The Glen Reenen camp sites are on beautiful shaded grounds and have barbecue facilities, a scullery and power points in ablution block.

Activities in the park include short nature trails varying from 1 hour to 5 hours (no bookings required), game viewing at leisure in own vehicles, guided excursions and/or night drives. If you feel brave jump on the small Basotho ponies and let them guide you through the stunning nature.

Think of visiting the Basotho Cultural Village which resembles an 18th century Basotho Village. The surroundings take you back from the pathway of previous times to the modern days, here the Basotho lifestyle, architectural and hospitality is the order of the day.

Or drive to Clarens, the jewel of the Eastern Free State. Clarens is an artist's haven with many well-known artists either living in or frequenting the village on a regular basis with many art galleries and restaurants scattered around the village square. The town is also known for the many art and craft shops which will offer you a wide range of curios and original artwork. Another feature which adds to the picturesque atmosphere of the village is the many sandstone buildings.

Day 17
Johannesburg Camper Depot

Enjoy your last day to the fullest and please deliver your camper van before 4 pm at the camper depot in Johannesburg. We hope you had a memorable camper holiday in South Africa and wish you a safe flight home!

If you haven't booked a flight yet, please click here: flights
If you need a travel and cancellation insurance, please click here: travel insurance
If you need advice or further information, please click here: contact

You can choose your own camper directly via www.camperspecialist.co.za or alternatively contact us via info@zuidafrikaspecialist.nl.


17 Days, 16 nights


Daily or based on availability


Camping sites with electricity or otherwise


Based on self-catering


Per person based on double occupancy

Starting point:




Malaria area:



All ages

Trip characteristics:

Active, cultural, nature and adventurous


South Africa and Swaziland


Kruger National Park, Panorama Route, Swaziland, Elephant Coast and Drakensberg Mountains

Visa required:


Reserved camping sites
(according to description or equivalent)
- Road map

- Travel and cancellation insurance
- Camper hire: book directly via www.camperspecialist.co.za
- Optional activities
- Cross-border fees, gratuities and entrance fees