This self-drive tour starts and ends in Johannesburg. The main aim is to see as many animals as possible, especially the famous Big 5 but also to visit different types of African nature.
The distances are relatively short for South Africa which makes the tour accessible to everybody. The accommodation is comfortable and many activities are included, so this tour is actually sort of a compromise between guided and self-drive.
Below you will find a map which will help you situate your destinations.
Upon arrival in Johannesburg you go to the rental department of the airport to collect your group C rental car. After that you hit the road direction East of the country to Lydenburg, now called Mashishing, where your first accommodation will be in a small game reserve that has various types of animals which makes it a perfect introduction to the everyday life in the wild.
After 2 nights which will have given you a first impression of the African wild, the Panoramic Route is your next destination. With its numerous waterfalls, its stunning views like God's Window and the Three Rondavels and the interesting rock formations like Bourke's Luck Potholes it is definitely worth stopping in the small town of Sabie. Your accommodation is sympathetic and personal and is ideally situated to explore the surroundings.
After two days in the mountains you will return to the bush to continue your quest for the Big 5, this time in Greater Kruger National Park, a game reserve bordering Kruger National Park with no fences in between, so all animals from Kruger Park roam free in this region including the famous Big 5!
After 3 days in Timbavati you will go to another game reserve, Balule. Here there are no fences neither so it offers equally good chances of game viewing. Your accommodation is the Sausage Tree Safari Camp, a luxury camp with a beautiful view of the mountains and a waterhole that regularly attracts various animals.
After several days in the surroundings of Kruger National Park it is time to see another landscape still trying to spot as many animals as possible in their natural habitat. The Waterberg is a mountain range of approximately 600 m high and the landscape is totally different from what you have seen so far. Whereas the reserve does not have the Big 5 there are other species like the eland, brown hyena and numerous birds to spot.
Situated along the Botswana/South Africa border Madikwe has the Big 5 and the game viewing is frequent. Madikwe is especially known for its numerous leopards and South Africa's highest density of wild dogs.
After two weeks full of new impressions and a load of pictures it is time to go home. After 5 hours on the road you will return your car in Johannesburg and continue your journey back home or to your next destination.