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Affordable Kruger and Panorama Route Package - 7 days

PACKAGE PRICE: From R17 780 / GBP 990 / USD 1 300 per person / EUR 1 150 (based on two people sharing) - 7 days / 6 nights

This tour takes in the magical scenery of Mpumalanga's Panorama Route and finishes with a classic African safari in the Kruger National Park. As the name suggests, it is also our most affordable version of this tour, based around comfortable, great value for money accommodation. All of the accommodation has been personally visited by us and we guarantee you’ll have a special experience that will feel high end but won’t cost the earth. There is an option to upgrade accommodation at any point of the tour for an increased cost. This package includes an Avis car rental with high clearance and full insurance cover. Internal flights from Johannesburg International Airport to Kruger International Airport are not included in the base price due to the wide variation in price depending on the time of year you travel.

The Panorama Route is known for some of the most dramatic scenery in South Africa. The route is centred around the Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world, and features numerous waterfalls as well as cultural and scenic landmarks.

After road tripping through this breathtaking region you'll spend three nights on safari in the Kruger National Park, the second largest game park in Africa that is only slightly smaller than Belgium. Here you'll experience a classic Big 5 Safari with all of the best bush ingredients: unrivalled game viewing, fabulously authentic accommodation and delicious South African cuisine.

Day 1-3: Discover the picturesque Panorama Route

On arrival at Johannesburg International Airport, you'll catch a connecting flight to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport just outside of Nelspruit. You'll collect your Avis rental car and head for Hazyview, your home for the next three nights. Hazyview is a small town in the Kruger Lowveld located just 20 minutes from the Phabeni Gate of the Kruger Park. Its central location makes it the perfect base from which to explore the attractions of the Panorama Route.

You'll stay at the charming Rissington Inn, a stylish but relaxed country lodge owned by local travel writer (and frequent Portfolio blog contributor), Chris Harvie. Make sure to stop by and say hi and you might just feature in his delightfully satirical newsletter, the Rissington Rag.

The Panorama Route starts at the foot of the Long Tom Pass outside Lydenburg and follows the descent from the mountains and plateau of the Great Escarpment, before ending at the border of Mpumalanga and Limpopo. The route takes in the wonderful small towns of the Lowveld, including Lydenburg, Sabie and Graskop, the latter of which professes to have the greatest pancakes in Mpumalanga courtesy of Harrie's Pancakes. Also featured are Pilgrim's Rest, a restored gold-mining town that is now a national monument, Kiepersol and your home away from home, Hazyview.

As well as the fascinating small towns which make up the route traversed by Percy Fitzpatrick and his faithful bull terrier, and which he later recounted in his book, Jock Of The Bushveld, you will see some of South Africa's most incredible natural attractions.

God's Window is a viewpoint on the Escarpment where you can see as far as the Mozambique border on a clear day. Cliffs drop 700m down into valleys, making you feel like you're standing on the edge of the world. Bourke’s Luck Potholes are natural geological formations formed by centuries of water flowing through the sandstone bedrock. The result is a series of cylindrical rock sculptures that look as though they've been dropped straight from the moon. The Three Rondawels are pointed mountain peaks named after three of the more troublesome wives of 19th century chief, Maripi – Magabolle, Mogoladikwe and Maseroto. Blyde River Canyon, South African's own answer to the Grand Canyon, is carved out of nearly 2,5 km of red sandstone and affords some of the most panoramic views in the country, hence the route name. Echo Caves, quartz column The Pinnacle, Sudwala Caves and plentiful waterfalls make up the rest of this spectacular passage.

Includes 3 nights B&B accommodation

Recommended Accommodation

Rissington Inn

A stylish and charming country inn known for its entertaining owner and congenial staff as much as for its welcoming accommodation and superb food. Their tag line says it all: everything you need and a little more than you expected.

Day 4-6: Head out on safari at Mohlabetsi

Say goodbye to your newfound friends at Rissington Inn and hop in your car for the 2 hour drive to Mohlabetsi Safari Lodge, where your thrilling Big 5 Kruger experience begins. Mohlabetsi is in Balule Nature Reserve which is part of the Greater Kruger National Park. Owners Tony and Alma will welcome you to their bush oasis and ensure your stay is filled with animal sightings, excellent South African food and a personal encounter with our natural world that will leave you feeling profoundly changed.

The lodge consists of six ethnic, thatched rondawels, all comfortably furnished African style with al fresco showers and overhead fans. Communal spaces include a sparkling swimming poo, a hammock garden and an outdoor lapa with views across a well-frequented waterhole.

Your dinners under the stars will be accompanied by traditional songs and dance by African ladies and quite possibly punctuated by the roaring of lions. Meals reflect Africa’s heritage and are prepared using the freshest available ingredients.

The lodge has several specially modified Landrovers for comfortable Big 5 game drives as well the opportunity to arrange bush walks to see the smaller Kruger creatures that are often missed on drives.

Includes 3 nights accommodation with all meals and activities

Recommended Accommodation

Mohlabetsi Safari Lodge

This affordable 4 star safari lodge in the Big 5 Balule Reserve offers a truly South African experience that is reflected in the decor, the lively boma space and the delicious local food.

Day 7: Homeward bound

You'll make your way back to Kruger International Airport before heading on to Joburg to catch your return flight home. Enjoy going through all your photos on the way, until the next time we welcome you back to Africa.

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