Scenic Safari Trail Self Drive

This luxurious and leisurely combination takes you from your safari in a private game lodge in the Greater Kruger Park through the Kingdom of Swaziland and northern KwaZulu Natal to Durban. Staying in intimate game lodges and luxury hotels along the way.

This is a great itinerary for keen game-viewers with two contrasting game experiences. The Scenic Safari & Beach self drive begins with 2 days on safari at a private game lodge in the Greater Kruger Park (Timbavati Game Reserve). Afterwards you are transferred back to Hoedspruit where you collect your Group C rental car.

Enjoy a leisurely meander through the Blyde River area, the southern Kruger National Park, Swaziland and into KwaZulu Natal where you enjoy another safari experience. The Scenic Safari Trail self drive finishes with 4 nights of relaxation in a luxurious yet relaxed coastal lodge at secluded Mabibi bay.

This safari is offered at two accommodation levels to suit a variety of budgets. Luxury and Premier with some lodges featured in both tours using different room types.

This tour can be tailormade by substituting the game lodge of your choice, though this will change the price. We can change the Premier option to include Rhino Ridge Lodge (which will reduce the Premier price). Contact us for a tailormade quote.

Scenic Safari Trail Self Drive at a glance:

Simbavati Hilltop Lodge (Luxury, Fully Inclusive) or Simbavati River Lodge (Premier, Full Board & Game Drives) – 2 nights
Summerfield’s B&B (Luxury), or Tanamera Lodge, Dinner, B&B, (Premier) – 2 nights
Nkomazi Lodge (Premier / Luxury) – 2 nights
Reillys Rock Lodge B&B and Dinner (Luxury/Premier) – 1 night
Phinda Forest Lodge (Luxury) or Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge / Leopard Mountain Lodge (Premier), Fully Inclusive – 2 nights
Thonga Beach Lodge, Full Board (Premier / Luxury) – 4 nights

See Day by Day
Day 1

2 nights on safari in the Greater Kruger Park, Full Board & Game activities

On arrival at the Hoedspruit Airport, you are met by our representative and transferred to your game lodge for your two night safari.


The luxury option is Simbavati Hilltop Lodge.



The Premier option is based on Simbavati River Lodge in the Timbavati Game Reserve. Simbavati River Lodge is a warm friendly lodge with a stunning river setting in the heart of the Timbavati Game Reserve. This area of the Timbavati is known for its leopard sightings and so is ideal for safari enthusiasts. Game-viewing is excellent and includes spotting of elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, rhino, general game and bird life.

Accommodation: Simbavati River Lodge
Located in: Kruger Park - South Africa - Timbavati Reserve

Accommodation: Simbavati Hilltop Lodge
Located in: Kruger Park - South Africa - Timbavati Reserve

Day 3

2 nights Drakensberg Escarpment area, B&B

After a final early morning game drive, you are transferred back to Hoedspruit to collect your rental car (Hyundai Tuscan / Toyota RAV SUV 2 x 4 or similar) and drive to the Blyde River Canyon area for a two night stay. The Drakensberg escarpment provides welcome relaxation after the excitement of a safari. The panoramic drive alongside the Blyde River Canyon is magnificent. Many clients also enjoy visits to the Cheetah Research and Breeding Centre and the Shangaan cultural village.

South Africa honeymoon - Panorama Route

Summerfields Rose Retreat & Spa (luxury option) is a romantic hideaway known for its excellent food, luxurious yet rustic accommodation and its excellent Spa.

Tanamera Lodge, (Premier option) means “place of the red earth” . It has a hillside forest setting close to Sabie and offers breathtaking views of the fast flowing Sabie River below and the forested slopes all around. Luxury suites each have their own plunge pool on their private decks.

Accommodation: Summerfields Rose Retreat and Spa
Located in: Blyde River Canyon - Kruger Park - South Africa

Accommodation: Tanamera Lodge
Located in: Blyde River Canyon - South Africa

Day 5

2 nights near the southern part of Kruger National Park, B&B

Today you travel south and perhaps meander through the southern part of the Kruger Park for your overnight stay at Buhala Game Lodge.


Buhala Game Lodge is set on a tropical fruit and avocado farm and looks out over the Crocodile River to the Kruger Park. Parties of elephants come down to the water to drink, and hippos have even been known to walk up to the lawn! Buhala is the perfect country house retreat, offering seven bedrooms furnished with antiques and cooled by fans. (3½ to 4 hours, 120km)

Accommodation: Buhala Lodge
Located in: Kruger Park - South Africa

Day 7

1 night Swaziland, DBB

Today you travel to the Kingdom of Swaziland for your overnight stay at Reilly’s Rock Lodge. Swaziland provides a fascinating cultural experience. Travel through undulating country dotted with Swazi villages and enjoy game viewing in the Mlilwane reserve.


Reilly’s Rock Hilltop Lodge is the utterly captivating former homestead of conservationist Ted Reilly. The colonial homestead has a colourful pioneer history and has been sympathetically restored with great attention to period detail. (3½ hours, 180km)

Note: There are no ‘luxury’ options in Swaziland so we have chosen Reillys as it is brimful of character. But we can substitute it with the resort hotel, Royal Swazi, which is a solid 4 star option…

Accommodation: Reilly’s Rock Hilltop Lodge
Located in: Swaziland

Day 8

2 nights on safari in northern Maputaland, Fully inclusive

After breakfast you travel to KwaZulu Natal to enjoy two more nights on safari at a private game reserve. Enjoy 4×4 open vehicle game drives and bush walks. Again there is a choice of game lodge.

Phinda Forest Lodge (Luxury option)


Thanda Tented Camp

Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge (Premier option – see above) is the only first private lodge in its own concession within Africa’s oldest game reserve, Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park.

Established to protect the previously endangered white rhino now numbering over 1000 in the park, Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve has been a triumph of conservation efforts. Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge offers exceptional safari experiences in the heart of Big five territory, with both day and night games drives on offer.

Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge has a contemporary design with organic forms utilising natural finishes and materials. 22 well-appointed rooms nestle on a ridge, each with their own private deck giving expansive and uninterrupted views over the reserve. There’s a choice of Safari Rooms or Luxury Bush Villas.All rooms are air-conditioned with ceiling fan, indoor/outdoor showers, tea/coffee facilities, safe, hairdryer, minibar and internet connection.

The main lodge comprises living areas, bar, dining are and extensive deck with the stunning view over the bushveld. The Day Spa has been designed to ensure that guests can soak in the sights and sounds of Africa while enjoying professional treatments from the hands of therapists.

Accommodation: andBeyond Phinda Forest Lodge
Located in: KwaZulu Natal - KwaZulu Natal Game Lodges - South Africa

Accommodation: Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge
Located in: KwaZulu Natal - KwaZulu Natal Game Lodges - South Africa

Day 10

4 nights Mabibi beach in coastal Maputaland, Full Board & selected activities

Today you travel to the coast of Maputaland to Thonga Beach Lodge. You leave your rental car at the secure collection point and are transferred down to the beach by 4×4 vehicle. The Kosi Bay coastal reserve is an unspoilt wilderness region of pristine golden beaches backed by forested dunes and captivating freshwater lakes. This truly is a magical area, untouched by large-scale tourism.

Thonga Beach Lodge

Thonga Beach Lodge is a luxurious yet relaxed coastal lodge at secluded Mabibi Bay. It’s a magical place of tranquil swimming bays, sandy beaches, snorkelling reefs, coastal forest and shimmering lakes. The lodge, nestling high in the canopy of the dune forest, offers panoramic ocean views. Eco-friendly suites are decorated in a chic “Robinson Crusoe” style. As well as swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving, enjoy bird-watching, sundowner cruises and guided kayaking trips on Lake Sibaya or a treatment in their bush spa. Turtle tracking is a highlight for summer visitors.

Note: Premier option is priced on a Forest Suite whilst the Luxury option is priced on an Ocean View Suite.

Accommodation: Thonga Beach Lodge
Located in: Isimangaliso & Coastal Maputaland - KwaZulu Natal - South Africa

Day 14

Return rental car to Durban or Richards Bay

Today you are transferred back to the collection point to be re-united with your rental car. You then drive south either to Durban or Richards Bay Airport to drop off your rental car in time for your onward flight connections.

View Interactive Itinerary
See Route on Map
Meals and accommodation as shown in text, Group C car rental with unlimited kilometres and supercover insurance. Upgrades to larger vehicles easily arranged.
International & domestic flights, visas, items of a personal nature, meals not specified.
Best time to go:
Suitable all year round, especially April to October/November
Health requirements:
Anti-malarial precautions essential.
Add to favourites