Here Be Dragons and There Be Elephants – Explore the Eastern Side of South Africa on a Self-Drive Safari

Have you ever travelled along a truly Wild Coast? Or explored a mountain named after dragons? Or eaten something called Bunny Chow? We have a new South African self-drive tour that shows visitors a very special corner of the country. The Drakensberg to P.E Self Drive Safari is excellent for travellers who want to go at their own pace but still have someone else help them with a fantastic itinerary and booking things like accommodation or car rental.

From dramatic mountain peaks, to rolling green hills, and a seemingly endless coastline that is wild at times and blissfully serene at others, this is a classic South African road trip that provides overseas visitors with an amazing combination of bush, beach and beautiful landscapes. These open stretches of road are some of the most beautiful in the country and we want to give you some personal tips to make the most of your self-drive holiday along South Africa’s east coast.

Durban, South Africa


Durban is a delightfully laid-back coastal city with an easy-breezy beach vibe. With the largest Indian community in the Southern hemisphere, this is an excellent place to eat some spicy Indian food. Why not try Durban’s most famous dish, bunny chow. Don’t worry, no bunnies have been harmed in the making of this meal – it’s a hollowed-out quarter loaf of bread filled with a saucy curry of your choice: chicken, mutton or vegetable. With a lush, tropical climate palm trees and pineapples abound, Durban has a bit of retro feel with many of the older buildings retaining a distinctly Art Deco or Victorian style. Consider a stroll along the beachfront or even rent a bicycle and just take in the charming surroundings before heading off on your epic road trip.

Drakensberg, South Africa


People who travel to Africa might not have mountains high on their list of must-see attractions, but often once they arrive they’re pleasantly surprised. The Drakensberg take their name from the Afrikaans word for dragon, so these are mythical mountains where one can imagine all kinds of sorcery. In Zulu, they are called uKhahlamba, which means “Barrier of Spears”. Active travellers can enjoy their breathtaking beauty by exploring the many hiking trails or even some mountain biking. If you are driving a 4×4 vehicle you can attempt the challenging Sani Pass and have a rewarding drink at the “highest pub in Africa”, right before the Lesotho border, or request one of our sales consultants to book an excursion with one of the local companies that will take you up in their 4×4 vehicle.

Chintsa, South Africa


The seashore is the main attraction in this little holiday town. The dunes give way to a beautiful beach that is big enough for long walks or even some amazing horse-riding. The weather in this part of the world is always pleasant and this is the best place for some serious relaxation. Get out that holiday read, put on some sunblock and just enjoy the natural beauty all around you. Sundowners on the terrace at Crawfords Beach Lodge are not to be missed and if you have an interest in craft beer, consider a visit to Emerald Vale Brewery where you can even take a tour.

Addo Elephant Park, Garden Route, South Africa

Addo Elephant Park

Addo is the third largest park in South Africa and the only one where you can see The Big Seven, what are the other two? The Southern Right Whale and the Great White Shark! The park stretches down to the ocean and protects marine life as well. You can easily explore the park in your own car but perhaps consider pre-booking an open game drive vehicle for that special safari feeling, this is something that we’d be happy to assist with. As you might have expected from the name, there are many elephants here and they seem quite unbothered by human visitors. Don’t be surprised if some of them come quite close but of course, remain in your vehicle and don’t make any sudden movements.

Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Port Elizabeth

Affectionately known as P.E. by most South Africans, this is another coastal city with a laid-back atmosphere. After the small towns of the Wild Coast you might be ready for “civilisation” again and looking forward to a bigger selection of restaurants and nightlife, Stanley Street is where you’ll find a good variety of eateries and drinking holes. For anyone with an interest in South African history, or an admiration for the nation’s hero, Nelson Mandela, there is a curated art experience that commemorates his life and work. Route 67 is a self-guided walking tour scattered with quotes and artworks all pertaining to Madiba (Mandela’s clan name) and his contribution to South Africa’s democracy. Port Elizabeth has some fantastic beaches as well, say goodbye to South Africa by spending some more time in the sun or if you’re searching for more, why not extend your trip with a Garden Route Self Drive and continue on to Cape Town!

This trip can be taken any time of the year especially as Durban and Chintsa always have pleasant weather. The Drakensberg is colder in winter with even a possibility of snow, but that just makes it more magical! Speak to us about what is most important to you and what fits your schedule and we will be able to plan around that for you.

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