Leaving the city of Johannesburg behind us we make our way east through the coalfields of Mpumalanga. Our journey today follows in the footsteps of the old trade-routes to the Lowveld and the Kruger National Park. This afternoon there will be an opportunity to join an optional sundowner drive, booking is essential and your guide can assist on departure this morning.
Rising early this morning we enter the Kruger National Park to enjoy a full-day of game viewing in open 4x4 vehicles. The abundance of wildlife presents us with opportunities for excellent sightings and the Kruger is also home to the famed members of Africa’s Big-5. Truly the flagship of the South African national parks, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species including 336 trees, 49 fish, 114 reptiles and 147 mammals. Our activity package offers the added excitement of experiencing the park from an open-sided 4x4 vehicle. This evening there is a second opportunity for the optional Sundowner drive.
While those who elect to do the optional morning walk will have an earlier start, we set out a little later today and travel the short distance to the Panorama Route. Strung along the escarpment that divides the central plateau and low-lying bushveld of the Kruger, the sights of the Panorama route offer us a day of scenic delights. We will visit the highlights of Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels and God’s Window before returning to camp in the late afternoon.
Included Highlight: Panorama Route - Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Three Rondav els, God’s Window
Optional Activity: Morning bush walk (subject to availability)
We start the day early with some coffee and traditional rusks before setting off through Kruger on our way to Swaziland. Our truck offers an excellent platform for game viewing as we make our way south. We exit the southern end of the park and travel the short distance to Swaziland border, our route this afternoon winds through the mountains and forests of this landlocked kingdom. Our destination for today is the Ezulwini Valley just south of the capital Mbabane.
Route: Kruger to Mlilwane
Included Activity: Game drive as we exit Kruger National Park (in truck)
Endless hours of self-guided exploration within the small 4560ha Mlilwane sanctuary are possible due to the relative absence of dangerous game. This morning our guide will lead us out on a nature walk to explore the “ Nature Trail “ which provides interpretation of historical and environmental information of the area. Later this morning, we embark on a 2-hour guided walk through the Esitjeni community, allowing us a glimpse of life on a day-to-day basis. This interactive experience could involve grinding maize, carrying water, building a wall or washing clothes in the steam.
Today we exit Swaziland and return to South Africa, making our way to the town of St Lucia and continue south into the reaches of Zululand, once the realm of the mighty King Shaka who united the Zulu clans. This evening we are treated to a cultural experience where we will learn more of the Zulu traditions and language.
Route: Mlilwane to St. Lucia
Included Highlight: Zulu cultural experience
We set out early this morning for a game drive in the nearby Hluhulwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, one of the last strongholds of the endangered Rhinoceros. The reserve has played a critical role in the preservation of these endangered animals, both Black and White Rhinoceros occur in the park and many populations owe their ongoing existence to animals that have been raised here. While Rhinoceros are the most famous of the parks inhabitants, the park also provides a home to many other species, including the Big-5 that we all hope to see. Returning to our lodging for a siesta, we freshen up for an afternoon boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary.
Activity Package: Game drive in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park, St. Lucia boat cruise
Running the length of the Kwazulu-Natal province, the Ukuhlamba Drakensberg Park is a UNESCO recognised world heritage site. Whether you go by the Zulu name uKhahlamba, meaning 'barrier of spears', or the Afrikaans name Drakensberge, meaning 'dragon mountains', these towering mountains will be our backdrop for the next two nights. On our way we make a short stop in Durban to stretch our legs before continuing to view the scenic Howick Falls and a visit to the nearby site that marked the capture of South Africa’s most famous man, Nelson Mandela.
Route: St. Lucia to Drakensberg
Included Highlight: Visit to the Mandela Capture Site, visit Howick Falls
We set out this morning for a day of hiking to explore the mountains of the Drakensberg, along our way we will have the opportunity to view examples of San rock art with a local guide. While we encourage everyone to make the most of the day in mountains, we may offer separate options depending on the activity level of the group. With a number of trails available we can ensure that we cater to every need, the most important aim is to ensure everyone enjoys this mountain paradise at their own pace.
Included Highlight: Hike with your guide in Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park
Our journey today begins with a mountain pass and an opportunity to visit a Vulture restaurant where we hope to view these fascinating birds. Our route winds its way through the magnificent cliffs off the Golden Gate National Park before we enter Lesotho in the afternoon, we pass the capital city of Maseru as continue the climb to our base high amongst the mountain peaks.
Route: Drakensberg to Malealea Lodge
Included Highlight: Drive through Golden Gate
The clean air of the mountains accompanies us this morning as we explore the mountains on foot, our hike concludes with a village visit and the opportunity to gain insight into the community that calls these mountains home. The Basotho are famous for their traditional hats, blankets and their sturdy ponies. Basotho ponies are renowned for their surefootedness in the mountains and you have the opportunity of an optional pony trek this afternoon to experience this first-hand
Included Highlight: Morning hike, Lesotho Village Visit
Optional Activity: Pony Trekking, Additional Hiking Options
Returning to South Africa, we descend the mountains and take aim across the Great Karoo. The semi-arid Karoo represents the heartland of rural South Africa and presents a stark contrast to the mountains we leave behind. Our overnight stop is set in the historic town of Graaff-Reinet, the fourth oldest town in the country. We cross the mighty Orange (Gariep) River today as we journey through the vast countryside of the Karoo. This evening you will have the opportunity to join a sundowner excursion to the Valley of Desolation, this unique valley offers a panoramic view over the town and the wide open plains stretching out below.
Kindly note that during the winter months, this activity will become a Sunrise excursion to the valley of Desolation the following morning.
Route: Malealea to Graaff Reinet
Activity Package: Valley of Desolation sundowner tour (Kindly note that during the winter months, this activity will become a Sunrise excursion to the valley of Desolation the following morning.)
Setting course for the coast once again, we pass through the open plains of the Karoo and the wildlife charms of the Addo National Park. Upon arrival in the greater Addo region, we set up camp and head to the National Park to enjoy an afternoon game drive in our truck, in search of the famous elephants that call Addo home.
Included Highlight: Afternoon game drive in Addo National Park (in truck)
Route: Graaff Reinet to Addo
This morning you will have the option to visit Port Elizabeth before returning to camp for lunch, this afternoon we make our second visit to Addo. Recent expansion has seen Addo grow to become the third largest of South Africa’s National Parks. The unique vegetation of Addo supports a wide variety of wildlife and we will spend the afternoon in search of the animals .
Included Highlight: Afternoon game drive in Addo NP
Setting out early this morning we make a brief visit to the surfing mecca of Jeffreys Bay, most famous for its waves this little town is also home to a small Surfing Museum. We then turn west to Tsitiskamma region where we set up for the next two nights and where the wonders of the Garden Route await.
Route: Addo area to Tsitsikamma
Included Highlight: Stop in the surfing town of Jeffreys Bay
Tsitsikamma National Park is one of South Africa’s premier marine reserves and this morning we set out to explore the rugged coastline on foot. Our hike along the Waterfall Trail sees us cover the first section of the world renowned Otter Trail, this is not an easy hike and those who prefer a more leisurely option can make use of the boardwalks to the Storms River Mouth. We return after our hike and will have the chance to enjoy the Woodcutters Journey in the afternoon – experiencing the uniqueness of the Tsitsikamma biome and learning about the history of the area and it’s indigenous fauna & flora.
Included Highlight: Tsitsikamma National Park entrance, Waterfall Hike
Activity Package: Woodcutters Journey tour
Optional Activity: Treetop Canopy Tours
The Garden Route is a treasure trove of beautiful beaches, forest walks and an exciting menu of optional adventures. While our morning is set aside for an exploration of Nature’s Valley, this beautiful village offers us a chance to enjoy a hike or simply relax on the pristine beach in this paradise. We end the afternoon on the beautiful beaches of the Keurbooms Lagoon. Today offers a number of optional activities and your guide will assist you with a plan to get the most out the day, the truck will run a set schedule of pick-ups and drop-offs giving you the freedom to join or leave at the places of most interest to you.
Route: Tsitsikamma to Wilderness
Included Highlight: Morning Visit to Natures Valley
Optional Activity: Bungee Jumping, Birds of Eden, Monkey Town
We make our way inland, crossing the Outeniqua Mountains and descend to the town of Oudtshoorn, making our way to famous Cango caves to enjoy a guided tour, where we marvel at the astonishing formations that have formed in these impressive limestone caves.
Route: Wilderness to Oudtshoorn
Activity Package: Cango Caves basic tour
Travelling through the valley of the Klein Karoo, we follow the winding tarmac of Route 62. Road trips in South Africa are an exploration of the rural highlights that dot the lesser known byways of the land, no journey would be complete without sampling the offerings of a “Padstal” along the way. These small farm stalls offer a selection of homemade treats and bakes and are an important cog in the economies of rural towns. One of the more quirky highlights today is Ronnie’s Sex Shop, not a sex shop at all, but a rather interesting country pub!
Route: Oudtshoorn to Hermanus
Included Highlight: Stop at Ronnie’s sex shop
Made up of a collection of villages, farms, rivers, bays, coves and valleys, the Cape Whale Coast is a pristine stretch of the South African coastline which runs from the town of Rooiels for roughly 150km, to the east. Beginning early, we will have a short time to stroll along the boardwalk in Hermanus in search of the southern right whales that frequent the shores in the months of July to November. Next we stop at the largest breeding colony of the African Penguin, Stony Point Nature Reserve before travelling along the coast to a wine farm in the Stellenbosch region to sample some chocolates & wine. Your tour comes to an end upon arrival in the city centre of Cape Town.
Accommodation: Own arrangements
Route: Hermanus to Cape Town
Included Highlight: Stony Point Penguin Colony visit, Chocolate & wine tasting