**17 Days South Africa & Swaziland from US$2,756.-pp

This tour is an overview tour of South Africa including neighbouring Kingdom of Swaziland. The tour covers many highlights with a strong focus on the national parks. This diverse country is explored over great distances that may involve long days on the road, generally followed by a full day to experience the area. The fully accommodated tour offers a great value for money way to explore South Africa

 

2020: US$2,756.-pp sharing, single supplement US$688

Single supplement: (If you are traveling on your own, we will “room” you with another same gender client. You do not pay extra when booking as a single person. If however you request a single room, then you’ll pay the single supplement.)

Guaranteed departures

Tour Style: Accommodated Adventure – 2-3star accommodation, Limited participation with helping out with chores,  Guides prepare the meals

Small group safari maximum:          12 travellers

Travel through:                         South Africa & Swaziland

Safari length:                           17 days                                     

 DEPARTS: JOHANNESBURG on Saturday at 06:30am

ENDS: CAPE TOWN on Monday at +/-18:00pm

Highlights

* Mpumalanga Panorama Route – sight seeing

* Kruger National Park – game drives

* Swaziland – mountain walks

* Zululand – game drives & cultural village

* Drakensberg Mountains – maintain walks

* Wild Coast – beach walks & Xhosa culture

* Addo – game drives

* Tsitsikamma – forest walks

* Hermanus – beaches and whales

* Cape Town – Cape Point & Table Mountain

 

Overnight 14 nights on safari we stay at small lodges and guest houses, with en suite facilities. 2 nights on the Wild Coast are in self-catering chalets where two bedrooms share a bathroom.

Meals 14 breakfasts, 12 lunches and 11 dinners are included. Of which 8 breakfasts & 4 dinners are provided by the

lodges. The remaining included meals are provided by our crew, prepared at the vehicle and eaten around the campfire or in a boma or dining area.

Transport we use custom-built Safari trucks with 12 forward facing seats. The vehicles are comfortable for

cruising and excellent for game viewing with large sliding windows and front hatches for ease of viewing. On 5% of tours we may use Mercedes Sprinter minibuses with 12 seats and air conditioning (with trailer for equipment and baggage). There are several long days of travel providing for a beautiful journey on the way to exciting and varied destinations.

Limited participation An essential part of your safari is some participation. From carrying your own bag to cleaning your window and packing the truck in the morning – it’s all part of your adventure and when everyone puts in a little effort the trip will run smoothly (especially on the longer days). Where the tour leaders provide meals we ask that clients help (on rotation) with the washing up.

Day 1                            JOHANNESBURG to MPUMALANGA [lodge -LD]

(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)

Departing from Johannesburg at 06:30am we head towards Mpumalanga where mountains, panoramic passes, valleys, rivers, waterfalls & forests characterise the landscape. Few regions in the world can match the extraordinary beauty of the lowveld & escarpment. We visit Pilgrims Rest, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and God’s Window, before staying in a lodge on the edge of the escarpment near Graskop.

Day 1: N/A

Day 1: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 1: Dinner will be a set meal provided by the lodge

Includes:             Entrance to Bourke’s Luck Potholes & God’s Window

Overnight:                  Graskop Mogodi Lodge chalets – twin bed en suite rooms. Swimming pool, bar, restaurant, telephone.

WiFi not available

Distance/time:   380kms, ± 5½ hours, excluding stops for sightseeing, breakfast & lunch

Day 2 – 3             KRUGER NATIONAL PARK [tented room in Lower Sabie BLD]

The largest game reserve in South Africa, boasts the world’s greatest concentration of species, and has an amazing 16 different ecosystems. Exciting game drives provide us with excellent game viewing. Spot the “Big 5” (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) and many other animals in this true African wilderness.

 Day 2: Breakfast provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 2: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 2: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

 Day 3: Breakfast provide by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 3: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 3: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

 Includes:            Entrance to Kruger National Park, morning & afternoon game drives

Overnight:                  Kruger National Park Tents – for 2 nights in Kruger we stay in national parks board in en-suite tents. Swimming pool, restaurant, and telephone.

                                    WiFi not available

Distance/time:   150kms, ± 2 hours + 3 x 3 hour game drives

Optional Activities       Night game drive in national parks open game viewing vehicle

Day 4                            KINGDOM OF SWAZILAND – eSwatini [chalet BLD]

Malolotja Nature Reserve in the mountainous Kingdom of Swaziland  – eSwatini – is our next attraction.  Renowned for a great variety of habitats from short grassland, to thick riverine scrub, bushveld and moist forest, we explore the reserve on foot to enjoy the fantastic mountain views. Relax around a campfire dinner and stay in mountain cabins for the night.

Day 4: Breakfast will be provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 4: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 4: Dinner will be a set menu provided by the lodge

Includes:             Entrance fees to Malalotja Nature Reserve

Overnight:                  Hawane Lodge – Chalet – twin bed en suite rooms. Swimming pool, restaurant & bar.

                                   WiFi available

Distance/time:          200kms, ± 4 hours, excluding 2-3 hour morning drive out of Kruger, shopping stop in Malelane, Jeppes Reef border formalities & stops for sightseeing etc

Day 5 – 6             ZULULAND [tented lodge BLD] Zululand Lodge

We visit a craft market near Mbabane which has a range of handmade crafts and a local witchdoctor stall! We re-enter South Africa and head to our lodge on a private game reserve situated on the Msinene Nature Reserve, where our local guide will lead us on a walk through bushveld and riverine vegetation of the Msinene River, bird watching and game tracking. Nyala, hippo and the elusive leopard are all found on the reserve. The next day we take a game drive in Hluhluwe Game Reserve, which is a safe haven for the embattled rhino, followed by a visit to a local Zulu village. Relax in the late afternoon with a cold drink while enjoying the views over the reserve from the lodge.

Day 5: Breakfast will be provided by the lodge

Day 5: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 5: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

 Day 6: Breakfast provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 6: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 6: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Includes:                    Entrance to Hluluwe Game Reserve, morning and afternoon game drive & Zulu village visit with local Zulu community guide

Overnight:                  Zululand Lodge permanent tented lodge – Each permanent tented room is en suite, and raised on a wooden deck. Swimming pool, telephone.

                                    WiFi not available

Distance/time:   300kms, ± 4 hours, including border formalities + game drives in Mkuzi

Day 7 – 8             DRAKENSBERG MOUNTAINS [chalet BLD]

The Drakensberg Mountains or “uKhahlamba” – the Barrier of Spears, is a 200-kilometre-long mountainous wonderland and world heritage site. From Mkuzi we move further south to the base of these mountains where we overnight for two nights in quaint cottages. We will spend time walking along beautiful mountain stream paths, or just enjoying the spectacular views.

Day 7, 8: Breakfast provide by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 7, 8: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 7, 8: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Includes:             Morning and afternoon hikes in the Drakensberg Mountains

Overnight:                    Lotheni chalets – 2 nights in Drakensberg we stay in the park chalets. Twin rooms with en-suite facilities.

                                   WiFi not available

Distance/time:          500kms, ± 7 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch. The last 50km is a slow gravel road

Day 9 – 10           WILD COAST [chalet BLD]

En-route to the Wild Coast we visit Qunu, the home town of Nelson Mandela, and pay our respects to this great man. The Wild Coast remains a relatively untouched paradise with unspoilt stretches of dramatically beautiful coastline, open spaces and pristine forest areas. We stay overnight in Kei Mouth and the next day is free to explore the area, meet local villagers or go down to the  beach.

 Day 9, 10: Breakfast provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 9, 10: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 9, 10: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Includes:             Nelson Mandela Museum & scenic coastal walks

Overnight:                  Benmore Lodge – twin share rooms with 1 bathroom shared between two rooms. Swimming pool, bar, restaurant, bar, internet & telephone.

                                   Free WiFi in reception

Distance/time:   600kms, ± 8½ hours excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch – a long day!

Optional Activities       Ocean fishing & village walks

Day 11                          ADDO ELEPHANT NATIONAL PARK [chalets B-D]

The Addo Elephant National Park was established in 1931 to protect the last 11 wild elephants from extermination. Today more than 600 elephants roam through the area. The park also offers excellent viewing of black rhino, Cape buffalo,  and lion , as well as a host of other large and small mammals and over 400 species of birds in the greater park area.

Day 11: Breakfast provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 11: Lunch will be an own expense meal

Day 11: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Includes:             Entrance fees to Addo Elephant National park, afternoon & morning game drive

Overnight:                  Addo National Park chalets – twin share chalet (or lodge tent) with en suite facilities. (Sandflats Guest Lodge may also be used subject to availability; these rooms are twin share en suite) Swimming pool, restaurant, telephone & floodlit waterhole.

                                    WiFi not available

Distance/time:           500kms, ± 7½ hours – a long day! Excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch + game drives

Optional Activities       Night game drives in national park open game viewing vehicles

Day 12 – 13                  KNYSNA / TSITSIKAMMA [guest house Bx2 Lx1 -]

For two nights we will stay in a lodge resort in Knysna, which is nestled on a tranquil lagoon. We will take a day trip to the Storms River mouth where there are walks up the gorge and along the rocky coast. The Tsitsikamma National Park incorporates 80km of spectacular sea and landscapes; a remote mountainous region with secluded valleys, coastal forests with deep river gorges leading down to the sea. There is also an option of the world’s highest bungi jump. Sample seafood at one of Knysna’ s great restaurants (own expense).

Day 12: Breakfast provide by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 12: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 12: Dinner will be an own expense meal at local restaurant

 Day 13: Breakfast will be provided by the guest house

Day 13: Lunch will be an own expense meal

Day 13: Dinner will be an own expense meal at local restaurant

Includes:             Entrance fees to Tsitsikamma National Park

Overnight:                  Lagoona Inn – twin rooms with en-suite bathroom. Swimming pool, lounge & telephone & restaurant.

                                    Free WiFi in reception

Distance/time:   300kms, ± 4½ hours excluding stops for sightseeing

Optional Activities       Bungi jumping, whale watching & treetop canopy tour

Day 14                          HERMANUS [guest house BL-]

Hermanus offers some of the best land based whale watching in the world. From June to November Southern Right whales come up from the southern oceans to calve and mate in the shallow waters around the Cape. In whale season we will take a walk along this beautiful coastline. In the summer months we will explore the flowering fynbos in Fernkloof Nature Reserve. Enjoy the evening meal out at a local restaurant (own expense).

Day 14: Breakfast provide by the guest house

Day 14: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Day 14: Dinner will be an own expense meal at local restaurant

Includes:             N/A

Overnight:                  Baleens Guest House – rooms are twin share rooms with en-suite facilities. Telephone, swimming pool & restaurant.

                                    Free WiFi in lounge

Distance/time:   420kms, ± 6 hours excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch

Optional Activities       Whale watching by boat

Day 15 – 16                  CAPE TOWN [guest house B – -]

Cape Town is one of the most picturesque cities in the world, with the majestic Table Mountain providing its central focus. On our way into Cape Town, we visit Stellenbosch, South Africa’s renowned wine region, for wine tasting (own expense) and a cellar tour. The “mother city” has many attractions; we will visit the harbour at Hout Bay, visit Cape Point, enjoy the famous beaches and the V&A Waterfront. Optional visit to Robben Island (own expense). We sample the local fare at a variety of local restaurants (own expense).

Day 15, 16: Breakfast will be provided by the guesthouse

Day 15, 16: Lunch will be an own expense meal

Day 15, 16: Dinner will be an own expense meal at local restaurant

Includes:             Cellar tour, Entrance fees to Penguin colony & Cape Point National Park

Overnight:                  Sweetest Guesthouses – Sweetest Guesthouses is a collection of individually decorated houses in a metropolitan area of Cape Town near the V&A Waterfront.. The group may be spread amongst any of the houses, within walking distance of each other, and the group breakfasts will be taken in the same house. Rooms are twin with en suite facilities. (Or similar guest house)

                                    WiFi available

Distance/time:           150kms, ± 2 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing + 150kms full day Cape Peninsular tour on day 16

Optional Activities       Robben Island cruise, shark cage diving, seal colony visit

Day 17                          CAPE TOWN – TOUR ENDS [- B – -]

In the morning we climb Table Mountain, offering panoramic views over Cape Town reaching out into the bay and Robben Island.  Having explored the highlights of the Rainbow Nation we take a last look at Cape Town and catch up on curio shopping in the afternoon, before your tour ends at 18:00 at the guest house.

Day 17: Breakfast will be provided by the guesthouse

Day 17: Lunch will be an own expense meal

Day 17: N/A

Includes:             Guided walk up Table Mountain

Overnight:          N/A

Distance/time:           N/A

Please Note:  The distance and time travel times are and estimate only, and subject to local road conditions.

Please note: That the accommodation specified above and in the itinerary, is a guide only and is subject to availability. Alternatives will be of a similar standard, and accommodation changes will be made without notice.

Special Interest:

Tradition is strong in the Kingdom of Swaziland, with no better example than the use of traditional medicine & healers. We visit the traditional medicine and craft market in Mbabane for insight into the traditional beliefs of the Swazi people.

Sustainable Tourism:

Our stay in Mkuzi Game Reserve not only supports the wildlife but also the local surrounding villages. Your tour funds are used to support the local Zulu villages which surround the Game Reserve. Our village visit and our local guide create employment and income for the villages increasing the importance of tourism and conservation. Community awareness and prosperity helps to reduce subsistence poaching.

 DEPARTURE

DEPARTS              ENDS

In a nutshell

  • A participation tour that offers an accommodated safari at a reasonable price, accommodated in chalets, cabins and hotels. A South Africa participation safari with a bed each night.
  • A comprehensive introduction to the Rainbow Nation – a world in one country!
  • Exciting trip with culture, wildlife, adventure, walking, mountains and beaches.
  • Kruger NP, Swaziland, Zululand, Drakensberg, Garden Route and Cape Town.

Recommended reading

Before you travel you might want to read any of the following books. While not specific to the tour you will join, they do provide some background understanding of the countries you will be visiting.

  • Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela (Autobiography – Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time.)
  • Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (Is the deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son Absalom. A classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man.)
  • The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay (Story of one young man’s search for the love that binds friends, the passion that binds lovers, and the realization that it takes only one to change the world.)
  • The Covenant by James A. Mitchener (The best and worst of two continents carve an empire out of the vast wilderness that is to become South Africa.)
  • My Traitor’s Heart by Rian Malan (Malan, former South African crime reporter, searches for the truth behind apartheid.)
  • The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner (Children living on a farm in the Karoo in 1880’s)
  • Fiela’s Child by Dalene Matthee (An orphaned white child becomes adopted by an African family set in Knysna)
  • Circles in a Forest by Dalene Matthee (Story of a wood cutter and elephants in the Knysna forests)
  • Jock of the Bushveld by J Percy FitzPatrick (Story of a trader and his dog set in 1880 around Pilgrim’s Rest and Kruger area)
  • A Cask of Jerepigo by Herman Charles Bosman (Bosman’s classic sketches and essays)
  • When The Lion Feeds by Smith Wilbur (Fictional story set in Natal, South Africa in the 1870’s)
  • The Steps of the Sun by Joanna Trollope (Love story set during the Boer War)
  • Newman’s Birds of Southern Africa by Kenneth Newman
  • Sasol Birds of Southern Africa by Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey, and W.R. Tarboton
  • The Safari Companion: A Guide to Watching African Mammals Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, and Primates by Richard D. Estes and Daniel Otte
  • Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa (Field Guides) by Braam Van Wyk, Keith Coates Palgrav, and Piet Van Wyk

Shopping

  • Craft shopping for carvings, candles, batiks, wirework, paintings and clothing, in Swaziland, Zululand and Knysna, is some of the best in Southern Africa.

Food

  • We pride ourselves on giving very good healthy meals to our clients and will provide three meals per day, except where shown in itinerary, when we try out local restaurants.
  • The tour leaders do the shopping and meal planning and meal preparation for each group. He/she will always try to obtain fresh produce wherever possible. A rough idea of what these will consist of is: Breakfast – cereals or coffee and toast or the occasional fried breakfast, Lunch – cheese, cold meats, salads on bread or rolls, Dinner – braais (local barbecue), potjies (stews), stir fries etc. We use regular plates, cups and cutlery. All cooking and eating utensils will also be provided.
  • We do cater for special dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian or allergies.)
  • We will supply fruit squash served with breakfast and tea or coffee served with breakfast and dinner. All other beverages will be for your own expense. We will not supply bottled drinking water although it is available at many shops on tour.

Difficulty

  • Anyone who is generally active and in good health should enjoy this trip. The accommodation used is simple and clean, but full of character. This trip offers excellent value for money safari.
  • Full itinerary with a couple of long driving days but also plenty of outdoors activity. Most places we visit we spend 2 nights allowing time to explore the area.

Things you should know

  • Includes park entrances.
  • You will need to bring your own towel.
  • Your client will need a valid passport and visas for entry into Swaziland and re-entering South Africa. Consult the tour dossier for a more detailed list of visa requirements and consult with your travel agent.
  • We recommend that you bring South African Rand for personal expenses on this trip. Travellers cheques can be changed in most large towns. Major credit cards can also be used for optional activities and restaurant bills.

Common questions about this trip

  1. Can I buy camera memory cards? Memory cards and other photographic accessories will be available several times on tour. A camera with a zoom lens from wide angle to telephoto, 35-300mm, is advisable to capture both scenic and wildlife shots. Each vehicle is fitted with a 12/24V cigarette lighter – this should not be relied on for charging camera batteries and we recommend you bring a 2nd Remember you can also charge your camera on those nights we use accommodation (SA 220V)
  2. Is it safe? South Africa, like any many countries, has it’s problems but your guide knows the country intimately and will endeavour to show you the best parts while looking after you. Be aware, but not paranoid, and you will have a great trip!
  3. Do I need malaria tablets? Mpumalanga, Swaziland and Zululand (ie: first week of tour) is a limited risk malaria area and prophylactics are recommended.
  4. What do I need to bring? All details are covered in our general tour briefing but the basics are: – comfortable clothes for warm days and cool evenings, walking shoes, a raincoat, hat and sunglasses, swimsuit, a small pair of binoculars also comes in very handy and most importantly – a sense of adventure!

E&OE

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