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South Africa Safari

Walking South Africa Safari: Kruger & Zululand

Small group lodge / cabin accommodated safari - 13 nights / 14 days)

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Hiking in the Drakensberg Mountains Big Five at Kruger Park Malolotja Game Reserve, Swaziland Zulu Women
Tour code: JJa13/JJa14

A walking focused safari exploring a variety of scenic and cultural destinations within South Africa, including a visit to the beautiful Kingdom of Swaziland. This is an active holiday and the day walks range from leisurely to challenging, and provide a unique adventure for those interested in a walking holiday. Highlights include visits to the old mining town of Pilgrims Rest, the iSimangaliso World Heritage Site at St. Lucia, the Dundee battlefields and the majesty of the Drakensberg.

Departs: Johannesburg, South Africa on Sunday at 6:30am.
Ends: Johannesburg, South Africa on Saturday at 5:00pm.
Group size: Guaranteed from 4 guests; 12 guests maximum.

Summary

• A comprehensive introduction to the northern part of South Africa – game viewing and scenery!
• Exciting trip with culture, wildlife, adventure, walking, mountains and beaches.
• Kruger NP, Swaziland, Zululand and Drakensberg.

Highlights
• Mpumalanga - Panorama Route sight seeing
• Kruger National Park – private lodge game drives and bush walk
• Swaziland – mountain walks, cultural adventure
• KwaZulu Natal – walk, game drive and museums
• Drakensberg Mountains – mountain walks
• 8 walks of varying grades – Mac Mac, Blyde River Canyon, Big 5, Swaziland, Isimangaliso, Zululand, Drakensberg, The Amphitheatre

Overnights
13 nights on safari we stay at small, intimate and often private lodges (including tented camps), with en suite facilities.

Meals
• 13 breakfasts, 14 lunches and 9 dinners are included, of which 6 breakfasts & 3 dinners are provided by the lodges.
• The remaining included meals are provided by the safar crew, prepared at the vehicle and eaten around the boma or campfire.

2017
SAFARI COST:
$1,985 per person sharing.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $680

If you are a single traveler, you will be assigned to room with another same gender single traveler and there is no supplemental payment required.  If you request to room alone, then a price supplement will be charged.

CLICK TO SEE DEPARTURE DATES


Walking South Africa Safari map


DAY 1; (1 Night)
MPUMALANGA, South Africa  [chalet –LD]

God's WindowAfter the tour briefing at 06:30am, we depart Johannesburg and head east towards Mpumalanga. During the afternoon we visit the gold mining town of Pilgrims Rest, and the viewpoint over God’s Window. Stretch our legs on a short walk from Mac Mac Pools and then make our way to our chalets on the edge of the escarpment.


Includes:
Entrance to Gods Window, Mac Mac Falls. Day 1: Breakfast is not included. Day 1: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group. Day 1: Dinner will be provided by the lodge.
Overnight:
Graskop Mogodi Lodge - twin bed chalet en suite. Swimming pool, bar, restaurant, telephone. WiFi not available.
Walk Grade: Leisurely – Mac Mac Walk – short easy walk to stretch your legs. 2-3km, less than one hour. On a foot path with very limited altitude change.
Distance / Time: 400kms, ± 6 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing, breakfast & lunch.


DAYS 2 - 3; (2 Nights)
KRUGER PRIVATE GAME RESERVE,
South Africa  [lodge BLD]

Lions in Kruger National Park Blyde River canyon is our first long morning walk as we walk from the rim of the escarpment down into the canyon with views over the Three Sisters and the river below.

After lunch we make our way to a private game reserve in the Lowveld, and enjoy an afternoon game drive leading into a night drive with a spot light. Tonight our tented lodge is an opportunity to experience the wilds of big game country around a campfire. A highlight of our tour is the early morning game walk with a local ranger. Quietly we venture into the bush, learning the tracks and other signs of the wildlife we hope to track on foot.


Includes: Entrance fees to Blyde River Canyon, private game reserve, game walks x 2, game drives x 2.
Overnight: Balule Conservancy – twin meru tents with en suite facilities. Meals will be prepared by the tour leaders and eaten around the camp fire in the boma. WiFi not available.
Walk Grade: Moderate – Blyde River Canyon – 3.5hr walk on good paths with some rocky sections. Leisurely - Big 5 game walk - early morning 3-4 hr bush walk with ranger to spot game.
Distance / Time: 140kms, ± 2 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing, breakfast & lunch.


DAY 4; (1 Night)
KRUGER NATIONAL PARK,
South Africa  [chalets BLD]

Buffalo in Kruger This is Big game country, where we spend the day in search of the elusive leopard, the majestic lion and the mighty elephant. We game drive south through the reserve as your professional guides will impart their extensive knowledge of ecology, fauna and flora during our time in the bush.


Includes: Entrance fees to Kruger National Park, afternoon and morning game drives in tour vehicle. Day 4: Breakfast provide 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 provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group.
Overnight: Kruger National Park Tents - we stay in national parks board tents with en-suite facilities. Swimming pool, restaurant, and telephone. WiFi not available.
Walk Grade: Leisurely - Big 5 game walk - early morning 3 – 4 hr bush walk with ranger to spot game.
Distance / Time: 240kms, ± 3.5 hours + 3x 3 hour game drives.


DAYS 5 - 6; (2 Nights)
KINGDOM OF SWAZILAND
  [chalets BLD]

Hiking in Malolotja ReserveWe enter the Kingdom of Swaziland and travel through a lush fruit farming area before heading into the mountains. We spend 2 nights on the outskirts of Malalotja Nature Reserve with a full day to walk through this seldom explored mountainous reserve. The Swazi people have a rich cultural heritage and we will visit the craft and medicine markets on day 7 as we pass through the capital, Mbabane.


Includes: Entrance fees to Malalotja Nature Reserve. Day 5: Breakfast provide by the tour leaders with the help of the group. Day 5: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group. Day 5: Dinner will be a set meal provided by the lodge. Day 6: Breakfast will be provided by the lodge. Day 6: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group. Day 6: Dinner will be a set meal provided by the lodge.
Overnight: Hawane - mountain chalets en-suite facilities. WiFi not available.
Walk Grade: Challenging – 4 - 6hr walk through undulating hills of Malalotja Game Reserve to a beautiful waterfall. Uneven paths and this walk has sections of steep gradients.
Distance / Time: 200kms, ± 3 hours, excluding 2-3 hour morning drive out of Kruger, shopping stop in Malelane, Jeppes Reef border formalities & stops for sightseeing etc.


DAYS 7 - 8; (2 Nights)
ISIMANGOLISO WETLAND PARK,
South Africa  [lodge Bx2 Lx2 Dx1]

Zulu Village - ShakalandWe cross back into South Africa and head into the Zululand heartland. We will spend a morning in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve where rhino conservation has been a priority. In the late afternoon we will visit False Bay for a glorious 2-3 hour walk through the forest and alongside the estuary spotting birds and learning about the importance of this wetland. Isimangaliso is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park's uniqueness lies in its remarkable combination of estuarine lakes, subtropical coastline, forests and wildlife.


Includes:
Entrance fees to Isimangaliso Lake St Lucia & Hluhluwe Game Reserve.
Overnight: Shonalanga Lodge - twin bedrooms en suite. Swimming pool, bar, restaurant, telephone. Free WiFi in office & pool area.
Walk Grade: Leisurely – 2-3hr gentle walk through sand forests and along the estuary shoreline.
Distance / Time: 380kms, ± 5.5 hours, excluding border formalities, excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch.
Optional Activities: Boat cruise.


DAYS 9 - 10; (2 Nights)
ZULULAND, South Africa  [lodge BL-]

Isandhlwana BattlefieldWe leave the coastline and make our way through the scenic hills and valleys of Zululand to the small town of Dundee. Here battles were fought between the Zulus, British and the Boer troops - war cries still resound in the hills. We spend time at the informative Tulana museum before we settle into our lodge and have some free time in the afternoon. The following morning we explore the Islandlwana battlefield before we embark on an exciting 4-5hour hike tracing the steps of the two British fugitives through the undulating hills of Zululand to the Buffalo River. Later in the day we visit Rourkes Drift before returning to the lodge.


Includes: Visit to Roukes Drift, and Islandwana battlefields, entrance to Talana Museum.
Overnight: Battlefields Country Lodge - twin share chalet with en-suite facilities. Swimming pool, bar, restaurant, telephone. Free WiFi in reception.
Walk Grade: Challenging – 4-5hr Fugitives Drift trail through Zululand on uneven paths. It has strenuous sections with some steep gradients. Complete hike is dependent on the Buffalo River water level crossing.
Distance / Time: 310kms, ± 4.5 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch.


DAYS 11 - 12; (3 Nights)
DRAKENSBERG, South Africa
  [chalets BLD]

Pristine water in the DrakensbergWitness the grandeur of the Drakensberg Mountains or uKhahlamba “Barrier of Spears”. We overnight at the base of the “berg” (alt. 1,600m) and spend a full day walking the mountain trails before taking an invigorating dip in the clear mountain streams of the Royal Natal National Park. The crisp mountain air is refreshing and our lodge is a fantastic place to relax and enjoy the splendour of the mountain views.


Includes: Entrance fees to Royal Natal National Park.
Overnight: Royal Natal National Park Thendele variety of chalets with twin or double bedrooms and en-suite facilities. WiFi not available.
Walk Grade: Moderate – 5.5hr walk up the Tugela gorge on good paths with some rocky sections, boulder hopping.
Distance / Time: 180kms ± 2½ hours, excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch.


DAY 13; (1 Night)
DRAKENSBERG, South Africa
  [chalets BLD]

Pristine water in the DrakensbergWe start the day with an early breakfast and make our way to Witsieshoek at the foot of the magnificent Sentinel Peak. At the end of a rough gravel road we start our trek, including a short chain ladder section, to the top of the Drakensberg Amphitheatre and the beautiful Tugela Falls (alt. 3,000m), offering unparalleled views down into KwaZulu-Natal. After our walk we make our way to the lodge perched high in the mountains (alt. 2,300m) overlooking the Mont-Aux-Sources mountain range.


Includes: Entrance fees to sentinel peak mountain walk. Day 13: Breakfast provide by the tour leaders with the help of the group. Day 13: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group. Day 13: Dinner will be an own expense meal.
Overnight: Witsieshoek, Bungalows – twin rooms with en-suite facilities. At 2220m above sea level, Witsieshoek is the highest lodge in the Northern Drakensberg. WiFi available.
Walk Grade: Challenging – 5-6 hrs walk on uneven paths to the top of the Amphitheatre with a short section of chain ladders.
Distance / Time: 120kms, ± 2 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch.


DAY 14
JOHANNESBURG,
South Africa  [BL-]

A leisurely start to the day, with the chance to spot the endangered bearded vulture soaring overhead, before we make our way back to Johannesburg. Tour ends at +/-17:00.


Includes:
Day 14: Breakfast will be provided by the lodge. Day 14: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group.
Distance / Time:
360kms, ± 5 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch .

Note: There is a free drop off at Johannesburg airport on day 14 at 17:00pm, so you can book your flight out for the last day of tour.
Note: The distance and travel times quoted above are an estimate only, and subject to local road conditions and photo stops.
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: This safari has a walking focus. We include 8 day treks with your safari leader to explore different scenic areas of beautiful South Africa. You will need to carry your day pack and a bottle of water.

Sustainable Tourism: Several times a year there is a trip for underprivileged children from SOS Children’s Village to visit Pilanesberg Game reserve, introducing the children to the wildlife, the importance and of conservation and helping broaden their horizons. Should you wish to help in this project, please contact us.

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CLICK TO SEE DEPARTURE DATES


Transport
We use custom-built safari trucks with 12 forward facing seats. These vehicles are comfortable for cruising with large sliding windows and front hatches giving everyone a good view; or (on 30% of tours) Mercedes Sprinter minibuses with 12 seats and air conditioning (with a trailer for equipment and gear).

Local Payment
There is no local payment required on this safari.

Participation
An essential part of your safari is some participation. From carrying your own bag to your room and day packs and water bottles on hikes, to packing the truck in the morning – it’s all part of your adventure. Where the tour leaders provide meals we ask that clients help (on rotation) with the washing up. When everyone puts in a little effort the trip will run smoothly and efficiently ensuring it is enjoyable for all involved.

Shopping
Craft shopping for carvings, candles, batiks, wirework, paintings and clothing, in Swaziland and Zululand 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 the itinerary, where we try out local restaurants.
• The tour leaders do the shopping and meal planning 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. A combination of basic accommodation makes for a comfortable tour.
• Full itinerary with a couple of long driving days but also plenty of outdoors activity.
• Everyone is asked to help out with the running of camp on tour. In other words if everyone spends a little time setting up camp, preparing meals and cleaning up then the tour will run smoothly and everyone will have a good time. Participation is the name of the game.

Things you should know
• Includes park entrances
• You will need a valid passport and visas for entry into Swaziland and re-entering South Africa. Consult with us if you have any questions in this regard. Swazi visa is free of charge and obtained at the border.
• Luggage, please pack to a limit of 12kgs in a soft sports tog bag. Bring a daypack for walks.
• 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
What do I need to bring? Comfortable clothes for warm days and cool evenings, walking shoes, a raincoat, hat and sunglasses, swimsuit, and a water bottle. A small pair of binoculars also comes in very handy and most importantly - a sense of adventure!
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!
Do I need malaria tablets?  Mpumalanga, Swaziland and Zululand is a limited risk malaria area but prophylactics are recommended.
Solo Traveler? Going it alone won’t make your holiday more expensive; our reservations staff will match you up with another same-gender traveler to keep your holiday affordable. If however you request a single room or tent these are available, with a price supplement.

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SCHEDULED SAFARI DATES

Please contact us for 2017 dates.

 

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