Day 1: MPUMALANGA
After the tour briefing at 06:30am, we depart Johannesburg and head east towards Mpumalanga. During the afternoon we visit the gold mining town of Pilgrim's 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
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
Day 2 – 3: KRUGER PRIVATE GAME RESERVE
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.
Distance/time: 140kms, ± 2 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing, breakfast & lunch
Day 4: KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
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.
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
Includes: Entrance fees to Kruger National Park, afternoon and morning game drives in tour vehicle.
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
Day 5 – 6: KINGDOM OF SWAZILAND
We 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
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, Jeppe's Reef border formalities & stops for sightseeing etc.
Day 7 – 8: ISIMANGOLISO WETLAND PARK
We 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
Distance/time: 380kms, ± 5.5 hours, excluding border formalities, excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch
Walk grade: Leisurely – 2-3hr gentle walk through sand forests and along the estuary shoreline
Optional Activities: Boat cruise
Day 9 – 10: ZULULAND
We 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 Isandlwana 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 Isandlwana 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
Day 11 – 12: DRAKENSBERG
Witness 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: DRAKENSBERG
We 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.
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 Amphitheater with a short section of chain ladders.
Distance/time: 120kms, ± 2 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch
Day 14: JOHANNESBURG - TOUR ENDS
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.
Distance/time: 360kms, ± 5 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch
Note: We do 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. The distance and travel times quoted above are an estimate only, and subject to local road conditions and photo stops! 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 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 we operate 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.
The Walking Grade
• Leisurely – 1 – 3hrs. Walks for reasonably fit people with at least a little country walking experience. May include unsurfaced rural paths. A pleasant morning or afternoon walk . Relatively flat without much change in altitude (<200m).
• Moderate – 3 – 5hrs. Walks for reasonably fit people with at least a little country walking experience. May include some steep paths unsurfaced paths, open country and may be at a brisk pace. Moderate altitude change (200-400m).
• Challenging - 4 – 6hrs. Walks for people with a good level of fitness. May include steep unsurfaced paths, open country, and may be at a brisk pace. People in doubt about their fitness should contact us in advance to assess difficulty. Significant altitude change (>400m) and/or walking above altitudes above 2,500m above sea level.
There are 8 amazing walks on this tour and they range from easy to challenging. We walk on mountain paths so light hiking boots are sufficient (ankle protection is required). All walks are weather dependent especially in the Drakensberg.
• There is no local payment required on this safari.
• Craft shopping for carvings, candles, batiks, wirework, paintings and clothing, in Swaziland and Zululand is some of the best in Southern Africa.
• 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.
• 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. 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. You will need to bring your own towel.
• 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.