On this scheduled tour you join other travellers in a tour group and depart on a set date (see departure dates below). On the morning of the first tour day you will be collected at the airport or elsewhere in Johannesburg by your tour guide. You travel eastwards via the Mpumalanga Highveld and trout-fishing town of Dullstroom. Descending to the Lowveld you reach your first wilderness & wildlife destination at the Makalali Private Game Reserve, soon after departing on your first afternoon-evening open vehicle safari experience. An early morning game drive leads in Day 2 before you set off to explore the scenic Panorama Route, which includes the Blyde River Canyon. You overnight at the Lone Creek River Lodge on the Sabie River.
On Day 3 most of the day is spent in the massive Kruger National Park, which feature an incredible diversity of animals and birds. Late afternoon you exit Kruger and head to the adjacent Mthethomusha Game Reserve where you enjoy an open vehicle game drive before dinner. Next morning, after another short game drive you depart for St Lucia, via the small Kingdom of Swaziland. South of Swaziland you travel along the sub-tropical KwaZulu-Natal North Coast to St Lucia, situated in an UNESCO World Heritage Site. An optional night game drive is on offer (own account). On your last day there’s a final early morning game drive and a boat cruise on the St. Lucia Estuary after breakfast. The tour ends at the King Shaka International Airport near Durban.
R13,905 per person sharing
R3,230 single supplement (±US$ 231 )
Duration: 5 days , 4 nights
Tour Type: Scheduled tours
Luxury Level: ****
Accommodation: All accommodation in 4 star hotels and private game lodges.
Transport: Luxury Sedan or Minibus depending on group size.
Group sizes: minimum-2 average-6 max-9
Languages (guides): English , German
The tour is bilingual in indicated languages when need be. Other languages can be arranged on request on a private tour bas
Countries: South Africa , Swaziland
Notes: Should require a quote / assistance in booking a flight from Durban to Johannesburg we'll gladly assist (the tour ends in Durban).
Highlights: Makalali Private Game Reserve , Panorama Route , Blyde River Canyon , Kruger National Park , Mthethomusha Game Reserve , Swaziland , St. Lucia , iSimangaliso Wetland Park , St. Lucia Estuary & Lake .
Starting dates: The tour leaves on Mondays from hotels in Rosebank at ±07:00; Sandton at ±07:30 and the airport at ±08:15.
Available starting dates: Nov 2014 - Oct 2015
Accomodation: Makalali Private Game Reserve
Meals included: dinner
Attractions include: Makalali Private Game Reserve , Mpumalanga Highveld , Dullstroom / Emnotweni , Mpumalanga Lowveld .
You will be collected at your Johannesburg area hotel or the O.R. Tambo International Airport as per the schedule indicated above. Leave the province of Gauteng behind as you travel eastwards to the province where the sun rises - Mpumalanga.
On leaving Gauteng the savannah grasslands and rolling hills of the Mpumalanga Highveld welcome you. Arriving in the small town of Dullstroom you’ve reached an altitude of ±2 100m (±6 900ft). City dwellers favour this area for weekend breakaways. It features beautiful countryside, mountain streams and ponds brimming with trout and eateries galore. You’ll enjoy lunch somewhere enroute (own account).
Continuing onwards you reach the escarpment, the border between the inland plateau and the low-lying coastal belt. Descend to the Mpumalanga Lowveld. You’re now in bushveld country with umbrella thorn trees and even some baobab trees.
You should arrive at the Makalali Private Game Reserve in time for high-tea. At said high tea (featuring various refreshments) you’ll meet your game ranger. Soon afterwards you accompany him (or her) onto an open game drive, all-terrain, vehicle and set of in search of the wild, including the Big Five. Discovering all manner of wild creatures, big and small, as well as the unique Lowveld vegetation in Africa is an experience you’ll treasure for always.
Return to a sumptuous dinner, later on retiring to bed with the music of the African bush lulling you to sleep.
Accomodation: Lone Creek River Lodge
Meals included: breakfast and dinner
Attractions include: Panorama Route , Blyde River Canyon , Makalali Private Game Reserve , Three Rondavels Viewpoint , God's Window , Bourke's Luck Potholes , Wonder View , Graskop , Sabie .
When in the wilderness it’s important to get out in the veld early. Enjoy some coffee / tea and light snacks before heading out on your open safari vehicle as soon as the first light breaks. If you’re lucky some of the big cats may still be active or there may be a fresh kill from the night before. You’ll have some sunrise drinks in the bush and later in the morning, after some exhilarating game viewing you return to the lodge for a hearty breakfast.
Depart Makalali and head back up the escarpment, via the Abel Erasmus Pass. The main focus for for the rest of today is on the Panorama Route, which includes a number of scenic vantage points atop the escarpment. Initially you’ll travel along the Blyde River Canyon, the largest green canyon in the world.
The Three Rondavels Viewpoint is perched high above the Blyde River Dam and the Blyde River Canyon - providing spectacular views of both, as well as of the Canyon’s open end with views onto the Lowveld. The viewpoint gets its name from three round buttresses on the opposite side of the Canyon, which happens to be the site of a very interesting battle - which your guide will tell you about. A little further, at the origin of the Canyon you’ll visit Bourke’s Luck Potholes, where an early explorer discovered alluvial gold. The Potholes lie at the confluence of the Treur (‘Sorrow’) and Blyde (‘Joy’) Rivers. Your guide will explain how the two rivers got their names.
Moving beyond the Canyon you’ll make a stop at Wonder View or next-door God’s Window (depending on your progress), the highest point on the Panorama Route, with views over the Lowveld far below. The vantage point is located on the edge of a steep escarpment.. Lunch will be somewhere enroute, probably at nearby Graskop (own account)
You end your day in the logging and tourism town of Sabie. Your hotel is located on the banks of the Sabie River. Enjoy dinner at the hotel.
After breakfast you travel down the escarpment to Hazyview in the Lowveld from where you continue to the world renowned Kruger National Park. You spend most of the day doing game drives in the Park in your tour vehicle.
Lunch will be at one of the rest camps or picnic sites in the park (own account). The Kruger National Park is huge. It covers 19,485 square kilometres and the distance from its southern to northern borders is about 360km (±220km). It boasts a remarkable variety of fauna and flora. More than 500 bird and 147 mammal species have been identified. These include the ‘Big Five’ - lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino.
In the late afternoon you exit the Kruger at Malelane Gate in the south and head, via the town of Malelane, to Bongani Mountain Lodge (or similar) in the Mthethomusha Private Game Reserve. Enjoy an open vehicle game drive followed by dinner.
After an early breakfast and a last short game drive, you depart for St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal, via the small landlocked Kingdom of Swaziland.
You’ll follow the shortest and quickest north-to-south route through Swaziland, entering at the Mananga Border Post in the north, then driving down the eastern flank of the country, all along the majestic Lebombo Mountain Range, to exit again at the Lavumisa Border Post in the south. (For entry into Swaziland you need a valid passport. For some nationalities a multi-entrance visa is also required - own account and arrangements). You enjoy lunch en route (own account).
On crossing back into South Africa you travel through the beautiful sub-tropical province of KwaZulu-Natal. KwaZulu means ‘home of the Zulu’. Journey through lush green vegetation, interspersed by commercial wood and sugarcane plantations. For a large part of this journey you’ll be travelling not to far from the border of the huge iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You are heading to St. Lucia, a town enveloped in the southern tip of the Park.
On arrival in St. Lucia you check in at your hotel, located on the banks of the St. Lucia Estuary. Together with the St. Lucia Lake and Wetland it is home to literally hundreds of hippo. You may enjoy dinner at the hotel or one of the other restaurant options within walking distance (for your own account). You may also take an optional night game drive into the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (own account).
You have a last opportunity for an early morning game drive in an open safari vehicle. Explore iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa's first UNESCO World Heritage Site.The Park contains the biggest estuarine system in Africa. Enjoy breakfast and depart for a boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary, known for it's abundance of hippos, crocodiles and multitude of bird species.
Enjoy lunch (own account) and a last opportunity to peer out over the estuary before departing for the King Shaka International Airport near the harbour city of Durban or, if applicable, your Durban area hotel for your onward travels. Should you decide to extend your stay in Durban with an extra day or two you may request us to quote for this on enquiring about or booking this tour.
Return back home enriched with your experience of South Africa’s wildlife and natural heritage, hopefully to return again soon!