Trip code: AZJ
This epic journey explores the different facets of three very diverse countries. In South Africa we go on game drives in the Kruger National Park, walk in the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains, travel along the Garden Route, enjoy wine tasting amid the country’s renowned vineyards and visit exciting Cape Town and journey through the mountain kingdoms of Swaziland and Lesotho.This three week trip has something for everyone: prolific wildlife, incredible scenery, beautiful beaches, awe-inspiring mountains and, of course, the rich culture which makes these countries what they are today.
This is a small group guided holiday. The group is usually between 4 and 16 in size, with an average of 12 like-minded clients booking individually, in a couple or as friends together.
Although the greater part of South Africa lies north of the tropic of Capricorn, the altitude moderates the temperature. Summer months are from October to April and the average daytime temperature is 25 to 30degC. The average night time temperature is 10 to 20degC. The winter months are from May to September and average temperatures are about 10degC colder at this time of year. In and around Cape Town, most of the rainfall is in the winter but it is frontal rain, which comes off the Atlantic. Therefore it can rain solidly for 2 days, and in between there will be warm sunny days! There is likely to be very little rain inland between the months of April through October and in July, August the nights can be very cold, especially in the Drakensberg where temperatures can drop below freezing. However the days are warm and crisp with generally cloud free skies. During the months of November through February rain can sometimes be expected and the temperature will be higher. However, as anyone who has travelled to these parts will say, rain is often a blessing; it manifests the local colours, drops the sometimes sweltering temperatures and never generally lasts too long. It also means the night times are incredibly clear. Due to the ocean’s proximity to the mountains and the winds, it is fairly common to experience tabletop clouds on the higher mountains in and around Cape Town.
|DEPOSIT||£150||SINGLE PERSON SUPPLEMENT||Call for Details|
|GROUP SIZE MIN||4 people||GROUP SIZE MAX||16 people|
AVAILABLE TOUR DATES:
|23 /07/2016||12 /11/2016||25/02/2017|
|17 /09/2016||07 /01/2017||12 /08/2017|
Arriving early in Johannesburg, we leave the airport and make our way, on good roads, to the old gold rush town of Pilgrim’s Rest on the eastern escarpment. En route we travel through South Africa’s highest town, Belfast (1,970m) and the scenic Robbers Pass. We overnight in Graskop (Mpumalamga), with views over the Graskop Gorge. Our driving time today will be approximately 5 hours plus sightseeing.
Today we explore the aptly named Panorama Route. We drive through some spectacular countryside and we stop at scenic places like Bourke’s Luck potholes and Blyde River Canyon, the third largest of its type in the southern hemisphere. From here we continue to Letaba Ranch Reserve (please note in 2015 we still stay in Edeni – AKA Karongwe – Reserve). This late afternoon we go on an open, sunset game drive returning to camp after dark with the spot-light.
This morning we head out looking for wildlife on foot as we head on a game walk through the reserve. From here we continue to Kruger National Park, justifiably one of the most famous wildlife parks in the world. It is also one of the oldest, established by the president Paul Kruger in 1898. It has arguably the greatest variety of animals of any park in Africa, with lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, black and white rhino, as well as cheetah, giraffe, hippo and many species of antelope and smaller plains’ game. The total census includes 147 mammals, 507 birds and 114 reptiles as well as 336 different trees. The camps are also excellent and the general infrastructure good. If you see all the predators you will be very lucky, however you will almost certainly see some of the big five and a huge variety of smaller mammals. We game drive through the park to the camp, where there will be a chance for a swim and hot showers. We have two days in the park and on Day 4 both morning and afternoon game drives are included to maximise our chances of seeing the plentiful fauna of this great Park.
Full day in Kruger N.P.
We enter Swaziland and overnight in the Kings old hunting grounds, now the beautiful Hlane Royal National Park. In the afternoon there is the opportunity to leave the vehicle and enjoy a nature walk (optional). Seeing animals and tracks outside of the confines of a vehicle is a thrilling experience and gives us the chance to see and hear the variety of smaller animals and birds that are often passed by on game drives.
This morning we drive south towards the town of Big Bend on our way to the border and back into South Africa. We continue towards the small town of St. Lucia between the Indian Ocean and Lake St. Lucia. It is not uncommon to come across stray hippos in the centre of town and the nearby lagoon is a haven for crocs, hippos, birds and even sharks!
In the early morning we spend 2 hours exploring lake St Lucia by boat, with an excellent chance of seeing some of the many resident Hippo’s, crocodiles and Fish Eagles. We return to our apartments for breakfast and then pack a picnic lunch for the short drive to Cape Vidal, a long stretch of beach along the Indian Ocean. Along the way we stop at bird-hides and there’s a small chance of spotting rhinos. We spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach or walking to mission rocks. Or alternatively there are a number of optional activities available, including whale watching (in season: June-November), or sunset and night game drives on the western shores of the lake.
We leave St. Lucia today and drive through the Natal midlands and on to Dundee. En route we stop at Rourke’s Drift and have a chance to learn about the famous battle at the local museum. Immortalised by Hollywood in the film Zulu! The events that took place here are well known and the small cluster of buildings isolated in the enormity of the African Bush are a moving reminder of this troubled time.
We continue through the Natal midlands and on to the Northern Drakensberg, our base for the next 2 nights. The Drakensberg is a basalt escarpment forming the border between Kwa Zulu-Natal and Lesotho and continuing into the Free State. It means ‘Dragon Mountains’, but the Zulu named it Ukhahlamba (‘the barrier of Spears’). This is a more accurate description of the sheer, forbidding, jagged escarpment. The walking takes us through the lowland areas with magnificent views.
Our route will have us walking into the natural amphitheatre, past Protea trees. The Protea is the national flower of South Africa, as well as the name of their cricket team.
Today is a long day’s drive as we travel through the eastern farmlands of the Free State and enter Lesotho at the Maseru border post. This mountainous kingdom has been shielded from outside influence over the generations and the Bastho people historically used this strategic location as a defence against events on the plains below. The lodge situated in this rugged mountainous region provides us with an ideal opportunity to experience the Lesotho culture. Our driving time today will be approximately 7 hours.
The day is free to relax and experience the unique culture that Lesotho has to offer. Mountain ridges protrude into the town and an optional day walking with local guides and their ponies to a local village is recommended. Alternatively the craft shops and markets can be an enjoyable way to pick up some African souvenirs.
Natoura Voyage offer a wide range of wildlife safaris and holidays to South Africa. A world in one country is how South Africa is often described. It is a fitting eulogy.
South Africa is a country with extraordinary contrasts: a wild coastline, vast landscapes, teeming game parks such as Addo Elephant Park, Mkuzi Reserve and the huge Kruger National Park- all great places for a safari holiday. At Hermanus, wildlife enthusiasts can stand on the cliffs and watch passing whales (in season). For walkers, the beautiful Drakensberg Mountains offer a choice of trails through areas rich in wildlife. Then there are the famous wine growing regions where it is impossible not to be tempted by a glass or two.
Fascinating tribal culture and the Mother City, Cape Town make this a fine all round destination. South Africa has a superb infrastructure, roads are good, hotels and the campsites are superb. New South Africa is genuinely a rainbow nation – the many Bantu tribes of the Zulu, Xhosa, Shangane, Ndebele now form the majority in parliament and their heritage and culture is found throughout the land from Roe’s Drift to Spion Kop and Isandlwana to Ladysmith.