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South Africa - Walking & Wildlife

South Africa - Walking & Wildlife

1-800-267-3347

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  • Holiday type
    Guided walking
  • Duration
    14 nights
  • Accommodation
    hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • From $3449per person, tour only
  • Departures
    Selected Fridays if Flight Inclusive/Saturdays for Tour Only from 22 Feb '20 to 14 Nov '20
  • What's Included?
  • All breakfasts, 11 lunches, 7 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Key Information
  • This holiday is operated by our sister company, Exodus
  • 9 days walking
  • Mixture of wildlife spotting and walking
  • Altitude max 2900m, average 1250m
  • Group normally 4 to 12, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • 11 nights log cabins and chalets and 3 nights permanent tented camp

South Africa:

South Africa - Walking & Wildlife

  • Operated by our sister company, Exodus
  • Several days hiking in the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains
  • Royal Natal National Park and the amazing rock formation, the 'Amphitheatre'
  • Walking through the mountainous terrain of Swaziland
  • Morning and afternoon game drives in Africa's famous Kruger National Park.
  • Game walk and drive in a private game reserve

Rising high above the veld, the Drakensberg, which translates as ‘Dragon Mountain,’ forms an imposing, dramatic and quintessentially South African scene which we explore on foot. Along with the fantastic walking opportunities, we take the time to discover the country’s amazing wildlife and we can hope to see the likes of elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards, giraffe, cheetah and much more. Complementing our journey are more walks and visits of Swaziland, St. Lucia and the Battlefields.



We're here to help

If you have any questions about this holiday call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347, use our live webchat or email usa@exodustravels.com

Typical holiday itinerary



We're here to help

If you've any questions about this holiday call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 , or email usa@exodustravels.com

Day 1: Start Johannesburg; to Graskop.

We first pick up the land only clients from the start hotel before proceeding to the airport for the arrival of the group flight. We then transfer to the town of Graskop perched on the edge of the Mpumalanga escarpment. It is a long drive but we stop at regular intervals to take in the spectacular scenery and to visit the well-known Mac Mac Falls. En route we travel through South Africa's highest town, Belfast (1970m), and the scenic Long Tom Pass. We also take the opportunity to stock up on supplies such as drinks and snacks.

Mogodi Lodge or similar

Day 2: Explore the Panorama Route; walk the Leopard, Guineafowl and Kadishi-Tufa trails.

We drive through some stunning countryside this morning, starting with the stunning views at God's Window. If we are lucky, God's Blanket may be down, a majestic cloud inversion that gives you the feeling of being on top of the world. We visit the fascinating rock formations at Bourke's Luck Potholes, before stopping for the most breathtaking views over Blyde River Canyon, the 3rd largest canyon in the southern hemisphere. In the afternoon we enjoy our first walk of the itinerary, a loop walk that includes the Leopard, Guineafowl and Kadishi-Tufa trails. Along the way we will have further views on Blyde River Canyon, walk through forest and stop at Tufa Waterfall.

Blyde Canyon Forever Resort or similar

Day 3: Explore the Panorama Route; to Letaba Ranch Reserve; evening game drive.

After breakfast we drive to Letaba Ranch Reserve, our base for the next two days. We will have some to time to relax and enjoy the views from camp before heading out for an afternoon game drive.

Mtomeni Safari Camp or similar

Day 4: Morning game walk; free afternoon.

The Letaba Ranch Game Reserve is part of the Greater Kruger area and is particularly known for elephants and buffalos. This morning we head out on a game walk in search of some Africa’s iconic wildlife. The walk is about 2-4hrs (depending on temperatures) and is led by a local guide and tracker. The afternoon is free to relax or go an optional game drive. Mtomeni Safari Camp or similar

Day 5: Transfer to Kruger N.P.; afternoon game drive.

We head on 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 South African 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. We game drive (in our vehicle) through the park where we have an excellent chance of seeing a wide variety of wildlife. We arrive at our campsite in the Kruger in the late afternoon just before the camp gates close to maximise our game-viewing chances. Skukuza or Pretoriuskop camp or similar

Day 6: Morning game drive in Kruger; transfer to Swaziland.

Up before sunrise this morning for a game drive (in our vehicle) at, arguably, the best time of day for game-spotting. We return to camp for breakfast and to pack up before moving onto a new country: Swaziland. We leave the Kruger park at around lunch time and have a short stop to resupply before crossing the border into Swaziland. We drive to the hilly Malolotja Nature Reserve (3 hours), where we spend a relaxing evening in the cabins ready for a long walk the next day. Malolotja Cabins or similar

Day 7: Full day walk in Malolotja.

There is superb flora here and we take a day-walk on one of the picturesque walking trails. Over 280 species of birds have been spotted in this reserve, as have many antelope species. You will have great views and the chance to spot various eagles or even the very rare Bald Ibis. The Nkomati River cuts a gorge through the park and flows east in a series of falls and rapids before it meets the lowveld. Our walk will take us to the Malolotja falls viewpoint and then on to the upper Majolomba falls and a great lunch spot. 8 hours walking. Malolotja Cabins or similar

Day 8: Visit craft market; to St Lucia.

Today we head out of Swaziland and back into South Africa. On the way we visit Ezulwini Valley Craft Market before heading south through rural Swaziland. Upon leaving Swaziland we move on to St Lucia. The small town of St. Lucia is both by the Indian Ocean and by lake St. Lucia and is known for its crocodile and hippo populations (hippos are sometimes seen wandering in town). The lake itself is Africa’s largest Estuary and a haven for birds. As well as land animals, the proximity to the ocean means it is possible to go swimming and even whale watching (June – November). Shonalanga apartments or similar

Day 9: Morning boat cruise and game walk; afternoon visit Cape Vidal.

Getting up early we will head down to the dock and board a boat on the nearby lake. We spend 2 hours exploring the lake 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. Shonalanga apartments or similar

Day 10: Transfer to battlefields; hike the fugitive trail.

Leaving the coast behind, we head 300kms towards the battlefields where the British and Zulus fought in 1879. After lunch we go on a 4hr hike along the fugitive trail. The trail follows the route taken by the British survivors from the battle of Isandlwana. The British and colonial force was armed with rifles, mountain guns and rocket battery were facing 20,000 Zulu warriors armed with spears. By the end of the battle there were only 65 British and Colonial survivors. After our hike we transfer 50kms to our lodge for the night. Battlefields County Lodge or similar

Day 11: To Royal Natal N.P.; afternoon walk.

We continue our journey to the beautiful Royal Natal National Park, particularly known the distinctive natural Amphitheatre. 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 Quuathlamba ('the Barrier of Spears') - a more accurate description of the sheer, forbidding, jagged escarpment. This afternoon we go for walks in the local area from our lodge where we will be staying. There are a number of walks we can chose from such as to policeman’s helmet or to some bushmen paintings. Thendele Chalets or similar

Day 12: Tugela Gorge hike.

Today we follow the Thukela river, past Protea trees (the national flower of South Africa as well as the name of their cricket team), indigenous yellow wood forest and mountainous grasslands to the natural Amphitheatre and Thukela Waterfall viewpoint. The walk takes us into the heart of the Royal Natal National park and offers stunning views of the dramatic northern Drakensberg Mountains. 6 - 8 hours walking. Thendele Chalets or similar

Day 13: Full day hike to Witsieshoek.

As the bus takes our luggage to our next lodge, we head along trails by foot. The start of our trail follows a contour line and takes us via Tiger Falls and Gudu Falls. We then head up as we walk through the Mahai Valley crossing the river and walking via the crack past the Mahai Falls, eventually reaching the Basuto Gate and our destination. The hike should take about 6hrs including stopping for lunch.Witsieshowk Lodge or similar

Day 14: Hike to Tugela Falls, the world's second tallest waterfall.

In the morning we drive the short distance (15km) to the trek start point at the Sentinel gate. From here we trek along the edge of the mountains, possibly chaperoned by mountain baboon or if we are lucky by the resident Bearded Vultures, up to the ladders, which take us to the top (2,900m). We then follow the Thukela River to the edge of the waterfall and enjoy the stunning views across the amphitheatre and our previous day’s route. We then walk back to the vehicle and transfer the short distance (15km) to our lodge. The hike should take about 6hrs including stopping for lunch.Witsieshowk Lodge or similar

Day 15: Drive through Golden Gate N.P. en route to Johannesburg; end Johannesburg.

There will be an optional short final morning walk in these wonderful mountains, with a local guide, before driving back to Johannesburg in time for our flight this evening. The land portion of the trip ends upon arrival in Johannesburg. 3 hour optional walk. Please note that if you are organising your own flights these should not be earler than the group flights due to the distance we need to travel back to the airport.

Where you stay

During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking.

To find out more call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347, use our live webchat or email usa@exodustravels.com

Chalets

All nights will be in chalets, log cabins and four nights in a permanent tented camp. Some of the accommodation is en suite though in Swaziland and St Lucia we usually stay in cabins of 2 rooms sharing a bathroom and a lounge whilst in Thendele we usually stay in cabins of 3 rooms sharing 2 bathrooms and a lounge. The permanent tented camp in the Letaba River Game Reserve is made up of large tents with beds and an en suite bathroom. In the Kruger Park we stay in a permanent tented camp with shared ablutions. It is possible to get laundry done in Swaziland.

Wifi is available most nights but is not always very reliable.

Single rooms are available throughout. Please note that on the nights in the Drakensberg and in Swaziland you might share a chalet/cabin with other members of the group. However, you will still have a single room to yourself.


Meals

All breakfasts, 11 lunches, 7 dinners included.

In the itinerary we state which meals are included on which day. The list below provides an indication of what these will consist of: Breakfast - cereals, coffee, tea and toast, the occasional cooked breakfast. Lunch - cheese, cold meats, salads, bread or rolls. Dinner - potjies (stew), braais (barbecue), stir fries, pasta. Most generally cooked on the open fire. Please be aware that we need at least two weeks notice to deal with special dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian or allergies.) For this reason if you did not indicate these on your booking form please advise the Exodus office as soon as possible. The tour leaders do all the shopping, meal planning and cooking for each group. He/she will always try to obtain fresh produce wherever possible. Each tour has 2 cool boxes for meats and fresh produce and 1 cool box for cold drinks. We will supply the following drinks: fruit squash served with breakfast and tea or coffee served with breakfast and dinner. All other beverages will be at your own expense. We do not supply bottled drinking water although it is available at many shops on tour if you want to buy it yourself at +/-R10.0 / lt. (£0.60). For meals not included, dinners can cost on average £12‐18 ($20‐30) per person and lunches from £5 to £8 ($8 to $13). Please note on days when the group are on morning game walks or drives we will have an early morning cup of tea or coffee and rusks followed by the walk. Once we return to camp we will have a large brunch at around 11am. In the early afternoon we will have a snack style lunch and dinner will be served after completion of the optional game drives.

The water provided on this trip is safe and clean drinking water, normally coming from bore-holes. It is not bottled water, however. If you would rather have bottled water then this will be at your expense, though we would encourage you to make use of the safe drinking water provided as this helps diminish plastic consumption.

Travel

Our aim is to provide holidays that are unbeatable for choice and flexibility. We've listed our most popular travel options below, however you aren't limited to these - we can tailor-make virtually any holiday to suit.

To find out more about the travel options available call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347, use our live webchat or email usa@exodustravels.com

Transportation

Transport is by minibus fitted with forward facing seats and towing a trailer for equipment and luggage. For game drives on the private reserve we will use an open 4-wheeled-drive Land Rover.

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 17 days

The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of South African Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 15 days starting and ending in Johannesburg Airport

Your trip normally starts at the Johannesburg international airport in the morning of Day 1 of the itinerary, at the group arrival time. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions - sent approximately two weeks before departure. (Land only clients can be picked up at a local hotel 45 minutes before the group arrival flight and transferred to the Johannesburg International airport)

 Please note that if you are organising your own flights, your departure flight should not be earlier than the group flights as we have a long way to travel back to Johannesburg Airport on the last day.

Reviews

Here at Headwater we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can continue to develop, and where necessary improve, our services and ensure our holidays continue to be the best they can be. As this is a relatively new holiday, we don't yet have any customer reviews available from our customers, but here are the comments that have been received from previous Exodus travellers.

Another outstanding trip from Exodus. It is very cleverly consrtucted, gradually building to the climax in the Drakensberg mountains. There were huge contrasts in scenery, passing through industrial and agricultural areas, the expanses of fairly dry national parks to the much greener hills and mountains of Eswatini, the lakes and Indian Ocean at St Lucia and the stunning mountains of the Drakensberg. The wildlife watching was good, not as easy as places such as the Massai Mara in Kenya, but we did see the big 5 and a lot more besides; on all of the walks there was also the opportunity to see wildlife. If birding is your thing, this is a great trip especially at this time of year as the migrations are just starting. I particularly enjoyed the visit to Isandwala and Rorkes Drift, the scene of major battles during the Zulu Wars together with walking the Fugitive's trail between the two. Weather is never predictable and we went from close to 40C one day in the game reservers to weather and scenery that could have been Scotland the next - but it did give us a chance to make use of the open fires in our accommodation in the hills of Eswatini! (Later in the trip we also experienced the most spectacular thunderstorms I have ever seen - very impressive) The Last four nights were spent in the Drakensberg, two at Thendele and 2 at Witsieshoek. The scenery was stunning and the walk up from Thendele to Witsieshoek showed a different aspect of it - more reminiscent of the Yorkshire Dales. The views from the top are wonderful but unfortunately, as is the way with mountains the weather, it closed in for the last day and the inside of a cloud looks pretty much the same wherever you are! We were a group of 12, thrown together at the start of the trip, who rubbed along pretty well and had some great times together, so a big thankyou to all concerned.

Great trip saw lots of wildlife and great walking

This trip is a great way to See South Africa across a variety of landscapes, mainly through National Parks and game reserves. There is a range of environments from the Drakensberg mountains to the Indian Ocean beaches at St Lucia with spectacular walks. There are long drives, over 3000km in total, in a reasonably comfortable 14 passenger minibus. Travelling in May, the weather was dry, sunny and warm, except at night and the highest walks. The accommodation varied between basic and very comfortable, but always clean.

The Exodus holiday in South Africa was a wonderful introduction to African landscapes and wildlife. I have travelled widely in my life but with little experience of Africa. This holiday exceeded my expectations in two ways: the remarkable opportunities to see wildlife at close quarters in Kruger; the amazing landscapes of the Blyde River canyon, Swaziland and the Drakensurg Mountains. My enjoyment of the holiday had a lot to do with the way it was organised and led by the group leader. I have been left with many great memories.

Really excellent trip with great variety of walking and wildlife, wonderful scenery, great accommodation and fantastic guides.

This was my second trip with Exodus, and I was confident that I was going to have a good time, get good value for money, and a wonderful experience. I was not disappointed. The booking was effortless, including the add on of four days in Cape Town that I requested. All the information that I needed was in the trip notes,and I felt well prepared. Our guide, Innocent is very knowledgable, and keen to impart this to us, and for us to have as good a time as possible. JoJo, the driver/chef, is also very well-informed, and a very careful safe driver. A lot is asked of him, as he would often prepare a meal for 13 after a long day's drive, sometimes on pretty basic equipment. This he did, always cheerfully. Both were very keen to explain how we can help the local craft industries, but we never felt pressurised or uncomfortable. The variety of experience, each day something new, was a fantastic introduction to South Africa. One week essentially wildlife spotting, the second hiking in some very dramatic scenery. I strongly recommend adding on a few days in Cape Town, if you haven't been before. It is less than a 2h flight, and a beautiful, easy, interesting city, and a great contrast to the game parks and mountains.

Really enjoyed this trip even though we probably did not chose the best time of year to do this, April. Sayin that the weather was quite kind to us. Letaba Game Reserve was a lovely start to our tour, the rangers at Mtomeni Safari Camp were very knowledgeable and friendly, food, especially breakfast, was very good. Permanent tents were much better than expected. Found the safari section a little repetitive but still enjoyable. Early starts and then pretty full on all day but never felt rushed. Loved the beach at St Lucia, a relaxing few hours there was appreciated as allowed us to recharge our batteries. Battlefields tour very interesting and would suggest if possible that you try and get your guide to add in a visit to Rorkes Drift to complete the story. Drakensburg was the highlight for me, good walking and marvellous scenery.

Well, what a trip! Soaking up the sights and sounds of South Africa and Swaziland was truly an amazing experience.

An interesting and varied trip, including trekking in several locations, safaris in a number of places, a trip to a beach and a boat ride to see hippos and other wildlife. I like hippos and gazelles.

This trip covers a lot of ground! I can't believe how much we managed to do in just two weeks, and needed my photos and videos to remind me. The accommodation was of an exceptionally high standard and we slept very well everywhere. Our own guides were brilliant, and the external guides at various locations were excellent and very knowledgeable about their specialist areas.

Dates and prices

You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday.

Find out about The Headwater Price Promise to ensure you're getting the very best value for money.

This 14 night guided walking holiday includes:

All breakfasts, 11 lunches, 7 dinners

All accommodation (see below)

All transport and listed activities

Tour leader throughout

Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)


How to book:

For further details, or to check availability, speak to our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or complete our holiday enquiry form (we'll contact you at a time that's most convenient for you).

To enquire about this holiday, or for further information, call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or complete our holiday enquiry form.

  • Feb 2020
  • Apr 2020
  • May 2020
  • Jul 2020
  • Aug 2020
  • Sep 2020
  • Oct 2020
  • Nov 2020
DepartingTour only Prices  
22nd Feb 2020 US$3499 Tour only: US$3499 Check availability
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11th Apr 2020 US$3449 Tour only: US$3449 Check availability
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9th May 2020 US$3449 Tour only: US$3449 Check availability
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4th Jul 2020 US$3449 Tour only: US$3449 Check availability
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18th Jul 2020 US$3449 Tour only: US$3449 Check availability
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1st Aug 2020 US$3449 Tour only: US$3449 Check availability
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15th Aug 2020 US$3449 Tour only: US$3449 Check availability
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29th Aug 2020 US$3499 Tour only: US$3499 Check availability
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DepartingTour only Prices  
12th Sep 2020 US$3499 Tour only: US$3499 Check availability
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26th Sep 2020 US$3449 Tour only: US$3449 Check availability
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DepartingTour only Prices  
10th Oct 2020 US$3449 Tour only: US$3449 Check availability
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24th Oct 2020 US$3449 Tour only: US$3449 Check availability
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DepartingTour only Prices  
14th Nov 2020 US$3449 Tour only: US$3449 Check availability
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The prices quoted for each individual departure supercede those published in our current brochures. Air prices are subject to change and we advise early booking to obtain the best prices. Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information.

Key information

This holiday is operated by our sister company, Exodus

9 days walking

Mixture of wildlife spotting and walking

Altitude max 2900m, average 1250m

Group normally 4 to 12, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs

11 nights log cabins and chalets and 3 nights permanent tented camp

Transportation

Transport is by minibus fitted with forward facing seats and towing a trailer for equipment and luggage. For game drives on the private reserve we will use an open 4-wheeled-drive Land Rover.

Joining instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 17 days

The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of South African Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 15 days starting and ending in Johannesburg Airport

Your trip normally starts at the Johannesburg international airport in the morning of Day 1 of the itinerary, at the group arrival time. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions - sent approximately two weeks before departure. (Land only clients can be picked up at a local hotel 45 minutes before the group arrival flight and transferred to the Johannesburg International airport)

 Please note that if you are organising your own flights, your departure flight should not be earlier than the group flights as we have a long way to travel back to Johannesburg Airport on the last day.



Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for South Africa - Walking & Wildlife. Simply complete the form below (fields marked * are mandatory) and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.

Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 to discuss your requirements in more detail.

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