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South Africa - Walking & Wildlife

South Africa - Walking & Wildlife

1-800-267-3347 Email us
  • Holiday typeGuided walking
  • Duration14 nights
  • Accommodationhotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • From $3255per person, tour only
  • NEW FOR 2019  
  • Departures
    Selected Fridays if Flight Inclusive/Saturdays for Tour Only from 6 Jul '19 to 14 Nov '20
  • What your holiday price includes
  • 14 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of hotels
  • All breakfasts, 12 lunches, 7 evening meals
  • Management by our sister company, Exodus
  • Services of an experienced walking guide
  • Standard group transfers from your final hotel
  • All transport and activities listed
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Optional Upgrades
  • Excellent choice for
  • Flora & fauna, solo travellers, couples
Gallery

South Africa

South Africa - Walking & Wildlife

  • 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
  • Mixture of wildlife spotting and walking

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.

The game viewing is generally at its best from July to September as visibility improves with trees losing their leaves and because game is more restricted to areas that have water. The bush at this time, however, is much drier compared to earlier in the season and scenically the country is generally at its prettiest in April - June. The migratory birds are visible between October and April.

Weather

Although the greater part of South Africa lies south of the tropic of Capricorn, the temperature is moderated by the altitude. The average midday temperature is likely to be about 22ºC on the coast and 24ºC inland. This trip covers various different weather regions. Generally inland areas will be dry between the months of April and October (although storms can occur), whereas in the Drakensberg Mountains rain is more common at this time. In 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.



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



Walking information

This is primarily a walking trip, although there is still time to go on an organised safari to Kruger National Park. . There is some walking at higher altitude and occasional longer/harder days may be involved. Generally underfoot conditions will be fair. On Day 10 there is a small river crossing that we wade across but this is only attempted when conditions are safe. We climb to a maximum of 2900m and a walking day is normally 4 - 8 hours.{BREAK} There are some ladders to climb while walking in the Drakensberg. The ladders are in two stretches, a longer (about 30m/100feet) first stretch followed by a shorter (about 15m/50 feet) one. Neither are quite vertical and they are metal ladders with thick, square edged footholds and comfortable handholds. Whilst they're not particularly physically challenging they can constitute a slight mental challenge to some - but one that is worthwhile for the incredible views from the top of the escarpment. The guides are extremely experienced in taking our clients up and down these ladders and are always happy to help.{BREAK} Altitude max 2900m, average 1250m




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: Depart London


Day 2: 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

Meals included: Lunch & Dinner

Day 3: Hike the Prospector's Trail to Pilgrim's Rest 16km/9mi

After an early breakfast we take a short transfer to the Morgenson's forest station halfway up Robber's pass and walk along a section of the prospector's trail, through a mixture of forest and open grassland, to the old gold rush town of Pilgrim's Rest. We enjoy a picnic lunch on the banks of the Blyde River before trying our hand at gold panning in the old diggings. In the afternoon we spend some time exploring this unique frontier town by foot. We return to Graskop late afternoon. 4 - 6 hours walking.

Mogodi Lodge or similar

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 4: Explore the Panorama Route; to Letaba Ranch Reserve; evening game drive

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. We continue to the Letaba Ranch Reserve where we will go on an early evening drive.

Mtomeni Safari Camp or similar

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 5: Morning game walk; free afternoon 10km/6mi

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

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 6: 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

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 7: 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

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 8: Full day walk in Malolotja 15km/9mi

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

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 9: 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

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 10: Morning boat cruise and game walk; afternoon visit Cape Vidal 5km/3mi

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

Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 11: Transfer to battlefields; hike the fugitive trail 10km/6mi

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

Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 12: To Royal Natal N.P.; afternoon walk 8km/4mi

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

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 13: Tugela Gorge hike 16km/9mi

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

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 14: Full day hike to Witsieshoek 12km/7mi

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

Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 15: 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

Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 16: Drive through Golden Gate N.P. en route to Johannesburg; end Johannesburg 15km/9mi

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 earlier than the group flights due to the distance we need to travel back to the airport.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 17: Arrive London

Legal Note: all group members joining this tour will be asked to sign an indemnity form at the start of the holiday. This indemnity form is a requirement of the South African Tourism Service Association which our local supplier is a member of. As a client of Exodus Travels Ltd, your rights under the Package Travel Regulations (1992) are unaffected, and Exodus remains liable for the actions of our sub-contractors.

Passport

South Africa


All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

South Africa

British passport holders and most European and Commonwealth Passport holders do not require a visa to travel to South Africa. Please note that all travellers to South Africa who do require a visa are required to have a minimum of 2 blank consecutive pages in their passport i.e. a left hand page and a right hand page to enable an entry visa to be issued.

Please note that new regulations from the 1 June 2015 mean that any child under 18 travelling to South Africa needs to be in possession of an unabridged birth certificate with the names of both parents.

If a child under 18 is only travelling with a single parent, they will also have to have an affidavit, no less than 3 months old, from the absent parent confirming the child can travel with the other parent; a court order granting full legal guardianship of the child; or a death certificate of the deceased parent.

Swaziland

British passport holders and most European and Commonwealth Passport holders do not require a visa for Swaziland.

Vaccinations

South Africa

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

Malaria prophylaxis is essential if travelling in the greater Kruger area and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take. The rest of South Africa, including the Garden Route, has a low risk of Malaria.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.


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, Log Cabins & Tented Camps , South Africa

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, St Lucia we stay in cabins of 2 rooms sharing a bathroom and a lounge whilst in Thendele we 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.

Wi-Fi 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.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 14 lunches, 11 dinners included.

In the itinerary we state which meals are included on which day. All meals while on safari are included except one lunch on the last 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). 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

Please call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or email usa@exodustravels.com to arrange flights and connecting transfers to your hotel.

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. However, as this is a relatively new holiday, we don't yet have any customer reviews available.

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:

Hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of hotels

All breakfasts, 12 lunches, 7 evening meals

Management by our sister company, Exodus

Services of an experienced walking guide

Standard group transfers from your final hotel

All transport and activities listed

Tour leader throughout


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.

  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
Jul 2019Tour only Availability
6th Jul US$3255 Check availability
Aug 2019Tour only Availability
3rd Aug US$3255 Check availability
17th Aug US$3405 Check availability
Sep 2019Tour only Availability
14th Sep US$3405 Check availability
Oct 2019Tour only Availability
5th Oct US$3255 Check availability
26th Oct US$3255 Check availability
Nov 2019Tour only Availability
23rd Nov US$3255 Check availability
Jan 2020Tour only Availability
11th Jan US$3335 Check availability
25th Jan US$3485 Check availability
Feb 2020Tour only Availability
8th Feb US$3485 Check availability
22nd Feb US$3485 Check availability
Mar 2020Tour only Availability
21st Mar US$3485 Check availability
Apr 2020Tour only Availability
11th Apr US$3405 Check availability
May 2020Tour only Availability
9th May US$3405 Check availability
Jul 2020Tour only Availability
4th Jul US$3405 Check availability
18th Jul US$3405 Check availability
Aug 2020Tour only Availability
1st Aug US$3405 Check availability
15th Aug US$3405 Check availability
29th Aug US$3485 Check availability
Sep 2020Tour only Availability
12th Sep US$3485 Check availability
26th Sep US$3405 Check availability
Oct 2020Tour only Availability
10th Oct US$3405 Check availability
24th Oct US$3405 Check availability
Nov 2020Tour only Availability
14th Nov US$3405 Check availability

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.

Holiday details

Minimum group sizes
A minimum of 4 people (in total) are required for each departure.

Children
This holiday is unsuitable for children.

Holiday type
Guided walking Managed by our sister company, Exodus.

Departures
Selected Fridays if Flight Inclusive/Saturdays for Tour Only from 6th Jul 2019 to 14th Nov 2020, for 14 nights. All dates are subject to availability, please contact us to check.

Meals
All breakfasts, 12 lunches, 7 evening meals

Other details
Tour Only dates commence the day after the Flight inclusive date

Tailor-made travel

Tour only

If you choose to book your own flights please check with us first that your chosen departure date is definitely operating as our guided holidays are subject to minimum group sizes.

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.



Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for . 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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