14 Day Best Of South Africa Explorer Tour:
North & North Eastern regions Johannesburg – Mpumalanga (Kruger Park) – Swaziland – Zululand Tour (14 days) – JMSZ14 Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Swaziland, KwaZula Natal and Free State Provinces South Africa.
Day 1: Arrival – Johannesburg
Upon arrival at O.R. Tambo International Airport an English speaking Explore Africa Tours representative will meet and escort you to your awaiting transfer vehicle. Transfer to your hotel embarking on a Soweto tour en route. Soweto, its name created from the acronym South Western Townships, has made its mark on the psyche of the New South Africa. It played a crucial historical role on the early days of resistance when the ANC (African National Congress) took a more vocal and visible stand against apartheid. Soweto rose to meet the challenge, embracing a more political, dynamic and also violent attitude when you witness the uprisings on 16 June 1976 against apartheid and many more unfairness onto non-Europeans in the old South Africa. Today it is a muddled mix of poor and wealthy – a sprawl of shanties, mass produced shoebox houses and more solid, middleclass homes. This evening get to know your guide and fellow travel companions better during a welcome dinner at a restaurant near or at your hotel.
Day 2: Johannesburg (Gauteng) – Mpumalanga
After breakfast check out and travel together with your English speaking guide to the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’, Mpumalanga Province (approximately a 5-6 hour drive). En route to your overnight hotel, explore part of the famous and scenic Panorama Route. This great escarpment is the kind of place where brochures and guide books run out of original adjectives to describe the fresh mountain scenery and magnificent panoramic views. See the spectacular Blyde River Canyon with its three sisters guarding over you. See where the Blyde River (‘river of joy’) and the Treur River (‘river of sorrow’) meet, water erosion has formed one of the most remarkable geological phenomena in the country, known as ‘Bourke’s Luck Potholes’. Over thousands of years, surreal cylindrical rock sculptures created by whirling water have formed a series of dark pools which contrast artfully with the streaked white and yellow lichen covered rocks. Following the road and the Treur River south, there are further viewpoints: Berlin Falls and God’s Window. Upon later the afternoon, arrive at your overnight hotel at Graskop, formerly a famous timber town and today a famous stopover with its interesting little souvenir shops catering for tourist. Check in and freshen up for dinner in a local restaurant. Dinner for clients own cost.
Day 3: Mpumalanga – Kruger National Park
After a hearty breakfast we depart to the famous Kruger National Park. Entering at Kruger Gate on the western border of the park we do “game watching”, a South African term for; in search of the famous BIG FIVE, namely, lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and African buffalo. Upon arrival at the lodge, spend time at leisure around the swimming pool with an island bar for refreshments. Accommodation in luxury air-conditioned tents. Dinner in the lodge restaurant or open air Boma. Dinner for clients own cost.
Day 4: Mpumalanga – Kruger National Park
Early morning, with pre-packed breakfast, a full day safari in Kruger National Park is arranged for you. An English speaking game ranger will guide you through the bush in an open safari vehicle in search of the ‘Big 5’, as well as other African animals nowhere else to be seen, in its natural habitat, in the world. A lunch stop is included at one of the various rest camps inside the park (for your own account). Upon late afternoon arrival back at the lodge, spend time at leisure until dinner in the lodge restaurant or open air Boma. Dinner for clients own cost.
Day 5: Mpumalanga – Swaziland
Early morning breakfast before check-out. Enjoy an enchanting drive to the tiny Kingdom of Swaziland, a former British Protection Territory, now ruled by King MsWati III. Witness a Swazi cultural experience at the Matsamo Cultural Village before visiting the famous Ngwenya Glass Works to see master craftsmen fashion collectable figures and functional art out of molten glass. Your next stop is the capital city, Mbabane, known for its vibrant markets packed with woven baskets, beadwork and carvings. Hotel accommodation in Manzini, Swaziland. Dinner for clients own account.
Day 6: Swaziland – Hluhluwe Zululand
After breakfast travel to Zululand with its bushveld and sugarcane field’s environment. Overnight at a hotel situated in the bush. Relax after a long days travelling around the swimming pool. Dinner for clients cost.
Day 7: Zululand– Hluhluwe –St Lucia
An early 3 hour game drive in Hluhluwe game reserve in an open safari vehicle, the oldest national park in South Africa. After the game drive, depart to St Lucia, a very famous holiday town on the eastern coast, and also South Africa’s largest and most pristine inland body of water. Accorded World Heritage status in 1999, these wetlands extending for 80 kilometres future five eco systems: marine, shore (between lake and sea), reed and sedge swamps, lake, and western shores (fossil corals, sand forest, bushveld and grassland). Spend the remainder of the day at leisure in the small town with its remarkable little shops and restaurants. Dinner for clients own account.
Day 8: Zululand St Lucia
Have a late breakfast before transferring to Lake St Lucia for a boat safari where a game ranger will guide and point out hippos, crocodiles and birdlife from this vantage point. Later the afternoon another surprise awaits you – a Zulu Village. A qualified guide will accompany guests on a tour of the Village and explain the various ancient manufacturing traditions. The knowledgeable guide will also answer questions and provide insights into the heritage and culture of the Zulu nation. Guests can watch and learn about Zulu traditions including basket-weaving, spear and shield making, beadwork, pot-making, Sangoma bone-throwing and spectacular Zulu dancing. The Traditional Village is home to various Zulu residents forming part of a “living museum”. The Village is also connected by walkways to the main dining area and bar where visitors can end off their tour enjoying a delicious meal and a cup of tea or coffee, followed by a visit to curio shop for that reminiscing gift. If time allows, a Crocodile farm can be visited for clients own account. Accommodation in a hotel. Dinner for clients cost.
Day 9: St Lucia – Bergville (Northern Drakensberg mountains)
After morning breakfast, check-out and travel inlands towards the Northern Drakensberg mountains. If time allows, a drive will be taken through the city of Durban. On route, a stop will be made for lunch at the little town of Howick where Nelson Mandela spend his last freedom days before imprisonment. Upon late afternoon arrival at your overnight resort on way to Bergville. Check-in and spend time at leisure until dinner at the resort restaurant. Established in 1852 and steeped in history, the Sanford Park Country Hotel is gently nestled at the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains, a world Heritage Site in its own right. Sanford Park’s 41 hectares are conveniently located from the N3 between Johannesburg and Durban and offer dramatic views of the Berg. Apart from a dam teeming with bass for the fishing enthusiasts, there are hiking trails meandering along natural springs and streams. Dinner for clients own account.
Day 10: Bergville (Northern Drakensberg mountains)
This day we visit the Royal Natal Park with its many hiking trails and beautiful sceneries, mountain views and fresh air. Horse-riding available if required. Dinner for clients own account.
Day 11: Bergville – Golden Gate Highlands Park
After morning breakfast start the journey to Golden Gate Highlands Park in the northern Drakensberg region. We overnight in Golden Gate Brandwag hotel which is almost halfway to Johannesburg. Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north eastern Free State lies the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. The park derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the park’s sandstone cliffs, especially the imposing Brandwag rock, keeping vigil over the main rest camp. Dinner for clients own account.
Day 12: Golden Gate
Spend the day horse-riding or hiking in this beautiful park, or just inhale the fresh air surrounding you. A visit to a famous small town Clarens will be done during the day.
This 11 600 hectares of unique environment is true highland habitat, providing home to a variety of mammals – black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok and Burchell’s zebra – and birds, including the rare bearded vulture (lammergeier) and the equally rare bald ibis, which breed on the ledges in the sandstone cliffs. Ribbokkop, the highest point in the park, reveals a breathtaking tapestry of red, yellow and purple hues as its warm shades merge with the cool mountain shadows towards evening. Dinner for clients own account.
Day 13: Golden Gate – Johannesburg
Enjoy breakfast at hotel, and start the journey back to Johannesburg. Being the last evening of your South African tour of discoveries, bid farewell to your fellow travel companions and guide during a dinner which is included in the tour cost. Dinner will be at Carnivore restaurant. Overnight accommodation in guest house near OR Tambo International airport.
Enjoy breakfast at guest house.
Transfer to airport will be done when required.
What to take with on tour:
Camera with enough spools and batteries. Sweater for open safari game drives. Hat or head protection for day game drives and morning walk. Sun protection for face and arms during day game drives. Comfortable shoes Swim suits as most places have a pool.