Travel through the province of Mpumalanga, view African wildlife in the Kruger National Park, soak up Swazi culture in the Kingdom of Swaziland, visit the rolling hills of KwaZulu-Natal and enjoy the scenic vistas of sea and land along the Garden Route between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.
Day 1: Meet your tour leader, driver and travelling companions at the Holiday Inn Garden Court Sandton City at 7am. At 7:30am head east to Mpumalanga, the land of the rising sun. Journey past the mining town of Witbank and historical Middelburg towards Belfast, a centre for sheep and dairy farming, maize, potatoes and timber. Continue through South Africa's trout fishing capital, Dullstroom, on to Lydenburg on the eastern escarpment. Arrive in the virtually untouched Gold Rush town of Pilgrim's Rest in time for lunch.
Meander along the Panorama Route with vistas of the Olifants River Valley, the eastern lowveld and the spectacular Blyde River Canyon. Scenic highlights of the trip include extraordinary potholes and rock formations known as Bourke's Potholes, named after the owner of Bourke's Luck, the site of a once profitable gold mine and God's Window, a majestic view across the lowveld to Mozambique. Check into your hotel in the late afternoon. Hotel/Lodge: Hazyview Protea Hotel or similar. Includes: (D);
Day 2: Equipped with a packed breakfast, your camera and plenty of sunscreen, set off at sunrise in an open vehicle for a full day's game viewing in the Kruger National Park. Bigger than Israel, the Kruger National Park is home to more than 146 mammal species, 507 bird species and 400 different trees. Established in 1889, the park is 380km long and 100 km wide and covers 21,497 square kilometres. Take a break, and enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the Park's many picnic spots. The afternoon ends with a return trip to your hotel and leisure time. Hotel/Lodge: Hazyview Protea Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (L);
Day 3: This morning is yours to spend at leisure with the option of exploring the Kruger Park by coach. At midday depart for the Hoedspruit Research and Breeding Centre for Endangered Species where breeding programmes for threatened species such as cheetahs and wild dogs have received international recognition. View wildlife from an open safari vehicle while on a game drive through a game reserve in the cool of the late afternoon, early evening. End the day with a Boma dinner around a fire under the African night sky. Hotel/Lodge: Hazyview Protea Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (D);
Day 4: Cross the South African border at Jeppe's Reef into the mountain kingdom of Swaziland. Delight in vistas of deep valleys, steep gradients, vast forests and rushing rivers on the way to your hotel in Mbabane, the national capital. En route stop off at the Ngwenya glass factory where a variety of Swaziland souvenirs are created entirely from recycled glass. Find your hotel nestled in the Ezulwini (Place of Heaven) Valley. Dine in style at one of Swaziland's premier restaurants, the Terrace Restaurant, at the Royal Swazi Sun and Casino. Hotel/Lodge: Ezulwini Sun or similar. Includes: (B), (D);
Day 5: Appreciate innovative and original Swazi crafts and curios at the Mantega Craft Village. An orientation drive through Manzini introduces you to this Swazi commercial centre. Golela, on the western slopes of the Lebombo mountains provides the gateway into KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa's cane sugar producing province. Named after the thorny monkey ropes that grow in the riverine forests of the region, Hluhluwe is your destination. Experience first hand the traditions and customs of the Zulu people at a Zulu Cultural Village before returning to your hotel for dinner. Hotel/Lodge: Zulu Nyala Heritage Hotel or similar. Includes: (B), (D);
Day 6: Rise with the sun and look out for wildlife on a game drive through a private game reserve. Return to your hotel for a hearty breakfast. Journey down the north coast of KwaZulu Natal to the lagoon paradise of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, a combined estuary and lagoon system. Sightseeing includes a cruise on the St Lucia estuary where crocodiles and hippo’s abound. Head south again to arrive in Durban for a late afternoon hotel check in. Hotel/Lodge: Balmoral Protea Hotel or similar. Includes: (B);
Day 7: An orientation drive through Durban introduces you to the major attractions: the Beachfront, Old House Museum, the Bluff, City Hall and the Harbour. Take off from Durban International Airport for the Friendly City of Port Elizabeth. Touch down in Port Elizabeth, South Africa's third largest port, and transfer to your hotel after an orientation drive through the city. Hotel/Lodge: Holiday Inn Garden Court King's Beach or similar. Includes: (B), (D);
Day 8: Set out on the Garden Route, a scenic roadway along the Southern Cape. Mountain ranges crowd close to the shoreline creating a terrace of eternal greenery and freshness. With an abundance of flowers and trees, the Garden Route is a highlight for any traveller. Stop at the breathtakingly beautiful indigenous forests and rugged shorelines of the Tsitsikamma National Park. Marvel at the formidable gorge of the Storms River Mouth and visit the Big Tree, more than 1000 years old. Look out for the elusive elephants of the Knysna forest , remnants of a famous, once numerous population. Arrive at your hotel in the resort town of Plettenberg Bay and check in. Hotel/Lodge: Keurbooms River Lodge or similar. Includes: (B), (D);
Day 9: A short trip takes you to Knysna, a charming town nestling on the shores of the Knysna lagoon, home of a rare sea-horse and supplier of world famous Knysna oysters. Cruise across the tranquil waters of the lagoon to the Featherbed Nature Reserve. Rough it a bit on a 4x4 trailer ride then work up an appetite on a nature walk back to the shoreside Featherbed Tavern where lunch will be served. Chat to a local and find out all about George Rex, the reputed son of King George III and prominent personality in southern African folklore. Transfer to the quaint railway station and board the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe steam train and chug through forests and along the seashore to Wilderness, where tree covered hills tumble down to miles of unspoiled beach. Hotel/Lodge: Holiday Inn Garden Court Wilderness or similar. Includes: (B), (L);
Day 10: Turn inland and head for the world's ostrich feather capital, Oudtshoorn. Founded in 1847 Oudtshoorn is also the capital of the Southern Cape and is spread along both banks of the Grobbelaars River. Take in a conducted tour of the paddocks and incubator houses of an ostrich farm, cheer on your favourite ostrich jockey at the races or even try out a ride for yourself! If time permits visit the fascinating CP Nel Museum and its annex, the only ostrich feather palace still open to the public. Savour the splendour of nature's awesome secret treasures while on a guided tour of the Cango Caves, South Africa's wonder land of countless dripstone formations before arriving at your hotel. Hotel/Lodge: Holiday Inn Garden Court Oudtshoorn or similar. Includes: (B), (L);
Day 11: Travel to the coastal town of Mossel Bay, where the successful search for oil in South Africa has resulted in the refinement of natural gas recovered from boreholes in the sea. Visit the Post Office Tree, a historical monument once used by Portuguese sailors to exchange letters and accounts in days gone by. Learn more about their explorations of the African coast at the Diaz Museum, named after Bartholomew Diaz, the first European to sail into Mossel Bay while attempting to find a sea route to the East. Savour a sumptuous seafood lunch before embarking on the last leg of your journey to South Africa's Mother City, Cape Town. The tour ends with drop-offs at major hotels in Cape Town and at the V & A Waterfront. Includes: (B), (L).
Daily departure, on request ex Johannesburg. Tour can be customized on request for any departure or program. Quotations submitted according to request.
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