South Africa Journey: Pretoria, Drakensburg and St. LuciaPlease, note! This tour offer has expired. For similar tour offers currently available search here.
Tour Duration: 16 day(s)
Group Size: 10 - 20 people
Destination(s): South Africa
Specialty Categories: Wildlife Viewing Cultural Journey
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 2980 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 3840 US Dollar (USD)
Day 1: Pretoria. Arrive Johannesburg International Airport where you will be met by Audrey and Stuart and taken to Leriba Lodge in Pretoria where we have planned a relaxing day to rest after the journey. This afternoon we plan to meet with Zulu High Sanusi - Credo Mutwa, spiritual leader of the Zulu people and author of Indaba My Children, Esilwane, Song of the Stars and many other publications on African Culture. Dinner and overnight Leriba Lodge. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 2: Pretoria. After a leisurely breakfast we will meet with Credo and his Sangoma partner - Virginia, in an exchange of indigenous wisdom from this wise elder, who will regale us with tales past down through generations. However, if Credo is unavailable (he has been in ill health recently and we cannot guarantee his presence) we will visit Sterkfontein Caves World Heritage Site known as the Cradle of Humankind. Synonymous with the South African search for human origins, this cave is one of a series of underground caverns that lie beneath the 2,6 billion-year-old dolomitic hills that hold the fossil remains of tens of thousands of extinct animals as well as the remains of our ancestors, the ominins. It is here that evidence was found of how early man, through the discovery of creating fire, changed from being the hunted to being the hunter. Dinner and overnight Leriba Lodge. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 3: Pretoria/Ficksburg. We check out after breakfast and we set off for the Orange Free State close to the border of Lesotho where we settle into the scenic and tranquil Moolmanshoek Country Lodge. This is a private nature reserve of over 3,500 hectares and a natural heritage site situated in the Eastern Free State at the foot of the Witteberge mountain range. This afternoon we can spend leisure time to enjoy the rich wild and bird life or take a gentle hiking trail or horseback ride to experience the breathtaking views. Dinner and overnight at Moolmanshoek Country Lodge. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 4: Ficksburg. Our adventure today is a visit to the Great Mother Cave nearby Ficksburg sometimes also referred to as the Sangoma Valley Cave. The Cave was also known as The Cave of Matsupa, named after a 19th century prophetess and sister of the ruling King Moeshweshwe, who made many correct prophesies about South Africa including the advent of Apartheid and Aids. The more widely used name of the Great Mother Cave comes from another ancient African Woman called Mmemholo who was known as the The Great Mother. Situated in a secluded valley this sacred place is used by a wide variety of indigenous healers and traditionalists from many ethnic groups who train and practice their healing gifts. We will be introduced to and guided around this sacred valley by a local guide who will share his knowledge and we will get to interact with a few of the local Sangoma’s. We will enjoy a picnic lunch in the valley before returning to our lodge to freshen up before dinner. Dinner and overnight at Moolmanshoek Country Lodge. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 5: Drakensburg - Didima. Check out of Moolmanshoek after breakfast and we travel south east to the northern section of the Drakensberg Mountains. This World Heritage Site is the product of millions of years of sculpting by the elements. The foundations of the mountain range reach back billions of years. Eons before the Drakensberg Mountains were formed the place was part of a shallow depression fed by inland waters. It was an enormous inland lake, the waters of which floated upon a vast area of an ancient land mass called Gondwanaland. This super continent included Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America and Antarctica. Our first stay in the “Dragon Mountains” is at Didima. Situated on the mountain slopes it has awesome views of the spectacular Drakensberg. After check in we will have some time to relax and take it all in. Dinner and overnight at Didima. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 6: Drakensburg - Didima. Today we explore our spectacular surroundings and tune in to the sacred Mont-Aux-Sources, the highest dome rising from the 4 kilometer Amphitheatre wall and the source of 5 rivers. Of these, the Thukela plummets 948 m in five clear leaps, making it the world’s second highest waterfall. In winter the Fall’s in the upper reaches occasionally freeze to create dazzling columns of ice. Mont-Aux-Sources are energetically linked to Table Mountain and a sub power place of the great spinner wheel situated in Cape Town. Other prominent peaks that we will see include the Eastern Buttress, the Sentinel, the Inner Tower and Devil’s Tooth.
After breakfast we enjoy another day exploring Drakensburg, the ancestral home of the San hunter-gatherers who inhabited this region for centuries, and who left behind a legacy of thousands of Rock Paintings. The Stoneage San were a people of the eland, and their culture was based on hunting these largest of antelope with bows and arrows. Their activities were reflected on the walls of their shelters by their artists – the battles, the hunts, the animals and birds, the mythological beings, bees and fish, dances and families. Some of these paintings date back as far as AD 970, and the most recent to around AD 1720–1820. Quiet time will be afforded for contemplation and for hiking in this special place, once the mountain wilderness of the San Bushmen who lived their life of oneness with their world. Dinner and overnight at Didima. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 7: Drakensburg - Giant’s Castle. Check out after breakfast and we depart Didima for the short journey to the Central Drakensberg region where we settle into beautifully appointed cottages in the Giants Castle Reserve. Originally proclaimed a protected area in 1904, the peak that gave the region its name, is one of the most conspicuous and recognizable of all within the Drakensburg. Mafadi (3446 m), Injasuti Dome (3379 m) and Makheka (3461 m), are the 3 highest peaks in South Africa. Also prominent within Giant’s Castle are the three long, unbroken rock walls Red Wall, Trojan Wall and Long Wall, plus the passes that were dynamited during the 19th century to prevent the San Bushmen from launching cattle raids against white settlers in the valleys below. This afternoon we will take time to connect with this area and experience its splendor. Dinner and overnight at Giants Castle Reserve. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 8: Drakensburg-Giant’s Castle. After breakfast, we will take a gentle hike along the pathways of the reserve to the Main Bushman Caves in the area. Giant’s Castle caves contain San art and we will visit the Main Cave’s museum, where audio-visual and standing displays depict the "home life" of these tragic nomads. A leisurely return to our Camp and free time to relax in the idyllic surroundings of the magnificent Drakensberg. The nature of our tours demands flexibility for we are constantly attuned to both the group and individuals needs. Where appropriate we will, by consensus, alter the itinerary to suit the mood of the group. Much time will be spent in attuning to the energies and rock beings of this sacred power place situated on the main energy grid from Cape Town to Giza. Dinner and overnight at Giants Castle Reserve. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 9: Drakensburg – Zululand. We depart after breakfast for the journey to Durban where we have a lunch stop before driving along the north coast to Zululand, the ancestral home of the great Zulu Warrior, King Shaka. Our lodge for this evening is the Protea Hotel Shakaland, a traditional Zulu "Umuzi" or homestead, divided into the home of the local Zulu's and hotel rooms. It is a unique resort built on the set of the movies, Shaka Zulu and John Ross and an authentic re-creation of the Great Kraal overlooking the Phobane Lake. Traditional customs such as tribal dancing spear making and beer-drinking ceremonies are still practiced and we also get to share the fascinating secrets of the resident Sangoma. Accommodation is in first-class traditional beehive huts, with all mod-cons such as en-suite bathrooms. Protea Hotel Shakaland is more than just a tourist attraction, it is an enriching experience affording a better understanding of the Zulu nation, its people and their intriguing customs. Overnight Protea Hotel Shakaland. Includes: (B), (D).
Days 10-12: Hluhluwe - Umfolozi Reserve. The Hluhluwe - Umfolozi Park is the only park under formal conservation in Kwa Zulu - Natal where the Big Five occur. Established in 1895, this is the oldest game park in Africa (along with nearby St. Lucia Reserve). Although this park has had a century of formal protection, conservation in this area has been practiced for far longer than this as it was the exclusive hunting preserve of the Zulu kings and was consequently well protected. The game pits in which animals were trapped can still be seen today in the south of the Park. We will enjoy daily Game drives in search of the diverse wildlife in this 96 000 hectare park which is home to over 80 species of mammal and in excess of 300 species of birds. As the home of “Operation Rhino” in the 1950’s and 60’s, the Park became world renowned for its rhino conservation, which saved the white rhino from extinction. It also has the largest concentration of Black Rhino, per square kilometer, in the world. Dinner and overnight at Hilltop Camp. Includes: (B), (D).
Days 13-15: Lake St. Lucia. We check out after breakfast and set off for the short drive to St. Lucia on the warm Indian Ocean for two days of sunshine, sand and relaxation. The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999. The park is situated in the northeast coast of KwaZulu-Natal in the kingdom of the Zulu. With a surface of 328000 hectare and an impressive 280 km long coastline the park is considered the third-largest in South Africa. Five Eco systems packed tightly together in a small area warrant the status of World Heritage Site. The marine system includes some of the highest vegetated sand dune forests in the world and the largest estuarine system in Africa.
The last count of crocodile totaled 2500 and hippo 1500. Over 500 species of birds and 140 species of salt and fresh water fish, many of which use the estuary as a nursery and breeding ground. The worldwide threatened Leatherback turtle's swim thousands of miles to lay their eggs on the titanium rich dunes and golden beaches and the coast line is famous for its sightings of dolphins and whales. During our two day stay here we will explore the St Lucia wetlands area and have some relaxation time on some of the most pristine beaches in southern Africa including:
- 2 hours boat trip on the estuary
- Guided tour St. Lucia World Heritage Site
- Whale watching
- Bush, forest and beach walks
- Snorkeling and swimming at the beautiful Cape Vidal beach. Dinner and overnight at Amazulu Lodge. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 16: Homeward Bound. After breakfast we check out and board the bus for the journey back to Durban Airport where the tour ends. Depart Durban for home via Johannesburg International Airport.
- Items to bring: binoculars, camera, swimming costume, flashlight, sun cream, sun hat, towel, basic walking shoes, warm jersey or jacket (for night drive game viewing). More detailed general information will be circulated upon receipt of deposit.
- We strongly recommend that you take our Travel Insurance in the event that you have to cancel your trip for any unforeseen circumstances. Our cancellation policy for this tour is as follows: 60-30 days prior to departure - 50% cancellation fee; less than 30 days prior to departure: - 100% cancellation fee.
- During the period from 19 to 22 November we will be in a Malaria area. Please consult your doctor regarding any preventative medicines you may wish to take. For those preferring non prescriptive medicine we can arrange a natural alternative.
- Money and travelers cheques can be changed upon arrival in Johannesburg and Cape Town Airports and throughout the tour at Banks. Most travelers use their credit cards to extract money from local ATM’s which are available throughout most of the tour.
- If you wish to extend your S.A. trip, at your own leisure, we can assist in any bookings you require.
Airfare is not included in the tour price.
- Accommodation: 14 nights accommodation with dinner, bed and breakfast throughout
- Transfers: all road transfers in air conditioned luxury bus
- Guide services.
- International flights
- Gratuities and portage
- Meals other than those specified as included in the itinerary
- Optional activities shown in itinerary
- Items of a personal nature such as laundry, faxes, telephone calls, drinks, etc.