This trip visits a great spread of Southern African game reserves, putting you right in the midst of the mighty ‘Big Five’ game of Africa. Camp at Kruger National Park under the African night sky. Experience the sights and sounds of the wild, perhaps the roar of a lion as you drift off to sleep. A Zulu village tour introduces you to a fascinating tribal culture. You might learn about anything from spear-making and bone-throwing to dancing and basket-weaving. Beautifully lit by candles and parafin lanterns, your spacious campsite in Hlane National Park is just a stone’s throw from a floodlit waterhole frequented by elephants and rhinos
Travel through South Africa and Swaziland, combining cultural and wildlife experiences. The tour starts with an introduction to South Africa’s most famous township, Soweto, before heading out into the wilderness. Once on the road you’ll stop at a Zulu village and experience activities such as hiking, kayaking and rafting before arriving at Kruger National Park for unbelievable wildlife watching.
Breakfast Included: 11 Lunches Included: 7 Lunches Included: 10
Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa. Your trip begins with a welcome meeting at 12 noon. Afterwards, head out on a tour of Soweto – an exciting opportunity to get an insight into contemporary life in South Africa. There will be the chance along the way to visit a market or shop to stock up on any supplies you might need for the next few days. There's WiFi available at your accommodation (the first 30 minutes are free).
Notes: If you do any exploring on your own today, be sure to get local advice on where it is and isn't safe to walk, especially in the evening. The level of crime here may be higher than what you're used to, and doing a bit of homework can significantly reduce the risk.
Hluhluwe Game Reserve
Depart Johannesburg early this morning and travel into the heart of KwaZulu Natal (560km/350miles - approximately 9 hours). Here you will camp at an eco-lodge just 20 kilometres from Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park. The park is home to some amazing wildlife, including lions, elephants, leopards, giraffes, buffaloes and wild dogs. Your camp consists of 10 stands, you'll have access to a fully stocked communal kitchen, gas stoves, kitchen utensils, a fridge and freezer, a braai (for grilling) and a campfire area. Camping guests are more than welcome to use the swimming pool, bar and restaurant in the lodge. There are also showers, wash basins and toilets available. With the group's assistance, the crew will prepare meals, and the group will help with washing up. Note that you'll need to bring your own bedding and towels. The tents are 2 x 2 metres across and 1.7 metres high.Today's game drive will be in our regular vehicle.
Embark on an adventure through the oldest proclaimed game reserve in South Africa. While you're here, you'll have the chance to see some of the 'Big Five' game – African elephant, black rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, African lion and African leopard. There will also be a good chance of spotting the white rhino, as Hluhluwe-Imfolozi has the largest population of these near-threatened creatures in the world. A series of conservation efforts has saved them from extinction and their population is once again on the rise. The park also boasts some 400 species of birds, including the African finfoot, bat hawk and white-backed night heron.
Today's game drive will be in our regular vehicle.
Depart the game reserve in the morning and visit a Zulu village with a local community guide. Then, travelling northeast to the coast, visit the beautiful Kosi Bay Nature Reserve (160km/100miles - approximately 5 hours including time spent at activities). The location of the bay is amazing. On the one hand there is picturesque jungle with wild figa and monkey orange trees, and a grazing area for hippos; on the other, a mangrove and coral reef that's teeming with aquatic life. Your accommodation, Kosi Bay Lodge, will be in comfortable log chalets. Enjoy a night under the stars as you relax around the campfire.
Explore Kosi Bay by kayak, a nice active way to soak up the scenery. There is also the opportunity to snorkel over the coral reef in search of some colourful and stripy varieties fish. Kosi Bay is one of very few places on earth where five different species of mangrove trees are found in one area. It is particularly famous for the traditional Tsonga fish traps built to trap fish moving in and out of the estuary with the tide. The Tsonga people, who have made this land their home for more than 1,000 years, are experts in fish traps and the construction of fishkraal.
Hlane National Park
Driving north, you will reach the small land-locked kingdom of Swaziland, and Hlane National Park (220kms/135miles - approximately 6 hours depending on border crossing). At some point today you'll be able to visit a market or shop to buy anything you might need. A vast expanse of bushveld and its ancient hardwood trees make Hlane Royal National Park home to the largest wild herds in Swaziland. Your camp is spacious and has plenty of tree coverage, making for a nice spot to relax and be greeted by the odd inquisitive impala, warthog or nyala. If you're feeling adventurous, book a guided mountain bike trail, bird walk or game drive and explore the greater Hlane area. In the absence of electricity in Ndlovu Camp, the area is romantically lit at night with candles and parafin lanterns. It's also within easy reach of Ndlovu's semi-open-air restaurant and floodlit waterhole. Hlane Activities Center, a braai/barbeque area (with firewood provided), communal kitchen, and hot showers are all available.
Hlane National Park
Explore Hlane National Park on a game drive. This park used to be a private royal hunting ground, which gives you some idea of its calibre as a wildlife-viewing destination. It is Swaziland’s largest park, spanning an impressive 30,000 hectares. Landscape-wise, it’s a flat lowland area with some grasslands and shallow pans. There's a great chance of catching sight of Wildebeest, zebra and impala, especially in the drier months. Notably, cheetahs were reintroduced to the park relatively recently. The park also has an abundant and diverse array of birdlife, boasting the highest density of nesting white-backed vultures in all of Africa.
Kruger National Park
Crossing back into South Africa, journey to Kruger National Park – one Africa's very best wildlife arenas (130kms/80miles - approximately 4 hours). On arrival, head out for an afternoon game drive in search of some of its wild beasts. Later on, there will be the option of a night drive with the park guide. This is a great chance to spot nocturnal animals and perhaps even a night-time predator or two – catch a lion or hyena out hunting, or perhaps an impala out in search of a late-night feed. For an ATM, you can visit Lataba nearby.
Today's game drive will be in our regular van.
Kruger National Park
Enjoy further explorations of Kruger. You will embark on a second game drive today, hopefully spotting some animals you didn't cross off the list yesterday! One of the largest game reserves in Southern Africa, Kruger National Park boasts more than 500 bird species, 100 reptile species and 150 mammal species. The big five and the endangered African wild dog are no exceptions. Depending on the areas you visit, you'll have the chance to see some exotic birds along the way, from the tiny bronze mannikin to the more conspicuous ostrich. Keep an eye to the sky where, if you're lucky, a giant eagle owl or martial eagle might be soaring.
Today's game drive will be in an open sided 4x4.
Blyde River Canyon
Visit parts of the Blyde River Canyon, including the three rondavels en route to Graskop (120kms/75miles - approximately 6 hours). One of South Africa's most spectacular attractions, Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world, and probably the greenest. It's an excellent place for walking. The sheer-sided walls of the canyon rise over 2,000 metres and the vegetation varies wildly, from dry rocky sections to rainforest, depending on the altitude. You will explore the stunning Bourke's Luck Potholes, where shadowy rock formations take on different colours and shadings in the changing light.
Blyde River Canyon
Enjoy a day of free time with your family. There are many activities on offer. You can choose to take a treetop canopy tour, or perhaps explore the countryside and local walking trails on a self-guided hike.
Enjoy a morning of free time before returning to Johannesburg (410km/255miles - approximately 7 hours). Your trip comes to an end upon arrival at Tambo International Airport in the late afternoon. If you prefer, we can also drop you at the original joining point location. Please advise your booking agent before you depart or your leader during your welcome meeting on day 1.