Summary

Travel Style: , ,
Destinations: Africa
  • 15 Days From
    R 37800
  • Trip code: TZS
  • Activity: Walking & Trekking, Multi-Country Walking Holidays, Wildlife Walks
  • Min age: 16
  • Group size: 4 - 12
Moderate

Trek South Africa’s Drakensberg and go on safari in Kruger

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.

Key information
  • 9 days walking
  • Mixture of wildlife spotting and walking
  • Altitude max 2900m, average 1250m
  • Group normally 4 to 12, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • 11 nights log cabins and chalets and 3 nights permanent tented camp
Activities
  • 9 days walking
  • Mixture of wildlife spotting and walking
  • Altitude max 2900m, average 1250m
  • Group normally 4 to 12, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • 11 nights log cabins and chalets and 3 nights permanent tented camp
Highlights
  • 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
What's included
  • All breakfasts, 14 unches, 11 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
    Food

    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.

Highlights

  • 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

Dates & Pricing

 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
03 Aug 2019
17 Aug 2019
Guaranteed (Fully Booked)
R 37900
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
17 Aug 2019
31 Aug 2019
Guaranteed (Limited Availability)
R 39700
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
26 Oct 2019
09 Nov 2019
Guaranteed (Limited Availability)
R 37900
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
23 Nov 2019
07 Dec 2019
Guaranteed (Available)
R 37900
 
Start
Finish
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Price
11 Jan 2020
25 Jan 2020
Guaranteed (Available)
R 38800
 
Start
Finish
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Price
25 Jan 2020
08 Feb 2020
Available
R 40600
 
Start
Finish
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08 Feb 2020
22 Feb 2020
Available
R 40600
 
Start
Finish
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Price
22 Feb 2020
07 Mar 2020
Available
R 40600
 
Start
Finish
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21 Mar 2020
04 Apr 2020
Available
R 40600
 
Start
Finish
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Price
11 Apr 2020
25 Apr 2020
Available
R 39700
 
Start
Finish
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Price
09 May 2020
23 May 2020
Available
R 39700
 
Start
Finish
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04 Jul 2020
18 Jul 2020
Available
R 39700
 
Start
Finish
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Price
18 Jul 2020
01 Aug 2020
Available
R 39700
 
Start
Finish
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Price
01 Aug 2020
15 Aug 2020
Available
R 39700
 
Start
Finish
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Price
15 Aug 2020
29 Aug 2020
Available
R 39700
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
29 Aug 2020
12 Sep 2020
Available
R 40600
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
12 Sep 2020
26 Sep 2020
Available
R 40600
 
Start
Finish
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Price
26 Sep 2020
10 Oct 2020
Available
R 39700
 
Start
Finish
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10 Oct 2020
24 Oct 2020
Available
R 39700
 
Start
Finish
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24 Oct 2020
07 Nov 2020
Available
R 39700
 
Start
Finish
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14 Nov 2020
28 Nov 2020
Available
R 39700

Reviews

South Africa: Walking, Landscapes and Wildlife

This trip is a great way to See South Africa across a variety of landscapes, nmainly through National Parks and game reserves. There is a range of nenvironments from the Drakensberg mountains to the Indian Ocean beaches at St nLucia with spectacular walks. There are long drives, over 3000km in total, nin a reasonably comfortable 14 passenger minibus. Travelling in May, the nweather was dry, sunny and warm, except at night and the highest walks. The naccommodation varied between basic and very comfortable, but always clean.

Rating 5
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • Most of the scenery was striking but the Drakenberg mountains was probably nthe most spectacular, especially at sunrise. The walk from the historic nbattlefield at Isandlwana to Rorke's Drift was very atmospheric and fording nBuffalo River was an certainly an experience in waist deep water (take a dry nbag for valuables just in case). Although I have experienced better safari ndrives elsewhere in Africa, the night safari in the Kruger was memorable nafter seeing a pride of 8 lions on the move.

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Sku and Morrison looked after us well with good knowledge of the areas and nwildlife. They set a good pace on the walks for the group.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • Make sure you are practised and fit for hill walking with a backpack as some nwalks are steep and most of the terrain is rocky, not prepared, paths. Good nknees and ankles are essential! Walking poles can be helpful on some walks. nThe chain ladders on the final walk are not demanding unless you suffer from nvertigo.nThere were laundry facilities at St Lucia.nIn May there were no or few insects although covering in the evening is still nadvisable, also for the cooler temperatures.nPeriodic stops at good supermarkets allowed replenishment of snacks or nanything else.nFood and drink at restaurants is very good and excellent value.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • Our group was a good range of ages from 29 to retirees which made the mix nmore enjoyable. South Africa is a spectacular country and, for any who has nnot yet been to Africa, this trip is great way to start.nBe prepared for the inevitable tips. ATMs are available in towns and most nplaces are happy to take card payments.

South Africa: landscapes, wildlife and battlefields

The Exodus holiday in South Africa was a wonderful introduction to African nlandscapes and wildlife. I have travelled widely in my life but with little nexperience of Africa. This holiday exceeded my expectations in two ways: the nremarkable opportunities to see wildlife at close quarters in Kruger; the namazing landscapes of the Blyde River canyon, Swaziland and the Drakensurg nMountains. My enjoyment of the holiday had a lot to do with the way it was norganised and led by the group leader. I have been left with many great nmemories.

Rating 5
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • It was inspirational to be in Kruger National Park for a few days and to see nthe great variety of wildlife. I'm thankful that there remain a few places on nearth that have this rich ecosystem. A three hour walk just after dawn was nespecially exciting - being aware that large animals were around us and that nwe were walking through their natural habitat, their world

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • The group leader, Rowan Moon, was excellent and I rate him highly. His nenthusiasm and energy was infectious. He is natural leader and developed a nclose relationship with us as a group and as individuals. Organisation and ntime-keeping was excellent. He has developed a very good working relationship nwith Sofiso, the driver, and I felt safe and well-cared for at all times. He nhas remarkable wildlife-spotting skills and was able to detect the presence nof animals (including many species of birds) and identify them accurately and ninstantly. He also has very good hiking skills and was confident at nroute-finding and care of people who struggled on more challenging parts of nthe mountain trails.nThe driver, Sofiso, was superb: very safe driving at all times on some nchallenging road surfaces, very well organised for luggage and food npreparation and hard working & reliable in all ways. He is also friendly and ngood company.nBetz, a trainee guide, worked hard assisting with food prepapration. A few ntimes she gave information when we were touring in the minibus but I found it nreally hard to understand her because she has a very strong South African naccent. This would have been a big concern for me if she had been our group nleader.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • My advice for travellers buying this holiday is to ensure that they are as nfit as possible for the days of walking. And to be aware that while the ntrails are not over-long, nor are the altitude climbs significant (about 700m nmaximum), the routes are very rugged at times, there are parts when there are nsteep or near vertical sections on or near the route, there are a few quite ntricky river crossings and there are very challenging metal ladders on the nlast two days (see my comments below). The guide Rowan, and the driver nSofiso, gave excellent support on these walks.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • I would definitely say that there is a walking activity grading problem for nthis holiday. The walking grade 'Moderate' says 'general underfoot conditions nwill be fair'. However, on all the days there were sections of the trail nwhich were more demanding than 'fair' - the Blyde River canyon to some nextent, but especially the Tugela Gorge hike, the Witsiehoek 'Crack' hike and nthe Sentinel Peak hike to the ladders. These three days, if fully completed, nincluding ascent (and descent - you have to come back down the same way) of nthe frankly hair-raising 20 metre ladder up to the Tugela Falls viewpoint, nwould clearly fit into a Challenging category in my opinion. So, the length nof the walks are Moderate (about 2 to 5 hours max) but the trails are rugged nand challenging at times. Should the holiday be given a Moderate/Challenging nrating? Or the last 2 days only could be given Challenging. Please note that nDay 13 description should make clear that the Crack is demanding for those nwith vertigo and has a 7 metre ladder which is in quite poor condition. My nwife was made aware of the ladder just the evening before and had to miss the nday's walking for this reason.nOur guides, Rowan Moon and the local guides hired were superb at all times nhelping us with these routes.nThank you.

South Africa walking and Wildlife

Really excellent trip with great variety of walking and wildlife, wonderful nscenery, great accommodation and fantastic guides.

Rating 5
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • I have to name two, one travelling through Kruger and the other being in the nDrakensberg

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Marco was excellent, well organised, worked extremely hard to make sure all nour needs were well catered for and was extremely knowledgeable about nwildlife and different geology.nHe was ably supported by Jojo, the driver and Roman who was training.nAll three were absolutely great.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • Be prepared for a lot of travelling in the minibus. The trip notes make this nclear but Iu2019m mindful not everyone fully takes everything in.nAlso, some of the walking is quite strenuous on uneven ground and involves nsome scrambling over boulders, river crossings so make sure you have nappropriate sturdy footwear.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • I loved staying in the two private reserves, particularly Zululand Lodge nwhich was a change in the itinerary from staying in St Lucia. The settings nfor most of the accommodation was absolutely fabulous.

First time in Africa

This was my second trip with Exodus, and I was confident that I was going to nhave a good time, get good value for money, and a wonderful experience. I was nnot disappointed. The booking was effortless, including the add on of four ndays in Cape Town that I requested. All the information that I needed was in nthe trip notes,and I felt well prepared.nOur guide, Innocent is very knowledgable, and keen to impart this to us, and nfor us to have as good a time as possible. JoJo, the driver/chef, is also nvery well-informed, and a very careful safe driver. A lot is asked of him, as nhe would often prepare a meal for 13 after a long day's drive, sometimes on npretty basic equipment. This he did, always cheerfully.nBoth were very keen to explain how we can help the local craft industries, nbut we never felt pressurised or uncomfortable.nThe variety of experience, each day something new, was a fantastic nintroduction to South Africa. One week essentially wildlife spotting, the nsecond hiking in some very dramatic scenery. I strongly recommend adding on a nfew days in Cape Town, if you haven't been before. It is less than a 2h nflight, and a beautiful, easy, interesting city, and a great contrast to the ngame parks and mountains.

Rating 5
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • From the wildlife aspect: a troop for 8 giraffes crossing in front of our njeep. Or maybe the lion kill? Or the weaver birds in the reeds? A vast herd nof buffalo? Not to mention two rhinoceros.n From the hiking: climbing to 3165m in the Drakensburg, the last 40m by chain nladder.

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • As I have said, Innocent is charming, reliable, knowledgable, and keen to nhelp with any (reasonable) request.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • Add on Cape Town!

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • Exodus is, in my experience, a reliable, well organised company, which gives ngood value for money. It is not 5*, and if that is what you want, you will nhave to pay a great deal more! But for a 3* deal, with some accommodation nabove that, you will not be disappointed.nWhen I got home, I turned the page of my Cicerone calendar to November, to nsee the photo of The Sentinel, in the Drakensburg Amphitheatre, take from the nlodge we stayed in!

Full on and very enjoyable

Really enjoyed this trip even though we probably did not chose the best time nof year to do this, April. Sayin that the weather was quite kind to us. nLetaba Game Reserve was a lovely start to our tour, the rangers at Mtomeni nSafari Camp were very knowledgeable and friendly, food, especially breakfast, nwas very good. Permanent tents were much better than expected. Found the nsafari section a little repetitive but still enjoyable. Early starts and then npretty full on all day but never felt rushed. Loved the beach at St Lucia, a nrelaxing few hours there was appreciated as allowed us to recharge our nbatteries. Battlefields tour very interesting and would suggest if possible nthat you try and get your guide to add in a visit to Rorkes Drift to complete nthe story. Drakensburg was the highlight for me, good walking and marvellous nscenery.

Rating 5
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • Walking in the Drakensburg, very atmospheric and beautiful

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Colly is a great tour leader prompt, helpful, considerate, accommodating, nknowledgeable and an excellent cook. Catered extremely well for this nvegetarian. Our driver Jojo is a very experienced careful driver who was a ngreat foil to Colly. Jojo is fun and also very knowledgeable especially about nrecent South African history. A great team.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • Walking for me was the top end of moderate as there are a lot of ascents and ndescents on fairly rocky paths. Walking poles would have been useful. Don't nbother talking a lot of snacks with you as there are supermarket shops every nfew days when you find most of what you want. Sandwich box very useful for nthe packed lunches so that you do not end up with a soggy mess in a plastic nbag at the bottom of your rucksack. Music for the long bus trips was very nuseful, recommend Graceland by Paul Simon.

South Africa Walking and Wildlife

Well, what a trip! Soaking up the sights and sounds of South Africa and nSwaziland was truly an amazing experience.

Rating 5
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • There were many unexpected inspirational moments for me. These included nspotting both the white and black rhino and, at night in my tent, listening nto hippos and other animals snorting and grunting close by. It was also a ndelight interacting with local shepherds in the mountains, and star-gazing at nnight. The vast dark sky made it easy to see the Milky Way. All fabulous!

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Nothing was too much trouble for Colly. He clearly enjoys what he does and nwas proud to show us South Africa and share with us his extensive knowledge nof flora, fauna, local history and culture. He and Joe the driver made a ngreat team. Both men were very kind, patient and friendly.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • If you're looking to do a 'big' holiday and can't quite make up your mind nwhich one, then go for this trip. It offers incredible variety and an nunforgettable experience.

A challenging experience

We chose this holiday for the combination of walking and wildlife offerred nand the areas within South Africa that it covered. We love the Kruger and nwere also interested in seeing the Drakensburg mountains and Swaziland. nInevitably we spent a lot of time in the minibus as we covered very long ndistances, but it was worth it. We saw plenty of wildlife and fantastic nscenerey. We stayed in some staggeringly beautiful places. My main concern nwith the holiday was always the walking, and whether we would be up to it? We nare both in our 70s, but consider ourselves reasonably fit, as we regularly nplay 3 rounds of golf a week ( walking) and always take exercise every day. nIn the event, we found the walking very tough. In the main the terrain was ndifficult: narrow steep and stoney paths with tricky footing: there was a nlot of difficult clambering across rocks and a head for heights was nessential! I feel that a grading of u201c moderateu201d for the walking was nmisleading: it seemed much more demanding than that. The altitude is high, nand this adds to the difficulty. I would have preferred to have been given nthe option of easier walks from time to time, so that I could look at the nwonderful scenery as well as my feet! Having said this, our guide was really nhelpful and got me through. I am glad we went.

Rating 4
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • Having 4 male lions walk past us on an evening drive. We must have watched nthem for about 15 minutes as we stayed with them. Fantastic!

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Really good. Very knowledgable on animals, birds, and plants. Very well ninformed. Learned alot from him. He was also very well organised and we kept nto time, without feeling stressed or hurried. He is also a very good cook: nthe meals he prepared were well cooked and very tastey: again always on time, nand hot! He also helped me a lot on the walks when I was struggling: he was nkind and thoughtful.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • You need to be tough! This is not a holiday for wimps: you need a lot of nstamina. Some of the accommodation in the camps is a bit rough: this is not a nholiday for softies. Comfortable walking boots are essential. You have to nwalk with a backpack, so a good quality one is a good idea.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • We were concerned whether everyone would be a lot younger than us. In the nevent, most people were retired or nearly retired! We had no need to worry.

Great way to see SA

An interesting and varied trip, including trekking in several locations, nsafaris in a number of places, a trip to a beach and a boat ride to see nhippos and other wildlife. I like hippos and gazelles.

Rating 5
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • Being woken by elephants at night whilst in my permanent tent in the first ngame reserve we visited.nnBeing vegetarian and not being given pasta every night for dinner. The food nwas actually very, very nice and thoughtfully prepared - with a different nmenu every night!!

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • The two leaders, Mira and Marco, were marvellous. They answered all my nquestions about the trip, the country and its history. Mira Is particularly nknowledgeable about all the scientific names of the plants in the areas we nwent.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • Take a Su00c1 travel adaptor (or be pleasantly surprised when your travel ncompanions have one). Take clothes for all climates. Be prepared not to see nany Baoba trees. It's best if you like wild animals, otherwise the safaris nare a bit boring. Some of the walks are uphill, but in the Drakebsberg nmountains you can do your own, flatter walks. The Swazi Candles shop in nSwaziland is excellent: Stock up whilst you can. No need to bring half a nsuitcase of food with you: as it turns out, there are supermarkets in SA that nsell edible vegetarian food! The group leaders also provide excellent food!!

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • Thanks to my daughter and son-in-law for taking me on this fascinating trip. nIt was an excellent trip and highly recommended.

Superb, fun-filled trip with lots of variety

This trip covers a lot of ground! I can't believe how much we managed to do nin just two weeks, and needed my photos and videos to remind me. The naccommodation was of an exceptionally high standard and we slept very well neverywhere. Our own guides were brilliant, and the external guides at various nlocations were excellent and very knowledgeable about their specialist areas.

Rating 5
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • There were too many to list them all! Crossing Buffalo River (near Rorke's nDrift) was quite an adventure - certainly very memorable. Michael Caine nwould have been proud of us :-) The Sentinel Path walk, in the Drekensburg nrange, was wonderful and the ladders weren't too challenging - well worth nthe effort to reach the escarpment with superb views for miles in all ndirections. Watching hippos at close range, from the safety of a sturdy nboat, was an amazing experience. The wildlife encounters were fantastic neverywhere - I never imagined we would be able to see so many varied species nat such close proximity.

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • We had an amazing team! Colly, Skhu and Farai were all fantastic and worked nhard from morning to night to ensure that we all had a great holiday. It was na privilege to share their insights into the fascinating culture, history and nlandscape of South Africa.nnThey were very good at judging when we needed a break on the long days ntravelling, and made sure we had plenty to eat and drink at all stages. They nprepared varied and interesting meals, and there was always more than enough nfor even the most hearty appetites.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • Read the trip notes carefully. Take plenty of sunscreen and insect nrepellent. Don't take too many clothes - the laundry service in Swaziland nwas very good and excellent value for money

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • South Africa is a wonderful country and this trip provides an excellent nintroduction to a small part of it. We added a few extra days in nJohannesburg at the end of the trip, and visited Soweto, Kliptown and the nApartheid Museum. I'd recommend it very highly and wish we'd had longer.

South Africa Wildlife and Walking

A good mix of wildlife watching in a number of areas and walking in the nDrakensberg Mountains

Rating 5
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • The view of The Amphitheatre in the Drakensberg

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Our group leader, Colly, and his assistants were excellent. They were npatient and knowledgeable. It was great to witness young men with such a npassion for their surroundings.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • My only reservation is that I didn't get to the ladders on The Sentinel nclimb. My advice is to NOT LOOK DOWN at the exposed sections (I didn't do nthis). Your leaders will make sure you are safe the whole way.

Accommodation

Chalets

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

Wifi 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.

Essential Info

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 12 lunches, 7 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.

Is this trip for you?

There are a few long drives (the longest being 6-7 hours on the first and last days) but the reward is a trip that offers an amazing variety of walking through diverse scenery, plus exciting game viewing, in a comparatively short time.

This is primarily a walking trip, although there is still time to go on an organised safari to Kruger National Park. This trip has an activity level of 3 (Moderate). Good health and reasonable fitness are important and you should take regular exercise before travelling on this trip. Moderate trips are either fairly easy medium-duration walks or harder, shorter walks. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Full Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 Land Only

Start 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*

Day 2

Hike the Prospector’s Trail to Pilgrim’s Rest.

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
Distance covered : 16 km
Activity Hours : 4-6

Day 3

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 4

Morning game walk; free afternoon.

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
Distance covered : 10 km
Activity Hours : 2-4

Day 5

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 6

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 7

Full day walk in Malolotja.

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
Distance covered : 15 km
Activity Hours : 8

Day 8

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

Day 9

Morning boat cruise and game walk; afternoon visit Cape Vidal.

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
Distance covered : 5 km

Day 10

Transfer to battlefields; hike the fugitive trail.

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
Distance covered : 10 km
Activity Hours : 4

Day 11

To Royal Natal N.P.; afternoon walk.

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,dinner
Distance covered : 8 km

Day 12

Tugela Gorge hike.

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
Distance covered : 16 km
Activity Hours : 6-8

Day 13

Full day hike to Witsieshoek.

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
Distance covered : 12 km
Activity Hours : 6

Day 14

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
Distance covered : 15 km
Activity Hours : 6

Day 15

Drive through Golden Gate N.P. en route to Johannesburg; end Johannesburg.

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

Meals Included : breakfast

Map