WILDLIFE, SCENERY AND FLOWERS - 13 DAYS

DAY 1 Gauteng – Panoramic Route

Blyde River Canyon DamOur first day on tour takes us from Johannesburg via Middelburg, Dullstroom and Ohrigstad to the magnificent Three Rondavels view site at the Blyde River Canyon. We travel further to marvel at scenic areas such as Bourke’s Luck Potholes (a walk down the hill to see this unique trick of nature is worth the experience), Lisbon Falls, God’s Window and the Pinnacle before a short visit to Pilgrim’s Rest, an early gold mining town declared a National Monument. Rich deposits of alluvial gold were found here at the end of the last century and hence the existence of the town deep in the mountains.

DAY 2  Panoramic Route – Kruger National Park

Loin with cubsAfter an early breakfast, we do a pleasant walk through indigenous forest to see the Lone Creek Falls. Then we follow a scenic route to Hazyview and enter the Kruger National Park. We spend the rest of day in this magnificent reserve around 2 million ha in extent. We overnight in the reserve in chalets in one of the rest camps.

DAY 3  Kruger National Park – Swaziland

We rise early for a breakfast on a deck overlooking the Sabie river. We spend the rest of the morning in the reserve and depart for the mountain Kingdom of Swaziland for a visit to the Ngwenya glass factory pic5.jpgwhere all the items are hand made from recycled glass. We drive through the capital, Mababane, and continue to Mhlambanyatsi where we overnight in the mountains at

DAY 4  Swaziland – Zululand – Private Reserve

This morning we have an early breakfast and then visit Swazi Candles in the Malkerns Valley where we watch the locals hand-moulding wax Cheetahinto a variety of interesting shapes.  On this site there is also a market where the locals sell their craft, as well as other shops where you can buy items like batik, hand-woven cloth, colourful handbags, etc. We then continue along the Ezulwini Valley towards Manzini, the country’s industrial centre, and then swing south towards Nhlangano on a scenic route where crossing every hill opens up a new vista. We exit Swaziland at the Onverwacht border post. We enter Zululand and travel southwards to Hluhluwe and arrive at our private lodge for check-in. Then we embark on an exiting open vehicle safari for a close encounter with Africa's wildlife. We return for a well-deserved dinner and overnight.  

DAY 5 Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park – St Lucia (iSimangaliso) – Durban

Lake St LuciaAfter an early breakfast, we travel to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Reserve and enter the reserve for another two hours of great viewing in the Big Five Reserve where the white rhino was saved from extinction. From her we travel to the village of St Lucia and join a boat cruise on the estuary of the famous Lake St Lucia (proclaimed a World Heritage Site in 1999). The lake is a wildlife paradise with bird species such as fish eagle, Goliath heron and many more. Your skipper/guide will show you the world of the hippo and the crocodile and the other mystic inhabitants of the "deep". After this unforgettable experience we travel to Durban, South Africa’s holiday Mecca, where our tour ends. Overnight City Lodge Umhlanga.

DAY 6  Durban – Pietermaritzburg – Drakenberg Mountains

Drive inland to Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KwaZulu-Natal, for a brief city tour. Tugela FallsStop at the railway station where Mahatma Gandhi was thrown off the train because of the colour of his skin, and see the waiting room where, in the silence of the night, he formulated his philosophy of passive resistance.  Visit the Church of the Vow that was built as a result of the Battle of Blood River between the Voortrekkers and the Zulus in 1838. Continue to Howick where we visit the 100m high Falls, and stop at the monument erected on the spot where Nelson Mandela was arrested in 1962. Continue through an area of gentle pastoral beauty called the Natal Midlands. We pass through grassy plains scattered with villages and lush farmlands where plump cattle and thoroughbred horses graze. We enter the Weenen Game Reserve for an afternoon of game viewing. We have a good chance of seeing, amongst others, white rhino, giraffe and zebra. Afterwards we stop at the place where Winston Churchill was arrested by the Boers during the Anglo-Boer War. Then we travel to our hotel from where you can enjoy magnificent views while enjoying sundowners. Overnight Mont Aux Sources Hotel.

DAY 7   Drakensberg Mountains – Bloemfontein

After breakfast, we visit the Royal Natal National Park. We have magnificent views of the Amphitheatre as we take a short walk to the Cascades Falls and we may be joined by a baboon. Drakensberg MoumtainsWe might even be joined by the odd baboon with the same idea. Mid-morning we commence our drive via the Oliviershoek Pass, with beautiful views onto the Sterkfontein Dam, to the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Through the ages water has modelled the sandstone into spectacular formations, and has interacted with iron oxides to produce a brilliant range of yellows, oranges and reds. On our way we may encounter red hartebeest, black wildebeest, zebra and springbuck.  Our next stop is the quaint town of Clarence that lies beneath high sandstone hills, known for its art shops and restaurants. The route to Bloemfontein leads through vast maize fields. Bloemfontein originated at a spring which, at various times, was a source of water for the ancient San people, Sotho farmers and Settlers exploring the inland from the then Cape Colony.

Bloemfontein is the capital of Free State Province and the judicial capital of South Africa. Overnight in Bloemfontein. 

DAY 8 Bloemfontein – Kimberley

Kimberley Big Hole diamond mine.JPGThis morning we drive through the city with its many historic buildings, and visit the National Women's Memorial and War Museum, commemorating the Anglo-Boer War.  Then we leave for Kimberley, the world's diamond capital, a modern city with broad, tree lined streets and attractive parks and gardens. During the world’s greatest diamond rush, hordes converged on the region and dug the world's biggest manmade hole in search of diamonds. On our city tour we visit the impressive and very interesting Big Hole Museum, where history comes to life. Overnight in Kimberley.

DAY 9  Kimberley – Kahalari Desert – Upington – Augrabies Falls

We travel further westwards towards the Kalahari Desert. We drive past sites where prospecting for diamonds, with primitive tools is still a way of life for some of the local people.  Augrabies CanyonFurther north, we see the rich iron deposits in the Sishen mining area, before we turn west again towards Upington, a town established around a Dutch Reformed Church mission station. All South Africa's dried sultanas are processed here for export to the rest of the world. The town lies next to the majestic Orange River and the lush green vineyards and palm trees stand out as an oasis in the lunar like landscape. The route along the river through Keimoes and Kakamas with their water canals and ancient water wheels that are still in use, provide good opportunities to sample some of the locally produced dates and dried fruit. We reach Augrabies Falls, the fifth largest in the world, before sunset to provide great photo opportunies. Walks to the edge of the falls and along the edge of the ravine, are rewarding. Augrabies in San means “the place of great noise). We overnight in the reserve where hyrax will probably give you a curious look while you enjoy your sundowners. Overnight Augrabies Falls.

DAY 10  Augrabies Falls – Springbok

After breakfast we do a game drive in the Augrabies Falls National Park and visit one of the greatest of all gorges cut through granite by the mighty Orange River. Orange River with NamibiaSpringbok, klipspringer, suricate (meerkat), etc. roam the semi-desert landscape. Then we commence on the pencil straight road to the West Coast. The vast expanses of space and silence, drought, and blazing sunshine on the arid landscape, have kept this mineral rich region sparsely populated. This was the home of the San (Bushmen) and now only a few remaining families live in remote areas. We turn off the highway to Pella on the Namibian border.  This delightful mission station boasts a magnificent cathedral built by two priests from plans in an encyclopaedia, and is one of two places in the country where dates are produced commercially on a large scale. We overnight in the town of Springbok. Springbok is the capital of Namaqualand and was established as a result of the copper mines in the area. 

DAY 11 Springbok – Goegap Nature Reserve – Namaqua National Park – Lamberts Bay

Breakfast provides a good start to the day, and we visit the Goegap Nature Reserve right on the doorstep of the town. Springbok and Gemsbuck (Oryx) are frequently seen here. Namaqualand.jpgThe reserve is also known for its indigenous flora, especially succulents. Depending on the rainfall, from August to October this area turns into an exquisite display of colourful flowers. Now we drive south through Namaqualand. Flowers are prolific here during the flower season (August to September) transforming the area into brilliant colours from one horizon to the other. In season, we visit the Namaqua National Park to view this spectacle. We continue past Garies, Van Rhynsdorp and Vredendal with its many vineyards, and reach the coast a little further west - we have made it across the subcontinent!  What a welcome sight the Atlantic Ocean is! We skirt along the coastline with brilliant white sandy beaches and the flat, cold seas. The Sishen iron ore railway line runs parallel to the road and we may see the world's longest train passing us. Lamberts Bay, also known as the Rock Lobster Capital of South Africa, is our overnight stop and you have the rest of the afternoon at leisure to do penguin and bird watching. Joined to the mainland by a pier, Bird Island is one of only six breeding colonies of the Cape gannet in the world, while large numbers of Cape cormorants and a small population of African penguins also breed on the island.

Day 12 Lamberts Bay – St Helena  – Saldanha – West Coast National Park – Cape Town.

After a hearty breakfast, we travel southwards past Elands Bay and Baboon Point, where a short walk into the mountain takes us to well hidden, but also well-preserved Bushman paintings on the rock-face of an overhanging cliff. Saldanha BayWe continue to Velddrif, situated at the mouth of the Berg River. Pelicans and flamingos are often seen here. White rocks and a cobalt sea greet us driving along the coastline to St Helena Bay.  We stop at the site where one of the Portuguese seafarer Vasco da Gama’s men was involved in a brawl with a group of Khoikhoi (Hottentots) in 1497. This was the first clash on the shores of Southern Africa between Europeans and Africans. St Helena Bay is the only place on the West Coast where the sun rises in the east. Here fisheries, fishing vessels, dolphins and luxurious homes exist side by side. We visit a few small fishing villages such as Stompneus Bay and Paternoster, renowned for the rock lobster found here. Then further to Saldanha, the largest natural bay in South Africa and the country’s iron ore export harbour. We visit Langebaan Lagoon and surrounding area, which comprise the West Coast National Park. This park is internationally recognised as one of the world's great wetlands. In summer, some sixty thousand birds populate this park. Ostriches will curiously look at us through the fynbos (fine bush), and if we are lucky, we may even see zebra and small antelope. In spring, this is also a flower paradise. We continue southwards to Cape Town and are greeted with some magic views of Table Mountain in the distance. The experience ends in Cape Town.

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TOUR CODE: SC-05
Namaqualand
Duration 13 Days (Departing on Sundays)
What to bring Cameras, sunscreen, insect repellent
Departing from
Johannesburg
Pretoria
O R Tambo International Airport
Departure point Hotels and guesthouse in the city bowl and the airport
Exclusions Lunces and the dinner in Durban
Inclusions The guided (escorted) tour on a scheduled basis, breakfasts, dinners except in Durban, accommodation, entrances, activities mentioned, conservation fees
Price from To find the price for your date of travel, kindly click on BOOK NOW, select your departure date and click on time slot. Then enter the number of people travelling to get the per person rate, the total and a deposit amount if available to book your tour.
Return point Hotels and guesthouses in the city bowl
Destinations
Johannesburg
Mpumalanga
Kruger National Park
Swaziland
Zululand
Lake St Lucia
Drakensberg Mountains
Free State
Northern Cape
Kimberley
Namaqualand
West Coast
Countrywide
Tour ends
Cape Town
What to wear Comfortable casual and smart casual clothing

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