Walking South Africa – Small Group

A walking focused safari exploring a variety of scenic and cultural destinations within South Africa, including a visit to the beautiful Kingdom of eSwatini (the country formerly known as Swaziland). This is an active tour – the day walks range from leisurely to challenging and provide a unique adventure for those interested in a walking holiday. Highlights include visits to the old mining town of Pilgrims Rest, the game reserves of Zululand and Kruger, the Dundee battlefields and the majesty of the Drakensberg.

Tour Summary

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Day 1

Welcome to Africa! It’s been a long journey but all of that is quickly forgotten as you arrive in Johannesburg and your adventure begins. After completing entry formalities and collecting your bags, exit the arrivals hall to meet the driver from the Aero Guest Lodge who will take you to this charming hotel in a quiet suburb of this dynamic city. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy as you please – we have provided a few suggestions for you but lazing by the pool and enjoying the near-perfect climate of the City of Gold is also a good option!

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Day 2

It’s an early start today – a taxi will take you to the Rivonia Hotel to meet the rest of the group for the tour briefing. We depart Johannesburg and head east to Mpumalanga. During the afternoon we visit the gold mining town of Pilgrims Rest, and the viewpoint over God’s Window. Stretch our legs on a short walk from Mac Mac Pools and then make our way to our chalets on the edge of the escarpment.

 

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Day 3

We are up early the next morning for our first long walk at the Blyde River. We walk from the rim of the escarpment down into the canyon with views over the Three Sisters and the river below, before making our way back up the escarpment again. After lunch we spend the afternoon exploring the forests and waterfalls which make Mpumalanga a beautiful destination. An exciting optional activity is the Graskop Gorge Lift, which lowers you down for a walk through the lush Afromontane forest below (own expense).

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Day 4

An early breakfast and we make our way to Kruger National Park. We enter the national park and spend the day on an exciting game drive. Your guide will interpret the signs of bush as we hope to see elephants, rhino and possibly the elusive leopard. We stop for a picnic lunch before completing our game drive in the late afternoon as we exit the park and make our way to our private game lodge in the Greater Kruger area.

 

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Day 5

A highlight of our tour is the early morning game walk with a local ranger. Quietly we venture into the bush, learning the tracks and other signs of the wildlife we hope to find on foot.

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Day 6

We enter the Kingdom of Swaziland and travel through a lush fruit farming area before heading into the mountains.  We spend 2 nights on the outskirts of Malalotja Nature Reserve with a full day to walk through this seldom explored mountainous reserve.

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Day 7

The Swazi people have a rich cultural heritage and we will visit the craft and medicine markets on day 7 as we pass through the capital, Mbabane.

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Day 8

Crossing into South Africa we head towards our lodge on a private game reserve situated on the Ukuwela Conservancy. We take a walk with our local walking guide who will point out some of the 540+ bird species found in the area, and track the shy Nyala antelope in the riverine vegetation of the Msinene River.

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Day 9

This morning we visit Hluhluwe Game Reserve, a key area for rhino conservation and visit a Zulu village to learn more about their culture. Enjoy sunset and the sounds of the bush before a hearty dinner at the lodge.

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Day 10

We leave the bush of Zululand behind us and make our way through the scenic hills and valleys of Zululand to the small town of Dundee.  Here battles were fought between the Zulus, British and the Boer troops – war cries still resound in the hills.  We spend time at the informative Tulana museum before we settle into our lodge and have some free time in the afternoon.

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Day 11

This morning we explore the Isandlwana battlefield before we embark on an exciting 4-5 hour hike tracing the steps of the two British fugitives through the undulating hills of Zululand to the Buffalo River. Later in the day we visit Rourkes Drift before returning to the lodge.

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Day 12

Witness the grandeur of the Drakensberg Mountains or uKhahlamba “Barrier of Spears”. We overnight at the base of the “berg” (alt. 1,600m)

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Day 13

We spend a full day walking the mountain trails before taking an invigorating dip in the clear mountain streams of the Royal Natal National Park. The crisp mountain air is refreshing and our lodge is a fantastic place to relax and enjoy the splendour of the mountain views.

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Day 14

We start the day with an early breakfast and make our way to Witsieshoek at the foot of the magnificent Sentinel Peak. At the end of a rough gravel road we start our trek, including a short chain ladder section, to the top of the Drakensberg Amphitheatre and the beautiful Tugela Falls (alt. 3,000m), offering unparalleled views down into KwaZulu-Natal. After our walk we make our way to the lodge perched high in the mountains (alt. 2,300m) overlooking the Mont-Aux-Sources mountain range.

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Day 15

A leisurely start to the day, with the chance to spot the endangered bearded vulture soaring overhead, before we make our way back to Johannesburg. Tour ends at +/-17:00.

Included

Overnight 13 nights on safari we stay at small, intimate and often private lodges (including tented camps), with en suite facilities. Shared accommodation (clients travelling alone will be allocated a room with another traveller of the same gender for free; single supplement is NOK 6 000 extra

Meals 13 breakfasts, 14 lunches and 10 dinners are included. Of which 9 breakfasts & 8 dinners are provided by the lodges. The remaining included meals are provided by the Sunway crew, prepared at the vehicle and eaten around the boma or campfire.

Transport we use custom-built Sunway Safari trucks with 12 forward facing seats. These vehicles are comfortable for cruising with large sliding windows and front hatches giving everyone a good view; or (on 30% of tours) Mercedes Sprinter minibuses with 12 seats and air conditioning (with a trailer for equipment and gear).

Limited participation An essential part of your safari is some participation. From carrying your own bag to your room and day packs and water bottles on hikes, to packing the truck in the morning – it’s all part of your adventure. Where the tour leaders provide meals we ask that clients help (on rotation) with the washing up. When everyone puts in a little effort the trip will run smoothly and efficiently ensuring it is enjoyable for all involved

Not Included

Flights, visa fees, meals other than those specified in itinerary