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South Africa Walking & Wildlife
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On this Small Group Journey you’ll join a group of like-minded outdoors enthusiasts as you explore the best of South Africa and Swaziland’s mountain scenery and follow some of the region’s most spectacular walking trails, including the stunning Drakensberg Mountains. Along the way, you’ll stop to look for the Big Five in Kruger National Park and search for wild dogs in the Letaba Ranch Game Reserve.
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Your Example Itinerary
Fly from the UK to Johannesburg.
Arrive in Johannesburg and, after meeting the rest of your group, head straight on to Graskop to hike the trails and admire the spectacular scenery. You’ll travel through South Africa’s highest town, Belfast, at 1,970m, and explore the forests and grassland of the Prospector’s Trail as you hike to the gold mining town of Pilgrim’s Rest. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the banks of the Blyde River and have a go at panning for gold.
Letaba Ranch Reserve
Drive the scenic Panorama Route to Letaba Ranch Reserve, soaking up the views of the Bourke’s Luck Potholes and the enormous Blyde River Canyon along the way. You’ll pass by God’s Window, where a layer of cloud known as God’s Blanket may be visible. In the evening, look out for elephant, wild dog and buffalos on a game drive in the Greater Kruger area, before a further game walk the following morning with a local guide and tracker.
Kruger National Park
Continue the game viewing in Kruger National Park, the world’s most famous game park and flagship South African wildlife viewing destination. Here, you’ll set out on two game drives in search of lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo, otherwise known as the Big Five, but keep your eyes peeled for cheetah, giraffe, hippo and antelope too. It might be an early morning start, but this is the best time of day to see the animals before the heat of the day kicks in.
Malolotja Nature Reserve
Cross the border into Swaziland and hike along some of around 200km of pathways in the Malolotja Nature Reserve, where the picturesque hills are home to over 280 species of bird including eagles and bald ibis. There are plenty of wildflowers too, including nearly 40 different types of orchid. Follow the Nkomati River on foot along its gorges and rapids before viewing the cascade of the Majolomba Falls over a relaxed picnic lunch.
Return to South Africa and St Lucia, a small Indian Ocean town with a lake of the same name. Look for crocodiles and hippos on the water’s edge and watch out for birds too. Choose to go whale watching (June to November only) and explore the St Lucia Lagoon by boat. You’ve a good chance of spotting fish eagles on the water, then later on, you might be lucky enough to glimpse a rhino or two from the bird hides. After all that wildlife watching, you’ll have time to chill out on the beach.
Continue to the Zulu Battlefields, 300kms away in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal region. Here, you’ll walk for about four hours along the Fugitive Trail, which follows the route taken by the very few British survivors from the Battle of Isandlwana in 1879. Learn more about the conflicts in the region between Zulu, British and Boer armies and see the various memorials and museums scattered around the area.
Hike among the spectacular scenery of the Drakensberg. Starting with the jagged mountains of Royal Natal national Park, you can choose from walks to rocks and cliffs or Bushmen paintings. After two days, move on to Witsiehoek and walk to Tiger Falls and Basuto Gate, trekking along the edge of the mountains. At an altitude of 2,900m, walk along the Thukela River to the towering cascade of the Tugela Falls, the world’s second tallest waterfall, and look out for bearded vultures. Over four days in the Drakensberg, there’s approximately 20 hours of walking, but believe us, it’s worth it.
After an optional final morning walk, return to Johannesburg and depart for the UK.
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