Drakensberg to Victoria Falls

ANNESEN TOURS
REF 169
DRAKENSBERG – HLUHLUWE – SWAZILAND – KRUGER NATIONAL PARK – PANORAMA ROUTE- VICTORIA FALLS

DAY 1
Upon arrival at OR Tambo International you will be met by your driver and guide and transfer to the Northern Drakensberg where you will check into your hotel. This will be your home for the next three nights.

DAY 2-3

All hikes will be conducted by your guide who is experienced in the Drakensberg. There are numerous trails and hikes from the hotel:

THE FERN FOREST

  • 2 hours round trip
  • Distance 3km
  • Undulating with easy stream crossings

Ferns, lichens and yellowwood trees, deep clear pools and splashing water falls delight the casual walker on a short and undemanding ramble.

BUSHBUCK RIDGE AND NATURAL POOL

  • 2 hours round trip
  • Distance 3km
  • Undulating with a short, steep but safe section

 Bushbuck Ridge is also a good place to meet up with baboons who live in the area.

Continue your hike through the grasslands, and carry on down towards the Sungubala jeep track, past a rural school and down to a narrow flood plain. This is the highest spot in the Drakensberg where acacia trees occur.

Be prepared for a swim at the Natural Pool at the end. The rocks are slippery so caution is advised. Walk back to the hotel along the main road.

THE TUGELA GORGE WALK – ROYAL NATAL NATIONAL PARK

  • Full day hike
  • 22.5km round walk

The scenery on the Tugela Gorge Walk is spectacular.   The path meanders in and out of lush forests which cascade down the hills to the river below.   Views of the Amphitheatre wall which rises 1800m from the valley floor are magnificent.   The last kilometer through the Gorge entails three boulder crossings.

   

 Pause for a swim in the crystal clear white sandstone rock pools before attempting the chain ladder or scramble through a 60m tunnel.   The rewards are great with awe-inspiring views of the Amphitheatre, Devil’s Tooth and the Eastern Buttress.

DAY 4

Check out of your hotel and travel to Hluhluwe via Durban. It should be possible to stop in Durban for lunch before continuing up the Kwa-Zulu Natal North Coast to Hluhluwe. Check into your hotel. This will be your home for the next three nights.

DAY 5
Enjoy a day safari in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve, stopping for lunch at a restaurant in the Reserve. Hluhluwe is one of the oldest reserves in Africa, where Zulu kings Shaka and Dingiswayo hunted and where the first conservation laws were put in place. The Park covers some 96,000 hectares and contains a huge diversity of fauna and flora, including the Big Five.

Return to the hotel in time to freshen up before dinner.

DAY 6

After breakfast embark on a visit to Duma Zulu Village. At Duma Zulu Cultural Village, visitors are invited to experience authentic hospitality and learn about traditional arts, crafts and ways of life of the Zulu Kingdom. Experience the beat of the Zulu drums, taste the locally brewed beer and discover the rich cultural significance of Zululand’s famous beadwork, basketry, pottery and weaving.

Duma Zulu Cultural Village is a traditional Zulu Village where you can watch beaders at work, learn about the art of basket weaving and see how men craft the spears, shields and drums for which this warrior nation is famous.

Continue onto the St Lucia Wetlands and board the cruise boat for a tour of Lake St Lucia, where you will see the crocodiles and hippos in their natural habitat.

A very special slice of Africa, the Wetland Park, which is a World Heritage Site, offers visitors some of the most diverse wildlife and outdoor experiences imaginable. This unique 38,000 ha expanse of lake, islands and estuary, incorporates an astonishing variety of habitats ranging from the Lebombo Mountains to grasslands, forests, wetlands, mangroves and vegetated dunes, with magnificent beaches and coral reefs. 

Return to the hotel.

DAY 7
After breakfast the tour travels in a southern direction towards the Lavumisa border post, where you will enter the Kingdom of Swaziland.

You will get the opportunity to stop over at a local market and the world famous Swazi Candle Factory where every candle is hand made, before checking into your hotel for the night.

DAY 8

After breakfast check out of the hotel and travel to a Game Lodge in Malelane, close to the Kruger National Park. The Lodge is situated in a private game reserve.

Check in and overnight.

DAY 9

An early morning guided bush walk which departs from the Lodge between 06:30 and 07:00 gives the opportunity to see game close up, and although not guaranteed, you could get to see black and white Rhino, Buffalo, Sable and Roan Antelope, Hippo to name but a few animal species that live in the Reserve.

In the afternoon there is a game drive which departs at 15:00 in time to see the animals being fed in their feeding areas.

DAY 10

Check out of the Lodge after breakfast, board the coach and enter the Kruger National Park at the Malelane Gate. Travel through the Park towards Skukuza where you will be taken to a Lodge before heading out into the bush for your overnight stay on a platform.

   

Depart from the Lodge after high tea for an afternoon game drive. Just before the sun sets you will arrive at the Sleep Outs. After a short orientation you will choose your platform where you will spend the night.

The platforms overlook a waterhole where you can enjoy the spectacular African sunset and the sounds of the bush whilst enjoying sundowners. Your guide will prepare your food on an open fire. The only sounds that might disturb your sleep are the laugh of the hyena or the roar of the lion.

In the morning enjoy a light snack before heading back to the Lodge for a hearty brunch.

Please note that sleep outs are highly dependent on weather conditions. Should the weather be unfavourable on the day of the sleep out, such as heavy rain, or if there has been heavy rain in the days preceding the sleep out, guests may have to remain at the Lodge due to the platforms being inaccessible.

DAY 11

From there the tour continues onto the spectacular scenic Panorama Route one of the most beautiful and popular travel destinations in South Africa. It leads through the rugged mountain range of the northern Drakensberg and passes the north-eastern part of the Great Escarpment.

The tour includes a visit to Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Three Rondawels and the Blyde River Canyon. Bourke’s Luck Potholes is a natural water feature and marks the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon. Through countless eons the swirling whirlpools which occur as the Treur River plunges into the Blyde River caused waterborne sand and rock to grind huge, cylindrical potholes into the bedrock of the river.

The rest of the afternoon is spent wandering around the old Mining Town of Pilgrim’s Rest.  The area is richly imbued with a diversity of natural, cultural and historic gems.  The uniqueness of this historic village is vividly evident in its museums and historic sites.  It offers the visitor a fascinating window into the past and captures the spirit of a bygone era and its people in their quest for gold.   The entire town of Pilgrim’s Rest was declared a National Monument in 1986 as a living memory of the early gold rush days in South Africa during the late 1800s / early 1900s.   

Check into a historic hotel in Pilgrim’s Rest where you will overnight.

 DAY 12 

Check out of the hotel after breakfast and travel to OR Tambo International in Johannesburg where you will connect with your flight home.

  • Victoria Falls Option

Upon arrival at OR Tambo International, you will be transferred to your hotel where you will overnight.

DAY 13

Transfer to OR Tambo and fly to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.   On arrival in Victoria Falls you will be taken to the Guest House where you will check in.  Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. 

In the late afternoon, your guide and driver will pick you up from the Guest House and you will go on the spectacular Zambezi River Sundowner Cruise. It is possible to see game on the banks of the river as well as basking crocodiles and hippos.

Spend the time relaxing with snacks and drinks whilst enjoying the splendour of the African sunset over the mighty Zambezi.

Overnight at the Guest House.

DAY 14

After breakfast, you will be taken to visit the Victoria Falls and a local craft market.

The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) is a waterfall located in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The falls are some of the largest in the world

DAY 15

Check out of the Guest House and transfer to Victoria Falls Airport to connect with your flight to OR Tambo International and from their home.

 

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