11 day 'fast and furious' camper trip in South Africa ER 413

Description

11 day 'fast and furious' camper trip in South Africa ER 413

Three nature's beauties are found in the Mpumalanga Province: the Blyde River Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world, the Sudwala Caves, the oldest caves in the world and the Kruger National Park, undoubtedly the most famous wildlife park in the world. Mpumalanga means 'place where the sun rises' which is definitely worthwhile the visit. Also as a bonus you will get a taste of the Kingdom of Swaziland. The green KwaZulu-Natal Province on the Indian Ocean is home to the Zulu tribe, the largest tribe in South Africa. This camper tour gives you the opportunity to experience in a short time the many fascinating highlights of a part of South Africa

 

11 day 'fast and furious' camper trip in South Africa ER 413

Itinerary:

Day 1-2 Blydepoort/Forever Resorts Blyde Canyon/Camping 2 nights.
Distance: about 340 km.

You can collect your camper van at the camper depot in Johannesburg between 8 and 9 in the morning. After the paper work has been done and you received all your instructions, your adventurous holiday can start!

Your first day will be lots of driving so please leave as soon as you can. We are taking you through the Mpumalanga province which captures the world's vision of Africa. Endless bush veld, the simmering haze above the hot plains, darting antelope and the thrilling sight of the buffalo, elephant, rhino or leopard. Don't be fooled by the monotonous landscape at first that will change quickly!

If you feel you have spare time please visit the Botshabelo Mission Station, 13 km north of Middelburg. This area is the ancestral home of the Southern Ndebele, famous for their love of colourful and symbolic decoration and you can see exquisite examples of their famous work in this museum. Or visit the Fort Merensky, a strange but impressive historic building, lots of wars have been taken place in this region.

There will be lots to see in the flowing grasslands of Mpumalanga which stretches north and east of the high veld plateau, rising towards the towering Drakensberg mountain range. The Drakensberg Escarpment, marks the point where the high veld plunges down over 1000 m, before spilling out onto the eastern low veld. It is one of South Africa's most scenic areas, marked by dramatic cliffs, stunning views and an abundance of adventure activities. So drive slowly and enjoy the ride!

Don't forget to admire the Montrose Falls while having tea in the garden of the Montrose Hotel overlooking the waterfall. The road leads you through lush farmland and you can buy tropical fruits, nuts and curious from road side stalls. If you are a cave lover, a visit to the Sudwala Caves is a must! A guide will take you 600 m inside and 150 m below the earth to admire nature's wonder.

The road northwards via Graskop to the Blyde River Canyon should be taken at a leisurely pace so that the breath taking views can be enjoyed! Pinnacle Rock, Jock's View, God's Window are some of the spots where you can stop to look out from a sheer cliff outposts over the expanse of the low veld. Further north laid the Lisbon Falls and the Berlin Falls before you reach Bourke's Luck Potholes. Here you can follow the paths and bridges to the viewing sites overlooking the extraordinary example of river erosion.

The Forever Resort Blyde Canyon where you will stay for the coming 2 nights is situated between Graskop and Ohrigstad. It is surrounded by the spectacular Drakensburg Mountains and the breath taking scenery of the Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon of the world, which makes it the location perfect for nature lovers and adventure seekers! The resort offers 30 spacious caravan and camping sites equipped with power supply and serviced by two neat ablution facilities. There is a convenience store, filling station and not forgetting a famous restaurant where you can relax and enjoy the unforgettable view of the Three Rondavels.

So put on your hiking boots and start exploring or if you don't like to walk go horse riding!
Northwards the Blyde River Canyon has carved a magnificent gorge though the mountains which you can admire from the viewing points. The canyon is dominated by three similarly shaped peaks, the Three Rondavels and by Mariepskop. There are a number of short walks in the surrounding area to points where you can look down to the Blydepoort Dam.

Via the Bonnet Pass you can visit Pilgrim's Rest, the first gold mining town in South Africa. Today the entire quaint town is preserved as a national monument and living museum. Pilgrim's Rest is also the starting point for two routes, the Morgenzon Trail and the Rambler's Trail, offering a selection of short walks.

Be in time back in the resort to have you sun downer cocktail at the restaurant while overlooking the Three Rondavels!

Day 3 Kruger National Park/Satara rest camp/Camp site 1 night.
Distance: about 120 km.

With its vast savannahs, abundant wildlife and long conservation history, the Kruger National Park is one of the best safari destinations of the world and you are about to experience that! Although it is served by an extensive network of roads and rest camps, this infrastructure barely affects the natural wildness. The speed limit of 40 mph should never be exceeded as not only for the fines but also game spotting is seldom successful when travelling above this speed.

It is unwise to cover large areas in a short time, it can be very rewarding simply sitting quietly at a water hole rather than driving around in the hot sun. The best game viewing is in the morning until around 10 am or in the late afternoon.

Most animals are found throughout the park, but the frequency of sightings is determined by the topography and vegetation.

Tonight you will stay in the Satara rest camp which is situated in an area of flat and fertile plains that attract large numbers of grazing animals and is one of the best spots to view lions. The ambience of Satara Camp recalls the mood of the colonial Africa with red-roofed public buildings, thatched rondawels and neatly raced paths. This camp is the third biggest one in the park and has i.e. a grocery store, restaurant, filling station, laundry facilities and a swimming pool. So no time to waste here.

Think of booking a night drive which allows you in on the nocturnal activities of Kruger's secretive creatures while in the company of experienced guides and trackers. Guided bush walks with trained field guides who take groups of up to 8 people out into the bush for a few hours are not to be missed. Learn and observe fascinating facts about the African bush. There are also regular day game drives. Plenty of activities like bush barbecues and traditional dances complement the game viewing.

Day 4 Kruger National Park/Skukuza rest camp/Camp site 1 night.
Distance: about 80 km.

A fascinating drive ahead of you towards your next rest camp. Have an early game drive and/or enjoy the hot midday hours by having a leisurely picnic at a water hole or in camp.

Skukuza camp is situated on the southern banks of the Sabie River. Well foliaged, with lofty trees along the river's edge, you can expect a diverse amount of animals and plants at this popular camp, as well as an extensive range of activities and facilities. If you love playing golf, you can do it here!
Besides the bigger animals, other attractions include wild dog, a warthog population, vervet monkey (from which you should be careful to protect your possessions). Night time visits are made by genet, thick-tailed bush baby and fruit bat, while the river front of the camp offers.

Day 5 Kruger National Park/Berg-en-Dal rest camp/Camp site 1 night.
Distance: about 170 km.

Most animals live scattered throughout the park, but the amount and frequency of observations are determined by the terrain and vegetation. You will enjoy again a fantastic 'Out of Africa' experience during your route to your next camp.

Located in the midst of striking prehistoric settlements on the Matjulu Spruit, Berg-en-Dal camp has been built with care and preservation for the surrounding area, original San rock paintings still clearly visible from the hill shelters along the Bushman trail. And here you will be staying tonight. This camp is one of the few places in which one can regularly see the rare and beautiful wild dog, Africa's most endangered carnivore. So keep you camper van closed at night! You will find all the necessary facilities like a shop, restaurant and fuel station and you can have some adventure in the form of guided bush walks and game drives, all under the supervision of well informed and keen professional field guides or just jump in their swimming pool.

Day 6 Swaziland/Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary/Camp site 1 night.
Distance: about 230 km.

Perhaps tough to say goodbye to so much beauty but be assured that you will experience lots more. Have your passport ready as today you will experience another African country namely the Kingdom of Swaziland. You can leave the Kruger Park via the Malelane border post and drive towards the Jeppe's Reef border.

Swaziland is a fascinating country with its laid-back ambience, friendly people and relative lack of racial animosities. Small as it may be, Swaziland is an exciting destination with its art and craft outlets and traditional markets and wildlife reserves. Visit the Matsamo Cultural village where you get to live just like the traditional Swazi in a custom-built 'hive'. This is a traditional Swazi village where the colourful Matsamo people tend their cattle, cultivate their crops and produce beautiful crafts. The drive to Piggs Peak is one of the most scenic in the country. Check out the Sibebe Rock, Ngwena Glass village, where each item is handmade from 100% recycled glass and/or visit a vibrant local Swazi market on your way to the beautiful Ezulwini Valley where you will stay the night in the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary..

At Mlilwane Game Reserve tame birds and animals are free to come and go and wander through the camp ground. This sanctuary is a tranquil retreat and offers horse and bike trails, game drives, walks and bird viewing. Or open your lungs by climbing to the top of a mountain and looking out at infinity or swim in the mountain springs.

The Mlilwane Rest Camp is found in the southern corner of the reserve, in the midst of a well matured rehabilitated area. Tall indigenous trees, all grown from seed, now tower over the camp overlooking an artificially created wetland system, which is home to hippopotamus, crocodile and a variety of water birds including infrequent visiting fish eagles.

The camp is unfenced, yet relatively safe as only smaller species of wildlife occur in the Sanctuary. The camp is tranquil and relaxing with a continual stream of animals such as impala, warthog and ostrich too, walking between the facilities quietly tolerant of human presence.

Day 7-8 Hluhluwe/Bushbaby Lodge/Camping 2 nights.
Distance: about 250 km.

Back to South Africa and this time to Zululand a place of unspoilt beauty characterized by a pristine coastline, abundant forests, rolling green hills and zig zagging rivers. It is a world of rich natural diversity and enormous social contrasts, a place where modern lifestyles thrive adjacent to a culture steeped in traditions.

The next two nights you will be staying at the Bushbaby Lodge in Hluhluwe in the heart of Elephant Coast, in a picturesque tropical garden under the shade of enormous indigenous trees with South African hospitality at its best. Treat yourself to traditional home cooking, or make use of the equipped communal kitchen and cater for yourself. Enjoy leisurely walks while viewing the rich bird live and game of the area. This is a malaria area so please take precaution.

They are only 20 minutes away from the Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve which cannot be missed! As one of South Africa's most celebrated game parks, the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is renowned for its variety of animal and bird life, its wide-ranging photography, and an extremely rich diversity of tree and plant communities. The game reserve offers visitors activities from self-guided walks, auto-trails, game drives as well as picnic sites. Viewing hides overlook pans and waterholes enabling visitors to see animals at close range..

Day 9-10 St. Lucia/Cape Vidal/Camping 2 nights.
Distance: about 100 km.

Today you only have a short drive so make the most of the extra time you have to explore the beautiful surroundings. Don't forget to buy your groceries and water for the night in St. Lucia village as there are no shops at your next peaceful stopover in Cape Vidal in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa's first World Heritage Site. The 332 000 hectare Park contains three major lake systems, eight interlinking ecosystems, 700 year old fishing traditions, most of South Africa's remaining swamp forests, Africa's largest estuarine system, 526 bird species and 25 000 year-old coastal dunes - among the highest in the world.

The name iSimangaliso means miracle and wonder, which aptly describes this unique place. In December the loggerhead and leatherback turtles come out of the sea to lay their eggs on the beaches. What more can we say?

Cape Vidal is a magnificent coastal resort set in a sheltered coastal bay with shallow pools and rock ledges for snorkelling, fishing, and unspoiled beaches for walking and self-guided trails around the fascinating wetlands, in the rich coastal forest and on the shores of Lake Bhangazi. This iSimangaliso Wetland Park offers a mind-blowing range of natural systems, ranging from dune, swamp and coastal forests to rocky and sandy shores, coral reefs and submarine canyons, mangroves, savannah grassland, thickets, woodlands, and the largest protected wetland in southern Africa.

On the same day you could see hippos, crocodiles, buffalo, elephants, whales on their northerly migration to Mozambique to calve, loggerhead and leatherback turtles in summer as they come onto the beaches to lay their eggs, dolphins, and a variety of water, forest or grassland birds. In other words you will be spoilt by this unique piece of paradise and we trust you will indulge every moment.
Gate times: Summer (01 October - 31 March) 05:00 - 19:00. Winter (01 April - 30 September) 06:00 - 18:00.

Day 11 Johannesburg
Distance: about 600 km.

Today is the day you have to say goodbye to your holiday home. Please deliver your camper van before16.00 pm at the camper depot in Johannesburg. We hope you had a fantastic holiday and hope to see you again. Have a safe flight.

If you haven't booked a flight yet, please click here: flights
If you need a travel and cancellation insurance, please click here: travel insurance
If you need advice or further information, please click here: contact

You can choose your own camper directly via www.camperspecialist.co.za or alternatively contact us via info@zuidafrikaspecialist.nl.

Duration:

11 Days, 10 nights

Departure:

Daily or based on availability

Accommodation:

Camping sites with electricity or otherwise

Care:

Based on self-catering

Price:

Per person based on double occupancy

Starting point:

Johannesburg

Endpoint:

Johannesburg

Malaria area:

Yes

Age:

All ages

Trip characteristics:

Active and adventurous

Countries:

South Africa and Swaziland

Highlights:

Kruger National Park, Panorama Route, Swaziland and Elephant Coast

Visa required:

No

Including:
-
Reserved camping sites
(according to description or equivalent)
- Road map

Excluding:
-
Flights
- Travel and cancellation insurance
- Camper hire: book directly via www.camperspecialist.co.za
- Optional activities
- Cross-border fees, gratuities and entrance fees