18 days adventurous camper holiday ER 400

Description

You almost cannot think of a better way to explore this magnificent part of South Africa than with your own private camper van. This trip will take you to the famous Panorama Route with her water falls, the impressive Blyde River Canyon, you can search for the 'Big 5' in the Kruger National Park, experience Swaziland and enjoy the beauty of the tropical coastline of KwaZulu-Natal. Your camp sites will be surrounded by beautiful nature so you will get your own 'out of Africa' experience day after day.

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18 days adventurous camper holiday ER 400

Itinerary:

Day 1 Sabie/Merry Pebbles Resort/Camping 1 night.

Distance approx. 360 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 velds,  the simmering haze above the hot plains, darting antelope and the thrilling site 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 highveld plateau, rising towards the towering Drakensberg mountain range. The Drakensberg Escarpment, marks the point where the highveld plunges down over 1000 m, before spilling out onto the eastern lowveld. 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 wonders.

Your first stop will be in Sabie, a picturesque mountain village with her magnificent scenery of the vicinity. Sabie is the centre of the timber industry and a little forest museum in town is of interest. This is waterfall country and numerous short drives lead from the town to picnic sites and view sites such as Sabie Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Lone Creek Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and MacMac Falls. Perfect spots for a picnic tomorrow morning? Please know that they are best to be visited before midday because of the sun.

Merry Pebbles Resort is waiting for you on the banks of the upper Sabie River just 1 km from the main road of Sabie. After a long day you can stretch your legs and enjoy the nature around you. There is a shop and restaurant and of course you can cool down in the swimming pool.

Day 2/3 Forever Resorts Blyde Canyon/Camping 2 nights.

Distance approx. 85 km.

You don't have to drive far today so hopefully you will enjoy a fantastic picnic breakfast while overlooking one of the waterfalls.

The Forever Resort 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!

The road northwards via Graskop to the Blyde River Canyon should be taken at a leasurely pace so that the breathtaking 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 lowveld. Further north lie 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.

And there is more .. 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 at the reserve's far north.

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 to have you sundowner cocktail at the restaurant while overlooking the Three Rondavels again!

Day 4 Kruger National Park/Satara Rest Camp/Camping 2 nights.

Distance approx. 120 km.

With its vast savannas, 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!

You will stay in Satara 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 a.o. 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 6 Kruger National Park/Lower Sabie Rest Camp/Camping 1 night.

Distance approx. 95 km.

You are staying in pure African nature so enjoy the game spotting to your next destination, Lower Sabie Rest Camp. This is a medium sized camp in a beautiful setting in a prime wildlife viewing region. It overlooks a dam on the Sabie River that attracts many animals such as elephants, buffaloes, cheetahs and rhinos are often seen in the surroundings. If you missed the game drives, no worries you can book them here too.

This beautiful camp has all the facilities you would need so you can relax and keep enjoying this ride. Have a fantastic night under the bright stars and with the sounds of the African animals.

Day 7 Swaziland/Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary/Camping 2 nights.

Distance approx. 200 km.

Today you will get the opportunity to taste a different African country surrounded by South Africa, the Kingdom of Swaziland. Swaziland is run by King Mswati III and a small core of advisers.

Travelling in Swaziland is easy and there is lots to see and do! The country's attractions include low-key wildlife watching, stunning mountain panoramas and a lively traditional culture. It boasts superb walking and an excellent selection of high-quality handicrafts.

The route via Barberton and Bulembu takes you to the beautiful Ezulwini Valley where your next stop will be, the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. Along the way from the scenic northern part there are numerous interesting stops you can make.Think of visiting the Ngwena Glass factory, which uses recycled glass to create beautiful African animal and bird figures or the Endlotane studios which features beautiful tapestries and lets you watch the weavers at work. The small town of Piggs Peak was an old gold mine town. Piggs Peak is a highly scenic, hilly section of the country with one of the highlights Phophonyane Falls about 8 km north of the town. Visit the numerous local markets.

The Ezulwini valley begins just outside Mbabane and extends down past Lobamba. For most of Swazi history, it has been home to the Swazi royal family. The Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is a tranquil private reserve, Mlilwane means Little Fire, being derived from the numerous fires started by lightning strikes on the Mlilwane Hill.

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 nyala - ostrich too, walking between the facilities quietly tolerant of human presence. 

So relax, strech your legs, go cycling, book a game drive or ride a horse.

Day 9/10 Sodwana Bay/Gwalagwala camping/Camping 2 nights.

Distance approx. 300 km.

Today you will have a fair bit of driving to do so please don't leave too late. There are a few ways out of Swaziland and enjoy the Swazi scenery while you can. As you will be spending the next 4 nights in a coastal nature reserve please make sure you will buy enough groceries along the way. Malaria precautions are necessary.

We are taking you to sand, sea and silence in Sodwana Bay area. Isolated and peaceful this slice of paradise offers stunning coastal scenery, the world's most southerly coral reefs, walking trails and some serious fishing. Sodwana is situated on the coast within 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?

The Gwalagwale campground is located on a ridge above the ocean in the extreme north of the St. Lucia's Wetland Reserve on the Elephant Coast of KwaZulu Natal. With the warm Indian Ocean on one side and Lake St. Lucia on the other, the Reserve protects no fewer than five distinct ecosystems, offering everything from off shore reefs and beaches, to sedge swamps, bushveld and fossil corals. Needless to say this is also birth loving paradise and a crocodile and hippo reserve.

Please note: Gate times are in Summer (01 October - 31 March) 05:00 - 19:00 and in Winter (01 April - 30 September) 06:00 - 18:00.

Day 11/12 Isimangaliso Wetland Park/Cape Vidal camping/Camping 2 nights.

You can keep enjoying this spectacular part of South Africa by only moving to another spot, Cape Vidal Camping. This coastal camp takes in the land between the lake and the ocean, north of Cape Vidal itself. Some of the forested sand dunes are 150 m high and the beaches are excellent for snorkelling and swimming.

Cape Vidal falls within the St Lucia Marine Reserve and is situated north-east of St Lucia within the Isimangaliso Wetland Park. Cape Vidal has the best of both worlds with access to the eastern shores of Lake St Lucia where there is a variety of game including reedbuck, other antelope, hippos, crocodiles and buffalo, spectacular water, forest and grassland birds and the wonderful Indian Ocean shore line with its startling array of marine animals.

The marine habitat is the route used by humpback whales on their northerly migration to Mozambique to calve. Other "big game" include migratory marlin, sailfish and dolphins. In December the loggerheads and leatherback turtles come onto the beach to lay eggs. There is a relatively safe area for swimming, wildlife, especially birds, is abundant and self-guided trails enable visitors to see some of the surrounding wetlands and Lake Bhangazi.   

Please note: Gate times are in Summer (01 October - 31 March) 05:00 - 19:00 and in Winter (01 April - 30 September) 06:00 - 18:00.

Day 13 Salt Rock/Salt Rock Resort/Camping 1 night.

Distance approx. 220 km.

Hopefully you were able to say goodbye to all this beauty and are ready to follow the Dolphin Coast to your next destination, Salt Rock. It is the frequent sighting of Bottlenose dolphins playing in the Indian ocean waves that has resulted in the area being called 'The Dolphin Coast'. The small town of Salt Rock is a very popular seaside holiday destination. Salt Rock shares a rich Zulu cultural history with its neighbour Shaka's Rock. Salt Rock's name dates back to the days of King Shaka, when his servants would collect dried salt at low tide for trade with the early settlers.

The Salt Rock Resort, where you will be staying, is nestled amongst tropical palms on the golden shores of the warm and sparkling Indian Ocean. So you can stroll on the long beach, jump in the safe tidal pool or surf the waves. If you feel like playing golf you are in the right place as Salt Rock is surrounded by several world class golf courses. Also if you need to do some shopping, the largest shopping centre (Gateway Mall) in the Southern hemisphere is a mere 20 minute drive away. You can enjoy your sundowner drink on the terrace of the Salt Rock hotel overlooking the sea.

Day 14/15 Royal Natal National Park/Maihai Camping/Camping 2 nights.

Distance approx. 220 km.

After an early dive into the sea it is time to drive towards the impressive Northern Drakensberg mountain range. If you have time and are interested to learn more about sharks, please visit the Natal Sharks Board, a research centre, in Umhlanga Rocks. Learn here the important role sharks and other animals play in the marine ecosystem. Or just have coffee in this holiday resort village before hitting the highway.

After leaving the capital of Kwazulu Natal, Pietermaritzburg, behind you the traffic will slowely decrease. The majestic Drakensberg mountain range is waiting for you! The Northern and Central Drakensberg area has some of the most beautiful scenery that can be imagined.

You are going to experience and stay in the Royal Natal National Park with many of its surrounding peaks rising as high in the air as the park streches across. With some of the Drakensberg's most dramatic and accessible scenery, the park is crowned by the sublime Amphitheatre, an 8 km wall of cliff and canyon, which is spectacular from below and even more so from up high. Here the impressive Tugela Falls drop 850 m in five stages. A rewarding experience is a climb up the 3282 m high Mont-aux-Sources, the country's highest peak. A steep two-hour walk, with sturdy chain ladders to ease the ascent, brings you to the summit. You are in for some fantastic hiking experiences within a flora's paradise and with lots of San rock art sites. At the visitors centre you can get the hiking guide, buy some groceries and there is a fuel station.

Between Bergville and the Royal Natal National Park is the Zulu handicraft center of Thandanani that sells a variety of traditional beadwork, woodwork and baskets. So stock up on traditional African souvernirs.

Your camp site, Mahai, is beautifully situated along the Mahai River with the mountains in the background. All sites have shared coldwater taps. There are 5, modern ablution blocks with hot baths and showers, flush toilets, laundry machines and dishwashing facilities.

Please note: Gate times are in Summer (01 October - 31 March) 05:00 - 19:00 and in Winter (01 April - 30 September) 06:00 - 18:00.

Day 16/17 Golden Gate Highlands National Park/Glen Reenen Camping/Camping 2 nights.

Distance approx. 60 km.

Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north-eastern Free State lies the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. The park derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the park's incredible sandstone cliffs. And that is where you are going to stay the last days of your holiday. The Glen Reenen camp sites are on beautiful shaded grounds and have barbecue facilities, a scullery and power points in ablution block.

Activities in the park include short nature trails varying from 1 hour to 5 hours (no bookings required), game viewing at leisure in own vehicles, guided excursions and/or night drives. If you feel brave jump on the small Basotho ponies and let them guide you through the stunning nature.

Think of visiting the Basotho Cultural Village which resembles an 18th century Basotho Village. The surroundings take you back from the pathway of previous times to the modern days, here the Basotho lifestyle, architectural and hospitality is the order of the day.

Or drive to Clarens, the jewel of the Eastern Freestate. Clarens is an artists haven with many well known artists either living in or frequenting the village on a regular basis with many art galleries and restaurants scattered around the village square. The town is also known for the many art and craft shops which will offer you a wide range of curios and original artwork. Another feature which adds to the picturesque atmosphere of the village is the many sandstone buildings.

Day 18 Johannesburg Camper depot.

Trust you are making the best of your last day and drive safely back to Johannesburg. Please drop off your camper van at the depot before 16.00. Have a safe flight and enjoy all your memories. Hope to see you back for another piece of South Africa.

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:

18 days, 17 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 Drakensberg Mountains

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