A 22 days camper trip filled with nature and culture ER 411

Description

If you are a true nature lover you cannot miss this interesting camper holiday in South Africa! This way you can travel very relaxed in your own camper with all your comforts close by. Think of the beautiful nature parks and also the Kingdom of Swaziland which are there to discover. Your camping sites have been carefully selected by us and your route has been planned so all you need to do is drive and enjoy the stunning surroundings. 

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A 22 days camper trip filled with nature and culture ER 411

Itinerary:

Day 1 Vrede/Moreson Ranch/Camping 1 night.
Distance: about 210 km.

Your camper will be ready as from 8 am at the camper depot in Johannesburg. After the instructions have been given and paper work dealt with you are ready to hit the road towards the town of Vrede.

Vrede is a town in the Free State province of South Africa that is the agricultural hub of a 100 km² region. Maize, wheat, mutton, wool, beef, dairy products and poultry are farmed in the region. It was founded on the Krynauwslust farm in 1863 and proclaimed a town in June 1879. The name is Afrikaans for 'peace', which refers to the settlement of a dispute over the proposed site of the town

You will be staying at the Moreson Ranch This unique Game and Holiday Ranch with its panoramic views is situated at the foot of the Bothasberg in the Vrede district. Relax in the most beautiful surroundings before starting out into the heart of the African grasslands of the North Eastern Free State. Enjoy a sun downer and a superb steak in the Lion's Den Pub and Grill restaurant, overlooking the lions. Experience the rugged out-crops of natural rock, wide open spaces, green pastures and freedom only Africa can offer.

The caravan and camp site at Moreson is sheltered by shady trees and overlooks the open plains where the game roam freely. There are 10 campsites each with a 20 amp power point, shower, toilet wash basin and a washing-up facility, with hot and cold water.

Day 2-3 Royal Natal National Park/Mahai Camp site/Camping 2 nights.
Distance: about 330 km.

Are you ready for your next spectacular night in the majestic Drakensberg Mountains? Tonight you will park your home at the Mahai Camp in the stunning Royal Natal National Park.

This park lies in the northern section of the Drakensberg Mountains, in the green bowl of the famous Amphitheatre and with spectacular views of the tumbling Tugela Falls. Nestled among yellow wood forests and Protea savannah where, after a fierce summer thunderstorm, the rumble of the Thukela River can be heard below, you will be exposed to some of the most awe-inspiring mountain landscapes and hiking to be experienced in this area of flawless natural beauty.

Your home for tonight is a beautifully situated camp site nestled along the Mahai River with magnificent mountains forming the backdrop. Half the sites have electric plug points and barbecue stands, and the non-electrified section share barbecue facilities. All sites have shared cold water taps. Mahai campsite is serviced by modern ablution blocks with hot baths and showers, flush toilets, laundry machines and dishwashing facilities.

Young boys selling local handicrafts near parks and on the road sides are a common site in the Drakensberg. Most of these articles are made from Gashu, the weaving grass. This art form is passed from mother to daughter and the products made out of this make a beautiful present back home.

Notes: Gate times: Summer (01 October - 31 March) 05:00 - 19:00. Winter (01 April - 30 September) 06:00 - 18:00.

Day 4 Central Drakensberg Mountains/Dragon Peak Resort/Camping 1 night.
Distance: about 140 km.

You will be welcomed at the Dragon Peaks Mountain Resort, a family owned, 1000 acre wilderness estate set in the shadow of Cathkin Peak and Champagne Castle, part of the rugged Drakensberg Mountains. The resort retains its country charm and unspoilt views of the majestic Drakensberg Mountains, bordering the prestigious Drakensberg Ukhahlamba World Heritage Site, renowned for both its geographic and cultural significance.

Ideal for camping they have grass, slab and shade sites to suit every taste and lots of modern facilities. The on-site shop has every essential for casual catering, while their restaurant provides three daily meals or take-out snacks as required. You won't be bored as there are lots of activities you can do. Think of lounging on a wooden raft, canoe or kayak on their dam or jump in the swimming pool. Or be more adventurous and book yourself a mind blowing helicopter flight, enjoy abseiling, jump on a horse and let him guide you or try to cycle up a mountain.

If you rather hike there are several trails which wind around the estate linking all of the main natural features of interest. They have an ancient seven hundred year old Yellowwood, pristine indigenous forests and several refreshing rock pools to swim in during the summer months. Visit the Giant's Castle Nature Reserve which is known for its magnificent San rock art, fabulous hiking and invigorating climate. This nature reserve is an historic place, and home to majestic Eland and noble Bearded Vulture.

In other words just enjoy the stunning scenery and the fresh air!

Day 5 Ballito/Dolphin Bay Holiday Resort/Camping 1 night.
Distance: about 260 km.

Check out your route to Durban because if you leave in time you can enjoy a part of the Midlands Meander starting in the little village of Howick where you can visit their famous water fall. The Midlands Meander in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal, is a collection of arranged routes that will offer you hospitality in truly beautiful surroundings, fascinating local events, fabulous restaurants, revitalising outdoor activities and over-the-top adventure sports, historic landmarks, wildlife conservation, and best of all "shop-till-you-drop" unique arts and crafts.

Ballito is nestled between the green rolling hills of the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, and the blue rolling waves of the warm Indian Ocean. Experience some of the many diverse pursuits and visit enchanting locations within easy reach, or simply relax on the golden sandy beaches to soak up the African sun.

Due south of Clarke Bay you will find Ballito's tidal pool built on Ballito Point in between the rocks. Here you should have a very refreshing dip as fresh sea water flows into the pool on the high tides. You will also notice a variety small fish while swimming in the pool. (Caution should be taken when there is heavy surf action).

Dolphin Holiday Resort is situated in Ballito on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, just 50km from Durban and is surrounded by sandy beaches where dolphins are frequently spotted surfing the waves of the Indian Ocean.

Based in sub-tropical forest like surroundings, this resort offers peace and tranquillity which is a must for any holiday maker who needs to put up their feet and just relaxes. Dolphin Holiday Resort comprises of a variety of camp sites from fully grassed sites to fully shaded sites all with 15 amp electricity points (TV connections on certain sites).

Day 6-7 Zululand/Mfuli Game Ranch/Camping 2 nights.
Distance: about 120 km.

Zululand history, King Shaka, Ulundi, Eshowe and Richards Bay are some of the terms associated with the world-renowned region of KwaZulu-Natal's Zululand.

The sheer majesty of Zululand will take your breath away. Under the hot African sun, the cobalt blue Indian Ocean, mangrove swamps and limpid lagoons give way to rolling green hills and indigenous forests which shimmer in the distance before they reach the Drakensberg Mountains.

While you are in Zululand, enjoy the welcoming wide smiles extended to you by the local people.

Nestled in the scenic and fertile Nkwalini Valley, also known as Valley of the Virgin Warrior, on the R34 between Empangeni and Eshowe, lays the Mfuli Game Ranch. Surround yourself in the peace and tranquillity that this little piece of heaven has to offer. Mfuli is a small game ranch with a limited variety of game, including zebra, nyala and duiker, as well as ostrich and a crocodile farm.

Day 8 St. Lucia/Cape Vidal/Camping 1 night.
Distance: about 80 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.

Cape Vidal camp site features 50 camp sites set into the coastal dunes, accommodating both tents and caravans, with cold water taps and barbeque facilities. The three modern ablutions have hot and cold running water, flush toilets, showers, baths, basins and laundry and dish washing facilities.

Note: Gate times: Summer (01 October - 31 March) 05:00 - 19:00. Winter (01 April - 30 September) 06:00 - 18:00.

Day 9-10 Hluhluwe/Bushbaby Lodge/Camping 2 nights.
Distance: about 50 km

A short hop to your next little paradise so you can say goodbye in peace to this incredible coast.
Back inland and this time to Zululand a place of unspoilt beauty characterised 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.

A visit to the Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve 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 11 Swaziland/Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary/Camping 1 night.
Distance: about 250 km.

Have your passport ready as today you will experience another African country namely the Kingdom of Swaziland.

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. Enjoy 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 12 Kruger National Park/Berg en Dal Camp site/Camping 1 night.
Distance: about 170 km.

A beautiful and interesting drive ahead of you from one African country to the other.
The drive to Piggs Peak is one of the most scenic drive in Swaziland. 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 along the way.

The Matsamo Cultural village where you get to live just like the traditional Swazi in a custom-built 'hive' is a must. This is a traditional Swazi village where the colourful Matsamo people tend their cattle, cultivate their crops and produce beautiful crafts. You can leave Swaziland via the Jeppe's Reef border and enter the Kruger National Park via the Malelane border post.

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!
The park is home to the famous Big Five, the Little Five and the birding Big Six, in addition to a range of fauna and flora unique to the area. 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 kph should never be exceeded as not only for the fines but also gamespotting 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. Near the southern rivers, where you will be now, hippo, elephant, crocodile, buffalo and small herds of giraffe are often spotted.

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 13 Kruger National Park/Skukuza Camp site/Camping 1 night.
Distance: about 60 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 an opportunity to look for hippopotamus and buffalo. Have a peaceful sleep under the stars!

Day 14 Kruger National Park/Satara Camp site/Camping 1 night.
Distance: about 80 km.

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 15 Hoedspruit/Aventura Swadini/Camping 1 night.
Distance: about 100 km.

Swadini, a Forever Resort, is landlocked by the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve and nestled amongst the Drakensberg peaks on the banks of the Blyde River. The resort is situated 35 kilometres from Hoedspruit in Mpumalanga and the dam boasts one of the world's largest active "Tufa" waterfalls and a 75 kilometre drive will take you to the Orpen gate of the Kruger National Park.

Here you will be staying your next night. From here you can enjoy exclusive boat trips on the Blyde Dam, spot hippo, crocodile and the Tufa waterfall.

If you have time and you want a glimpse of the raw, untainted beauty of Africa, Pinnacle Rock is definitely the place to visit. Located 6 km north of Graskop, this majestic pillar is set amongst best of pristine wilderness; lush greenery, flowing rivers and picturesque view of the stunning surrounds.  Or with its magnificent views, canyons, rock formations and waterfalls, God's Window and Jock's View are truly breath taking scenic splendours for you to visit. Another impressive nature's creation is the Bourke's Luck Potholes. This natural water feature marks the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon.

The resort itself offers lots of facilities and if you don't feel like cooking you can enjoy their restaurant. All the caravan stands have power points and neat ablution facilities.

Day 16 Sabie/Merry Pebbles Resort/Camping 1 night.
Distance: about 100 km.

Experience the picturesque beauty of nature in and around Sabie, a small country town nestled in the majestic Drakensberg escarpment mountains where you will be staying tonight. Sabie is located 1050 m above sea level and considered a malaria free area.

Tonight you will park your holiday home in the Merry Pebbles Resort, a family resort on the banks of the Sabie River, on the outskirts of town. They offer lots of facilities such as a restaurant, convenience shop, heated and cold water pools, water slides, tennis court, entertainment hall, fishing, mountain bike and hiking trails. The little town is only 2 km away in case you need some shopping for the coming days.

The numerous (short) hiking trails (Forest Falls Nature Walk or Secretary Bird Walk) around Sabie cater for everyone, whether you are a bird watcher, a fauna and flora enthusiast, or merely want to experience the delight of relaxing within sight of sparkling waterfalls or meandering streams. 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. Please know that they are best to be visited before midday because of the sun.

Day 17 Bronkhorstspruit/Ezemvelo Nature Reserve/Camping 1 night.
Distance: about 260 km.

Leave early so you can visit the fascinating Sudwala Caves where the oldest evidence of habitation in the caves takes the form of a fine collection of stone age tools, ranging in date from Early Stone Age (from 2,5 million years ago) to Late Stone Age (up to a few thousand years BC) on your way to Bronkhorstspruit. A guide will take you 600 m inside and 150 m below the earth to admire nature's wonders.

Ezemvelo Nature Reserve is one of South Africa's best kept secrets. The reserve is home to 22 plant communities, more than 286 bird species, and a variety of small and large mammals including kudu, leopard, aardwolf and brown hyena. Ezemvelo boasts insects and trees unique to the reserve, some featured on the red data threatened species list, spectacular cliffs, huge rock formations, the only ancient rock paintings open to the public in Gauteng and magnificent views over the Wilge River. Situated between the grassland and savannah biomes, elements of both biomes are contained within the reserve, making it biologically diverse and exceptionally valuable ecologically.

While many reserves will not allow visitors to step out of their car Ezemvelo, offers the opportunity to experience the reserve on foot, bicycle, horseback or horse-drawn carriage. You can also use a game drive vehicle or their own car, with experienced guides available. Children of any age are allowed into the reserve. Your caravan site is covered with trees and well-appointed ablutions and electrical connections.

Day 18 Bela Bela/Forever Resort Warmbaths/Camping 1 night.
Distance: about 130 km.

Your next destination, Warmbaths a Forever Resort is situated in an African bushveld atmosphere.

After you have parked your camper at their caravan site where you find all the modern facilities you can relax at the Hydro at Warmbaths which offers a variety of treatments and products and you are sure to feel revitalized and rejuvenated. Whether you have a full body massage or simply lounging around in the hot mineral spring, their specialist therapists will take care of your every need in beautiful and tranquil surroundings. But don't worry if you like to be more active there are lots of other activities you can enjoy in this resort.

Day 19-20-21
Pilanesberg/Manyana Resort/Camping 3 nights.
Distance: about 140 km.

Manyane Resort is nestled at the gateway to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, set in unspoilt natural surroundings. The Pilanesberg National Park consists of numerous hills, wooded ravines and grassed open plains, making the area very picturesque. A wide diversity of eco-types makes a beautiful home for a large variety of animals and birds.

An abundance of wild life proliferates in 580 km of diverse and arresting bushveld terrain. The park boasts healthy populations of lion, leopard, black and white rhino, elephant and buffalo - Africa's "Big Five". A wide variety of rare and common species exist. It is home to most of the species that inhabited the area in the late eighteenth century. One of the most advantageous aspects of Pilanesberg, is that it is situated within a malaria free belt.

All caravan sites are grassed and electrified (utility outlets 15amp) and can accommodate a maximum of 6 people and 2 motor vehicles per site. Manyane offers tranquillity and relaxation and you can have lovely meals at their restaurant and jump in their pool for refreshment.

As you have a few days here you can participate in the following activities which can be booked at the resort:

* Day and Night Drives
* Hiking Trails
* Game Drives & Bush Braai or Breakfast
* Balloon Safaris
* Quad Biking
* Clay Pigeon Shooting
* Archery
* Drumming
* Elephant Back Safari

Day 22
Johannesburg

It will be a 3 hour's drive back to Johannesburg. Please drop off your camper before 4 pm at the camper depot. We hope you enjoyed your camper holiday in South Africa and hope to see you again for another part of Southern 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:

22 Days, 21 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, nature and cultural

Countries:

South Africa and Swaziland

Highlights:

Kruger National Park, Panorama Route, Swaziland, Pilanesberg National Park and Drakensburg 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