Kruger & Swazi Overland
Enjoying the scenery of the Panoramic Route, spotting crocs in the St Lucia Estuary, tracking the Big Five in Kruger National Park, drinking in the culture of tiny villages.
Tour description provided by G Adventures
In Africa, the cultural exchange rate is always favourable. This eye-opening journey into South Africa and Swaziland promises ample face time with the region’s famed wildlife and life-changing contact with the people who make this land their home. Here, you’ll marvel at hippopotami in their natural habitat, dine on traditional cuisine prepared with care by villagers and meet the beneficiaries of Planeterra’s efforts in the region. And with a reliable and knowledgeable CEO on hand at all times, your comfort zone will expand by miles.
- Day 1 Johannesburg
- Arrive in Johannesburg any time and make your way to the joining point hotel. A brief departure meeting will be held in the hotel reception area in evening on Day 1 of your tour. Upon arrival look for information from your CEO on the hotel bulletin board regarding the meeting time. Please make sure you have all of the necessary visas for this tour by the time of the welcome meeting. It is very important to read the Visa section in our trip details to make sure which visas you will need, if any. Please note that not all nationalities are able to obtain a visa on arrival at the border. Our starting hotel is located outside of the city of Johannesburg, but take some time on an excursion to Soweto or to the famous Apartheid Museum.
- Day 2-3 Greater Kruger Area/Kruger National Park (2B,2L,2D)
- Drive through scenic mountains, experience traditional Shangaan dinner and dance, visit Shalati village and a community project supported by Planeterra. Game drive and animal viewing in our own vehicle. The name Manyeleti, means 'Place of the Stars' in the local Shangaan language and guests have the opportunity to view the magnificent Southern Constellation. Manyeleti is situated away from the mainstream tourist areas and guests can experience the tranquility of the African Bush in absolute seclusion. In the late afternoon/early evening relax around the pool, sit around the campfire and enjoy your sundowner drink, followed by a traditional meal and traditional dancing by the villagers. Sleep tight and listen to the haunting sounds of the African night. The 23,000 hectare Manyeleti Game Reserve is situated between the Timbavati Private Reserve, the Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. With no fences separating Manyeleti from Kruger and the neighbouring reserves, a huge variety of wildlife roams freely over more than 2 million hectares of African bush. Game drives in open vehicles (optional) could bring you into close contact with the Big 5 (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino) for an unforgettable safari experience. The Manyeleti Game Reserve is managed by the Mnisi tribe who have been in the area for many generations. The Mnisi are committed to retaining the integrity of the game reserve and ensuring that the benefits of tourism in the reserve are delivered to the surrounding communities. In the late morning of the following day we will visit and interact with the local community of the Planeterra volunteer program, Hope Africa. We continue into the Kruger National Park searching for Africa’s "Big 5", we will spend the remainder of the day game driving to spot wild animals in our own vehicle. Planeterra Project Hope Africa Children's Day School Over 80 children, under the age of 5, attend Hope Africa Children's Day School. Planeterra focuses on sustainable solutions, such as early childhood education, to provide access to resources for communities in need. Hope Africa Children's Day School has one teacher, and two teacher's helpers that organize activities for the children, as well as provide them with two meals each day. This school provides support to the children and prepares them for the transition into primary school. Why is this project needed? In the South African community of Mnisi there are many single parent families and a vast number of orphaned children, often cared for by their grandparents. This is due in part to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Many children do not begin school until the age of eight, and receive no formal education and limited support during their early formative years. Hope Africa Children's Day School aims to provide children with the opportunity to begin their education, and become involved in organized activities. Planeterra and G Adventures' Support Planeterra is currently fundraising for the most urgent needs of the school. Working with our local community partners, and members of the community and school, a proposal was developed to determine what resources needed to be addressed first. Planeterra is funding the construction of a new washrooms facility, a borehole to provide access to water in the community, as well as a 5000-L holding tank. Planeterra also plans on constructing a kitchen facilities, as meals are currently cooked over an open pit fire. You can assist this project by bringing a children's picture book (in English) and donating it to this project on your visit. *Please note that the transfer from Johannesburg to Kruger National Park might take place in a smaller vehicle than the 19-seat touring vehicle.
- Day 4-5 Kingdom of Swaziland (2B,2L,2D)
- Today we will cross the border from South Africa to Swaziland. The name of the border post is Jeppe’s Reef on the South African side and Matsamu on the Swazi side. Some nationalities do require a visa for Swaziland. See our visa section for further information. Remember that visas are your own responsibility, so please double check with your agent if you will require a visa for Swaziland. The South African Rand (ZAR) and the Swazi Lilangeni (SZL) has the same value, so you can use ZAR in Swaziland. However, when you pay in ZAR your change will be in SZL. Visit the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. Option to go for mountain hikes, mountain biking or a visit to a traditional Swazi village. The mountainous Kingdom of Swaziland, lead by King Mswati III, is one of three monarchies in Africa. Here explore Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, which is situated in the Swaziland’s “Valley of Heaven”, the Ezulwini Vallley. In your free time take the opportunity to go horse riding, mountain biking, trailing, or game viewing. Mlilwane was the first wildlife sanctuary in Swaziland, created in the 1950’s by a well known Swazilander, Tedd Reilly, on his farm. He has been instrumental in the conservation of Swaziland’s natural heritage for many years. This reserve is a gentle relaxed place with zebra, many antelope species and crocodiles. Several hippos have become so used to being fed in the afternoon, that these enormous beasts plod out of the dam to chomp, dribble and munch in front of the Hippo Haunt Restaurant. So close are they, that your entire camera frame is filled with their wide toothy mouth and glistening nostrils. Around the restcamp a variety of animals mill around looking for food, but watching a warthog snuffling near the camp fire while his friend roasts on a spit above, is somewhat disquieting. This reserve offers hiking, cycling and horse riding.
- Day 6-7 Zululand (2B,1L,1D)
- Approximate Distance: 277km Estimated Time: 6 hrs Today we will cross the border from Swaziland to South Africa. The name of the border posts are Lavumisa in Swaziland side and Golela on the South African side. Some nationalities do require a visa for South Africa. See our visa section for further information. Remember that visas are your own responsibility; please double check with your agent if you will require a visa for South Africa. The currency in South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR). Today we depart for the beautiful Zululand area, re-entering South Africa into one of its most diverse regions. We stay in the St. Lucia area near the coast. Here take the optional boat trip on the estuary or go for a horse ride on the beach. On day 7, visit the Umfolozi Game Reserve (optional) which is a safe haven for both the white and black rhino, and as well lions, buffalo, elephant, and leopard call the reserve home. Also, meet our local friends with a traditional Zulu dinner. The St. Lucia Wetlands is a huge expanse of estuaries which is dominated by Lake St. Lucia, the largest estuarine body of water in South Africa. The St. Lucia Marine Reserve, which extends roughly from Sodwana in the north to Mapelane in the south, contains no less than five different ecosystems, and is home to complex body of vleis (wetlands), pans, swamp forests and grasslands. These include the lake itself, a wilderness area known as Mfabeni and Tewati, a marine conservation area, the reed and papyrus wetland of the Mkuze swamps and western shores, and a fossil shoreline more than 25,000 years old.This was the first game reserve in South Africa. Today the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park stands as a beacon to the efforts for conservation in South Africa. Option to go for boat cruises, kayaking or game driving in Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve.
- Day 8 Durban (1B,1L)
- Approximate Distance: 275km Estimated Time: 6 hrs Spend most of the day travelling the coast to Durban. Here you may say goodbye to some travellers who are finishing their trip here, and you may also be met by new G Adventures travellers beginning their trip here in Durban. Explore the beach and dive into the warm waters of the Indian Ocean just out the front door of our guest house. The city of Durban has grown into one of South Africa's best-known and most popular coastal resorts and commercial ports. With stretches of sandy beaches and abundance of holiday accommodation destinations available and all-year sunshine attract visitors to this festive city every year. This city is enjoyed for its vibrant mix of cultures and experiences, with a large diverse population of people. The beach front area has a number of attractions, from fair grounds to restaurants, to water sports and the now world famous “uShaka Marine World”.
- Day 9 Durban (B)
- Depart at any time.