River and mountain background, South Africa

South Africa: Walking & Wildlife

17 days
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£2,799
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Traveller ratings
4.7 / 5 from 27 reviews >
Moderate
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Trip code: 
TZS
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Walking & Trekking Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–12

Hike through forests, plains and mountains and track wildlife on foot, by boat and 4WD.

Rising high above the veld, the Drakensberg, which translates as ‘Dragon Mountain,’ forms an imposing, dramatic and quintessentially South African scene which we explore on foot. Along with the fantastic walking opportunities, we take the time to discover the country’s amazing wildlife and we can hope to see the likes of elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards, giraffe, cheetah and much more. Complementing our journey are more walks and visits of Swaziland, St. Lucia and the Battlefields.

Highlights

  • Several days hiking in the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains
  • Royal Natal National Park and the amazing rock formation, the 'Amphitheatre'
  • Walking through the mountainous terrain of Swaziland
  • Morning and afternoon game drives in Africa's famous Kruger National Park.
  • Game walk and drive in a private game reserve

Key information

  • 9 days walking
  • Mixture of wildlife spotting and walking
  • Altitude max 2900m, average 1250m
  • Group normally 4 to 12, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • 11 nights log cabins and chalets and 3 nights permanent tented camp

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 14 unches, 11 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation
  • Visas or vaccinations

9

Pace:

Approximately 2-8 hours hiking per day

Terrain:

There is some walking at higher altitude and occasional longer/harder days may be involved

Day by day breakdown
Day 316.0km/9.0miles
Day 510.0km/6.0miles
Day 815.0km/9.0miles
Day 105.0km/3.0miles
Day 1110.0km/6.0miles
Day 128.0km/4.0miles
Day 1316.0km/9.0miles
Day 1412.0km/7.0miles
Day 1515.0km/9.0miles
Sentinel trail, Drakensberg

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Depart London.

    Depart London.

  • Day 2

    Start Johannesburg; to Graskop.

    We first pick up the land only clients from the start hotel before proceeding to the airport for the arrival of the group flight. We then transfer to the town of Graskop perched on the edge of the Mpumalanga escarpment. It is a long drive but we stop at regular intervals to take in the spectacular scenery and to visit the well-known Mac Mac Falls. En route we travel through South Africa's highest town, Belfast (1970m), and the scenic Long Tom Pass. We also take the opportunity to stock up on supplies such as drinks and snacks.
    Mogodi Lodge or similar

    Meals included: Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Hike the Prospector's Trail to Pilgrim's Rest.

    After an early breakfast we take a short transfer to the Morgenson’s forest station halfway up Robber’s pass and walk along a section of the prospector’s trail, through a mixture of forest and open grassland, to the old gold rush town of Pilgrim's Rest. We enjoy a picnic lunch on the banks of the Blyde River before trying our hand at gold panning in the old diggings. In the afternoon we spend some time exploring this unique frontier town by foot. We return to Graskop late afternoon. 4 - 6 hours walking.
    Mogodi Lodge or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Explore the Panorama Route; to Letaba Ranch Reserve; evening game drive.

    We drive through some stunning countryside this morning, starting with the stunning views at God's Window. If we are lucky, God's Blanket may be down, a majestic cloud inversion that gives you the feeling of being on top of the world. We visit the fascinating rock formations at Bourke's Luck Potholes, before stopping for the most breathtaking views over Blyde River Canyon, the 3rd largest canyon in the southern hemisphere. We continue to the Letaba Ranch Reserve where we will go on an early evening drive.
    Mtomeni Safari Camp or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Morning game walk; free afternoon.

    The Letaba Ranch Game Reserve is part of the Greater Kruger area and is particularly known for elephants and buffalos. This morning we head out on a game walk in search of some Africa’s iconic wildlife. The walk is about 2-4hrs (depending on temperatures) and is led by a local guide and tracker. The afternoon is free to relax or go an optional game drive.
    Mtomeni Safari Camp or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Transfer to Kruger N.P.; afternoon game drive.

    We head on to Kruger National Park, justifiably one of the most famous wildlife parks in the world. It is also one of the oldest, established by the South African president Paul Kruger in 1898. It has arguably the greatest variety of animals of any park in Africa, with lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, black and white rhino, as well as cheetah, giraffe, hippo and many species of antelope and smaller plains game. We game drive (in our vehicle) through the park where we have an excellent chance of seeing a wide variety of wildlife. We arrive at our campsite in the Kruger in the late afternoon just before the camp gates close to maximise our game-viewing chances.
    Skukuza or Pretoriuskop camp or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Morning game drive in Kruger; transfer to Swaziland.

    Up before sunrise this morning for a game drive (in our vehicle) at, arguably, the best time of day for game-spotting. We return to camp for breakfast and to pack up before moving onto a new country: Swaziland. We leave the Kruger park at around lunch time and have a short stop to resupply before crossing the border into Swaziland. We drive to the hilly Malolotja Nature Reserve (3 hours), where we spend a relaxing evening in the cabins ready for a long walk the next day.
    Malolotja Cabins or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Full day walk in Malolotja.

    There is superb flora here and we take a day-walk on one of the picturesque walking trails. Over 280 species of birds have been spotted in this reserve, as have many antelope species. You will have great views and the chance to spot various eagles or even the very rare Bald Ibis. The Nkomati River cuts a gorge through the park and flows east in a series of falls and rapids before it meets the lowveld. Our walk will take us to the Malolotja falls viewpoint and then on to the upper Majolomba falls and a great lunch spot. 8 hours walking.
    Malolotja Cabins or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Visit craft market; to St Lucia.

    Today we head out of Swaziland and back into South Africa. On the way we visit Ezulwini Valley Craft Market before heading south through rural Swaziland. Upon leaving Swaziland we move on to St Lucia. The small town of St. Lucia is both by the Indian Ocean and by lake St. Lucia and is known for its crocodile and hippo populations (hippos are sometimes seen wandering in town). The lake itself is Africa’s largest Estuary and a haven for birds. As well as land animals, the proximity to the ocean means it is possible to go swimming and even whale watching (June – November).
    Shonalanga apartments or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Morning boat cruise and game walk; afternoon visit Cape Vidal.

    Getting up early we will head down to the dock and board a boat on the nearby lake. We spend 2 hours exploring the lake by boat with an excellent chance of seeing some of the many resident Hippo's, crocodiles and Fish Eagles. We return to our apartments for breakfast and then pack a picnic lunch for the short drive to Cape Vidal, a long stretch of beach along the Indian Ocean. Along the way we stop at bird-hides and there’s a small chance of spotting rhinos. We spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach or walking to mission rocks.
    Shonalanga apartments or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 11

    Transfer to battlefields; hike the fugitive trail.

    Leaving the coast behind, we head 300kms towards the battlefields where the British and Zulus fought in 1879. After lunch we go on a 4hr hike along the fugitive trail. The trail follows the route taken by the British survivors from the battle of Isandlwana. The British and colonial force was armed with rifles, mountain guns and rocket battery were facing 20,000 Zulu warriors armed with spears. By the end of the battle there were only 65 British and Colonial survivors.

    After our hike we transfer 50kms to our lodge for the night.
    Battlefields County Lodge or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 12

    To Royal Natal N.P.; afternoon walk.

    We continue our journey to the beautiful Royal Natal National Park, particularly known the distinctive natural Amphitheatre. The Drakensberg is a basalt escarpment forming the border between Kwa-Zulu Natal and Lesotho and continuing into the Free State. It means 'Dragon Mountains', but the Zulu named it Quuathlamba ('the Barrier of Spears') - a more accurate description of the sheer, forbidding, jagged escarpment. This afternoon we go for walks in the local area from our lodge where we will be staying. There are a number of walks we can chose from such as to policeman’s helmet or to some bushmen paintings.
    Thendele Chalets or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Tugela Gorge hike.

    Today we follow the Thukela river, past Protea trees (the national flower of South Africa as well as the name of their cricket team), indigenous yellow wood forest and mountainous grasslands to the natural Amphitheatre and Thukela Waterfall viewpoint. The walk takes us into the heart of the Royal Natal National park and offers stunning views of the dramatic northern Drakensberg Mountains. 6 - 8 hours walking.
    Thendele Chalets or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 14

    Full day hike to Witsieshoek.

    As the bus takes our luggage to our next lodge, we head along trails by foot. The start of our trail follows a contour line and takes us via Tiger Falls and Gudu Falls. We then head up as we walk through the Mahai Valley crossing the river and walking via the crack past the Mahai Falls, eventually reaching the Basuto Gate and our destination. The hike should take about 6hrs including stopping for lunch.
    Witsieshowk Lodge or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 15

    Hike to Tugela Falls, the world's second tallest waterfall.

    In the morning we drive the short distance (15km) to the trek start point at the Sentinel gate. From here we trek along the edge of the mountains, possibly chaperoned by mountain baboon or if we are lucky by the resident Bearded Vultures, up to the ladders, which take us to the top (2,900m). We then follow the Thukela River to the edge of the waterfall and enjoy the stunning views across the amphitheatre and our previous day’s route. We then walk back to the vehicle and transfer the short distance (15km) to our lodge. The hike should take about 6hrs including stopping for lunch.
    Witsieshowk Lodge or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 16

    Drive through Golden Gate N.P. en route to Johannesburg; end Johannesburg.

    There will be an optional short final morning walk in these wonderful mountains, with a local guide, before driving back to Johannesburg in time for our flight this evening. The land portion of the trip ends upon arrival in Johannesburg. 3 hour optional walk. Please note that if you are organising your own flights these should not be earler than the group flights due to the distance we need to travel back to the airport.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 17

    Arrive London.

    Arrive London.

Essential Info

Visas

South Africa

British passport holders and most European and Commonwealth Passport holders do not require a visa to travel to South Africa. Please note that all travellers to South Africa who do require a visa are required to have a minimum of 2 blank consecutive pages in their passport i.e. a left hand page and a right hand page to enable an entry visa to be issued.

Please note that new regulations from the 1 June 2015 mean that any child under 18 travelling to South Africa needs to be in possession of an unabridged birth certificate with the names of both parents.

If a child under 18 is only travelling with a single parent, they will also have to have an affidavit, no less than 3 months old, from the absent parent confirming the child can travel with the other parent; a court order granting full legal guardianship of the child; or a death certificate of the deceased parent.

Swaziland

British passport holders and most European and Commonwealth Passport holders do not require a visa for Swaziland.

Vaccinations

South Africa

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

Malaria prophylaxis is essential if travelling in the greater Kruger area and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take. The rest of South Africa, including the Garden Route, has a low risk of Malaria.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 14 lunches, 11 dinners included.

In the itinerary we state which meals are included on which day. All meals while on safari are included except one lunch on the last day. The list below provides an indication of what these will consist of: Breakfast - cereals, coffee, tea and toast, the occasional cooked breakfast. Lunch - cheese, cold meats, salads, bread or rolls. Dinner - potjies (stew), braais (barbecue), stir fries, pasta. Most generally cooked on the open fire. Please be aware that we need at least two weeks notice to deal with special dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian or allergies.) For this reason if you did not indicate these on your booking form please advise the Exodus office as soon as possible. The tour leaders do all the shopping, meal planning and cooking for each group. He/she will always try to obtain fresh produce wherever possible. Each tour has 2 cool boxes for meats and fresh produce and 1 cool box for cold drinks. We will supply the following drinks: fruit squash served with breakfast and tea or coffee served with breakfast and dinner. All other beverages will be at your own expense. We do not supply bottled drinking water although it is available at many shops on tour if you want to buy it yourself at +/-R10.0 / lt. (£0.60). Please note on days when the group are on morning game walks or drives we will have an early morning cup of tea or coffee and rusks followed by the walk. Once we return to camp we will have a large brunch at around 11am. In the early afternoon we will have a snack style lunch and dinner will be served after completion of the optional game drives.

Weather

Although the greater part of South Africa lies south of the tropic of Capricorn, the temperature is moderated by the altitude. The average midday temperature is likely to be about 22ºC on the coast and 24ºC inland. This trip covers various different weather regions. Generally inland areas will be dry between the months of April and October (although storms can occur), whereas in the Drakensberg Mountains rain is more common at this time. In August the nights can be very cold, especially in the Drakensberg where temperatures can drop below freezing. However the days are warm and crisp with generally cloud-free skies. During the months of November through February rain can sometimes be expected and the temperature will be higher. However, as anyone who has travelled to these parts will say, rain is often a blessing, it manifests the local colours, drops the sometimes sweltering temperatures and never generally lasts too long. It also means the night times are incredibly clear.

Johannesburg

Johannesburg

Is this trip for you?

There are a few long drives but the reward is a trip that offers an amazing variety of walking through diverse scenery, plus exciting game viewing, in a comparatively short time. This is primarily a walking trip, although there is still time to go on an organised safari to Kruger National Park. This trip has an activity level of 3 (Moderate). Good health and reasonable fitness are important and you should take regular exercise before travelling on this trip. Moderate trips are either fairly easy medium-duration walks or harder, shorter walks. There is some walking at higher altitude and occasional longer/harder days may be involved. Generally underfoot conditions will be fair. We climb to a maximum of 2900m and a walking day is normally 4 - 8 hours. Seasonal Game Viewing The game viewing is generally at its best from July to September as visibility improves with trees losing their leaves and because game is more restricted to areas that have water. The bush at this time, however, is much drier compared to earlier in the season and scenically the country is generally at its prettiest in April - June. The migratory birds are visible between October and April. There are some ladders to climb while walking in the Drakensberg. The ladders are in two stretches, a longer (about 30m/100feet) first stretch followed by a shorter (about 15m/50 feet) one. Neither are quite vertical and they are metal ladders with thick, square edged footholds and comfortable handholds. Whilst they're not particularly physically challenging they can constitute a slight mental challenge to some - but one that is worthwhile for the incredible views from the top of the escarpment. The guides are extremely experienced in taking our clients up and down these ladders and are always happy to help. Legal Note: all group members joining this tour will be asked to sign an indemnity form at the start of the holiday. This indemnity form is a requirement of the South African Tourism Service Association which our local supplier is a member of. As a client of Exodus Travels Ltd, your rights under the Package Travel Regulations (1992) are unaffected, and Exodus remains liable for the actions of our sub-contractors.

Accommodation

Chalets

All nights will be in chalets, log cabins and four nights in a permanent tented camp. Some of the accommodation is en suite though in Swaziland, St Lucia we stay in cabins of 2 rooms sharing a bathroom and a lounge whilst in Thendele we stay in cabins of 3 rooms sharing 2 bathrooms and a lounge. The permanent tented camp in the Letaba River Game Reserve is made up of large tents with beds and an en suite bathroom. In the Kruger Park we stay in a permanent tented camp with shared ablutions.
It is possible to get laundry done in Swaziland.

Single rooms are available throughout (from £400). Please note that on the nights in the Drakensberg and in Swaziland you might share a chalet/cabin with another member of the group. However, you will still have a single room to yourself.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed December 2016
    Pam Peers
    This trip covers a lot of ground! I can't believe how much we managed to do in just two weeks, and needed my photos and videos to remind me. The accommodation was of an exceptionally high standard and we slept very well everywhere. Our own guides were brilliant, and the external guides at various locations were excellent and very knowledgeable about their specialist areas.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were too many to list them all! Crossing Buffalo River (near Rorke's Drift) was quite an adventure - certainly very memorable. Michael Caine would have been proud of us :-) The Sentinel Path walk, in the Drekensburg range, was wonderful and the ladders weren't too challenging - well worth the effort to reach the escarpment with superb views for miles in all directions. Watching hippos at close range, from the safety of a sturdy boat, was an amazing experience. The wildlife encounters were fantastic everywhere - I never imagined we would be able to see so many varied species at such close proximity.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had an amazing team! Colly, Skhu and Farai were all fantastic and worked hard from morning to night to ensure that we all had a great holiday. It was a privilege to share their insights into the fascinating culture, history and landscape of South Africa. They were very good at judging when we needed a break on the long days travelling, and made sure we had plenty to eat and drink at all stages. They prepared varied and interesting meals, and there was always more than enough for even the most hearty appetites.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes carefully. Take plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent. Don't take too many clothes - the laundry service in Swaziland was very good and excellent value for money

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    South Africa is a wonderful country and this trip provides an excellent introduction to a small part of it. We added a few extra days in Johannesburg at the end of the trip, and visited Soweto, Kliptown and the Apartheid Museum. I'd recommend it very highly and wish we'd had longer.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Madeleine Newcomb
    A good mix of wildlife watching in a number of areas and walking in the Drakensberg Mountains

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The view of The Amphitheatre in the Drakensberg

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Colly, and his assistants were excellent. They were patient and knowledgeable. It was great to witness young men with such a passion for their surroundings.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My only reservation is that I didn't get to the ladders on The Sentinel climb. My advice is to NOT LOOK DOWN at the exposed sections (I didn't do this). Your leaders will make sure you are safe the whole way.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Stephanie Walker
    Difficult to sum up as we were offered such a wealth of experiences on this holiday. However revelling in the wonders of the natural world, whether specifically looking for wildlife, or walking in the mountains and hills, was a constant.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Again, there were any number. However, getting out a a 4X4 in a game reserve, walking cautiously and quietly in line behind our ranger with his rifle, to come over the top of a rise to find hippos and crocs in front of us in the river.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had three leaders who worked incredibly hard, driving, shopping, cooking, clearing up and keeping us informed about what we were seeing. They were all skilled, knowledgeable and thoroughly professional. They also guided and safeguarded us on walks with patience and understanding.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were very lucky to find ourselves to be a friendly and confident tour group so were able to rely on others for support as well as our guides. I found it useful to have a hydration bladder, rather than fumbling about with water bottles, in my backpack, and, having some concerns about my elderly knees, I used trekking poles for every walk; all was well.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were fortunate with the support of our guides, our fellow-travellers and the weather, along with the amazing things we saw and did on this trip. It was a brilliant experience.
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Nandita Nelson
    A very varied holiday, filled daily with new adventures so that it felt longer than 2 weeks. The animal sightings on safari and the early morning estuary trip were thrilling and the views on the mountain walks breathtaking. The added excitement of panning for gold, the aspects of historical interest (Anglo-Zulu war) and a day at the beach whale watching made this trip truly memorable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a whale launch itself out of the Indian Ocean, do a somersault and land with an almighty splash. Seeing a leopard stroll past the rear bumper of the van. Seeing a group of baby elephants taking a mudbath and an oxpecker (bird) disappear into the ear of an Impala. Seeing the glorious Drakensburg draped in mist, which then melted away to leave a crystal clear deep blue sky. See an African Paradise flycatcher flit through the trees with its orange ribbon tail floating in the breeze. Eating the delicious S African cuisine prepared by our superb guides under the stars, washed down with some excellent S African vintage.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Colly was first class. He was so concerned about our welfare and worked so hard to make sure EVERYONE was having a good time. He never rested really. Also extremely well organized and everything was beautifully organized, on-time and under control. He did also chat and have fun with the group. Definitely "DANGEROUS" when it came to Uno.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a range of temperatures, the plains are very hot and the mountains cold. Some longish transfers, so be prepared with entertainment. Washing and toilet facilities everywhere were excellent-even in Kruger where there was a shared toilet block and an enormous bath. Mosquitoes were not too much of a problem, but some insect repellent needed. Don't forget some binoculars, or you will miss out. Birders, you will not be bored or disappointed! Not many maps provided, and I wished I had one to trace our route. Easy to purchase wine at supermarket stops--LOTS of good quality S African wine VERY reasonably priced. (Didn't sample the beer, so no comment there).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Relax and enjoy. If you want a varied holiday, not too strenuous, but not too idle, with good facilities and some adventure go for this. You won't regret it.
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Eleanor Freckleton
    I had booked this holiday because of the variety of activities on offer and it didn't disappoint. My main interest was the hillwalking and this was superb in all locations, however I found the safari part of the holiday just as enjoyable. The sights we saw, such as the cloud inversion at God's Window, were also stunning.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All of the walks offered something unique and I enjoyed them all. I was surprised by how lush the countryside was in Swaziland and it was a very picturesque walk. The scenery and views in the Drakensberg were stunning and all of the walks here were excellent. I particularly enjoyed our scrambling up the Crack. Unfortunately we were not able to go up the chain ladders to the top of the amphitheatre due to high winds. Our guide made the right call on this one but we still managed to get some spectacular views from the viewpoint slightly further down. The whole Drakensberg experience was awe inspiring, helped by the location of our lodge in the Royal Natal National Park.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our main leader Andy was outstanding. He has a fantastic personality, which really helped to bolster our group spirit, and he was also passionate about all the activities and very hard-working throughout the trip. He was a great help to me personally when I needed medical attention halfway during the trip. Andy was assisted ably by Colly and David. Nothing was too much bother for them and they did everything with a smile.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes are very informative. I would also add that walking poles would be very useful, albeit not essential. I think the walking part of the trip is fairly graded as a 3. The walks are not overly long, but do require a reasonable level of fitness. There was also a fair degree of scrambling required on our second last walk. I would reiterate previous reviews about some long transfers on the minibus. A good supply of reading materials and music kept me occupied. However, I personally would not change the itinerary as each of our stopovers had something unique to offer.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I can't praise this holiday highly enough. We had a great group spirit and one of the most enjoyable things for me was simply the companionship each night after the day's activities. Our nights round the campfire at the private game reserve are particularly memorable. Add to this an action-packed itinerary with splendid walking and sightseeing opporunities and it truly was a spectacular holiday.
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Anthony Negus
    The whole trip was fantastic. The only downside was the failure to inform the leader of my requirement for a gluten free diet. I don't think Ende had even heard of the condition, but, when it was explained to him he coped brilliantly even to the extent of preparing my main dish separately.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing elephants in the wild for the first time is always a thrill. I have seen them on several occasions but it is always a thrill.The lodges at Royal Natal park and in Swaziland together with the views were something special

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ende was fantastic he organized everything brilliantly. I would happily go with him again, also I cannot speak to highly of Collie and Marco who were very knowledgeable and interesting to listen to.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for this one

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Make sure the people on the ground know about special diets.
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Lauren Sable
    We booked this trip for our Honeymoon, it was something we always wanted to do and we enjoy trekking. We said we would keep a very open mind when getting to South Africa as we didn't expect to see a lot of animals or didn't know what to expect with the accommodation. Well, we were completely blown away with what we saw on this trip, within the first evening on the safari we saw Elephants, Giraffes, Buffalo, Impala and Wildebeest. The accommodation was very good, clean and tidy. Our favourite place we stayed was Mtomeni Safari camp in Letaba Ranch Reserve, this was the true safari experience for us. There was no electricity so bring your torch, sat round the fire, taken back to our tent in the evening by a guide with a riffle just in case we had an unexpected visitor!!. Waking up in the morning to site of the beautiful river with some monkey playing outside of tent was brilliant! Kruger Park was not as touristy as we thought it would be, the camp sites were really good and the showering facilities were very clean. Seeing all the animals so close to our van was incredible. It was almost like the animals were just as interested in us as we were in them! The walking comes later in the trip mainly, the mountains were breath-taking. The scenery surrounding our accommodation was amazing. Drakensberg is such a beautiful place and easily somewhere you could go back in the future for more walks.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The highlight of the trip was seeing Elephants walking in a line, crossed the road with their young (who kept looking back at us) it just fantastic and something I only dreamed I was see. It totally made our trip and was a dream come true! Also the safari game walk was a brilliant activity. Our guides Craig and Edwin were brilliant and very friendly. We tracked a giraffe then saw it in the distance. It was great to learn so much from him and being in the bush on foot was amazing an experience we will never forget.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Ende and he was absolutely incredible as were our 2 other guides Colly and Marco. They were all very knowledgeable on the animals, birds, trees, plants etc we saw and could identify every we saw (even when we were quite far away!) The meals were excellent and so tasty, every meal was different. We really enjoyed their company and are hoping to stay in touch in the future. Anyone who gets these 3 guys as guides will be very lucky and are sure to have an amazing time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The drives can be very long on some days driving to different places so maybe take a book or something to occupy yourself. However the guides have a library on the van with lots of wildlife/birds etc which you are welcome to read.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip is two holidays in one, with the safari and trekking, the trekking mainly comes in the second half when you head for the mountains. Due to the weather being so hot our walks we a little limited but only for our safety. This trip really is something special so definitely do not hesitate to book this one!!
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Denise Hooper
    I loved the variety of this trip. The accommodation ranged from lodges to mountain huts to tents. The activities covered day hikes and game drives. The scenery went from cool mountain plateaus to hot lowlands to lovely beaches. The organisation was streamlined.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking the Sentinal track was amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both our group leaders, David and Andrew, were all we could wish for - happy, thoughtful, efficient and caring. Collie was a quick learner.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take fewer clothes, a good zoom lens camera and good binoculars.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'd recommend this trip to everyone.
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Lisa Hutchison
    This trip has the perfect blend of hiking and wildlife. Without exception the walks were stunning, and the game viewing in Karongwe and Kruger plentiful and awe-inspiring.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being only a few metres from an adult male lion in Karongwe. He had his back to us, but would look round every now and again, not at all bothered by our prescence. The endless views in the Drakensburg, from the imposing amphitheatre to that 'top of the world' feeling at Sentinel Peak.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    David, Andrew and Coli achieved legendary status in my eyes. I have never known one guide work so hard to ensure a trip runs smoothly, let alone three! Pitching and striking tents, preparing all our delicious meals, and driving us thousands of kilometres so we could see so much of this beautiful country, all the while providing great company and humour along the way. Give them all a medal.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you can't stand the heat, don't travel in November.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I genuinely don't think I can top this trip, but I'll continue to travel the world trying. ;-)
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Patricia Noble
    A fantastic trip which gave us a some highlights of South Africa. We really enjoyed the Drakensberg area and especially loved the chain ladders! Walking in the indigenous forest was a great experience. We enjoyed the 2 nights in Swaziland as the area was very scenic and the walking good. Visiting the Karongwe and Kruger was so worthwhile - we saw so many animals, birds and plants. Our day on the beach at Cape Vidal was great fun and we loved the big waves and the white sand, a real opportunity to relax at the half way point

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The early morning walking safari in Karongwe Private Reserve was really amazing: we had a close encounter with rhino and learnt so much about plants and animals. My highlight though was the evening driven safari, also in Karongwe, where we left the vehicle to watching a cheetah eat her kill, standing just a few feet away, we watched for 10 minutes - totally incredible! We also saw 2 porcupines and a civet in the headlights. Wow!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ende (Andy) and David were fantastic! They were both so enthusiastic and worked so hard to give us an amazing holiday experience. Ende's cooking was fantastic, every meal was tasty, well prepared and vegetarians well catered for. Both were very knowledgeable about the animals and plants we saw and we had interesting discussions about some of the local customs.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take books/Kindle to occupy yourself during the long drives. Some of the walking in the Drakensberg may worry vertigo sufferers but there was nothing technically difficult. Rehydration tablets/sachets useful on very hot walking days ( it was much hotter than we expected)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go for it!!

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on 0208 772 3936