Current as of: July 23, 2024 - 02:26

South Africa: Walking & Wildlife

South Africa: Walking & Wildlife Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: Eswatini (Swaziland), South Africa
  • Programmes: Walking & Trekking, Wildlife
  • Activity Level:

    3 out of 7 - Moderate

  • 17 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 15 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: TZS
  • Carbon Footprint: 31kg CO2e

Trip Overview

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

Rising high above the veld, the Drakensberg, which translates as Dragon Mountain, forms an imposing, dramatic and quintessentially South African scene, perfect for exploring on foot. Along with the fantastic walking opportunities, we take time to discover the amazing wildlife of the country, hoping to see elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards, giraffes, cheetahs and much more. Complementing our journey are more walks and visits to Eswatini (Swaziland), St Lucia and the Battlefields.

At a Glance

  • Eight days of walking
  • A bush walk
  • Mixture of spotting wildlife and walking
  • Altitude max: 9,515ft (2,900m); average: 4,100ft (1,250m)
  • Group normally 4 to 12, plus local leader. Minimum age: 16
  • 11 nights in log cabins and chalets and three nights in permanent tented camp

Highlights

  • Embark on several days hiking in the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains
  • Explore Royal Natal National Park and the amazing rock formation, the Amphitheatre
  • Walk through the mountainous terrain of Eswatini (Swaziland)
  • Take morning and afternoon game drives in Kruger National Park
  • Enjoy a game walk and drive in a private game reserve

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is graded Activity Level 3 (Moderate). For more on our trip gradings, visit our Activity Level Guidelines page.

There are a few long drives (the longest being six to seven hours on the first and last days) 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 been rated Activity Level 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 are fair. On Day 7, conditions can be hot with very little shelter from the sun. On Day 10 there is a small river crossing that we wade across but this is only attempted when conditions are safe. We climb to a maximum of 9,515ft (2,900m) and a walking day is normally four to eight hours.

There are some ladders to climb while walking in the Drakensberg. The ladders are in two stretches, a longer one (about 100ft/30m) and a shorter one(about 50ft/15m). Neither are quite vertical and they are metal ladders with thick, square edged footholds and comfortable handholds. While 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.

The game viewing is generally 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 from April to June. The migratory birds are visible between October and April.

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, of which our local supplier is a member. 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.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 4

Max group size: 12

Itinerary

TZS Map

Land Only

  • Start City: Johannesburg
  • End City: Johannesburg

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start Johannesburg; to Graskop

We meet at the start hotel before collecting the rest of the group from the airport. We then transfer to the town of Graskop, which 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 the highest town in South Africa, Belfast (6,465ft/1,970m), and the scenic Long Tom Pass. We also take the opportunity to stock up on supplies such as drinks and snacks.

Accommodation: Mogodi Lodge (or similar)

Day 2
Explore the Panorama Route; walk the Leopard, Guineafowl and Kadishi-Tufa trails

We drive through some beautiful 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 breathtaking views over Blyde River Canyon, the third-largest canyon in the southern hemisphere. In the afternoon, we enjoy our first walk of the itinerary, a loop that includes the Leopard, Guineafowl and Kadishi-Tufa trails. Along the way, we have further views on Blyde River Canyon, walk through forest and stop at Tufa Waterfall. Most of the trail is on a good path, but there are some sections of small rock steps, roots and a few small stream crossings.

Accommodation: Blyde Canyon Forever Resort (or similar)

Distance covered: 6mi (9km)

Ascent: 1,312ft (400m); Descent: 1,276ft (389m); Activity hours: 4-6

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3
Drive to a private game reserve; afternoon game drive

After breakfast, we drive to a private game reserve in the Greater Kruger area, our base for the next two days. We have time to relax and enjoy the views from camp before heading out for an afternoon game drive in search of the resident buffalo, zebra, elephant and the elusive leopard.

Accommodation: Makuwa Safari Lodge (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4
Morning game walk; free afternoon

We have an early start this morning, as we drive 40 minutes from our accommodation and meet our specialist guide in Hoedspruit. It’s then a short drive to Pridelands, a wildlife-rich private reserve that forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park and is open to the Kruger. Here we spend three hours, at least two of these walking while following animal tracks and the rest of the time on an open game drive, searching for the iconic wildlife of Africa. The walk is likely to be around 3mi (5km) but this changes from trip to trip. We walk in the early morning before the heat of the day but it can still get hot in the African Bush. Wear proper walking shoes and trousers (pants).

The afternoon is free to relax or go an optional game drive.

Accommodation: Makuwa Safari Lodge (or similar)

Distance covered: 4mi (7km)

Ascent: 98ft (30m); Descent: 98ft (30m); Activity hours: 2-4

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5
Transfer to Kruger National Park; afternoon game drive

We head 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, plus cheetah, giraffes, hippos and many species of antelopes 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 Kruger campsite in the late afternoon just before the camp gates close to maximise our game-viewing chances.

Accommodation: Skukuza or Pretoriuskop camp (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6
Morning game drive in Kruger; transfer to Eswatini (Swaziland)

We get up before sunrise for a game drive 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: Eswatini (Swaziland). We leave the park at around lunch time and have a short stop to resupply before crossing the border into Eswatini (Swaziland). We drive (three hours) to the hilly Malolotja Nature Reserve, where we spend a relaxing evening in the cabins ready for a long walk tomorrow.

Accommodation: Malolotja Cabins (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7
Full day walk in Malolotja

There is superb flora here and we take a daywalk on one of the picturesque walking trails. More than 280 bird species 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 has a rocky underfoot with a well marked path that takes us to the Malolotja falls viewpoint and then to the upper Majolomba falls and a great lunch spot.

Accommodation: Malolotja Cabins (or similar)

Distance covered: 11mi (17km)

Ascent: 2,756ft (840m); Descent: 2,756ft (840m); Activity hours: 6-8

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8
Visit craft market; to St Lucia

Today we head out of Eswatini (Swaziland) and back into South Africa. On the way, we visit Ezulwini Valley Craft Market, where vendors sell their hand-crafted curios, an excellent chance to stretch our legs and meet the local artists and artisans. After, we head south through rural Eswatini (Swaziland), before entering South Africa and travelling to St Lucia. This small town 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 the largest estuary in Africa and a haven for birds. The proximity to the ocean means it is possible to go swimming and even whale watching (June to November).

Accommodation: Shonalanga apartments (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9
Morning boat cruise; afternoon visit Cape Vidal

Getting up early, we head down to the dock and board a boat on the nearby lake. We spend two hours exploring by boat with an excellent chance of seeing some of the many resident hippos, 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.

Accommodation: Shonalanga apartments (or similar)

Distance covered: 3mi (5km)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10
Transfer to battlefields; hike the fugitive trail

Leaving the coast behind, we head 185mi (300km) towards the battlefields where the British and Zulus fought in 1879. After lunch, we go on a four-hour hike along the fugitive trail, which 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 and 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 31mi (50km) to our lodge for the night.

Accommodation: Amabutho Warrior Lodge (or similar)

Distance covered: 6mi (10km)

Ascent: 423ft (129m); Descent: 656ft (200m); Activity hours: 4-5

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11
To Royal Natal National Park; afternoon walk

We continue our journey to the beautiful Royal Natal National Park, known from being home to 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 are staying. There are several walks we can choose from such as to Policeman’s Helmet or to some bushmen paintings.

Accommodation: Thendele Chalets (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12
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, which involves some boulder hopping and crossing a dry riverbed close to the end, takes us into the heart of the Royal Natal National Park and offers stunning views of the dramatic northern Drakensberg Mountains.

Accommodation: Thendele Chalets (or similar)

Distance covered: 10mi (16km)

Ascent: 1,562ft (476m); Descent: 1,562ft (476m); Activity hours: 6-8

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13
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 six hours including stopping for lunch.

Accommodation: Witsieshowk Lodge (or similar)

Distance covered: 7mi (12km)

Ascent: 2,198ft (670m); Descent: 394ft (120m); Activity hours: 5-6

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14
Hike to Tugela Falls, the second tallest waterfall in the world

In the morning, we drive 9mi (15km) to the trek start point at the Sentinel Gate. From here, we trek along the edge of the mountains, possibly chaperoned by mountain baboons or, if we are lucky, by the resident bearded vultures, up to the ladders, which take us to the top (9,515ft/2,900m). We then follow the Thukela River to the edge of the waterfall and enjoy views across the amphitheatre and our previous day’s route. We then walk back to the vehicle and transfer 9mi (15km) to our lodge. The hike should take about six hours including stopping for lunch.

Accommodation: Witsieshowk Lodge (or similar)

Distance covered: 9mi (15km)

Ascent: 1,673ft (510m); Descent: 1,673ft (510m); Activity hours: 6

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 15
Drive through Golden Gate National Park en route to Johannesburg; end Johannesburg.

There is an optional three-hour final morning walk in these wonderful mountains, with a local guide, before driving back to Johannesburg in time for our flight this evening. The trip ends upon arrival in Johannesburg.

Please note: If you are organising your own flights, these should not be earlier than the group flights due to the distance we need to travel back to the airport.

Meals included: Breakfast

Ascents, descents and distances: All ascents, descents and distances listed in the daily itinerary have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders, in many cases with satellite-based mapping software. However, different GPS measuring devices can give differing results, particularly on winding paths or in mountainous terrain. Measurements stated throughout these Trips Notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter. Timings stated will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Accommodation

Chalets

South Africa: Walking & Wildlife

All nights will be in chalets, log cabins and a permanent tented camp. The cabins in Thendele have three rooms sharing two bathrooms and a lounge, and in both St Lucia and Eswatini (Swaziland), the cabins consist of two rooms sharing a bathroom and a lounge. The accommodation in Eswatini (Swaziland) is of a more rustic nature, however, it is located in a beautiful setting within the game reserve which removes the need for transfers and our stay there contributes to efforts made in conserving and preserving their natural heritage. It is possible to get laundry done in Eswatini (Swaziland). In the Kruger Park, we stay in a permanent tented camp for four nights with shared washing facilities.

Wifi is available most nights but is not always very reliable.

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

Single supplement from £ 530

Food & Drink

All breakfasts, 11 lunches, seven dinners included.

In the itinerary, we state which meals are included on which 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.

We need at least two weeks’ notice to deal with special dietary requirements (eg vegetarian or allergies.) For this reason, if you did not indicate these on your booking form please advise your sales representative as soon as possible. The tour leaders do all the shopping, meal planning and cooking for each group. They will always try to obtain fresh produce wherever possible. Each tour has two cool boxes for meats and fresh produce and one cool box for cold drinks. We 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.

For meals not included, dinners can cost on average £12‐£18 (US$20‐US$30) per person and lunches £5-£10 (US$8-US$13). A wide range of Ala Carte menus and buffets are available at the different lodges, ranging from different meats to vegetarian and vegan options. Snacks, such as biltong (dried, cured meat), droëwors (dried, cured sausage) nuts, including the usual variety you would get at grocery stores, are also available along the way during pitstops.

On days when the group are on morning game walks or drives, we have an early morning cup of tea or coffee and rusks followed by the walk. Once we return to camp, we have a large brunch around 11am. In the early afternoon, we have a snack-style lunch and dinner will be served after completion of the optional game drives.

The water provided on this trip is safe and clean drinking water, normally from boreholes. It is not bottled water, however. If you would rather have bottled water then this will be at your expense, though we would encourage you to make use of the safe drinking water provided as this helps diminish plastic consumption.

Transport

Transport is by minibus fitted with forward-facing seats and towing a trailer for equipment and luggage. For game drives on the private reserve, we use an open four-wheel-drive Land Rover.

Weather & Seasonality

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 22C (72F) on the coast and 24C (75C) inland. This trip covers various different weather regions. Generally, inland areas will be dry between April and October (although storms can occur), whereas rain is more common at this time in the Drakensberg Mountains. 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. From 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 nights are incredibly clear.

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 17 days

The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London
We normally use the scheduled services of South African Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 15 days starting and ending in Johannesburg Airport

Your trip normally starts at the Johannesburg international airport in the morning of Day 1 of the itinerary, at the group arrival time. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions – sent approximately two weeks before departure. (Land only clients can be picked up at a local hotel 45 minutes before the group arrival flight and transferred to the Johannesburg International airport)

Please note that if you are organising your own flights, your departure flight should not be earlier than the group flights as we have a long way to travel back to Johannesburg Airport on the last day.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Johannesburg
Location end: Johannesburg

What To Take

Essential Equipment

  • Good trekking boots
  • Torch (flashlight) and spare batteries
  • Portable charger
  • Towel
  • Backpack (at least 25 litres)
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Waterproofs
  • Neutral coloured clothing for the game walks

Please note, hard cases may not fit in the vehicle so please bring soft bags.

Water included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill or get burned. Both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip, we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles to reduce the plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout; all you need to do is bring a bottle to refill along the way. Please add this to your packing list.

Optional Equipment

  • We strongly recommend a good pair of binoculars and camera
  • Walking poles may be useful on some of the hikes

Practical Information

Visa

South Africa

Travellers from the UK, US and most (though not all) EU states normally do not need a visa to enter South Africa. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/africa/south-africa
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/south-africa
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/south-africa/entry-requirements
• USA: www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/SouthAfrica.html

Please note, all travellers to South Africa who require a visa need at least two consecutive blank pages in their passport (ie a left- and right-hand page) to enable an entry visa to be issued.

Additionally, 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 one parent, they will also have to have an affidavit, no less than three 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.

Eswatini (Swaziland)

Travellers from the UK, US and most EU states normally do not need a visa to enter Eswatini. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

Vaccinations and Health

South Africa

There are no required vaccinations. However, recommended vaccinations include hepatitis A, tetanus, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis B, rabies and tuberculosis. You will also need a yellow fever vaccination certificate if you’re arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission or transiting for more than 12 hours through a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

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

Dengue fever, a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes, is also a known risk in places visited. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, so we recommend taking the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eswatini (Swaziland)

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for hepatitis A, tetanus, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis B, rabies and tuberculosis. You will also need a yellow fever vaccination certificate if you have travelled from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic. There is also a risk of malaria in Eswatini, please confirm the recommended course of action with your doctor or travel clinic.

Malaria prophylaxis is essential on this trip, and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take.

Bilharzia is known to occur in some of the lakes or rivers visited on this itinerary, we therefore advise all to take advice from your guide or leader locally before venturing for a swim.

Local Time

South Africa's time zone: Africa/Johannesburg (UTC +02:00)

Electricity

South Africa's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins), D (three round pins), M (three round pins) and N (three round pins) – 230V, 50Hz

Eswatini (Swaziland)'s electricity: Plug type M (three round pins) – 230V, 50Hz

South Africa: Walking & Wildlife

Money

South Africa's currency: South African rand (ZAR)

Eswatini (Swaziland)'s currency: Swazi lilangeni (SZL)

ATM Availability

Money can be changed at the airport on arrival in South Africa. ATMs are widely available in all the major towns, so should be available every four days or so as the trip proceeds. Credit cards are widely accepted in most shops, bars and restaurants and will be accepted for all optional activities.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

The Swazi lilangeni (plural Emalangeni) is linked to the rand, and South African currency can be used in Eswatini (Swaziland) but not vice versa.

We suggest you allow about 180 rand (US$10) per day for incidentals.

Optional Excursions

  • Kruger National Park night drives: 307 rand (US$16) per person.
  • Optional tree-top canopy tour in Malolotja Nature Reserve: 750 rand (US$39) per person
  • Johannesburg city tour 900 rand (US$48) per person
  • Apartheid museum with transfers 1000 rand (US$54) per person
  • Johannesburg Township and city tour 1330 rand (US$72) per person

Tipping

Tipping is expected but not compulsory in both South Africa and Eswatini (Swaziland). Most grooms, waiters and local guides rely on tipping as part of their wages. Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work, but we would still recommend for your leader approximately 36 rands (US$2) per person per day.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips that have a positive impact on the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Learn more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

 People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • Local guides keep you well informed about local traditions and cultural-social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally owned hotels, restaurants, and other enterprises, and by championing locally produced food wherever possible.
  • Read more about our other initiatives here.

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively reduce waste; this includes eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles by providing refills for reusable bottles.
  • The payment of entrance fees to natural reserves generates income which is used for upkeep and development of these important sites. We visit Letaba Ranch Reserve, Kruger National Park and Royal Natal National Park.
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices regarding working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal welfare policy can be found here.
  • With our partners, Rewilding Apennines, we rewild 100 square meters (1,075 sqft) of land per passenger who travels with us.
  • Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration here, including our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels with us.

Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • Walking trips like this have very little detrimental impact on the environment and the locals, as it is a quiet, low impact activity requiring comparatively few resources to support.
  • Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: we do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: please bring a reusable water bottle on this trip, also consider avoiding single-use hotel toiletries, which generate a large amount of plastic waste.

 

 

Important Information

Optional activities and excursions

If you would like to join an optional activity or excursion outside those listed in the itinerary, your leader may be able to assist with selecting a provider. However, Exodus has not assessed the safety standards of activities or excursions that are not listed in the Trip Notes. All optional activities or excursions are undertaken at your own risk.

Water safety

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. You should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim. Open-water or wild swim spots should be treated with extreme caution. Information on how to keep yourself safe while swimming is shown here.

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.