Mozambique, Kruger & Swazi Discoverer
Day 1 Johannesburg
Arrive at any time. There will be a welcome meeting around 6pm on Day 1 where you will meet your CEO and fellow travellers. Please look for information on this important meeting in the lobby of the hotel.
Day 2 Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary (1B)
Cross the border to Swaziland and enjoy a guided birding walk. Visit the mountainous Kingdom of Swaziland. Ruled by King Mswati III, Swaziland is one of three monarchies in Africa. Here, explore the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in the “Valley of Heaven”, the Ezulwini Valley. Enjoy an included an included guided birding walk in the sanctuary. 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.
Day 3 Maputo (1B)
Cross the border and continue to the capital city of Mozambique, Maputo. Take an orientation walk including a visit to the municipal market, Praca dea Independencia, Iron House and the Jamma Masjid Mosque. Several rivers meet the sea at this diverse locale, and two islands, Inhaca and Portuguese, lie just off the coast. Notice the definite Latin flare to the city of approximately two million people, as Maputo openly embraces its Latin heritage. There is a unique feel to this city, with its popular seafront, colonial architecture, and colourful jacaranda trees. There are also some excellent restaurants where you can enjoy cool drinks and peri-peri prawns. The infamous Fere de Populare has dozens of bars and discos where Mozambicans dance well into the night to seductive Latin beats. Spend a bit of time exploring the city, with options like the Cathedral of Nossa Senhora da Conceicao, the Casa de Ferro (Iron House), which was designed by the same architect as the Eiffel Tower, and the Jardim Tunduru (botanical gardens). Maputo's history starts with Lourenco Marques, the Portuguese navigator who came ashore in 1545 to find a protected bay with potential for trade. Inhaca Island, just off-shore, was chosen by the Portuguese as a safe base for a small settlement. The British and Dutch tried to establish trading posts in the 17th and 18th centuries. The discovery of diamonds and gold in what was then the Transvaal province of South Africa changed the fortunes of Lourenco Marques (as Maputo was then known). The Witwatersrand developed a railway line, built in 1894 and Lourenco Marques and its port began to prosper. By the mid-20th century, the city had also become the playground of hordes of Transvaal holiday-makers. After some internal struggles, Mozambique is finally becoming the gorgeous cultural and beach destination it is destined to be.
Days 4-5 Praia do Tofo (2B,1D)
Head for the first beach stop at Praia do Tofo. En route, swing through Inhambane for a introduction to this town. In Tofo, opt to swim, snorkel, dive or relax. In the evening on Day 5, enjoy a beach braai (barbecue). Inhambane is a sleepy historic town on Inhambane Bay. One of the oldest settlements on the east coast of Mozambique, Inhambane was a trading port for Muslim and Persian traders. Vasco da Gama named the area 'Land of the Good People' in the 15th century. In the 18th century the port grew to be an ivory and slave trading centre while mostly under Indian control. The city was destroyed in 1834 but rebuilt as Portuguese town in the late 1800s. You can still see the old Cathedral of our Lady of Conception and mosque from that time. The 'Mercado Central' is located along the main boulevard and offers a colourful array of spices, fish, nuts and vegetables. Once again, the beaches and scenery are gorgeous. As you head north it's easy to see what makes Mozambique so captivating. Watch the beautiful coastal scenery slide by as we head to Praia do Tofo. Opt to laze on the white sand beach, going swimming, surfing, snorkelling or diving and take plenty of time to enjoy the laid back atmosphere. Stay in traditional beach lodges and enjoy a seafood beach braai (local barbecue) on the night of Day 5. If you're lucky, you may be in Tofo during whale shark season and could have the opportunity to spot the gentle giants.
Days 6-8 Vilanculos/Bazaruto National Park (3B,2L,1D)
Head north to Vilanculos for more beach time. On Day 7, enjoy a traditional dhow (boat) safari through Bazaruto National Park and beach camping on the mainland. We'll head to Vilanculos as our jumping-off point to explore stunning Bazaruto National Park, one of southern Africa's largest marine parks. Enjoy the Indian Ocean's sparkling clear waters and the abundance of marine life. The evening of Day 6 will be spent in Vilanculos in chalet type accommodation. The itinerary for the Dhow excursion through the archipelago on Day 7 is flexible based on weather and other conditions. The rough plan will be to depart for Magaruque Island with opportunities to snorkel and explore the island's sandy beaches. We'll have lunch here and relax before setting sail for our camp. Enjoy dinner at the camp and rest up for another day of exploration in the morning. Lunches and dinners consist of fresh fish or squid, salad, rice/spaghetti or local dishes and vegetarians can be catered for. The camp is equipped with tents, mattresses, pillows, sleeping bags, lights, showers and basic toilets. Not too basic but just rustic enough. Snorkelling equipment is included, too! On Day 8 we'll head to Bazaruto Island after a breakfast of fruit salad, eggs, bread, tea, coffee and juice. Here, we can hike up the sand dunes and head to 2 Mile Reef for another excellent snorkelling opportunity. We'll enjoy lunch on the island before heading back to mainland Vilanculos for another night in the chalets. Some notes: A towel, sunscreen, hat, warm clothing and a torch/flashlight are recommended. There is dry storage for cameras and luggage on the dhow. Leaving valuables unattended on beaches is not recommended. The islands are malarial areas and an anti-malarial drug is recommended. Bring medication if prone to seasickness. Alcohol and soda should be purchased on the mainland before the safari.
Day 9 Inhambane Area (1B)
Head to the lodge outside Inhambane. Take a walk on the beach, enjoy a local beer at the restaurant or just relax and take in the beautiful scenery. Our lodge is located on the beach of Praia de Jangamo, about 30km south of Inhambane. The area is beautiful and scenic and the best use of our time here is to relax!
Day 10 Xai-Xai (1B)
Enjoy the Portuguese flavour of another beautiful beach town. Xai-Xai is a bustling town with markets, shops, restaurants and bars located on the Limpopo River near the Indian Ocean. Check out the open-air furniture factory located under some cashew trees a few blocks from the central market. The beach here is fantastic, known for its coral reef, offering protection from strong waves as well as excellent snorkelling. If there's time, the Wenela Tidal Pool south of town includes a natural tunnel and blow hole that links to the Indian Ocean.
Days 11-13 Greater Kruger Area
Cross back into South Africa and stay in Kruger NP for the night. Days 12 and 13, enjoy full-day game drives in Manyaleti Game Reserve. In the evening, enjoy traditional dancing. The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this national park of nearly 2 million hectares is unrivaled in the diversity of its wildlife and a world-leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies. Truly the flagship of the South African national parks, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 types of trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals. Man's interaction with the Lowveld environment over many centuries - from bushman rock paintings to majestic archaeological sites like Masorini and Thulamela - is very evident in the Kruger National Park. These treasures represent the cultures, people and events that played a role in the history of the Kruger National Park and are conserved along with the park's natural assets. We'll take some fantastic game drives in the Manyeleti Game Reserve, as well. The name means 'Place of the Stars' in the local Shangaan language. Manyeleti is situated away from the mainstream tourist areas and guests can experience the tranquility of the African Bush in absolute seclusion. We'll also get the chance to sit around the campfire with a sunset drink and enjoy a local meal and traditional dancing by the villagers. 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 could bring you into close contact with the Big Five (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.
Day 14 Johannesburg
Scenic travel day along the Panorama Route from Kruger back to Johannesburg. Tour ends on arrival around 6:00pm. Onward travel can be booked from 9:00pm on. We recommend to book a post night should you wish to further explore the city of Johannesburg. Explore world-famous sites like Blyde River Canyon, Bourke's Luck Potholes and God's Window along the Panorama Route. Look out at the landscape complete with mountains, panoramic passes, valleys and waterfalls. En route, we visit Pilgrim's Rest situated on the eastern escarpment region of the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. The uniqueness of this historic village is evident and offers the visitor a fascinating window into the past, capturing the spirit of a bygone era and its people in their quest for gold. The entire town of Pilgrim's Rest was declared a national monument in 1986 as a living memory of the early gold rush days in South Africa during the late 1800s and early 1900s. We'll also stop by the 65m high Mac Mac Falls in the Mac Mac River which is also a national monument. This waterfall was originally a single stream, but gold miners blasted it with dynamite to divert the river in an attempt to work the rich gold-bearing reef over which it plunges.