Arrive in Johannesburg and join our transfer to the joining point hotel, where we will meet the rest of our group and get to know the families we are travelling with. We have no plans for today, so if you have time, there is plenty to see in Johannesburg. This evening, we have a group dinner, where we can try some local food and relax as a group.
We drive out away from the cities today, and head East towards Mpumalanga, which translates as 'the place where the sun rises'. This is where the spectacular scenery of South Africa really starts to come into focus. Our drive along the Panorama Route takes us to Blyde River Canyon, one of the largest canyons in the world. The beginning of the canyon is marked by Bourke's Luck Potholes, which are formed by the churning whirlpools that have eroded the cliffs into such spectacular rock formations. One of the most famous sites here is God's Window. Views of waterfalls, canyons and looming rock formations give this viewpoint an apt name. We stop at the town of Pilgrim's Rest, the location of a gold field and a town that grew out of the gold rush in Mpumalanga. The kids can try their hands at panning for gold here, so you never know, you might strike it lucky! Overnight in Sabie.
For the next two days enjoy morning and evening game drives in our open safari vehicle in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, adjoining the Kruger National Park, searching for elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo - Africa's famed Big 5. Nocturnal animals, including the big cats are regular sightings at night. Keep an eye out for white lions which the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve is known for, as it is one of very few places in the world which hosts those species. This is an example of what you and your family might do during your stay in Timbavati: Early morning wake up call (around 5am), coffee/tea & rusks on the deck before the morning open vehicle game drive (approx 3 hours) starts. Return to the Lodge for brunch followed by some leisure time. Enjoy the pool or the lodge’s wooden deck overlooking the river, read a book or take an afternoon nap. Around 14:30pm enjoy High Tea (light lunch and cakes) before you hop on your late afternoon/ evening open safari vehicle game drive. Return, freshen up and meet for pre-dinner drinks and enjoy dinner. In 1993 the fences between the Kruger National Park and the Timbavati Reserve were removed to encourage natural species migration. Today the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve (TPNR) comprises 53,392 hectares of private land adjoining the Kruger National Park (KNP). Currently, there are over 40 mammal species in the Timbavati including the Big Five as well as 360 species of bird life. While relaxing and enjoying the breathtaking views from the lodge’s wooden deck overlooking the river, we listen to the sounds of Africa and search for shooting stars piercing through the night sky before we overnight in our luxury accommodation at the Simbavati River Lodge, meaning ‘lions that come down from the stars’.
Hop on your last early morning game drive in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. Enjoy more game driving inside Kruger National Park in our own vehicle. Search for more lion, elephant, rhino and many other animals in one of Africa’s most well-known wildlife areas on our transfer through Kruger National Park in our own vehicle, making our way south towards our camp Nkambeni. Enjoy an optional late afternoon game drive in an open vehicle where you will have a chance to search out some more incredible wildlife. 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 life forms 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, persons and events that played a role in the history of the Kruger National Park and are conserved along with the park's natural assets.
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.
Staying in Swaziland, we continue to the coast at St. Lucia. There are plenty of options to enjoy here. You could choose to play with the kids on the beach, or go for boat cruises or kayaking through the lagoon. There is time perhaps for a game drive in Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve, so you can catch even more wildlife in their natural habitat!
This morning we depart early for a trip around the stunning Cape Peninsula stopping at Boulders Beach to walk along the boardwalk and see the popular penguins. In addition, we'll visit Hout Bay taking a walk around the harbor to watch local fishermen bringing in their catches and processing the fish. From here, we embark on a boat cruise from the harbor to tiny Seal Island which boasts 6,000 of these entertaining creatures.
From the coast up into the mountains Into the Drakensburg, the highest mountain range in South Africa. There are two days here to soak in the incredible scenery, or walk among the jagged peaks and forests up in the mountains.
We return to Johannesburg this morning, where we transfer to the airport and depart, having said goodbye to our new family.