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Swazi & Zulu Culture (14 days) Print E-mail
COVER_Swazi_Zulu_Culture_C_SAT Meet Swazi and Zulu people in their local communities, go back in time at the Cradle of Humankind, hike in the Royal Natal National Park and visit interesting projects in the field of wildlife, educational and health care on your way.
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Zulu Swazi Culture


DAY-TO-DAY
Day 1: Johannesburg
Day 2: Cradle of Humankind
Day 3: Kruger NP
Day 4: Kruger NP
Day 5: Panorama Route
Day 6: Kruger NP
Day 7: Swaziland
Day 8: Mlilwane Wildlife
Day 9: Pongola River
Day 10: Hluhluwe
Day 11: Hluhluwe
Day 12: Drakensberg
Day 13: Drakensberg
Day 14: Johannesburg


ITINERARY
Day 1: Johannesburg
After a wholesome breakfast you can explore the City, visiting historical landmarks in Johannesburg.
Optional: Guided tour around Johannesburg

Day 2: Cradle of Humankind
After breakfast, you will be collected for the start of your guided tour to the Cradle of Humankind – a World Heritage Site. The Cradle of Humankind comprises a strip of a dozen dolomitic  limestone caves containing the fossilised remains of ancient forms of animals, plants and most importantly, hominids. Our  tour takes us to the Sterkfontein caves ,the world’s richest hominid site, renowned for studies on fossilized fauna, wood and stone used in the past. Maropeng – the origins , a visitor centre in the cradle gives an insight into the history of the area and panoramic views of the cradle can be experienced. Still in the cradle, we visit either the Wonder Caves, a natural wonder 2 200million years old or the old Kromdraai Gold mine, one of the oldest Gold mines in the reef dating back to 1881.

Optional: you can choose to go on a guided tour into Soweto, a former Township, and now a thriving City. For today, you will live the “township” life. You can listen to Kwaito; South Africa's answer to American Hip Hop and visit a local shebeen (illicit liquor bar). Visit Soccer City – Home to the 2010 World Cup final,  the Hector Peterson Memorial, the homes of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, both Nobel peace prizewinners and other famous sites.

Day 3:  Johannesburg - Kruger National Park
Departing Johannesburg, you will drive toward Hoedspruit. A scenic drive through the Limpopo province will find you at the Orpen Gate near Kruger National Park, where you overnight 2 nights in unique and thatched Tree house Lodges.
Optional:
As a luxurious alternative, you can spend the night inside the Timbavati Game Reserve set in the Greater Kruger National Park. The Greater Kruger borders the Kruger National Park and is home to several private game reserves and lodges. Overnight in traditional African reed and thatch huts, in the authentic FTTSA accredited Umlani Bush Camp. Included are all meals and per day 1 guided game activity

Day 4: Kruger National Park
Where nearly 2 million hectares of unrivalled diversity of life forms fuses with historical and archaeological sights – this is real Africa. The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa.  Should you choose to drive yourselves, please note that the Kruger Gates open at 05h30 and close at sunset. For those who prefer a guided game drive in open Land Rovers, or participate in guided bush walks with rangers and trackers; these excursions can be booked directly at your lodge.
Overnight Kruger National Park / Hoedspruit area

Day 5: Kruger National Park - Panorama Route
Departing Orpen Gate, you will do the highlights of the Limpopo Province. These highlights include the historical gold mining city Pilgrim’s Rest, and the world renowned Panoramic Route. The Panoramic Route includes the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and God’s Window. Continuing in direction towards Numbi Gate bordering the Kruger National Park, where you overnight in luxurious chalets at FTTSA accredited Phumulani Lodge. Phumulani Lodge is for 100% owned by Mduli Trust; an initiative of Chief MZ Mduli’s. Experience Phumulani Lodge; an extension of tribal culture to uplift standards of living of local communities through job creation.
Overnight Phumulani Lodge

Day 6: Kruger National Park
Today you will have another day to explore the Kruger National Park, either exploring it in you own vehicle or booking guided drives and walks through your accommodation.

Day 7: Kruger - Swazi border
Departing the Kruger National Park after breakfast, you continue your journey in southerly direction towards the beautiful Kingdom of Swaziland, where you overnight 1 night near the border. You can choose to drive past Nelspruit or go through the Kruger National Park. Continue to Matsamo Cultural village. Overnight in Matsamo where in the evening traditional Swazi dancers from nearby villages perform for guests at the lodge. Overnight in Matsamo

Day 8: Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Today you continue your journey in southerly direction and travel through the Capital of the beautiful kingdom of Swaziland, where you overnight 1 night. After customs you continue to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary where you will spend the night. Your accommodation will be in traditional grass-dome shaped beehives . Here you can book optional excursions to discover Swaziland: guided chiefs walk, guided game-drive, mountain bike or horse ride via your accommodation.

Day 9: Swaziland - Pongola River Valley  
Today you will drive to Ithala in the Pongola River Valley; en route you can visit the Swazi market and a local school where you can meet the children and teachers. You will drive through sugercane fields and exit Swaziland at the Pongola border post into KwaZulu Natal. Ithala’s big game species include white- and black rhino , elephant , buffalo and, notably giraffe. Enjoy guided game walks and game drives in the reserve.
Overnight in the Pongola River Valley – Ithala Game Reserve

Day 10:  Pongola River Valley – Hluhluwe/Umfolozi
Departing Pongola, you will drive through the sugarcane fields to Zululand, where you overnight for 2 nights. Once ruled by the famous King Shaka, Zululand was the Zulu-dominated area of what is now northern KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. Zululand stretches from the Tugela River in the South to Pongola River in the north.  Overnight in a lodge near Hluluwe, which is well known for its eco-friendliness. A small part of the accommodation costs go towards local projects which the lodge supports.

Day 11: Hluhluwe/Umfolozi
Today you have a whole day to discover the magnificent Hluhluwe-Umfolozi National Park. Walk along the long empty beaches on the Elephant coast. The Elephant Coast is 200km long and 70km wide and is home to an astonishing 21 different eco-systems. Hluhluwe / Umfolozi is home to at least a fifth of the world's black and white rhino population here. Besides the big five - Rhino, Elephant, Leopard, Lion And Buffalo, there is an incredible variety of wildlife to ensure a fascinating encounter for the visitor. Or choose to visit South Africas first World Heritage Site Isimagaliso Wetlandspark (Greater st Lucia); the mosaic of landforms and habitat types creates breathtaking scenic vistas. Here you can go snorkelling, surfing and in season turtle viewing.
Optional:
Guided boat tour, canoe trail, surfing, and snorkelling, guided open vehicle game drive and walking trails, can be booked in advance or via your accommodation.

Day 12: Hluhluwe - Drakensberg Mountains
Departing Hluhluwe, you set off towards the mighty Drakensberg where you will spend 2 nights.
The Ukhahlamba Drakensberg mountain range runs along the entire length of the border between the province of KwaZulu-Natal and the Kingdom of Lesotho. The 243 000 hectare Conservation Area was declared a World Heritage Site in December 2000 due to the area's unique richness of biological diversity as well as its endemic and endangered species and remarkable 'art galleries in the rock' that protect tens of thousands of San rock paintings.
Historic Giant's Castle Game Reserve, home of the eland and the majestic bearded vulture, lies in the Central Berg region of the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site. Superb rock art is high among its special attractions. Visit the Main Caves Museum for an insight into the past life of the San People. Visit the impressive Didima interpretative centre that highlights the rich cultural value of San Rock Art that is abundantly found throughout the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Range. Overnight Central Drakensberg

Day 13: Central Drakensberg
Today you have time to relax and hike in this impressive mountain range. Enjoy  Walking & Hiking Trails, Guided cultural tours to local amaHlubi community, Cultural Zulu dance and song events.
Drive up the impressive Sani Pass  - the only road that crosses the mountains between the Province and Lesotho. The views are spectacular, and an added bonus is a visit to the highest pub in Africa. A visit to a Basotho village is also a rewarding experience.
It is optional to book selected hiking trails via your accommodation. Giants Castle - after a 30 minute walk it is possible to get to a cave in which San Rock Art can be viewed in its original state. Other walking trails ranging from a couple of hours to a number of days can be embarked upon. A number of excellent trails run over the entire area. A Trek up to the escarpment going up one of many steep passes is a physically challenging but very rewarding pursuit. 
Or listen to the Drakensberg Boys Choir - the home of this world-renowned boys choir. The school regularly offers mid-week concerts that add an unforgettable highlight to a tour through the area.

Day 14: back to Johannesburg
Today you can drive via through the impressive Golden Gate area. After visiting this rock formation, you can drive via Bethlehem back to OR Thambo (Johannesburg) International Airport to connect with your onward travels.

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Column_Drakensberg2_SAT
Drakensberg Mountains
Photo:South Africa Tourism

Column_Hluhluwe
Who's Big 5 now?
A giraffe looks on as two Buffalos take a muddy bath - Hluhluwe/Umfolozi game reserve.
Photo:ZippingZebra.com



 

TESTIMONIAL

Once again, a Big Thank You for organising our weekend at Garden Route Game Lodge. It was the first time for all of us at a game lodge, and I must say, it was an experience of a lifetime. We have nothing but praises for everyone and everything we came into contact with. It is a top class facility...

Gavin Heeger

Zipping Zebra

PO Box 26533
Hout Bay
7872
Cape Town
South Africa

T: +27-(0)21-7907148
F: +27-(0)21-7907147

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