Day 1: Johannesburg
You are collected at O R Tambo airport and we drive to our guest house in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, set in a secure golf estate, and check in.
Johannesburg is an extraordinary city, born just over 125 years ago, when one of the world’s richest gold-bearing reefs was discovered under the sweeping savannah plains.
The area of Johannesburg began on a vast undulating grassy plain, interspersed with ridges and kopjes (small hills) in an area known as the Witwatersrand, named after the white water springs that coursed the land. It wasn’t until George Harrison, an Australian prospector, arrived here that the mineral wealth of the Witwatersrand became apparent. In 1886, after George sold his gold claim for just £10, Johannesburg was born. He may never have envisaged the significant world history that would unfold here in the province of Gauteng, place of gold.
Guest house in Johannesburg.
We have optional excursions that we can offer you to do or we can relax in the garden or swim in the pool at the guest house in Johannesburg.
Guest house 1 night; (D) South African Braai
Day 2 & 3: Sabi & Blyde River
Today we start our safari after a scrumptious breakfast and travel from Johannesburg to Mpumalanga.
We stop over at Dullstroom. The village, situated at 2100m above sea level in the Steenkampsberg range, dates back to the early 1880's, when Dutch settlers came to the area. The town derives its name from one Wolterus Dull, chairman of the Dutch immigrants. The "stroom" (stream) refers to the abundance of water in the area: The Crocodile River, which runs through the Kruger National Park, has its origin in Dullstroom.
Beautiful Pilgrim’s Rest.
In the afternoon we visit Pilgrim’s Rest. Mining in this region of Mpumalanga dates back many centuries, when unknown miners worked quartz reefs in the area for gold. Proof of these diggings can still be found in this area.
The history of this small delightful village dates back to 1873 when a miner, Alex Patterson, discovered alluvial gold on the farm named Ponieskrantz. He had left the Mac- Mac area to search for a place that was less congested. Though the discovery was kept as a secret, the inevitable happened when a second prospector, William Trafford, also discovered gold close by.
What they had found in this beautiful valley, drew optimistic gold panners and prospectors from all over the country and the world (news of gold strikes of this magnitude travel fast!).
On 22nd September 1873 Pilgrim's Rest was officially proclaimed a gold field and the scatter of tents and rudimentary shacks soon grew into a
flourishing little village complete with sturdy brick houses, church, shops, canteens, a newspaper and the well-known Royal Hotel.
The diggers called it Pilgrim's Rest because here, at last, after so many false trails and faded dreams, they had truly found their home.
In due course the alluvial deposits were depleted and the locals turned to forestry. This village, whose residents still number in the hundreds, has been
painstakingly preserved as a "living museum" and is a major South African tourist venue. On our second day we visit the scenic sights of Blyde River
Canyon including the Potholes and Three Rondavels. In the afternoon we visit the Lone Creek Waterfall. Along the edge of the escarpment, we visit
God’s Window (time and weather permitting) and the scenic gorge with the Pinnacle Rock. The entire Mpumalanga area offers exceptional opportunities for bird- watching, hiking, horse-riding and fishing. Streams once panned for gold have become the haunts of eager anglers and lazy trout. Steeped in the history of pioneers, hunters and fortune seekers, fascinating gold rush towns abound. Mpumalanga offers something for everyone.
We overnight in the Sabi area.
Lodge; 2 nights (2 x B, 2 x D)
Days 4-6: Kruger National Park
After breakfast we continue our safari to the Kruger National Park.
African Hunting Dog.
The first explorer to set foot in the region was the Dutchman François de Cuiper who led a Dutch East India Company expedition to explore the region. However, the expedition was attacked and driven back by local tribes-people near Gomondwane. Only around 1838 were Voortrekker expeditions led by Louis Trichardt and Hans van Rensburg able to successfully establish forward outposts. Hundreds of Europeans and farmers came to the Lowveld lured by rumors of gold and the great quantity of valuable commodities such as ivory and skins. This caused the number of game to dramatically decrease due to hunting and trading of animal skins and horns.
President Paul Kruger was told about the rapid destruction of wildlife in the area by hunters, after which he succeeded to persuade the Transvaal parliament to establish a protected area for wildlife in the Lowveld region.
Elephant in Kruger National Park.
The very first ranger in the reserve was Paul Bester who made his residence in a rustic rondavel (hut) which is now the site of the headquarters camp, Skukuza. Documents concerning the History of the Kruger National Park can be viewed at the Skukuza Library.
We do a morning game drive to our camp and settle into our chalet. Looming several hundred feet over the Olifants river bushveld is this eponymous hilltop rest camp, which provides an authentic experience of this area's rugged wildlife, varied flora and exquisite panoramic view. Park officials warn that certain creatures which inhabit the park could prove dangerous if not approached or handled correctly. These may include bats, spiders, snakes, and scorpions.
In the afternoon we do a game drive to learn more of the fauna and flora before returning to our camp and sundowners under the African skies.
Black Rhino Kruger Park.
All the remaining days in the park we go on morning and afternoon game drives exploring different areas of the park. The Kruger National Park is the second-largest game reserve in Africa and the largest in South Africa. Keeping in theme with the name of the camp, the area plays host to a multitude of elephants. Baboons, vervet monkeys, fruit bats and thick-tailed bush babies all reside in the Olifants area, as well as lion, leopard and Cape Clawless otter. Situated in rugged veld on rhyolite and basalt soil, Olifants river rest hosts lowveld cluster-leaf, raisin bush and mopane. The camp itself exhibits an abundance of trees and plants, including a variety of aloe species. Probably the only accessible sesame bush in the Kruger National Park can also be seen here, as well as sjambok pod (yellow flowers), weeping boerboon (red flowers) and tree euphorbia can all be sighted in the area depending on season.
Zebra Kruger Park.
Day 7: Johannesburg
After breakfast we do a game drive out of the park on our way to Johannesburg. We should arrive in Johannesburg the late afternoon.
Guest House: 1 night (1xB)
Day 8: To the Airport
Transfer to the airport for your return flight home. End of our service.
Listed below are hotels/lodges/resorts that the safari tour operator can accomodate for you.