About Native EscapesWe’re a small, family run company specialising in big adventures. We’re experts in providing group tours and tailor-made itineraries in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. We also offer trip extensions to must-see locations such as Cape Town and Victoria Falls; beach extensions to Mauritius or The Seychelles; and unusual options that include wilderness escapes to Namibia, and houseboat trips on the Lower Zambezi. If you love to learn about culture and wildlife, and want to know that your visit has left a positive impact on local communities, then our trips are for you. Adventure and fun feature prominently in all our trips too – with lots of options for activities unique to your surroundings …and at the end of the day, you’ll more likely than not be sat round the evening fire with an aperitif under the stars and listening to the nocturnal sounds deep in the African bush … a sure sign that you are a long way from home!
To celebrate our Golden Wedding, Native Escapes organised a trip for us to South Africa, covering 6 5-star hotels and lodges, including a 3-day safari, and did so efficiently and professionally. The guide they sent us prior to our trip was a masterpiece of detail, covering just about everything we needed to know about where we were staying and how to get there, together with information on local history and present conditions.
The trip ticked all the boxes for us, and everything went as smoothly as clockwork. Lovely country, accommodation and food everywhere we stayed was superlative. We have used Native Escapes before and never encountered any problems, as their choice of ground handlers, with whom they clearly have a relationship of mutual respect, meant that any issues were addressed quickly and seamlessly.
This was going to be our last trip to SA; after this, maybe not!
First stop was the Oyster Box Hotel, near Durban, probably one of the best hotels we have ever stayed in; the High Tea should not be missed. Staff were attentive and couldn't do enough for us.
We then collected our hire car, and drove to the Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse (don't miss the Mandela Capture Site, which you pass on the way), from where we walked to view the San rock art in the mountains above. After this, we went to the delightful Montusi Mountain Lodge, close to the Royal Natal National Park in the northern Drakensberg mountains, where you will recognise the backdrop to the film 'Zulu'.
We then drove to Fugitives' Drift Lodge, owned and run by the Rattray family, respected pioneers of SA's Heritage Tourism. The Zulu battlefield tours were an emotional highlight of the holiday, and I wish we had spent more time at this Lodge.
Our safari took place at Nambiti Hills Game Lodge, in the Nambiti Game Reserve, near Ladysmith (not Pilanesberg as listed below), and was everything we hoped it would be. Saw four of the Big Five (a leopard in the wild still eludes us!), plus a black rhino, and countless other animals in their natural environment. Very humbling.
On the way back to Jo'burg airport, we stayed overnight at Oaklands Country Manor, near van Reenen pass, where with wonderful food and enjoyable company, we were made to feel like one of the family.
If you're looking for a tailor-made holiday in southern Africa, we would recommend Native Escapes unreservedly. Take a look at their web site!
Cleanliness of vehicle
Meet and greet team
Quality of itinerary
Responsiveness of staff