Rainbow Nation Trip Notes
Trip code: FFSA
Trip length: 12 days
- Enjoy the peace of Kwazulu Natal coast
- Experience great game viewing in Kruger
- Hike in the bush of Swaziland's Hlane National Park searching for animal tracks
- South African Safari
South Africa & Swaziland make up a beautiful region of Africa. You follow the Panorama Route for some spectacular views, ending at Pilgrim’s Rest where you have a chance to try gold panning. There are few better places to see Africa’s wildlife than Kruger National Park - home to lion, elephant, rhino and buffalo to name only a few. Heading to Swaziland you stop to savour this small, independent nation’s vibrant markets and colourful culture. Your trip ends with some time for relaxation in St Lucia. Additionally there’s the option of a four-day un-escorted visit to Cape Town; your chance to visit the scenic winelands, climb Table Mountain, visit Cape Point, see the penguin colony at Boulders Beach, visit the harbour at Hout Bay or enjoy the famous beaches and the V&A Waterfront.
The tour starts at the Johannesburg hotel. You will receive full details of exactly where to meet your Group Leader on the Joining Instructions which will be sent to you 2-3 weeks before your trip starts. Johannesburg lies at the centre of the Witwatersrand, literally meaning ‘ridge of white waters’. It was on this ridge that the world’s richest gold fields were discovered little more than 100 years ago. Jo’burg or E’Goli ‘the City of Gold’ is the heart of the emergent nation of South Africa. This afternoon you head out on a township tour of Soweto - an exciting opportunity to get an insight into contemporary life in South Africa, and to learn about the history about one of South Africa's best known townships.
Riviona Road Lodge (AAA) – 1 night
Please make sure that if you explore Johannesburg on your own that you take advice of where it is safe to walk, especially in the evening. There have been isolated attempts of robbery in recent times and although unpredictable the risk of these can be minimised by taking local advice.
Today you rise early and, after a briefing with your Group Leader, you load the vehicle and make your way down from the temperate, rolling plateau of the Highveld, over the escarpment to the sub-tropical Mpumalanga. You head east to Dullstroom (approx. 4 hours drive) where you will visit the Bird of Prey Centre for a chance to see Africa’s birds of prey up close, and learn about the plight of some of the more endangered species that have come to be cared for in this environment.
Continuing your drive (approx. 3 hours) you visit the fascinating old goldrush town of Pilgrim’s Rest where it is easy to imagine the lives of the miners and their families who worked the small alluvial claims at the end of the last century. Later in the afternoon you try your hand at Gold Panning in the town’s fascinating mining museum. You spend the night in the picturesque little town of Graskop.
Mogodi Lodge Graskop - Chalet (AA) (1 bathroom between two rooms) – 1 night (LD)
Kruger National Park; game drives
This morning you visit God’s Window, which offers magnificent views over the lowveld and visit the Shangaan Cultural Village where you learn about the history and customs of the Shangaan people. Later, continue into the Kruger National Park (approx. 2 hours drive to the park gates, followed by a game drive), one of the greatest natural sanctuaries of the world, comprising beautiful areas of savannah bushveld broken by rocky outcrops and riverine forest. Cameras and binoculars at the ready, you make your way to the camp inside Kruger National Park where you will spend the next two days.
During your stay you hope to see much of the ‘big game’ of the park: elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, and leopard, and many more of the 147 species of mammal that the park boasts. Bird lovers will delight in over 500 species including the African fish eagle, whose evocative cry is probably the best known of any African bird, and the beautiful lilac-breasted roller. After settling into your accommodation and enjoying lunch, there’s time to relax, take in your surroundings and enjoy the peace of the African bush.
Mid-afternoon you take a game drive (approx. 2 hours), perhaps to a water hole, and observe the animals coming down to drink after the heat of the day. You return to camp before dusk and enjoy a ‘braai’ (barbecue) in the bush. Sitting around the campfire you may hear the low roar of lion and the unearthly chatter of hyena. The following day you rise just before dawn to take an early morning game drive (2 hours), when the animals are most active. Stopping en route at a picnic spot to cook an eagerly awaited breakfast. Back at the camp there’s time to laze in the midday heat and, as the day cools, you take another game drive (2 hours) before dinner, when you’ll have a chance to relive the excitement of the wildlife spotted today. For those not wishing to miss out on the excitement of catching glimpses of the numerous nocturnal species that exist in the park, there is the option of a night game drive either before or after dinner (additional cost).
Basic chalets (A) with shared ablutions - 2 nights - Swimming Pool (Bx2, Dx2)
Swaziland; Hlane NP
This morning you enter the small landlocked kingdom of Swaziland (approx. 7 hours including game drives, a border crossing and lunch stop. Exact time is dependent on which camp in Kruger is used). Despite being almost completely surrounded by the republic of South Africa and Mozambique, Swaziland has remained independent since the end of the British colonial era in 1968 and today is one of the world’s few absolute monarchies. Spend two nights in Hlane NP. During your time here you will go on a wildlife walk with a local guide and learn about basic bush-lore and how to identify animal tracks (and dung!)
Hlane NP - Chalet (A) – 2 nights (BD)
You leave Swaziland to drive to the coastal town of St. Lucia. (approx. 4½ hours plus border crossing). This stretch of South Africa’s coast boasts lush vegetation and expansive mangrove forests. In the morning of your second day at St Lucia you drive to St Lucia National Park for a game drive. The game will include possibility to see rhino, buffalo, hippo, crocodiles. Also there are excellent hides at waterholes for bird and game viewing. Cape Vidal in the north has a beach area, with a reef. Swimming is possible but no life guards or shark nets. You return to St. Lucia to relax by the pool during the heat of the day. In the afternoon you have the opportunity to go on a boat cruise of Lake St. Lucia (additional charge) to view hippo and crocodile up close. The next day is free to relax.
Shonalanga Apartments (AAA) (1 bathroom for 2-3 rooms) - 2 nights - Swimming Pool (Bx2 Lx1 Dx1)
Apartments are normally three twin rooms and families share them. It may be necessary (depending on the group make up) for a family to be accommodated across two apartments.
Today you drive (approx. 7 hours) through villages and rolling hills towards the great mountain escarpment the Zulus referred to as the ‘Barrier of Spears’ – the Drakensberg Mountains. Carved by many fast-flowing streams, this area of waterfalls and grand mountain scenery is a paradise for hikers. This area is spectacular and you have the whole day to explore. The many foot and bridle paths lead to magnificent viewpoints, looking out over the spectacular landscape below. There are proteas and other wild flowers, crystal clear mountain streams in which to swim and a wealth of birds including the bearded vulture or lammergeyer, cape vulture and black eagle.
Lotheni chalet (AA) (3 beds per room, ensuite) - 2 nights (BLD)
Travel with the main group back to O.R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg where the trip ends for Land Only clients. Please note: If you are not travelling on the group flight there might be an additional cost for a transfer to the airport at a different time. 560km +/-8 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing. (B)
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
For comparability, all prices in this dossier are quoted in one currency. We use the US Dollar since that is familiar to most. However, once on tour you will need to pay for all goods and services in the local currency. See your Country Dossier for details of exchange rates.
Trip gradesAfrican Safari
Beach / coastal
Grasslands / Savannah
Lodge based safaris
Anyone in good health with a sense of adventure should be able to take part. Please note that if you are aged 65 years or over a doctor's certificate is required. Minimum age: 7 years.
Transport - Minibus, on foot.
Accommodation - Chalet (7nts), apartments (3nts), hotel (1nt).
Meals - 10 breakfast, 5 lunches & 8 dinners.
Single room supplementA single supplement is available for this trip priced from 238 GBP. This does not guarantee a single room for all accommodation. please contact us to discuss this.
For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal! For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.
One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase).
A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.
South Africa uses round, three-pin electric plugs; you can buy adaptors in UK airports but you may have to look carefully to find the right one.
Your Child’s Health Abroad - Matthew Ellis and Jane Wilson-Howarth, (Bradt publications).
Travel with Children – Maureen Wheeler (Lonely Planet)
The Long Road to Freedom - Nelson Mandela
Somewhere over the Rainbow - Travels in South Africa - Gavin Bell
This is Cape Town - David Briggs
Cry the Beloved Country - Alan Paton
Seven Days in Cape Town - Sean Fraser
Tomorrow Is Another Country - The Inside Story of South Africa's Road to Change - Allister Sparks
Beyond the Miracle: Inside the New South Africa - Allister Sparks
FOR YOUNGER READERS:
Freedom Song: the story of Nelson Mandela - Neil Tong.
Abiyoyo: Based on a South African Lullaby & Folk Story - Pete Seeger
A South African Night - Rachel Isadora
Journey to Jo’burg: A South African story – Beverley Naidoo
African Adventure – Willard Price
Local costs - South Africa
Approximate average costs are given below. These are for guidance only and may vary widely according to the location and type of establishment.
Soft drink ZAR10-15
Medium beer ZAR15-25
Local snack lunch ZAR50-100
3-course dinner* ZAR150-250
*reasonable mid-range tourist class restaurant
Visas and Permits - South Africa
Holders of UK & IRL passports do not require a visa although you should have at least 3 blank pages in your passport. Nationals of all other countries should contact their local embassy or consulate. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the end date of the trip. Information can also be found at www.travcour.com. This information is given in good faith, but may be subject to change without warning. Please note that, where appropriate, obtaining a valid visa is ultimately your responsibility. Please consult a visa agency or the consular authorities 4-6 weeks before departure for the most up-to-date information.
Vaccinations - South Africa
The following are recommended:
† Hepatitis A † Typhoid † Malaria † Polio † Tetanus
NB: Yellow Fever vaccination is required if travelling via an infected country. From the 1st of October 2011, the Yellow Fever Certificate is required for people travelling from Zambia. To check the latest updates and regulation please refer to the link below: www.doh.gov.za
For detailed information and advice concerning vaccinations go to: www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.ukVaccination requirements change periodically so we advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information.
International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
- It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
- We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at firstname.lastname@example.orgThe Imaginative Traveller & The Adventure Company. This trip is operated by our partner company, The Adventure Company. They have more than 10 years experience in adventure travel and they share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a codeshared departure you can expect there to be both Imaginative Traveller and Adventure Company travellers on your trip.