Officially known as the ‘Kingdom of eSwatini’ and still referred to as Swaziland, this tiny landlocked nation boasts a rich historical and cultural heritage and is Africa's last remaining absolute monarchy. Swaziland encompasses a diverse array of ecosystems featuring towering mountains and low-lying savannah, tangled rainforests and lush river valleys. Highlights of this laid-back land include the mesmerizingly beautiful ‘Valley of Heaven’, the handicraft haven of the Malkerns Valley and the Hlane Royal National Park, famed for its white rhinos, antelopes and lions. Visitors can look forward to excellent wildlife watching, rafting, mountain biking, and hiking along a network of scenic trails which traverse spectacular mountainous landscapes.
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Days 1 - 2
Set in what is arguably Swaziland’s most spectacularly beautiful region – the aptly named ‘Valley of Heaven’ – Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is a natural wonderland of grassy plains, granitic mountains, cascading waterfalls and abundant wildlife. The southern section can be explored on foot, mountain bike, horseback or in vehicles, while access to the more remote northern half is restricted to guided hiking groups. Located relatively close to the reserve are the towns of Malkerns and Ezulwini, famous for their many craft shops and other attractions. Visitors can also look forward to staying in traditional beehive-shaped huts and enjoying a breakfast overlooking hippo and crocodiles wading in the water and resting on the banks.
Mkhaya Game Reserve
Days 2 - 4
Set in the heart of Swaziland’s lowveld, Mkhaya Game Reserve is home to a variety of animals. Described as Swaziland’s ‘refuge for endangered animals’, Mkhaya Game Reserve was established in 1979 to preserve the dwindling breed of pure Nguni cattle. It has had much success in this regard, and the scope has since been expanded to include other wildlife at risk, including black and white rhino, elephant and sable antelope. It also shelters more ubiquitous species, such as buffalo, giraffe, hippo, and a colourful profusion of birds. Visitors can look forward to guided bush walks, day and night game drives and excellent photographic opportunities.
This vast country is undoubtedly one of the most culturally and geographically diverse places on earth. Fondly known by locals as the 'Rainbow Nation', South Africa has 11 official languages and its multicultural inhabitants are influenced by a fascinating mix of cultures. Discover the gourmet restaurants, impressive art scene, vibrant nightlife and beautiful beaches of Cape Town; enjoy a local braai (barbecue) in the Soweto township; browse the bustling Indian markets in Durban; or sample some of the world’s finest wines at the myriad wine estates dotting the Cape Winelands. Some historical attractions to explore include the Zululand battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal, the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and Robben Island, just off the coast of Cape Town. Above all else, its remarkably untamed wilderness with its astonishing range of wildlife roaming freely across massive unfenced game reserves such as the world-famous Kruger National Park. With all of this variety on offer, it is little wonder that South Africa has fast become Africa’s most popular tourist destination.
Pongola Game Reserve
Days 4 - 7
Situated in northern KwaZulu Natal, 350 kilometres from Durban and resting just outside Swaziland’s southern border, Pongola Game Reserve is famous for its breathtaking scenic variety and its array of wonderful leisure activities. In combination with the reserve’s abundance of space, these features create a unique destination. The landscape consists of rugged, towering mountains, expansive water bodies, and wild bushveld. Some of the main activities include safari cruises, canoe adventures, and excellent bird watching opportunities. Visitors can track rhino on foot, participate in the elephant tracking programme, try to catch tiger fish in Lake Jozini (South Africa’s top tiger fishing destination) or view game from a boat on the lake. The reserve has six private lodges, each equally luxurious, modern, secluded and exclusive.
Days 7 - 9
The Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park is the jewel in the crown of the KwaZulu Natal game reserves. Proclaimed in 1895, it is also the oldest game reserve in Africa. Initially two separate reserves, they were joined to create a single 94 000 hectare reserve which is home to one-fifth of the world's black and white rhino population. It was here that the internationally acclaimed Operation Rhino started in the 1960s, successfully capturing and relocating white rhino to havens within South Africa and abroad. The Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park was the first reserve to introduce walking safaris and its Wilderness Trails are internationally renowned. Visitors can also look forward to visiting a traditional Zulu village, enjoying a horse riding safari, and spotting the world renowned Big Five as well as a wide variety of bird species.
KwaZulu Natal Battlefields
Days 9 - 11
KwaZulu Natal, also known as KZN, is steeped in history and littered with battlefields from the struggles of the Zulu Civil Wars, to their clashes with the Boers and the British. This picturesque area features sweeping views of rolling hills scattered with rugged rock formations. The most well-known and well-visited sites are those of the legendary Battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift took place on the same day, lodging the Zulus firmly at the top of great warrior nations.Visitors can also explore the famous Anglo-Boer War fields of Spioenkop, Colenso and the Siege of Ladysmith, which drew characters like Winston Churchill, Louis Botha and Mahatma Gandhi onto the same stage.
Days 11 - 13
Situated in the lush hills of KwaZulu Natal, the Midlands Meander snakes through over 80 kilometres of lush subtropical landscape. This popular tourist route features quaint villages, verdant woodlands, and extensive farmlands covering the lush undulating hills of this spectacularly scenic area. Visitors can look forward to a wide range of activities including discovering a variety of historic landmarks, family-friendly farms, adventure activities, and browse a large collection of arts and crafts shops selling locally-made goods. Other popular activities include: treetop canopy tours, cycling, kayaking, hiking, picnicking, fishing, horse riding, wildlife viewing, wine tasting and Zulu cultural experiences.
Days 13 - 17
Resting at the confluence of the Indian and Atlantic oceans, situated between the slopes of the iconic Table Mountain and the glistening sapphire waters of Table Bay, the exceptionally scenic city of Cape Town is in a class of its own. Some cities boast rich culture, vibrant nightlife, a cosmopolitan atmosphere and extraordinary architecture, while others boast breathtaking landscapes and extraordinary natural wonders. Cape Town is fortunate to be blessed with all of these attractions and so much more. With its bustling harbour, world-class beaches, top-notch vineyards, and its mountainous surroundings brimming with diverse flora and fauna, Cape Town consistently captivates the hearts of all who visit.