10 Day Wildlife & Culture Tour

A blend of cultural immersion and safari splendor enhanced by an African Sky guide's invaluable knowledge makes this private tour an unforgettable experience.

Overview

The private tour visits the Mpumalanga Highlands, Kruger National Park, Swaziland, and the Hluhluwe Game Reserve in Zululand. The focus is on safari adventures in Kruger and Hluhluwe and the cultures and traditions of the proud Shangaan, Swazi, and Zulu peoples.

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Tour Ref. Code
T16
Starting Date
Any Date
Starting Point
Johannesburg
Ending Point
Johannesburg
Customizable
Yes
Type
Private Tour
Accommodation Level
4-Star & National Park Camps
Countries Visited
Destinations Visited
  • Mpumalanga Highlands
  • Kruger National Park
  • Swaziland
  • Zululand
  • Drakensberg

Detailed Private South African Tour Itinerary: 10 Day Wildlife and Culture Tour

Day 1

Arrival / Mpumalanga Highlands

Overnight: Mount Sheba
Meals: Dinner

Highlights

  • Dullstroom
  • Mpumalanga Scenery
  • Mount Sheba Rain Forest

Arrival / Mpumalanga Highlands

Distance
357 km (222 mi)
Itinerary
8 am to 4 pm (Customizable)

Guests will be met upon arrival at O.R. Tambo International in Johannesburg, from where the tour travels east through the coal-rich Highveld and to the quaint town of Dullstroom. The town is a popular weekend getaway with numerous restaurants and quaint shops. We then travel to the overnight destination, which will be reached during the afternoon. Mount Sheba is tucked away amongst the mountains above the historic mining town of Pilgrim's Rest. The forest surrounding Mount Sheba is home to many small creatures and birds and has numerous carefully worn exquisite forest paths that reveal the quiet grace of flora and fauna. The late afternoon is devoted to relaxation in these tranquil surroundings.

Day 2

Mpumalanga Highlands / Kruger National Park

Overnight: Skukuza
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Highlights

  • Three Rondavels
  • Gods Window
  • Shangaan Cultural Village

Mpumalanga Highlands / Kruger National Park

Distance
246 km (153 mi)
Itinerary
8 am to 4 pm (Customizable)

First on the agenda are the highlights of the panoramic route where we Visit the Blyde River Gorge, dominated by the triplet peaks of the Three Rondavels and God's Window, a cleft in the edge of the escarpment from where magnificent views of the Lowveld can be enjoyed. Splendid scenery abounds as the tour makes its way to the Shangana Cultural Village, where guests are led from the Marula Market by an experienced guide. The guide will explain how the Shangaan traditionally collect food from their environment and how traditional farming is conducted. The route leads to a traditional Shangaan village, where a headman, his wives, and his children reside. We devote some time to gaining insight into the history and culture of the Shangaan before traveling a short distance to the world-renowned Kruger National Park.

Day 3

Kruger National Park

Overnight: Skukuza
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Highlights

  • Safari in Kruger Park
  • Diversity of Fauna and Flora
  • Night Game Drive

Kruger National Park

Distance
95 km (59 mi)
Itinerary
Sunrise to 10 am - 3 pm to Sunset (Customizable)

Your experienced guide conducts a morning safari. The guide will check the previous day's sightings logged by other safari groups - to increase your chance of seeing a pride of lion on a recent kill, viewing the imposing white rhino, or the elusive African wild dog in an area where it was recently spotted.

During the late afternoon, guests embark on a night safari with a Kruger Park ranger. The night safari makes possible sightings of creatures like the spotted genet, serval, and aardvark, which are rarely seen during the day. The large predators are nocturnal hunters and are generally more active during this period of the day. A fact that would significantly increase your chances of spotting a Lion or Leopard on the hunt.

Day 4

Kruger National Park

Overnight: Skukuza
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Highlights

  • Encountering the Big Five
  • Exceptional Bird Watching
  • African Wilderness

Kruger National Park

Distance
95 km (59 mi)
Itinerary
Sunrise to 10 am - 3 pm to Sunset (Customizable)

The area is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts, with close to 150 different mammal species ranging from Brant's climbing mouse, weighing no more than a few grams, to the mighty African elephant, which can weigh up to 7000kg. The identified bird species in the area are more than 500, and the area is blessed with abundant flora. You will enjoy morning and late afternoon game drives in the company of your experienced guide. The unique insight and knowledge of the guide are sure to add to the enjoyment and understanding of the habits and behavior of the different species and the natural cycles that exist in this part of Africa.

Day 5

Kruger National Park / Swaziland

Overnight: Reilly's Rock
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Highlights

  • Matsamu Swazi Cultural Village
  • Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Small Antelope

Kruger National Park / Swaziland

Distance
234 km (145 mi)
Itinerary
8 am to 4 pm (Customizable)

After breakfast, we travel southerly towards the South Africa - Swaziland border at Jeppe's Reef. Before entering the country, a visit is made to the Matsamo Swazi Cultural Village. Guests will enjoy a guided tour of the village which will end with an impressive dancing display. The tiny mountain kingdom of Swaziland is one of the smallest self-contained sovereign states in the world. The Swazis are friendly and colorful people locally renowned for their traditional artistry. After clearing customs and immigration, the tour traverses the scenic Komati River pass en route to the country's capital, Mbabane, before traveling to your overnight accommodations, set in a renovated colonial house built on a 'koppie' in the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, from where sweeping views of the Ezulwini Valley may be enjoyed. The lodge grounds are a haven to several tiny antelope, including suni and blue duiker.

Day 6

Swaziland

Overnight: Reilly's Rock
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Highlights

  • King Sobhuza Memorial Park
  • Mantenga Cultural Village
  • Silebe Rock

Swaziland

Distance
55 km (34 mi)
Itinerary
8 am to 4 pm (Customizable)

Today is dedicated to various cultural pursuits. First on the agenda is a visit to the King Sobhuza Memorial Park in Lobamba. The memorial was established as a tribute to the late King Sobhuza II, who led Swaziland to independence in 1968. Later, we'll visit the Mantenga Cultural Village and Nature Reserve. Our visit includes a guided tour of the reserve's cultural village with authentic beehive huts, a cultural and dancing display, and a visit to Mantenga Falls. You might also see the Southern Bald Ibis at Mantenga, an endangered bird of the region. A mid-afternoon stop is made at a popular local candle factory. Here you'll see a great variety of unusual candles of all shapes, sizes, and scents and the folks who manufacture them. Alternatively, consider taking the two-hour hike from Mbabane to Silebe Rock, the largest granite rock in the world, from where excellent views over the mountains are possible. Later a visit may be made to a local curio market before returning to your accommodations for the evening.

Day 7

Swaziland / Zululand

Overnight: Hilltop
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Highlights

  • Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve
  • Rolling Hills of Zululand
  • Afternoon Game Drive

Swaziland / Zululand

Distance
289 km (180 mi)
Itinerary
8 am to 4 pm (Customizable)

The Kingdom of Swaziland gives way to the rolling hills of Zululand as the tour travels south and into the heart of the area, which is home to the proud Zulu nation. It was once led by the legendary King Shaka, one of Africa's greatest kings who inspired fear and admiration in the hearts of his enemies and subjects alike. Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, named after the river that flows through it, is set in the rolling hills of Zululand and has played a leading role in recovering the white rhino population from the brink of extinction.

The afternoon is devoted to a first game drive in this area where the elusive nyala and the splendid little red duiker are among the grandest antelope endemic to the region. Sightings of the black and white rhino are an almost certainty in this area, home to the largest concentration of these imposing beasts. The bird species in the area number approximately 300, and the reserve is home to all of the Big Five.

Day 8

Zululand

Overnight: Hilltop
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Highlights

  • Damazulu Cultural Village
  • St. Lucia Lagoon Cruise
  • Hippo and Crocodile Encounters

Zululand

Distance
357 km (222 mi)
Itinerary
8 am to 4 pm (Customizable)

A morning visit is made to the DumaZulu traditional village. Recent history records the proud Zulu people as a formidable African nation. In the late 1700s, these Nguni-speaking peoples were relatively insignificant and were scattered across what we know today as Zululand, with no secure tribal authority. Under the leadership of the war-like King Shaka, however, they were united into a mighty nation, defeating or driving out all rivals and enemies. While at the village, you'll experience traditional dancing, basketry, the making of spears, shields, clay pots, beadwork, and sometimes even some Sangoma (traditional healer) bone-throwing.

Later in the day, we'll drive to the seaside village of St. Lucia, where we'll enjoy a relaxing cruise on the coastal lagoon. The cruise allows viewing the many hippo and crocodiles inhabiting the lake, a bird-watchers paradise with well over 350 recorded species. Previously known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, the iSimangaliso is South Africa's third-largest protected area today and conserves a stretch of coastline some 280 km (about 173 miles) in length, from the southern Mozambican border to Mapalane near St. Lucia. The park is a Ramsar World Heritage Site. Following the visit to St Lucia, the tour returns to the overnight destination.

Day 9

Zululand

Overnight: Hilltop
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Highlights

  • Morning and Afternoon Game Drives
  • Black and White Rhino Encounters
  • African Conservation

Zululand

Distance
95 km (59 mi)
Itinerary
Sunrise to 10 am - 3 pm to Sunset (Customizable)

Your day is devoted to game drives in this captivating wilderness, guided by your experienced African Sky guide. The Hluhluwe-iMfolozi reserve is a stronghold for both black and white rhinos. Here they were brought back from the brink of extinction through the Ian Player Foundation's 'Operation Rhino' efforts in the 1950s. Now, as the scourge of poaching once again threatens the existence of these magnificent giants, the park is as dedicated as ever to the conservation of the species. The 96-000-hectare wilderness area is home to the other members of the Big Five – elephant, Cape buffalo, lion, and leopard – along with the highly-endangered cheetah.

Day 10

Departure

Overnight: None
Meals: Breakfast

Highlights

  • Morning Game Drive
  • Dolphin Coast
  • Views of the Indian Ocean

Departure

Distance
240 km (149 mi)
Itinerary
8 am to 2 pm (Customizable)
Flights
  • Durban - Johannesburg

A last morning game drive in Hluhluwe is followed by a southerly journey on the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, also called the Dolphin Coast. Here we will make one or two stops to admire the beautiful coastline with its warm climate, miles of beach, and summer sunshine before reaching King Shaka Airport, where guests are assisted with check-in for a flight bound for Johannesburg after a memorable tour.

Included

Accommodation:
  • 1 Night Mount Sheba
  • 3 Nights Skukuza Rest Camp
  • 1 Night Reilly's Rock
  • 3 Nights Hilltop Camp
  • 1 Night Montusi Mountain Lodge
Guides:
  • Private African Sky Guide: From Day 1-10
Vehicles:
  • Private Air Conditioned Vehicle: from Day 1-10
Meals:
  • All meals Specified in the Itinerary
Flights:
  • None
Transfers:
  • None
Activities:
  • Panorama Route (includes God's Window & Three Rondavels)
  • Pilgrims Rest
  • Shangana Cultural Village
  • Game Drives accompanied by your African Sky Guide
  • Matsamo Swazi Village
  • Hluhluw-Imfolozi Game Drives
  • Dumazulu Cultural Village
Additional:
  • Tourism levy
  • All applicable taxes
  • All park fees where applicable
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Excluded

Excluded:
  • International airfare (to and from South Africa)
  • Personal and medical insurance
  • Activities not specifically stated in the itinerary
  • Drinks
  • Gratuities
  • Meals not specifically stated in the itinerary

10 Day Wildlife and Culture Tour

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