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Drakensberg Walks and Wildlife Safari
South Africa - Trip code WSA Walking and Trekking
Days 9
Deposit From £200
Was From £2085
Now from £1999
Flights inclusive
i

Why book this trip?

Get close to nature walking through the diverse landscapes of northern KwaZulu-Natal; including the mountainous Drakensbergs, the dry bushland of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Reserve, and iSimangaliso Wetlands. Hike to a mountain cave, experience a walking game safari in a Big Five Game Reserve and follow coastal trails. Enjoy game drives, spot estuary hippos and crocodiles, and learn about the region's fascinating history.

    • Included meals

      Breakfast: 8

      Lunch: 3

      Dinner: 5

    • Trip staff

      Explore Tour Leader

      Camp Crew

      Driver(s)

      Safari Guide(s)

    • Transport

      Bus

      4WD

      Minibus

    • i

      Accommodation

      1 nights standard guesthouse

      3 nights standard hotel

      2 nights simple lodge

      2 nights standard lodge

    • i

      Walking grade:

      Moderate

    • i

      Group Size:

      10 - 16

    Itinerary

    Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

    Day 1 - Trip starts in Umhlanga, north of Durban

    Our trip starts in Umhlanga, a coastal town between King Shaka International Airport and North Durban. If you arrive early you may wish to explore the area, including the nearby Umhlanga Rocks beach.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Guesthouse

    Single room available

    Swimming pool available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 2 - Lagoon Walk. Drive to the Drakensbergs and walk to Dorree Falls

    Our first gentle walk begins near our hotel. Known as the Lagoon Walk, the path starts as a wooden boardwalk then cuts through a section of coastal forest down to the beach. As this is a nature trail many of the trees are labelled. (Look out for the 500 year old white stinkwood tree!). If you are lucky you may also catch glimpses of bushbuck, duiker and other small animals and birds that the forest is home to.

    On returning to our hotel we head by minibus towards the Drakensberg Mountains - approximately a three and a half hour drive. Our base for the next three nights is Sungubala, situated in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Maloti- Drakensberg Park. Drakensberg is the world's oldest mountain range and derives its name from the Afrikaans word for 'Dragon Mountains'. In the inevitable mist and the razor back ridges one can see a likeness to these mythical beasts. After settling into our chalet style lodge accommodation we set out to start exploring the area, following a walking trail along a river then a stream to Dorree Falls. Nearby we climb a long series of steps to a local cave still showing the rock art of the ancient San people who once lived in this region.

    Our first walk today is five kilometres and takes approximately two hours, along a flat coastal path. Our second walk to Dorree Falls is five and a half kilometres, also taking two hours. The approximately total ascent and descent is approximately +/-310m.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast and Dinner

    Day 3 - Hike to Baboon Rock. Explore local area on foot

    Today we also have the opportunity to take two walks. In the morning we travel a short distance to the start of the trail to Baboon Rock. From here we descend Nxwaye Valley then climb up to Ganabu Ridge to the distinctive rock. In the afternoon we have a shorter walk from the lodge via local landmarks: Lower Valley, Neptunes Pool and Marble Baths.

    Our morning walk is 15 kilometres and takes approximately four hours. Total ascent and descent is +/- 700m. This is a fairly steep trail but offers great views over the mountains. If we do the complete walk in the afternoon it is just over five kilometres and takes two hours. The total ascent and descent is +/- 200m.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

    Day 4 - Full day hike to Sherman's Cave, Oqalweni Valley and One Tree Hill

    Our walk today takes us along a trail from the lodge past Sherman's Cave (a low overhang that acts as an overnight shelter for hikers) where there are great views down to the valley below and hill beyond. From here we continue around the top of Oqalweni Valley and back down One Tree Hill. En route we have a picnic lunch while admiring the views.

    We walk for 16.5 kilometres today, taking approximately six hours. The total ascent and descent is +/- 550m

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

    Day 5 - Visit Blood River Battlefield. Drive to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Reserve

    Leaving the Drakensbergs behind we drive east through the towns of Ladysmith and Dundee, and stop at the battle site of Blood-River. Here we will learn about events that took place during the war between the Zulu and Voortrekker Boers, particularly the battle fought on this spot on 16th December 1838. Today 16th December is commemorated as the 'Day of Reconciliation'.

    Later we drive approximately another two and a half hours to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Reserve. This Big Five game reserve - historically the hunting ground of past Zulu kings, are Africa's oldest national parks. As we drive to our lodge within the park we hope to be lucky and spot some game en route.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Lodge

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast and Dinner

    Day 6 - Walking safari in Big Five Game Reserve

    Waking up early to the sounds of the bush we spend today finding out more about the magnificent animals that call this park home. In group of a maximum of eight visitors we join the wardens for a walking safari, looking for tracks and signs of animals and if we are lucking a sighting of the famous Big Five: lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino. This afternoon you can travel further into the park, through the dry grassland and woodland, on an optional game drive in an open vehicle. This reserve is at the forefront of conservation and is credited with saving the black and white rhino, whose future is still uncertain, from certain extinction.

    Today's walking safari is approximately seven kilometres and takes one and a half to two hours through uneven dry terrain.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Lodge

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

    Day 7 - Morning game drive. Arrive to St Lucia, free afternoon

    Today we have another early morning game drive in an open vehicle, hoping to see new animals. Late morning we drive towards the coast and Saint Lucia, a small coastal town famous for its river crocodiles and hippos. The afternoon is free to explore the area. Local optional excursions include an estuary cruise, and a night game drive in the nearby wetland reserve. Be aware of the hippos that can wander the streets of Saint Lucia (an extraordinary sight) especially at night and do not approach them.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Lodge

    Single room available

    Swimming pool available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 8 - Boat ride and walk through iSimangaliso Wetlands Park. Optional visit to Cape Vidal

    This morning we take a boat ride through iSimangaliso Wetland Park looking for animals such as reedbuck, buffalo and monkeys, and the 526 bird species that live here. iSimangaliso Wetland Park is a World Heritage Site and the third largest protected area in South Africa, with different ecosystems: swamps, lakes, beach, coral reef, wetlands, woodlands, coastal forests, grasslands uniquely existing side by side. Diembarking from the boat we explore the park on foot follwoing bush trails back to St. Lucia village.

    After lunch there is the option to visit Cape Vidal where you can walk along the coast to Mission Rocks or spend the afternoon swimming or snorkelling in the Indian Ocean.

    Our walk today is approximately 10 kilometres and takes approximately three hours.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Standard Lodge

    Single room available

    Swimming pool available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Day 9 - Drive down coast, walk the Dune forest trail at Mtunzini. Trip ends at Durban Airport

    Early this morning we travel south along the coast to Mtunzini. Here we follow the Siayay coastal dune forest trail, if we are lucky we may see bushbuck and red, grey, blue duiker. We also follow a board walk through Raphia Palm Forest, a swamp forest rich with palms, where we may see Palmnut vultures. We then continue to Durban Airport, stoping for lunch enroute.

    Our last walk covers five kilometres over mainly flat terrain and takes approximately one hour.

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Trip information

    Country information

    South Africa

    Climate

    Mild throughout the year and can thus be visited year round. The Western Cape has a Mediterranean-type climate, with warm, dry summers and cold winters with rainfall. Summer runs from November to March, with temperatures averaging 22oC to 34oC. The months of April and October are generally warm and sunny. Winter is also a good time to visit as towns and sites are not so crowded and the countryside is more verdant, but it can be cold. Additional information and climate charts can be accessed at http://www.explore.co.uk/weather. Seasonal weather patterns can be unpredictable. Up-to-date information on the weather worldwide can be found by following the BBC weather link on this page.

    Time difference to GMT

    +2

    Plugs

    3 Pin Round

    Religion

    Christian

    Language

    Afrikaans, English

    Budgeting and packing

    Optional activities

    The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.


    St. Lucia:
    Boat trip on Lake St. Lucia R240;
    Full day Cape Vidal excursion (includes lunch) R750;
    St. Lucia night drive to spot turtles (Nov-Mar) R950;
    Whale watching (June-Nov) R960 pp;
    Night game drive in St Lucia Wetland Reserve R525

    Please note all above activities are dependent on minimum numbers.

    Clothing

    For walking: Bring light, windproof water proofs and layers for warmth as the weather conditions in the mountains can be changeable. It can also be cool in the evenings. Wicking shirts are recommended as a base layer, and walking trousers are preferable to trousers of heavier material such as jeans.

    General: Clothing should generally be lightweight for the day. However warmer layers and long trousers may be needed at nights and in the mountains which can be cold, especially from May to August. Avoid brightly coloured clothing for game viewing. You may also wish to bring a swimming costume.

    Footwear

    We recommend you bring walking boots with ankle support- leather or fabric are both fine. Make sure that your boots are worn-in and comfortable before the start of the trip. Also trainers or closed sandals for relaxing and general wear (open toe sandals can only be worn in some places). We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.


    Luggage

    20kg

    Luggage: On tour

    Bring a tough soft bag, holdall or rucksack that can be easily loaded into our vehicles, and a large enough daypack to carry items needed on our hikes and game drives.

    Equipment

    For walking:
    Your day pack should be large enough to carry your water bottle, waterproofs, warm layers, snacks, camera, etc. You may also wish to bring walking poles.

    General equipment:
    Bring a torch, sunhat, sunscreen, sunglasses and insect repellent. Binoculars are recommended for game viewing and a 300mm lens for wildlife photography.

    Please note: While tap water in South Africa's urban area is drinkable, some people may take a few days to acclimatise and thus may experience traveller's tummy. Therefore we recommend that your water bottle is a reusable filtered water bottle such as the ones featured at Water-to-Go: http://www.watertogo.eu/

    Tipping

    Local crew
    Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognized part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. You should allow £20-£25 for tipping. In order to make things easier for you, the Tour Leaders may organise a group's tips kitty and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the tour.

    South Africa

    Food and drink

    The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


    Lunch price
    £6
    Dinner price
    £12
    Beer price
    £1.2
    Water price
    £1
    Foreign Exchange
    Local currency
    Rand.
    Recommended Currency For Exchange
    Take your money in a combination of cash and an ATM card. Both GBP and USD are readily exchanged.
    Where To Exchange
    Most towns or cities, your tour leader will advise you.
    ATM Availability
    Cash can be drawn on debit cards from ATM's in most South African towns.
    Credit Card Acceptance
    In large shops and restaurants.
    Transport, Accommodation & Meals

    Transport Information

    Bus, 4WD, Minibus

    Accommodation notes

    On days five and six you stay at Mpila or Hilltop Camp in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Park. Your two bed thatched chalet or permanent tented accommodation is simple in style with great views over the park.

    Essential Information

    FCO Advice

    We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

    For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
     

    Under 18 immigration guidance

    Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

    Price Guarantee

    Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

    Visa and Passport Information

    Travelling with Minors via South Africa (including transits)2
    Regulations affecting all children aged under 18 years that are travelling to, from or via South Africa are in place. The law states that parents and/or guardians are requested by the airline and/or South Africa immigration officers to provide additional documentation for each child they are travelling with. Please refer to the South African House website and your airline for full requirements.

    South Africa: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, US and Canadian citizens. New Zealand passport holders do require a visa, please consult your local consulate for full information. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. All visitors should ensure their passport is machine readable and has two blank pages when entering and leaving South Africa. The South African Immigration officials will not allow child/ infant pages to be used for this purpose and visitors without the stipulated blank pages will be denied entry.

    Swaziland: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.

    You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.


    If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

    It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
     

    Booking conditions

    Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

    Transfers

    Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

    Booking a land only package with Explore

    Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

    You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


    Joining Tour Abroad

    Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

    Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

    If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


    For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

    Insurance

    It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
    Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

    Flight information

    Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


    Flight Information

    You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

      

    Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

    We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

    On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

    South Africa

    Vaccinations

    Please note that you will be required to supply a yellow fever certificate that has been issued at least 10 days prior to arrival in South Africa if you have travelled from or via a country where yellow fever is endemic. We recommend protection against hepatitis A, tetanus, typhoid, polio and diphtheria. According to various travel health sources, the Western Cape is not regarded as a malaria risk area. If you are travelling to other areas in South Africa please check with your doctor about malaria requirements. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

    Walking and Trekking information
    Walking grade
    Moderate
    Trek details
    Walks on 5 days for between 2 to 6 hours, with a shorter walk on the last day. Follow paths through forest and grasslands and along beaches.
    Extend your trip
    Why not extend your holiday with an extension to the thundering Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Click here for details. 

    Why book this trip

    This trip showcases the diverse landscapes and wildlife of KwaZulu-Natal, some of the best in South Africa.

    Dates, prices and booking

    All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change
    Fri 27 Sep 2019 - Sat 5 Oct 2019 Guaranteed departure
    WSA_2019
    Price from £1280
    Save was
    Single room option +£190
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Umhlanga
    Time and place
    19:00 at Hotel reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Durban Airport
    Time
    14:30
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Fri 15 Nov 2019 - Sat 23 Nov 2019 Guaranteed departure
    WSA_2019
    Price from £1280
    Save was
    Single room option +£190
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Umhlanga
    Time and place
    19:00 at Hotel reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Durban Airport
    Time
    14:30
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Thu 26 Sep 2019 - Sun 6 Oct 2019 Guaranteed departure
    WSA_2019
    Price from £1999
    Save £86 was £2085
    Single room option +£190
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Umhlanga
    Time and place
    19:00 at Hotel reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Durban Airport
    Time
    14:30
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Thu 14 Nov 2019 - Sun 24 Nov 2019 Guaranteed departure
    WSA_2019
    Price from £2235
    Save was
    Single room option +£190
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Umhlanga
    Time and place
    19:00 at Hotel reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Durban Airport
    Time
    14:30
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
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    Price Guarantee Promise
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    Airport Transfers
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