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South Africa

South Africa: Walking & Wildlife

15 days
$5,549 $5,149
4.8 / 5 from 37 reviews
Walking & Trekking
Activity level:
Activity Rating - Moderate
Trip code: 
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Walking & Hiking
Group size:

Hike through forests, plains and mountains and track wildlife on foot, by boat and 4WD.

Rising high above the veld, the Drakensberg, which translates as ‘Dragon Mountain,’ forms an imposing, dramatic and quintessentially South African scene which we explore on foot. Along with the fantastic walking opportunities, we take the time to discover the country’s amazing wildlife and we can hope to see the likes of elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards, giraffe, cheetah and much more. Complementing our journey are more walks and visits of Eswatini (Swaziland), St. Lucia and the Battlefields.


  • Several days hiking in the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains
  • Royal Natal National Park and the amazing rock formation, the 'Amphitheatre'
  • Walking through the mountainous terrain of Eswatini (Swaziland)
  • Morning and afternoon game drives in Africa's famous Kruger National Park
  • Game walk and drive in a private game reserve

Key information

  • 9 days walking
  • Mixture of wildlife spotting and walking
  • Altitude max 2900m, average 1250m
  • Group normally 4 to 12, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • 11 nights log cabins and chalets and 3 nights permanent tented camp
  • Countries visited: South Africa, Eswatini (Swaziland)

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 11 lunches, 7 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for private group trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Days of Walking & Trekking

Approximately 2-8 hours hiking per day


There is some walking at higher altitude and occasional longer/harder days may be involved

Day by day breakdown
Day 29.0km/6.0miles
Day 410.0km/6.0miles
Day 715.0km/9.0miles
Day 95.0km/3.0miles
Day 1010.0km/6.0miles
Day 118.0km/4.0miles
Day 1216.0km/9.0miles
Day 1312.0km/7.0miles
Day 1415.0km/9.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 


  • Day 1

    Start Johannesburg; to Graskop.

    We first pick up the land only clients from the start hotel before proceeding to the airport for the arrival of the group flight. We then transfer to the town of Graskop perched on the edge of the Mpumalanga escarpment. It is a long drive but we stop at regular intervals to take in the spectacular scenery and to visit the well-known Mac Mac Falls. En route we travel through South Africa's highest town, Belfast (1970m), and the scenic Long Tom Pass. We also take the opportunity to stock up on supplies such as drinks and snacks.
    Mogodi Lodge or similar

  • Day 2

    Explore the Panorama Route; walk the Leopard, Guineafowl and Kadishi-Tufa trails.

    We drive through some stunning countryside this morning, starting with the stunning views at God's Window. If we are lucky, God's Blanket may be down, a majestic cloud inversion that gives you the feeling of being on top of the world. We visit the fascinating rock formations at Bourke's Luck Potholes, before stopping for the most breathtaking views over Blyde River Canyon, the 3rd largest canyon in the southern hemisphere. In the afternoon we enjoy our first walk of the itinerary, a loop walk that includes the Leopard, Guineafowl and Kadishi-Tufa trails. Along the way we will have further views on Blyde River Canyon, walk through forest and stop at Tufa Waterfall.

    Blyde Canyon Forever Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Drive to Letaba Ranch Reserve; afternoon game drive.

    After breakfast we drive to Letaba Ranch Reserve, our base for the next two days. We will have some to time to relax and enjoy the views from camp before heading out for an afternoon game drive.

    Mtomeni Safari Camp or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Morning game walk; free afternoon.

    The Letaba Ranch Game Reserve is part of the Greater Kruger area and is particularly known for elephants and buffalos. This morning we head out on a game walk in search of some Africa’s iconic wildlife. The walk is about 2-4hrs (depending on temperatures) and is led by a local guide and tracker. The afternoon is free to relax or go an optional game drive.
    Mtomeni Safari Camp or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Transfer to Kruger N.P.; afternoon game drive.

    We head on to Kruger National Park, justifiably one of the most famous wildlife parks in the world. It is also one of the oldest, established by the South African president Paul Kruger in 1898. It has arguably the greatest variety of animals of any park in Africa, with lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, black and white rhino, as well as cheetah, giraffe, hippo and many species of antelope and smaller plains game. We game drive (in our vehicle) through the park where we have an excellent chance of seeing a wide variety of wildlife. We arrive at our campsite in the Kruger in the late afternoon just before the camp gates close to maximise our game-viewing chances.
    Skukuza or Pretoriuskop camp or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Morning game drive in Kruger; transfer to Eswatini (Swaziland).

    Up before sunrise this morning for a game drive (in our vehicle) at, arguably, the best time of day for game-spotting. We return to camp for breakfast and to pack up before moving onto a new country: Eswatini (Swaziland). We leave the Kruger park at around lunch time and have a short stop to resupply before crossing the border into Eswatini (Swaziland). We drive to the hilly Malolotja Nature Reserve (3 hours), where we spend a relaxing evening in the cabins ready for a long walk the next day.
    Malolotja Cabins or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Full day walk in Malolotja.

    There is superb flora here and we take a day-walk on one of the picturesque walking trails. Over 280 species of birds have been spotted in this reserve, as have many antelope species. You will have great views and the chance to spot various eagles or even the very rare Bald Ibis. The Nkomati River cuts a gorge through the park and flows east in a series of falls and rapids before it meets the lowveld. Our walk will take us to the Malolotja falls viewpoint and then on to the upper Majolomba falls and a great lunch spot. 8 hours walking.
    Malolotja Cabins or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Visit craft market; to St Lucia.

    Today we head out of Eswatini (Swaziland) and back into South Africa. On the way we visit Ezulwini Valley Craft Market before heading south through rural Eswatini (Swaziland). Upon leaving Eswatini (Swaziland) we move on to St Lucia. The small town of St. Lucia is both by the Indian Ocean and by lake St. Lucia and is known for its crocodile and hippo populations (hippos are sometimes seen wandering in town). The lake itself is Africa’s largest Estuary and a haven for birds. As well as land animals, the proximity to the ocean means it is possible to go swimming and even whale watching (June – November).
    Shonalanga apartments or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    Morning boat cruise and game walk; afternoon visit Cape Vidal.

    Getting up early we will head down to the dock and board a boat on the nearby lake. We spend 2 hours exploring the lake by boat with an excellent chance of seeing some of the many resident Hippo's, crocodiles and Fish Eagles. We return to our apartments for breakfast and then pack a picnic lunch for the short drive to Cape Vidal, a long stretch of beach along the Indian Ocean. Along the way we stop at bird-hides and there’s a small chance of spotting rhinos. We spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach or walking to mission rocks.
    Shonalanga apartments or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 10

    Transfer to battlefields; hike the fugitive trail.

    Leaving the coast behind, we head 300kms towards the battlefields where the British and Zulus fought in 1879. After lunch we go on a 4hr hike along the fugitive trail. The trail follows the route taken by the British survivors from the battle of Isandlwana. The British and colonial force was armed with rifles, mountain guns and rocket battery were facing 20,000 Zulu warriors armed with spears. By the end of the battle there were only 65 British and Colonial survivors.

    After our hike we transfer 50kms to our lodge for the night.
    Battlefields County Lodge or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 11

    To Royal Natal N.P.; afternoon walk.

    We continue our journey to the beautiful Royal Natal National Park, particularly known the distinctive natural Amphitheatre. The Drakensberg is a basalt escarpment forming the border between Kwa-Zulu Natal and Lesotho and continuing into the Free State. It means 'Dragon Mountains', but the Zulu named it Quuathlamba ('the Barrier of Spears') - a more accurate description of the sheer, forbidding, jagged escarpment. This afternoon we go for walks in the local area from our lodge where we will be staying. There are a number of walks we can chose from such as to policeman’s helmet or to some bushmen paintings.
    Thendele Chalets or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Tugela Gorge hike.

    Today we follow the Thukela river, past Protea trees (the national flower of South Africa as well as the name of their cricket team), indigenous yellow wood forest and mountainous grasslands to the natural Amphitheatre and Thukela Waterfall viewpoint. The walk takes us into the heart of the Royal Natal National park and offers stunning views of the dramatic northern Drakensberg Mountains. 6 - 8 hours walking.
    Thendele Chalets or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Full day hike to Witsieshoek.

    As the bus takes our luggage to our next lodge, we head along trails by foot. The start of our trail follows a contour line and takes us via Tiger Falls and Gudu Falls. We then head up as we walk through the Mahai Valley crossing the river and walking via the crack past the Mahai Falls, eventually reaching the Basuto Gate and our destination. The hike should take about 6hrs including stopping for lunch.
    Witsieshowk Lodge or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 14

    Hike to Tugela Falls, the world's second tallest waterfall.

    In the morning we drive the short distance (15km) to the trek start point at the Sentinel gate. From here we trek along the edge of the mountains, possibly chaperoned by mountain baboon or if we are lucky by the resident Bearded Vultures, up to the ladders, which take us to the top (2,900m). We then follow the Thukela River to the edge of the waterfall and enjoy the stunning views across the amphitheatre and our previous day’s route. We then walk back to the vehicle and transfer the short distance (15km) to our lodge. The hike should take about 6hrs including stopping for lunch.
    Witsieshowk Lodge or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 15

    Drive through Golden Gate N.P. en route to Johannesburg; end Johannesburg.

    There will be an optional short final morning walk in these wonderful mountains, with a local guide, before driving back to Johannesburg in time for our flight this evening. The land portion of the trip ends upon arrival in Johannesburg. 3 hour optional walk. Please note that if you are organising your own flights these should not be earler than the group flights due to the distance we need to travel back to the airport.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info


South Africa

British passport holders and most European and Commonwealth Passport holders do not require a visa to travel to South Africa. Please note that all travellers to South Africa who do require a visa are required to have a minimum of 2 blank consecutive pages in their passport i.e. a left hand page and a right hand page to enable an entry visa to be issued.

Please note that new regulations from the 1 June 2015 mean that any child under 18 travelling to South Africa needs to be in possession of an unabridged birth certificate with the names of both parents.

If a child under 18 is only travelling with a single parent, they will also have to have an affidavit, no less than 3 months old, from the absent parent confirming the child can travel with the other parent; a court order granting full legal guardianship of the child; or a death certificate of the deceased parent.

Eswatini (Swaziland)

British passport holders and most European and Commonwealth Passport holders do not require a visa for Eswatini (Swaziland).


South Africa

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

Malaria prophylaxis is essential if travelling in the greater Kruger area and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take. The rest of South Africa, including the Garden Route, has a low risk of Malaria.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 11 lunches, 7 dinners included.

In the itinerary we state which meals are included on which day. The list below provides an indication of what these will consist of: Breakfast - cereals, coffee, tea and toast, the occasional cooked breakfast. Lunch - cheese, cold meats, salads, bread or rolls. Dinner - potjies (stew), braais (barbecue), stir fries, pasta. Most generally cooked on the open fire. Please be aware that we need at least two weeks notice to deal with special dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian or allergies.) For this reason if you did not indicate these on your booking form please advise the Exodus office as soon as possible. The tour leaders do all the shopping, meal planning and cooking for each group. He/she will always try to obtain fresh produce wherever possible. Each tour has 2 cool boxes for meats and fresh produce and 1 cool box for cold drinks. We will supply the following drinks: fruit squash served with breakfast and tea or coffee served with breakfast and dinner. All other beverages will be at your own expense. We do not supply bottled drinking water although it is available at many shops on tour if you want to buy it yourself at +/-R10.0 / lt. (£0.60). For meals not included, dinners can cost on average £12‐18 ($20‐30) per person and lunches from £5 to £8 ($8 to $13). Please note on days when the group are on morning game walks or drives we will have an early morning cup of tea or coffee and rusks followed by the walk. Once we return to camp we will have a large brunch at around 11am. In the early afternoon we will have a snack style lunch and dinner will be served after completion of the optional game drives.

The water provided on this trip is safe and clean drinking water, normally coming from bore-holes. It is not bottled water, however. If you would rather have bottled water then this will be at your expense, though we would encourage you to make use of the safe drinking water provided as this helps diminish plastic consumption.


Although the greater part of South Africa lies south of the tropic of Capricorn, the temperature is moderated by the altitude. The average midday temperature is likely to be about 22ºC on the coast and 24ºC inland. This trip covers various different weather regions. Generally inland areas will be dry between the months of April and October (although storms can occur), whereas in the Drakensberg Mountains rain is more common at this time. In August the nights can be very cold, especially in the Drakensberg where temperatures can drop below freezing. However the days are warm and crisp with generally cloud-free skies. During the months of November through February rain can sometimes be expected and the temperature will be higher. However, as anyone who has travelled to these parts will say, rain is often a blessing, it manifests the local colours, drops the sometimes sweltering temperatures and never generally lasts too long. It also means the night times are incredibly clear.



Is this trip for you?

There are a few long drives (the longest being 6-7 hours on the first and last days) but the reward is a trip that offers an amazing variety of walking through diverse scenery, plus exciting game viewing, in a comparatively short time.

This is primarily a walking trip, although there is still time to go on an organised safari to Kruger National Park. This trip has an activity level of 3 (Moderate). Good health and reasonable fitness are important and you should take regular exercise before travelling on this trip. Moderate trips are either fairly easy medium-duration walks or harder, shorter walks. There is some walking at higher altitude and occasional longer/harder days may be involved. Generally underfoot conditions will be fair. On Day 10 there is a small river crossing that we wade across but this is only attempted when conditions are safe. We climb to a maximum of 2900m and a walking day is normally 4 - 8 hours.

There are some ladders to climb while walking in the Drakensberg. The ladders are in two stretches, a longer (about 30m/100feet) first stretch followed by a shorter (about 15m/50 feet) one. Neither are quite vertical and they are metal ladders with thick, square edged footholds and comfortable handholds. Whilst they're not particularly physically challenging they can constitute a slight mental challenge to some - but one that is worthwhile for the incredible views from the top of the escarpment. The guides are extremely experienced in taking our clients up and down these ladders and are always happy to help.

The game viewing is generally at its best from July to September as visibility improves with trees losing their leaves and because game is more restricted to areas that have water. The bush at this time, however, is much drier compared to earlier in the season and scenically the country is generally at its prettiest in April - June. The migratory birds are visible between October and April.

Legal Note: all group members joining this tour will be asked to sign an indemnity form at the start of the holiday. This indemnity form is a requirement of the South African Tourism Service Association which our local supplier is a member of. As a client of Exodus Travels Ltd, your rights under the Package Travel Regulations (1992) are unaffected, and Exodus remains liable for the actions of our sub-contractors.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for private group trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.



All nights will be in chalets, log cabins and four nights in a permanent tented camp. Some of the accommodation is en suite though in Eswatini (Swaziland)and St Lucia we usually stay in cabins of 2 rooms sharing a bathroom and a lounge whilst in Thendele we usually stay in cabins of 3 rooms sharing 2 bathrooms and a lounge. The permanent tented camp in the Letaba River Game Reserve is made up of large tents with beds and an en suite bathroom. In the Kruger Park we stay in a permanent tented camp with shared ablutions. It is possible to get laundry done in Eswatini (Swaziland).

Wifi is available most nights but is not always very reliable.

Single rooms are available throughout. Please note that on the nights in the Drakensberg and in Eswatini (Swaziland) you might share a chalet/cabin with other members of the group. However, you will still have a single room to yourself.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for private group trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for private group trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed November 2019
    Steve Braysher

    Walking, Thunder and Wildlife

    Another outstanding trip from Exodus. It is very cleverly consrtucted, gradually building to the climax in the Drakensberg mountains. There were huge contrasts in scenery, passing through industrial and agricultural areas, the expanses of fairly dry national parks to the much greener hills and mountains of Eswatini, the lakes and Indian Ocean at St Lucia and the stunning mountains of the Drakensberg. The wildlife watching was good, not as easy as places such as the Massai Mara in Kenya, but we did see the big 5 and a lot more besides; on all of the walks there was also the opportunity to see wildlife. If birding is your thing, this is a great trip especially at this time of year as the migrations are just starting. I particularly enjoyed the visit to Isandwala and Rorkes Drift, the scene of major battles during the Zulu Wars together with walking the Fugitive's trail between the two. Weather is never predictable and we went from close to 40C one day in the game reservers to weather and scenery that could have been Scotland the next - but it did give us a chance to make use of the open fires in our accommodation in the hills of Eswatini! (Later in the trip we also experienced the most spectacular thunderstorms I have ever seen - very impressive) The Last four nights were spent in the Drakensberg, two at Thendele and 2 at Witsieshoek. The scenery was stunning and the walk up from Thendele to Witsieshoek showed a different aspect of it - more reminiscent of the Yorkshire Dales. The views from the top are wonderful but unfortunately, as is the way with mountains the weather, it closed in for the last day and the inside of a cloud looks pretty much the same wherever you are! We were a group of 12, thrown together at the start of the trip, who rubbed along pretty well and had some great times together, so a big thankyou to all concerned.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On a trip as varied as this there are numerous experience that are memorable. The time spent at Letaba Ranch, especially the early morning walk through the bush and the chance for some 'down time' watching the river is one. Although not part of the programme, experiencing the ferocity of a series of dramatic thunderstorms was quite something! However the stunning scenry of the Drakensberg mountains (they are so much more than the Amphitheatre) was the highlight for me.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Santjie was an excellent leader. Constantly cheerful, organised, knowledgable, thoughtful, a good sense of humour and with that special ability to get on with everybody. She worked incredibly hard to make sure that we had the best time possible. On the days when she cooked for the group she produced meals that were remarkably good on some very basic fsacilities. Perhaps the bast way of summarising how good she was is to say that if I would certainly be delighted to do another trip with her as leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a brilliant trip but you need to be prepared for a lot of early starts (often up by 5a.m.) and some long days - especially on the major driving days. Bring your sense of humour with you - especially if you are going to be there on the day England losese to South Africa in the Rugby World Cup!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a brilliant introduction to South Africa, and one that makes you realise just what a big place it is. Everybody we met was very welcoming and friendly. The one downside was the vehicle we travelled in. Great for viewing wildlife from but very slow up hills - which extended our driving times significantly. The air conditioning was broken pretty much from the start and it leaked from several points in rain, much to the embarrasemnet and frustration of both our leader and excellent driver. But despite this I would still recommend this trip to anyone with the interest and stamina to do it.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Shirley Bell

    TZS walking and wildlife

    Great trip saw lots of wildlife and great walking

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When we saw a family of lions feasting on a wilderbeast and we got so close to see them. Walking out of my tent one morning and seeing a family of elephants crossing the river so close amazing. The views in the mountains.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The leaders were fabulous

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for long bus journeys. It's cold when the sun goes down Bring binoculars Bring waterproofs it does rain sometimes in Africa It's Africa be prepared for anything to happen.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Martin Hodgkinson

    South Africa: Walking, Landscapes and Wildlife

    This trip is a great way to See South Africa across a variety of landscapes, mainly through National Parks and game reserves. There is a range of environments from the Drakensberg mountains to the Indian Ocean beaches at St Lucia with spectacular walks. There are long drives, over 3000km in total, in a reasonably comfortable 14 passenger minibus. Travelling in May, the weather was dry, sunny and warm, except at night and the highest walks. The accommodation varied between basic and very comfortable, but always clean.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Most of the scenery was striking but the Drakenberg mountains was probably the most spectacular, especially at sunrise. The walk from the historic battlefield at Isandlwana to Rorke's Drift was very atmospheric and fording Buffalo River was an certainly an experience in waist deep water (take a dry bag for valuables just in case). Although I have experienced better safari drives elsewhere in Africa, the night safari in the Kruger was memorable after seeing a pride of 8 lions on the move.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sku and Morrison looked after us well with good knowledge of the areas and wildlife. They set a good pace on the walks for the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are practised and fit for hill walking with a backpack as some walks are steep and most of the terrain is rocky, not prepared, paths. Good knees and ankles are essential! Walking poles can be helpful on some walks. The chain ladders on the final walk are not demanding unless you suffer from vertigo. There were laundry facilities at St Lucia. In May there were no or few insects although covering in the evening is still advisable, also for the cooler temperatures. Periodic stops at good supermarkets allowed replenishment of snacks or anything else. Food and drink at restaurants is very good and excellent value.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our group was a good range of ages from 29 to retirees which made the mix more enjoyable. South Africa is a spectacular country and, for any who has not yet been to Africa, this trip is great way to start. Be prepared for the inevitable tips. ATMs are available in towns and most places are happy to take card payments.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Chris Williams

    South Africa: landscapes, wildlife and battlefields

    The Exodus holiday in South Africa was a wonderful introduction to African landscapes and wildlife. I have travelled widely in my life but with little experience of Africa. This holiday exceeded my expectations in two ways: the remarkable opportunities to see wildlife at close quarters in Kruger; the amazing landscapes of the Blyde River canyon, Swaziland and the Drakensurg Mountains. My enjoyment of the holiday had a lot to do with the way it was organised and led by the group leader. I have been left with many great memories.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was inspirational to be in Kruger National Park for a few days and to see the great variety of wildlife. I'm thankful that there remain a few places on earth that have this rich ecosystem. A three hour walk just after dawn was especially exciting - being aware that large animals were around us and that we were walking through their natural habitat, their world

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader, Rowan Moon, was excellent and I rate him highly. His enthusiasm and energy was infectious. He is natural leader and developed a close relationship with us as a group and as individuals. Organisation and time-keeping was excellent. He has developed a very good working relationship with Sofiso, the driver, and I felt safe and well-cared for at all times. He has remarkable wildlife-spotting skills and was able to detect the presence of animals (including many species of birds) and identify them accurately and instantly. He also has very good hiking skills and was confident at route-finding and care of people who struggled on more challenging parts of the mountain trails. The driver, Sofiso, was superb: very safe driving at all times on some challenging road surfaces, very well organised for luggage and food preparation and hard working & reliable in all ways. He is also friendly and good company. Betz, a trainee guide, worked hard assisting with food prepapration. A few times she gave information when we were touring in the minibus but I found it really hard to understand her because she has a very strong South African accent. This would have been a big concern for me if she had been our group leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My advice for travellers buying this holiday is to ensure that they are as fit as possible for the days of walking. And to be aware that while the trails are not over-long, nor are the altitude climbs significant (about 700m maximum), the routes are very rugged at times, there are parts when there are steep or near vertical sections on or near the route, there are a few quite tricky river crossings and there are very challenging metal ladders on the last two days (see my comments below). The guide Rowan, and the driver Sofiso, gave excellent support on these walks.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would definitely say that there is a walking activity grading problem for this holiday. The walking grade 'Moderate' says 'general underfoot conditions will be fair'. However, on all the days there were sections of the trail which were more demanding than 'fair' - the Blyde River canyon to some extent, but especially the Tugela Gorge hike, the Witsiehoek 'Crack' hike and the Sentinel Peak hike to the ladders. These three days, if fully completed, including ascent (and descent - you have to come back down the same way) of the frankly hair-raising 20 metre ladder up to the Tugela Falls viewpoint, would clearly fit into a Challenging category in my opinion. So, the length of the walks are Moderate (about 2 to 5 hours max) but the trails are rugged and challenging at times. Should the holiday be given a Moderate/Challenging rating? Or the last 2 days only could be given Challenging. Please note that Day 13 description should make clear that the Crack is demanding for those with vertigo and has a 7 metre ladder which is in quite poor condition. My wife was made aware of the ladder just the evening before and had to miss the day's walking for this reason. Our guides, Rowan Moon and the local guides hired were superb at all times helping us with these routes. Thank you.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Elizabeth Moxham

    South Africa walking and Wildlife

    Really excellent trip with great variety of walking and wildlife, wonderful scenery, great accommodation and fantastic guides.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I have to name two, one travelling through Kruger and the other being in the Drakensberg

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Marco was excellent, well organised, worked extremely hard to make sure all our needs were well catered for and was extremely knowledgeable about wildlife and different geology. He was ably supported by Jojo, the driver and Roman who was training. All three were absolutely great.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a lot of travelling in the minibus. The trip notes make this clear but I’m mindful not everyone fully takes everything in. Also, some of the walking is quite strenuous on uneven ground and involves some scrambling over boulders, river crossings so make sure you have appropriate sturdy footwear.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I loved staying in the two private reserves, particularly Zululand Lodge which was a change in the itinerary from staying in St Lucia. The settings for most of the accommodation was absolutely fabulous.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Jenny Williams

    First time in Africa

    This was my second trip with Exodus, and I was confident that I was going to have a good time, get good value for money, and a wonderful experience. I was not disappointed. The booking was effortless, including the add on of four days in Cape Town that I requested. All the information that I needed was in the trip notes,and I felt well prepared. Our guide, Innocent is very knowledgable, and keen to impart this to us, and for us to have as good a time as possible. JoJo, the driver/chef, is also very well-informed, and a very careful safe driver. A lot is asked of him, as he would often prepare a meal for 13 after a long day's drive, sometimes on pretty basic equipment. This he did, always cheerfully. Both were very keen to explain how we can help the local craft industries, but we never felt pressurised or uncomfortable. The variety of experience, each day something new, was a fantastic introduction to South Africa. One week essentially wildlife spotting, the second hiking in some very dramatic scenery. I strongly recommend adding on a few days in Cape Town, if you haven't been before. It is less than a 2h flight, and a beautiful, easy, interesting city, and a great contrast to the game parks and mountains.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    From the wildlife aspect: a troop for 8 giraffes crossing in front of our jeep. Or maybe the lion kill? Or the weaver birds in the reeds? A vast herd of buffalo? Not to mention two rhinoceros. From the hiking: climbing to 3165m in the Drakensburg, the last 40m by chain ladder.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As I have said, Innocent is charming, reliable, knowledgable, and keen to help with any (reasonable) request.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Add on Cape Town!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus is, in my experience, a reliable, well organised company, which gives good value for money. It is not 5*, and if that is what you want, you will have to pay a great deal more! But for a 3* deal, with some accommodation above that, you will not be disappointed. When I got home, I turned the page of my Cicerone calendar to November, to see the photo of The Sentinel, in the Drakensburg Amphitheatre, take from the lodge we stayed in!
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Audrey Henley-McCarthy

    Full on and very enjoyable

    Really enjoyed this trip even though we probably did not chose the best time of year to do this, April. Sayin that the weather was quite kind to us. Letaba Game Reserve was a lovely start to our tour, the rangers at Mtomeni Safari Camp were very knowledgeable and friendly, food, especially breakfast, was very good. Permanent tents were much better than expected. Found the safari section a little repetitive but still enjoyable. Early starts and then pretty full on all day but never felt rushed. Loved the beach at St Lucia, a relaxing few hours there was appreciated as allowed us to recharge our batteries. Battlefields tour very interesting and would suggest if possible that you try and get your guide to add in a visit to Rorkes Drift to complete the story. Drakensburg was the highlight for me, good walking and marvellous scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking in the Drakensburg, very atmospheric and beautiful

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Colly is a great tour leader prompt, helpful, considerate, accommodating, knowledgeable and an excellent cook. Catered extremely well for this vegetarian. Our driver Jojo is a very experienced careful driver who was a great foil to Colly. Jojo is fun and also very knowledgeable especially about recent South African history. A great team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Walking for me was the top end of moderate as there are a lot of ascents and descents on fairly rocky paths. Walking poles would have been useful. Don't bother talking a lot of snacks with you as there are supermarket shops every few days when you find most of what you want. Sandwich box very useful for the packed lunches so that you do not end up with a soggy mess in a plastic bag at the bottom of your rucksack. Music for the long bus trips was very useful, recommend Graceland by Paul Simon.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Hazel Edwards

    South Africa Walking and Wildlife

    Well, what a trip! Soaking up the sights and sounds of South Africa and Swaziland was truly an amazing experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many unexpected inspirational moments for me. These included spotting both the white and black rhino and, at night in my tent, listening to hippos and other animals snorting and grunting close by. It was also a delight interacting with local shepherds in the mountains, and star-gazing at night. The vast dark sky made it easy to see the Milky Way. All fabulous!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nothing was too much trouble for Colly. He clearly enjoys what he does and was proud to show us South Africa and share with us his extensive knowledge of flora, fauna, local history and culture. He and Joe the driver made a great team. Both men were very kind, patient and friendly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you're looking to do a 'big' holiday and can't quite make up your mind which one, then go for this trip. It offers incredible variety and an unforgettable experience.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Josephine Fish

    A challenging experience

    We chose this holiday for the combination of walking and wildlife offerred and the areas within South Africa that it covered. We love the Kruger and were also interested in seeing the Drakensburg mountains and Swaziland. Inevitably we spent a lot of time in the minibus as we covered very long distances, but it was worth it. We saw plenty of wildlife and fantastic scenerey. We stayed in some staggeringly beautiful places. My main concern with the holiday was always the walking, and whether we would be up to it? We are both in our 70s, but consider ourselves reasonably fit, as we regularly play 3 rounds of golf a week ( walking) and always take exercise every day. In the event, we found the walking very tough. In the main the terrain was difficult: narrow steep and stoney paths with tricky footing: there was a lot of difficult clambering across rocks and a head for heights was essential! I feel that a grading of “ moderate” for the walking was misleading: it seemed much more demanding than that. The altitude is high, and this adds to the difficulty. I would have preferred to have been given the option of easier walks from time to time, so that I could look at the wonderful scenery as well as my feet! Having said this, our guide was really helpful and got me through. I am glad we went.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having 4 male lions walk past us on an evening drive. We must have watched them for about 15 minutes as we stayed with them. Fantastic!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Really good. Very knowledgable on animals, birds, and plants. Very well informed. Learned alot from him. He was also very well organised and we kept to time, without feeling stressed or hurried. He is also a very good cook: the meals he prepared were well cooked and very tastey: again always on time, and hot! He also helped me a lot on the walks when I was struggling: he was kind and thoughtful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need to be tough! This is not a holiday for wimps: you need a lot of stamina. Some of the accommodation in the camps is a bit rough: this is not a holiday for softies. Comfortable walking boots are essential. You have to walk with a backpack, so a good quality one is a good idea.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were concerned whether everyone would be a lot younger than us. In the event, most people were retired or nearly retired! We had no need to worry.
  • Reviewed August 2017
    Irene Turner

    Great way to see SA

    An interesting and varied trip, including trekking in several locations, safaris in a number of places, a trip to a beach and a boat ride to see hippos and other wildlife. I like hippos and gazelles.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being woken by elephants at night whilst in my permanent tent in the first game reserve we visited. Being vegetarian and not being given pasta every night for dinner. The food was actually very, very nice and thoughtfully prepared - with a different menu every night!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The two leaders, Mira and Marco, were marvellous. They answered all my questions about the trip, the country and its history. Mira Is particularly knowledgeable about all the scientific names of the plants in the areas we went.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a SÁ travel adaptor (or be pleasantly surprised when your travel companions have one). Take clothes for all climates. Be prepared not to see any Baoba trees. It's best if you like wild animals, otherwise the safaris are a bit boring. Some of the walks are uphill, but in the Drakebsberg mountains you can do your own, flatter walks. The Swazi Candles shop in Swaziland is excellent: Stock up whilst you can. No need to bring half a suitcase of food with you: as it turns out, there are supermarkets in SA that sell edible vegetarian food! The group leaders also provide excellent food!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thanks to my daughter and son-in-law for taking me on this fascinating trip. It was an excellent trip and highly recommended.

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