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Family South Africa Safari & Beach Adventure

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 Trip Length
13 Days
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13 Day Family South Africa Safari & Beach Adventure Itinerary (Explore)
Countries Explored: South Africa Eswatini
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Book online and enjoy exclusive savings on Explore's 13 Day Family South Africa Safari & Beach Adventure. From the game lands of the Kruger to the beautiful coastline of the Indian Ocean, South Africa is a wonderful destination for a family holiday. Experience many of the country's natural and cultural highlights including a visit to a traditional Zulu village, Blyde River Canyon and game walks in a wildlife sanctuary in kingdom of Swaziland.


Arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa's largest city, and once home to both Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. A city of stark contrasts and infamous history, Johannesburg is going through rapid change and urban regeneration.

For those arriving on time today our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 12pm for the welcome meeting. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up. The hotel we use has a swimming pool and lovely gardens to relax in after your flight, we can also provide transport to the nearby Nelson Mandela Square, a open-air piazza in Sandton which offers a wide choice of shops and dining options later in the afternoon.

If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB).

Please note: A majority of flights will land into Johannesburg in the early morning it is often too early to be able to check straight in to your room. Luggage storage is available at the hotel check in. Stay: Rivonia Premier Lodge (Comfortable)

Drive to Graskop via South Africa's Panoramic Route. Leaving our hotel after breakfast, we head out of Johannesburg through the lowveld which stretches before us into the distant horizons. The lowveld translates literally from Afrikaans into English as the low bush. This area has been inhabited since Stone Age times and with its plentiful water from mountain rivers, multiple waterfalls, beautiful craggy escarpments covered in vegetation and colourful birdlife.

Our destination is Graskop a small town in the province of Mpumalanga, a peaceful location surrounded by forestry plantations and dramatic rock outcrops.

PLEASE NOTE: The order of the night stops between Days 2 and Days 6 (Graskop, Tshukudu Game Reserve and Kruger NP) may change due to accommodation availability. The total travelling time will remain roughly the same and each of the elements of the itinerary will still be offered although not necessarily in the order of the trip notes. Stay: Mogodi Lodge (Comfortable) (B)

This morning we will stop at several viewpoints along the way, including the aptly named God's Window and admire the awe-inspiring Blyde River Canyon. We also stop at the strangely surreal Bourke's Luck Potholes, a collection of pebble-eroded formations at the confluence of the Treur and Blyde Rivers, before we arrive at Tshukudu Game Reserve around 2pm.

Tshukudu is the Sotho word for Rhino, the park is renowned for its lion breeding and rehabilitation programmes, nursing sick, orphaned or injured animals of all shapes and sizes back to health for re-introduction to the wild. The Reserve is home to the most spectacular of South Africa's wildlife, including lion, elephant, rhino, hippo and even the elusive leopard and cheetah.

This afternoon we will go on our first game drive in the hope of spotting the Big 5. Stay: Tshukudu Bush Camp (Comfortable) (B/L/D)

Today we do some more game spotting from the back of our vehicles and there is even a chance to do some walking in the reserve with experienced rangers. They are all acknowledged experts in the bush and are happy to pass on their knowledge of animals great and small, so ask as many questions as you can! Tshukudu contains a wealth of big and small game, as well as many species of birds. We will take the chance to see some of these stunning animals from our vehicle and also enjoying a walking safari through the reserve. We retire back to our lodge where there is a pool to relax around and soak up the late afternoon South African sun. Stay: Tshukudu Bush Camp (Comfortable) (B/L/D)

After a hearty breakfast we bid farewell to Tshukudu driving two hours to the southern gate of Kruger National Park. We stop for lunch and a swim at one of the national park camps before continuing further into the park.

The Kruger National Park is one of the world's premier game reserves, what we do not see in Tshukudu, we may well see here. Covering an area larger than Israel, the park was established in 1898 to protect big game that had almost been hunted to extinction. The park is now one of the most prolific animal habitats in South Africa, committed to animal conservation and patrolled by armed rangers to prevent illegal poaching. A large number of species are present, including elephant, lion, black and white rhino, leopard, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, wild dog, hyena, wildebeest and almost all of South Africa's species of antelope. Bird life is just as impressive with crowned cranes, bee-eaters, sunbirds and vultures.

We retire to the sounds of the African bush this evening. Stay: Pretoriuskop Rest Camp (Simple) (B)

Leaving our camp shortly after sunrise, head out for our morning game drive searching for sightings of the extensive wildlife that make this national park their home. We stop at various watering holes where we may see buffalo or antelope taking an early morning drink and hopefully a pride of lions nearby. We finish the morning drive by having lunch at one of the park's restaurants. Continue game viewing in the afternoon. Stay: Masgobe Lodge (Comfortable) (B)

After a morning of game spotting we continue south passing through rural townships and mountain scenery of the Blyde River Canyon escarpment to the small kingdom of Swaziland, a tiny and independent land inhabited by the Swazi people who revere their king and retain their age-old culture and traditions. Our journey takes us through some spectacular scenery in the Ezulwini Valley and past numerous traditional homesteads, curio stalls and the old mining settlement of Piggs Peak. This afternoon we enter one of Swaziland's best wildlife reserves, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.

This secluded and beautiful sanctuary is a haven of tranquillity, located in a natural bowl beneath the Nyonyane Mountains. The accommodation we use is always popular with families, being a combination of traditional dome-shaped beehive huts, rondavels and traditional huts. Though the camp has all the mod cons - showers, toilets, outdoor swimming pool and restaurant/bar - it is rustic in the best sense of the word. Warthogs and ostrich share the camp with us and the restaurant overlooks a lake populated by water birds and a resident hippo.

Due to the high demand in Mlilwane, accommodation is subject to change without notice and can vary in style. We'll endeavour to stay within the park when possible, however, some departures may be staying up to a 15 minute drive from the sanctuary in a hotel with excellent facilities and a large open air swimming pool. Stay: Mlilwane Rest Camp (Comfortable) (B)

This morning we begin with a walk in search of zebra, wildebeest, impala, nyala and warthog. Mlilwane has a large area of open grasslands, so game viewing is relatively easy. The afternoon is left free for you to choose one of the many optional activities on offer. The great advantage of Mlilwane is that the absence of big cats allows for a very different game viewing experience. You can opt to set out with a guide on mountain bike and take a game-spotting ride through the superb scenery. Alternatively, you may like to follow one of the self-guided mountain walking trails following the historic aqueduct around the Nyonyane Mountains; or one of the riverside trails in search of birdlife and hippo. The choice is very much yours. Stay: Mlilwane Rest Camp (Comfortable) (B)

Crossing through Swaziland we head for the southern border point at Golela, passing back in to South Africa and continuing through KwaZulu Natal to the northern settlement of Kosi Bay, close to the Mozambique border. The next two nights see us staying close to the shores of the Indian Ocean, with accommodation set amidst a wetland area of lakes and forest that is home to a rich diversity of birds and animals including hippos and crocs. On the afternoon of our arrival there is some free time to explore and enjoy this protected area which was declared a nature reserve back in 1950 and considered one of the most pristine lake systems along the South African coast. Stay: Utshewayelo Lodge (Comfortable) (B/D)

Today we take a walk along the beaches and forests of this area in search of small antelope and the astounding variety of birds to be seen here. Snorkelling is possible near the estuary and over the coral reef (weather dependent) with equipment available from the lodge. Stay: Utshewayelo Lodge (Comfortable) (B/L/D)

Travelling down the coast we head towards the greater St. Lucia Wetland Park situated on the Indian Ocean coast. This wonderful wetland reserve was recently granted World Heritage status as the largest estuarine lake system in Africa. En route we will visit the Zulu Experience, a chance to visit a traditional Zulu village and learn about the lifestyles and culture of these fascinating people. Whilst in St Lucia you may choose to go on a range of optional activities. Night drives to spot giant turtles coming ashore and whale watching trips are possible in the right season. Stay: St Lucia Eco Lodge (Premium) (B)

Another day on the coast allows for some additional relaxation time and the chance for optional activities such as whale watching (June to November) and turtle watching from November to March. There is also the option of a boat trip on the St. Lucia River to spot hippos and crocodiles or a snorkelling trip to Cape Vidal (weather dependent). Stay: St Lucia Eco Lodge (Premium) (B)

Departing St Lucia this morning, we drive south along the coast to Durban's International airport (airport code DUR) aiming to arrive at about 2pm. This is where our trip ends. The earliest your flight can depart is 4pm.

For those taking an evening flights from Durban we can arrange time before your flight at Umhlanga Beach located just 10 minutes from Durban city centre, en-route to the airport. Featuring expansive golden sand beaches stretching northwards for over 200km, with a wide choice of restaurants and bars as well as an a shopping centre for those last minute souvenirs, Umhlanga Beach offers a host of options for all the family before your flight home. (B)

Trip Inclusions

  • Kruger National Park & Indian Ocean coast
  • Walk with the wildlife in a Swaziland sanctuary
  • Open vehicle game drives in all reserves

  • Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a holiday which combines exciting activities and experiences with plenty of time to relax and unwind. Typically you'll be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries.

  • Accommodation, itinerary and inclusions subject to change.
  • Price is for land, cruise and internal flights as specified. Flights not specified are not included
About Explore!
About Explore!

Launching in 1981, Explore offer trips from over 130 countries - from classic small group tours. Read more

Explore Leaders
Explore Leaders

Explore's leaders are more than just your typical guide. They're your local expert are are passionate about sharing their expertise with you. Read more

Where do we Stay?
Where do we Stay?

The places Explore stay are every bit as important as the sights they visit and the things you do. Read more

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Tour & cruises prices are per person. Prices shown have savings applied, are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Prices and trip information are correct at the time at this point in time, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking and are subject to change by Explore.

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