Southern Highlights Overland Safari

Southern Highlights Overland SafariSouthern Highlights Overland Safari visits five countries, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, exploring some of the most spectacular natural wonders and highlights of southern Africa. We engage the cultures, enjoy the scenic splendour and witness some of the most unique wildlife in the world. Our Southern Highlights Overland Safari aims to visit as many of the attractions as possible. We make sure to include known highlights like Kruger Park and Victoria Falls but also venture to places seldom visited, often way off of the beaten track.

We explore the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho and meet the Swazi people of this tiny Kingdom, We enjoy game walks and we relax on the beaches of Mozambique. With a multitude of wildlife experiences in South Africa and Zimbabwe, the Southern Highlights Overland Safari brings new excitement with each day.

INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS:
• Lesotho – “The Roof of Africa”
• African Village Culture
• Swaziland Kingdom
• Sibebe Rock
• Golden Gate
• Mountain Walks
• Maputo
• Mozambique Beaches
• Kruger National Park
• Great Zimbabwe Ruins
• Victoria Falls National Park and Entry Fee
• Open Vehicle Game Drives
• Historical Sites
• Matobo National Park
• Hwange
• Rhino Tracking on Foot

ROUTE : Johannesburg to Victoria Falls
DEPARTURES : Every Third Saturday
VEHICLE : Custom 17-seater adventure truck
DURATION : 16 Days (11 Nights Lodges and Camps / 4 Nights Camping)

Southern Highlights Overland Safari Itinerary

DAY 1: JOHANNESBURG TO LESOTHO

The Southern Highlights Overland Safari kicks off early this morning and departs at 06h30 from the Greenfire Lodge Johannesburg. We make our way south towards the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho, home of the Basotho people. A small land locked country completely surrounded by South Africa it is the only independent state in the world that lies completely above 1000 m in elevation. What the country lacks in size is made up for by the beautiful views of the mountains that reach up to the sky.

We cross the border in the afternoon and make our way along the mountain roads to our final destination. Our accommodation for the next two nights will be a remote Lodge set high in the mountains of the Tsehlanyane National Park. We spend the night in comfort and fall asleep in the crisp mountain air.

Meals: D (Lunch Own Expense)

Included Highlights/Activity:
– Lesotho
– Mountain walk

DAY 2: LESOTHO

Southern Highlights Overland SafariAfter a scrumptious breakfast at the lodge we have the entire day at our disposal for exploring the surrounding mountains and meeting the local people that carve a living out of this treacherous terrain. Our guide will lead a walk through the mountains that includes several waterfalls and spectacular views of the surrounding valleys. With scattered villages all along our route our guide will also take time to give us an introduction to the rich history of the country that dates back to the early 1800’s.

Returning to our accommodation in the afternoon the more adventurous can choose to go on a guided Basotho horse ride. (Own Expense) Negotiating the small mountain footpaths is something that takes time to get use to.
With a local village close by guests are also free to visit the local people in the afternoon or to simply relax at our accommodation to enjoy the serenity of the area.

Meals: B L D

Optional Activities: Basotho Horse Ride

Included Highlights / Activity:
– Guided Mountain Walk
– Basotho Culture

DAY 3: LESOTHO to SWAZILAND

Waking up to the stark scenery and beauty of this area, we continue our tour and make our way back to South Africa. Once through the border we follow a scenic road of rolling hills and farming lands to our final destination for the day – The Kingdom of Swaziland. Ruled by King Mswati III, this sovereign state is home to the proud Swazi people, known for their fascinating culture and traditional beehive huts. The country is rich in diversity from savannas in the east to rain forests in the northwest.

We cross the border from South Africa into Swaziland in the late afternoon and drive the short distance through the capital of Mbabane to our accommodation for the night located in the Hlambanyatsi Pine Forest region.

Meals: B L D

Included Highlights/Activity:
– Swaziland

DAY 4: SWAZILAND

Southern Highlights Overland Safari Sibebe RockIt is great excitement that we prepare for our day of exploring. Departing after breakfast we pass through the administrative capital of Mbabane before enjoying a truly unique visit at Sibebe Rock. Proclaimed to be the second largest monolith in the world, Sibebe certainly is one of the fascinating natural wonders found in Swaziland. We spend some time at the foot of this giant learning more about it history and the beliefs surrounding the area.

After our lunch at the foot of the mountain, we depart and slowly make our way back to our accommodation stopping along the way at small markets and crafts shops allowing guests a glimpse into the lives of the Swazi people and their colorful existence.

Meals: B L D

Included Highlights/Activity:
– Swaziland Landscape
– Sibebe Rock

DAY 5: MAPUTO

This morning we travel through Swaziland and follow the main tar road that cuts through the Royal Hlane National Park to cross the border into Mozambique. A crossroads of civilizations, cultures and landscapes, influenced from the early days by nomadic tribes, Arab traders, British sailors and Portuguese colonials, then torn apart by over 20 years of civil war. With newfound peace, and a fast growing economy recently reopened to tourism, Mozambique offers the explorer a wealth of treasures in the form of untouched wilderness areas, natural beauty, deserted beaches, and unique cultural heritage.

This afternoon we arrive in the capital, Maputo, and enjoy a sightseeing tour making use of local transport for an authentic experience. A city with an almost Latino atmosphere due to its Portuguese roots, it offers a unique experience to visitors. We overnight in the vibrant Maputo and enjoy and own expense dinner at a local restaurant to get the most out of this city.

Meals: B L (Dinner own expense)

Included Highlights/Activity:
– Scenic Drive through Swaziland
– Maputo
– Local Sightseeing tour in Maputo

DAY 6 – 7: INHAMBANE

Southern Highlights Overland Safari dhow boat rideFollowing the coast, we make our way north to the coastal town of Maxixe from where we enjoy a trip with the locals across the bay on a traditional dhow boat while the guide drives around to meet us in the ancient trading port of Inhambane. Inhambane is a diver’s paradise and for those interested in exploring the underwater world scuba diving is a must. (Own expense).

Once back on land we spend some time exploring and visiting the bustling local market before continuing to our accommodation on the beach. We enjoy two nights in relative comfort, staying in accommodation literally on the beach. During our time here we relax, snorkel and soak up the sun whilst exploring the deserted beaches that Mozambique is so well known for.

 

Meals: B L D; B L D

Optional Activities: Snorkeling, Diving, Fishing

Included Highlights/Activity:
– White sandy beaches
Dhow trip
– 2 nights on the beach

DAY 8: XAI XAI

We depart after a relaxed morning and drive a short distance along the coastline to the coastal town of Xai Xai. Once a bustling port under the Portuguese rule it has become a peaceful holiday destination. Our accommodation for the night is at a remote beach resort hidden on the large dune separating the inland fresh water lake system from the pounding ocean. We have a relaxed afternoon to enjoy the surf and to explore the surroundings.

Meals: B L D

Optional Activities: Snorkeling, Fishing

Included Highlights/Activity:
– White sandy beaches

DAY 9: MOZAMBIQUE – KRUGER PARK

Southern Highlights Overland Safari Kruger Park elephantMaking our way north we depart early in the morning and travel through the Limpopo floodplains and remote areas with scattered villages along the way. Our destination today is the world renowned Kruger National Park. Home to a variety of animals including the famous ‘Big 5’. Once through the border and back in South Africa we spend our time exploring the park in search of animals.

Tonight we setup camp for the first time and where better than in this wildlife paradise! We enjoy a catered meal prepared over the open fire and fall asleep to the sounds of the African bush.

Meals: B L D

Included Highlights/Activity:
– Scenic drive through Mozambique
– Short drive through Transfrontier Peace Park
– Kruger National Park

DAY 10: KRUGER PARK

Waking up before sunrise we enjoy a cup of coffee and watch the sunrise over the bush. We then pack up camp and start our day of exploring. We spend majority of the day in search of animals and our guide will explain the behaviour of the animals we encounter. During the day we enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the rest points in the park.

The road will lead us into the most northern part of the park and we hope to find the elusive Cheetah that prefers this section of the park. Late this afternoon, we exit the park via the Pafuri gate and stay in comfortable accommodation in the area.

Meals: B L D

Included Highlights / Activity:
– Kruger National Park
– Full Day Game Drive in the Park
– Northern “Cheetah Country” of the Park

DAY 11: GREAT ZIMBABWE RUINS

Southern Highlights Overland Safari Great Zimbabwe ruinsAn early start today we make our way north towards Zimbabwe. We arrive at the Beit Bridge border in the morning and after completing the formalities we continue towards the town of Masvingo and on to Great Zimbabwe.

The mystery surrounding these ruins and the ancient society that lived here will be explained and discussed by our guide. Our guided hike in the late afternoon will showcase these magnificent structures and allow you time to ponder over the mystery surrounding their origin. Tonight we camp in close vicinity to the ruins.

Meals: B L D

Included Highlights/Activity:
– Great Zimbabwe Ruins

DAY 12: MATOBO

After our breakfast we head for the wide streets of Bulawayo, the second biggest city in Zimbabwe and then continue to our camp nestled amongst the precariously balancing boulders of Matobo. This afternoon we enjoy a game drive and the additional highlight of rhino tracking on foot in the National Park. The thrill and enjoyment of spending time with wild rhinos in the bush is an experience that will not be forgotten soon. We return to our camp in the early evening after our bush experience.

Meals: B L D

Included Highlights/Activity:
– Matobo National Park
– Rhino tracking on foot

DAY 13: HWANGE

This morning we travel the short distance to Hwange, well known as one of Africa’s best conservation areas and home to the Royal Herd of Elephant. We will arrive in time for lunch in our camp. This afternoon, we conduct an extensive open-vehicle game drive/walk experience in search of the herds of game that this area is so well known for. Our camp tonight overlooks a water hole that receives frequent visits form the wild animals in the area.

Meals: B L D

Optional Activities: Spend time at the waterhole watching the animals come to drink

Included Highlights/Activity:
– Game Drive/Walk

DAY 14 – 15: VICTORIA FALLS

Victoria FallsToday we make our way to the adventure capital of Africa, Victoria Falls and it is with new excitement that we explore the amazing Victoria Falls, Mosi o Tunya, meaning “The smoke that Thunders”.

Various other attractions can be visited and activities enjoyed – the tribal village, the big tree, the curio market and the crocodile farm. An aircraft flip over the falls or a boat trip on the Zambezi River, White Water Rafting or Bungee Jumping are all worthwhile, but allowance must be made for the extra expense. We spend two nights here, thus allowing clients some time to explore the town and all it has to offer by themselves.

One dinner and both lunches will be enjoyed in local restaurants (own expense). Relax to the sound of the African night and the distant roar of the Falls.

Meals: B D; B

Optional Activities:
– Scenic Helicopter Flight
– White water rafting
– Bungee jump

Included Highlights / Activity:
– Victoria Falls National Park
– Victoria Falls Entry Fee

DAY 16: VICTORIA FALLS

Our tour comes to an end after breakfast. Our guide will depart and guests can book transfers to the airport for their flights back home via the Drifters office.

Meals: B

The Southern Highlights Overland Safari day by day descriptions published are intended as a rough guideline only. Adventure travel by nature is unpredictable, weather patterns, game migrations, road conditions and a multitude of other factors may necessitate itinerary changes that ultimately are for the client’s benefit. It is essential that clients are flexible and open minded in this regard.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

Please ensure that you are in possession of valid travel documents for all the countries (South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe) that you will visit. If you have any queries in this regard, please do not hesitate to contact us. Please ensure that you have proof of further travel arrangements if you do not have a South African passport, permanent residency permit, work permit or study permit. Although we will endeavour to assist, we do not accept any liability or obligation for your travel documents.

1)PORT OF EXIT FROM SOUTH AFRICA INTO LESOTHO – CALEDONSPOORT/BUTHA BUTHE BORDER POST ON DAY 1
2) PORT OF EXIT FROM LESOTHO AND ENTRY INTO SOUTH AFRICA – CALEDONSPOORT/BUTHA BUTHE BORDER POST ON DAY 3
3) PORT OF ENTRY INTO SWAZILAND – NERSTON BORDER ON DAY 3
4) PORT OF EXIT FROM SWAZILAND INTO MOZAMBIQUE – LOMAHASHA/NAMAACHA BORDER ON DAY 5
5) PORT OF EXIT FROM MOZAMBIQUE AND ENTRY INTO SOUTH AFRICA – GIRIYONDO BORDER ON DAY 9
6) PORT OF EXIT FROM SOUTH AFRICA AND ENTRY INTO ZIMBABWE – BEITBRIDGE BORDER ON DAY 11

Please check out this link for any travel info regarding your trip http://www.southafrica.info/services/government/consular.htm#.VzRth-J97IW

Make sure that your passport has at least six months’ validity from your planned date of return to your home country. Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, Visas. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

Please note that all guests traveling to South Africa will require two blank facing pages in their passport. For more info with regards to Yellow Fever please visit the following link https://www.iamat.org/risks/yellow-fever?gclid=CLaGk5H8_9ECFVcz0wodXhQBbg

PLEASE NOTE IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTS (VISAS AND VALID PASSPORTS) FOR EACH AND EVERY COUNTRY YOU WILL BE VISITING ON YOUR TOUR.

FOREIGN CURRENCY

Upon arrival in any respective country we operate in, you will be able to find a Bureau de Change OR ATM Facilities at the airport or in the Town/City the tour is departing from. It is advised to bring any major world currency (US Dollar, Euro or British Pounds) in small denominations and not dated older than 2009. It is advised to get a small amount of local currency upon arrival just to get around until your tour starts.

On Tour -Please be advised that our guides will inform and show you the best places to exchange any Major World Currency with the best possible exchange rates either before your tour starts or during the course of the tour. Our guides will brief you exactly on where to exchange and roughly how much you will need to exchange after discussing possible optional activities, own expense meals or possible curio stops. Drifters trucks have safe-keeping facilities for extra cash/flight tickets/passport.

The preferred currency for your tour is:
• South Africa – ZAR; Rand

Suggested amounts for each currency:
(Without use of credit card)
• Rand : +- R 500 – R 700
• Dollar: +- $ 150 – $ 500

Credit cards are widely accepted in most parts of South Africa but please ensure to have enough cash for personal expenses and possible gratuities.

Please note the only lodge on this tour to receive card payment will be Greenfire Johannesburg lodge. All other lodges will ONLY receive cash payments.

Areas where you shall be able to use your credit card are as follows:
• Greenfire JHB Lodge for activities; food; accommodation and small extras
• Shopping; At most large supermarkets

INSURANCE

It is compulsory that all passengers make arrangements for adequate travel insurance to financially safeguard against unforeseen circumstances. If you need further information please do not hesitate to contact us. Drifters do not accept responsibility for any loss, injury, damage, accident, fatality, delay or inconvenience experienced whilst on tour. You will be required to complete and sign a full indemnity prior to tour departure.

HEALTH PRECAUTIONS & REQUIREMENTS

The only necessary prophylaxis for southern Africa is against Malaria (Botswana and Zimbabwe). Adequate chemo-prophylaxis are essential. Prevention is better than cure, so we do advise to also use insect repellent on exposed areas after sunset. Please consult with your general practitioner regarding this. All Drifters guides have first aid boxes for use in emergencies, however we recommend that you bring along your own basic supply of medication, headache tablets, etc.

Personal medication

Please bring along any personal medication that you might need on your tour as specific medication could be difficult to find or might not be obtainable in most places we visit. General medication for headaches, colds and fever are easy to get. Please also inform your guide of any medical conditions. This information will be received professionally and kept confidential.