A fun and affordable 14 day Southern African Lodge Safari, combining the scenic mountains of Swaziland, with the tropical beaches of Mozambique and the wildlife-rich Kruger National Park of South Africa.
Start with the unspoilt African wilderness of Hlane or Mlilwane and experience traditional Swazi culture. Then journey to the Barra Peninsula of Mozambique, stopping off near bustling Maputo en route. Spend the next few days relaxing on the white sand beaches of Barra and Tofo, doing optional activities and swimming in the warm Indian Ocean. Take an ocean safari and snorkel with incredible marine life, likely seeing manta rays or whale sharks. Then head north to Vilanculos via historic Inhambane.
Visit the idyllic Bazaruto Islands on a boat trip, spending the day snorkelling, swimming and lazing on the beach. Overnight at a hidden coastal gem in Mozambique, before crossing back into South Africa where we go game viewing in Kruger National Park, staying within Greater Kruger Park. Lastly, drive along the beautiful Panorama Route to our final overnight lodge in the Blyde River Canyon.
This Swaziland, Mozambique and Kruger Lodge Safari starts in Johannesburg, South Africa. Here you are collected from your pre-tour accommodation within five kilometres of the O.R. Tambo Airport International Airport. First, we drive east through the Highveld region of the Mpumalanga Province, crossing the scenic Drakensberg Escarpment on our way to Swaziland.
Making our way into the beautiful Lebombo Mountains, we enter the small, landlocked country of Swaziland. Our destination on day one is either the Hlane Royal National Park or the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. We stay inside one of these incredible wilderness areas depending on availability. Alternatively, we stay in similar accommodation nearby.
The Hlane Royal National Park is a wildlife gem, hosting lions, elephants and rhinos, amongst other mammals. The national park is also home to one of Africa's highest concentrations of white-backed vultures. The siSwati word Hlane means 'wilderness', capturing the wild and rugged nature of this scenic area.
The nearby Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary was Swaziland’s first conservation area, proclaimed in 1961. Mlilwane covers only 4 560 hectares, yet this is the most popular wildlife destination in Swaziland, given its exceptional species diversity. Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is ideal for walking safaris, because of the absence of large predators which makes exploring the area on foot safe.
Later this afternoon you can embark on an optional (extra cost) sunset game drive in Hlane Royal National Park or the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, depending on where we are based. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the fresh mountain air and lovely mountain scenery.
Wake up in the rolling hills of Swaziland on day two, ready to explore the beautiful area and colourful local culture. Today we are treated to a Swazi cultural experience, offering a glimpse into local traditions and rural life in Swaziland. Watch as skilled dancers perform traditional-style dancing and maybe get invited to join in!
Later in the day, you can embark on a guided walk or game drive in Hlane Park or Mlilwane Sanctuary (depending on where our accommodation is located).
Begin day three with an optional game drive in Hlane Royal National Park, going in search of the wildlife and birds inhabiting this scenic natural area. Then we leave the hills of Swaziland behind, travelling across into neighbouring Mozambique, located on the coast of East Africa.
Driving through rural Mozambique we make our way towards Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. By-passing the bustling port city, we head to our accommodation nearby, on Macaneta Island. We cross the channel separating the small island from the mainland by bridge and enjoy a relaxed evening just outside the city.
We get an early start on day four, as we have a long drive ahead of us. Making our way northeast through rural Mozambique we head to Barra Beach, just north of Inhambane.
Barra Beach is located on the tip of the Barra Peninsula, which lies between the Inhambane Estuary and the Indian Ocean. This tropical paradise boasts long, sandy beaches fringed with lush vegetation. The warm, turquoise waters are ideal for swimming and are also dotted with varied coral reefs that offer excellent diving.
We stay in en-suite chalets at one of the lovely beach lodges along Barra Beach. This evening we sample traditional Mozambican cuisine, infused with Portuguese flavours.
Day five is set aside for fun in the sun at Praia da Barra and clients who opted for the Local Payment enjoy an ocean safari today.
This excursion takes you in search of the remarkable marine life of Barra, which is famous for its whale shark populations. Summer months (November to February) are best for spotting whale sharks with groups of up to 30 sighted here at times! We take a boat trip to one of the spots where marine life is often seen and spend some time snorkelling there.
In addition to whale sharks, marine sightings across the seasons include manta rays, turtles, humpback whales, barracuda, various tropical fish and dolphins. For those who opted out of the Local Payment, various optional activities are available or you can simply laze on the white sand beaches.
Staying in the Inhambane Province, today we visit the nearby village of Tofo on the Ponta da Barra Peninsula. This popular seaside destination is renowned for its excellent scuba diving and snorkelling. Tofo is best known for its whale shark and manta ray sightings, along with whales, turtles, dolphins and smaller marine species.
For the qualified scuba diving enthusiasts amongst us, today is the day for dipping into the underwater world to see the ocean creatures of Tofo. Alternatively, you can spend the day relaxing on the beach, walking around the small town of Tofo and chatting with the friendly local people. There is also a range of optional activities - from horse riding to surfing and quad biking in the dunes.
This afternoon you can visit the local arts and crafts market with your tour guide, browsing the local curios and creations, and bargaining for the best prices. Whilst practising your negotiation skills and supporting the locals, please avoid purchasing seashells and other unsustainably harvested marine creatures as this encourages exploitation and degrades the coral reefs.
Another day in paradise! Go to the beach - take a swim in the clear, warm waters and stroll along the sandy shores of Mozambique.
Either make your way to Tofo or spend the day at Barra Beach, enjoying the sunshine and lounging on the pretty beaches. For the more active, optional activities await. You can go quad biking at Barra, or if diving, snorkelling, horse riding and surfing appeal, then head to Tofo Bay.
Leaving Barra Beach today, first, we drive south to nearby Inhambane and then we proceed north to Vilankulo (also known as Vilanculos).
Reaching Inhambane we take a short walking tour of this historic port town to see the crumbling old Portuguese buildings and visit places of interest. Then we travel north through coconut palm plantations and the rural countryside where cashew nut and mango trees thrive, making our way along the beautiful coastline of Mozambique, to Vilanculos.
The coastal town of Vilanculos is one of Mozambique's most popular beach destinations and the gateway to the idyllic Bazaruto Islands. The Bazaruto Archipelago is the largest marine reserve in the Indian Ocean, hosting one of the biggest dugong populations in East Africa.
This evening clients who opted for the Local Payment will be briefed on the Bazaruto Islands day trip taking place the following day.
A day of tropical island bliss lies ahead! Today we embark on a boat trip to the Bazaruto Archipelago, visiting one of the five picturesque main islands.
There is time to relax on the beaches, swim in the turquoise ocean, explore the island on foot and go snorkelling in the clear, warm waters. As a marine reserve, Bazaruto is home to an abundance of sea creatures, so get your snorkels and masks ready. A variety of colourful fish and sea animals are usually sighted on the reefs of the islands.
During our day on Bazaruto, the boat crew prepares a tasty lunch to be enjoyed on the beautiful island. At the end of the day, we return to Vilanculos and rejoin members of the group that stayed behind. For those not joining the Bazaruto Island trip (Local Payment Activity), Vilanculos has plenty to offer visitors in terms of optional activities and pretty beaches.
On day ten we make our way to a lesser known beach getaway, close to the small town of Xai Xai.
We spend our last night in Mozambique on the coast at Chizavane. Our accommodation is set along a white sandy beach where you can take a stroll or a refreshing swim in the ocean. Explore the nearby rock pools or go snorkelling in the late afternoon and watch for humpback whales in season (May to November). End your final day on the Indian Ocean coastline with sundowners at the bar overlooking the water.
Day 11 kicks off super early for our journey into Kruger National Park, back in neighbouring South Africa. Leaving Mozambique early allows us to make the most of our game viewing time in Kruger Park today.
This is South Africa's ultimate safari destination, harbouring a breathtaking diversity of flora and fauna. With any luck, we encounter two or more of the most famous of Kruger's inhabitants: the Big Five of Africa - lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo. The Big Five aside wildlife sightings frequently include giraffes, zebras, hippos, hyenas, wild dogs, baboons, warthogs, small predators and antelopes of numerous kinds.
Our next lodge is located in Greater Kruger National Park, sharing unfenced boundaries with Kruger National Park, which enables wildlife to roam freely between the two. In the late afternoon, you have the option of embarking on a sunset game drive from the camp. On this optional three-hour game drive an expert guide takes you into Kruger in search of wildlife, stopping for sundowners in the bush. After watching the sunset over the bush you return to the lodge, looking out for nocturnal animals from the safari vehicle.
Back at the lodge, it's time for a delicious dinner prepared by your guide.
Today brings more game viewing opportunities in Kruger National Park, one of Africa's very finest game reserves. If you opted for the Local Activity Payment then you will spend the entire day exploring Kruger Park in an open 4x4 safari vehicle.
The 4x4 game drive is conducted by a professional guide with in-depth knowledge of the region, especially it's flora and fauna. Your experienced guide searches out the wildlife Kruger is renowned for and points out interesting sightings in the bush. Whilst on our game drive, we stop for lunch (own expense) and a rest at one of the main camps in Kruger Park. After lunch, we continue game viewing as we head to our overnight lodge in Greater Kruger Park.
Clients who opted not to make the Local Activity Payment will spend the day game viewing in the air-conditioned tour microbus.
An optional (extra cost) sunset game drive is also available for guests wanting to explore Kruger further. The sunset game drive includes a sundowner stop in the bush, an ideal way to end this action-packed day of game viewing.
Last chance to head into the wildlife-rich Kruger National Park - wake up early for an optional sunrise game drive! Search out any wildlife species that may have been missed so far and enjoy being out in the African bush once more. With any luck, we will be treated to some early morning wildlife action before returning to camp.
Then it is time to leave our safari lodge in Greater Kruger Park and head west to the Panorama Route of South Africa. One of the most awe-inspiring natural areas of the country, the Panorama Route is dotted with spectacular viewpoints, impressive geological sites and unique geographical features. We stop to admire the amazing rock formations known as Bourke’s Luck Potholes and the rock-topped Three Rondavels hills, which resemble the round huts known locally as rondavels. We also pause at the breathtaking God’s Window viewpoint to take in the incredible vistas over the Lowveld with Kruger and Mozambique in the distance.
Our sightseeing drive takes us into the Blyde River Canyon, one of the largest canyons in the world. Blyde River Canyon is also remarkable for being one of the few green canyons of its size, whereas most of the world's largest canyons tend to be arid and barren. Tonight's accommodation is set along the Blyde River, providing an idyllic setting for our farewell feast. Enjoy a South African style braai (barbecue) and celebrate the remarkable journey shared.
After breakfast on the final day of this Swaziland, Mozambique & Kruger Lodge Safari, we travel back to Johannesburg where our trip began.
Arriving back in Johannesburg at about 16:00 the guide drops you off at your post-safari accommodation within five kilometres of the O.R. Tambo International Airport, bringing our scenic Southern African journey to an end.
Accommodation on this tour is at well-selected, reputable lodges and resorts in scenic and convenient locations. Clients stay in twin-share rooms, most of which feature en-suite bathrooms. We stay in standard chalets, rondavels, lodge rooms and permanent tents at clean, comfortable and affordable establishments.
Air-conditioned mini-bus transport is used on this tour. For groups of up to 6 a VW Microbus is used and for groups of 7 to 12 clients, a Toyota Quantum is used.
Please note that we offer convenient pre and post tour lodge accommodation for before and after your Kruger Park Safari, which can be added to your tour booking upon request. The 4-star lodge accommodation is located 10-15 minutes from the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Follow the link for rates.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
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