8 Day Winter Escape GTWE8

8 Day Winter Escape Excursion

(Birding and Wildlife combo)


Reference: GTWE8

DESCRIPTION

Escape the “winter blues” and travel to Zululand in Kwa Zulu Natal. At the majestic foot of the Lebombo mountains you will find the Pongolo Game Reserve. The first proclaimed game reserve in Africa is host to four of the ‘Big 5’ species. Going further into the wild, you will first visit the wetlands of the St Lucia Estuary before you head to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park to search for the Big Five. The Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is a premier, “Big Five” park; home to lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. Its rich plant-life, grasslands and forests support a wide variety of other animals.

PRICE FROM

Per person sharing
R27 300

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Duration Location Tour Type Accommodation Departure Dates 2018 End Dates 2018
        Destination Duration    
8 Days Pongola Game Reserve, Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park, St Lucia Estuary Small Group White Elephant Safari Lodge Pongola Game Reserve 3 Nights 23 July
01 August
30 July
08 August
St Lucia Eco Lodge St Lucia Estuary 1 Night
Hilltop Camp Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park 3 Nights

Itinerary

Day One

You will be met by your tour representative upon your arrival in Johannesburg, at OR Tambo International Airport. Once settled, will you depart on an unforgettable escape to nature. A comfort stop will allow you to stretch your legs. Once refreshed, will you continue to the Pongola Game Reserve. You can unpack and unwind from the long drive before meeting for High tea, later in the afternoon. Relax some more and meet later for dinner to complete the day.

Planned Activities Included:
Afternoon High Tea
Dinner

Day Two

It will be an early start to the day, with a morning game driving before breakfast. Meet your guide and set out to find the animals. The fresh air is working up an appetite and you return to the lodge for breakfast. Relax some more, enjoy lunch and then you will meet early afternoon to visit the Elephant and Rhino research Centre. Return in time for High Tea, before you leave again for a lovely boat cruise. You will return in time for dinner.

Planned Activities Included:
Game Drive
Breakfast
Lunch
Visit Elephant & Rhino Research Centre
High Tea
Boat Cruise
Dinner

Day Three

This morning will be an exciting game drive, as your guide will take you to track the black rhino. After tracking and spotting the beautiful animals, will you return for a hearty breakfast. Thereafter will you have the day at leisure to take in the beauty and tranquillity of your surroundings, until it is time to enjoy another delicious High Tea. Once refreshed, get ready and then set out for a sunset game drive. After plenty of game spotting will you return to the lodge for dinner.

Planned Activities Included:
Black Rhino Tracking
Breakfast
Lunch
High Tea
Game Drive
Dinner

Day Four

Another early start to the day for a morning bush walk. It is exciting and there is much more to explore on foot. Your guide will point out various plants, birds, animals and more. Revived from walking through the bush and spotting game, will you return to the camp for another great breakfast. After which you will check-out and continue your journey to St Lucia. In the afternoon you will join the Sunset River Cruise where-after dinner will be served at the lodge.

Planned Activities Included:
Option between Game Drive or Guided Walk
Breakfast
Boat Cruise
Dinner

Day Five

Sleep in or enjoy nature with a morning walk on the beach or curio shopping in town. Return for late breakfast where-after you will check-out and depart to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. Be sure to be ready in time for the afternoon game walk. After strolling through the bush, will you return to freshen up and enjoy a lovely dinner.

Planned Activities Included:
Game Drive
Breakfast
Sunset Game Walk
Dinner

Day Six

Feel like getting up early to track more animals? Your choice whether it will be tracking by foot or by vehicle. No matter which option you choose, it will be another great experience. Make the most of it before you return for breakfast. The rest of the day will be at leisure to explore the surroundings, or just to relax and enjoy the tranquillity of your environment. In the afternoon you will join the sunset game drive. Remember the cameras, as this will be a great time to capture your Big Five images. Just after sunset, will you return to the camp for dinner.

Planned Activities Included:
Game Drive or Game Walk
Breakfast
Sunset Game Drive
Dinner

Day Seven

More game viewing at sunrise to explore and spot those elusive animals, before you return for breakfast. Another day at leisure to relax until you set off into the sunset for your last game viewing. Having worked up an appetite on your adventures, will you return in time for dinner.

Planned Activities Included:
Sunrise Game Drive
Breakfast
Sunset Game Drive
Dinner

Day Eight

Your last day and you check-out after breakfast in order to start your return journey to Johannesburg.

Planned Activities Included:
Breakfast

Included Excluded
Roundtrip Road Transfer Lunch (at Hilltop Camp)
Accommodation Gratuities
Meals as specified Beverages
Planned activities Optional activities
Taxes/VAT Items of a personal nature
Laundry

About White Elephant Safari Lodge

As the only lodge in South Africa to offer Kariba-like, water based safari activities as well as traditional land based activities, White Elephant Safari Lodge offers a truly unique South African Safari experience complete with superb bird watching and wildlife spotting possibilities. White Elephant Safari Lodge (TGCSA 5 star) captures the history and romance of a bygone era. The lodge’s deep verandah, sweeping views and tranquil setting provide a unique African experience. Eight luxurious safari tents, each with a romantic ball and claw bath, outdoor canvas shower and a private verandah provide an evocative safari in the Pongola Game Reserve Wilderness.

About St Lucia Eco Lodge

St Lucia Ecolodge is nestled between the St Lucia Estuary, the Indian Ocean and The iSimangaliso Wetland Park and is an ideal point from which to explore South Africa’s first World Heritage Site. The region is blessed with an all-round summer, making it comfortable throughout the year. St Lucia Ecolodge has been a favourite with South African and overseas leisure & business visitors for the past eighteen years. A Lodge of this nature is a rare find on the sought after Elephant Coast of KwaZulu-Natal and is within easy reach of the major cities and the newly booming metropolitan areas of Richards Bay and Empangeni. The lodge adjoins the rich diversity of Zululand's wetland lakes and forests, while the sea and game reserves are a mere stone throw away. In fact hippo, leopard and a myriad of smaller mammals are residents or frequent visitors to the gardens of St Lucia!

About Hilltop Camp

The award-winning Hilltop Camp rests on the summit of a forested hill and offers fine views of the surrounding Hluhluwe iMfolozi Game Reserve, Kwazulu Natal’s largest Big 5 reserve, as well as the distant rolling hills of Zululand stretching all the way to lake St Lucia and the Indian Ocean in the distance. The camp, the oldest in the province, provides a range of accommodation facilities from a luxury lodge to superbly appointed self-catering chalets. The main reception area includes an excellent a la carte restaurant, an attractive pub, a convenient store, and a lounge decorated with photographs and memorabilia of the history of Hluhluwe.

Birds to be expected

Hluhluwe
Hluhluwe derives its name from a river named after the thorny monkey rope called umHluhluwe. The area is probably best known for the Hluhulwe-Umfolozi Park which is internationally acclaimed for its conservation efforts and is home to the big five: lions, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo. Hluhluwe Game Reserve is also renowned for its abundance of raptors. In addition to this several top-rated birding spots are also along the Hluhluwe route, amongst them, Bonamanzi which is arguably one of South Africa's top birding spots with a huge variety of birding habitats and over 350 species recorded on the property. The reserves on the western shores of Lake St Lucia, part of a world heritage site, offer abundant water and forest birding with great walking trails and breathtaking scenery. The Hluhluwe area must be one of KwaZulu-Natal's busiest tourism areas and has an abundance of top quality accommodation facilities, from peaceful campsites to five-star game lodges. The roads are all in good condition and all birding spots can be accessed with a sedan car. Hluhluwe town has all the supplies that one may need when travelling including banking facilities. The variety of bushveld and woodland birding found in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park, combined with the natural wonders of the Lake St Lucia system and its central position to the rest of the Zululand Birding Route make this an excellent area for the keen birder to spend time.

iSimangaliso - St Lucia Estuary
With over 420 Bird Species recorded in the area, one can be assured of some great birding in this conservation area. Birding on foot with waterbuck and reedbuck grazing in the background and hippos snorting from the pans makes for an extra special birding experience. The greater St Lucia Wetlands Reserve is a recently proclaimed World Heritage Site and one of South Africa's oldest reserves established back in 1895. The lake itself covers an area of about 38 000ha and is one of South Africa's most important waterbird breeding areas.

Pongola
The Pongola Route contains one of the oldest game reserves in Africa, the Pongola Game Reserve. Superb Sweet Lowveld Bushveld, the only example of this in the province, supports a vast array of species, including some that are rare in other parts of Zululand. These Pongola specials include Burchell's Starling, Bennett's Woodpecker, Levaillant's Cuckoo, Purple Roller, Magpie Shrike and Red-headed Weaver. The area also contains eastern coastal plain endemics such as Rudd's Apalis, Pink-throated Twinspot, Lemon-breasted Canary and Neergaard's Sunbird. Raptors are plentiful, with 10 species of eagle and 4 species of Vulture being recorded. Special raptors include Osprey, African Fish-Eagle, Peregrine Falcon and Lappet-faced Vulture. Jozini Dam offers good birding. Interesting waterbirds recorded in the area include Pink-backed Pelican, Comb Duck, Lesser Moorhen, Painted Snipe, Caspian Tern, Black Coucal and Osprey. The cliffs on the Lebombo Mountains support cliff-nesting species such as Black Stork, Peregrine Falcon and Rock Kestrel. This mountain range separates the coastal plain from the inland areas, and is an important flyway for migrating raptors.