Southern Africa Geocaching Spectacular – 2 nights Johannesburg | 2 nights Chobe | 2 nights Victoria Falls | 4 nights Cape Town | 3 nights Timbavati | 2 nights White River | 2 nights Maputo | 1 night Swaziland | 2 nights Tembe Elephant Park | 1 night St Lucia | 2 nights Umhlanga
We had a private 24 day tour planned for us by Melanie of Pembury Tours. She did a fabulous job. We visited South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Swaziland and Melanie arranged everything in all those countries. We even changed plans a couple of times during the trip and Melanie was able to make the last minute changes for us.
Unfortunately, I developed a toothache 4 days before our trip was to be over and Melanie arranged for us to go to Durban two days early and even made a dentist appointment for me. Above and beyond! Thank you Melanie!
Upon arrival in Johannesburg you are met and transferred to your hotel for your overnight stay. You spend the day at leisure relaxing after your international flight in anticipation of the finding the first caches on your tour.
This morning you are met by your guide and taken on a tour enriched with South African History and culture. Many South Africans gave much; some gave all, to achieve a truly democratic South Africa. This tour shares some of the journey, pain and struggle of those heroes. Witness the places and then visit the diverse museums where these momentous, tumultuous years have been so well documented. You can discuss with your guide where the caches may be located and he will make sure to assist you in your quest to find them.
The day begins in Soweto at the Hector Pieterson Museum, where we start to unravel the cause of the devastating Soweto Riots, before travelling past Mandela House, where you have the option of visiting this small museum (own account). The next significant stop is the fascinating Regina Mundi Church, site of so many of the underground meetings of the then banned political parties. Standing there, you can feel the tension, picture the intensity, the strain on the faces of those unthinkably brave souls, committed at any cost to changing the way of life of a nation. Lunch is served in a local Soweto restaurant, before visiting the legendary Apartheid Museum.
You are returned to your hotel in the afternoon.
This morning after breakfast, you are collected from your hotel and transferred to Johannesburg airport for your regional flight to Kasane. Once in Kasane, a driver will be at the airport to meet and transfer you by road to your lodge near the Chobe National Park. It’s your first experience of the African bush so relax and enjoy your 2 night stay at the lodge.
Chobe National Park on Botswana’s north-west border is a pristine wilderness of open plains, baobab trees, ancient woodland, swamps and flood plains and is home to the greatest concentration of game in the entire southern African subcontinent. One of Africa’s most beautiful rivers, the Chobe River forms the Park’s northern boundary. The Chobe riverfront area is most famous for its large herds of elephants and buffalo, which come down to the river in huge herds to drink during the dry winter months. During this season, one may see hundreds of elephants at one time. Other species include waterbuck, lechwe, puku (this is the only part of Botswana where they can be seen), giraffe, kudu, roan and sable, impala, warthog, bushbuck, monkeys and baboons, along with the accompanying predators lion, leopard, hyena and jackal. Over 460 bird species have been recorded in the park, making it one of Africa’s premier venues for bird Safaris. A highlight of Chobe is taking a river cruise, which allows you to get up close with hippo, crocodile and a mind-boggling array of water birds. You also get really close to animals that come down to the river.
This morning after breakfast, we’ve arranged for a driver to transfer you to your hotel in Victoria Falls for a 2 night stay. On the drive you can check for caches on the way although it may be a little remote.
Transfer time: Kasane to your Victoria Falls hotel – approx. 1½ hours plus border crossing
Besides being one of the seven natural wonders of the world and a World Heritage Site, Victoria Falls is the unchallenged adventure capital of Africa with more than 50 activities available. Here you are bound to find a cache or two -it’s a famous landmark with so many visitors.
At 1708 metres wide, Victoria Falls is the most expansive curtain of water in the world and drops more than 100 metres into the sheer Zambezi Gorge. Straddling the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, these Falls and the Zambezi River are the central points in an area of spectacular scenic beauty: from the Falls themselves to the broad, picturesque course of the Zambezi River upstream, the rainforest adjacent and the stark jagged gorge downstream, the power and timelessness of nature’s forces are evident throughout.
The Falls’ local name, Mosi-Oa-Tunya – “the Smoke that Thunders” – more accurately defines the essence of the place: the rising, shining spray that can be seen 30km away. This vapour has the effect of adding moisture in the form of humidity to the air in the “splash zone”, so that a unique, small rainforest ecosystem clings to the edge of the Falls, providing a toehold for no less than 70 shrub and 150 herbaceous species, as well as trees such as pod and Natal mahogany, ebony, Cape and strangler fig and Transvaal red milkwood. There are two National Parks in the vicinity: the Zambezi National Park in Zimbabwe and the Mosi-oa-Tunya Zoological Park in Zambia, which means that herds of big game such as elephant and buffalo, as well as smaller species and even predators such as lion persist in the area.
There is quite a bit of traveling today so make the most of your leisurely morning until you are collected from your guest house and transferred to Victoria Falls airport for your flight to Cape Town.
On arrival in Cape Town, our representative with meet you with a smile and take you to your Cape Town hotel. After check in, your time is your own to relax, take a walk along the promenade or plan your cache locations for the following day.
Explore the Mother City and the Fairest Cape – from the oldest buildings in South Africa to trendy waterfront shopping; from majestic Table Mountain to sun drenched beaches; and from dramatic seascapes to verdant vineyards. Cape Town regularly tops many lists of world must-visit destinations and Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain has recently been voted one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Cosmopolitan and fashionable, the relaxed atmosphere and pavement café culture give Cape Town a Southern European feel – but with a distinctive African twist.
Over the next few days you have the opportunity to take the cable car up Table Mountain, the ferry to Robben Island and tour the Cape Peninsular as part of your visit to the wonderful Cape.
It’s time for a change of pace as today you travel to the Kruger for the complete safari experience. You have an early start as you are taken to Cape Town airport for your flight to Hoedspruit.
In Hoedspruit, your driver will meet and take you by road to the Timbavati Private Reserve, part of the Greater Kruger. Take a moment to freshen up and enjoy a cup of tea and some delicious treats before you set off on the afternoon game drive.
The Timbavati forms part of the 2 million hectare Greater Kruger National Park. It was the first private game reserve to be incorporated into the Kruger National Park and is part of one of Africa’s most innovative conservation partnership agreements. The Timbavati is 14 700 hectares (36 300 acres) and shares an unfenced boundary with Kruger National Park. Track the Big Five, as well as a rich variety of other game such as antelope, zebra, warthog, giraffe and hippo, in the company of an armed ranger and local Shangaan tracker. Bird viewing is spectacular, with over 360 recorded species including various eagles, vultures, kingfishers, woodpeckers, buzzards, herons, egrets, owls, weavers.
Enjoy the last of your safari game drives in the Kruger this morning as you are collected from your lodge. You have great day in store as your guide takes you on a tour of the Panorama Route. You get to see the key highlights on this beautiful route so chat to your guide if you have a specific location for a geocache. You check in at your guest house in the late afternoon.
White River a small farming town, renowned for its tropical fruit, vegetables, flowers and timber, is a short drive from your guest house.
We’ve arranged a leisurely private tour to the nearby Chimp Eden in the morning and in the afternoon you take a stroll through the beautiful and lush Lowveld Botanical Gardens just outside of Nelspruit. This is just one of the nine National Botanical Gardens of South Africa.
You are traveling a fair distance across the border to Mozambique today, so make sure to enjoy a hearty breakfast before you set off. Your guide will assist you to get your visa at the border as you make your way to Maputo, the Capital of Mozambique for a few nights.
The afternoon is at leisure to relax in the capital city and settle in to your hotel after your long drive.
Maputo (formerly named as Lourenço Marques) is the capital of Mozambique, was founded as a port town by the Portuguese explorers in the late 18th Century and sits on the shore of the Indian Ocean. Over the years it has seen the influence of many travellers and traders and this is reflected in the vibrant, colourful African city. many historical and cultural sights. We’re combining a guided walk through the streets of Maputo with a fantastic casual seafood lunch to fully experience the vibrance of this city.
The city has wide avenues lined with flowering trees, the red acacia and lilac of the jacaranda and a mix of makeshift stalls, old colonial buildings and modern office blocks. Visitors are encouraged to visit the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Revolution and the Art Museum as well as sample the flavours of the city’s local food.
Your guide will collect you from the reception of your hotel in Maputo. From here you travel inland through Mozambique, making sure to stop at all the scenic locations towards the “Goba” border crossing into the landlocked kingdom of Swaziland.
You continue through Swaziland till you reach your destination near Mbabane. There is no rush and your guide will stop at all the scenic, cultural and historic sites along the way. Just north of Mbabane you find Sibebe Rock, a batholith and one of southern Africa’s most impressive geological features.
After breakfast you are taken north first towards Swaziland’s top international artwork attraction – Ngwenya Glass. This showroom and factory combination allows visitors to watch as local craftsman create works of art from molten glass. The fact that all glass used here is recycled just makes the product that much better. From here you then head towards Lobamba, the political heart of traditional Swaziland which is the next backdrop to a description of the historical roots of the Swazi Nation.
Today the Kingdom exists as one of very few remaining ruling monarchies in the world. Ludzidzini, home to the Queen Mother and site of the annual Incwala, Umhlanga and Lutsango ceremonies is another site that can be viewed from a distance. Time permitting, you move onto Malkerns Valley area with its extensive agricultural lands including pineapple and sugarcane. Dotted around in this scenic area are many craft attractions, such as House-on-Fire, Gone Rural, Baobab Batik and many other local handcrafts. Swazi Candles is the highlight of this region and one of the Kingdom’s most enduring exports. See talented local craftsmen creating candles of every conceivable design right before your eyes. You then make your way towards the border into South Africa “Golela” near the town of “Ingwayvuma” and continue on to Tembe Elephant Park.
You spend the day at Tembe Elephant Park, enjoying the game drives where you again have a chance to to catch a glimpse of the “BIG 5” as well a large variety of other animals. In the evening there is the opportunity to be entertained by the Tembe dancers who are a local group who visit the lodge by request and re-enact folklore stories in song and dance. You will be entranced by the African rhythms and the eloquent dancers dressed in Thonga/Zulu regalia – skins and furs; wielding shields and spears.
After breakfast you set off on the next leg of your trip, with the first stop in a town called Hluhluwe. From here, you call in at the Emdoneni Cheetah Project – it’s not just limited to Cheetahs – and you will also see caracal (lynx), Serval, and African Wildcats. Most of these cats merely need some rehabilitation before being released back into the wild.
You continue a short distance to reach St. Lucia where you check in to your accommodation for your overnight stay.
You have a chance to do some curio shopping before boarding a light craft and taking part in a two hour boat cruise up and down the beautiful St Lucia estuary, where you have the opportunity to view crocodiles and hippos, as well as many different types of birdlife, so bring your camera.
This morning you enjoy a leisurely breakfast before you are transferred by road to the seaside resort of Umlanga, situated a 20 minute drive from Durban, where you check into your seaside hotel for your 2 night stay.
You have a day at leisure and you may like to visit the nearby Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve (where local guided walks depart up to 3 times per day, from the Breakers Resort) or perhaps do a bit of last minute shopping for souvenirs.
It’s the last day of your tour to South Africa, and your guide will take you for a short morning tour of Durban’s highlights. You need to reach Durban harbour by noon to board the cruise ship and settle into your cabin before you set sail on your return journey.