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Lesotho, eSwatini & Kruger Tour

Well organized with good guides. Small groups and well paced and decent time for departure from one city to another.

Jagdev, Aug 2017

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Lesotho, eSwatini & Kruger OVERVIEW

TOUR SUMMARY

14 days

Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg

From £1239

£1175 (p/p)

Country(ies): South Africa

Tour type: Overland

Group size: Min: 4 | Max: 20

Accommodation: 2 to 4-star hotels, lodges or camping

Meals:

Transport: Overland expedition vehicle & 4x4 safari jeeps

Highlights: Addo National Park, Great Karoo, Lesotho & Drakensberg mountains, Hluhulwe-Imfolozi game reserve, St. Lucia boat trip, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Kruger National Park, Panorama Route, Three Rondavels and God’s Window

This two week overland takes you through South Africa from the southern coast at Port Elizabeth, through the Great Karoo region and on to the stunning mountain scenery, coastline and wildlife rich national parks in the north east. We also take in the beautiful mountain kingdom of Lesotho and the small but fascinating country of eSwatini, formerly Swaziland.

The first highlight and our first wildlife safari experience is in Addo National Park, famous for its elephant population and other wildlife. A long drive through the arid plains of central South Africa and the Great Karoo then takes us to Lesotho where we have a couple of days to hike in the mountains and discover the Basotho people and their ponies. Back in South Africa we cross the spectacular Drakensberg mountains where we take another hike, and descend to the Kwa-Zulu-Natal coastline and St. Lucia where we enjoy a boat cruise on the estaury, looking out for crocodiles and rhino. A wildlife safari follows in Hluhulwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve which is still a stronghold for the heavily persecuted South African rhinocerous population. More of the Big 5 and other wildlife can also be seen here.

Our next stop is in the small country of eSwatini (formely the Kingdom of Swaziland) where we include a nature walk and you can also can take game drives, mountain biking or a visit to the Chief’s village.

Then its back to South Africa and one of the world's most famous game reserves, Kruger National Park. Packed with wildlife our time here provides a final chance to tick off and enjoy watching any big game animals, birds and other wildlife we've not seen already. We'll also take a drive to the nearby Panorama Route, one of South Africa's best natural wonders, stopping to see Bourke's Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels and God's Window before the tour finishes in Johannesburg.

The tour is available at two accommodation levels on each departure, either camping based or accommodated, staying in hotels, lodges and permanent camps.

ITINERARY

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Day 1 Port Elizabeth to Addo Elephant National Park

On the first day of the tour, you start in Port Elizabeth, one of South Africa’s major cities. From here, you are taken to Addo Elephant National Park, where you enjoy an afternoon safari, seeking out the park’s many wildlife species. This includes the majestic elephants for which the park is best known. You spend the night in a safari lodge.

Included Highlight: Afternoon game drive in Addo NP
Facilities - Camping: Campsite with shared ablutions
Facilities - Accommodated: Two per permanent tent with En-suite Bathroom

OVERNIGHT:

Kudu Ridge Lodge

MEALS:

Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 2 Graaff-Reinet

On day two, you transfer from Addo to Graaff-Reinet. This town is known for its historical significance in South Africa, and has more national monuments than any other town in the country. In the evening, you are taken on a tour to the Valley of Desolation. Here you can enjoy the sight of the sun setting over the magnificent cliffs and valleys that make up the landscape. If you are on tour during winter, you will visit this site the next morning instead, to enjoy the sunrise.

Route: Addo to Graaff Reinet
Included Highlight: Valley of Desolation Sundowner Tour
Facilities - Camping: Campsite with shared ablutions
Facilities - Accommodated: Two per room with en-suite bathrooms

OVERNIGHT:

Profcon Resort

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 3 Lesotho

We leave Graaff-Reinet and depart for Lesotho, which is a small independent state within South Africa, known for its soaring mountain ranges. We enter the little kingdom and ascend to our accommodation, which is located high amongst the peaks.

Route: Graaff Reinet to Lesotho
Facilities - Camping: Campsite with shared ablutions
Facilities - Accommodated: Two per room with en-suite bathrooms

OVERNIGHT:

Malealea Lodge

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 4 Lesotho

Today is spent discovering the wonders of Lesotho. We first embark on a morning hike, after which we visit a traditional Basotho village. The Basotho are the local people of this region, and you have a chance to observe their way of life. You will also have the chance to experience for yourself a facet of Basotho lifestyle– their famous ponies. This is an optional activity for those who wish to experience a ride on a Basotho pony in the mountains of Lesotho.

Included Highlight: Morning Hike, Lesotho Village tour
Optional Activity: Pony Trekking
Facilities - Camping: Campsite with shared ablutions
Facilities - Accommodated: Two per room with en-suite bathrooms

OVERNIGHT:

Malealea Lodge

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 5 Drakensberg

Today is spent travelling from Lesotho to the Drakensberg. After crossing back into South Africa, we make our away across the beautiful landscape of the Free State towards the Drakensberg. This mountain range is one of the most spectacular in the world, and is classified as a World Heritage Site.

Route: Lesotho to Drakensberg
Included Highlight: Oliviers Hoek Pass
Facilities - Camping: Campsite with shared ablutions
Facilities - Accommodated: Two per room with en-suite bathrooms

OVERNIGHT:

Monks Cowl or The Nest

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 6 Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park

Today is spent hiking and exploring the mountains of the Drakensberg. With so much to see and do here, we offer several different trail options to guests, depending on the pace and type of activity that you may prefer. One of the highlights in the region is seeing the San rock art, the famous ancient paintings that have been preserved in this region.

Included Highlight: Hike with your guide in Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park
Facilities - Camping: Campsite with shared ablutions
Facilities - Accommodated: Two per room with en-suite bathrooms

OVERNIGHT:

Monks Cowl or The Nest

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 7 KwaZulu Natal

Today is a busy day, spent experiencing the highlights of KwaZulu Natal. Our first stop is at the famous spot where Nelson Mandela was captured and arrested in 1962. After spending time at this historic site, we move on to Howick Falls. Here the uMgeni River rushes 95m into the pool below, where local legend states that a giant snake creature resides. After enjoying the views of the Falls, we make our way to the coastal city of Durban, SA’s third-largest city. We take a relaxing walk along the coast, before arriving at St. Lucia.

Route: Drakensberg to St Lucia
Included Highlight: Visit to the Mandela Capture Site, Howick Falls
Facilities - Camping: Campsite with shared ablutions
Facilities - Accommodated: Two per room with en-suite bathrooms

OVERNIGHT:

Shonalanga

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 8 Hluhluwe-Umfolozi /iSimangaliso

The morning is spent on safari in the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve. Here we are on the lookout for a variety of game species, including the endangered rhinoceros, as well as the other members of the Big 5. In the afternoon, we enjoy a boating safari on the St. Lucia estuary.

Route: Durban to St Lucia
Included Highlight: Game Drive in Hluhluwe/Imfolozi National Park, St. Lucia Boat Cruise
Facilities - Camping: Campsite with shared ablutions
Facilities - Accommodated: Two per room with en-suite bathrooms

OVERNIGHT:

Shonalanga

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 9 eSwatini

Today we head to the second independent state that is found within South Africa– the Kingdom of eSwatini. There are plenty of activities to choose from today, including a cultural village tour, hiking, mountain biking, and game drives.

Route: St Lucia to eSwatini
Facilities - Camping: Campsite with shared ablutions
Facilities - Accommodated: Two per Beehive hut with En-suite Bathroom

OVERNIGHT:

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 10 Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

Today we explore the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. This reserve, although not large, offers a wonderful opportunity to experience an authentic walking safari, as there is not a high amount of dangerous animals found here. The walk will be led by a guide who will provide insight into the history and geography of the reserve. Later on, there are a few optional activities on offer, including hiking, mountain biking, and a tour through the Esijeni community– which involves getting a chance to actively partake in traditional daily activities.

Included Highlight: Nature Walk with Nomad guide
Optional Activity: Game Drives, Swazi Cultural Experience, Mountain Biking and Hiking, Esijeni Cultural Tour
Facilities - Camping: Campsite with shared ablutions
Facilities - Accommodated: Two per Beehive hut with En-suite Bathroom

OVERNIGHT:

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 11 Kruger National Park

We say goodbye to Swaziland and cross the border back into South Africa. Our destination today is the world-famous Kruger National Park, one of the planet’s greatest wildlife sanctuaries. Renowned for its massive size, staggering numbers of species, and the iconic Big Five wildlife, the Kruger will not disappoint. We enjoy a classic game drive in the park today.

Route: Swaziland to Kruger National Park area Included Highlight: Game drive in Nomad truck, Kruger National Park
Facilities - Camping: Campsite with shared ablutions
Facilities - Accommodated: Two per Permanent tent with En-suite Bathroom

OVERNIGHT:

Nkambeni Reserve

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 12 Panorama Route

Today we travel the famed Panorama Route. This is a stunningly beautiful path along the escarpment, and features several famous landmarks. These include God’s Window, the Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Blyde River Canyon, and the Three Rondavels, all of which we visit on our excursion.

Included Highlight: Panorama Route - Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window
Facilities - Camping: Campsite with shared ablutions
Facilities - Accommodated: Two per Permanent tent with En-suite Bathroo

OVERNIGHT:

Nkambeni Reserve

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 13 Kruger Park Safari

The entirety of today is spent on safari inside the Kruger National Park. We explore the massive reserve using a safari vehicle with open sides; this offers a wonderful vantage point from which to spot animals. A voluntary sunset game drive is also available at dusk.

Route: Kruger National Park Included Highlight: Kruger National Park 4x4 game drive
Optional Activity: Sunset Drive (there is a concession fee applicable)
Facilities - Camping: Campsite with shared ablutions
Facilities - Accommodated: Two per Permanent tent with En-suite Bathroom

OVERNIGHT:

Nkambeni Reserve

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

EXTRAS:

None


Day 14 Johannesburg – End of tour

A non-compulsory walking safari is available this morning, the perfect way to say goodbye to the Kruger. We then set off on our final leg of the trip, heading for Belvedere Estate in Johannesburg. All guests on the tour are invited to partake in an optional traditional dinner at night.

Route: Great Kruger NP area to Johannesburg
Optional Activity: Morning Bush Walk (Subject to Availability) / Traditional meal at Belvedere Estate

OVERNIGHT:

Own Arrangements / Post tour accommodation can be booked

MEALS:

Breakfast, Lunch

EXTRAS:

None


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Included:
  • 13 nights accommodation camping or lodges/hotels & camps
  • All transport using our 25-seat expedition vehicle
  • All 'included highlights' as mentioned in the itinerary
  • 3 truck crew (driver/guide plus assistant/cook)
  • Local guides for sightseeing tours and activities as per the itinerary
  • Meals: 13 breakfasts, 14 lunches and 13 dinners

Excluded:
  • International flights (available on request)
  • Visa fees if required
  • Optional activities (see itinerary)
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks, tips and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tips for guides and drivers
  • Entrance fees and activities not mentioned in itinerary
  • Any other items not mentioned above

Gallery


Dates and Prices

Please plan to add at least 1 extra day before & after your tour. Extensions are available to start the tour in Cape Town if you wish. Please ask for details. Private charters are also available on any date.

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End Date
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8th of Jan 2020

21st of Jan 2020

£1699

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8th of Jan 2020

21st of Jan 2020

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22nd of Jan 2020

4th of Feb 2020

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22nd of Jan 2020

4th of Feb 2020

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5th of Feb 2020

18th of Feb 2020

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5th of Feb 2020

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19th of Feb 2020

3rd of Mar 2020

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19th of Feb 2020

3rd of Mar 2020

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18th of Mar 2020

31st of Mar 2020

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18th of Mar 2020

31st of Mar 2020

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1st of Apr 2020

14th of Apr 2020

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1st of Apr 2020

14th of Apr 2020

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15th of Apr 2020

28th of Apr 2020

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15th of Apr 2020

28th of Apr 2020

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29th of Apr 2020

12th of May 2020

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29th of Apr 2020

12th of May 2020

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27th of May 2020

9th of Jun 2020

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27th of May 2020

9th of Jun 2020

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10th of Jun 2020

23rd of Jun 2020

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10th of Jun 2020

23rd of Jun 2020

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24th of Jun 2020

7th of Jul 2020

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24th of Jun 2020

7th of Jul 2020

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8th of Jul 2020

21st of Jul 2020

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8th of Jul 2020

21st of Jul 2020

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5th of Aug 2020

18th of Aug 2020

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5th of Aug 2020

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19th of Aug 2020

1st of Sep 2020

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19th of Aug 2020

1st of Sep 2020

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2nd of Sep 2020

15th of Sep 2020

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16th of Sep 2020

29th of Sep 2020

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14th of Oct 2020

27th of Oct 2020

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10th of Nov 2020

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11th of Nov 2020

24th of Nov 2020

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25th of Nov 2020

8th of Dec 2020

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25th of Nov 2020

8th of Dec 2020

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23rd of Dec 2020

5th of Jan 2021

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23rd of Dec 2020

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Accommodation

The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.

Belvedere Estate

Belvedere Estate

Johannesburg


Belvedere Estate is a 4-star establishment with 15 en-suite, fully equipped, self-catering rooms, a sparkling swimming pool, braai boma, two lounges, dining area, snooker room, bar and friendly, welcoming staff.

Local rating

Our rating

 Belvedere Estate Belvedere Estate

Belvedere Estate is a 4-star establishment with 15 en-suite, fully equipped, self-catering rooms, a sparkling swimming pool, braai boma, two lounges, dining area, snooker room, bar and friendly, welcoming staff. With a range of snacks, lunch and dining options, we welcome you look forward to sharing your stories and experiences with you.

Belvedere Estate is set on 2.5 hectares of lush gardens neighboured by a bird sanctuary, keeping you in touch with nature while being only a stone's throw from the heart of the City of Gold. Lovingly and tastefully decorated, every attention to detail has been met with luxury furnishings, high quality finishes and a hint of Europe meets Africa in the rich colours and textures.

Nkambeni Safari Camp

Nkambeni Safari Camp

Kruger National Park


At Nkambeni Safari Camp we are committed to the preservation of pristine wilderness areas and providing you with the true experience of the wonderful scenery of the Lowveld of Mpumalanga.

Local rating

Our rating

 Nkambeni Safari Camp Nkambeni Safari Camp

At Nkambeni Safari Camp we are committed to the preservation of pristine wilderness areas and providing you with the true experience of the wonderful scenery of the Lowveld of Mpumalanga.

Nkambeni Tented Camp offers a wide range of outstanding facilities to make your stay in the Kruger Park an enjoyable and true nature experience.  There are tons of activities in and around the Kruger National Park for you to experience the wonderful scenery the Lowveld has to offer.

The accommodation at Nkambeni Safari Camp consists of 146 beautifully appointed luxury timber and canvas tented suites.

  • Two extra length beds
  • Two fold out bunk beds for the kids
  • Bathroom with an indoor and outdoor shower
  • Air conditioner
  • Self-help coffee station in each room

No concrete and no foundations means no damage! In addition, the construction is low maintenance and this means that annual levies will remain well below industry norms. Combine these principles with luxury and comfort and enjoy the accommodation at Nkambeni Tented Lodge.

Construction at Nkambeni Tented Lodge conforms to the highest standards of low impact eco-friendly criteria.

Facilities include:

  • A large dining area overlooking the Kruger National Park that offers A la carte as well as buffet meals.
  • A fully lisenced bar area
  • A lounge area where you can enjoy a sundowner with your friends and family.
  • A large swimming pool and leisure area overlooking a dam where Hippo and other wildlife often visit.
  • A Lapa for evening braais ideal for larger groups and / or functions. Typical African entertainment can be arranged on request. 
  • An African curio shop.
  • Overlander facilities and ablutions for overlander stay overs.
  • Then of course, our excellent tented accommodation.

Options

Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination you‘re visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.

All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.

Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.

Single room supplement Accommodated (SAOVBF)

Single room supplement Accommodated (SAOVBF)

Min numbers: 1 person


This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. Room shares are not available on this tour, so if you are single traveller then you will need to add this option to your booking.

Price from
£199
per person

This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. Room shares are not available on this tour, so if you are single traveller then you will need to add this option to your booking.

Note: The price shown is a low season price. Slightly higher prices may apply during high and peak seasons - the exact price for your dates will be shown on the online booking form and is always available on request.

Single room supplement Camping (SAOVBF)

Single room supplement Camping (SAOVBF)

Min numbers: 1 person


This option provides single travellers with a single room in the hotels/guesthouses used during the tour as well as a private single tent. Single travellers happy to share a same-sex twin room and tent do not need to pay the supplement.

Price from
£69
per person

This option provides single travellers with a single room in the hotels/guesthouses used during the tour as well as a private single tent. Single travellers happy to share a same-sex twin room and tent do not need to pay the supplement.

Extra day in Johannesburg - pre-tour

Extra day in Johannesburg - pre-tour

Min numbers: 1 person


This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Price from
£45
per person

This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Airport transfers are not included, but are available as an additional option. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

 Port Elizabeth Transfer - Arrival

Port Elizabeth Transfer - Arrival

Min numbers: 1 person


This option adds an arrival airport transfer in Port Elizabeth to your Overland tour with us. You will need to also book your pre-tour hotel accommodation with us in order to book this transfer.

Price from
£20
per person

This option adds an arrival airport transfer in Port Elizabeth to your Overland tour with us. You will need to also book your pre-tour hotel accommodation with us in order to book this transfer.

Note: We subcontract our airport transfers, so your transfer representative will not have any information about your tour with us, or be able to assist you beyond the transfer itself.

Arrival airport transfer in Johannesburg

Arrival airport transfer in Johannesburg

Min numbers: 2 Adults


This option adds an arrival airport transfer in Johannesburg to your Overland tour with us (arriving at Johannesburg airport).

Price from
£25
per person

This option adds an arrival airport transfer in Johannesburg to your Overland tour with us. You will need to also book at least one night of pre-tour hotel accommodation with us in order to book this transfer.
Note: We subcontract our airport transfers, so your transfer representative will not have any information about your tour with us, or be able to assist you beyond the transfer itself.
 Extra day in Port Elizabeth - pre-tour

Extra day in Port Elizabeth - pre-tour

Min numbers: 1 person


This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Price from
£55
per person

This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Airport transfers are not included, but are available as an additional option. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Extra day in Johannesburg - post-tour

Extra day in Johannesburg - post-tour

Min numbers: 1 person


This option adds an extra day to the end of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Price from
£45
per person

This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Airport transfers are not included, but are available as an additional option. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

 Departure airport transfer in Johannesburg

Departure airport transfer in Johannesburg

Min numbers: 2 Adults


This option adds a departure airport transfer in Johannesburg to your Overland tour with us (going to Johannesburg airport).

Price from
£25
per person

This option adds a departure airport transfer in Johannesburg to your Overland tour with us. You will need to also book at least one night of post-tour hotel accommodation with us in order to book this transfer.
Note: We subcontract our airport transfers, so your transfer representative will not have any information about your tour with us, or be able to assist you beyond the transfer itself.

Tour Notes

The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.

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  1. Accommodation

We provide two options for the accommodation on this Overland tour, both available on the trip. Each option stays in the same place each night, just using a different level of accommodation. On some nights both options will use the same rooms or tents - please see the itinerary for details.

Camping: As the name suggests, the majority of your time will be spent camping. We include easily erected tents and camping mattresses; all you need to bring is a sleeping bag & towel (and pillow if you need one). Some nights spent in towns and cities may be spent in hotel or lodge rooms instead of camping - please see the itinerary for details.  Prices are based on 2 sharing so if you are travelling as a single passenger you should expect to share a tent with another traveller of the same sex unless you pay the single room supplement. This will provide you with a single room during any hotel stays and a tent just for yourself. During hotel stays, all couples will be given a private double room. Friends booking together will also share a room. Triple rooms are not generally available.

Accommodated: This level is designed to bridge the gap between a basic camping tour and an expensive lodge holiday. So, we use good quality hotels, lodges and camps rated at the local 2 to 4-star level, with the majority of rooms en-suite. In some places more basic properties with separate bathrooms, or permanent safari tents may be used. We aim always to use accommodation that is in keeping with the local area so there is a good variety. Local star ratings may vary slightly from international standards. Accommodation is based on twin or double rooms, chalets, bungalows or safari tents. All couples will be given a private double room. Friends booking together will also share a room. Single travellers will need to pay the additional single room supplement.

Note - Accommodation providers are subject to change without notice. The properties listed are our preferred options, but sometimes due to availability or other issues with the property, we may substitute another property of similar standards.


  2. Destination Guides

Kwa Madwala Reserve
Kwa Madwala, meaning ‘place of rock’, is an independent wildlife conservancy covering 4,000 hectares of the Lowveld just south of the mighty Kruger National Park. It is relatively new, started 10 years ago, and has a well-managed eco-system supporting lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and a wide variety of other general game as well as a diverse birdlife. The focus is not only on the big game here, but also the small and the rare. Due to the small size of the reserve, guests can expect to get close to most species on a game drive. Kwa Madwala has also initiated a Leopard Conservation Project to provide a safe haven for leopards in the area, and to gradually increase their numbers.

Kruger National Park
Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this national park of nearly 2 million hectares is unrivalled in the diversity of its wildlife and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies. Approximately 145 mammal species including the ‘Big Five’, a list of over 500 bird species, some of which are not to be found elsewhere in South Africa, and 336 tree species occur in the park.
When the first tourist cars visited the park in 1927, they made their own camps in thorn-bush enclosures and had to carry weapons to protect themselves from predators. During the Second World War the park was closed to the public, and reopened in 1946 under new management. Today it is one of the most famous safari destinations in the world with all the facilities that one would expect from a world class holiday destination, but it has retained the untamed, unspoilt environment where you can experience Africa just as you imagined it.

Panorama Route
The Panorama route in Mpumalanga follows the edge of Blyde River Canyon, and includes some breathtaking views of the Three Rondavels, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and the Pinnacle. Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world, and got its name in 1840 (‘blyde’ meaning ‘joyful’) from the Voortrekkers who passed through on their way to Lorenzo Marques (now Mozambique).
It is one of the most spectacular canyons in Africa and its cliffs rise between 600 m-800 m from the riverbed. Possibly the best view in the whole of the Blyde River Canyon is of the "Three Rondavels - three huge rock spirals rising out of the far wall of the canyon. Their tops appear to have a hut-like rounded roof. They are named after the Swazi Chief Maripi’s wives - from the lowest to the highest, they are Magabolle, Mogoladikwe and Maserote.
Where the Blyde River and the Treur River meet, water erosion has formed one of the most remarkable geological phenomena in the country, known as ‘Bourke’s Luck Potholes’. Over thousands of years, surreal cylindrical rock sculptures created by whirling water have formed a series of dark pools which contrast artfully with the streaked white and yellow lichen covered rocks.
Following the road and the Treur River south, there are further viewpoints; Wonder View, God’s Window and the Pinnacle.

Johannesburg
Johannesburg is the largest and most populated city in South Africa, and the second largest city in Africa, after Cairo. Gold was discovered in the mineral rich Witwatersrand in 1886 by an Australian prospector, George Harrison. This discovery started a major gold rush as fortune hunters came to the area from all over the world. A huge labour force of contract workers sprang up to work in the mines and within three years Johannesburg became the largest settlement in South Africa.
It is now the economic and financial core of the country, and although mining is no longer practiced within the city bounds, the headquarters of most of the mining companies can be found here.
Johannesburg is also known as the world’s largest human-made forest, with over 10 million trees planted throughout the city.


  3. Transport

This tour is run in conjunction with our local partners in South Africa. You will travel in one of their specially designed overland trucks throughout this tour, giving you a great vantage point from which to enjoy the scenery and incredible wildlife. Our professional and knowledgeable local guides will help to make your experience unforgettable and fun. The maximum number of people on this tour is 20 (the trucks have 25 seats)

The vehicles we use are amongst some of the finest on the road. However, do not forget the nature of an adventure tour. This is not a bus trip. Nor do we provide up-market tours. These are still tours aimed at the adventurous traveller. Though the vehicles are comfortable with large windows and great visibility, there are no onboard toilets or air-conditioning.

Each expedition vehicle is fitted with the following:

  • Freezers to keep food fresh in the African heat.
  • Individual seats with seat belts and ample leg-room
  • Overhead luggage racks.
  • Lockers for your backpacks (~35 cm square, 80cm deep)
  • A safe for your valuables.
  • A well-stocked first aid kit is on hand for emergencies.
  • Reading material (fiction & field guides), games and recreational gear to keep you well entertained.
  • I-pod/MP3 points
  • Charging facilities for cameras, batteries etc
  • PA System
  • Kitchen and stove
  • Water tank
  • Cooler boxes
  • Table for food preparation
  • Hand-dishwashing facilities

Partaking in an adventure tour in Africa involves covering hundreds if not thousands of kilometres in a truck, and our tours are as much about this journey as they are about the destinations we visit. Use your time in the truck to talk to your fellow travellers, play card games, have a drink, walk around, take note of the world passing by your window and make the most of this unique opportunity to step out of your comfort zone.

Some roads you travel on will be smooth and easy while others could take up to an hour to cover 1 kilometre. There is just no telling what could happen with road, weather, traffic and other conditions that may exist that will either increase or decrease the amount of time you spend on the road so take your watch off, put your iPad away, turn off your phone and just relax. An average driving day could take anything from 5 to 14 hours in the truck, it all depends on the day.

The tour itinerary shows an indication of the distance to be covered on a particular day. Please don’t assume that your travel time will be equal to that which you can travel in your car on the autobahn… no, it will be much, much slower! We will stop for shopping, bathroom breaks, photo stops, activities and a whole lot more. If you are looking to only experience specific destinations and are not interested in the journey, perhaps overland adventures are not for you.

Some game safaris are carried out using 4x4 jeeps/safari vehicles - see your tour itinerary for details. These may be open-roofed or enclosed. You must not leave the vehicle or lean out through windows without express permission from the guide.


  4. International Flights and Airport Transfers

International Flights: We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people living in different places and with varying travel plans, except on some Escorted Tours and package promotions, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to suggest flights to go with the tour. Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from.

The vast majority of our tours are designed such that you can arrive and depart at any time on the first and last days of the set tour itinerary, with your arrival and departure airport transfers included in the tour price. However, on our Overland tours, you should not arrange your onward international flights or other travel for the day the tour is due to end (unless the final day does not involve any travelling and finishes after breakfast). Similarly, many of our Overland tours depart their first port of call on the first morning, and you will therefore need to plan for any flights to arrive at least one day beforehand.

Airport Transfers: Arrival and departure airport transfers are included on Small Group, Shoestring and Tailor-made tours but available as extra options on all our African Overland tours, as long as you have accommodation booked with us on that day. If you add extra accommodation before and/or after the tour that you do not book with us, then you will also need to arrange your own airport transfers.

Departure Taxes: Various countries may require that you pay an Airport Departure Tax when departing on an international flight. Please note that all departure taxes must be paid in hard cash currency and US Dollars are normally the best currency to use for this. Departure taxes can vary from US$10 - US$60 depending on the departure point. 


  5. Group Size/Tour Leaders/Guides

We are committed to being a small group operator, as we feel this gives everyone in the group the best chance to get to know their fellow travellers and to hear and make the most of their guide. So, the expedition vehicles we use on our South & East Africa overland adventure tours have a maximum of 25 seats and on this tour will carry a maximum of 20 travellers.

In South & East Africa we provide fully trained, local English-speaking tour leaders, drivers and crew for all our tours. This tour will feature 2 crew – a driver, and assistant/cook who will help with washing up, clearing away, cleaning of the truck etc. You may assist with this if you wish, and a limited amount of help is expected and appreciated (eg. Washing your own plates & cutlery) but you are not obliged to do any more than that unless you wish to. During the tour we may also use a variety of local specialist guides for activities and tours included in the itinerary.


  6. Local Options

On all our Overland tours we strive to strike a balance between including plenty of meals, tours and activities and being accessible and affordable.

The main tour price covers all your accommodation, transport, meals and a range of tours and activities.

In addition, there are further Locally Available Options on this tour. These have been chosen to give you more of a taste of what is available in the region and sometimes to offer an adrenaline rush during a relatively sedate tour. All these local options are offered and operated by professional local activity providers and Encounters Travel is not responsible for your booking or time while taking any of these options. Prices for these options may be given on our website, but please bear in mind that are given as a guide only and may very seasonally and can change from time to time. Availability is subject to seasonal daylight hours and our time-keeping that day.

Please check the Options section for more information and prices.

  7. Tipping

In general tipping in restaurants is expected and is around 10% for good service, more if you have received exceptional service, and, feel free not to tip at all if you received poor service. Tipping taxi drivers etc is really at your own discretion and not always expected. If in doubt please ask your guides. It is expected to tip porters and car guards etc. Ask your guides how much is appropriate in local currency. The recommended amount for Serengeti and Masai Mara guides is around USD5-7 per client per day.

Our guides do work hard but they are also paid at (and often above) industry levels for this work. Our Crew can be tipped if you feel that they have done a good job and/or gone above and beyond the call of duty. The best way to arrange tips is to elect one person in the group to collect the money. On Small Group & Shoestring tours we recommend around USD 3-5 per person per day per guide as a fair tip. On longer Overland tours we recommend USD1-2 per day per person, per guide as a fair tip. So if you have 2-crew on a tour, we would recommend that 2 envelopes are used and each crew member’s name written on one. Place what you feel is fair into each envelope and the elected person can give these to the crew at the end of the tour. If you do not feel that the crew deserve a tip, please, do not tip them. You must remember that tipping is only for exceptional service and is not at all compulsory or expected.


  8. Health and Vaccinations

You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions. In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:

South Africa: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Namibia: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from an infected area.
Botswana: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted or travelled through an infected area.
Zimbabwe: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Zambia: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Malawi: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Tanzania: Additional vaccinations: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Kenya: Additional vaccinations: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from an infected area.
Uganda: Additional vaccinations: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid, Yellow Fever. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from an infected area.
Sudan: Additional vaccinations: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid, Yellow Fever. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area. A certificate may also be required for those departing Sudan.
Morocco: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria not normally present. Yellow Fever certificate not required.

The above information can change at short notice. For up to date health information & vaccination requirements we recommend that you contact your medical practitioner or a travel clinic.

Malaria: Vaccinations are not available against Malaria, which is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that can be very serious and sometimes fatal. You should avoid mosquito bites by covering up bare skin with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers and applying insect repellents to exposed skin. When necessary, sleep under a mosquito net. Mosquitoes are most active during and after sunset. You should consult with your GP/medical practitioner/travel clinic about the most appropriate malaria prophylactic medication to take for the regions you are visiting.

Yellow Fever: This disease is spread by infected mosquitoes that bite during the day. A Yellow Fever Certificate of vacinnation may be required as a condition of entry depending on which country you are arriving from, or that you have travelled or transitted through recently (including connecting flights with stopovers of over 12 hours). You can view a World Health Organisation map of areas where the virus is present in monkeys and therefore a potential risk to humans. Please ensure you have this certificate with you and to hand if necessary.

Please inform us of any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma and any prescription medicine you may be taking. We also need to know about any food allergies or physical disabilities that you may have.
If you are travelling on an Overland tour or your trip includes wildlife safaris then please bear in mind that you may be travelling on bumpy roads and/or rough ground for several hours at a time. This can be very uncomfortable or painful if you have a bad back, and make such conditions worse. Please contact us if you have any concerns.


  9. Passports and Visas

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities. Encounters Travel will not be held responsible if travellers are denied entry because they are not in possession of the relevant visas. We therefore recommend you re-check requirements with the relevant embassy/consulate around 4 weeks before travel.

You should also be in possession of a valid onward or return flight ticket, or proof of other means of transport enabling you to leave the country that your tour passes through or finishes in. In addition you should carry proof of sufficient funds to cover you during your time in the country (eg. credit card).

Should your tour be re-entering a country, please ensure that you have a multiple entry visa that allows this. Some countries have a visa on arrival service which can be more convenient and cheaper. However, for peace of mind and to speed up the border crossing process, Encounters Travel advises that you to get your visas prior to your trip if possible.


  10. What to take

LUGGAGE ALLOWANCES: Most international airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 23kg per person of luggage to go in the hold of the plane. Domestic flights often have smaller allowances around 15kg. As airline rules vary we recommend that you take no more than 20kg of luggage if your tour just includes international flights, and no more than 15kg if there are any domestic flights included in your itinerary. Please ask us for details if you are unsure about luggage allowances on your tour. Any excess baggage fees will be your responsibility to cover. Most airlines allow between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage so we suggest that you take no more than 5kg unless you have confirmed that your airline(s) will allow more than this.

OVERLAND AND SAFARI TOURS: Please keep in mind that these are adventure tours in an adventure vehicle (truck or 4x4) and luggage should not include any solid Samsonite style suitcases. On our accommodated overland tours most of our trucks have lockers for the luggage (locker sizes: 37,5 cm high, 32 cm wide, 80 cm deep). Only a soft bag will fit in these lockers. A suitcase is far more difficult to store and make secure in our vehicle and this is part of the reason we ask for a backpack or tote bag to be used as your luggage. The other reason is that you need to walk from the truck to the accommodation and often over sand or uneven terrain.  Your luggage on our Overland tours is limited to ONE backpack and ONE daypack weighing no more than 20kg. As a general rule, if you cannot lift your own luggage - you’ve got too much stuff! Most people make the mistake of bringing too many clothes. A quick reminder - suitcases are not suitable on our overland tours – especially huge Samsonite-style cases! Small wheeled cases are OK for safari tours.

SUGGESTED PACKING LIST: Kit for all weather conditions including: • 2/3 shorts/skirts • 1 jacket/anorak • Tracksuit/pullover • 2 pairs of long pants/jeans • 2 pairs of walking shoes/boots/trainers • 1 pair of sandals • 3 or 4 T-shirts/short sleeve shirts or sundresses • 2/3 Long Sleeve Shirts • Smart casual change of clothes • Swimwear • Underwear & socks • Sun Hat – preferably that covers the back of your neck. • Raincoat • Kikoi/sarong

Your clothing should be easy to wash and dry and should preferably not need ironing. Avoid synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Many people underestimate how cold Africa can be – remember that jersey/jacket! There are also nights that are warm but you must still wear clothes that cover arms and legs from mosquitoes. Take a set of casual but smart clothes for the occasional evening out in a restaurant or club. If you wear glasses (or contacts) it is also advisable to bring a spare pair.

While on wildlife safaris it is important to wear dull coloured clothing - olive, mushroom, brown, khaki, stone are ideal.
You should avoid white (stands out too much), black or blue (attracts tsetse flies), and camouflage (illegal in many countries for civilians)

Additional Items: • Towel & facecloth • Baby wipes/ Wet Wipes • Personal toiletries • Sleeping bag • Torch & enough spare batteries • Camera & spare batteries and memory cards • Water bottle. (A 2-litre Coke bottle works well...) • Penknife • Insect and Mosquito repellent • Suntan lotion, sun block & after sun lotion • Sunglasses • Watch • Biodegradable laundry detergent • Passport (plus a copy of your passport & visas) • Extra passport photos • Vaccination certificate • Money • Travel plug • Neck pillow • Small sewing kit • Plastic bags • Clothes line and pegs • Small scrubbing brush • a small padlock for your luggage locker in the truck • Small basic First Aid kit (painkillers, band aids, after-sun lotion, eye drops, anti-diarrhoea tablets etc.)

DAY PACKS: Please check the itinerary for your specific tour if you will need a little daypack. For example on our Cape Town to Vic Falls overland tour you will need a smaller bag, big enough to bring basic equipment (toiletries and clothes) for 2 nights. The daypack is for your Okavango Delta Excursion, where you cannot bring your entire luggage.


  11. Booking & Payment

If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.


  12. Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...

You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK  to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.

Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.

If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.

If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.

IMPORTANT:  We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour.  If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.


  13. Financial Security

We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
Financial failure insurance is also provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of your tour.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.


  14. Responsible Tourism

It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.

  • Don't prejudge: Things in different countries will almost certainly be different. That doesn't make them worse or inferior, just different.
  • Communicate: Don't expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don't worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
  • Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning and fans when you leave the hotel room and don't waste water. Remove superfluous packaging. Many countries have far less efficient waste disposal systems than ours. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home.
  • Don't litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you're travelling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to add to the environment's stress. Many of the countries we visit have a tough challenge dealing with rubbish and waste. Please consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can (e.g. water bottles).
  • Choose environmentally friendly products: By using environmentally friendly (bio degradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help reduce pollution.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in these countries, you should also comply with the local customs. If you are friendly and well mannered, the locals will reciprocate and it will only enhance your experience. It's important to follow dress and behaviour guidelines especially when visiting religious or sacred sites (your tour leader will advise you how best to do this).
  • If a client commits an illegal act the client may be excluded from the tour and Encounters Travel shall cease to have responsibility to/for them. No refund will be given for any unused services.

All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).


  15. Follow Us Online

You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.facebook.com/encounterstravel
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')


  16. Before you travel

It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.

General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.

You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.

Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.

'Travel Aware' campaign

Reviews

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Lesotho, eSwatini & Kruger & Country Reviews

Product Review


Posted 10th of Aug 2016

Excellent