Johannesburg - KwaZulu Natal
A round trip departing from Johannesburg approximately once every two months. We take in most of the popular tourist sites offered in part of the Free State, Drakensberg Area, KwaZulu Natal and head home via the Mpumalanga area
This province is the commercial heart of South Africa containing the important cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria. Despite the urbanisation of the Johannesburg region, there are plenty opportunity for getting back to nature. Game farms, dams lakes and rivers (for watersports and fishing, hiking trails), and picnic spots are plentiful and the Hartebeespoort Dam and Vaal River area are a particularly popular recreational spots.
The province is described as "The Heartbeat of Africa". Johannesburg, known as the "City of Gold" or Egoli, is the commercial powerhouse of South Africa.
Pretoria is about 30 miles north of Johannesburg is the country's administrative capital, is known as the 'Jacaranda City' after the purple-blossomed trees which bloom in such profusion in late September-October, the South African spring time. It is a fascinating melting pot of different culture - South Africa is one city. Outside the city are bushveld game farms as well as more than 100 nature reserves and bird sanctuaries of which the Rietvlei Nature Reserve is the largest
This landlocked province between the Vaal River in the north and the Orange River in the south is an area of wide, open spaces - an immense rolling prairie, checkered with farmsteads and windmills.
Hospitality is one of the province's prized assets and a Free State farm holiday offers a unique opportunity to get to know the friendly people who inhabit this region. One of South Africa's major rivers, the Vaal flows through the province and there are attractive holiday resorts near two of the river's largest dams.
The mountains of the eastern highlands harbour romantic hideaways and rugged hiking trails. The Golden Gate National Park in the north-east, with its spectacular sandstone formations, an area of scenic beauty, has a network of nature trails and provides the opportunity to see antelope and bird life.
The adjoining Qwaqwa (pronounced KwaKwa) National Park is sanctuary to rare species of vulture. Other protected areas include the Mount Everest Game Reserve at Harrismith and the Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve, a birdwatchers' paradise near the small town of Memel. Qwaqwa and many other parts of the Free State are home to the South Sotho people and their culture can be appreciated at the Basotho Cultural Village.
Capital of the Free State is Bloemfontein, known as the 'City of Roses'
KwaZulu-Natal is one of South Africa's smallest provinces encompassing the territory known as Zululand towards the north. Near Eshowe visitors can stay in typical Zulu villages (with beehive shaped, thatched huts). In this region are a number of important wildlife conservation areas, including award-winning Hluhluwe/ Umfolozi public game reserve, where the white rhino was saved from extinction, and the coral reefs and water wonderland of the St Lucia 'estuary and Lake St. Lucia.
To the west are the soaring peaks of the Drakensberg Mountains, with protected public parks from which the magnificent scenery can be enjoyed. This region is famed for its proliferation of ancient rock paintings by the San (Bushmen), South Africa's original inhabitants.
The province is also known for its Anglo-Zulu and Anglo-Boer battlefield sites. At its heart is the city of Pietermaritzburg. With its "olde worlde" dignity it is affectionately referred to as "The Last Outpost of the British Empire". The Midlands region boasts excellent country hotels, arts and craft routes, white water rafting on the Tugela River, trout fishing and wonderful scenery.
KwaZulu-Natal's sub-tropical climate makes it the haunt of sunbathers, swimmers and watersports enthusiasts all-year-round. Cities and towns, such as Umhlanga Rocks, have well-developed resort areas, geared for looking after demanding tourists. Durban, with its "golden mile" of modern hotels and restaurants, has been dubbed South Africa's "Sunshine Playground"
This is one of the premier tourist areas of South Africa offering a variety of tourist routes, each with its own special attractions. An appealing diversity of cultures, featuring some of the most colourful and interesting tribal groupings in the country, is a particular highlight.
The Blyde River Canyon, one of the great natural features of Southern Africa and the third largest canyon in the world, is a majestic, red sandstone gorge whose almost sheer cliff-face plunges nearly a kilometre below. Dominating the gorge are the triple peaks known as the "Three Rondavels".
Other tourist attractions, Barberton, Sabi and the Long Tom Pass gives an intriguing glimpse into a colourful past The area known as the Lowveld is the haunt of big game. West of the Kruger National Park are number of private game reserves, each with its own distinct character.
You are collected from the Johannesburg International Airport * Transferred to City Lodge in Morningside Johannesburg, where you will spend your first night recuperating from your flight. * Once settled in, you will be taken out for a traditional South African dinner.
Total Distance: 425km
You are collected from City Lodge at 08h00 and taken to "meet" your bikes who will be your best buddy for the next 9 days! * After signing all the necessary indemnities etc., we hit the road to the diamond city of Kimberley. * This is quite a desolate ride, as we are heading into a semi-arid, area, but have faith, it only gets better! Our route takes us to our first fuel stop in Potchefstroom and an acclimatization leg stretch! * We then move on through some quant country towns such as Stillfontein, Wolmaranstad and Bloemhof where we will have a second fuel stop * We head for Kimberley, via the town of Warrenton, which is be first overnight stop of this tour * Kimberley is famous for being the centre of the diamond industry in South Africa and also boasts to having the largest man-made hole in the world. * You have the afternoon at leisure, giving you time to explore what this historic town has to offer - Visit the famous mine museum where a complete mining village has been reconstructed. Or wash down the dust from the road at The Star of the West - one of the country's oldest pubs, built in 1870 from wood and iron. (The tram stops outside on request)
Total Distance: 583 km
09:00 Departure from Kimberley * Still travelling along some barren countryside, towards our first fuel stop in Petrusburg * Next stop is the city of Bloemfontein (literally meaning "flower fountain", which is a bit of a misnomer, as there aren't that many flowers!). * From Bloemfontein, we head east towards the mountains past Thaba'Nchu (pronounced "tah-ban-shoo") and into Lady Brand where we stop for lunch. * We are now literally on the border of the Lesotho, also referred to as the Mountain Kingdom. Lesotho has much to offer in terms of exquisite mountain scenery, but even some of the hardiest 4x4's stuggle in this rugged terrain so we view it all from afar * After lunch, we head past Ficksburg, (known for it's annual Cherrie Festival), Fouriesburg into the artist village of Clarens, at the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains for our overnight stop * Clarens is a mecca of antique and art shops. You have the afternoon free to browse, so get your credit cards out (remember we have a backup vehicle which can carry all your shopping!).
Total Distance: 385 km
Another 9:00 start heading out through the Golden Gate area towards Little Switzerland. On this leg of the tour we ride through some of the most beautiful mountain passes, with many photo opportunities. * Our route takes us up the escarpment, over Van Zyl's pass (part of the old Ox Wagon route), for a coffee stop at Little Switzerland * After a short break, we travel through the mountains through Bergville and Winterton, on to the N3 motorway, for a fuel stop at the Shell Ultra City * After only a short stretch on the motorway we turn off and we travel along the Midlands Meander route, a beautiful green "hilly" route that meanders through the countryside, with a great variety of quaint country shops along the route. * Our route takes us through Mooi Rivier ("Pretty River"), Rosetta and into Nottingham Road where we stop for lunch * Still on the scenic drive we head for Howick, where we stop to view the Howick Falls, (highest single drop in SA), * Then on to Pietermaritzburg (named after the Boer leader Pieter Maritz) and into the seaside resort city of Durban for our overnight stop.
Total Distance: 440 km
Today's tour takes us down the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal. * We keep to the coastal road, through holiday resorts such as Amanzimtoti; Scottburg; Hibberdene; Port Shepstone; Shelley Beach; Margate and Port Edward * We stop at the Wild Coast Casino for lunch. If you fancy a flutter on the tables, now is the time to do it! * After lunch, back up the coast as far as Port Shepstone, and then inland towards Kokstad (named after Adam Kok, the leader of a group known as the "Basters" or literally, Bastards!). * We branch off to Oribi Gorge for a quick coffee break and view of this amazing area. * Then a short trip to Underberg where we will overnight. We are now back in the mountains.
Total Distance: 370 km
We head back to Durban via Bulwer, Boston, Howick, Pietermaritzburg and into Albert Falls for fuel . * Then through Greytown, Kranskop and back down to the coastal town of Stanger. * From there, a short ride to Ballito Bay for lunch and fuel. * After lunch, we head towards our overnight stop in the coastal town Umhlanga Rocks. * Here we visit the shopping mall "Gateway", one of the largest in SA - some more shopping opportunities!!
Total Distance: 285 km
We head north up the Kwa-Zulu Natal coastline. * Our route takes us back past Ballito and Stanger to Richards Bay where we stop for lunch Richard Bay features the largest container harbour in SA, thus controls a large percentage of our sea cargo. It is also the home of Richard Bay Minerals, which mines unique minerals such as titania slag, high purity pig iron, rutile and zircon. * After lunch, further north up the coast past Mtubatuba and on to St. Lucia. St Lucia is a world famous wildlife site, and sports a rich diversity of Wetlands bird life, with the estuary teeming in Hippo and Crocodile. * This is our overnight stop, leaving lots of time to explore this unique wildlife area at your own leisure.
Total Distance: 465 km
After a leisurely breakfast, we leave the coast and start winding our way back home. * This route takes us into the Sugar Cane capital, Pongola, for a fuel stop * Then we head for the town of Piet Retief where we stop for lunch. Piet Retief has a large German Community who settled here in the late 1800's, and is also a massive timber producing area and hosts some superb hunting lodges. * From Piet Retief, we branch off the main road through Amsterdam, Lochiel and into Badplaas for fuel. * Our route now takes us over the escarpment into the "Low Veld" area. * We stop at the top of the pass for a group photo, and then into the old mining town of Barberton, which will also be our overnight stop. This quaint little town was once a thriving gold mining centre, and boasts the first stock exchange in SA!
Total Distance: 415 km
We leave Barberton, and head out to the unique little village of Kaapschehoop via the city of Nelspruit. * We stop for coffee at Kaapschehoop, giving you time to strech your legs and browse the quaint little shops. * The strech of the road takes us to Waterval Onder, through the tunnel to Waterval Boven. These two small towns, one at the bottom and the other at the top of the mountain, were once the main rail siding. * A quick fuel stop at Millies, and then on through Middelburg, Witbank and into Bedfordview for a last night at City Lodge in Morningside.
Total Distance: 455 km
Depending on flight times, we will collect you from the B&B for a short trip out to Hartbeespoort Dam, * Back via the village of Magaliesberg for a "goodbye" lunch. * Once back in Johannesburg we will arrange for your airport transfers * Leaving you with some wonderful memories of South Africa. back