Overview

The best of land and sea can be experienced on this tour. Throw in some culture in the amazing Kingdom of Swaziland and you have yourself the makings of a magnificent trip. Why choose between the quintessential African safari and diving the epic Sardine Run when you can have it all. The Sardine Run is a true divers bucket list event, taking place between June and July each year. Bait balls swirl through the water attracting predators from miles away. Sharks, whales, dolphins, marlin and others attack from below, Cape Gannets and Gulls attack from above…and in the middle…is you. The Kruger National Park is one of the most renowned game parks in Africa and one can experience the wonder of seeing wild animals in their natural environment. Swaziland is a landlocked Kingdom filled with history and culture. It is colourful and vibrant and a treat to the senses. This 14-day tour encompasses it call and is a real treat to be had.

Pre & Post Tour Accommodation

Nomad can book accommodation before and after your tour.

Pre Tour Accommodation - Johannesburg

From R900
  Airport Transfer Available Belvedere Estate

Belvedere Estate is situated in the upmarket suburb of Midrand, 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 as part of the Nomad … Read More

Itinerary

Our tours come with an "Optional Activity Package".  You will need to purchase this package if you would like to partake in what we consider to be "essential activities" on our tours.  The Activity Package has been written into the itinerary of the tour so please keep this in mind as if you don't book the package, the activities won't be included.  We suggest that you prebook and prepay for your Activity Package to ensure availability.

Download Detailed Itinerary (pdf)

  Accommodated
Day 01

Greater Kruger National Park

Leaving the city of Johannesburg behind us we make our way east through the coalfields of Mpumalanga. Our journey today follows in the footsteps of the old trade-routes to the Lowveld and the Kruger National Park. This afternoon there will be an opportunity to join an optional sundowner drive, booking is essential and your guide can assist on departure this morning.

Day 02

Kruger National Park

Rising early this morning we enter the Kruger National Park to enjoy a full-day of game viewing in open 4×4 vehicles. The abundance of wildlife presents us with opportunities for excellent sightings and the Kruger is also home to the famed members of Africa’s Big-5. Truly the flagship of the South African national parks, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species including 336 trees, 49 fish, 114 reptiles and 147 mammals. Our activity package offers the added excitement of experiencing the park from an open-sided 4×4 vehicle. This evening there is a second opportunity for the optional Sundowner drive.

Day 03

Kruger National Park

While those who elect to do the optional morning walk will have an earlier start, we set out a little later today and travel the short distance to the Panorama Route. Strung along the escarpment that divides the central plateau and low-lying bushveld of the Kruger, the sights of the Panorama route offer us a day of scenic delights. We will visit the highlights of Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels and God’s Window before returning to camp in the late afternoon.

Day 04

Swaziland to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

We start the day early with some traditional coffee and rusks before setting off through Kruger on our way to Swaziland. Our truck offers an excellent platform for game viewing as we make our way south. We exit the southern end of the park and travel the short distance to Swaziland border, our route this afternoon winds through the mountains and forests of this landlocked kingdom. Our destination for today is the Ezulwini Valley just south of the capital Mbabane.

Day 05

Isimangaliso, Greater St Lucia

Situated in the Ezulwini Valley, which translates to “valley of heaven”, the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is Swaziland’s oldest reserve and covers 4,560 hectares. As the reserve has no large predators we will enjoy a morning hiking amongst the game the roams the plains. Should you prefer there are a range of optional activities offered by the reserve and you could enjoy a game drive, mountain biking or a visit to the Chief’s traditional village. This afternoon we continue south into the reaches of Zululand, once the realm of the mighty King Shaka who united the Zulu clans. This evening we are treated to a cultural experience where we will learn more of the Zulu traditions and language.

Day 06

Hluhluwe – Imfolozi Game Reserve

We set out early this morning for a game drive in the nearby Hluhulwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, one of the last strongholds of the endangered Rhinoceros. The reserve has played a critical role in the preservation of these endangered animals, both Black and White Rhinoceros occur in the park and many populations owe their ongoing existence to animals that have been raised here. While Rhinoceros are the most famous of the parks inhabitants, the park also provides a home to many other species, including the Big-5 that we all hope to see. Returning to our lodging for a siesta, we freshen up for an afternoon boat cruise on St Lucia estuary.

Day 07

Durban

Durban has long been the favourite holiday destination for South Africans, the golden mile with its warm seas and safe swimming beaches attracts visitors throughout the year. Although your tour ends upon arrival in Durban, this afternoon we have time to spend on the beaches of the golden mile.

Day 08

Durban to Coffee Bay

Please note that during the next few days we will be subject to weather and ocean conditions and may not be able to launch each day. To account for this risk we have created this lengthy stay in Coffee Bay in order to ensure you have the best possible chance. Please also note that Nomad cannot guarantee Sardine Run action at any time and are only able to book tours in the best possible window to the best of our ability.

This morning we will be transferred to King Shaka International Airport and board our flight for East London, where we will meet our crew upon arrival in the city.  Leaving the city of East London behind, we travel north along the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape to the small town of Coffee Bay, our launch site for the famous Sardine Run. After settling into your hotel you will have the chance to explore this stunning area and visit the iconic “Hole In The Wall”. This evening you will have a full breifing on the operating of the Sardine Run adventure over the next few days.

 

Day 09

Sardine Run

The annual Great Sardine Run is a natural phenomenon that usually occurs during the months of June and July, when massive schools of sardines migrate from the colder waters around the Cape to the warmer waters of Kwa-Zulu Natal to give birth to their offspring. Once they’ve laid their eggs, they return to the Cape, closely followed by thousands of dolphins, birds, fish of prey, whales and sharks. The ocean awakes and the thrill is simply indescribable.

After an early breakfast, you will be transferred to Mapusi, the most spectacular, idyllic river mouth from where we launch our boat. On the banks of this river, divers get ready for the launch. The 4 x 4 drives the boat down into the river. Divers and the crew have to push the boat further until there is enough water under the keel and all rocks are cleared. Once it is safe, the skipper gets on the boat and starts the motors. When he has enough water under the keel, he calls all guests on. With speed the boat drives over the sandbank and into the waiting basin. Once all waves have passed, the skipper chooses the safest moment to launch out to sea.

In the meantime our plane has taken off and done a good fly over in search of animal activity. The skipper and the pilot are in constant radio contact whereby the boat gets directed to the best action on hand. Sardine Run Action consists not only of silver fish but more so of activities such as whales, dolphins, sharks and gannets. Wherever there is something happening the boat will go.

 

The highly experienced and skillful crew will approach anything interesting with great care and only when it is safe will the divers be allowed to enter the water. More often than not this will be done on mask and snorkel. There is a constant off-the-boat and on-the-boat which requires stamina and certain fitness. Obviously it is always the client’s choice if he wants to remain on the boat or jump into the water.

To make a long day out at sea as pleasant as possible we offer sandwiches, fresh fruit, chocolates, cookies, fruit juice and water on the boat.

Each day we will launch (weather permitting) and spend a full day out at sea to give you the best chance of action. We return by early to late afternoon each day when you will get a chance to rest, relax, hike the area and charge those all important cameras. Each evening we have a sumptuous buffet and bar for tales of the day just past.

Day 10

Sardine Run

Full day diving (Weather permitting)

Day 11

Sardine Run

Full day diving (Weather permitting)

Day 12

Sardine Run

Full day diving (Weather permitting)

Day 13

Sardine Run

Full day diving (Weather permitting)

Day 14

Coffee Bay to East London

Today we will retrace our steps from Coffee Bay back to the town of East London, where your tour comes to an end upon arrival at the East London airport.  Please ensure you book your flights for as late as possible in the afternoon.

Activity Package

Listed below are activities and highlights that form part of an "Optional Activity Package".  You will need to purchase this package if you would like to partake in what we consider to be "essential activities" on our tours.  The Activity Package has been written into the itinerary of the tour so please keep this in mind as if you don't book the package, the activities won't be included.  We suggest that you prebook and prepay for your Activity Package to ensure availability.

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