Beehive Huts and St Lucia
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- 01273 322047
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Last updated: 02/19/2009
Immerse yourself in Swaziland culture and stay in traditional Beehive huts. Visit the country's largest national park, Mlilwane. Hunt for rhino and crocodile in the beautiful St. Lucia wetlands
Hazyview - Kruger Park - Swaziland
Coming from the southern part of Kruger Park, it's about a 275 km drive to Mlilwane National Park. Once you leave Kruger behind you it won't be long before you reach the Swaziland border. A scenic road will lead you through the mountain passes of Piggs Peak and along the Malotja reserve to the busy, somewhat chaotic capital city of Mbabane. After a visit to a Swazi market, where all types of art and other products can be found, you'll arrive at Mlilwane Natural Park. This is the largest natural park in the country. After you've passed the park entrance, head for camp where you'll spend the night in a traditional beehive hut. Accommodation is very basic: 2 single beds, electricity, mosquito netting and basic plumbing. But then again, what else do you really need? In the past few years, tourists have discovered this location and more beehive huts have been built in the area. This may make your stay in the park feel a little less rustic and remote. Another alternative would be to stay in a guest house just outside of the park, idyllically located in the mountains. You can go on hikes through the area and get to know Swaziland in a more pleasant, peaceful manner. If you prefer more luxury, you can also stay in one of the nearby wooden chalets with private bathrooms. The colonial lodge 'O'Reillys', where the founder of the park once lived, is a more expensive and exclusive option. When you enter the lodge you'll be walking into colonial times of days gone by.
At the end of the day you can relax 'hippo-style' by the hippo pool in the park. This is where hippos come to cool off and you can enjoy the view while sipping on a cool drink.
Total distance on day 1 is approximately 275 kilometres or 3 hours.
Mlilwane - Swaziland Today you'll have all the time you need to unwind after your long roadtrip. Make reservations the prior evening and go on an early morning horseback ride straight through the park (for beginners and intermediates) or if you prefer, you could also go on a mountain bike ride to âExecutioners Rock'. In the past, unlucky criminals were thrown to their death from this elevated rock formation.
There are also several hiking trails near camp. Walking through nature, leaving all means of motorized transportation far behind, will have an incredibly calming effect on you. Although you won't see any lions or other predators, there are plenty of crocodiles and hippos in the lakes, streams and banks of the river. Be sure not to get too close to these areas. If you like, you can also hike towards a nearby Swazi village, accompanied by a guide. Visiting these villages is a great way to learn more about the Swazi culture, not to mention a fun chance to dance and sing with children living in these villages.
At the end of the day enjoy a cool, relaxing dive into the large swimming pool within walking distance from your beehive hut. After dinner, let go of your inhibitions during an evening of traditional Swazi dancing.
Swaziland - St Lucia Leave Mlilwane and drive further south past Manzini and Big Bend along the Mozambique border to Golela at KwaZulu Natal border. The landscape will become flatter and more arid as you go on. Once you reach South African territory, take the highway to Hlhuhluwe and then exit at the village of St. Lucia. The village is near a lake and reserve both known by the same name, St. Lucia. Spend the night in a small, pleasant accommodation with swimming pool near the main street, restaurants and stores. There are also several bars nearby that would be great for a drink and some music in the evening hours.
Total distance on day 3 is approximately 350 kilometres or 4 hours.
St. Lucia You'll have two entire days to explore Lake St. Lucia and the equally stunning Hluhluwe National Park. There is plenty to do and see in this area. For instance you could head over to the St. Lucia Wetlands, which should take 45 minutes to reach. You'll find several different types of eco-systems surrounding the 40 km long St. Lucia Lake. There are swamplands, wetlands, bush lands and grassy plains. Indigenous animals in these areas are the crocodile, flamingo, pelican and other fish-eating birds.
You could also choose to go on a unique day trip combining the St. Lucia Wetlands and Cape Vidal. In a small group you'll ride a special 4WD past a unique trail of cut down trees; you may see a white rhino on your way to the beach. There are few locations in South Africa where the beaches are as beautiful and as peaceful as this beach bordering the Indian Ocean. The windblown sand dunes make the scenery even more spectacular. This day trip also offers an opportunity to participate in outdoor activities; if weather permits, you'll receive snorkelling equipment from your guide. Indian Ocean underwater conditions are excellent in the month of December. Another option would be to take a two-hour river boat cruise. The boat leaves from St. Lucia twice a day. You can easily book the boat ride on location. There are also many other ways to spend your time here. If you can, you may want to spend an extra night here.
Hluhluwe-Imfolozi The Hluhluwe-Imfolozi park is about an hour drive away from the guest house. Aside from lions, (many, many) elephants and giraffes this park is also known for being the home of the nearly extinct black rhino. You can easily use your own rental car for a game drive. The best time for seeing animals is right after sunrise or around sunset, so try to plan your game drives around these times of the day. If you'd like a professional ranger to guide you through the park, Bertus can arrange an open landrover game drive for you through Hluhluwe park. This usually costs about â¬ 70 per person for half a day (coffee and muffins included) or â¬ 80 per person (lunch included). This evening will be spent in St. Lucia once again.
St. Lucia - End of module After breakfast, this module ends and you can continue with their trip. One brilliant option is to drive from St. Lucia along the Indian Ocean coastline to the beach town of Umhlanga and then on to the majestic Drakensberg (the Dragon Mountains) with our module Sandy Beaches and Drakensberg Mountains.
- Inclusions -
- Overnight stays, breakfast and trail information
- Exclusions -
- Car rental, entrance fee Mlilwane National Park ( R 25 per person , per day - car entrance fee not included), Hluhluwe approx. R 80 per person, Cape Vidal approx. R 20 per person, R 25 per car)
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