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Near Not Far – By South Africans For South Africans

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Now that the interprovincial borders are open and airlines return to our skies it’s time to sate your local wanderlust and explore Mzanzi with friends and family. Trafalgar has put on their ‘vellies’ and crafted three ‘local is lekker’ trips for South Africans who cannot wait to pack their bags and explore their own backyard. Filled to the brim with all Trafalgar’s essentials such as accommodation, transport, meals, sightseeing and a well-versed travel director, South African travellers are going to make a meal of these Near Not Far local lovelies.

Pride of the North

If you’ve got six days and a hankering for the bush, wildlife, great coffee, superb natural wonders plus a solid slice of history then Trafalgar’s Pride of the North is the trip for you. The Union Buildings, God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Big Five, Dullstroom, Pilgrims Rest, Kruger National Park… this is a must-see bucket-list trip for any proud South African.

Your journey begins with a trip to the Herbert Baker designed Union Buildings. Set atop Meintjieskop and the seat of our government, the Union Buildings offer incredible views, setting the stage for all the exceptional Mzanzi experiences to come. Don’t forget to take a stroll through the terraced gardens and pay homage to Madiba’s statue.

Next stop is South Africa’s answer to the Scottish Highlands, Dullstroom. This gorgeous little town boasts craft beer, superb food, a whisky tasting experience unlike any other and of course fly fishing. Be sure to enjoy a ‘wee dram’ before the overnight stay in Hazyview.

The incredible views of God’s Window (on a clear day you can see all the way to the Kruger National Park and the Lebombo mountains which border Mozambique), the beauty of the Blyde River Canyon and the mysterious Bourke’s Luck Potholes are next in line. Then it’s onwards to Pilgrim’s Rest, a national living monument to our very own Gold Rush. Visit the Robber’s Grave and soak up the tales of some of the town’s more colourful inhabitants.

Hello Kruger National Park! See the KNP from the South and the North beginning with a bush breakfast and game drive near Satara Camp followed by a sundowner open game vehicle safari near the Numbi Gate and yet another game experience near the Lower Sabie Rest Camp. Whether it is the Big Five that you’re after or the Little Five (Elephant Shrew, Ant Lion, Rhinoceros Beetle, Buffalo Weaver and Leopard Tortoise) Kruger, with its huge variety of species, will not disappoint.  

Our Pride of the North ends with a breakfast bush walk on day six and a visit to the Sabie Valley Coffee, a family owned and managed roastery in White River. Savour a cup of the high quality, speciality, single-origin, ungraded Arabica Coffee that has made Sabie Valley Coffee renowned worldwide before we make our way home.

Melktert and fine wine is Nice Né?

Is there anything more typically South African than a good old ‘melktert’? With a crumbly crust and silky smooth milk custard filling topped with lots of warm, spicy cinnamon it is a legendary local dish. Where better to sample some of this deliciousness but at the Affie Plaas Farmstall outside Robertson? Trafalgar’s Garden Route Explorer with Cape Town will have you traversing the Western Cape from the Mother City to Route 62, Oudthoorn, Knysna and the wonderful whale watching town of Hermanus over seven days chock-a-block with all things local.

Highlights of this trip include joining farm owners Bartel and Karin du Toit for dinner to learn a little bit about life on a working ostrich farm and stopping for coffee and cake at the Montagu Country House. Current owner PJ Basson will tell the story of legendary local hotelier, the late Gert Lubbe, whose vision and passion resulted in Route 62 becoming a popular tourist route.

Travellers will also meet the shy penguins of Stony Point Nature Reserve in Betty’s Bay and have a really good chance of spotting Southern Right Whales who visit Hermanus between July and November every year. Hermanus has been recognized by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) as one of the 12 best whale watching destinations in the world. Southern Right Whales migrate from the Antarctic around June to calve and mate. Calving takes place in August and September and the males arrive for mating in October when the whale population peaks.

Whilst in Knysna a boat trip across the lagoon takes visitors to the Featherbed Nature Reserve, which is the undeveloped Head at the mouth of Knysna’s lagoon. After the devastating fires in 2019, you’ll learn how with dedication and hard work, the natural environment is being rehabilitated. You can play your part by distributing seed balls onto the forest areas of the reserve using a ‘katty’.

No trip to the Cape would be worth its salt without a bit of wine tasting and you can expect to enjoy the fruits of the vine at the top rated estates of Babylonstoren, Fairview and Neethlingshof. Ayoba!

Battlefields, the ‘Berg and bit of craft beer on the side

This 9-day trip unveils Kwazulu Natal as you’ve never experienced it before. Trafalgar will take you on a journey of discovery showcasing historic battlefields, taking in the once-private hunting grounds of King Shaka, soaring to the roof of Africa and meandering your way through the crafty countryside and beautiful Drakensburg.

Begin your journey with a visit to South Africa’s very first UNESCO World Heritage site, the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park. Sail this world-renowned estuary and be on the lookout for a Nile crocodiles, hippos and the abundant birdlife. With eight different ecosystems in the Wetland Park you are spoiled for choice when it comes to game viewing.

Search for the Big Five on a safari in the oldest reserve in South Africa. The Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve is a pioneering force on forefront of anti-rhino poaching initiatives and is voted the top reserve in KZN.

This journey will connect you to a very interesting part of our combined history – the Battlefields where the Zulus, Boers and Brits shaped the country we know today. Hear heroic, poignant and compelling battlefield stories from a uniquely South African perspective. From the epic battle site of Isandlwana, to Rorke’s Drift and the Battle of Ladysmith, a 118-day siege that took place during the Second Boer War.

Fasten your seatbelts for an adventurous 4×4 drive up the Sani Pass.  Navigate twists, turns and hairpin switchbacks, ascending to a heavenly height of 2,876 metres above sea level for a ‘cold one’ at the highest pub in Africa. There is so much to experience in our own backyard and with Trafalgar’s guidance and expertise these trips are definitely one for the history (and photo) books. Keen to know more? Visit www.trafalgar.com for the details of these tours.

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