DATES & PRICES

Days = 14

15 Jan 2018 - 28 Jan 2018

London - London Price = £4655

Johannesburgh - Johannesburg = £3795

Johannesburgh - Durban = £3750

Deposit = £450

Single supplement = £360*

* does not apply if you are willing to share and a room-mate can be arranged.

TOUR SUMMARY

Day 1

UK to South Africa

Days 2-4

Golden Gate NP – Witsieshoek / The Sentinel and Oxbow

Day 5

via Spionkop to Giant’s Castle

Day 6

Giant’s Castle and the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park

Day 7

Howick

Day 8

Umgeni Reserve to Underberg

Days 9-11

Sani Pass

Day 12

Umtamvuna: Pondoland specials

Day 13

Port Edward area to Durban; departure from Durban

Day 14

Arrive UK/Europe

DRAKENSBURG

A TOUR FOR THE ALPINE GARDEN SOCIETY

The Drakensberg Mountains are one of the largest areas of alpine zone in Africa and the South African summer is the perfect time to catch the peak flowering. Over 2200 plant species have been documented here, with a staggering 400 endemics. The sweeping scenery is world-famous, and the birder will find much of interest too: Bearded Vultures soar past at eye level, while Drakensberg Rockjumpers and Ground Woodpeckers hop among the boulders.

In Lesotho the Drakensberg are known as the Malotis, and the vast trans-frontier uKhahlamba-Drakensberg park spans the border with South Africa. The ruggedness of the peaks is attested to in the Zulu and Afrikaans names, which refer to a “barrier of spears” and “dragon’s mountains” respectively, but thankfully there are now good, mostly tarred, roads that allow us to enjoy the alpine flora with only short strolls from the vehicle. This tour explores the flora and natural history of the Drakensberg’s Centres of Endemism, both in South Africa and Lesotho, and covers a range of altitudes, heading up to over 3000m on two days. We end the tour on the coast where we explore the often overlooked Pondoland sandstones with their suite of endemics.

We’ll drive up to lofty heights where South Africa and Lesotho meet below Sentinel Peak. Sweeping panoramic views provide a backdrop to floral wonders such as Crocosmia pearsii, Eucomis bicolor, Dianthus basuticus and Agapanthus and Moraea species. Golden Gate is the best place to see endemic Black Wildebeest and Blesbok. At Oxbow in Lesotho extensive boggy meadows host specialities like Disa fragrans and spectacular clumps of Xerophyta viscosa are found at the base of cliffs. The spectacular Sani Pass is the gem of the southern Drakensberg. Basalt cliffs support tufts of brilliant red Gladiolus flanaganni, whilst bogs on the plateau have a carpet of pink Rhodohypoxis baurii. Sloggett’s Ice Rats scuttle into cover at any sign of Verreaux’s Eagle. A host of endemic Helichrysums, Jamesbrittenia lesutica and spectacular orange-red Gladiolus saundersii adorn the Black Mountains. Three endemic species of "old man" Huttonaea orchids hang from damp rockfaces in mistbelt forests, indeed we’ll see a range of orchids; Corycium, Habenaria, Satyrium, Schizochilus, Disperis, Brownleea, and both Green Devil Orchid and Death Orchid.

Malachite and Greater Double-collared Sunbirds provide splashes of colour, and White Rhinos a frisson of excitement as we explore Giant’s Castle where grasslands host a suite of orchids and irids, including Gladiolus crassifolius. The ancient sandstone gorges of Pondoland along the south coast have magnificent pink spires of Watsonia umtamvunae and here we will find the gorgeous Narina Trogon in orchid-rich forests.

INFORMATION

Focus

Flowers. Also Birds, Mammals, Butterflies, Dragonflies, and Landscapes.

Leaders

Paul Cardy, Callan Cohen,

Walking

Three or four miles a day, usually much less, and always at a relaxed pace, ideally suited to photographers. The terrain is mostly flat, as the best flowers occur in the valleys between the peaks, but we will also explore some mountain paths. The altitude ranges from sea-level to 3250m, although we will mostly be below 2500m.

Included in the Price

All flights. All accommodation, transport and meals in Southern Africa. Services of your leaders. Please note: items of a personal nature including insurance, visas, and tips, are not included.

Group Size

Minimum is 5 and the maximum is 15. Only one leader will accompany a group of 6 or less.

Accommodation

We will stay at a varied mix of charming small hotels. All rooms have private facilities.

Flights

UK direct outbound flights are from London Heathrow to Johannesburg return from Durban via Johannesburg. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* may be available. 
*These routes may incur a supplement

Climate

Mild, with temperatures ranging from a cool 10°C early in the mornings to highs later in the day of 25-30°C. We can expect occasional rain in the form of thunderstorms, but it should be largely dry and sunny.

How to Book

Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information.  Flower, bird and mammal checklists are available.

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www.greentours.co.uk