Originally started 10 years ago, the African Ivory Route provides adventure travelers an opportunity to visit remote and fascinating places in Limpopo Province. The name of the route has its origins in the exploits of the hunters of old. With time, things have changed and today our route is grounded in responsibility and respect for our people, nature and the environment.

Day One

Blouberg Camp

Depart early from Gauteng and follow the old Warmbaths road to the astonishing Tswaing Crater just north of Pretoria. - Some 220 000 years ago a blazing stony meteorite the size of half a football field slammed into the earth`s crust. The impact formed a crater, 1,4 km in diameter and 200 m deep. This crater, formerly known as the Pretoria Saltpan (or Zoutpan), is one of the best-preserved terrestrial meteorite impact craters anywhere in the world!

Then further north, past the Waterberg mountains and the towns of Bela bela (Warmbaths), Modimolle (Nylstroom), Mookgophong (Naboomspruit), Mokopane (Potgietersrus) and Polokwane (Pietersburg, before we drive through the bushveld of Dendron to the foothills of the Blouberg Mountains, where we stay in our first African Ivory Route Camp - Blouberg.

Your guide will use a gas hob and camp fire for cooking, as well as fridge and freezer for storage of food. The necessary pots, crockery & cutlery are also supplied. There is no electricity, and paraffin or solar lanterns are provided for light at night. 

After checking into the chalets, the festivities is about to start. Our first evening around the camp fire will certainly be a jolly affair!

Day Two

Fundudzi Camp

First breakfast,  before we depart in an easterly direction. The cliffs at Blouberg regularly hold between 900 and 1 000 pairs of Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres), making it now the world’s largest colony for the species. In the past these vultures bred at satellite colonies such as Leipsig, Glenferness and Millbank, but this is no longer the case; now they breed only at the main colony of Blouberg. White-backed Vultures (Gyps africanus) occasionally wander through the area and visit the vulture feeding station in the reserve.
Our next highlight is the historical village of Buysdorp in the Soutpansberg mountains.
Coenraad de Buys, at a majestic height of more than 2m, was described by 19th Century explorer Henry Lichtenstein as €˜the living figure of a Hercules, the terror of his enemies, the hope and support of his friends’.
As a young man in the 1780s, De Buys left his family home in Swellendam and crossed the Bushmans River in the Zuurveld, and over the years took wives from the Xhosa, Khoi and Bastaard€™ (mixed) communities. He befriended the Xhosa chief, Ngqika, and turned his fellow Boer farmers against the Dutch authorities.
When he left the patronage of Ngqika to venture into the interior, De Buys had gathered about him a motley host that consisted of English army deserters, a missionary, runaway slaves, Hottentots, two single Dutch mothers, Xhosa women, children of mixed blood and a Mohammedan Hindu€™.
His restless wanderings finally led him and his rainbow people up to the Soutpansberg, where he was the first white hunter to venture up as far as Mapungubwe on the Limpopo River.

Then further along the Soutpansberg mountains, we finally enter the land of the Venda.
We visit Lake Fundudzi, which is believed to be defended by a Venda python god who lives in the mountain on a rock. The ancestral spirits who inhabit the lake are said to be guarded by a white crocodile. The fullness of the lake and its colour indicate the mood of the ancestors, and predicts the coming rainy season. 
Rain or no rain, tonight we book into our second African Ivory Route Camp - Fundudzi, where local storytelling will keep us mesmerised long into the night....... 

Day Three

Baleni Camp 

Today we discover another secret of the African Ivory Route, situated close to the border of the Kruger National Park.

Using 2000-year old techniques, the local Tsonga people collect salt-encrusted sand in the Little Letaba river close to the borders of the Kruger National Park, and leach it with water (Ntsobe) through filters (Xinjhava) made with clay (Nwahuva) and leaves (Nhlangula). The filtered water is boiled to evaporation, leaving the pure crystals of Baleni Sacred Salt.

Salt Harvesting at Baleni starts by leaving a gift at the foot of the Leadwood tree (Motswiri) to thank the ancestors for nature€™s bounty. 
The harvesting takes place on tribal land, and is a resource open to any member of the community who follows the ancient traditions. Salt is harvested during the dry winter months, and sold by the individual producers directly to locals and traditional healers who revere its healing properties. Chefs in Michelin-starred restaurants also use Baleni Sacred Salt for speciality dishes.
We stay between the huge Mopani trees in traditional designed rondavels (communal ablutions), while the local Tsonga will entertain us with song and dance - what a special experience!

Day Four

Mtomeni Camp 

The Great Letaba Game Reserve, borders the Kruger National Park. The original fences between the two parks were dropped long ago -  the creation of The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.

Our exclusive little tented camp was build twice, once before the floods of 2000, and once again thereafter!
Situated on the banks of the Great Letaba river, this lovely tented camp is slap bang in the wilderness, where nature never fails to provide one with a €œbig screen€ spectacle of life in the slow lane.

Who knows if that herd of Buffalo will come grazing along the river bed, whether we will witness the antics of the local troop of Baboons, or whether the Hippos €œjoke telling€ will keep us awake during the night..wildlife at its best! 
Our last evening around the camp fire in the African wilderness, where the stars are always brighter, and were the sounds of the night is food for the soul - you will not want to leave this paradise.

Day Five

Lakenvlei Forest Lodge 

Breakfast in the bush, before its time to leave the Lowveld, and start the long climb back up the great escarpment.
We drive past the huge open cast copper mine in Phalaborwa, via the Strijdom Tunnel, and the scenic Abel Erasmus Pass, to the historical town of Lydenburg.
Then further up the escarpment, pass through 2000 m above sea level en route to Dullstroom and Belfast where we leave the tar road and turn into the forestry plantations.

Lakenvlei Forest Lodge will appear like magic before your eyes, and will indulge your senses with its pure beauty.
Lakenvlei'€™s thatched log chalets overlook a wetland area, which has been declared a Natural Heritage Site. The estate offers a tranquil and unsurpassed experience in nature.
Various birds, including rare species such as the Crowned crane, African jacana and Purple heron can be observed. The diversity of habitats on the wetland and dams provide refuge to a variety of birds. Smaller mammals, like the Cape clawless otter, water mongoose, Black back-jackal and duiker, add to the charm of this delightful forest sanctuary.
Dinner tonight will be a grand affair!

Day Six

Time to leave.
After a sumptuous breakfast, the wheels will start rolling for the last time.
We will arrive back in Gauteng at around noon.

Cost per person sharing - R 10500.00 (min 4, max 8)

Included in the tour price:
All transfers
In-car camera charging facilities
All activities as mentioned in the itinerary
Shared accommodation (NB: No electricity available in the camps, except for Lakenvlei Forest Lodge)
Bedding and towels
Two meals a day (lunch and snacks for your own account)
Coffee and tea
Park entrance fees
Fun and adventure!

Excluded from the tour price:
Non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks
Lunches and snacks
Items of personal nature

We will provide you with a packing list of essentials 
Only "sport-type" soft luggage bags allowed, as we have limited space in our luggage trailer 

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