Gondwana’s Pioneer Trail is the ultimate slackpacking adventure – a three-night walking trail traversing through Gondwana’s Big 5 private reserve in the Western Cape
- Trip Outline
- Trip Includes
- Trip Excludes
Surrounded by the Langeberg and Outeniqua Mountains, the 11,000-hectare Gondwana Game Reserve is in a prime and accessible position on the Western Cape’s Garden Route. The reserve is not far from Mossel Bay and almost 400 kilometres from Cape Town, or about 4.5 hours’ driving. It is privately owned, catering for overnight luxury safaris, and day visits are not permitted.
Although it is home to a range of big game, including lion, hippo, elephant, rhino, buffalo and plains animals such as eland, giraffe and zebra, the landscape and flora of the reserve are in great contrast to the lowveld. It’s the diversity of plant life that makes walking here unique – Gondwana boasts over 1,000 different species of plants, many of them threatened fynbos species and a few that can only be seen in this reserve and nowhere else in the world. There’s something special and colourful flowering in abundance in all seasons. Various species of protea and erica bloom all year round and attract prolific endemic birdlife, and a splendid variety of succulents and renosterveld plants are also found here.
The Pioneer trail takes you to three remote luxury tented camp locations with two full days of hiking. Your expert trail guides will intimately expose you to the Reserve’s unique biodiversity and eco systems with the opportunity to potentially experience wildlife on foot.
On the first day, trail guests meet their guides at Lehele Lodge in the reserve and take a light lunch. They then sort the kit they need for three nights into the duffle bags provided; their remaining luggage and valuables can be locked in their vehicles. The adventure begins as guests and guides proceed to the first tented camp in an open game-viewing vehicle, taking time to stop for interesting sightings. The aim is to reach the camp by 16:00 for afternoon tea. At the camps every comfort is provided, with walk-in tents that have proper beds and en-suite facilities. There’s a luxury open lounge tent where guests can relax and enjoy the view. Before dinner, the guides give a briefing on the plans for the next day, and the meal is served in a dining tent lit by lanterns. On a clear night, guests can enjoy a splendid starscape.
Breakfast is taken after a gentle wake-up call at 06:00 or 06:30, after which guests repack their duffle bags. By 07:30 everyone is on the trail, carrying only a light day pack with lunch and water. The terrain is undulating, but not overly strenuous. The first walking day covers over 10 kilometres of hilly terrain, at a pace that leaves plenty of time to stop for game sightings and to absorb the expertise of the guides as they reveal the unique flora. The next day’s walk is shorter and takes guests into the magnificent Nauga Valley, where there may even be a chance for a wild waterhole swim. Between 14:00 and 16:00, the group reaches the next camp for welcome refreshments, a wash and a restful afternoon. The third camp is nestled in the heart of the reserve with a great opportunity for game-viewing, so an afternoon game drive is an option.
- 3 night guided Walking Safari with private staff team reaching a new destination each night.
- 2 days of guided walking with 2 qualified and armed trail guides traversing Big 5 game reserve.
- The wilderness trail leads you to 3 remotely located, luxurious tented camps with 4 en-suite bedroom tents sleeping up to 8 people
- En-suite Bedroom tents have outdoor showers and indoor clawfoot bathtubs.
- Separate dining and lounge tents for guest recreation
- Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner homemade by camp cook
- Local beverages (soft and alcoholic)
- Afternoon game drive in a private game viewer on the last evening.
- Includes transportation of your belongings to new tented camp each day.
- Packed day packs provided
- No children under 12
- Conservation fees