Come on an adventure with us! Whether its bush or beach or both, you won't get bored! When you travel with African Trilogy to eKhaya Bush Villa in Hoedspruit or Fin Whale Beach House in Kommetjie, you know you're going to have an adventure-filled time of it! Here's...
Come on an adventure with us!
Whether its bush or beach or both, you won’t get bored!
When you travel with African Trilogy to eKhaya Bush Villa in Hoedspruit or Fin Whale Beach House in Kommetjie, you know you’re going to have an adventure-filled time of it! Here’s some reasons why…
Hoedspruit is the safari capital of South Africa and there’s a wealth of safari activities on its doorstep, offering you the chance to view the Big Five – elephant, rhino, buffalo, leopard and lion – as well as a host of other amazing African wildlife species.
If you’re staying at eKhaya Bush Villa, there’s a wealth of great tourism attractions on offer in this beautiful corner of South Africa, so let’s have a look at some of the best things to do while you are in Hoedspruit…
- The Kruger National Park
The legendary Kruger National Park’s Orpen Gate is a short 40-minute drive from Hoedspruit, with most of the town’s surrounding private game reserves open to the park and forming the bulk of what’s now known as the Greater Kruger National Park.
There are guided day tours into the park in open safari vehicles or you can choose a self-drive option in your own vehicle, taking one of the many exciting game drive routes inside the park.
- The Panorama Route
Take a guided tour along the Panorama route or opt to self-drive. The route is packed with exciting things to do and see from the Blyde River Canyon and the famous Three Rondavels to Bourke’s Luck Potholes – a fascinating geological anomaly formed at the confluence of the Blyde and Treur rivers where the swirling waters have carved huge circular shapes out of the sandstone rock. End up at the wonderful Graskop Gorge Lift and plunge to the floor of a steep gorge to explore the amazing eco system you find there.
- Eat out, Hoedspruit-style
Hoedspruit is famous for its range of wonderful restaurants, coffee shops and eateries from the legendary Sleepers and Thirsty Giraffe Pub and Grill to the Hoedspruit Café and Hat & Creek restaurant. We also have a first-class food truck – the Yum Factory – making delicious thin-crust pizzas and the Hoedspruit Brew Co, with its great range of craft beers and spirits. Feel free to ask us for recommendations.
- Hot Air Ballooning
Hot Air Ballooning is most certainly one of the best ways to experience the majesty of this region’s fantastic scenery. Soar over breathtaking landscapes at the foot of the Drakensberg Escarpment, which forms a natural amphitheatre, providing safe shelter from prevailing winds. Flights last approximately an hour.
- Cruising the Blyde Dam
You’ll be blown away by the amazing views of the Blyde River Canyon from the dam on a wonderful guided cruise of this amazing body of water, where the Blyde River is temporarily halted on its journey to join the Olifants River. The cruises, which operate from the Swadini Nature Reserve a short drive from Hoedspruit, take in the Kadishi Tufa waterfall and the magnificent Three Rondavels and allow full appreciation of this amazing “green” canyon.
- Horse riding
Whether you’re a bird watcher, animal lover or just here for the ride, a horse back trail is the perfect way to experience the bush in its most natural form. African Dream Horse Safaris are based on Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate and offer a range of outrides on the estate along game drive routes through the bush, where a variety of wildlife can be seen. This is a great way to experience the bush, as wild animals do not react to the horses, carrying on with their usual activities, allowing you to view them in a completely different, more relaxed and personal way.
- Hiking, kloofing and cycling
There is a rich variety of guided and non-guided hiking trails in and around the Hoedspruit area, both along ancient Lowveld pathways and up in the Drakensberg Escarpment, around the Blyde River Canyon. Kloofing is a form of extreme hiking, taking in streams, waterholes, waterfalls and water-filled caves along the way. Ask us for more information. Or just hike or mountain bike on Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate with its variety of hiking and mountain biking trails.
When it comes to getting away from it all, Fin Whale Beach House and the incredible scenery of South Africa’s Western Cape and its magnificent coastline is as good as it gets! And you can easily combine it with eKhaya Bush Villa with daily direct flights between Cape Town and Hoedspruit!
So what is there to do here at our lovely little beach house overlooking Kommetjie’s beautiful Long Beach and the gorgeous blues of the Atlantic Ocean? Here are some suggestions…
- Take long walks on the beach
It’s called Long Beach for a reason and it’s just begging to be explored. Get up just as the sun is breaking over the horizon and head out onto the soft, white sand and breathe in that wonderful sea air as you just walk and feel your body and mind relax and keep time to the waves. Or head out in the late afternoon to watch the sun set and marvel at the incredible views. Don’t forget we welcome dogs at Fin Whale Beach House – so feel free to bring your fur babies along!
- Explore the wreck of the Kakapo
While walking along the beach in the direction of Noordhoek and Chapman’s Peak which beckons on the horizon, stop to examine the mangled iron that forms the skeleton of the SS Kakapo – a 665-ton schooner-rigged steamship which floundered here on 25 May 1900. It’s a local legend and makes for great photo opportunities.
- Discover the Cape Floral Kingdom on your doorstep
Take a casual hike into the foothills behind Kommetjie and marvel at the abundant fynbos plants and flowers that make up the Cape Floral Kingdom – one of the most biodiverse eco-systems in the world that includes rare and endemic species found only here. The best time for flowers is spring which starts officially in September, but many species bloom well into summer and autumn.
- Surfs up!
Kommetjie is renowned the world over for its great surfing, so if you love getting out onto the ocean there’s no better way to do it than with a surfboard. If you’ve never surfed before, don’t worry – there are lots of operators who will gladly teach you and show you how it’s done. If you’re already a keen surfer, you’ll love it here! Just bring your board!
5. A galloping we will go…
Horse riding is a wonderful way to experience Kommetjie and its spectacular views and explore both the beach and its surroundings. There’s nothing like riding along Long Beach or winding your way up into the hills and getting spectacular views over the ocean and the mountains beyond Chapman’s Peak. You don’t have to be an experienced rider to enjoy a horse trail and you can choose how long you ride for, from an hour to a full day.
- Wine tasting
The Western Cape is South Africa’s wine-making capital and there are some wonderful vineyards in and around Kommetjie, in neighbouring Noordhoek and out on the main Winelands tourism route. Take a full-day trip to the Franschhoek Valley and hop on and off the renowned Wine Tram, stopping at local vineyards to sample the vintages! Or tour the Kommetjie Wine Route and take in the best of our local wine estates.
- Food, glorious food
Kommetjie and its surrounds are blessed with some stunning restaurants, eateries and cafés which, combined with the amazing food offered at the local vineyards makes this area an absolute hotspot for food lovers and cuisine connoisseurs! From farm to table, the food on offer around Fin Whale Beach House is outstanding, fresh and sustainably grown, so take the time to sample what’s on offer and enjoy eating out in style!
- Marine safaris
Head out on to the ocean on a guided tour to see the marine big five – whales, dolphins, sharks, seals and penguins – and learn more about these amazing animals. You can take a day trip up the coast to Hermanus – the whale-watching capital of South Africa – and see the southern right whales in season (June to November) when they come here to calf. Or get an adrenaline rush with some shark cage diving, witnessing the majesty of the great white shark.
- Diving in the kelp forests
Pull on a wetsuit and plunge beneath the waves into the incredible world beneath the surface and the gently swaying kelp forests made famous by the award-winning documentary “My Octopus Teacher”. You’ll be amazed by the wealth of marine life that calls the kelp forests home, from the humble octopus, seals and sharks to a variety of fish and crustaceans. If you are not a qualified diver, dive courses are available at dive centres in and around Kommetjie.
- Do absolutely nothing!
That’s right. Just stay at home at Fin Whale Beach House and enjoy the feeling of switching off, relaxing and chilling out. Swim in our sparkling pool, snooze in the hammock, braai (the local term for a barbecue) with friends and family and make the most of the idyllic views, fresh sea air and fabulous facilities on offer. Sometimes doing nothing is the best holiday of all!
See The Drakensberg Escarpment from the air
Take to the skies over Hoedspruit for the experience of a lifetime on a helicopter flight into the Blyde River Canyon and beyond, exploring the spectacular hidden world on top of the Northern Drakensberg Escarpment from the air…
Taking off from Hoedspruit Civil airport in the centre of this vibrant little safari town is exciting in its own right, gaining altitude quickly as you swoop over the African bush that surrounds this Greater Kruger National Park hub. At the helm is local pilot and conservation warrior Jana Meyer of Hope for African Wildlife – an aviation company that also contributes its time and effort to helping protect endangered species like rhino in the game reserves that make this region of South Africa so popular with tourists.
The helicopter is small, seating just three passengers, but it affords incredible views of the pristine wilderness this area is renowned for. Spotting wildlife from the air is easy as the helicopter soars over the bush – rhino, giraffe, elephant… All are ticked off on the way to the mountains that soar on the western skyline.
As you get closer to the dramatic peaks you fly over the small, inconspicuous airstrip that was used by Tom Cruise and his production team for the filming of the Hollywood movie Mission: Impossible 8 – the last in this popular film franchise. Cruise and Co stayed in Hoedspruit for almost three months at the beginning of 2022 to film aerial combat sequences in and around the canyon.
Following in Cruise’s footsteps – or flightpath – the world’s third largest green canyon comes into view as the helicopter begins to climb over the Blyde Dam with the magnificent Three Rondavels towering over it. A boat cruising the dam looks tiny from above as hippo are spotted, as well as kudu on the dam’s grassy banks. The tufa waterfall disappears beneath as the chopper weaves along the Blyde River, banking left to follow the Belvedere River and the old power station that once supplied Pilgrim’s Rest with hydro electricity.
It’s fascinating to see the pristine, untouched wilderness that human feet are not able to reach – wide grassy plains fringed by dense trees intersected by a myriad rivers and streams all eventually feeding into the Blyde – the water lifeline of Hoedspruit and its surrounds. This is home to mountain reedbuck, which are spotted from above, along with duiker, bushbuck and more kudu.
Aloes and a selection of wonderful endemic plant species proliferate on top of the escarment, along with inaccessible sections of thick, riparian forest with a dense canopy of tall branches, all of which enjoy the frequent cloud cover and mist that produces regular rain and moisture to feed into the streams and rivers. It’s a veritable Eden.
The undulating top of the escarpment quickly gives way to a dramatic drop off, to squeals of delight as the chopper plunges over the edge, offering amazing views of the cliffs as it does so. Next up is the Klaserie Dam, via a brief fly over of Acornhoek and its surrounds. The dam glitters like a huge jewel in the Greater Kruger’s crown. A popular weekend haunt, it’s renowned for its fishing and as a boating spot.
Soon the helicopter is flying over Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate – home of our very own eKhaya Bush Villa – and it’s amazing to see our wonderful home-from-home in the Greater Kruger from the air! A final pass over Hoedspruit and it’s time to land back at Hoedspruit civil airport, with amazing videos and photos and a lifetime memory in hand.
Talk to us about a Blyde Canyon helicopter flight during your stay with us and we’ll make the arrangements for you. We recommend Hope for African Wildlife but there are other operators who also offer helicopter and microlight flights, as well as hot air balloon trips.
Africa’s tallest story!
Learn all about the magical giraffe
There’s something indescribable about giraffes. Perhaps it’s their innate grace and slender looks, or their long eyelashes and even longer tongues, or maybe it’s those magnificent long necks and impossibly long legs, and that striking coat… They really are the supermodels of the bush, and we just love them for it!
Standing up to 5,9m tall, these elegant looking quadrupeds are certainly impressive and one of the most photographed creatures in Africa. They are highly social mammals, with related females and their offspring staying together and bulls often forming bachelor groups.
That long neck is there for a reason, enabling the giraffe to browse on the tops of tall trees that are out of reach for all other animals. Curiously, it has just seven vertebrae in it, the same as in humans and most other mammals, with the difference being that each vertebra is around 30cm long!
Giraffes only have one living relative – the equally odd-looking okapi that’s found in central Africa and the Congo basin. They’re not very gifted when it comes to locomotion and have only two gaits – walking and galloping – and when they walk they swing their front and hind legs on each side together the same way that camels do.
They can gallop fast but are easily tripped – something that lions rely on when chasing them because if they take a tumble, they find it virtually impossible to get back on their feet before the lions close in for the kill.
You can easily tell male and female giraffes apart by looking at their “horns” – which are called ossicones. These are made of a bone-like cartilage that fuses to the skull. In bulls these become thick and develop bald patches at the tips. The cow’s ossicones are thinner and more tufty at the tip.
It’s widely held that giraffe are voiceless, but actually, that’s a myth that researchers have finally busted. Giraffes do have vocal cords but find it impossible to drive enough air over them to make them vibrate and produce distinct sounds. But they can and do hum, which they do mostly at night and at very low frequencies. It’s thought this is how they stay in touch with one another during the night without drawing the attention of predators.
Did you know?
When giraffes are standing and browsing together in a group they are known as a “tower”. When they are on the move the collective noun is a “journey” of giraffe.
See them with us…
You can see giraffe at Nyala Safari Lodge and eKhaya Bush Villa!
Safari luxury in the heart of the bush
Lots of things to see and do in the Greater Kruger
Excitement is par for the course when you visit the Greater Kruger National Park and eKhaya Bush Villa, with adventure literally on your doorstep thanks to a host of exciting things to and places to visit during your stay with us.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an African safari without a full-day guided game drive in the world famous Kruger National Park where the Big Five awaits in this beautiful, untamed African wilderness. We recommend this incredible experience to all of our guests, waking them up very early, before dawn, filling them with coffee and muffins and waving them off on their adventure with a scrumptious packed breakfast.
There’s nothing to compare to the thrill of being on an open game vehicle, learning all about the bush from an experienced safari guide and getting up close and personal with some of Africa’s most iconic wildlife species in its most famous national park.
We also arrange morning and evening game drives in some of the smaller, private reserves bordering the Kruger National Park, allowing guests to make the most of the amazing wilderness areas that surround us. And there’s always the opportunity to go for a walk or drive on our beautiful “home” – Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate – where you can see a variety of wildlife including giraffe, zebra, kudu, warthog, waterbuck and impala. If you like we can arrange for you to hire a mountain bike allowing you to explore on two wheels! There’s more than 25km of walking and biking trails on the estate. Or you can explore on horseback, if you’d prefer.
Our little hometown of Hoedspruit also offers a lot in the way of exploration and eating out, with a variety of wonderful restaurants, art galleries, curio shops and boutiques on hand to meet your retail therapy requirements.
Another big drawcard towers over our lovely little town – the Drakensberg Escarpment. You can take a full-day tour of the impressive Panorama Route, offering you the chance to explore the mountains and witness the incredible views and geological formations like Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Graskop Gorge and a selection of beautiful waterfalls. Or take a drive up Mariepskop – the highest peak in the Escarpment – where on a clear day you can see all the way to the Indian Ocean!
Helicopter and light-aircraft aerial tours are also a great way to experience the Greater Kruger region and Kruger to Canyon Biosphere, giving you a whole new perspective on this wonderful part of South Africa. Or you could try hot air ballooning or microlighting and spotting game from the air!
We also recommend visits to some of our local wildlife rehabilitation centres where you can find out more about conservation in the area and the work being done to protect rare and endangered wildlife species.
It’s also important to remember that sometimes what you need most is to do absolutely nothing! No matter how active you are, there’s nothing to beat just sitting by eKhaya Bush Villa’s sparkling swimming pool, with a cool and refreshing drink in your hand while enjoying the warmth of the African sun on your skin.
The Big Five are calling!
Head to the Greater Kruger for the getaway of a lifetime
If it’s pure Africa you’re after – a complete immersion in the African wilderness with incredible landscapes and wonderful wildlife – then look no further than the Greater Kruger National Park and Nyala Safari Lodge…
The spirit of wild Africa is alive and kicking at Nyala Safari Lodge in the wonderful Balule private game reserve – part of South Africa’s legendary Greater Kruger. With no fences between it and the Kruger National Park, this critically important wildlife corridor is packed with iconic wildlife species including the fabled Big Five – leopard, lion, elephant, buffalo and rhino.
It’s the lure of the Big Five that draws tourists from around the world to the Greater Kruger, making it one of the leading safari destinations in Africa. So having all of this on your doorstep at Nyala Safari Lodge is an absolute bonus!
Located on the high banks of the seasonal Mohlabetsi River with views out over the river bed and the wilderness beyond, Nyala Safari Lodge offers wonderful safari getaways, with morning and afternoon/evening game drives and a host of additional activities that you can include during your stay.
This intimate safari lodge is perfect for families and groups of friends, so during the holiday season it’s the ideal place to bring all of your loved ones and escape from the concrete jungle into the heart of the African bush. With the Greater Kruger region’s climate being wonderfully mild all year round (although it does get cold during the winter months, especially in the early morning and at night) getting away from the hubbub of city life is made easy.
Located close to the safari town of Hoedspruit – South Africa’s safari capital – Nyala Safari Lodge is just an hour’s drive from the Kruger National Park which we recommend you exploring on a guided full-day safari during longer stays with us, as it offers a wonderful contrast to the landscapes of the Balule surrounding the lodge. The fabled Panorama Route is also close at hand and is worthy of visiting on an organised tour.
But it’s the Big Five that are the real stars of the show at Nyala Safari Lodge. Named the Big Five because these animals were traditionally the five most dangerous animals to hunt on foot, the only shooting that happens these days is with a camera. You will venture out into the bush just as dawn breaks each morning, searching for tracks of predators like lions and leopards and seeing what you can find as the sun rises over the wilderness.
You’ll stop for coffee en-route and learn more about the intricacies of the Greater Kruger ecosystem from your experienced and knowledgable safari guide, returning to the lodge for a wonderful al-fresco breakfast. You’re then at leisure until lunchtime, when you’ll enjoy a light lunch on the terrace overlooking the riverbed.
In the late afternoon you’ll head out again on safari, exploring more of the wonderfully diverse landscapes that surround the lodge and stopping for sundowners at a scenic spot to raise a glass to the setting sun and another wonderful day in Africa. The last hour or so of your game drive will be in darkness, using a spotlight to find elusive nocturnal species before returning to the lodge for dinner under the stars.
We recommend at least a three-night stay at Nyala Safari Lodge, enabling you to relax and unwind and also do additional activities as required. Get in touch to find out more and make a booking!