The African Ivory Route (Wilderness, Wildlife, Culture and Brilliant 4×4 routes)

The African Ivory Route (Wilderness, Wildlife, Culture and Brilliant 4×4 routes)

“The Ivory Route of South Africa is a place where elephants are granted right of way and the gargantuan ‘upside down’ trees stand sentinel over mystical and outlandish landscapes…..

This wild land, bordering Botswana, Zimbabwe and the northern reaches of the Kruger National Park, is a land of prehistoric secrets and rich archaeological sites….

Hunters decades ago identified its wealth in wildlife.

Now tourism makes its conservation viable. “

Day of Arrival

Arrive at OR Tambo International by own arrangement.

The Above & Beyond crew will be there to welcome you, and transfer you to your Land Rover Defenders.

After an introduction on how to use all the camping equipment, the convoy will depart to one of our popular supermarkets, where you will have a chance to buy sunscreen, snacks, drinks, etc 

We now depart to one of our “secret” overnight destinations where we will “wine and dine” you in real South African tradition ! 

Day 1

Depart after breakfast.

The road network will take us north-east into rural South Africa, until we meet the Olifants river where it has through the millennia cut its way from the highveld plateau into the wilderness of the wild lowveld region.

A 4×4 track will lead us away from the river into the mountains to an undiscovered gem – Marula  community campsite. 

Camping under the African stars – stuff of dreams .. 

Day 2

Depart after breakfast.

We make our way back to the Olifants river, cross the river and proceed into the Strydpoort mountains. 

We now follow ancient ox wagon tracks across the mountains and valleys, until we reach our overnight stop at the top of the Drakensberg escarpment – Mafefe community campsite. 

And once again we will be silenced by the night sounds of un-touched nature…

Day 3

A day full of surprises !!

Afro-montane forests …

The Lekgalameetse Nature Reserve is an immense 18 718 ha mountain wilderness area of protected escarpment, scenic landscape, mountain vegetation and wildlife.

“The place of water”, this is where many of the prominent rivers of the Lowveld originate. In the Wolkberg Mountains, which form part of the world – famous Drakensberg mountain range, the reserve offers a diversity of plant and insect species. It is also world renowned for its rare butterfly species.

Ancient Baobabs ….

….One story goes that the god Thora did not like the baobab growing in his garden, so he plucked it out and threw it out over the wall of Paradise. It fell on the Earth below, landing upside down and simply continued to grow…….

And a  small village with a BIG history, and a lovely “Wild West” bushveld hotel……….

Leydsdorp, the smallest city in South Africa and once the capital of the Lowveld, was named in honour of President Paul Kruger’s secretary of state, Dr William Leyd.

Having shot his first lion at the age of twelve, Paul Kruger was a keen hunter and used to visit his hunting house in Leydsdorp (which can still be seen today) on a regular basis. In fact, he enjoyed it so much, that when he needed to put his signature on a few important documents that were only allowed to be signed in a city, he proclaimed it as such.

And thus Leydsdorp was proclaimed an official city on 1 October 1890. However, the history of Leydsdorp started as early as 1870 with the discovery of gold, the extent of which was fully recognised in 1887/8, starting the 2nd gold rush in South Africa. Sadly, just when uncle Paul thought he could maintain state control over the mining through the proclamation of the area as the Selati Goldfields, the sudden and rapid boom ended as quickly as it had started.

Day 4

Depart for the Letaba Ranch sector of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.

The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park will link the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique; Kruger National Park in South Africa; Gonarezhou National Park, Manjinji Pan Sanctuary and Malipati Safari Area in Zimbabwe, as well as two areas between Kruger and Gonarezhou, namely the Sengwe communal land in Zimbabwe and the Makuleke region in South Africa into one huge conservation area of 35 000 km²

We enter the Park through a non-tourist service gate, and slowly make our way deeper into this pristine wilderness. The Letaba Ranch sector is well known for its big herds of Buffalo, Elephant breeding herds and packs of Wild Dogs!

Our camp site tonight is in the heart of BIG 5 territory …..

Day 5

Typical talk around the morning camp fire: “Have you heard the Hyaena last night…Yes, and did you hear the Lions roar….No, but I heard the alarm “bark” of a Bushbuck…. !”

After a picnic lunch, we slowly drive up the Great Letaba river, enjoy a sundowner drink or two …

before arriving at the beautifully situated Mtomeni Tented Camp – luxury in the bush !

Day 6

Early morning guided game walk – this is the real stuff !!

We exit the Park, and aim for the dry river bed of the Small Letaba river (Seasonal access)

Deflate tyres, and follow the cattle and wild life tracks up-river for around 30km…

There is just one place on earth where the Marula trees grow – across Africa’s subequatorial plains. And there is just one time of year when the female Marula trees bear their exotic fruit –  at the height of our beautiful summer. The size of small plums  but oval in shape, the Marula fruit ripens to a rich yellow, with a tough outer skin surrounding its fibrous, white flesh. Containing four times more vitamin C than the average orange, Marula is a succulent fruit with a citrus tang and a creamy, nutty taste ….

En-route we will visit a traditional method of salt harvesting

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

Our overnight accommodation will be at the lovely Baleni communal camp which consists of

communal rondavels (huts) build the traditional way but with en-suite bathrooms – such luxury !!

And to round the day off, a local Tsonga dance group will entertain us.

Day 7

We are finally making our way back to “civilization”.

We use the scenic Panorama route through the Drakensberg escarpment back to the highlands of the Mpumalanga province.

Here and there we go through 6500 ft above sea level before we reach the touristic town of Dullstroom where we stop for lunch for the most divine pancakes in the world !

After lunch we proceed to Walkerson’s Hotel and Spa (or similar) where we will end this great adventure in style !

Day 8

Depart after breakfast.

ETA  for Johannesburg will be around 12h00.

Drop-off vehicles

End of Safari

If you are interested in staying another day or two, we would gladly assist!


  • Cullinan diamond mine
  • Apartheid museum
  • Gold Reef City
  • Sun City
  • etc

Rate per person (sharing)

GBP 2500.00

  • Based on 4 x Participants (max 8 x participants)
  • Recommended 2 x participants per vehicle

Add 35% for a single supplement

  • Transfers from OR Tambo airport and back
  • Accommodation as per the itinerary
  • Three meals per day
  • Entrance fees
  • Park fees
  • Land Rover Defender rental & insurance & fuel
  • Two-way radio communication between vehicles
  • Professional guides in lead and back-up vehicles
  • Activities as per the itinerary
  • Adventure under the African stars …
  • Visas where required
  • Drinks
  • Snacks
  • Items of personal nature
  • Gratuities (tips)

NB: All guests must have personal travel insurance and medical cover