The first 40 delegates to book their spot for the pre-party tour and golf day will be transported from OR Tambo Airport to Cullinan in our party bus for free! In Cullinan we will have a massive party with a live band. Accommodation will be provided at Cullinan Backpackers. Tne next morning we will go GorgeGliding before we return to Soweto in time for registration Tuesday afternoon!
Date: 29 July 2013
Place: OR Tambo International Airport
Cost: Transport for first 40 delegates free
GorgeGlide: First 10 free, thereafter R200 per person (normally R450)
To make your reservation please call Cullinan Backpackers on 012 734 0507
Pre-conference golf day
The golf day will be hosted in Cullinan by them as well and for those not so faint-hearted, they are offering free Gorge Glide trips for the first 10 bookings. There after a very discounted rate of R200 (normally R450) will be charged.
Please contact 012 734 0507 to book your seat at the bar (oops, I mean bus), your bum in a bed and your activity for the next day (whether it be golf or gorge glide or simply a hangover cure to get ready for the conference of the year!)
Activities in Soweto
Join the teams of Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers and Soweto Outdoor Adventures and discover Soweto! No matter whether you are an adrenaline junkie, interested in culture and history or want to learn more about life and interact with Sowetan’s – we will have something for you. Soweto is mainly known for its rich history and being the home of some of our great political icons, but the past years Soweto has developed to a city offering so much more. The Soweto SAYTC members want to show our conference delegates all of this! Join in to an activity of your choice:
- Bicycle tour
- Tuk Tuk tour
- Walking tour
- Viewing Soweto from the Orlando cooling towers
- Quad biking
Bicycle, tuk-tuk and walking tours
The bicycle, Tuk-Tuk and walking tours will depart from the conference venue, Ubuntu Kraal at 2pm. We will take to the streets of Orlando West where Winnie Mandela and Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu still lives. The former home of Nelson Mandela – today a museum- and the home of the late Walter and Albertina Sisulu. The tour will continue to Hector Pieterson memorial, the site commemorating the 1976 students uprising. After engaging in Soweto’s rich history the tour continues to discover the community. Stop at a shebeen at the end of the tour and have a taste of African traditional sorghum beer. Then cycle, cruise or walk back to Ubuntu Kraal for some late afternoon entertainment.
Quad biking tours
For the delegates wanting to experience some of the off-beaten track and dusty roads of Soweto, Soweto Outdoor Adventures will offer a quad bike tour taking off at Soweto’s “twin towers” – the old coal power station is today painted in bright colours offering adventure activities. The quad bike tour offers a good mix between an adventurous ride and an insight to the various communities that makes up Soweto. Shuttle will depart from Ubuntu Kraal at 2 pm to the Towers and return back at 5:00pm and join the late afternoon entertainment
Orlando cooling towers
For those who want a more relaxed, chilled out afternoon – but not for the feint hearted though – join the shuttle to the cooling towers and meet the crew at Orlando Towers, they will take you inside their open air lift taking you 100m up on the outside of one of the towers. You will then be able to have a breathtaking view of Soweto from the viewing deck. Delegates can bungee for R350 (normally R480) or SCAD Freefall for R250 (normally R400). After seeing this huge township’s different landmarks from above, take the lift down and enjoy a drink or two at Soweto’s no 1 chill out spot (literally meaning) Chaf-Pozi situated right next to the Towers. Take the shuttle back at 5:00pm and join the late afternoon entertainment.
Book your activity with:
Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers
Post-conference tour to the Kruger Park
Crazy Dave is offering
- 50% off 3 day/2 night Kruger & Blyde River Canyon Tour starting on 3 Aug
- a free transfer from Soweto to Nelspruit on 2 August
- accommodation, dinner and breakfast at Old Vic Travellers Inn on 2 August
This offer does not include a return to Johannesburg or Soweto.
The normal tour price is:
- R4750 pp sharing minimum two people in comfortable budget rooms
- R5350 pp sharing minimum two people in en suite rooms
The discounted price is 50% off this.
We travel from Soweto to Nelspruit and stay over at the Old Vic. Dinner and breakfast is included.
This tour also begins with a bright and early 5am rising for us to benefit and find the wide variety of mammals as well as the Big Five in Kruger. First and foremost we have a relaxing brunch at one of Kruger’s picnic sights once we have eaten our fill we will head on out, to Sabie camp (rumored to be the top camp in Kruger) spotting animals as we go, for a bit of rest and relaxation in your comfy bungalow. Awakening refreshed we go on a 3 hour game drive with one of the experienced game rangers of Kruger and return to enjoy the ambience of a typical South African braai under our awesome African sky.
Awakening with the animals on day two of our tour we discover the areas of the park we have as yet not covered. Returning to Sabie in the afternoon for a bit of rest and relaxation or alternatively relaxing on the deck viewing the animals coming down to the river for a drink, as you leisurely prepare your postcards to send back home. Completing a perfect day in the bush with another night drive before falling into your comfy bed for a restful night’s sleep after a truly glorious day under African skies.
Day three we once again awaken with the call of the animals as they also begin another day. We make our way out of the park, seeking out the various animals not yet spotted with a three hour game drive to Kruger gate. As we leave with perfect memories of the bush and animals we make our way up into the Small Drakensberg mountain range, where the stunning sights of God’s Window, Lisbon Falls, Bourkes Luck Potholes which is the world’s thirds largest and only growing canyon, the Blyde Canyon await us. Once we have taken the perfect set of photo’s to place in our Brag Book when we return home, we complete a perfect day with a perfect pancake from Harries Pancakes, renowned for their delicious selection of pancakes.
Returning to Johannesburg
The best way to get back is with the City Bug to Johannesburg Airport or the Greyhound coach service.
Post-conference stay at the Amphitheatre in the Drakensberg
Amphitheatre Backpackers Lodge is offering:
- FREE accommodation and day trip in the Northern Drakensberg! Pay only for your own food and drinks
- FREE transport on the Baz Bus to and from Joburg or Durban
Amphitheatre Backpackers Lodge extends a warm welcome to the delegates attending the SAYTC Conference, to take the Baz Bus, after the conference, and visit us for the weekend! The Baz Bus will leave Johannesburg on Friday morning, and will deliver you safely to our doorstep by 13h00. You can return to Johannesburg, or Durban, on the Sunday using the Baz Bus services, as both buses visit us on that day.
We would like to give you a wonderful weekend in the Northern Drakensberg. Click here for some info on our place.
The venue is really amazing. The lodge is found on a stunning 300 hectares of land near the foot of the Amphitheatre (Royal Natal National Park) and Cathedral Peak. The Mpande River weaves through the lands. There are buck, small mammals and a fantastic array of wild birds near the 2 dams and a picture postcard view from the lawn, a 360 degree panorama that takes in the entire Northern range from the Amphitheatre all the way to Cathkin Peak. The lodge is a base from which you can explore different sections and all the highlights of the Drakensberg Park each day. Built from stone, thatch and wood, the place is like an artist’s sculpture with stained glass, metal and wooden carvings, mosaics and beautiful indigenous rockeries. The loft lounge has a fantastic view over the lodge and Drakensberg. Some rooms are in converted grain silos, using solar to heat the water and windmill power to pump it. A black pool is made from real Drakensberg rock and there is a barbecue area with a fire pit. The funky bar is a great meeting place for all, with a wonderful range of music, hookah pipes and a jacuzzi in the thick of the action.
There is free use of the sauna and bouldering cave and a wicked array of delicious cocktails on offer so prepare yourself! Live music is performed on two different stages, one inside and one outside. Watch the sunset from our thatched loft lounge room with DSTV with a big screen and HD televisions as well as a book swop and an internet cafe. Self catering kitchens are fully equipped but there is no need to bring any food along as the restaurant serves gorgeous food and light snacks. Breakfasts start from R7 and our 3 course evening meals cost R100. We serve both vegetarians and carnivores!
This is also the site of the famous Smoking Dragon Festivals www.smokingdragon.co.za
While you are staying with us, we would like to take you on one of the following hikes. The trip to Lesotho does require a passport, so please bring it with you, if you have one. Also bring hiking shoes, and suitable clothing for the day (windbreaker, day pack, beanie, etc.). Here is some information to whet your appetite … the hike and accommodation are on the house, so make the most of the weekend to explore the Drakensberg with us.
Tours & activities
In terms of activities there is a wealth of things to do. The most famous highlights are the Tugela Falls (2nd highest in the world) hike to the Amphitheatre summit and visiting Lesotho (highest country in the world.) We teach Rock Climbing (for beginners and pros) and take people on the hike to the SUMMIT of Cathedral Peak.
On arrival half day activities include mountain bike riding, horse treks and fly-fishing.
Our tours are extremely popular! I have written a small explanation of each tour for you to look at. All guides have been approved and assessed by THEATA. Trips run all days of the week and on public holidays except for Xmas day and New Year’s Day.
Please note that all trips must be booked the night before the tour’s departure AT the hostel. No bookings are taken in advance for tours. A minimum of three people is required for each trip. A trip will be cancelled if weather is unsuitable.
We do not book trips in advance as they are so popular and people can let us down if they do not arrive. We therefore book clients on the trip ONLY when they have arrived and have physically signed the register, so we cannot guarantee that the trip will definitely go when you want it to. Saying that we normally do at least one trip if not both per day. Because you get such a discount on the 2nd trip most people stay three nights to ensure that they can do both trips.
TUGELA FALLS ALSO KNOWN AS AMPHITHEATRE / MOUNT AUX SOURCES AND THE SENTINEL CHAIN LADDER HIKE
This is regarded as the most famous hike in South Africa not just because it allows you to access the highest escarpment in one day but also because the waterfall is the highest in Africa. In fact it’s the 2nd highest in the world which is why many foreigners have heard of the hike. It is called the Thukela Falls; Thukela means “the startling one” because of its tendency to burst into flood suddenly with no warning! The name reflects how unpredictable the weather is generally in the area . Normally when you hike from the bottom of the Drakensberg to the top and back it takes you three to four days. This is because there is a massive wall of rock separating the foothills from the summit. So when you do day hikes in the other parts of the berg you are basically wandering around the foothills each day and never reaching the escarpment. We, however, get you to the top and back again in one day. What we do is we cheat. We drive with a high clearance vehicle up up up about two hours over a rough road to 2500 meters and then we hike up to the summit and back again. By doing this extra drive we are able to condense a three day hike into one day. The hike up is about two and a half hours, we spend an hour on the summit and then two and a half hours hiking back again. This is at a far higher altitude than foothill hikes in other parts of the berg and the weather more extreme so therefore one of the hikes in the Drakensberg that you need a guide for. The guide shows you how to ascend using the gully. On many days there will be thick mist at the lower altitudes, but often the guide will get you to the point where you break through and end up above the cloud. Water vapour usually burns off during the day but you never know for sure. We can leave with blue skies and return in the rain or leave in a downpour and return in the hot sun. Paths are not marked, clouds are disorientating and lightening is very dangerous. We head across the summit all the way to the waterfall where we have lunch . The view is really incredible as it looks down over a sheer one kilometer cliff face . The Thukela Falls is the second highest in the world and the highest in Africa. Remember that after good rain the waterfall will swell, but generally it is very narrow. This is because it is high, not wide like Victoria Falls (which is only 100 meters, a tenth of Thukela’s height.) The hike is about the view, the spectacular rock formations and the flora. It is not about the volume of water. After lunch we head across the escarpment and descend onto the contour using chain ladders. For those of you who are nervous or when the ladders are wet we use safety ropes that are anchored to the ladders. Then it’s back to the car and back to the backpackers. We leave between eight and half past in the morning and return at around about six in the evening. So it’s a full day. The price includes transport there, community levy, entrance fees, guide’s fees, lunch, roping equipment and transport home. The guides are properly certified for high-altitude hikes with level-two first aid training . They carry safety ropes and proper first aid kits against snake bites and other hazards. Because the hike is not physically difficult and because we cheat by driving some of the way, once you have a guide who can lead you through the difficult navigation and has the equipment the average person is able to do the hike. The trip leaves at 08h00 and returns at about 18h00.
This is a full day, which includes lunch, entrance fees, community levy, a guide and transport.
The other trip that we offer is our day trip into the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. It is the highest country in the world having the highest low point of any other. South Africa and Lesotho are separated from one another by the Drakensberg mountains known in Zulu as Ukhuhlamba which means the barrier of spears. The fact that Lesotho is set right on the top of mountains has influenced the way that the Sotho people live. They have had to adapt to their environment. When we visit Lesotho we do not take the route that other travellers take, instead we travel around the back of the Amphitheatre and Golden Gate. Although we use a high clearance vehicle the emphasis is not on driving but on exploring the country of Lesotho itself. The area we visit is not the usual tourist destination and is geographically very beautiful with indigenous succulents and amazing rock outcrops. In fact we visit a part of Golden Gate that no other tourists would visit because we are the only ones that take people into the area. It is so remote and wild that not even cellphones work. There are no tarred roads and people use horses to travel around. The men still travel great distances, with their cattle, looking for grazing and often sleep out in the open, eating lizards and mice for nourishment. While we are in the area we hike up to cave paintings , across rivers , past herdsmen and men coming off the edges of the mountains with their hunting dogs. Perhaps the kids have caught mice which they cook over a fire, if you are adventurous we’ll let you taste some. Women still prepare beer for their men using their traditional recipes . Nothing is predicted as this is not a set CULTURAL tour, it is simply an area that we are travelling around in and as we see different things we explain them to you. It is one of the few places in the world that are still as they were hundreds of years ago. It is rather like walking into a National Geographic movie. The trip takes a FULL day, leaving at 08h00 and returning at about 18h00. This trip includes guide fees, food, transport, donation to the school, Sotho food and beer.