8 Day Hluhluwe uMfolozi Park – Ithala Game Reserve –
Nkomazi Game Reserve – Kruger National Park Safari
Johannesburg to Durban
Big Five South African Guided Safaris Tours
Day 1 : Hluhluwe uMfolozi Park
Far and Wild Safaris will collect you after your breakfast from your hotel or from the King Shaka International Airport in Durban and travel along the scenic Dolphin Coast and into rural Zululand, directly to the "big 5" Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park where we would spend two nights at Hilltop Camp. The accommodation here is in a brick under thatch chalet, each bedroom with its own private bathroom/wash-basin and toilet. Each chalet is also equipped with a fridge.
Our game viewing commences immediately upon entering the gates into the park.
This first evening we go on a night drive in an open game-viewing vehicle with staff from KZN Wildlife, the organisation that is tasked with running this reserve. This is to improve on your chances of seeing some of the nocturnal species such as leopard, lion, hyena, genet, bush babies and then the other nocturnal animals such as the owls and nightjars.
Day 2 : Hluhluwe uMfolozi Park
Today will be spent on extended game drives to various areas of the Park, with an early start to make the most of the day and to possibly chance upon one of the predators returning to their day-time lair. Set in the heart of Zululand, this is the oldest game reserve in Africa, where Zulu kings such as Dingiswayo and Shaka hunted and put in place the first conservation laws, where today the "big five" of African legend stalk the verdant savannah. Established in 1895, game viewing is the prime attraction.
As the home of Operation Rhino in the 1950s and 60s, the Park became world renowned for its white rhino conservation. The Park covers some 96 000 ha and contains an immense diversity of fauna and flora. Hluhluwe is characterised by hilly topography, and this northern section of the park is noted for its wide variety of both bird and animal life. Sightings of rhino, giraffe, buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, warthog, baboon, vervet monkey, and antelope such as impala, nyala and kudu are seen frequently and with the possibility of seeing lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, black rhino, hippo, crocodile, monitor lizard, hyena and antelope such as red duiker, steenbuck, waterbuck, bushbuck and then the rare Samango monkey and wild dog, much less frequently. These drives are conducted with your guide in his/her vehicle.
Day 3 : Ithala Game Reserve
After breakfast and another game drive we make our way to the Itala Game Reserve, arriving in time for lunch. This magnificent reserve, tumbling from the heights of the Ngotshe Mountains a thousand meters down into a deep valley, carved over the eons by the Phongolo River revealing the world's oldest rock formations, is a game viewers paradise. This reserve is situated in the rugged, mountainous thornveld of northern KwaZulu-Natal and the reserve's multitude of habitats host a spectacular array of wildlife species. Its scenic beauty aside, Ithala's most characteristic feature is perhaps its astonishing geological diversity. Some of the oldest rock formations in the world are found here, dating back 3 000 million years. With a topographic profile varying from 400m above sea level in the north to 1 450m near Louwsberg in the south, Ithala's terrain extends over lowveld and densely vegetated riverine valleys to high-lying grassland plateaus, ridges and cliff faces. Ithala is a place of great seasonal contrast. In spring the grasslands are alive with warthogs and in summer masses of red "Pride of De Kaap" flowers complement the wild dates on the reclining palms along the slopes and stream banks of this rugged reserve. Hundreds of aloes transform the drab winter browns into a spectacular landscape. With its many perennial streams and rivers, and the frequent occurrence of cliffs and rock faces, Ithala is also the ideal haven for a large variety of birds. Ithala's big game species include white- and black rhino, elephant, buffalo and, notably giraffe so numerous that they have been selected as Ithala's logo. The absence of lion makes for a relaxed air among these animals and other game such as zebra, blue wildebeest and a wide variety of antelope. These include impala, orbi, red hartebeest, eland, kudu, waterbuck, tsessebe, common and mountain reedbuck, steenbok and grey duiker. Predators which are not often seen are leopard, spotted hyena and brown hyena.
Day 4 : Komati Tented Camp – Nkomazi Private Game Reserve
After breakfast we make our way to the Nkomazi Private Game Reserve, arriving in time for lunch and your afternoon/evening game drive. The Komati Tented Lodge defines an 'Out of African' styled tented accommodation with all five star amenities on offer. Guests will experience not only the quietness and solitude, but a sumptuous comfort that basks in the sense of the age-old life of Africa. Each tent has an extra large king size bed, comfort cooling/heating and en-suite shower with an outdoor bath, and private expansive teak sun decks with a plunge pool. Meandering pathways lead to the main tent where traditional fare can be enjoyed at your own leisure, while a treatment at the River Retreat will rejuvenate and relax - doing its small part to restore the delicate balance of all living things. Relax in comfort and African style among wildlife of diverse habitats along the clear streams of the Komati River.
Day 5 : Komati Tented Camp - Nkomazi Private Game Reserve
Nature lovers will be able to share in the many wonders of Nkomazi - its diversity of wildlife and habitat, its natural beauty and major geological features. Nkomazi is an ecological Aladdin's Cave and is blessed to have features such as the oldest and largest meteorite impact deposit on earth. We want you to experience, learn and enjoy the very best that our African wildlife experience can offer. To achieve this goal, we have brought together great game viewing in modern, open game vehicles that have been especially converted to maximize comfort, safety and viewing potential. Your ranger will provide insightful and valuable information about the fauna and flora. Watch the sun rise over the North Eastern boundaries of the reserve during a game drive or take in the spectacular views from lookout points among the rocky granite sentinels of the highlands of the reserve. Waterfalls and rock pools are impressive, while rolling grasslands support large herds of free-roaming wildlife, making Nkomazi a game-viewing haven. The reserve represents a kaleidoscope of Africa's habitats in its ability to support game on the high-lying grasslands and the low-lying bushveld areas, supporting the ecological balance, including the big game. One of the true joys of Nkomazi Game Reserve is the freedom to do nothing at all! In between game drives, your time can be filled with reading, relaxation treatments, sun-seeking and swimming or indulging in wholesome African Lodge cuisine.
Game viewing is carried out during the morning and evening and has been refined to an art by experienced rangers. Traversing through the reserve, the wildlife is staggering in its diversity. The game drives take between 3 - 4 hours, with a coffee stop in the morning and a sundowner's stop at a vantage point overlooking one of the many breathtaking vistas at sunset.
The night drives are normally conducted en route back to the lodge after an afternoon game drive, where the focus shifts towards nocturnal species that are sought out from the game drive vehicle with the use of a spotlight. Tailor made night drives can take place after dinner to provide a better opportunity to find elusive nocturnal species. It is always advisable to take a hat and warm clothing, even in summer. In winter, a warm jacket, beanie, scarf and gloves are advisable.
Day 6 and 7 : Kruger National Park
This morning after our game drive and breakfast we depart the Komati Tented Lodge for the Kruger National Park. The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks among the best in Africa. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this national park of nearly 2 million hectares is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies.
Truly the flagship of the South African national parks, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals. Kruger Park is an excellent venue with good sightings of lion, elephant, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, warthog, baboon, monkey, hippo and impala regularly seen. The more elusive animals like leopard and wild dog are an exciting find.
We will go on a night drive in an open safari vehicle on one of the evenings, this to enhance the possibility of seeing the nocturnal species such as leopard, lion, hyena, genet, bush babies and then the other nocturnal animals such as the smaller cats, owls and nightjars. You also get to see most of the diurnal animals, with their eyes lighting up like a little town in the reflection of the spotlights when you chance on a herd of Impala. These drives are conducted by SANParks, the organisation tasked with running this Park.
We will spend our nights in Kruger in bungalow accommodation inside the Kruger Park. Although not graded, these bungalows are of a two or three star standard. Here the rooms have twin beds, each with a private shower, toilet and hand basin en-suite. The brick under thatch rooms are equipped with air-conditioning, some also with ceiling fans and a fridge. There is insect proof screening on the doors and windows. You will be provided with bath and hand towels as well as soap. In the game reserve we will have breakfast and dinners in the restaurants.
We enjoy a full game-viewing programme for the balance of the days. Your guide in his vehicle conducts the remainder of the game drives. We encourage an early start to make the most of the best time of day to view the animals. We will try and be the first one out at dawn - this to see if we are able to sight some of the nocturnal predators returning to their daytime resting place and then to have breakfast, possibly at a different locality.
Day 8 : Johannesburg
After our morning game viewing we leave Kruger Park and drive through to reach Johannesburg late afternoon where we drop you off at your overnight accommodation or at the O R Tambo International Airport in time for your flight.