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Durban to Johannesburg
Big Five South African Guided Safaris Tours
Day 1 : Hluhluwe uMfolozi Park – Hilltop Camp
A guide from Far and Wild Safaris will collect you after your breakfast at your overnight accommodation in Durban, or alternatively from the King Shaka International Airport. Drive along the scenic Dolphin Coast and into rural Zululand, directly to the Hluhluwe uMfolozi Park, a Big 5 game reserve, where we would spend two nights at Hilltop Camp. The accommodation here is inside the game reserve, consisting of brick under thatch chalets, each bedroom having its own private bathroom, (bath with shower, hand-basin and toilet) en suite. Each chalet is also equipped with a fridge and tea / coffee station.
Your game viewing commences immediately upon entering the gates into the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park.
This first evening you will go on a night drive in an open game-viewing safari vehicle with a ranger from KZN Wildlife, the organisation that is tasked with running this reserve. This, 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 – Hilltop Camp
Today will be spent on extended game drives to various areas of the Hluhluwe uMfolozi Park, with an early start to make the most of the day, to possibly chance upon a roadside kill or 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 once hunted and initiated the first conservation laws, where today the "big five" now freely roam. Established in 1895, game viewing is the prime attraction in this protected area.
As the home of 'Operation Rhino' back in the 1950s and 60s, the Hluhluwe and uMfolozi Game Reserves became world renowned for their 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, buffalo, giraffe, 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, hyena and antelope such as red duiker, waterbuck, steenbuck, 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 : Swaziland – Reilly's Rock
After breakfast we travel through rural Swaziland where we overnight at Reilly's Rock (or similar). Situated in the Mliliwane Game Sanctuary, Reilly's Rock's unique lodge has been tastefully decorated in keeping with its colonial roots by Swaziland's leading conservation team. Notwithstanding the necessary subtle additions and renovations, the house still stands as it was built almost a century ago. Mliliwane Game Reserve is Swaziland's pioneer conservation area and is situated in a beautiful, secluded sanctuary in Swaziland's Valley of Heaven, the Ezulwini Valley, an area between Mbabane and Manzini.
The Sanctuary covers 4,560 hectares and comprises of a southern and northern section. The southern section is predominately open grassland plains with middleveld vegetation, stretching up onto the striking Nyonyane Mountain with its exposed granite peak known as the "Rock of Execution". Nyonyane is where ancient San once lived and where Swazi Royal graves are situated, giving it historical significance.
The Kingdom of Swaziland, is a country located in Southern Africa and is relatively small in area, similar in size to Kuwait. Swaziland is a landlocked country, bordered by South Africa on three sides, except to the east, where it borders with Mozambique. The country, inhabited primarily by the Swazi people, is named after the 19th century King Mswati II, from whom the people also take their name.
Day 4 : Nkomazi Private Game Reserve – Komati Tented Camp
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 Africa' styled tented accommodation with five star amenities on offer. Each luxury tent has an extra large king size bed, cooling and heating, ceiling fan, mini-bar, tea station, a rather unique en-suite shower, with an outdoor bath on the private teak sun deck, which has in addition, a plunge pool. Winding pathways lead to the main tent, where traditional fare can be enjoyed at your leisure. Meals in the dining tent or in the Boma, alfresco seated around a fire. A Spa treatment at the Relaxation Retreat will rejuvenate and relax - doing its small part to restore the delicate balance of all living things.(own account). Relax in comfort and in African style amongst wildlife, and the diverse habitats along the clear 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 interesting ecological area with 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 range of Africa's habitats in its ability to support the different game species, those suited to the high-lying grasslands and then those preferring the low-lying bushveld areas, thus supporting the ecological balance, this includs 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 sundowners stop at a vantage point overlooking one of the many scenic 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.