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Port Elizabeth to Port Elizabeth
Big Five South African Guided Safaris Tours
Day 1: Addo Elephant National Park
We will collect you from your overnight accommodation in Port Elizabeth, or from the airport in Port Elizabeth and make our way to the Addo Elephant National Park. Deep within the shadows of the dense valley bushveld of the Sundays River region of the Eastern Cape is the Addo Elephant National Park. Here, the evenings are punctuated by the strident howl of the black-backed jackal, and the francolin's call heralds each new dawn. Safe from relentless persecution in the past, the grey leviathans of the bush now roam in peace. This park conserves no less than five of South Africa's seven biomes, is also home to one of the densest African elephant populations on earth and is home to the unique flightless dung beetle.
The remainder of the day will be spent on game drives into the various areas of this park which offers some of the most spectacular elephant viewing in the world.
Now the third largest national park in South Africa, Addo Elephant National Park has expanded to conserve a wide diversity of biodiversity, landscapes, fauna and flora.
The original elephant section of the park was proclaimed in 1931, when only sixteen elephants remained in the area. Today this finely tuned ecosystem is sanctuary to over 550 elephants, lions, buffalo, black rhino, spotted hyena, leopard, a variety of antelope and zebra species, as well as the unique Addo flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively in Addo.
Day 2: Addo Elephant National Park
Today will be spent on extended drives into the various areas of the park with your guide. For those times when you want the opportunity to stretch your legs in the camp, there are two hides in the camp, the Red Bishop Hide for birders and a game viewing hide situated in the camp, and elephant are often seen here enjoying the waterhole. The main game area boasts a list of 170 bird species, while the expanded park may contain as many as 450 species in a diversity of habitats.
Day 3: Mountain Zebra National Park
After breakfast we depart for the Mountain Zebra National Park.
The craggy heights of the Mountain Zebra National Park's Bankberg embrace rolling plains and deep valleys and have become an entrancing preserve for the Cape mountain zebra. The proclamation of the park in 1937 saved these animals from extinction, and currently their population stands at more than 300, where they roam 28 412 hectares of land. Other mammals found here include the cheetah, Cape buffalo, black rhino, eland, black wildebeest, red hartebeest and gemsbok, while mountain reedbuck and grey rhebok frequent the higher areas.
Our accommodation here is in four-bed family cottages, each with two bedrooms, bathroom and partially equipped kitchen.
This afternoon will be spent on extended game drives into this park.
The highlight of the park’s mammalian fauna is obviously the ±300 or so Cape Mountain zebra after which the park is named. These zebras differ from the plains or Burchell’s zebra, by having narrower stripes, absence of shadow stripes and orange facial colouration. Other noticeable species of the mountain plateau are the red hartebeest, eland and springbok. In the more wooded valleys, we should search for kudu, and two of the park’s more recent reintroductions, the African buffalo and the black rhino.
Verreaux’s (Black) and Martial Eagle and Jackal Buzzard soar impressively over this mountain habitat. Pale-winged Starling is very conspicuous on the mountain plateau, where Ostrich, Secretarybird, Blue Crane and Ludwig’s Bustard are the larger more visible species. Grey-winged Francolin, Ground Woodpecker, Large-billed (Thick-billed) and Eastern Long-billed Lark, Cape and Sentinel Rock-Thrush, Mountain Wheatear (Chat) and Orange-breasted Rockjumper should also be searched for, while Pink-billed Lark and African Rock Pipit are less common. The wooded kloofs and acacia stands host species such as Red-fronted Tinker Barbet, Lesser Honeyguide, Red-throated Wryneck and Southern Tchagra.
Day 4: Samara Private Game Reserve
After breakfast and a short game drive we make our way to Samara, arriving there in time for lunch. A heart stopping beautiful African setting waits at the award-winning Samara Private Game Rreserve. Spanning 70,000 acres of malaria-free wilderness in the Eastern Cape, award-winning Samara offers a Big Five safari with a difference. Consisting of 11 former livestock farms assembled since 1997, Samara’s vision is nothing less than the rehabilitation of an entire landscape in the Great Karoo, South Africa’s magical heartland. Key to the Samara experience is the concept of co-creation, where every guest plays a role in safeguarding the landscape in perpetuity.
The landscape itself is unique – an unexpected and diverse semi-arid paradise of mountains and grasslands, where thousands of wild animals, from cheetah to elephant to springbok, roam once more. Samara is uniquely situated at the meeting point of four of South Africa’s eight vegetation biomes: Grasslands, Nama Karoo, Savanna and Thicket. This diversity of vegetation creates a multitude of habitats for species that are specially adapted to the Karoo’s arid environment. Explore each of these biomes during your safari at Samara with their experienced guides, who will bring each biome to life during walks and drives.
The lodges offer exceptionally elegant accommodation with outstanding service and Karoo cuisine.
Day 5: Samara Private Game Reserve
Today will be spent on game drives and enjoying what Samara has to offer. Samara’s abundant wilderness preserves a complex and diverse ecosystem, providing habitat for over 60 mammal species. Among more common species, such as the Kudu and Duiker, the secretive Aardvark and the once-endangered White Rhino roam. Giraffes can be seen peeking over the thorny Acacia canopy, while Cheetah crouch, hidden in the grass, waiting for an opportunity to stretch their legs and test the speed of the Hartebeest. Whether ensconced in the comfort of an open game viewer, or trekking through the fragrant Karoo bush, you will feel the deep pulse of the Karoo that makes Samara truly magical. Discover the secrets of Samara as you explore the untouched Plains of Camdeboo that once staged the massive migrations of millions of Springbok. Begin the journey of revitalisation on your 'birding safari', where you can witness the hauntingly beautiful Blue Crane mating dance, soaring pairs of Black Eagles near Eagle Rock, witness the strutting Secretary Bird and marvel at the wing span of the Kori Bustard - also plant a spekboom and explore the ancient rock art before relaxing for an afternoon of indulgence with spa treatments, Karoo cuisine and sunset game drives.
Day 6: Private Game Lodge/Reserve
This morning after our last game drive at Samara and breakfast, we head out to any of the many, good private game reserves in this province.
Among those can be any of the following:
Amakhala Game Reserve
Kariega Game Reserve
Lalibela Game Reserve
Day 7: Private Game Lodge/Reserve
Today is spent on the full-day lodges’ activities, which are usually this:
* Morning Game Drive - As dawn breaks over the African bush, a gentle tap on your door will wake you to the delights of a new day. Your ranger will discuss what you hope to see that day over fragrant tea or coffee and morning biscuits or rusks. Set out in an open 4x4 safari vehicle in the company of a ranger and tracker team, who will attempt to track your favourite animals. Explore Kwandwe's diverse terrain in search of cheetah, black rhino or elephant.
* Breakfast - Return to your lodge for a delicious breakfast, with platters of fruit and cheese followed by a selection of hot breakfast dishes. Choose from eggs, oats, waffles or a number of other options.
* Lunch - If you wish, you can walk off your breakfast on a short walk near your lodge, accompanied by your ranger, who will share his insight into the smaller animals and vegetation in the area. Return to the lodge in time for lunch.
* Afternoon Tea - Cool off with a refreshing dip in the pool or indulge in an afternoon siesta. Over a late afternoon tea, your ranger will discuss what you hope to see during the afternoon game drive.
* Evening Game Drive - This game drive begins in the late afternoon and lasts until after dark, when spotlights are used for a glimpse into the nocturnal bush life. Spot the rarely seen porcupine, aardwolf or aardvark. Enjoy sundowners in a scenic location as the sun slowly sinks beneath the horizon.
* Dinner - Return to your lodge for a mouthwatering dinner around a blazing fire in a boma or in your lodge's dining area.
Day 8: Private Game Lodge/Reserve - Port Elizabeth
After your morning game drive and breakfast, you will be dropped of at your overnight accommodation in Port Elizabeth or at the airport in Port Elizabeth in the early afternoon for your return flight.