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Durban to Durban
Big Five South African Guided Safaris Tours
Day 1 and 2: Hluhluwe/Umfolozi ParkWe will collect you after breakfast from your overnight accommodation in Durban (or from the King Shaka International Airport near Durban) and travel along the Dolphin Coast and into rural Zululand, to the “big 5” Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Park where we would spend two nights at Hilltop Camp. The accommodation here is in a chalet, each with its own private bathroom/washbasin and toilet. These chalets are also equipped with a fridge.
Day 3: Makakatana Bay Lodge
After breakfast we do a further game drive in the Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Park as we exit the park to arrive at Makakatana Bay Lodge in time for lunch. This luxurious lodge is set on the western shores of Lake St. Lucia and is the only privately-owned lodge on the western shores. This afternoon we go on game drive in the Western Shores part of this reserve.
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park has both one of the largest estuary systems in Africa and the continent's southernmost coral reefs. In granting it World Heritage status in 1999, the World Heritage Committee noted the park's "exceptional biodiversity, including some 521 bird species". Situated on the central Zululand coast of KwaZulu-Natal, the park is made up of 13 adjoining protected areas with a total size of 234 566 hectares. Its remarkable biodiversity is a result of the park's location between subtropical and tropical Africa, as well as its coastal setting. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park has its origins in the St Lucia Game Reserve, declared in 1895 and made up of the large lake and its islands. St Lucia Park was proclaimed in 1939, containing land around the estuary and a strip of about one kilometre around most of the lake shore.
Day 4 and 5: Private Game Reserve
There will be another game drive into the Wetland Park before breakfast at Makakatana, and after breakfast we depart for the nearby Private Game Reserve, arriving in time for lunch. Over a late afternoon tea, our ranger will discuss what you hope to see during the afternoon game drive. This game begins in the late afternoon and lasts until after dark, when spotlights are used for a glimpse into the nocturnal bush life. Listen to lion’s roar in the dark or admire the small nocturnal animals.
Open safari vehicles, seating between 4 and 10 visitors each, head out into the wild under the expert guidance of experienced rangers and at most lodges, trackers. Guests can get in close contact with the wildlife species and are presented with unparalleled photographic opportunities. Early morning safaris head out as the sun rises and as the bush stirs to life. The rangers search for animals by tracking their spoor, and by listening for the tell-tale signs of activity. The bush has its own language, and it is fascinating to watch those who possess the tools to encode it. Late afternoon safaris commence as the sun burns its way towards the horizon. The animals are now getting more active, many preparing for the great hunt after dark. After sundowners, the drive continues with the aid of powerful spotlights that reveal nocturnal species in another world. On average, approximately 6 hours a day or more are spent out in the bush on safari. Game drives traverse a large area and strict vehicle limits at sighting ensure the exclusivity of your safari activities and game viewing experience. Off-road driving ensures that you have the best possible view of any exceptional sighting and rangers are constantly in touch with each other to keep track of animal movements.
Most of these lodges follow the wildlife safari format, which is to arrive for lunch on the first day. It is then check in, orientation and introduction to the bush. After afternoon tea it is out on a game drive from about 15h30 or 16h00. During the drive, sundowners are enjoyed in the bush, where after you return to the lodge for dinner after a period of night driving where the nocturnal species are searched for by spotlight. These drives are in open Land Rover or Toyota Land Cruiser safari vehicles. The driver is an experienced guide who will make the drive more interesting. Early next morning you are awakened at dawn, tea/coffee and rusks are served and out on a game drive again, returning to breakfast. After breakfast there is an opportunity to go on a guided walk in the bush with an armed ranger. This usually focuses on the tracks, insects, birds and the smaller animals. Alternatively, you may choose to relax at the lodge. Many lodges have a lovely outlook into the bush and possibly a water hole at which a variety of animals visit during the day. Lunch is then served and then the cycle repeats itself with the afternoon safari game drive.
Day 6: Private Game Lodge - Durban
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 tea or coffee and morning biscuits or rusks.
Return to your lodge for a delicious breakfast.