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Johannesburg to Johannesburg
Big Five South African Guided Safaris Tours
Day 1: Drakensberg Escarpment – Panorama Route
We will collect you from the O R Tambo International Airport or from your overnight accommodation in Johannesburg and travel through the Highveld industrial, mining and agricultural areas. Our guide will make this section interesting, adding value with his interpretation of the local history and sights. The scenery is flat but changes as we approach the Drakensberg Escarpment, where we drop down to the Lowveld through scenic passes. This Drakensberg Escarpment area has scenic vistas over the Lowveld of the Kruger National Park. The fresh mountain scenery and panoramic views over the Klein Drakensberg escarpment are quite spectacular and give the area its name of 'Panorama Route'. The geology and climate of this high rainfall plateau results in masses of waterfalls. Some are hidden deep within some of the largest man-made forestry plantations in the world, with row upon row of pine and eucalyptus trees. We will visit the Panorama Escarpment and some of the view-sites such as God’s Window, Blyde River Canyon, Berlin and Lisbon waterfalls, etc. and overnight at Rissington Inn (or similar). Rissington Inn offers an award-winning friendly welcome and unpretentious accommodation in a bush setting just outside Hazyview, in the heart of the Lowveld. Stylish but relaxed and informal, the inn is an ideal base from which to explore the Panorama Route and all that Mpumalanga has to offer and a perfect stopover on the way to the game reserves.
Day 2, 3 and 4: Kruger National Park
After breakfast we make our way to the nearby 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 sunset 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. 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.
Day 5 and 6: Luxury Safari Lodge
This morning 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.
We later depart this park 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.