Our specialist says:
A wonderful showcase of the hugely varied wildlife and habitats found in South Africa
In many visitor’s eyes, South Africa’s safari options are often regarded as a little “one-dimensional” with the Kruger National Park and surrounding reserves seen as the best, and indeed often only place to go on safari.
However, for those willing to do a little more exploring, there is incredible diversity of experiences to be enjoyed, which rival many of the established safari “circuit” destinations such as Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya. This trip starts off in the stunning Sabi Sand Wildtuin, regarded as one of the best places in the world for spotting leopard before taking you to the Madikwe Game Reserve in the North-West Province where lush, riverine landscapes give way to open plains and deep red soils. The next stop is a real treat – the stunning Tswalu Kalahari Reserve in the North of the country, where you can enjoy private safaris to spot all manner of wildlife, including the rare pangolin.
Of course no trip to South Africa would be complete without a few days in Cape Town and you will spend the last part of your trip relaxing in one of the Mother City’s best hotels.
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Day 1: Flying to Johannesburg
This evening you will fly overnight from London Heathrow to Johannesburg with British Airways.
Day 2: On to the Sabi Sand
Land in to Johannesburg this morning and catch a domestic flight to Skukuka airport, the gateway to the wildlife-rich Sabi Sand Wildtuin. A short transfer will take you to Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp a beautiful 6 bedroom camp tucked away on a dry riverbed. Enjoy a delicious lunch and some time to relax by the pool before heading out for an evening game drive, which will be a chance to start spotting some of the many predators for which the Sabi Sand is renowned.
Day 3: Big cats await
As the sun rises over the Lowveld you will be woken with coffee and biscuits in your room before heading out for an early morning game drive. The beautiful dawn light makes this a truly incredible experience and you will be able to see the animals become increasingly active as it starts to warm up. After a few hours exploring you will head back to the lodge for breakfast and some time to relax before lunch in the lodge. The afternoon can be spent relaxing or perhaps enjoying a spa treatment and then afternoon tea. You will then head out for another evening game drive before returning to the lodge for drinks around the campfire and dinner.
Day 4: Exploring the Sabi Sand
One of the great things about a stay at Sabi Sabi is that in addition to game drives they are also able to offer guided walks in the company of their highly experienced guides. Usually enjoyed in the cool of the late morning (and after you have enjoyed a hearty breakfast) these walks are a great way to learn more about the smaller things that are often missed on game drives and really allow you to feel at one with nature.
Day 5: Madikwe awaits
After an early breakfast you will be transferred back to Skukuza airport for a morning flight to Johannesburg where you will be met and escorted to the Federal Air desk to check in for your scheduled charter flight up to the Madikwe Game Reserve. Landing in the early afternoon you will be transferred to the stunning Madikwe Hills where you will be spending then next 3 nights. Afternoon tea will be served before heading out for an afternoon game drive.
Day 6: On safari in Madikwe
In contrast to the dense, riverine bushveld of the Sabi Sand, Madikwe is a land of huge open plains, ochre red soils and big skies. The game viewing here is outstanding, with lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo seen regularly, along with cheetah and a strong population of wild dog. The arid conditions make it one of the best places in South Africa to see large herds of springbok and the birding is outstanding. Whatever you are interested in seeing, your superb guide will really help you make the most of your time in the bush.
Day 7: Some time to relax
When staying somewhere as beautiful as Madikwe Hills you will doubtless want to spend some time relaxing and enjoying the glorious surroundings in which you find yourself. Your suite will have a private plunge pool on the deck, with a stunning view across the surrounding plains, so if you are looking for somewhere private to relax this is the perfect spot. There is also a lovely pool at the main area of the lodge, a cozy lounge area and sprawling deck where the delicious meals for which Madikwe Hills is renowned are served. The staff here are wonderful and will ensure your time in Madikwe is truly special.
Day 8: In to the desert
This morning you will have a quick game drive and breakfast in the lodge before being flown back to Johannesburg for a change of aircraft to take you deep in to the Kalahari Desert where you will be spending the next 3 nights at Tswalu The Motse a stunning property in one of South Africa’s most unique areas. One of the beauties of staying at Tswalu is that you will have your guide and vehicle for the duration of your stay, meaning you have complete freedom to enjoy Tswalu’s unique activities programme at your own pace.
Day 9: Kalahari dreams
With your private guide you can explore Tswalu by vehicle or on foot, getting up close and personal with varied wildlife such as iconic black-maned Kalahari lions, cheetah and brown hyena. Wild dog are spotted from time to time, as is the fascinating pangolin, which has the dubious distinction of being the most trafficked mammal in the world. If you are looking at enjoying a different experience there are also horses on the reserve and a helicopter has recently been stationed here, allowing guests to see the reserve from a completely different perspective.
Day 10: Meerkats at sunrise
One of the main draws of a visit to Tswalu is the chance to enjoy a meerkat interaction at one of the habituated colonies that lives close to the lodge. Enjoyed in the morning when they are starting to become active this is a truly memorable experience as they carry on as if you aren’t there. Continue your activities with your guide, taking time in between your safaris to sit back, relax and enjoying the wonderfully luxurious surroundings of the lodge.
Day 11: To Cape Town
After a final morning game drive and breakfast at the lodge you will be transferred back to the airstrip for a flight down to Cape Town, arriving there in the middle of the afternoon. You will be collected from the airport and transferred to Cape Grace where you will be spending the next 4 nights. Your time here will be at leisure to relax and enjoy Cape Town.
Day 12: A day on the Cape Peninsula
This morning you will be collected from your hotel for a guided tour of the beautiful Cape Peninsula. Far from a standard tour, you will be spending your day with an expert local guide who will have spent their whole life exploring beautiful Cape Town and working out the secret spots away from the crowd. A highlight will be the secluded beach they take you to where you can see African Penguins, but without the crowds associated with Boulders Beach. You will be able to stop along the way to marvel at the beautiful Cape Peninsula and enjoy a delicious picnic lunch in the African sunshine.
Day 13: Explore on your own
You will have some time to relax and explore on your own today. The V&A Waterfront is home to the Two Oceans Aquarium where you can see a variety of South Africa’s aquatic life. You can also head out to Robben Island, take a trip up Table Mountain or a stroll through the Company Gardens in the heart of Cape Town. There are some incredible restaurants and wineries to visit in the Constantia valley around the other side of Table Mountain and we can arrange a driver to take you out there should you wish.
Day 14: Some time to relax
After what will have been a busy, but exhilarating trip, you will doubtless want some time to sit back, relax and enjoy the lovely surroundings of your hotel. There is an extensive spa here, lovely swimming pool area with a pool bar and a fantastic restaurant. The hotel is also home to one of the world’s largest whisky collections and they can arrange tastings for you. With the shops, galleries and boutiques of Cape Town all within easy walking distance of the hotel so there is plenty of time for shopping for gifts and mementoes of your trip.
Day 15: The journey home begins
After enjoying the majority of the day at leisure you will be collected in the late afternoon and transferred to Cape Town airport for your overnight BA flight back to London Heathrow.
Duration: 13 nights
Location: South Africa, Africa
This South Africa Safari Adventure costs from £13,145 per person and includes:
- International and domestic flights
- Meet and Greet package at Johannesburg airport
- 3 nights Fully Inclusive at Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp - Suite
- 3 nights Fully Inclusive at Madikwe Hills - Suite
- 3 nights Fully Inclusive at Tswalu The Motse - Suite
- 4 nights with Breakfast at Cape Grace - Table Mountain Luxury Room