National Park - Cape Town - Addo Elephant Park - Kalahari Gemsbok Park
Chobe Savute Moremi Okavango Delta Tuli Block Nxai Pans
What will you see?
The Big Five in Kruger National Park is only for starters - Magnificent wildlife throughout the beauty of South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana.
My most popular African safari tours are in South Africa. South Africa's motto is "A world in one country," and it is certainly that. It offers wonderful adventure travel and can easily fulfill all your desires, and it can do so in a surprisingly affordable way. I want to design a tour just for you. Whether you plan to travel alone, with your partner, with family, or with friends, I can custom tailor a perfect safari experience and "shepherd" you the entire way.
How about this tour? We begin the Africa safari by entering Kruger National Park via Phabeni gate; the game drive begins just as we enter the gates and won't end until we leave days later. Our destination for the night is Satara Camp where we'll spend two nights. We arrive in the early afternoon, get settled and rested, then go back out for an afternoon drive. You'll be a quick study as you learn to look in the shade of the trees or in the bush grass for a flick of a tail or the gentle movement of kudu horns as it senses a lion or cheetah. With a little luck you'll see the Big Five (lion, leopard, cape buffalo, elephant, and rhino), but there are so many other animals that are sure to capture your imagination. Forget all the emotions you ever had as you viewed a Discovery Channel special or as you flipped the pages of National Geographic....you are on a real African safari, you are there in the picture; the animals are real, they are wild ....you are visiting their home.
Black Rhino - Impala
In the late afternoon, we'll pull back through the Satara Gates. We'll sit down, have a soda, a wine or a gin & tonic. We know that we have dinner to prepare, showers to take, bags to unpack, but there is no rush. We enjoy. We might talk or we might just wait for the sun to get lower. When the sundown approaches, you raise a glass. You have just experienced your first day in the African bush.
After two days touring the region around Satara, we head north to Olifants. You're an old bush hand by now, and, at some point, you'll settle into a comfortable frame of mind and realize that you have no concerns of the world back home. You are more relaxed than you've ever been in your life; when you reach your bed, you relive your day and don't think about what the stock markets are doing or how your business is running without you. It is all doing fine, and you are doing better. The romance has begun; you have no choice.
I would wager that something about Southern Africa has grabbed you by this night; if not, then Africa has failed you..time to pack up and fly home. Just kidding.
Cheetah cubs Kruger National Park White Rhino hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve
So what about your small group of fellow travelers? Most often, you already know each other being family or friends. Sometimes, I put people together on the same tour. By now, you'll be comrades. You'll dine and wine together, and you'll talk of what you saw and what you hope to see. Of course, you'll share conversation from the World but the World gets further away and less important. You realize that you are back in time in a place that few people you know, if any, have ever visited. It won't be hard to imagine the colonial days you might have seen in "Out of Africa." Little has changed in 75 years, and with the great conservation efforts and even greater traditions, it's not likely to change.
The Olifants Camp is perched on top of an ancient hill that was once a bronze age tribal settlement. It has magnificent views of the Olifants River and the plains 350 feet below. Your cottage might just be nestled in the side of the cliff, with the view from your bed. Don't let the hippos keep you awake at night as they move about in the river and call out to stake their territorial claim..
The next morning, we head north toward Mopani Camp. By now, we have decided that we've seen 70 elephants or 90. Then there was the pride of lions with a kill; the cheetah brothers who had their kill stolen by the hyenas. And those dwarf mongooses were so great to watch for 10 minutes. How about that leopard early in the morning resting in the fork of a tree, oblivious to our cameras clicking? After Mopani, we head down south and reach Lower Sabie camp, on the banks of the Sabie River. As you look out, you'll wonder why you spent the day in the car as you watch elephants and hippos in the river.
After a couple of days in the Lower Sabie region, we leave beautiful and diverse Kruger National Park and head south into Kwa-Zulu Natal Provence. Our destination for the night is the small reserve of Mkuze. Mkuze is great for birding and also for nyala and for rhino and most other wildlife. Our accommodation is a safari tent; not a little pup tent, but a beautiful large tent equipped with a full bathroom. Outside, is a tented kitchen and dining area. There are no fences around the camp, so wildlife strolls through as you lounge around. At night, the rustle of the bushes tell you that same wildlife is foraging right outside your tent. You can go out in the middle of the night; there are no lions and the leopards will not go after humans. It is a great experience.
From Mkuze, we drive a short distance to Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game reserves; they are two reserves, joined as one. Hluhluwe (the closest pronunciation I can write out would be: shlu-shlu-way...but that is still not correct) is great for rhino, and nyala, but zebra, giraffe, kudu, buffalo and many other species abound. On my last visit, we saw an extended herd of elephant...counting 70, but I learned the total number is over 150. Hluhluwe also has great birding. The accommodation is as close to luxury as you can get, as many of the chalets have great views of the rolling hills complete with herds of wildebeest.
After a couple of days, we leave the bush life and head back to civilization in the form of the mother city, Cape Town. It is always difficult to leave the safari life, but you must. You must begin your transition back to the World. Everyone visiting Cape Town is in awe of the setting beneath the flat-topped Table Mountain. In 1652, the first European settlement in Southern Africa was established to resupply ships of the Dutch East India Company, and for 350 years it has remained the leading city. The diverse cultures found there give it its own special flavor with hundreds of sights to explore. Visit the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront; take a cable ride to the top of Table Mountain; tour the castle and the Malay Quarter. What about a visit to Robben Island where many prisoners of conscience spent terrible years imprisoned under apartheid rule? Late in the day, how about a sundowner on top of Signal Hill?
Our accommodation might be one of the luxury hotels at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, or it may be with my friends, Danny and Catty who own a luxury guest house not far from the city center and just a stone's throw from the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Speaking of this, I should mention the Western Cape's plant life with over 8000 species, ranking it as one of the top floral areas of the world. A must journey is the short ride down to the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point, a visit to a penguin colony, then circling back along the False Bay coast to Cape Town. Dining is superb with an incredible variety of cuisine; as in all of South Africa, you'll be astonished with the low cost of dining out.
After a couple of days in Cape Town, we'll take a journey into the wine country, stopping in Stellenbosch, the country's second oldest city. After admiring the architecture in Cape Dutch, Victorian, Georgian, and Regency styles, we'll choose one of the great wineries, Muratie Vineyards, for a tour and a taste! Maybe we'll choose lunch at Delheim Vineyard and relax in their garden restaurant, complete with a distant view of Table Mountain. In the afternoon, it's down to the coast at False Bay as we begin our drive eastward toward the Indian Ocean. Gordon's Bay to Hermanus is a beautiful drive, and you'll have to tear your eyes away from the land to look at the sea because you might just spot some whales. Hermanus, sitting on Walker Bay, is noted for its whale watching. From July to November, it becomes a whale nursery as the young whales are given their first lessons of life.The next day, we tour some more and make our way back to the airport. What does this mean? It means that it's your last day in Southern Africa. I dare you to say, even under your breath, that you're glad to leave.I've never known anyone to want to leave. You have experienced wonderful things in the past days, indeed, experiences that have enriched your life. For a short time, you have shared a land and its people, you have seen wildlife far different than any you've ever seen; you have seen a wonderfully diverse and beautiful land, and its many cultures ...your life has been changed. You'll return home to your great life, but you will certainly know that a part of Africa resides in your soul. In months and years to come, you'll find yourself recounting stories of your tour, and you'll have a special sound to your voice and look in your eyes. Don't be surprised that one day you meet someone in the know who says to you, "You got it, don't you?" "Got what?" you ask....you've got the Africa bug.
Augrabies Falls, Kalahari
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