Safaris South Africa: Wilderness Explorer
South Africa – a country that fascinates nature lovers with a diversity of attractions.
Manifold landscapes – from a rugged coastline and sandy beaches to lush forests and vast savannahs – an incredible biodiversity, numerous wild animals, and awe-inspiring nature reserves such as world-renowned Kruger National Park can be admired when immersing yourself into the depths of the country.
Our twelve-day private safari trip will lead you to some of South Africa’s finest wildlife areas and gives you the chance to explore pristine landscapes and an abundance of animals by foot and in a classic game drive vehicle. Your private guide will show you the most beautiful observation points in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, Mabalingwe Nature Reserve, Marakele National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve and provide you with interesting background information about the local flora and fauna. Besides from being able to enjoy the comfort and atmosphere of authentic safari camps, you will get the chance to connect with nature on a special level by spending two nights under Africa’s unparalleled night sky as part of an adventurous Wilderness Trail.
Enjoy an unforgettable safari experience and embrace the wild nature of South Africa.
- Get to know four different wildlife areas on this 11-night safari trip
- Roam world-renowed Kruger National Park and other fascinating nature reserves
- Discover South Africa’s wildlife on foot and on classic game drives
- Enjoy the comfort and atmosphere of authentic safari camps
- Take part in a Wilderness Trail and sleep under Africa’s incomparable night sky
- A special extra: a private guide throughout your safari adventure
On safari in South Africa
On this twelve-day safari, operated by a private guide, you will experience the landscapes and biodiversity of four awe-inspiring wildlife areas in South Africa, including breathtaking Kruger National Park, by taking part in daily game drives, bush walks and an adventurous Wilderness Trail.
Arrival and orientation in South Africa
You will first travel to O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg where you will be greeted and picked up by your guide. Afterwards you will be driven to Polokwane where you will spend the first night. The next morning, after breakfast, you will be transferred to you first wilderness destination: Makuleke in awe-inspiring Kruger National Park.
Activities during your safari in Southern Africa
An activity in the morning and an activity in the afternoon usually make up a typical safari day. In this case this will be a game drive in an open off-road vehicle or a walking safari through the wild nature of the region – always accompanied by your private guide.
Since most animals are most active in the early morning hours and therefore chances of fascinating sightings are best, you and your guide will set off for your first bush excursions at sunrise. During a game drive or bush walk, your private guide will take you through beautiful natural landscapes in Kruger National Park, Mabalingwe Nature Reserve, Marakele National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve where an abundance of wildlife can be admired.
With a bit of luck animals like the Big Five – lions, elephants, leopards, buffalos and rhinos – as well as giraffes, hippos, antelopes and possibly even wild dogs will show up. And also the fascinating world of plants as well as South Africa’s rich bird life will surely amaze you.
Shortly before the midday heat sets in, your guide will take you back to your accommodation. Here you will enjoy a strengthening lunch and gather new energy during the following siesta. In the afternoon, after some coffee and tea, you will once again immerse yourself into Southern Africa’s magnificent wilderness. After certainly more breathtaking wildlife encounters you will return to your accommodation in the evening and enjoy a rich evening meal. In the light of the campfire and surrounded by the nocturnal sounds of South Africa’s bush, the day finally draws to a close.
Accommodation during your safari trip
Your very first stop will be the Africa Roots Guest House in Polokwane where you will spend one night on your way from Johannesburg to Kruger National Park. In this typical B&B style accommodation you will be accommodated in a spacious, comfortable double room which has access to its own bathroom. The guesthouse has a dining area, a little lounge as well as a backyard including a swimming pool. The last night of your trip, though, will be spent in Holiday Inn Johannesburg Airport, a comfortable and well-equipped hotel close to O.R. Tambo. Here you will also be accommodated in a spacious double room plus own bathroom.
The seasonal Hutwini Trails Camp is located near the banks of the Luvuvhu in one of the wildest parts of magnificent Kruger National Park. Guests are accommodated in rustic safari tents which have access to their own bush bathroom – no rooftop and equipped with a typical bucket shower. In the camp guests will also find a small lounge and dining area as well as a common campfire place. Limited hand washing and charging electronic devices will be possible. The camp is unfenced and perfectly integrated into nature – a unique wilderness experience.
Located in the scenic Waterberg Mountains near Bela Bela, your second accommodation Itaga Private Game Lodge accommodates its guests in spacious, air-conditioned safari chalets which are connected to their own bathroom, often equipped with an outside bush shower. The chalets furthermore have their own patio, including comfortable seating options. Charging electronic devices will be possible. The main area of the lodge has a lounge, a dining area, a cocktail bar with a viewing deck, a swimming pool and a curio shop.
The private Elephant Camp, your third accommodation, is located in Marataba, part of beautiful Marakele National Park. The central dining area of the camp where guests enjoy their meals together is overlooking a water hole which is frequently visited by wild animals such as elephants, cheetahs or different birds. In Marataba, guests are accommodated in spacious and highly comfortable safari tents. All of the tents have their own open bathroom, a veranda and charging points. Furthermore, Elephant Camp offers laundry service.
Nestled at the heart of the Big 5 Madikwe Game Reserve guests will find unfenced Mosetlha Bush Camp, offering an intimate and rustic safari experience. In this ecofriendly lodge you will sleep in raised wooden cabins set around a central campfire. Bush bathrooms are not ensuite, but provide an essentially private experience. Limited hand washing will be possible. Simplicity and authenticity is what characterises this camp – therefore, there won’t be running water or electricity. An unforgettable and wild safari experience is certain here!
Free time as safari guest in South Africa
Each day after lunch a siesta takes places which lasts for a few hours until the early afternoon. Safari guests can use this time to relax. After dinner there is also time for own activities. Reading a book, sitting around the campfire or simply enjoying the scenery in and around the safari camp are typical ways to spend the free time.
Arrival in Johannesburg and transfer to Polokwane
Transfer from Polokwane to Makuleke (Kruger National Park)
Day 3 – 4
Exploration days in Makuleke
Transfer from Makuleke to Mabalingwe
Transfer from Mabalingwe to Marataba (Marakele National Park) and start of Wilderness Trail
Wilderness Trail in Marataba
Exploration day in Marataba and end of Wilderness Trail
Transfer from Marataba to Madikwe Game Reserve
Exploration day in Madikwe Game Reserve
Transfer from Madikwe Game Reserve to Johannesburg
Last day in Johannesburg and departure
“After a small meal we went on our first game drive. For me it was the very first time out in the African bush and I immediately fell in love with it.”
“The experiences you can gain are unique – especially when roaming the bush on foot.”
“Everyone has put a lot of personal effort into making the most of our experience. Honest enthusiasm from the team. Very warm-hearted. Simply great.”
“The entire experience had been spectacular and I would even say life-changing. [...] The fact that I could hear the cries of hyenas and incessant calls of birds when sleeping or waking was also something that felt very real and precious, reminding me how authentic an environment I was in.”
1. Kruger National Park
The world-renowned Kruger National Park is located in South Africa's northeastern part and is one of the largest game reserves on the African continent. Visitors are offered the chance to witness a tremendous biodiversity which also includes all representatives of the fascinating "Big 5": lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo. Furthermore, the huge wildlife area – covering almost 20.000 km² – is known as a true birding paradise and is home to countless vulture, eagle and stork species.
The scenery is characterised by hills, mountains, bush savannahs and lush tropical forests. And also historical attractions can be admired, such as the early settlements of Masorini and Thulamela. A visit to this amazingly diverse and manifold park is certainly a must for each nature and wildlife enthusiast.
2. Hutwini Trails Camp
Hutwini Trails Camp is a seasonal bush camp and located near the banks of the Luvuvhu River in one of the wildest parts of awe-inspiring Kruger National Park. Guests are accommodated in rustic safari tents which are attached to their own bush bathroom – meaning no rooftop and equipped with a typical bucket shower.
The camp is unfenced and perfectly integrated into nature – a unique wilderness experience is certain. As part of daily game walks and drives guests can explore the abundance of wildlife that Kruger National Park has to offer, including the wonderful Big Five.
3. Mabalingwe Nature Reserve
Mabalingwe Nature Reserve is located in the southern part of South Africa’s province of Limpopo. Covering an area of approx. 120 km², the malaria-free reserve is one of the smaller ones in the country – nevertheless, an abundance of wild animals can be found. Furthermore, Mabalingwe offers lots of interesting activities for families and children which is why it is also considered an attractive travel destination amongst locals.
Particularly subtropical forests and bushlands cover the 120,000 ha reserve, but also rock formations and grasslands are present. While Mabalingwe used to serve as a maize and game farm for impalas and kudus, the reserve is now home to more than 36 mammal species. Safari guests may spot the Big Five, hippos, giraffes, hyaenas and sable antelopes – to name a few.
4. Itaga Private Game Lodge
Itaga Private Game Lodge is located in the greater Mabalingwe Nature Reserve in the shadows of the Waterberg Mountains and offers luxury lodging in eight tastefully appointed, air-conditioned safari chalets. Each chalet has access to its own bathroom as well as to a small veranda. Other facilities that guests of Itaga can enjoy include a lounge, a cocktail bar, a small curio shop and a swimming pool.
Various activities allow guests to immerse themselves into the wilderness of Mabalingwe Nature Reserve and to explore diverse landscapes and countless wild animals.
5. Marakele National Park
Discover the breathtaking landscape of the Marakele National Park! The park is far away from the South Africa’s tourist destinations which means that visitor can look forward to a particularly untouched and exclusive nature adventure in Marakele National Park, including fantastic animal sightings. The malaria-free reserve is home to the largest colony of Cape vultures and therefore one of the best places to watch this rare vulture species.
Marakele is located in the southwest of the Limpopo Province in the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve. For more than 24 years, the Big Five, wild dogs, giraffes and rare bird species have been protected in the 670 km² large reserve. Marakele is also culturally interesting – many remnants of the Iron Age can be discovered in the park.
6. Elephant Camp
Guests of Elephant Camp can look forward to a combination of wilderness and luxury. Located in magnificent Marataba directly at a small water hole, wild animals can be observed right from the camp’s dining area. Guests will be accommodated in comfortable, spacious safari tents which are all equipped with an open bush bathroom and an own veranda.
Daily game drives and walks together with an experienced guide enable visitors to explore the region’s rich flora and fauna – which also includes the fascinating Big Five.
7. Madikwe Game Reserve
Madikwe Game Reserve is one of the youngest game reserves in South Africa. With an area of about 75,000 hectares, it is also one of the largest in the country. The malaria-free reserve, which consists mainly of grasslands and hills, has an incredible biodiversity. In addition to the famous Big Five, guests may also spot rare brown hyaenas, aardwolves and wild dogs as well as some of the hundreds of bird species.
In 1991, the reserve was established on the banks of the Madikwe River in the North West Province. In the following years, the settlement of many herd animals such as buffalo and elephants from surrounding areas began. These established themselves with great success despite challenges such as drought. A little later, the introduction of big cats such as cheetahs and lions followed. Today, the reserve is characterised by a healthy ecosystem with mammal numbers of over 10,000 individuals.
8. Mosetlha Bush Camp
Mosetlha Bush Camp is intimately located in the heart of the Madikwe Game Reserve and well-known for exclusive and private wilderness encounters. The ecofriendly camp is unfenced and can accommodate a maximum of 16 guests. These will stay in raised safari-style wooden cabins which are situated amidst of the Madikwe bushveld around a common fireplace. Fenced sanitary facilities are conveniently located among the cabins.
Experienced guides will take guests on daily game drives to spot the Big Five, the rare and endangered wild dog, cheetahs and a huge variety of other game.
Background of the safari trip in South Africa
Explore four different, breathtaking wildlife areas of South Africa on this twelve-day safari trip including your own private guide! With Kruger National Park, Mabalingwe Nature Reserve, Marakele National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve you will witness awe-inspiring Big Five regions as part of daily game drives and walks. Authentic safari camps, nestled at the heart of South Africa’s wilderness, will contribute to your perfect Africa experience. Your adventure will be topped off with a two-night Wilderness Trail which enables you to fully connect with the country’s wild nature, equipped with nothing but your sleeping bag! This safari provides the perfect combination of wilderness adventure, wildlife exploration and hiking trip.
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