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“We constantly strive to improve our award winning safari packages each year. I believe this is the best safari package we have ever offered, providing great quality at an affordable price.
We start this safari at our safari base, the exclusive Rukiya Safari Lodge located on the banks of the Blyde River in the Wild Rivers private Nature Reserve. Rukiya is not only our safari base but is also a key location for our leopard research program. Following four days at Rukiya with our team, you will visit three other game reserves to ensure you can enjoy a variety of different lodge styles and reserves to give you a comprehensive safari experience.
This safari provides a perfect balance between big five game viewing and a chance to gain a better understanding or be involved with wildlife conservation. As well as opportunities to explore in the company of wildlife conservationists. Of-course there is also time for some R&R to sit back, relax and enjoy the African bush. We recommend our safari itinerary shown below, as we’ve developed and honed it over many years in keeping with our company ethos and moreover feedback from safari guests. It covers all the elements that we feel should be included in an African safari, and has received many five star guest reviews”.
William Fox
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Suggested Itinerary:

Day 1
Your safari begins at Hoedspruit Airport (HDS) were you will be met by on arrival by a member of our team and transferred to Rukiya Safari Camp just 25 mins away.
Eastgate Airport is the established gateway to the heartland of South Africas wildlife game viewing reserves and has three daytime flights arriving each day from Johannesburg, that are scheduled to assist international visitors to easily connect with Hoedspruit.
Many of our guests prefer us to arrange for their internal flight from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit (50 mins), or alternately for a scenic road transfer (approx 5 hours) which takes the hassle out of arranging the final leg of your journey and is a service that we offer our guests at cost price. Whether you choose to transfer by air or road the price is the same for singles or couples, however a road transfer is more cost effective for a small group or family travelling together.

Whichever transfer you prefer you will arrive at Rukiya Safari Camp in time to settle in and rest and relax. Rukiya is a small luxury tented camp within the Wild Rivers Reserve and is a key area for our leopard research team. The camp nestles along the banks of the Blyde River among age old trees, a truly stunning location.
Later in the day, before the sun sets we can take a short stroll along the river bank and enjoy a sundowner, returning to the lodge for dinner.

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Day 2
You are woken with an invigorating cup of coffee before setting off on a morning game drive. Your morning game drive will take you through the Wild Rivers Reserve and into the adjacent Balule Reserve (part of the Greater Kruger Park) where you will be able to enjoy your first big five game drive. Lunch is followed by time to relax and enjoy the views from your private deck with river views, before your afternoon game drive in the Wild Rivers Reserve, before returning home for a sumptuous dinner.
On your first full day on safari we will include our unique bush senses experience. This is an activity that we have developed over many years and has proven to be very popular with our safari guests. In a fun way it encourages you to use all of your senses when in the bush. Not just sight, but also smell, hearing and touch. Some of our senses are dulled by modern living, but this simple and fun exercise quickly hones one’s bush senses, ideal preparation for any safari.

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Day 3
An early morning game drive will take you through the Wild Rivers Reserve and into the adjacent Balule Reserve (part of the Greater Kruger Park), breakfast will be served in the bush before return to Rukiya. There will be time to rest and relax and enjoy lunch, and when the heat of the day has faded a little, you may join our rangers learning to track leopards and other predators within the reserve, where the Ingwe Leopard team are monitoring the resident leopard population. You will have the chance to try your hand at camera trapping.
You’ll be given a motion activated camera trap to put at a place of your choosing on the reserve, with the aim of capturing images of the resident leopards. Over the remainder of your safari your camera will photograph any animal that walks by and triggers the motion sensor day or night. We’ll see what animal pics you capture at the end of your safari. This is the point when you can put all you have learnt so far into action.  Guided by the Ingwe team you are able to consider and select places along game trails that you feel are likely spots to photograph the local leopards as they roam during the forthcoming nights. Leopard movement and territorial behaviour changes almost on a daily basis and is dependent on many factors, making this a fascinating and fun exercise and rightfully invites you to feel and become part of the Ingwe team.
Return to camp for drinks and dinner.
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Day 4
Mornings on safari usually start quite early, so today we change the routine a little with a leisurely start to the day followed by an afternoon trip to the Kruger National Park. In the morning you can rest and relax enjoying the serenity of Rukiya Safari lodge with a late breakfast, followed by a presentation on our local leopard research program from our team. Perhaps take a dip in the pool, or just sit back on your private deck and breath in the peaceful ambiance of this bush retreat, watching game and birds along the adjacent river. Later you will leave for an afternoon trip in the Kruger National Park focussing on the magical last few hours of the afternoon when wildlife becomes more active. Returning to Rukiya Safari Camp after dark for a well earned sumptuous three course dinner.
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Day 5 & 6
A morning guided bush walk, followed by a leisurely breakfast then transfer to the luxurious Raptors Retreat in the Greater Kruger Park arriving in time for lunch.
An afternoon game drive within the reserve returns to your lodge in time for dinner.
The following morning you’ll have an opportunity to enjoy an escorted bush walk within the big five Balule Reserve, returning to your lodge for a late breakfast. Midday at leisure perhaps snoozing in the heat of the day, or enjoying a dip in the pool, or watching animals passing by. Your afternoon game drive will often continue after dark returning to the lodge for dinner.
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Day 7
A final early morning bush walk followed by breakfast. You will then transfer to the near-by Thornybush Game Reserve, famed for its exceptional game viewing and a favoured location for movie stars and the rich and famous, providing a lovely sedate bush atmosphere, with personal and friendly service. Even on bush roads it takes only 45 mins to transfer to Thornybush so you will have plenty of time to settle in and relax before afternoon high tea and game drive. Again returning to your lodge for dinner.
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Day 8 & 9
No two days are ever the same on safari. Your next days in the Thornybush Game Reserve starts with an early morning game drive, returning to your lodge in time for a late breakfast/brunch. After which guests may have the option of taking an accompanied big five bush walk. An opportunity to trail in the Thornybush Game Reserve is an experience that will never be forgotten. The trail will return for a well-deserved rest during the heat of the day, where there will be time to relax and enjoying watching animals passing by. The afternoon game drive will start after high tea and will cover previously unseen areas of the reserve, followed by dinner often taken around the fire in an outside boma.
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Day 10
After a morning bush walk or game drive and leisurely breakfast you will transfer to nZumba safari lodge in the near by Klaserie Game Reserve which is also part of the Greater Kruger Park. On arrival there will be time to settle in before an evening game drive, returning to the lodge after the sun has set. nZumba is also a key location for our leopard research program, offering an extra insight into the resident leopard population.
Day 11 & 12
An early morning wake-up and an invigorating cup of fresh coffee, will start your first full day in the Klaserie Reserve, followed by an escorted bush walk before returning to the lodge for breakfast. You will have plenty of time for a well-deserved rest during the heat of the day, where there will be time to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the African bush. After lunch your afternoon game drive will cover previously unseen areas of the reserve, again returning after dark in time for dinner.
The next day will again start with an early morning bush walk. After lunch there will be an afternoon game drive before dinner. As there are no boundary fences between the Klaserie and Kruger National Park, the bush dynamics are constantly changing which means every walk or drive may offer new and exciting events. As we always say snooze and you loose.
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Day 13
On your last morning in Klaserie, your game drive aims to visit those parts of the concession that we haven’t had time to reach previously, offering an opportunity to get those final photographs, before returning to the lodge for breakfast. Then transfer back to Rukiya Safari Camp to meet up again with our leopard research team and recover the camera traps you set on day 3 and find out if you did indeed capture a leopard on your camera. Guests often remark that returning to Rukiya “feels like going home” and makes an ideal last night on your safari.
Day 14
A final morning bush walk in the Wild Rivers Reserve followed by brunch. Then together we will review your camera trap pictures, hoping to find leopards, and many more animals that have been roaming the reserve day and night in your absence.
All photographs will be added to the Ingwe Leopard Research data base and form part of our research as well as being available for you to copy and take home.
You will then transfer to Hoedspruit Airport (25 mins) which marks the end of your safari. Arriving in time for your connecting flight to Johannesburg. Alternately, if you prefer a road transfer (5 hours, taking in part of the Panorama route through the Drakensburg mountains), then again, we can arrange this for you. In which case your arrival at Johannesburg Airport will be around 17:00.

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Our ten day package has been upgraded to include time spent with the Ingwe Leopard team and even more big five game viewing. We start at our safari base, the exclusive Rukiya Safari Lodge located on the banks of the Blyde River in the Wild Rivers private Nature Reserve. Rukiya is not only our safari base but is also a key location for our leopard research program. Following four days at Rukiya with our team, you will visit a variety of private game reserves including the Kruger National Park, Klaserie and Thornybush which are all in the greater Kruger park area and offer different accommodation and habitat types. As always, you will also be able to enjoy opportunities to explore the African bush and learn more about our work with free roaming leopards.
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Suggested Itinerary:
Day 1
Your safari begins at Hoedspruit Airport (HDS) were you will be met by on arrival by a member of our team and transferred to Rukiya Safari Camp just 25 mins away.
Eastgate Airport is the established gateway to the heartland of South Africas wildlife game viewing reserves and has three daytime flights arriving each day from Johannesburg, that are scheduled to assist international visitors to easily connect with Hoedspruit..
Many of our guests prefer us to arrange for their internal flight from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit (50 mins), or alternately for a scenic road transfer (approx 5 hours) which takes the hassle out of arranging the final leg of your journey and is a service that we offer our guests at cost price. Whether you choose to transfer by air or road the price is the same for singles or couples, however a road transfer is more cost effective for a small group or family travelling together.

Whichever transfer you prefer you will arrive at Rukiya Safari Camp in time to settle in and rest and relax. Rukiya is a small luxury tented camp within the Wild Rivers Reserve and is a key area for our leopard research team. The camp nestles along the banks of the Blyde River among age old trees, a truly stunning location.
Later in the day, before the sun sets we can take a short stroll along the river bank and enjoy a sundowner, returning to the lodge for dinner.

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Day 2
You are woken with an invigorating cup of coffee before setting off on a morning game drive. Your morning game drive will take you through the Wild Rivers Reserve and into the adjacent Balule Reserve (part of the Greater Kruger Park) where you will be able to enjoy your first big five game drive. Lunch is followed by time to relax and enjoy the views from your private deck with river views, before your afternoon game drive in the Wild Rivers Reserve, before returning home for a sumptuous dinner.
On your first full day on safari we will include our unique bush senses experience. This is an activity that we have developed over many years and has proven to be very popular with our safari guests. In a fun way it encourages you to use all of your senses when in the bush. Not just sight, but also smell, hearing and touch. Some of our senses are dulled by modern living, but this simple and fun exercise quickly hones one’s bush senses, ideal preparation for any safari.

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Day 3
An early morning game drive will take you through the Wild Rivers Reserve and into the adjacent Balule Reserve (part of the Greater Kruger Park), breakfast will be served in the bush before return to Rukiya. There will be time to rest and relax and enjoy lunch, and when the heat of the day has faded a little, you may join our rangers learning to track leopards and other predators within the reserve, where the Ingwe Leopard team are monitoring the resident leopard population. You will have the chance to try your hand at camera trapping.
You’ll be given a motion activated camera trap to put at a place of your choosing on the reserve, with the aim of capturing images of the resident leopards. Over the remainder of your safari your camera will photograph any animal that walks by and triggers the motion sensor day or night. We’ll see what animal pics you capture at the end of your safari. This is the point when you can put all you have learnt so far into action.  Guided by the Ingwe team you are able to consider and select places along game trails that you feel are likely spots to photograph the local leopards as they roam during the forthcoming nights. Leopard movement and territorial behaviour changes almost on a daily basis and is dependent on many factors, making this a fascinating and fun exercise and rightfully invites you to feel and become part of the Ingwe team.
Return to camp for drinks and dinner.

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Day 4
Mornings on safari usually start quite early, so today we change the routine a little with a leisurely start to the day followed by an afternoon trip to the Kruger National Park. In the morning you can rest and relax enjoying the serenity of Rukiya Safari lodge with a late breakfast, followed by a presentation on our local leopard research program from our team. Perhaps take a dip in the pool, or just sit back on your private deck and breath in the peaceful ambiance of this bush retreat, watching game and birds along the adjacent river. Later you will leave for an afternoon trip in the Kruger National Park focussing on the magical last few hours of the afternoon when wildlife becomes more active. Returning to Rukiya Safari Camp after dark for a well earned sumptuous three course dinner.

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Day 5 & 6
After a morning bush walk or game drive and leisurely breakfast you will transfer to the near by Thornybush Game Reserve, famed for its exceptional game viewing and a favoured location for movie stars and the rich and famous, providing a lovely sedate bush atmosphere, with personal and friendly service. Even on bush roads it takes only 45 mins to transfer to Thornybush so you will have plenty of time to settle in and relax before afternoon high tea and game drive. Again returning to your lodge for dinner.
Your second day in the Thornybush Game Reserve starts with an early morning game drive, returning to you lodge in time for a late breakfast/brunch. After which guests may have the option of taking an accompanied big five bush walk. An opportunity to trail in the Thornybush Game Reserve is an experience that will never be forgotten. The trail will return for a well-deserved rest during the heat of the day, where there will be time to relax and enjoying watching animals passing by. The afternoon game drive will start after high tea and will cover previously unseen areas of the reserve, followed by dinner often taken around the fire in an outside boma.
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Day 7
After a morning bush walk or game drive and leisurely breakfast you will transfer to nZumba safari lodge in the near by Klaserie Game Reserve which is also part of the Greater Kruger Park. On arrival there will be time to settle in before an evening game drive, returning to the lodge after the sun has set. nZumba is also a key location for our leopard research program, offering an extra insight into the resident leopard population.
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Day 8
An early morning wake-up and an invigorating cup of fresh coffee, will start your first full day in the Klaserie reserve, followed by an escorted bush walk before returning to the lodge for breakfast. You will have plenty of time for a well-deserved rest during the heat of the day, where there will be time to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the African bush. The afternoon game drive will cover previously unseen areas of the reserve, again returning after dark in time for dinner. There are no boundary fences between the Klaserie and Kruger Park, therefore the bush dynamics are constantly changing which means every walk or drive may offer new and exciting events. As we always say snooze and you loose.
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Day 9
On your last morning in Klaserie, your game drive aims to visit those parts of the concession that we haven’t had time to reach previously, offering an opportunity to get those final photographs, before returning to the lodge for breakfast. Then transfer back to Rukiya Safari Camp to meet up again with our leopard research team and recover the camera traps you set on day 3 and find out if you did indeed capture a leopard on your camera. Guests often remark that returning to Rukiya “feels like going home” and makes an ideal last night on your safari.

Day 10
A final morning bush walk in the Wild Rivers Reserve followed by brunch. Then together we will review your camera trap pictures, hoping to find leopards, and many more animals that have been roaming the reserve day and night in your absence.
All photographs will be added to the Ingwe Leopard Research data base and form part of our research as well as being available for you to copy and take home.
You will then transfer to Hoedspruit Airport (25 mins) which marks the end of your safari. Arriving in time for your connecting flight to Johannesburg. Alternately, if you prefer a road transfer (5 hours, taking in part of the Panorama route through the Drakensburg mountains), then again, we can arrange this for you. In which case your arrival at Johannesburg Airport will be around 17:00.

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Tailor-made and personalised specifically for you.

Tailor making your itinerary gives you the freedom to create a personal safari. This is about doing it your way. Our standard safari itineraries have been honed and crafted over the last ten years to offer a fantastic balanced safari experience, especially for first time visitors to South Africa. However, if you’re already safari savvy, or just prefer to do things you’re own way, then tailor making is perfect for you. Will and Carol have over twenty five year experience in wildlife safaris and will advise and offer suggestions based on their regional expertise to tailor make a safari package for you, and without the premiums that are often associated with tailor made products.
We focus on the Greater Kruger Park region of South Africa, which is our operational base and where we have built up a network of hand-picked lodges and game reserves.
You may also like to add whale watching (in season), which is based in Hermanus near Cape Town, where our local guide will guide you through that region.
We are also able to offer you safaris in Botswana’s Okavango Delta or Chobe National Park, or perhaps the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

So how does it work?
As a starting point, all you need to do is to
contact us and let us know more about you initial preferences:

  • Your preferred game reserves (see map and details below)
  • Number of nights at each location
  • Number of people in your party
  • Time of year you wish to visit
  • An indication of your budget i.e. whether you prefer mid range, or high range lodge accommodation, or a mix of both.

We will then put together an outline itinerary for you. Thereafter, we can hone your safari itinerary together. Communication is normally via Email, but of-course we are always available for a telephone or Skype conversation as you prefer. As with all our safaris there are no hidden extras. We include transfers, accommodation, food, game drives, guides and we’ll let you know upfront if there any items are excluded.

Greater Kruger National Park region private game reserves


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The map above shows the private game reserves that we have hand picked and recommend. Each has been selected to offer different styles of safari lodges, habitat and wildlife experiences. Most of these privately managed reserves have removed fences between them and the Kruger National Park, allowing animals to free range across a vast area.
The Kruger National Park itself is open for public access, which is why we prefer to visit the privately managed areas which form part of this eco-system, however we can of-course visit the public area of the National Park.
Protected natural areas in South Africa can be divided into two types. Firstly there are the state parks, run by the national or provincial governments (Kruger Park being the most famous).  These parks can be explored by visitors in their own vehicles.  Although they do provide a good wildlife experience, state parks can be quite busy and visitors must abide by strict rules.
For example, vehicles must stay on the roads and visitors must be in camp by sunset.
Secondly there are the private nature reserves managed by private landowners, which we prefer. Although all protected areas are dedicated to the preservation of flora and fauna, different rules apply in the private game reserves.  Visitors explore the reserve with a qualified ranger in an open 4x4 safari vehicles.  The ranger's knowledge of his area and the bush in general will result in better game-viewing than when searching for game in one's own vehicle on a marked road in the state parks.
And the ranger explains more about the intricate complexity of all aspects of the bush, not only animals but also soil, flora, stars, geology, medicinal use of plants, etc. 
The ranger is often assisted by a tracker who reads the animal tracks thus increasing the chances of finding good sightings. In addition, vehicles in private game reserves may under certain circumstances drive off-road, bringing visitors closer to the game and the afternoon game drive continues until well after sunset, thus offering the opportunity of seeing nocturnal wildlife. 
It is always surprising how busy the bush is after dark!  In addition to game drives, many lodges in the private game reserves offer the opportunity of bush walks.
 


WildRivers Nature reserve

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Our safari home and base for much of our work in leopard conservation is Rukiya Safari Camp within the Wild Rivers Nature Reserve. As you might expect all of our standard itineraries start with time spent with our team at Rukiya, as it is offers a unique and intimate wildlife experience and the opportunity to take Big Five game drives in the adjacent Balule game reserve. When entering Wild Rivers Nature Reserve, expect to be immersed in the vista of endless woodland set against the back drop of the majestic Drakensberg mountains that change colour as the day walks on. This 2,600 hectare reserve is bordered by both the Blyde and Olifants Rivers and boasts a diverse landscape with rocky outcrops and savanna where plains game roam freely. Leopard wander and river banks are frequented by hippo and crocodiles. Although Elephants and Lions are sometime seen on the reserve (having drifted into the reserve from the adjacent Kruger Park), there are normally no Big Five animals resident on the Reserve. Rukiya Safari Camp is an intimate, luxury tented camp situated on the confluence of the Blyde and Olifants Rivers in the heart of Wild Rivers Private Nature Reserve.

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The development of the camp was done with a least-impact footprint with a variety of green or eco-friendly principles employed during the construction process. A large part of the area comprises of deck and canvass that has a minimal effect in contrast to conventional brick and mortar. The operation of the camp follows the ecological-sensitive philosophy by utilizing environmentally friendly products that does not contain harmful chemicals. Up-cycled drift- and pallet wood were used to furnish and decorate the camp and were sourced from local suppliers in support of the community.
Following a holistic approach to contribute to an ultimate nature experience, great care is taken to provide guests with all the special touches, pampering and comforts during their stay. Safaris and bush walks are part of the offering of all-inclusive packages. The iconic tented accommodation fortifies the African experience that allows guests to immerse themselves in the beauty of the magical Lowveld.  Six en-suite luxury tents have been carefully placed underneath the shade of gaint Jackalberry trees with wonderful views to the river.
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Rukiya Safari Camp is dedicated to ensuring a once in a lifetime African safari experience for our guests, with access to other prime wildlife areas in the Kruger Park region. Rukiya often has sole access to these areas, for bush walks and game drives, offering our guests an intimate game viewing experience.

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WildRivers Nature Reserve is also the operational base for our INGWE Leopard Research program and offers you an opportunity its to be involved with our team and understand more about wildlife conservation.
Accommodation is mid range. Four star accommodation and five star service.


Balule Private Nature Reserve

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Balule is a remote natural paradise hidden amongst the hills and valleys Limpopo (the northernmost province of South Africa). Balule encompasses 45,000 hectares of wilderness, and is rich with wildlife, including the Big Five and shares open borders with Greater Kruger, so the animals can wander freely across the land. The perennial Oliphant River flows through the centre of the reserve, keeping the landscape lush and providing a much-needed water source for the thirsty animals of the region.
The lodges of Balule are sprinkled sparsely across the reserve, so you’ll see few other vehicles on your game drives. While less vehicles means that there are less eyes and ears around the reserve at any one time to spot and report animal sightings, it makes a safari here a very exclusive and personal experience.
Accommodation available from mid to high range (three to five star).


Klaserie Private Nature reserve

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The Klaserie Private Nature Reserve (KPNR) is one of the largest privately owned nature reserves in South Africa
The reserve lies to the west of the Timbavati Game Reserve and covers 60,000 hectares along both sides of the Klaserie River.
The private nature of this wilderness sanctuary enables visitors to embrace the unspoilt bushveld and focus on the bush and its ecosystems.
The area is renowned as a home to the Big Five and offers incredible game viewing opportunities.
Guests can expect to an abundance of wildlife and incredible birdlife, whilst experiencing it all on guided walks, off road, and at night.
The handful of safari camps located in this reserve focus on offering affordable, intimate safaris.
As it is one of the least commercial reserves of the Greater Kruger, guests get to spend longer at the special sightings. In addition, the reserve is ideal for walking safaris.
Game is highly populated in the Klaserie, which is home to some endangered species, such as the African wild dog, Southern ground hornbill, white-backed vulture, and white lion.
Accommodation available mid range (three to four star).

Timbavati Game Reserve

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Timbavati Game Reserve has over 40 mammals roaming freely across 75,000 hectares of bush.
White lions are indigenous to the Timbavati Game Reserve and the earliest records of sighting them in this region date from 1938. Luckily, their colouration doesn’t appear to be of disadvantage when it comes to survival. The Global White Lion Protection Trust (GWLPT) reintroduced white lions into their natural habitat in 2009, and they have been hunting and breeding successfully ever since.
No fences separate Timbavati from the Kruger Park, so herds are free to track along the ancient paths they roamed for ages. In the Timbavati Game Reserve, wildlife can be viewed up close, since vehicles are allowed to approach animals within six meters.
Beside the Big Five and dozens of other mammals, Timbavati is also a great location for birding and for what they call the ‘Big Six’: Lappet faced Vulture, Martial Eagle; Saddle billed Stork, Kori Bustard, Ground Hornbill and Pel’s Fishing Owl. Some of Africa’s rarest birds.
As with all private game reserve, extremely experienced guides and trackers will take you out into the bush.

Accommodation available from mid to high range (three to five star).

ThornyBush Private Game Reserve

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Thornybush Game Reserve is approximately 14,000ha of game habitat: open savannah woodland with pat Hectares of tangled thicket and thorny scrub. It is a well established reserve and perfect habitat for Africa's famous Big Five as well as a host of other animals (eg. cheetah, African wild dog, hippo, crocodile, giraffe, zebra, various antelope species, porcupine, aardvark).  Thornybush is home to 147 mammal species,  114 types of reptile, more than 500 bird species, dozens of fish and amphibian species and 336 types of trees, as well as  countless grasses, insects, etc.
Game viewing in the reserve ranks as some of the best in Southern Africa with a near perfect year round climate.
Guests can enjoy off road close-up views of special sightings and once darkness falls, you'll be treated to thrilling spot-lit night drives in search of rare nocturnal creatures and big cats on the move. Guided nature walks complete the spectrum of safari activities.
From Thornybush the Drakensberg escarpment is visible in the distance, rising up from the lowveld in the west (on top is the famous Panorama Route).
Thornybush is a favoured safari location for movie stars and the rich and famous and some of the high end game lodge rates reflect that notoriety. However there is also reasonably priced accommodation available and the best news of all is that all lodges share the same access to the reserve and wildlife sightings.

Accommodation available from mid to ultra-high range (three to five star +).

Sabi Sands Game Reserve

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The Sabi Sands Game Reserve is located in the southern section of our principle operating region. It is a reserve that our CEO Will knows very well, having worked there regularly since 2010 directing live TV safari shows.
The Sabi Sands is a 65,000 hectare reserve, pioneered by local landowners in the 1950s, and shares a border with the world-renowned Kruger National Park.
Today, many of these families are now third and fourth generation land owners, their legacy being the successful conservation of the highest density of big game in South Africa. Even though there is a 50 kilometre unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park, wildlife in the Sabi Sands Reserve is well habituated, resulting in extraordinary close encounters and prolific sightings, particularly of the elusive leopard. The Sabi and the Sand Rivers run through the reserve, which add further dimension to the bio-diversity of this area.
The Sabi Sands is in particular well known for its amazing leopard sightings. The most elusive animal of the Big Five is frequently spotted when going on a game drive in the reserve. Beside the Big Five, other game species occur in great numbers, among which are more than 300 bird species.
One of the key elements of this reserve are the abundant waterholes, that attract large herds of animals. This to the enjoyment of travellers and large predators alike.
Sabi Sands Game Reserve is home to many different lodges that all have something unique to offer. Some are ultra luxurious, and some are more affordable. As with other private reserves, the rangers are allowed to drive off road so when following a leopard, you ranger is allowed to follow it in the bush. An amazing experience and worth a trip to the bush on its own.

Accommodation available from mid to ultra-high range (four to five star +).


Kapama Private Game Reserve

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Kapama Private Game Reserve comprises 13,000 hectares between the northern Drakensberg mountains and the Greater Kruger National Park. The Kapama River and the languid Klaserie River flow through the reserve, serving as natural water sources for the resident wildlife, which are regularly seen on guided game drives.
Kapama Private Game Reserve is home to over 40 different mammal species, including the Big Five. Approximately 350 bird species and a myriad smaller species can also be seen here in their natural environment. Twice-daily game drives through the reserve, accompanied by expert guides and trackers, ensure unforgettable wildlife encounters in the African bush.
Named Kapama for the river that runs through the reserve, it is still owner-managed by the Roode family and is the largest private game reserve owned by one family in the area. In addition to luxury game lodge accommodation across four establishments - each with a unique personality - the Roode family also manages the world-renowned Hoedspruit Centre for Endangered Species.

Accommodation available from mid to ultra-high range (four to five star +)


Other areas that we recommend to add to a tailored safari


Whale watching - Hermanus South Africa
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Hermanus is built along the shore of Walker Bay and is considered the whale watching capital of the world.
Known as the heart of the whale coast, this coastal resort offers the best land based whale watching in the world.
Our five day
whale watching package can be taken as an ‘add-on’ to any of our South African safaris, or as a separate stand alone tour.
We start and end at Johannesburg (OR Tambo) International Airport, our price includes flights from Joburg to Cape Town and transfers.


Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
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Victoria Falls presents a spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur on the Zambezi River, forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800’s as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. In more modern terms Victoria Falls is known as the greatest curtain of falling water in the world.
Our four day
Victoria Falls package can be taken as an ‘add-on’ to any of our South African safaris, or as a separate stand alone tour.
We start and end at Johannesburg (OR Tambo) International Airport, our price includes flights from Joburg to Victoria Falls and transfers.

Okavango Delta or Chobe National Park - Botswana

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The Okavango Delta is a unique pulsing wetland, covering between 6 and 15 000 square kilometres of Kalahari Desert in northern Botswana and owes its existence to the Okavango (Kavango) River which flows from the Angolan highlands, across Namibia’s Caprivi Strip and into the harsh Kalahari Desert.
We can offer either a fly in luxury safari excursion to the Okanngo Delta, or you could request one of our Botswana
overland safaris, which also visit the Chobe National Park.
The Chobe National Park is the second largest national park in Botswana and has one of the greatest concentrations of game found on the African continent. Its uniqueness in the abundance of wildlife and the true African nature of the region, offers a safari experience of a lifetime. Game viewing is exceptional.



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Our seven day package includes a variety of conservation and big five game viewing components. We start at our safari base the exclusive Rukiya Safari Lodge located on the banks of the Blyde River in the Wild Rivers private Nature Reserve. Rukiya is not only our safari base but is also a key location for our leopard research program. You’ll visit the exclusive Thorny Bush Game reserve, famed for its exceptional game viewing and a favoured location for movie stars and the rich and famous, providing a lovely sedate bush atmosphere, with personal and friendly service.

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Suggested Itinerary:
Day 1
Your safari begins at Hoedspruit Airport (HDS) were you will be met by on arrival by a member of our team and transferred to Rukiya Safari Camp just 25 mins away.
Eastgate Airport is the established gateway to the heartland of South Africas wildlife game viewing reserves and has three daytime flights arriving each day from Johannesburg, that are scheduled to assist international visitors to easily connect with Hoedspruit..
Many of our guests prefer us to arrange for their internal flight from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit (50 mins), or alternately for a scenic road transfer (approx 5 hours) which takes the hassle out of arranging the final leg of your journey and is a service that we offer our guests at cost price. Whether you choose to transfer by air or road the price is the same for singles or couples, however a road transfer is more cost effective for a small group or family travelling together.

Whichever transfer you prefer you will arrive at Rukiya Safari Camp in time to settle in and rest and relax. Rukiya is a small luxury tented camp within the Wild Rivers Reserve and is a key area for our leopard research team. The camp nestles along the banks of the Blyde River among age old trees, a truly stunning location.
Later in the day, before the sun sets we can take a short stroll along the river bank and enjoy a sundowner, returning to the lodge for dinner.

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Day 2
You are woken with an invigorating cup of coffee before setting off on a morning game drive. Your morning game drive will take you through the Wild Rivers Reserve and into the adjacent Balule Reserve (part of the Greater Kruger Park) where you will be able to enjoy your first big five game drive. Lunch is followed by time to relax and enjoy the views from your private deck with river views, before your afternoon game drive in the Wild Rivers Reserve, before returning home for a sumptuous dinner.
On your first full day on safari we will include our unique bush senses experience. This is an activity that we have developed over many years and has proven to be very popular with our safari guests. In a fun way it encourages you to use all of your senses when in the bush. Not just sight, but also smell, hearing and touch. Some of our senses are dulled by modern living, but this simple and fun exercise quickly hones one’s bush senses, ideal preparation for any safari.

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Day 3
An early morning game drive will take you through the Wild Rivers Reserve and into the adjacent Balule Reserve (part of the Greater Kruger Park), breakfast will be served in the bush before return to Rukiya. There will be time to rest and relax and enjoy lunch, and when the heat of the day has faded a little, you may join our rangers learning to track leopards and other predators within the reserve, where the Ingwe Leopard team are monitoring the resident leopard population. Return to camp for drinks and dinner.

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Day 4
After breakfast we will transfer to the near by transfer to the near by Thornybush Game Reserve, famed for its exceptional game viewing and a favoured location for movie stars and the rich and famous, providing a lovely sedate bush atmosphere, with personal and friendly service. You will have plenty of time to settle in and relax before afternoon high tea and game drive. Again returning to your lodge for dinner.

Day 5 and 6
No two days on safari are the same. Your next two days in the Thornybush Game Reserve start with an early morning game drive, returning to you lodge in time for a late breakfast/brunch. After which guests may have the option of taking an accompanied big five bush walk. An opportunity to trail in the Thornybush Game Reserve is an experience that will never be forgotten. The trail will return for a well-deserved rest during the heat of the day, where there will be time to relax and enjoying watching animals passing by. The afternoon game drive will start after high tea and will cover previously unseen areas of the reserve, followed by dinner often taken around the fire in an outside boma.
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Day 7
On your last morning in Thornybush, your game drive aims to visit those parts of the concession that we haven’t had time to reach previously, offering an opportunity to get those final photographs, before returning to the lodge for breakfast.

You will then transfer to Hoedspruit Airport (25 mins) which marks the end of your safari. Arriving in time for your connecting flight to Johannesburg. Alternately, if you prefer a road transfer (5 hours, taking in part of the Panorama route through the Drakensburg mountains), then again, we can arrange this for you. In which case your arrival at Johannesburg Airport will be around 17:00.

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Fantastic Value. An amazing opportunity to be immersed in the African bush and enjoy big game viewing in three different South African game reserves in the Greater Kruger Park region at a great price. As well as wildlife game viewing and birding you will have time to rest, relax and experience the peaceful ambiance, sights and sounds of the African bush.
You will enjoy wonderful game lodge accommodation within the Balule Game Reserve, Wild Rivers Nature Reserve and Klaserie Game Reserve.
Starting and ending at Johannesburg (OR Tambo) International Airport, our price includes all transfers, meals on safari, accommodation, two fully guided game drives or bush walks per day.


Day 1
Your safari starts at the City Lodge hotel Johannesburg airport, to enable you to have the flexibility to arrange for your international flight to arrive at anytime anytime during the day. This four star modern hotel offers you time to rest and relax after your flight, perhaps enjoy a dip in the pool, or opt for a sightseeing trip.

Day 2
You will depart from Johannesburg airport at 06:45 via a scheduled private shuttle service travelling to our safari base, Rukiya Safari Lodge within the Wild Rivers Private Nature Reserve.
Arriving in time for a late lunch and to settle in. Your first afternoon game drive will leave at around 16:00 and return to the lodge in time for drinks and dinner.

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Day 3/4
You are woken with an invigorating cup of coffee before setting off on a morning game drive through the Wild Rivers Reserve and into the adjacent Greater Kruger Park, where you will be able to enjoy a big five game drive. On your first full day on safari we will include our unique bush senses experience. This is an activity that we have developed over many years and has proven to be very popular with our safari guests. In a fun way it encourages you to use all of your senses when in the bush. Not just sight, but also smell, hearing and touch. Some of our senses are dulled by modern living, but this simple and fun exercise quickly hones one’s bush senses, ideal preparation for any safari.
Lunch is followed by time to relax and enjoy the views from your private deck with river views, before your afternoon game drive, returning home for a sumptuous dinner.
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Day 5
After a leisurely breakfast we will transfer to the luxurious Raptors Retreat in the Greater Kruger Park arriving in time for lunch.
An afternoon game drive within the reserve returns to your lodge in time for dinner.
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Day 6
No two days are the same on safari, you can enjoy an early morning bush walk within the Balule Game Reserve, followed by breakfast. Relax during the heat of the day, enjoy the animals that pass by the lodge, or perhaps a dip in the wonderful pool. Lunch will be served before your afternoon game drive, followed by a sumptuous home cooked dinner.
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Day 7
A final early morning bush walk or game drive in the Balule reserve will return to your lodge for breakfast and then transfer to the Klaserie game reserve (approx 60 mins).
Arriving in time for a late lunch and time to settle in to your lodge before an afternoon game drive, returning in time for dinner.
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Day 8 and 9
A morning game drive in the company of our lodge's rangers and trackers, who will not only find you the game, but will also introduce you to the wealth of flora, fauna, bird life and cultural heritage of the region. The morning's game drive will leave at dawn and the night drive will leave in the late afternoon.
Day nine offers another fantastic day enjoying game drives within the Reserve. Our aim on your final day is to focus on any particular wishes you might have. That may be an animal or bird that you haven't yet seen, or perhaps returning to that herd of Elephant just to sit and enjoy being in their company.
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Day 10
An early morning game drive before breakfast, hoping to get those final photographs or enjoy the last sights and sounds that will stay in your memory for ever. After breakfast you will transfer through the reserve in time to meet the private shuttle service back and transfer to Johannesburg International airport arriving at between 17:00 -18:00 and in time for most onward international flights.
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Our preferred Game Lodges in South Africa

All of our tours include stays at a number of game lodges within the different game reserves we visit during our safaris. We work closely with the owners and managers of each lodge which adds to the friendly feel of every safari. Our aim is to offer a variety of accommodation styles and decor and each lodge has been hand picked by Will and Carol to provide a wonderful balance of experiences and personal service that our safaris have become rightly renowned for. Here are examples of some of the safari lodges that you can enjoy on your safari. We will of-course provide more detail for each safari itinerary at the time of booking.

Rukiya Safari Camp
Rukiya Safari Camp is our safari home in the Lowveld (Kruger Park area) and base for much of our work in leopard conservation.
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Rukiya is an intimate, luxury tented camp situated on the confluence of the Blyde and Olifants Rivers in the heart of Wild Rivers Private Nature Reserve. The development of the camp was done with a least-impact footprint with a variety of green or eco-friendly principles employed during the construction process. A large part of the area comprises of deck and canvass that has a minimal effect in contrast to conventional brick and mortar. The operation of the camp follows the ecological-sensitive philosophy by utilizing environmentally friendly products that does not contain harmful chemicals. Up-cycled drift- and pallet wood were used to furnish and decorate the camp and were sourced from local suppliers in support of the community. Following a holistic approach to contribute to an ultimate nature experience, great care is taken to provide guests with all the special touches, pampering and comforts during their stay. Safaris and bush walks are part of the offering of all-inclusive packages. The iconic tented accommodation fortifies the African experience that allows guests to immerse themselves in the beauty of the magical Lowveld.  Six en-suite luxury tents have been carefully placed underneath the shade of gaint Jackalberry trees with wonderful views to the river.

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Rukiya offers a unique and intimate wildlife experience and the opportunity to take Big Five game drives in the adjacent Balule game reserve (Kruger Park). When entering Wild Rivers Nature Reserve, expect to be immersed in the vista of endless woodland set against the back drop of the majestic Drakensberg mountains that change colour as the day walks on. This 2,600 hectare reserve is bordered by both the Blyde and Olifants Rivers and boasts a diverse landscape with rocky outcrops and savanna where plains game roam freely. Leopard wander and riverbanks are frequented by hippo and crocodiles.

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Raptors Retreat
Raptors Retreat is situated on the 3,000 hectare Parsons concession. This unspoiled corner of South Africa is renowned for its abundance of wildlife, mountainous scenery, indigenous forests, cascading waterfalls and diverse cultures.

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Rooms have high thatched ceilings and a huge, built-in king-size bed as well as a large sliding door that opens onto a private deck with double recliners. The deck is nestled in amongst the trees giving you the feeling of being right in the thick of the bush. One could expect an elephant or lion to stroll past any minute.
Slip into your own splash pool and cool off under the hot African sun whilst
watching game graze nearby. The open plan wet bathroom features sliding doors, duel basins, a large shower and bath. Screens are strategically placed to ensure privacy and complimentary toiletries of superior quality are provided.
At the heart of Raptor Retreat is the Main Lodge where guests can gather to either dine or catch- up on their adventures. Relax with a drink on the deck or slump into one of the voluptuous leather couches. The Main Lodge features a huge deck that looks out over an open plain where herds come to graze or drink at the water hole and predators wait for an opportunity. The large lounge area features comfortable seating, a fireplace. Hearty meals are served in the dining area, or on the deck, where you will experience good old-fashioned home cooking.


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Nzumba Safari Lodge
Nzumba safari lodge lies within the Klaseries Game Reserve and is also an important location for our leopard research program. Nzumba is located in a high lying area of the reserve and is a traditional farmhouse style lodge with the thatched central lodge looking south toward the Mariepskop mountain. The camp accommodates 10 guests in luxurious, fully serviced thatched chalets with his and hers private bathrooms.

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Wide verandahs overlooking the waterhole provide for relaxation during the day. Nzumba has a variety of wonderful dining areas with which to use. Breakfasts are served in the Kigela, or on a clear day on the lawn overlooking the pool. Dinners can be a choice of in the Kugela, or a candle-lit fantastical dinner in the boma around a fire under the stars.
Chalets are luxurious, fitted with air-conditioning, private minibar and coffee station. They flank both sides of the main building each with a private veranda. These are separately set, each overlooking the pool and flowing lawns that border onto the bush and a close-by water hole that is often frequented by a variety of game.
The Library/Lounge and TV Bar Lounge are situated in the double story main building that provides for perfect viewing over the waterhole from the upper veranda that leads out from the bar lounge. The lounge, with its leather chairs and memorabilia and dining room are evocative of the romantic colonial era.

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Tangala Safari Camp
Tangala Safari Camp lies within the Thornybush Game Reserve. Thornybush is a favoured safari location for movie stars and the rich and famous. Tangala boasts sweeping views overlooking an expansive and active waterhole, with the majestic Drakensberg Mountain Range forming an impressive backdrop. This eco-friendly camp, offers great hosting, comfortable accommodation and thrilling game drives, where guests are assured an unforgettable experience

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Thornybush Game Reserve is approximately 14,000ha of game habitat: open savannah woodland with tangled thicket and thorny scrub. It is a well established reserve and perfect habitat for Africa's famous Big Five as well as a host of other animals (eg. cheetah, African wild dog, hippo, crocodile, giraffe, zebra, various antelope species, porcupine, aardvark).  Thornybush is home to 147 mammal species,  114 types of reptile, more than 500 bird species, dozens of fish and amphibian species and 336 types of trees, as well as  countless grasses, insects, etc. Game viewing in the reserve ranks as some of the best in Southern Africa with a near perfect year round climate. Guests can enjoy off road close-up views of special sightings and once darkness falls, you'll be treated to thrilling spot-lit night drives in search of rare nocturnal creatures and big cats on the move.


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nKaya Game Lodge
With a capacity of only four exclusive suites, nKaya lodge offers the discerning guest the very best in privacy and is the ideal destination for a quiet, peaceful safari. Set on the crest of a hill that overlooks the Drakensberg mountain range and shaded by tall trees, nKaya lodge boasts spacious double suites each with private lounges and twin en-suite amenities.

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This lodge has recently undergone a soft furnishings upgrade and has the flexibility of providing guests with either eight single en-suite facilities, or 4 spacious completely self contained suites, each with a his and hers bathroom and comfortable lounge area for private entertaining and relaxation. Built around an inviting pool area for all four suites, this lodge boasts too, an excellent bar, dining and lounge facilities and an outside Boma area for night time dining.

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nThambo Tree Camp
nThambo Tree Camp offers unique accommodation in the heart of the Southern Klaserie Nature Reserve.
The lodge has only 5 chalets, which creates an intimate and personal safari experience. The accommodation is unique with bedrooms at eye-level with the trees, offering a different perspective from the private balconies.

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There is an outdoor lounge and dining area, under thatch, that offers guests beautiful views of the plain and small waterhole in front of camp, as well as the Drakensberg mountain range in the distance. A pool and deck with sun loungers and umbrellas completes the main area and offers a refreshing spot to relax all year round.
A traditional boma area with fire place captures the traditional bush camp safari experience. Open to the sky and surrounded by a wooden kraal, the boma is where the warm evenings are spent sharing stories of the bush.

The Southern Klaserie is part of the Greater Kruger and shares unfenced borders with the Kruger National Park. It is here that guests can take part in Big Five game drive safaris.
On game drive guests will be led by experienced and professional game rangers through a wildlife area rich in game. There is the chance to see all of the Big 5 in and around camp at any time, so guides will escort guests to and from their rooms at night.
The Southern Klaserie also boasts a plethora of interesting birdlife and is a haven for bird-watchers. All 5 chalets are positioned on stilts at level with the trees so game watching can be enjoyed constantly. The small size and privacy of nThambo means that activities are flexible and exciting night drives can also be conducted.

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Ivory Wilderness Lodge
This intimate lodge is situated on the banks of the Klaserie river within the Klaserie Nature Reserve. Where the managers family links go back generations to when the reserve was first established, providing a unique insight into the area and it’s history.

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This pristine wilderness has been untouched over time and will allow you to reconnect with the mysteries of nature. 
Ivory Wilderness is a hidden gem located deep in the reserve offering an exclusive and intimate safari experience.
Daily activities are tailored to suit our guests, from bush walks to game drives, all in the company of experienced guides who will utilise bush craft and skills to give you an extraordinary stay in wild Africa.
​Feel the romance of Africa and surpass the explorers of the past with lush tented accommodation.  Drift asleep to the sounds of the African night and truly experience the bush veld with luxury comfort. 

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Whales and Wine

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Our five day whales and wine package can be taken as an ‘add-on’ to any of our South African safaris, or as a separate stand alone tour.
We start and end at Johannesburg (OR Tambo) International Airport, our price includes flights from Joburg to Cape Town and transfers as shown, plus the Marien big five and a wine tour.


Day 1
Enjoy a complementary night in a four star hotel close to Johannesburg International airport on a bed and breakfast basis. We’ve designed this feature to allow you to arrive at any time and have a good nights rest before your morning flight to Cape Town on the following day
For those adding this package to one of our safaris we will transfer to the airport hotel at the end of your safari. And for those taking this package only, you have the freedom to arrive in Johannesburg at any time that suits you.

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Day 2
Early morning flight to Cape Town, where you will be met and transfer to your Hermanus hotel (approx 90 mins).
Hermanus is built along the shore of Walker Bay and is considered the whale watching capital of the world.
Known as the heart of the whale coast, this coastal resort offers the best land based whale watching in the world.
There are many restaurants and cafes for you to explore and enjoy in this small seaside town, and for that reason your hotel stay is on a bed and breakfast basis, allowing you to dine out as you please.
For your first night in Hermanus we recommend that you take advantage of the complementary shuttle service to the centre of town (approx 4-5 mins). Besides whale watching, Hermanus offers many gorgeous beaches, for swimming or sunbathing. There is also an incredible selection of galleries, fashion boutiques, curio and jewellery shops all located near the centre of town, within walking distance

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Day 3
After breakfast you will join a memorable 2hr Big 5 Sea Safari.  Our goal is to target Walker Bays Big 5, Whales, Dolphin, Seals, Penguin and Marine Birds.
You will be transferred from your hotel to the harbor of Gansbaai and where you will set course and head out into the middle of the bay in search of our Big 5.
On your journey our crew will educate you on all aspects of Marine life, with a qualifying Marine Biologist and a Skipper with over 15yrs experience there is a wealth of knowledge for you to tap. 
While no two trips are ever the same, from years of experience we have come to expect sighting of whales, dolphins, sharks, seals and an array of coastal marine fish and birds.
Although sightings of the Southern Right Whales have decreased in the past two years, we are seeing even more Brydes and Humpback Whales than ever before.  Dolphin sightings are awe-inspiring and include the ever mischievous Bottlenose Dolphins, the spirited Common Dolphins as well as endangered Humpbacked Dolphins.  The Cape Fur Seal population is ever increasing and you are very likely to see these and perhaps even a Great White shark.
Once back on dry land you will transfer back to Hermanus, where you will have the rest of the day to yourselves, perhaps taking in the sights, sounds, shopping and cuisine available in this charming seaside town.


Day 4
Today you can enjoy a wine tasting trip exploring world-class wineries at your own pace. Hop aboard a unique HOP-ON HOP-OFF safari-style vehicle and discover the boutique wineries of the stunning Hemel & Aarde Valley in a truly unforgettable way.
A fleet of these vehicles offers a distinctively South African experience, allowing you to take in the breath-taking beauty and ‘champagne air’ of this picturesque valley while exploring the world-class wineries at your own pace.

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Flexibility and freedom is the name of the game on this wine tour. The vehicles spend all day following a set route visiting pre-selected wineries. They go round and round, which means you can get on and off whenever you feel like it. Want to stop for lunch here, you can. Want to try a few more wines there, go for it. Your ticket is valid all day and another one of our vehicles will be along soon.

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Day 5
After breakfast you will transfer to Cape Town for your domestic flight back to OR Tambo International airport.