6 Day Explorer Safari Tour Itinerary
Arrival at Kruger National Park
After spending the night in Johannesburg or after an early arrival at OR Tambo Airport you are picked up by your guide with a comfortable air conditioned vehicle who then takes you on a 5-6 hours’ drive to Paul Kruger Gate, one of the entries to Kruger National Park in the South of Mpumalanga Province. During the transfer you will have opportunity to buy provisions or have a quick meal at one of the rest stops along the way (total stopping time ̴1 hour). At Paul Kruger Gate you will change vehicles to an Open Safari Vehicle which gives you a 180 degrees panoramic view of the African savannah with a full experience of all smells and sounds, and a perfect vantage point to see over high grasses and bushes. We reach Skukuza Rest Camp after your first game drive just before the gate closes for the night. After check in, you can have a dinner of your own choice at the camp’s restaurant on a platform next to the river and perhaps even watch some animals while you eat. We have an early night to be ready for the full day Safari the next day.
Full Day Safari
We get up at dawn to make the most of our Kruger Safari. Your guide prepares a quick coffee for you and you can have rusks with your drink for a quick snack as we get on our way. Alternatively, you may join one of the spectacular and informative morning walks that are offered by the national park in the early hours of the morning; if you chose to do so your guide will wait for you at the camp with the breakfast and we will depart on safari afterwards.
We spend the morning in search of all the iconic animal species including the Big 5 with a dedicated professional field guide, who will use expert knowledge of the area to interpret the natural environment for you in every detail. Your guide will frequent various waterholes and river systems as well as other Kruger hotspots to maximize your opportunity to see as much as possible and ensure the scenery on display is ever changing and picturesque. We stop at one of the picnic spots or at the rest camp; where your guide prepares a delicious breakfast for you.
Later we stop again at one of the rest camps for a lunch at the restaurant before we continue our safari. We arrive at Satara Rest Camp in the late afternoon; your guide will prepare a bush braai for you while you have a walk around the camp or relax by the pool.
Morning safari and cultural tour
In the morning we continue with our last game drive and leave the park before midday at Orpen Gate. We then proceed to the local community of Welverdiend and introduce you to some of the village personalities such as the traditional healer, the village chief and traditional council and take you to some local micro businesses, for example the place where they make traditional beer. You can also visit the pre-school, school and a school that caters for children with special needs.
What makes this tour so special is that it is completely authentic and nothing is staged; nobody is waiting for us and that means that each time we do this tour it is different. Depending on the time of the year, people may prepare and sell products that are in season; the traditional council may be gathering or something else may be going on that particular day that is worth seeing. Our guide is originally from the very village that we are visiting and knows almost everyone in person, meaning that he has a special rapport with the local people that enables him to gently and non-invasively demonstrate rural life to our guests. The villagers appreciate our presence and welcome it.
After the tour you will have lunch at our African restaurant nearby in the bush right next to Kruger Park. Once you have eaten and rested in the tranquillity of the bush at our bouma with a cool drink you will meet the Sangoma who will introduce you to the ways of a traditional African healer, the rigorous training they have to go through before being fully and officially recognized and correct some misconceptions that surround this profession. He will take you on a walk of the bush (no big game / no Big 5) and find plants that are traditionally used by the local Sangomas for healing of different ailments and for spiritual purposes. He will explain their different uses and meanings and you can ask him any questions you like related to his work.
Then we transfer you to African Rock Lodge where you can relax by the pool after check in before you can have a light or not-so-light dinner at one of the excellent restaurants in town or at the lodge on request (not included).
Today you have breakfast at your lodge. Afterwards, we leave on the full day Panorama Route Tour, with its breath taking scenery and natural wonders that are a must on any visit to the area. We will see the exceptional view at Blyde River Canyon, the world’s largest green canyon. Next we visit Bourke’s Potholes where you can walk around and over the bridges to take a good look at the geologically significant gullies and streams where gold was found of old. We head over to Graskop where you can enjoy lunch. On our way back we also stop at God’s Window for another spectacular view of the Lowveld and at Lisbon falls. Stops and exact itinerary are weather dependent.
You can have dinner at one of the excellent restaurants in or near town (not included).
Half Day Safari from Phalaborwa and Qualito Distillery Tasting Tour
We start the day early to drive north to Phalaborwa Gate to Kruger National Park. We explore this area of the park– very different from the southern and central parts which you have seen on the first and second day until lunch time. Then we return to Phalaborwa for the Qualito Tasting Tour at the local distillery to discover some local spirits (included). After a lunch at a restaurant in town we return to the lodge in the afternoon. As an alternative to the Qualito Tour we can continue with our safari in the afternoon and leave the park from Orpen Gate.
Moholoholo Animal Rescue Centre and return to Johannesburg
Depending on your flight schedule, we leave the lodge in the (early) morning and take you to the nearby Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre where you can learn about the dilemma of saving and preserving African wildlife first hand and meet some of the big and small predators eye to eye. After the tour and a quick meal on the way (not included) we take you back to OR Tambo on time for your return flight back home or onwards journey in South Africa.