Big Cat Safari

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
             
                             
10 DAY
BIG CAT SAFARI

 

 

 

    

 Day 1Yes, that was a long flight but look where you are; finally on an Adventure in Africa. The Dark Continent Explorer team will meet you upon arrival at OR Tambo International Airport Johannesburg, South Africa. Meet and greet then off to Lesedi Cultural Village for a cultural festive dinner. You'll be treated to a Pan African Buffet in the Nyama Choma Restaurant and then a comfortable bed. As you reflect on the full day of flying, you can only imagine what lies ahead. The Africa of your dreams is probably not as amazing as what is about to unfold on this African wildlife safari.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

  Day 2-You awake this morning surrounded by a kaleidoscope of African color. The lodge is themed after the indigenous Zulu people. Southern Africa is home to many native groups and at least 4 are represented here including Zulu, Basotho, Xhosa and Pedi. We are in the heart of the bushveld. An English breakfast will be served with a lyrical background sound of traditional maskande guitar. We will spend a bit of time meeting and exploring the deep culture of this southern sub-continent. Native representatives of each culture will introduce you to their culture. Then to the big room where they will treat you to a sample of their dance…Drums…Drums. After lunch, we will traverse much of South Africa as we travel to Mpumalanga and the Northern Provence. Our destination is the old gold mining town of Graskop. To get there we will loop through some of South Africa's most striking scenery, "The Drakensburg Mountains." You won't even think your still in Africa as this mountain landscape rivals the Rockies. We will see Blyde River Canyon and God's Window plus the Rondovals. Finally, we will arrive at our comfy lodge near Graskop. After a special dinner, we will rest in a mountain top lodge.  
__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3-This morning we eat on Main Street of this colorful village and then spend the morning visiting the shops, talking with street vendors and touring the famous Silk Factory. Only here is South African silk hand made into beautiful garments. The silk farm is located 6 miles from town. There the worms spin their cocoons without knowing that the local native women will enhance their work. This is our favorite walkable hamlet in South Africa.

Before lunch, we depart and drop off the mountain to one of the world's most successful wildlife rescue centers. Dr. Brian Jones manages Moholoholo. Brian is a wildlife vet with a passion to save injured and abandoned animals. The Wildlife Rehabilitation center has rescued hundreds of Africa's animals. They also do research on leopards and vultures. We will be staying at the Mountain Lodge and after lunch visit the Wildlife Center. You will see big cats close up, like lions and leopards plus Africa's best display of rescued vultures and birds of prey. Later after a bush dinner, we will finish the day with a night drive in Africa's low veld.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

Day 4- After breakfast in the mountains we will take a ranger walk in the veld. This walk will overwhelm you with the diversity present in this dry climate. Your seasoned guide will open your eyes to the magic of Africa. 

Upon returning, we load up and drive to the world famous Kruger International Park via the Paul Kruger Gate. From here on, we are in Big Cat country. Our destination is the rest camp of Skukuza. After lunch, we saddle up for an African photo safari into Kruger National Park.  We will traverse over 100 kilometers of the wild park watching for the expansive Cape buffalo herds and the lion prides that stalk them. We will stop at busy waterholes that may hold croc's and hippos as well as attract some of the hundred species of warm blooded animals. Our destination is the old ranger camp of Skukuza. Skukuza is the most user friendly gated and fenced compounds in the park. We will take our lodging just before dark. The reserved guest cottages will be our base camp for the next four nights. A campfire will cap the evening along with true stories from this region. Skukuza is Kruger National Park's history central. Keep your eyes open.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Day 5Today we awaken in the thick of your African Photo Safari and in the middle of big cat country. We are at the capital of Kruger National Park. At dawn, after a short breakfast of South African rusk and fruit, we take our coffee and move through the gate into the park. This region is Wade's favorite region for lions and leopards. Just north of camp near Tshokwane is a region of open plains where cheetah are often seen speeding after their prey. This will be our brunch stop after slipping along the Sabi River drainage looking for leopard. After brunch with the Vervet Monkeys, we will begin moving toward lower Sabi and then cut across our favorite leopard and lion path as we circle back toward Skukuza. The afternoon is your time to relax and explore the Sabi River overlook and gift shops. This evening you have a choice of relaxing at Skukuza camp or an optional short evening wildlife drive that will take us along the Lower Sabi Road into elephant and Chacma baboon country.
__________________________________________________________________________________________


Day 6- We breakfast early again and prepare for those hard-core photogs who are heading out into Big Cat country this morning. If you'd like to sleep in today can be your day to visit Kruger National Park's amazing Stevenson-Hamilton library/museum where relics of the parks past and Harry Wolhutters lion skin and knife resides. We are going in a new direction today looking for leopards and croc's. We've seen as many as three leopards in one morning on this track. Once we encountered a big male leopard a moment after he took down a buck impala. The impala was still kicking when we arrived. Location, location.

We lunch at base camp and take a power-nap. As the sun begins to cast long shadows we board the wildlife vehicle and drive southwest, along the Napi Road to Transport Dam. The lions begin their hunt as the sun dips low.  Transport Dam is the site of the famous Battle of Kruger where a pride of lions attacked a herd of Cape buffalo and the unfortunate young buff jumped into the water only to be attacked by a Nile Croc. Nat. Geo. Wild made a special out of this footage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU8DDYz68kM This site is a great spot to see action. Before dark, we are circling our favorite route in the park as we trace the Sabi and Sand Rivers with an eye out for leopard. After a campfire and beautiful dinner under the southern sky, Wade will take everyone with a flashlight on a wildlife safari hike to see an unusual resident of Kruger Park who resides in the Egyptian fig trees of Skukuza. We are in search of Bush Babies. Spend your last hour in Skukuza's great gift.

__________________________________________________________________________________________


Day 7- After breakfast, we will be looking for water related critters near the Lower Sabie Dam. It is common to see giant hippos battling over waterholes and harems of females. In addition, this is a toothy place where Crocs abound. Kruger hosts a colorful tapestry of birds and many of them favor water habitats. We will be on the lookout for the Fish Eagles and the small insect eaters. Lions often favor the wet habitats along the rivers because their favorite prey, Cape buffalo are heavy drinkers. All eyes are peeled for giraffe sightings plus wildebeest, zebra and kudu. We will trace the old Selati Rail route back to our safari camp at Skukuza for lunch and afternoon of rest.


__________________________________________________________________________________________


Day 8-

Our destination today is the Big Cat Reserve. To get there we pack up after breakfast and drive the tar roads and sand roads on our way to Phalaborwa gate. On the way, we will visit the Letaba and the Elephant Museum. By afternoon, we arrive at the Big Cat Reserve and your safari camp for the next two nights. You will move into your beautiful bush lodging and before dusk board an open land rover to go look for big cats. You may get to hear a lions roar from close-up.

 Finally, we enjoy a candle light dinner that the incredible chef has been preparing all afternoon. The night closes with a campfire. Tonight you may hear lions roaring from your thatched roof cottage. The facility we are guests at will be among your favorite destinations of your traveling career. Africa's big cats are in trouble and the Big Cat Reserve has responded. Recently bovine TB infected Kruger National Park's Cape buffalo herds. Because lions prey on the buffalo, they contracted the disease. The result was a loss of hundreds of the big cats. While some reserves are now breeding disease free Buffalo for reintroduction into Kruger there are also wildlife breeders who are working to insure that the disease resistant lions are saved for reintroduction. The reserve we are visiting is working to save all of the big and small cats.
__________________________________________________________________________________________


Day 9- Highly skilled wildlife guides will accompany you in the morning and early evening in open 4×4 game drive vehicles. Bring your hiking shoes as we will likely stop and do a mile of so on the ground. Rangers carry rifles because this is really Big Five country. Their extensive knowledge and training ensures that your wildlife experience will be unforgettable, exciting and informative. This Big Cat Reserve has the best guides we've encountered n Africa. You will get to see some of the rarer cats here including the Serval and Caracal cats, maybe even an African Wild cat.

This private reserve is known for its close encounters with a vast variety of animals including the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino). This is the photo hotspot on our safari. In addition, all wildlife drives on the reserve coordinate their game viewing activities, which ensure the best of sightings. Halfway through the early evening game drive, there's a stop for sundowners and snacks, before returning to the lodge at around 7:00 pm, with enough time to freshen up before sitting down to a buffet dinner served in the open-air boma (weather permitting).


__________________________________________________________________________________________


                 

 
        
 
 
    
 

 


Day 10- After a custom breakfast plus tea, coffee, rusks and fruit you get one more walk with the cheetahs… and wipe the tear from your eye, while no one is watching. Then it's to Jo-berg and the Tambo airport. Tomorrow you are back to the real jungle….With great stories from your African photo safari.   
__________________________________________________________________________________________

          
 
 
 
     
   
 
 
 

 
*We reserve the right to adjust the schedule to maximize wildlife viewing opportunities.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Watch a video overview of this 10 day African Safari

 

Post to Twitter