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11d/8n:

Exclusive safari tour with Lisa and Skigh

Highlights

Safari in the Nkomazi Game Reserve, Africa under canvas, Swaziland , the Big 5, the Little 5, Thanda Safari in a private Game Reserve, St. Lucia, UNESCO world heritage in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Cape Vidal.

The price includes:

  • Flight from the UK to Johannesburg and home from Durban
  • Transfer from the airport to the hotel in Johannesburg
  • Transport between all accommodations as described in the programme, in a car with air conditioning
  • Transfer from St. Lucia to the airport in Durban
  • 8 nights at 4-star hotels, safari camps or lodges
    • 8 x breakfast
    • 2 x high tea
    • 3 x lunch
    • 4 x dinner
  • Entry fee for Swaziland
  • Local English-speaking guide throughout the tour, from arrival in Johannesburg to departure from Durban
  • 24-hour manned emergency telephone throughout the tour
  • Departure guarantee with a minimum of 2 participants

The following excursion packages are included:

  • 7 safari tours in private game reserves (morning and evening game drives)
  • 1 evening boat trip at the St. Lucia Estuary including a glass of wine
  • 1 day trip in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park to Cape Vidal including a snorkelling trip
  • 1 visit to a glassblowing workshop in Swaziland

Single room supplement £250

Choose this tour because...

If you want to travel in a small group with a skilled local English-speaking guide, and experience safari and nature away from the typical tourist areas, this tour is for you. You stay in 2 private game reserves, where you and the other tour members practically have nature all to yourselves. You also get some local city life in the charming coastal town of St. Lucia.

The tour is led by Lisa and Skigh Rinaldi Coetzee. Skigh, a South African, is a qualified ranger. He knows everything there is to know about the nature and wildlife, and shares his vast knowledge with you. He has previously worked at Bongani Mountain Lodge, among other places, where many of our guests have enjoyed his safaris. Lisa is German and moved to South Africa several years ago to work as a service guide at Bongani Mountain Lodge. On the tour, she translates for German-speaking guests, and also helps with all the practical things that crop up along the way. Lisa and Skigh live in St Lucia, which is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site iSimangaliso Wetland Park, and they therefore have a very special insight into this amazing area.

On the tour, you have the chance to see both the Big 5 and the Little 5, and at Cape Vidal, you can go snorkelling at the coral reef, and maybe take a trip to see the incredible sea turtles. In the evening in St. Lucia, you experience something that happens nowhere else in the world, as hippopotamuses walk the streets to graze on the lawns of the townsfolk, and they don’t flee at the sight of humans like they would in other places. Bird life here is practically a chapter in itself, as iSimangaliso Wetland Park is home to more than 500 bird species, and there are special bird-watching spots in the park.

Skigh is the driver on the tour, and he takes you through the South African landscape in a comfortable car seating up to 9 guests. Special safari vehicles are used for the safaris.

Detailed Itinerary
(Click an image to view at full size)

Day 1: Departure from the UK

Departure on an evening flight from the UK to Johannesburg with transfer(s) on the way.

Day 2: Arrival in Johannesburg

On arrival, you are met by the guide, who drives you to the hotel.

After check-in at the hotel, there is a group welcome meeting, where the guide goes over the tour and answers practical questions. The guide also hands out an information package.

The rest of the day is at your leisure.

Overnight stay Peermont Mondior At Emperors Palace****

Day 3: Johannesburg – Nkomazi Game Reserve

After breakfast and check-out, you get an early departure from the hotel. You can relax and enjoy the varied landscape on your trip from Johannesburg to Nkomazi Game Reserve, which is located in Mpumalanga. The trip is approx. 300 km long and takes about 4½ hours. Lunch is served just after arrival.

Nkomazi Game Reserve stretches across 15,000 hectares of stunning nature, featuring some of Africa’s oldest rock formations, soft hills, open savannah, the Komati river and green shrub land. Nkomazi has a richly varied animal life with elephants, rhinoceroses, giraffes, lions, cheetahs, as well as a wealth of antelopes and gazelles including the waterbuck, kudu, impala and ibex. Bird life here is rich as well. The Komati river runs through the game reserve, and the river’s water provides a foundation for the rich animal life to thrive.

In the game reserve, there is a luxury tent camp, the Komati Tented Camp, which includes only 10 tents. The camp stands above the Komati river, and offers a fantastic view of the landscape.

Majili’s lounge tent has a viewing terrace, where you can sit and relax, perhaps enjoying a drink before you go on a safari in the afternoon.

Dinner will be served in either the outdoor boma or in the dining tent, depending on the weather. If it’s a clear, starry night, some of the southern constellations may be explained.

Overnight stay Komati Tented Lodge****

Day 4: Safari and other activities in Nkomazi Game Reserve

The ranger stops by early in the morning to wake up the guests. A cup of coffee or tea and a small snack will be served before the morning safari begins. A morning safari typically lasts between 2½ to 3½ hours, and breakfast is served when you return to the lodge.

Afterwards, you have a few hours at your leisure. There is a guided bushwalk (walking safari) around midday, in case you want to give it a try. You can also opt to relax in your luxury tent, which includes a small plunge pool at the porch in front of the tent. Finally, in exchange for an additional fee, you can purchase a mountain bike tour, a fishing tour, or a treatment at the spa, which is completely secluded yet can offer a fantastic view.

At the end of the afternoon, you once again take a safari in the beautiful and varied game reserve, on lookout for Africa’s impressive animal life.

That evening, dinner is once again served in either the outdoor boma or the dining tent – the location depends on the weather.

Overnight stay Komati Tented Lodge****

Day 5: Nkomazi – Swaziland – Thanda

Today, experiences await you in a new country: Swaziland. On the way from Nkomazi to the next safari lodge in Zululand, the tour passes through the small kingdom of Swaziland. After a short stop at the border for passport control, you enter Swaziland, a beautiful, mountainous country. The land is marked by agriculture and a bit of forestry. The population is cheerful and accommodating, and the various tribes of the country have always co-existed in peace and harmony. During your trip through Swaziland, you visit a glass blowing workshop, giving you the opportunity to see the entire process of blowing and shaping glass. There is also a small factory shop, where you have the chance to buy some excellent glassware.

Later, a stop is made at a local restaurant for lunch. Lunch is at your own expense this day.

In the middle of the afternoon, you arrive at the Thanda Safari Private Game Reserve. Overall, you drive approx. 300 km, and the trip takes about 6 hours. After check-in and a short rest, it’s time for the afternoon safari tour.

Thanda Safari Private Game Reserve is a Big 5 reserve covering 14,000 hectares. Big 5 means that you can see elephants, buffalo, rhinoceroses, lions and leopards here. But you don’t have to settle for that, because if you’re lucky, you can also see cheetahs, rare wild dogs, hyenas, zebras, gnus, antelopes and the reserve’s extremely varied bird life, including 90 different species from weaver birds to bateleurs and vultures. You won’t meet many other guests in the game reserve, as safaris are only permitted for guests of the reserve. That way, you are secured the best possible opportunity to see and watch the area’s animal life and nature.

Thanda exclusively uses solar panels for electricity, so lighting is limited in the evening and, like a true safari, many places use oil lamps and candles. This gives it a fantastic atmosphere.

After the safari, dinner is served under the stars or on the open terrace by the restaurant, or perhaps indoors, in the light of the candles and oil lamps.

Overnight stay Thanda Tented Camp****

Day 6: Safari in Thanda Safari Private Game Reserve

You are woken up in the early morning, and after freshening up with a cup of tea or coffee, it’s time to head out on a safari. The animals are active in the morning, and here you can watch them as they go out to look for food. Here in Thanda, aside from the Big 5, you can also see “Little 5”: the elephant shrew, rhinoceros beetle, leopard tortoise, the ant lion with its voracious appetite as a larva and impressive wings as an adult, and finally, the red-beaked buffalo weaver. Your nature guide possesses expert knowledge on the area and will look for tracks and signs of animals, which are overlooked by the untrained eye. At the same time, the guide also shares stories and anecdotes about the area and their time as a guide in this magnificent country.

Breakfast is served after the safari, and afterwards you have a few hours at your leisure.

If you like, you can participate in a very exciting Zulu culture tour from Thanda. On the tour, you visit a traditional Zulu home and learn about Zulu culture and history. The tour is purchased on site for an additional fee.

Thanda participates as a game reserve in a preservation project for rhinoceroses, which are critically endangered due to poaching and other issues. On this tour, you will join a specialised rhinoceros worker in their daily tasks for 3 to 4 hours. You must wear clothing with neutral earth tones, and the tour requires an additional fee. The bulk of this fee goes towards supporting the project.

At the end of the afternoon, it’s time for another safari. Here, late in the day, many animals are typically going to the water to drink. For this reason, some completely unique experience may lay in wait here, where you can see giraffes not far from the elephants, and a little further away, you may see some impalas – all of them slightly on edge in case there are lions about.

You get back to camp after sunset, and dinner will be served in the light of candles and oil lamps today as well.

Overnight stay Thanda Tented Camp****

Day 7: Thanda – St. Lucia

The day begins with a final safari in Thanda before breakfast. After breakfast, you check out of your luxury tent, and the tour goes on to St. Lucia. It’s about 100 km and takes about an hour and a half.

After arrival and check-in, there is a short city tour, after which you have a few hours to yourself.

The town of St. Lucia is located in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. The town is small and pleasant, and coexists with nature. It has the Indian Ocean on one side, and the wetlands of the St. Lucia Estuary on the other. iSimangaliso Wetland Park truly is a unique area. The Big 4 can be found in nature here, and it has a particularly rich animal life that requires wetlands – including hippos, crocodiles, and water birds such as flamingos and ospreys.

The town of St. Lucia stands out in that the animals are allowed to roam free. That means that it’s not unusual to see hippopotamuses wandering the streets in search of some tasty green grass in the evening and night time. Seeing antelopes isn’t out of the ordinary either.

Late in the afternoon, you take a sunset boat trip at the St. Lucia Estuary. Here you get up close to the hippos, who, unlike anywhere else in the world, don’t flee from boats and people. A delightful glass of wine is served as the boat quietly glides off, searching for birds and animals. The boat trip takes approx. 2 hours.

Afterwards, the guide can drive you to a restaurant of your choosing, and pick you up again afterwards.

Overnight stay Turtle Bay Lodge****

Day 8: Day trip through the iSimangaliso Wetland Park to Cape Vidal

Today, in an open safari car, the tour continues through iSimangaliso Wetland Park to the white sandy beaches of Cape Vidal and their crystal-clear, turquoise waters. iSimangaliso Wetland Park covers 332,000 hectares and features the Big 4: elephants, buffalo, rhinoceroses (both black and white) and leopards. The landscape here is extremely varied, and iSimangaliso includes the world’s highest coastal cliffs with vegetation. The area is not fenced in, and the animals wander completely freely. As soon as there is something to see, the open safari car will stop. On arrival at the stunning beach of Cape Vidal, you will receive some snorkelling equipment, so you can experience the coral reefs here. If this is your first time snorkelling, you will receive some good instruction as well. A classic South African BBQ breakfast is included. You return to your lodge at the end of the day.

The evening is spent at your leisure.

Overnight stay Turtle Bay Lodge****

Day 9: St. Lucia on your own

The day is spent at your leisure. The guide assists you with advice and guidance, and will help you book extra tours if desired. There is a wealth of opportunities here, from deep-water fishing to kayaking, sea turtle tours and whale safaris to Zulu culture tours.

Of course, you can also choose to simply relax at the pool by the lodge.

Overnight stay Turtle Bay Lodge****

Day 10: Departure from Durban

After breakfast, it’s time to check out, and the guide drives you to Durban, where you fly home with transfer(s) on the way.

Day 11: Arrival in the UK

You land in the UK after a fantastic guided tour and holiday experience.

Highlights

Safari in the Nkomazi Game Reserve, Africa under canvas, Swaziland , the Big 5, the Little 5, Thanda Safari in a private Game Reserve, St. Lucia, UNESCO world heritage in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Cape Vidal.

The price includes:

  • Flight from the UK to Johannesburg and home from Durban
  • Transfer from the airport to the hotel in Johannesburg
  • Transport between all accommodations as described in the programme, in a car with air conditioning
  • Transfer from St. Lucia to the airport in Durban
  • 8 nights at 4-star hotels, safari camps or lodges
    • 8 x breakfast
    • 2 x high tea
    • 3 x lunch
    • 4 x dinner
  • Entry fee for Swaziland
  • Local English-speaking guide throughout the tour, from arrival in Johannesburg to departure from Durban
  • 24-hour manned emergency telephone throughout the tour
  • Departure guarantee with a minimum of 2 participants

The following excursion packages are included:

  • 7 safari tours in private game reserves (morning and evening game drives)
  • 1 evening boat trip at the St. Lucia Estuary including a glass of wine
  • 1 day trip in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park to Cape Vidal including a snorkelling trip
  • 1 visit to a glassblowing workshop in Swaziland

Single room supplement £250