South Africa – Cape & Zululand Wildlife Safari 2020
August 2020 (12 days)
Dates23 Aug 2020 - 3 Sep 2020
Tour LeaderRynart Bezuidenhout
Tour Size6 Participants & 1 Rockjumper Wildlife guide
Start LocationCape Town
Flight Cost (Approximate)ZAR2200
Spaces AvailableSpaces Available
Type of TourWildlife
Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, African Buffalo, African Elephant, Black & White Rhinoceros, African Wild Dog, Giraffe, Great White Shark, Southern Right Whale, Orange-breasted and Neergaard’s Sunbird, Cape Sugarbird, African Penguin, Cape Wildflowers, Table Mountain, Cape Point and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Day 1: Arrival in to Cape Town
Our tour starts as you are met by your guide on arrival in South Africa’s Mother City, Cape Town, widely regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
This is the perfect base from which to explore the region’s highlights and over the following few days we will enjoy a bounty of experiences within easy reach of the city. A short drive from the city, our comfortable accommodations, perched above the historic suburb of Simons Town, offer sweeping ocean views hemmed by the distant Hottentots Holland Mountains.
Day 2: Cape Town – Great White Shark Trip and Boulders Penguin Colony.
This morning we embark on what may potentially be the most memorable boat excursion of your life; a cruise out to Seal Island to view Great White Sharks (honorary mammals by our standards!).
Our hosts are a reputable and responsible team that have a deep passion for sharing their love of these incredible sharks. While we will need a dose of luck to secure a good sighting our chances are excellent and, if we strike lucky, we will enjoy sightings of these sharks leaping from the water as they hunt. This is one of the only places on the planet where it is possible to view these magnificent creatures from the safe quarters of a boat. We will spend the morning observing the sharks from the deck doing what they do best – hunting seals! For the more adventurous among us, the opportunity exists for entering the water in specially constructed cages to view the sharks. This experience is not to be missed!
After several exciting hours on the boat we will disembark and enjoy a lunch in Simon’s Town – the seafood in particular comes highly recommended!
We will then visit the famous African Penguin colony at Boulders Beach, Simon’s Town. This is the largest breeding population of this species on the African mainland and as many as five hundred penguins grace the beach, often in and around nearby nest burrows. We will have superb viewing and photographic opportunities of these undeniably, adorable birds. Other notable birds to watch for include the endemic African Oystercatcher found along the adjacent rocky shoreline and the offshore islets, which also hold populations of the endemic Crowned, Bank and Cape Cormorants.
Day 3: Cape Town – Whale Trip and Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve
Taking advantage of the annual migration of Southern Right Whales, we will again take to the ocean, this time to appreciate the beauty, bulk and astonishing behaviour of these whales. Southern Right Whales populate the protected Cape bays during winter, escaping the harsh Antarctic climate in order to calve and nurture their young. This is far from a single species expedition and other cetaceans that we may possibly encounter include Bryde’s and Humpback Whales as well as Common, Dusky and Bottlenose Dolphins. The cold upwelling of the Benguela current off Cape Town supports a wealth of pelagic seabirds, with vast concentrations of albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters and prions and we may also find ourselves marvelling at these fascinating birds as we search for cetaceans.
In the afternoon we travel to Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, located on the most south western point of the African continent. This reserve showcases coastal fynbos (a vegetation type only found in the Cape) as well as some interesting mammals and birds. We will explore the network of roads, searching the secluded coves and open plains of this scenically beautiful reserve. Here we hope to encounter the endemic and elusive Cape Mountain Zebra (this mammal is now rather rare). A more common sight is the Bontebok, an odd looking, strikingly patterned antelope. In addition, we should find Eland and the quirky Ostrich as well as a host of more common birds like Rock Kestrel, Southern Double-collared Sunbird and Spotted Prinia.
Day 4: Cape Town – Wildflowers of West Coast National Park
Today we have the whole day to explore the floral and faunal wonders of the West Coast National Park. We will also make a stop to enjoy the turquoise waters of Langebaan Lagoon where large numbers of waders spend the northern winter. Here we may also see Greater and Lesser Flamingo and a variety of other waterfowl.
The low, coastal vegetation (Strandveld) is home to an amazing diversity of plants and if we have had a good wet winter and spring we can expect one of the most remarkable wildflower displays on earth. Here, in the Postberg section of the reserve, the forces of nature have combined in perfect harmony to create a palette of wildflowers with the typically green and rather plain hills transformed into an extravagance of colour and beauty that is sure to take your breath away.
As we enjoy the floral display we may encounter a variety of interesting mammals including Black-backed Jackal, Yellow Mongoose, the bizarre Red Hartebeest, Springbok, Blue Wildebeest, Cape Mountain Zebra and the dainty Steenbok.
Day 5: Cape Town – Table Mountain and Botanical Gardens
Today, weather permitting; we will make our way to the base of Table Mountain where we will board the famous revolving cable car to the summit of the mountain. While this can be quite busy, we will attempt to get on one of the first cars of the day and thus enjoy a more intimate rendition of this must-do activity. At the summit, we will take a short walk enjoying the unique alpine flora and sightings of Rock Hyrax. Although the endearing antics of these delightful mammals are sure to serve as a highlight, the panoramic views of Cape Town as it comes to life below us will no doubt steal the show!
For lunch we will make our way to the rolling lawns and floral displays of the fabulous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. These vast gardens, draping the lower slopes of Table Mountain, offer stunning and informative displays, breath-taking views of the mountain and surrounding scenery as well as incredible birdlife. The gardens are not just a great place to enjoy the plants of the region but also the Cape’s endemic birds; we are likely to see the stunning Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape Sugarbird showing off its incredible tail and comical Cape Francolin as they scurry across the gardens.
Day 6: Cape Town fly to Durban transfer to Manyoni Game Reserve
We will enjoy a final morning in scenic Simons Town before heading to the airport to board our flights to Durban’s King Shaka Intl. Airport. After our arrival in Durban, we will transfer to Manyoni Game Reserve, an approximate journey of 2 ½ hours by road. We will arrive at our accommodation in the late afternoon and enjoy our first of many delicious dinners in this fabulous wildlife area.
Under new ownership, the newly renovated Zebra Hills Safari Lodge boasts all the creature comforts one would associate with five-star luxury, yet offers a special warmth that one would normally only associate with home.
Day 7-10: Manyoni Game Reserve
to In true safari tradition we will be out early in the morning searching for the many special animals and birds that occur here. This time frame and the late afternoon always provide the best wildlife viewing opportunities. Our well-appointed lodge, Zebra Hills, is situated in one of the prime wildlife locations within the rich Manyoni Game Reserve. Here thousands of hectares of unspoilt wilderness hold an amazing diversity of mammal and birdlife. During our time here we will no doubt enjoy a wonderful array of species with many memorable encounters.
The Manyoni Game Reserve lies within the Msunduzi valley in northern Zululand in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. The area falls under the Mkuze Valley Lowveld vegetation type, varying from open Savanna thornveld, bushveld to riverine woodland, characterized by Acacia’s and Marula tree species. The reserve is home to over 70 mammal species and an exceptional diversity of birdlife, estimated around 420 species. Over the next 3 days, we will explore the breath-taking scenery and wildlife of this beautiful property from the seat of our comfortable and well-designed safari vehicle.
Zebra Hills Safari Lodge also offers a not to be missed, hide experience. This well positioned hide overlooks a waterhole frequented by most if not all of the mammal species found on the property. The watering hole also draws a wide variety of birdlife, including the highly sort after Neergaards Sunbird.
Not to be underestimated is the watering hole located in front of the Zebra Hills Safari Lodge itself. It is believed that the riverine area below the lodge acts as the gateway between the Northern and Southern sectors of this 23 000 hectare reserve and it is for this reason that the waterhole enjoys so much attention from the wildlife. It offers a constant flow of wildlife activity, from Elephant to the dainty Red Duiker and off course the big cats love this stopover!
At the end of each day we will enjoy a refreshing drinks stop, perfect for stretching the legs and to take in the breath-taking views of a true African sunset.
Upon returning to our lodge, you are welcome to enjoy the warmth of the log fire burning in the boma. Sit back, relax and enjoy the sounds of the bush.
Day 11: Manyoni Game Reserve to Durban and depart
This morning and after a final morning enjoying the marvels of Zululand we will head back to Durban airport before bidding our farewells to this remarkable country. This journey, from the colourful and vibrant Western Cape to the game rich wilderness of Zululand is sure leave you with a bounty of memories that will last a lifetime!