South Africa Kruger & Cape Wildlife Safari 2020
September 2020 (10 days)
Dates1 Oct 2020 - 10 Oct 2020
Tour LeaderRynart Bezuidenhout
Tour Size6 Participants & 1 Rockjumper Wildlife guide
Flight Cost (Approximate)ZAR4530
Spaces AvailableSpaces Available
End LocationCape Town
Type of TourWildlife
Lion, Leopard, African Buffalo, Elephant, White Rhinoceros, African Wild Dog, Hippopotamus, Cheetah, Spotted Hyena, Southern Giraffe, Southern Right Whale, Southern Ground Hornbill, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Bateleur, Magpie Shrike, Southern White-crowned Shrike, African Fish Eagle, Lappet-faced Vulture, African Penguin, Orange-breasted Sunbird and Cape Sugarbird, Big 5, Great White Shark, Cape Wildflowers, Table Mountain
Day 1: Johannesburg to Timbavati Game Reserve (Kruger National Park)
This morning we climb into the African skies aboard a flight from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg for Hoedspruit, a small town nestled in the hills west of the mighty Kruger National Park.
From here we make our way by road to the Timbavati a private reserve situated in one of the most prolific game viewing areas in Kruger. Over 2 million hectares in extent, the vast expanses of the park are home to a staggering diversity of mammals. In excess of 140 species have been recorded from the diminutive Dwarf Mongoose to the gargantuan Africa Elephant and we have what is sure to be an incredible few days in store as we explore the area for game on our South Africa wildlife safari.
Not ignoring the smaller creatures that inhabit the park, we will take time to enjoy Kruger’s colourful bird and insect life as well as learning about the many fascinating cultural and medicinal uses of the trees and shrubs that grace the park. This is one of the most rewarding wildlife experiences on earth and you will find few pleasures greater than passing time learning about the intricate workings of this vast and dynamic ecosystem!
On arrival at our lodge we will settled into our accommodations before embarking on our first of many rewarding game drives.
Days 2 – 4: Timbavati Game Reserve (Kruger National Park)
Over the next three days of our South Africa wildlife safari, we will embark on early morning and afternoon game drives in open vehicles with our expert guide and tracker team. The Shangaan trackers are highly skilled in reading the tracks and signs to find more elusive game such as Leopard and Lion. Here, unlike many parts of Africa, the timeless art of animal tracking has not been lost and the Shangaan people are well known for their skills in detecting and following the all but invisible signs of game. The open vehicles allow for an intimate and uninhibited nature experience offering exceptional photographic opportunities.
Afternoon drives include sunset drinks stops, and on our return journey to camp our tracker, with spotlight in hand, will be searching for nocturnal predators and birds. On our South Africa wildlife safari, we stand an excellent chance to detect Spotted Hyena, Leopard and Lion and may even observe a thrilling hunt. Possible nocturnal birds include the likes of the tiny African Scops-Owl, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Barred Owlet and Giant Eagle Owl.
Afternoon drives include sunset drinks stops, and on our return journey to camp our tracker, with spotlight in hand, will be searching for nocturnal predators and birds. We stand an excellent chance to detect Spotted Hyena, Leopard and Lion and may even observe a thrilling hunt. Possible nocturnal birds include the likes of the tiny African Scops-Owl, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Barred Owlet and Giant Eagle Owl.
Day 5: Timbavati Game Reserve to Cape Town
After 3 unforgettable days of our South Africa wildlife safari, we will leave the riches of Kruger behind us and make our way back to Hoedspruit where we will board our flight to Cape Town. A two-hour flight but a world away, South Africa’s Mother City, Cape Town, is 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 6: Cape Town – Great White Shark Trip and Boulders Penguin Colony.
This morning on our South Africa wildlife safari, 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 7: 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, Lesser Double-collared Sunbird and Spotted Prinia.
Day 8: Cape Town – Wildflowers of West Coast National Park
Today on our South Africa wildlife safari, 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 and the dainty Steenbok.
Day 9: 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 come 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 10: Cape Town and depart
We will enjoy a final morning in scenic Simons Town before bidding our farewells to this remarkable country. This journey, from the game rich wilderness of Kruger to the colourful and vibrant Western Cape is sure to leave you with a bounty of memories that will last a lifetime!