9 days for £2,450 pp sharing
Other dates available on request
- Includes accommodation, all breakfasts and dinners, entrance fees, personalised checklists, and specialist guide fees
- Deposit £525 pp. Single supplement £340 pp
- Maximum group size 6 people
- Excludes international flights
Download our 2013/14 Tours Guide for information on booking your flights and FAQs about our tours
This specialist 9 day tour offers both amateur and professional wildlife photographers the chance to encounter a variety of predators, in particular the iconic big cats of South Africa. Our expert guides are known for their skill in tracking a variety of species, including the more elusive and rare animals that so many people miss on the traditional Big 5 safari. As well as the larger feline species, Wild Dog, Caracal, Serval Cat, and Brown Hyena are also photographic possibilities on this safari.
South Africa’s Greater Kruger National Park offers undoubtedly the most readily accessible authentic wildlife experience in Southern Africa. For wildlife enthusiasts, it has some of the finest game viewing and photographic opportunities, especially when it comes to the big mammals, such as Elephant, Rhino, Lion and Leopard. Covering a huge swathe of remarkably diverse woodland savannah in the north-east corner of the country, this park and the adjacent private reserves are easily accessible by road and air. Unlike some other large parks in the sub-region, there’s no need for expensive charter flights or bone-jarring road journeys, and, after landing at Kruger / Mpumalanga International Airport, one can be viewing game a mere one hour later. The park is some 350 kilometres long from north to south and offers a wonderful array of different types of savannah, from the well-wooded hills and rock outcrops of the south-west to the open basalt plains in the central region, and is home to over 500 bird species, 137 mammal species, 119 reptile species, 33 species of amphibians and nearly 50 species of fish. The Sabi Sand Game Reserve offers a cherry-on-the-top experience, with close-up encounters with big cats that have been known to be experiences of a lifetime for participants.
- Observe and photograph big cats and other predators during the day and by night
- Benefit from the experience of guides who consistently deliver sightings of the big, the small, and the hard to find
- Seek out Africa’s big five in the Kruger National Park and Sabi Sand Game Reserve – two of southern Africa’s best wildlife areas
- Take bush walks for a unique perspective on predator behaviour
- Travel in a small group of 6 with an expert photographer and wildlife guide
- Enjoy your own private safari vehicle
- Search for the rare and nocturnal species, including Wild dog, Serval, Aardwolf, and Caracal
- Enjoy the hospitality and service of some of the best wilderness lodges in Africa
After arrival in Johannesburg, you will meet your fellow travellers and tour guide. You will then travel towards the Kruger National Park and overnight at the Blyde River Canon. The canon offers wonderful birding opportunities and a chance to spot the first wildlife of the tour.
After breakfast, you will travel onward to Kruger National Park and enter at Phabeni Gate. You will arrive at Skukuza, situated on the southern banks of the Sabie River, and shortly after start your first safari along its banks. The landscape around Skukuza is a mix of rocky outcrops and dense vegetation and is prime big cat territory. The area is known for its healthy populations of Leopard and Lion and the congregations of prey animals that line the river banks.
Days 3 and 4
Today we continue on to the Satara region on Kruger, where we will stay for 2 nights. Satara is regarded as one of the best game viewing areas in the park and is particularly noted for the big cats, with Lion, Leopard and Cheetah recorded regularly. The big cat populations are supported by the general game, including Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Waterbuck, Giraffe and the ubiquitous Impala. Satara offers you the chance to encounter all of the main predators, including Wild Dog. Evening/night drives through Satara not only offer the chance to observe the more elusive species, notably Caracal, Serval Cat, and African Wild Cat, but also interesting photographic opportunities as the sun drops and the predation really begins! Of the smaller animals, the Honey Badger is also something to look out for.
Day 5 to 8
Today we leave the Kruger National Park via the Orpen Gate and head to the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, a 65 000 hectare piece of private land that is contiguous with the neighbouring national park. This reserve has a long conservation history and now boasts what is arguably the best Leopard viewing in the world. The reserve is home to all six species of cat found in the eastern regions of the country, although it is most famous for its regular close-up encounters with Lion and Leopard. As Cheetah have such large home ranges they are not always present in the reserve (moving freely between the Sabi Sands and the Kruger Park). Man’s activities have benefited them here in the Sabi Sands however, as the many small artificial dams and pans result in a large resident Impala population, which in turn attracts these roving predators into the area on a regular basis. Part of the thrill here in at the private lodges is observing the expert Shangaan tracker at work as he uses his incredible knowledge, skill and intuition to find these cats for us. On an afternoon drive a pride of Lions might be resting up almost invisibly in some long grass, but the morning drive may find them out on the hunt – each drive is a completely different experience and the four-night stay will give us enough time out in the bush to ensure ample cat sightings and encounters. The fantastic game-viewing will be complemented by optional bush walks, where we get a chance to get closer to the ground and learn about some of the smaller creatures and the links that hold the whole ecosystem together. Fantastic accommodation and superb dining will augment the experience – it doesn’t get much better than this! Each full day thus entails a morning safari, followed by breakfast, an optional bush walk, lunch and a rest period followed by an afternoon safari that returns to camp after dark, giving us the chance to observe cats moving about under the cover of night.
Today we start the journey back to Johannesburg and reflect on our encounters with the cats of South Africa.
- African Wild Cat
- Serval Cat
- Meerkat (Suricate)
- Southern Giraffe
- Spotted Hyena
- African Wild Dog
- Greater Kudu
- Kori Bustard
- Lilac breasted Roller
- Leopard Tortoise
- Bat-eared Fox
- Chacma Baboon
- Common African Python
Photos courtesy of Leon Marais
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