This budget-friendly 4-day Big 5 Safari in the exclusive Balule Private Game Reserve begins in Johannesburg, where guests are collected at designated pick-up points. We travel to our private lodge in Balule where guests are accommodated in luxurious, en-suite chalets in a traditional safari lodge.
Our time in Greater Kruger Park is spent on thrilling wildlife viewing drives in an area devoid of masses of tourists, but teeming with wildlife, including the Big 5, which traverse the boundless bushveldt of Kruger National Park and Greater Kruger. Take an exciting bush walk with an experienced, armed ranger and a Shangaan tracker to learn more about the flora and fauna indigenous to this area, alert at all times to the possibility of meeting one of the larger inhabitants of this African terrain.
This 4 Day safari to Balule Private Game Reserve is sure to be one of life's memorable experiences.
After an early morning collection from either the OR Tambo International Airport or Persequor Park in Pretoria, we make our way north-east to Hoedspruit and our exclusive lodge in the Greater Kruger Park.
Arriving in time for afternoon tea, our first wildlife viewing activity follows shortly afterwards - an introduction to the bushveldt and our first sightings of Africa's incredible animals and birdlife. We take a break during the drive to watch the sunset over Africa and toast the event with sundowners, before travelling back to our lodge as the nocturnal creatures begin to stir.
Dinner is waiting back at the lodge served in the boma, under the vast African night sky. Relax around the campfire and listen to the sounds of the night, before retiring after an eventful day.
Each day follows a similar itinerary, and each day is completely different. That's the nature of the wild.
Our days begin at sunrise. After pre-dawn coffee and rusks, we set off on our wildlife drive into the bush to watch Africa wake. There are many benefits of staying in a private game reserve, such as Balule. The private reserves have a limited number of safari lodges with a limited number of guests, so it's quite possible that you won't see another vehicle on your safari in the bush. However, the trained rangers keep in contact with each other, so all rangers are made aware of any exciting sightings, such as a kill so it's unlikely that guests miss an exciting event. The rangers are permitted to take their 4x4 safari vehicles off road to get as close as possible to the action, a privilege that is not allowed in Kruger National Park. As well as the Big 5, there will be sightings of varied antelope, zebra, giraffe, amazing birdlife and much much more.
Guests may also choose to take a bushwalk on one of these days, with an armed and well-trained ranger as well as a Shangaan tracker. The anticipation of meeting a beautiful, wild creature on these walks really gets the adrenalin flowing. But they are also excellent learning experiences as the ranger and tracker explain the mysteries of the bushveldt and guests have the opportunity to see and learn about the smaller creatures in this environment, as well as do some bird watching.
After an exciting couple of hours, we head back to our lodge for a very welcome breakfast. Now is the time to relax, as the sun reaches its zenith. Catch some rays taking care to protect your skin from the relentless afternoon, summer sun, then cool off in the swimming pool and take a siesta, or just lie on your bed and watch the wildlife pass by in the river bed below.
Afternoon tea is followed by a wildlife viewing drive into the bush again. Our rangers will use their superb skills to ensure the best game-watching experience possible. Once again, as the sun sets on Africa, we will enjoy a sundowner out in the bush before getting onto the safari vehicles to enjoy a night drive.
Back at the lodge, we enjoy dinner and the age-old tradition of sitting around the campfire discussing the day's sightings with our fellow travellers, before drifting to sleep to the night sounds.
We are up early again this morning and after coffee and rusks we set off on our final early morning game safari into Greater Kruger Park, before returning to camp for a hearty breakfast. Then its time to say goodbye to Balule Private Game Reserve and travel back to the designated drop-off points in Pretoria and Johannesburg. We expect our arrival time will be around 17:00 to 19:00.
Pick-up and drop-off are at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg or the Sasol Fuel Station in Persequor Park, Pretoria. For more details and times please enquire. Transport to and from these two pre-appointed locations will not be included in the tour price.
Collection times on the first day:
Drop off times on the last day:
Perfectly located on the seasonal Mohlabetsi riverbed in the Balule Private Game Reserve, the game lodge is the dream safari destination.
The central lodge has a comfortable lounge with fireplace, shady verandah, sun deck and swimming pool, offering a perfect place to relax, regardless of the weather. Designed to fit into the surroundings, the raised recreational areas allow for spectacular views across the bush.
Meals are served either in the dining room or at the campfire in the traditional boma, under the vast star-scattered African sky.
Accommodation is in fully-equipped luxurious units set far enough apart to ensure your privacy and sense of space. Each one has a bedroom, en-suite bathroom with shower and private patio overlooking the seasonal riverbed.
Balule is a 40 000 hectare reserve which makes up part of the Greater Kruger National Park. The entire area is unfenced, allowing free flow of the animals. This is prime Big Five territory.
The major advantage of staying in and exploring this area is that it is private and secluded. Unlike the Kruger Park, no day visitors are allowed, meaning that you won't be huddled around a lion kill with a hundred other people in cars. This is the real bush experience, enjoyed in solitude, as it should be.
Please note that we offer convenient pre and post tour lodge accommodation for before and after the Walking Safari, which can be added to your tour booking upon request. The 4-star lodge accommodation is located 10-15 minutes from the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. For information on lodge rates follow the link.
Please note that walking safaris have a minimum age of 16 years' old.
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