This affordable Kruger River Lodge Safari combines the world-famous Kruger National Park with top-notch Private Game Reserves in the Greater Kruger Park area - a fantastic wildlife adventure with comfortable Private Lodge accommodation.
On our first night we head into the Big 5 Thornybush Game Reserve on an exhilarating sunset to night game drive using spotlights to search for nocturnal wildlife after sundowners in the bush. We spend the whole of day two game viewing in the world-renowned Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s top game parks, in an open-sided 4x4 safari vehicle. On the morning of day three we venture into the lodge's Private Nature Reserve on a bush walk and in the afternoon we go game viewing in the Big 5 Kapama Private Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger Park area.
On day four we embark on a scenic boat cruise along the Blyde River and visit the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. Lastly, we explore the Thornybush Private Game Reserve on a morning game drive, before traveling back to Johannesburg, where this diverse Kruger Private Lodge Safari comes to an end.
On day one of this Kruger Park Safari you are collected from the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, or from the Gautrain Station in Centurion. Leaving the 'City of Gold' behind, we travel east into the rugged Mpumalanga Province of South Africa, passing through the highveld grasslands en route to Hoedspruit. From Hoedspruit you are transferred to our private lodge on the quiet banks of the Klaserie River.
Arriving at the safari lodge we have a late lunch in one of the spacious dining areas, before embarking on our first game drive in the Thornybush Private Game Reserve, bordering on Greater Kruger National Park. The general public is not allowed into this private reserve, enabling us to escape the throngs of tourists.
Setting off in open-sided safari vehicles as the day cools, we go in search of the wildlife that the lowveld region is world-renowned for, getting our first taste of the untamed African bush. One of the finest safari destinations in South Africa, this private game reserve is home to a high density of wild animals, including the famous Big Five - rhino, leopard, elephant, buffalo and lion.
While out on our game drive we stop for sundowners at a scenic spot, enjoying a spectacular African sunset. As the light fades around us, nocturnal creatures begin to emerge - a thrilling time to be in the bush. Night drives are allowed in the private reserve so the game viewing adventure continues. Darkness falls quickly, but our safari vehicle is equipped with spotlights to help us find cheetah, jackal, hyena and lion.
Having spotted our first wild animals and birds in the private nature reserve we return to the riverside lodge for a delicious dinner. Then it's time to unwind at the bar, relax around the campfire or retire to your comfortable, air-conditioned chalet beside the river.
Setting off early, we take packed breakfasts with us and drive straight to Kruger National Park. The 45-minute drive from the lodge brings us to Orpen Gate where we enter South Africa's premier game park.
We explore the park in open-sided safari vehicles that provide excellent photographic opportunities, stopping for breakfast at one of the rest areas in Kruger Park. After breakfast we continue our search for the Big Five and the staggering variety of other animals found in this massive game reserve. Driving through the diverse vegetation zones and habitats of this 19 485 km² national park, your professional guide searches out the wildlife and birds found here. An astounding 147 mammal and 517 bird species have been recorded in Kruger Park, along with numerous reptiles, insects, plants and amphibians.
Predator encounters to look forward to include: endangered African wild dog, cheetah, hyena, leopard and lion, along with the smaller species - jackal, mongoose, caracal, serval, civet and genet. The incredible array of herbivores frequently spotted in Kruger includes: rhinos, elephants, buffalos, giraffes, zebras, waterbuck, wildebeest, duiker, impala, kudu, springbok and steenbok, among many. Other wildlife sightings include honey badger, porcupine, aardvark, bush baby, baboon, hippo and vervet monkey.
During the day we stop at one of the well-established rest camps in Kruger. Here you can rest in the shade, shop for curios, top up on refreshments and enjoy lunch (own expense). Then we continue exploring in our custom-built safari vehicle that immerses you in the smells and sounds of the African bush.
At the end of our memorable day in Kruger we return to the private safari lodge for a tasty dinner and laid-back evening. Sit back beside the fire in the open-air boma or in one of the cosy lounge areas and have a drink at the bar, before falling asleep to the sounds of nature.
This morning we have breakfast at the lodge, before setting off on a nature walk in the 200 hectare private reserve. We venture into the bush surrounding the lodge on foot, accompanied by an expert guide with detailed knowledge of the local fauna and flora.
The morning bush walk is an ideal way to experience the beauty of the African wilderness up close, zooming in on the smaller marvels of this remarkable micro-ecosystem. Your guide points out animal tracks and other signs of activity, offering insight into the animal species found on the property. Discover interesting facts about the insects, birds, reptiles and small creatures encountered, as well as learning about the medicinal uses of various plants growing in the area. Although we may come across wildlife on the walk, the focus is primarily on being immersed in the sights, smells and sounds of the African bush.
Our nature walk ends back at the lodge where you can take a refreshing dip in one of the swimming pools and rest up before lunch. Later this afternoon we embark on a 4x4 game drive in Kapama Game Reserve - a renowned private wildlife area. This 13000 hectare reserve is home to an impressive abundance and variety of Africa's wildlife species, promising exciting close-up wildlife encounters. Chances of sighting the Big Five are high, with Kapama hosting healthy populations of these iconic wild mammals.
After exploring this exclusive game reserve we return to our nearby lodge along the Klaserie River. Tuck into a wholesome dinner under the stars or in the thatch-roofed dining area and take it easy at the lantern-lit camp.
Please note: If the game drive in Kapama Private Game Reserve is not available at the time, then the afternoon game drive takes place in Tshukudu Private Game Reserve. Both of these private reserves are located in the Greater Kruger National Park area and host Africa's Big Five.
Day four begins with a continental and cooked breakfast at the riverfront lodge amid the natural vegetation. Then we travel to the Blyde River for a leisurely boat cruise through the beautiful landscapes of this unique natural area. The Blyde River Canyon is one of the largest and greenest canyons in the world, measuring about 26km (16 mi) in length and averaging at about 2 500 feet (762 m) deep.
Sit back and experience the grandeur of this natural wonder from the boat - admiring the unusual mountains and rock formations of the canyon. Also, keep an eye out for hippos, crocodiles and birds as we cruise along the peaceful Blyde River, learning more about this scenic area from the onboard river guide. Leaving the historic Blyde River behind we head back to our safari lodge for lunch in the lovely riverside setting.
This afternoon we visit the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC), a wildlife conservation initiative near the town of Hoedspruit. We take a guided tour of the wildlife centre, learning about the important research and rehabilitation programs conducted here. Activities at the HESC range from treating and rehabilitating rescued wildlife to breeding endangered animal species and promoting wildlife conservation through education and awareness. During our visit we get to see some of the resident animals up close, including cheetahs, African wild dogs and rhinos.
Arriving back at our welcoming lodge, we sit down for a hearty dinner, followed by free time to put your feet up.
We rise and shine early on our last day in the South African bushveld, embarking on a final early morning game drive in the lowveld. Our sunrise game drive takes us back into the 13816 hectare Thornybush Private Nature Reserve, home to about 48 mammal species, 230 bird species and 54 reptile species, along with 112 tree species.
After our last game drive in the pristine wilderness we return to the private lodge where a scrumptious breakfast is served. Then it is time to pack up and leave the idyllic riverside lodge behind, returning to the starting point in Hoedspruit, where the transfer vehicle awaits. Next, we make our way back to Johannesburg in Gauteng, journeying through one of the most scenic regions of South Africa.
This incredible Kruger Park Private Lodge Safari comes to an end in Johannesburg this evening. Arriving in the megacity (between 18:00 and 19:00) you are transferred to the O.R. Tambo International Airport or selected drop off points.
One of the most exceptional features of this intimate safari lodge is its idyllic location - tucked away in the indigenous vegetation along the Klaserie River, on a private reserve hosting abundant birdlife and free-roaming wildlife that can be spotted throughout the camp. The 200 hectare private property is positioned next to the acclaimed Thornybush Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger Park area. This also places the lodge just outside of the premier eco-tourism destination of Kapama Private Game Reserve, within easy reach of the Orpen Gate to Kruger National Park proper.
This family-owned and run lodge has a welcoming atmosphere, offering warm South African hospitality. The lodge has two main areas - River Camp on the banks of the Klaserie River and Top Camp that overlooks a watering hole. The two areas of the lodge are set a five minute bush walk apart, and both have swimming pools, dining areas, bars, guest toilets and kitchens, with WiFi available in the main camp areas. All eleven chalets are located at the River Camp, which features an open-air boma for alfresco dining under the stars. The waterhole at the Top Camp area attracts various animals and birds that can be viewed from the outdoor seating and dining areas, including zebra, wildebeest, giraffe and impala.
Accommodation is in charming river-facing chalets nestled in the shady trees on the reed-lined banks of the Klaserie River.
Each of the thatched chalets looks out over the tranquil river and surrounding natural vegetation, where an array of birds and animals are frequently spotted. These eleven riverside chalets have their own spacious wooden decks, each with a table and chairs for sitting back and enjoying nature. The chalets also feature large windows for viewing the river and surrounding vegetation, and are tiled throughout to keep the interior spaces cool.
The rooms offer a comfortable and private retreat for two, featuring extra length twin or king sized double beds. One of the chalets sleeps four, consisting of two inter-leading rooms that are ideal for families with children. Amenities include air-conditioning, ceiling fans, mosquito nets and en suite bathrooms fitted with a shower, toilet and basin. The rooms are modern and well-appointed, each equipped with a tea/coffee station, a fully stocked mini-bar, a safe for valuables, a two-way radio, a writing desk, storage spaces and complimentary bath products.
The order of the activities on this safari may change due to weather conditions and availability, but you will get to experience them all on this safari!
Please note that we offer convenient pre and post tour lodge accommodation for before and after this Kruger Safari, which can be added to your tour booking upon request. The 4 star lodge accommodation is located 10-15 minutes from the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Follow the link for more information on rates.
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