This Greater Kruger Lodge Safari offers much more than the average wildlife safari in terms of the game viewing activities, accommodation, location and level of service provided. One of the key features which make this safari extra special is the extended bush walks with highly proficient guides and trackers. In addition to these extensive guided walks, guests also enjoy open vehicle game drives in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve of Greater Kruger Park. The freestanding, en-suite accommodation on this excellent-value Timbavati Safari also sets it apart, with guests staying in spacious and comfortable safari units tucked away in the bush.
Bateleur Main Camp holds flexibility as the key to exceeding the expectations of guests when it comes to game viewing activities and your safari experience as a whole. The daily itinerary is thus tailored to suit your needs and make the most of local conditions and animal movements. The camp prides itself on going to extra lengths to ensure that you have the adventure of a lifetime in the African bush!
Early on the first morning of this affordable Greater Kruger Safari, you are collected from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Leaving the economic capital of the country we travel northeast towards Timbavati Private Game Reserve in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa. You travel to Bones Bush Pub, at the entrance to Timbavati, in an air-conditioned transfer vehicle, arriving between 13h15 and 13h45. One of the Bateleur Camp drivers then collects you from Bush Bones and transfers you to the lodge inside Timbavati Game Reserve at a small extra cost (R180 per group).
This short transfer brings you to the safari camp where lunch is served shortly after your arrival. After a delicious lunch, you are free to unwind at the safari camp, tucked away in the bush. Later this afternoon we embark on our first exhilarating game viewing activity in the Timbavati Game Reserve, forming part of Greater Kruger Park. We set off on a late afternoon game drive in an open 4x4 safari vehicle or take a guided bush walk.
Returning to the safari camp after our first thrilling wildlife encounters in Timbavati we have a hearty dinner in the dining area. While enjoying dinner and relaxing in the dining area you may see wildlife and birds along the riverbed and at the seasonal waterhole nearby. After dinner, you can have drinks around the campfire, listening to the sounds of the African bush around you. At the end of your first exciting day on safari, retreat to the comfort of your spacious safari accommodation for a peaceful nights sleep.
Spend day two and three experiencing the African bush up close and spotting a host of African animals and birds in the wild. Game viewing activities are conducted in the Bateleur traversing area of Greater Kruger Park, where an abundance of wildlife is found. There are no fences separating the Bateleur property from Kruger National Park proper, allowing wildlife to roam freely between these wilderness areas. All of Africa's iconic Big Five animals (rhino, leopard, lion, buffalo and elephant) are regularly sighted in the camp's traversing area, along with other rare and fascinating wildlife species.
A typical day on safari begins with an early morning snack (biscuits or rusks) and coffee or tea, before heading out into the bush at sunrise. For game walks, you either set off into the bush on foot from camp or drive out in search of animal tracks to follow on foot. Mornings are ideal for game viewing given the relatively cool temperatures and increased activity levels of the animals, as well as the excellent lighting. Your guide takes you in search of the Big Five and other incredible animals, with regular sightings including buffalo and elephant herds, endangered black and white rhinos, the majestic big cats, and packs of endangered African wild dogs, to name a few. On the game drives, you get to cover a fair amount of ground, sighting a variety of animals across a range of habitats. Whereas on the game walks you experience the bushveld ecosystem up close, taking in the details and appreciating the smaller creatures and plants. The game rangers share their in-depth knowledge with you as you explore Greater Kruger, showing you signs of animal activity, deciphering animal tracks and pointing out remarkable features of the flora and fauna around you. While the bush walks offer a closer look at the plants, reptiles, insects, birds and small animals, you may also come across big game at any moment, making for a thrilling experience!
After the adventure-filled morning game viewing activity, you return to camp for breakfast followed by free time to rest and relax. You can have a nap in your comfortable room, take a refreshing swim in the pool or settle down in a comfy spot to read and keep an eye out for birds and animals at the camp. On either day two or three you will be treated to an informative bushcraft and survival skills demonstration at the camp. This interesting instructional activity looks at basic tracking and navigation, along with bush survival skills.
A light lunch is served in the dining area before the afternoon game viewing activity kicks off. In the late afternoon, your guide takes you back out into Greater Kruger on a bush walk or an open vehicle game drive. On the game drives, we stop in a scenic spot as sunset approaches to soak up the beautiful scenery with sundowners. After witnessing a glowing African sunset we continue our game drive into the evening, searching for the elusive nocturnal creatures that begin to emerge.
As night falls and the bush is enveloped in darkness we return to camp, gathering in the dining area where a tasty dinner and dessert is served. Indulge in a nightcap, sitting back around the cosy campfire where fireside stories are exchanged and plans for the next game viewing adventure discussed. Tune into the nighttime sounds of the African bush and its wild inhabitants, marvelling at the blanket of bright stars, after a long and eventful day in Timbavati.
Start your final day bright and early with a morning tea or coffee and snacks before heading out into the untamed wilderness in search of wildlife. Your guide takes you on a guided bush walk or game drive giving you one more opportunity to put your improved game viewing skills to the test. After revelling in the last wildlife encounters of this safari we return to the safari camp for breakfast in the dining area.
Then it’s time to say our reluctant farewells, leaving Bateleur Camp and Timbavati behind and taking the memories of a lifetime with you. You arrive back at Bones Bush Pub in time for your transfer back to Johannesburg, departing at 10h45 this morning. The shuttle service takes you back to OR Tambo International Aiport, dropping you off between 17h00 and 18h00 on the last day of this unforgettable African wildlife adventure.
During your safari, you embark on guided game viewing activities every morning at sunrise and again in the late afternoon to evening. The qualified game rangers take you out on game drives or bush walks and are armed to ensure your safety in the big game territory of Greater Kruger. Before embarking on game viewing activities, your guide usually consults with the group to determine your interests and preferences. Drawing on his or her intimate knowledge of the local wildlife and weather conditions your guide then discusses the best options with your group before heading deciding whether to venture out on a game drive or bush walk. When tailoring the game viewing activities your guide also considers energy and fitness levels of your group members in order to accommodate everyone as much as possible. There are at least two highly proficient, armed head guides and at least two experienced trackers present at Bateleur at all times to ensure that guests wanting to embark on game drives only can be accommodated whilst other guests do walking safaris.
Although you can choose to spend all of your game viewing time on game drives, guests are encouraged (but not pressured) to spend a bit of time exploring on foot. Bateleur prides itself on its exceptional game walks and is rated as a leading destination for walking safaris in Southern Africa. The safari camp provides guests with ample opportunities to experience the flora and fauna up close and personal, on foot. The extended guided bush walks at Bateleur set the safari camp apart from standard lodges where short mid-morning walks are generally offered as optional activities. Extended game walks can last as long as three to four hours, replacing game drives. Alternatively, guests can embark on open vehicle game drives with the option of continuing on foot once interesting animal activity and tracks have been found in the bush. At Bateleur Main Camp the bush walks are conducted by qualified rangers and trackers. Walking with armed rangers in this truly wild part of Africa is a rare and special wilderness experience that will never be forgotten!
The game drives on this safari are conducted in open safari vehicles, enabling guests to get closer to the animals and take unobstructed photographs. After dark powerful spotlights are used to light the way and search out nocturnal animals. On bush walks the focus is on learning about the wonders of nature, plant and animal, big and small. On guided walks you are immersed in the African bush habitat with its free-roaming wildlife, sharing the trails and waterholes of the wild animals as you explore their lives and their space. The minimum age for walking safaris is 12 years and, although there is no age limit, an average fitness level is required especially during the hotter summer months (from October to April). Requests specifically for bush walks or for game drives are accommodated as far as possible each day, but the lodge manager or lead game ranger ultimately decides taking factors such as the weather and animal movements into account. Whether you take a game drive or bush walk the staff go that extra mile to exceed your expectations.
During your stay at Bateleur Main Camp, you will be treated to a practical demonstration of bushcraft practices and survival techniques (weather allowing). Find out how to survive in the bush - lighting fires, making ropes and water containers, setting snares and putting items that you find in the bush to use. During the guided bush walks your guide also instructs you on basic tracking and shares navigation skills. This unusual bushcraft information and survival skills demonstration is popular with guests and not widely offered elsewhere.
The Bateleur property is 3500 hectares in size and forms part of a larger 10 000 hectare traversing area, including several neighbouring properties of Timbavati. Guests often encounter no other vehicles during game drives on the Bateleur property, enjoying an exclusive safari experience! Bateleur Main Camp has a two-strand electric ‘elephant fence’ around it which keeps elephants out but allows other animals to enter the camp area. Guests are given a safety briefing upon arrival and advised to remain in their en-suite safari units at night. There are no full fences between Bateleur Camp and Timbavati which shares unfenced borders with the Kruger National Park proper. The camp is set in the untamed African bush inhabited by an abundance of wild animals, the Big Five included! During your stay, you are likely to see various animals and birds in the camp area. Nyalas, warthogs and bushbuck are frequently sighted. Elephants, buffalo and rhino are often be spotted walking along the riverbed in front of the camp and at night various wild animals walk through the camp under the cover of darkness.
Bateleur is a medium-sized safari camp ideally suited to couples, solo travellers and small groups looking for an authentic and intimate African bush and wildlife experience. Bateleur Main Camp was designed and built to keep its environmental impact to a minimum, by using canvas walls and not removing any trees when building, planting trees instead. The camp's main area consists of lounge, bar and dining areas overlooking a riverbed and seasonal waterhole. The lounge and dining area is set on a covered wooden deck with open sides, next to the chemical-free swimming pool. The central lounge and dining deck leads out onto an open-air boma with a fireplace and chairs, adjacent to the outdoor barbecue (braai) area where the chef often prepares meals on the open fire.
The camp accommodates up to 16 guests in its free-standing safari units with en-suite bathrooms. The units consist of thatched A-frame structures with thick canvas sides featuring large windows and double wooden doors, leading onto covered patio areas. Doors and windows are fitted with mosquito screens and roll-down flaps so that guests feel close to nature. These spacious safari units provide good levels of comfort (quality linen, towels, comfortable beds and adequate furnishings) and modern amenities (plug points for charging batteries and solar-powered lights and fans).
Timbavati was formed in 1956 by an association of private landowners striving to further conservation and restore the area to its natural state. In 1993 fences between Timbavati and Kruger National Park were removed, making the private game reserve part of the Greater Kruger Park. Today Timbavati covers about 60 000 hectares of wilderness along the western edge of Kruger. The protected area shares unfenced borders with both Kruger Park and Sabi Sands to the south, allowing wildlife to roam freely between these wild regions. The reserve is home to more than 40 mammal species, including the famous Big Five of Africa, and about 350 bird species. Timbavati is best known for the rare white lions discovered here in the 1970s.
This tour does take children.
The minimum age requirement for bush walks is 12 years.
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