“We constantly strive to improve our award winning safari packages each year. Once again we have tweaked this safari itinerary for 2109 to provide what I believe is the best safari package we have ever offered. Providing a perfect balance between big five game viewing and a chance to gain a better understanding of wildlife conservation.
We start this safari at our safari base, the exclusive Rukiya Safari Lodge, which is not only our safari base but is also a key location for our leopard research program. You will also visit three other game reserves to ensure you can enjoy a variety of different lodge styles and wildlife habitats to give you a comprehensive safari experience.
Of-course there will also be time for some R&R to sit back, relax and enjoy the African bush. We recommend the safari itinerary shown below, as we’ve developed and honed it over many years in keeping with our company ethos and moreover feedback from safari guests. It covers all the elements that we feel should be included in an African safari, and has received many many five star guest reviews”.
14 Day Safari - Suggested Itinerary:
Your safari begins at Hoedspruit Airport (HDS) were you will be met by on arrival by a member of our team and transferred to Rukiya Safari Camp just 25 mins away.
Eastgate Airport is the established gateway to the heartland of South Africas wildlife game viewing reserves and has three daytime flights arriving each day from Johannesburg, that are scheduled to assist international visitors to easily connect with Hoedspruit.
Many of our guests prefer us to arrange for their internal flight from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit (50 mins), or alternately for a scenic road transfer (approx 5 hours) which takes the hassle out of arranging the final leg of your journey and is a service that we offer our guests at cost price. Whether you choose to transfer by air or road the price is the same for singles or couples, however a road transfer is more cost effective for a small group or family travelling together.
Whichever transfer you prefer you will arrive at Rukiya Safari Camp in time to settle in and rest and relax. Rukiya is a small luxury tented camp within the Wild Rivers Reserve and is a key area for our leopard research team. The camp nestles along the banks of the Blyde River among age old trees, a truly stunning location.
Later in the day, before the sun sets we can take a short stroll along the river bank and enjoy a sundowner, returning to the lodge for dinner.
You are woken with an invigorating cup of coffee before setting off on a morning game drive. Your morning game drive will take you through the Wild Rivers Reserve and into the adjacent Balule Reserve (part of the Greater Kruger Park) where you will be able to enjoy your first big five game drive. Lunch is followed by time to relax and enjoy the views from your private deck with river views, before your afternoon game drive in the Wild Rivers Reserve, before returning home for a sumptuous dinner.
On your first full day on safari we will include our unique bush senses experience. This is an activity that we have developed over many years and has proven to be very popular with our safari guests. In a fun way it encourages you to use all of your senses when in the bush. Not just sight, but also smell, hearing and touch. Some of our senses are dulled by modern living, but this simple and fun exercise quickly hones one's bush senses, ideal preparation for any safari.
Day 3 & 4
An early morning game drive will take you through the Wild Rivers Reserve and into the adjacent Balule Reserve (part of the Greater Kruger Park), breakfast will be served in the bush before return to Rukiya. There will be time to rest and relax and enjoy lunch, and when the heat of the day has faded a little, you may join our rangers learning to track leopards and other predators within the reserve, where the Ingwe Leopard team are monitoring the resident leopard population. You will have the chance to try your hand at camera trapping.
You'll be given a motion activated camera trap to put at a place of your choosing on the reserve, with the aim of capturing images of the resident leopards. Over the remainder of your safari your camera will photograph any animal that walks by and triggers the motion sensor day or night. We'll see what animal pics you capture at the end of your safari. This is the point when you can put all you have learnt so far into action. You are able to consider and select places along game trails that you feel are likely spots to photograph the local leopards as they roam during the forthcoming nights. Leopard movement and territorial behaviour changes almost on a daily basis and is dependent on many factors, making this a fascinating and fun exercise and rightfully invites you to feel and become part of the Ingwe team.
Return to camp for drinks and dinner.
During your first four days, we can offer additional excursions should you wish. For example a morning spent at the near by Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, or an afternoon visit to the public area of the Kruger National Park. We don’t include these excursions as standard because they will clash with one or more of your scheduled game drives (included your standard package), however these options are available and we can quote for these additional excursions should you wish.
Day 5 & 6
A morning guided bush walk, followed by a leisurely breakfast then transfer to the luxurious Raptors Retreat in the Greater Kruger Park arriving in time for lunch.
An afternoon game drive within the reserve returns to your lodge in time for dinner.
The following morning you’ll have an opportunity to enjoy an escorted bush walk within the big five Balule Reserve, returning to your lodge for a late breakfast. Midday at leisure perhaps snoozing in the heat of the day, or enjoying a dip in the pool, or watching animals passing by. Your afternoon game drive will often continue after dark returning to the lodge for dinner.
A final early morning bush walk followed by breakfast. You will then transfer to the near-by Thornybush Game Reserve, famed for its exceptional game viewing and a favoured location for movie stars and the rich and famous, providing a lovely sedate bush atmosphere, with personal and friendly service. Even on bush roads it takes only 45 mins to transfer to Thornybush so you will have plenty of time to settle in and relax before afternoon high tea and game drive. Again returning to your lodge for dinner.
Day 8 & 9
No two days are ever the same on safari. Your next days in the Thornybush Game Reserve starts with an early morning game drive, returning to your lodge in time for a late breakfast/brunch. After which guests may have the option of taking an accompanied big five bush walk. An opportunity to trail in the Thornybush Game Reserve is an experience that will never be forgotten. The trail will return for a well-deserved rest during the heat of the day, where there will be time to relax and enjoying watching animals passing by. The afternoon game drive will start after high tea and will cover previously unseen areas of the reserve, followed by dinner often taken around the fire in an outside boma.
After a morning bush walk or game drive and leisurely breakfast you will transfer to nZumba safari lodge in the near by Klaserie Game Reserve which is also part of the Greater Kruger Park. On arrival there will be time to settle in before an evening game drive, returning to the lodge after the sun has set. nZumba is also a key location for our leopard research program, offering an extra insight into the resident leopard population.
Day 11 & 12
An early morning wake-up and an invigorating cup of fresh coffee, will start your first full day in the Klaserie Reserve, followed by an escorted bush walk before returning to the lodge for breakfast. You will have plenty of time for a well-deserved rest during the heat of the day, where there will be time to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the African bush. After lunch your afternoon game drive will cover previously unseen areas of the reserve, again returning after dark in time for dinner.
The next day will again start with an early morning bush walk. After lunch there will be an afternoon game drive before dinner. As there are no boundary fences between the Klaserie and Kruger National Park, the bush dynamics are constantly changing which means every walk or drive may offer new and exciting events. As we always say snooze and you loose.
On your last morning in Klaserie, your game drive aims to visit those parts of the concession that we haven’t had time to reach previously, offering an opportunity to get those final photographs, before returning to the lodge for breakfast. Then transfer back to Rukiya Safari Camp to meet up again with our leopard research team and recover the camera traps you set on day 3 and find out if you did indeed capture a leopard on your camera. Guests often remark that returning to Rukiya “feels like going home” and makes an ideal last night on your safari.
A final morning bush walk in the Wild Rivers Reserve followed by brunch. Then together we will review your camera trap pictures, hoping to find leopards, and many more animals that have been roaming the reserve day and night in your absence.
All photographs will be added to the Ingwe Leopard Research data base and form part of our research as well as being available for you to copy and take home.
You will then transfer to Hoedspruit Airport (25 mins) which marks the end of your safari. Arriving in time for your connecting flight to Johannesburg. Alternately, if you prefer a road transfer (5 hours, taking in part of the Panorama route through the Drakensburg mountains), then again, we can arrange this for you. In which case your arrival at Johannesburg Airport will be around 17:00.