The National Park Safari is an overland guided safari which departs from and returns to Johannesburg. The areas which are visited include Kruger National Park, Ithala, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, Addo Elephant National Park and Pilanesberg. This safari in South Africa’s exciting wilderness areas is led by an experienced African Sky guide, whose unique insight into the behavior and habits of the various species and the habitat is sure to make it an unforgettable experience.
Guests are met and welcomed at O R Tambo International Airport, from where we travel east, crossing the eastern escarpment en route to the world-renowned Kruger National Park. The Kruger National Park is South Africa's premier wildlife destination. The park stretches 350km from north to south and on average is about 60 km wide from east to west. It is home to a great diversity of different mammal, bird and plant species.
Guests spend three nights in the Kruger National Park. Morning and afternoon game drives are conducted daily by your experienced safari guide. Their insight into the habits and behavior of the various species is sure to increase the frequency of animal and bird sightings and will add greatly to your understanding of this wilderness area.
An early breakfast is followed by a journey to Ithala, set in the hills of northern Zululand. The magnificent Ithala Game Reserve is a game viewer's paradise. It includes the heights of the Ngotshe Mountains and the valleys of the Pongola River - a height difference of approximately 1 000 meters. Some of the oldest rock formations on earth are found here, dating back some 3 billion years. A stone age tool, spear heads and evidence of iron smelting and gold mining have been found in the region. The vegetation of this hilly area is mainly grass and bushveld (thornveld) and the area hosts about 75 mammal species.
Guests spend three nights at Ithala with breakfast and dinner included daily. Two interpretive game drives are conducted daily by your guide.
A last morning game drive in Ithala is followed by a short journey to the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve. The Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve is the oldest conservation area in Africa and one of the largest game parks in South Africa. It is located in KwaZulu-Natal. The vegetation consists mainly of indigenous bush and thorny Zululand bushveld. The Big Five, as well as the elusive cheetah and wild dog, are found at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve. These recently combined parks include a corridor that was previously owned by the state and, due to no development having taken place there, has evolved into having the densest concentration of wildlife in the area.
Guests spend three nights in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi with morning and afternoon game drives conducted each day. The highlight of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi game drives will be the opportunity to see both black and white rhinos, of which there are great concentrations in this park. Hluhluwe-iMfolozi played an important role in the reintroduction of these species when their numbers dwindled close to the brink of extinction.
An early breakfast is followed by a transfer to Durban International Airport for a flight to Port Elizabeth and from there a drive to Addo. The region's vegetation varies from tropical to temperate flora types. Heathers and proteas, cycads, spekboom (Portulucaria afra), yellowwood, witstinkhout and aloes are typical of this region. Sweet-thorn, wild olive, Karee species, sneezewood, guarri, milky rope, tree fuchsia and many varieties of succulents, vines and creepers are to be found in abundance. This area is the transitional region between the Mediterranean winter rainfall and the subtropical summer rainfall region.
Guests spend three nights in Addo with two game drives conducted daily. The Addo elephants are smaller than the African elephants of central Africa. They are, however, not a subspecies, as was once was believed. Of the Addo elephants, only the bulls have tusks, and these are fairly short. Other animals such as Cape buffalo, black rhinoceros, eland, red hartebeest, rhebok, zebra, bushbuck, duiker, kudu, jackal, caracal, mongoose and vervet monkeys are also found in the park. 185 bird species have been recorded. Birds such as the Knysna turaco and various eagles are worth mentioning.
Breakfast is followed by a transfer to Port Elizabeth Airport for a flight to Johannesburg, where guests will be met by their guide. The safari makes its way via the scenic Hartbeespoort Dam to the Pilanesberg National Park. The park is characterized by broken hills, which range from sparsely vegetated areas to thickly wooded watercourses. The plains game species which are likely to be seen include zebra, kudu, waterbuck, eland, blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, kudu and impala, to name but a few. A highlight would certainly be a sighting of one of the Big Five in close proximity to the vehicle, or the graceful cheetah, which also occurs in the area.
Guests spend two nights in the Pilanesberg National Park. Two game drives are conducted daily in this Big Five-bearing reserve.
A last morning game drive is followed by breakfast, after which guests are transferred to O R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg for a flight back to their country of origin after a memorable and comprehensive South African National Park safari.