Experience the wild romance of the Madikwe and Sabi Sand private game reserves in South Africa.
Guests are met and welcomed at a location of their choice in Johannesburg. Once a few formalities have been completed, you’ll be transferred to the charter terminal, where you’ll board a light aircraft flight to the malaria-free Madikwe Private Game Reserve, located in South Africa’s North West province, adjacent to the neighboring country of Botswana. Once safely on the ground, you’ll enjoy your first open 4x4 game drive experience as friendly lodge staff meet and transport you to your luxury overnight accommodations. On arrival at your safari lodge, you’ll be warmly welcomed, and assisted with settling in, after which some time for rest and relaxation is on the agenda.
Later in the day, you’ll enjoy your first exciting game drive into the Madikwe wilderness, guided by expert rangers and trackers. The game drive starts in the late afternoon, pauses at a remote location in the bush for sundowners, and then continues into evening, lasting three to four hours in order to maximize your experience.
While in Madikwe, you’ll enjoy two exciting guided game drives daily atop custom-built 4x4 vehicles. You may also choose to participate in an optional guided nature walk at no additional expense (if weather conditions permit).
This secluded region was once privy to only a handful of folks who owned the land, remaining undeveloped because of its poor quality of soils. It was decided in the early 1990’s that, to make best use of the land, it should be allowed to revert to its original wilderness state. Under ‘Operation Phoenix’, a massive wildlife relocation program was launched, reintroducing entire breeding herds of elephant, buffalo, white and black rhino, and later lion, cheetah, African wild dog and spotted hyena, increasing the large mammal population to over 10, 000. These introductions complemented the already-established species such as brown hyena, various antelope, giraffe, zebra and wildebeest, and sightings of all of these animals are now a common occurrence. Once the natural balance was restored, the reserve flourished and today over sixty species have been recorded, including the elusive leopard, an iconic African species at the top of every visitor’s wish list. Following recent expansions, Madikwe is today South Africa’s fifth largest reserve, comprising some 75,000 hectares of African wilderness. Madikwe is particularly unique for two reasons: first, game drive vehicles may traverse the entire reserve. This arrangement simply means your ranger may follow an animal wherever it goes, and doesn’t have to disappoint guests by explaining that an animal cannot be followed because it crossed an invisible boundary line. Madikwe also conveniently falls in an ‘eco-zone overlap’ in Southern Africa, where the moister eastern parts converge with the drier Kalahari to the west.
What this means is that, in addition to a similar variety of species as in the Kruger National Park, sightings of gemsbok (oryx), brown hyena, eland, and springbok are also possible - all animals that you definitely won’t see in the Kruger National Park region of the country.
After a last morning activity in Madikwe, you’ll return to Johannesburg, where you’ll be met and transferred to the five-star Castello Di Monte in Pretoria, South Africa’s capital city. Built in a Tuscan style, this luxury accommodation is located on a hilltop in the affluent suburb of Waterkloof Ridge and enjoys superb views of the city of Pretoria. You’ll be able to spot the Union Buildings on the opposite side of the valley, and the granite Voortrekker Monument to the west. Creature comforts at Castello include fully stocked mini bars, satellite television, underfloor heating, air-conditioning, tea and coffee on demand and a selection of local newspapers. The upper roof deck is the perfect location to unwind and enjoy an African sunset with your beverage of choice. Included in your stay as an African Sky guest is a full course dinner.
After breakfast, you’ll be transferred to Johannesburg, where you’ll board a local commercial flight to Skukuza in the southern Kruger National Park. There, you’ll be met and transferred to the highly regarded Dulini Leadwood Lodge. Your afternoon is devoted to an open 4x4 safari in this magnificent wilderness area. The Greater Kruger National Park, incorporating the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, provides the quintessential safari experience and is arguably home to the greatest diversity of wildlife on the African continent. From the comfort of your luxurious safari lodge, head out during the crisp early mornings on an open 4x4 vehicle to track, photograph and observe Africa’s original inhabitants. Learn from your knowledgeable safari guide and tracker as they detail intimate and interesting facts about the African bushveld and its wild - and occasionally intimidating residents. From beasts as large as the African elephant, the world’s largest land mammal, to the elusive leopard and lion and the endangered rhino, all are well represented here in this pristine African savanna environment.
Guests enjoy two exciting guided game drives daily atop custom-built 4x4 vehicles, conducted by a professional ranger and tracker. You may also choose to participate in an optional guided bush walk at no additional expense (weather permitting). Once privately owned commercial farms, the Sabi Sand today is open to the celebrated Kruger National Park and is considered an extension of that prestigious wildlife area. The reserve is internationally renowned for its high frequency of leopard sightings, arguably the best in Africa. These compelling cats are habituated to the presence of vehicles and very close encounters are now often the norm. Their close cousins, the impressive lion, are also common, and there is no experience more thrilling than observing a pride of lions bringing down its quarry. Sabi Sand also protects the endangered white rhino and its more aggressive cousin, the black or hooked-lipped rhinoceros. Their other Big Five counterparts, the elephant and Cape buffalo, also occur. These mega faunae are, of course, not the only animals living here, and sightings of impala, zebra, giraffe, warthog, waterbuck, nyala and wildebeest occur frequently. African wild dog and cheetah, once uncommon, are now recent additions to the predator hierarchy and are often spotted. Game drives take place during periods of increased activity - the early morning and late afternoon and evening.
The remainder of your day may be spent enjoying the creature comforts of your luxurious accommodations.
Your last morning game drive is devoted to finding the few more elusive animals you haven’t yet seen. Often some of the best sightings of the safari occur on the very last game drive! Later you’ll depart the Sabi Sand and return to Johannesburg, bringing to an end a memorable luxury South African safari holiday.
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