Image by Joss Woodhead

St Lucia, Ithala GR, Kruger NP, Mabula GR & Marakele NP, South Africa, & Hlane Royal NP, eSwatini

Kruger & Kwa-Zulu Natal

£4,750 pp sharing

At a Glance

Dates: September 21st - October 6th, 2022

Extension: We do not currently offer any extensions to this itinerary.

Prices: £4,750 pp sharing (with a single supplement of £700)​, excluding international flights.

In a sentence: A gem of a tour, combining the well-known riches of the Kruger with the little-visited, but by no means less rewarding, Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Overview

There are few countries in the world that have as much to offer a visitor as South Africa. Chief amongst these attractions is the world-famous Kruger National Park, boasting excellent viewing of all of the 'Big Five' as well as wild dog, cheetah and a parade of smaller mammals, antelopes and unusual birds. Those who visit only Kruger, though, are missing out on a rich tapestry of wildlife and natural beauty, and this itinerary gives guests the opportunity to sample the best of both worlds. An extended stay in Kruger is complemented by a chance to sample the impressive wildlife and friendly hospitality of Kwa-Zulu Natal, with areas like iSimangaliso and Ithala rivalling any wilderness in Africa on their day. This is a chance to do more than just scratch the surface on a unique and special tour.

Itinerary

Day One

Durban & St Lucia

On arrival into Durban, guests will be met by their Pictus Safaris tour leader, local guide and the remainder of their group and whisked away for a drive of around three hours to the town of St Lucia. After a chance to settle into your comfortable accommodation, and perhaps catch up on some rest, you are welcome to explore this charismatic town. St Lucia is well-known for its booming population of hippo and crocodile, and you may well see a hippo wandering the streets this evening. For those who wish to see the hippos up close, we can arrange for you to join a sunset cruise this evening. Otherwise, the remainder of the day is at leisure, with a pre-tour briefing in the hotel this evening.

Day Two

iSimangaliso Wetland Park

This morning we will make a beeline for the vast iSimangaliso Wetland park, just a short drive from St Lucia. The biodiversity in this huge park is truly outstanding, with the savanna areas inland supporting all of the 'Big Five' (although sightings are rare), and the coast being a great place from which to spot marine wildlife, including whales, dolphins and even turtles. With a full day to explore the park, our focus can be tailored to the interests of the group, with plenty of photographic opportunities and a chance to seek out a wide variety of mammals, particularly in the coastal forests of the park.

This evening we return to St Lucia for dinner and to spend the night.

Day Three

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi GR

Hluhluwe is arguably Kwa-Zulu Natal's premier wildlife-watching destination, and today we will spend a full day exploring this famous park. It will be a pre-dawn wake-up call to ensure we are in the park as early as possible to give us a good chance of spotting some of the excellent wildlife here. Many generic game species are present, including giraffe, zebra and wildebeest, and all of the 'Big Five' are present. In fact, Hluhluwe once protected the last population of southern white rhinos on the planet, and played a key role in the survival of this species. Whilst leopard and black rhino sightings are rare, we are likely to spot white rhino, lion, elephant and plenty more today - cheetah and wild dog are regularly seen too. Keep an eye out for spotted hyena, buffalo and nyala, which are all present in good numbers. Again, we will spend this evening in St Lucia.

Day Four

Ithala GR

This morning we leave St Lucia behind and head directly to Ithala Game Reserve. Ithala is arguably one of the most scenic reserves in all of South Africa, but is sadly often overlooked, due to a perceived paucity of 'big game' including lion. In reality, the game-viewing here can be hugely rewarding, which a rich variety of antelope species, as well as smaller mammals. Today we will embark on afternoon and night drives to seek out many of these species. Special effort will be spent searching for the many white rhino found here, as well as serval, mountain reedbuck, oribi and tsessebe. We will spend the night in comfortable accommodation in the park.

Day Five

Ithala GR

A full day will be spent in Ithala, enjoying a morning and afternoon drive, with a special focus on the stunning white and black rhino that call the reserve home.

Day Six

Hlane Royal NP

Not only are we continuing on to a new reserve today, we are headed to an entirely new country! Border formalities for entry into eSwatini and normally fairly painless, and by mid-afternoon we should have arrived at this tiny country's flagship protected area, Hlane Royal. Hlane protects several species, but our afternoon drive is most likely to focus on lion and rhino, both of which are well-monitored here and relatively easy to find. We will spend the night at a comfortable lodge in the park.

Day Seven

Berg-en-Dal

After a morning drive in Hlane, we re-enter South Africa and head directly to the world-famous Kruger National Park. After settling in at the rest camp at Berg-en-Dal, we are sure that everyone will be chomping at the bit to head out on their first game drive here. The afternoon and early evening will be spent combing the area around camp for rare wildlife. There is a huge variety of wildlife to be found in Kruger, but Berg-en-Dal is particularly well-known for its excellent viewing of wild dog and leopard, and these species will be key targets for us. We also recommend keeping your eyes peeled for anything cat-like perched on nearby rocky koppies - if it's not leopard, it might just be the beautiful klipspringer. We will head back to camp this evening for some rest.

Days Eight to Nine

Lower Sabie

After a morning game drive around Berg-en-Dal, Lower Sabie will be our destination for the next two nights. Morning and afternoon game drives are very likely to produce lion and leopard in particular, and even if unsuccessful, we are likely to pick up at least one of these species on an exciting night drive. Wrap up warm for this, as nights here can be chilly!

Days Ten to Eleven

Satara

Whilst Berg-en-Dal and Lower Sabie are generally in areas dominated by dense bush, favoured by leopards in particular, Satara is situated in an area where this bushveld gives way to impressive plains akin to those in East Africa. Large prides of lion are found here, as are some of Kruger's few cheetah. This camp is particularly frequently visited by honey badgers (please don't feed them!), so don't be surprised to hear some snuffling near the bins late at night. 

Day Twelve

Mabula GR

This morning we leave Kruger behind for a slice of luxury. The excellent Mabula Game Lodge offers not only world-class game-viewing, but a whole host of activities, including walking safaris, horseback riding and plenty more options. We invite guests to kick back and relax, enjoying the superb hospitality on offer here. Cheetah, lion and even some of South Africa's few remaining free-roaming wild dogs can be spotted here, making this a great spot for wildlife-fanatics and those seeking creature comforts alike.

Day Thirteen

Mabula GR

A full day in Mabula will never feel like enough to pack everything on offer in - but try your best! We recommend seeking out the reserve's big cats today, but the choice is entirely yours.

Day Fourteen

Marakele NP

Our final destination for this trip is the rugged and scenic Marakele NP. Wildlife densities are not as high here as in Kruger or Mabula, but this offers a real insight into an authentic African wilderness rarely found in South Africa. All of the 'Big Five' can be seen, although sightings are unusual. Captivating residents that we may see on our afternoon game drive include eland, sable and bat-eared fox. As the evening draws in, aardvark and aardwolf are seen relatively often.

Day Fifteen

Marakele NP

Our last full day offers the chance to enjoy a full-day game drive in Marakele, seeking out any species that might have eluded us so far. Enjoy your final night in this wonderful country, we are sure you will be back!

Day Sixteen

Johannesburg

This morning you are transferred to Johannesburg for your homeward flights.

Please be aware that whilst we make every effort to follow the above itinerary as closely as possible, circumstances may

occasionally arise that mean the tour deviates from the itinerary.

Dates and Prices

This tour will run in September and October 2022, aiming to take advantage of the dry season which enhances game-viewing. The tour will run from September 21st to October 6th, 2022.

The cost of this trip is £4,750 per person excl. flights. This includes all meals (excluding lunches), accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. Drinks are not included. We regret that we must levy a single supplement of £700. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £1,400 must be paid.

Flights and Visas

Pictus Safaris do not offer flight booking services. However, we do recommend the use of travel comparison websites such as skyscanner.net or momondo.com to identify the best fares, and then booking with the airline directly where possible. This will reduce the likelihood of complications and fees should any issues with your booking arise. If you wish to spend an additional night in Durban or Johannesburg at the beginning or end of your tour, we can arrange this for you at an extra cost. We strongly recommend booking flights leaving Johannesburg after 12.00 on your return, if leaving on the same day that we return to Johannesburg to avoid disruption to your plans.

British nationals do not require a visa to enter South Africa or eSwatini. Clients of other nationalities are advised to check well before travel whether they require an entry visa. 

Weather and What to Bring

The weather in South Africa in September is hot and dry, with maximum temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 17 degrees Celsius.

A full packing list will be circulated at least two months prior to departure. Pictus Safaris will be able to provide one extra set of binoculars and two spotlights per group, and clients are welcome to bring additional camera, videography and scope equipment should they wish to. Please note that the use of drones is not permitted in many protected areas. We strongly recommend bringing comfortable, loose-fitting and neutral-coloured clothing on safari - please do not bring camouflage clothing. We recommend against dark coloured clothing (e.g. black or dark blue) as this attracts biting flies. Worn-in hiking boots with ankle support are a must, as are sunglasses, sun protection and a hat.

Do also remember to budget for any expenses not included in the cost of the trip, including for gratuities and additional activities. We recommend bringing South African Rand.

Safety and Security

There are no security issues in any areas visited by this tour.

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Book Now

To secure a booking on this fantastic holiday, please contact us at contact@pictus-safaris.com.

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