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Benfontein NR, Marrick Game Farm, Mokala NP, Kgalagadi TP, Augrabies NP, Goegap NR & Namaqua NP, South Africa

Nocturnal Beasts of the Northern Cape

£4,250 pp sharing

At a Glance

Dates: March 9th - March 22nd, 2023

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

Prices: £4,250 pp sharing (with a single supplement of £400)​, excluding international flights.

In a sentence: Far from the crowds of Kruger, this delightful itinerary offers the chance to spot some of Africa's rarest mammals after dark - from caracal and black-footed cat to aardvark and aardwolf.

Overview

South Africa's northern reaches are dripping with riches when it comes to rare wildlife. This trailblazing tour takes guests to the very heart of ecosystems that support these incredible species, from Benfontein to the Kgalagadi to Goegap. Previous visitors to these remarkable areas have left with not only a sense of privilege at accessing such impressive wildernesses so close to the developed world, but also memories of sightings of caracal, pangolin, aardvark, black-footed cat, aardwolf and much more. The jewel in the crown of this region, though, must be the vast cross-border Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, where we spend three nights. Here, herds of springbok and gemsbok draw in lion, leopard, cheetah, wild cat and caracal, making for one of the premier wildlife-watching destinations anywhere on the continent.

Itinerary

Day One

Kimberley

On arrival into Kimberley, guests will be met by their Pictus Safaris tour leader, local guide and the remainder of their group and transferred directly to their hotel After a chance to settle into your comfortable accommodation, and perhaps catch up on some rest, there is a pre-tour briefing in the hotel before dinner this evening. Before long, though, it is time to set out on our first game-viewing activity of the tour - a night drive in nearby Benfontein Nature Reserve. This small protected area has, in recent decades, seen extensive research of both aardwolf and black-footed cat - both elusive and highly-prized species. Whilst sightings are far from guaranteed, we stand a better chance here of a sighting than almost anywhere in Africa making this a wonderful way to start our itinerary. Late this evening, we return to Kimberley for some rest.

Day Two

Benfontein NR

Our day begins late, after our night drive the night before. After a relaxed lunch, we again return to Benfontein this evening for an extensive night-drive in search of black-footed cat and aardwolf. We return to Kimberley to overnight.

Day Three

Marrick

After another relaxed start, we head to the nearby game farm of Marrick early this afternoon. After a chance to settle in to our new surroundings, we again head out on a lengthy night drive tonight. Marrick has a well-earned reputation for being one of the best locations anywhere in Africa to see a number of rare and beautiful species, including black-footed cat, aardvark, aardwolf, caracal and even pangolin. The absence of large predators here has seen the populations of mesopredators, such as black-footed cat, do very well here, and sightings are regularly recorded - we sincerely hope to have luck on our side tonight before returning to our accommodation.

Days Four to Five

Marrick

The next two nights will be dedicated to combing Marrick for the very rarest mammals on the continent. By day, we will have one morning drive over the next two days to admire the many attractive antelope species reared on Marrick, and one full-day trip to the nearby Mokala National Park. Mokala is a lovely park, and little-visited, with a good head of rhino, giraffe, buffalo and much more, which all certainly add depth to the ecosystem. Each night will be spent in rustic accommodation in Marrick.

Day Six

Kgalagadi

A full day of driving today takes us to the southern gateway to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, where we overnight before venturing into the park tomorrow.

Days Seven to Nine

Kgalagadi

Three days to spend in this incredible desert ecosystem are a real privilege. At this time of year, grazers drop their young, with the resultant impressive herds of gemsbok, red hartebeest, springbok and greater kudu set against sporadic wildflower blooms making for an amazing sight. What is even better is that these grazers draw in cheetah, lion, leopard, caracal and even wild cat - the Kgalagadi is the best spot in South Africa for all of these species. Morning and evening game drives are likely to reveal at least three of these iconic cat species, and our chances will be boosted by a night drive from Twee Rivieren Rest Camp during our stay.

Day Ten

Augrabies

After a final morning drive in the desert, we head south today to the impressive Augrabies Falls. At this time of year, the falls are particularly striking, and we will be sure to spend some time here as the sun sets. After dark, a night drive shared with other groups will give us our best chance of the trip of aardvark, which have been spotted here regularly in 2021.

Days Eleven to Thirteen

Okiep

The next three days sees us base ourselves in the assuming Namaqualand town of Okiep. There is not too much here to sate ecotourists, but is an excellent jumping-off point for several interesting areas. One, Goegap, is a lovely and quiet park, home to several unusual species of antelope, as well as mountain zebra and some very exciting smaller mammal species. Namaqua NP is best known for its stunning wildflowers, but can also produce honey badger and caracal for diligent mammal-watchers. And, on our last full day, Port Nolloth offers some highly under-rated whale- and dolphin-watching, and we may be lucky enough to spot Heaviside's dolphin or even beaked whales here.

Day Fourteen

Upington

This morning you are transferred to Upington 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 March 2023, aiming to take advantage of the end of the wet season, when the northern reaches of South Africa are at their prettiest. The tour will run from March 9th to March 22nd, 2023.

The cost of this trip is £4,250 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 £400. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £1,700 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 Kimberley, Upington 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 Upington after 14.00 on your return, if leaving on the same day that we return to Upington to avoid disruption to your plans.

British nationals do not require a visa to enter South Africa. 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 northern South Africa in March is hot and dry, with maximum temperatures of around 34 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 18 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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