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South Africa

Wildlife Photography Adventure

 

Objective:

To provide spectacular wildlife encounters and photo opportunities of birds, animals, and flora of the South African wilderness in the most wildlife-friendly manner possible.  You will find yourself surrounded by wildest Africa yet enveloped in absolute luxury, safety, and comfort! 

 

The participating ecotourism companies are committed to providing world-class experiences for the discerning travelers, and to ongoing investments in sustainable conservation development and community empowerment.  In short; Care of the Land, Care of the Wildlife, Care of the People. A portion of the proceeds go directly to the Africa Foundation. 
http://www.africafoundation.org/default.php

 

Itinerary Summary

1 night Johannesburg (hotel accommodation, airport greet, hotel transfer, dinner and breakfast included)

2 nights – Graskop - Birding wilderness (accommodation, private guided birding tours, breakfast and dinner included)

3 nights – Kirkman’s Kamp, Sabie Sands Private Game Reserve (includes individual thatched roof cottage with full bathroom amenities, all meals, wine, beer, soft drinks, daily laundry, 2x photo game drives per day with your exclusive guides and trackers)

3 nights – Ngala Lodge, Ngala Private Game Reserve (‘includes’ same as Kirkman’s Kamp)

Photographer Escort Professional wildlife photographer will join this group and offer advice/assistance upon request.

Guide – Professional English speaking guides will be with this group throughout and assist with luggage, special needs, and offer an impressive abundance of wildlife information and local folklore.

 

Detailed Itinerary

April 21 – Depart USA for Johannesburg, South Africa

 

April 22

On your late afternoon arrival in Johannesburg, South Africa, you will be met by your local English-speaking guide and transferred to your hotel.

 

Relax 1 night at the Mondior Concorde Hotel including dinner and breakfast.

 

Mondior Concorde Hotel   

Nestled in the renowned Emperors Hotel, Casino and Convention Resort is the elegant Peermont Mondior Hotel.  Each suite has a fully equipped bathroom, air conditioning, satellite television, and internet connectivity.

Guests can enjoy mouth-watering menus at the chic Oriana Restaurant or a sociable cocktail at The Silver Moon bar.  A sparkling swimming pool and tennis courts add to guest delight.  Guests also have access to the casino, dining, and entertainment areas of Emperors Palace as well as Octavia’s Sensorium Health and Beauty Spa.

www.peermont.co.za

 

April 23

This morning you will be collected from the hotel and enjoy a private guided overland drive along the spectacular Panorama Route to the Mpumalanga Province where you will enjoy two-nights in Graskop. The Panorama Route is best known for its cultural heritage and dramatic landscapes.  (Traveling time is approx 4 hours)

 

The Graskop/Sabie areas are truly a birder’s paradise.  There a huge variety of the more common bird species and a number of globally and nationally threatened species also occur in the area.

One of the major highlights of the region is The Blyde River Canyon Nature Sanctuary, located 5 miles north of Graskop, stretching for nearly 12 miles as it cuts a spectacular path through the granite of the great South African escarpment.  The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon of its kind in the world.  This 100,000 acre Important Bird Areas  (IBA) site includes the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, Swadini, and Manuoutsa portions of the Drakensberg mountains.

 Habitat: vegetation varies from large patches of high-altitude Afromontane forest in the valleys to forest-related bush clumps along the edge of the escarpment, to open tree savanna, to montane grassveld on the open exposed slopes.

 

Birds: Home to over 100 bird species, this is the only site in South Africa that supports breeding Taita Falcon.  One pair of the critically endangered Blue Swallow still breeds here.  The cliffs of Manoutsa hold over 660 pairs of the vulnerable Cape Vulture, making it the world’s fourth largest colony.  The gorges also hold breeding pairs of the Black Stork and Peregrine Falcon, as well as the Cape Eagle Owl.  The river supports the vulnerable Pel’s Fishing Owl, Whitebacked Night Heron, African Finfoot, and the near-threatened Halfcollared Kingfisher.  The surrounding grassland supports the endangered Blackrumped Buttonguail,  Striped Flufftail, Stanley’s Bustard, Blue Crane, Ground Hornbill, Grass Owl, and Bald Ibis.  The near-threatened Secretary bird as well as the Buffstreaded Chat, Curney’s Sugarbird occur on the protea shrubs on the hillsides.  The forest supports the near-threatened Crowned Eagle, Orange Thrush, and Bush Blackcap as well as the Forest Buzzard, Buffspotted Flufftail, Cinnamon Dove, Knysna Lourie, Barratt’s Warbler, Olive Bush Shrike, Chorister Robin, Brown Robin, Swee Waxbill and Forest Canary.  The venerable Martial Eagle is frequently seen soaring over the bushveld. The near-threatened Bat Hawk has been recorded in the thick riverine woodland.

 

 

Relax 2 nights at The Graskop Hotel including all breakfasts and dinners (drinks excluded)

 

Graskop Hotel

Graskop Hotel is a unique artistic experience offering friendly accommodation, contemporary South African art in a variety of interesting settings and culinary delights to be remembered.
Whether you are visiting Mpumalanga as a tourist or on business, the Graskop Hotel offers you a warm welcome.  Decor and good service give a relaxed ambience in which to enjoy freshly prepared food, flavored with home grown herbs.  Our peaceful garden is the ideal place for some quiet relaxation.  The large swimming pool is the ideal place to lounge away those hot summer days on a pool lounger, cooling off with a refreshing dip in the pool.  http://www.graskophotel.co.za/

 

 

Lunch for own arrangements.  Afternoon reserved for relaxation and birding/photography excursion.

 

Dinner included at Hotel (drinks excluded)

 

April 24

Enjoy a full day of bird-watching and photography opportunities in the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve and escarpment with your professional birding guide.

 

Return to your hotel in the late afternoon in time for “sundowners” (South African for cocktais).

Dinner included at Hotel (drinks excluded)

 

April 25

Breakfast and check-out followed by a guided scenic road transfer to the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. (approximately 1 hr) 

 

Check-in at Kirkmans Kamp for three exciting nights (includes private thatched roof suite with full bathroom amenities, all meals, beer, wine, soft drinks, 2x photo game drives per day, daily laundry).

 

On arrival at the Lodge you will be welcomed with a drink and orientation (the staff will assist you with your luggage and escort you to your cottage).

 

Kirkmans Kamp  www.andBeyond.com

Kirkman’s Kamp, with its spectacular views of the unspoiled wilderness, is regarded as one of the best-loved lodges in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve.  It is a well-known historic camp, originally built in the early 1920’s, and celebrates the atmosphere of an early South African lowveld homestead.  The colonial atmosphere of gracious style and luxury has been retained, and guests step back in time upon entering the original homestead, which now houses the Lodge’s sitting, dining, and bar areas.  Each of the 18 guest cottages has a private veranda and is furnished in the same charming style with fully furnished bathrooms with electrical outlets (220 volts).

The Main Lodge’s large sitting room, with a 1920’s ambience, leads through double French doors onto rolling lawns that provide a velvety contrast to the wild and tumbling bush surrounding it.  Breakfast and lunch are served on shady verandas, and dinners are shared in the dramatic reed walled enclosure (boma) or in romantic lantern lit bush settings.

 

Lunch will be enjoyed before you depart on your afternoon/evening game drive.

 

Game drives (Kirkman’s and Ngala Lodge guests)

Game drives – Your highly experienced personal Ranger and Tracker will take you to where they know the sightings will be maximized.  You’ll be driven in fully open-air 4x4 Land Cruisers containing 3 comfortable bench seats with a maximum of 6 people per vehicle to ensure clear views by all for sighting and photographing.  The advantage of staying at a private game reserve is you will be able to drive off-road in order to get ‘up and close’ to the animals.  The chances are excellent that you will encounter lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo, cheetah and many other species of game in their natural habitat. Once at a sighting, the ranger will shut off the engine and give you an informative explanation of what you’re seeing and how the game survive, interact, and think.  The early morning game drive includes a coffee break whilst watching the sunrise.  You will encounter for the first time, wild game, birds, and flora never before experienced.  Return to the lodge for a full breakfast including local fruits, pastries, and ala carte items cooked to your specifications.

 

After relaxing back at your chalet’s terrace watching the wild game amble by, a healthy lunch is served.  You will have the early afternoon to relax or take an escorted walking safari (highly recommended) with your armed ranger/guide.  These bush walks give you an intimate African experience while every sense you possess is virtually assaulted by the sights, sounds, and smells of Africa.  Your expert guide will point out amazingly colored birds, camouflaged game of every variety, and a huge variety of trees and spectacular flowers.  Everywhere you look, there is another surprise. 

 

At about 4:30 PM, set out on the evening game drive that includes a scenic ‘sundowner’ (bush cocktails) break during the ever-colorful African sunset.  Sundowners are extraordinary whilst listening to your ranger share tales of Africa that he has experienced.  After dark, you continue on the safari as nocturnal safaris open up a totally new world.  A powerful spotlight illuminates the shy and sometimes-rare wildlife and provides a good chance to witness predatory big game in action.

 

 

Upon returning to the Lodge, an elegant candlelit dinner is enjoyed in the open-air boma (reeded enclosure).  You will savor gourmet Pan-African cuisine paired with an enormous selection of superior wines.  You will be escorted by a staff member when you’re ready to return to your cottage.  Ask him to point out the Southern Cross and other celestial formations.  Stargazing is unbelievable in this region of the world!

 

April 26, 27

Enjoy all game viewing activities and meals at Kirkmans.          

 

April 28

Early morning game activities and breakfast.

 

Scenic road transfer from Kirkman’s Kamp to Ngala Private Game Reserve (traveling time is approx 3 hours)

 

Experience 3 nights at Ngala Safari Lodge in a luxury cottage with ensuite bathroom and intimate veranda.  Your stay includes three meals daily, soft drinks, house wines, local brand spirits and beers, teas and coffees, scheduled safari activities, refreshments on game drives, nature walks (1 hour) accompanied by experienced armed trackers, and daily laundry.

 

On arrival at Ngala Safari Lodge you will be welcomed with a drink and orientation (the housekeepers will assist you with your luggage and take you to your private cottage).

 

Ngala Safari Lodge

Nestled under a canopy of mopane and tamboti trees, the Ngala Safari Lodge features 20 classic thatched cottages.  Each cottage has a fully furnished bathroom with electrical outlets (220 volts), private veranda, and exudes a romantic colonial ambience with nostalgic safari memorabilia throughout.  

The Lodge’s large sparkling swimming pool overlooks natural riverine woodland.  Hearty breakfasts and delicious lunches are served in the dappled shade of an enormous weeping boerbean tree.  Upon your return from exhilarating evening game drives, you are welcomed by Ngala’s warm and hospitable staff to a banquet in the elegant candlelit courtyard, or to an African feast around the blazing boma fire.  The Lodge’s thatched dining, bar, and sitting areas are open to the warm breezes of the inviting African bushveld.

www.andBeyond.com

 

Lunch will be enjoyed before you depart on your afternoon/evening game drive.

 

With cooler boxes of your favourite drinks on board the open-air Land Cruisers, you will set off into the bush on an exciting safari accompanied by a professional game ranger. At sunset, your rangers will stop off in the bush, where you will have a chance to enjoy your refreshing drinks, soak up the amazing silence and watch the sun sink into the dusty horizon. Continue on with the game drive after dark, using a powerful spotlight to point out nocturnal wildlife. The chances are excellent that you will encounter lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo, cheetah and many other species of game in their natural habitat. The vehicles go off the road, when necessary, to afford you the best possible viewing. 

 

Return to the lodge where you will have a chance to freshen up and meet in the bar for pre-dinner drinks (sundowners).  Dinner in the open-air reed encloser (boma), under the stars, around a roaring log fire or in the dining room if weather dictates.

 

April 29, 30

Enjoy all game viewing activities and meals at Ngala. 

 

May 1

Early morning game activities and breakfast.

Road transfer to Hoedspruit Airport for your scheduled local flight to Johannesburg. (flight included)

On arrival at the Johannesburg Airport you will be met by a local representative who will escort you to the International Departure Terminal for your outbound flight home.

 

May 2 – Arrive USA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact us today for a price quote.

 

Included:

·         Personalized bag, hat, flashlight

·         Accommodation as per itinerary

·         Meals as specified in the itinerary

·         Scheduled charter flight from Ngala to Johannesburg

·         Transport in luxury touring bus (except at the Lodges where open safari vehicles are utilized)

·         Private sightseeing and excursions as specified in the itinerary

·         Professional wildlife photographic advisor

·         Local English speaking guides

·         Government Bed Levies

·         All park fees

·         Baggage handling at airport and hotel

·         Emergency Evacuation Insurance

 

Excluded:

·         All USA and international flights

·         All items of a personal nature

·         Gratuities

·         Meals and drinks not specified above

·         Visa fees (not required for USA citizens)

·         All other services not mentioned above



Make a Deposit or Final Payment


For more information and reservations:

Dennis Vanden Akker, Africa Travel Specialist

Nakker International

Email: Nakker4travel@gmail.com             (801) 277-3368

Referrals and testimonials upon request