JOHANNESBURG – (1 night)
- May 19, 2017 – You will be met upon arriving in Johannesburg and transferred to our hotel which is very near the airport. This short arrival stay is perfect for meeting your fellow travelers and enjoying an arrival dinner while being briefed on what you can expect over the coming days.
- May 20, 2017 – We have a mid-morning flight to Hoedspruit, South Africa. This flight is included in the price of the trip. Upon arrival, we will be transfer to Cheetah Plains Lodge in Sabi Sands Private Reserve and immediately grab our gear for our first game drive.
SABI SANDS PRIVATE RESERVE – GREATER KRUGER NATIONAL PARK – (4 nights at Cheetah Plains)
- May 20, 2017 – Afternoon game drive, lodging AT Cheetah Plains
- May 21, 22, 23, 2017 – Morning and Afternoon game drive, lodging at Cheetah Plains
- May 24, 2017 – Morning game drive in Sabi Sands and mid-day transfer to Kambaku Safari Lodge for afternoon Game Drive in Timbavati
Included: park fees, guide fees, refreshments during activities, Breakfast and Dinner. We have an early morning snack of rusks and coffee, but our formal breakfast is at 10:00 a.m after the morning game drive. As this is quite a large meal late in the morning, lunch is not budgeted, but is available for a fee. Alcoholic drinks are extra
TIMBAVATI PRIVATE RESERVE, SOUTH AFRICA – (4 nights)
- May 24, 2017 – Afternoon game drive, lodging at Kambaku Safari Lodge
- May 25, 26, 27, 2017 – Morning and Afternoon Game Drives, Brunch and Dinner daily, Kambaku Safari Lodge
- May 28, 2017 – Morning game drive and brunch then to Hoedspruit Airport and flight to Johannesburg airport (JNB) .
The cost of the trip is $5,500 per person based on double occupancy. This cost excludes airfare from the U.S. to Johannesburg and back to the U.S. Also excluded is laundry, tips and alcoholic beverages.
- Pre-trip Extension of 5 days/4 nights (May 14-19) at Madikwe Game Reserve – $2,000
- Cape Town – We have excellent contacts with hotels and guides in Cape Town and recommend a 3 to 5 day stay in this beautiful region. Prices vary depending on number of nights and activities. If interested in this, contact us and we will help you line up a plan.
MORE SPECIFIC DETAILS ABOUT THE SAFARI:
Greater Kruger’s Sabi Sands and Cheetah Plains Lodge
Sabi Sands Game Reserve is renowned for its Big Five game viewing The 65,000ha Sabi Sand Game Reserve lies adjacent to the south-west corner of The Kruger National Park, where it shares a 50km border. There are no fences between the two, allowing game to move freely between the two areas and as a result, the reserve offers some of the most exceptional wildlife in southern Africa. Of particular interest and why we have featured Sabi Sands on our photo safari are the leaps of leopards that traverse the areas – beautiful, large, majestic cats.
Two rivers cross Sabi Sand – the Sabi River on its boundary in the south and the Sand River that flows from North-West to South-East. This has resulted in an abundance of Leopard, Lion, Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo, Cheetah, Zebra, Giraffe, Hyena and a wide variety of antelope and other species.
To date 330 tree, 45 fish, 30 amphibians, 110 reptile, 500 bird and 145 mammal species have been noted in Sabi Sand! A number of endangered species have also made the reserve their home, and visitors to the area are often given a rare glimpse of Bats, Honey Badgers, Ground Hornbills and Wild Dogs
Evening Game Drives
Shortly after your arrival at Cheetah Plains, after afternoon tea and refreshments, you’ll be taken on the first of your two daily game drives. Go on a personalized journey with your professional field guide and your photography leader to learn and see things you never thought possible.
Setting out into the bushveld in the late afternoon is the ideal time to spot the predators that prowl the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Leopard and lion emerge in the early evening to drink water or rest before the night’s hunt.
As part of our concession rights, only two commercial safari vehicles are allowed in the shared areas of the reserve at any given time. You’re guaranteed exclusivity as you go on safari through Cheetah Plains and the surrounding area, giving you the added privilege of peace, quiet and undisturbed wildlife.
Just before sunset you’ll disembark for a sundowner allowing you to savor and soak in a dramatic, inspiring African sunset.
That will be how our first day begins and, of course, this treat will be repeated each subsequent day during our stay at Sabi Sands.
Early Morning Game Drives
An early morning wake-up call is followed by a journey through the magic of the African sunrise. Bushveld inhabitants will also be waking up for the day, or settling down to laze in the shade after a hard night’s hunting.
An experienced field guide will take you through the reserve in specially equipped game drive vehicles to make the most of the finest game viewing opportunities. Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant, Antelope and more will be spotted among the gorgeous thorn and Marula trees.
Early mornings are an ideal time to watch Africa’s magnificent animals in their natural habitat, birds and mammals are out at this time of day to gather food and drink water. You will stop for tea, coffee and rusks during your morning drive.
At Cheetah Plains Lodge, expect all five senses to be awakened by your African bushveld experience – bush buck roam freely among the chalets. You could hear the sound of animal calling at night: lion, hippo, hyena, jackal and more could be heard calling out across the bushveld.
Cheetah Plains is one of the oldest bush camps in the Sabi Sand, our emphasis is on offering guests traditional Safari values, comfortable accommodation, combined with great food, prepared around the campfire.
Cheetah Plains only has eight rooms which ensures an exclusive Safari experience. The traditionally-thatched chalets at Cheetah Plains melt into beautiful indigenous gardens, which in turn are surrounded by pristine African bushveld. The style reflects ethnic influences while embracing the best of contemporary touches, creating a harmonious flow between pampered relaxation and the raw South African bushveld. Each individual room has either a double bed or two single beds, an en-suite shower, air-conditioning, mosquito net and veranda overlooking the gardens and the wild African bush.
Timbavati Private Game Reserve and Kambaku Safari Lodge
The Timbavati Private Game Reserve forms part of a group of nature reserves on the western boundary of the Kruger National Park. Known for its Big 5 viewing and, in particular a high population of leopards, these wildlife-rich lands are now an integral part of the Kruger Park system, managed in cooperation with the Kruger National Park itself. Another special sighting seen in this region are the ‘white lions’. There are less than a dozen white lions roaming wild in the world and nearly all of these are found within Timbavati.
Since its formation in the 1950’s, the Timbavati Private Reserve has worked toward a common goal of protecting this pristine Lowveld landscape as a nature reserve. In the 1990’s, in recognition of the importance of the area, the fences between Timbavati Reserve and the Kruger National Park were removed to encourage natural species migration. A vast stretch of wild land was opened up for the free movement of wildlife through what is now effectively, a single conservation area also known as the Greater Kruger Park.
KAMBAKU Safari Lodge is well situated in the heart of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, which makes up the western boarder of the Kruger National Park. Without fences inhibiting the free movement of game between the reserves, Timbavati becomes part of a vast unspoiled natural wilderness area that lies within the Greater Kruger National Park.
KAMBAKU (Solitary Bull elephant), takes its name from one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ tuskers who roamed the Kruger Park for the greater part of the last century. These elephants were renowned for their impressive tusks – having at least one tusk with the estimated weight of over 60kg.
At KAMBAKU lodge the legends linger and are remembered by the naming of each chalet after one of these Magnificent giants of the bush. The chalets, main lodge buildings and the deck area, all overlook a private waterhole where constant wildlife activity can be observed and enjoyed either from the privacy of your chalet or from the main lodge area.
Days start just before sunrise, with a morning game drive, which may include a guided bush walk if the opportunity presents itself. We return to the lodge between 9:30 and 10 to an amazing brunch.
Afternoon game drives begin around 3 in the afternoon and fade into sundowners, and end with a drive in the dark, where nocturnal animals, for example the bush baby, may be spotted. Beautiful views over unspoiled bush, and the feeling that you are truly in the middle of nowhere, with miles and miles of bush and animals surrounding you, captivate the imagination, and there are frequently surprises around almost every corner.
Apart from the Big 5, the Timbavati also boasts a healthy population of Wild dog and cheetah, and other safari animals often seen include hyena, ground hornbill (on the endangered list), waterbuck, wildebeest, zebra and giraffe to name but a few. Of course the highlight of any trip is to view the famous Timbavati White Lions in their natural habitat in the only place in the world where they are found naturally occurring in the wild.
For the birding enthusiasts there are over 350 bird species found in the area, and guides will taper the game viewing to suit the group. The little gems of the bush are also given their time in the lime-light such as the dung beetle and the shongololo and their role is explained and demonstrated.
Experienced guides and trackers are ever-ready to talk about the wildlife and offer a wealth of information on all aspects of the local fauna and flora. Owner and qualified guide, Bryce, loves taking guests to the next level of bush experience, and really focuses on imparting a huge amount of information based on his extensive knowledge and experience within a wide variety of bush environments around South Africa and in Botswana. Every hour in his company promises to be a never-to-be-forgotten experience.
Although not advertised and splashed about, a bush dinner or brunch might happen along your stay, and private dinners for special occasions are at your hosts’ discretion, unless otherwise requested.
Options for Extension Locations:
Madikwe Game Reserve and Jaci’s Tree Lodge
Nowhere else but in the glorious African bushveld of Madikwe Game Reserve can visitors come face to face with the continent’s Top 10 great wild animals: the famous “Big 5” – Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant, Black & White Rhino – as well Madikwe specialties – Cheetah, endangered African Wild Dog, Both Brown & Spotted hyena.
Am I guaranteed to see the Big 5? – Madikwe is not a zoo and out in the wild there are no guarantees, but our expert field guides have years of experience in tracking and identifying animals of the African bush. Early morning and late afternoons are the best times to catch a glimpse of Africa’s top ten and we will have both morning and afternoon game drives. In addition to the top ten, we will be sure to keep an eye out for large antelope species such as eland, gemsbok, sable and nyala. In addition, smaller buck species such as springbok, oribi, duiker and klipspringer also abound. We will also regularly see zebra, giraffe and hippo.
Each morning and afternoon, after taking your seat in one of Jaci’s open-top safari vehicles, you will be driven through the wild. Spotting wildlife will not be a problem and the Magnum Excursions lead in combination with the expert guides will coach you on photo techniques to make sure your images capture that special ‘sense of place’ you will witness.
Sometimes we will be venturing off-road onto bush trails and into natural terrain to track animals. This off-road tracking is part of what makes staying in a private reserve much more special than merely visiting one of Africa’s national parks. Known locally as ‘the African Massage”, going off road in the bush can be a pretty bumpy affair but is really worth it as you will get the optimal view of the sighting – whether it is a leopard at the kill or young cubs at a hyena den. Pretty quickly you will adjust to the rugged ride and it’s not long before your eyes focus on the middle distance where animals are likely to be spotted.
To ensure a private safari experience, only three safari vehicles at a time are allowed at each viewing. This exclusivity is another feature that separates the private reserves from the basic national park experience.
Our home at Madikwe – Jaci’s Tree Lodge
At Jaci’s Tree Lodge guests can relax in one of eight luxurious tree houses built on the edge of the Marico River. The custom-built Tree Houses that float high above the ground on wooden stilts, connected by suspended walkways, guests can enjoy a magnificent accommodation experience with views across the mighty Marico River.
Each of the eight Tree Houses are made from a combination of Gum poles, canvas & African rosewood. They are decorated in vibrant reds and greens, complemented by modern African elements.
Each room includes a king-sized or 2 three quarter beds, a luxurious stone bath and a private outdoor shower from which you can enjoy the vista – honeymoon heaven. All rooms are equipped with air conditioning/heating & overhead fans to ensure your comfort throughout the year. Suspended high above the ground on wooden stilts, Jaci’s Tree Lodge blends into the overarching canopy of the surrounding bush and foliage and makes for fantastic birdwatching in a natural environment.
Wooden balconies extend into the wide open from each of the rooms, while the eight Tree Houses are joined by suspended walkways. The large balcony is an ideal spot from which to watch resident mongoose families go about their daily hunts, or to observe the bird and small mammal species of Madikwe.
The dining area in the main lodge is where guests can eat their fill or savor high tea. Enjoy sundown while on safari or at the hide overlooking the waterhole. Alternatively, listen to the sounds of the bush or curl up with a good book at the fireplace or in the breakaway lounge.
While the lodge may sound divine, there is still even more to this special lodge. There is a water hole at the lodge with both elevated and submerged viewing platforms. You will be able to capture priceless images of wildlife from the watering hole 24 hours a day.
The submerged hide is known as the Terrapin Hide and is accessible via under water tunnel & will accommodate 8 photographers. The Terrapin Hide has been open since the beginning of September 2015 and officially established Jaci’s Lodges as a premium Photographic Safari destination!
During your stay, you can decide whether you would like to join either the morning or afternoon game drives or perhaps spend some time in our hide at the lodge aptly called The Terrapin Hide as it is submerged in a waterhole next to the lodge.
It’s up to you to decide what combination of drives and hides you feel like doing. The Terrapin hide is accessible 24hrs a day from within the fence line at Jaci’s so if you feel like spending the night there you are more than welcome to see what comes to visit!
The food at Jaci’s is sublime and you will certainly not be going hungry. Each lodge has a swimming pool and plenty of secluded areas to take a good book to for some rest and relaxation. All of the rooms have a private balcony area which are always great for birding.
Payment Terms & Conditions
In order to confirm a booking, clients are required to pay a non-refundable deposit of $500 or 10% (whichever is greater) for the requested services (or the full amount of the booking if the total comes to less than $ 500). Payment of the Deposit Payment, along with a completed and signed Travel Agreement and Travel Information Form are required in order to confirm your reservation. The balance will be required as follows:
- 50% of total trip cost at least 6 months prior to travel
- Remaining 40% cost of total trip at least 3 months prior to travel
Client Cancellation and Refund Policy
Cancellations are only effective upon Magnum Excursions’ receipt of written notification, signed by the client:
- Cancellation Before Six (6) Months Prior to Departure Date. If cancellation is made more than six months prior to departure date, your non-refundable 10% Deposit Payment is forfeited.
- Cancellation Between Three (3) Months and Six (6) Months Prior to Departure Date. If your cancellation is made between three months and six months prior to your departure date, you will be refunded up to thirty percent (30%) of the Balance Payments paid. This refund excludes the Deposit Payment and any portion of the Tour Fare already expended by Magnum Excursions to secure internal flights, animal viewing permits and any other goods or services related to the Tour.
- Cancellation After Three (3) Months Prior to Departure Date. If your cancellation is made less than three months prior to your departure date or should you for any reason fail to join a tour or join it after departure or leave it prior to its completion, no refund of any kind will be made. Magnum Excursions recommend that you purchase travel insurance, including trip cancellation insurance, to protect you in case of this circumstance.
Map Of Southern Africa