Below is information from our 2014 safari. This was a HUGE success and we are now scheduling a similar trip for 2015. While we are still waiting for firm pricing, we are anticipating about a 10% increase in costs for 2015.
Special Best of Southern Africa Safari:
Chobe NP + Timbavati/Kruger NP Excursion
In addition to the existing Africa Photo Safaris from Magnum Excursions, we are offering a special 13 day safari which includes 6 days/5 nights in the amazing Chobe N.P., Botswana and 5 days/4 nights shooting in the exclusive Timbavati Private Reserve, South Africa. The total cost of the trip excluding airline flights from US to Johannesburg is $5,450/person based on double occupancy
Plans and dates have been finalized for our trip to southern Africa. The safari kicks-off on the Chobe River in northern Botswana where you will be able to photograph and sightsee from a custom photo boat and also photo and observes wildlife from up close in a special waterside hide known as the ‘Elephant Bunker’. While at Chobe National Park we will take a side trip to Victoria Falls which is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. In addition to impala, wart hog, zebra, and giraffe, Chobe is famous for vast elephant herds, huge pods of hippos and thousands of Cape buffalo.
After we conclude our time along the Chobe, we will fly to Timbavati Private Reserve, which is part of the Greater Kruger Park of South Africa. Being a private reserve, we will not be distracted by other tourists and, more importantly, we will be able to track ‘the big five’ off road, through bushes, creek beds and over rocks. You will never get a chance to get closer to game than this. The Timbavati is famous for leopards and lions (on occasion the very rare white lion can be spotted). Timbavati is also home to endangered wild dog packs and white rhinoceros as well as kudu, wildebeest and waterbuck.
Why this trip is special:
A great ‘bucket list safari starts with great locations and timing. In talking with future customers, we heard stories of planned dream vacations that didn’t quite meet expectations partly due to destination and partly due to timing. These same folks shared dreams of seeing lions and leopards up close, vast herds of elephant and buffalo and low angle photos of hippo and other animals. Considering all of these wishes, we knew that to increase the chances of exceeding the dreams we had to create a trip with two distinct locations at the optimal timeof the year.
Chobe National Park – May is a very special time along the Chobe River water levels creates shallow, submerged islands of grass at this time of year. The elephants and other wildlife love this tender, wet grass and swim out to these shallow areas to feed. This allows boats to float near the large grazing animals getting incredible low angle photographs that can only be captured during this season. In addition, the nearby Victoria Falls is at maximum flow, having 5 times the water flow of the August/September time frame and more than double the flow of Niagara Falls. Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of Niagara Falls and twice the width of Niagara’s Horseshoe Falls.
Timbavati Private Reserve – The Timbavati region of South Africa’s Kruger Park System is famous for leopards and lions. These cats along with many of the impala species give birth around November. In May, the young cubs are large enough to venture out with their mom’s making for some special photos. This is the dry season, so finding the animals is easy as they have migrate to near the few water holes in the area. Also in May, which is autumn in South Africa, the woodlands have dropped many of their leaves, allowing clearer, more open viewing and photographing.
Day by day summary of the safari:
Saturday, May 17, 2014 – Depart U.S. for Johannesburg, South Africa (not included in cost).
Sunday May 18, arrive in Johannesburg. Upon arrival OR Tambo international Airport, you have reservations at Sunrock Guest House. The guesthouse is only 4 km from the hotel. I will be traveling with most of the group and will handle the transfer details; however, if you are arriving on different flights the Sunrock provides a free shuttle. By supplying your flight details we can coordinate your transfer. This first night will allow everyone to meet up together and allow our mental clock to become oriented for the upcoming safari schedule. We will all meet for dinner; however, this meal is optional if you feel you need a little more rest. The Sunrock has free Wi-Fi, so this is also an opportunity to touch base with home.
Monday, May 19, 2014 – Following our overnight near the OR Tambo International Airport, we will take a 1 ½ hour flight to Kasane, Botswana. After a quick transfer of our bags to the Cresta Mowana Lodge, we will meet for an afternoon game drive via boat. We will have 6 days/5 nights in northern Botswana where we’ll mix game viewing and sightseeing activities.
Tuesday, May 20 through Friday, May 23, 2014 – We will have options throughout the week. Typical days will include both a morning and afternoon game drive, with each day having an option of travel via land vehicle or boat. (Remember, during our stay at Chobe National Park, at your option, you will be given free access to a Nikon D7000 camera and telephoto lens and will be also instructed on how to use this camera.) On one of the days, following breakfast, we’ll have a transfer over to Victoria Falls for a day of sightseeing. In May, Victoria Falls is at maximum flow – 5 times the water flow in the August/September season. On another evening during the week, we will spend the afternoon in Kasane National Forest at the “Elephant Bunker” and waterhole observation deck. On this day, we will also go to another waterhole and lodge within the forest for an evening “braai” (cookout). With any luck, there will be elephants and potentially other game at that evening water hole, which makes for a special and very memorable dinner.
Saturday, May 24, 2014 – All things must eventually come to an end. After our morning game drive, you will have plenty of time to pack up. We will have lunch and after lunch we will be transferred to the Kasane Airport for our afternoon flight to Johannesburg. Our flight will arrive at the Johannesburg’s airport in the afternoon which is too late for a flight to Timbavati, so we will have an overnight stay once more at the Sunrock Guest House near the Johannesburg Airport.
Sunday, May 25, 2014 – We will take a short one hour flight to Hoedspruit, a small town on the edge of the Greater Kruger. There, we will be met by Simbavati River Lodge staff for our transfer to the lodge. As we make this 45 minute drive, we will likely see giraffe, warthogs, wildebeest or other game along the way. Once at the lodge and following lunch, we’ll have our first true Timbavati game drive.
Timbavati is classic “Big 5” safari territory and also home to a population of lions carrying a recessive gene that gives rise to the so-called ‘white lions of Timbavati’. The region has an unusually large population of leopards, white rhinoceros, wild dogs and lions. Expertly-guided dawn and mid-afternoon game drives are conducted daily. Because Timbavati is a private Kruger reserve, guests at the half dozen or so lodges are treated to access not allowed in the general public accessed Kruger National Park. These activities include off-road game tracking for premium sightings and exciting spot-lit night drives.
Monday, May 26 through Wednesday 28, 2014 – We will have two game drives per day. The typical day is a 3 hour long morning game drive with a break for snacks in the middle, a break mid-day for lunch and relaxing. Then around 3 pm, we will head out for the 3 hour long afternoon game drive, stopping at sunset for sundowners (drinks and snacks while watching a beautiful sunset) and then have a short night game drive back to our lodge before dinner.
Thursday, May 29, 2014 – This is our departure day. Depending on flight time, we will have time for a short morning game drive, but then we will need to pack and head back to the Hoedspruit airport for our flight to Johannesburg. Arriving in Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport in the afternoon, you’ll have plenty of time for the bags to make the connection. There is also time to shop the duty free and numerous large souvenir shops prior to boarding our flights back to the U.S. (JNB to U.S. flight not included in cost)
Friday, May 30, 2014 – Arrival back in the U.S.
Cost of the trip:
$5,450 based on double occupancy includes all lodging in Africa (11 nights), ground transfers, Park fees, game drives, and all meals excluding alcohol. Also included in this cost is airfare to/from Chobe and to/from Timbavati (both from Johannesburg. Specifically excluded from the trip is airfare to Johannesburg as travelers will be departing at varied times and from various cities. Also excluded from this cost are tips for lodge staff and guides, laundry services, souvenirs and any alcohol purchases and any fees for excessive baggage or baggage weight on intra-Africa flights.
NOTE: This trip currently has only one spot open. It must be male and willing to share a room with another single that is currently booked. Let me know asap if interested.
Deposit – $1,635 is due by February 21, 2014.
Final Payment is $3,815 due March 29, 2014 (approximately 7 weeks prior to trip)
Registration: To register for this special trip, contact Buddy Eleazer at Magnum Excursions (buddy@MagnumExcursions.com )