Day 1. Makalali Private Reserve.
Today your ultimate South African Safari will begin. Departure for the Safari is from O.R. Tambo international airport or from one of the many Airport Hotels. Departure time is 6:45 am. You will be met by your professional transfer driver and drive through to the Eastern side of the Country in a comfortable air-conditioned minibus. On Route you will drive across the central South African plateau known as `The Highveld`, you will then travel down the beautiful scenic passes to the Wildest part of South Africa known as `The Lowveld`. It is in the Lowveld Area where the vast majority of South African private Reserves are located as well as the world famous Kruger National Park. You will arrive at the Makalali Gates around mid day where lunch will be served.
We will then switch over to an Open Safari Vehicle and take a slow drive through to Job`s Halt Lodge where we will be spending the first 2 nights of the Safari. Makalali Private Reserve is currently a 25,000-hectare game reserve and is located outside Gravelotte in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, the towns Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa are about an hour’s drive away. Makalali’s bushveld differs to nearby Kruger and the greater Kruger private reserves by being located in an area consisting of rolling hills that have spectacular viewpoints allowing guests to enjoy views of the reserve and the stunning backdrop with the Drakensberg Escarpment. The Makalali bushveld consists of acacia bush and open savanna grassland is dotted with with a variety of the bushvelds most loved trees including marula, knobthorn and jackalberry, the fairly arid reserve is dissected by the beautiful meandering Makhutswi River lined with most stunning riverine forests. Makalali is home to the `Big 5` species, Lion, Elephant, Black and White Rhino, Buffalo and Leopard. The reserve is also home to all the flagship species of the area including cheetah and Wild Dog. The area is teeming with birds and lesser known wildlife species.
Job’s Halt lodge, a 3 star lodge, is located in the stunning riverine forest on the banks of the Makhutswi River. The lodge is private and will be for the exclusive use of the group.
Accommodation consists of four en-suite double bedroom units. Each has very comfortable Victorian-style brass and metal beds plus arm chairs or a couch. The bathrooms each contain a shower, a wash basin and a toilet. Being eco-friendly the hot water system is solar heated which can be boosted electrically if the weather is overcast. The rooms each have a different theme drawn from the Job Family’s history and experiences dating back to the 1870`s. The lodge has a waterhole to the rear where animals can be spotted at various times of the day. There is a large wooden deck built on stilts that overlooks the Makhutswi River and is the best place to relax under the shade of the towering Jackalberry trees. There are over 300 species of bird in Makalali and a good amount of those can be spotted from the lodge. There is a small swimming pool at the lodge, a dining area as well as a fireplace/ boma area. Guests will be joined by 2 expert walking safari guides as well as a host team.
This Afternoon you will enjoy your first game drive in Makalali, your guide will take the group out and search the area for any exciting wildlife that are active. There are at least 6 vehicles that go out for Safari in Makalali each afternoon and the guides will help each other with the use of radios to find the best sightings for each day. This evening you can enjoy the sounds of the bush whilst sitting around a bonfire in the boma, we will then serve dinner at the lodge.
Meals provided: Lunch and Dinner
Day 2. Makalali Private Reserve– Jobs Halt Lodge We rise early in the morning, before sunrise and warm up with a hot cup of tea or coffee and a quick snack. We will then head off on a walking safari adventure. You will be walking with 2 excellent and armed guides who will keep you safe, informed and happy. The host team will meet you at a location in the bush where they will set up a scrumptious breakfast to power you up for the walk back to the lodge. The direction and distance you will walk will depend on the group and the knowledge of your guide. You will return to camp just before mid-day and have some time to rest and relax before lunch.
Lunch will be served at the lodge. In the afternoon you will head off on another open safari vehicle adventure. The guides will take you out for about 3 or 4 hours in a vehicle and you will enjoy many excellent wildlife sightings before a stop at a stunning viewpoint for some sundowners and snacks before returning to camp at dusk. (Drinks are own expense and you can pick up at the honesty bar.) We will then return to camp for dinner and enjoy a few drinks around the fire.
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 3. Makalali – Panorama Route – Umbabat Reserve
Early this morning we will meet for some tea or coffee and a light snack before heading out on a walking safari. You will go out for a shorter walk this morning and will be back at the lodge for breakfast. After breakfast you have some time to freshen up and pack before we depart the lodge and head off to explore the famous Panorama Route. The Panorama Route is the 3rd most visited part of South Africa after Cape Town and Kruger National Park. The scenery is absolutley stunning and highlights include view points such as God`s Window, The three Rondawels, Lisbon Falls, Blyde River Canyon and The Lowveld View. We will stop for an own expense lunch at a traditional South African restaurant before continuing to explore the beauty of the area. In the afternoon we will head back down the Drakensberg Escarpment to the Lowveld and onto Nyari Lodge for the next 2 nights of the Safari. Nyari Lodge is situated in Umbabat Private Game Reserve and is the closest Private reserve to Kruger National Park and is known as the `Heart of the Greater Kruger`. The fences between Kruger and Umbabat have been dropped many years ago and the animals roam freely in this vast area. Nyari Lodge is a family owned lodge nestled in the far Eastern section of Umbabat Private Game Reserve. The Lodge consists of 6 rooms each with a unique style and decor. Each room has a taxidermy mount of an African carnivore above the bed, the animal mounts are not the product of hunting and each mount has a unique story of how the family recieved them. The Lodge has a swimming pool as well as Boma are and a nearby waterhole
We will arrive at the gates to the Greater Kruger in the late afternoon and take a slow drive through to Nyari Lodge.
Once we arrive you will have time to relax and freshen up before we enjoy dinner in the Lodge Boma.
Meals Provided: Breakfast and Dinner.
Day 4. Umbabat Reserve – Nyari Lodge.
Early this morning we will meet for a quick hot drink and snack and then we will head out and explore the reserve. There are 4 busy waterholes near the lodge as well a dry riverbed lined with beautiful riverine trees, we will search these areas and if we are lucky we might find a predator or 2 as they wind down for the day. We will return to the lodge for breakfast and then you will have some time to relax in the pool or enjoy a good book under the shade of the Boma thatch whilst keeping an eye on the wildlife coming down to the waterhole for a mid day drink.
We will then serve Lunch at the lodge before we head out on an exciting afternoon drive. This evening we will sit around the fire listening to the amazing sounds of the African Nightlife and we will enjoy dinner together at the lodge.
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 5. Umbabat Reserve to Johannesburg.
This morning we will depart on one last morning safari as a group, hopefully we can find one last surprise before the safari ends. When we return we will pack up and slowly exit the park. Once we are outside of the gates we will head for Johannesburg taking the scenic route and stopping along the way for lunch.
Please note that you should not book your domestic flights before 19:00pm on this day and your international flights should please not be before 20:00pm.