A birdwatching and wildlife tour to South Africa's rich north-east corner, taking in the highveld, the Kruger National Park and a superb private reserve with unparalleled opportunities to see Lion, Leopard and other mammals.South Africa is world-renowned for its incredible biological diversity, and nowhere is this more evident than in the north-east of the country. Within a day's drive one can go from cool 2,000 metre-plus grasslands to hot, sub-tropical savannah at no more than 250 metres above sea level, with much in the way of transitional habitats in between. This wonderful, compact itinerary is designed to make the most of this diversity while at the same time avoiding long journeys between stops and allowing enough time to enjoy the various accommodation venues. For the birder and wildlife enthusiast this translates into a superb range of species to be seen and is the ideal introduction to the region's avifauna and wildlife in general.
The highlands are an endemics hot-spot, and notable species to be seen include Bokmakierie, Gurney's Sugarbird, Drakensberg Prinia, Cape Grassbird, Sentinel Rock-Thrush, Buff-Streaked and Ant-eating Chats, Denham's Bustard and Secretarybird, among others. Descending in altitude, the tour explores some montane forest habitat and the cliffs and gorges of the Blyde River Canyon, third largest canyon in the world, before levelling out in the Kruger National Park, where birds and beasts abound. Here the birding really gets going, with daily lists in the 80 - 100 species range possible, while encounters with big mammals such as Lion, Leopard, Cape Buffalo, Elephant and White Rhinoceros add substantially to the appeal. After the Kruger National Park comes the highlight of the tour; two nights at a private lodge in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, where some of Africa's best game viewing is to be had, and where our chances for encounters with Africa's big predators are highest. All in all this is a fantastic way to be introduced to some of South Africa's scenery, birds, animals and wildlife in general.
September is early spring, an excellent time to see mammals, before the savannah vegetation gets too leafy. It is one of the better months for birdwatching here, with many species coming into breeding plumage.
Accommodation will be medium to high quality, in lodges, hotels and National Park rest-camps. All accommodation is en suite.
Transport: will be in open sided vehicles for the Kruger section of the tour.
Meals: All included in the price.
Walking: Generally easy. In the Kruger, the presence of wild animals precludes excursions on foot. However we do offer Bush Walks in Sabie Sands - see details above. Sturdy, comfy walking shoes or boots are adequate for this tour.
Baggage restrictions: For the trip itself, it is essential essential to limit your main baggage to one item, to prevent overloading of the tour vehicles. This should be a soft holdall. You may in addition bring optical equipment, but if this includes telescope and tripod, please bring them in separate cases for their protection in the vehicles.
All prices are per person unless stated and include scheduled flights London/Johannesburg, airport taxes, ground transportation and excursions as outlined above, accommodation on a full-board basis, bottled water in the vehicle, park & reserve entrance fees, local taxes, incidental tips, and the services of the leaders.
The price excludes holiday insurance, drinks, optional tips to local guides/drivers, and other personal expenses.
*For a price ex-flights London/Johannesburg, please deduct £745 from the tour price.
**Single accommodation may not be available throughout.
Principal Leader: Bert Palthe
Numbers: Max. 10 clients
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