5 Day Essential Kruger National Park

2 nights Timbavati Game Reserve | 2 nights Sabi Sand Game Reserve

Tour Highlights

  • Kruger National Park
  • Sabi Sand Game Reserve
  • Timbavati Game Reserve
  • Big Five Game Viewing
  • Abundant Birdlife
  • South African Hospitality
Day 1 Arrival in Timbavati Game Reserve

Upon arrival in Hoedspruit, you are met by your driver and transferred by road to your Luxury Camp in the Timbavati Game Reserve.

Road Transfer Time: Hoedspruit Airport to Motswari Game Reserve: approx. 2 ½ hours

Arriving at your new Camp in the early afternoon, you are met with a refreshing welcome beverage before you are taken to your Suite for your 2-night stay. Settle in before departing on your first afternoon game drive in the Timbavati Game Reserve.

The Timbavati forms part of the 2 million hectare Greater Kruger National Park. It was the first private game reserve to be incorporated into the Kruger National Park and is part of one of Africa's most innovative conservation partnership agreements. The Timbavati Game Reserve is 14 700 hectares (36 300 acres) and shares an unfenced boundary with Kruger National Park. Game Viewing is rich with a variety of animals.

Day 1 to 3 Timbavati Game Reserve | 2 nights

Timbavati Game Reserve is situated on the Western boundary of the Kruger National Park and lies between the Klaserie, Umbabat, Manyeleti and Sabie Sands Reserves. In recent years, the fences separating Timbavati from the Kruger National Park were removed to form a pristine wilderness area of approximately four million hectares.

Track the Big Five, as well as a rich variety of other game such as antelope, zebra, warthog, giraffe and hippo, in the company of an armed ranger and local Shangaan tracker. Bird viewing is spectacular, with over 360 recorded species including various eagles, vultures, kingfishers, woodpeckers, buzzards, herons, egrets, owls, weavers.

Day 3 Timbavati Game Reserve to Sabi Sand Game Reserve

Today you bid farewell to Motswari and the Timbavati Game Reserve. Enjoy your final morning game drive and a lovely brunch in the Timbavati Game Reserve before you are met by your driver and transferred by road to your next Luxury Lodge in the Northern Sabi Sands Game Reserve.

Road Transfer Time: Timbavati Game Reserve to Sabi Sand Game Reserve: approx. 2 ½ hours

Arriving at your lodge in the afternoon, you are met by the lodge members with a refreshing welcome drink before you are taken to your luxury suite for your 2-night stay. There is time to settle in, before you set off on your first afternoon game drive in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve.

Day 3 to 5 Sabi Sand Game Reserve | 2 nights

Forming part of the Greater Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sand Reserve has no fences and the wildlife is able to cross freely between the Sabi Sands and the rest of the Greater Kruger National Park. The safari experience in the Sabi Sand is highly personalised because game drive vehicles have exclusive traversing rights in their area. The Sabi Sand Reserve is a remarkable natural sanctuary known for its exceptionally high concentration of animal and bird life.

Close contact encounters are guaranteed as the animals are not threatened by the presence of vehicles thanks to sound conservation management policies. Safaris are led by experienced rangers coupled with local Shangaan trackers. With exceptional sightings of leopard (usually the most elusive of cats), lion, rhino, elephant and buffalo during game drives - visitors are never lacking in exciting photographic content.

Day 5 Departure

The day starts as dawn breaks, enjoy your final morning game drive before arriving at the lodge for a grand brunch. You bid farewell to this African Wonderland as you are met by your driver and transferred by road to Hoedspruit Airport to connect with your onward journey and flight home.

Timbavati Game Reserve | Motswari Private Game Reserve

Motswari is situated in the Greater Kruger National Park, South Africa’s premier nature conservation, and is owner-managed and run. Motswari is committed to the environment and has achieved Gold Class status on the Heritage Environmental Certification Programme. This four-star luxury safari lodge prides itself on its service excellence and warm atmosphere.

A swimming pool with a vanishing edge looks over the watering hole, where an abundance of game can be seen cooling off or just playing around at most times in the day, and the lodge also boasts two bars, a library, and an art gallery.

The 15 luxury bungalows are all en-suite, and each offers a unique and unrivalled bush view, and relaxing on the chairs outside your bungalow will do more for you than any spa treatment ever could.

Meals at Motswari can be taken out on the trail, on the deck overlooking a watering hole, in the bush, or at the Boma, and are always accompanied by an award-winning selection of South African wines. There are two game drives of three-and-a-half hours each every day, guided walks, and an overnight walking safari – both game drives and game walks provide unforgettable experiences.

Sabi Sand Game Reserve | Arathusa Safari Lodge

Arathusa Safari Lodge is a jewel within the heart of the Sabi Sand Reserve. The camp is an intimate one, completely open-plan and designed to harmoniously blend with the adjacent waterhole and African bush. The lodge flanks the bank of a large waterhole (approximately 250m x 150m) allowing for a 180 degree view of the water. An infinity swimming pool overlooks the waterhole and is the perfect spot for wildlife viewing on a smouldering African summer’s afternoon.

Massive herds of buffalo, antelope and elephant families gather at the waterhole and there is also a resident herd of hippos. 13 thatched suites are within the camp's perimeter. Each has a bathroom en-suite (with bath and separate indoor and outdoor showers), and a verandah. Meal times at Arathusa are a sociable affair. Guests are treated to sumptuous dishes, fresh produce and home baked confectionary.

In addition to the morning and evening game drives, unique walking safaris are offered daily giving guest the opportunity of discovering the hidden treasures of the region. Arathusa prides itself on its leopard viewing. As leopards are territorial, their regular appearances in the area allow their movements to be plotted. Many of the animals become familiar and are easily recognized by the rangers.

Large herds of buffalo numbering in excess of 300 are often encountered. Elephants are also seen in large numbers. There are various lion prides in the area, as well as a few nomadic males. General “lowveld” game are abundant in this section of the Sabi Sand Reserve, including giraffe, zebra, warthog, impala and more. Between game drives, lazy hours can be spent in the sparkling pool or having a massage at the Nature Spa.

Included in price Timbavati Game Reserve | Daily Safari Programme at Motswari

Upon arrival at your safari lodge you are given a welcome drink and your safari experience will be explained to you by your lodge host. There will be time to settle in before afternoon High Tea followed by your first game drive. Game drives take place in the early morning and evening to ensure game viewing when animals are most active.

Night game drives provide a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the predators, particularly the leopard for which this area is renowned. You return to your lodge in time for a sumptuous safari cuisine dinner.

The next day after a light snack you are taken on a morning game drive. You return to the lodge for a grand brunch. There is time to relax around the sunny pool, do some bird-watching from the observation deck or read a book in the peace of your room’s private veranda.

If you are feeling more active, you can go on a bush walk with your ranger. After High Tea you set off on another evening game drive, returning again in time for dinner. On your day of departure, you will do a morning game drive and will leave the lodge after brunch.

Sabi Sand Game Reserve | Daily Safari Programme at Arathusa Safari Lodge

Day and night safaris in open Land Rovers, led by highly trained Game Rangers and qualified Trackers, follow the animals on and off-road, deep into the heart of the wild African Bushveld.

The morning safari starts at first light, when the bush is already alive, the air filled with birdsong as the rising sunlight dances off beads of dew on spiders' webs. The tracker will watch the road for spoor, leaning forward intently to find any print left by a predator during its hunt in the dark. You return to the lodge for a grand brunch.

After brunch walking safaris allow guests to feel the pulse of untamed Africa through the soles of their feet. As evening falls you depart on the night safari. As the fierce heat of the day cools, the inhabitants of the bush become restless, and the animals move out of the shade of the trees. As the sun dips behind the horizon your Ranger will choose a spot where you can stretch your legs and enjoy sundowners alongside the vehicle.

There is a lull as the animals sense the transition into a time of increased danger. It is during evening safaris that the nocturnal hunters start stirring, and their prey needs to be alert for survival through the night. You return to the lodge for a safari cuisine supper.

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This is just a sample itinerary. We can use it as a starting point and then tailor-make your personal itinerary according to your likes, interests and budget.

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Meet the Team

Tammy Harding
Tammy Harding
Tour Consultant

Kerry Ririe
Kerry Ririe
Tour Consultant

Melanie Macphail
Melanie Macphail
Tour Consultant

Susan Pattison-Wait
Susan Pattison-Wait
Managing Director & Tour Consultant

Kerryn Ross
Kerryn Ross
Tour Consultant

Anya Visser
Anya Visser
Tour Consultant

Gail Davis
Gail Davis
Tour Consultant

Heidi Bedford
Heidi Bedford
Tour Consultant

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