7 Day Essential Kruger National Park

3 nights Sabi Sand Game Reserve | 3 nights Timbavati 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 Sabi Sand Game Reserve

Upon arrival at Hoedspruit Airport on flight you are met and transferred by road to your lodge in the Sabi Sand Reserve, part of the Greater Kruger National Park. You check in for your three night stay.

You have time to settle in at your lodge before you set off on your afternoon game drive.

Transfer time: Hoedspruit Airport to Sabi Sand Reserve: approx. 2 ½ hours

Day 1 to 4 Sabi Sand Game Reserve | 3 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 4 Sabi Sand Game Reserve to Timbavati Game Reserve

After your morning game drive and breakfast you check out of your lodge, you are met and transferred northwards to your game lodge in the Timbavati Game Reserve, also part of Greater Kruger where you check in for your three night stay. There is time to freshen up before embarking on your afternoon game drive.

Transfer time: Arathusa Safari Lodge to Simbavati River Lodge: approx. 2 ½ hours

Day 4 to 7 Timbavati Game Reserve | 3 nights

The Timbavati forms part of the two 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 is 14 700 hectares (36 300 acres) and shares an unfenced boundary with Kruger National Park. 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. The Timbavati is also home to the world-famous “White Lions of Timbavati”.

Day 7 Departure

After your morning game drive and breakfast you check out of your lodge. You bid this African Wonderland Farewell as you are met and transferred to Hoedspruit Airport where you board flight a flight to connect with your international flight home.

Transfer time: Simbavati River Lodge to Hoedspruit Airport: approx 1½ hours

Included in price 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: Simbavati River Lodge

Situated in the heart of the world-renowned Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park, this intimate, family-friendly camp is built on the banks of the Nhlaralumi River – a beautiful watercourse in the summer months when rain is plentiful, and a dry riverbed in the drier winter months. Simbavati takes its name from the local Shangaan language, translated as “the place where the lions come down from the stars”. The focus of the lodge is on the excellent big-5 game viewing, breath-taking views, friendly and knowledgeable staff in an environment where guests are made to feel comfortable and relaxed from the moment they arrive. Simbavati River Lodge is situated in the northern sector of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, and surrounded by 12 000 hectares of wildlife and rich wilderness in which you can experience an authentic and affordable African safari.

Shaded by age old Jackalberry and Leadwood trees, Simbavati River Lodge is warm and welcoming, with a generous contemporary design and accommodation for guests in luxury tented rooms or thatched chalets. Accommodation consists of eight luxury tents and three chalets; all are privately situated, comfortably furnished and with en-suite facilities.

The design of this 4-star lodge is contemporary, warm and welcoming. Guest common areas offer a generously proportioned lounge, bar, boma and extensive decks with breath-taking views overlooking the Nhlaralumi river where regular wildlife sightings take place and guests can unwind.

The lodge offers Big 5 game drives in the early morning and late afternoon/evening to ensure game viewing when the animals are most active. Nocturnal animals, including the big cats are regular sightings at night. Currently there are over 40 mammal species in the Timbavati including the Big 5 of lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant as well as 360 species of bird life.

Included in price Sabi Sand Game Reserve | Daily Safari Programme at Arathusa Safari Lodge

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 verandah. 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.

Included in price Timbavati Game Reserve | Daily Safari Programme at Simbavati River Lodge

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.

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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

Anya Visser
Anya Visser
Tour Consultant

Kerry Ririe
Kerry Ririe
Tour Consultant

Tammy Harding
Tammy Harding
Tour Consultant

Kerryn Ross
Kerryn Ross
Tour Consultant

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

Heidi Bedford
Heidi Bedford
Tour Consultant

Gail Davis
Gail Davis
Tour Consultant

Melanie Macphail
Melanie Macphail
Tour Consultant

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