13 Days
Kerry’s Kruger Park Self Drive & Rest Camp Experience with Sabi Sand Luxury Safari

8 nights Greater Kruger National Park | 4 nights Sabi Sand

Tour Highlights

  • Kruger National Park Rest Camps
  • Self Drive Safaris
  • Sabi Sand Game Reserve
  • Idube Safari Lodge
  • Notten's Bush Camp Luxury
  • Guided Big Five Game Drives
  • Luxury Safari Accommodation
  • African Sunsets & Sundowners

Client Review

This is our third visit to South Africa and each trip has been amazing. We have worked with Kerry on our previous trips, which is great, as we have really got to know her over the past seven years. Thank you for arranging this trip Kerry.

 

Our love of the bush has brought us back a few times and this trip, we wanted to hire a car and spend a week in the Kruger National Park, as we had done this on a previous trip.

 

We had some excellent animal sightings over these few days and loved the camps inside the Kruger Park. Ending our tour with four nights in the fantastic Sabi Sand was the cherry on the top! See you in 2021 for our next African Adventure!

Natalie & Jonathan

Tour Consultant's Overview

Natalie and Jonathan had booked two previous trips with me and were keen to visit the Kruger National Park again and spend a week here. We booked a hire car for them, that they collected at Skukuza Airport and then had the freedom to spend the days in the park, driving around at their leisure. The tour ended with four nights in the Sabi Sand at private lodges, where all the game drives and meals are included, which was a great way to end of their safari holiday.
Kerry Ririe
Day 1 Arrival in Johannesburg

Upon arrival at OR Tambo Airport, you will be met in the arrivals hall by our representative from Wilro Tours, who will hand over your travel documents and assist you to your hotel, where you spend the night.

Johannesburg, South Africa's biggest city and second largest city in Africa, with more than 3 million people, began as a 19th-century gold-mining settlement. It was established as a small village controlled by a Health Committee in 1886 with the discovery of an outcrop of a gold reef on the farm Langlaagte. The population of the city grew rapidly, becoming a municipality in 1897. In 1928 it became a city making Johannesburg the largest city in South Africa. Joburg, or Jozi as some prefer to call it, offers visitors an experience as unique and diverse as the city itself.

Day 2 Johannesburg to Kruger National Park

After a hearty breakfast, you check out and walk over to the airport and domestic departures for your flight to Skukuza. Upon arrival at Skukuza Airport, you make your way to the car rental office, to collect your hire car. From here you depart and make your way to Satara Rest Camp, where you spend the night.

Day 2 to 9 Kruger National Park: Rest Camps (7 nights)

The Kruger National Park was established in 1898 and is the oldest National Park in Africa. The 2-million hectare Park provides sanctuary to 147 mammal species, including the Big Five, as well as over 500 bird species. The Kruger National Park has more than its fair share of the Big Five, with an estimated 1,500 lion, 12,000 elephant, 2,500 buffalo, 1,000 leopards and 4,000 rhino. Cheetah, wild dog, spotted hyena, hippopotamus, giraffe, zebra, warthog and many antelope species are also regularly seen on game drives.

Boundary fences have been dropped between Kruger and its neighbouring private game reserves, such as Sabi Sand, Timbavati, Klaserie and Manyaleti, meaning that the animals are free-roaming over an area the size of Switzerland, resulting in an immense gene pool. Kruger is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies.

This enormous and magnificent park is one of the most popular public-entry game parks in the world. Its density of permanent game is unrivalled with hundreds of different species; 507 birds, 336 trees, 147 mammals, 114 reptiles, 49 fish and 34 amphibians. Few visitors leave South Africa without visiting the Kruger National Park or one of the private reserves along its borders but it is also frequented by locals in their own vehicles, as you can drive yourself around and stay overnight in one of the many public rest camps.

The far north of the park is the wildest and most difficult area to access and because of this, it has alluring qualities for the real adventurer. With greater ecological co-operation across African borders, several countries bordering South Africa have agreed to take down some fences, and those between Kruger and Mozambique's Limpopo National Park and Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou, have been demolished to create the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park. This unique political innovation is creating a colossal wilderness area.

You stay in four different Rest Camps during your Kruger National Park Self Drive Experience:

Satara Rest Camp (1 night)

Olifants Rest Camp (2 nights)

Pretoriuskop / Lower Sabie Rest Camp (2 nights)

Skukuza Rest Camp (2 nights)

Day 9 Kruger National Park to Sabi Sand Game Reserve

This morning you depart Skukuza Rest Camp and make your way to the Skukuza Airport to drop off your hire car. Your driver will meet you at the car rental office and from here they transfer you to Idube Game Lodge in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, where you spend two nights.

You enjoy lunch/high tea on the deck before departing on your evening game drive. You return to the lodge for dinner in boma.

Day 9 to 11 Sabi Sand Game Reserve: Idube Game Lodge (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.

Nowhere in South Africa will one find a wildlife experience quite like the one experienced within the Sabi Sand Reserve. Sharing a 50km (31.25 miles) unfenced border with the Kruger National Park, this immense (65 000 hectare/ 153 000 acre) and diverse tract of land is home to The Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant), and much much more.

This area is also in the process of being further enlarged within the Peace Park concept with an expected integration and amalgamation with protected areas in Mozambique, and eventually Zimbabwe. Two rivers supply the game reserve with a valuable water source. The Sand River flows through the reserve for 50km (31 miles) from north west to south east whilst the Sabie River flows on the southern boundary. The sustenance of these rivers ensures that this area enjoys one of the highest and most bio-diverse wildlife populations of any area in Africa. Over two hundred different species live in abundance, whilst the ever changing bird life provides even the most experienced ornithologist with rare finds. Such is the environment that the wildlife, save for the migratory birds, remain in their territories all year round.

Day 11 Idube Game Lodge to Nottens Bush Camp

After your morning game drive and breakfast, your driver will meet you in reception where your driver will meet you for your inter lodge transfer.

You have time to check into your room, relax a bit by the pool, before enjoying high tea. You depart for your afternoon game drive and return to the lodge for dinner.

Day 11 to 13 Sabi Sand Game Reserve: Notten's Bush Camp

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 after which 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. 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.

Day 13 Sabi Sand Game Reserve to Johannesburg and Departure

After your morning game drive and breakfast, you check out and bid farewell to this African wonderland. The lodge will confirm the transfer time with you and your driver will drop you off at Skukuza Airport for your flight to Johannesburg's OR Tambo Airport. You have a few hours at the airport before your evening flight home.

Johannesburg: OR Tambo City Lodge

Based at Africa’s busiest airport, City Lodge at OR Tambo Airport will provide business and leisure travellers with “home away from home” accommodation that is ideal for those commuting to and from Johannesburg and perfect for those who require immediate access to the airport.

The hotel boasts boardroom and conference facilities, a fitness room as well as a deck with a pool and a large commercial area with a coffee shop. There is a sociable bar where you can while away an evening. The 303 spacious air-conditioned rooms have either queen or twin beds and en-suite bathrooms.

OR Tambo Airport offers a number of services from banking to a wide range of retailers, so whether it’s a good book or a scrumptious meal, the airport’s facilities have everything you need.

Kruger National Park: Satara Rest Camp

Satara is a busy camp, and not without reason. It is situated in an excellent game viewing area, with the bush relatively open and the animals plentiful and diverse.

The camp itself has a rustic charm, with the bulk of the accommodation set out in a series of circles. Satara is well wooded and the bird-life is prolific. At night the clink of fruit bats is fused with the chirping of cicadas and crickets.

The calls of owls and nightjars add to the symphony that is punctuated intermittently by the whoop of hyena, the screech of jackal and the roars of lion.

Kruger National Park: Olifants Rest Camp

Guests that visit Olifants will be exposed to an unforgettable window of Africa.

The camp is situated on top of a hill, which towers several hundred feet over the Olifants river. Views from the lookout platforms allow one to see the river below, just as a soaring eagle would survey it, as it hunts from the skies.

Kruger National Park: Pretoriuskop; Lower Sabie Rest Camp

Lower Sabie graces the banks of the Sabie River, one of the few perennial rivers to flow through the Kruger National Park. Visitors cannot but feel soothed by the view towards the river and the Lebombo Mountains beyond.

In this rest camp, the bounty and plenitude of nature are very evident, eloquently symbolised by the most conspicuous of its numerous trees, the mighty sycamore fig, which provides generously for the livelihood of many birds and insects.
Not only do these giants produce fruit at least twice a year, but different trees produce fruit at different times, extending the gifts of life over many months. Watching the endless procession of animals coming to drink at the Sabie River establishes a sense of one's own place in the eternal cycle.

Kruger National Park: Skukuza Rest Camp

Skukuza Rest Camp is situated on the southern banks of the Sabie River. The camp is well foliaged and there are some lofty trees along the river’s edge. Activities and facilities are diverse, as are the animals and plants found both within the camp and in the surrounding areas.

Sabi Sand Game Reserve: Idube Game Lodge

Found in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Idube is right in the heart of South Africa’s premier wildlife conservation area – the Greater Kruger Park. The Big 5 and many more beautiful animals and more than 300 species of birds can be viewed up close from open Landrovers, or seen on guided walks. The thatched bar and entertainment areas are beautiful focal points where guests gather in between game drives. Warthog and nyala families play on the grass surrounding the chalets and lodge, and can be viewed from your private deck.

The four-star lodge offers 10 en-suite chalets hidden among shady trees, and two luxury suites, all with private viewing decks. The beds are artfully draped in mosquito nets, which add a feeling of African romance. All chalets have a private outdoor shower that will give you a truly African experience, and the rooms are air-conditioned. Another way to cool off is to have a float in the pool, refreshing drink in hand, as you watch the nearby game and birds.

Each meal at Idube is a special occasion - breakfast and lunch are enjoyed out on the open air dining deck, and dinner is celebrated in the lantern-lit boma or out at the bush venue. There, you will enjoy the quiet sounds of the bush - still very much alive with all of its inhabitants – until drums and singing fill the air as Idube celebrates the delicious food the way only Africa can. The meals are artful combinations of African flavours and the latest gourmet trends, and game meats are often on the menu. Enjoy two game drives a day, where you can expect to see magnificent animals in their natural habitat and enjoy the one-of-a-kind beauty of the African bush as you stop for tea, coffee, or sundowners.

Sabi Sand Game Reserve: Notten's Bush Camp

Notten’s Bush Camp, an exclusive and private safari lodge personally run by the Notten family. This beautiful, intimate safari lodge is situated within one of South Africa's finest natural sanctuaries the Sabi Sand Reserve and Greater Kruger National Park. It is a destination that will truly touch your heart and soul. Notten’s has 8 private suites, each elegantly styled, spacious and cooled by ceiling fans. A magical atmosphere is created with the purposeful absence of electric lighting; the ambient candlelight and lanterns capturing an enchanting spirit of romance. Each suite has a private game viewing deck. With splendid panoramic views, this private game lodge is the perfect place for peace and relaxation while watching animals meander past. Meals are a social event and guests gather in the enclosed boma around a log fire under a canopy of stars in winter or in the open plan summerhouse lit up with candlelight during summer. Meals are eaten together around one communal table, with the company of the Notten’s and their Notten’s Bush
Camp team. This creates a wonderful atmosphere and an opportunity for the guests to share stories and conversation with other interesting people from South Africa and around the world.

The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is a remarkable natural sanctuary known for its exceptionally high concentration of animal and bird life. Safaris are led by experienced rangers in open-top land rovers, offering an adventurous discovery of the region's prolific wildlife, including Big 5 game viewing. Unique walking safaris are offered daily giving guest the opportunity of discovering the hidden treasures of the region. This can be followed by lazy hours spent in the sparkling pool or having a massage at the Nature Spa.

Kruger National Park: Safari Activities at Satara Rest Camp

5 Things to seek: Red-billed Buffalo Weaver: Lion; Giraffe; Blue Wildebeest; Honey Badger

Mammals
Satara Rest Camp is regarded as one of the best game viewing areas in the park and is particularly noted for the big cats, with lion, leopard and cheetah recorded regularly. General game includes blue wildebeest, zebra, waterbuck, giraffe and the ubiquitous impala. Rhino, buffalo and elephant are also easily seen. Of the smaller animals, the honey badger is something to look out for. At night spotted hyena regularly whoop from the camp’s perimeter while the repetitive sonar chink of fruit bats blends with the chirp of cicada and cricket.

Vegetation
Satara like most camps has been artificially well wooded. The surrounding vegetation is knob thorn and marula savannah on basalt soils. A few kilometres west there is an intrusion of ecca shales soil which hosts very sweet grass often overgrazed. This intrusion also hosts Delagoa thorn thickets. To the east, the N’wanetsi region lies in Lebombo Mountain Bushveld on rhyolite soils. Tree euphorbia and red bushwillow are prevalent.

Kruger National Park: Safari Activities at Olifants Rest Camp

5 Things To Seek; Elephant; Lion; Hippopotamus; Nile Crocodile; Martial Eagle

Mammals
The Olifants Rest Camp area plays host to most of the Kruger National Park’s classic larger game. As the name of the camp suggests, elephant are common in the area. Baboon and vervet monkey both inhabit the camp, as do fruit bats and thick-tailed bush babies at night. Lion and leopard are regularly seen on game drives. Cape clawless otter has been seen from the Olifants lookout point on the gravel road to Letaba.

Vegetation
Olifants Rest Camp is situated in rugged veld on rhyolite / basalt soil. Lowveld cluster-leaf, raisin bush and mopane are all prominent in the area. Just south of the river is the transition zone between thornveld and the mopane belt. In the camp itself there is a plethora of trees and plants, some of which are scarce elsewhere in the Kruger National Park. A variety of aloe species are a real highlight. Next to the filling station there is a sesame bush. This is probably the only accessible place in the Kruger National Park where it can be seen. In early spring the sjambok pod (yellow flowers) and weeping boerboon (red flowers) are both in bloom so the veld is a contrast of colour. Also look out for tree euphorbia.

Kruger National Park: Safari Activities at Pretoriuskop; Lower Sabie Rest Camp

5 Things to Seek : Leopard; Hippopotamus; Lion; Goliath Heron; Giant Kingfisher

Mammals
At night the diversity of game seen in the Lower Sabie area is hard to equal anywhere in the Kruger National Park. The area is rich in lion, cheetah, elephant, hippo, rhino, herds of buffalo up to 800 strong and a very high density of warthog.

Vegetation
Lower Sabie has many large riverine trees in camp and the sycamore fig tree is very prominent. The camp is situated in knob thorn/marula savannah on basalt soils. Other prominent trees include the leadwood and sausage trees. The grass is sweet thus attracting many grazing species. Immediately west is a zone of delagoa thorn thicket on ecca shale soil. Here prevalent trees include the delagoa thorn and the magic guarri. The grass is still sweet, but shorter.

Kruger National Park: Safari Activities at Skukuza Rest Camp

All of the Big 5 can readily be seen in the vicinity of Skukuza Rest Camp. Wild Dog are another thing to look for. In the camp itself, there is a population of warthog. Vervet Monkey also inhabit the camp and can wreak havoc if visitors leave unguarded possessions. At night genet, thick-tailed bush baby and fruit bat are resident in camp. The latter hang under the eaves of the shop. The river front of the camp is a great place to look for hippopotamus and buffalo, especially in early morning.

Mammals
Sighting the "Big Five” has become something of a quest for many people when on safari, and the Kruger National Park has more than its fair share of these, with an estimated 1,500 lion, 12,000 elephant, 2,500 buffalo, 1,000 leopards and 5,000 rhino (black and white). It should certainly not be a pre-requisite of a safari to see these or even a priority, as there are plenty of other fascinating animals and birds in the African bush.

Vegetation
While the camp itself is riverine, with wonderful large trees such as sycamore fig, jackalberry and Natal mahogany, the surrounding ecozone comprises of thorn thicket on granite/gneiss soils. Knob thorn and sickle bush are prominent.

5 Things to seek: Fruit Bat; Thick–tailed Bush Baby; Warthog; Spotted Hyena; Purple - Crested Loerie

Sabi Sand Game Reserve: Daily Safari Programme at Idube Game Lodge

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.

Sabi Sand Game Reserve: Daily Safari Programme at Notten's Bush Camp

A typical Day at Nottens Bush includes the following:

Morning Game Drive:
As dawn breaks over the African bush, a gentle early morning call or tap on your door will wake you to the delights of a new day. Your ranger will discuss what you hope to see that day over fragrant tea or coffee and morning biscuits or rusks. Set out in an open 4x4 safari vehicle in the company of a ranger and tracker team, who will attempt to track your favourite animals. Sabi Sand is well known for its leopard sightings, and you may well spot one of these elusive cats resting after a successful night hunt. You will stop for refreshments at a scenic spot during your drive.

Breakfast/Brunch:
Return to the Lodge for a delicious breakfast, with platters of fruit and cheese followed by a selection of hot breakfast dishes. Choose from eggs, oats, waffles or a number of other options.

Lunch/High Tea :
If you wish, you can walk off your breakfast on a short walk near the lodge, accompanied by your ranger, who will share his insight into the smaller animals and vegetation in the area or enjoy a refreshing dip in the pool ahead of a delicious lunch served on open air decks. Savour delectable flavours, incorporating high tea delights to be enjoyed as dessert as you gaze across the spectacular view ahead of you. Enjoy the peaceful sights and sounds around you at leisure before your next incredible game drive.

Afternoon Game Drive:
This game drive begins in the late afternoon and lasts until after dark, when spotlights are used for a glimpse into the nocturnal bush life. Track spotted hyena as they call to each other on an evening hunt or post the beautifully patterned civet cat. Enjoy sundowners in a scenic location as the sun slowly sinks beneath the horizon.

Dinner:
Return to the Lodge for a mouth-watering dinner around a blazing fire in the boma with newfound friends or enjoy an al fresco dinner in a surprise bush setting.

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This itinerary started on 17 October 2018
When this tour took place, the cost per person sharing was: USD$ 2,730
Remember, this is an actual itinerary, 100% tailor-made to meet this client's expectations. We can use this itinerary as a starting point for you.
I'm Kerry Ririe
I tailor-made this itinerary for my client and can do the same for you.
Kerry Ririe
My direct contact details are EMAIL ME+27 87 353 7871
Pembury Tours office details +27 41 581 2581 EMAIL US
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