Africa is not short of jaw-dropping views and awe-inspiring landscapes but this itinerary idea merges some of the very best in Southern Africa with some of the top Big 5 game viewing anywhere in the world. It includes not one but two private reserves adjacent to the renowned Kruger National Park in South Africa and time along the Panorama Route, so named for its astounding series of geological features like caves, canyons and lookout points. And if all this natural beauty is not enough, you finish with time at the unsurpassable Victoria Falls.
Accommodation is at a series of very comfortable but not over-the-top lodges and hotels with a combination of convenient drives and flights between them.
Fortunate enough to call South Africa my home, I have been blessed with countless opportunities to explore this magnificent country. From the majestic peaks of Table Mountain in the Mother City, the famous vineyards of the Cape Winelands to the untamed wilderness of Kruger National Park and the endless beaches and tropical weather of Kwazulu Natal, I have had the privilege of immersing myself in South Africa’s diverse landscapes.
After jetting into Eastgate Airport in Hoedspruit, your driver will take you to Simbavati River Lodge in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. This is part of the Greater Kruger area, which offers the most reliable Big 5 game viewing on the planet. In fact, it’s not unusual to see leopard, lion, rhino, buffalo and elephant on the same trip.
Your time here is spent on game drives, enjoying sundowners in the bush and easing into your Southern Africa safari.
Why we love Simbavati River Lodge:
Gorgeous setting on the Nhlaralumi River
Considered to be in good leopard country
The lodge is frequent stop for passing breeding herds
Your ‘safari eye’ will be in after four nights at Simbavati so you can spot even more game. A road transfer will whisk you down south from Timbavati to the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, where you will stay in a private part called Idube Game Reserve.
If you haven’t yet got the perfect photo or spotted a new bird on your wishlist, you still have a few days to do so, all under the superb guidance of the Idube team.
Why we love Idube Game Reserve:
Explore 10 000 hectares of pristine thicket
Elephants drink from the private pools at the lodge suites
Nature walks take you in search of smaller wildlife
Main pool, spa, gym and television lounge available
After a week on safari, it’s time to get back to ‘civilisation’! But this itinerary idea eases you in with two nights in a country town in one of South Africa’s most picturesque areas. Once you’re here, it’s easy to see why this is called the Panorama Route: there are incredible views at every turn as well as activities like hiking, golf, animal interaction and historic sight-seeing.
Home is Perry’s Bridge Hollow, which is conveniently located for all the area’s main attractions.
Why we love Perry’s Bridge Hollow Boutique Hotel:
Several restaurants to choose from
Large swimming pool and children’s playground
Adjacent to Perry’s Bridge Trading Post for shopping
Time to say ‘goodbye’ to South Africa and ‘hello’ to Zimbabwe. A short flight takes you from Kruger-Mpumalanga International Airport in Nelspruit to Victoria Falls International, where your driver will be waiting to zip you to Ilala Lodge Hotel.
Seeing the Victoria Falls is first on the list but there is so much else to explore here: see protected black rhino, go white-water rafting, enjoy sundowner cruises, shop in the markets and get your pulse racing with adrenalin activities.