Discover Kruger Park, Panorama Route And The Timbavati – 9 Days
Explore the majesty of the Kruger Park and the Panorama Route You will leave Johannesburg in the comfort of your guide’s air-conditioned vehicle and drive to the Kruger Park area. Here you will go on an elephant-back safari before visiting the fascinating attractions of the Panorama Route.
Awesome safaris in the Kruger Park with your guide are on the menu next. Go in search for the illusive Big 5 animals with your guide as your ranger in the Kruger Park; the top wildlife destination on the planet.
Your guide will drive you to a private safari lodge for more Big 5 safaris conducted by the lodge’s rangers. It is a perfect chance to keep looking for the Big 5, as viewing these magnificent animals are basically guaranteed. You will fly back to Johannesburg at the end of your visit there.
- Bird of prey center, elephant-back safari.
- Attractions on the Panorama Route; Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window, etc.
- Safaris in the Kruger Park with one of our guides.
- Safaris in a private safari lodge with the lodge rangers.
Your Jewel of Africa Safaris guide will pick you up at the airport (or any other chosen destination in Pretoria or Johannesburg) and depart for the Kruger Park area. Our tour travels east through the coal-rich Highveld and the rolling hills of the Mpumalanga Lowveld to the village of Dullstroom.
A visit is made to the Dullstroom Bird Of Prey & Rehabilitation Center, established in to promote awareness of the birds of prey and their fight against extinction as endangered species. http://www.birdsofprey.co.za (Closed on Tuesdays).
We will have lunch in Dullstroom and then drive to Panzi (Pronounced “Punzee”, it is the local tribe’s name for in a donga or hole). Panzi is a safari lodge situated in the Guernsey Nature Reserve and surrounded by Thorny Bush Game Reserve, a Big 5 reserve.
Wake up quite early and depart for Kapama Lodge, adjacent to Panzi for an elephant back safari – http://www.kapama.co.za/elephant-back-safari This is an amazing experience as you interact with the elephants and hop on their backs for a safari amongst other wildlife.
The Mpumalanga Panorama Route is the focus of the rest of the day. Here, visits are made to the Blyde River Canyon dominated by the triplet peaks of the Three Rondavels and Bourke’s Luck where the unique geological features of the potholes are admired. God’s Window is also on the menu, a cliff on the edge of the escarpment from where magnificent views of the Lowveld can be enjoyed. On a clear day, you can see Maputu in Mozambique from here, 200 kilometers away.
We also visit the historical mining village of Pilgrim’s Rest. It is one of the most perfect examples of a mining town born during the excitement of an alluvial gold rush in 1873. The town was declared a national monument in 1986.
OVERNIGHT: Panzi Bush Camp
MEALS: Breakfast & Dinner
We check out after breakfast and drive to the adjacent Kruger National Park. Wildlife viewings will almost present themselves immediately as we undertake our first safari.
We spend the day on safari while driving to our overnight camp inside the Kruger Park. The accommodation is in the form of a rondavel; a round house with a thatch roof. It is neat and clean with en-suite amenities and are serviced daily.
Rise at dawn to take advantage of the best animal viewing conditions, as you enjoy your safari in the luxury of your guide’s air-conditioned.
Explore this vast 2-million hectare wildlife haven, roughly the size of Wales, in search of the Big Five today – Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard and Rhino. Our guides are experts in showing you the hidden intricacies of the animal species, birds, trees, insects, and all aspects of the fauna and flora. Enjoy breakfast and one of the many stopovers before returning to your lodge.
The rest of the morning is free to relax by the swimming pool or enjoy bird watching. When in Rome the proverbs go. As the animals go in to siesta mode around lunchtime and are the perfect time to follow their lead before setting out again in the late afternoon for another safari.
Keep your eyes open for, amongst others zebra, giraffe, cheetahs, wild dogs, hippos and crocodiles, kudu, sable antelope, waterbuck, warthogs, baboons and many other interesting animals. Excellent bird watching opportunities are basically guaranteed.
After a beautiful African sunset, enjoy dinner under the pristine stars of the Milky Way like you have never seen them before – as well as the amazing Southern Cross constellation.
Note: Night safari drives are optional extras (own cost) if you are interested. Night safaris cost around R300 per person and needs to be booked at the Reservations desk of the camp.
MEALS: Breakfast & Dinner
Take things a little easier this morning. Enjoy breakfast at the camp and drive to Umlani Bush Camp. You guide will drop you off at Umlani Bush Camp. This is where you part ways with your guide as he/she hands you over to the Umlani Rangers that will take care of you for the remainder of the tour
Umlani is located in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve and they share an unfenced border with the Kruger National Park. This is truly Big Five territory and you will have the opportunity to see lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino; almost guaranteed, especially if you have missed some of the Big Five with your guide in the Kruger. Safaris take place on safe 4×4 open top vehicles, conducted by trained and qualified rangers that will take you on safari drives and bush walks
A typical day at Umlani will look something like this, depending on the season:
Early morning wake-up call. Coffee, tea with biscuits and rusks are served before heading off on your early-morning game-drive. This is the best time to spot animals as the temperature is cool and the animals are still very active. After a few hours of safari, you will return to your lodge for an unrivalled breakfast. Spend the rest of the morning bird watching at the waterhole or arrange for a bush walk with your ranger.
Lunch and afternoon
Enjoy lunch in the lodge and spend the main part of the day at leisure, even having a quick after-lunch nap. You will enjoy high tea at around 3pm before heading out for another safari drive.
The safari vehicles return after sunset allowing you some time for a quick shower and enjoy some drinks before a gourmet dinner is served. The evenings are often rounded off with a few drinks around the campfire, enjoying the amazing stars of the Milky Way, so close like you have never seen them before – as well as the amazing Southern Cross constellation.
OVERNIGHT: Umlani Bush Camp (or similar)
MEALS: Full Board
- Pre-tour documentation with all-inclusive travel information.
- Welcome kit in Africa with animals and birds checklists, postcards and many more.
- All ground transfers in air-conditioned vehicles.
- Accommodation as specified.
- Meals as specified.
- Complimentary bottled water on board while in transit.
- Services of a registered tour guide and lodge rangers.
- Activities as specified.
- Conservation and entrance Fees.
- Guaranteed departures.
- Sundowner bush cocktails when on safari at private game lodges.
- Bush walks with expert safari rangers at private game lodges.
- Domestic flight from the Kruger Park to Johannesburg.
- Airport transfers for all travelers, at any time.
- Rental vehicle for Self-drive tours if applicable.
- International flights to and from South Africa – ask us for a quote.
- Lunches (unless specified).
- Cold drinks, wine, beer, & refreshments.
- Tips & gratuities for guides, hotels, porters, and restaurants.
- Telephone calls, laundry, & other incidental personal expenditure.
- Travel & Medical insurance.
- Fuel for self-drive tours if applicable.
- This is a privately guided, luxury tour run exclusively for you.
- A self-drive option is available for this tour.
- Can depart any day and can be tailored to suite your needs.
- Can be booked by single travelers – a single supplement will apply.
- There is no minimum age requirement – children of all ages are welcome.
- In case an accommodation is fully booked, we will suggest a similar lodge/hotel.
- You can book your own flights to and from South Africa online or through your travel agent. Please feel free to ask our in-house travel agent for a quote.
- Please confirm availability with us before you book your flights.
- If you fly in to Johannesburg and you arrive later than 09:00 on the day your safari tour starts, we recommend that you book in at a hotel nearby to recuperate and get rid of your jetlag as the drive to the Kruger Park takes about 5 hours. A day tour can be arranged instead. This obviously does not apply if you fly to the Kruger Park.
- All activities are subject to prevailing weather conditions.
- Malaria prophylaxis is advised for the Kruger Park.
- Prices are subject to price hikes, fuel increases, etc. Prices are fixed upon the official reservation and receipt of a 20% deposit.
- Jewel of Africa Safaris is a registered professional tour operator with the necessary permits and insurance cover to transport International Tourists. All our driver-tour guides are Satour & Theta accredited, medically cleared, hold Professional Driving Permits and are accredited First Aid practitioners.
Is Jewel of Africa Safaris part of a Professional Body?
Jewel of Africa Safaris is been a member of the South African Tourism Services Association (SATSA). SATSA is the tourism industry’s watchdog and guarantees high standards of service, good quality tourism services and product and a trustworthy accreditation with the association itself.
How long has Jewel of Africa Safaris been in business?
Jewel of Africa Safaris is a registered tour operator with the necessary permits and insurance cover to transport International Tourists. We have been conducting quality safaris and tours in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe since 2001.
Is Jewel of Africa Safaris’ guides registered with the authorities?
All our driver & tour guides are Satour & Theta accredited, medically cleared, hold Professional Driving Permits and are accredited First Aid practitioners.
Do you have booking system with a secure payment gateway?
Our on-line booking system allows you to do EFT’s (Electronic Transfer) through a secure payment gateway in your own currency, avoiding high exchange rates and excessively high transfer fees charged by banks. Credit card payments are levied by an extra 6.5% via a very safe third party company.
Our guides will continuously ensure your safety by informing you of a potentially unsafe or dangerous situation may arise. We will never allow ourselves to get caught up in a dangerous or life-threatening situation, let alone putting you in that situation.
The same as you would do back home; keep an eye on your valuables, passports, money and cameras when walking in a crowd. Avoid walking in the cities at night and leave your valuables in your hotel safe. This is where our guides are of great importance to you. They will brief you on potential hazardous scenarios. If you are one of Jewel of Africa’s self-drive clients, you will find all the precautions in our tour documentation.
What do I need to pack for my safari tour?
- Sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher, hat or cap, and sunglasses.
- A quality camera with a lot of memory cards and a pair of binoculars.
- Swimming clothes at the lodges or Kruger Park.
- Cool, long pants and shirts in summer for around the campfire.
- A warm jacket or sweater for wintertime as it becomes cold on evening safaris.
- Comfortable walking shoes and a few god pairs of socks.
- Neutral colored clothing (green, brown, khaki, beige) for bush walks.
- A flashlight.
- Insect repellent, but are freely available here in South Africa.
- Power supplies and adapters for South African. We run on 220V.
- All your medication normally used, including some anti-allergic ointment or pills.
- Some US dollars in cash when are traveling to Botswana, Zambia, or Zimbabwe.
- Formal dressing if traveling on the Blue Train, Rovos Rail or staying in 5 star lodge
Do I need a visa?
All visitors traveling to the Southern African necessitate a valid passport that is valid for six months beyond the intended length of stay. The passport entry obligation for travelers entering South Africa is a minimum of two blank pages in their passport. If visitors are traveling via South Africa to more than one African country, then the visitors must ensure they allow for adequate pages for each country to be visited. They must also have a minimum of two blank visa pages for each re-entry into South Africa.
Currently American passport holders do not require visas for South Africa, Namibia, or Botswana, but do require visas for Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, or Tanzania. Visas may be purchased at the point of entry for a nominal fee, accept for Kenya. Please check with the website of the country that you intend to visit to confirm.
Should I get traveler's insurance?
Insurance should include the cancellation of the trip to Africa, emergency evacuation, medical, repatriation, and cover against loss, damage or theft of personal luggage, money, and goods. Ask your travel agent for travel insurance.
Should I take any medical precautions before going to Africa?
Before you arrive in South Africa, check with your local doctor or health department for the latest health precautions of which malaria is the most important. Medication it is strongly recommended and is taken as a precaution. You are only required to have vaccinations if you are traveling from a region where yellow fever is prevailing, in which case an immunization will be required against the disease.
Are your tours child and family friendly?
Most of our safari tours are fitting for families and children of all ages are accepted.
South Africa has one of the most advanced banking systems in the world. Banks use world-class technology and facilities, and cash is available with major credit cards from thousands of ATMs countrywide. Forex traders are available at airports and shopping malls. Most of the larger hotels also offer money-changing facilities.
Visa and MasterCard credit cards as well as debit cards, are accepted throughout South Africa, and in most key centers in Botswana and Namibia. About 50% of establishments in tourist areas in Zimbabwe and Zambia will accept credit cards. A 3 – 5% levy will apply. Traveler’s checks are accepted in South Africa.
Make sure that you bring along some cash for spending money, tip, drinks, etc. US Dollars, Euros, and Pounds can easily be converted to Rands (ZAR) at the airport. At the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Livingstone, you will be able to use ZAR, US$, Euros, and Pounds at curio markets, while most lodges will accept these currencies. Foreign currency will be a problem at Victoria Falls, so we recommend to bring enough small value notes (20’s, 10’s, 5’s and 1’s).
All of the Southern African countries make use of a 220 – 240V electricity supply via their national networks. It is important to make sure that the equipment you plan to bring along on tour or safari is compatible. European, Australian and New Zealand adaptors are available in South Africa and come in both formats of two or three pins. USA and Canada adaptors are also available and most stores in large malls and shopping centers. The USA and Canada adaptors are not converters and will lower the voltage from 220V to 110V.
In Zambia, the wall sockets will match the UK’s 220V supply, and adaptor plugs that fit that standard may be used. If you plan on purchasing an adaptor plug while in South Africa, do not buy it on the flight over to South Africa, as some airlines sell adaptors that are not locally well suited. Some airlines sell adaptors, which are not locally compatible. Rather buy it here after you have arrived.
Generally speaking, medical facilities in South Africa are very good is considered to be the best on the African continent and our private hospitals are considered world class. The general practitioners, nurses, and medical staff are trained at top medical institutions in the country. Some of the specialists obtained their medical degrees while undergoing training in western countries like the USA and the UK. The standard of healthcare in South Africa, particularly in the urban and coastal areas, are of world standard.
Most people wishing to visit the remote safari areas of Southern Africa to get away from civilization so to speak, is the major reason for going, however all major centers in South Africa will have access to the internet. Cell phone coverage is better than the run-of-the-mill, but unfortunately not available in every corner of the country, particularly when visiting a safari lodge. All hotels we use will offer Internet facilities and a fair number will offer free WiFi, but for most hotels it is expected to pay for the service. International airports are the exception and both Johannesburg and Cape Town will have WiFi hotspots.
It is advisable to purchase a local SIM card when you arrive in South Africa and to do that, you will need to present your passport. This enforced by law to prevent terrorists (amongst many others) from attaining untraceable cell phone numbers. International roaming service is not automatically enabled on cell phones. You will need to contact your service provider to activate the international roaming feature.
Tipping is a general practice in South Africa. A large number people in the tourism industry that serve you, is pretty much dependent you their tips as many of them do not get a fixed salary, like waiter for example. Others do get a salary, but are encouraged to deliver a better service to increase their income from tipping.
Here is some information on tipping in South Africa.
- In restaurants and bars, 10% to 15% is the accepted tipping standard.
- Petrol attendants at gas stations – from R2 up.
- Porters at airports – between R5 and R10 per luggage.
- Hotel porters – between R10 to R20 per porter service.
- Taxi drivers – between $2 and $10, depending on the distance.
- Rangers and trackers – between $10 and $20 or more per day for both.
- Site guides (e.g. a guide at the ostrich farm) – $10 per person.
- Guides – anything between $20 and $100 per day, but $100 is the norm.
Visa & Passports?
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It is important to organize your own visas through your nearest embassy or consulate. We cannot be held liable if you arrive without the necessary visas immigration officials will be obliged to refuse you entry in to South Africa.
Requirements for entering South Africa?
- A valid passport that will be endorsed for the length of your anticipated stay.
- Your passport should have at least TWO blank pages in it.
- A valid visa, if required – see the list above.
- A return or onward ticket.
- Adequate funds.
- Yellow fever certificates – if your journey passes through yellow fever prone areas.
Depending on your nationality (see the list above), you may or may not need a visa to visit South Africa. Please the Department of Home Affairs’ website for the list of countries that are exempted – http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/immigration-services/exempt-countries
Where to make enquiries about visas?
Visit the South African Home Affairs website for more detail – http://www.dha.gov.za. You could also visit the website of the “South African offices abroad” to apply for a visa in your own country – http://www.dirco.gov.za/foreign/sa_abroad/index.htm
If traveling to Zimbabwe or Zambia, you are expected to secure your entry visa at the port of entry in US Dollar only. No other currency is accepted; credit or debit cards, checks, or travelers checks will not be accepted for purchasing your visas. The current going rate for visas to these two countries are between $50 and $100 per person. It is recommend having at least an adequate supply of small value notes to the amount of between $200 and $300 for personal expenses. Old bank notes, notes with ink marks, notes with writing marks on them, or notes that have been overly folded will not be accepted.
The Department of Home Affairs’ website (www.dha.gov.za) has complete details on visa requirements and exceptions and the relevant forms that you can download. If you are subject to visa requirements, you should apply for your visa at least a month before you plan to arrive here. Do not arrive in South Africa without it; wait for it to be issued before you travel. No visas are issued at South African ports of entry.
South (& Southern) Africa is truly blessed with amazing weather. The official months for:
- Summer: December, January, and February.
- Autumn: March, April, and May.
- Winter: June, July, and August.
- Spring: September, October, and November.
This in theory however as we experience only summer and winter over here. Our weather is very predictable. Summer arrives in the first week of September; normally the 5th, and temperatures range from 25 to 35 degrees Celsius.
Winter arrives in the first week of June. We actually only have 2 months of winter – June & July and by mid August things start to warm up again. Winter temperatures range from zero (normally 5 degrees) at night to 25 degrees Celsius during the day. Winter daytime temperatures in the Kruger can reach 28 to 30 degrees.
The rainy season in the old Transvaal starts on 10 October to the date. The old folks believed that if it rains before President Paul Kruger’s birthday (10 October), it is going to be a very good rainy season. If it rains before his birthday, they believed it would be a bad rainy season. Transvaal is now divided into the Gauteng-, Northwest-, Limpopo-, and Mpumalanga Provinces.
For detailed information about the weather, please visit the South African Weather Service’s website to find out more – www.weathersa.co.za
Nothing gets you prepared for a safari like a good book. From field guides to fictional masterpieces, there are a slew of reading options to help crystallize your vision of Africa: the sights, the sounds, the unbridled adventure to come.
Follow this link to a website called Longitude for a list of recommended books that we believe will enhance your experience so much more!