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8 Day Panorama Route & Kruger National Park

South Africa

Overview

South Africa is known for its abundant wildlife and this self-drive tour will ensure that you’ve every possible chance of seeing the ‘Big Five’ - African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard and White/Black rhinoceros. Arriving in Johannesburg, you will take the Panorama Route, known for its cultural heritage and dramatic landscapes, on a journey north west towards Kruger. Staying either in Thornybush Game Reserve or Timbavati Private Reserve and then on to Sabi Sand Game Reserve, you will have plenty of opportunities to see the abundant birds and wildlife. Your journey ends at Johannesburg Airport.

Safaris

1 night in Johannesburg
2 nights on the Panorama Route
2 nights in Thornybush Game Reserve / Timbavati Private Reserve
2 nights in Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Kruger National Park

Day 1 – Johannesburg
You arrive at the Johannesburg International Airport and will be met by an English speaking representative who will assist you to the awaiting vehicle for your transfer to the hotel. You will be driven to your first hotel, check-in and have some time to freshen up. An optional activity for the afternoon is a half-day city tour through Johannesburg. 

Days 2 & 3 – Panorama Route
After a delicious breakfast your AVIS vehicle will be delivered to the Peech Hotel at 8am. After your luggage is tucked away in the car your tour towards the Panorama Route can begin. Please expect a five hour drive until you get to your next accommodation. On the next two days you will experience the Panorama Route with the “Blyde River Canyon”, “Pinnacle Rock”, “Jock’s View” and “God’s Window”. This is a 385 kilometre (240 miles) journey.

These stops offer incredible views over the flatland whilst you stand on steep cliffs. Further to the north, just before “Bourke’s Luck Pothole”, the Lisbon and Berlin Falls are located.

Days 4 & 5 – Thornybush Game Reserve / Timbavati Private Reserve
Today, after a short drive, you can expect one of the highlights of your tour, Safari & Wildlife in the Thornybush Private Game Reserve or Timbavati Private Reserve, which is adjacent to the Kruger National Park. Between the private reserves and the National Park there are no fences allowing the animals to roam freely. Special awareness is given to a great population of wild cats, which are well known to stay at one place once they have settled in. This is a journey of 125 kilometres (78 miles) and takes approximately two hours.

After you checked into your comfortable luxury accommodation you will meet your ranger who will take you on an open land rover game drive into the African Bush. Be prepared to see the Big Five so be sure to have your camera ready.

Days 6 & 7 – Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Kruger National Park
After an early game drive and breakfast you check out of the lodge and make your way into Kruger National Park. Your next accommodation is in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, which is located in the southern part of Kruger. This is a journey of 140 kilometres (87 miles) and takes approximately two hours and forty five minutes.

The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is a remarkable natural sanctuary known for its exceptionally high concentration of animal and bird life.  It is undoubtedly the most exclusive private game reserve in South Africa. The 65,000-hectare Sabi Sands Game Reserve is located on the south-western corner of the Kruger National Park. There are no restricting fences between the Kruger Park and Sabi Sands and the wildlife roams freely between the two game reserves.

Day 8 – Departure
After an early morning game drive in the bush and breakfast it’s time to check out. Unfortunately the time in the bush is over and you have to say goodbye. Drive back to the Johannesburg International Airport. There you will return your rental car and check in for your flight back home. This is a journey of 445 kilometres (277 miles) and takes approximately six hours.

Location

South Africa is in the southern part of the African continent and has borders with Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique.

Experiences

If you're looking for a Big Five safari experience, you can go to almost any province in South Africa, but Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga and Limpopo is the best. It’s exceptionally well set up for tourists. There are good roads and you can see the animals by guided drives and walks through the bushveld. Prepare to be blown away. To see a leopard dozing on the branch of a tree, finding a pride of lions in the shade after a kill or watching a large herd of elephants move soundlessly across the road - these are all incredible moments. Experienced rangers will tell you about the wildlife in the bush and spot many animals for you. In the evening a delicious dinner will be served and around a romantic bush fire the experiences of the day can be shared under a breath-taking starlit sky.And once you've done the Big Five, you can learn about wondrous creatures like the dung beetle...

Accommodations

Private, owner-managed safari camps and game lodges

Useful Info

Capitals: Pretoria, Cape Town and Blomfontein

Time: South Africa is two hours ahead of GMT and seven hours ahead of EST.

Money: The currency is the South African Rand.

Health: Vaccinations against Hepatitis A and Typhoid are recommended for any visitor travelling to South Africa. Depending on where you are going in the country, you may need other jabs.

Water: Drinking water in South Africa is safe to drink and cook with when taken from taps in urban areas. Not all tap water in rural areas is safe for consumption, so drink bottled water in rural areas.  

Climate: South Africa's climatic conditions generally range from Mediterranean in the southwestern corner of South Africa to temperate in the interior plateau, and subtropical in the northeast. A small area in the northwest has a desert climate. Most of the country has warm, sunny days and cool nights.

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