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Approximate Distance: 400km Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs Welcome to big game country! The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. Search for lion, elephant, rhino and many other animals in one of Africa’s greatest wildlife areas on your full-day game drive in our overland truck. Day 2 we will stay inside the Kruger National Park and on Day 3 just outside the park (around 120km). We will leave Johannesburg early morning (around 7am) in order to be inside the Kruger National Park in the afternoon to be able to do our first game drive in our overland truck. We will pitch our tents in one of the campsites inside the Kruger National Park tonight. Enjoy an optional night game drive in an open safari vehicle. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld (low-lying bush land), this national park of nearly 2 million hectares. Kruger National Park is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies. Notably as well is its mixed biological, historical and archaeological significance. The Kruger National Park is truly the flagship of the South African National Parks, and it is home to a huge array of plants and animals. With over 145 species of mammals, it is possible to see all the classical African big game, including elephant, black and white rhino, hippopotamus, giraffe, zebra, buffalo, warthog and many antelope species. Large carnivores include lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog and spotted hyena. There are also many smaller mammals of equally enticing species. Some of the bird life here cannot be found elsewhere is South Africa, as 507 species reside in the park. Hornbills, Starlings, Vultures, Rollers, Bee-eaters and Shrikes typify the ubiquitous avi-fauna, and birders can look forward to pursuing the big 6 (Saddle-billed Stork, Kori Bustard, Martial Eagle, Lappet-faced Vulture, Pel’s Fishing Owl and Ground Hornbill). Eagles are common: Bateleur, Martial, Black-breasted Snake, Brown Snake, African Hawk, African Fish and Tawny are all regularly seen, and in summer: Wahlberg’s, Steppe, Lesser Spotted. The Park’s numerous water points make for excellent birding, while the rest camps and picnic sites are exceptionally rewarding for birders. The interaction between man and bush is evident in the Kruger National Park, from the bushman rock paintings to the majestic archaeological sites like Thulamela and Masorini. This is also regarded and preserved as a treasure, as they represent the cultures, people, and events that played a big role in the history of the Kruger National Park. With Kruger being so vast it naturally has a tremendous botanic diversity. Simplistically the park can be divided into 16 macro eco-zones. The northern half of the park, north of the Olifants River is predominantly mopane veld, while south of the Olifants the ecozones are thornveld. There are 336 tree species in the park. On 26 March, 1898, South African President Paul Kruger signed a proclamation for the founding of a government game park in the Eastern Transvaal, between Crocodile and the Sabie Rivers. Day 3 Enjoy a full day game-driving in our overland truck. You will also have the option to do game-driving in one of the open safari vehicles. Tonight we stay just outside the Kruger National Park, next to Manyeleti Game Reserve. The name Manyeleti, means 'Place of the Stars' in the local Shangaan language and guests have the opportunity to view the magnificent Southern Constellation. Manyeleti is situated away from the mainstream tourist areas and guests can experience the tranquility of the African Bush in absolute seclusion. In the late afternoon/early evening relax around the pool, sit around the campfire and enjoy your sundowner drink, followed by a traditional meal and traditional dancing by the villagers. Sleep tight and listen to the haunting sounds of the African night. The 23,000 hectare Manyeleti Game Reserve is situated between the Timbavati Private Reserve, the Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. With no fences separating Manyeleti from Kruger and the neighbouring reserves, a huge variety of wildlife roams freely over more than 2 million hectares of African bush. Game drives in open vehicles (optional) could bring you into close contact with the Big 5 (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino) for an unforgettable safari experience. The Manyeleti Game Reserve is managed by the Mnisi tribe who have been in the area for many generations. The Mnisi are committed to retaining the integrity of the game reserve and ensuring that the benefits of tourism in the reserve are delivered to the surrounding communities. In the late morning of the following day (Day 4) we will visit and interact with the local community of the Planeterra volunteer program in the Shalati village. Project Shalati Pre-school Over 50 children, under the age of 8, attend the pre-school of Shalati. The school has one teacher, and two teacher’s helpers that organize activities for the children, as well as provide them with two meals each day. Shalati provides support to the children and prepares them for the transition into primary school. Why is this project needed? In the South African community of Shalati there are many single parent families and a vast number of orphaned children, often cared for by their grandparents. This is due in part to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Many children do not begin school until the age of eight, and receive no formal education and limited support during their early formative years. The Shalati Pre-School aims to provide children with the opportunity to begin their education, and become involved in organized activities. More information about the community project Shalati Lodge we are staying at: Shalati Bush Camp is unique, offering an intimate and truly memorable bush and wildlife experience combined with the culture of local Shangaan population, of Africa and its people today. At Shalati we understand the impact that tourism have on the environment and strive to create an interactive experience that is affordable and unforgettable. Shalati is at the forefront of responsible tourism offering the guests a rare insight into the fragile ecosystems of the Big 5 areas as well as the communities on the borders of these great National Parks. We are committed to the sustainable upliftment of the communities around Shalati and the long term benefits that this will bring, to these people. Only people from the community are being employed at Shalati. All these people have never previously worked in the hospitality industry nor have they studied for a Hotel & Catering Diploma. Shalati has an extensive training program incorporating day-to-day and hands-on training. The cooks at Shalati were not able to cook or bake for themselves, not to mention guests. They are now able to bake and cook for many guests at the same time. A huge achievement! All the areas of hotel management are being addressed and individual training for housekeeping, cleaning, laundry, stock management etc is undertaken on a daily basis. Through the salaries that these few people earn, the lives of many in the communities are touched in a positive way. Once you enter the gates of Shalati you will become part of a community – a community that cares, that gives and join hands in strengthening our Rainbow Nation.
Day 4 Polokwane Approximate Distance: 280km Estimated Travel Time: 6 hrs Head for Polokwane, the provincial capital of Limpopo. Polokwane was founded in 1886 by Voortrekkers and is now a busy centre serving the surrounding agricultural and mining communities. We overnight at Polokwane Game Reserve. The Reserve is characterised by open savannah and almost entirely dominated by themed grass with the odd smattering of acacia trees. Since its proclamation in the early 70s the Polokwane Game Reserve has established itself as one of the leading municipal conservation projects in South Africa. It supports viable populations of rare game species including Tsessebe, Sable Antelope and the White Rhino. Go and explore the park on foot by yourself and unwind after a long day’s driving or sip a sundowner while listening to the wild sounds of Africa. Day 5 Palapye Approximate Distance: 400km Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs Today we will cross the border from South Africa to Botswana. The name of the border posts are Groblersbrug on the South African side and the Martin’s Drift border post on the Namibian. Botswana visas is not available at the border, so please make very sure if you do need a visa before arrival. See our visa section for further information. Remember that visas are your own responsibility; please double check with your agent if you will require a visa for Botswana. The currency in Botswana is Botswana Pula (BWP.)You will be able to change your let over ZAR and other foreign currencies tomorrow. Your campsite tonight will take USD or ZAR. Today we cross into Botswana, so have your passports ready, heading north to Palapye. A growing town on the Gaborone-Francistown road, Palapye was originally called Phalatswe (meaning 'Many Impalas' in Sekgalagadi).
Approximate Distance: 400km Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs Continue north towards the village of Nata, situated on the edge of the impressive Makgadikgadi Pans - remnants of Africa's largest inland sea. As the largest expanse of 'nothingness' on earth, the pans have an area the size of Switzerland, and are clearly visible from outer-space. What is known today as the Makgadikgadi Pans is only a relic of what used to be one of the biggest inland lakes Africa has ever seen - Lake Makgadikgadi. The Makgadikgadi Pan consists of two main pans, Namely Ntwetwe and Sowa pan, both of which are surrounded by myriad smaller pans. Although it is totally devoid of any water, people used to live there before it was declared state land. Villagers where allowed to graze their livestock inside the boundaries during dry season. A visit to the pans is limited due to the weather and the water on the pans. We stay 50km north of the pans at Elephant Sands. Go on an optional game walk in the conservation area of the state forests. This is a hunting area and all of the "big 5's" are present. It is well known for the Elephants that roam the area.
Approximate Distance: 300 km Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs Today we journey to the area of Chobe National Park, home to the largest elephant population in Southern Africa. The best way to appreciate one of Botswana's national parks and its thousands of resident elephants, crocodiles, and hippos, is on an optional sunset boat cruise on the Chobe River. You may also choose to embark on a game drive in search of lions, antelope, and of course elephants. Kasane is situated on the banks of the Chobe River, near its mouth. This is where the Chobe and Zambezi rivers meet, creating a border area of four countries – Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Chobe National Park is Botswana’s first national park, and is situated along the Chobe River. It has one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa and one of the world's last remaining sizeable wilderness areas. By size, this is the third largest park (11,000 sq km) of the country, though it is definitely the most diverse and spectacular. The park is probably best known for its spectacular elephant population: with over 120,000 it has the highest elephant concentration of Africa. Moreover, most of them are probably part of the largest continuous surviving elephant population on Earth. The elephant population seems to have solidly built up since 1990, from the few initial thousands. By chance, they have not been affected by the massive illicit exploitation of the 1970's and 1980's. Elephants living here are Kalahari elephants, the largest in size of all known elephant species. Yet they are characterized by rather brittle ivory and short tusks. Damage caused by the high numbers of elephants is rife in some areas. In fact, concentration is so high throughout Chobe that culls have been considered, but are too controversial and have thus far been rejected. During the dry season, these elephants sojourn in Chobe River and the Linyanti River areas. During the rain season, they make a 200 km migration to the south-east region of the park. Their distribution zone however outreaches the park and spreads to north-western Zimbabw
Approximate Distance: 100 km Estimated Travel Time: 3 hrs (depending on ferry crossing) Today we will cross the border from Botswana to Zambia. The name of the border posts are Kazungula border post on both sides. Some nationalities do require a visa for Zambia. See our visa section for further information. Remember that visas are your own responsibility; please double check with your agent if you will require a visa for Zambia. The currency in Zambia is Zambian Kwacha(ZWK.)You will be able to change your left over BWP in Livingstone town. Most establishments, activities etc. do accept USD for payment. Cross the Zambezi River by ferry to enter into Zambia and continue to Livingstone. We will spend the last days of our tour here, a great base to see both natural wonders and take part in some exciting activities. Get up close (and wet from the spray) while awing at the immense Victoria Falls, raft the whitewater of the mighty Zambezi, and for the more adventurous, bungee jump with the Victoria Falls in view. David Livingstone was born on March 19, 1813 in the village of Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, Scotland. He first studied Greek, medicine, and theology at the University of Glasgow and while working in London, joined the London Missionary Society became a minister. He originally planned to gain access to China through his medical knowledge. The Opium Wars, which were raging at this stage with no signs of peace on the horizon, forced Livingstone to consider other options. From 1840 he worked in Bechuanaland (present-day Botswana), and in the period 1852–56, he explored the African interior, and was the first European to see the Mosi-oa-Tunya waterfall, which he renamed Victoria Falls after his monarch, Queen Victoria.
Depart at any time.