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SAFARI

 
South Africa is an eco-tourism paradise with an enormous fauna and flora diversity. The Big-5: lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino and leopard survive in most of the national parks. One can add the whales to the Big Five making it south Africa's Big Six. There are 20 National Parks and  more than 500 smaller regional reseves.While the one reserve has been established to protect a certain animal, the other is established to protect fauna or a landscape. The most famous reserve is the Kruger National Park in the northeast, a 20.000 km² reserve where the Big 5 can live undisturbed. It is one of South Africa's major tourist destinations.

Most national parks offers accommodation in different price ranges and comfort classes.Visitors can travel on their own through the national parks or make use of organised tours. Reserves in northern KwaZulu-Natal are known for the large diversity in fauna and flora while in the northwest a gigantic reserve is established in collaboration with Namibia and Botswana: the Kgalagadi Transnational Park (the previous Kalahari Gemsbok National Park and the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana). This giant reserve has a surface of 38.000 km², endless Kalahari semi dessert, rocks, dunes, driver river banks and thorn bush.

The Eastern Cape and Northwest Province are malaria free as well as the Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces. Thought there is a risk of malaria, the risk is small but if it is a concern to you, a Big-5 safari in the mentioned provinces is perfectly possible. 'Big-5'?  In Africa the 'big five game' animals are the African lion, African elephant, buffalo, African leopard and rhinoceros (both black and white). The term 'big five game' was coined by big-game hunters in colonial times and refers five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot. Subsequently the term was adopted by safari tour operators for marketing purposes. The term indicates often African wildlife safaris. The members of the Big Five were chosen for the difficulty in hunting them and the degree of danger involved, especially when wounded.

Countries where all the members of the big five can be found include and which we offer are: Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, Namibia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

We offer:

Mountainbike Safaris

Walking safaris (for all ages)

Fishing safaris

River cruise safaris and mokoro (hollow tree) safaris

4x4 safaris

Self-drive safaris (with rental vehicle)

Horse riding safaris (South Africa, Zambia and Botswana)

Kruger National Park

Where nearly 2 million hectares of unrivalled diversity of life forms fuses with historical and archaeological sights – this is real Africa.The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this national park of nearly 2 million hectares, SANParks - Kruger National Park is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies.

Truly the flagship of the South African national parks, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals. Man's interaction with the Lowveld environment over many centuries - from bushman rock paintings to majestic archaeological sites like Masorini and Thulamela - is very evident in the Kruger National Park. These treasures represent the cultures, persons and events that played a role in the history of the Kruger National Park and are conserved along with the park's natural assets.

The Kruger National Park is generally flat to gently undulating, with average height of 260 metres (853 feet) above sea level, with its most mountainous areas being along the eastern boundary, formed by the Lebombo Mountains. Sixteen distinct landscapes provide a multitude of habitats for the Kruger Park's inhabitants. Located in the Southern Hemisphere, the Kruger Park has its share of rain and hot weather. During the summer months (September-April), the Park experiences sporadic rainfall in the form of quick thunder showers. April through August represent the winter months in Southern Africa which in turn means very little rain.As far as rainfall is concerned, the southern region receives the largest amount of rainfall while the central plains receive the least. The temperatures average from 30 C (86 F) in January (summer) to 23 C (73 F) in July (winter). Please be aware that the maximum temperature can reach 47 C (117 F) (January) and 35 C (95 F) (July).For your information, the average nightly temperature can range from 7-18 C (45-64 F) (January) and most certainly freezing in July. It is highly advisable to wear 'breathable' clothes to avoid heat exhaustion or stroke during the day, drink plenty of water and ensure that appropriate clothing is available in the often cold nights.

History of the Kruger National Park

The first explorer to set foot in the region was the Dutchman François de Cuiper who led a Dutch East India Company expedition to explore. However, the expedition was attacked and driven by local tribes-people near Gomondwane. Only around 1838 Voortrekker expeditions led by Lous Trichardt and Hans van Rensburg were able to successfully establish forward outposts. Hundreds of Europeans and farmers came to the Lowveld lured by rumours of gold and the great quantity of valuable commodities such as ivory and skins.

This caused the number of game to dramatically decrease due to hunting and trading of animal skins and horns. President Paul Kruger was told about the rapid destruction of wildlife in the area by hunters, after which he succeeded to persuade the Transvaal parliament to establish a protected area for the wildlife in the Lowveld region. The "Sabie Game Reserve”, bordered by the Crocodile River in the south, the Sabie River in the north, the Lebombo Mountains in the east and the Drakensberg Mountains in the west, which is now the southern part of the Kruger National Park, was established in 1898.

These reserves would eventually expand into today's Kruger National Park. The Anglo-Boer War stopped any further development of the reserve, but the British, after winning the war, proceeded with the plan to develop the Sabie Game Reserve and gave the task to major James Stevenson-Hamilton in 1902 to protect the animals against hunters, ivory poachers and cattle farmers. The Park was opened to the public in 1927 for visitors to view animals and plant life in a area where they are protected. After the Anglo-Boer War, James Stevenson-Hamilton was appointed as the first park warden. He spent the next 40 years protecting what the war had destroyed. His actions are no doubt an ever-living contribution to the Kruger National Park's current existence. In addition to his animal conservation, James Stevenson Hamilton was also responsible for acquiring another 10 000 hex acres for the reserve.

After World War I, the Kruger National Park was protected by the government of South Africa and remains under the watchful eye of the government even today. The very first ranger in the reserve was Paul Bester who made his residence in a rustic rondavel (hut) which is now the site of the headquarters camp, Skukuza. Documents concerning the History of the Kruger National Park can be viewed at the Skukuza Library. Half a million years ago, the first San stone age hunters roamed the plains in search of game. The modern day bush men have left fascinating rock paintings all over the Republic of South Africa, and, Kruger National Park contains over one hundred sites of these paintings. The Kruger National Park is a living memorial to President Paul Kruger and those who have upheld his vision of a protected wilderness reserve which will forever remind us of that which we are so dangerously close to loosing.

 

Outside Kruger Park are a string of private game reserves, these reserves have no fencing between them and the Kruger National Park. This way animals continue to move in and out as they do for thousands of years. This area is known as the Greater Kruger Conservation area. Inside Kruger Park are some well known luxury lodges. These lodges are within the national park and have a private concession status meaning no other visitors are allowed within the concession thus guarantees a private and exclusive safari experience.

Chobe National Park (Botswana)

Situated in northwest Botswana, has one of the largest game concentration in Africa continent. By size, this is the third largest park of the country, after the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Gemsbok National Park, and is the most diverse. This is also the country's first national park.

The park can be divided up to 4 areas, each corresponding to one distinct ecosystem:

  • The Serondela area (or Chobe riverfront), situated in the extreme Northeast of the park, has as main geographical features lush plains and dense teak forests. The Chobe River, which flows along the Northeastern border of the park, is a drinking spot for elephants and buffaloes at dry season. The famous bee-eater is also spotted here, along the river. This is probably the most visited park section, partly because of its proximity to the Victoria Falls. The town of Kasane, situated at the river, is the most important town of the region and serves as northern entrance to the park.
  • The Savuti Marsh area, 10 878 km² large, constitutes the western stretch of the park (50 km north of Mababe Gate). The Savuti Marsh is the relic of a large inland lake whose water supply was cut a long time ago by tectonic movements. Nowadays the marsh is fed by the erratic Savuti Channel, which dries up when rainfall is abundant and floods up at other times. The channel can also stop flowing during long periods then curiously flows again, a consequence of tectonic activity in the area. As a result of this variable flow, there are hundreds of dead trees along the channel's bank. The region is also covered with extensive savannahs and rolling grasslands, which makes wildlife particularly dynamic in this section of the park. At dry seasons, tourists going on safari often view warthogs, kudus, impalas, zebras, wildebeests and above all elephants bullying each other. At rain seasons, the rich birdlife of the park (450 species in the whole park) is well represented. Packs of lions, hyenas, zebras or more rarely cheetahs are visible as well. This region is indeed reputed for its annual migration of zebras and predators.
  • The Linyanti Marsh, located at the Northwest corner of the park and to the North of Savuti, is adjacent to Linyanti River. To the west of this area lies Selinda Reserve and on the Northern bank of Kwando River is Namibia's Mamili National Park. Around these 2 rivers are riverine woodlands, open woodlands as well as lagoons, and the rest of the region mainly consists of flood plains. There are here large concentrations of lions, leopards, wild dogs, Roan antelopes, Sable antelopes, hippopotamuses and above all enormous herds of elephants. The rarer red lechwe, sitatunga or crocodile also occur in the area. Birdlife is very rich here.
  • Finally, between Linyanti and Savuti Marshes lies a hot and dry hinterland, mainly occupied by the Nogatsaa grass woodland. This section is little known and is a great place for spotting elands.

Hwange National Park (Zimbabwe)

Hwange National Park, the largest park in Zimbabwe, is a national gem and worthy of protection.  With over 108 animal species and over 470 species of birds, including 50 raptors, Hwange has one of the highest diversities of wildlife of any national park in the world.  But it was not always the wildlife paradise it is today…. it was declared a game reserve in 1928 when wildlife numbers were diminished, and along with neighbouring Robins Game sanctuary, it became a national park under the National Park Act of 1949. The first warden of the park, a young Ted Davison, realised early on that water is critical to providing an area where animals would frequent and remain within its borders. He implemented boreholes throughout the park, creating an estimated 60 new pans in addition to the natural seasonal pans and groundwater seeps. Over the years, wildlife including large herds of elephant and buffalo, began to move back to the area, attracted to the reliable sources of water.  It has become evident that  the consistent maintenance of these artificial waterholes has been a major contributing factor in sustaining this ecological treasure.

Etaosha National Park (Nambia)

The Etosha National Park is one of the Africa’s great game parks. Centered around the vast expanse of the Etosha Pan, the park is a sanctuary to the largest population of the western subspecies of the black rhino, white rhino, large herds of elephant, the striking black-faced impala, lions and a profusion of other animals and birds. To the northwest of Etosha lies the arid, but scenic Kaokoveld – a mosaic of sandy plains, rugged mountains and rock-strewn hillsides, bounded in the north by the Kunene River. Kaokoland has been the ancestral home of the pastoral Himba for several generations and they still largely pursue their nomadic way of life. Herds of desert elephants migrate along river valleys that are also inhabited by giraffe, while herds of gemsbok and springbok roam the plains.

Okavango Delta (Botswana)

 The Okavango Delta is home to a great amount of wildlife, attracting visitors that want to experience a true African wilderness safari. The meandering Okavango River is best seen best by boat trip or by taking a scenic flight. Safaris in Okavango Delta area take you to a multitude of destinations from the popular Moremi Game Reserve in the western part of the Okavango Delta to the Makgadikgadi Reserve, Nxai Pan and Aha Hills, all great for wildlife viewing in Okavango area. The World Heritage Site of Tsodilo Hills offers some 4500 ancient rock paintings done by the Bushmen, and their ancient lifestyle can be experienced for example in Khwai village close to Moremi. The main town in Okavango, Maun is the gateway to the Delta, and has its share of lodges, safari shops and tour operator offices. Scenic flights in Okavango Delta start from Maun airport. There is also an educational safari park in Maun. Nhabe Museum in the northeast of Okavango Delta has exhibitions about the natural history and culture of the region.

Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Central Kalahari Game Reserve is an extensive national park in the Kalahari desert of Botswana. Established in 1961 it covers an area of 52,800 km² (about twice the size of Massachusetts, and 1/16th of Botswana's total land area) making it the second largest game reserve in the world.  About 40.000 years ago, Today's Kalahari Desert wazs once the bed of a giant inland lake that would have been up to 300 meter deep in places. Tectonic shifts caused this lake to drift off and dry out, leaving behind a paradoxically parched environment where dry sand can lie as much as half a kilometer deep. The park contains wildlife such as giraffe, brown hyena, warthog, cheetah, wild dog, leopard, lion, blue wildebeest, eland, gemsbok, kudu and red hartebeest. The land is mostly flat, and gently undulating covered with bush and grasses covering the sand dunes, and areas of larger trees. Many of the river valleys are fossilized with salt pans. Four fossilized rivers meander through the reserve including Deception Valley which began to form around 16,000 years ago  The Bushmen, or San, have inhabited the lands for thousands of years since they roamed the area as nomadic hunters. However, since the mid-1990s the Botswanan government has tried to relocate the Bushmen from the reserve claiming it is a drain on financial resources despite revenues increasing by tourism to the reserve. In 1997, three quarters of the entire San population were relocated from the reserve, and in October 2005 the government had resumed the forced relocation into resettlement camps outside of the park leaving only about 250 permanent occupiers. But in 2006 a Botswanan court proclaimed the eviction illegal by allowing people to return in Central Kalahari Game Reserve. A huge bush fire destroyed large parts of the reserve by mid of September 2008. The origin of the fire remains unknown.