South Africa is world-renowned for its incredible habitat and biological diversity, and nowhere is this more poignant than in the north-east of the country. Within a day’s drive one can go from cool 2000 meters-plus grasslands to hot, sub-tropical savanna at no more than 250 meters above sea level, with much in the way of transitional habitats in between. This wonderful, compact itinerary is designed to make the most of this diversity while at the same time avoiding long days in the car and allowing enough time to enjoy the various accommodation venues. For the birder and wildlife enthusiast this translates into a superb range of species to be seen and is the ideal introduction to the region’s avifauna and wildlife in general. The highlands are an endemics hot-spot, and notable species to be seen include Bokmakierie, Gurney’s Sugarbird, Yellow-breasted Pipit, Drakensberg Prinia, Cape Grassbird, Sentinel Rock-Thrush, Buff-Streaked and Ant-eating Chats, among others. Descending in altitude, the tour explores some montane forest habitat, the cliffs and gorges of the Blyde River Canyon, third largest canyon in the world, and transitional habitats before leveling out in the Kruger National Park, where birds and beasts abound. Here daily lists of well over 100 species are to be expected, and sightings of big mammals such as Lion, Elephant and White Rhinoceros add substantially to the appeal. All in all this is a fantastic way to be introduced to some of South Africa’s scenery, birds and animals. This safari is designed as a follow-on to Eastern South Africa Highlights #1: Drakensberg & Zululand set-departure. Participants can sign up of one or both of these safaris. For those wanting to do both, it will be necessary to spend one night in between in Johannesburg (for own account).
30 January – 7 February 2021 (8 nights / 9 days)
Starts in Johannesburg on the morning of the 30th January 2021. Participants should ideally overnight in Johannesburg the night before the tour starts. We are happy to arrange this accommodation. Alternatively participants need to arrive on early morning flights on the day the tour starts. Tour ends in Johannesburg on the late afternoon of the 7th February in time for evening transcontinental flights. Please check with us before booking any flights.
2021: ZAR 38 650 per person sharing, ZAR 6 050 single supplement
Price may be subject to change based on factors beyond our control.
- All breakfasts and dinners
- Ground transport
- Bottled water in vehicle whilst travelling
- Entrance fees
- Personalised checklists
- Specialist guide fees
- All airfares
- Travel and medical insurance
- All drinks
- Optional excursions where applicable
- Items of a personal nature
- This itinerary is subject to change due to weather conditions at the time and other factors beyond our control.
- Birds and mammals mentioned on this itinerary do not represent all that can be seen. A full list of possibles appears on your checklist.
*Incredible habitat diversity in a relatively small area.
*Trip list of 300+ bird species and 35+ mammal species.
*See the third largest canyon in the world.
*Do some Afro-montane forest birding at Mount Sheba.
*Experience open-sided vehicle safaris in the Kruger National Park.
*Join optional night drives in the Kruger.
Group size: maximum of 12 participants, 1 guide per 6 participants.
Areas visited: Dullstroom, Mount Sheba, Blyde River Canyon, Kruger National Park.
Expected weather conditions: cool to mild in the highlands, hot and humid in the Kruger. Some rain to be expected.
Birding in brief: excellent variety, four major habitats included, tops for endemics.
Top birds: Southern Bald Ibis, Denham’s Bustard, Gurney’s Sugarbird, Jackal Buzzard, Knysna Turaco, Cape Vulture, African Scops-Owl, Southern Ground-Hornbill, Martial Eagle, Malachite Kingfisher, Southern White-crowned Shrike, Kori Bustard, Retz’s Helmet Shrike, Southern Carmine Bee-eater.
Mammal viewing: excellent, especially in the Kruger National Park.
Top mammals: The Big Five, Klipspringer, Honey Badger, African Wild Dog, African Wild Cat, Nyala.
Add-ons: Combine with Eastern SA Highlights #1: Drakensberg & Zululand; 19 January – 1 February 2019
“… the best holiday we have ever had by some distance.”
Dave and Liz Hallam, UK, after Eastern SA Highlights #2 2015.