A journey through the eastern parts of South Africa is a journey characterised by diversity. The habitats change dramatically over a relatively short distance, thanks in part to the significant altitudinal variation created by the Drakensberg Escarpment. With the changes in altitudes and habitats come associated changes in the bird and animal communities, and each day brings with it new species to be seen and new landscapes to behold. From scouring the high altitude grasslands of the roof of Mpumalanga Province at over 2000 meters above sea level to scanning the blue waters of the Indian Ocean for whales and dolphins; from encounters with big cats in the Kruger to searching for Black Rhino in Ithala Game Reserve, this tour will enthral from start to finish. Major reserves visited are the Kruger National Park, Ithala Game Reserve, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, as well as numerous smaller reserves and parks. Depending on the time of the year one can see up to and over 300 species of bird, and 45 species of mammal, the latter group including Africa’s famous Big Five (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and both Black and White Rhino) as well as Cheetah and Wild Dog. All in all this is a fantastic all round natural history experience and a superb introduction to eastern South Africa.
9 – 22 May 2020 (13 nights / 14 days)
Starts in Johannesburg on the morning of the 9th May 2020. Participants should ideally overnight in Johannesburg on the night before the tour starts. We are happy to arrange this accommodation. Alternatively participants need to arrive on early morning flights the day the tour starts. Tour ends at King Shaka Airport near Durban on the afternoon of the 22nd May 2020 in time for connecting flights to Johannesburg and onward transcontinental flights. Please check with us before booking any flights.
2020: ZAR 52 890 per person sharing, ZAR 7 050 single sipplement
Price may be subject to change based on factors beyond our control.
• All breakfasts and dinners
• Ground transport
• Bottled water in the Lawson’s vehicle whilst travelling
• Entrance fees
• Personalised checklists
• Specialist guide fees
• All airfares and associated airport costs
• 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.
Group size: maximum of 12 participants, 1 guide per 6 participants.
Areas visited: Dullstroom, Blyde Canyon, Kruger, Maguga Dam (Swaziland), Ithala Game Reserve, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve and St Lucia.
Expected weather conditions: warm to very hot conditions expected, with possible afternoon thunder-storms. Cold fronts can usher in periods of inclement weather, so rain / drizzle is a possibility. Even in summer, participants should be prepared for cool to cold conditions on occasions.
Tour tempo: medium to medium-plus, optional mid-day breaks on non-travelling days (advisable in the hotter areas).
Accommodation standards: medium: lodges, guest houses and National Park’s rest-camps.
Mammal viewing: excellent, especially in the Kruger National Park, Ithala and Hluhluwe-iMfolozi.
Top mammals: Meerkat, Samango Monkey, the Big Five (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo, Black and White Rhino), Wild Dog, Cheetah, Nyala, Red Bush Squirrel.
Birding in brief: excellent variety, various habitats included, tops for endemics.
Top birds: Southern Bald Ibis, Sentinel Rock-Thrush, Gurney’s Sugarbird, Jackal Buzzard, Southern Ground Hornbill, African Scops-Owl, Martial Eagle, Blue Crane, Narina Trogon, Barrow’s Korhaan, Four-colored Bush-Shrike, Verreaux’s Eagle, Palm-nut Vulture, Rudd’s Apalis, Secretarybird.
Add-ons: this tour can be combined with extensions to the Cape or Victoria Falls (year round).