Photographic - 18 Day Wildlife & Birding Safari

An 18-day birding and/or wildlife photographic trip of north-eastern South Africa. Habitats: Afro-montane forests, coastal wetlands, savannah and sand-forest teaming with wildlife. Dedicated vehicles for best photographic opportunities. Excellent lodging and delicious meals. Eye-level reflection hides. All-inclusive offer.

 

 

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival, Umhlanga

Your guide will meet you in the airport arrival hall. Depending on your time of arrival we will first have lunch or either depart from here for a walk in the Umhlanga Lagoon and Beach Reserve  before retiring to our accommodation.

This small reserve is situated near to the King Shaka Airport and along the beach with a short circular walk through coastal forest, the beach and estuary. This is a great walk to start off a trip after arrival off your flight. Birdlife is prolific and include Black-throated Wattle-eye, Green Malkoha, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher in the forest and several Tern species, Kelp Gull and Grey Plover at the estuary mouth.

Day 2 - 3, Hluhluwe Game Reserve

Set in the heart of Zululand, the oldest game reserve in Africa where Zulu kings such as Dingiswayo and Shaka hunted and put in place the first conservation laws, where today the "big five" of African legend stalk the verdant savannah. Established in 1895, game viewing is the prime attraction. Viewing hides overlook waterholes enabling visitors to see animals at close range.

 We will spend two nights inside the park and have early morning and late afternoon game drives when animals are more active and to catch the best light.

Day 4 - 5, St. Lucia

Our two days in St. Lucia include a crocodile and hippo boat trip, a morning drive in the Isimangalisa Wetland Reserve and a forest walk which ends at the estuary mouth.

Mammals: Get close-up with hippos and crocodiles, game-viewing with chances to see buffalo, rhino, elephant, zebra and other plains game as well as good sightings of red-duiker and bushbuck on the forest walk.

Birds: Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Livingstone's Turaco, Woodward's Batis, Purple-banded Sunbird, Crested Guinea fowl, Gorgeous Bushshrike, Crowned Eagle, Black-chested Snake-eagle, Southern-banded Snake-eagle

Day 6 - 8, Tembe Elephant Park

We will spend the next three days exploring Tembe Elephant park, host to the largest tuskers in Southern Africa, in a private open safari vehicle. Lions, buffalo, zebra, nyala and the shy leopard roam the sand forests and can be encountered while on our early morning and afternoon drives. African Broadbill, Plain-backed Sunbird, Narina Trogon, Souhern-banded Snake Eagle, Rosy-throated Longclaw, Gorgeous Bushshrike, Neergaard's Sunbird and Pink-throated Twinspot are some of the highly sought-after birds that occur here.

Day 9, Swaziland

En-route to the Kruger National Park we will spend 1 night in Swaziland. Arriving midday at Hlane Royal Game Reserve for lunch overlooking a waterhole frequent by rhinos and elephants we will either overnight here or on a farm in the Lebombo mountains.

Day 10 - 13, Kruger National Park

The Kruger park has always been a wildlife photography hot spot with it's wide open spaces, large herds of buffalo, zebra and blue wildebeest as well as regular encounters with predators. We will spend four days trans-versing the park starting in the south and working our ways up to the savanna grasslands.

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. Plenty of photographic opportunities on our unlimited game drives as well as a night- and sunset drive.

Day 14 - 16, Karongwe Game Reserve

Three days in a luxury lodge with access to specialist photographic reflection-hides in a big five game reserve. The combination of eye-level hides in a big five reserve with large numbers of mammals, birds and predators makes this a photographer's dream destination.

We have the option of open-vehicle game drives and hide sessions. We will take our chances and mother nature will provide the subjects.

Day 17 - 18, Blyde River Canyon & departure

We will leave the warm lowlands behind and ascent to the northern Drakensberg mountains with glorious views over the Blyde River Canyon. There will also be time to visit the Bourke's Luck Potholes, God's window and the touristic town of Graskop.

On our last day a sunrise view over the canyon before breakfast will see us of on our return drive to Johannesburg. If time permits we may visit Verlorenvlei Nature Reserve en-route for those interest in seeing Blue Crane or Grey-crowned Crane and other grassland bird species.