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The Kruger Explorer    We Say hometop


Witness the extraordinary contrasts of the Kruger National Park, from the remote, unexplored gorges, baobab and fever tree forests of the north, to the game-rich plains of Orpen. Enjoy stunning views of the Blyde River Canyon on your private air charter service between camps.

Indulge in the luxury of the world renowned Sabi Sand Private Reserve. Choose to spend a day in a rural community village learning and enjoying Shangaan culture and history. Be pampered in the luxurious environs of Pafuri Tented Camp in the Makuleke Region, Hoyo Hoyo in Orpen, and Vuyatela in the Sabi Sand Reserve.

Itinerary details

Fly the safest aircraft in the bush"

Day One

Arrive at either Johannesburg International Airport (JIA) or Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMI). On arrival you will be met by your pilot, who will fly you between your safari destinations. Your first scenic flight will take you over the Drakensberg and down onto the Lowveld and Kruger National Park. As you travel north to the Pafuri area of the Park, you may encounter elephant and buffalo herds roaming the savannah below.

You will arrive at Pafuri Tented Camp in time for a siesta, but do make time to explore the wide range of activity options here (e.g., mountain biking instead of a game drive). After you have settled, you will be invited to join the afternoon and night safari on open vehicles in search of the wealth of fauna and flora of this area. You will return after dark (and the chance to sight some of those elusive nocturnal creatures using spotlights) in time for a delicious gourmet dinner at the Lodge.

Overnight: Pafuri Camp

Pafuri's Concession includes the stunning Lanner Gorge
Pafuri's Concession includes the stunning Lanner Gorge

In the most remote part of Kruger National Park, in a wilderness area previously unattainable by visitors to the Park, lies the vast concession awarded to Pafuri Tented Camp as a result of a ground-breaking agreement between the Makuleke People and the South African National Parks Board. The chosen location for the Camp is in the mesmerising section between the Limpopo and Luvuvhu rivers in its own 24,000 hectare private concession.

Day Two

You will receive an early wake up call with coffee before your dawn safari out into the bush with experienced, armed guides. This is real wilderness and the game is less habituated to human presence than elsewhere in the Kruger. The area offers varied vegetation, great game viewing, and the best birding in all of the Park. It is also filled with the folklore of the early explorers and ancient civilisations. It is best known for its fever tree forests, beautiful gorges and Crooks Corner, where the Limpopo and Luvuvhu rivers and three countries, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique, meet.

The region is considered one of Kruger's biodiversity hotspots, with some of the largest herds of elephant and buffalo, leopard and lion and incredibly prolific birdlife. Expect a memorable experience! Your drive will last for up to three hours to maximise your game viewing, and you will return to the Lodge for a well earned breakfast. Sometimes it is possible to take brunch overlooking the spectacular Lanner Gorge as a wonderful alternative.

After breakfast at the Lodge, enjoy a bush walk with your ranger or relax around the Lodge pool. Perhaps a siesta before afternoon tea, or head out to a game hide with drinks. Be ready for your evening game drive, complete with spotlights to see the nocturnal creatures emerge. Dinner and drinks are likely to be around around a roaring camp fire.

Overnight: Pafuri Tented Camp

Pafuri Central Lodge
Pafuri Central Lodge

Reflecting the remoteness of the location, accommodation is in luxurious safari tents, raised on wooden platforms with en-suite bathrooms overlooking the lush Luvuvhu river. The tents have ceiling fans, and continuous electricity is provided by a generator combined with a battery storage facility.

Day Three

After your morning game drive and breakfast you depart the Lodge in your privately chartered plane for a scenic flight en route to your next destination, Hoyo Hoyo. Watch the scenery begin to change as you swap the riparian bluffs and forests of the north and head to the game rich plains of the centre of the Kruger. The scenic flight takes you over the mighty Drakensberg Escarpment and breathtaking Blyde River Canyon, before travelling south to the Orpen area of the Kruger National Park. Time for a siesta before afternoon tea (remember to organise bush picnics or private dining now with your Ranger if these appeal) and your afternoon game drive. You have the potential to add rhino to your Big Five tally here, and a very good chance of seeing the big cats after the sun has set. The day is completed with a sumptuous dinner back at camp.

Overnight: Hoyo Hoyo

Hoyo Hoyo Bedroom
Hoyo Hoyo Bedroom

Hoyo-Hoyo Tsonga Lodge boasts six traditional yet luxurious huts, each beautifully furnished in an earthy style, harmoniously combining modern living with specially crafted symbols of ancient Tsonga traditions. The result is a staggering explosion of ethnic luxury encompassing both warmth and style. King-size beds, authentic ethnic objects, and romantic antique-styled en-suite baths ensure you never forget your first taste of the African Safari experience.

Day Four

Receive your now usual early wake up call with coffee before your dawn safari. After breakfast at the Lodge, enjoy a bush walk with your ranger or relax around the Lodge pool. You may choose to retreat to indulge in some bird watching in the tranquility of the hide overlooking the waterhole. Note that the probability of sighting elephants directly from the Lodge is high - it is located on an ancestral elephant route. Relax and attune to the Bush! Perhaps a siesta, before afternoon tea and your evening game drive.

Overnight: Hoyo Hoyo

Hoyo Hoyo
Hoyo Hoyo

Hoyo-Hoyo Tsonga Lodge offers cosy indoor dining in the Main Lodge, as well as spectacular open-air banquets. Magnificent cuisine is freshly prepared for your pleasure by personal butlers, who offer a menu as extensive as the African wilderness. Private dining is a romantic alternative, and bush picnics can also be arranged.

Day Five

After your morning game drive and breakfast you depart the Lodge on your chartered flight south to your final destination - Vuyatela in the world-renowned Sabi Sands private concession. The Lodge occupies a prize position at the interface between the Kruger, Sabi Sands and Manyeleti Reserves (all of which are unfenced, with game roaming freely across them).

The abundance of water here with the Sabi and the Sand Rivers close by sustains a high carrying capacity of game. Of particular note here is the potential to see huge herds of buffalo (500+) which are an astonishing sight. You will arrive in time for a siesta (if you wish), or spend some time investigating the Africam phenomenon which began on this Reserve.

An afternoon/ evening game drive follows, with an impressive number of sightings guaranteed by a centralised radio system into which sightings are "called". Rest assured that this does not dilute the impact or intimacy of the experience. Indeed, if there are any particular "wishes" that you have (honey badger, caracal, aardvark etc) then it maximises your chances of seeing them if you let your Ranger know.

Overnight: Vuyatela

Vuyatela Deck overlooking the Waterhole
Vuyatela Deck overlooking the Waterhole

Vuyatela!, 'Come and visit again' in Shangaan (a farewell to guests who have enjoyed the wonderful hospitality and who wish to return as friends), is part of the Djuma Private Reserve nestling at the north eastern corner of the Sabi Sands. This reserve offers you the greatest likelihood of seeing leopards close up - they have been studied intensively in the Sabi Sand since the 1970s and tolerate human presence in a way they do not elsewhere, even using vehicles as a screen to hunt with on occasion. Closer to home, Vuyatela offers luxurious creature comforts such as the Rubbing Post Spa, or you can sit and watch animals come to the stunning waterhole below the main double deck.

Day Six

Early wake up call with coffee before your dawn safari. Your two nights here should allow you to fill in any missing 'ticks' in your Big Five list. And this is one of the few places in the world where you have a good chance of encountering cheetah in such a compressed timeframe. After breakfast at the Lodge, enjoy a bush walk with your ranger or relax around the Lodge pool. Or you may accompany your Shangaan guide to his nearby village, where you will have the opportunity to interact with his family and friends in a very authentic and contemporary African environment. A day for you to fully enjoy the magic of Africa. Upon your return, and after a light lunch, perhaps a siesta before afternoon tea and your evening game drive.

Overnight: Vuyatela

Vuyatela Deck

Vuyatela is an expression of modern South African culture. The design is contemporary yet reflects local architecture. Builders used corrugated iron and mud to achieve an authentic effect without sacrificing luxury in any way. Each of the eight chalets or kayas is secluded in African bush. The bedrooms look out onto teak decks, which end in private plunge pools. The main Lodge includes a large double deck, outdoor dining, wine cellar, bar overlooking the watering hole, an aquarium containing indigenous fish, and a suspended bird-watching tower.

Day Seven

After your final morning game drive (expect to be quite emotional by now!) and breakfast, your pilot from Sefofane Air will collect you for your flight back to JIA. Your flight takes you over the magnificent vistas of the Kruger National Park, the Mpumalanga Drakensberg and gives you time to reminisce and reflect as you head westwards towards Johannesburg International Airport.