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African leopard, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South AfricaAfrican elephant, Mashatu Game Reserve, BotswanaBurchell's zebra, Mashatu Game Reserve, BotswanaHippopotamus, Pafuri area, Kruger National Park, South AfricaMashatu Tented Camp, Mashatu Game Reserve, BotswanaSoutheast African lion, Kruger National Park, South AfricaCaracal kitten, Kruger National Park, South AfricaCheetah, Kruger National Park, South AfricaAfrican elephant, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South AfricaLion cubs, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Aly Woodward: Zebra
Mark Hickey: Elephant

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10 Days / From $10495 (800) 543-8917 for Availability
Home Africa Hidden South Africa & Botswana

Hidden South Africa & Botswana

Escape the Crowds on an Exclusive Small-Group Adventure into Remote Private Reserves
To many, South Africa’s wealth is synonymous with its diamonds. But we think its greatest riches lie in another of its natural treasures: its wildlife. Kruger National Park, Sabi Sand and other bushveld reserves protect an astounding diversity of big game, much of which has recovered from earlier threats to its survival. From the massive-tusked African elephant to the sleek leopard, from squat rhinos to regal lions, they are all here in healthy numbers that provide one of Africa’s greatest safari experiences. And just over the border in neighboring Botswana, great volumes of wildlife thrive in remote and unspoiled Mashatu, along the Limpopo River that Kipling made famous in his Just So Stories. When your safari is over, one thing is certain: You’ll go home far richer than when you arrived.

Trip Highlights

  • Get close to the Big Five and a multitude of wildlife as our Expedition Leader, an expert naturalist, guides you through South Africa’s best private game reserves
  • Enjoy exclusive luxury safari camps and small lodges chosen for their superb natural settings in isolated areas far from tourist crowds
  • Explore a diverse cross-section of African wilderness on three private reserves—including Botswana's remote Mashatu—where animals abound and visitors are few

All South Africa Safaris Are NOT the Same!
South Africa and Botswana have long been among Africa’s most popular safari destinations, and for good reason: their scenic grandeur and prolific wildlife (including South Africa's famous Big Five) have few parallels on the continent. But popular can mean crowded and standardized, especially in South Africa, and that’s not the kind of safari-of-a-lifetime experience we offer our guests. Take a look at these crucial features that set our South Africa & Botswana safari apart:
  1. Maximum Group Size Just 7 Travelers
    An authentic encounter with nature is hard to achieve outside of a small group. While South Africa’s tarmac road system and established network of lodges encourages a more "bus-like" safari approach, we limit our groups to just seven guests, ensuring a limited impact as well access to small camps and remote areas that mini-buses can't get to...for the most personalized safari experience possible!
  2. Private Reserves Offer Seclusion & Superior Wildlife Viewing
    Private reserves are essential to an optimal African safari. In the exclusive wilderness areas of Mashatu and Sabi Sand, plus the private concession we visit on the northern border of Kruger National Park, we are able to explore a varied tableau of southern Africa habitats in solitude, viewing an abundance of wildlife without the presence of other visitors (who are traveling on paved roads inside the parks). 
  3. Remote & Intimate Luxury Accommodations 
    Most visitors to South Africa, even those on what some outfitters consider small-group safaris, are relegated to larger, impersonal lodges, which dominate in the public park regions. Since we focus on private reserves, our guests also enjoy exclusive boutique lodgings. The isolated luxury camps we use for this safari are truly exceptional. Each is seamlessly integrated into the natural environment in a way that allows you to be fully absorbed into the mesmerizing landscapes of our destinations. Each tent or chalet also has a private veranda, to maximize personal wildlife viewing opportunities.
  4. An Unusually Diverse Itinerary
    Most South Africa safaris concentrate on Kruger National Park, and rightfully so, as its wildlife is legendary. But there is so much more to South Africa—as well as remote Mashatu, just over the border in the southern tip of Botswana—and we show it to you on an itinerary that includes three distinct regions with varied habitats. Look for large elephant herds in Mashatu and capitalize on excellent odds to see the Big Five in Sabi Sand, as well as rare natural history highlights in a remote private section of the Kruger that contains nearly 80 percent of the park's biodiversity, baobab trees more than a thousand years old, and remnants of early humankind. Compare itineraries: few are as comprehensive as this one!
  5. The Very Best Vehicles—with a Window Seat for All!
    Standard safaris typically utilize cramped mini-buses. Not us. Our wilderness sojourns require a top-quality custom safari vehicle that offers optimal comfort. We use 4x4 Land Rovers or Land Cruisers with a suspension system custom-designed for safari terrain, and an open-top, open-sided, tiered seating arrangement designed to maximize game-viewing opportunities. Each vehicle has 10 cushioned passenger seats, but since we do not fill them to capacity, everyone has a window seat. Each row is raised slightly higher than the one in front of it, allowing for unobstructed views of scenery and wildlife. 
  6. Exclusive Opportunities to Explore via Bush Walks and Night Drives
    Guided bush walks and night drives are available on the private reserves we visit, though not in national parks, where most safaris go. You'll appreciate the rare opportunity to stretch your legs while on safari as you gain a whole different perspective on the landscape, not to mention close-up views of interesting smaller species, which most safari-goers confined to vehicles miss. And safari drives after dark reveal fascinating nocturnal wildlife that's rarely seen by the typical traveler.
  7. Chartered Flights
    We have added chartered flights where possible to maximize your time on safari with wildlife, rather than spending all our time negotiating rough and dusty roads between destinations. Furthermore, from the air, you'll gain a whole different scenic perspective on South Africa’s dramatic landscapes.
  8. South Africa's Most Outstanding Safari Guides
    We are exceptionally proud to provide the personalized service of some of South Africa’s top naturalist guides. We employ only the most highly trained and experienced Safari Expedition Leaders. Rather than relying on less-qualified local camp guides at each stop, our NHA Expedition Leaders accompany our guests from start to finish. Our Expedition Leaders average 15 years' experience each, with additional resources provided by WWF’s leading scientists. See Expedition Leader bios and traveler comments regarding the quality of our leaders.
  9. Our Quality-Value Guarantee Ensures Your Superior South Africa Safari
    With Natural Habitat Adventures, you receive our exclusive guarantee, which clearly states that we will meet the lofty expectations we set in our promotional materials. To our knowledge, this is the most ambitious guarantee made by any adventure travel company. Read our important promise for yourself!
  10. Feel Good About the Way You Travel
    We care deeply about our planet, just as you do. When you travel with us, the carbon emissions from your trip are 100-percent offset—Natural Habitat Adventures is the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company. And we are a pacesetter in sustainable tourism practices in African and worldwide.
  11. Natural Habitat Adventures is WWF's Travel Partner
    Because of our commitment to environmentally friendly travel, as well as the exceptional quality of our adventures, World Wildlife Fund—the world's leading environmental conservation organization—has named Natural Habitat as its worldwide travel partner, a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!
Reading List
Longitude Books has created a custom comprehensive listing of South Africa safari travel books for this trip.

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