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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 $10,495 (800) 543-8917 for Availability
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Home Africa Hidden South Africa & Botswana Itinerary

Hidden South Africa & Botswana

Escape the Crowds on an Exclusive Small-Group Adventure into Remote Private Reserves
Day 1: Johannesburg, South Africa
Our South Africa tour—which includes a slice of neighboring Botswana, too—begins on arrival in Johannesburg, where we gather for a welcome dinner with our Safari Expedition Leader.

Days 2-4: Mashatu Private Reserve, Botswana
Fly and drive to Mashatu Private Reserve just over the border on the eastern edge of Botswana. Mashatu, meaning “Land of Giants,” takes its name from the huge Mashatu trees that dominate these environs, as well as the giant animals that roam its terrain. The Limpopo River, which Rudyard Kipling made famous in his “Just-So Stories,” crosses into South Africa near here. More than 700 elephants live on the reserve, the largest single population on privately owned land in Africa, as well as impressive numbers of lion and cheetah. Along the river, Mashatu trees provide shade for wildebeest, giraffe, zebra and eland, while at night, bat-eared fox, honey badger, African wild cat and leopard search for prey. We explore this unspoiled wilderness on exciting game drives, discovering Mashatu's ecological diversity as we traverse savanna, forest, marshland and sandstone outcrops. And at the end of each day, we stay in the center of it all at Mashatu Tented Camp, an intimate accommodation offering unexpected amenities in such a remote and secluded locale.

Days 5 & 6: Northern Kruger National Park—Private Concession, South Africa
After a final wildlife drive in Mashatu this morning, we continue to Kruger National Park. Our destination, The Outpost, is a luxury safari camp in a private northern sector of the Kruger, one of the last tracts of true wilderness left in South Africa. This far-flung region, the ancestral home of the Makuleke people, is the most ecologically diverse in Kruger, with 80 percent of the park’s flora and fauna found here. The game viewing and birding are excellent, with large herds of elephant and buffalo, and the more elusive leopard and lion. The Luvuvhu River sustains massive baobab and ebony trees as well as many animals not found in the drier southern reaches of the park, such as eland, nyala and Sharpe’s grysbok. Our open-air rooms are perched above the river with views of the valley below. The area is rich in human prehistory, boasting ancient fossils, rock engravings and stone tools.

Days 7-9: Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Fly to Sabi Sand, South Africa’s premier safari destination. This storied private reserve is renowned for some of the best Big Five viewing in Africa. These famous five—elephant, rhino, Cape buffalo, lion and leopard—were once favorite hunting targets. While many were hunted nearly to extinction, reserves like this one have made exciting strides in bringing them back. Sabi Sand is also famed for its leopards, which we frequently see at quite close range, making for exciting photography opportunities. Night drives are a highlight here, too, with an array of nocturnal species on view, including leopards on the hunt. We stay at Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp on the shaded banks of the Msuthlu River, for the consummate safari camp experience. 

Day 10: Johannesburg / Depart
After breakfast and a morning activity, fly back to Johannesburg early this afternoon to connect with onward flights or extensions.

Physical Rating: Easy



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Natural Habitat & WWF – Discovering Our Planet Together