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Hidden South Africa & Botswana

Escape the Crowds! Explore Private Reserves on an Exclusive Safari for Just Six Guests
10 Days
6
From $11995 (+internal air)

BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE!

Learn about our flexible booking policies and our on-trip health and safety protocols.
To many, South Africa’s wealth is synonymous with its diamonds and gold. But we think its greatest riches lie in another of its natural treasures: its wildlife. Sabi Sand, Marataba and other vast bushveld reserves protect an astounding diversity of big game. From massive-tusked African elephants to the sleek leopards, from squat rhinos to regal lions and Cape Buffalo, the Big Five are all here to provide one of Africa’s greatest safari experiences—and with our focus on secluded private reserves in the Kruger region and elsewhere, the only crowds you'll encounter are crowds of animals. Next door in Botswana, great volumes of wildlife thrive in unspoiled Mashatu, along the Limpopo River that Rudyard 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.
  Click here to learn about our special photo departures.
    African elephants walk near an elephant hide, Mashatu Game Reserve, BotswanaA herd of Burchell's zebra in Mashatu Game Reserve, BotswanaA room at Mashatu Tented Camp, Mashatu Game Reserve, BotswanaTravelers in a safari vehicle view two white rhino in Marataba Private Reserve, South AfricaA Hippopotamus pod peek out of the Sand River in MalaMala Game Reserve, South AfricaTravelers in a safari vehicle view an African elephant in MalaMala Game Reserve, South AfricaA stunning view from Marataba Safari Lodge, Marataba Private Reserve, South AfricaA male African lion rests under a tree in Manyeleti Game Reserve, South AfricaTwo cheetahs survey the lands from a downed tree branch Mashatu Game Reserve, BotswanaThree lion cubs stand behind a termite mound in Manyeleti Game Reserve, South Africa

Trip Highlights

  • Smallest Group, Closest EncountersWith just six travelers, get close to the Big Five on a diverse sampler of South Africa’s top private wildlife enclaves, including MalaMala
  • Remote Luxury Camps & LodgesStay in solitude at exclusive safari camps and small lodges chosen for their secluded natural settings and proximity to abundant wildlife
  • Uncrowded Private ReservesExplore a diverse cross-section of wild habitats in Sabi Sand, Marataba and Botswana's Mashatu—where animals abound and visitors are few

Secluded Wildlife Viewing Away from the Crowds

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 provide. Take a look at these crucial features that set our South Africa & Botswana safari apart:

  1. Maximum Group Size Just Six Travelers!
    An authentic encounter with nature is hard to achieve in a big group. While South Africa’s tarmac road system and established network of lodges encourages a more bus-based safari approach, and many of our competitors travel with 15-20 guests, we limit our groups to six, lessening our impact and granting us access to small camps and remote spots larger groups can't get to. We promise the most personalized safari experience available!
  2. Private Reserves Offer Seclusion & Superior Wildlife Viewing
    Private reserves are essential to the best African safari, especially in South Africa. In the exclusive wilderness areas of Sabi Sand, Marataba and Mashatu, we explore exceptionally varied habitats in solitude, viewing abundant wildlife away from other visitors (who are mostly traveling on paved roads inside the parks with lots of other people). 
  3. An Unusually Diverse Itinerary
    Most South Africa safaris concentrate on Kruger National Park, and rightfully so, as its wildlife is legendary. Naturally, our itinerary includes the Greater Kruger ecosystem, but we focus on private reserves, where visitor numbers are strictly limited. MalaMala has an unfenced border with the park, so wildlife can wander back and forth freely. Our itinerary also includes the less-visited Marataba Reserve and rarely seen Mashatu, just over the border at the southern tip of Botswana, adding yet more elements of diversity with completely different ecosystems and landscapes. Look for large elephant herds in Mashatu, and capitalize on excellent odds to see the Big Five in Sabi Sand. Compare itineraries: few are as comprehensive as this one!
  4. Remote & Intimate Luxury Accommodations 
    Most visitors to South Africa are relegated to larger, impersonal safari lodges that dominate in the public parks. Since our focus is private reserves, our guests enjoy exclusive boutique lodgings. Our isolated luxury camps are highlights in their own right. Each blends seamlessly with the natural environment, and tents and chalets have private verandas to maximize personal wildlife viewing opportunities.
  5. Flights Maximize Your Time on Safari
    While we enjoy watching the countryside unfold on drives between some destinations, we put a big focus on flights, arranging air transfers where possible to maximize your time with wildlife, rather than spending too much of it negotiating rough roads. And from the air, you'll gain a whole different perspective on South Africa’s dramatic landscapes and roaming wildlife.
  6. The Very Best Vehicles—with a Window Seat for All
    Standard safaris typically utilize cramped mini buses. In contrast, we charter top-quality custom safari vehicles that optimize comfort. Our 4x4 Land Rovers and Land Cruisers have a suspension system 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 don't fill them to capacity, everyone has an unimpeded side view. Each row is raised slightly higher than the one in front of it, allowing for unobstructed views of scenery and wildlife. 
  7. 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 we get close-up views of interesting smaller species, which most safari-goers confined to vehicles miss. And drives after dark reveal fascinating nocturnal wildlife that's rarely seen by the typical traveler.
  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 Your Carbon-Neutral Journey
    We care deeply about our planet, as we know you do. When you travel with us, the carbon emissions from your trip are 100% offset—including your round-trip flights from home. Natural Habitat Adventures has been the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company since 2007.
  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 Adventures as its worldwide travel partner, a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!
Read what travelers are saying about our Classic Polar Bear Adventure:

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Together, Natural Habitat Adventures and World Wildlife Fund have teamed up to arrange nearly a hundred nature travel experiences around the globe, while helping to protect the spectacular places we visit and their wild inhabitants.

Natural Habitat Adventures 2022 Catalog

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View Our 2022 Digital Catalog
Help us save paper! We offer a digital version of The World's Greatest Nature Journeys. If you'd prefer a mailed copy, please provide your contact details here. To view our digital catalog, please enter your info below.

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