14 Days Safari and Whale Watching Holiday

  • Black Leopard Camp, Off R37, Burgersfort and Polokwane Road, Lydenburg, South Africa

Overview

Whale Watching and Safari in Africa

This safari package offers a ten-day South African Safari coupled with a three-night whale watching in the Western Cape. You'll have a chance to go for a Big Five game viewing in in the Balule Game Reserve and Tangala Safari Camp on the Thorny Bush Game Reserve. You'll also will visit to Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.

Highlights

  • Game drive in the Balule Game Reserve
  • Visit to Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
  • Big five game view in Thorny Bush Game Reserve
  • Return airport transfer from / to O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB)
  • 10 nights accommodation at Black Leopard Camp
  • 3 nights accommodation at Hermanus
  • Internal flights from and to Cape Town
  • 14 days with instruction
  • English
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Black Leopard Camp

Black Leopard Camp is situated in the Thaba Tholo Wilderness Reserve (Mpumalanga).This game lodge offers five tented suites (either double or twin) with en-suite bathrooms and two family/executive units with en-suite bathrooms.

Day 1

Pick up at O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) and transfer to Black Leopard Camp near Lydenburg. A luxury tented camp, with stylish lavishly appointed bedrooms each with inside and outside private bathrooms. You should arrive in time for a dip in the pool overlooking the mountain gorge, before afternoon tea and time to rest and recuperate. The evening meal will be taken in the tree top dining room after which you can relax by an open fire in the well-appointed lapa.

Day 2

You are awoken by an invigorating cup of coffee before setting off on the morning game drive that also includes a unique bush senses experience. This is an activity that have been developed over many years and has proved very popular with the safari guests. In a fun way, it encourages you to use all of your senses when in the bush. Not just sight, but also smell, hearing, and touch. Some of your senses are dulled by modern living but this simple and fun exercise quickly hones ones bush senses are ideal preparation for any safari.

Brunch is followed by time to relax and enjoy the views from Black Leopard Camp or perhaps take a soak in your luxurious, private outside bath with mountain gorge views. When the heat of the day has faded a little, you join the rangers learning to track leopards and other predators within the Thaba Tholo Reserve, where the Ingwe Leopard team are monitoring the resident leopard population.

Day 3

Morning game drive before brunch, game viewing within the reserve as well as stopping off to visit the many previously undiscovered early San people settlements that are prevalent in the reserve. Late afternoon sighting of camera traps before dinner. This is the point when guests put all they have learnt so far into action.

Guided by the Ingwe team you are encouraged to consider and select places along game trails that they feel are likely spots to photograph the local leopards as they roam during the forthcoming nights. Leopard movement and territorial behavior changes almost on a daily basis and is dependent on many factors, making this a fascinating and fun exercise and rightfully invites you to feel and become part of the Ingwe team.

Return to camp for an early dinner followed by a night drive on the Thaba Tholo Reserve - avoiding those places where camera traps have been set obviously.

Day 4

Breakfast and then a morning game drive through the reserve and transfer to Zuleika Country House. Time permitting you will be taken for a leisurely drive along the Panorama route to view the world famous Blyde River Canyon and Gods Window.

Day 5

After breakfast we will visit our friends at the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, to see some of the wonderful work they do in conserving wildlife. Then transfer to the 40,000 hectare Balule Game Reserve arriving in time to settle in before high tea is served. An afternoon game drive within the reserve returns to the lodge for a four course dinner.

Day 6

Morning big five game drive within the 40,000 hectare Balule Game Reserve. Returning to the lodge in time for brunch and then transfer to the exclusive Thornybush Game Reserve. On arrival at Tangala Safari Camp, you will have time to settle in before high tea and an evening game drive in the Thorny Bush Reserve, returning to Tangala for a sumptuous dinner in the main lapa. Tangala provides a lovely sedate bush atmosphere, with personal and friendly service. There are no power lines to pollute the skyline, Tangala maintains sustainable sources for power and lighting, which is not only eco friendly but as importantly enhances the bush experience. Solar power is available to charge camera batteries etc and the rooms and walkways are lit using paraffin lamps, bringing a magical sparkle to the lodge each night. As you disembark from your afternoon game drive, the lodge is bedecked with twinkling lanterns, leading to the main lounge where a lovely glass is waiting for you as a pre dinner aperitif.

Day 7

Early morning wake-up and an invigorating cup of fresh coffee in the lounge. You will then set off on an early morning game drive. You may hope to check out scenes from the previous evenings events; however, each safari offers a new exciting experience. The early morning game drive will return to the lodge for breakfast, after which you have the option of taking an accompanied bush walk. An opportunity to trail in the Thorny Bush game reserve is an experience that will never be forgotten. The trail will return for a well-deserved rest during the heat of the day, where you have time to relax or enjoy the plunge pool overlooking the waterhole, which is often host to zebra, buffalo, giraffe, elephant, rhino, and lion. The afternoon game drive will start after high tea and will cover previously unseen areas of the reserve.

Day 8

A morning game drive aims to visit those parts of the concession that you haven’t had time to reach previously, offering an opportunity to get those final photographs. Time permitting you will take the chance to take a short bush walk from the vehicle, before returning to the lodge for a late breakfast. Transfer back to Black Leopard Camp, followed by time to relax and unwind at Black Leopard Camp before dinner.

Day 9

Late morning bush walk with the Ingwe Leopard team within the Thaba Tholo Reserve. At this point, doors are open that are not available to anyone other than conservation professionals. It offers you the chance to join dedicated leopard conservationists, working to conserve not only leopards but all predators within their research zones. Previous guests have joined the Ingwe team relocating endangered leopards or close monitoring predators aiming to preserve the last of the big five that survives outside of game reserves.

Day 10

Morning coffee, followed by a game drive exploring new areas of the vast Thaba Tholo Wilderness Reserve. By now, it is hoped that you will have had a chance to photograph and observe many large mammals and birds, this drive aims to fill in any gaps as well as concentrating on smaller mammals and other wildlife or flora and fauna. Brunch followed by early afternoon relaxation or if you wish a visit to the community farm school that On Track Safaris supports. As late afternoon approaches you hope to follow leopards moving through the reserve using satellite and radio tracking systems. This may involve our moving outside of the reserve dependent on leopard movement.

Day 11

Early morning final game drive back through the Thaba Tholo Wilderness Reserve and transfer to Johannesburg airport for your flight to Cape Town and transfer to your beach view lodge.

Hermanus is the mecca for Whale Watching in South Africa and provides the best opportunities for land based whale viewing. Whales can be seen frequently from the bedroom balconies. There are a wide variety of restaurants and bistro’s in Hermanus, where you can chose to dine at your leisure.

Day 12

Breakfast viewing followed by a tuk tuk ride to board a whale watching boat for a trip into the bay. A thrilling experience, with the reassuring where the motto is ‘observe not disturb’.

You will have time to enjoy whale watching from your lodge, or perhaps a walk along the beautiful natural beach, before dinner.

Day 13

Breakfast taken while viewing whales in the bay, followed by a sight seeing tour to Table Mountain.

Day 14

Breakfast and transfer to Cape Town airport for your return flight to Johannesburg.

  • Big five game view in Thorny Bush Game Reserve
  • Game drive in the Balule Game Reserve
  • Visit to Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

Balule Game Reserve

Balule Nature Reserve is a protected area in Limpopo Province, South Africa which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park as a member of the Associated Private Nature Reserves (APNR). The wildlife population includes all of the Big Five game: lion, African elephant, African buffalo, African leopard, and white rhinoceros.

Thorny Bush Game Reserve

Thornybush Game Reserve is a private game reserve, near Hoedspruit, in the Limpopo province of South Africa. It borders the Kapama Game Reserve and is located close to the Timbavati Game Reserve and the Kruger Park. Thornybush Game Reserve features 147 mammals including the Big Five, 114 reptiles, 507 birds, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, and 336 trees species.

During the safari tour, you have included in the price five breakfasts, five lunches, and five dinners. Three nights in Hermanus lodge are on a bed and breakfast basis only. There are a variety of restaurants within walking distance of the lodge or we can arrange for a short tuk tuk ride into town (approximately 2 km).

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirements are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
(If you have special dietary requirements its a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation)
  • 3 nights accommodation at Hermanus
  • 10 nights accommodation at Black Leopard Camp
  • 13 breakfast, ten lunches, and ten dinners
  • Big five game view in Thorny Bush Game Reserve
  • Game drive in the Balule Game Reserve
  • Internal flights from and to Cape Town
  • Return airport transfer from / to O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB)
  • Visit to Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flights to O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB). Transfers from and to the airport are included in the price. On Track Safaris will have the driver / guide send to pick you up from the airport.

  • Review by Mikka from North Vancouver, Canada
    9 out of 10

    "So Happy! I booked with On Track Safaris! It was so seamless! In October 2011 I had a most amazing adventure starting and ending at Black Leopard Camp! On the first night, I felt surprisingly comfortable in such a luxurious en suited tent! It was up the hill overlooking a stunning rock escarpment! I have to admit after an eventful day arriving from overseas, being picked at Tambo Airport to arrive at BLCamp many hours later, I was very tired! Everyone here welcomed me with warmth and genuine hospitality! The drive into Thabo Tholo [as others have mentioned] is beautifully scenic and rich with animals and flora! "

    "By myself, I had to laugh as I lay down in this huge tent between deliciously luxurious sheets at the fact that here I was in the S.African Bush by myself surrounded by the sounds of insects and wildlife and...maybe Leopards close by!!! Oh my...I was so excited, but I wasn't so scared! Well, maybe just a bit! Very early every morning I would wake with the noisy orchestra of so many songbirds and the welcome delivery by Julius, of fresh milk and hot water for tea! Hot tea out on the deck was heaven on earth! It was especially wonderful on the day that I heard the the sound of a breaking twig just across the way! There above the drainage line I spotted the glimpse of the elusive leopard! Woo hoo! So lucky! I spent fun days with Emma and Anton, both leopard researchers with the Ingwe leopard Project and Esmarie she was assisting for one month with Ingwe Leopard Project. "

    "All the meals were great= breakfast, afternoon, snacks and dinners were prepared with care using fresh and high quality ingredients! Food was so delicious indeed it was 5 Star!!! It was so appetizing I ate more than I needed to! During the days we went on game drives morning and evening seeing so many birds,mammals,insects,reptiles ,trees, plants, tracks, spoor even a rock python and gigantic locusts also lots of ancient petroglyphs ! I really liked seeing all the animals! One evening after hearing the impala alarm calls we ran about trying to track the spotted predator almost giving up but then we saw the playful cub!!! It led us to see the mom Diamond with her other 2 cubs! What a treat! I did leave to go on safari in the Sabi Sands for one week! "

    "But that is another story! Upon my return to BLC the remaining idyllic days passed so quickly! We hiked and checked the monitoring cameras, collected pictures taken the night before on the cameras, had picnics enjoyed sun downers! On one of the nights we slept under the stars in a hammock by the campfire! It was very warm and exciting! I shall always remember the meteor showers! All night shooting stars whizzed across the South African sky! Wow! There was a terrific electrical storm, thunder, lightning, the rain poured on the last night I was at BLC. Mike turned the music up, everyone, that is all the guests at BLC that wanted to, danced til the wee hours! It was surreal! It is a trip to treasure! Thank you Kerrie, Mike and all BLC staff! I loved it you treated me like family!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

Lydenburg, South Africa

On Track Safaris offers real wildlife safari holidays in South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, and Thailand.

Speaks English

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