This 5 Day Tour combines three of South Africa's finest safari areas, which is by far the best wild life and wilderness areas. It incorporates the diverse Northern KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland, Kruger Park with it's amazing wildlife and the Panorama Route with mountains, valleys, waterfalls and sub-tropical vegetation.
Your knowledgeable and experienced tour-guide will introduce you to the MUST SEE game viewing spots and amazing scenery along the way. You will be pampered in comfortable en-suite air-conditioned accommodation and luxury transport.
This tour combines the best wildlife and wilderness areas of South Africa blended with the rugged beauty so synonymous with the African Continent. It incorporates the areas from the diverse KwaZulu-Natal with habitats such as lakes, rivers, dune forests, beaches, mangrove forests and subtropical vegetation to the Kingdom of Swaziland, one of only three sovereign Kingdoms in Africa, and Mpumalanga with mountains, valleys, waterfalls, and pockets of primal forests. The famous Kruger National Park, covering around two million hectare of African bushveld, is also situated here.
At Southern Circle Tours & Safaris we offer a comprehensive array of guided tours and longer packages. From a countrywide network of scheduled tours with guaranteed departures, specialised group travel and tailor-made itinerary design, to your dream wedding package that will be the envy of your friends! We arrange your entire holiday from the time you arrive with us in Africa until you unfortunately have to return home.
The ranger hands you a glass of champagne as you stand on the sandstone cliff and take in the sun setting over kilometres of sandveld as the shadows grow in the deep gorge below. You're not sure what you're celebrating, but being here seems reason enough. Lanner Gorge can only be visited if you're a guest at one of the two private lodges in die Makuleke Contract Park or on the Nyalaland Wilderness Trail. The gorge was named after the lanner falcons which nest in the cliffs here. There's also a resident population of peregrine falcons, the world's fastest bird.
The park was opened to visitors in 1927. A few cars visited that year and they all headed for Numbi Gate and Pretoriuskop, the first rest camp. Black-and-white prints in the reception give you an idea what a trip to the park used to be like: no luxuries, shops or petrol stations; in fact not much but cold water tanks and camp sites. Today you'll get a smile and free glass of chilled fruit juice at reception.
After riding Kruger's road network for a while and staring sideways into the bush looking for beasties, a desire starts growing to get out there into the wilderness. Near Pretoriuskop, there's a 4x4 trail that does just that. The Madlabantu (Man-eater) Trail circles the camp, using a combination of visitor roads and off-road paths, beginning at the Fayi Loop. For me, the highlights were the huge bushveld trees and looming granite whalebacks that seemed to attract kudus, buffaloes and perky klipspringers. The trail can be booked at Pretoriuskop reception.
There's nothing quite like the thrill of the first leopard sighting. Nocturnal, secretive and with a distaste for humans, leopards are the megatick encounter in Kruger. Mine was a big male snoozing on an outstretched limb of a large leadwood on the S28 just near Nhlambanyathi Hide. It was picture perfect but seemed disinclined to move. I watched and waited. Other drivers got bored and left. Then sky behind it darkened and the first spatters of rain hit the windscreen. The leopard sat up, clearly irritated, its ears flat. Then it picked its way along the branch and leapt down the tree.
Lake Panic bird hide near Skukuza provides secret views of a hippo- and croc-filled dam which is a magnet for birds of all stripes. Big raptors, herons, jacanas, thick-knees, kingfishers, ducks and many more inhabit the convenient dead leadwoods and thick surrounding bush, or dart around on the lily pads. Best sightings are early morning or sunset. One story is that Lake Panic got its name from a year in which the river feeding it flooded and threatened to break the wall. If it had, that would have been the end of the golf course and staff village.