South Africa Wildlife and Birds

Unique Safari Adventure - walking and by vehicle

This trip provides a very unusual opportunity – foot safaris in a private game reserve, without an accompanying ranger with a rifle. We will restore our batteries and adjust to the drastic time change difference, while seeing our first big game animals. You literally will have the opportunity to stroll amongst giraffes and impala before breakfast. We will also visit the incredible, stunning Cape of Good Hope, to Simonstown to photograph and observe African Penguins, and end the trip with a stunning five-day animal safari on the edge of Kruger National Park. All accommodations are very comfortable, ranging from four to five stars. Dining will be excellent. Hikes will be easy to moderate, though the pace will be slow enough to make it comfortable for all fitness levels. This is a wildlife viewing/birding/photography tour, and not appropriate for children younger than age 12.

 This trip is 14 nights (plus a night onboard an airplane each direction). The trip package includes all ground transportation, your tour director and local wildlife guides, all meals starting with dinner on day 2 and ending with breakfast on day 15, all entrance fees and a complete birding and mammal list including location, climate and detailed species list.

Steve “Esh” Eshbaugh will lead this trip to South Africa. Steve has previously birded Africa on four occasions, and South Africa on three occasions.

  • Sun 14 OctDay 1

    Depart U.S. for Johannesburg

    Make your flight plans to arrive in Johannesburg by the evening of October 14th.

  • Sun 14 OctDay 2

    Arrive Johannesburg

    There are several airlines that offer direct service from the United States to Johannesburg. Please choose a flight that will arrive in Johannesburg by October 14. It can take well over 30 hours to travel from western U.S. cities to Johannesburg, so plan accordingly. Overnight: Oasis Signature Hotel

  • Mon 15 OctDay 3

    Waterburg

    After breakfast, we will travel north to the Waterburg Region, where we will spend the next three days acclimatizing to the new time zone, while staying in a gorgeous private reserve that is virtually unknown outside of South Africa. We will stay in Motseng, a perfect private house built specifically for small groups. We’ll have lunch in Lindani, then go for a walk on one of the nearby trails. In much of Africa, it is very dangerous to venture out without a guide, but here there is relative safety without needing to worry about the big 5, none of which reside here. You’ll also be introduced to one of those wonderful English traditions, “high tea” with a break in the late afternoon refresh over a cup of hot tea.

    After dinner, we’ll go out on our first game drive. We hope to see genets or civets feeding, and bush babies are also a frequent site. There are many antelope species that take advantage of the varied habitat at Lindani, so we’ll go where our guide knows the latest sightings. We will almost surely see several giraffes as well, with zebras and blue wildebeest a good possibility. The waterhole around Motseng is always an attractant for game, and you’ll be able to sit comfortably in a chair while photographing stunning scenes. Warthogs are sure to give you a chuckle with their antics. Overnight Lindani Lodge.

  • Tue 16 OctDay 4

    Waterburg

    After breakfast, we will travel north to the Waterburg Region, where we will spend the next three days acclimatizing to the new time zone, while staying in a gorgeous private reserve that is virtually unknown outside of South Africa. We will stay in Motseng, a perfect private house built specifically for small groups. We’ll have lunch in Lindani, then go for a walk on one of the nearby trails. In much of Africa, it is very dangerous to venture out without a guide, but here there is relative safety without needing to worry about the big 5, none of which reside here. You’ll also be introduced to one of those wonderful English traditions, “high tea” with a break in the late afternoon refresh over a cup of hot tea.

    After dinner, we’ll go out on our first game drive. We hope to see genets or civets feeding, and bush babies are also a frequent site. There are many antelope species that take advantage of the varied habitat at Lindani, so we’ll go where our guide knows the latest sightings. We will almost surely see several giraffes as well, with zebras and blue wildebeest a good possibility. The waterhole around Motseng is always an attractant for game, and you’ll be able to sit comfortably in a chair while photographing stunning scenes. Warthogs are sure to give you a chuckle with their antics. Overnight Lindani Lodge.

  • Wed 17 OctDay 5

    Waterburg

    Long-tailed Widowbird

    Today we’ll have an early breakfast before heading out to explore the wetlands of Lindani on a new hiking trail. Ducks will provide new life birds for many of us with sightings like White-backed, Knob-billed, and Yellow-billed ducks, all frequenting the area. Here, we will search for the magnificent Long-tailed Widowbird, Long-tailed Paradise Wydah and Southern Red Bishop. And for those who love flycatchers, there are more than a dozen flycatcher species seen here. The four cisticola species (Netticky, Rattling, Levaillant’s and Rufous-winged) always present fun identification challenges.

    We’ll return to Motseng for lunch before taking a brief break. Perhaps the pool will be too tempting for you to resist, or perhaps you wish to venture out on the roads or trails on your own for a short bit. After dinner, we’ll head back out on a game drive, hoping to pick see some wildlife we might have previously missed.

  • Thu 18 OctDay 6

    Lindani to Johannesburg

    This morning we’ll have one last chance for a gentle walk at Lindani. After lunch, we’ll head back to the capital city where we’ll spend the night back at Oasis Signature Hotel.

  • Fri 19 OctDay 7

    Johannesburg to Cape Town

    We’ll take an early morning flight to Cape Town, widely considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. After checking into our hotel, we’ll have lunch before heading out for our aerial tram ride to the top of Table Mountain National Park. Amazing vistas, and typically strong winds and cool temperatures will be our nemesis as we photograph the view below. We’ll head back down for in the later afternoon, and give you a few hours to shop the many fine Cape Town boutiques. Overnight at Blackheath Lodge.

  • Sat 20 OctDay 8

    Cape of Good Hope

    Cape of Good Hope: Photo by Steve Eshbaugh

    We’ll have breakfast in Cape Town before heading out to Cape of Good Hope National Park. Within the park, we might luck into some nice photo opportunities of Ostriches, and perhaps Bontebok, an antelope species once driven to the edge of extinction. Once we reach the Cape, we’ll do a short loop walk as a group, then provide you with ample time to capture this stunning landscape in photographs. We’ll have a basic lunch at the park before heading back out to other viewpoints. You simply cannot imagine the scenery here; it’s one of those places that a photograph can never do justice. We’ll return to Cape Town for the evening and high tea. We’ll pick a different restaurant for dinner before putting our heads on pillows at Blackheath Lodge.

  • Sun 21 OctDay 9

    Cape Town to Simonstown and Boulder’s Beach

    African Penguin. Photo by Steve Eshbaugh

    We’ll visit Boulder’s Beach and give you a change to photograph African Penguins, then head to Simonstown over a spectacular mountain pass and onto the quaint fishing harbour at Kalk Bay, then onto the villages of St James and Muizenberg, where (you guessed it) spectacular views await. Overnight at Blackheath Lodge.

  • Mon 22 OctDay 10

    Cape Town to Garonga Safari Camp

    We’ll fly from Cape Town to Johannesburg, then on to Hoedspruit before taking a shuttle to our lodge for the next 5 nights, Garonga Safari Camp.

  • Tue 23 OctDay 11

    Garonga Safari Camp

    Safari vehicle: Photo by Steve Eshbaugh

    We'll spend the next five days on a big game safari. Each day will begin with a pre-dawn cup of coffee or tea and a rusk to give you a little energy before we pile into our safari vehicle to head out to the bush. We’ll return for breakfast, then have a break before lunch and head back out for an evening bush drive. We may opt to do a game-tracking walk one-day. To make this visit more special, we’ll also arrange for a 30-minute massage for you.

    Each drive we will have our own open-air safari vehicle with a driver and a guide. We will search for the big 5 (elephant, rhino, lion, cape buffalo and leopard) and so much more.  

  • Wed 24 OctDay 12

    Garonga Safari Camp

    Martial Eagle

    We'll be back in our open-air safari vehicle before breakfast. Today, we'll put some emphasis on animals we missed the first day. With luck, Cheetahs could fill our camera lenses and fill our memory cards. 

    When other wildlife isn't easily seen, birds often provide a great view. We'll be searching the bush and trees for whatever birds we might see. One bird that is sure to delight is the Martial Eagle.

  • Thu 25 OctDay 13

    Gavonga Safari Camp

    Scarface! Photo by Steve Eshbaugh

    Our driver will take us to new areas we haven't previously explored. The "big five" are always a focus, but everyone delights at seeing Giant Kudu, Cheetahs or any other number of mammals. And of course, when wildlife turns off, there are always spectacular birds to delight.

  • Fri 26 OctDay 14

    Garonga Safari Camp

    You'll thank your lucky stars for the morning coffee/tea and rusks. By this point of the trip, you'll likely be shaking your head at how easy the photographs are to take with the cooperative animals. Our guide and driver are really going to work to spot animals we haven't previously seen.

    This will be our last day of driving the bush to search for antelope, giraffe, elephants and whatever other favorites you've developed.

  • Sat 27 OctDay 15

    Return Home

    We'll board our morning flight from Hoedspruit to Johannesburg. You can safely plan on flying back home after 4:00 p.m. today.

  • Sun 28 OctDay 16

    Arrive Home After a Fantastic Journey

    After a long flight home, you will be back on familiar soil. Welcome home!