Kruger North to South | Fauna Travel

Kruger North to South

Lanner Gorge near Pafuri Tented Camp / Courtesy of RETURNAfrica

10 Days

South Africa’s famed Kruger National Park covers over 7,500 square miles and protects a variety of landscapes. The south is a classic savannah ecosystem, while the park’s northern section has baobabs and dramatic cliffs reminiscent of Eastern Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou. It is flanked to the West by the Drakensberg mountains. This itinerary goes deeper than the usual one-stop Kruger safari to give you a feel for the area’s diversity. It also highlights the many great opportunities for walking in the area, including Blyde River Canyon, the world’s third-largest canyon.

This itinerary treats the massive Kruger National Park area as a destination unto itself and explores a wide swath of eastern South Africa starting on the northern border of the park.


Your custom travel playlist includes The Toreadors’s “Gwinyitshe”
From the 1960s to the early 80s, Johannesburg, South Africa, produced a fantastic blend of soul, jazz, and funk artists. This 1972 track by the Toreadors makes an excellent accompaniment for driving or flying to your safari destination.


Day 1-3: Northern Kruger

Pafuri Tented Camp

Arrive in Johannesburg and take a flight to the Pafuri airstrip on the northern border of Kruger National Park. You will be picked up by a car and taken to Pafuri Tented Camp, a little-known safari gem.

Fever tree walk near Pafuri Tented Camp / Courtesy of RETURNAfrica luxury safari
Fever tree walk near Pafuri Tented Camp / Courtesy of RETURNAfrica

This part of the park is less visited and has a very different landscape from Sabi Sands and southern Kruger. It is more like traveling in southern Zimbabwe, with dramatic cliffs, baobabs, and herds of elephants. Rare species of birds are also plentiful here, including the Pel’s fishing owl. All the tented rooms are spacious and offer views of the Lvuu River. However, the beautiful landscape will make you want to spend as much time out exploring as possible.

Start your Kruger adventure with morning game drives, or take a walking safari with one of the camp’s expert guides. The fever tree forest and stone ruins from the Great Zimbabwe era should not be missed.

Day 4-5: Blyde River Canyon Hike

Umvangati House

Fly from Pafuri Airstrip to Hoedspruit Airport and then drive 1.5 hours to Blyde River Canyon. Check in to Umvangati house, a stylish boutique hotel straddling the slopes surrounding the canyon. Settle in by the pool, and then spend your next day exploring the canyon. A private guide can take you to the best trails for your skill level.


We’ve sent you some reading material, including, The Lion Tracker’s Guide to Life
Boyd Varty, life coach and co-owner of Londolozi game reserve, takes us through a day of tracking lions on foot in the South African bush and describes how to apply this ancient art to your life. The land has a lot to teach us if we only pay attention, and the same goes for ourselves. View on Amazon


Day 6-9: Sabi Sands

Londolozi

Travel to the Sabi Sands Wildlife Reserve by car or air. If you’d like to see the canyon from above, we suggest chartering a helicopter to cover this leg of the trip. Once you arrive, you will be met by a representative from Londolozi.

Tracking at Londolozi / Courtesy of Londolozi
Tracking at Londolozi / Courtesy of Londolozi

Londolozi is one of the original luxury photographic safari destinations in South Africa. The lodge is located along the banks of the Sand River in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, connected to over six-million acres of protected areas in the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park. Sabi Sand is spectacular for viewing a range of wildlife species, but Londolozi is best known for its leopards. Rangers and trackers at the lodge have worked with the big cats for generations, and high-quality sightings are almost guaranteed. Spend part of your stay learning the art of tracking with them.

Londolozi is comprised of five camps, which vary by price and accommodation. Varty Camp, pictured here, is the original Londolozi safari and is slightly larger than the others, which is perfect for families. It includes a Healing House–a spa concept that seeks to restore your wellness through wildness. For a slightly more exclusive and stylish safari, consider Tree Camp or the Private Granite Suites.

Suite at Londolozi Varty Camp, luxury South Africa safari / Courtesy of Londolozi
Suite at Londolozi Varty Camp, Sabi Sands South Africa / Courtesy of Londolozi

Extension Day 10-12: Singita Lebombo

If you haven’t had enough of Kruger and want to take things further, we suggest taking a short flight from the Sabi Sands to Singita’s 33,000-acre private concession along the border with Mozambique. The size of the property will make you feel like you have the park entirely to yourself.

Guide at Singita Lebombo / Courtesy of Singita luxury South Africa safari
Guide at Singita Lebombo / Courtesy of Singita

This area is well known for its populations of lions, leopards, elephants, and rhinos. There are two lodges here, but we particularly like Singita Lebombo because it overlooks the river. The lodge’s 15 spacious suites feature massive picture windows and beds on the deck for sleeping out under the stars. As with all Singita properties, the food and design are world-class. It’s the perfect place to toast the end of your journey over an expertly prepared meal.

Contact us to start planning your journey into the wild.

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