Cost: $6,600

Single Supplement: $1,200

Guide to Participant Ratio: 1:6

Maximum participants: 12

Guides: Steve Eshbaugh &

Steve Hoffman

Level: Easy to Moderate

Tour prices are given “per person, double occupancy” and include a donation to BOTH Montana Audubon (Steve Hoffman’s former employer) and Cape St. Mary's Preserve, an effective Newfoundland-based nonprofit bird/habitat conservation organization. Our tour fee includes the following (unless otherwise noted):

  • All trip materials, including detailed daily itinerary, list of what to bring, recommended field guides and pre-trip reading materials, checklist of likely birds & other wildlife.

  • All services of the leaders and guides

  • All transportation upon arrival to destination city

  • All accommodations during tour dates

  • All entrance fees to museums, parks, etc.

  • All meals (except alcoholic beverages) are included, typically from breakfast on the first full day through breakfast on the last full day

Tour prices DO NOT include round-trip airfare, passport/visa fees, arrival taxes, baggage fees, single-supplement fees, telephone calls, laundry, room service, souvenirs, and tipping of the guides & drivers (optional but highly recommended).

Tour deposit is refundable, minus a $100 processing fee up to 90 days prior to departure.

Note: Tour costs, itineraries and dates are subject to change. Prices may be affected by international currency exchange rates or itinerary changes.

We offset all trip impacts by purchasing carbon offsets to reduce our global footprint.

South Africa Adventure

14 October - 29 October 2022

 

Itinerary at a Glance

October 14: Depart Home

Octber 15: Arrive Johannesburg, Overnight Johannesburg

October 16: Drive to Lindani, Overnight Lindani

October 17: Explore Lindani, Overnight Lindani

October 18: Explore Lindani, Overnight Lindani

October 19: Lindani to Jahannesburg, Overnight Johannesburg

October 20: Fly to Cape Town, explore Cape Town, Overnight Cape Town

October: 21: Cape of Good Hope, Overnight Cape Town

October 22: Boulder's Beach, Kalik Bay & Muizenberg, Overnight Cape Town

October 23: Capetown to Hoedspruit: Overnight Goronga Safari Camp

October 24 Safari, Overnight Goronga Safari Camp

October 25: Safari, Overnight Goronga Safari Camp

October 26: Safari, Overnight Goronga Safari Camp

October 27: Safari, Overnight Goronga Safari Camp

October 28: Fly Hoespruit to Johannesburg, leave South Africa

October 29: Arrive home

October 14: Depart United States

There are several major airlines that fly directly from Atlanta and Washington D.C. to Johannesburg. 

October 15: Day 2: Arrive Johannesburg

You'll be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel on the outskirts of Johannesburg.

October 16: Day 3: Drive to Lindani

 

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, virtually unknown outside of South Africa. We will stay in Motseng, a private home 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's too dangerous to venture outside without a gun-toting guide, but here there is relative safety without needing to worry about lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants or cape buffalo, none of which reside here. You’ll also be introduced to one of those wonderful English traditions, a “high tea” break in the late afternoon, a chance to refresh over a cup of hot tea.

After dinner we’ll go out on our first game drive. We hope to see genets and/or civets feeding; 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 of 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 a strong attractant for game, and you’ll be able to sit comfortably in a chair while photographing the close, stunning wildlife. Warthogs are sure to give you a chuckle with their antics. Overnight Lindani Lodge.

October 17: Lindani

Today will be our second full-day at Lindani, and we'll continue to readust our clocks as we hike the nearby trails. We expect to see dozens of impala, giraffe, and the stunning red hartebeest. The seemingly endless vistas will fill your camera's memory devices. We can also visit a local grocery store, school and medical office to gain an appreciation for the life of many South Africans.

October, 18: Explore Lindani

Today we’ll have an early breakfast before heading out to explore the wetlands of Lindani on a different hiking trail. Ducks will provide new life birds for many of us, with sightings  of White-backed, Knob-billed, and Yellow-billed ducks, all hopeful sightings. We'll 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 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'll choose to venture out on the roads or trails on your own. After dinner we’ll head back out on a game drive, hoping to spot wildlife we might have missed the previous night.

October 19, 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 the Oasis Signature Hotel, or similar

October 20, Johannesburg to Cape Town, Introduction 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 an 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 in the later afternoon, giving you a few hours to shop the many fine Cape Town boutiques. Overnight at Blackheath Lodge.or similar.

African Penguin, by Steve Esbaugh, Guide

October 21: Cape of Good Hope National Park

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. At the Cape, we’ll do a short loop walk as a group, and then provide you with ample time to photograph this stunning landscape. 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 or similar.

October 22: Boulder's Beach, Kalik Bay and Muizenberg

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

October 23: Cape Town to Hoedspruit: First Night on Safari

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. The sounds of the night calls of birds and mammals will make sleep an initial challenge.

Safari Vehicle in Kruger National Park by Guide Steve Eshbaugh

Leopard, Kruger National Park,, Guide Steve Eshbaugh

October: 24: Garonga Safari Camp

 

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. A 30-minute massage will help you fully relax. Choose your date and time over the next five days.

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.  

European Roller by W. Hardy Eshbaugh

October 25: Garonga Safari Camp, Day 2

We'll be back in our open-air safari vehicle before breakfast. Today, we'll emphasize wildlife we missed the first day. With luck cheetahs could fill our camera lenses and 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. Kingfishers appear like giant butterflies with their colorfu wings when taking flight.

Photo by guide Steve Eshbaugh

October 26: Garonga Tent Safari

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, zebras, or any other number of mammals. And of course, when wildlife are not in view, there are always spectacular birds to delight.

Photo by Guide Steve Eshbaugh

October 27: 

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 will work hard to spot wildlife 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.

October 28: Fly Hoedspruit to Jahannesburg, Depart for flights home

October 29: Arrive home 

Merlin Birding Tours offers extraordinary, affordable birding & natural history excursions in the U.S. and abroad.  We provide exceptional, personalized customer service to all clients. Custom ecotours are offered to any destination as requested. Consider scheduling a nature or birding tour with the expert guides at Merlin Birding today.

© Merlin Birding & Nature Tours, LLC 2018

P.O. Box 6788

Bozeman, MT 59771

Phone: (406) 461-5714

(Send us an Email)

Merlin Birding Tours offers extraordinary, affordable birding & natural history excursions in the U.S. and abroad. We provide exceptional, personalized customer service to all clients. Custom eco-tours are offered to any destination as requested. Consider scheduling a nature or birding tour with the expert guides at Merlin Birding today.

© 2019 Merlin Birding & Nature Tours, LLC. All Rights Reserved.