Last Modified: 10 Jan 2013
Kruger Experience - Lodge (5 days)
Trip code: UBAJ-C
Validity: 01 Jan 2011 to 31 Dec 2012
Embark on a thrilling journey into the vast, game-filled Greater Kruger National Park. Head out on game drives to spot lion, zebra, buffalo, cheetah and elephant during the day and relax in a comfortable lodge in the evening. Enjoy delicious traditional African cuisine, admire sweeping vistas, learn about the flora and fauna of the region from experienced guides and marvel at the beauty of a star-studded African sky. Time spent in Kruger is rewarding and inspiring with this adventure providing an experience to savour its delights.
Table of Contents
- Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Short Breaks, Wildlife
Day 1 Johannesburg/Greater Kruger National Park
Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa.
Early morning on Day 1 (around 6am) we depart Johannesburg, the 'City of Gold' and head off on an adventure of a lifetime. A truly unique African experience unfolds as we enter the Greater Kruger National Park ecosystem arriving at our Lodge in time for lunch (570 km, approx 7-8 hours travel time including stops along the way).
Located in the greater Kruger, our accommodation is wonderfully intimate, with just 14 twin-share rooms. Rooms are constructed from local materials and are tastefully decorated and comfortably appointed. The lodge also offers a cosy bar, perfect for chatting with the other guests over a drink or two. There is also a crystal-clear swimming pool for a refreshing post-safari swim. However we think the quality which makes our lodge stand out from the rest is the friendliness and helpfulness of our team. They are committed to making your stay memorable!
Please note if our lodge is full you will be accommodated in a similar lodge in the same area and the accommodation may be in a tented lodge.
Day 2 Greater Kruger National Park
One of the largest game reserves in Southern Africa, Kruger National Park is home to over 500 bird species, 100 species of reptile and 150 mammal species, including the Big Five and the endangered African wild dog.
An early rise, as we make our way to the Kruger.
Our wildlife experience begins as soon as we enter the park, heading into prime game viewing areas where we hope to catch a glimpse of some of the amazing animals found inside the park, including the Big Five.
Enjoy breakfast at one of the picnic spots before continuing through the park. Our entire day will be spent game viewing, bird watching and stopping off at the various waterholes en route.
We depart the park in the late afternoon and return to the lodge for an evening of relaxation.
Days 3-4 Greater Kruger National Park/Panorama Route
The following morning we depart the lodge and make our way up the Drakensberg Escarpment. Our journey takes us along the Panoramic Route, some of the most stunning scenery South Africa has to offer. The sights en route include: God's Window, Bourke's Luck Potholes, Three Rondavels and the magnificent Blyde River Canyon. After a full day of exploring we return to the lodge and relax around the fire listening to the night sounds of Africa.
Your final day at the lodge spent at your leisure, relaxing at the lodge or taking part in the various optional activities on offer.
In the afternoon you will be transferred to a neighbouring game reserve for a final game drive. Guided by the aid of spotlights, we track the elusive creatures of the night, after which we return to the lodge to enjoy a boma dinner.
- Bourkes Luck Potholes
- Panorama Route
- Kapama cheetah project - ZAR290
- Cultural village - ZAR180
- Kruger park day trip - ZAR940
- Moholoholo wildlife centre - ZAR290
Day 5 Johannesburg
Rise early and head out on a morning bush walk. Guided by a qualified nature guide, we learn about nature's finer details like bird, tree and spoor identification.
Transfer back to Johannesburg (600 km, approx 8-9 hrs). There's plenty of time to stop and explore along the way. Take in amazing views at the viewpoint over the awesome Blyde River Canyon.
On arrival in Jo'burg you can be dropped at the airport or any nominated Johannesburg or Pretoria hotel. No accommodation is provided for tonight, but we are able to book you additional accommodation in Johannesburg. Please ask at time of booking.
Please don't book any international flights until after 10pm this evening.
- Morning nature walk
- Blyde River Canyon Viewpoint
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
- A Taste of Zimbabwe (YBKZ)
- Grand Garden Route (UBKK)
- Kruger & Two Kingdoms (UBKJ)
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Throughout the trip there are more adventurous optional activities that require some consideration regarding your physical abilities to complete the activity.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye to this unavoidable issue in some areas, Intrepid has established a centralised fund whereby contributions from recommended suppliers are collected and distributed back into the business. Intrepid aim to provide the best value trips in the market, and this fund assists in keeping operating costs and trip prices low to you.
A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of our traveller - you - is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
The best way to manage your money in Africa is a mixture of cash and an ATM card (best to have both Visa and MasterCard).
Cash is easily changed at exchange bureaus and they generally offer the best rates.
***PLEASE NOTE: MANY BUSINESSES AND BANKS IN EAST AFRICA DO NOT ACCEPT US DOLLAR NOTES OLDER THAN 2006. IF YOU ARE BRINGING USD, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND LARGE BILLS IN GOOD CONDITION, 2006 SERIES ONWARDS ONLY. ANY OLD OR DAMAGED NOTES MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED. IF YOUR KITTY PAYMENT IS REQUIRED TO BE PAID IN USD, IT MUST BE PAID WITH BILLS NO OLDER THAN 2006 SERIES***
EUR or GBP are also widely accepted. The South African Rand can also be used widely in countries of Southern Africa. When changing money, only use reputable authorised money exchange vendors and never anyone on the street. There are many instances of travellers being given counterfeit notes or being tricked when money is being counted out.
Some people like to carry traveller’s cheques for back up emergency cash. While traveller’s cheques are undoubtedly the safest way to carry money, they are becoming harder to cash around the world and can often result in unfavourable exchange rates and commission charges. They are no longer accepted in many locations in Kenya & Tanzania. It can also be tricky to reach banks during banking business hours which are often short in many African countries. Note: Receipts for traveller’s cheques are required by banks and money changers.
VISA AND MASTERCARD:
With ATMs being increasingly available in the many major towns and cities and even some campsites, credit or debit cards are a convenient way to access money. Throughout Africa, cards with the Visa logo are most readily recognised, although MasterCard is also accepted in most places. A charge is made for each international transaction - please check with your bank how much this fee will be. Check with your bank before leaving home that your card can be used as a debit card in Africa. You may also want to notify your bank that you are visiting Africa as it's not unknown for banks to freeze cards which show sudden transactions in other countries. If you're on a multi-country tour, your tour leader will be able to give you an approximate idea of how much money you may need for your stay in each country.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you are happy with the services providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
At local markets and basic restaurants: Leave the loose change.
Local guides/Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$1 per person, per day for local guides/porters.
Your crew (including the leader and driver, and perhaps cook depending on your trip): You may also consider tipping your crew for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$2-3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Due to Kruger National Park safety regulations, children under 16 are not be permitted to participate in the bush walks in this itinerary.
Please note this is a join in adventure and you will travel with a group of like minded Intrepid and non Intrepid passengers during transfers and game drives.
This trip starts and ends in Johannesburg. We depart very early on day 1 and end back in Johannesburg late in the afternoon on day 5, so it is essential that you overnight in Johannesburg the day before the tour. If you want to explore Johannesburg at either end of the tour, please allow additional days.
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
4 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
There are many long hours spent driving on rough roads on all African itineraries. While most people love the chance to watch the changing landscape and daily village life, feedback shows that long periods of inactivity does not appeal to all clients. We provide the approximate distance covered each day and how many hours this normally takes to drive so that you can choose the safari experience which is right for you.
African conditions are extremely tough on vehicles. While we fastidiously maintain our vehicles at our workshops, you should not expect Africa to be your traditional touring experience. While it's certainly our aim to avoid them, it's important that you set off on your trip knowing that the occasional breakdown can happen and are best treated as part of the African adventure. Due to wet weather there may be times when we have to take an alternative route which will mean longer travel times.
On this trip you'll be accompanied by several different local guides and drivers, who are all specialists in their own area.
Multiple pick up points
Joining point instructions
For your short break adventure we have 4 pick up and drop off points in Johannesburg. We can also drop off at OR Tambo Airport. Departure times and locations are fixed, please see below.
**It is your responsibility to confirm with Intrepid which pick-up point you would like to be collected from at least 2 weeks prior to your departure. If this collection point changes you must contact our local Intrepid Bundu office at least 24hrs before departure +27 11 471 7400. If we do not have a pick-up scheduled at one of the points we will not go to that point in the morning.**
We ask you to arrive 15 minutes prior to the departure time as we won't be able to wait.
Pre- and post-trip accommodation can also be arranged at these hotels, please advise your agent at the time of booking which hotel you would like to book.
We recommend that if this is your first time in Jo'burg or if you are travelling alone, that you pre-book an arrival transfer.
If you have pre-booked a transfer, your driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals area near the point you clear customs. Please look for our driver who will be holding a card with your name on it. The driver will wait for an hour after your scheduled arrival time.
If you are unable to find your driver you can call +27 11 4717400 during business hours, or +27 82 8578831 after hours. If you are delayed beyond one hour after your scheduled arrival time, please make your own way to the hotel.
If you would like to make your own way to the starting point you have the option of catching a metered taxi. The taxi rank is located just outside the arrivals area.
Alternatively the Gautrain is a fast and inexpensive option if you are staying in the Sandton area. Please note that the train only operates between 05:30am and 20:30pm daily. The Gautrain Tube station ( Sandton ) is located just one block or 5-10mins walk from The Holiday Inn Sandton. The train journey from Sandton to OR Tambo International Airport takes 15 minutes and costs approximately 115.00ZAR oneway.
During Peak hours trains depart every 12minutes ( 05:30-08:30 & 16:00-19:00 ). All other times trains depart every 20-30 minutes. Please see the website for more information: www.gautrain.co.za
Pick up and drop off points/times are as follows:
Melville International Backpackers
37 First Avenue Melville
Departure Time: 5:30am
Approx Metered taxi cost: ZAR400-550
Approx time & distance from the OR Tambo Airport: 30min to 1 hour (40km)
Holiday Inn Sandton
123 Rivonia Road
Departure Time: 6:00am
Approx Metered taxi cost: ZAR400-650
Approx time & distance from the OR Tambo Airport:15 to 45 mins (45km)
Town Lodge Airport - Herman Road
Harmeile Ext 2, Germiston
Departure Time: 6:45am
Approx Metered taxi cost: ZAR100-150
Approx time & distance from the OR Tambo Airport: 5-15 min (5km)
Road Lodge Airport
Address: Kruin Street, off Herman Road, Harmelia Ext 2, Germiston
Departure Time: 06:45
Approx Metered taxi cost: ZAR100-150
Approx time & distance from the OR Tambo Airport: 10 min
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Finish point instructions
Our trip normally concludes in Johannesburg late in the afternoon of the departure day. In order to make sure you make your flight, we suggest you spend an extra night post-tour.
Your driver can drop you at your nominated Johannesburg or Pretoria Hotel, or at the OR Tambo Airport.
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Citizens of Australia, UK and most EU countries do not need visas to visit South Africa as a tourist for up to three months. Citizens of all countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required.
Entry Requirements - Yellow Fever Certificate
As of October 1st 2011, A valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is now required for all passengers over one year of age who arrive or are transiting through South Africa, from a country or region listed by the World Health Organization as infected by yellow fever. Travellers unable to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate issued at least 10 days before arrival in South Africa will be refused entry. There is no option for travellers without a vaccination certificate to be vaccinated on arrival. Please note this also includes transiting through an infected country or region. As of October 1st South Africa will also consider Zambia as a country infected by Yellow Fever even though the WHO does not currently list Zambia. All travellers from Zambia into South Africa will be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe and the safe on the overland truck to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.
We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing, some warm items for the evenings, and long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes in the malaria areas. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Some people like to take jeans for evenings out but they can be tough to dry and should not be used for trekking. Avoid nylon and other synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Ex-military or military style clothing and equipment is NOT recommended.
As this trip includes camping and/or bush walking we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings from dangerous animals in this environment.
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the trip until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by our local representative.
If you have credit card insurance our local representative will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact telephone number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Responsible Travel projects
Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in South Africa include:
* Thusanani Children's Foundation works to prevent and treat developmental delay in orphaned and vulnerable South African children, aged 0-6, in Children's Homes (orphanages) where they live. Developmental delay in these children has a far reaching negative impact on their formal schooling in later years and they run the risk of being seen as children with special education needs. Treatment and prevention of developmental delay can set children on the right path that enables them to be contributing members of society, and break the cycle of abuse and poverty.
Carbon Offset C02-e 222.00 kgs per pax.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.