Into the Heart of Kruger


In 1898 Paul Kruger – president of the then Transvaal Republic, established a park to protect the animals of the Lowveld. By 1926 it had became a national park named after him. Today the Kruger National Park is one of the country’s most important, covering some 7,500 square miles and home to a staggering 850 species of animals, birds, reptiles, fish and more. This is a park of dreams, where the ‘big Five’ – lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhino – roam, where heritage and archaeological sites abound and where safaris and safari lodges promise a true African experience.

Join us on this new tour as we take you on a holiday to remember, staying in African lodges – one set within the Kruger National Park itself and the other just outside. Daily game drives, magnificent wildlife, sundowner drinks, dinner under African skies … all await you. But it doesn’t end there – you’ll also start your holiday with a three-night stay at a private game lodge to the east, and conclude with two nights at a lodge overlooking a private lake. Whatever your dream – whether it is spotting African wildlife in its natural surroundings, relaxing at your luxury lodge as you look out over the plains or river, or just the total ‘African experience’, this tour is the perfect place to start.

What's Included:

  • VIP door-to-door travel service from anywhere on the UK mainland
  • 11 nights in hotels or lodges, and 2 in flight
  • 30 meals: 11 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 11 dinners
  • Optional travel insurance underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE, UK Branch and additional cancellation rights on overseas holidays for over 50s, or a price reduction if not required (cover is subject to medical questions)
  • Return flights and transfers
  • Saga tour manager
  • Welcome drink
  • Drink reception
  • Porterage at all hotels
  • Farewell dinner

    Excursions and visits

  • 4 game drives in a private game reserve
  • 7 game drives in Kruger National Park
  • Visit to Mhoholo Rehabilitation Centre
  • Drive part of the Panorama Route

Full Itinerary

Day 1: UK-Johannesburg

After taking Saga's included UK door-to-door travel service to the airport, fly overnight to Johannesburg.

Day 2: Johannesburg-Makalali

Upon arrival at Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, transfer by short internal flight to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Nelspruit and onto Makalali Private Game Reserve, just west of the mighty Kruger National Park.

This private reserve covers nearly 85 square miles, with its lowveld and savannah landscape, and provides the perfect introduction to the bush, with more than 1,000 animals to spot including the ‘big Five’. Look forward to spending the next three nights at the locally rated 4-star Makalali Private Game Lodge (3Q) set within the reserve. This afternoon look forward to setting off for your first game drive in the Reserve, travelling in open topped vehicles in the company of your expert guide, as you watch for wildlife.

Makalali Private Game Lodge is constructed in traditional African style and unfenced. Look forward to a true taste of Africa during your stay, with rangers to watch over you and animals able to wander through the camp. Your stay is on a full board basis, where you can enjoy dinner under the starlit African skies, or round the classic South African ‘braai’ (barbeque). From your comfortable room with its kingsize bed, take in the surrounding countryside and watch for visiting wildlife from your viewing deck. D

Day 3: Makalali Game Reserve

Look forward to setting off for two game drives today. The Big Five can be found here, as well as cheetah, giraffe, zebra, kudu and more, with the opportunity to get close up and see some of Africa’s stunning wildlife in its natural habitat. When you’re not on safari, relax at your lodge, or watch from the deck of your room as you enjoy a sundowner. B, L, D

Day 4: Makalali Game Reserve

There will be two more game drives today as you continue your search for the wildlife and birds of the region. You may also like to join a walking trail from your lodge (extra charge may apply) or take your seat on one of the terraces of the lodge that overlook the bush and watch for the wildlife to emerge from the bush as the sun goes down. B, L, D

Day 5: Makalali-Kruger National Park

Transfer to Kruger National park.

En route you’ll visit the Mhoholo Rehabilitation Centre. Situated at the foot of the north east Drakensberg mountains, the centre was started in 1991 by a local businessman and run by conservationist Brian Jones. Within a short time animals in need of care including the orphaned and injured were brought to the centre to be cared for and rehabilitated. The centre continues this work, as well as maintaining a number of permanent resident animals and undertaking research and breeding programmes.

Learn about this important work as well as enjoying a light lunch, before continuing to Kruger National Park. Look forward to meeting your guides before setting off for your first game drive in this magnificent park. Your drive concludes at the locally rated 5-star Imbali Safari Lodge (4Q) within the park itself where you will stay for the next three nights on a full board basis.

Situated on the banks of the Nwatswitswonto River this luxury lodge with its elegant and comfortable furnishings, will be your Kruger home for the next three days. Sheltered by the surrounding forest, it’s the perfect location for experiencing African hospitality at its best, and spotting the wildlife that gather at the nearby Imbali waterhole, which may include elephants, buffalo, rhino, antelope, giraffe, lions and the elusive leopard. Within the lodge you will find African-inspired decor, comfortable sofas, a well appointed dining room where you can enjoy a buffet breakfast or order something hot.

During the day you can also look forward to enjoying light lunches, freshly baked cakes for tea and of course dinner outside, accompanied by wine and the sounds of the Kruger bush. Relax on the deck, take a dip in the pool or just enjoy a sundowner as you watch the sun set. There are 12 suites, each with an en suite bathroom, french doors and deck overlooking the river or savannah, plus a small outdoor pool or jacuzzi. Other room amenities include air conditioning, telephones, and free Wi-fi. During your stay look forward to enjoying two safaris each day in the company of an expert ranger – the perfect way to explore Kruger National Park. B, L, D

Day 6: Kruger National Park

Your first safari of the day may take place at dawn, when you’ll set off early into the bush listening for the early morning call of birds, watching for elephants, zebra, wildebeest and more while travelling through the park. There will be a second safari later in the day when you may be fortunate to spot predators such as lion or leopard, as well as other of Africa’s Big Five. If you want to get down to ground level, perhaps treat yourself to an optional bush walk as well (additional charge).

Later today, relax as you watch the evening wildlife visitors to the waterhole, or take a dip in the pool before enjoying dinner. B, L, D

Day 7: Kruger National Park

During your final full day at Imbali look forward to two more safaris into Kruger National Park. With its wealth of wildlife including 147 mammal species and some 507 species of bird, there’s lots to watch for, under the expert guidance of your ranger.

Look forward to dining under the evening sky again this evening. B, L, D

Day 8: Kruger National Park-Malelane

After breakfast transfer to Malelane, which lies to the south of Kruger National Park.

Here look forward staying at locally rated 4-star Buhala Lodge (3Q) where for the next three nights on a full board basis. Situated on the banks of the Crocodile River, which skirts around the southern boundary of Kruger National Park, this colonial-style, family-run lodge on the banks of the river provides a stunning opportunity to observe the park and the wildlife attracted by the river including the Big Five, crocodiles and hippo. With its comfortable lounge, African-themed bar, dining room and attractive grounds, look forward to dining close to the river, and watching from a balcony, veranda or viewing platform to spot the many and varied animals that visit the river during your stay. Relax and enjoy dinner this evening before retiring to your en-suite room, with tea and coffee-making facilities. B, L, D

Day 9: Malelane

Look forward to a game drive into the southern area of Kruger National Park today in the company of your experienced guide. Explore the landscape and watch for wildlife and birds as you travel through the southern region as well as zebra, cheetah and wild dog, which are more prevalent here due to the low numbers of lions in this area. Additional drives can be arranged if you would like to stay in the bush for longer (additional charge applies). Enjoy dinner at your lodge this evening. B, L, D

Day 10: Malelane

Enjoy another game drive into Kruger today. Relax at your lodge the rest of the day, perhaps enjoying a dip in the pool or watching the wildlife at the river. B, L, D

Day 11: Malelane-Dullstroom

After breakfast transfer from Malelane to the village of Dullstroom, the highest in South Africa.

Situated in the highlands of Mpumalanga, the village has a choice of cafes and restaurants, as well as a thriving arts community. Enjoy a stroll around, perhaps treating yourself to lunch and browse the shops before continuing to the boutique locally rated 4-star Critchley Hackle Lodge (4Q), where you will spend the next two nights. Set within attractive grounds and overlooking a private lake, this colonial-style lodge has a restaurant with lake views, lounge bar, and swimming pool. Rooms are situated in the main or separate buildings around the lake. Comfortable furnishings include a television and some rooms also have a fireplace. Enjoy dinner at your hotel this evening, as you enjoy views of the lake and surrounding countryside. B, D

Day 12: Dullstroom

Enjoy today at leisure, relaxing at your hotel. Perhaps take a walk in the grounds or visit the village. B, D

Day 13: Dullstroom-Johannesburg-UK

After a leisurely morning transfer to the airport for your return overnight flight to the UK. B

Day 14: UK

Arrive back in the UK.

Hand Picked By

Margaret Moulton

Saga are so popular with our clients, with all those little details taken care of, like complimentary VIP door-to-door transfers on all long haul holidays and selected escorted tours and also optional included travel insurance. This makes Saga such great value for money.

Margaret Moulton

Additional Information

  • Date: Various departures for 2022
  • Board Basis: Mixed meal plan
  • Duration: 13 nights
  • Departure Airport: London Heathrow
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