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Three ways to explore South Africa

16th July 2013 Print
Kruger National Park

With the rand recently hitting an all time low against sterling, South Africa is great value for those earning in pounds. An advantage for many people hoping to book their summer holiday, the Euro and the Dollar will also go further in the Rainbow Nation. Tour operator’s Ranch Rider, Acacia Africa and The Independent Traveller offer varied options when it comes to exploring the country’s provinces – tented camps, luxury bush homes, small group tours and fly-drives appealing to a wide range of adventurers.

The Independent Traveller is an expert with over 35-years experience in crafting bespoke fly-drive holidays. Managing Director, Malcolm Peasnall, comments, “Based on last year’s prices you can expect to save up to 40% on a safari in South Africa, and when you add in off season game viewing on the Eastern Cape, even more.”

Ideal for nature lovers, The Independent Traveller’s 15-day Garden Route fly-drive includes some of the country’s best-kept secrets. Visit one of the world’s few meerkat conservation programs in Oudtshroon, enjoy more a "intimate” big five safari experience in the Amakhala Game Reserve, and trek through what is known as South Africa’s Grand Canyon – 220 species of bird and 43 types of mammal inhabiting the Valley of Desolation. A cooler winter climate also makes the Garden Route ripe for exploration, Tsitsikamma home to baboons and leopards, the trails best explored by Segway. In July and August, the Southern Right Whale migration makes Hermanus a must see and Cape Town is only a short drive from the celebrated wine regions of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.  Try L'Ormarins estate. The wine farm, owned by Johann Rupert, the richest man in South Africa, also features a vintage car collection. From £2,763pp (two sharing) including car hire, accommodation, safaris, and return flight. Year round departures.

Riding holiday specialist, Ranch Rider, offers stays in South Africa at working ranches, luxury lodges and bush homes, and mobile and static wilderness camps.  Open for little more than a year, Camp Davidson overlooks the Matlapeng valley and the picturesque Sunset Lake, all four of the canvas tents commanding panoramic views of the Waterberg massif. Guests can enjoy polo-crosse, swim with the horses or challenge themselves on the cross-country jumping course. Ideal for families and small groups of friends in search of an exclusive riding safari, a 4-night stay is priced from only £620pp (two sharing) & from £500pp (5-16 years) including tented accommodation (ensuite, with safari style bucket showers), meals, drinks, riding safari, use of facilities and taxes. Excluding car hire from £259 or transfers available at £170pp and return flight from £839pp. Year round departures.

Ranch Rider is also offering a saving of £454pp at Ant’s Hill and Ant’s Nest – the luxury bush homes situated in the same region. 6-nights from only £1,285pp (two sharing) including, accommodation, meals, drinks (including alcohol), riding safari’s, 4×4 safari’s, guided walks, use of facilities and taxes. Departing 14 September. Special weeks, a night sky safari and wine tasting evening are additional activities. Excludes return flight from £839pp, car hire from £259 or transfers from £200pp and gratuities as left to guests’ discretion.  New for 2013, Ant’s Nest will be hosting a Zumba Fitness Week (save £340pp) 7-nights from £1,399pp (two sharing), departing 21 September and Photography Week (save £340pp) 7-nights from £1,399pp (two sharing), departing 16 November. Add on self drives in South Africa are available from £700pp (two sharing) including car hire and accommodation.

Save 12.5% (£73pp) Acacia Africa features South Africa on many of its small group safari itineraries. The 7-day Kruger & Victoria Falls showcases some of the country’s less obvious wildlife haunts including the Polokwane Game Reserve, where walking safaris rule, and Oliphants River, a birder’s paradise and the perfect place for a hippo and crocodile cruise. Even the well-known Kruger is apt to throw up a few Big Five surprises on this tour, the game drives taking place in the more remote northern reaches of the national park. The small group safari is one of the tour operator’s top five family-friendly itineraries, Acacia Africa taking children as young as six on either camping or accommodated expeditions. From only £517pp (two sharing) + local payment from £250pp including, camping accommodation, transport, most meals and services of a tour leader/guide. Year round departures. Excludes return flight. Starts Johannesburg – ends Livingstone. All small group safari scheduled departures up to end of 2013 will be discounted by 12.5%. Independent flight prices available on request.

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Kruger National Park