Aug 2, 2016

Where the wild things are

Just you and the 'Big Five'. African safari wonders without the crowds

Imagine ticking off the iconic ‘Big Five’ African safari animals away from the crowds, in your own private game reserve - to be in the presence of the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard or the white and black rhinoceros. The opportunity to see these extraordinary creatures in their natural environment will create thrilling memories that you’ll treasure forever.

On a Scenic journey through Africa you can look forward to an array of handcrafted experiences –the kind of wonder only Africa can provide. From awe-inspiring treks through the region’s untamed landscape in the comfort of tailor-made open-top vehicles to an authentic dining experience in a traditional boma, our luxury tours have it covered.

There’s nowhere better to sample the extraordinary diversity this ancient continent has to offer than in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.

Teeming with wildlife and beautiful vistas, Kruger is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. Among the many wonders on display throughout the park are 517 species of bird, over 3,000 crocodiles and more species of mammal than any other African game reserve – including those famous five.

Kruger is also home to many other iconic African animals including cheetahs, giraffe and zebra. Our small group safaris are meticulously planned around providing our guests with exclusive access to all the wonders Kruger has on offer; along with the best in luxury accommodation.

Scenic has access to two private game concessions, the Lion Sands Game Reserve and Thornybush Game Reserve. Being the only Australian tour operator given permission to utilise both these concessions, this means our guests don’t have to battle the crowded roads found in some other parts of the park.

Each reserve offers their own unique take on the safari experience, as well as providing guests with all the expected highlights a once-in-a- lifetime trip such as this promises. In the Lion Sands Reserve, the famously biologically diverse Sabie River flows. Known for its prolific bird and animal life, the river is one of the cleanest in the country and is the perfect place to spot an elusive hippo or two.

With the highest concentration of leopards in Africa, the Lion Sands Reserve is one of the most memorable and sought-after sections of Kruger.

Nestled on the banks of the Sabie River, relax at the luxurious Lion Sands River Lodge – a Scenic Special Stay - where each thatched roofed suite features its own private wooden viewing deck overlooking the river. With a warm welcome, the staff will ensure your stay at Lion Sands is one of the highlights of the tour. The look and feel of the lodge captures the essence of this beautiful river and whether you feast upon culinary delights or sink deep into the luxurious bedding after a busy day exploring, Lion Sands will feel like the perfect home away from home.

Uncover the National Park through morning and evening game drives searching for the Big Five as well as any of the eight breeds of leopards commonly sighted in the reserve. The low, scrub-like brush found across Lion Sands makes it ideal for panoramic animal spotting. Not restricted to main roads, the specially fitted safari vehicles enable our guides to go off-road, following animal tracks. The reserve limits the number of vehicles ensuring our guests are able to spend as much time as they like encountering the wildlife without the crowds.

Available as a new Freechoice option in 2016, the Hippo Encounter, lets guests explore the shores of the Sabie River on foot with an experienced game ranger. You’re even likely to see hippos bathing in the shallows – a truly wondrous experience. Armchair adventurers will have the option of enjoying a wildlife lecture given by a local expert - learn some of the fascinating history of the park and understand more about the magnificent animals you come across during your time in Kruger.

Our second private concession in Kruger, Thornybush Game Reserve, is set in the heart of the Lowveld savannah and offers visitors many opportunities to spot large safari animals in their natural habitat.

Your accommodation, the 5-star boutique Thornybush Game Lodge, is located deep in the game reserve which is home to 147 different mammals - including the Big Five – plus a multitude of reptiles, birds, fish and amphibians.

Each suite boasts large windows and private decks offering sweeping vistas of the savannah and Monwana River, a popular waterhole for the local wildlife. You will experience dawn and late afternoon game drives throughout the 11,500 hectare parcel of bushveld, going off-road in search of the safari wildlife that Kruger is famous for. With areas of dense, tangled scrub prepare to be delighted when you turn a corner and find yourself face to face with one of the Big Five.

Morning game drives will be followed by breakfast either by the river or in the bush. Afternoon high tea sets you up for the afternoon game drive which includes the chance to view our nocturnal neighbours by torchlight.

Thanks to Scenic Freechoice you will have the opportunity to go on a walking safari with your game ranger and tracker. This expert tracker will provide invaluable insights into the habits and behaviours of Africa’s wild animals, as well as an in-depth look at the incredible bird life this unique region is renowned for.

No safari would be complete without the chance to enjoy an African style feast under a starlit sky with the sounds of wildlife close by. Providing you with a moment of reflection and celebration, this evening will be one to remember.

The hard work that goes into creating Scenic’s handcrafted Africa tours were recently recognised by the More Group, a leading accommodation specialist inside Kruger who awarded us the prestigious Best Tour Operator from Australia title. The Big Five, exclusive access to game reserves without the crowds, 5-star luxury – like the stars across an African sky, the moments of wonder will be too innumerable to count on a Scenic tour of Kruger National Park.