This authentic South African Safari and Homestay experience commences with a Homestay in the home of Safari trip hosts, Mike and Jacky where you will enjoy a sojourn into nature on the farm and pukka home style cooking in a relaxed homely Farmhouse. An early start will commence an all-day road trip in minibus vans through the iconic Kruger National Park being exposed to Africa as it was in days gone by with herds of African animals in their natural habitat. You will arrive at the Safari camp destination in the early evening and be treated to a fire side bush dinner and spend your first night in en suite tented accommodation with the gentle sounds of the African savannah as your lullaby.
From here on in, the order of the day will be the true old world Safari experience; up before sunrise, mid-day camp relaxing and out before sunset to, in open Safari vehicles, to be enthralled by your guide enjoying close, yet safe, engagement with Africa’s Safari best – Elephants, Rhino, Hippo, Kudu, Lion and many more chance encounters. This is an African wild park, and all game viewing is random and unplanned. Each day brings unique and rewarding memories.
This experience is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the Big 5 in their natural environment. You will be visiting a part of the Kruger National Park that not many locals or visitors get to see. The highlight for many, is the true local South African Farm Homestay. Your hosts will give you genuine South African warmth, with delicious meals and ensure you have the best wild life experience possible.
Travel from Cape Town to Johannesberg (OR Tambo International Airport) where you will be met by your hosts and driven to the Homestay farm. En route you will have a lunch stop at the Alzu game breeding farm, where you will get your first sightings of wildlife.
Spend the early afternoon out on the game farm enjoying a snack lunch alongside a river in the bush. Back at the Farmhouse settle into your rooms – most will be shared as this is an actual Homestay. Then enjoy a dip in the pool and welcome drinks on the veranda.
Freshen up for a sit down homestyle dinner in the comfort of a 1940’s era Farmhouse space.
5AM start with coffee and rusks and a grab and go breakfast before heading towards the Kruger National Park for a day of game viewing from the mini vans. Lunch will be at a wagon route watering hole within the Kruger Park called Tskokwane where you can order traditional South African lunches.
Continue up into the park seeing herds of Elephant, giraffe and antelope out on the open plains of Africa.
Arrive at the Tented Camp in the early evening, settle into your en suite tented accommodation – also shared – twin beds, then gather around the campfire for a typical African Safari 3 course dinner.
5AM start with coffee, fruit juice and rusks. All aboard the open Safari vehicles and head into the deep Manyeleti Reserve to enjoy an enthralling Safari encounter. Stop en route in the bush for coffee and biscuits. Brunch will be served back at camp and will be a substantial spread of sliced fruit, cheese and cold cuts followed by a hot plated breakfast.
The mid hours of the day can be spent doing the camp walking trail, game viewing from the viewpoint or relaxing at the swimming pool or simply resting in your tent. Internet connectivity is not excellent so its best not to plan important work over these few days. Mid-afternoon will be teatime before boarding the open Safari vehicles again for late afternoon game viewing within Manyeleti reserve. This time of day promises excellent viewing experiences with possible encounters all the species that Africa is famous for.
After sundowner drinks in the bush, return to camp to freshen up and once again enjoy the fireside dining that Africa is know for.
5AM rise to get out on the last open Safari trip of the experience. Enjoy the soft light and freshness that is early morning in Africa. Keep your eyes peeled for beautiful birds while continuing the quest for the Big 5 viewing that only Manyeleti has been known to deliver. Return to the camp for another sumptuous brunch after which you, sadly, gear up to leave for the airport of departure back to Cape Town with incredible memories of an authentic African Safari experience etched in your mind.
Fly back to Cape Town from Hoedspruit Airport (called Eastgate Airport)
Ground Transportation - Round Trip - Meet & greet at OR Tambo Airport (JNB) by your Safari Host Jacky. Transfer via minivan to Homestay farm in Waterval Onder. Return transfer via minivan to Hoedspruit Aiport (Eastgate Airport)
Food - All meals - Meals while at camp and the farmhouse (brunch, teas & dinner)
Entrance Fee / Tickets - Kruger National Park and Manyeleti parks entrance fees.
Homestay experience: shared accommodation with outdoor experience, snack lunch on the farm, welcome drinks and a hearty homestyle dinner.
Shared en suite tented accommodation for 2 nights at tented safari camp with shower bathrooms.
Three safari activities in open Safari vehicles within the Manyeleti Game Reserve with experienced guides and trackers.
Road trip in closed minivan with snacks and waters through the Kruger National Park to tented safari camp in the Manyeleti Game Reserve.
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
Food - Lunches en route to and from the Airport
Drinks - All drinks at the safari camp - drinks paid on order with cash or card
Tips for vendors - Tips for service staff at safari camp - cash required
Air Transportation- Flights into OR Tambo and out of Hoedspruit Airport (Eastgate Airport)
FLIGHT BOOKING INFORMATION
Flights are not included in this package. It is essential to book flights early as the number of flights and seats are limited. Please look into flight option BEFORE booking this package. We will not refund if you are not able to find a flight booking.
Arrival: Book a one way flight to arrive to OR Tambo (JNB) no later than 10AM. Please do not book flights to Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg.
Departure: Book a one way flight departing from Hoedspruit (Eastgate Airport) to Cape Town at 1:40pm, there is only one airline flying this route: SA Airlink.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Manyeleti is on the periphery of malaria areas. The hosts do not take malaria prophylaxis, but you may do so for your own peace of mind. It is not required.
Accommodation is shared on this trip. The tented accommodation is very comfortable and bathrooms are en suite
The safari camp is a “Green” camp and is powered with solar - Internet connectivity and electrical power points are limited.
Things you'll need to bring:
• Comfortable walking shoes
• Comfortable easy fitting clothing – Days are hot, and evenings cool down
• Warm jacket and beanie for evening and dawn game drives.
• Sunscreen, swimming costume and towel & sun hat, sunglasses
• Water flask/bottle
• Camera - game and African landscape photographs
• Cash for drinks and staff tips
Mike and Jacky have been hosting Remote Year Safari trips for several years and love sharing their home, African bush knowledge and are focused on the authenticity of the African Safari experience they host.
MINIMUM TO OPERATE
DEADLINE TO BOOK
36 days prior to the start of the experience
READ THE REVIEWS
Like many things involving RY, this isn't the cheapest activity and you could theoretically do it cheaper on your own. With that said, this was still a fantastic experience, and Jackie and Mike really made the whole trip.
Jackie and Mike really do welcome you as part of their family - you'll get delicious home cooked meals, plenty of drinks and snacks, and lots of real talk. Mike took us on a drive through the farm where we spotted giraffes, zebras, and impalas amongst gorgeous mountains and valleys. Jackie chaperoned us to the safari, ensuring we had plenty of roadtrip snacks, played fun tunes to make the time pass, and supplied us with bug spray and scarves to protect us from bugs when we forgot ours.
Distinctly Africa was also a wonderful experience. Leon (the owner) is a real character, and you can tell he's passionate about what he does. If you're interested in stargazing, Leon is an expert so be sure to ask him for info. Our guide & tracker, Mpho and Reply were wonderful - they found us all 5 of the Big 5, plus we saw wild dogs (a rarity!). Accommodations are basic, but better than you'd expect for the middle of the bush (actual beds, AC in your rooms, and full plumbing). We got super close to the wild life on game drives and were able to get tons of incredible photos.
Polaris did a slightly varied version of this trip, which I'd strongly recommend RY offer as the standard option moving forward. Rather than driving the 10 (?) hours from safari camp back to Jo-burg, we drove only 1.5 hours and flew out of Hoedspruit. Our flights were a bit more expensive, but this allowed us an extra full game drive and saved us a long, brutal travel day, arriving back in CPT around 4:30pm. We also flew into nelspruit airport, though given that Jackie and Mike's house was backtracking from there you could probably still fly into Jo-burg and be fine.
This was my big RY purchase/excursion and it was TOTALLY worth it!! Jacky and Mike are amazing hosts and by the end, we all felt like family. The first night at their house was very chill and Jacky cooked an amazing meal for the group. Once at the park and the game reserve, we saw over 40 different animals over the four days and each one was AMAZING! The accommodations were great and the food was spectacular! Our group truly bonded over our shared experience and we couldn't stop talking about it when we got back. The trip was a lot of sitting in a car but it was a necessary evil for all the amazing sights. I would have loved to swim in the pool at the game reserve where we stayed but it wasn't clean so we had to pass. Overall, unforgettable experience that I highly recommend for everyone visiting South Africa!
A large group of us booked this experience with Jackie and Mike and we cannot express enough how wonderful they were. From the moment we met at the airport it felt that we were truly thought of and cared for from beginning to end of our trip. Not only are Jackie and Mike local to the area, but they have many many years of experience in the bush, they are passionate and knowledgable about this land and these animals, and they love to meet new people and share experiences. Also, they are just a ton of fun to be around.
The attention to detail that these two provide is unmatched. From packing a ton of drinks and snacks into the car for us, to actually renting special vans so that we could be more comfortable for the long drive, to welcoming us into their lovely farmhouse, to giving us space and quiet time when we need it, to singing and dancing in the car, to (multiple) cocktail hours, to delicious home-cooked food, to making us feel like a family (we thought of them as our parents), it was the most beautiful weekend we could have asked for.
Our safari experience as a whole was unforgettable, but it was truly Jackie and Mike that made it exceptional. We left them with intentions to visit again when we could. Please please join Jackie and Mike if you want a highly personal touch to your South Africa experience.
Going on a safari is always a once in a lifetime experience. But having a personal liaison to guide you makes this experience exceptional. Jackie and Mike met us at the airport, helped us get SIM cards (must be a SA resident to obtain) and then drove us to their home for a unique homestay. Jackie is an amazing cook and we were able to relax by the fire before dinner. Jackie thought of even the smallest needs we might have and even provided flashlights for walking around camp at night, and ppillows and snacks for the ride
The next morning we loaded up and headed to Krueger National Park. The van was a roomy and comfortable mode of transportation with a lunch stop at an animal reserve for our first sight of the amazing animals of South Africa.
The rest of the day was spent driving through Krueger seeing Elephants, Elan, Baboons etc.
Arriving at Manyeleti reserve in time to get unpacked in the cabins that were quite nice and have dinner under the stars.
We were fortunate to see all big 5 on our 3 safari adventures in Manyeleti up close and personal. Mike was a guide and tracker for over ten years and brings so much knowledge to the adventure.
Seeing the Elephants, Lions, a Leopard, and Cape Buffalo throughout our rides on the first day 4 of the big 5 would have been enough. Add the Giraffes, Baboons, Hyena, Elan, Zebras, Monkeys and Eagles followed by an amazingly beautiful sunset, braii dinner in the bush and more stars than you’ve ever seen before.
Finally sighting the Rhino on our 3rd and final morning safari ride which was the last of the big 5 was so exciting.
The staff at Manyeleti are gracious and friendly. Being able to sit by the fire and talk with the employees and guests about life on the reserve, the animal sighted and the struggles SA is facing adds an additional layer to this trip.
Thanks to Jacky and Mike, this felt more like a family road trip! They welcomed us into their amazing farmhouse, where we got to drive around a bit and see giraffes. Jacky cooked wonderful meals and snacks for us, and they really made us feel like their children who’d returned home for the weekend! Driving through Kruger the second day was fun because we saw tons of Ellies (Elephants), Giraffes, hyena, hippos, crocodiles, impala, Buffalo, and a lion! Then we arrived at the Distinctly Africa campsite, which had nice accommodations including AC units and showers (which I did not expect). The game drives were AMAZING! We saw ALL BIG FIVE up close and personal in the middle of the WILD African Bush! The game driver really went out of his way to find the animals you wanted to see, and to make it a fun experience! We even saw a Cheetah! The food they served at camp was good, we also got to taste impala which we all liked the most. The drive back to the airport on the last day is pretty long, but again, it was more fun with Jacky and Mike aka mom and dad! All in all, this side trip was full of amazing moments and is definitely a MUST DO while you’re in South Africa!
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