Welcome to Bolt’s version of an African safari: a 1,000 kilometer, 8 day expedition north from Johannesburg, through National and Provincial Parks, including 3 days in Kruger National Park and 5 days in two private reserves. We traveled in a caravan of 4x4-equipped, rooftop-tented Land Rovers. The vehicles were self-driven (ie. members drove throughout) over rugged four wheeling trails. We mixed 3 nights of staying in comfortable safari lodges with four nights of wild camping in the bush - a perfect blend of roughing it with some creature comforts along the way.
This trip wasn’t not for the faint of heart, and it was important to understand it was different from a typical guided safari. We traveled through private reserves, camping in areas without fences, amongst the Big 5.
Overlanding Across South Africa
A mix of refined and rugged
Bolt’s self-driven safari built in the best parts of a more typical safari in Kruger National Park, while adding 5 additional days of out-there adventure, ranging over private reserves and rooftop-tent camping. We met our guides and started our exploration with two nights at a lodge inside of Kruger National Park, enjoying game drives in the morning and evening, returning to comfortable beds and delicious dinners.
Our third morning, we headed for the North Gate at Phalaborwa, exiting Kruger and entering the Letaba Ranch. These private reserves are unfenced, and the animals have free movement, so we looked for them, rather than the other way around. This was when our safari turned into an overlanding expedition - an old-school South African safari at its best.
Searching for the Big 5
Across Kruger National Park, Letaba Ranch, and Makuya Reserve, we looked for the classic African “Big 5”: lions, leopards, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo. Morning and late afternoon are optimal for viewing animals, so early made for full days of exploration. The journey was the destination.
What we’ll do (aka a rough itinerary)
April 10th - April 17th, Hoedspruit > Phalaborwa, South Africa
$2350 per person
This 8 day Experience was designed to showcase the best of a traditional African bush safari. Members were encouraged to add time for solo travels in Johannesburg and Cape Town for a contrasting view of the country, and in each location they connected with fellow Bolt members, linking as travel companions.
“Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on Earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same. But how do you begin to describe its magic to someone who has never felt it?
How can you explain the fascination of this vast, dusty continent, whose oldest roads are elephant paths?”
More Flexibility = More Opportunities to View Wildlife
After leaving the gates of Kruger National Park on Day 3, we’ll enter less trafficked private reserves - perfect for more intimate encounters with wildlife, both from our vehicles and on foot. Driving through the reserves, stopping at sightings, and staking out waterholes, where the animals congregate.
A 4x4 Adventure Meant We Were Off Road
Led by an expert guide piloting his own vehicle, Bolt members drove trucks across varied landscapes (or hung back in the passenger seat, for those who preferred). In some spots, distances were short, but the roads were rugged, and we stopped to assess the situation frequently before proceeding. This was a perfect opportunity to learn the ins and outs of offroad driving, with plenty of chances to drive through challenging terrain.
Camping Under the Stars
For four consecutive nights, we camped in the bush, unpacking and assembling the rooftop tents and equipment for a night in the wild. The area around our camps was ripe for exploration, so we stretched our legs and headed out on hikes and into river swimming holes for relaxation. Upon our return, it was time to eat delicious food, listen to a bit of music, discuss the day’s sightings, and enjoy the unique connections that build over a week of exploring somewhere new with an intimate group of fellow travelers.
Our Path Through South Africa
Departing from Hoedspruit, ZA, we drove a loop of approximately 1000 kilometers, arriving in Phalaborwa to end the adventure.
A Self-Driven African Safari
April 10th - April 17th, 2019
$2350 per person
Experience Start: Hoedspruit, South Africa, Wednesday, 12:35pm, April 10th, 2019
Experience End: : Phalaborwa, South Africa, Wednesday, 5:00pm, April 17th, 2019
What Was Included:
A spot in a 3-4 person capacity, rooftop-tent equipped low-range 4x4 Land Rover Defender, or Toyota Landcruiser or HiLux.
Accommodation, including camping and nights spent in lodges
A local guide leading the expedition in his own vehicle
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners during the safari experience
All costs associated with vehicles, plus entry to National Parks.
Flights to experience start or end
Accommodation, food, any other expenses outside of official Experience start and end
Alcohol (as we are camping in unfenced areas with Big 5 game, excessive drinking is discouraged)
This experience started in Hoedspruit, South Africa and ends in Phalaborwa, South Africa. Both start and end were accessible via flights from Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo airport.
This 8 day Experience was designed to showcase the best of a traditional African bush safari. Bolt members were encouraged to add time for solo travels in Johannesburg and Cape Town for a contrasting view of the country. They connected with the Bolt members attending this experience for travel companions before and after the safari.