10 of the best bush packages in Africa for summer

Posted on 2 August 2012

The bush is a definite winner for a summer holiday destination. However, how you experience it is entirely up to you. Maybe you prefer to leave the roughing-it-up part to the youngsters, preferring the luxury side of travel, or maybe 4x4ing and overlanding is right up your alley. Whatever makes you tick, we want to make sure you experience the bush your way. Here’s our pick of the best bush packages for the summer holidays.

1. Nature break at Amafu

Take a scenic drive along the Panorama Route and onto Amafu Forest Lodge in Mpumalanga bordering the Blyde River Canyon. Once you arrive in the land of bush, mountains and spectacular scenery you wil be asking yourself, why didn’t I do this sooner? The area is what I call true bushveld where the smell of potato bush fragrances the air, the call of the nightjars put you to sleep and fresh mountain air awakens your body. The lodge is situated in easy driving distance to the Kruger National Park, Hoedspruit and Swadini and offers an affordable holiday for families and couples. You can spend five nights on a family package for four in a self-catering cottage or as a couple in one of the super luxury tents located at the back of the property.

Cost: R9 615 (Family pacakge) for two adults and 2 children under 12. R7 095 (Couples package) for two adults. Both packages include five nights accommodation, activities per person which include one boat ride on the Blydepoort Dam, one hike at Francolin Park, one educational tour to Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre, a walk to the Kadishi Tufa Waterfall and a visit to the Bombyx Mori Silk Farm. The Kapama night drive can be booked at an additional R350 a person.

Contact: Tel 078-478-2638, Send an email enquiry here, www.amafuforestlodge.co.za

2. Slackpacking at Bucklands

For those of us that don’t fancy lugging heavy backpacks on a hike, filled with everything including the kitchen sink, then slackpacking is the way to go. Hikers carry day packs and walk easy distances each day without having to worry about pitching a tent in the rain or preparing an edible meal out of bully beef and mash (been there done that). Staff will prepare tasty meals and transport your luggage to the comfy lodges, freeing you up to make the most of the outdoors. The four-day slackpacking trail in the Bucklands Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, takes you along the Great Fish River, to the San Art and fossils on the reserve and through grassland and bush.

Cost: R3 000 a person sharing including three nights accommodation, all meals, guided hiking, welcome drink and tourism levy. You can also stay at the luxury tented camp or lodge for R1 400 per person sharing per night including two activities per day (including a game drive or walking safari), early morning tea, brunch, high tea, game drive snacks and a three course dinner.
Tel 072-736-3681, [email protected], www.bucklandsreserve.co.za


3. Photo safari in Hluhluwe

You’re a keen photographer and hung up on the bush, but you need subject matter to practice on. Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve in Kwazulu Natal offers spectacular hilly terrain with the largest population of white rhino in the world. Together with a host of other wildlife species including elies, buffalo, lion, hyena, nyala, giraffe and monkeys frequenting the park, you will not be short of material to shoot. The three-day Hluhluwe Photo Safari is a great way to get close to nature and learn more about the bush.

Cost: R3 250 a person sharing which includes accommodation at the Protea Hotel, dinner and breakfast, two six-hour game drives in an open safari vehicle, refreshments on drives, lunch and park fees.
Click here for more on the three-day Hluhluwe Photo Safari

4. Backpacking the Olifants

Doing a wilderness trail in Kruger National Park has to be one of the best experiences I’ve had in the bush. The Bushmans, Nyalaland and Wolhuter trails have allowed me to get up close to game on foot and learn about topics such as tracking, ecology and animal behavior. Although these trails are for almost anyone, there are two backpack trails for the more energetic: the Olifants River and Mphongolo trails. You’ll carry all your own food, cooking and sleeping equipment, picking remote spots to camp along the way. The four-day, three-night trails will take you along rivers, through bush and are led my experienced rangers. For raw, unadulterated bush, these trails are a must.

Cost: R2 050 a person sharing for the Olifants River and Mphongolo Trails and R3 900 a person sharing for the three-night accommodated and catered wilderness trails.
Contact: Tel 012-426-5117, [email protected], www.sanparks.org

5. Land and river safari at Addo Afrique

Some of the finest bush can be found in the Addo Elephant National Park, where the Big Seven (lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, leopard, shark and whale) are protected. The lodge borders the park, and is situated in the Greater Addo area in the Eastern Cape, creating the prime spot for a nature-infused stay. You’ll quickly find yourself taking up a comfy spot on the deck at the lodge, with its magic views of the the park below or around the glowing fire at the boma.

Cost: R4 950 a person sharing which includes three nights accommodation with breakfast, a braai around the campfire on your first night, Schotia safari with open-top 4X4 vehicle, followed by dinner on your second night and Addo River safari/cruise with all drinks included whilst cruising, followed by dinner back at the lodge on your third night.
Book your Addo Afrique safari here

6. Bush package at Qambathi

There are some things in life that you have to share. Staying at Qambathi Mountain Lodge in the southern Drakensberg is one of them. Gourmet cuisine, views of the Kamberg Valley, an abundance of wildlife and welcoming hosts beckon you to your 5-day bliss-infused break. Take a trip to the Bushmen Rock Art Centre, hike to the forest waterfall or tick a few more birds of your list.

Cost: Pay for four nights and stay for five for just R5 520 per person sharing, which includes gourmet three-course dinners, scrumptious breakfasts, one game drive and a picnic lunch on the forest deck.
: Tel 033-267-7515, [email protected], www.qambathi.co.za


7. 4×4 safari in Kruger

One way to broaden your ‘bush horizon’ is to drive to remoter parts of nature using a 4×4. Getting off the beaten track in the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga will allow you to find secluded and wilder bushveld that is often not accessible to normal vehicles. This is an extremely relaxed trail that will allow you ample time to stop and look at game, take photos and get an overall bush experience from Malelane in the south to Olifants in the mid-north of the park. Shorts, binos and beers will be a prerequisite for this summer outdoor adventure.
Your hosts will cook breakfast in the bush, teach you about the fauna and flora of the area and serve up delicious dinners on the 7-day Grassroots package.

Cost: R 6 930 a person sharing for seven days, which includes accommodation in safari tents, professional guide, meals, one morning bush walk, one night drive and entrance fees.
Tel 073-289-9963, [email protected], www.krugerparktrails.com


8. Camping in Namibia

Spend your days outdoors and your nights around crackling fires cooking up a tasty meal. After braaiing a few mashmallows, retire to your tent and sleep to the sounds of the bush. This tour will take you to some of the most scenic landscapes in southern Africa. You’ll get to pitch your tent along the mighty Orange River, in the Namib-Naukluft National Park and in the wild Etosha National Park. Get into the ‘thick of things’ canoeing the Fish River Canyon waters, hiking the dunes of Sossusvlei and climbing the mountains at Spitzkoppe.
The 12-day adventure will allow you to see the depth and breath of Namibia and allow you to get back in touch with nature, whilst sharing the experience with others.

Cost: R8 510 a person sharing which includes all transport, meals, guides, camping, activities and park fees. The tour starts from Cape Town and ends in Windhoek.
Click here to book your 12-day best of Namibia tour

9. Photo weekender in Chobe

This package is sure to be a highlight on your summer calendar. Fine-tune your photography skills by using the latest camera equipment and be instructed by a top wildlife photographer in Chobe, Botswana in just one weekend. The bush is teeming with top-knotch game from crocs, hippos, elephants through to the big cats. You’ll have your own window seat and you get to take your image card home at the end of it. All-in-all it makes for a great bush weekend away.

Cost: US$1600 (approximately R12 800) a person sharing including all flights including taxes (bonus), transfers, dinner and breakfast, accommodation at Mowana 4 star lodge (double bonus), photographic equipment (triple bonus), eight game activities on a boat or vehicle, daily workshops by an expert photographer, refreshments and park fees.
Click here to book your 3-day weekender photo safari


10. Overlanding East Africa  

This is truly one of the most affordable ways to travel and you don’t have to pay the earth to see incredible destinations like the Serengeti, South Luangwa National Park and Lake Malawi. You will have the opportunity to meet like-minded travelers, see spectacular African bush and participate in a host of activities en-route.

Spend 21 days overlanding East Africa, an amazing trip which includes viewing spectacular wildlife in the Ngorongoro Crater, spotting birds at Lake Manyara and overnighting in a local Masai hut.

Cost: R14 100 a person sharing (camping), which includes activities. The tour starts in Victoria Falls and ends in Nairobi and includes meals, two guides, transport, park fees and activities.
Click here for more on the 21-day East African Adventure


Check out more bush packages at adventures.getaway.co.za




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