The best Big 5 winter bush breaks

Posted by A on 15 June 2013

If you’re starting to develop that distant stare into space, escaping to your happy place where game frolic in the sun and fever trees blow in the wind, rather than dealing with your boss, then it’s a good indication that you need a holiday. Winter is a great time to visit the bush. Not only can you really checkout this time (without feeling like an idiot because you’re a million miles away), you can exchange city and work stresses for peak-hour traffic caused by elephants, bush calls made by nightjars and Big 5 gatherings at waterholes for a couple of days. Any one of the following awesome bush specials in South Africa will ensure that the next place you visit is in fact your happy place.

big 5 winter bush breaks ghost mountain inn - lake jozini 2

Watch hippo blow bubbles on a boat cruise on Lake Jozini

1. Ghost Mountain Inn – Mkuze

It never really gets cold in Zululand. Not like in Johannesburg. Their poor excuse for a Zululand winter has daytime highs of 24°C and lows of 11°C making it a very appealing spot to head during winter. The Elephant Coast is a wildlife mecca that has everything from mangroves to riverine bush, making it one of my favourite spots to see game and the Big 5. Ghost Mountain Inn offers a hive of activities led by informative and quirky guides that make use of this incredible diversity. Watch pods of hippo blowing bubbles on a Lake Jozini boat cruise, walk under the canopy of giant sycamore figs on the Mkuze Fig Forest Walk or visit the oldest game park in Africa, Hluhluwe for a day game drive. A comfortable 5-hour drive from Jo’burg and 2 hours from Durbs, Ghost Mountain Inn has it all: the Big 5, stunning scenery and one or two legends to keep you on your toes.

Bush special
Spend three cozy nights in a standard room with delicious breakfast daily and two dinners for R2 395 a person sharing. A complimentary bottle of wine, boat cruise on Lake Jozini and a R100 spa vouchers are included in the price.
Valid during June, July and August 2013.
Click here to send an enquiry

big-5-bush-breaks- Kwa-Mbili at Thornybush 3

Get up close to game on a drive at Kwa-Mbili

2. Kwa-Mbili – Thornybush

As part of the Thornybush Game Reserve, you can now enjoy one of the most sought after bush destinations in the Greater Kruger Park without the hefty price tag attached. You won’t feel out of place in your jeans and slops (in fact it’s encouraged), and the personable staff are on hand to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. Whether your interest lies in birds, tuskers or the big cats, your guides will try their utmost to accommodate guests (nature abiding of course). The intimate lodge allows guests to share meals around a glowing fire before falling asleep to an orchestra of frogs and night creatures in one of the safari tents or thatched chalets. You have over 11 000 hectares of thickets, plains and riverine Big 5 bushveld to explore on foot and by open vehicles. Each day is different, with something special around each corner.
Bush special
Stay for three nights with all meals, two game activities per day and a visit to the nearby Endangered Species Centre for R4 500 a person sharing.
Valid June-October 2013.
Click here to send an enquiry

big5 winter bush breaks 4 thornhill in thornybush

Thornybush Game Reserve has the Big 5 including rhino

 3. Thornhill – Greater Kruger Park

Expect delicious food (even for vegetarians), a high level of personal attention, a well-stocked bar (never a bad thing) and snug triple, double and twin rooms at affordable rates 40km outside Orpen gate. Thornhill allows guests to take short day trips to Kruger, Moholoholo and nearby reserves without a sweat, allowing guests to have a loose itinerary when they arrive. If you’re like me, getting some sort of exercise on holiday makes the over-indulgence at mealtimes worth it. Even though there are daily game drives to the Kruger Park for the Big 5 experience, guests can also look forward to nature walks on the conservancy for that all essential fresh of breath air (not to mention a good dose of adrenaline thrown in). Inquisitive meerkats, zebra and vervet monkeys at the lodge make for excellent subject matter for wildlife photography and evening stargazing with the guides is sure to put a twinkle in your eye.

Bush special 1
Pay R815 a person sharing a night for accommodation in an en-suite chalet, breakfast, lunch and dinner. An extra R450 will get you a seat on an open game drive vehicle for a full day with a gorgeous game ranger at the helm (we hope).

Bush special 2
Spend two nights for R5 780 a person sharing inclusive of all meals, game drives, guided walk in a private game reserve and transfers to and from Johannesburg.
Valid June-December 2013.
Click here to send an enquiry

big5 winter bush-breaks hluhluwe game reserve 5

Hluhluwe Game Reserve is a wildlife paradise

4. Bonamanzi – Hluhluwe

Drifting along the Hluhluwe River in search of jet-black crakes and pied kingfishers is a highlight at Bonamanzi. Deep in the Zululand bush in Hluhluwe, you’ll have over 4000 hectares of virgin bushveld to explore using one of the game activities on offer. Go in search of the Big 5 on an open-vehicle game drive, spot African Jacanas on a boat cruise on the Hluhluwe River and walk on foot on the St Lucia floodplains in search of hippo. With 395 recorded species of bird, a rich diversity of habitats and wildlife and professional guides, this bush break is a great place to start ticking off a few boxes.
Including two nights at Lalapanzi Camp with dinner and breakfast daily, two guided walks, a game drive and a boat cruise for R2 500 a person sharing.
Valid June-31 August 2013.

Click here to send an enquiry

big 5 winter bush breaks ,Amakhala Game Reserve

Take a Big 5 bush walk to the top of Bushman’s River Valley at Amakhala

5. Amakhala – Eastern Cape

An often forgotten corner of South Africa, the Eastern Cape is a winner for a Big 5 bush break. Take in impressive views over the Amakhala Game Reserve from Woodbury Lodge, which sits snuggly against a cliff above the meandering Bushman’s River. With only six charming stone-and-thatch cabins, exclusivity is the name of the game where personalized attention and privacy are guaranteed. Apart from the viewing deck and swimming pool located at the main lodge, each cabin has its own relaxation area: ideal for reading, tanning or sipping a coolie. Rangers can take guests on foot or by vehicle to secluded spots on the reserve for sundowners, to lookouts for a birds-eye view of elephant feeding below or well-known spots where game frequent. Guests will appreciate the diverse topography of hills, meandering streams and thickets (habitat to their black rhino) on the reserve.

Bush special
Spend three tranquil nights with all meals and two game activities per day for R6 530 a person sharing. Transfers and flights to Amakhala can also be arranged (please specify).
Valid June-30 September 2013.
Click here to send an enquiry

Take a luxury bush break to Black Rhino Lodge

6. Pilanesberg – North West

The great thing about Pilanesberg National Park for you chaps in Gauteng is that it’s convenient. Hop in your car, put on your favourite road-tripping song and before you know it you’ll be in tune with nature. An ancient volcano that erupted over 1300 million years ago, the Pilanesberg is a hub for wildlife, including the Big 5. You’ll be personally guided by a ranger to all the best spots on the reserve on your daily game drives before unwinding at the simple, stylish and luxurious Black Rhino Lodge. You can top off your bush experience with a hot air balloon ride over the reserve or with an elephant-back safari.

Bush special
Spend two luxury nights at the Black Rhino Lodge in the Pilanesberg and get three meals and two game drives daily for an incredible R3 240 a person sharing.
Valid June-31 August 2013.

Click here to send an enquiry

For more Getaway holiday packages click here

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