The Safari Lodge is approximately 7-8 hours away from Johannesburg, and a good portion of the drive is on unmarked, poorly maintained two-lane gravel, sand, and tar roads where GPS can be unreliable. South Africa is left-hand drive, which can be confusing for those who are from right-hand drive countries, especially when you are exhausted from a long flight and on the “back side of the clock.” Arrival time for safaris is typically 1pm. You’d have to leave at 5 am to arrive in time for lunch (if everything goes perfectly), and going on safari after a stressful 8-hour drive isn’t fun. When you add together the cost of a hotel, car rental, petrol, tolls, gate entrance and conservation fees combined with the exhausting driving schedule, it will be more than you bargained for. Please trust us with that advice. Our Ground Transportation Package is designed to avoid a bad experience, so your trip will be the vacation you dreamed about.
Our two-night schedule allows you to adapt to the time change, get a good night’s sleep, have a few excellent meals, and arrive at the Lodge refreshed and ready for safari.
You may also use your night in Johannesburg at the end of your safari. Some clients prefer to start in Cape Town and will be able to use their Johannesburg B&B night after the safari, if desired.
The day before safari, fly to Nelspruit (MQP) in the late morning after a sumptuous breakfast. Flights are not included, but average $250 round trip on SA Airlink. We have advised the best flight times below to ensure you get a good night’s sleep, a leisurely breakfast, and arrive in Nelspruit in time for a special tour of Chimp Eden at 2pm. Chimp Eden is Dr. Jane Goodall’s Rescue/Rehab facility.
We’ll provide airport pickup and overnight in Nelspruit at a top B&B Guest House with an incredible view, outstanding service, and exquisite rooms. If you take a suggested late morning flight (one hour flight time), you can enjoy the 2pm tour of Dr. Jane Goodall’s rescue/rehab facility, Chimp Eden. You’ll be back at the Guest House by 4:30 and can watch the sun set over the valley with a cocktail in hand, then have dinner on the property at Orange Restaurant, one of the finest dining experiences to be had in Africa (dinner not included) or UBER elsewhere for your meal. Settle into your comfy bed for a good night’s rest. Wake up refreshed and ready for safari!
You’ll have plenty of time for a decadent buffet and made-to-order breakfast (included). The vehicle will depart for the Safari Lodge around 10:30-11:00 with you and possibly other safari guests. The driver will be happy to make restroom stops but please give as much advance notice as possible so they can plan a stop at a clean bathroom. There is a planned stop about 1.5 hours into the drive at Perry’s Bridge Reptile Park, which includes a curio shop, craft shop, coffee shop, brewery, and a Belgian Patisserie combined with a wine shop. You’ll have a few minutes to buy snacks or drinks (it’s always nice to buy one for your driver if you want to). The total drive to the Safari Lodge is 2.5-3 hours. Our service uses clean, new vehicles with safe, friendly, English-speaking drivers who will be happy to tell you about the sights and culture of the areas through which you will travel.
You’ll arrive at the Lodge rested and relaxed, with plenty of time to settle in before our delicious lunch, after which we will hop into the safari vehicles for the afternoon game drive. You are on safari!
On the last day, we’ll enjoy the morning game drive, have our last decadent breakfast, and the vehicle will depart at 10:30-11:00am to transport you back to Nelspruit Airport or a Nelspruit hotel if you want to stay longer. Please do NOT book a return flight earlier than 16:40 as the vehicle can NOT leave early.
Prices are in Rand and are per person based on double-occupancy or single occupancy; please select as appropriate. Please disregard the dates shown on the website; your booking will apply to your safari dates. We can book additional nights in Johannesburg or Nelspruit at your request.
- 1 B&B Night in Johannesburg near OR Tambo Airport including in-airport pickup (may be used at the end of safari instead of arrival night) with separate or queen beds, full breakfast
- 1 B&B Night in Nelspruit including airport pickup, with separate or queen beds, full breakfast
- 2 pm guided tour of Dr. Jane Goodall’s Chimp Eden
- Round-trip transportation to the Safari Lodge with all booked safari guests. Return drop-off at the airport on the last day of safari is 14:00-15:00 (drop-off at other Nelspruit locations are an option, please inquire)
- Gate fees, conservation fees, community fees as applicable
- Meals and snacks other than breakfast.
- Drinks outside of breakfast
- Alcoholic drinks
- Airline flights
- Extra activities
- Personal purchases
- Gratuities. Suggested gratuity for the driver is $10-20 each way per person.
You may use your night in Johannesburg at the beginning or end of your safari. You must plan to be in Nelspruit (MQP) before noon the day before safari. If coming from Johannesburg or Cape Town, you’ll need to arrive in either city TWO days before safari in order to be in Nelspruit on time. Your routes will be either JNB-MQP or CPT-MQP when searching flights. Karen can help you select your flights.
You can get to/from Nelspruit and Cape Town, if you want to extend your trip. There is generally one direct flight daily. Connecting flights through Johannesburg typically add an hour to your travel time but are up to half the cost.
You can search flights through Expedia or any similar booking site. If you can, book directly at www.flyairlink.com