Kalahari’s Rare Mammals Safari
October 16 - October 24£828 – £4135
Kalahari’s Rare Mammals Safari
When most people think of and travel to South Africa they are imagining and hoping to see the big five in one of the famous game reserves or national parks such as Kruger. However there is so much more to South Africa and much more wildlife to showcase. For any wildlife enthusiasts we believe this trip will show off some of the most elusive species of Southern Africa. There are many species which are present in all of the field guides but are seldom ever seen elsewhere.
The regions explored on this trip are the Kalahari and Karoo and this huge area is sectioned into national parks, private reserves and working game ranches. The low density of humans allows for a greater abundance of wildlife and because the land is so arid there is little vegetation to support the huge numbers of large herbivores that dominate South Africa’s better known national parks. Without the large herds of antelope, zebra and gazelles there are less large predators which has led to bigger numbers of rarer and unique species such as: aardvarks, aardwolves, brown hyenas and elephant shrews as well as smaller predators like African wild cat, caracal and black-footed cat.
Top Animals on Tour
South African Hedgehog
On your arrival at the airport you will be met by your local guide and transferred in your private vehicle to your hotel. The rest of the day will be for you to relax and have a briefing about the wildlife that we will hope to see.
Witsand Kalahari Reserve
This morning you will be taken to the airport to catch the short flight to Upington on the banks of the famous Orange River in the Northern Cape. Once you arrive in this small town you will then be transferred to the Witsand Kalahari Reserve.
You will probably arrive here in the late afternoon and so we will not have much time to see the local wildlife before dinner, but we can head out after dinner for some spotlighting. In the past aardvark, black-footed cats and pangolins have been seen here and we will hope for some luck on our first evening here. We usually see common duiker in the evening here and there are also often yellow mongoose and sometimes meerkats around the accommodation in the day time.
Witsand Kalahari Reserve
During the next 3 days you will be taken around the reserve of Witsand, there are many species of rare and unusual mammals and birds that live here and he hope to see many of them.
We will have morning and afternoon game drives or guided walks around the reserve before spotlighting after dark. Your meals will be served around the chalets in between the game drives and allow you plenty of time to rest as a major focus of our wildlife watching will be done at night.
This is when we have the chance of seeing aardvarks and black-footed cats that occur here and hopefully we will catch a glimpse of one of them here. During the day we have a chance for ground pangolin, however this species is very hard to see.
All of these animals are of course very tough to see (even here where they are relatively common) so luck is needed to see any of them.
The bird life in the reserve is also good and there are three species of sandgrouse, African pygmy flacon, crimson-breated shirke and Kori bustard as well as dozens of other species that can be found here are the order of the day.
Whilst here we will also spend some time on foot looking for the wonderful bushveld elephant shrew, mole-rats and other small mammals.
To try and find the ground pangolins we will concentrate our efforts on the Brulsand, which translates to Roaring Sand; the area for this is a known pangolin haunt. The pangolin will probably be the toughest species to find on this tour and we will return here each late afternoon and evening to see if we can find one. But during the day there are some large mammals that can be found here such as gemsbok, red hartebeest and springbok.
Kimberley (Karoo) Region
After breakfast we head for Kimberley in the Karoo region of South Africa. More specifically we will head to our next accommodation which is the private game farm of Marrick. We will be based here for the next 3 nights.
This pleasant working farm will be our base as we explore here and the surrounding areas.
We will probably not have time to go out this afternoon and so after checking in and relaxing for a while we will head out after dinner on our first night safari of Marrick.
The main target species here is the incredible and unusual aardvark. There is a small population here and they are quite used to people and so are easier to see here than pretty much anywhere else in the world. As well as these aardvarks we hope for black-footed cats, African wild cats and other nocturnal mammals around here tonight.
During this evening excursion we might also encounter bat-eared fox and aardwolf, both of which are quite common here.
Kimberley (Karoo) Region
This morning you will have your first full day exploring the range of habitats around Marrick, the most commonly seen large species is the black wildebeest (endemic to the cape of South Africa they are a very unusual looking species).
Also commonly seen here are giraffe, eland, gemsbok and with some luck possibly a caracal. We will also be able to get out of the vehicle and search this area on foot at times here as we do not have to worry about the larger predators like lions lurking around.
It is by exploring the habitat on foot that you will be able to see smaller mammals like rodents, elephant shrews, hedgehogs and reptiles. The birding is also very productive here during the day and with blue cranes that breed on the farm you should see these huge and beautiful species close up. Then after dinner you will be taken back out around here or to the nearby Benfontein Game Farm for spotlighting. Benfontein is very good for black-footed cats and we will be searching out this species as much as any other here.
Kimberley (Karoo) Region
This morning after breakfast you will be transferred from Marrick Game Farm to the nearby Benfontein Game Farm, this is the last full day and we will be searching for any species that have so far eluded us.
This is a huge farm and here there has been ground breaking research on the very small black-footed cat and we have enlisted the help of the researchers here in the past and are confident of finding the black-footed cats here with their help.
Also here we have a chance for the very hard to see Cape fox and if you are interested we can arrange special permits with the McGregor Museum to visit the Griekwastad cave systems where several species of bats can be found. You will come back to Marrick in the evening for your final night on the trip.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport in time to catch your return flight home.
Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.
This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.
The Western Cape province of South Africa has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate with mild, moderately wet winters and dry, warm summers. Winter, which lasts from the beginning of June to the end of August, may see large cold fronts entering for limited periods from the Atlantic Ocean with significant precipitation and strong north-westerly winds.
August is on average the third rainiest month of the year and the occasional storm blowing in from the Atlantic is not uncommon.
In general when the sun is out the days should be warm and pleasant but expect chilly weather and rain during the tour, especially when on the water.
Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). There will be an amount of bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day. We have our own private air conditioned vehicle to be driven by your local guide. You get the services of the zoologist escort as well as the local naturalist guide included in the fee.
All our excursions including jeep safaris, guided walks, night safaris and park entrance fees are also included.
We recommend you bring along your own binoculars or spotting scope as well as appropriate clothing; which should be clothes for both warm & dry days and chilly nights and cool morning safaris. Comfortable walking shoes are a must. Insect repellent is handy but not essential. Any medication, books or other items of a personal nature is of course up to you to bring along. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera. Also do not forget sun cream, sun hat and sun glasses as the sun can be strong here during the day.
We provide a comprehensive species list of all the vertebrates present in the areas we are visiting as well as some of the best field guides and reference books for the areas we are visiting. There is usually a spare pair of binoculars but in a group of 4-6 people these do not stretch too far. Spotlights for night drives are also included. Camera Traps will also be used to try and capture hard to see wildlife in the dead of night.
Nearly everything is included in this tour. The only things not included are international flights, travel insurance (contact us for more information one what is required from your insurance policy), any food bought outside of the three main meals, drinks outside of any offered with the meals and the bottled water provided each day and any items of a personal nature such as souvenirs and tips. Any applicable departure taxes and not included (but maybe included in the cost of your flights). Please check before departure.
As we are based in Manchester we recommend flights from Manchester International Airport
We recommend Emirates or KLM as good airlines for flights to Johannesburg; and then from there we recommend South African Airways for internal flights to Upington. One of the best websites to search for the best fares is to and from Johannesburg and Upington is www.opodo.co.uk; who are IATA accredited this is a link direct to their site. Please check our terms and conditions regarding booking flights.
Please contact us for more information about flights and we can provide you with a link direct to the flights from another supplier; in which case you only have to enter the passenger information and payment details. By using the above link you will leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for the content on the site.
Visas and Health Information
All UK passport holders and most other nationalities are required to have a visa for South Africa. However these are given out free of charge on arrival at the airport. Usually 30 days is granted but please confirm this as less if sometimes given. The easiest way to find information is by visiting www.southafrica.info (be aware that this link leaves our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for information on the site).
There are no mandatory vaccinations needed to visit India, but it is recommended to be protected against TB, polio, typhoid, tetanus and hepatitis A as well as taking a form of malaria prophylactics. Please consult your GP about your individual requirements for visiting South Africa as soon as you have decided on this trip.
Reviews of this Holiday
Joyce Hoy, Cardiff
Derek & Sally Howes, Essex
Jess & Pete - Melbourne, Australia