6 DayUnforgettable Big Five Encounter

If you’re venturing to South Africa in search of the iconic Big 5, this flexible Greater Kruger wildlife safari itinerary comes highly recommended. Designed with both guided and self-guided activities in mind, it offers just the right balance between flexibility and organisation.

Big Five Safari Experience

While the main focus of this six-day itinerary is on South Africa’s wild game, it is considered one of our most flexible and dynamic options. From trunk greetings with rescued ellies, to waterfalls, wine and the world’s largest ‘green canyon’, we’ve added in a little bit of everything... 

You’ll get your authentic safari lodge experience at Kapama Game Reserve (where you’ll find your favourite Big 5 members) but first, two nights at a country-style boutique hotel. During your stay here, you can hit the spa, tee off on the fairways, and even experience a trip along the oh-so-scenic Panorama Route.

As this itinerary stands, we’ve added a careful balance of guided, self-drive and self-guided activities, but our Destination Specialists can certainly tailor-make it to your personal preferences. If you’d like to let us handle all of the nitty-gritty, we’ll add in more flights, guided experiences and private transfers.

Big Five Encounter Highlights

  • Combine a flexible balance self-drive and guided experiences.
  • Meet and exchange trunk greetings with an African elephant at the Elephant Whisperers Sanctuary.
  • Explore the ever-changing landscapes of the Panorama Route at your own pace.
  • Get your safari fix at Kapama Game Reserve, brimming with an abundance of wildlife, with over 60 mammal species including the Big 5 and more than 360 bird species.
  • Experience the two great rivers on guided drives, namely the Kapama and the Klaserie which flow through the reserve, attracting a wide range of large and small game.
  • Enjoy easy access to wellness and spa options, along with the 18-hole White River Golf Course.

Day 1: Arrival at Oliver’s

If you would prefer to tackle this six-day itinerary as a self-drive, we’ll arrange for your rental car pick up so that you can make your way to your first destination: Oliver’s Restaurant and Lodge.

Located in the town of White River in Mpumalanga Province, this Austrian-African, country-style hotel will be your home for the next two nights. During your stay you can look forward to a special raclette and fondue dinner in the private wine cellar and fill your days with optional spa treatments. Up for a few rounds of golf? Hit the velvet-green fairways at the 18-hole championship White River Club. 

Day 2: Time to Meet the Ellies

On your second day at Oliver’s Restaurant and Lodge, you can enjoy the estate at your leisure or take a self-drive along the Panorama Route. This is where you can experience the awe-inspiring Blyde River Canyon from the and iconic look-out points at God’s Window and the Three Rondavels.

Later this afternoon, it’s off to meet Tembo, Lindiwe and Shamwari who form part of the rescued elephant family at Elephant Whispers Sanctuary. During your scheduled visit you can learn more about the conservation of these majestic pachyderms while watching them enjoying a mud bath, or swimming in their dam. You’ll also learn the art of the perfect trunk greeting and spending time roaming the property together. 

Day 3 - 5: It’s Game Time!

Over the next three days, you’ll make your way to Kapama Game Reserve (Southern Camp) where guided game drives and bush walks top the agenda. The guides here have years of experience and while no sightings are ever guaranteed, they will get you up close to a variety of large game, especially those that make up the Big 5. 

The camp also boasts top-notch facilities from air-conditioned rooms, to a rim-flow pool and an incredible spa and wellness centre where you can keep up to speed on your pampering. Optional activities during your stay can also include a visit to Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center, or if you simply can’t get enough of those loveable ellies (we don’t blame you), we can arrange for another elephant interaction. 

Day 6: It’s Not Goodbye, its See You Soon!

You will have learnt how to do a trunk greeting during this six-day experience, but now it’s time to say goodbye. 

After you drop off your trusty stead (rental car) in the town of Hoedspruit, we’ll arrange for your outbound flights to your city of choice. As mentioned earlier, this is an exceptionally flexible itinerary and we could easily extend your stay, or add on a new adventure in another location. Our suggestion? Head south to Cape Town, where rolling vineyards, a table-shaped mountain and shimmering coastlines await. 


  • 7 days’ mid-size automatic car rental with unlimited mileage and premium insurance.
  • 2 nights’ accommodation at Olivers Restaurant & Lodge a luxury country estate in White River.
  • 3 nights’ at a safari lodge in Kapama Game Reserve.
  • Breakfast included from day 2 to day 6.
  • Dinner at Olivers Restaurant on day 1 with a complimentary bottle of wine.
  • Lunch, snacks and dinner included from day 3 to 5.
  • A selection of drinks including house wines, beers, spirits, bottled water, juices, soft drinks, teas and coffees during your stay at Kapama Game Reserve.
  • Morning and afternoon game drives in open safari vehicle accompanied by experienced rangers and expert Shangaan trackers while on safari at Kapama Game Reserve.
  • Bushwalks in Kapama Game Reserve with armed rangers, offering you an intimate encounter with nature and wildlife.

Not Included

  • Fuel, toll fees and additional driver fee
  • Optional activities, park fees and meals not mentioned above
  • Laundry service and all other items of personal nature to be settled direct
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