African Safari & Island Romance
Phinda Private Game Reserve, Benguerra Island
This African Safari and beach holiday combines luxury Big 5 game drives with snorkeling along untouched reefs.
8 Days, 7 Nights
Big 5 African Safari
All inclusive luxury safari lodges
Various beach activities included
Day 1 Flight to Phinda Private Game Reserve
Upon arrival at OR Tambo International Airport, you will be met by a Menzies Aviation representative and assisted through customs and immigration. You will then be assisted with check in procedures for your onward flight.
On arrival at the airstrip you will be met by a team member and transferred to the lodge.
Enjoy twice-daily game drives that set off early in the morning or late in the afternoon (continuing after nightfall), in the company of expert safari guides and local trackers who will do their best to ensure that all your wishes are met.
In addition to the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo), each safari destination features an iconic set of wildlife and some of KwaZulu-Natal’s endemic species, which you won’t encounter anywhere else in South Africa. You will also be spoilt for choice at the range of awe-inspiring landscapes in the region. Venture through the seven distinct ecosystems of Phinda Private Game Reserve, often referred to as Seven Worlds of Wonder. This fascinating variety of landscape and vegetation shelters an abundance of wildlife, including rarer and less easily spotted species such as the elusive cheetah or the scarce black rhino. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park also boasts an extraordinary array of habitats from mountainous regions and grasslands to flourishing forests and wetlands.
Day 2 Safari Game Drives
Day 3 Guided Bush Walk & Game Drives
A guided nature walk is a magical alternative to a Big Five game drive in the wildlife parks of KwaZulu-Natal. This adventure makes full use of all your senses, allowing you a deeper connection with the African bush. Strap on your boots and feel the wild grasses crush beneath your boots as you follow your expert guide into the pristine, untamed landscapes of the region. Be mesmerised by the morning sunlight as it dances in dew drops delicately sprinkled on flourishing vegetation. Smell nature in its purest form and be enchanted by the chorus of wildlife surrounding you.
Nothing quite encapsulates the feeling of viewing wildlife on foot. Encounter a variety of plains game from a safe distance and be enchanted by the reserve’s smaller inhabitants. This activity is also fantastic for keen birders and photographic enthusiasts. Your guides have a wealth of experience under their belts and will not only introduce you to the region’s fantastic fauna but its kaleidoscopic array of flora too. For any safari addict, this is definitely a bucket list adventure that will keep you coming back for more!
Day 4 Flight to Vilanculos (via KMIA)
After a mouth-watering breakfast, you will be driven to the airstrip for your flight to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, where you will board a flight to Vilanculos International Airport.
A representative will meet you at Vilanculos Airport and assist you, and fellow guests, onto your helicopter flight to Benguerra Island. As the second largest island of the Bazaruto Archipelago, Benguerra offers exceptional opportunities to witness a slice of the very best of Mozambique’s exceptional marine life. (Approximately 10 minutes).
Day 5 Snorkel along exposed coral reefs teeming with rainbow coloured fish
Venture out into the vast blue ocean on a boat, and explore exposed coastal reefs just off Benguerra Island at low tide with the aid of snorkelling gear. Witness the technicoloured marine life of the Indian Ocean, flitting through the translucent waters under the searching rays of the African sun.
Snorkelling at Two-Mile Reef will suit every guest, regardless of age and expertise. The boat ride out to the reef can be bumpy as the outgoing and incoming tides converge in the channel between Bazaruto and Benguerra Island. Two-Mile Reef is a flat-topped barrier reef renowned for its brilliant snorkelling. Highlights include a variety of hard and soft corals and many schools of reef and pelagic fish passing through. On the boat trip you may be lucky enough to spot playful dolphins and the elusive, endangered dugong. Under the water you may encounter harmless reef sharks and slumberous turtles that effortlessly glide past with their wise eyes. Embrace the unspoilt beauty of the reef and the kaleidoscopic colours of the tropical fish that move in droves along the exposed coral. Two-Mile Reef is faultless in its beauty, guaranteeing an unforgettable outing, and is ideal for those who want to confidently explore the Indian Ocean’s shallower coral reefs. Your snorkelling excursion goes out at low tide, so is determined by the timing of the sea.
Day 6 Discover the picture perfect landscapes of the unspoilt island
Island expeditions are fully tailored and customised to accommodate your personal interests and preferences. Explore the azure lakes and creamy sand dunes on the northern side of the island, stroll among the pews of the resident church, and interact with the native Mozambican people in their vibrant thatch and straw village.
Climb atop golden sand dunes, and quaff cocktails as the sun is pulled to the other side of the world and the skies transform from bright peach to inky black. Relish a delicious dip in the ocean and as you crash against the waves, marvel at the towering Casuarina trees plunging into the shore. Cast your eye to the leafy branches and spot an Osprey, this specialist fish eater is a common sight, soaring over shorelines, patrolling waterways, and standing on their huge stick nests, white heads gleaming. Venture to the north western part of the island, to seek out Green Malkoha and sightings of the shy Suni antelope. Indulge in fresh, scrumptious fruit and vegetables from local farmers.
A fascinating excursion to the community centre, Centro Cumunitario Kanhe Kwedo reveals a wonderful community initiative where women delve into their entrepreneurial creative spirt and create beautiful beaded items, and men practice conservation initiatives.
Each drive is accompanied by a local guide with extensive knowledge of the island, its rich history and animated fauna and flora. Guides are dedicated to ensuring you are treated to an authentic local experience, teeming with culture and African flavour. Benguerra Island is awash with soaring sand dunes that shimmer under the golden sun, illuminating freshwater lakes that rival the azure ocean with their deep blue hues and inquisitive crocodiles. Marvel at the colourful vegetation peppered throughout the island, picture perfect in its lustrous presence and inhabited with the silhouettes of tiny rainbow-like birds and candy-floss flamingos. Stroll across the infinite stretch of unspoilt shore, in clear view of the vast ocean and admire the streaks of pink and amber in the sky before savouring a delectable picnic spread, served al fresco on unblemished, satiny sand.
Day 7 Wade into azure waters on an unforgettable horseback adventure day
Equine enthusiasts of all ages, and riding levels, will have the memorable opportunity to enjoy a fun-filled Swimming with Horses adventure, on Benguerra Island. Dress down for the occasion, in just your swimwear, and ride bareback into azure waters, gently striding into the warm waters of the Indian Ocean on top of your mount.
Expect splashing, and the occasional grunt of pleasure from your horse as it wades into the calm waters surrounding the lodge. Afterwards, hop off your steed and allow them to enjoy a well-deserved roll on the beach.
This 30 to 45 minute adventure allows for a maximum of 4 guests per swim and is perfect as a standalone activity or can be added after a more extensive horseback exploration of the island. The Swimming with Horses activity is seasonal as well as weather and tide dependent.
Day 8 Helicopter transfer to Vilanculos Airport & Flight to Johannesburg
After a mouth-watering breakfast, we wave a fond farewell as you board a helicopter for your flight back to Vilanculos International Airport. Here, you will catch a scheduled flight to OR Tambo International Airport.
All our itineraries can be customised to match your budget, travel dates, length of stay or accommodation type.
Welcome and assistance at OR Tambo International Airport and Vilanculos International Airport
OR Tambo International Airport to Phinda Airstrip
Phinda Airstrip to Kruger Mapumalanga International Airport
Kruger Mapumalanga International Airport to Vilanculos International Airport
Vilanculos International Airport to OR Tambo International Airport
Vilanculos International Airport / Benguerra Island / Vilanculos International Airport
Meals and Beverages
3 Meals Daily
Soft drinks, house wines, local brand spirits & beers
Teas and coffee
Emergency medical evacuation insurance