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Rare & Elusive Mammals of South Africa 14-Day Tour

Johannesburg – Mpumalanga Highlands – Kruger – Eswatini – Zululand – Drakensberg – Maloti Mountains – Kimberley – Hanover – Beaufort West – George

Scheduled Dates: 02 − 15 March 2024

                                  06 − 19 September 2024

                                  13 − 26 November 2024

                                  Or alternate dates on request.


This guided rare mammal safari tour package with Sustain will lead you to some extraordinary destinations within South Africa, including 8 unique reserves renowned for amazing rare, elusive and shy mammal sightings. The tour will focus on optimizing your chances of encounters with these highly sought-after animals, as well as many other species of game, rare and endemic birds and all other manner of biodiversity.


On this specialized safari you can expect to see a good number of the shy and cryptic species that some people only dream of. The tour has strategically selected certain key destinations within South Africa that provide some of the very best chances for discovering these treasures in the time available. In addition, probabilities are good for discovering the Big 5 and a multitude of other diverse wildlife and birdlife.

The route caters to a large mammal list in excess of 75 species, with a tremendous hit rate on many of the rare species. The bird list is also very impressive, totaling over 650 species in the region we tour through, and we can expect to find over 320 of these species (including many raptors, owls and endemics).

This safari commences at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, and ends at George International Airport in the Western Cape.

Target rare mammals:

Aardvark, pangolin, honey badger, black-footed cat, aardwolf, caracal, serval, brown hyena, wild dog, striped weasel, striped polecat, bat-eared fox, suricate (meerkat), fox, black rhino, cheetah, cape porcupine, hedgehog, civet, spotted-necked otter, cape clawless otter, side-striped jackal, elephant shrew (sengi), african wild cat, suni, oribi, roan, red rock hares, large grey mongoose, sloggett's ice rat, etc.


We explore:

  • The breathtaking highlands and Blyde River Canyon of Mpumalanga for 1 night.

  • The world-renowned wildlife haven of Kruger National Park for 2 nights.

  • The verdant bushveld region of Zululand at Manyoni Private Game Reserve for 2 nights.

  • The lush grasslands and glowing mountains around Spionkop Nature Reserve and Golden Gate Highlands National Park for 2 nights.

  • The harsher grasslands and savanna of Marrick Safari and Mokala National Park for 2 nights.

  • The stark Karoo landscapes at Khoisan Karoo Conservancy for 2 nights.

  • The dramatic Karoo mountain ranges and valleys of Karoo National Park for the final 2 nights; before descending the extraordinary mountain pass to the evergreen coastal town of George.

Habitats: Each destination we visit en-route offers unique habitats, extraordinary scenery, and breath-taking beauty, providing you with fantastic photographic opportunities. Habitats we explore include woodlands, savanna, wetlands, grassland, mountains and cliffs, scrubland, and rocky slopes, which host numerous regional endemics, threatened and endangered mammal and bird species, as well as great floral diversity.

Accommodation: On the accommodation front we typically use very comfortable private lodges and national park resorts, but should you prefer, at an added cost, luxury lodging options can also be arranged.


Tour tempo: The tempo of our Rare Mammal Tours are typically medium-paced, with optional mid-day breaks (advisable on hot days). If you are a keen photographer, well so are we, and we can offer many opportunities to capture the moments that will make you the envy of your wildlife-watching friends.


Safari highlights include:

  • The iconic Big 5 wildlife refuge of Kruger National Park and a Big 5 national park of a different kind in the fascinating Karoo National Park, Western Cape.

  • Experience pangolin monitoring and open vehicle Big 5 night and day game drives in the abundant and exclusive Manyoni Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal.

  • Explore the breath-taking and dramatic Drakensberg and Maloti Mountains.

  • Discover rare nocturnal predators on the productive night drives and sengi tours at Marrick Safari, as well as a day drive in Mokala National Park, Northern Cape.

  • Search for the Shy 5 mammals and other delights on open vehicle drives at the charming Khoisan Karoo Conservancy, Northern Cape.

  • Expect to see over 300 bird species, and to encounter a multitude of endemic and special bird species, as well as all manner of biodiversity.


Expected weather conditions: Subtropical and mostly hot during the day in the summer, and cooler in the evenings, with a chance of mist. Rain is possible, usually in the form of summer convection thunderstorms, and cool wet weather is possible in the event of a cold front moving up from the south. On a climate level, the region falls in the summer rainfall region, with an average rainfall of between 500mm and 1,100mm per year. Temperatures range from -6˚C in winter, to an average maximum of 18˚C and an average minimum of 10˚C. The driest month is July, the most rainfall falls in January, and the warmest is in February.


Optional extension: An optional tour extension is available to also include:

  • Garden Route to Cape Town – a 2-day continuation from George along the gorgeous Cape south coast to the world admired city of Cape Town.


Please note: this set-departure tour is also available as a private or custom tour on request. Please submit an enquiry with your preferred dates and group size.

Sustain Safaris - Greater Kruger elephant on foot

Tour Summary

  • Dates:

    • 02 − 15 March 2024

    • 06 − 19 September 2024

    • 13 − 26 November 2024

    • or on request.

  • Validity:  01 January 2024 – 31 December 2024.

  • Duration:  14 days, 13 nights.

  • No. of Pax:  Maximum 7 guests per vehicle and per guide.

  • Price:  ZAR 83,300.00 per person sharing, ZAR 12,950.00 single supplement.

  • Price may be subject to change based on factors beyond our control.

  • Tour Starts:  At OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, Gauteng.

  • Tour Ends:  At George Airport in George, Western Cape (guests to fly to either Cape Town or Johannesburg).

  • Distance:  Total driving distance (including around sites) = About 3,750 km.


Tour Includes:

  • Private wildlife and birding guide;

  • Accommodation (may change subject to availability, in which case similar will be found);

  • All ground transport – Maximum 6 participants and 1 guide per luxury touring vehicle;

  • Specialist guided tours and activities:

    • 10 x Guided open safari vehicle day and night drives – 1 x Lower Sabie, 4 x Manyoni, 2 x Marrick, 2 x Khoisan Karoo, 1 x Karoo NP;

    • 1 x Pangolin monitoring night tour – 1 x Manyoni;

    • 2 x Sengi (Elephant Shrew) and Suricate (Meerkat) morning tour – 1 x Marrick, 1 x Khoisan Karoo;

  • All road tolls and parking fees;

  • All meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner;

  • Bottled water in vehicles;

  • All entrance fees, conservation and community levies to parks and reserves;

  • Trip guide;

  • Personalized species checklists.

Tour Excludes:

  • Airport departure taxes or visa fees;

  • Travel and medical insurance (incl. personal equipment and repatriation);

  • All snacks and drinks (except bottled waters);

  • Optional excursions;

  • Specialist guide fees and activities not specified;

  • Items of a personal nature.

  • Laundry and telephone charges;

  • Tips and gratuities;

  • Anything else not mentioned in “Tour Includes”.​


  • Terms and Conditions apply;

  • Minimum of 3 participants per vehicle required to undertake the trip;

  • The species mentioned in the itinerary represent only some of those we may possibly view on the tour, however, none can be guaranteed;

  • This itinerary is subject to change due to weather conditions at the time and other factors beyond our control;

  • Tour group is responsible for paying for all guide meals;

  • All images taken on tour with Sustain Safaris.

Black Rhinos signed.jpg
Wild dog
Brown Hyena.jpg
Eastern Rock Sengi
Sustain Rare Mammal 13D Tour Ad4 (2).jpg
African Wild Cat
Sloggett's Ice Rat
White Rhino bull signed.jpg
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