The Magnificent Seven Safari
For a luxury wildlife adventure like no other: see both the Big Five on safari, alongside the Whale and Shark seasons
Personalised journeys from start to finish
Save an acre of rainforest each time you travel
Every detail taken care of
- Completely private tours of Cape Town and the peninsula
- Full day whale watching excursion
- Stay in luxury hotels and safari lodges throughout
- Meet and greet airport service
- Full support from your Travel Designer and Concierge before, during and after your trip
At a glance
This is the ultimate wildlife adventure in South Africa.
There are only a few months of the year (July to October) during which you can see the ‘Big Seven’, which are the iconic Big Five on safari (rhino, elephant, leopard, lion and buffalo) plus the ocean’s southern right whales and great white sharks which can be spotted off of South Africa’s Cape.
Begin on the aptly named Whale Coast, a stretch of the Western Cape where mountains lead down to secluded beach coves, pleasant villages and the Atlantic Ocean. Here you’ll go cage diving with great white sharks in Hermanus and embark on a special nautical safari to get up close to the whales, before a three nights in Cape Town where you’ll be shown around the scenic city and beyond on privately guided tours. End with a classic safari in the exclusive Sabi Sands Game Reserve, where you’ll spot the Big Five and much more while based in a fabulous lodge or camp in this incredible wilderness.
Example Trip Itinerary
The Whale Coast
Meet and greet at Cape Town airport
Private transfer from Cape Town airport to The Whale Coast
Accommodation in The Whale Coast
- Three Standard Rooms
- Five Deluxe Rooms
- Two Suites
- Apartment - sleeps four
Ocean Eleven is an olde worlde, Cape Cod, colonial style guesthouse situated on the famous cliffs of Hermanus. The picturesque mountains beyond gently embrace the phenomenal, all encompassing vista of the bay. The main house of Ocean Eleven was built with all the high ceilings, tall windows and teak floors that made colonial architecture so utterly elegant. All these features and thus the grace and style have been retained to this day. Ocean Eleven boasts beautifully appointed rooms that have an all-embracing sea view over Walker Bay. Luxuries include 100% cotton percale linen and tea making facilities.
- Eleven Suites
- Swimming pool
Like its siblings of the Royal Portfolio properties (Royal Malewane in the Kruger and La Residence in Franschhoek), Birkenhead House exudes a comfortable chic that is majestically modern yet intimate. Its position on the cliffs of Hermanus looking over Walker Bay confirms it as one of the best places to stay along the Whale Cape. With only eleven rooms, a fully-equipped spa and an excellent restaurant, the service here is both attentive and personal and a broad range of activities from aromatherapy to shark diving can be arranged. The interiors are an adroit marriage between traditional French-style furniture offset by antiques, and more clean modern lines using a fresh white and beige palette interspersed with expert use of vibrant colours that complement the views streaming in, and which mostly draws the eyes.
- 11 suites at Garden Lodge
- 16 suites at Forest Lodge
- 6 and 4 bedroom Private Villas
Perfectly poised on the headland between two bays and at the heart of what is considered the ‘whale watching Mecca’ of the world, the 2,500-hectare Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is well-positioned to enjoy the area’s thrilling to its more relaxing of activities. Part of what makes Grootbos extra special is the property’s commitment to making a positive impact through various projects. From diving with great white sharks, horse riding on wild Atlantic beaches, spotting whales and pods of dolphin cavorting in Walker Bay to tasting regional wines, discovering the unique heritage of towns such as De Kelders and Hermanus, and trekking through the intriguing fynbos flora and fauna of its reserves and valleys – you won’t be short of things to do here on the Whale Coast and at Grootbos. For budding botanists, the reserve encompasses a vast swathe of the beautiful Cape Floristic Region, the smallest of earth’s six recognised floral kingdoms. There are two fabulous places to stay here – the homely Garden Lodge and contemporary Forest Lodge – as well as two fabulous Private Villas, all of which admire incredible vistas to the sea and mountains.
- Four suites
- Two swimming pools
- Chipping and putting green
- Floodlit tennis court
Thatch House is a beautiful boutique property that sits on the banks of the Hermanus Lagoon, looking out over the Cape Fold Mountains. There are just four suites which gives the property an exclusive, intimate feel. The large, double volume suites – Waterfall, Flamingo, Lagoon, and Pincushion – are elegant and sophisticated and feature private terraces from which to gaze outover the lagoon. They all have an adjoining room with twin beds, making them perfect for families. There is plenty to do on-site with two swimming pools, a chipping and putting green, Jacuzzi and floodlit tennis courts. Kids will have a wonderful time whizzing along the suspension bridges between the trees and exploring the tree house. You can also get out and discover the lagoon by kayak – boat cruises, tubing and water skiing can also be arranged. There is the option to include all your meals here, and with locally sourced ingredients and a nose-to-tail and root-to seed philosophy, you won’t be left disappointed.
- 42 suites
- Swimming Pool
- Bar, Lounge
You need only look up from your table, bed or book when staying at the smart cliffside hotel of Marine Hermanus to see whales breaching the Atlantic surf of Walker Bay. The 42 suites, that surround a pretty internal courtyard and lovely groomed gardens, are decorated in a light palette of colours which feels smart, comfortable and clean. Built in 1902, the use of traditional furniture, heavy fabrics, antiques and chintz wallpaper really enhances the classic, early 20th-century seaside character here too. However the main feature at the hotel is its position on the Hermanus headland which gives it 360? views of the bays, the Overburg mountains and quite frankly one of the most magnificent seascapes in the southern hemisphere. The in-house restaurant usually employs a very reputable chef making the food at the hotel consistently excellent. Hermanus is well known as the one of the planet’s best places to spot whales from the shoreline, its local town also carries a tangible European feel with its many cafés and arts culture.
- 18 rooms
- Restaurant, Outdoor Pool
With views over the historic harbour, this modern small hotel of only eighteen rooms delivers a touch of seaside and convenience being at the heart of Hermanus town. The impressive suites are tastefully decorated in modern style and offer spectacular views of the mountain cliffs or across the ocean below. Each comes with all the mod-cons, including a fully equipped kitchen. Guests can relax on sun loungers by the hotel pool, and there is a designated children’s swimming area. The hotel also has an in-house restaurant with a modern à la carte menu, or you can pop out and visit neighbouring restaurants. Hermanus town is renowned for some of the best land-based whale watching opportunities in Africa and the hotel is positioned with great viewpoints to capture this incredible scene. Bicycle hire is available for guests who are keen to explore the local area by their own steam.
Almost immediately south-east from the outskirts of Cape Town and following the Atlantic shoreline along the Western Cape, this is a protected collection of beautiful bays with crescents of pristine white beaches, wild surf, tranquil mountains that dramatically descend into the Atlantic, sleepy valleys, nature reserves, charming coves bustling with wildlife and pleasant villages brimming with local heritage.
Some of the world’s premier destinations for viewing nurseries of southern right whales, as well as other marine life, are located on this coast, such as Hermanus, Overburg and Walker Bay, and there are also the shivers of great white sharks that gather off Gansbaai.
The oceans off the southern tip of Africa offer some of the most exciting whale watching in the world with at least 37 different species of dolphins and whales calling these waters home. Head out from Hermanus on the boat to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures. Keep your eyes peeled for Southern Right, humpback, Brydes and Antarctic Minke whales as well as other marine species such as African penguins, Cape Fur seals, Cormorants and Bank Cormorants.
Board your shark-chaser, the Predator II for the five mile voyage to Dyer Island. The island, together with Geyser Rock nearby, is home to 40 000 Cape Fur Seals, the Great White Shark’s favourite prey, and the channel which runs between the two is known as Shark Alley. This is where you will anchor – using a specially mixed chum to attract the sharks, you will soon have an opportunity to see them feeding at the surface, alongside the boat. The cage is then lowered and you will be able to witness these incredible hunters of the deep in your wetsuit, protected by galvanised steel mesh. All diving equipment is supplied and only snorkeling experience is required if you want to go down in the cage. A light lunch is served on the boat as well as refreshments and you will have the chance to see seals and whales in season as well as the sharks.
Private transfer from the Whale Coast to Cape Town
Accommodation in Cape Town
- 12 Rooms
- Deck and Small Pool
- Library and Lounge
Set in the fashionable Kloof Street area, the Cape Cadogan is a wonderful boutique hotel. The historic, listed building has been decorated with contemporary neutral hues giving a more light and spacious look whilst the elegant fixtures remain true to the origin of the building. Communal areas are very comfortable and include a library and lounge (with open fireplace) as well as a small garden and pool area. The rooms at the Cadogan are light and open with modern fittings sitting side by side with restored antique pieces. Service is helpful and attentive with a relaxed but professional touch. This is a great area to explore with some fashionable new restaurants appearing in the neighbourhood.
- 209 Rooms
- Two outdoor pools
- Tennis Courts
- Fitness Centre
- Golf Practice Net
- Two restaurants
The Grand Dame, heritage property of Cape Town, the Mount Nelson comes with bags of history and is perhaps the most famous hotel in the city. It’s set in large grounds and is made up of a number of different smaller buildings. Most rooms have been refurbished with a contemporary refresh, adding comfort and modern touches to the historic décor. The bar and restaurant have had a similar treatment making them a popular place to visit for Capetonians (a great sign for any hotel restaurant, particularly in the fickle and competitive Cape Town restaurant scene). Rooms are very comfortable and spacious and are located in several buildings dotted throughout the large property and gardens. This makes it stand apart from other larger hotels in Cape Town as in this most outdoor of cities it’s great to have large, green gardens to take a stroll through and outdoor pools (and for the more active, there are also tennis courts). Though The Mount Nelson is very much a location in itself, the large grounds sit just a short stroll away from downtown and also the Kloof Street Area, which is famous among locals for excellent new restaurants and boutiques. Afternoon Tea at the Nelson (or Nellie as it is affectionately known) is a Cape Town institution and well worth trying.
- 14 one-bedroom apartments
- Two two-bedroom apartments
- Wi-fi access
Whether you live in an apartment in a city or a four-bedroom house, More Quarters can give you that ‘home from home’ feel while still being immersed in the cultural centre of Cape Town. Nestled in a residential suburb away from the main tourist bustle, the Kloof Street area is often referred to as the heart of Cape Town by the locals. Enjoy the privacy and homely feel of your own apartment styled in a rare combination of historic exteriors with classic modern bohemian interiors, with all the conveniences and amenities of a hotel experience staffed by a family of professional, passionate people. With the ability to safely walk to local restaurants and boutique shops, you really feel as if you are a Cape local and experience the local cosmopolitan lifestyle. All the other amazing opportunities that the Mother City offers are an easy traffic free drive away.
- 120 Rooms and suites
- Small Outdoor Pool
- Whisky and wine bar
- Pool and outdoor deck
Situated in the heart of the V&A waterfront, the Cape Grace is one of Cape Town’s most famous luxury hotels. You can expect world class, personalised service from the Grace in a location perfect for enjoying the restaurants, boutiques and entertainment of this upmarket area. Reflecting its location, the recently refurbished décor has a nautical theme and is full of local detail, with antiques and maps adorning the hallways. In a playful touch, sumptuous chandeliers are adorned with unusual items (such as crockery and kitchenware in the Restaurant area). The 120 rooms and suites are spacious, comfortable and elegantly decorated offering views out to Table Mountain, Signal Hill or the Marina. The hotel also features a luxurious pool and outdoor deck, a spa on the top floor and a great whiskey bar. You can walk straight out into the waterfront area here making it a perennial favourite.
- One suite and seven luxury rooms
- Cafe, bar and boma area
- Swimming pool
- Gym and steam room
- In-room spa treatments
Nestled at the foot of Table Mountain with awesome cityscape and ocean views is the creative and contemporary MannaBay hotel. Splendid style and South African art adorns every spot of this property, from the rooftop Atlas Bar to the gorgeous lounge to the fabulously unique guestrooms. Whether it’s Persian grandeur or Oriental opulence that takes your fancy, pick your favourite room as each boasts its own lavish theme and scenic views. However it is the Versailles Suite that reigns as most sumptuous. Boasting not one, but two four poster beds – one sits out on the private balcony – this suite is designed with Louis XIV in mind. Accommodating a maximum of just sixteen guests, look forward to an exclusive and intimate feel here. The superb service and thoughtful extra touches add to the serene experience with mobile phones with local sim and numbers, African travel literature and in-room spa treatments all provided during your peaceful stay.
- Lounge and bar
- Boutique wine cellar
- Dining room
- Interactive kitchen
- 2 heated swimming pools
For a dose of cosy luxury, check in to the Tintswalo Atlantic. Perched right on the edge of the South African shoreline, this boutique hotel is tucked away between the rugged cliffs and gentle waters of Hout Bay, providing you with a degree of isolation from the bustle of Cape Town yet remaining close enough to allow easy access to the area’s sights and activities. This hotel makes for a great base camp in the region; from here you can enjoy watching the busy local harbor unloading their catch each morning, indulge yourself in some retail therapy at the V&A Waterfront, explore the nearby Constantina Winelands or head slightly further afield and trek through the Table Mountain National Park, just a short car journey away. There are a host of themed suites to choose from, each with its own individual decor and ambiance. All come with stunning panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean stretching from horizon to horizon. When you’re not sampling the plush bedding, then take a dip in the saltwater pool on the hotel decking, or sip cocktails in the bar at sunset at the waves lap against the shore.
Spend your time relaxing and exploring this wonderful city. You have our top recommendations for activities, restaurants and shopping so that you can make the most of your time here. If you would like us to organise your time here with a privately-guided tour, according your interests, we can do so.
This morning you will be met by your private vehicle for a private morning exploration of Cape Town, known affectionately as the Mother City. Typically highlights include, the Houses of Parliament, the Castle (built between 1666 and 1679, this is South Africa’s oldest building), the lively Green Market Square with its daily market, the Company Gardens and of course Table Mountain which will give you spectacular views over the city and Peninsula (depending on the weather). On the descent, you can stop at the Bo Kaap, home to the Cape Malay community, with its cobbled streets and brightly coloured houses.
Take one of the most scenic journeys in the world in this wonderful, full day private tour. Your guide will collect you from your hotel in the morning and bring you out through the coastal suburbs.
The trip is entirely private, so you can take things at your own pace though typically you'll make stops to see the highlights shown below:
Leaving the suburbs of Cape Town the road winds through Hout Bay and up over Chapmans peak for truly stunning views of the coastline. If we're lucky we may even see Southern Right Whales in the waters off-shore from June-November.
Explore the rocky coastline and unique Cape Fynbos vegetation which is home to unique bird-life such as African Black Oystercatchers and Cape Sugarbirds amongst others. Climb to the famous Cape Point Lighthouse to capture the magical vistas of False Bay, and stop at the south western most point of Africa - the fabled Cape of Good Hope.
We will visit Boulders Beach for a visit to see African Penguins in their natural habitat. Next drive through the historical naval village of Simonstown and over yet another spectacular mountain pass; Boyes Drive, where you will take in views of the quaint fishing harbour at Kalk Bay as well as the seaside villages of St James and Muizenberg.
As we return to the city (time allowing) you have the opportunity to visit these magnificent gardens set on the slopes of Table Mountain before returning to your hotel in the city.
Private transfer from Cape Town hotel to Cape Town airport
Flight from Cape Town to Nelspruit (Kruger) Airport
Accommodation in Sabi Sands
- Six suites each with plunge pool
- Safari shop
Spread under a leafy canopy of ebony trees, six spacious stone cottages grace the banks of the Mabrak River in the western part of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. As one of only twelve guests at Dulini Lodge, one feels instantly at home in this quiet retreat. The beautifully appointed suites boast generous plunge pools, shady decks and classic interiors that celebrate the signature style of the Reserve. From the privacy of your own plunge pools, you can enjoy watching game explore the dry riverbed just a few metres away. Your sitting area is an elegant space filled with big welcoming sofas and interesting African sculptures. Dine under the ancient jackalberry tree where skilled chefs serve delicious Pan African meals, or steal away for a romantic candlelit dinner in the well-stocked wine cellar.
- 12 suites
- Swimming pool
- Safari shop
Harry Kirkman’s original 1920s homestead has been beautifully restored and now comprises 12 suites that look out over the bushveld. Perched on a ridge above the Sands River, guests can enjoy unspoiled views as they relax at this atmospheric and charming lodge. Kirkman’s offers the perfect balance of old and new with all the amemities you would expect from a luxury lodge alongside plenty of touches that hark back to days gone by. Each suite comes with a private verandah from which to relax with a glass of wine or afternoon tea while soaking up the unique atmosphere of the African bush. Curl up in front of the roaring fire in the sitting room, relax with a book in the library then sink into your claw-foot bathtub after a day of game drives. When you need to cool off, take refuge from the sun with a dip in the outdoor pool. Nestled in the world-renowned Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Kirkman’s Kamp shares unfenced borders with the Kruger National Park, and enjoys an abundantly rich local concentration of fauna, including the Big Five. It is a particularly good spot to base your safari activities if you want to spot the most elusive of cats, the leopard. Strict vehicle limits at sightings ensure the exclusivity of your game viewing experience.
- 12 suites all with private plunge pools
- Bush spa and gym
- Babysitting services available and tailor-made activities to suit each family
Sitting alongside the meandering Sands River, set amidst wild bush and enormous trees in the middle of South Africa’s ‘big cat country’, is Singita’s original Ebony Lodge. Unrivalled hospitality is blended with the heritage of an English county home to create a timeless and most welcoming safari experience. The 12 suites, two which have two bedrooms and are perfect for families, all feature en-suite bathrooms and indoor-outdoor showers, private heated plunge pools and spacious game viewing decks. Your suite has been decorated according to a black and white colour scheme in homage to the big ebony trees that surround the lodge and interiors are furnished with vintage campaign furniture from Luke Bailes’ (the founder of Singita) family collection, sepia photography, tribal print murals and imitation leopard and zebra-print fabrics. Interior walls have been replaced by canvas or glass to create a light and airy atmosphere and to capitalise on the amazing views outside, to beautiful effect in the bedroom where you’ll enjoy an uninterrupted view out onto the terrace. The food here is exquisite yet unpretentious, fitting of the lodge’s homely feel, and is paired with an extensive range of handpicked South African wines. Free time at the lodge can be spent indulging in the Bush Spa, relaxing in the library, using the well-equipped gym or cooling down in the pool. Of course the highlight here is the rich array of wildlife. Species such as leopard, lion, rhino, large herds of buffalo, elephant, reedbuck, hyena, hippopotamus, nyala, cheetah, wild dogs and many types of birds can be spotted on expertly guided day and night game drives, and thrilling walking safaris. Other activities such as stargazing will get Africa even further under your skin.
- Eight luxury suite
- Air conditioning
- Private heated plunge pool
- Private verandahs and gardens
- Indoor and outdoor showers
- Access to all the main camp facilities
Rattray’s on MalaMala, tucked away in the green forests on the banks of the famous Sand River in the MalaMala Reserve, is a luxurious and exclusive lodge. Eight ‘Khayas’ – Zulu for homes – function as completely private, luxury villas decorated in a colonial safari-style. Each enjoy a private heated plunge pool, secluded verandahs with grand river views and indigenous private gardens that are a haven for birds. The interiors feature hand-selected furnishings, lavish his-and-hers bathrooms with a ball and claw footed bath and outdoor showers. There’s both indoor and outdoor dining areas for intimate in-room dining, a cosy library, bar, infinity pool and small gym. Guests also benefit from the use of all the facilities at the Main Camp. Day and night game drives are limited to just four guests per vehicle (unless you’re travelling in group), making for a more intimate bush experience along with your ranger and host, and you can also explore on foot. For keen photographers, a specially equipped vehicle with mounts and dedicated photographic ranger can be arranged.
- Six luxury suites
- 6 luxury suites
- Lounge § Bar
- Wine Cellar
- Spa & Gym
- Spa § Gym
Located along the banks of the Sabie River inside the Lion Sands Reserve, Ivory Lodge has six large ultra-luxurious suites spaced out from one another and at 165m² each enjoy their own courtyard, lounge with fireplace, viewing deck and plunge pool. Offering the utmost privacy, there are only six ultra-luxurious, spacious suites. With contemporary Afro-European interiors and a neutral colour palette, the sleekly designed suites have sliding glass doors and oversized windows merging into the surrounding bushveld. Each of the suites offers a separate lounge with a fireplace and well stocked minibar. The bedrooms are en-suite with sumptuously large bathrooms including a free-standing bath, and indoor and outdoor shower. All this opens onto a private deck and rim flowing plunge pool. Set a short walk away from the suites the thatched main lodge offers a dining room, bar, lounge and library with satellite TV and WiFi. There is a boma and shaded viewing deck. As well as morning and afternoon game drives and guided bush walks, you can visit local village, indulge in spa treatments or spend a night out under the stars in one of the reserve’s luxury tree houses.
- Eight suites
- Pool and deck
- Dining room, bar, wine cellar and boma
- Massage sala
- Fitness centre
- Library and internet facilities
Located in the western sector of the renowned Sabi Sand Game Reserve and bordering the Kruger National Park, is Leopard Hills. Spectacularly situated atop a rocky outcrop, this luxurious lodge offers magnificent views over the bush and an active waterhole on the plains below. The property boasts eight beautifully decorated and entirely luxurious glass-fronted suites. Complete with sundecks and rock plunge pools, the suites enjoy amazing African bushveld views. When you’re not out spotting the exciting game on your drives and walks, watch the animals from the pool and main deck with a pair of binoculars or the spotting scope. This tranquil spot is the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner or cool down with a crisp glass of wine as you take in the sights and sounds of the African bush. The elegant dining room offers further views alongside decadent meals, while a cosy lounge and massage sala provide even more sumptuous spots to relax. The library is a peaceful spot and guests are welcome to browse through the large selection of literature and African journals.
- 22 thatched suites
- 25 thatched suites
- 2 spacious 2 bedroom Luxury Villas
- Open Air Boma
- Mandleve Presidential Suite with private plunge pool
- Amani Spa
- Open air "Boma"
- Wine Cellar
- Swimming Pool
Bush Lodge is Sabi Sabi’s flagship accommodation, set deep in the bush overlooking a waterhole and an open plain. Steeped in tradition, with a history spanning over 35 years, the lodge has earned a reputation of a luxury home in the bush, service excellence and effortless personal attention that are synonymous with the wider Sabi Sabi Reserve. The main lodge is home to the holistic Amani Spa, a well-stocked wine cellar and vast viewing decks that mirror the endless horizon and optimise the watching of wildlife of the nearby waterhole and plains. The style of the lodge and each thatched suite seeks to echo more of ‘today’s’ tastes with a becoming blend of the modern with ethnic influences and artwork. Featuring 25 suites in total including 2 Luxury Villas and the Mandleve Presidential Suite with each suite featuring en-suite bathrooms and al-fresco, glass-fronted showers, with wonderful views of the bushveld. The suites are air-conditioned and feature sumptuous linen and classic leather and wood furnishings. Two spacious Luxury Villas feature a master bedroom with en-suite bathroom, second en-suite bedroom, a private pool, library/lounge and beautiful patio facing a waterhole. The Mandleve Presidential Suite features a private plunge pool and luxurious interiors with endless views of the bush. Safaris take place each morning and evening in open safari vehicles which drive through a wide variety of habitats, allowing visitors to view the vast interactions of the wild. After breakfast, guests on guided walking trails can experience the natural environment on foot.
Enjoy days relaxing at your luxury lodge and exploring the world-famous Sabi Sands Reserve with morning and afternoon game drives. Depending on the lodge you've chosen, there are various other optional activities you can do, ask your travel designer for the full lowdown.
Transfer from Sabi Sands to Nelspruit (Kruger) airport
Flight from Nelspruit (Kruger) airport to Johannesburg
Get in Touch
The Magnificent Seven Safari
How We Work
We create fully personalised trips from start to finish, working with you to pick locations, accommodation and guides that suit you.
Each time you travel with us, you preserve an acre of precious rainforest through our partnerships.
From in-depth private tours to restaurant reservations, we take care of every detail so you can make the most of your journey.