Big Five Marathon 2017 8-day package

The Big Five Marathon is an exclusive event that combines a challenging marathon experience with a classic African safari vacation.
20-27 Jun
8 days
1 925 EUR

Situated in the Limpopo province, the Entabeni Safari Conservancy provides the perfect setting for the event. Within this 22,000 ha, malaria-free, private game reserve, several accommodation facilities are provided, varying from tented camps to luxurious lodges. 

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Itinerary

The itinerary is detailed below. This is what you'll be doing during your stay!

20 Jun 2017Arrival at Entabeni

The tour starts and ends in Johannesburg International Airport (also known as OR Tambo). All participants are transferred at set transfer times from the airport to Entabeni Safari Conservancy.

Transfer DEPARTURE times from the airport are: 08:30, 10:00, 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00. If any of these transfer times don't fit in your travel plans, it is possible to book an individual transfer at an extra charge.

Upon arrival to Entabeni, you will meet you tour leader and be checked in at your respective lodge/camp. Participants arriving on one of the first three transfers (departure from Johannesburg International Airport at 08:30, 10:00 & 12:00) will have the possibility to go on the first of several exciting game drives.

The game drives will provide the opportunity to experience an authentic African safari in serene surroundings. The Entabeni Safari Conservancy offers diverse wildlife, open safari vehicles and relatively few tourists, creating an ideal wilderness atmosphere.

21-22 Jun 2017Entabeni Game Drives

Day two and three of your stay in Entabeni are dedicated to exploring the game reserve through a daily game drive. We will get accustomed to the park's geography, and climate, and we can slowly start preparing ourselves for Saturday's exciting event: the Big Five Marathon.

The daily game drive is included in the itinerary and will take place either in the early morning or in the late afternoon. A bush walk with an experienced armed ranger is also included on the third day, giving us a chance to get really close to the nature and wildlife. Additional game drives and bush walks can be purchased on spot. Alternatively, some of your free time can also be used for shorter runs outside the Safari Conservancy the tour leader will help organise the runs.

Early morning game drives typically takes place between 06:00 and 09:30. During these early hours we will experience the cool morning, spot spectacular wildlife, and most probably work up an appetite. Once back from the morning safari we will be richly satisfied by the overwhelming breakfast buffet that awaits us at our lodge/camp.

The afternoon game drive begins around 16:00, and arrives back at the lodge in time for dinner around 19:30. Similar to the morning game drive, the afternoon drive provides great wildlife experiences. Moreover, the afternoon drive offers the opportunity to experience a beautiful sunset in ideal settings: enjoying a cold drink on the savannah, while admiring the changing colours of the darkening evening sky. The afternoon drive then turns into a night safari, where we will get the chance to spot the fascinating nocturnal wildlife with a spot light.

PLEASE NOTE: June is winter time in South Africa and while the temperature often rises to 20-25 degrees Celsius during the day, temperatures around 0 degrees Celsius at night time is not unusual! Especially the large drop from day to night time temperatures makes the evenings and mornings feel extremely cold. It is therefore essential to bring a winter jacket, warm hat and gloves when going on game drives!

Over the last few years, the reserve's wildlife has become increasingly accustomed to tourists. It is therefore not uncommon to see elephants, giraffes and different species of antelopes grazing in close proximity to the safari vehicles. A pride of lions even occasionally holds up traffic, lying lazily across the track. We use open 4x4 safari vehicles, which provide us with an excellent opportunity for viewing the wildlife in safety.

During our stay, we will have a number of park rangers allocated: one for approximately every ten participants. The rangers ensure our safety, drive the safari vehicles, provide competent guiding, coordinate the events with the race management, and are at our disposal around the clock. Furthermore a tour leader will be with the group from beginning to end.

23 Jun 2017Route inspection

After breakfast all the participants are transported from their respective lodges/camp to the starting point of the marathon. Before we set off for the start line, there will be a short briefing about the route inspection. All safari vehicles follow the route in a convoy, allowing the participants to examine the different running surfaces, note the locations of water posts, and assess the overall difficulty of the route.

After the route inspection a large buffet lunch will be served for all the participants. This is the time where everyone is gathered - the participants, race officials, medical staff and rangers - for a formal introduction to the event, and a presentation of the practical issues surrounding the marathon. There are no scheduled game drives this day.

24 Jun 2017Race day

South Africa - Big Five Marathon

The big day has come. Today, you will be met by a challenge that will be worth remembering: The Big Five Marathon. In the morning, all participants will be transported from the various lodges and camps to the starting line in time for final preparations. The marathon is planned to start at 09:00, but delays must be expected, as the exact start time will be dependent on the location of the big five game - if too close to the route, the start will be postponed. There are no scheduled game drives this day.

For more information about the race, look here.

25 Jun 2017Celebration dinner

Today, you will experience yet another fantastic game drive followed by our celebration dinner. There will be great food, live entertainment, a prize ceremony and partying under the starry sky.

Please be aware that the party takes place in a traditional South African boma with open roof and large open doorways. It is therefore advisable to dress warm! For the same reason, there's no dress code and casual clothing is recommended.

26 Jun 2017Entabeni

On the final day at the Entabeni Safari Conservancy, you will have one last game drive either in the morning or in the afternoon. Those interested will also get the opportunity to stretch their legs on one final bush walk. In the evening farewell dinners will be held at the respective lodges.

27 Jun 2017Departure

Our week at Entabeni Safari Conservancy has come to an end and it's time to head back to Johannesburg. All participants are transferred from Entabeni to Johannesburg International Airport.

Transfer ARRIVAL times at the airport are 08:00, 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00 and 18:00. As on arrival it is possible, for an extra charge, to book an individual transfer to Johannesburg, if the group transfers don't fit your onward journey.

Extensions

Big Five Safari & Panorama Route - Manyeleti Private Game Reserve

27-2 Jul | 6 days | 1 100 EUR
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Extend your African adventure and explore more of South Africa. Join us for an exciting 6-day safari trip which includes game drives, bush walks and explore the area along the famed Panorama Route. 

Spot the Big Five game and a wealth of bird species as well as other African wildlife. The camp is beautifully situated in the Manyeleti Game Reserve bordering the famed Kruger National Park. Consisting of fifteen stylishly-appointed tents with modern ensuite facilities and private terraces, a pool, bar, lounge and dining area and spacious, lush lawns, the camp provides an authentic African safari experience. 

During our stay in Mantobeni, we will have the opportunity to visit a local community situated beside the reserve that our Mantobeni camp works closely with. This is a great chance to gain insight into the daily lives of the locals. If you are interested in the local community visit, please let the tour leader know in advance.

  • 27 Jun - Travel to Manyeleti Game Reserve and Zip Wire Adventure

    Leave Entabeni. After breakfast, we start our drive to Mantobeni Camp. 

    The 7-hr drive will be broken up with an exhilarating zip wire adventure. Glide through a scenic river valley and enjoy astounding views from the treetops while swaying over a gushing waterfall and rushing river. The activity is suitable for everyone (not only for marathon runners) and includes a photo to bring back as a souvenir.

    There will also be a lunch stop (not included in the price) on the way to the camp. Dinner will be enjoyed at the camp.

    Meals: breakfast and dinner

  • 28 Jun - Game drive and/or bush walk

    After breakfast, we will either go for a game drive or bush walk. In the afternoon after lunch, we set off for another game drive or bush walk and spend the afternoon exploring the bush. 

    Over the next few days, we will experience morning and afternoon safaris and hiking in the beautiful scenery. There is not much that can compare with the spicy morning scents and the special glow over the savannah in the early morning. It is cool and peaceful, and a quiet lull has descended upon the savannah now that the night’s hunting is over. 

    Afternoon safaris begin late in the day when the sun has cast a warm glow over the landscape. Along the way we can enjoy the sunset. It's a bit of a sensory revelation, when the sky darkens and the stars brighten the bush. The sounds of the savannah fill your ears and the smell of the red soil and the lingering fragrance of the animals cling to your nostrils. 

    Safari vehicles are open-terrain vehicles, and it’s quite a feeling being at such close proximity to a huge elephant, not to mention a lion or rhino. But, fortunately, predators do not consider a car with passengers as food!

    Since it can be quite chilly in the early mornings and late evenings, we provide blankets in the open safari vehicles, but we also recommend that you bring a hat and a windproof jacket or fleece along.

    Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

  • 29 Jun - Panorama Route, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon (subject to weather)

    After breakfast we drive from the camp to the province of Mpumalanga, which means "place where the sun rises". The Panorama Route is true to its name, with magnificent scenery and by God’s Window, there are panorama views of the lowveld savannah that lies 1,000m below the plateau. 

    The route also takes us to Bourke's Luck Potholes, a rocky landscape where water has eroded deep cylindrical holes into the bare rock. Finally, we stop at Blyde River Canyon, which is the world's third largest canyon. We have lunch in an old gold mining town, Pilgrim’s Rest (lunch is not included). We expect to be back in Mantobeni late afternoon, giving you some time to relax before dinner.

    Meals: breakfast and dinner

  • 30 Jun - Game drive and/or bush walk

    After breakfast, we enjoy another day of game drives (morning and afternoon) and experience the bush. There will either be two game drives today or one game drive and a bush walk.  All meals will be enjoyed at the camp.

    Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

  • 1 Jul - Game drive and/or bush walk

    We’ll start the day with breakfast and either go for a game drive or go on a bush walk.  Another beautiful day in the bush awaits us. 

    Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

  • 2 Jul - Departure

    After breakfast, we head back to Johannesburg. The journey will take approximately seven hours by bus. We’ll stop for lunch and be back in Johannesburg at around 3pm. Lunch is not included in the price. 

    Meals: breakfast

  • Price information

    Per person in a shared double room -  EUR 1100
    Single room supplement - EUR 350

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Victoria Falls - The Smoke That Thunders

27-30 Jun | 4 days | 1 700 EUR
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Victoria Falls

With a height of 108 meters, a combined width of 1700 meters and picturesque rain forest backdrop, Victoria Falls is an impressive place to spend four days completing your African Adventure.

In the Bantu language it is called “mosi-oa-tunya” – "the smoke that thunders", and that is exactly what Victoria Falls looks like, a huge puff of smoke accompanied by the thunderous sound of the water.

  • 27 June – Transfer to O R Tambo Airport, flight to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

    Leave Entabeni.

    After breakfast, we start our drive to O R Tambo  International Airport where we will check in for our  1 hour 40 minute flight to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

    On arrival and after clearing customs and immigration you will be transferred to your hotel for the next four days.

    The Victoria Falls Hotel, one of, if not the most famous hotels in Africa.

    www.victoriafallshotel.com

    Meals: breakfast

  • 28 June – Tour of the Falls & Sunset Cruise

    After breakfast, we will take a walking tour around the Falls. We walk through the hotels gardens and continue down steps to the Falls. During the tour our guide will explain the history of the area.

    There is often spray from the waterfall so it can be a good idea to bring an umbrella or light raincoat. 

    In the afternoon, we will take a sundowner cruise on the Zambezi River upstream from Vicotira Falls. From our safe position aboard the boat, we will enjoy a cold drink while on the look-out for crocodiles and hippopotamus. 

    Meals: breakfast 

  • 29 June – Optional Activities

    Today is set aside for you to experience the many activities on offer around Victoria Falls. Take a safari in Botswana’s Chobe National Park, enjoy a helicopter flight over the falls, go river rafting on the Zambezi or perhaps bungi jump over the falls. There is also the opportunity to experience the falls from the Zambia side.

    Our local representative will be able to assist in booking activities. 

    Meals: breakfast 

  • 30 June – Optional Activities, Flight to Johannesburg

    You will have the morning free for any optional activities before your transfer back to Victoria Falls airport and the flight back to Johannesburg, where you will meet your connecting flight home.

    Meals: breakfast

  • Price Includes

    3 nights at Victoria Falls Hotel with breakfast

    Roundtrip flights between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls

    Tour of the Falls

    Sundowner Cruise on the Zambezi

    Roundtrip transfer between the airport and hotel

  • Flight Times

    Flying Comair (British Airways)

    27 June  2017
    Departure from Johannesburg 11:25
    Arrival in Victoria Falls 13:05

    30 June 2017
    Departure from Victoria Falls 13:55
    Arrival in Johannesburg  15:35

  • Price Excludes

    Visa to Zimbabwe

    Meals not mentioned in the itinerary

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Price information

Have a look at package prices below. Please note that prices does not include the race package.

Prices

All prices are per person in EUR.

 

Lodges:

Ravineside Lodge

  • Shared double room EUR 1925 - SOLD OUT
  • Single supplement EUR 525 - SOLD OUT

 

Wildside Tented Camp

  • Shared double room EUR 2100 - SOLD OUT
  • Single supplement EUR 525 - SOLD OUT

 

Albatros Ranger Camp

  • Shared double room EUR 2100 - SOLD OUT
  • Single supplement EUR 525 - SOLD OUT

 

Lakeside Lodge

  • Shared double room EUR 2200 - SOLD OUT
  • Single supplement EUR 550 - SOLD OUT

 

Legend Safari Resort

  • Shared double room EUR 2350 - SOLD OUT
  • Single supplement EUR 800 - SOLD OUT

 

Hanglip Mountain Lodge

  • Shared double room EUR 2625 - SOLD OUT
  • Single supplement EUR 850 - SOLD OUT

 

Race package: EUR 290

  • Entry to the race
  • Supplies on the route
  • Champion Chip timing
  • Running T-shirt
  • Medal 

 

Private transfer: EUR 300

  • If your flight doesn’t match with any of the set group transfers from/to Johannesburg International Airport you can book a private transfer.

 

Safari Extraordinaire extension:

  • Shared double room EUR 1100
  • Single supplement EUR 350

 

Victoria Falls extension:

  • Shared double room EUR 1700
  • Single supplement EUR 600

Inclusions

  • Hotel accommodation
  • Full board (starting with dinner on day 1 and ending with breakfast on the day of departure) 
  • Scheduled group transfers
  • Game drives according to the itinerary

Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Personal expenses
  • Beverages
  • Race package (EUR 290)
  • Private transfer (EUR 300 one way)
  • Tips for rangers and lodge staff
  • Anything not mentioned in 'Price includes'

Important Info

We've put together a list of important information about the trip. Have a look below.

Adults travelling with minors

The South African Ministry of Home Affairs has introduced new regulations under the Immigration Act whereby from 1 October 2014 passengers travelling with children under the age of 18 years - arriving, transiting and /or departing from South Africa, will be required to produce an unabridged birth certificate indicating the biological parents of the minor. The certificate must be in English and have an Apostille authentication. Please note that it can take several weeks to process this certificate.

Additional documentation is required for children travelling with only one parent, or adults who are not the biological parents. Full requirements are available from the South African High Commission/Embassy in your area.

Airlines will be forced to refuse travel to families not in possession of these documents. These new regulations have been implemented to combat child trafficking.

Room options

If you are a single traveller and choose a shared double room when booking, we will pair you with another traveller of the same gender. If you prefer to have your own room, choose single room. A single supplement will apply.

Registration is closed

The 2017 Big Five Marathon is currently sold out and registration is closed, however, additional space may become available. If you are interested in the 2017 event, you can get on the waiting list



Registration is closed

The 2017 Big Five Marathon is currently sold out and registration is closed, however, additional space may become available. If you are interested in the 2017 event, you can get on the waiting list

Read all the reviews!

What others thought

The whole trip was extremely well planned, there was always something to do, the people were awesome, and the overall experience is something that you will only ever get to experience once in a lifetime...unless you come back that is :)

Michelle,
2015 Big Five Marathon finisher

The marathon was a fantastic experience. The safari game drives and other activities such as mountain biking, bush walks etc. made it a great holiday. Also, it was very well organised.

runner99,
2016 Big Five Marathon finisher

The scenery and wildlife were absolutely fantastic to see and run amongst. Great support from the locals, volunteers, rangers and race officials. Awesome atmosphere.

LMW76,
2016 Big Five Marathon finisher