Big Five Marathon 2018 6-day package

The Big Five Marathon is an exclusive event that combines a challenging marathon experience with a classic African safari vacation.
21-26 Jun
6 days
1 650 EUR

Enjoy staying in the private Entabeni reserve located in the Limpopo province between Johannesburg and Kruger National Park.  From our safari lodge, with its spectacular view to the mighty Entabeni-monlith we have the opportunity to view all the "Big Five" as well as numerous other species such as giraffe, hippopotamus, crocodiles and the many splendid species of antelope, not to mention the abundance of birdlife. We use exclusive lodges that are placed in the middle of Entabeni and we need only to step outside to be on a safari.

English

Itinerary

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

21 Jun 2018Arrival 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 the above transfers don't fit in your travel plans, it is possible to book an individual transfer at an extra surcharge. 

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 and 12:00) will have the possibility to go on the first of a number of exciting game drives. 

The afternoon game drive begins around 16:00 and arrives back at the lodge in time for dinner around 19:30. Similar to a morning game drive, the afternoon drive provides great wildlife experiences. Moreover, the afternoon drive offers the opportunity to experience a genuine African 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 rise 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 temperature 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 the visiting 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 assisting with every need of the participants.

22 Jun 2018Route inspection

After breakfast all 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. 

23 Jun 2018Race day

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 the 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: big-five-marathon.com/race-information

24 Jun 2018Celebration dinner

Today, we have time to relax after running on the African savannah. Additional game drives and excursions can be purchased, and in the afternoon we will experience yet another fantastic game drive followed by our After Marathon Party. There will be great food, live entertainment, prize ceremony, a big bonfire and partying under the starry skies. 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.

25 Jun 2018Entabeni

On the final day at the Entabeni Private Game Reserve, you will have one last game drive either in the morning or in the afternoon. 

Today, those interested will also get the opportunity to stretch their legs on one final bush walk. This bush walk with an experienced armed ranger is also included in the package, giving us a chance to get really close to the African nature and wildlife. 

In the evening, farewell dinners will be held at the respective lodges/camps.

26 Jun 2018Departure

Our days at Entabeni Safari Conservancy has come to an end and it's time to head back to Johannesburg. As upon arrival, 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

26-30 Jun | 5 days | 1 100 EUR
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Extend your African adventure and explore more of South Africa. Join us for an exciting 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.

  • 26 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

  • 27 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 descends upon the savannah when 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 clings to your nostrils. 

    Safari vehicles are open-terrain vehicles, and it’s quite an encounter 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

  • 28 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 spectacles and a stop at the scenic vantage point "God’s Window", with 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

  • 29 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

  • 30 Jun - 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

26-29 Jun | 4 days | 1 800 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.

  • 26 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

  • 27 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 Victoria 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 

  • 28 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 

  • 29 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)

    26 June  2018  
    Departure from Johannesburg 11:25
    Arrival in Victoria Falls 13:05

    29 June 2018
    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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Rovos Rail & CapeTown

26-2 Jul | 7 days | 2 375 EUR
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With Rovos Rail – The world’s most luxurious train – from Pretoria in the north to Cape Town in the south, preferred for its exquisite, it’s 5-star service from beginning to end. Full board and beverages on the train included.

We embark on this South African adventure for 3 nights in the charming coastal city of  Cape Town.

  • 26 Jun - Entabeni Safari Conservancy - Arrival to Zebra Lodge

    We will begin our first day slowly, with a relaxing morning and an energizing breakfast, as we prepare for a pleasurable 3 hour drive to Zebra Lodge.

    Situated only 30 km north of Pretoria, this breathtaking location is set in a peaceful setting, where we will enjoy the sights of giraffes, zebras and other plan game moving around freely.

    Upon arrival, lunch will be ready for us, and we will have time after to bask under the sun. For those in need of physical activity and adventure, there is also the possibility of exploring the 250 ha around the lodge either by foot or mountain bike.
    In the evening, we will gather once again to enjoy dinner.

    To learn more, visit the Zebra Lodge page: http://zebralodge.com

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

  • 27 Jun - Rovos Rail – Visit to Pretoria

    Once again we begin with a relaxing morning and breakfast, before heading to Pretoria, also known as the Jacaranda City due to over 70,000 trees growing around its many streets and gardens. During the fall, Pretoria’s many trees bloom dressing the entire city in purple, a phenomena that gives this the city its popularity and which has inspired many to write about this place, including Nelson Mandela, who enjoyed to mention the Jacarandas’ shades and beauty.

    As part of our tour through the city, we will visit the impressive Vortrekker Monument, as well as the president’s official home, the Union Building. We will enjoy lunch at a short distance from Capital Park Station, home of Rovos Rail, known by many as the most luxurious train in the world.

    We will depart in the afternoon on our 1600 km journey to Cape Town, the mother city. Learn more by visiting: https://www.rovos.com/journeys/cape-town

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

  • 28 Jun - Kimberley, The Diamond City

    Our third day will be one of exploration. We will stop at the Diamond City in the Northern Cape Province: Kimberley, home of the famous Open Mine or Big Hole. Created during the fevered diamond rush of the 1870’s, this is the world’s largest man-made excavation.

    Here, we will take time to explore the town or visit its diamond mine museum, before re-boarding the train and continuing our journey. The afternoon can be spent relaxing in one of the lounge cars or in the cabins, enjoying the passing scenery of The Great Karoo.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

  • 29 Jun - Matjiesfontein & Cape Town

    This morning, we stop in the charming village of Matjiesfontein, known for its historian ambience and unique Victorian look. Here, we have a chance to walk around and enjoy this little hidden gem, once intended to serve as an oasis and health resort for people with respiratory problems.

    Afterwards, we will continue our journey to Cape Town. We arrive in the evening and are transferred to our hotel, “the Cullinan”, a short distance from the station.  Learn more about this night’s accommodations here: https://www.tsogosun.com/the-cullinan

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch

  • 30 Jun - Cape Town - Recreation and Leisure

    Today everyone’s free to explore this fabulous city at their own pace, or book one of the many tours on offer through our Cape Town office.
    Some of the possibilities are a Walk to Freedom Tour for those passionate about history, or a Shark Cage Diving for those a bit more adventurous, among other possibilities. Learn more about the options, by visiting:

    https://beyondtouring.co.za

    Meals: Breakfast

  • 1 Jul - Cape Town - Tour of the Winelands

    This morning we depart for the famous Winelands of The Western Cape, where we will visit several well-known wineries and bask in the beauty of their surroundings, while enjoying lunch at one before returning to Cape Town, where we later meet for a farewell dinner at the Gold Restaurant.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

  • 2 Jul - Cape Town and Leisure

    Depending on your time of departure, you have the morning or day at leisure for one last chance to delight in the breathtaking beauty of Cape Town.

    Transfers to the airport will be provided throughout the day. Please note check out time is 11 am.

    Meals: Breakfast

  • Price includes

    Transfer Entabeni safari Conservancy to Zebra lodge
    1 nights at Zebra Lodge in shared double
    Tour of Pretoria
    Rovos Rail from Pretoria to Cape Town
    Transfer from train station to hotel
    3 nights at The Cullinan in Cape Town
    Tour of the Winelands -lunch included
    Transfer Cape Town to Cape Town Airport
    Albatros Tourleader

    Breakfast everyday
    Lunch. Days 1-4 & 6
    Dinner: 1-3 & 6
    All drinks onboard Rovos Rail

  • Pullman Suites

    The Pullman Suites (±7 sq metres/±76 sq feet) are equipped with a comfortable sofa-seat during the day with a conversion to double or twin beds for the evening, and also have an en-suite bathroom with shower. The wood-panelled rebuilt sleeper coaches, remodelled and refurbished to mint condition, offer every modern convenience and comfort.

    There is also a bar fridge filled with beverages of the passengers’ choice and room service is available 24 hours a day.

  • Deluxe Suites

    The Deluxe Suites (±10 sq metres/±108 sq feet) accommodate two passengers in either twin or double beds and have a lounge area and en-suite bathroom with shower. The wood-panelled rebuilt sleeper coaches, remodelled and refurbished to mint condition, offer every modern convenience and comfort.

    There is also a bar fridge filled with beverages of the passengers’ choice and room service is available 24 hours a day.

  • Dresscode

    For days on the train dress is smart casual. Evening is more formal – for the gentleman a jacket and tie is a minimum requirement while for ladies we suggest cocktail/evening dresses or suits.

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Price information

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

Prices

Prices are per person in EUR.

 

Lodges:

Wildside Tented Camp

  • Shared double room EUR 1650
  • Single supplement EUR 375

 

Albatros Ranger Camp

  • Shared double room EUR 1700
  • Single supplement EUR 375

 

Lakeside Lodge

  • Shared double room EUR 1750
  • Single supplement EUR 400

 

Legend Safari Resort

  • Shared double room EUR 1975
  • Single supplement EUR 550

 

Hanglip Mountain Lodge

  • Shared double room EUR 2125
  • Single supplement EUR 600

 

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.

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 'Inclusions'

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 solo 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.

This package is sold out

The 2018 Big Five Marathon is currently sold out and registration is closed, however, additional space may become available.

If you are interested in this event, click here to put your name on the waiting list for the race.



This package is sold out

The 2018 Big Five Marathon is currently sold out and registration is closed, however, additional space may become available.

If you are interested in this event, click here to put your name on the waiting list for the race.

Read all the reviews!

What others thought

A belated and sincere "big five" thank you to all your team members for making the marathon trip to Entabeni Conservancy a truly memorable lifetime adventure for my daughter and me. Everyone we met was extraordinarily helpful, resourceful, and serviced our every needs. I am a non-runner since 2007 when my physician said those running days are over, but said I can walk as fast and long as I want. So it was so exciting to walk the half-marathon, to meet the many locals, participate with fellow marathoners from countries all around the earth, to be greeted by spectators, cared after by watchful Rangers and to safely walk a trail knowing/ seeing animals in their habitat.  For those who enjoy a day at the zoo, well this is the best way to experience animals. What a killer hill!  Loved it.  What a beautiful day and welcoming finish line!!!  What a party afterward!!!  Loved the safari's and trusted knowledgeable guides.  Thank you all so very much! Can't wait to do another trip.  We truly enjoyed our time and will highly recommend your group to others as the best marathon sponsors worldwide.

Pete Lind,
Big Five Marathon 2016, half-marathon finisher

We had the best time and experience. It was fun, well organised, we met some great people and the run was absolutely incredible!!

Bec,
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