Click the above image to see a video presentation of Viva Safaris' operations
Click the above image to see the video of a lion kill taken by a Viva Safaris guest in July 2013 in the Kruger National Park
Click the above image to see the amazing footage of lions attacking a wildebeest taken by a Viva Safaris client in July 2012 in the Kruger National Park.
Viva Safaris was established in 1991 by people that love wildlife. Family-owned and wholly South African, our aim has always been to enthusiastically share that love and passion with the thousands of satisfied tourists that have been through our hands. We do not aim for exclusivity - we have made our packages accessible to a wide range of pockets.
We are aware that current tourists are a lot smarter, more price-conscious and have high expectations for their money. If one compares our tariffs to other safari operators, it is evident that our safaris are not only eminently affordable but also offer our guests a value-filled product with a personal touch. There can be no doubt that our safari products constitute the very best value for money tours to the Kruger Park.
Dining room overlooking Breakfast Dam at Marc's Treehouse Lodge
Viva Safaris is in the unique position of owning its own accommodation establishments. We are thus able to guarantee levels of excellence expected by our valued international guests. We offer a wide spectrum of products that are affordable to backpacker and bush connoisseur alike.
TREMISANA GAME LODGE is our flagship establishment and is relatively upmarket. It is the largest and leading Big Five game lodge in the Balule section of Kruger Park.. We have 15 chalets as well as a 2-bedroom guesthouse. All units are en suite and airconditioned. The exquisite gardens and water features make this camp a veritable oasis. Guests at Tremisana enjoy the best of both types of safaris : the traditional lodge operation includes a four hour bush walk and three hour sunset game drive on open Landcruisers while our guests will also enjoy a full day open vehicle safari in Kruger.
The water feature at Tremisana Lodge
Marc's Treehouse Lodge is a unique lodge beautifully positioned along the banks of the perennial Klaserie River. It is situated in the Motlala Game Reserve which has 3 of the Big 5 : Black and White Rhino, Buffalo and Leopard. The rustic treehouses are romantic and restful and blend perfectly into the bush.
One of the treehouses at Marc's Treehouse Lodge
SAFARIS TO TREMISANA LODGE AND MARC'S TREEHOUSE LODGE COMPARED - A SIMPLIFIED GUIDE FOR OUR GUESTS
Viva Safaris tourists regularly request advice as to which destination, Tremisana Lodge or Marc’s Treehouse Lodge, they should book a safari. We are often asked why there is a significant difference in tariffs.
At the outset, we should profile the guests staying at the three camps :
Guests at Marc's Treehouse Lodge are adventurous and young at heart. They are prepared to forfeit certain luxuries in the pursuit of a real African bush experience. They certainly are not afraid of frogs and spiders. The Treehouse Lodge is unique and caters for tourists of very differing financial means.
Guests at Tremisana are generally more mature and are accustomed to simple luxuries. Of course they are still in the bush and may also encounter frogs and spiders, but these are unlikely to be in the chalets. Guests at Tremisana appreciate the compactness of the camp as well as the easy accessibility of all features and amenities.
Tremisana is electrically fenced as elephant are common. On the other hand, the animals at Marc’s are free to move throughout the camp. Nyala and buffalo are often seen grazing below the treehouses.
Elephants at front gate of Tremisana
Accommodation is very different. The treehouses at Marc’s Treehouse Lodge are made of canvas and reed walls as opposed to the conventional brick and mortar walls at Tremisana. As a result there is reduced climate control in the treehouses. If it is cold and windy, then the reed walls offer limited protection. Tremisana chalets all have air conditioning, so that in the very hot summer months between October and March, the chalets are pleasantly comfortable. Air conditioning also has another advantage mosquitoes do not like cold air, so once the air conditioner is switched on, the mosquitoes along with all other insects, disappear. Our clients tell us that the fans and mosquito nets in the treehouses are just as effective.
Mosquito net over bed at Treehouse Lodge
The treehouses are not completely insect-proof or even frog- proof insofar as there are small gaps between the reeds and the thatched roofs, but this adds to the adventure !
In the Tremisana chalets, there are no gaps between walls and roofs. The doors have rubber at their bases to keep out insects and other creepy-crawlies. The windows of the chalets are burglar-proofed and are covered by insect-proof screens whereas the windows of the treehouses have a roll-up canvas cover.
There are other differences : The Tremisana chalets have a tea/coffee station. Tremisana chalets are supplied with shampoos and insect repellant and have mats over the tiled floors. The finishes at Tremisana are generally better and the beds are more comfortable. All the chalets at Tremisana have en suite ablutions. Four of the twelve treehouses ( the original treehouses ) at Marc’s have private, but not en suite, ablutions, as do the five tents. This means that people booking a safari to Marc’s Treehouse Lodge cannot be guaranteed en suite facilities, but will probably enjoy showering under the stars !
Interior of Tremisana chalet
Tremisana has a better wildlife prestige status insofar as it is Big Five. It is part of Kruger Park as there are no fences to Kruger, whereas Marc’s is in a Big Three ( Rhino; Buffalo and Leopard ) enclosed reserve.
Meals at Tremisana are generally better and the overall tone of the lodge is upmarket compared to Marc’s Treehouse Lodge. Marc’s Treehouse Lodge has a better “ bush ” feel about it, whereas the manicured gardens at Tremisana lend a different dimension to the experience.
Guest takes a brilliant photo of close-up elephant
Perhaps the most important difference is in terms of activities. At Tremisana there is an additional game drive, the “Sunrise ” morning drive. The 4h bush walk is only offered to clients doing all our 4,5 and 6 day safaris. This appeals to guests who appreciate the opportunity of encountering lion and elephant on foot.
All Tremisana safaris also include a 3h Game Drive at the Big Five Tshukudu Game Reserve which is always very productive in terms of Big Five sightings. Guests on the 5 day and 6 day Lodge/Treehouse and Lodge/Tent safaris also go to Tshukudu.
Viva Safaris believe that all our lodges offer exceptional value for money. When compared to other operators, we are convinced that all of our safari experiences offer way better wildlife experiences.
In summary :
Budget-conscious backpackers should be encouraged to book safaris staying in the seven tents at Marc’s Treehouse Lodge.
Adventure-minded tourists who are seeking a real African bush experience should be encouraged to book safaris staying in treehouses at Marc’s Treehouse Lodge.
Tourists looking for Big Five lodge accommodation and who enjoy a little pampering both in terms of game-viewing activities and relatively upmarket facilities should be encouraged to book safaris at Tremisana Game Lodge.
Unless they request otherwise, all Fly-In safaris are accommodated at Tremisana Lodge.
MAP OF OUR LODGES
Click above to view a map of the area. Our lodges are highlighted with a white asterisk
Lat = S24° 29.79'
Long = E31° 4.47'
Lat = S24° 13.65'
Long = E30° 52.15'
MAIN REASON FOR VIVA SAFARIS' SUCCESS
Travel agents that have been supporting us for over 20 years advise that the reason they continue to support Viva Safaris is to be found in the VARIETY of the wildlife experiences we offer. Big Five game drives in private reserves; Big Five walks accompanied by armed rangers; full day Kruger Park safaris on open vehicles; safaris at Tshukudu Game Lodge and visits to Moholoholo Rehab Centre combine perfectly to produce an unforgettable wildlife experience.
Viva Safaris has always sought to look after its staff, especially those from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. To this end, we employ a labour law specialist to implement all the latest Government labour regulations pertaining to conditions of employment and wages.
In addition, we have an unequalled record in promoting our local staff. Through in-house training, we have succeeded in elevating members of our staff from humble positions such as carpenter, cleaner and cook to managers of our camps.
Marc's Camp Manager: Ronald Masango
Our BUSH WALKS are very popular insofar as our guests are afforded a great opportunity to get really close to Nature on foot. Guests may experience an acute adrenalin charge when in the presence of Big Five animals such as elephant, lion, rhino and buffalo. Guests on our Bush Walks are always accompanied by two armed rangers. Although there is no legal limit to the minimum age of participants, Viva Safaris is informed by the recommendations of FGASA (Field Guides Association of S.A.). FGASA recommends that the minimum age be 16.
TRANSFERS to and from Gauteng to our accommodation establishments are in airconditioned Toyota Quantums. We offer you excellent security as we conduct door-to-door collection from your homes, hotels, hostels or Oliver Tambo Airport, thus ensuring your safety. Lunchstops are made at Dullstroom or Nelspruit.
THE SUNSET DRIVE affords you your first opportunity of seeing Africa’s animals. Our qualified guide will take you on our open 4 x 4 Landcruiser Game Drive. Stops will be made to photograph the stunning sunsets and to listen to the night sounds. Spotlights are used to locate elusive nocturnal animals.
Beautiful Marula Tree Boma
THE BUSH BRAAI is held on the first night of our safaris. Viva Safaris has acquired a 20 hectare property deep in Balule - in fact over 10km from the Main gate. We have built a beautiful Boma under a magnificent Marula Tree which we have protected against elephants by a ring of sharp-edged rocks. We have a flush toilet and wash hand basin. Armed rangers will patrol while you enjoy a BUSH BRAAI in this remote piece of Africa.
Our open Gameviewer close up to an elephant
SAFARIS IN KRUGER are conducted on eight-seater or nine-seater open gameviewing vehicles. The open gameviewers offer elevated vantage positions from where your gameviewing and photographic opportunities are greatly enhanced. All our gameviewing vehicles are 4 x 4 conversions with access to all roads in all weather conditions.
Viva clients in close proximity to lions
THE BLYDE RIVER CANYON , including the THREE RONDAWELS, is visited on the return journey
Three Rondawels at Blyde River Canyon
TARIFFS include all transfers, all entry fees, all game drives and game walks and accommodation on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis. Excluded are lunches, drinks, gratuities and personal items. Tariffs are valid for the full calendar year.
WHY VIVA ?
Our products offer unbeatable value for money
No problem with your safety and security - we collect you from your home/ hotel/ hostel / airport
Excellent accommodation in air-conditioned en suite chalets at Tremisana and in fascinating treehouses and well-appointed tents.
Unequalled variety of wildlife experiences
Our armed rangers conducting a bush walk.
WHAT TO BRING ?
Casual neutral-coloured clothes by day and a coat for sunset drive
Sunhat, sunglasses, swimming gear, walking shoes
Suncreen and insect repellant
Flashlight, binoculars and photographic equipment
Money for lunches, drinks and personal expenses
A keen pair of eyes to help us spot all the animals !
INDEMNITY FORMS must be signed at the start of your safari. We recommend that you take out insurance against personal accident, medical expenses and baggage loss.
RECENT GUEST FEEDBACK
“International flavour, flair and style with top service”
africandesertsun, Cape Town, South Africa
From the time we arrived we felt safe and looked after.We were welcomed by the owner Piero from Viva Safaris with vivacious charm and warm hospitality.The lodge and gardens are impeccably decorated,management is well trained and on top form.The en-suite we were accomodated in was luxurious,cool and impeccable and included extra treats.We had our own private terrace to view game and enjoy the view.All meals served were delicious,well presented and satisfying.Our experience at the newly built boma for a braaivleis dinner away from the lodge was superb!set in the middle of the bush with excellent lighting,staff,5 star ablution facility the experience was unforgettable! overall our stay was fantastic,the game drives are well planned and exciting and at a drop of a hat we would not hesitate to return for a much longer stay.we were sorry to say "ciao"!
Highly recommended to every traveller...you will be delighted.
Excellent value, service and location.
“Tremisana beautiful place beautiful people”
Scott W, Stuttgart, Germany
I stayed at Tremisana during this month of November. I made my booking directly with The lodge. They organize transfers from Johannesburg and Pretoria. They picked me up from the backpacker where I was staying in Pretoria. The trip was long but enjoyable because the shuttle was comfortable and had air conditioning. When we arrived at the lodge we saw some buffaloes near the lodge. We checked in and I had a few minutes to go around the lodge. The place has beautiful gardens and the pool looks great. At five we met up with the hostess Rai at the gate and she made sure every one as around for the evening safari. We did the drive for three hours in Balule. We saw a lot of general game and out of the the big five we managed to see lions and elephants. I was amazed that I had already had three out of the big five. The next day was a full day in Kruger national park. I completed my big five before lunch. This safari was highly satisfactory. The guides are good and the one who took us to the park has got a wealth of expertise in birds. I am an avid fan of birds . We saw the fish eagle, the beautiful red ground hornbill among other bird species. We went back to the lodge at the end of the day. For dinner we had a South African braai. The meal was delicious. Unfortunately I was on a three day safari thus could not stay longer. The morning before we left we did a morning drive . I really enjoyed myself and I think for a person who did not have a lot of time on their hands this was worth it. A big thank you to the manageress , the hostess, the guides and the rest of the staff. Cheers.
Gareth E, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
I stayed here just expecting to see th big five and left seeing and have learnt a GREAT amount more.you learn more than watching national geographic.the guides were so knowledgable and really friendly.They would stop anytime you asked and spot things you would never see by yourself and go the extra mile to find the animals.We also did a walk where you learn a lot about the country side of it and stopped near a river where hippos were chilling.The staff at the lodge were real friendly and do nothing but make you feel at home whilst also cooking foods which you would have never had but will want more.the day was never wasted and you had enough time to relax.and because your in the jungle all you here is the wildlife.And I must thank Rye one of the manageress because if it wasn't for her charging my electrics,I would never have got so many photos.God bless you all,I will return one day.......Uforgetable.Also met so many solo travellers like myself ,GREAT times..
Stephanb425, Manila, Philippines
I stayed at this lodge for five days. i was a lone traveller. i met up with some guys who were travelling by themselves as well. we became very good buddies. i have been on other safaris but this was one of the coolest. the safari guides were highly knowledgeble and the drives in balule were great as well. the day we did a full day in Kruger was great as well. the food was delicious and the soups were exceptional. the staff are good people and make u feel right at home. i would recommend using viva safaris to organise the tours. i will definately come back with my family next year
MARC'S TREEHOUSE LODGE
“Great Quirky place!”
Camille M, London, United Kingdom
I stayed there 3 nights with my boyfriend. the place is great, it was by the river and very nice. Even though the weather outside wasn't very warm, it was perfect inside (and I tend to be very cold during the night so it means something).
Food is excellent, staff member are lovely and helpful, Guides are very knowledgeable, very friendly. I would highly recommend it.
In term of game viewing, it was good. We had poor weather the day we went to the Kruger and we managed to go back the day after. We saw 4 of the big 5 ! Again, I would recommend a safari with Viva Safari, and staying in the tree house add something more to the stay.
“Excellent stay at this friendly lodge”
Chris W, California
Stayed for 3 nights at Marc's Treehouse Lodge on a Kruger safari. Very much enjoyed my stay. All the huts are inside a relatively large complex, where antelopes, baboons, and other animals run free. As others have pointed out, the accommodation is rustic, rooms are basic (clean, though bugs will always get in), and power may go out during thunderstorms, but that's all part of the experience. The staff are really friendly and fun. The food is tasty, chicken and sausages may even prepared for you on an open fireplace while you are having starters. Enjoy the guided walk around the complex on your last day. Your mobile phone will connect, Wifi is available (up to 0.8Mbps up/down when nobody else is on). Important: bring a power plug adapter (SA-3 prongs) to plug in your devices! Overall a memorable experience.
MicheleDilinni, Antwerp, Belgium
I stayed at marc's tree house lodge for three nights, the service was good and the staff, Thalita and co were very friendly. I got great memories about our staying there. We were in an amazing treehouse and the guides had a lot of knowledge which made it so interesting. We even had a unique experience that monkeys broke in to our treehouse while we were at the kruger park. Happily nothing was gone and we got a new treehouse right away!