Kruger Private Game Reserves
Where to go
The Kruger Private Reserves are made up of a number of adjoining private game reserves which have unfenced borders with the Greater Kruger National Park and allow for the animals to roam freely in over 2 million hectares of wildlife sanctuary.
The Private Reserves have fewer restrictions than in the actual Kruger Park and are populated with a variety of exclusive luxury lodges. Each lodge has a host of knowledgeable game rangers and open-topped 4x4 safari vehicles which are allowed off-road, and which also allow night drives and walking safaris – all of which are restricted in the Kruger Park itself.
Your chances of seeing the Big Five from a few feet away are greatly increased in these Private Reserves, and the animals also tend to be slightly more habituated to the safari vehicles, allowing closer and far more frequent viewings.
Tucked away in the Kruger Park’s south-western corner lies Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, offering the ultimate, luxurious safari experience. It combines remarkable game viewing with some of the finest five-star accommodation in Africa. Many of the continent’s most famous lodges lie in this exclusive reserve. Sabi Sands boasts a diversity of landscapes, providing ideal habitats for a wide variety of wildlife. In addition to the unusually high number of leopard sightings, for which the park is famous, visitors can look forward to plenty of close-up encounters with the rest of the Big Five.
Must see: The Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve is world renowned for its unforgettable sightings of the elusive leopard.
Ideally situated on the unfenced western fringes of the Kruger Park, Timbavati Private Game Reserve is famous for being the home of the world’s last wild white lions, of which only a handful remain. In addition to these incredibly rare, majestic cats, the reserve boasts more than 40 mammal species, including the Big Five, and the highest density of giraffe in Africa. Birding enthusiasts will be well catered for with over 350 species recorded, most notably an impressive number of ostriches, owls and other birds of prey. With only twelve lodges in this exclusive reserve, guests are guaranteed an intimate safari in an unspoilt wilderness.
Must see: Don’t miss the opportunity to spot one of the world-famous, and exceptionally rare, Timbavati white lions.
Set against the spectacular backdrop of the Drakensberg Mountains, Kapama shares an unfenced border with Thornybush Private Game Reserve and forms part of the Greater Kruger Park. This exclusive and intimate reserve is not limited by its relatively small size, as it features some remarkable natural diversity. Kapama is home to the Big Five, as well as more than 40 species of mammal and over 350 bird species. Guests stay in one of four luxurious bush camps or lodges and enjoy a wide range of activities, including elephant-back safaris, hot-air-balloon rides and romantic sleep-outs under the stars.
Must see: Don’t miss the chance to experience a bird’s-eye view of this scenic reserve on a hot-air-balloon safari.
Situated on the edge of the Kruger National Park, and sandwiched between the unfenced Sabi Sands and Timbavati reserves, Manyeleti is a secluded gem. It offers excellent Big Five game viewing, low vehicle density, experienced guides and only three luxurious lodges and tented camps. This was once the only reserve in the country that welcomed people of colour. Manyeleti’s lack of development during the apartheid era resulted in a pristine tract of wilderness, reminiscent of the African bush before the advent of mass ecotourism. Visitors experience an off-the-beaten-track safari and gain fascinating insight into the culture of the local Mnisi tribe, who manage the park.
Must see: Manyeleti means ‘Place of Stars’ in the local Shangaan language and it’s easy to see why. Spend an evening here feasting your eyes on the incandescent African night sky.
Comprising more than 14 000 hectares of unspoilt wilderness adjacent to the Kruger National Park, Thornybush has gained a well-deserved reputation for offering one of South Africa’s finest Big Five safari experiences. Guests enjoy a range of activities, including twice-daily game drives, guided bush walks, horse or elephant-back rides, scenic flights in a helicopter or light aircraft, relaxing spa treatments and hot-air-balloon safaris. Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway or an action-packed, family adventure, Thornybush has a variety of luxurious lodges to suit your needs.
Must See: Enjoy the vibrant spectacle of a tribal dance performance, complete with traditional costumes and infectious African drumming.
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