For centuries explorers and adventure-seekers have made their way to rugged Africa. At its tip, South Africa shelters some of the most pristine tracts of wilderness on earth, roamed by an impressive variety of wildlife. The giants of the bushveld – the Big Five – have assumed a special must-see status, and guests on safari in South Africa will most certainly want to view the strapping celebrities of lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant.
Safaris in South Africa can be as grand as you can possibly imagine. Whether you’re after a silver-service safari in the grand old explorer-tradition, or an up-to-the-minute bush break in the best contemporary chic, Exclusive Getaways has something wonderful in store for you with our tailor-made travel in South Africa!
The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s most acclaimed and largest wildlife sanctuary, comprising around two million hectares of bushveld and forming part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. Kruger Park safari travel is set amongst a number of distinct eco systems and offers exceptional game viewing. Day-trippers are also welcome to visit the park on self-drive excursions.
Exclusive Getaways recommends you stay at one of the upscale private lodges in the Kruger National Park. Lukimbi Safari Lodge is a plush modern lodge set in a 15 000 ha private concession in a remote corner the park – one of the last strongholds of the endangered Black Rhino. On the eastern boundary of the park, another private concession features two exceptional Singita lodges, Singita Lebombo set on sheer clifftop and Singita Sweni resting on a shaded river bank. Both offer unsurpassed experiences of wild Africa, and here no luxury is spared. Imbali Safari Lodge, beautifully set on the banks of a river, offers a stylish safari with the added option of nomadic spa treatments.
The Sabi Sand Game Reserve forms part of the greater 2.3 million hectare Kruger National Park, and the two reserves share a common 50km unfenced boundary across which animals are free to roam unhindered. Several privately owned game reserves make up the Sabi Sand Reserve, collectively spanning some 65 000 hectares. The perennial Sand River and the Sabie River flow through the reserve, sustaining one of the most bio-diverse wildlife populations in Africa. Hundreds of species of animals and birds occur in abundance.
There are numerous splendid lodges in the Sabi Sand, ranging from ultra-modern and uber-luxurious to upmarket and romantic, with fabulous tented options too. The daily programme for guests on safari usually includes an exhilarating early-morning game drive lasting several hours, followed by a slap-up brunch, either in the bush or back at the lodge. Thereafter guests are at leisure to laze at the pool, enjoy a spa treatment, or go on a guided foot safari – these are offered at several lodges. Lunch or high-tea is taken at the lodge before venturing out again in the late afternoon, on a drive that extends beyond nightfall, so that guests get the chance to view nocturnal species. Sundown in the bush is a special time of day, and guests are usually offered sundowners, snacks and a leg-stretch outdoors.
A number of Sabi Sand lodges are family-friendly, with special action-packed kiddies’ programmes to keep the younger set enthralled. Ask Exclusive Getaways to make a recommendation according to your requirements.
The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve adjoins the Kruger National Park and spans some 53 000 hectares of private wilderness. The reserve is inhabited by more than 40 species of mammals, including all the Big Five, and 360 bird varieties. The Timbavati is known for its White Lions, which were first seen in the 1970s and are ostensibly the product of a rare phenomenon called leucism, an evolutionary stage in a process of pigmentation loss. Experience the Timbavati while staying at Kings Camp Private Game Reserve – which features an upmarket colonial-style lodge, or Tanda Tula Safari Camp – an exquisite tented lodge positioned amid lush riverine vegetation and providing a very private safari.
Other areas well worth visiting, and these are all in Limpopo Province, are the Makalali Conservancy – where Garonga Safari Camp offers an idyllic, laid-back safari for the soul, the Thornybush Game Reserve, and the beautiful Waterberg, a landscape of scenic valleys in the embrace of the magnificent Waterberg Mountains. The Waterberg incorporates various private reserves where exclusive safaris are the order of the day, notable among them the Welgevonden Game Reserve and the Marakele National Park. Tented luxury at its best is on offer at Marataba Safari Company in the Marakele National Park.
KwaZulu-Natal boasts the Pongola Game Reserve – South Africa’s oldest reserve, the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, the Mkuze Game Reserve and others, and the province also lays claim to two World Heritage Sites – the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (formerly Greater St Lucia Wetland Park) and the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park. KwaZulu-Natal has many outstanding safari lodges, as well as supremely appealing nature escapes.
Malaria-free areas are a great drawcard in South Africa, and there are some wonderful wilderness regions that fall outside of the at-risk Mpumalanga Lowveld, Limpopo and the Maputaland Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. The 75 000 hectare Madikwe Game Reserve is situated in the malaria-free North-West, and is home to an abundance of game and some excellent safari lodges. Opt for super-luxurious Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge, stylish Rhulani Safari Lodge, trendy-luxurious Jaci’s Safari & Tree Lodges, upscale Tau Game Lodge (which also accommodates larger groups) or Madikwe River Lodge, superbly set on the edge of the Groot Marico River.
An unforgettable exclusive safari in an ancient desert awaits you at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve in the Northern Cape. Set in 100 000 hectares of semi-arid malari-free desert, Tswalu is an opulent sanctuary resting on vast Kalahari plains and offering a seductively luxurious encounter with nature. Enjoy guided safari drives and meet up to 70 species of animals, including the endangered Desert Black Rhino and habituated meerkat, horse ride, visit archeologcal sites and marvel at spectacular Kalahari sunsets.
The Eastern Cape is yet another fabulous malaria-free safari destination, with its fair share of scenic wildlife reserves, including the Addo Elephant National Park, supporting the largest concentration of elephants in the world. Providing top-class luxury and meticulous service, Gorah Elephant Camp lies on a private concession within this park.
Whether you’re planning your first South African safari, or returning to re-experience the many wonders of the bushveld, our consultants are able to offer some fabulous suggestions and create your personalised safari trip when you make an Exclusive Getaways booking. Allow us to take care of all the finer details and services that will ensure a treasured wilderness experience. Expect superb accommodation, a rewarding game adventure, and all the stuff that the best bush memories are made of.