Kruger National Park, covering nearly 2 million hectares of protected areas, is the largest game reserve in South Africa. Known for its natural beauty and diverse and flourishing wildlife, the Kruger National Park offers the ultimate safari experience in South Africa.
To the west of the Kruger National Park is the Greater Kruger National Park which refers to the over twenty private reserves offering exclusive African safari experience within the 180,000-hectare area. The borders of Kruger National Park and Greater Kruger National Park are unfenced, allowing the animals to freely roam around the reserves.
There are a number of private game reserves in Greater Kruger National Park which offer private, stylish, and luxurious accommodations. These private game reserves range from old-colonial to ultra-modern style with sophisticated and high-standard services for a comfortable and memorable African safari experience. Here are the top private game reserves in the Greater Kruger National Park.
Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve
Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve is one of the parks that make up the Greater Kruger National Park. Located in the southwestern section of the Kruger National Park, this 66,000-hectare is known for being one of the most game-rich areas in the country with its unrivaled Big Five game viewing, coupled with the best safari lodges in South Africa. This private game reserve incorporates the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, Mala Mala Reserve, Lion Sands Game Reserve, Djuma Game Reserve, Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, Londolozi Private Game Reserve and Singita Game Reserve. The Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge is an ideal destination if you are looking for an eco-friendly safari getaway. Another is the Ulusaba Safari Lodge which offers a magnificent tree-house style accommodation with a world-renowned wellness spa. And if you are looking for a child-friendly lodge, the Londolozi Founders Camp offers a luxurious modern-colonial style experience with activities specially designed around families and children. The Sabi Sands Game Reserve is open year-round to give you an authentic African safari experience.
Timbavati Private Game Reserve
Another private game reserve in the Greater Kruger National Park is the Timbavati Game Reserve which is a 65,000-hectare reserve alongside Kruger’s central section. The name ‘Timbavati’ means “the place where something sacred came down to Earth from the Heavens”, referring to the rare white lions which Timbavati is known for. Timbavati includes the Motswari Game Reserve, Ngala Game Reserve, Tanda Tula Game Reserve and Umlani Game Reserve. This private game reserve offers outstanding game viewing and superb safari lodges offered in colonial style game lodges, traditionally thatched bush lodges, and luxury tented safari camps. The Umlani Bushcamp is rustic safari camp consisting of traditional Shangaan reed and thatch huts that provide simplistic luxury for groups of friends or families. Timbavati Private Game Reserve has fewer camps and fewer people, and the rates are generally friendlier than those of Sabi Sands.
Thornybush Game Reserve
Bordered in the north and west by Timbavati Private Game Reserve, is 11,500-hectare open savannah woodland with patches of a tangled thicket and thorny scrub, the Thornybush Private Game Reserve. There are only six privately owned luxury lodges in the reserve which offer exclusivity and a superb safari experience. Like the Chapungu Luxury Tented Camp which offers colonial safari style in luxury tented accommodation. The Royal Malewane Luxury Safari Lodge is an exclusive getaway for those who value privacy, personalized service and some of the best game viewing in Africa. The Thornybush Game Lodge is a 5-star accommodation perfect for families with children.
Kapama Private Game Reserve
Kapama Private Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger National Park comprises 13,000 hectares of sweeping wilderness. It offers the perfect sanctuary for a wide variety of wildlife as both the Kapama River and the Klaserie River flow through the reserve, creating an area of riverine forest amidst sweeping savannah. Kapama’s four luxurious camps offer an escape for nature lovers. River Lodge is festive year-round, Buffalo Camp delights with its old-world feel, Karula is elegantly breathtaking, and the Southern Camp offers warmth and hospitality.