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Best chance of spotting wild animals: private reserves

West of the enormous Kruger Park are a number of small private reserves that are not separated from the park by a fence. The entire area is referred to as Greater Kruger. The private reserves offer classic safaris in a Land Rover and often have luxurious and romantic accommodations available where visitors can enjoy exclusive dining. Visitors have a greater chance of spotting wild animals and birds here as the guides make sure you won’t miss a thing.

In Kruger Park, vehicles must adhere to strict rules to protect the animals and vegetation. The private parks, on the other hand, are often more lenient with these rules and guides will, for instance, follow a leopard walking along a rocky river bed. This may be a fabulous experience for visitors, but one must also consider the ecological damage it may cause. Some private park owners have themselves taken the initiative to protect the park's animals and natural environment and they are very popular because of it. A good example of this is the Manyeleti Reserve.

Wild animals on the road
Wild animals on the road

요하네스버그

Spending the night in Manyeleti

Child-friendly camp

During apartheid, the Manyeleti park was the only wildlife park that black Africans were allowed to enter. While other nature reserves continued to develop with the help of the government, no investments were made in this park for many years. Ironically enough, Manyeleti is now reaping the benefits of this policy because it is here that you will find nature at its purest.


Camp Honeyguide is located inside the park and includes two accommodations. Whereas Khoka Moya is very child friendly, Mantobeni has a more safari-camp feel. The children’s programme is fantastic and includes making footprints of wild animals. The children also get to go on safari and the guides take their wishes into account. The best part about Mantobeni is that you can spend the night Hemingway style in romantically-lit safari tents, complete with a lounge suite and Persian carpet.

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10 Bompas Road, Dunkeld West, 2196

Highly imaginative accommodations

Djuma is located in the northern reserve of Sabi Sands and consists of two accommodations. Bush Lodge is a relaxing place in the diverse woodlands and consists of 8 small chalets with thatched roofs, while Vuyatela is eccentrically furnished with art from the townships, creating a trendy yet traditional African atmosphere. There is a library and wellness centre for massages and Internet access throughout. Djuma is one of the organisations that stands up for the local community. Between game drives, they organise an excursion to traditional villages. Djuma supports nursery school classes in the neighbouring village of Dixi.

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Vuyatela Lodge

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Sand Wildtuin 1363, South Africa

Mala Mala offers great game spotting

Children more than welcome

Mala Mala is one of the legendary and most exclusive game lodges in southern Africa. It’s famous for its fantastic animal spotting opportunities, delicious food and pleasant overseers. In spite of the presence of the ‘rich and famous’, it still has a relaxed and inviting atmosphere. The reserve has three accommodations, with the Main Camp being the most affordable and Sable and Rattray’s more exclusive and expensive. But, unlike some other accommodations, children are very much welcome here. Families can often be seen on safari in a Land Rover with a guide.

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Ehlanzeni, South Africa

Photo credits

  • Spending the night in Manyeleti: Reis. In stijl., Flickr
  • Vuyatela Lodge: David Berkowitz, Flickr