Kruger National Park is the standard-bearer for conservation in Africa. Its nearly 20,000 square kilometres of pristine bushveld and open savannah is home to myriad species of bird, reptiles and mammals, including all of the Big Five.
Wildlife is free to roam between the national park itself and the private reserves that flank its unfenced western borders. With evocative names such as Ngala, Timbavati, Thornybush and Sabi Sands, these reserves offer the very best in luxury accommodation, where privileged guests pair classic safari activities with everything from gourmet wilderness dining to spa treatments and private plunge pool soaks. It’s also possible to combine a Kruger safari with a journey along the Panorama Route. Carving through the heart of Mpumalanga Province, it’s a region of thundering waterfalls, majestic mountains, deep gorges and endless escarpments. There’s also the Waterberg district of Limpopo to explore, where ancient mountains and rolling savannah hide a wealth of primitive rock art and significant archaeological sites.
Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is split into two sections. Those that make the effort to reach the remote north are richly rewarded with vast open terrain that affords some spectacular game viewing. The busier south, meanwhile, can be easily navigated by car, has the best-equipped rest camps and a rich variety of habitats that still offer some of the continent’s most memorable wildlife encounters.
Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Arguably South Africa’s most famous reserve, Sabi Sands offers unparalleled game viewing, with the chance to see the iconic Big Five along with an abundance of game and over 300 species of bird. It’s also home to some of the region’s most luxurious lodges, including Lion Sands and the outstanding Dulini Collection.
Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
The white lions of Timbavati have been the subject of several books since they were first discovered here in the mid-1970s. Now, they’re the reserve’s number one attraction, sharing Timbavati’s savannahs and riverine glades with everything from the Big Five to some 24 species of amphibians.
Thornybush Game Reserve
Leading the way in conservation and hospitality, the 11,000- hectare Thornybush Game Reserve is a pristine wilderness home to no less than ten luxury lodges. A region of stunning natural beauty, it’s a place characterised by classic bushveld landscapes and open savannah home to huge wandering herds and the country’s most iconic species.