Luxury Wildlife Safaris in South Africa
Tailor-made South African Guided Safaris Tours
All Far and Wild Safaris Tours are exclusive to only your party, this makes the tours very flexible and can be tailor-made to suit you. For example you may want to stay longer at one of the luxury private lodges or longer in the Kruger Park. In the Eastern Cape you may want to leave out a venue, extend you stay at another, or shorten your stay at yet another venue. In KwaZulu Natal, you may want add a beach visit at a luxury lodge such as the Thonga Beach Lodge a wonderful destination - the choices are yours. Some of these tours can also be extended or amended to include the historical Anglo / Zulu Battlefields in KwaZulu-Natal.
To make the most of your wildlife experience, we recommend that you should really stay a minimum two nights at a game lodge, in order to get an holistic wildlife experience - a one night stay is just a little too rushed with not enough time on game drives to be able to see a fair representation of the wildlife.
Kruger Park & Luxury Lodges
Johannesburg to Johannesburg
Hannah Game Lodge – Mpumalanga :
Hannah Game Lodge lies amongst the gently rolling hills of the Northern Drakensberg Escarpment. This beautiful private game reserve is more than 8000 hectares of malaria free, unspoiled African bushveld. Hannah Game Lodge has professional, friendly and down to earth quality service with comfortable accommodation and good meals.
Hannah Game Lodge offers elevated standard en-suite thatched roof chalets with private verandas providing panoramic views of this pristine private reserve.
The Kruger National Park – Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces :
The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks amongst the best in Africa. Established in 1898, in order to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this national park of nearly 2 million hectares, SANParks' - Kruger National Park, is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms. The Kruger Park staff are world leaders in advanced environmental management techniques and policies.
Truly the flagship of the South African national parks, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians - 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals. Man's presence in this Lowveld environment over many centuries is evident - from bushman rock paintings to majestic archaeological sites like Masorini and Thulamela. These treasures represent the cultures, persons and events that played a role in the history of the Kruger National Park and are conserved along with the park's natural assets.
Luxury Concession Lodges :
Situated within the Kruger National Park in private concessions, are sixteen exclusive private lodges, each with a unique style and atmosphere, and where luxury is the order of the day.
These lodges are permitted to conduct their game drives on the public roads in the park, they also have to abide by the general park rules, such as not being permitted to drive off-road for example. However, they are not bound by "gate times", so their morning drives are normally on the roads before the public camp gates open and they stay out later, until after dark. On the exclusive concession areas (to which the general public are not permitted), they are permitted to go off-road if the sighting warrants this.
This selection of private safari lodges in Kruger Park, range from luxuriously extravagant to romantically intimate to classic safari retreats. There is a venue to suit almost every budget. Here too their open safari vehicles, seating between 4 and 10 visitors each, head out into the bushveld under the guidance of experienced rangers and at most lodges, trackers as well. Guests are able to get in close viewing proximity with in particular the high profile wildlife species, and are thus presented with excellent photographic opportunities. Early morning safaris head out as the sun rises and as the bush stirs to life. Late afternoon safaris commence as the sun burns its way towards the horizon - perfect light conditions. The nocturnal animals are now getting more active, many preparing for the great hunt after dark. After sundowners, the drive continues with the aid of spotlights that reveal nocturnal species in their environment. At these venues guests spend approximately 6 hours a day or more out in the bush on safari. Game drives traverse a large area of the Kruger Park, sharing these roads with the general public, but also having sole traversing rights on their concession area.
Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve – Mpumalanga :
Far and Wild Safaris recommends most of the lodges in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, which is renowned for having the best "Big Five" game viewing in South Africa, if not the world. Nowhere in South Africa will one find a wildlife experience quite like the one experienced within the Sabi Sand Reserve. Sharing a 50km unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park, this immense (65 000 hectare/ 153 000 acre) and ecologically diverse tract of land is home to The Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino,- both black and white - buffalo and elephant), and then a wide variety of plains game. Two perennial rivers supply the game reserve with its valuable water source. The Sand River flows through the reserve for 50km (31 miles) from north-west to south-east whilst the Sabie River forms part of the southern boundary. The sustenance of these rivers ensures that this area enjoys one of the highest and most bio-diverse wildlife populations of any area in South Africa. Over two hundred different species live in abundance, whilst the ever-changing bird life provides even the most experienced ornithologist with rare finds. Such is the environment that the wildlife, save for the migratory birds, remain in their territories all year round. Wildlife viewing here is second to none. The Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve enjoys regular quality viewing of leopard (the most elusive of predators). In fact, a checklist of the reserve would yield no fewer than 330+ tree species, 110+ reptile species, 500+ bird species and 145+ mammal species, all occurring within their own natural environment.
Open game viewing safari vehicles, each seating between 4 and 10 visitors each, depart on game drive early mornings. Guests are able to get close to the various wildlife species, and generally are able to secure wonderful clear photographs. The rangers search for animals by tracking their spoor, and by listening for the tell-tale signs of activity. The bush has its own language, and it is fascinating to watch how an experienced ranger is able to locate a sought after sighting. The afternoon safaris normally depart mid-afternoon and on to when the predators start to stir, become more active, many preparing to hunt during the night. At sundown one normally stops for some refreshment, then the drive continues into the darkness with the aid of powerful spotlights that locate nocturnal species in their nocturnal world. On average, approximately 6 hours a day or more are spent out in the bush on game drives. Game drives traverse a large area and strict vehicle limits at sightings ensure the relative exclusivity of your safari activities and game viewing experiences. Off-road driving ensures that you have the best possible view of any extraordinary sighting and rangers are constantly in touch with each other to keep track of animal location.
Most of these lodges follow the wildlife safari format, which is to arrive for lunch on the first day. It is then check in, orientation and introduction to the bush. After afternoon tea it is out on a game drive from about 15h30 or 16h00. During the drive, sundowners are enjoyed in the bush, where after you return to the lodge for dinner after a period of night driving where the nocturnal species are searched for by spotlight. These drives are in open Land Rover or Toyota Land Cruiser safari vehicles. The driver is an experienced guide who will make the drive more interesting. Early next morning you are awakened at dawn, tea/coffee and rusks are served and out on a game drive again, returning to breakfast. After breakfast there is an opportunity to go on a guided walk in the bush with an armed ranger. This usually focuses on the tracks, insects, birds and the smaller animals. Alternatively you may choose to relax at the lodge. Many lodges have a lovely outlook into the bush and possibly a water hole at which a variety of animals visit during the day. Lunch is then served and then the cycle repeats itself with the afternoon safari game drive.
Timbavati Private Game Reserve – Mpumalanga :
The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve is one of South Africa's relatively undiscovered wilderness jewels; home to Africa's big five, in an area renowned for its rich biodiversity, ranging from savannah woodlands to grasslands and riverine forest. A unique feature of the Timbavati is the low rate of commercialisation, with game lodges that are dedicated to preserving the sense of true wilderness. This large tract of private game reserve is open and adjacent to the Kruger National Park and surrounded by other game reserves, with not a fence in sight. This means that the animals are free to roam anywhere in the 58,000 ha Timbavati Reserve or their neighbours, the 40,000 ha Umbabat Reserve, the 95,000 ha Klaserie Reserve and the 2.2 million ha Kruger National Park, free access from one reserve to the other.
There are a number of lodges in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve which is also renowned for having very good "Big Five" game viewing in South Africa. The Timbavati Private Game Reserve enjoys good quality viewing of leopard (the most elusive of predators), as well as elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, buffalo, cheetah, giraffe, zebra and a vast variety of antelope and other species. In fact, a checklist of the reserve would yield no fewer than 330+ tree species, 110+ reptile species, 500+ bird species and 145+ mammal species, all occurring within their own natural environment.
Open safari vehicles, which seat from a maximum of 4 and 10 visitors, this depending on the tariff, depart the lodges and enter their traversing areas under the expert guidance of the Lodge rangers and trackers. With the ability to drive off-road for high profile animal sightings, guests are given the opportunity to be in close proximity, and are thus presented with unparalleled photographic opportunities. Early morning safaris head out as the sun rises and as the bushveld stirs to life. The rangers search for animals by tracking their spoor, also by listening for tell-tale signs of activity. The bushveld has its own language, it is fascinating to watch those who possess the tools to encode it.
Most of the lodges in the Timbavati Game Reserve follow this typical safari format, guests arrive in time for lunch on the first day. Check- in, sign the mandatory indemnity after orientation to the Lodge facilities and introduction to the bush and its rules. After afternoon tea it is out on a guided game drive, usually from about 15h30 or 16h00. During the drive, sundowners are enjoyed in the bush, where after guests return to the lodge for dinner after a period of night driving where the nocturnal species are searched for by spotlight. These drives are in open Land Rover or Toyota Land Cruiser safari vehicles. The driver is an experienced guide who will generally make the drive more interesting. Early next morning, guests are awakened at dawn, tea, coffee and normally rusks are served, then out on a game drive again, returning to breakfast. After breakfast there is normally the opportunity to go on a guided walk in the bush with an armed ranger. This usually focuses on the tracks, insects, birds and the smaller animals. Alternatively one may choose to relax at the lodge. Many lodges have gym and Spa facilities, a swimming pool with a lovely outlook into the bush and possibly a water hole, at which a variety of animals visit during the day. Lunch is then served. The cycle then repeats itself with the afternoon guided safari game drive.
Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park – Luxury Safari Lodges
Durban to Durban
Amakhosi Safari Lodge – Northern Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal :
Amakhosi Safari Lodge is located in northern KwaZulu-Natal and isbuilt on bank overlooking Zululand's Mkuze River. The accommodation's artistic décor, and its 'African fusion' cuisine, attentive service and then generally outstanding game viewing, gives guests at the Amakhosi Lodge a luxurious wildlife experience.
The game rangers at Amakhosi Lodge are knowledgeable and extremely committed to this environment; they really endeavor to make the most of guest's safari experience. This is a royal hideaway offering exceptional service and luxury, amidst the African landscapes and big five wildlife of the Amakhosi Private Game Reserve.
Amakhosi is an excellent venue with no day offering the same experience. From the morning and afternoon / evening safaris to the luxury accommodation, divine culinary offerings, Amakhosi offers a superb African Safari holiday. The sight of a hunting cheetah, the smell of wild jasmine and the cry of a Whalberg's eagle, together compliment this in the natural environment of river wetlands, valley bushland, umbrella thorn trees and thick bush grassland blanketing the mountains. From the moment you arrive at Amakhosi, you are cared for like royalty, with warm smiles, hot hand towels and the experience begins.
The Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park – KwaZulu-Natal :
The Hluhluwe uMfolozi Park lies in the heart of the Zulu Kingdom, where ancient trails lead through the thornveld and along the rivers of Africa's oldest established wilderness area. Once the exclusive royal hunting ground of King Shaka, (where the first conservation laws were put in place), this rich tapestry of natural and cultural history still beats with the rhythms of Africa. Hluhluwe and iMfolozi Game Reserves were formally established as game reserves in 1895 and today, along with the Corridor Reserve, were proclaimed in 1989 to become the Hluhluwe uMfolozi Park, covering some 96 000 ha with an immense diversity of fauna and flora.
The Hluhluwe section in the north is characterised by towering grassland hills and diverse terrain and vegetation and is exceptional for its rich variety of bird and animal life.
The uMfolozi section in the south is characterised by wide open spaces and is a natural treasure store of fascinating fauna and flora.
Hilltop Camp, Hluhluwe uMfolozi Park – KwaZulu-Natal :
Hilltop Camp in the Hluhluwe sector of the Hluhluwe uMfolozi Park was established on the summit of a forested hill that offers fine views of the surrounding rolling topography of Zululand. The camp, the largest in the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, was extensively rebuilt and enlarged during the early nineties.
Facilities at Hilltop Camp include an a la carte restaurant, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. An attractive bar and lounge, decorated with photographs and memorabilia depicting the history of Hilltop Camp and the Hluhluwe Game Reserve, as well as a gift shop and store, selling curios, basic foodstuffs and a variety of drinks such as soft drinks, bottled water, beers and spirits, is open from 08:00 to 19:00 daily. A large swimming pool for the use of camp residents is situated within the confines of the camp. A self-guided trail through some remnant indigenous forest is available to guests at Hilltop Camp, and commences at the entrance to the swimming pool.
Hilltop Camp is fenced, so it is relatively safe to move about within the confines of the camp, but it is advised to have a flashlight with you after dark. There is 24 hour main-line electricity with a back-up generator.
The Mpunyane Restaurant at Hilltop Camp offers a full English / buffet breakfast. Lunches from Monday to Saturday are a la carte and on Sundays a hot and cold buffet is on offer. Dinners are hot and cold buffet with a traditional braai (barbeque) on Friday evenings (weather permitting).
Isandlwana Lodge – Battlefields, KwaZulu-Natal :
Isandlwana Lodge, stylish and thought-provoking, is carved into the side of the Nyoni Rock just below where the Zulu commander stood during the Battle of Isandlwana on the 22nd of January 1879.
Tours of the Zulu Battlefield sites of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift and other Anglo-Zulu/Anglo-Boer war sites are conducted by resident historian Rob Gerrard, FRGS, or one of his associates, while Dalton Ngobese is the Zulu guide who conducts the battlefield and cultural tours for Isandlwana Lodge. Other activities include walking trails, horse riding, birding tours, photographic safaris, and the ever-popular visit to a Zulu village where guests can experience the life and customs of the Zulu people in an authentic setting.
Isandlwana Lodge accommodation consists of stylishly furnished en-suite bedrooms, each with a private balcony overlooking the panorama of the battlefield and plain below. There is hardly any place left in South Africa where one can watch a Zulu village come to life in the morning and close down at the end of the day, as one can from Isandlwana Lodge. The Zulus are very hospitable people and they capture the imagination of guests from around the world due to their friendliness and fascinating culture.
Leopard Mountain Game Lodge, Zululand Rhino Reserve – KwaZulu-Natal :
Set in a Big 5 Game Reserve the multiple award winning Leopard Mountain Lodge, set within an Endangered Species Protected Area offers and excellent wildlife experience along with comfortable accommodation, excellent cuisine and super friendly hospitality. Leopard Mountain lodge has the most spectacular views in Zululand, from the river meandering below to the distant Lebombo Mountains.
Big 5 game guided drives I 'open' safari game viewing vehicles, take guests through well stocked, unspoilt bushveld with seemingly endless rivers winding through indigenous forest - a birders paradise too. Join the lodge's mid-day waterhole hide session, where guests are able to watch an array of animals coming down to drink.
The luxurious well appointed stone and thatch chalet provides a haven of peace and tranquility to relax and unwind in. By day, laze in your hammock or private plunge pool and watch the eagles soar at eye level over the plain below, By night, marvel at the magnificence of the African night sky. Your private balcony is the perfect place to have a glass of champagne and watch the moon rise over the distant African horizon. Each chalet is spacious, with mini bar, tea and coffee making facilities, mosquito nets over the beds and a bathroom with large open shower that has this incredible view.
Makakatana Bay Lodge – St Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal :
Makakatana bay Lodge is the only privately owned safari lodge set on the banks of Lake St Lucia within the iSimangaliso (formerly the St. Lucia) Wetland Park World Heritage Site, the heart of Africa's largest natural estuary. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is one of the few natural wonders left on earth, where there are unspoiled wilderness beaches, vast wetlands and game reserves all combined into one reserve. At Makakatana Bay Lodge guests are welcomed to their 'home from home' lodge, where your hosts provide comfort and friendship which they complement with a variety of safaris in order to explore these incredible wetlands!
Makakatana Bay Lodge offers visitors an unforgettable KwaZulu-Natal safari experience, with its luxury game viewing and excellent service. Guests are accommodated in bright and spacious suites. Three of these are set in the dune forest and are frequented by friendly warthog, red duiker, nyala, bush babies, birds and hippo! One room has a view out through the bush onto a vlei whilst the other, has a view through the bush onto the lake. The Honeymoon suite is situated privately with views out onto a vlei. Large windows and terrace doors as well as mosquito gauze screen doors, slide open onto private viewing decks, skillfully combining luxury and integration with the environment.
Mavela Game Lodge, Zululand Rhino Reserve – KwaZulu-Natal :
The Mavela Game Lodge is the only tented lodge inside the Zululand Rhino Reserve and is the perfect choice for an authentic KwaZulu-Natal safari. Established in 2004, the Zululand Rhino Reserve consists of 17 private landowners who dropped their internal fences, to form a 23 000 hectare private game reserve.
The Zululand Rhino Reserve falls into the Mkuze Valley Lowveld which includes a variety of vegetation types, ranging from open savannah thornveld to riverine woodland, characterized by acacias and marula tree species. The diversity in habitats allows the reserve to support numerous wildlife species whilst also attracting a immense variety of birdlife. Today the reserve is home to over 70 mammal species, including healthy populations of giraffe, kudu, nyala, wildebeest, zebra and of course the big five (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant & rhino).
Shortly after its establishment, the Zululand Rhino Reserve was chosen as a release site by the WWF Rhino Range Expansion Project. In 2005 the first rhino were released onto the property. Since then, the Zululand Rhino Reserve has set up a rhino management program which monitors and protects the reserves rhino populations. Recently a pack of Cape wild dog have been released into the reserve.
Phinda Private Game Reserve – Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal :
Phinda Private Game Reserve offers outstanding game viewing. A Big Five Game Reserve - lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and both black and white rhino with regular sightings of cheetah along with diverse antelope and a variety of plains game including giraffe and zebra. The approximate 23,000 ha comprises seven distinct habitats which consequently supports the very wide range of fauna and flora found at Phinda. The area is particularly good for birding with 415 species having been recorded.
Phinda Private Game Reserve is without doubt KwaZulu-Natal's best private game reserve. With its recent top 10 ranking on 'Top 50 Best Safari Parks in Africa' is testament to this.
Phinda is home to an abundance of wildlife, from the large mammals to the smallest antelope. However, it is the faster of predators that has a special place here. Having reintroduced cheetah to the area after an absence of over fifty years, Phinda has quickly established a reputation as one of the best places to view and photograph these rare cats. With much of Phinda dominated by a mosaic of various savanna habitats, these speedy carnivores have plenty of space to carry out their explosive hunting technique, as well as enough cover to protect and shelter their cubs.
Along with cheetah, lion and leopard are tracked on the reserve on a daily basis and guests have a high likelihood of encountering these magnificent animals. Another success story at is that of both the white and the more endangered black rhino. Brought back from the brink of extinction, both the grass eating white rhino and the shrub grazing black rhino are doing well at the reserve. While the white rhino favours water holes and wallows, the black rhino indulges its inquisitive nature in constant solitary rambles. The elegant nyala antelope is a frequent sight, with the reserve boasting one of the highest densities of the species. With its dark brown coat, buttery yellow legs, shaggy mane and impossibly bushy tail, the male nyala is particularly spectacular, while the female contents itself with a less flashy chestnut coat.
The rare sand forest in the northern parts of Phinda is the perfect environment for some of the rarer smaller species. The shy red duiker is found grazing on fallen leaves and fruit and the tiny suni, one of the smallest antelope species, may also be seen.
Thanda Private Game Reserve – Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal :
Thanda Private Game Reserve offers an excellent authentic South African wildlife experience, matched with sincere commitment to the Zulu culture and passionate conservation of the environment. Thanda, meaning 'love' in isiZulu, Thanda is a proud member of The Leading Hotels of the World, and a multiple winner of World's Leading Luxury Lodge. It is known for meaningful safari experiences and exclusive close-up encounters with Africa's magnificent Big Five along with cheetah.
A truly African experience goes beyond the five senses. It's felt. An early morning or late afternoon safari is the best way to absorb the sights, smells and sounds of Africa. Encounter the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo): the animals that inspire a long-lasting connection with the continent.
Their guides and trackers are experts, they will offer you wildlife lessons from their own cultures and knowledge. They will tell stories and share anecdotes. They will explain, inform, educate and then sit back and let you fall in love with the wilds of Africa in your own way. With 14 000 hectares to explore, you'll see diverse wildlife, including cheetah, hyena, warthog and possible even the occasional wild dog, as well as abundant bird and plant life.
What is more, it's all exclusively yours. Thanda is a private game reserve and the dedicated staff members and other guests, are the only people you'll encounter on the roads while you're here.
Thonga Beach Lodge – Maputaland Coast, Zululand :
Thonga Beach Lodge is set on the pristine shores of the Maputuland coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This luxury lodge is the ideal place to discover one of the most unspoilt wilderness beaches left on the African continent. Thonga is a magical place of coastal forests, grasslands, bush, shimmering lakes and exquisite sandy beaches. Its crystal clear, warm waters offer South Africa's best snorkelling and fantastic off-shore scuba diving.
Set above a secluded bay, Thonga Beach Lodge is nestled into beautiful coastal dune forest with sweeping views of the stunning beach below, only metres from the beach. The thatched bush suites provide guest privacy and were carefully constructed to ensure minimal impact on the environment. The lodge offers luxurious accommodation, mouth-watering meals and one of the best dive sites in the South Africa.
Thonga Beach Lodge at Mabibi, offers superb snorkelling opportunities with a great diversity of underwater seascapes and marine flora and fauna. Scuba diving is phenomenal, with reefs located a short distance off-shore. Shoals of game fish, sharks and schools of bottlenose dolphins are often seen. The Open Ocean Experience offers guests a rare opportunity to experience the variety of marine life that lives along the Elephant Coast. Birding at Mabibi and its surrounds is excellent and the variety of habitats attracts a great diversity of species. Typical coastal species include Livingstone's and Purplecrested Lourie, Green Twinspot, Grey Waxbill and Green Coucal. Waders are common along the shoreline, and Pinkthroated Longclaw and Rufousbellied Heron frequent the marshy areas. The nearby Lake Sibaya has recorded 279 bird species including the Palmnut Vulture, the only fruit-eating vulture in the world, Pel's fishing owl and pygmy goose. In summer, nocturnal walks and drives along the beach in search of egg-laying turtles are offered. Guests can witness the culmination of an incredible journey as giant Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in carefully prepared nests. Turtle tracking is offered in the evening from November to end February. Every precaution is taken to ensure these magnificent creatures are not disturbed during the laying process.
Wildlife Safaris & Luxury Lodges – Cape Town & Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth – Port Elizabeth & Cape Town – Port Elizabeth – Cape Town
Addo Elephant National Park – Eastern Cape :
The Addo Elephant Park is now the third largest national park in South Africa and has expanded to conserve a wide range of biodiversity, landscapes, fauna and flora - Addo covers about 180 000 hectares (444 700 acres)
The original elephant section of the park was proclaimed in 1931, when only eleven elephants remained in the area. Today this finely-tuned ecosystem is sanctuary to over 600 elephant, lion, buffalo, black rhino, spotted hyena, leopard, a variety of antelope and zebra species, as well as the unique Addo flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively in Addo. The park can exclusively claim to be the only national park in the world to conserve the "Big 7" - the Big 5 as well as the southern right whale and great white shark off the Algoa Bay Coast.
Amakhala Game Reserve – Eastern Cape :
The Amakhala Game Reserve is a malaria free big five wildlife destination that was created when the local farmers - many 5th generation Frontier Settlers - pooled their resources, dropped the dividing fences to their farms and in 1999 began their joint conservation initiative to reintroduce the wildlife that naturally occurred in this game rich area of the past, and created the Amakhala Game Reserve.
Today there are eleven lodges on the Amakhala Game Reserve and the development and rehabilitation of the reserve is ongoing. Some of the lodges are owner managed and there is a variety of options to choose from.
The big five, lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard all occur in the Amakhala Game Reserve although probably as a legacy of their persecution in the past the leopard are rarely seen.
Buffelsdrift Game Lodge – Oudtshoorn, Western Cape :
Unique, understated elegance in their luxury tented accommodation in Oudtshoorn . With the Swartberg Mountains as backdrop and a magnificent waterhole at your doorstep, it's the closest you'll get to the wild of the Klein Karoo and true African accommodation. Just off the famous Route 62, part of the South African Garden Route & Klein Karoo, Buffelsdrift Game Lodge offers you an escape to something spectacular. Experience an array of wildlife including elephant, rhino, Cape buffalo, giraffe, hippo and over 200 bird species. They also offer African Bush Safaris, Meerkat Safaris, Elephant Feeding, Walking and Riding Experiences.
Their a la carte restaurant offers some of the best local cuisine. Buffelsdrift Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as drinks and sundowners, on their surrounding deck overlooking the magnificent waterhole from where guests might see various game species.
Just a stone's throw away is attractions such as the culture-rich town of Oudtshoorn, Swartberg Mountain Nature Reserve, Cango Caves, ostrich farms, wine farms and the Gamaskloof Valley.
Enjoy the privacy of one of their free-standing luxury tents. Simply and stylishly decorated, they not only offer you a true bushveld experience, but real comforts of luxury accommodation.
Another option is to experience true "African" style waterfront accommodation in their waterfront tents, which are perfect for those who enjoy the closeness of the water's edge. The sundeck on each waterfront tent overlaps the water's edge and is the ideal spot to relax during your stay.
Gorah Elephant Camp, Addo Elephant Park – Eastern Cape :
This exclusive lodge recaptures the romantic mystique of authentic safaris from centuries past. Experience the breathtaking natural world of Africa merged with colonial nostalgia and modern sophistication, to deliver an unforgettably unique 5 star adventure. Gorah is the only private concession and Camp situated in the middle of the famous Addo Elephant National Park, home to the densest population of elephants on earth. Gorah is malaria-free and has the Big 5.
During the colonial era, the vast expanses of land, wild animals and fascinating encounters with rural tribes, led to legendary tales of Africa that have shaped history and drawn more and more visitors to this magical and mystical place. To experience Gorah is to get a taste of this history. Discover its captivating rhythm that calls for adventure and fills your soul with an intense passion for the ever changing landscape, the majestic animals and the cultural diversity.
Game drives at Gorah, expertly led by passionate and professional guides are a testament to the safari of old. Intrepidly searching the vast terrain for animals is the essence of the experience. The excitement of discovering Elephant, Rhino, Lion and Plains Game in their natural habitat lingers long after returning to camp.
Kariega Game Reserve – Eastern Cape :
Kariega Game Reserve is malaria free and just over an hour's drive from Port Elizabeth. This is a Big Five game reserve with all the species that historically naturally occurred in the region, having been reintroduced. Kariega Game Reserve has very varied topography with high open grass plains, dropping through Albany thicket and forested biomes, to the rivers below. The Kariega and Bushmans River both flow through the reserve and add to ones enjoyment when visiting. Boat cruises, canoe safaris, fishing and the added diversity of birdlife, add value and especially for those staying at Kariega's River Lodge where easy access to the coast and to Kenton-on-sea makes for a pleasant additional excursion.
Early morning and afternoon / evening guided game drives in open vehicles are conducted by experienced rangers, where guests should enjoy close sightings of lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, hippo, giraffe, zebra and numerous antelope species. On one of the morning game drives, one could enjoy a cruise on the Kariega River on their "Kariega Queen". Enjoy the tranquility of nature, viewing the birdlife and possibly even game along the river. For those just wanting to cool off, dive into the river and enjoy the delightful river pools surrounded by forests. For the less adventurous, relax at communal pools at the lodge, sun loungers and drinks to hand.
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve – Eastern Cape :
The Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, which boasts four lodges, is almost two hour's drive from Port Elizabeth in the Great Fish River Valley. This 22,000 ha of rehabilitated ostrich, sheep and goat farmland now hosts a wide diversity of the species that originally called this area home, and that includes the Big Five, with both black and white rhino and cheetah having been reintroduced.
The massive and ambitious wildlife reintroduction programme at Kwandwe is now complete, with all of the large mammals historically known to occur here, once again roaming free. For the first time in over 100 years, elephant, lion, cheetah, buffalo, leopard, white and black rhino wander free in this rehabilitated wilderness. Giraffe, zebra, kudu and several other antelope are resident and regularly seen. Of particular interest are the many unusual nocturnal mammals which are regularly encountered on night drives; these include the aardvark, the termite-eating aardwolf, bat-eared fox and springhare. This is also the home of the sociable and entertaining meerkat which live in close-knit family groups.
Lalibela Private Game Reserve – Eastern Cape :
Lalibela Game Reserve is not only malaria-free, but spans five ecosystems, resulting in a breath-taking diversity of flora and fauna. Lalibela now consists of 7,500 hectares (approximately 18,500 acres) and is home to the Big 5 (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo & leopard). Lalibella is unique in the Eastern Cape, in that they have no public roads running through their property. All of the animals, including the predators, are free-roaming throughout the entire reserve. African wild dogs were released into this reserve in January 2005 and spotted hyena in 2006.
There are currently three game lodges here - Lentaba Lodge, Mark's Camp and Tree Tops - all offering decor that is infused with the essence of Africa, as well as warm and friendly service and unforgettable game viewing. Lalibela brings you the charm of authentic Africa and is a perfect blend of the formal and informal.
Mountain Zebra National Park – Eastern Cape :
Invigorating crystal clear air, beautiful scenery, tranquil ambience and an abundance of wildlife offer you a special and personal African wilderness experience at Mountain Zebra National Park.
Situated in the malaria-free Eastern Cape, this national park was originally proclaimed in 1937 to save the dwindling Cape mountain zebra population. Now, at over 28 000 hectares in size, the park boasts a conservation success story, protecting over 700 zebra as well as wildlife such as endangered black rhino and cheetah and newly introduced lion.
When visiting here, there are six things to seek: Aardwolf, Cape buffalo, Cheetah, Cape mountain zebra, Blue crane and Denham's bustard.
Samara Private Game Reserve – Eastern Cape :
"Heart-stoppingly beautiful" is how the award-winning Samara Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape is best described. Three elegant lodges provide luxury accommodation nestled between an amphitheatre of mountains on 70,000 acres, where wildlife roams again. An amazing life-changing and wonderfully relaxing experience waits, so come and walk with the cheetah as you celebrate the rebirth of a unique piece of Africa and experience a luxury safari in the Graaff-Reinet region of the Eastern Cape.
Samara, land of serenity, has as its aim the realisation of the land's potential, not only as an area of outstanding natural beauty and diversity, but also as home to an ambitious programme of game reintroduction. Herds of springbok, black wildebeest, zebra, oryx, eland and blesbok, amongst others, "pronk" and run again on the Plains of Camdeboo. Rhino and giraffe now meander across the veld. Nearly one hundred and twenty five years after it was last seen, the cheetah reigns again.
Sanbona Game Reserve – Western Cape :
Seated at the foot of the Warmwaterberg Mountain Range in the heart of South Africa's Little Karoo, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve pays tribute to the San people who made this arid environment their home for centuries. Sanbona has an alluring atmosphere of stillness, an air of isolation amid the raw beauty and boundless plains. The sheer expanse and stark beauty of Sanbona gives one a sense of humbleness, the realization of the inconsequentialities of life, a temporary release of the daily stresses of everyday living.
Sanbona Wildlife Reserve allows one to be at peace, allowing one to curl up with a book, seeking solitude and introspection and what's more...at 54,000 hectares, Sanbona is one of the largest privately owned game reserves in South Africa. This is the closest free-roaming Big 5 reserve to Cape Town and has the only free self sustaining White Lions in the World.
These vast open plains and rugged mountains are home to a variety of endemic bird and animal life. They are proud to be the only conserved habitat for the highly endangered Riverine Rabbit (13th most endangered mammal in the world).
Sanbona, invites guests to explore a special wilderness sanctuary, offering five star accommodation at three luxurious lodges and a back to nature Explorer Camp adventure, surrounded by ancient volcanic mountains and endless vistas.
Shamwari Private Game Reserve – Eastern Cape :
The Shamwari Game Reserve is the ultimate luxury Big Five African safari adventure and Conservation effort coupled with responsible tourism. Shamwari Game Reserve is home to Africa's Big 5 (Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion & Leopard), is malaria free and has received numerous international awards, including the World's Leading Conservation Company & Game Reserve for many consecutive years.
Shamwari is about conserving a vanishing way of life and is the realisation of one man's dream, and the success of many people's passion. Steeped in pioneer history and dating back to the time when a multitude of game roamed free, the 25 000 hectare reserve boasts five eco-systems, thus enabling the support of many forms of plant, animal and bird life.
Shamwari is situated in verdant bush along the Bushmans River and luxury accommodation is offered in six different lodges at Shamwari Game Reserve, all of which are 5 Star graded. There is great game viewing, in modern open game viewing vehicles that have been especially converted to maximise comfort and viewing potential. Your personal game ranger will provide insightful and valuable information about the fauna and flora. In between game drives if your time is not filled with relaxing, reading, spa treatments, swimming, enjoying delicious cuisine or a game walk.