The Best Game Reserves for Safari in South Africa
Many consider South Africa the home of safaris. Many people dream of jetting to the southern tip of the great continent to see the likes of lions, elephants, and giraffes in their natural habitat. The countless reserves encompass every possible landscape, from desert and forest to mountain and coast. However, each has an incredible array of wildlife which is all protected by the reserve.
Shamwari Game Reserve
Shamwari Game Reserve is the southernmost Big Game private reserve in South Africa. Furthermore, it is undoubtedly one of the most championed throughout the continent, having been voted the World’s Leading Safari, Game Reserve and Conservation Company for consecutive years.
Whilst guests enjoy the epitome of luxury in Shamwri’s beautiful lodges, it is the game drives that leave everybody stunned. For four hours, visitors can merge into the African landscape in a special jeep. Your specialist game ranger will ensure you clap eyes on Africa’s incredible wildlife, all whilst not disturbing nature.
However, there are other golden opportunities at Shamwari. Guests can visit the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary, the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and the Rhino Awareness Centre. Shamwari is dedicated to the welfare of the reserve’s animals and the conservation of nature as a whole. Sick, orphaned and injured animals are under the care of the incredible on-site veterinary team before they are released into the reserve.
Pumba Private Game Reserve
Accessed by an internal flight to Port Elizabeth over an hours’ drive in the direction of Grahamstown is the lesser known Pumba Game Reserve. Nestled in the Eastern Cape, this private reserve prides itself on being entirely eco-friendly and is a member of the Green Leaf Conservation Initiative.
Despite being small and intimate, the reserve is home to Africa’s Big Five, as well as the rare white lion, hippos, cheetahs, giraffes, and zebra. However, you won’t just see these incredible animals on a walking or jeep safari. Each bespoke chalet sits high on a hill and has an open viewing platform (complete with private pool) which overlooks the incredible savannah, so you can wake up to views of big cats and antelope in the mornings.
So untouched is Pumba, that one chalet, in particular, has a guest who likes to doze under the viewing platform. Guests of this chalet have to be accompanied to and from meals and activities due to the snoozing leopard sleeping far below their decking.
Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Located in Mpumalanga, the Sabi Sands Game Reserve is the most exclusive in the whole of South Africa. The reserve sprawls across 65,000 hectares and is located on the south-western corner of the Kruger National Park. The guest lodges are out of this world and resemble holiday villas of the rich and famous, just nestled into the South African landscape.
There is no boundary between Sabi Sands and Krueger, so the animals are free to roam as they please. This means Sabi is rich with wildlife and is championed for its leopard and lion sighting experiences, as well as the Big Five. As well as game drives and guided bush walks, visitors can also opt for evening or photographic safaris. As well as stargazing or dining in the bush.
The world-famous Krueger Park was founded in 1898 and was formed to protect the wildlife of South Africa. The national park spans close to 2 million hectares and offers a number of different safari options so that visitors can enjoy the wonders that the park is home to.
Like all of South Africa’s parks, Kruger is dedicated to conservation and ecological management. This is quite the task considering the size of the park and the countless environments it has. The northern and central parts of the park are very dry and boast the wildlife and landscapes that people envisage when they think of going on safari. The south, in Npumalanga is much greener and wooded, which means it is home to a variety of different plants and animals to discover.